Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Noah Goes to the Post Office

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Yesterday Noah and I went to the post office because we had to sign for a package. I didn't expect the line to be quite as big as it was, and worried that Noah was going to throw a fit with the amount of time it was going to take to get through the line. But, just like Noah's style he loves to pleasantly surprise me, and did nothing but smile and flirt with anyone who'd pay him any attention.

There were some nice ladies that of commented on how cute they thought Noah was and asked how old he was. I always tend to think once I tell someone he's a year old and they take notice and watch his movements that they'll know that something isn't quite right, so I always explain he's a special needs baby. Yet today, I don't think that Noah gave any of those secrets away on his own. He very much presented himself like any other sweet little baby without any type of handicap.

My second grade teacher, Mr. Waddingham was also at the post office in line in front of us. It was so wonderful to talk with him, it had been many years since I last seen him. I have such beautiful memories of all of my grade school teachers. I was so very fortunate to have great people in my life growing up. We briefly reminisced about second grade and all the fun things I remembered. And of course had to tell the nice ladies behind me, that this was my second grade teacher. I mentioned he taught me all that I know, and he replied "all but how to hold a baby." He always had such a great sense of humor. I find comfort in the familiar, especially when my past crosses with my present. Sometimes it gives me a feeling of coming full circle.

Noah's package that awaited us at the post office was quite special. It came all the way from Australia from a sweet lady named Meg and her family. You could tell it was packaged with such love. The package included a little note, a family picture, a birthday card, and christmas card, and the most adorable ornament with a kola bear hugging a candy cane. I loved it, and Noah did too as I read him each card twice. He winked at me at the very end like he completely understood everything and wanted me to continue on. I think he rather loves hearing about himself.

Noah sat today briefly unassisted, maybe only twenty seconds if that, but he had weight on both arms with one leg relaxed and tucked and socialized with the dogs through the baby gate. I think the distraction of the dogs took his mind off the fact that he was working hard and really sitting all on his own. The dogs and Noah have a special connection anyway. They talk to each other and I'd swear that Noah knows dog language. He especially loves it when they kiss his hands. Brystal, who I've always called our little healer besides super sneaky, knows exactly where Noah's weaknesses are and I think she is encouraging him even if it means she looses a fist full of hair when he latches on to her back. Hollie is simply the entertainer. She wants nothing more than for Noah to throw her a frisbee or toss her a ball. She looks to egg Noah on, like if I ram you enough with my nose you'll try.

Noah's hardware for his platform swing arrived today, but the swing itself is on back order according to the invoice. It didn't give an expected estimated arrival date, but we are so excited that it's coming soon.

"Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart."
Joseph Fort Newton

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Monday, December 28, 2009

Noah's Christmas

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Riding My Bike in the Kitchen
Holding On Tight

Noah's Car Racing Toy Box

Noah's Christmas Ride

Wow, He's a Really Big Bear!
Hanging out in my Jammies with my new toy

The Goodies I left for Santa

Santa's Special Note to Me!

My Gifts From Santa

Christmas morning, I awoke to a Christmas song playing on Noah's baby monitor in the bedroom. It was a song that kept singing the words "just believe" over and over. It appeared to be playing a radio station of some sort, Chris and I couldn't figure out why the baby monitor was picking up any kind of music, nothing was on in the house, and there were no cars outside the house that it could have picked it up from. The monitor has never picked up any music before, and hasn't done it since. Nonetheless, it was a nice way to start Christmas morning with such a great message.
Noah stayed in his Santa's Helper Red Jammies with Reindeer feet all day long. I think he was in awe of all the things Santa left him under the tree. I got his first little bike. He has some balancing issues, and of course still requires a five point harness, he seemed to really enjoy it until I put his helmet on, and then it was all over. I think he's still trying to recover from the birthday hats, maybe he'll feel differently about wearing his helmet next week.
He also got a giant teddy bear to lean up against. He still often has a tendency to arch out of sitting, but the bear is big enough so that when he doesn't do that anymore it might help him just prop sit. It's the cutest bear. He also got his first pair of real shoes from his grandma. A pair of little sketchers. They are precious. His remote control car also seemed to be a big hit, he watches it intently and his tracking is amazing. He'll follow it with his eyes wherever it goes.
Christmas was really nice and relaxed. We all took naps through the day, and I was able to cook a really nice Christmas dinner for all of us. It felt wonderful to be home, to celebrate with Noah.
Noah had a major meltdown in therapy today. Probably the biggest meltdown I've ever seen him have at therapy. I felt so bad for his therapist Julie, he really wasn't going to give her much time to work with. It was really unlike Noah to get that upset, especially when someone is holding him. He has been a little constipated and his nap was cut a bit short for therapy, he still has a lot of teeth that need to come in, so it could be anything I suppose that set him off. But he was not his usual easy going self.
Julie and I talked about Noah's potential to crawl, she says with his level of spasticity that it is unlikely that he'll crawl, but that he'll probably find some way of moving about. I suppose I'd be relieved if he even moves like a little worm across the floor, I'd just love to see him be able to be mobile. She also expressed a little concern that Noah is still having some difficulties swallowing or managing his saliva. Something that Chris and I both have recognized over a period of months. Some days he's great, other days he chokes or coughs a bit to correct himself. But so far we've been very lucky that he hasn't had any aspiration problems or has fallen ill as a result.
I've attached some pictures of Noah on his bike and of Christmas. I think he truly had a wonderful holiday.
Stacy, Chris & Noah

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Noah's First Birthday

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The Birthday Boy!

My Cupcake Hat

Seriously Mom, I can't believe I'm wearing this!

My Fishing Birthday Hat

Happy to be ONE!

Mr. Cute on his Birthday

Lighting the Big Cake

Diving in making a mess

Getting Ready to Destroy the Pretty Cake

Noah's Big Cake

Noah's Little Cake
Noah had a great first birthday. He was all smiles all day long. And I held him so tight at exactly 8:51am. Making up for the fact I couldn't hold him that time last year. Noah would tell you it was a very emotional day for me. But in the most beautiful of ways. There's nothing like celebrating a day you thought at one time would never come. It's better than any hard earned graduation party, any new years eve party filled with a special kiss, it even beats the most beautiful of wedding receptions. Celebrating Noah's life, his one year birthday was amazing.
I had gotten Noah some special hats for his birthday. I don't think he was much interested in the hats, they were mostly for my amusement. But he tolerated them as such to give me at least a few pictures. Noah's cakes from Das Meyer were adorable and just as I had pictured them in my head. His individual cake with a sprayed on teddy bear stencil, with special light blue and light green balloons and curly ribbon. His bigger companion cake was just as cute, and almost identical in decoration.

I think I under-estimated the mess Noah would make with his cake. I had envisioned him having great difficulty even touching it let alone throwing the cake every which direction. But as soon as it was in front of him, it was pretty much over. Both hands dove into the cake. I don't think he recognized it was something yummy until I took one of the icing covered hands and placed it to his mouth. He then realized he had scored something sweet. Noah still required assistance to get his hands to his mouth, but I could tell his arms were quite relaxed as I helped hold it there for him. He threw cake everywhere in the dinning room, even this morning I found it on the walls. Congratulations Noah, you made your first very big mess in the house. Way to go little guy! Your dogs are very much thanking you today as they continue to find dried up frosting to crunch on here and there.

I of course couldn't make it through singing Happy Birthday without being overcome with emotion as the happy tears started to flow. My heart is just overwhelemed with such joy, such thankfulness that I have him, and no matter what - even if Noah isn't "perfect" like other babies might be, he is mine and I love every inch of him.

Noah was a pretty good sport the entire night eventhough I had pushed his bathtime back to open presents. He got the cutest little Elmo that says "Up, Up" words that Noah very much knows. Because I ask him all the time if he wants me to pick him "up", he got some really fun Elmo and Learning DVD's, a fun Elmo gadget that makes noise and lights up, some stuffed toys, a learning block, Thomas the Train bath toys, a special cuddle therapy swing, and of course I had to get him some new socks because his feet just continue to grow.

Chris I know very much enjoyed the opening presents part as he loves to play with Noah's toys just about as much as Noah does. I love to see the two of them together. They have the most amazing bond. Noah and his daddy are very close.

Thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful birthday cards, gifts, wishes, thoughts and prayers for Noah's first birthday. It is a memory I will forever hold in a special place in my heart.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Birthday My Sweet Noah

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My Sweet Dear Noah,

Happy Birthday Noah, you are one year old today.

Your beginning started out as a terrifying struggle for survival. I still remember so very vividly when I first laid my eyes upon you. Your sweet body was covered in tubes and wires and you rested in a little plastic container destined to take you away from me. I was not in that moment frightened for you. I cried tears of joy as I said out loud, “he’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”. In that moment I felt no pain, could hear no one else around me, it was just you, me and God. You laid quite still. I watched your stomach move to breathe, looked at all the dark hair with a single curl at the very top. I loved you with every inch of my being. More than I’ve ever loved anything in this world.

Our journey began a year ago today - a life-altering event that we didn’t expect. I didn’t initially realize how serious your condition was. Thankfully, as I look back on it now I was grateful to have had been medicated as heavily as I was, so I didn’t fully comprehend how much you were fighting to be here. Christmas morning came, and we were still apart. Before the sun came up your doctors called us to ask if we would allow a blood transfusion, and told us you had been having seizures all night and they couldn’t get you stable. Your daddy spent the day with you, by your side. I remember trying to watch a parade on the hospital television, but I went in and out of sleep, missing blocks of time. I tried talking to people but could hear myself slurring words, and not making sense. A lady came to me, although I couldn’t tell you today what she looked like, but she kneeled down by my bedside opened my weak and unsteady hand to give me a pink rosary and told me we would be okay. Your daddy came back filled with tears that day, I was worried he didn’t know how to tell me you had gone to heaven.

When I was finally strong enough to be reunited with you I rushed to your side only to find that you were hooked up to so many machines and wires I could barely get to you. Your entire body shook with breathing machines, your head wrapped in what looked like a gob of tin foil, you looked lifeless and swollen. They said I could touch you, I didn’t know how, didn’t know where to even begin to find a way to comfort you. All I could safely get to was your little foot. I picked it up and held it so gently not to disturb the saturation monitor they had on you. I couldn’t talk to you, I just cried inconsolably, with my painful cry echoing every hallway. You moved your foot that I was holding and I told your daddy, “see he’ll be fine he moved his foot.” I felt you come alive, I knew you felt me.

My confidence in your survival was strong until they told us that your test results showed global brain damage and that you would not be able to survive on your own without breathing assistance. Our world crumbled, we didn’t know what to do, we had faith you’d be okay, but all the doctors told us there was no hope. We thought we had gotten the courage to say goodbye if you had wanted to go to heaven. We chose a day to take special pictures of you and take you off all the machines. I knew I wasn’t going to say goodbye that day even if it meant putting you back on machines to stay. I wasn’t ready. But God knew that. He sent for you two very special people, Bill and Ernie who held your foot, prayed for you and helped give you what you needed to stay. Even after they had left I wasn’t sure you would stay with us through the night. I looked at you and you looked at me with the same seriousness that you still do to this day. Do you remember what I asked you? I asked that you not look at the angels, not to listen to them, as I knew they must be pretty, and I felt many of them, but that I wanted you to stay with me, not to go with them.

You came home with us two days after, still not knowing if you would leave us at any time. But as the minutes turned into days and days into weeks and then into months, all the while you continued to get stronger and stronger. You had declared you were here to stay.

You have since made such a difference in this world in such a short amount of time. People who haven’t yet had the wonderful opportunity to meet you have fallen in love with you. We had asked that those you’ve touched send you special letters this year and this is my letter to you:

You have taught me a multitude of things in this short year. I planned my life out for as long as I could remember, calculating every step I made along the way, counting each goal as if it made me a superstar. The first thing you taught me is you can’t plan life. Someone once told me “If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans for your life.” That is so true. Life is unpredictable, we have some control over things, but most is God’s plan for us. Houses, cars, fancy diplomas, big careers, and possessions – none of them matter. Life matters, love matters.

You were meant to be here, meant to have the difficult birth you had, meant to face the challenges that you are. One day I pray that it will all be revealed to me, the purpose behind all of our hardships, our tears, that you will rise above every challenge before you to conquer all the dreams you desire.

When I look into your sweet baby blues, I think you understand that best of all. I feel you chose this, you knew that this is how it would be and you still wanted to be here. For that I am so very thankful. I can’t imagine what this world would be like without you in it. And I’m so glad you had the courage to stay knowing that your road would be harder than most.

You’ve shown me patience to give you the time to accomplish all these milestones that are moving slower for you. The sweetest rewards in life are the ones that you have to work the hardest for. You’ve shown me what things in life are truly worth fighting for, what things are trivial, and taught me to focus every part of positive energy I have in all the best directions.

You’ve taught me so much about people. Before you were born, I was hesitant to be that “social butterfly” that you’ll find your grandmother to be. I cautiously went about choosing friends, always wondering what intentions lay behind each person before including them in my life. You have opened doors to show me the beauty that people have, the love that they have for even those they have never met, you’ve restored my faith in my fellow man. God has brought countless people into our lives, none of them I would have had the pleasure to know had it not been you that had connected us. You have gathered people in love, restored faith, and given us hope.

When I see your smile and hear your laughter it reminds me of everything beautiful that God has created, the miracle that he has given to us, and presented to all. You are living proof that all things are possible, Noah. As time goes on, I see such determination and you’re strong will to succeed. Although there are a lot of things that do not come naturally for you, I see you trying so very hard everyday to find a way around it all to accomplish all that you set your mind to.

I couldn’t be more proud of you, more happy to be your mother. You are amazing in every sense of the word. And we are never alone. There are days when the house smells like fresh cut roses, those are the days I know God comes to check in on you. I wish you could tell me about all of your experiences, all that you know, all that you’ve come to do in this lifetime. There are secrets I see in your tender face, that I hope you’ll be able to share with me someday. You offer me comfort beneath my worries, and always find an unspoken way of reminding me of all the sunshine that surrounds us if I only look hard enough for it.

You will always be the most important part of our lives, we are so blessed to have you, to be able to share this journey with you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for his December Rainbow and his sweet promise to you. Happy First Birthday my little boy. We love you so very much.

Our Beginning:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Noah Tries Yogurt

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Noah has decided that he does not want to give us a repeat performance for sleeping through the night just yet. But at least we know that it is possible for him. I honestly think he has his daddy's alarm clock, and sleeps best when there's nothing stirring in the house at any hour.

Noah also had another first yesterday. He ate yogurt for the very first time. He loved it, and we watched him carefully since it was really the first time he's had whole milk and we weren't sure if he'd develop any signs of being lactose intolerant. But it went great.

We received something in the mail from Medicaid on Friday. I had assumed it was the approval letter for more physical therapy since we have to renew our request every six months, but it was actually a letter regarding his kidcart that was ordered. It appears they didn't approve the entire kidcart because his diagnosis doesn't support it. I have no idea what this means, but after making some phone calls and speaking to ATG Rehab it sounds like the majority of what we needed approved to get it was approved, and that the denial portions won't influence us not getting his kidcart. I won't know for a few weeks. Insurance of any kind whether you have Medicaid or private insurance is so difficult to deal with. I don't know of a single family that I've spoken to with a special needs child that isn't having the same problem trying to find a way to get things for therapy and not being able to finance them because insurances won't cover any of it. I will never understand that. If it is health related then it should be covered without any red tape. And as parents we feel that our children could benefit from so much if we could just get our hands on it.

I of course have found more therapy goodies that I want for Noah. Maybe I'm quickly becoming a therapy addict. But I'm seeing things blossom in Noah, and I have to keep going, have to keep trying, he will get there with lots of love and lots of help.

Noah was blessed by kindness to receive a WaterWayBabies Tub and special Cushi Tush seat. We got them last week, and the Cushi Tush is helping him so much. The bumbo seat just wasn't designed for someone like Noah, he has no balance, goes backwards, has trouble correcting himself. But the Cushi Tush has a higher back and keeps him centered. He still wants to go "north" sometimes. But he finds a way to bring himself back to the center.

We also took Noah to Costco because we needed milk, and put him the grocery cart again to see if he had gotten any better over the last few months. Strapped in he doesn't want to go side to side anymore, but his head still arches backwards like he is permanently looking at the ceiling. It's hard for him to pull that head forwards, but he is trying to hold onto the cart with both hands in front, something he wouldn't even attempt three months ago. So even though he clearly looks handicap in a grocery cart still, it is less so than before. I'm sure we got lots of looks as we were shopping as we're holding the back of his head in the cart the whole time trying to shop. But our sweet checkers at Costco all know Noah and always have such kind words for us as we are leaving. They'll ll say it's "Noah time" he'll get there. All of them so genuinely happy to see him and are so proud of him.

Noah is so determined to try, he works so hard, and we owe it to him, to give him every opportunity we can to go the distance.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Noah and the Wingbo Swing

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Five days before Noah's first birthday and he meets a milestone! Granted it's not sitting, crawling or walking, but just as wonderful to us. Noah slept through the night. He slept from 8:45pm to 6:30am. We are excited. It's been a long time waiting for that first night of sleep.
Noah has also become a little less dependent on me in the last few weeks. Part of me is a little sad that I'm not as needed as before, and a part of me is proud that he's growing into himself. He will now play very happily in his highchair with a variety of toys on the tray for long periods of time. He grasps them with both hands. Granted he cannot get them to his mouth, but he plays just as any other baby would with them, using open hands and fiddling with them.
Chris said that he got Noah to repeat mama twice, but I have yet to catch it. He's also trying very hard to put weight bearing on one arm while sitting to reach for another toy.
His grandma got him the Wingbo swing for an early Christmas present. I babble off a million therapy gadgets in a day and she picked one that I had mentioned. It's helped him tremendously with tummy time. We were worried he might arch out of it, but the way it's designed is great for babies like Noah, he can't arch and and it has a great belly band that wraps around for extra security. He's learned in just a short two weeks how to put pressure on his elbows and lift his head. He's now even willing to do it on the floor. He still doesn't have a desire to try to crawl or move his arms, but it's great just to see him in a natural position. I think it's also building his confidence. I've seen him be more excited to try.
Chris and I have also implemented an award system. It's actually a form of bribery really, but Noah would do just about anything for his organic-dye-free candy canes that we got him online at We coax him to roll over or scoot closer by flashing those pretty little candy canes his way. Hopefully he'll even want them bad enough to grab a hold and get them to his mouth himself eventually.
We remain very excited for Noah's first birthday and first Christmas at home. I really don't want the season to end. We're having such a happy time in our lives just enjoying each other and the moments we're sharing. It is such a gift to have him, to hold him, to love him.
I've attached some picture of Noah on his Wingbo Swing. Eventually our home will look like a therapy gym, I knew there was a reason I thought I needed all this square footage.
Stacy, Chris & Noah

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Noah & The Bath Seat

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Noah's grandma bought him a bath seat from Toys R Us the other day. I was so excited thinking that it was Noah's ticket to sitting up while taking a bath, but no luck. His legs are much too long to get him and his body in it. And he was very traumatized by it. I think I heard the exact scream that he did for Santa. So it will be returned. We'll just have to hope he learns to sit eventually, and I suppose if worse comes to worse and he outgrows the baby tub, we'll be bathing together for a while. Originally I was hoping to get him the V-Tech Sit to Stand Walker that was on sale for $24.99, but they were all sold out. Maybe it was a sign that it's premature for me to think about him walking.

We've seen some small improvements with Noah, they are so small that no one else would probably notice them but us. He is accomplishing tummy time with being able to hold his head in the air, he has leg action, but no arm action. I'm still hopeful that one day he might crawl even if it's an army crawl or something. I just hope he will find a way to be mobile. He's sitting for longer periods with assistance without arching backwards, and has found a way to get both hands to midline to grab, but still lacks the ability to hold onto things for very long or get anything to his mouth.

I asked his occupational therapist if she thought that it was frustrating for Noah that he couldn't rub his eyes or itch his nose, and she said that she thought he could get his hands there if he had to, they do bend that far, but it is an effort for him to do so.

His occupational therapist recommended that Noah might really enjoy a remote control car that could be modified for a special switch for Noah, a way of communicating and making things move. So his grandma and I went to Wal-mart tonight and she got him a red Silverado truck. I think he'll love it.

As we were leaving I didn't have any money to give to the Salvation Army bell ringer, so my mom gave me a dollar for the bucket. As I turned around after leaving the dollar the gentleman said in a very loving voice "God Bless You". Those three words in an instant filled me with overwhelming emotion and I just wanted to cry. I try often to be very stoic especially in public or with people who do not know our journey and I think he possibly caught me off guard, and I wanted to hold onto those three little words, put them in my pocket, ride home, open Noah's hand and place them in it. In a day there is simply just so many things that are only in God's hands. As much as I want the control over how I want things to go, it simply may or may not be in the cards. And waiting to see how things are going to turn out is difficult. I want that crystal ball, I want that fortune cookie, that tells me that in the end it's all going to be okay. If someone could tell me today that without a doubt, Noah will sit, he will crawl, he will walk, and he will talk, my heart could calm down, my tears could permanently dry, because I knew it was going happen someday. It's the uncertainty that fills my days with worry.

Miracles happen everyday, and Noah is a miracle just by having survived what was almost the impossible. I have to keep thinking that God will take him the whole way. That he'll be slower off the starting line, but will have the biggest, most beautiful finish.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Noah's Back to Therapy

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We finally got back into therapy after a mini break for Noah to recover from his cold. He is feeling much better which is a relief. He still sounds weird at times, but that is pretty normal for Noah. I think by the nature of just who he is, he often swallows differently and sounds a little cloggy sometimes - even when he isn't sick.

I had another "mini moment" as I refer to them as today. Those moments when I just can't help but be overcome with a moment of sadness. I think today it stemmed out of frustration that I don't have the means, the money, the ability to get things that may make a difference in Noah's recovery. I know there is absolutely no guarantee that any object on this earth would make a difference in helping him, my mind tells me that, but my heart - my heart well, it tells me try everything... I worry so much about the fact that Noah will be a year old in about two weeks, and still isn't sitting, not even close to being able to sit, cannot roll, cannot crawl, cannot walk, and talks and communicates in his own language, but not as other babies babble. I try to fill my days with inspirational stories, latest technology articles, and researching therapy equipment and gadgets, all the while balancing caring for Noah and working with him each day. I eat, breathe, and sleep nothing but Noah.

I found yet another neat thing today to add to my collection of therapy things I'd love to get for him, a home therapy infant swing at south paw enterprises to companion the platform swing for vestibular stimulation. Nothing is under a hundred and fifty dollars, I tally it in my head like a broken calculator that doesn't have a shut off button. I wish more than anything these items were like going to Babies R Us or Target and paying $30 or so for the item. Then I feel guilty about trying to buy a birthday cake and hat and putting off buying him a new belly band. But I want so badly to make this birthday and this Christmas the ultimate event for him, to make up for our crummy beginning and our holidays last year. But more than anything the one thing I want for him, I cannot buy, and that is just to have him be a regular baby. And it's not a want that I want for me, I love Noah no matter what, no matter if he can or cannot do these things, my heart breaks for him, because he is so very important that I want to make it all right for him. It is often a very powerless feeling as a mother to know you cannot fix something for your child. That's what mothers are supposed to do, put band-aids and kiss all the boo-boos, fix all that is wrong throughout your entire life.

I know Noah knows nothing else, he doesn't know he should be sitting, and I find comfort in that. He doesn't know what he's missing, doesn't know that he's different. I know he is frustrated that he isn't mobile, he squeals when he wants to go somewhere and begs for me to tote him around room to room. Chris and I are his only form of transportation and he knows it.
Noah has taken to talking to the big angel on his train tree. I think he thinks she is a mini version of the real deal. He would know best. I enjoy listening to him talk to her. I have moments where I fanaticize about her flying down off the tree, wrapping both of us up in her ivory little wings and fixing everything. We're hoping that Noah gets more cards for his stocking so far he has only gotten two. I tell him that we're going to stuff his little Elmo stocking full of great things.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Warden Family Christmas Cards 2009

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Wishing you the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love at Christmas and always.
The Warden Family
Stacy, Chris & Noah
card designed by:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Noah's Birthday Cake

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Noah's New Ride - A little box...

Noah's Train Tree

Noah's Tree #2

Noah's Puppies Brystal Sonoma & Hollie Edelbrock
(aka super sneaky and loud mouth)
Noah LOVES them!

Poor little Noah is still has his sniffles, after a battle with his doctor's office I finally got him an appointment. They thought it may be just a virus but they did have a hard time telling if it had gone to his lungs, but didn't think it warranted a x-ray yet. Ears and throat are great, no cough and still no signs of any fever. And his saturation levels were excellent. I remember the days when we would panic over Noah in the NICU as we sat and watched his levels go up and down and listened to the alarms ringing constantly. Sometimes when I go to sleep I startle to that alarm sound in my mind still to this day.
And as I had suspected the doctor did confirm that the discoloration in Noah's only two teeth are a result of the medications he was given in the NICU. But she told me I shouldn't worry as it won't have any influence on his permanent teeth. No one explained to us that these drugs could have other effects down the road, but if he had to have them to keep him alive then I guess his teeth are a small consequence.
I've been trying to find great gifts for Noah for Christmas. While other mommies are finding the toys of the year, this mommy is trying to find the therapy equipment of the year. There are so many things I'd like to get for Noah, a Playnest, a Summer Infant Stage 3 Super Seat, a Babystation, A LeapFrog Grove and Activity Station, A Cushi Tush Baby Seat, A Vtech Sit to Stand Learning Walker, WaterWayBabies in-home pool therapy, a bath seat. All of the really great items that might help Noah learn to sit or become mobile of course are big ticket items. And a lot of the really neat items come from the UK and Germany. Some are obtainable while it seems some are harder to get. And there's no guarantee that any of it would make a difference or not in his progress. Then there is still of course the wishlist of all the other things I'd love to get for Noah, I dream big and want to give him the world.
We heard today that Two Angels is going to be able to help us get the platform swing for Noah. It is very exciting news since it is Noah's most favorite thing to do. We remain so very humbled by the help that we've received and continue to receive. There are so many things in our lives that simply would not be possible otherwise. I ordered Noah's first birthday cake Saturday. We are so very excited about it. His little individual cake is going to be so cute. It will have a sprayed on teddy bear on it with some frosting balloons and curled ribbon, and then will have a companion big cake that will be the bigger version of his. It took me forever to try to pick it out for him, there were simply so many choices. His cake will have vanilla custard in the middle, in case he is unable to eat the cake itself (which I suspect will be the case), or have me help him dip his fingers in the custard and guide it to his mouth. They are doing the cake special to make sure the dyes are natural and non-artificial for him. It's such a dream to be able to celebrate his first birthday. In the beginning we never thought we'd be blessed to see his first birthday. He is a gift to us each and every second of the day.
Stacy, Chris & Noah

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Noah Meets Santa

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Home for the Holidays

Noah's Christmas Ark

Noah's First Year with Santa

Doesn't know what to do with Santa...

Mom I know he's still sitting right next to us...

Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa's Fire Truck

Santa came for Noah, on the fire truck, with lights lighting up the evening. I felt a rush of memories flood as I remembered all the times Santa had come for me on the fire truck, waiting with anticipation at the front door drawing my name on the frosted glass, just as I did for Noah tonight.

Mrs. Claus came this time with Santa. Mrs. Claus must have stayed home baking cookies when I was little as Santa always came by himself, but after all these years it was wonderful to meet her. Noah laughed as he seen the fire truck drive up, curious about the lights and all the action. As Santa approached the front door, Noah looked at his daddy to indicate are you seriously going to let him in? I tried to give Noah the it's okay vibe and gentle voice reassurance, but once Santa stepped foot into the entry way, Noah immediately freaked out, pouted his lips and started to cry with fear.

I had hoped he was going to love Santa, but in all reality I was quite comforted that Noah had a "normal" reaction to Santa. He looked to each of us for safety as he knew he was a stranger in a red suit. Santa and Mrs. Claus were so very patient and sweet with an unsure Noah. I can't say it really got any better, he remained pretty on guard and every time he looked at them, broke out hysterically. I told Santa how special it was that we were blessed he could be with Noah, that we didn't think we'd have the chance to experience this and we did.

To me Santa was the equivalent of me buying Noah those baby gloves two days prior to his birth. I dreamed of such things for my son even before he was born. To have these dreams come to life is the most incredible feeling. There is nothing better and I cherish every moment even more knowing how close we came to not having him or the possibility of any of these dreams coming true.

It was wonderful for Noah's daddy to see Santa and his fire truck. I probably told him a million times at Christmas throughout the years about my sweet childhood and good memories of the holidays and it was so wonderful to be able to see him share this with his son. Santa was always very very good to us, and I know he'll be just as wonderful to Noah too, for he is the best they come.

Santa said they'd make sure Noah was on the list every year, so we didn't have to do the lottery. That meant so much to know that Noah will have Santa again next year. Hopefully he'll be much happier to see him next year, we'll have to watch a lot more Santa DVD's so he understands that Santa is the ultimate friend.

I've attached pictures of Noah's first Santa meeting, they're not the best since he wasn't having much of it, but it will give him something to look back on years from now. There are also pictures of Noah's Christmas Ark.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
Agnes M. Pharo
Stacy, Chris & Noah

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Noah's First Thanksgiving

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Noah had a great first Thanksgiving. He slept in until 8am, of course still waking up every two hours, but usually he calls it quits around 6:30, and was tremendously happy all day long. He loved hanging out with his daddy while I cooked us dinner for the three of us.
Noah ate a jar and a half of organic apples,turkey and cranberries, then had squished jelled cranberries, and candied yams on top of that. He was still eating when we had finished. I don't know where he puts all this food in his little body. He loves to eat. For desert I put peach pie in a munchkin net holder and let him go at that. I of course had to hold it for him, but he loved it. I'm so thankful that he can eat, even if he's not feeding himself it's just wonderful to watch him try to learn to chew. I'm sure it would help if some more teeth sprouted for him. He only has the bottom two and they're not even half way up yet.
Friday evening Noah sprouted his first sniffle and drippy nose. I had hoped that it was just temporary from maybe being out for a brief moment to look at his Noah's Ark Inflatable Christmas gadget in the front yard, but it indeed has turned into a minor cold. Thankfully though it's not the type of cold that would cause a fever or cause Noah a large amount of stress that could result in a seizure. So even though he's a little stuffy, we've still dodged a very severe cold and potential scary event. And at least we realized that we have a ear thermometer that is worthless out of it. I'd love to get a fancy accurate thermometer that goes across the forehead - a luxury item. So we've been sticking out a traditional digital thermometer under his arm. His doctors told me today we can only safely get by with that until he's about a year of age, then we'll need something more reliable since every degree of heat for him is crucial in preventing the onset of a seizure.

His sniffles hasn't affected his level of happiness, he's just as happy as ever. I love days when he's all giggles and smiles, it makes me feel like he's happy to be here no matter what limitations he has. Tomorrow is Noah's Santa visit and we're very excited for him. It will be a very special moment. I can only imagine what Noah will babble in Santa's ear.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Are Thankful

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Noah could quite possibly take first place for not sleeping through the night. I'm still up about every two hours and then it takes an hour or more to put him back to sleep each time. We've exhausted just about every technique suggested, and nothing works on Noah. We keep hoping that one night he'll magically outgrow his need to wake up so often, as he winning the sleep war.

Chris and I think that Noah is starting to expand his vocal noises more, still no words, although we still swear at times he tries to mimic mamma and hi, but we really aren't super sure. But at least he is acquiring different sounds so we are still hopeful one day he'll be able to talk up a storm.

I took Noah to Sears to get an outfit for his special meeting with Santa, and they had a coupon that day for free pictures. I inquired thinking that either the offer would be too good to be true, or Noah wouldn't be able to handle such an event. When I asked about it the lady was so very sweet and said they'd make any accommodations necessary for Noah. So I booked us an appointment the following day. They gave us our own private room for pictures, his own personal baby wipe sanitizing pack to wipe milk reside and his mouth bubbles, and they used hand sanitizer when they had to touch him in any way. They were going to try to get Noah to sit with the help of a sitting block, but she quickly realized he was going to simply arch right out of it. Noah doesn't sit at all, even with leaning up against something. He either arches out of sitting or falls over on either side. I mentioned Noah wasn't meeting milestones, and the picture lady was so sweet and said milestones were over-rated anyways, and that when you have your first baby you want them to get there quickly because you're excited, but then when you have your second baby you don't want them to meet milestones so fast because that means they are growing up too fast. It was nice of her to say such things, as there are times when the fact Noah can't do much does tug at my heart.

It's amazing how happy Noah was throughout the whole session, pretty much all smiles. I think the pictures turned out really well. In pictures you can't tell Noah has any difficulties, he looks just like any other baby. We could tell in his individual photos that he couldn't sit up (as his daddy was holding him under the blanket) and he was leaning a bit, and you can kind of tell with the way he holds his hands if you look closely that other babies don't position themselves like that.

I still keep holding onto the hope that the brain does amazing things. I read everyday amazing stories about how the brain can find ways to recovery. Hopefully as Noah grows bigger his muscles will get stronger and he'll find a way to do everything that any other child can do. He is thinking and understanding and that in itself is something they said he would never do.

We hope that Noah's update finds you all doing wonderfully this Thanksgiving Holiday. We send our best wishes, love and thanks to all that have helped us throughout the year. Our dear friends Bill and Marge who fed us scrumptious salmon and turkey and prayed for our family when times were the roughest, JoLynn and the Blue Canyon for making us a meal when we had the hardest time finding ways to eat through our pain, Claire who made us a meal and filled our freezer with meat, the love of my mother who must have paced and walked a million miles in my kitchen to soothe a distraught baby and always finds ways to continue to give of herself, the beautiful mothers I've met along the way, Lindsey, Pam, Susan, Alicia and their special needs children, my sweet dear friends Heather and Joey for hosting a benefit in Noah's name to help us with our medical bills and all that attended and gave from their hearts and donated to the silent auction, Pam and There with Care for their support, groceries and diapers for many months, all of you that sent Noah care packages, clothing and toys, Noah's therapists who cheerlead him on every week, Julie, Beth and Nikki, all of you that I wish to have the pleasure to meet someday that have left messages and filled Noah's guestbook with love, blessings and prayers. We will forever and always be thankful for each and everyone of you who come to Caringbridge to read Noah's story. We need all of you and are so thankful that God sent us such a team of wonderful people. God Bless you all.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scatter Kindness & Gather Love

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Noah had his occupational therapy Monday and he did pretty good. I think he put on a better show last week with his pumpkin pie eating, but Julie always has such patience with Noah's various moods. Noah is great about vocalizing when he's had enough of something and Julie is always quick to move on to something else to make his day happier. Julie is so very sweet and tender with Noah.

Noah needed a distraction to focus so we went and watched some other children doing their therapies in the big room. Julie of course being so very thoughtful even asked me if I felt comfortable with Noah joining the big room since we're trying to keep Noah germ free. It wasn't overly crowded and everyone seemed very healthy, but it was so nice that she asked, even though I really didn't give it much of a second thought. They have such respect for their parents at therapy. They never tell you your worries are too small, never make you feel like a shrinking violet when you just simply need to express you're having a rough day, they allow you the freedom to express your pain, and they genuinely share and celebrate our small achievements.

I've found tremendous joy and comfort over starting the holidays early. I put up both Christmas trees, one for Noah with little children's ornaments on it and one in the great room. I've never in my life started putting Christmas up so soon, but it feels fantastic, I'm excited and Noah's loving it.

I also heard today that Noah will be getting a visit from Santa at home! I am beyond over the moon about it. It was my family's tradition to always have Santa come to the house every year with a little bag of candy for me and my brother. I had to enter a lottery for Santa to come to our home, and I got the call today that we are winners! Santa is coming - a dream come true. It's going to be a very magical moment. Noah's grandma bought him a very special yard decoration, it's a inflatable Noah's Ark, it's the cutest thing ever, and quite fitting for our little Noah and his first Christmas at home. She also got him a snow globe that swirls continuously with music and his very first train set to go around the tree. He is fascinated. He loves the lights, and music and it's making my day so much easier because there are so many new things to show him.

Chris and Noah spent at least a half hour just sitting peacefully watching the train go round and round. Noah anticipating it coming around the corner for him to see each time. It was precious. I love the moments where I lose myself in bliss.

Noah got his very first "special card" today from his therapist Beth, I was so excited for him. Especially sweet since she had been the one to inspire the idea. She's always full of such positive energy and thought, and it's great to share concerns about Noah's development with her.
I found myself once again hunting the internet upon finding that one of Noah's bottom baby teeth is coming in discolored or almost black at the tip. From what I could find it could be a variety of things, and there apparently are a lot of moms that have kids with the same problem, which seemed comforting. I know it's not teeth rot, as Noah can't hold a bottle in the night, nor has he had enough sugar to cause that. Some articles said it was more likely from excessive iron deposits, general staining, or a result of medications or antibiotics that he was given during his hospital stay. In any event it sounds like something I don't need to worry too much over as it will not have any influence on his permanent teeth. I also stumbled on two sites that had some positive stories about children with HIE injuries at the time of birth. All underwent brain cooling, one little girl was without oxygen 14 minutes, while another boy was without oxygen 30 minutes, both today are leading normal lives, without any signs anything ever happened. I'd like to hold out hope that will be the case for Noah too. Of course I don't know if they met milestones on time or not, or if they looked like Noah in anyway as far as development. I know every person with a brain injury is different. Noah will get better, I just wonder sometimes how much better? Will he ever learn to sit, crawl, walk and talk? I keep waiting for him to learn to sit, but we feel so far away from that still, and we're fast approaching his first birthday, it feels like a race against time to see how much we can accomplish before his second birthday when all seems almost predetermined by then.

With the holidays coming I've seen so many organizations donating and gathering resources to help those in need. I can't express enough how important it is to help others. Without all the kindness and help we received we could not have made it this far. We remain eternally grateful. Please remember to give if you see the people ringing the bells, or if you get an offer in the mail to help provide a meal, or to help at your local church, it means so much to people in need. If you can help it could make all the difference in someone's life.

Thank you to all that continue to leave such sweet messages of support, encouragement and love for Noah in his guestbook, they mean so much to us.

I found this saying on a notepad I have and thought it was sweet:

"Scatter kindness and gather love"

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letters For Noah

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Noah has had an exciting week. Monday he was able to get a spoon with a looped handle to his mouth in therapy. Granted he still needed assistance, but he kept his elbow bent, something he rarely is able to do because his arms are so stiff. He stayed relaxed and focused on the Costco pumpkin pie at the end of that spoon. Unfortunately I was unable to order the exact spoon we used in therapy because it has been discontinued but found a comparable one instead. So for $3.49, we're waiting for it's special arrival in the mail. It is still my hope that with lots of work, Noah will one day be able to feed himself.

Noah has also becoming more aware of mommy by the minute and has decided he no longer wants to be in the stroller upon looking up through the mommy window and realizing I'm there. He instantly breaks out in hysterical tears until I pick him up and make his world better. So we've been doing walks in his snugglie, which is hard on my back considering he's getting so heavy. Right before the weather turned cold this week, we went for an afternoon walk. We walked down the bike path behind our house, and looked at all the leaves still on the ground, Noah loving the sound of them crunching beneath my feet. He also got to look at the famer's highline canal that has been emptied of water for the season. It's always so interesting to see what has landed in there during the year. Children's bikes lay lifeless and rusting at the bottom. Probably thrown in by a bike kidnapper. Dead branches from the heavy summer storm lay sprinkled about, trash and pop cans lining the edges, a bearly reconginzable baby doll laying sideways as if asking to be rescued.

Continuing on our walk we crossed paths with a older lady possibly in her late eighties. She had completely white hair, curly but not styled. Simple glasses that looked to have been recently cleaned as the sun caught them and made them shine. She had only two upper teeth but smiled big regardless. She stopped us as we were walking, gently lifted the brim of Noah's camouflaged summer fishing hat and said "that's quite the bundle you have there." I exchanged a smile, and she continued "he's a lesson for you, a lesson for all. He has been brought here for a purpose." Knowing nothing of Noah's condition, I didn't know what to say. I asked how she knew and she said she just did. I never did explain what made Noah different, she said she'd see me again and turned and walked in the opposite direction. I looked back until I couldn't see her any longer as she rounded the corner. Her lace blouse wispy in the breeze as she held a lavender winter coat with pink cuffs at her waist. I've been digesting that meeting for the last few days. I should have asked and talked to her more, should have at least gotten her name. I was in awe, left speechless by her unexpected message.

Wednesday Noah was able to do his physical therapy on the swing. I'm so thankful that platform swings exist. Noah is completely focused when he's on the swing and doesn't realize that he's actually doing therapy and working hard. Noah's therapist Beth is like having tea with a friend every week. We talk about small things, yet our conversations seem to keep me feeling grounded and connected to the outside world. She told me of a patient that onced asked her how her life was better for knowing her and what lessons she had learned from her.

That conversation planted a seed about a very special project I'd like to do for Noah. If Noah could talk, I think he would very much ask similar questions. What have I taught you? Why are you better for knowing me? How has my story changed your life? Noah's first birthday is in about six weeks, and Christmas only two days after. As a gift to Noah, I'd like to invite everyone who has come in contact with Noah's story to write him a letter or send him a personal card telling him how he's changed your life, what he may have taught you, or how special he has become to all that continue to follow his story. I want to gather these cards and letters for a special scrapbook that I'm building for Noah. It will be something that we'll be able to treasure for years, something that may help Noah discover his life's journey.

For all those interested please send these special letters and cards to:
Noah Mitchell Warden
c/o Stacy Warden
PO Box 746653
Arvada, Colorado 80006

We will put them in a special stocking for Noah so that he has them as gifts for Christmas Day. It's one of the greatest gifts for him that I can think of - to know how loved he is by many and encouraged by all to keep being the "The Little Engine that Could."

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Always Live Out Loud

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This week has been reflection for me, I've looked back, looked at the present, and attempted unsuccessfully to avoid looking at the future. There is so much I need to learn about, services that Noah may be eligible for, help that could provide for our family better. There's no one to teach me these things, no college courses for mothers that happen to have children with special needs. Yet even if they did we wouldn't have the time to attend. All week long I've been terribly annoyed with the supplier of Noah's duocal supplement. They call me often daily for surveys and inquiries. Surely they can't be the only outfit in town that supplies duocal. And they send me the supplement like it's going out of style. Two cans weekly when each can lasts one month's time. Why? Probably so they can bill Medicaid for more money. No one explains our options to me, maybe they assume I already know, but I don't. I'm navigating blind. In any event Noah is gaining weight and they anticipate he will no longer need the supplement by year's end. And I will have an entire cupboard filled with this stuff by that time.

Friday evenings have almost become a ritual for me to handle our grocery shopping needs. I rush through stores in order to meet Noah's bath time schedule, knowing quickly that Noah could give his daddy a hard time at home at any moment. Yet as a hurriedly go about mentally trying to remember everything I need, I take notice of those few around me shopping. Some seem so happy, others tense with concern, while others focused reading ingredients and box labels. I wonder what their lives are like. Could any of them know what it feels like to be me on a given day? It is often a lonely experience having a child like Noah. You can't stroll with a friend for lunch, you can't celebrate milestones jointly when your baby isn't meeting any of them, you can't go anywhere you chose because Noah has travel, time and health limitations. Some days are so unbelievably hard physically and emotionally, sometimes it's simply better if you walk the road alone. Yet God is always there. Since Noah's birth my faith has grown increasingly stronger, I've found purpose that was not there before. While others have turned their backs, he has not and will not.

There is a book that I stumbled across after reading one of Noah's friend's posts. I would strongly encourage everyone to read it. The book is called Remembering Alexis by a Colorado author named Margaret Marshall Rhyne and can be ordered online or obtained at some local Costco stores which are listed on the author's website. I believe that you should live out loud. Although it exposes us to judgment I think it is more important to live the truth, regardless. We all have stories within us. This journey has dark corners, sadness, grief, but there are also joys and celebrations. Discussing this journey may help another, it may teach another, it may bring about understanding and compassion, or it may be as simple as just moving you in some way or restoring your faith. This book isn't just about what it is like to raise a handicapped child, but rather a life's journey from beginning to end, filled with all the characters that fill one's life's story, who contribute and piece together our "puzzle" as the author refers to it as. The book challenges perceptions and encourages personal growth through experiences.

The author's website for Remembering Alexis is posted below, for those interested in learning more, you can also read a personal email from the author under a link to Noah's friend, Julia.

"God doesn't play dice with the universe." Albert Einstein
Nothing in life is chance.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Monday, November 2, 2009

Noah & The Time Change

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Noah's having a little bit of a time change hangover. Although he's sleeping a little better through the nights, I don't think anyone informed him that he should be sleeping an hour later and taking naps on schedule.

Since Noah hadn't taken a nap before his occupational therapy today, he wasn't the best participant. Julie tried offering him some peaches, motivating him to get his hands to his mouth with miscellaneous little gadgets and by sprinkling some on his fingers. He tried maybe for a bit but he wasn't really having much of it. Next week I'll have to remember to take some Costco pumpkin pie with me, that is Noah's number one food motivator. I still don't think he'll get it to his mouth on his own, but he might try harder for pumpkin pie.

I try so very hard to camouflage my worry about Noah's future, although I'm sure that his therapists can detect at times how uncertain I often feel. Maybe my brave face isn't working like it used to. I try very hard not to let on that part of me that aches for Noah to recover completely grab hold. That is still possible as all things are possible I suppose, yet I know realistically that Noah is different than other babies his age and may continue to be different his entire life. I'm trying everything I know how to help bridge those gaps in his motor skills. I can't help that feeling of wanting so desperately to fix it all for him. I have no magic wand, no genie in a bottle, no secret potion. All I can do is turn it over to God.

Noah's uncle stopped by briefly to pick up some things, and for a moment I felt like Noah had the ultimate life protector. His uncle Paul I think would be fierce when it came to protecting his little nephew from anything he could. His humor about Noah being different lifts my spirits, and reminds me that his tribe will take care of him. Between his uncle's good humor and his daddy's Noah stands to inherit a super funny personality.

His daddy knew I had a particularly rough day, a combination of so many elements. Chris never misses an opportunity to make jokes, just like he did when we were in the NICU at Children's Hospital announcing our arrival daily on the 4th flour as ladies lingerie. Tonight he was getting out a new trash bag to put in the kitchen trash can and turned to me all serious and said "Hey look at the new Costco trash bags. They are ribbed for the trash's pleasure." And Noah, when you're old enough we'll explain that to you, I promise. I cannot help but chuckle and instantly things don't seem quite as serious as it did moments before. I have to just keep remembering always laugh often.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Noah's First Halloween

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Noah had a wonderful time on his very First Halloween. His daddy played with him while I carved his three little pumpkins. One was a Noah's Ark pumpkin, another a mommy pumpkin and the third a cute little bat. I must have been terribly out of carving practice since I gave my fingers blisters carving.

His grandma brought us a country rib and corn bread dinner with a pumpkin cheesecake baked by his grandpa so we could enjoy the evening with Noah without having the extra worry of cooking while getting Noah gathered and in his first Halloween costume.

Noah was a little monkey for Halloween. I wasn't sure if he was going to like being in his costume or not. But he seemed to really enjoy it. He laughed and smiled and seemed eager to figure out what was next. Chris and I went out just as the sun had set so it was early enough for him not to get too fussy. We went to our neighbor Sue and Mike's house first. They have a really beautiful great dane and I think Noah was truly fascinated by him since he's so used to just looking at our little dogs. Noah also got to see his first kitty cat at their house too. I'm not sure he knew exactly what it was, but he knew it wasn't a puppy dog. Noah is full of curiosity about everything, and fears almost nothing.

After we left our neighbors we went to three other close by houses in the neighborhood, Noah's mini little basket got filled up to the brim. Noah knew that the basket belonged to him and I could tell his eyes kept getting wider and his mouth narrowed with excitement. When we got home we put him on the floor and dumped out his gatherings and he just played in them, all his prizes.

It was so great to be out in the world participating just like any other parent with Noah. I read Noah's friends' updates daily, we all share the same struggles, pain and joys. His friend MaKenzie's mom shared some of the pain that accompanies the feelings of being different at Halloween yesterday. As parents of special needs children we want so badly to have them participate just like any other child and often times what should be a normal event that any child participates in becomes something that is calculated, stressful, and hard.

The Sunday Toys R Us advertisement booklet had three special needs children models in it today. A little girl in a pink wheel chair looking through a telescope, and two down syndrome children. I thought it was wonderful. It's sending a fantastic message. I don't know if the average parent would notice such a thing or what they'd think of it even. But for special needs families it makes us feel like our children are included.

I've posted some pictures of Noah's first Halloween below. Chris and I remain very thankful that God allowed us to come this far, to share such sweet firsts with our little Noah.

Stacy, Chris & Noah

Noah's First Halloween Pictures

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Filling my Dad's Shoes

Daddy's Little Monkey

Check out my tail

Trick or Treat at my First House

My first House that gave me candy!

Smile I'm a Monkey!

Look I can make a face like a monkey!

Warden Family's First Halloween

Mommy and Me

So this is how you hold the basket?

Taking a nap so I can party all night!

The Mommy pumpkin

The Little Bat Pumpkin

Noah's Ark Pumpkin