My grandniece, Maya Stevens is such a happy baby girl. She loves playing with her big sister, Elliott Stevens, who very much loves to entertain her little sister. Maya love learning new things. She was just playing with a walker toy and didn’t even realize that she really was walking and walking well. She also stands alone for 10 to 20 seconds before she realizes what she is doing. That’s how it goes with children. If the learning is made to be like play, they learn quickly. It’s the nature of babies and children. Maya loves her parents, Kayla and Garrett Stevens, so much. They are her favorite people. She also loves her grandparents, Alena and Mike Stevens and Lynette and Wes Smiley, very much. She also loves her cousins, especially Brooklyn Killinger, whom she will totally hang out with for hours. Of course, she loves Brooklyn’s brother, Jaxxon Killinger too. He makes her laugh.

Maya is learning so many new things. She loves kids, but Brooklyn and Elliott are her favorites. She is in that “I don’t like strange adults” stage right now…especially men, and she is very aware of where her mom and Dad are at all times. If they leave the room, Maya knows it. That is rather a common thing among one-year-old children. They just don’t feel comfortable with people they don’t know well. I think its a good thing actually. Maya is crawling around all over the place and getting into stuff. That could be bad, but the house is already kid-proof, so it’s ok. When Maya gets into the pans, it’s time for the “one girl band” to play. She bangs the pans and makes as much noise as she can. She likes banging on pans or anything that makes a loud noise…to the delight of her parents…I’m sure. She loves to play in the water, especially when her daddy makes sure she gets wet.

Maya doesn’t have any teeth yet, but her mom is sure they will be popping through any day now. Kayla often sends out videos to friends and family so we can see the antics of Elliott and Maya!! We all love to see them very much. The girls are just precious, and they bring joy to anyone who knows them…especially their parents. Maya goes to daycare these days, and the daycare ladies absolutely love her. They are always telling her parents just how sweet she is. Today is Maya’s first birthday. Happy birthday Sweet Maya!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Jaxx Harman is a sweet, good natured little boy who is very patient with his older sisters, who love to “mother” him. Having two older sisters can be a difficult thing for a little boy, but not Jaxx. He loves his sisters, and really wants to go play with them. He can’t walk yet, so he is limited as to what he can do, but he crawls, and I can tell you from my own experience, that many babies can crawl much faster than their older siblings. Of course, they can run, so that gets them ahead of the ones who crawl, but Jaxx’s sisters, Alice and Izabella, love their little brother too, and they try to keep him in the loop with their activities. It won’t be long before Jaxx is right up there walking and running with his sisters. He is already able to stand against furniture, provided that someone gets him up to the furniture, so it won’t be long before he figures all of it out for himself, and then…look out…here comes Jaxx!!

Jaxx has definitely found his voice, and his funny bone. He laughs often, as well as plenty of squeals and hollers. And he has an adorably cute cheesy smile that is totally contagious. He definitely keeps his family entertained with all his antics. He is very lovable, and loves life. Jaxx is all boy, however, and I’m sure that it won’t be long before his sisters’ toys become to girly for him. Nevertheless, he will probably play their games with them anyway, because he is an easygoing sort of guy. When it comes to food, Jaxx is ready to eat…anything that is put in front of him. He isn’t a picky eater at all, but he especially loves his strawberry milk. That takes me back to my young life, and I think, most kids. Flavored milk is where it’s at. I loved chocolate and strawberry milk, but then, I loved milk…period. As for Jaxx, strawberry milk is his go to flavor, and he will drink as much of it as his mommy will let him. And I think that with his sweet smile,his mommy and daddy, Melanie and Jake Harman are hard pressed to keep from giving in to this sweet little boy. Today is Jaxx’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday sweet Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Lucas 2 year oldThe excitement of having a baby is hard to contain. But, finding out that something is wrong is so completely opposite of that excitement, that it has the ability to make you feel like you are dying, even though you have none of the symptoms of impending death. Those feelings come from the unsure future that you and your baby now face. Your thoughts turn to wondering how you are going to deal with all these new challenges. This is where the parents of a child suspected of having Down’s Syndrome, or any other disability find themselves…and where my niece, Cassie and her husband, Chris found themselves two years ago…and Down’s Syndrome was what little baby Lucas was diagnosed with. I’m sure that Cassie and Chris felt all the normal fears, but they bounced right back and have proven themselves to be very capable parents. Lucas is a blessed little boy!

I suppose that you might think that this is a sad story of shattered hopes and dreams, but Baby boy kissesyou couldn’t be more wrong, because Down’s Syndrome is what Lucas has…not who he is. There is no room for sadness in the home that Lucas shares with his mommy and daddy, because Lucas is a happy, smiling baby, who leaves no room for sadness or regret over what might have been. Lucas loves with all he has, and brings so much joy to his parents’ lives, that they simply can’t see how they could be any happier.

There is no sadness in this family because of Down’s Syndrome, because that is just not what defines Lucas. Instead, there are giggles and smiles. There are all the firsts that every baby has…first tooth, first time crawling, sitting up, and so many other milestones. It may take Lucas longer to do these things, but he will do them. There is nothing holding him back. People with Down’s Syndrome can and do live very productive lives.
Daddy's boy
There is no room for sadness in the home where Lucas and his parents live…because it is too full of love for sadness to have any space at all. Sometimes, people think that the parents of a disabled child are always thinking of their hopes and dreams, now all crushed into the dirt, but that just isn’t so. Lucas is making new strides every day. His future is as bright as his smile, that is filled with new little teeth. There is nothing standing in the way of success and a happy life for him and his parents. Today is little Lucas’ 2nd birthday. Happy birthday little man!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

I love seeing the funny ways many babies and toddlers fall asleep, because they are so uninhibited. They get tired and they just nod off in whatever place or position they are in at that moment. Sometimes they have been fighting the whole thing for a while, and sometimes you don’t really want them to fall asleep…just yet. You hope they will stay awake long enough to finish dinner, because you know that if they don’t eat enough, they probably won’t sleep long, and a hungry baby wakes up grouchy!

One of the funniest ways kids fall asleep is when they are eating. Sometimes their face is covered with food bits, and they have a complete mess all around them. Sometimes, they are just about to put their face right into that dinner, and it doesn’t matter to them, because they are just too tired to care. And, when you think about it, does food on a baby’s face really bother them anyway.

Babies are so funny. They are out trying new things…keeping themselves running, or crawling, all the time, and before you know it they simply drop from exhaustion. That is not unusual by itself, but it is the way they drop that usually brings a laugh. They might have their little butt in the air, or be lying over a pillow, that is under their back instead of their head. They might snuggle up to the dog or a favorite toy, or they might be face first in their dinner plate.

One of the funniest sleeping moments with most babies is when they have nodded off in their windup swing, with their little head hanging down on their chest, and then you go to wind up the swing again. They jump the minute you start to wind it up, their head flies up, eyes partway open, but the baby is not really awake. You are trying not to laugh, because you really don’t want to wake the baby up, and that was the reason you were winding the swing up anyway, right.

Yes, sleeping babies can be very funny. For most of us a sleeping baby can also be a relief. If they have been crying  for a long time, we are so ready for it to stop, but once they finally crash, all that frustration goes away, and we simply watch them and enjoy the funny way they can look. Either  way, there is nothing quite like a sleeping baby.

When a kid gets a baby sister or brother, they are usually so excited…especially if they had been the only child. My sister, Cheryl felt that way when I came along. She finally had a baby sibling of her own. I can’t say that she felt that way through put adolescent years, but it was great while it lasted…in those early years.

While we were little, we got along great and loved being sisters. I saw a movie my parents had taken of us when we were little. I had learned to crawl, and Cheryl was pretty hard pressed to keep up with me. In the movie, Cheryl would crawl beside me for a few minutes, but when she started to get behind, she got up and began to walk to catch up. Then she would try crawling again…but it didn’t do her any good. I was too fast for her.

During our adolescent years, we fought like cats and dogs. I’m sure I was always in the way, because Cheryl seemed so grown up and sophisticated to me, and I just wanted to hang out with her and her friends. She on the other hand didn’t want to hang out this her nerdy kid sister. Those days it just didn’t matter what we did, we couldn’t get along. We were too different. And we were both very strong willed. The two things didn’t add up to a comfortable relationship. Thankfully those awkward years don’t last forever.

After Cheryl was married, we still fought, mostly because I was still young and again, we were very different. Shortly after her second child, Toni was born, we had our worst fight…and our last. Yes, it was physical, and…there was no winner. The next day, with both of us feeling a little sore, we decided that we were too old for such fighting. We have been close friends and even closer sisters since that day. Not many people who have been at odds so much of their lives can turn around and be very loyal friends. We were and still are very blessed.

I can’t tell you that we never fought again, because we did…but never physical. Our arguments were small and unimportant, and never lasted long. Mostly though, we were very good friends. My life has been so much better because of our friendship. My sister is the amazing person I thought she was when I was a kid. She is strong and yet, kind. She is beautiful in every way. She has a sweet spirit, that is a blessing to all who know her.

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