Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Journal - Week 36 (29Apr10)

Enough about me... back to the STAR!

Here is a short video of the man - the superstar of the show, Hunter!!

This actual "jumping thing" is new for Hunter.  He used to only rock wildly back and forth when in the Jumperoo.  The past few days, Hunter has actually been "jumping" almost out of control!
How crazy is this?!!  Cute boy.

Next month (the 15th of May) is Hunter's nine month mark and he will be seeing Dr. Mark for his routine checkup.  Oddly enough, on that same day I will be having my first prenatal visit for baby number two, and also my first dating ultrasound!  What a day that will be.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Journal - Week 36 (27Apr10)

The Confirmation....

We heard from the doctor today, the blood work is confirmed!  Not that we doubted it anyway!  But, I am definitely pregnant!

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations and well wishes!

On other fronts:

The MedHelp Managers have asked me to be the Community Leader for the General Down syndrome Forum.  I am already the Founder & Moderator of the Down syndrome subsidiary "Group" and while that is a subsidiary group, it already has 12 members. I hope that I am able to provide good and useful information to the members of the regular community.  It currently has approximately 140 members.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to join MedHelp and specifically the Ds forums.  I know that it is still in its infancy and we could certainly use new and experienced members to help out many new mom's dealing with Ds.
Here is the link to the Ds forum:  http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Down-Syndrome/show/166?camp=msc 
and the link to the sub group:  http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Down-syndrome/show/749?camp=msc
and the link to MedHelp home page:  http://www.medhelp.org

One of the nice aspects about MedHelp are the wonderful Trackers, Tickers and applications that the site has to offer, besides the forums.  I personally use the Ovulation Tracker (I guess I don't need this one anymore), Water consumption Tracker, Mood Tracker, Weight Tracker, Baby Tracker (Helps me log information about Hunter - especially good for the Bowel Movements that no one wanted to read about on here!), Pregnancy Tracker and the list really goes on and on.  There are applications and Trackers for just about everything.  The site is free and is very informative as well as helpful.  I know that I would not have gotten pregnant without the help of the ovulation tracker.  All I can say is that if it worked for me, it can work for anyone.  Take a peek if you have the time.  Nice just to make contacts also.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Journal - Week 36 (26Apr10)


It was 1:26 am and I thought to myself, I know I am only 11 days past ovulation, and for those of you who know anything about fertility tracking, it's usually too early to test for pregnancy.  But I am what they call, a POAS - aholic.  (Pee-On-A-Stick).  This label is saved for those who use pregnancy tests, and ovulation predictor kits like they are going out of style.  It's also a set up for disappointment because logically, you should not test until you miss your period (or about 5 days at the earliest before that time).  14 days past ovulation is usually a safe time to test.  I just couldn't help myself though.

Not thinking much other than, I know this one is going to be a waste of a pregnancy test, but I can always hope for the best, I "peed on the stick".  Something was nagging at me though, that made me want to do it.  It was the strange way this month had worked out for me in terms of fertility investigation, planning and tracking.  Earlier this month, I was told by the doctor and technician performing my repeat HSG (tube blockage test) that my tubes were not actually blocked.  My ovulation predictor kits said I was ovulating for five plus days!  (Now that is just plain crazy.)  I even took a pregnancy test on the sixth day, just to prove to myself that I wasn't in fact actually pregnant and causing the incredible amount of positive ovulation sticks.  (That test did turn out to be negative.)  I had a blood test done earlier in the month, also to confirm that I started this month off "NOT PREGNANT".  This was a requirement so that I could get the HSG test done.  They will not perform the HSG if there is any chance you are pregnant.  So, needless to say, it has been a strange month of events.

Monday morning, 10:00 am - we have a follow-up fertility appointment which was for us to find out what the ultrasound doctor and technician told us a few weeks back.  Officially, we find out that my tubes are not blocked at this appointment.  But, as I said - we already know that.  It's just a technicality though.  How ironic do you think that this follow-up appointment would be if I tell our fertility doctor, some news....

The result of the pregnancy test at 1:26 am???  A BFP - for those non fertility types that means "A BIG FAT POSITIVE"  WE ARE PREGNANT!!!

 [Can you see the line on the left?  Yep, that means positive!]

I can not contain myself.  After all this time, after all the bumps in the road, after all the weird and crazy issues we were facing and were told - I have to share this news with everyone.  Please share in our joy.  I will not make anyone wait 12 weeks to say the words - "I am pregnant".  The calculators say I am 3 weeks and 3 days pregnant and I am told that the expected due date is the 7th January 2011. 

John and I couldn't be happier, and also relieved.  Hunter, will be getting his sibling after all.  The next step in our journey starts here....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (22Apr10)

Nap time anyone?  How about bed time then....

Like any parent who has a baby, we all know the importance of day time naps.  Without naps, comes crankiness, and sometimes the inability to actually eventually get to sleep for the night.  Today, Hunter did not have his scheduled naps (a schedule he set for himself long ago) of roughly 3pm and 7pm.  Now, it wasn't that he didn't try to nap, but Hunter has always been a child full of wonder, and somehow thinks if he goes down for a nap, the world wont be the same when he wakes up!  In other words, he hates to miss anything and therefore hates to nap.

Our E.I. Jenn had advised that we should probably take him upstairs to his crib for nap time, a really great piece of advice that somehow we never really followed but should have from the beginning.  We faltered on that simply because when we took him up on occasion, he would wake as soon as you laid him down and would then stay awake, playing in his crib.  So, ultimately we ended up allowing him to nap down stairs with us, so we knew he would get the naps in.  Otherwise we would have a baby monster on our hands at night time... much like tonight.

No naps equals No SLEEP and a ton of crying.... (not me, Hunter - though at times I was close!)  Honestly it didn't matter where we were, or what we did, he ended up so overtired and upset that he couldn't get himself to sleep.  But, it was evident that his body wanted to sleep, he continuously kept nodding off and yawning.

Time to break out the modified FERBER method....  Many parents research different and sometimes specific methods to get their child to sleep, but since Hunter was always good at sleeping, from the time he was two weeks old, we actually never needed to research anything - until tonight.  So, reluctantly I did my research (after the fact).  I took Hunter up to his crib at around 9:30 pm tonight.  His usual bed time is around 11:30 pm.  He pretty well kicked and screamed all the way up there and for about half an hour after I put him up there.  As soon as I put him down, he started sobbing and that gut wrenching cry that you would think you might hear from a toddler who heaves when crying.  The odd thing was, there were little to no tears and if I looked at him, he would offer up a smile and a laugh to me... suggesting the "oh I am so cute, pick me up - you know you can't resist!" and for the most part he's right, I can't resist but I held back.  I told him very quietly, I was going down stairs and that he needed to go to sleep.  I rubbed his back, put on some baby music for him for 10 minutes while I stayed with him.  He didn't make a peep.  When the music ended, and despite the fact that he was still awake, I said my good night to him and left him to get to sleep.  I went back down stairs and waited for the full out bawling to re-initiate, and it most certainly did.  I called up to him, telling him that we were still here and that he should go to sleep.  Daddy and I watched on the baby monitor (with the awesome night vision and crystal clear digital sound) poor Hunter sobbing and kicking his legs, rolling onto his tummy and crying into his arm above his head.  What a sight.  We are only slightly used to this because it has occurred about three other times before when naps were avoided.  No matter how many times you hear it, it still breaks your heart listening to him cry.  We have also learned that bringing him back down stairs with us doesn't work either, because at this point he is too far tired that he just continues to cry from absolute and pure exhaustion.
I ended up re-visiting Hunter two times after I initially put him in his crib, and within the half hour he finally fell asleep.  I did go back up one last time after he was sound asleep, just to check on him because he had his head lying on his bear which was soggy and dripping wet from tears and runny nose.  I actually moved him onto his side, and he didn't even wake or stir - that's how tired he was.  What I did notice though was that he was still heavy chest breathing (those tiny uncontrollable hiccup sobs that go on long after you finish crying that you can't stop by yourself) while sleeping.  That totally broke my heart, but he was asleep.  After all of that, I looked up the FERBER method, and learned that I did the modified method, which worked.  All I know is that I will do what works for Hunter and us.  And it seems that we nailed it on the head, this time.  In the end, I just hope that Hunter stays asleep for his usual eleven hours.

Daddy did console me after though, knowing that I hate to see our son cry like that.  It is unusual for him to cry so when it happens, it distresses me.  Daddy also very professionally pointed out that by our next baby, I will be an old pro and that this type of thing will be nothing that gets me ruffled.  Ha.  We'll see (but he's probably right.)

Another night bites the dust....  Hopefully no repeat performances though!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (21Apr10)

Early Intervention has wonderful results!

Today Hunter saw his E.I. therapists Jenn and Kay.   I want to share with you what happened today.  Absolutely NOTHING!!

Let me explain.  Last couple of weeks ago, on 8th April, Jenn saw that Hunter had lots of muscles and the ability to do the things she was looking for, but would not do them for her.  (Kneeling, sitting etc.)  At the end of that session, we determined that he probably needed Kay (our Osteopath) to see if there was something preventing him from doing the things we could see he knew how to do but wouldn't/couldn't.  And so onto today.  The tag team arrived promptly at 12 noon, and were ready to get to work with Hunter.  We had been working with Hunter diligently for the last two weeks on his independent sitting, standing and independent play.  We put Hunter up on the kitchen table, sat him down and there he sat showing off for Jenn and Kay.  He remained sitting there all by himself with the largest grin on his face.  Then we put him down on his tummy, and he pretty well got up onto his knees and rocked back and forth for them.
Jenn and Kay could not believe what they were seeing.  And as a result, there was absolutely nothing they could do, but watch in awe and speak many wonderful praises.  With that, Kay signed off an end to her treatment/sessions for Hunter.  He no longer needs any assistance from her.  It's truly bitter sweet.  We love everything that Kay has done for Hunter, but we are very happy that he has progressed to the point of not needing her for therapy any more.
Everything that Jenn was going to work on to help Hunter, he figured out by himself and accomplished it.  All within "typical" time frames.
Hunter continues to show us that he has no boundaries, and the little hiccups that happen along the way he sorts out for himself.  Amazing.  How could we not be proud??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (20Apr10)

Watch me play!

I took the liberty of recording Hunter doing some "Hunter-type" things the last few days!

(His latest achievements are sitting and playing with his learning centre and trying to sneak away (rolling) on the floor.)

Here is Hunter, now able to sit and play with his toys! He is still sneaky in that when you want him to sit up, unless he's distracted, he wants to fall over. If he is engrossed with play or something interesting, he sits without effort or help!  This time he figured out how to make the sounds play on his learning centre.

Hunter is ever so sneaky, if he knows you are video recording him, he wont do what you are hoping to catch him do!!  Here we are trying to get him on camera moving about using his latest method of travel, rolling!!
No such luck this time though, but cute none the less!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (18Apr10)

I... want... to... keep... playing... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Have you ever seen something so sweet and crazy?  I try and tell people how Hunter hardly naps because he never wants to miss a beat!  Here we caught him finally fast asleep, but still clutching his toys!

[I am playing while incognito - as a sleeping baby!]

[Do you see where my hands are?]

[Okay, so what if I'm wearing one as a bracelet!]

[Ah ha!  I moved my arm.  You took too many pictures!]

I know it's hard to believe, but that was exactly how we found him asleep on his play yard.  He does the strangest things when we aren't looking!  In fact, he makes it a point to stop doing sneaky things if we either start watching or attempting to record him.  Because of this, I am currently on "take number 4" in trying to get the rolling over to the door on video.  He'll do it if we don't look at him.  When we look, he stops and smiles like crazy at us!  What a HAM!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (17Apr10)

The newest HERO on the block....  My HERO.

I made a cute video for you all to see... and it honestly says it all.  (Read the subtitles.)  When the link loads, it takes a few seconds (99 seconds at the most) for the video to start.  I think you will all like this, I loved it.  Please watch it to the end.


Now, doesn't that speak volumes?

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Journal - Week 34 (16Apr10)

A new method of transportation???

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling away....

Today, as I am told - Grandma laid Hunter down on his play yard to do some tummy time.  Daddy while sitting near by (approximately 4 feet away) was on the computer.  Grandma left to go to out and Mommy was upstairs.  Normally, Hunter will play and make all kinds of noise, while on his play mat.  All of a sudden it got really quiet.  Daddy looked down and Hunter was gone!!  PANIC??  No, not to worry, across the room, by the doorway, there was Hunter lying on his side, giving Daddy a huge grin!  Now, Daddy suspects Hunter rolled his way, over and over until he reached the doorway.  But, no one knows!  Could he have crawled?  Probably not.  Hunter discovered a few days ago that he can continuously roll over and over to get somewhere, but he had not done too much of it.  I suppose he got the courage to roll, and roll and just keep going until something stopped him! 

Realization?  Put up the baby gate in the family room....  We originally put one of the baby gates up at the top of the stairs leading to the basement, and one at the bottom of the stairs to go up to the bedrooms, and another one at the top of the stairs up there.  Now, we have decided it would be better for all of us if we just put one more gate in the doorway of the family room. 

Now, why does all of this seem to happen when I am upstairs??  I am lucky though, I did see Hunter doing this before, but not the extent that happened today!  I wish I could get these moments on video recorder, and yes the cam corder is sitting on the table here in the family room for such events, but Hunter isn't about to wait for us to get it unplugged and started up!  He's got an agenda and is much too busy for us to stop him from what he has going on.  That's okay Hunter, you keep it up and you roll roll roll on!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Journal - Week 34 (15Apr10)

Happy 8 months Hunter!

What a wonderful day we had today on Hunter's 8 month mark.  We spent the day with my girlfriend Nikki and her son Chase, for their regular play date.  We went for lunch, took a walk and then went to the swings.  I wasn't sure if Hunter would like the swings, but WOW - did he ever love them.

Here are a few pictures of us enjoying our day out in the beautiful sunshine.

[Look at us swing!  Chase & Hunter]

[Hey I love this thing... Wait, what's that over there?]

[Can we have one of these at home?]

[Are you kidding me!  I love this thing, did I say that yet?]

[Me and my Daddy!  We are such cool dudes!]

[I love my family, but you stopped pushing me! Do I look happy about that?]

We had a terrific time, and I love seeing Nikki and Chase, since Hunter and Chase are literally about 6 weeks apart.  They love seeing each other, and like their Mommies, have lots to say when they get together!  But, having said that - HUNTER was a monster trying to get him to nap after such a stimulating day!  He took 2 hours to unwind, and finally fell asleep at 8pm but woke up at 11:45pm.  I don't know how the rest of the night will go, but I am glad we don't have anywhere to be tomorrow!  Hopefully he is still tuckered out from a great day, and will still go to bed tonight.... Wishful thinking I think!  Whatever the case, it was definitely worth it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Journal - Week 34 (14Apr10)

Update - YMCA Ontario Early Years Centre
"Precious Playtime"

How does that name sound?  It's a tentative name for the play group for children with special needs at the YMCA Ontario Early Years Centre that I am co-ordinating.  Today (14th April) we had our first setup meeting with the Manager of the YMCA, myself and Hunter's E.I. therapist Jenn.  It was absoultely wonderful.  We talked about the direction we would like the group to go, training for the staff, frequency of the meets, the type of activities we would like to do, and how long we want the group to run.  We have set up the target start date for October or Fall of this year.  It will take time to co-ordinate, and train everyone, as well as plan to get the word out so that we have an appropriate number of people attending.
I was very happy with the enthusiasm of the YMCA, and the overall feeling for getting this group up and running.  Honestly, I can't wait for it to begin, and I hope that ultimately we get the turnout that we are hoping for.  I really want to be there for other families, and be the support network for each other that I know we can be for one another.

As time gets closer, I will post all further updates on the group.  A lot of the details of the group will probably be ironed out when we actually meet, so that we can discuss direction and content with all the families and not make unilateral decisions that affect everyone without considering everyone.  Until then....

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Journal - Week 34 (12Apr10)

My follow-up test....

Today I had a follow-up or re-test fertility test.  Last month I had the HSG (Hysterosalpingogram).  This test checks ultimately to see if my fallopian tubes are open and not blocked with scar tissue or infection.  Last time I had the test I was told that I had tubal blockage on both sides.  I had written that I was obviously devestated because our only course of action after having that kind of diagnosis is/was In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  I also wrote that my fertility doctor said that 50% of the time the results are wrong, and therefore he wanted to re-test me on those grounds.  While I remained optimistic, I was definitely feeling somewhat devestated. 

Today I waited patiently to hear what the doctor had to say while he performed my test, or re-test I should say.  I didn't expect that he was going to give me the results immediately, as it is clearly posted on the walls in the ultrasound clinic that the doctor and technician are not supposed to disclose the results of your test.  But I was hoping maybe he might say something positive or encouraging.  But incredibly he told me that my tubes looked "beautiful and completely open".  No mistaking that diagnosis right?  I should hope not.  But, I asked anyway.  "Are you sure, my tubes are open and not blocked?"  "Correct." he said.  I went on to ask, how or why this could happen and what would make them blocked before and not blocked now.  He explained to me that my tubes were probably not blocked last time, that they were likely in spasm, only looking or showing as if they were blocked.  Whatever the reason, as you can well imagine, I was now absolutely ecstatic, and overjoyed.  What a relief - John and I do not have to think about IVF for now, and hopefully the stress of infertility will just end up being a distant memory.  Maybe now we can focus on trying, without having to think that absolutely nothing will happen. 

I guess remaining optimistic paid off in the end.  I just hope things do not change again for the worse.  I don't think I can take any other bad news!  So, we are back to trying....  ;)  Wish us luck!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Journal - Week 34 (11Apr10)

The first real word....

Okay - I know as I sit here to write this on the blog, that many of you will probably not believe me, and so with that in mind, I have "backup".  What am I talking about?  Hunter's first alternative word other than Momma and Dadda....

Yesterday evening, just after 9:00 pm, Hunter started his ritual of babble, babble and babble some more, then Mummm, Mumm, Mummm.  Now I know clearly this means, I am ready for my Milky Mommy... and so I asked Daddy to start getting it ready for him.  At the three minute mark, when the warmer starts to beep - I am at the point of saying to Hunter (like I have said so many times before) "Milk is coming" and or "Bottle is coming..." and as I said Milk to Hunter this time, I got an outright "MILK" out of his mouth.  At this point, since he is in my arms, I can hear it loudly.  But, it wasn't just me who heard it.  I said to John, "did you hear what I just heard???"  And John, despite being in disbelief, said he heard it... MILK.  Now every parent knows, proof is not having either two parents hear or see something... someone else must witness the sacred event... and thank goodness, Grandma was in earshot, and said she had heard it too (My backup!).  We all could not believe what we heard or just had witnessed.  But, having said that - I know from experience, this little boy is a mimicker.  From copying Daddy doing raspberries or popping his lips like I do at him, copying a word is not far off the mark in terms of understanding him doing it.

Hunter is nearly eight months old, this 15th (which will be this Thursday).  I am truly amazed at his copying skills, and his ability to surprise me when he does it.  Now, while I am happy and tickled pink that he has said his first word, couldn't it be something other than MILK?  Honestly I thought his first word would be "NO!" - as so many do say....  But we have tried to limit the amount of times we use the word "No" so that wouldn't be his first word.  I guess that was a success!

Yay Hunter!  Mommy & Daddy are so proud.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Journal - Week 33 (09Apr10) Afternoon

Look who's reading this blog!

I was certainly surprised to note these pretty wonderful statistics!
Here is a list of where in the world people are reading "Welcome to Our House":

Country Geo


Country Geo Graph
 Australia Country Details Australia 5 0.17%
 Brunei Darussalam Country Details Brunei Darussalam 4 0.23%
 Canada Country Details Canada 853 49.88%
 European Union Country Details European Union 4 0.23%
 Germany Country Details Germany 1 0.06%
 Hong Kong Country Details Hong Kong 6 0.35% 
 India Country Details India  2 0.12% 

 Ireland Country Details Ireland
3 0.17%
 Israel Country Details Israel 1 0.06%
 Japan Country Details Japan 5 0.29%
 Korea  Country Details Korea 1 0.06%
 Mexico Country Details Mexico 1 0.06%
 Norway Country Details Norway 2 0.12%
 Panama Country Details Panama 1 0.06%
 Poland Country Details Poland 1 0.06%
 Reserved Country Details Reserved 3 0.17%
 Russian Federation Country Details Russian Federation 1 0.06%
 Saudi Arabia Country Details Saudi Arabia 2 0.12%
 Singapore Country Details Singapore 1 0.06%
 South Africa Country Details South Africa 3 0.17%
 Sweden Country Details Sweden 1 0.06%
 Switzerland Country Details Switzerland 8 0.23%
 United Kingdom Country Details United Kingdom 15 0.88%
 United States Country Details United States 304 17.78%
 Unknown Country Details Unknown 487 28.48%
 Venezuela Country Details Venezuela 1 0.06%
        Indonesia                                    1   0.06%
How neat is this?  Thank you everyone, where ever you are, and how many times you've all come back to read and follow up about Hunter, and his accomplishments.  It means so very much to me to have such a loyal following.  Thank you to the special few of you who have become "Followers" of the blog, and have opted to show who you are.  Whether Anonymous or Publicly following, we are glad to have you with us.

Thanks again.  We love you all.
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A family portrait

A family portrait
Mommy, Daddy and I

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