Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodnight 2013

Goodnight 2013!
While I'm not sad to see you go, you did teach me so much. In 2014, I hope to spend more time appreciating the many blessings I have. 
Wishing you and your families a very happy and healthy 2014!
Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and mommy was sick. 
Daddy was a superhero and took care of it all quick!
The stockings were hung and Santa's cookies are ready.
Daddy is our rock who made sure things ran steady.
Thanks daddy!

A gift from Penny

Her gift to us- a handprint ornament. Awesome! She was so proud and excited for us to open it!


This kid loves taking selfies :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We found the troublemaker in him

All of a sudden, he's into everything. He quickly found the only cabinet without a lock. He goes from room to room faster than his sister. And he climbs the steps and is getting close to climbing the couch. He's unloading laundry baskets, book shelves and clothes drawers. He's following directions (when he wants) when we ask him to follow us into the next room. I'm so happy! And a little nervous. I'm still not on my A game and he gets harder to keep up with every day. But I'm mostly excited :) This gross motor explosion is really the coolest Christmas present ever!

Mark that on the list of things Porter's done for her

Mom, I'm just going to brush her hair so she can go cheer for the Buddy Walk teams. Couldn't love this more! 

Belly up!

After months of perfecting his swim crawl, someone's belly is finally up off the floor!
We couldn't be prouder! Go Porter! Go!

The Nutcracker

Last night, Penny and I went to see her first Nutcracker. A local theater was running a Max & Ruby take of the show and my friend Kellie and I thought it would be a good first Nutcracker experience for our girls. 
The weather was snowy, so we took the train. Penny loved it!
We got to the theater just as the snow picked up.
She was so excited!
We found our seats and caught up with our friends while we waited for the show to start.
The girls loved every minute. 
They payed attention and asked questions and oohed and aahed. It was a great mix of fun and dancing for them. They incorporated the classical music and the story line and got the kids involved with the help of Max, Ruby, their grandma and a few elves. Penny loved the elves and the ballerina's costumes. She thought every ballerina should have a "prince" and wondered why the Sugar Plum Fairy dances alone. There were sing-a-longs through the show, which really kept the kids involved! It was the perfect first Nutcracker, even if our girls don't really know much about Max & Ruby :)
It snowed a few inches while we were there, so we were happy to take our train home! The drive home from the train station took twice as long as normal, but we made it safe and sound.
What a great night with my little lady!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree 2013

Before I get started, we need to send a huge Thank You to our neighbors. This year's tree extravaganza would not have been possible without their help. Jason and Lisa took turns carrying Porter to and from the fields since Mommy still can't pick him up. Thank you so much guys!
We took the wagon out to the field to search for the biggest Christmas tree ever.
Mr. P enjoyed the wagon ride.
 We got directions to the tallest white pines in the field and made our way out. 
 Penny took the search quite seriously this year. She was armed with her pretend saw (aka, a tree branch she found on the ground).
 And she decided that this was our tree.  Daddy did the hard cutting work, assisted by Jason, because Penny quite possibly picked the tree with the thickest trunk in the whole field.
 Penny & Liam pretended to saw down trees of their own.
 She had a blast...loved everything about this annual tradition this year.
 Little man...not so much. He got cold. And didn't like the snow hitting his face as it started to fall while we were in the fields. He cried the whole way back to the wagon.
 We did manage to sneak in one nice family photo with the fallen tree behind us. Daddy carried the heavy tree to the bailing station.  It was 11.5 feet tall :)
Despite the snow, the kids humored me and let me get our annual photos with the elves sign and the manger. 
By the time we got to our car, over an inch of snow had fallen. Penny & I thought it was perfect Christmas tree gathering weather. I don't think Porter agreed. Maybe next year bud! 

A tale of two Santa's

Santa- Take 1...it did not go so well. Penny told me that she was too busy talking to her imaginary friend Julianna to go with Porter to sit on Santa's lap. Porter stared down St. Nick for a minute...
...and then this happened...poor kiddo!
 What they did love was Frosty the Snowman. Penny loves to sing his song and Porter loves when she sings to him :)
 All week we practiced with Porter. What does Santa say? "Ho, Ho, Ho." And today, we had a much more successful visit with Santa :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buddy Walk 2013

I am way behind on my Big Buddy Walk post of 2013.  So, here it is, two months late. There are tons of photos and lots of rambling, but we sum it all up at the bottom. Get ready...here it is: 
Grammy, Pa and Aunt Terra made the trip for this year's event. We, of course, put them to work before we even left the parking lot. 
 We felt the magic walking into the stadium. Little Porter even got out of the stroller to snuggle with some of the cheerleaders. He's a ladies man.
 Friends traveled from near and far to be a part of the amazingly warm October fun!
 There were donuts.
 That produced smiles.
 There were new friends.
 And new kinds of fun.
 The nice weather meant we could really take advantage of all the activities.
 The kids had a blast!
 I was completely overwhelmed by the support! Support from old friends (Lori & I met when we were three and now our kiddos are growing up together) and new...
 ...and Grammy snuggles.
 This little man was showered with love about 84 times over.
 This is almost all of Porter's Peeps 2013.  Seriously amazed by the number of friends and family who joined us!
 Even though Buddy Walk is Porter's thing, Penny also enjoyed super star big sister status. She had an amazing time with all her friends. Aside from her birthday, this is the one event where she gets to see almost all her friends.
 Porter had fun with his buddies too!
 Godmother Maureen brought her Villanova pride.
 And Ella made Penny smile!
 RC's Villanova crew was in the house!
 And his work crew supported us too!
 Porter's OT came to join in the fun.
 As the walk started, we hit the track with our team and we brought out our signs. I wish I had a photo of the entire team walking. There must have been a dozen strollers!
 No event would be complete without a Kadingo family photo.
 Erik and Kendall made the trip from Allentown! And, they brought a sign :) Thanks so much guys!
 Do you think we had fun?
 We most certainly did!
 From family to daycare, childhood and college friends, we were surrounded by the people we love and the people who love Porter.
 We are so incredibly lucky that our friends accept him for all he is.
 And we think he is pretty amazing. So does Jane :)
 Porter's speech therapist was part of his team!
 Darth Vader was not. But we did have fun meeting him.
 I don't know if Risa will ever know just how much we appreciate what she did for us. This amazing mom we know from daycare raised so much money, helping our team double our fundraising goal. Risa- you rock!
 Grammy and Nana rocked their peeps socks!
 The day was all about love. We love Buddy Walk!
 And the kids loved the bleachers. They would have climbed all day if we let them.
 My college roomies made the trip...love you girls!
 More love!
 After the walk, we headed over to Flip & Bailey's.
 Someone was hungry.
 He ate everyone's lunches!
 Family :)
 After all that rambling, here are my thoughts. Buddy Walk 2013 was amazing. We were overwhelmed by the number of family and friends who joined us at Villanova for the walk. From Grammy, Pa and Terra who traveled by plane, to the Fitzpatrick cousins, the Weiner's, Greible, the Kelly's, the Crater's, the Applegate's and everyone else who drove many miles to be with us, thank you! To all our local friends who gave up a busy fall morning to spend time with us, thank you! To everyone who donated to our team, thank you!
This is Porter. I am proud to be his mom.
I am proud of our family and friends who have welcomed him with open arms and who continue to support us on our journey.
I'm a little Buddy Walk obsessed. For me, Buddy Walk is a place where we can celebrate the extra chromosome. When we're at Buddy Walk and we see all the other teams who we've come to know over the past two years, I am, more than ever, so incredibly thankful that we've become part of this community. Down Syndrome wasn't what we expected. Porter's extra chromosome continues to open our eyes and hearts. Thank you to everyone who was a part of Buddy Walk 2013! I can't wait to see what Buddy Walk 2014 brings for Porter and his Peeps. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!