Friday, February 25, 2011

well hello from Salt Lake City!

I was looking through my photos to send a post about our move to Salt Lake City. I found so many images that tugged at my heart. So many memories in our home in Los Angeles. It's the first house Jerry and I lived in together, the house I went through my pregnancy, had the baby shower in, the house I brought our son Max home to, The last house my 17 year old cat would share with me, The house that Max learned to sit up, crawl, walk, learn sign language - his first 35 signs, smile for the first time, laugh for the first time, learn to hold his bottle on his own, feed himself finger foods, swing on the blue children's swing we bought for his 1st birthday and put up on the tree out front, ( that tree that I took the year long photo series of ) and met his first therapists: Joe his PT who knew him the longest, Cindi his OT, and Amy his speech therapist. The house I took baths with Max when he was a tiny baby, The house we first started the "family bed", The house I turned 40 in (!), The house Jerry turned 40 in (!), The house with the nice, quiet, respectful neighbors, The house with the pomegranate tree out back. The house I decided to stop photographing weddings and focus on being more authentic with what I wanted to do. The house where Jerry and I celebrated our first and second wedding anniversaries, sang happy birthday to Max for his 1st and 2nd birthday's, The house where I sat in the dining room and started this blog! So many warm and fond memories I could list here. AND so many friends that came through and warmed up our home!

helping Max learn to get past his aversion to the feel of grass - at Huntington Gardens.
Pretty Girl always sat right next to my head purring while Max slept on me in those first few months of Max's life. I told Pretty Girl when I was pregnant that she will always be my first. So this photo is with both of my children.
The view from my car window when I parked in the driveway.
Our last portrait together at the house before we drove off.

Giving that tree out front a hug before we left. I actually got a little choked up thinking about the photo series I did with that tree over a year in my life, and how it held onto Max and his swing - bringing Max so much joy!
The moving Van is bigger than our house!
our cars have shipped, our things are on the moving van and on their way to Salt Lake City, we rented a car and headed to a hotel for 2 nights before we headed to the airport. here I am jumping for joy. Basically my way of saying thank you to that house and moving on to the new adventure.
Max on the plane before we take off for Salt Lake City.
Max and mama on plane.
Our first family portrait in Salt Lake City - at Baggage Claim. Photo taken by a nice local gal.
Looks like Max has his legs in the air like he just don't care!

We are subletting a condo in the "lower Avenues".
Here is a video of the place

We love it. We will be here for 3 - 4 months while we look for our new house.
It's been snowing overnight here and is very pretty! If I walked outside into the street and looked down the street to the right I would be staring at the Mormon temple. If I looked to the left I would be looking at the Catholic Church. Both are very pretty and majestic with all the snow. I'll take some photos today or sometime this weekend to share with you.

Yesterday Max's Grandma Marty came over with a huge pot of homemade soup, and played with max for a few hours. He was so happy to see her! We've never lived this close to family before. I think Max will get a kick out of it! And my parents plan to visit often so it feels like our family life just expanded by 200%.

I've signed up with a yahoo group that's for parents with children who have Ds in Salt Lake City and they have playgroups every other week. I'm planning on going to one on Tuesday. I already met a few of the mom's and their kids and look forward to reconnecting with them and getting Max out there with other kids his age.

Still trying to figure out how to get him his services ( therapies ) and what part of town has the best school system for Max - and believes in Inclusion, and has a good outlook and philosophy about people who have disabilities or challenges or learn differently. This part is difficult for me. Los Angeles was very easy - they ( the regional center )actually came to us and told us they were there to help Max and give him services. That isn't going to happen here. Mainly because Max wasn't born here so there isn't a record of Max and his diagnosis going to the places that might be of service to him.

On another note........Before we moved we had a birthday party for Max. our friend Kerry took a lot of great photos of the party so I'm sharing the link to his photo album here. Take a peek! And YES Jerry dressed up as DJ Lance Rock from the only Tv show that Max watches called Yo Gabba Gabba. Ok he watches other shows on tv, but he doesn't love them compared to this one. He's a little obsessed!

Max LOVES cars. LOVES them. Here he is with Papa at the birthday party being pushed around in one of the many cars he tried out.

Here is the birthday cake in the shape of Brobee which is another character on Yo Gabba Gabba. And that's Niko looking lovingly at the cake.
A little snuggle in between riding cars, sliding down the slide, running around the playground and seeing his friends.

Here he is a few weeks before the move at his best friend Brady's 2nd birthday party. There they are together. Juli and I met at Club 21 when our babies were so small and young. They are 3 weeks apart and so we decided they were best friends.
I will miss seeing them so much. And so many other friends out in LA. I hope to keep in touch with all of them and watch their kids grow up! Hopefully we will visit and attend the annual conference at Club 21 and gather up some friends.

I'm lucky to already have friends here in Salt Lake. Some new and some I've known for over 25 years! Hope this transition keeps on going as smoothly as it already has so far.....quick knock on wood everyone!


p.s. here is a photo I took this morning from the dining room window.
I'll take more of the views here and post soon!

I'm looking forward to a new list of memories that we start in this new city! The first one will be Max's introduction to ....SNOW!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Max you are TWO!!!!!!!

Yep, there you are on your 2nd birthday. Looking gloriously happy and filled with joy from every pore. Yes it's true you turned two on February 4th and here it is Feb 13th. So sorry this is late.

This is what I want to say to you.

Thank you.

You brighten my life every single day.
You are amazing, breathtakingly joyful, talented, strong, funny, fun, kind, sweet, adorable, dear, darling, cute, I could go on and on!

The best part of my day is when we wake up and you are snuggling with me, and when we go to sleep and you are snuggling with me. Basically you are so into wrapping yourself around us. I love that. I know this might end as you get older so every time you do it I try my best to be very present for it.

ok - stats:

Sign language - these are all the words I can think of that you sign:

2.all done
15.thank you
20.signing time
30.yo gabba gabba ( he made up his own sign for this )

Not sure if I missed any here. I'll add them if I think or see more of them...
You're starting to use two signs together like
more bubbles
more ball

Now if I ask you where your nose is you will point to it.
You do this with your belly button, ear, foot, hand and teeth.
You'll also point to them even if I don't ask you to. You are really interested in showing me your nose and bellybutton. over and over. And then you clap and smile really big because you are so proud you know where those body parts are what they are called.

This blog post has taken me 2 days to write - in between all the packing for our big move I will write a little as I pass by the computer....It's much more difficult to write when so much is going on - and it's all for YOU! This big move will give you a gerat life ( not that you don't already have one! ) but papa's work situation will be much more balanced. He will be home at a decent hour at night so you will see more of him which will make mama even more happy as well.
He can't wait to teach you how to ski and I can't wait to stay in and watch it snow while sipping hot chocolate! ok - I'll go inner tubing with you and I'll show you how to make an angel in the snow with your body and how to make snowballs to throw at papa. You'll also get to see your cousins regularly and your grandma, grandpa and aunt and uncle! Grandma DeeDee and Grandpa Rich will fly out to visit you regularly as well! Loads of family close by will be so much fun.

I hope to show you Los Angeles again - actually every year there is a Down syndrome conference in Pasadena that Jerry and I want to take you to so you can see all of your old friends and we can pass by the house you first lived in, take you back to the hospital you were born in and bring you to Huntington Gardens where we spent so much time these first two years of your life.

Today was your last Physical Therapy Session with Joe and it was so sad for me to sit and watch and know you wouldn't be with him anymore. He was so so so good at helping you become stronger, more balanced, gain ab strength and all around support you and love you for who you are. We will miss Joe so much! I'll post photos soon.

your favorite foods right now:
Formula ( News flash - you can hold your own bottle from beginning to end!!!!!! This is HUGE! )
Cereal ( wheat free cherrios type of cereal. )
Barley teething biscuits
fruit ( cantalope, watermelon, banana, apple )
french fries
sweet potato fries
and um...that's it.
Yep - you are very very picky and not interested.

Sometimes you'll eat scrambled eggs.

What else???

Well you are very vocal and starting to really give me your opinions about everything. You get pretty upset if you can't do something. You HATE being in your room with the gate shut.
You LOVE being in the bathtub as long as we DON'T wash your hair.
You love going to the park but HATE being in the car seat all day ( I would too )
You LOVE opening and closing cabinets, drawers, doors.
And you love walking around the house
you can just go go go go go go go go go
you love to investigate your toys. You pull things around, flip them upside down, turn them inside out and are so curious about it all.
You love to have books read to you.
Your favorites are " Peek a Who"
and " Whose in the Garden "
You love music and rock out to all types. You love to bang on the drum, play keyboards and dance.

Did I mention that your favorite TV show is Yo Gabba Gabba
and you watch that and your Signing Time DVD's while sitting in your travel high chair or right up at the tv so you can push the buttons "on" and "off" over and over and over and over again.

You have Speech therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy once a week each and when you are up we go to the park to see your mom's club friends or on Friday's we go to Club 21 for your playgroup there. But you miss those a lot because of naps.

Mama stays home full time to be with you and make sure you get to therapy during the week and get out to see different sights, meet people and play and learn. Mama LOVES being home with you and feels SO SO SO LUCKY to have this time with you.

Well, this was a long post but I wanted to share where you are at right now so when you are older you can read about yourself and learn what you were like when you were TWO!

Your mama and papa love you so much it actually makes our hearts BURST with joy just thinking about you. Seeing you, watching you grow, learning all about you as you express yourself and expand your understanding of the world is THRILLING!

And that smile.....
leaves me speechless.
It's contagious
and you are such a gift.

Thank you Max for another amazing year being here with us.
I am looking forward to each new day with you.