Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mercedes Marathon Weekend: From the other side.

We are no strangers to the Mercedes Marathon weekend.

Aidan in Kindergarten. He had strep throat but I made him run anyway....for some reason he hasn't wanted to do it since......

Ella Mae in Kindergarten! (I don't know why I look so mad in that pic)

I even ran the 5K last year....just for fun. Hmmmm.

Little did I know that one day, this weekend would mean so much more to me. I had no idea that one day I would not only be a Bell Runner, but a Bell Center parent!

It hit me like a ton of bricks on Sunday while waiting at my relay exchange point.

All of the Bell Runners (people who sign up to run for a specific child and raise funds for the Bell Center) wear the picture of "their" Bell Center child on their backs.

But I was wearing a picture of MY child on my back. 

Not a child I am running for but MY child.

One dad tweeted this after the race: 

Oh my heart. 

The very idea that not only my team members, but so many other runners participated to help MY CHILD. The Mercedes Marathon is the biggest fundraiser of the year for The Bell Center and because of the funds that were raised (and continue to be raised), my son has learned to sit up almost totally on his own, is almost crawling, and will eventually learn to walk. He is able to hold his own bottle, communicate (mostly babbling but that is age appropriate), eat baby food with no problems. These are things that as a parent of a typical child, I used to take for granted. Now, as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, each and every milestone is celebrated. Simple things that most kids do on their own, many kids with Down syndrome and other special needs have a hard time accomplishing. Without Early Intervention help, many kids fall way behind in their development..... BUT, because of the Bell Center and our wonderful team, Jojo is right on track and doing EVERYTHING he should be for his age. 

So enjoy some pictures from this years race weekend! Thank you SO MUCH to all who donated, thank you to my amazing team, and to my mom for helping me navigate the insanity with 3 kids!

Oh, and if you want to pitch in and be part of helping Jojo and so many others reach their potential, there is still time....just click the link below.

They have capes for all the kids! So cute....ready to run!
Aidan and Ella Mae pushing Jojo in the Bell Kids run

Bell Center graduates and siblings race. Call me cray but pretty sure Aidan won!

Jojo biting his medal to make sure it is real.

Ella Mae and I ready to run her mile in the 1st grade kids race.

Finish line!

She did it!

Team JOJO!!!!!



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Birmingham Parent Magazine Article

This is the article that ran in Birmingham Parent Magazine in November! As long as the link stays live you can view it here.....but I wanted to post it on my blog too so I wouldn't ever lose it!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It is FINISHED. An update on Jojo!

Time flies.

I cannot BELIEVE he is almost 8 months old!

Jojo and I went back to Texas in January to finalize his adoption and to celebrate Lili's birthday in January. We ran in to one MINOR snafoo when we realized at the last minute that the finalization would happen in Forth Worth, which happens to not so much be the same, or even remotely close to Houston. Woopsie.

We had a great visit anyway and were able to finalize over the phone, so all is well that ends well!

After mountains of paperwork (this is domestic, imagine what International looks like), many prayers, 3+ weeks spent in Texas, lots of money (mostly donated by many of you) and tons of TRUST that God would work out all the details it is finally finished!

 "As if the child had been born to the Petitioner" (that's me). Be still my heart.

We had a celebratory dinner at the same place we went for Jojo's first night out. Of course we had to recreate the pic. Lili has that face DOWN. ; - )

I do hear from "T" (Jojo's birth mom) from time to time. She has a new job and seems to be doing well so that is a huge blessing!

Jojo is having early intervention therapy at The Bell Center here in Birmingham and it has been AMAZING. He is hitting all of his goals like a champ! We are currently working on crawling, and he can prop to sit up! We just finished the Mercedes Marathon this past weekend to raise money for The Bell Center....update on that coming soon!

Aside from that Jojo is just like any other baby but we love him like he hung the moon! If you want to see pics (pretty much daily lol) of Jojo, follow us on Instagram (link on top right of this page)!

We are so blessed to watch this sweet boy grow.....and grow...and grow!