It is hard to imagine that two years have gone my since I felt my world come crashing down on me. Two years, but the emotions are still so close to the surface, I still cry, sometimes out of grief and others out of the immense joy I have felt from being entrusted with this sweet angel.
Over these past two years I have grown more than I thought possible. I have seen miracles happen. I have learned to stop and smell the roses, celebrate the small things and be grateful for health and the challenges I have had to face.
No one really talks about the sorrow they feel when their child is diagnosed with a disability. This is not something a parent ever hopes or dreams of for their child. When Kamren was young he was in speech therapy and was given the label of being in special education. My heart sunk that this label was put on him and I cried. He was in speech for less than a year and now he has no issues and that label has not followed him. Abraham was labeled with speech issues and developmental delays. Again, my heart sunk and I felt alone and like a terrible mother. I felt that these delays were due to me not being a good enough mom for him. I really beat myself up for years. Sitting in IEP’s and hearing how far behind he was just broke my heart. I didn’t know what more I could do for him and that hurt me. I did not understand why I had gone through this with these two boys, why did they have to struggle. Why were they different? What did I do to “ruin” them.
It was not until I had BrynnLe that answers began to come. All that I learned with Abraham was to prepare me for her. I learned that I had to be my children’s advocates and their be her voice and to take control and not feel like a victim or blame myself. Although I did blame myself many times after getting her diagnosis, I think that is the natural thing to do.
All moms can understand the sorrow and grief I went through, we all have challenges at some point in our child rearing years. I have never really spoken of my sadness. But it is real and surfaces from time to time.
I cannot even start to list the amazing things that have happened over these last two years. Our family closer, our boys are so amazing and have an understanding and love for those who are different. I am in awe of them and their willingness to go outside them selves and stretch and grow.
I have the best family and friends. I have an amazing support system and I feel the love of those around us. I have made some of the best friends who I never would have with out BrynnLe. She has taught me more about myself in these two years than the last 10!
My heart is overflowing with gratitude. And I know that has replaced most of the sorrow and heartache. I am so thankful for those who have joined us on this journey and I am honored to be all of my children’s mother. What a great gift they are to me. I am so blest. Happy Birthday Miss BrynnLe! You are loved more than you will ever know.
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How and where to begin? As I think about this past year I cannot even express my feelings of gratitude, anger, peace, love and some sadness too! It is hard to think that just one year ago Eric and I were in the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of Miss BrynnLe. Our home was ready to be invaded by pink and all things frilly!
All of you know that it was a shock to us to learn that she was born with Down Syndrome. Since that time our family has been on the most amazing journey. One that I would never have chosen yet it is one that I would never give up now that I am on this amazing path. We have had a year full of Buddy Walks, Down Syndrome research, our first 3-21 celebration, and many more Down Syndrome activities. Our boys have learned to accept others as they are, that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. We are all perfect in His eyes. We have made wonderful friends and have been so blest with a great support system.
Eric and I have grown stronger! As for myself I have learned to speak up for myself and my kids. I know when to push for things and when to go with the flow. I am my kids biggest advocate and their biggest fans. I have the worlds greatest children. Each of them are here on this earth to do something amazing. It has been a wonderful year of growth for us. I have loved getting to know other families with children who have Down Syndrome. I have felt more love from friends, family and strangers than I could ever imagine.
BrynnLe can light up a room. Her smile is contagious and she is one of the most loved baby girls I know! I have a love for each of our boys, they all have a special place in my heart. BrynnLe brings a calm to my life, she brings the Spirit with her. I cannot explain it, she grounds my life. In the crazy life we lead she is the calm in the storm for me. I love holding her and watching her little mind at work. She has overcome some great obstacles in her life and I know she will continue to amaze me. I am so glad that she came to our family. I am so thankful for her. I am thankful for her health. I am thankful she is ours. I am thankful for our extended family and for our friends who have been our pillars this year.
to those of you who don't have a child with Down Syndrome in your life...I encourage you to reach out to a family who does. Your life will be enriched beyond what you can imagine. A year ago I didn't really know this world existed and I am ashamed to say that I didn't reach outside of my comfort zone. Now as I sit and look at our beautiful daughter I am speechless.
copy and paste to watch the video, it is kinda cute if I say so myself! :)
How does time go by so quickly when we get older. It seems that when we are young all we want to do is be bigger so we can do more things. We think that getting older is going to be so much fun and we will have so much freedom. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to time travel back to a day when I young, but I would not mind if time stood still for a moment and I could take it all in. Our kids are growing up so fast, I feel that they are forced to be older than they are. With technology and media being thrust at them every place they go they have to be. How did our kids get to old? How do I have a 14 year old, I remember being 14!
As I look back on this year of my life I can say with tenderness that this has been one of the most trying and most rewarding years of my life. I have been stretched and molded more this year than in the past 15 or so years. The last time I remember being tested as much is when I live in Mexico and Costa Rica with my parents. Looking back on those tough years now all I see is the amazing experiences and growth that happened in my life. I have come to appreciate the challenges that were placed in my life as a teen.
Last year at this time I was about 7 months pregnant with our darling little BrynnLe. We were all anxiously awaiting her arrival and getting things done around to house to welcome her home. I can say that I am very thankful not to be pregnant this year and that our family is finally complete.
Here are some things that I have learned this year:
True friends stick by you no matter how hard life gets.
Family (blood relatives or "adopted") are those who matter most.
As soon as you feel comfortable with life Heavenly Fathers will oft times throw you a curve ball.
Even adults are bullied, and it is O.K. to stand up for your self.
You are the only one that can choose how you will react to a situation.
My, well our kids are so amazing and have taught me how to be accepting of others.
I have the best husband in the world (no, it didn't take me till now to realize that)
I have an amazing extended family.
My in-laws are amazing too!
No matter how many times I fall, I have to get up.
I have to be an advocate for my children, no one else will.
There is a whole world out there that many people don't realize exists!
Not all people are comfortable with those of us who are "different"
It is my job to educate people about Down Syndrome
My boys will be BrynnLe's biggest support system and they will fight for her to have all that she deserves.
I love having a girl!
I am more aware of people around me.
I have learned to come out of my shell and meet new people.
The list could go on and on! Most of all I am so thankful for all those who have stood by our family and have lifted us up in times of need and in times of us growing and being stretched to what felt like our limits at time. I am so thankful for BrynnLe and for the joy she as brought, she has opened doors that I didn't know existed and she makes everything right. I love our boys, they challenge me in different ways and I am thankful that they love me despite my faults as a mother. My greatest accomplishments in life are my children, they bring me the most joy and heart ache as well.
I love Eric with all my heart. He is amazing. He works hard to support our family, he honors his Priesthood and is my best friend. He loves me for me and that means the world for me. He is the only one that knows all of my faults and fears, yet he is there for me with all my crazy ideas!
Here is to another year, it can only get better.
Here are some pictures from this year!
We, the Larsens, are a family of seven. That seems like so many, and truth be told some times it feels like a lot!
It is hard to sumarize 7 people so if you are interested in learning more about each of us I will write a blog about each one of us!
Eric and I have four of the best boys a person could ask for and the most amazing little daughter. Our home is a crazy, loud, and fun filled one. We never have a dull moment, although I would not mind having one.
I have been surrounded by males, even our pets were male. We have a cat named Star andwe had a chocolate lab named Koda, who had 9 lives, and spent his last life in the fall of 2010 when he was hit by a truck. It was a sad day for us all. Lots of tears were shed. We now have a black female lab, who had 9 puppies right after we had BrynnLe! We also have 6 chickens and had a hamster. Pretty good for a person who does not like animals! Good thing all my boys do!
Robbie is our oldest son. He is named after his grand father, great grandfather and has his father's middle name. We love family names and hope that our boys grow up to bring joy to those whose names they carry.
Robbie is thirteen years old and is a huge helper. He loves to play with his brothers and has fun teasing them. He loves to read and is a great student. He likes scouts and works hard to earn all his awards. He is a natural athlete, his favorite sports are wrestling, football and snowboarding.
Robbie has a testimony of the Savior and he has a real tender heart. He likes attending church and reading the scriptures. He is a great big brother and we are blest to have him in our home.
Kamren Boyd Larsen
Kamren is our little ball of fire! He is named after his Papa Cardon, the name Kamren was the only name we liked with Boyd. And then Eric wanted to spell it different, so Kam will never find anything pre made that has his name on it!
He is almost eleven years old. He keeps us laughing, crying and questioning where he came from. He has so much energy and emotion for one little boy. He does not want to be left behind by his older brother, and he does a great job at keeping up with Robbie. Kamren loves to read, loves school more than I thought a kid could and loves sports. He loves wrestling, football, skiing, scouts and being with the family. He loves to play games and he is our little cuddle bug.
Kamren is very loving with his younger brothers. He likes to help mom in the kitchen...he loves to make treats! Kamren loves going to church and has a testimony of the Savior. He understands more than we realize and is always amazing me when he knows the answers to questions about the Gospel.
Kamren is the one who keeps our family smiling!
David Cardon Larsen
David is our seven year old. He is named after my older brother who passed away as a baby from SIDS.
I have to keep the last paragraphs, just because they make me laugh! David has such a tender heart. He is content to just be alone and loves to read and play with legos. He is a helper and loves his little sister more than I can write.
David loves to play baseball, is learning to ride his bike and loves to jump on the trampoline. He does like to cause some trouble and he does it quietly! He has lived up to his red hair! We sure love him.
(these are old, but good for me to remember)
He is so sweet and kind one minute and then the next he is a little terror. He loves to scream, and has a high pitched scream. We are working on getting him to stop! He loves to read books and could read for hours, if Ihad the time. He loves playing cars with his brothers and he adores Abraham.
He has a wonderful imagination and is a great talker. He loves to talk on the phone and he likes playing with his friends and cousins. He enjoys singing and making messes. He is a joy and we all love him so very much! I think he is a true red head! His favorite things are his blanket and his lightning McQueen Car. We sleep with both of them and carry them around all day!
Abraham Heath Larsen
Abraham is a joy and a light in our family. He is named after Araham Lincoln, a hero of Erics, and after his Great Grandpa Hill.
Abraham has been a challenge since he turned two! He is almost five now, and still has his moments when I think he is in the terrible twos! He is a spitfire and I am not sure what we are to learn from him, but I wish we would learn it!
He has had speech problems and is talking so much better now. He has had two years of speech therapy and will be in Kindergarten where he will continue to get the help he needs.
He is a cuddle bug one moment then a ball of fire the next. You never know when he will explode.
He is the true product of 3 older brothers who love to tease, torment and annoy! When he is focused on a task he doesn't give up. He is great on the trampoline, flips, backs and all sorts of tricks. he cannot wait till he can play football and wrestle. He is our baby boy and it is odd for me to think of him as a big boy!
(these are old, but I need them to remember that he was such a great baby!) He is such a good baby. I think we are blest with him after dealing with David! Abraham has always been a mellow baby. He sleeps good, takes naps, plays quietly and just enjoys life. He will not take a bottle and I would love for him to do so. I think he is showing us that he can control the situation! He is adored by all who see him and he loves to be talked to.
His brothers all love him and he lights up when David gives him hugs in the morning. Abraham is our peaceful little ray of sunshine.
Our little miss BrynnLe is a gift from Heaven. Not that all the boys aren't, but we wanted her for so long and it took her forever to get here. We always knew there was someone missing from our family, and she is finally here!
he is named after both my mom and Erics mom. My mom is Terri Le and Erics is LeeAnne, so we took the Le from them both. We let the boys come up with a name as long as it had a Le in the end! We all loved BrynnLe!
he was born on April 29th of 2013. She, that is still odd to type, was loved from the moment we knew she would be joining our family. The boys adore her. Eric and I are in awe of her. All that hold her know how special she is, you can feel it.
She loved to be held, talked to, read to and sung to. She loves walks. Loves, loves loves to be swaddled! She even loves her bath!
BrynnLe loves hair bows and having her toe and finger nails painted. She is our breath of fresh air after all those boys!
We look forward to what joys and excitement she will bring to our family.
BrynnLe was born with Down Syndrome.