Sea World in 39 degree weather (mid west family and friends that's nothing to you, but pretty freezing for us California/Texas folks :-)
-I was really looking forward to putting a movie on for the kids during the three hour drive to San Antonio, so that I could have some time to just talk to David (do you look forward to car rides so that you can actually talk to your spouse without any outside distractions, like I do?), however, Grace had other plans. Here is what our three hour car ride consisted of, Grace saying OVER and OVER "mamma... mamma... mamma," when I would answer her, she would pretend she had something new to show me or she would just give me a giant smile. The only way to get her to stop calling me (it was cute for the first hour, but then...) was to tell her that I was going to take a nap and pretend to sleep. If I tried to talk to David quietly while I was "sleeping" my cover was blown and she was back to trying to get my attention.
-Grace is officially tall enough to open doors... you know what that means :-/
-Grace loves to lay on her tummy and do "the worm" (she learned it from Andrew), so if you see a little person walking and then drop to the floor and start moving her head and legs up and down, it's not the beginning of a temper tantrum, it's just Grace randomly busting out her worm.
-If Grace calls gets your attention and says "coo coo" while turning her finger in a circular motion near her ear, don't take it personally, she just likes to tell people that they are "coo coo" (I'm pretty sure Abigail taught her that).
-Grace still LOVES dogs, so the highlight of our trip to Sea World has to be the Pets Ahoy show where dogs, cats, pigs, birds, and even a skunk all do tricks.
-The big kids made it until midnight and Grace woke up during the count down, so she was awake for the New Year too! Pretty special!!!
What is New Years Eve without a dance party...
Game playing and a movie...
-A quick glimpse into the minds and hearts of all members of the Ross family... on the last day of our trip as we were packing up to head home, David made a trip to the car to begin loading it up and as he returned to the hotel room, flying through the door he says "You're going to be so jealous that you weren't just with me, I saw a downsy downstairs that is around Grace's age!" The kids and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously said "hurry grab your stuff!" We were willing to accept the possibility that we may have left something behind (we hadn't had time to do a final check that we didn't forget anything) in hopes of getting to see and even better meet another downsy doo. As we flew downstairs as fast as we could we made it just in time for us to conveniently run into the precious little girl (and her mom) who we were in search of. We got to talk to her mom for a few minutes and gaze upon the sweetness of our girls interacting. We affectionately call this type of situation a "downsy alert." We had another "downsy alert" at Buccee's on the way to San Antonio where we spotted an adult with Up's that was there with his parents. We stood behind them in the line that they were in (trying to think of something that we could order from that line even though we really didn't need or want anything from that station) just so we could be near them. We loved getting to see that sweet family interact and the genuine smile and glance that this man's mother and I exchanged (once she saw Grace in my arms) was one of confirmation that we are on the same team and we share a secret that nobody else in that giant store knew... we are on a priceless journey that only a family member of a special needs child/adult can totally understand... I won't even try to explain the secret, but I will say that it's a journey that I begged God to spare me from for many, many years and it is the best "no" that He has ever given me. Praising the Lord that He said "no" to my pleas to spare me from having a special needs child (specifically Up's) because His "no" meant that He was going to rock our world with a "yes" to a life that demands our eyes to be fixed on Him each day in order to survive, but the result would be (a cheesy quote from a song because that's what just popped in my head) "joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable, anything is possible." He didn't promise it would be easy and it is not, in fact it can be exhausting and overwhelming at times, a lot of times, but I wouldn't trade this journey for anything :-).
On a side note, this is one of the many reasons that I love the big Buccee's on the way to San Antonio... look at all of the hand sanitizers in the bathroom!
-Grace thinks that she's one of the big kids now, so when she see's Abigail and Andrew wrestling or being silly, she gets right up in there with them (and makes her mommy very nervous). The kids were having a blast a few nights ago, finding all different ways to create pyramids with Grace (I had to veto a lot of their suggestions because they were all sorts of crazy and not safe :-)...
Here are just a few poses, the last one is everyone practicing their best Gracie smile...
-Andrew has his ENT appointment on Thursday where they will decide if he needs his sinuses cleaned out surgically. Will you please pray that this last round of antibiotics has cleared up the left side of his sinuses and that there won't be a need for any surgical intervention and that any exams or tests that are required would be painless and not traumatizing?
-Grace has a cardiology appointment on Friday. Will you please pray that things are unchanged (the gradient across her mitral valve isn't any higher and nothing unexpected pops up) or even better than they were because God has shown us before that He can do that?
Thank you for being our Village!!! We love you!!!