This weekend was pretty fabulous. I will post pictures when I can!
Saturday - we had the kids' party for their birthdays. We had about 70 people show up to Homestead Park to help us in the festivities! Once them majority of the people were there, we started our fun and games. First, I handed out their goody bags, only to find that Swiper had stolen all of their treats! He left a note behind, explaining they would have to go to the Chocolate tree, Dora's bridge and then the party house to find them all. The kids were so excited! I repeated the places we had to go and made them repeat it also. Chocolate tree, Dora's bridge, party house! So off to the chocolate tree. I put a ton of Hershey kisses (one of the few candy's Gavin can eat) around the base of a tree. I also mixed in their goody bag treats too. I told them we needed a special instrument to find all of the goodies around the chocolate and make them look bigger. So I reached into Backpack and pulled out some lollipops, maracas, and telescopes. I asked them which one would work and they all shouted "telescope". So each kid got a little telescope to find the treasures in the chocolate (and keep the chocolate of course). Next, I asked where we needed to go - and they shouted "Dora's bridge"! So we went to where I had a foam puzzle broken into pieces with more goody treats and some fake reptiles all over them. They had to charm the reptiles (snakes, frogs and lizards) with music in order to get their goodies and put the puzzle bridge together. Again I pulled out backpack and we used the maracas to charm the reptiles and get the treats to put together the bridge! In the meantime, Swiper (aka Patrick) snuck up and tried to steal a piece of the puzzle so they wouldn't be able to build the bridge. All the kids yelled "Swiper NO swiping"! "Oh mannnnnnn", Patrick jolted! Then we were heading off to the party house when our big suprise came! DORA herself! I invited Dora to come to the party and celebrate with all of us. She got pictures with all the kids (that wanted one) led the hokey pokey, played red light, green light and let the kids reach into her special backpack and pick a toy prize. Some kids were a little frightened (Evie included) but others could not stop staring and trying to talk to Dora (Gavin included). It was great! The parents all participted and we had fun! We all ate pizza and ice cream and cake (in reverse order) and I had hired a photographer to help capture the fun memories! I will post her pics when they are available!
Sunday, we had the great fortune of being able to participate in the Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. We were part of "For Love of Leah" team and couldn't be more proud! Mary and Eric did an outstanding job in leading the team and we were in the top 10 teams so there were extra pictures of Leah around Crew Stadium! The team was almost 100 strong walking...from Grandparents to infants. I had one of the moments where I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love and joy such a special person can bring to my life. We were in the midst of walking, and Leah was being held in the front of the pack, facing back so she could see everyone. Being the little ham she is...she started clapping and raising her arms - as if to say "Come on people - cheer with me"! And they did. People started clapping, and cheering and she would just do it more - as if to make it louder!!! She giggled and squealed with delight as friends and family all walked together in her honor. It made me proud to part of her life and for her to be part of mine. She (and Mary, Eric and Greg) have brought something so special and irreplacable to my heart. Celebrating milestones for Leah fills my chest with happiness. Of course, tears came to my eyes (happy ones) and I was so glad to see others around me wiping their tears away as well (yes, Lisa, I am talking about you). The amount of love and compassion in that stadium was palpable. It was everywhere. On every smiling Down Syndrome face, on every proud parent, and on every person, lucky enough to be able to enjoy this event. Music filled the air and unimaginable love filled my heart. I knew in that moment why God allowed Mary and I to be friends. Not that she isn't an amazing friend in a bazillion other ways, but I truly feel like God placed Mary and Leah in my life to simply fill it up to another level. Than you Mary for letting us participate and succomb to the beauty that today was!