Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

Choose a Topic:

Jul '08

Running again…

I decided that I am going to run in the 5k that’s this Saturday in Orem to help raise funds for the Best Buddies program in Utah County. I feel like it’s one small thing I can do to contribute to Wesley’s future. I’ll probably run this one with Wes in the stroller, though, so he can be part of it.

Call me a softie, but I couldn’t resist making this shirt for me to wear especially for the race on Saturday.

Jul '08

Race Day

Before I had Wes I went to a great aerobics class four or five days a week. It was a super fun way to keep fit. After Wes came I had to say goodbye to the aerobics class because I couldn’t get through a class with Wes with me, and I had to take him with me.

I decided I’d better find something else to do, so in March I took up running and decided I’d run a 5K this summer.

I took my friend Miss A‘s advice and followed the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. It was great for someone like me who had never run before. It starts you off slow, alternating running 60 seconds with walking 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes, and as the weeks pass you run for longer intervals. I could totally run for 60 seconds at at time, so I felt encouraged. After about a month I could run for eight minutes at a time, and then ten. About halfway through the program you’re supposed to be able to run for 20 minutes without walking, but I could never do that. I kept running anyway and signed up for the July 4th Freedom Run.

Before Wes, aerobics was “me time.” Now I have to go running with Wes in the jogging stroller, but I was happy to discover that running, even with a companion like him, can still be “me time.” It’s something I do completely for myself and no one else.

I still miss aerobics. Running is not as fun, not even close. But they’re both forms of exercise, and both make me feel good. Aerobics is just a lot more fun during the process. I hope that when Wes is older or when John’s work schedule changes I can return to my favorite aerobics classes.

Anyway, back to running…I worked out 5K routes using Google Earth and tried them out. I found I could go 3.1 miles with only a little walking. Pushing a stroller, it took me about 33-34 minutes (I always had a hard time discerning my exact time because of my analog watch–I’d be squinting at the minute hand, trying to tell which little mark it was on, and usually ended up guessing). I’d always wanted to be able to run the whole 5K without walking, but I decided that even just finishing my first race would be great and that I’d shoot for under 35 minutes because that seemed doable.

Fast forward to race day (today). I got up at 5:30 and John, the baby, and I were out the door by 6:15. Over three thousand people showed up for the Freedom Festival’s 1-mile run, 5K, and 10K. I waited in a mass of tank tops and T-shirts on 800 North until the gun went off at 7 a.m.

John took Wes with him as a spectator, so I got to run sans stroller. It was actually a little fun to run down University and Center Street, which were lined with families waiting for the parade to start later in the morning. I skipped the first water stop at mile 1 because I felt fine. Halfway into mile 2, I wished I had some water, so I think I started to drag a little. But I kept running. Amazingly. I glanced at my new pink digital watch (Timex Ironman Triathlon; I think I might marry it, I love it so much) after mile 1 and 2 and saw I was running about a 9-minute mile. Way better than the 11-minute mile I averaged with Wes in the stroller.

The water stop at the start of the third mile was like manna from heaven and boosted me right up for the final, slightly up-hill stretch. I was still running! I found a niche where people around me were going about the same pace and stayed with them. John and Wes cheered me on from the sidewalk about halfway through the last mile. Near the end I had to slow twice to draw a deep breath, but I had my eye on a girl in a green tank top who was a length or two ahead of me, and after I got my breath I pulled back into place behind her.

It’s funny where your mind goes while you run. I brought no music with me, so I was relying on my thoughts to get me through. During the third mile, when I realized I was still running and actually doing OK, I thought back to the fifth grade when I came in dead-last in the 1-mile run. I heard kids whispering behind my back, wanting to know my time (over 15 minutes). I was the chubby girl who couldn’t keep up with the rest of her gym class. It was humiliating.

Today I finished the race at 29:34. I kept a 5:55 pace per kilometer, which I think is about 9:30 per mile. I placed 39th in my age division for women, 180th overall for women, and 564th overall (out of 3400 runners).

Next weekend is a fund raising 5K in Orem to help bring the Best Buddies program to Utah County. Best Buddies work with kids with intellectual disabilities (like Down syndrome) and help give them important one-on-one friendships. I’m considering running it because I’ll want Wes to have a Best Buddy to hang out with when he’s in school, and this would support that.

Nov '07

Eleven weeks and counting

Wes is eleven weeks old already. Today he had a visit from a physical therapist who evaluated him and give me some ideas of how to help him further strengthen his muscles. She said he’s remarkably strong for a baby with Down syndrome. He’s active, kicking and shaking his arms, and visually interested, looking around at everything. He seems motivated to move and progress without much encouragement from me. Like, I’ll put a toy in front of him when he’s on his tummy to give him something to push himself up and look at, but he doesn’t need it. He’ll push himself up on his own for the sake of pushing himself up. The therapist propped Wesley up in a sitting position to see what his head would do, and he was able to hold it up a little. She said that many DS babies in that position will let their chin fall to the chest and stay there.

So Wes is doing really well. I’m going to continue working with him to: 1) hold his head up when he’s on his tummy, 2) hold his head up when he’s on his back, and 3) roll over from front to back and back to front. The rolling over part is fun. I just set him on his side and push up his top leg and let him wiggle and he’ll turn himself over.

I have some photos I meant to post a while ago.

Here’s our superhero baby in his Halloween costume. He was six weeks old. And, yes, that outfit was super humungous on him.

This photo was taken by my friend on the same day she took photos of him in his costume. By this time he was getting tired. But the picture makes me smile every time I look at it.

Wes is also six weeks old here.

He’s ten weeks old in this picture, but he’s still pretty tiny. I’m holding his feet in my hand. I think he weighs about 7 1/2 pounds.

Nov '07

T-Minus Two Days

Today I hit the grocery store, thinking that shopping for Thanksgiving two days before the actual Big Day would mean I was beating the rush.

No freaking way.

All of Utah County appeared to have had the same idea as me. Macey’s grocery store was p-a-c-k-e-d. But what do you do? Turn around and go home? Tomorrow could be better, but would probably be worse, so I might as well get it over with today.

People were emerging from the front doors with shopping carts laden with bags and bags of food. Not that this is all that uncommon of a sight at a grocery store, especially in an area where families with six or seven children is the norm. But today everyone’s bags were full of all the same things. I could see it as I passed: turkey, ham, marshmallows, potatoes, Cool Whip, canned pumpkin, Stove Top, and ice cream (because what would Thanksgiving be in Utah without ice cream?).

At least I wasn’t getting a turkey, so I could avoid the throng of women huddled around the turkey freezer case. I was in charge of buying a ham. And since I wasn’t planning to buy the traditional cook-it-yourself spiral ham that feeds sixteen, I had the tiny section of the meat case that sold pre-cooked half hams about the size of your fist all to myself, so I could dwadle all I wanted without being elbowed out by serious shoppers with agendas.

I think it took me over an hour to get myself through the store and safely out the front doors again. Phew. Thankfully Wes was asleep the whole time. He was still asleep when I got home. Here’s proof:


Nov '07

Tummy Time Video

I try to give Wes tummy time every day. Sometimes, when he’s not tired, he does really well and can keep his head up for 10-20 seconds at a time. Which, for such a little guy, seems pretty good.

Here are a couple videos of him working on it today. This is mostly for his grandma. (You know we love you, Mom.)




Good News Thursday

A few good things.

First off, Wes is nine weeks old. Growing up before our eyes. Yesterday he was weighed by a visiting nurse and he weighed in at 7 lbs 2 oz. Wow!

Second, this morning was his Big Cardiology Appointment. About half of all kids with Down syndrome have heart problems, so we had reason to be worried, but also reason to be hopeful, since so far his health has seemed fairly sturdy. Our cardiologist, Dr. Mart, comes down from Primary Children’s in SLC to the Parkway Health Center in Orem once in a while, which was nice so I didn’t have to drive so far. The nurse checked his oxygen saturation levels, and they were excellent. This is great since he was on oxygen for a few weeks, and I’ve seen DS kids months older than Wes who still require constant oxygen. Then she did an EKG (electrocardiogram), where she stuck stickers all over his chest and back with metal spiggets on each one and then clamped many wires to the metal, like you do when jumpstarting a car. Wes did fine until she was done and had to remove the stickers. I guess it didn’t feel too good to him, because he started to cry. The nurse, I think, was in love with him because she scooped him up and gushed, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over until he quieted down. Usually the nurses will say something like, “You can pick him up if you want,” instead of doing it themselves. But this nurse kept saying how adorable and cute and sweet Wes was, and she had a hard time putting him down again.

After that was the big echocardiogram. It’s like an ultrasound for the heart. Wes was stripped down to his diaper and had goop smeared on his chest and I got to see pictures of his heart on the monitor from the top, bottom, and sides. It would have been more interesting if I knew what any of it meant. That took about 25 minutes, wherein Wes was pretty patient.

Finally Dr. Mart came in and gave us the results. Dr. Mart is pretty amazing; he and his wife have sixteen (sixteen!) kids, most of them adopted and all of the adopted ones have special needs. He told me he has a son with Down syndrome. When I asked how old his son was, he said, “Oh, like six or seven.” I guess with sixteen kids the ages tend to blend together.

Anyway, the verdict: Wesley’s heart looks really good, but he does have something called Small Secundum ASD. It means that one of the valves that should have closed up at birth didn’t, but the opening is a small one, and Dr. Mart said that often such openings will close by themselves in a couple of years. So we’ll take Wes back when he’s two or three to have another echocardiogram and see how his heart looks then.

Considering that a lot of little kids with DS have to endure major heart surgery before they’re even toddlers, we feel really lucky that Wes’s heart is so healthy.

Third bit of goodness: After the doctor appointment I was starved, so I visited John at work and he took me out to Shoots restaurant in Provo. Yum! It was my first time there and John’s second. We both got lunch specials, which was about $8 apiece and came with soup, egg roll, fried won tons, and entree. I normally don’t like egg rolls, but it must be because I’ve never had one that was so fresh as the ones they make there. It was so good! The egg drop soup was a little bland, though. However, my entree was delicious. I got honey walnut chicken, which was served on a bed of lettuce in some creamy dressing. Oh, it was good. John and I split a strawberry boba drink, which was yummy. To top it all off we split a dessert: shaved ice topped with cream, sweetended condensed milk, and fresh fruit (pineapple, strawberries, and bananas). It was almost better than ice cream. The creamy ice melted on your tongue. It was so good.

Okay, so now that you know that I ate ten times my weight in calories today, here are a few pictures of the kid.

Here he is konked out in his crib tonight. Sometimes when I peek at him while he’s sleeping I think he looks just like a porcelain doll. Sometimes people who see him will tell me that he looks so perfect, he doesn’t look real. I love how he holds his hands up a little while he’s sleeping.


I had to take a shot of him crying the other day.

And one more: