Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bikes sure are tricky things...| Synergy Photography

As every little boy knows, bikes are tricky. They never seem to do what you want them to and they can get away from you in the blink of an eye! My youngest son had fun this weekend trying to master his bike (many thanks to cousin Connor to passing it on to him). Now for most 4 yr olds, riding a bike is a rite of passage. Once they overcome their fear, it is not too difficult to begin pedaling and moving along on their own. After a short time, they don't even have to think about balancing & pedaling becomes second nature. If they are like my other boys), they quickly move on to figuring out how to do all manner of cool tricks.

But for Chedner, riding a bike is a whole different type of adventure. You see, Chedner's has Caudal Regression Syndrome and his spinal cord ends at his sacrum. Along with many other medical issues, this means that Ched does not have the same nerves that control sensation and movement to his legs as we do. It is difficult for him to feel where his feet are and he had to work hard to learn to walk, run & climb. Chedner often doesn't feel when he cuts his legs or feet...in fact, he took a chunk out of his leg while riding this day & we didn't know until I discovered the cut later. That diminished sensation makes it challenging to pedal a tricycle or a bike. He understands the movement, but his feet often slip off the pedals. He can't feel the resistance on the pedal and therefore doesn't understand to increase the pressure by pushing harder with his legs to make the pedal continue moving. Ched has never figured out how to ride a tricycle though his wonderful PT at school is working hard on this. We have a trike here, but with his big brothers riding bikes, Chedner has apparently decided to skip that stage and move on to the big boy ride!

So, with great enthusiasm he was off...
He lost the bike several times, but was determined to get it to the top of his hill by himself..."I do I self, MOM!"

But alas, bikes are tricky things...and gravity had a mind of its own...

Finally, he caught up with it and repeated this same sequence a number of times. I have to applaud him, he continued to try to get it up the hill with only a few kicks at and admonishments for the bike... "cmon, bike!", "You doe up dis hill!", "You be good lisner!"
Finally, Jay decided to try a new strategy and convinced Ched to take it on the road. Because of the cars nearby and his brothers zooming around him, Chedner was willing to accept assistance from his big, strong Daddy. Yes, my sons are nothing if not chauvinists at heart.

I have no doubt that while bikes can be tricky things, my "never say quit" son will soon be chasing his brothers down the road, over the jumps and wherever else they might lead him.

**This post is dedicated to Michelle in Ireland. We miss you and are excited to see you when this semester is over!**

Sunday, March 21, 2010

World Down Syndrome Day

My face maybe different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His loves knows no bounds
It's cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the special children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not all the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you
But at my own pace.
~author unknown

Parenting children is a tough job and some weeks are tougher than others. Our son, Gabe, entered high school this year and he is still trying to figure out this brave new world. It is never easy to make big changes and when you are someone who depends on routines to feel safe, big changes are just plain scary. New turf + new kids + new teachers + new rules = stress! Although we have worked to help Gabe with this transition and have high expectations of him & for him, this year has proven more difficult than we would have imagined. But what he has taught me this year is this: Gabe will always look for the fun, Gabe will always embrace his peers (sometimes quite literally if they happen to be female & cute), and Gabe will always, always challenge authority. What I learned most was that having Down Syndrome doesn't make you less of a teenager...it puts you right in the middle of the pack :-) So, today on World Down Syndrome Day I salute Gabriel...and all the others with that extra sprinkle of chromosomes! Thank you for making our world so bright & shiny! Now, let's go break out some ketchup sandwiches and root beer!

If you have ever considered adopting a child with Down Syndrome, please check out this website: Reece's Rainbow - they help find families for children with Down Syndrome from all over the world.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Being behind the Lens

For the most part, I love being behind the camera. While I love taking photographs, I am not all that crazy about being in photographs! That preference usually works well for me. Every now and then someone will catch me in a photograph, taking photographs:

I recently found this great photog blog: The Savvy Photographer
Lots of information, ideas and some fun give-aways! This week's give-away is a marketing kit for "Mommy & Me" photo sessions. The idea is that most moms usually spend their time behind the lens. I know this is true as there are actually few photos of me with any of my seven kids! I was joking at the beach last year that from looking at our many vacation photos you might think that I didn't even go on the trips!
I really like this is a great idea for mini sessions and I am hoping to put something together soon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Springing Forward | Shenandoah Valley Photographer

Spring is here! Well, almost...it is at least very close by! After several months of incredibly cold & snowy days, it is so nice to be outside and enjoying sunshine. This bridal session was definitely a fun way to celebrate the nice weather. Laura did such a great job ignoring the chilly wind blowing on Saturday and looked absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress. Those bright flowers she carried added a wonderful pop of color as the backdrop is still a bit muted. By the time her wedding arrives in a month, the grounds at Cross Keys Vineyard will look as beautiful as she does!

Laura, I hope you enjoy your sneak peek...see you on Saturday!