Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Catalina's Dedication

Today we had our sweet baby, Catalina Rose, dedicated in the church. With and before our family and friends and those in our church we promised to raise our daughter to know and love the Lord Jesus and to acknowledge that we believe she is a gift to us from God. The service was simple and perfect for our family. One of the most meaningful things was having my sister, Catalina's godmother, up on stage with us.

Pastor Phil gave a sweet dedication based on I Peter 3:

"2 ...when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

Catalina means "pure" and Rose "blushing beauty" so these verses were a perfect blessing on her life. My prayer for all of my children is that they would find spouses who demonstrate love and respect to one another, a foundational principle in marriage.

One of the funny things Phil said was, "No parents are perfect. You guys know that because this is not your first child. We mess things up. In fact, you have already messed up your first two..." Ha ha. Everyone was laughing, and I thought, "You are so right! We are so not perfect!" Case in point, I said Catalina's birthday was May 25 ... nope - that was her due date - but that's that date that appeared on the big screen. Her actual birthday is May 27. Oh well, nobody's perfect!

After church, our family and the Murray's and Blanca joined us for dinner at our house. Dad made apple and pumpkin pie ... mmmmm!

Journey Church has truly become our church home. Having Catalina dedicated there today felt like home. Of course, it is the people who are the church, and we are so grateful for our church family.

If you look closely, you can see the drool coming out of Cata's mouth and dripping onto Pastor Phil's hand!

Janelle and Bobby

The cake was a gift from Journey Church with 2 books "The 5 Love Languages of Children" by Gary Chapman and "Hush Little One"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catalina 5 months

Catalina is 5 months old today! I can't believe how fast she is growing and changing. Her latest tricks are rolling from her back to stomach (and quickly getting frustrated that she can't roll back again), chewing on fingers (anybody's that gets close to her mouth), staring at her hand (providing minutes of entertainment!).

Catalina is such a content, sweet baby. She hardly fusses and has the biggest, brightest smile. Her eyes continue to change color... right now they are somewhere between grey, blue, green and brown. I think her favorite person is Mateo. He can make her laugh at any moment. You can see in these pictures that he is crazy about her. He has the cutest way of talking to her - I
must get it on video! Francesa always asks to hold Catalina. Then she will quickly give her back and just as quickly ask to hold her again. Often Francesca gently pinches Catalina's cheeks, which is totally understandable... I can't help but smooch on 'em everytime I hold her. (I also find it irresistible to keep from patting her chubby bottom cheeks!) Our little Rosie is just so sweet - what a blessing to our family she is!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buddy Walk 2011

Buddy Walk 2011 was a smashing success! There were so many people this year that it seemed overly crowded at times (for a brief moment we lost Mateo between the snacks line and the bounce houses). We walked for Francesca and with Francesca touting our bees and enjoyed the beautiful fall day. Every year I say I am going to do t-shirts for our team ... next year will have to be the year. There are all kinds of cute sayings "Claire's Baum Squad: Igniting Down Syndrome Awareness," "Strollin' with Vollen," "Bella's Buddies: Designer Genes." Cassie suggested we plan this summer before the craziness of fall and a new school year kick into gear. So ... if you are reading this now ... PLAN TO WALK WITH US NEXT YEAR and BEE part of TEAM FRANCESCA! It really is so much fun!

The Buddy Walk is organized by the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands (formerly Omaha Down Syndrome Parent Network). We have been a part of this incredible network of families since the very beginning when Francesca was just a few months old. In fact, ODSPN welcomed us while we were still at the hospital when Francesca was born. There are no words to describe how meaningful it is to have relationships with other families with children with DS. DSA has been a major lifeline to our family. All of the proceeds from the Buddy Walk go to DSA and help fund a variety of activities we participate in. Also, our group advocates for new families with little ones with DS. One of the most recent projects was the creation of a new welcome booklet given to families in the hospital explaining who we are and how we support families. I wish I could be more "hands-on" with the organization, but at this point in my busy life, it is not feasible. Again, someday ...

THANK YOU to our family and friends near and far who supported us this year through walking or donations. Your support really does mean so much to us and we love you!

Francesca getting her face painted for the first time

Francesca signing "colors" after getting her face painted with a bee

This photo was literally taken seconds after the face painting... you can see Francesca's bee didn't last long! :)

Eating a powdered donut and contemplating the balloon floating overhead

SO many participants!

Getting ready to start our walk

Mateo with Sophie and Hannah. Mateo's goofy look might have something to do with the fact that he says he's going to marry Sophie someday.

Mom and me

I love how this picture captures Francesca's joy over having her little sister on the walk for the first time.

What do you suppose these two are cooking up?

Cassie, me, Lisa and Cata

The end of our walk - down Dodge, across the bridge, around Memorial Park and back to UNO

Grandpa and Cata

Friday, October 14, 2011


Catalina 4 months

Time just goes by too quickly. While trying to upload pictures to the computer from our camera, I came across a video of Mateo on the way to the cabin. He must be about 16 months old and he is "talking" much like Francesca does now. The kind of talk where you know he's saying something important but can't exactly understand, yet he is absolutely delighted with himself, especially as Mommy confirms, "Really?!" It was so adorable. As I'm typing this blog entry, I'm just all emotional ... thinking about how fast my little babies are growing up. Everyone tells you this, but until you really experience it, you just don't realize how quickly time passes.

That's why it's important to capture all these moments.

Francesca got in trouble tonight. She was being SO fiesty that finally Daddy (and Mommy) had enough and took her straight to bed. She had thrown her spoon down on the floor several times at dinner and ripped the tablecloth Grandma bought earlier this week. She was so sad about going to bed tonight - I know she knew she had pulled the last straw. Although it was hard to deliver the consequence of straight to bed without the usual routine of bath, books, bed, I know it is important that we hold her to the same high expectations for behavior that we do Mateo and will Catalina. Tomorrow is the Buddy Walk, so hopefully she will rest well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Brother and Sisters

Mateo, Francesca and Catalina love each other. It is evident by the way Mateo plays with both Francesca and Catalina - reading them books, dancing, telling them jokes or singing songs. It's obvious in the way Cataline smiles and giggles at Mateo and Francesca plays along and mimics Mateo's language. And hugs ALWAYS abound.

I think one of their favorite past times is reading. I love it - probably because I am so passionate about the subject of reading. It is very exciting to see Mateo developing early literacy skills (writing short words, writing out the entire alphabet in sidewalk chalk, recognizing certain words within his books as we read aloud with him...) and to observe Francesca develop preliteracy skills (opening a book and turning pages from left to right while she reads the pictures in jibberish, pointing at pictures and saying the name...)