Call Me Frugal But I Am Not Cheap

I had coffee late last night and could not sleep!  So after doing some laundry at midnight, I decided to pick up my bible and it opened up to the book of Proverbs.  Reading inspired me to write these thoughts.

The definition for frugal is saving; avoiding waste.  If you delay pleasure to make a big future purchase, that is being frugal.  A frugal person does not sacrifice quality to buy something only because it cost less money.  A person who is cheap is a person who is stingy and whose ways affects the quality of life of their family.  Being cheap means you will sacrifice quality to buy something cheaper because it cost less money.

 Poverbs 30:25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.

Growing up, few family members would tease me that I was cheap.  When I would get birthday or Christmas money, I would never spend it but put it away.  I would feel so hurt and insulted, especially when they would blurt this out to people and when they would tease me by patting their elbow.  It really made me feel horrible.  They would say I was cheap because I wouldn’t want to spend my money.  Yes, it’s true; I didn’t spend my money… why? Simple, as a kid I knew the value of a dollar.  I remember my parents sometimes stressing out about money…that may be why I never asked them for materialistic things but it was okay because I never needed anything.  My parents always provided food, shelter and necessities; that is all I needed.

My saying is, “you will never make a million dollars if you don’t start with one dollar”.  I knew that someday me putting away my money would come to good use.  When I first started working, my money went to pay my car insurance, gas, church tithes, I would give my mom a little bit of money but the rest went straight to my savings.  Where is my money now you ask?  Well, it was spent on what I knew would be my future and now my present.

So to those individuals that would tease me and make me feel ashamed, with all due respect, look at me now.  I own my home and I am now a stay at home mom.  Yes, I’m not living the glamour life and I don’t have a big home but I am so very blessed and happy.  I also want you to know that I don’t regret not spending my money on worldly pleasures because it has no comparison to the pleasure I have now, which is my husband and my sons.

Like the bible says, “give me neither poverty or riches but give me only my daily bread” Proverbs 30:8. 

Thank you Jesus.

Landen’s Language

Shamefully, I admit that I used to worry that Landen might not progress in speech like other children with down syndrome since not everyone with down syndrome has hearing loss.  The other day when we took Landen to his Audiologist appointment, God allowed me to meet a mother that has a nine-year old girl with down syndrome.  Just like Landen this girl was also wearing hearing aids.  This beautiful little girl who barely got her hearing aids at age 9 did speak.  Only 50 words but something is something!  The mother shared with me that her daughter was born with bigger problems they needed to worry about, that getting hearing aids came later on.  From experience, I relate with this mother.

There is a language that Landen is an expert at and that is gibberish.  If you know Landen, you know that if he could talk he would talk up a storm! At three years old, Landen is currently saying “ba-bu-a” which is “bye-bye”, grandpa (he adores his grandpas) mama, papa, apple, banana, play, night-night (he says this when he is tired) book (he LOVES books! So much that he chews on them!) and aqua “water”.  His new word is apple-juice!  We are also teaching him basic signs.  Some of the signs he knows is more, food, drink, help, book and sleep.  When he wants to he will sign bathroom and say “poo-poo”.  I really think he avoids this sign because he doesn’t really like sitting on the toilet.  Lately he’s been hiding when he goes number two!

I pray for Gods healing over Landens hearing everyday.  You know what though? Although, my hopes for his hearing to be healed is for him so he can have one less obstacle in his life, another part of me wants it so we can testify unto doctors and unto everyone of how REAL our God is.  Our dying world needs to know God and my hopes is that Landen will be used for that.Image

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

When I followed up on an interview for a job 8 years ago, HR informed me that they weren’t hiring but that they often get their employees though a temp agency.  I really wanted this job; it looked like an awesome opportunity so I investigated which temp agency it was.   After 4 months of being employed through the temp agency I was officially hired onto the company.  HR was informed by my supervisor that I was doing an awesome job and that they wanted me hired on.  I’ll never forget when HR shared with me that she didn’t think I would fit their job position.  This job position requires you to often take difficult phone calls with insurance companies, physicians and patients, so she very well might have assumed that I was too nice for the job, but I proved them wrong.

Going back to work after Landen was born I was offered a promotion.  I informed them that in order for me to accept this promotion it would be important for me to keep my existing schedule of 6-2:30pm.  I needed the early schedule to ensure I would have more time with Landen, especially because he was receiving therapies.  Leaving work any later after 2:30pm would mean it would take me over 45 minutes to get home.  Since my shift was not promised I kindly declined the promotion.  About a year later, the position was offered to me again and they were able to consider my schedule needs.

There was a time when a family member was giving Landen candy.  I never give my son candy so I said to them, ‘don’t give him candy”.  They did it anyway.  I stated it again, “no, don’t give him any”.  They thought it was cute and did not listen to me.  Then the third and last time I said it with a stern tone in my voice.  Later on that evening I was told that I shouldn’t have said it the way I stated it because a pastor was there.  They told me “there is a place and a time for saying things”.  My reply to them was simply this, “I’m sorry but when it comes to my children, I don’t care who is there.  You mess with my kids and I will turn into a lion.”

I’m sharing these scenarios with you because just like HR underestimated me as a person, I know I have been underestimated as a mother and it hurts.  For those who are reading this, take this with you… don’t be like Goliath and underestimate the strength of David.  Give people a chance without making any judgments and for goodness sake, don’t give babies candy!

I’m Having Another Baby!

During the time Landen was in the NICU after he was born, my husband and I went to have dinner at Los Panchos.  I love bean burritos with lettuce and salsa but in those specific days I could hardly eat.  I remember our discussion very clearly.

Trying to hold back tears because we were in public I asked my husband, “Chuey I don’t think we will be able to have more children,  Landen is going to need so much attention.  How do you feel if Landen is all we have?”  Chueys eyes were red.  I could see the hurt in his eyes.  He replied to me, “I know, Landen is all we will have then.” At that moment, in the middle of that taco shop, its like we were hugging each other with our eyes.

I’m a planner.  I’ve always been one to set short and long-term goals.  Our plan was after our first baby, I was going to get pregnant right away because I wanted my children to grow up together and be close.  I didn’t want my children to feel lonely as I often felt growing up.  My brother is four years younger than me.  Yes, there were times where we played Nintendo together, we did karaoke and rode our bikes together but there were still moments I needed someone to talk to and he was just too young at the time.  Now that we our older, he’s like my big brother but unfortunately, we don’t see each other very often.  My brother has a good heart which I don’t think many people see or understand but that’s for another blog.

What changed my mind about having another baby? It was what my father-in-law told my husband and I.  He simply said, “don’t let your situation change your plans”.  I think I understand now what he was trying to tell me.  As christians, we go through trials and tribulations in our lives but that doesn’t mean we should stop believing in God.  Those trials are there to make us stronger and give us life lessons that can help us accomplish our goals.

We waited until Landen turned two years to get pregnant again.  We figured by the time the baby would be here Landen would be close to walking.  I  remember texting my sister-in-law letting her know that Chuey and I were going to try to have another baby.  I told her that she should also try so our babies could be close in age.  What she didn’t think would happen, happened; two weeks later she called me at 5:45 a.m. in the morning telling me she was pregnant! A week after she told me, I gave her the same news! I’m having another baby! This pregnancy was beginning with a good start.

The First Few Years

The majority of children with down syndrome have many different medical issues and are delayed in crawling, walking and talking.  Many require therapies such as physical, speech and occupational. Landen started receiving physical therapy a little after he was one and is continuously receiving it now at school along with speech and occupational therapy.  Landen starting sitting on his own a little after he turned one.  At age two he started combat crawling which eventually changed to a “hitch crawl” (crawling on one foot and one knee) and by age three he started to walk. The first few years of Landens life were really overwhelming and worrisome for us because of all the doctors and hospital visits we had to take him to.

Landen was born with a PDA and several small holes in his heart.  A PDA is basically an open valve in the heart that causes extra blood to go into the lungs.  Thanks to God the small holes closed but the PDA did have to get operated on.  On April 2011, at 17 months, Landen had a cardiac catheterization surgery where the doctors placed a little piece of metal in his heart to plug up the excess flow of blood.  When Landen was 4 months old he was admitted to the hospital for bronchitis.  During this time I was not a stay at home mom  so it was stressful because I had just returned to work from maternity leave.  A little after Landen turned one, he started to experience these head tilts where his head would literally go to the side and he wouldn’t be able to move it.  We never got an exact reason to why Landen experienced this, we saw numerous specialists, took him to the ER a couple of times.  Their was thought that it might possibly be a type of seizure but the doctors were never sure.  Thank God he has not experienced this anymore.

At 18 months we learned that Landen needed glasses.  We battled with him for so long until we finally found the right pair for him and as he finally understood that the glasses are actually helping him.  Now he loves his glasses and he can put them on himself!  The downside is that he doesn’t take very good care of them so we are always having to send them in for fixing, thank goodness for a back-up pair, which he lost a month ago when we went for a walk to the grocery store! I made two walking trips back to the grocery store just so I could find the glasses but they were officially lost.  He even lost his glasses once on the school bus, which after numerous calls, they were found. Feeeeuuuuu.

Shortly after he began getting accustomed to his glasses my heart sank to my stomach for a second time when the doctors told us that Landen had severe hearing loss on his right and moderate loss on the left.  I prayed and prayed for God to heal him.  Why now this! It felt like it was one bad thing after another.  Landen would also need to get tubes put in his ear.  Unfortunately, he had to have this procedure twice.  We were told that a preacher with gift of healing was going to be at a service, we took Landen with hopes that his hearing would be healed but from what the doctors later stated, he wasn’t.  Months ago we had learned of another preacher that also has the gift of healing, we took Landen, but there yet was still no healing.  Does this mean I have lost faith? No way.  Landens has finally got accustomed to his hearing aids and deep down inside I believe everything is going to be alright.  It’s Gods timing, not mine.

We recently learned that one of Landens little friend who is also 3 years old and who also has down syndrome was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unfortunately, leukemia is something that often does occur to individuals with down syndrome.  I learned this morning that his friend will be discharged and will be receiving treatment for two years.  His friend won’t be able to attend school and will need to be isolated from visitors.  I put myself in their shoes and I can imagine the hurt.  What I can say though is joy will come in the morning and these trials only make us wiser and stronger.

If someone were to ask me to describe my first three years have been like with Landen I would say…

It was tough having to deal with so many medical issues, it felt like his medical issues were  going to be a burden forever.  I have learned to take one baby step at a time.  Although back then we desired for Landen to hurry up and start sitting on his own, crawling, walking and talking; now that I look back we really got to enjoy him as a baby a lot longer then typical babies.  Every accomplished milestone brought us extreme joy because each milestone took work, time, patience and lots of therapy.  Seeing the results of Landens hard work was pure awesomeness in my eyes.

A Reflection of My Resentment

I admit that for a while I felt resentment with people I thought were our friends. Where was their friendship when they knew my husband and I were going through a tough time?  Are people scared to come up to us, to befriend us because our family is different than theirs?  I thought because we were all christians that it wouldn’t be like that.  It used to hurt me to see friends hold other babies but no one would ever ask to hold my son.  My pastor would hold my son from the very beginning and he still does to this day, that makes me happy and I will never forget when Erica once offered to take Landen to nursery and watch him there, she doesn’t know this but I held back the tears of appreciation.

You know what this all has taught me? God wants me to befriend those that need a friend not those that I hope will be my friend.  I shouldn’t wait around any longer in hopes that a friend will come my way but step in and become a friend.

So to the world, yes my son does have down syndrome and yes my life may be different then yours in some ways but you know what…I wouldn’t change anything I went through and most importantly I wouldn’t change Landen for anything in the world.  He is molding me everyday.  He teaches me love and most importantly he teaches me patience ( boy does he teach me patience!)  I will always be proud and honored to be Landens mommy.

The Reason Why I had a Child With Down Syndrome

Was it my diet? Was it the X-rays that were taken of me before my baby was conceived? Does it run in my genes? Was it because I suffered from anorexia as a child? Was it because my father and my father-in-law smoked?

These are the silly questions that juggled in my mind.  After much research and discussions with doctors and genetic councilors, Trisomy 21 a.k.a. down syndrome is a chromosomal accident. Having a child with down syndrome can happen to anyone, no matter how healthy you are, what race you are and how old you are.  Although research shows there is a lesser probability, even a 15-year-old can conceive a child with down syndrome. It wasn’t anything I did or did not do and it was not hereditary.  The fact that it was not hereditary brought ease to my mind because I admit feeling worried that my husband might feel like it was my fault for giving him a child with down syndrome.  I came to realize and understand that it was all part of Gods plan.  As I analyze my life it makes sence to me now why God may have chosen me to be Landens mommy.  All of my life I have felt different.  Silly as it may sound, being the only white person in my family, the only person in my family with a different last name (my brother used to tease me that I was a nazi because I had a german last name!), sporadically changing cities that I lived in, changing schools and friends may have drove me to feeling this.  I always desired to fit in somewhere, to feel just a little popular.  I remember feeling this once, in 10th grade.  I was the star basketball player in my summer school PE class.  Everyone wanted me on their team, it made me feel awesome, it made me feel special.  When I got married I finally felt like my identity made sense, I felt like I belonged.  Then I became Landens mommy and that feeling of being different came back once again.

Then it hit me, is it possible that from a very young age God was allowing me to feel different because he was preparing me so I can be used?

I was yet even more convinced that being Landens mommy was truly part of Gods plan when my dad shared with me that way before my son was born, he had a dream that my baby would be born with down syndrome.  Why didn’t he ever tell me?! Maybe he just didn’t want to worry me but one thing I do know is that God does not make any mistakes.