Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween 2012

We knew last Christmas what Jude was going to be for Halloween this year.  When we were at the LA zoo in December we saw this outfit and knew we had to have it.  So naturally, we bought it.  We bought a size we hoped Jude would be in about this time of year, and sure enough it was an exact fit.  That's when Erik and I danced a little jig around our living room and said "Boo-yah!".

The question then was, what do we dress up as? Um, duh.  Zoo animals! (Parental advisory warning, what Erik is wearing just might scare your children)

The night of Hallow's eve began as a fun family event.  Candy, laughter, music...

 Some trick-or-treating and games...
We got to about the 6th house and noticed Jude bobbing his head to the non-existent music.  We didn't think anything of it, if the boy wants to dance we were going to let him dance!  Except dancing was not what he was up to, but sleeping.

So we turned our charade around and headed back home, and at the end of the night he decided he had seen enough.

In the end, it was a great night.  Hope you enjoyed your Halloween!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Walk for Down Syndrome 2012

I can not express the amount of joy that was felt the morning of the walk for Down Syndrome. I know I use those words often, "I can not express", "I don't think I could fully say", or any other variation, but it is so true. Oh is it true.

We began the morning thinking a small group would be there. Erik's parents, my parents and sisters. But slowly the group grew bigger. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends, family from out of state, friends from church. They were all there. And all there to support Jude. I stood in tears as we took our place in line to start the walk. Watching the sea of blue shirts talking and laughing, my heart was full. I remembered the day that he was born so clearly, and now not even two years later my expectations have been far surpassed. The love we feel us undeniable. And we want to thank you for all if your kind comments and words. They have penetrated deep within our hearts and we are forever grateful. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Instagram Update

First I would like to say thank you thank you thank you to all who have bought shirts and donated to Jude's team for the Walk for Down Syndrome.  Erik and I truly can not express enough just how much it means to us.  When we began this journey when Jude was born we never would have imagined the amount of people who would step up and support not only us, but most importantly Jude.  He has changed our lives and it is extremely moving to see him touch other peoples' lives too.  So thank you.

Being so busy in school the only social network I have time for is instagram.  It is quick and easy and I become a stalker to other people.  I check it at least 20 times a day.  So why not share all of the pictures I post there? Granted I think Jude is in every picture, but you will just have to deal with it.
(My username on instagram is ambermpayne if you would like to follow)

He does not enjoy all of his therapies.  But Tiffany, his developmental specialist, is probably his best friend.  

Came home from school to find a topless man running around my house.  At least he gives good kisses.

 Bad timing of the camera click

 Laughing with my parents

Books are becoming his favorite!

Lunch date with mommy and daddy.  Jimmy Johns didn't have a high chair so he got to sit in the booth like a big boy!

Sunday fort making and book reading

I can never say it enough.  I am in love with these two boys.  They make life so worthwhile and constantly keep me laughing.  I am going to take a moment to brag, Erik is finishing his Bachelor's in Biology at ASU where he will then apply for dental school.  He works full time (starting at 3:30 am!) and goes to school full time.  He is in the Elder's Quorum presidency in our ward (a leadership position over the men in our church), and somehow manages to make time for Jude and I, both family time and just he and I time.  He never complains and constantly builds me up.  He is a huge supporter of my schooling and is always pushing me to do my best.  I think I did a pretty good job in choosing my eternal companion!

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jude for President T-Shirts

"Jude for President" shirts now for sale!


The Jude Lover's 2012 Walk for Down Syndrome shirts are officially here. 100% premium fit, beautifully combed cotton t-shirts, sizes Small-XXL. They are of amazing quality, fit, feel, everything. Please let me know what sizes you want by Tuesday, Sept. 11th.  If you have not already let me know the size you would like, please comment on this post or email me at ae.payne@hotmail.com

After clicking on the blue "DONATE" button below, click on the "Donation Amount" box to enter the amount needed to pay (Ex: If you are ordering 2 shirts, please type in $20.00).  If you need the shirt shipped out of state, please add an additional $5 to your order and email me your address.  Again, thank you so much for all the love and support shown to Jude and Down Syndrome.

PS the actual Walk for Down Syndrome is Saturday September 22, from 8:30-9:30am @ the Tempe Diablo Stadium.

*Unfortunately this year's price does not include a donation to the Down Syndrome organization, so all $10 goes to purchasing the shirt. Any much appreciated donations need to be donated to The Jude Lovers/Sharing Down Syndrome page directly:

Monday, July 30, 2012


Life is hard.  Life is freakin hard.  No matter how many times our parents try and warn us and prepare us for it, we all have to learn it the hard way.  And let me tell you, I don't do well with "learning it the hard way".  I am so much more of a "take your word for it" kind of girl.  Like sushi.  I will take your word for it that its good, but I don't need to try it.  Life is not like sushi.  You have no choice but to try, and do, and deal with life.  I would rather deal with sushi.

I don't handle stress very well.  I used to be able to handle it just fine.  Yeah okay, that was in high school when all I had to worry about was getting things done for myself.  Now there are other people involved in my life (see, there it pops up again), and of course I'm going to stress over things a lot more.  And with that comes unnecessary stress.  Like that time I was two days late for my 'time of the month' and Erik found me laying in a heap on the shower floor crying about how I was going to have to quit school to raise a second child and we were forever going to live in his parents basement (No worries.  Mother Nature came just a few hours later. I knew you were all wondering).  Or just a few days ago when I swear I found a tumor in my armpit and was worrying if Jude would recognize me when I didn't have any hair from all of the chemo I was going to have to go through.  Unnecessary stress, and life doing a little "Na na na na, boo boo" in my face.

When Jude was born the dam holding back the mother load of unnecessary stress and worry was broken and the floods came through.  We were told of all of the things he will most likely be diagnosed with in addition to the extra chromosome.  I won't even go into detail because guess what?  We have been so blessed so far that we haven't had to worry about them.  We were told by a few people; support coordinators, therapists, doctors, "Don't even plan on him walking until he is about 2 years old.  To think it will happen any sooner will only get your hopes up".  Oh thanks.  Thank you for the words of encouragement, sike.

About a month ago I wanted to do a big karate kick to life's face, followed by a bunch of cool marshal arts moves.  Jude, the stud he is, took his first steps at 18 months.  And now he is a force to be reckoned with. 

6 months before the expected time of walking, he began walking.  That kid doesn't take no for an answer.  No matter how many people told him how hard life was going to be for him, he knocked life right out of the ring and raised those Rocky fists of his.  I half expected him to yell for Adrienne (Anyone? Anyone?  I know my dad will be proud of that reference).  He has no idea how hard life is supposed to be for him, because in his reality it is no harder than it is for you and for me. And I believe he is right.

As much as I would like to tell life to go to H-E-double hockey sticks, I can't do that because then I would probably be in H-E-double hockey sticks.  But what I can do is begin to fix that dam of unnecessary stress and worry and ridiculousness with bricks of success.  Jude's success.  Jude's happiness, and the happiness I have in my life just for knowing him.  And the best part?  He's mine! The best part is walking in a room and hearing him yell "Mama!".  The best part is the nighttime snuggles we have when he knows its time for bed, but he just wants one more hug.  He is the best part of my life.

And if I have learned one thing in this life of mine so far, its that life is not really as hard as it may seem sometimes.  In that moment it may feel like it, yes.  But there is always something inside of you that can give life a good uppercut to the jaw and defeat the hard times. If my 18 month old can do it, why can't I?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This summer has seriously flown by (I just had to look up the word "flown" in the dictionary to make sure it was a real word.  I say it all the time, but in written text it looked funny.  That's why I'm not majoring in English).  Amidst all of the school and work Erik and I have been through we have managed to have a pretty good summer.  We took a trip to Newport Beach back in June, and even though it was the typical "June Gloom" for California residents, it was amazing to get out of the 110 degree heat.  

Erik and I have a list of things we do when we go to Newport and Huntington Beach, and we hardly ever stray from it.  Our families took a trip to the beach together 4 years ago and did the exact same things, and because that is where our love story began we love doing the same things and spending time in the same places we did back then.  And now we could bring Jude along and tell him things like "See honey, this is where daddy gave mommy his sunglasses to wear because she didn't have any, but really it was just an excuse for him to see her again to get them back", and cue the laughter from us thinking of how funny and ridiculous we were at flirting and dating, and how we are glad we never have to go back there.  But we wouldn't trade any of those funny or ridiculous times, because now we get to share them with Jude.

We love to spend the two dollars and fifty cents each way on the Balboa Ferry, just to get to Balboa Island to get the famous Balboa Bar (say that sentence ten times fast).  It is an absolute must.  And just like his parents, Jude loved it.

(I had to hold on to his pants in this bottom picture, he kept trying to throw himself overboard, almost gave me a heart attack!)

We ride bikes all day long, all over the place.  At first the trailer seemed like a bit much but Jude seemed to love it...

...and after he fell asleep we knew it was well worth it.

It is common knowledge in our circle of family and friends that Erik beats to the rhythm of his own drum.  He always has, always will.  And while some people may not be able to handle this uniqueness very well, it is a trait that I happen to enjoy.  It is one of the first things that drew me to him.  He knows exactly who he is and has no shame in showing it.  And when I say no shame, I mean no shame.  For the most part that applies to the clothes he wears, or in the case of this trip, doesn't wear (like these amazing shorts).  But what can I say? I think he's pretty hot in them, and they are even shorter than mine!

According to Erik, we make one "fedorable" family.

Please enjoy Jude's face.  We first thought the girl that was taking our picture was laughing at Erik's shorts when she took it, but after looking at this picture we realized we were way off.  Jude happens to make the funniest faces out of nowhere and we were lucky enough to catch this one in a picture.  My little family could not make me any happier.  I will take a husband with short shorts and a baby boy with almond eyes any day because these two help me become such a better person in life.

Cheers to tradition and making memories!