Ran 1 mile at the Rugger Run, while John ran the 5k.
Celebrating NBA champs – ALL IN – with co-workers.
Trying on dresses for the fashion show.
Items Monica donated during the FIAT – Faith In Action Together weekend at St. Angela parish.
Old Man’s Cave
Hocking Hills hiking weekend
Holiday brunch at brother Dan’s apartment
Favorite basketball team
Caroling with friends at a nursing home
True Cleveland fans!
Singing Christmas carols around the piano
Brand new friend!
At two days old, Monica’s first nephew is beginning a new friendship!
Celebrating another little brother’s 8th grade graduation!
Christmas gifts I made!
My newest niece!
A cold October hike in Hueston Woods State Park
Bowling with friends
Best neighbors and Browns fans
My best adventure of the summer!
December 2012 – Stuffing our new baby Elantra for a trip to Florida!
Jennifer and me at Fairview Park HS graduation!
From left to right, Chris, Monica, Scott and Brian at our HS graduation. I had already taken off my gown!
Our Christmas photo December 2011 – Monica has two nieces now.
Jacob and me ready for Senior Homecoming!
During Monica’s Junior and Senior year, she was in a work training program through Polaris at Southwest General Health Center
Dan relaxing on wet weekend in Hocking Hills
Monica and Rebecca on wet weekend campout at Hocking Hills. Reminded us of the story of Noah.
I am very excited about my first niece! Now I am an Aunt for the first time.
I was a bridesmaid at my sister Rebecca’s wedding! We are in the choir loft waiting for the signal to go downstairs. Everything is ready for the matrimony mass to begin!
Ouch! Now I can ride my bike well, but when I was learning, one day I turned the handlebar too hard and I took a spill. I learned to walk with crutches.
Here I am learning to ride my bike!! It took a long time and my dad wore out a pair of tennis shoes running beside me but now I feel so happy when I am biking. We take family rides into the Cleveland Metroparks and its beautiful.
Daddy and Monica on a boat heading out to snorkel at the John Pennekamp reef in the Keys. Wow! was it ever beautiful.
Crafts at school. Here Monica is showing us her Gingerbread House. One of Monica’s favorite classes was Art.
First Day of School! – Fourth Grade
Our family hiked to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak at Acadia National Park in Maine. The view over the ocean was fantastic!
Camping in Quebec on the way to Prince Edward Island. There were cows nearby and in the morning their lowing and bells were very peaceful.
Grandma and Grandpa Jakubisin went with us on an airboat ride through the remote wetlands of the St Johns waterway in Florida. We saw many water cows and alligators. Some were so huge. Monica held one and its a pretty good picture itself.
Monica reading a book about the pyramids of Egypt.
The city arranges for Monica to be picked up and taken to school. Here she is with her bus driver. The staff were always very kind to Monica.
First artwork in kindergarden. Its a start!
At the mall in Washington DC. Right before Gregory threw Monica’s hat through the bars onto the White House lawn. Then we got to see the security guards come out. They did not smile. All business.
Monica is a proud big sister to Gregory. This is when Monica was still taller than Gregory!
All Saints Day Costumes
Mass with Pope John Paul II – We went to Giant Stadium in NYC for the papal mass with JP II. The remnants of Hurricane Opal were passing over the city with torrential rains all day. The gathering and our Pope were unfazed. It was a beautiful mass. The next day the sky was sparkling clear and we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Mud Pit in the Backyard. Before building a new shed we had some open area that was a great digging opportunity for the children and playmates. The social worker assigned to Monica was always telling us to give Monica sensory stimulation, like playing with Jello or sand (what a mess! we did it, but chuckled because it was clear it was theoretical for her but we had to clean up the reality!) I am sure that the social worker would have been excited about this opportunity for Monica to have her sensory cup “runneth over”.
Baby brother Gregory
Hiking with Dad
Little brother Gregory is born! – We were cautioned by many people not to have any more children after Monica. For some people this may have been good advice. Everyone has to implore God for guidance to discern his will for them. We discerned that while it would be challenging to have another child, or another child with Down syndrome, our children were still hoping for more siblings, we hoped for more children, and siblings would be a great gift to Monica. So Gregory came to be. Still later, John Bernard would be added to the fold, and after six live births and four miscarriages our years of fertility closed. At that point our feelings were that we had always asked for God’s will and all of the joys and struggles related to our gift of fertility must have been within his will and directed to our mutual good.
Flying Baby Alert! We had read that the synaptic ends of children with Down syndrome have more resistance to message relay than the normal child, a greater level of excitability is necessary for neuro transmission. So we reasoned that we should provide Monica lots of stimulation to help her build memories, perception and abilities. As we went along we introduced her to many different forms of stimulation, from wild music to wasabi and hot peppers! Monica really likes wasabi, and so does Dad, whereas the other family members are numb to its delights.
After surgery – getting stronger!
Monica needed open heart surgery as soon as she grew to 10 lbs, till then she had to be supplemented via a tube through her nose to her tummy.
Monica is born!