The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Apr 29, 2011

Omaha Down Syndrome Symposium for the medical community

While most woke up early to watch the events leading up to and following the Royal Nuptials of Prince William and Kate (but no worries I DVR'd some of it)...I had the distinct pleasure of participating on a panel regarding Down Syndrome in front of several physician's and nurses from our area.  It took place at Methodist Women's Hospital.
Photo courtesy of HDR Architecture, Inc.; © 2010 Ari Burling
The Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands organized the event and brought all of these medical professionals together for a conference.  The purpose is to simply educate, inform and arm them with a plethora of information and resources to better prepare them in the event they are exposed to a family who has learned that Down Syndrome is, or will soon be, present in their lives. The fact that they are more aware, knowledgeable, comfortable and confident will certainly make the families experience a little easier and more comforting.  As you can imagine, there certainly are some horrible stories out there.  The goal is to make the "sharing and immediate handling of the diagnosis" go smoother and less awkward for everyone involved.  What a great step in the right direction!
There were three of us who made up the "panel".  Both Carrie (who has 13 month old Kinley) and Julie (5 month old Carson was there with us today and boy was he hamming it up for his audience :-) received a prenatal diagnosis.  They shared their experiences.  Both of which were very interesting and emotional.  The medical professionals in the room were captive, genuinely intrigued and had very good questions for each of them.

here are some phone pics I took of Carson.
It was nice having him sitting on the "panel" with us...he provided a bit of comic relief and helped break up some of the tension.

Next it was my turn to share our "Little Miss Macy" experience - as we received the news of her diagnosis postpartum.  When I was finished telling our story, there was good dialogue and lots more good questions.  I was impressed and uplifted by them all.

I was initially going to go into this morning's discussion without notes, just winging it.  As Roberta told us it could be a casual, share your story and Q&A type arrangement.  We each sent in photos and there was a slideshow playing behind us...But this morning I arose from bed early and had a flood of memories rush into my head.  The best way for me to revisit the evening of Macy's birth was to sit in front of the computer and just start typing.  So that's what I did.  I shared pretty much the whole story.  :-)
Prior to beginning I put out a disclaimer.  I warned the group that I may tear up a bit, but no worries, it's no big deal.  I am just an emotional person and the water-works flow easily for me.  I could see that many of them had already been tearing up as they listened to Carrie and Julie's stories, and I knew mine would be no different.  :-)

It was basically a revised version of Macy's birth story.  Leaving most side stories, names, etc out and tailoring it down quite a bit more for our "medical professional" audience perspective.  I left out several minute details, as they really wanted to understand what we were feeling, learn how the news was broken to us, how we interpreted it, and how we handled it, etc...

I hope that the fact we were able and willing to share our stories and feelings helps them all understand and reach out more efficiently and effectively with families going forward.  A little compassion goes a LONG way!

Apr 27, 2011

The "Lee" family Easter

On Saturday all us "Lee's" & "Salisbury's" gathered at The Mallory's home to celebrate the upcoming Easter Holiday. We were originally going to reserve the Picnic area of the Waterloo Park, but thanks to good old unpredictable Spring Nebraska weather, those plans fell through. So we went with our back-up location :-)
It all started with Erika introducing us all to her new beau-friend...Andy. He was very VERY nice, super charming and seemingly perfect for our little Miss Erika. We just want our sweet niece to be happy, she of course, deserves nothing but the very best. No pressure Andy, but we've got our eyes on you...hehe :-)
Macy trying to steal Grandma Lee's teeth.
she wuvs her gwamma :-)
The Big girls eating at the kid table (Kenzie, seriously, get your feet OFF the table! geesh, were you born in a barn??!)
The big kids eating at the adult table...grilling Andy of course! What a good guy :-)
My cousin Renae, Great Grandma Salisbury, Grace, Aunt Mary & Alli.
sweet Grace :-) She looks sooo much like her daddy!
As you can see Aunt Keri gets big thrills by feeding Macy some "naughty" sweets.
Macy (16 mo) & Grace (9 mo) posing in the yard, These expressions are seriously priceless! Both of these two are going to be great friends out at the lake this summer. Come on Sun, warm us up already so we can get to swimming and sun-bathing!!! :-)
Most of the cousins (minus Dylan, Colton & Erika) sitting in the "holding cell" until they are released for the long-anticipated Easter Egg Hunt.
The yard was literally blanketed with colorful eggs!
What I love most about this picture above are the 12 kids all wedged in the doorway waiting for the "go ahead".
And they're off...once again, our Kenzie is first out of the gate. Atta girl!!! :-) HA
"Every kid for themselves"
Brook looks pretty impressed with his selection.
Ally takes her sweet time to make sure she gets just the right color mix.
the boring big kids freezing on the porch.
Dylan. What a handsome boy you are! Gonna be a heart-breaker for sure.
Princess Danielle agrees to do ONE pose. Real quick she tells me.
McKenzie actually holds still for a milli-second to reluctantly pose for my camera as well. We've just about got these kids trained. Is that sad or what?? :-)
My sweet Macy is always willing to pose for the camera.
She just sat right in the middle of the yard as all the big kids raced around her tackling each other for the good eggs. She got quite a kick out of watching them. :-)
While Ally & McKenzie race to the green egg...I'd say Aunt Keri got the "prized" one :-)
Who am I that God has blessed me so richly with these amazing sisters!? That is the question. Never, ever, will a day go bye that I do not thank the good Lord above for placing and surrounding me with these loving, caring, sincere, brilliant and genuine women. Sure, it's no lie that sometimes we compete, bicker and argue over petty stuff...but least we've got petty stuff worth arguing about. And at least we are comfortable enough with each other at which to argue over petty things :-) At the end of the day, we hug it out and continue down this fulfilling journey of sister-hood! I LOVE you ladies and know in my heart-of-hearts we will be there for each other FOREVER through thick and thin!
Funny, how I'm the baby of the family, yet the tallest. hehe. yes, I felt the need to point it out! :-)
Aunt Heather is just as much the "paparazzi" as I am.
Thanks for playing along Danielle...yes...I totally made her do this.
After the hunt, the kids did not waste a single second before diving into their eggs in search of sweets. I am still trying to get RID of these by the way...they are almost all gone. phew. When kids (namely McKenzie) know they are somewhere in the house, they become obsessed and it's all they want to eat. This is precisely why we generally do not have candy or pop at our house on too regular a basis.
Mom & daughter.
Macy playing with the emptied eggs. She was having a ball with them!
Kenzie was excited about this little yellow yo-yo.
Macy crawls over to check out Anna's stash.
"uh-oooohhh". What are Grandpa Lee and Macy up to??
That's the classic look of "guilt"..."hurry up and put it in my mouth before my momma sees".
But really, it wasn't my idea, it's not my carpet...chocolate everywhere...what do I care?? Hehe
You know it's something "good" (aka bad), when the Aunts are FILMING it!
okay, so I seriously had nothing to do with this. This was all her aunts doing. Not sure which one exactly at that very we'll just blame them all.
I didn't agree with it...but I wasn't NOT going to get a picture! :)
Two of my very favorite people.
My dad is one amazing man. The most genuine and type of person. Just ask anyone else who knows him...We all love you Dad!!
The Witt kids posin' with G & G Lee.
uh oh. Grandma Lee & Ally kept dumping their baskets over each other. Ally thought she was pretty tricky & sly. :-)

So there. That's the end of my Easter pics. I promise.
God bless you all. Have a wonderful night!
I leave with this final message...
(no matter their ages - often)

Apr 26, 2011

A BLESSED Easter Sunday with the Harnisches

After our own little Easter "Bunny" celebration in the was time for us to get cleaned up and into our Sunday's best.  Off to church we go to celebrate what this blessed holiday is really about.  Jesus has risen...HE HAS RISEN INDEED!  Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead.  Let us all sing praises of Hallelujah!
 Our family...Easter Sunday 2011
 Toby didn't think the family photo would be complete until he was in he took the liberty of plopping himself right onto Macy's lap.  As it should be  :-)
 He's not too pleased with this new development...but he obliges anyway. :-)
 After the church service we gathered at Tod & Jessica's for some family fellowship and food.
 All the kiddos stuffing their faces!  Too funny that four high chairs are now needed to accommodate this "Harnisch" clan  :-)
 While the women were inside feeding the hungry children...the big boys were outside manning the grill.
 Gayle & Grady
 Hi Cutie-pie!
 And here's the cutie-pie's twin sister Neeley posing with Kenzie.

 The Easter Bunny came hand hid the eggs while we were eating!!
 McKenzie and Sam were the first ones out the door.
"No time to pose mom"...she says as she spots her next egg.
 Autumn finds the GOLDEN EGG!
 Little Harrison checks out all those eggs around Macy and thinks about crawling over there to get them...but he wasn't quite sure about this scratchy green stuff he was sitting on  :-)
 Big sister so generously shared five of her fifty eggs with little sis.
 So, I can't you think Macy is excited to have Aunt Gayle back in town for Easter??
 I'd say so  :-)
 Back in the house, all the kids sort through their goodies.
 Hi Ash!
 Now it's time for Harrison to blow out the candles on his 1-year birthday cake!
 Macy and Aunt Shelly
 Jessica snapping a cute pic of Harrison.
 The "big kid krew" swingin' on the swings.
 Tod & Grandpa Harnisch
 Shelly with her lovely little ladies, Ash & Autumn.  This is just before our competitive and intense game of Dominoes.  (yes, it's true - we had to google & youtube the instructions - it's not as easy as it looks)
 First BONFIRE of the season!!
 diggin' in the dirt never gets old.
 Joe, Ja, Jerry, Tod & Gordy talking about life I'm sure.
 resting time for the big kids lasted a whopping 12 minutes!
 Now it was time to go outside and wrestle with Grandpa.
 I love this pic...Grandpa Harnisch watching the kids play while us big girls play Dominoes.
 She's got pretty good form...obviously gets her b-ball skills from her momma  :-)  This girls going to have to get a hoop of her own soon!
 Sorting and organizing her eggs one last time before having to go home.