God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


This week we had the wonderful privilege of attending the Horses With Hearts banquet. Each kid that rides with the program is honored with a trophy, and unlike last year, Brenden was able to walk across the stage to receive his. He was very excited to get to go up on stage....long before they got to his name, he walked from our table all the way to the front, and waited patiently in front of the stage for his name to be called. It was so wonderful to celebrate all the accomplishments of all the riders but all the volunteers as well. There are so many people who give freely of their time to make this program possible, and words could never express our gratitude to everyone who helps.


Saturday, we took the kids to Home Depot for a snowman craft but also to see Santa. Madelynn is probably scarred for life from the experience....this sideways look is to make sure Santa wasn't getting any closer to her. He was about 20 feet away and the sight of him brought on major tears. She has never been more happy to get away from a store!


Brenden on the other hand, with some enticing, sat on Santa's lap, the first time since his first Christmas. He told Santa what he wanted for Christmas, asked where his reindeer were, and then said, "Santa, I love you so much." Afterwards, he walked all through Home Depot, stopping to "fix" things. He might take after my dad and granddad, as Lowe's and Home Depot are their favorite stores as well.

Brenden also had the opportunity to "Shop With A Cop" this weekend. There was one spot left, and Jonathan was asked at work if Brenden would want to do it. Brenden loves loves loves police officers, mostly from Jonathan talking about related stuff from work. He got to go pick out a few toys, but, melt my heart, he asked if he could get a toy for Madelynn, too. He loves her so much.....so she's now the owner of her very first Barbie.

I truly love this time of year, especially with kids. They both still stand in amazement looking at all the lights and decorations. They LOVE Snack the Elf (our Elf on the Shelf) and look for him first thing in the morning. But they both also know why we celebrate Christmas. Earlier this week I asked Brenden if he remembered, and honestly, I didn't think he would since last Christmas was really the last time we talked about the reason for Christmas. He immediately answered, "It's Jesus' birthday." And now Madelynn says it, too. He remembered that last year we had a birthday party for Jesus and asked if we could do the same this year.

I hope and pray that each of you take time to enjoy this season. It's so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle that for so many people goes along with the holiday.

2 comments:

"The Popham's" said...

Your blog is always something the I look forward to reading...you have a gift...you need to write a book!!! love you!!!

C. S. Beyer said...

Hi Mrs. Dugan,

I stumbled upon your blog, and reading few of the entries has given me a very meaningful inside perspective about having a child affected by spina bifida. I am inspired by your courage and touched by the pictures of your family that I had to reach out. My name is Courtney Beyer, and I am the new Study Coordinator at VitaPath Genetics. Earlier this year, we successfully completed the first phase of our landmark study looking at the genetic factors contributing to spina bifida. In conjunction with our academic collaborators at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF, we recruited over 1,000 women and their child affected by spina bifida to participate.

Our first phase produced promising results but, we believe that it is appropriate for us to replicate this study in a second, independent group of mothers. We are beginning our second study in early January and are reaching out to more mothers to participate. In order to reach as many women as possible, I would very much appreciate if you could include news about the study in your blog. I also have banners and buttons if you would like to post something on your site. In addition it would be great to connect with you via facebook (search SB Genetics) and twitter @sbgenetics.

I would like to get in contact with you to share more information and answer any questions that you may have. Please email me at CBeyer@vpgenetics.com and visit www.sbgenetics.org. This website gives an in depth explanation of the study as well as a link if you are interested in enrolling. Thank you for taking the time to read my note and I am greatly looking forward to being in contact.

Warmest regards and happy holidays,

Courtney