First Vacation And New Best Friends

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(Hint: Click on the large image to get an even lager image!)

Last weekend was one for the Smith family record books.  We took Noah to Houston for his first ever vacation…!

We went to Houston to visit some of our best friends, and meet a family that would become our new best friends.

When Noah was born we were put in touch with The Skagg Family.  The Skaggs are from Houston and attend the same church (Houston’s First Baptist Church) Abbie and I were members of when we lived there.   They have a three year old son, Seth, who like our son, was born with Down Syndrome.

When Noah was born we were scared, nervous, excited, and confused all rolled into one.  One of the main things we desperately wanted was a look into the future.  We wanted to know what our family would be like.  Would we ever be “normal” again?  Would things ever be “ok” again?  What was “ok” anyway?  We had no idea.

You wouldn’t believe the number of weird, sappy books people gave us.  I know they were just trying to help, but sad and sappy books was not what we wanted.  What we wanted was to “know” what our family was going to look like form this point forward. ——> Enter, The Skaggs.

As soon as we connected with them we became their Facebook stalkers.  They posted videos of their family on Facebook, and we consumed every one of them.  I remember in vivid detail watching one of their videos where Seth was playing The Michael Jackson Experience game on the Wii.  I sat in our house after everyone had gone to bed, and I watched that video over, and over again.  He was dancing.  Having fun.  Being normal!  (Yes, normal!  Not just because he was dancing, but because he was playing The Michael Jackson Experience on the Wii!  I’m not even really sure why that was such a big deal to me, but there was just something about him dancing to Michael Jackson that seemed normal to me. In fact, I’ll say that God used Michael Jackson in that moment to bless me….!)  I remember my heart exploding with joy, and saying to Abbie (my wife), “Wow…look at Seth playing the Wii!  I can’t wait until Noah can play the Wii!”  I’m also pretty sure I wept with joy that night.  It was that moment, after watching that video, I realized that things were going to be much more normal then un-norma.  That night that little three year old I had never met, blessed me more then he’ll ever know.

As the weeks passed we seriously checked their Facebook almost every day (yah, I know, we’re strange.)  I would say to Abbie, “Hey did you see Seth’s new video?”  And my wife would come home from work and say the same to me.  We watched Seth play in the sandbox, build some sort of awesome fort in his backyard, play with his little sister, and do lots of other typical three-year-old stuff.  We loved it…!  In fact we fell in love with their family.  (It wasn’t a 100% online (weird)  romance though…we actually talked back and forth with them – so we aren’t that weird!)   In fact, they are the inspiration for this website.  I’m not sure I can ever express to the Skaggs what those videos did for my wife and I.  Their videos meant so much to us, and I wanted to return the favor.  My hope is that other families “out there” will stumble upon this site, and find the same hope and encouragement through Noah’s videos as we did from Seths’.

This reason this vacation was a big one was not because it was Noah’s first vacation, but because we finally got to hang out with the Skaggs!!!  They let us spend the entire day at their house.  The nicknamed their house the “Fun House,” and a Fun House it was!  They seriously have the kind of family Abbie and I long to have.  The joy of Christ shined all throughout that entire house…It was awesome!  They shared their entire family with us.  We laughed.  We I cried.  (I’m such a baby.)  We talked.  We ate.  We hugged.  We played.  We spent the day without physical therapy appointments, and worries about what the results of the next test would be.  We simply spent the day being normal.  And we left from that fun house with hearts deeply full of joy.

I hope you enjoy some pictures of our weekend, and the special day we had at the Skaggs house.  I also want to invite you to check out their blog, and read about Seth’s miracle ear!  It’s truly one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard!  You have to check it out…!

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. Does Noah have a Faux hawk! nice!

  2. I found a great deal of encouragement reading other people’s blogs and seeing the beautiful photos/videos of their thriving children and families. Thanks for letting us share in your joy. And it really is a joy, isn’t it…once we get past our own fears, we see the truly beautiful life before us.

    Hey, can you tell me how you got your photos to scroll below the larger one? Love it.

    • Same here! We “facebook stalked” a couple we have gotten to know when Noah was born. I’m pretty sure we watched every video they posted! It helped us so much. My prayer is this website would do the same for other people.

      Noah is truly a joy. It’s amazing!

      On my pictures, I use a blogging theme called Pro Photo Theme. Click my link at the bottom of the page. It is a premium theme (there is a cost involved) however it is well worth it. That theme is amazing! They designed those galleries (take a look at the large version of the pictures on the link I posted, it’s incredible) so this theme is the only theme I know of that has the ability to create such high quality picture galleries! I’d HIGHLY suggest you check it out! Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Awesome! And yes, doesn’t it make you feel great to see other kids with DS doing such normal things?! (referring to your FB “stalking” and seeing another child with DS playing Wii with sibs. My son is eight and it still brings tears (of joy, admiration, hope) to my eyes to see things like this. My goal is also to let the world know that having a child with DS is such a special gift. I want people to see how ‘normal’ kiddos with DS are, and how much they can do and learn and accomplish. If I can just change one person’s mind about people with DS…well then I have accomplished something. I am thrilled to find someone else with the same goals.

  4. I am one that has stumbled across your site trying to learn all I can. I don’t want to read the books about facts and percentages. I want to see what our little family will look like. Nolan will be 4 weeks old tomorrow. I felt lost and devistated when the pedi requested a blood test to confirm that he had Ds. I love watching Noah be a normal baby. It gives me joy and hope for my little one. Thank you for sharing your little gift from God with us!


  1. […] few days after Noah was born we were introduced to some friends in Houston who have a three year old, Seth, who was born with Down Syndrome.  We quickly began to […]

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