A Very Merry (And Much Less Stressful) Second Christmas

It’s hard to believe this is our second Christmas as parents…and especially parents of a child with Down syndrome. Crazy!

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We love being this little boy’s parents!

This 2nd Christmas as new parents is much different than our 1st Christmas for a number of reasons.

Last Christmas it had only been ten days since we found out our son had Down syndrome. And only a few days since we were told Noah’s new born screen tested positive for Glutaric acidemia (GA-1) and he’d need to undergo several months of testing to rule it out. (Which, by the way, is why I refer to that week as the scariest week of my life.)

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Merry Christmas everyone!

There was so much newness in our life this time last year, and it’s amazing how much more calm this Christmas is compared to last Christmas. Here’s a few of the new things we were experiencing this time last year.

1. We were new parents

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Noah’s rocking the baby bow tie!

We had spent months before Noah was born preparing for his arrival. We had turned my home office into Noah’s nursery. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember going to Home Depot with my wife and carefully studying the various paint color options. Taking home handfuls of those small paint sample cards and going back and forth on what the perfect color for Noah’s new nursery should be. Finally deciding on the color. And finally laying down the first coat of paint on the walls of the room that our son would soon call his home.

It was a lot of work (and I learned I’m not a very good painter) but it was fun.

It was so exciting preparing for his arrival.

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We read books. We had showers. We got gifts. We bought tons of clothes, and other fun toys. Then we waited for Noah to come. And we waited. And waited. And waited. I’m not a very patient person, and it felt like foooooreeever before hearing the words I longed to hear from my wife’s OBGYN on December 14, 2010:

“We’re going to induce labor tomorrow morning, so be here at 8 am.”

Wow…!!! I couldn’t believe it. We were so excited. So pumped. So ready for this…! (Boy, if I only knew what the next 24 hours had in store.)

2. We were new parents to a child with Down syndrome.

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He can’t wait to get his hands on some presents.

As I’ve mentioned before, pretty much everything I knew about Down syndrome prior to Noah being born I had learned from watching T.V. So not only were we first time parents, we were first time parents of a child with Down syndrome.

By the way, if someone from Barnes and Noble is reading this, it’d be cool if you’d put the down syndrome books closer to to the parenting books for people like me. I had to track back and forth between the two sections. 🙂

3. We were experiencing so many new emotions and feelings.

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So much Christmas joy!

I can’t even begin to describe all of the new emotions and feelings we were experiencing. We were new parents, we had just found out our son had Down syndrome, we had also just found out he may have been born with GA-1; our entire universe at had just changed in the blink of an eye. But we still had a wonderful first Christmas with our little boy (and he scored lots of fun christmas gifts!)

(By the way, each of us are only one phone call away from having our entire lives changed by the way. Such is the adventure of life.)

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I have to say this year, with all it’s ups and downs (pun intended) has been the best year of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am so madly in love with my wife and little boy. I know it sounds sort of cliché but I really feel like I’m living a dream. God has invited each of us in to this awesome story He is writing. It’s the adventure of a life time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here are some images from our son’s second Christmas. It was a sweet, sweet time in our home. And I’m looking forward to many more.

By the way, I know it’s summer but what better time to think about Christmas than in July! 🙂 How did you and your family spend this last Christmas? Do you have any fun family traditions?

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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. Sue Freivald says

    I so look forward to your posts about you and your wife’s life with Noah! You are an inspiration and a bright and shining star in my heaven! Your family is in my prayers. As are families with so called normal children (are any of us “normal”). Noah blesses us all. Sue

  2. I love your pictures of Noah. He is a very cute little boy. Our first christmas with our DS son was similar…..lots of questions, concerns, worries etc. Our 2nd X-mas (Dec 2011) was better….he was all over those presents under the tree and ripping them up. I can’t wait for this year because he is much more active and curious.

    Thanks for sending all those pictures and sharing your stories.

  3. mary starzyk says

    Hi Rick, I’ve just discovered your site in the last few days…I love it! I’m so happy you are spreading the word about DS in a most realistic manner. It’s so important for the general public to know these kids are just that…kids. They may have more challenges than most, but the rewards we get as parents are absolutely wonderful. Keep up to good work. PS…Love the pic of Noah holding the Christmas lights. Mary

  4. I am new to your blog, and I have soaked up every picture, video and description. My family is in the process of adopting a child with down syndrome. I watch your family, and am encouraged my the love, honesty and transparency you guys share. Thank you for opening up your home to let people like us watch from a distance. You guys are a blessing. I assure you…you have a new reader and Noah has a new student.

    • Hey thanks! It’s so great to connect with you. There are so many great parents who are a part of what a like to call an online community. Everyone is super loving and helpful, so feel free to ask any questions in the comments or email me directly.

      Also I left I link to our Facebook page above. There are thousands of parents there who would love to connect with you guys as well.

      Where are you adopting form? Are you guys using Reece’s Rainbow? Do you have other children? Feel us in. This is super exciting. You guys rock!

      By the way, how did you find our website? (I also enjoying learning how people find us.) 🙂

      • we are using Reece’s Rainbow! I discovered you on one of those “I am going to explore the internet for information days”. I saw a video of a news company out of Texas that reported on you. I love your site (we now follow you on facebook and twitter). My daughter bonded with a class mate last year (5th grade) who has down syndrome. The relationship was so special that she was placed with this same classmate for this upcoming school year :).

        We live in Alabama. I am a pastor of a church and my wife is a social worker. We have two children. My son Chandler (13) and Caroline (11). We feel so blessed to be bringing this beautiful child into our family.

        Thanks again for your site…Your son is amazing. Your family is such a blessing.

        • That’s so cool! I can’t wait to stay connected to your journey also.

          I’m in pastoral ministry as well. I just finished up my ThM at Dallas Seminary (DTS)….so good to connect and please keep us posted on everything!

          Please also let me know any ways I can be praying for you and your family!

  5. Noah has a bell! Logan has loves to ring a bell like that and tries to steal it from the audiologist every time he comes over! We tried to find one for his birthday but couldn’t. I did get him a maraca but he doesn’t get as excited over that as he does the bell.

    • That’s awesome! How old is Logan?

      By the way, Noah is a huge fan of the mini maraca’s also. 🙂 (http://noahsdad.com/rattles/)

      • Logan was born March 18, 2011 so is just a few months younger than Noah. I found your site shortly before you “blew up” and really connected to your story. We were just as in shock and upset to find out Logan had DS when he was born. This of course was compounded by the fact we had been shocked to find out we were pregnant only 6 months earlier (we have 3 older children and thought we were ‘done’). But as we know now, it is impossible to not fall in love with these little guys! 🙂

  6. Loving your site! What gorgeous pictures. I am the sister and future guardian of a 25 year old Down Syndrome man, who is happy and very healthy! I would like to hug your child, that is all. 🙂

    • Lauren,

      This is awesome. You sound like an awesome big/little sister. 🙂

      I’d love to hear more about your story. What’s your brother up to these days? Did you and your parents discuss this? Do you have other siblings? This is something my wife and I have thought about, so it’s interesting to have some “insider” information. 🙂

  7. Love the wonder of Christmas through a child’s eyes. Here’s wishing many more such Happy Christmas’ (in July!) for the years to come!

    • Hey thanks Flo!

      It’s so good to see your commenting. 🙂 Sorry we’ve been a little MIA for a while. Such is life.

      We hope to get on the ball again. 🙂

  8. First, great pictures of Noah at Christmas.
    My story is a little different than yours. I remember the first Christmas with each of my four kids – they were always extra special. Treyton is our fourth child and the one blessed with the extra copy of the 21st chromosome. That Christmas was a little harder for my wife than it was for me but we had six months to adjust to the diagnosis when you only had ten days. Thank you for telling that part of your story.

  9. Hi Rick
    I love your postings and look forward to them, the very first picture I saw of Noah was the one of him wrapped in the christmas lights, that is one of my favourites, my new fav is the one you just put up on facebook of Noah with the crystal blue sky in the background, saying the sky’s the limit.
    I really wish more people would have faith in children with Downs syndrome that you do, because these are truly amazing kids.
    I have been working with children with special needs for a long time, and one of the most disheartening things I come up against are professionals who turn into fortune tellers and predict the children’ s future..
    Your website is one of the many things that keeps me going, because when I can get to work with parents like you it makes me want to do my very best for their child
    I am so proud of the little guy that I currently work with, he can recognize the first five letters of his alphabet, he is getting to know his colors and he is only 2 and half years of age, when I tell people this they have a hard time believing me. there comment is he has downs he is delayed well delayed does not mean he cannot learn
    Keep going with the website it brings alot of joy and whats more its changing a lot of mind
    Nancy Howson
    Toronto, Ontario

    • Thanks for the kind words Nancy. We have a ton of fun with this little guy.

      We have been blown away by the number of amazing parents we’ve had a chance to meet on the Noah’s Dad Facebook page. It’s been such a cool experience getting to meet so many families that are really raising their children right.

      The little guy you work with sounds awesome, and it sounds like you are doing a great job. What sort of work do you do if you don’t mind me asking.

      • Hi Rick
        Justin is amazing and his parents are amazing to work for
        He attends a specialized pre school during the school year but I work with him on school holidays and in the afternoons
        I have an art program that I do which is sensory based
        I use things like bubble wrap, wax paper, tin foil just about any thing that can crinkle, and can provide different sensory experiences for the kids
        Justin;s first sensory experience was working with condensed milk and cherrios, the condensed milk is better to work with then glue because it smells nicer and if they put in their mouth it really does not matter.
        if you mix together paint or food coloring the colour becomes even more vibrant , so justin and i ve painted on bubble wrap waxed paper, tin foil , for gluing activities I use the rip and tear approach together justin and i will rip up some construction paper and then glue it using the condensed milk, to help him start to learn his colors, I would hold up a choice of two colors and say this is red this is blue etc which one do you want and he would choose one
        In september I started to teach Justin his letters, I found a great website (will be happy to send you the link ) which has all sorts of activities for introducing letters, I have also taken a course called lullabies to literacy, I have extra copies of the activities if you would like them I can send them along to you . During the day we work in his therapy, justin has been doing a therapy called medeks which has had the most remarkable results that I have ever seen, so we work in that as well, I make sure that we have loads of outside fun especially during this summer when the weather has been so amazing. Throw in some music stories and once a week we do some cooking we have even made his mom and dad dinner. Bob and Jen will be sending him to daycare this fall, it is their goal that justin will be integrated with typical children , I will miss him but it is my hope that the program that I have developed with Justin could help other children.

  10. Angela A. Rosadio says

    You have some amazingly beautiful photos of Noah! What a precious gift you were given. Children in general make us view the world differently, at least most of us. A child with Down Syndrome not only makes you view the world differently, but they make you truly appreciate life, love, fear and everything in between. God bless you and your beautiful family and thank you for letting us all into your home.

  11. Ah, thank’s for clarifying. I was thinking either I’m either five months behind or you are five months ahead on your posts. That is one good looking boy you have there. And I totally get that – you’re whole life can change in the matter of one phone call, one doctor’s visit, one instance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at the right time. That knowledge could easily deprive me of my sanity if not for the knowledge of the soveirgnty of God – that He will work His plans out for our lives regardless.

    Thanks for keeping it positive! It’s so nice knowing where to go for an uplifting word about these precious children of ours.


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