I know, I know... You didn't even realize such cuteness existed, right?! Maybe it's just my mommy goggles, but since having Welles, I find these kids with extra chromosomes to be extra, extra, darling. 

Our second annual photo shoot (by our very own  Cassandra Allred) for Down Syndrome Awareness Month, went off with only a few tears, a few pigtail pulls and lots of kids wandering out of their spots! Oh, and did I mention lots of sweaty moms trying to keep them contained while singing "itsy bitsy spider"?? Yet, I left not just exhausted but feeling happier and so blessed to have the kiddos and their mommies in my life. They always leave me wanting more. 

One of my early-on worries about having a child with DS-- Friends. But, Inclusion is only getting better and better from typical kids. I'm so touched by all of the posts I see circulating the internet about individuals with Down syndrome being named Prom King/Queen, or giving speeches at graduation, or just being loved on by their entire school. Peers are seeing the beauty in these kids first hand, more and more. Especially as we as a society are fighting for integration with typical and special needs kids. I now have much less worry about the love Welles will receive from peers as he grows. With that being said, I know there will come a time where the well-intended and loving peers may grow out of my son a tad. They'll grow, maybe go to far off colleges and start families of their own. Their natural progression will likely leave my Welles behind in some small ways. I plan for him to be an educated, independent and hard working adult, but I am realistic about his needs and his future. He will always live close to home where I can be close by and seeing that his medical needs and potential are met. I really don't know what his future holds, but one thing I do know is that he has some amazing friends for life in these pictures, below. These mommies and I talk about our kids and their potential. We have great plans and know that these kids will do great things. We also know that they will have each other as they all progress in different areas. Some may excel in ways others don't. And they'll all excel in ways that WE don't. But with our mommy bonds and goals, we hope to keep these friendships alive for years to come. I'm not limiting any of these kiddos potential, sky is the limit. But I do know that their extra chromosome helps them love and connect in a way that most of us aren't lucky enough to understand or accomplish in this life. They're extra special, these babies. Spend an hour in a room, sweating your brains out while dancing and begging them to all smile at the exact same time! You'll feel their awesomeness even through the hard things (like picture taking;))!

Read a little note that their mamas wrote below. I really wanted to show you the strong and amazing women behind each beautiful child! 

You all know enough about Welles, but here is my snippet for his latest interests! 

Welles loves everyone he meets and is happy to plant a wet one on just about anybody! Music makes him come alive (especially Christian rap and EDITED Macklemore ;)! He loves to pull his sisters hair and baby talks with his brother. They are his two favorite people. Welles loves laying on the floor, lining up and inspecting matchbox cars. He is a junkie for the outdoors and takes off if we turn our heads for a split second. He is the heart of this family!

Ella is a busy bee. Doggies, applesauce and "Wheels on the bus" are her favorites. We often find her snuggled in a chair looking at books. She has such a bright and shiny personality, waving at everyone, everywhere we go! She loves all the attention she gets from her older siblings, especially piggy back rides from big brother. 

Eddison (Eddy), is five years old. He loves to pretend he's a doggy and do tricks for Cheetos. His absolute favorite thing in the world is throwing rocks off of the bridge into the lake behind our home. He can watch Veggie Tales for hours while eating "pop-pop" (popcorn). He loves to swim, dance, ride the train at the mall, and eat Thai and Indian food. He's crazy about his grandpa and is the life of the party. He gives the best hugs and is adored by all who know him. 

Bennett lives for a round of the Itsy Bitsy Spider or any other nursery rhyme! His chubby hands are starting to do all of the actions and it is adorable!

Indy loves reading books, dancing with mom and giving kisses to her daddy. She is always smiling and loves to play outside. 

Miss Hannah is my little Koala bear. She gives the best hugs and loves her animals and wrestling with her sister!

Tessa loves her three older siblings and being right in the middle of them. She loves getting into her brothers legos and getting tickled until she can't breathe. Tessa loves yogurt, raspberries, her blankie and sucking her thumb on her daddies lap. We love her to the moon! 

I have to say this about amazing Jeana. She has two beautiful daughters with DS, because one simply was not enough. She ventured to Russia to adopt Jaymi when she was five to join their family. Love their story.

Kaelyn loves to jam-out to tunes, swing, tackle her sisters and make mischief wherever she goes. Jaymi rocks the monkey bars, loves helping others and eating Mac and Cheese like it's going out of style!

Strider loves anything music, he dances and loves to sign along with nursery rhymes. He has so much personality that his physical therapist calls him "party in a box"!! He has so much love for Elmo and his Sesame Street buddies. It's been fun to see him interact with them on TV! Trying to walk and reading books have been his favorite things to do lately. His personality grows everyday and we couldn't love him more!