Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Fun Side of Nick

Update~Nick Turns 20

Update~Nick Turns 20

I can’t believe that Nick turned 20 years old last Friday.  It seems like just yesterday that he came into this world.


Nick enjoyed his favorite meal that evening, a big bowl of pasta!

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He had a blast at school with a birthday dance party earlier that day.  He loved opening his presents.  Big guy is convinced that all greeting cards make noise now.  Here he is stimming away to the card his Aunt Laura and Uncle Scott sent him.

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Last night we went out to dinner with the family.  Guess what Nick had to eat?  That’s right, another big bowl of pasta.  We topped off the evening with a decadent triple chocolate cake!  After a evening of gluttony, we settled in to watch The Beatles special.

Beatles birthday

I have a lot of thoughts floating around in my noggin about the last 20 years, and raising a child with Down syndrome and autism.  It’s a mixed bag of emotions~joy, triumph, gratitude, and amusement tossed with fear, sadness, frustration and anger.  I’m going reflect for a bit and share at a later date.  For now, I will try to get use to the idea that Nick is not a child anymore.  Not an easy task given his childish ways.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.


Posted in Fun Side of Nick

Blog #40~Say It’s Your Birthday

Blog#40~Say it’s your birthday…

“You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too–yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you.”

Beatles birthday

It’s a silly thing we do…… singing this Beatles tune when calling certain people on their birthdays.  Speaking of which, this week two of the Unnerstall men have theirs.  Al is hitting the big one on Wednesday.  That’s right the big 5-0. 🙂  On the exact day that you turn 50, the AARP card application magically shows up in the mailbox. I proceeded to tear it up and to this day still toss them in the trash. But Al plans to embrace it fully to the extent that will make them go bankrupt.  On the evening of Feburary 6, 1994 I went into labor a week earlier than my due date.  I honestly thought I might have the baby on Al’s birthday.  But like his brother, Nick took his time and so he was born the following day. He was 6 pounds, 14 oz. and was 19 inches long. I gained exactly 19 pounds with this pregnancy.  Nick will be 19 years old on Thursday. 🙂

Here is a look at some of Nick’s birthday celebrations.  What a journey it has been.  Nick’s first birthday was celebrated with my side of the family and with my friend, Sally’s family.  Nick has very low muscle tone and you can see that my mom had to hold him with support over the cake as he blew out the candles.  At this point he was sitting up but far from being able to crawl very far much less pull up to stand.

A single candle on the homemade chocolate cake.  Hank is close by on the right.  Oh, my bangs are hideous…

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It wasn’t until Nick was 3 ½ until he was able to walk on his own. Here he is at the Arbor School in Houston celebrating his fourth birthday.


We relocated to the East Bay area outside of San Francisco. Many of the celebrations were simple. This is a sad little cake. It’s pathetic as Hank would say. I am ashamed I made that.

Hank holding his brother’s hands so he won’t flap them by his ears…..

So much for that 🙂


He is sooooooooo excited! He is going to town stimming those hands by his ears. Looking back I see it; a trait of autism.

This is more like it. A homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting that Hank and I made.  In case you were wondering I don’t have any formal cake decorating training, shocker right 🙂

Nick turns 6!


Here’s Al at age 6, sporting a short cut like Nick…..all together, aahhhh he’s so cute…..

We moved to the Midwest and Nick celebrated his 7th birthday in style with a legit cake and the party theme was Thomas the Tank Engine.

At school for his 8th birthday, Nick got a special lunch with a Happy Meal. Looks like it is working….what a happy guy!


The following year the birthday boys celebrated together with Al’s folks Jim and Theresa on Super Bowl Sunday. Best part of the day was the opening kickoff that Devin Hester ran back for a touchdown.
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Unfortunately, Da Bears came up short. But it looks like the birthday boys got some nice presents.  Nick is really growing and rocking that Brian Urlacher jersey!


Nick’s got to get more lung power for his 17th, whew…..


Big breath now you have 18 candles to blow out..Big guy’s got this!


I hope you enjoyed this little taste of the boy’s birthday celebrations.  Common theme seems to be chocolate cake in all shapes and sizes. What a contrast from the low tone baby 19 years ago to present day.  My good friend April G. always says, “Funny thing if you feed and give them drink, they will grow.” Nick has done that in his own way and pace.  Not always in the time frame I had invisioned for him. But he did, and I couldn’t be more proud. That’s what is in my noggin this week.  Happy birthday boys and cheers to many more.🙂  Have a great week everyone and may your cake be full of candles this year and for many more to come!