SUMMER RECAP [ft. Alaina Jae]

Some exciting news before I dive into the Summer Recaps Ft. Alaina.  (Drumroll please…!)

This September, Laina and I have the privilege of being on the cover of InSpire Magazine (HOW COOL, right!?). The feature story is about our Unique Love and the unending joy that she brings to our family. I think it is so stinkin’ awesome that this little 6-year old peanut who is so inspiring to me, is now getting the opportunity to inspire so many other readers.

If you’ve found my site via InSpire Magazine, welcome! So glad you’ve come to check it out. If you want to get email updates about when I post, please go right ahead and subscribe at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, feel free to scroll through old posts. InSpire referenced one of my posts that was heavily centered on Laina and her DS, and the link to that post is here.

If you’ve been on the site before, I encourage you to check out the September issue of InSpire. InSpire is a magazine local to the Beaver Dam, WI area that features stories of “heart, health, and happiness, along with articles on local inspiring women.”

Finally, a big thanks to InSpire magazine—especially Jill Huizenga, Dorothy Bliskey, and Deb Bradley. It was a privilege to able to share the love and relationship between my family and Laina and help to make others more aware of special needs.  Thanks for allowing that to happen.

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(P.S. After I learned we’d be on the cover, I quickly added “Grace the Cover of a Magazine” to my bucket list, just so I could cross it off. Feeling accomplished…ha!)


Anywho, time for Summer Recaps ft. Alaina (because it’s clear everyone knows that a story featuring Alaina, cannot go wrong). So, here it goes. My top 5 Summer Memories with Alaina begin now:

#1. The typical.

They typical summer activities include, but are not limited to: Picnics, sidewalk chalk, trips to the park, swimming, and going for walks. As you see, these are some of Laina’s favorite too (:

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 #2. Screenshot!

With my mom having summers off, she gets to spend lots of time with Laina. Thankfully, over the past few months, Jay and I have taught her how to use Snapchat.  This means she gets to capture and send pictures of our Sis when we’re both at work.  Below are some of my personal favorites.


#3. Welcome committee.

Nothing is better then coming home and hearing: “My sister is home! My sister is home!”

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#4. Good Morning!

A large handful of summer mornings, my alarm clock does not get much use. This is because Laina has so graciously decided she can do the job herself. Her room is right next to mine, so I can hear her door slowly creak open and the pitter-patter of her feet on the hardwood floor. But mostly what I hear is, “Wake up! Time to get up, Joeli! Wake up, sister!”

And as much as I like to sleep, I can’t even be mad. I love it. She’ll climb up the side of my bed to get more Zzz’s in, to cuddle, or whisper, “Let’s talk!” (Mostly about bunnies and brothers, of course).

Yes, this is definitely a highlight of my summers home with Alaina.

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#5. PLay ball.

The last weekend of summer, we joined our family friends in an event they have helped with for years:  Dream Catchers.  The Dream Catchers Game is an annual event that is made exclusively for kids with special needs. Ranging from 6-17 (Alaina just made the cut!), the kids are able to play in their very own softball game. Volunteers from around the Fond du Lac area are each paired up with a child. This year the wonderful volunteers were from the St. Mary Spring’s softball team.  The “Buddies” were superb and it allowed family to enjoy the game as typical spectators.

After a little spat of throwing sand (tsk, tsk), Laina did very well (which pretty much means chatting with her buddy in the far right field grass). She loves the social aspect of sports ;). We all had such a fun night cheering on our little Allstar!

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And that, my friends, is my Summer Top 5 with Laina.  Thanks for reading! XO

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  • Rachel Smits

    How fun! I can hardly wait to see the cover of InSpire! Good thing September starts tomorrow 🙂