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Saturday, December 30, 2006


Well 2006 is winding down and we have a lot to be grateful for this year. Jeffrey is truly a gift and I feel so blessed to have him. He’s such a pleasant guy, so full of smiles and giggles. I truly can’t image our life without him anymore. He’s just such an amazing creature. It’s a joy to watch him learn and discover the world around him. In a few short weeks he’ll be a year old. It’s amazing how quickly this year has flown by. I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers this year. I don’t know how we would have made it without everyone’s support.

I wanted to do this for Thanksgiving but somehow the time escaped me. I just wanted to make a list of the important people in my life and thank them, albeit belatedly for helping us make it through this tumultuous year, and also to let everyone else know how great you are. To start with our fabulous friends:

  • Marc and Heidi helped us make it through the pregnancy and even letting me crash family events when I had bad days and Brian wasn’t home. They also were a great source of support and knowledge for the NICU, helping us understand all the ins and outs of preemie life.
  • Kevin and Kimberly not only brought me Pepsi when it’s all I craved through the pregnancy but helped during the hospital and after when brought our little miracle home.
  • Kurt and Steph drove all the way out here too many times to count to give us counsel and friendship and the knowledge that you don’t have to be next door to be great friends. They also continue to let us use them and their home as a way station as we travel for parts unknown.
  • Liane has been our master babysitter. Letting us sleep at her house before Jeffrey’s MRI, watching him so we can clean our house, get out to dinner, and consistently making Jeffrey laugh like no one else. She also lets me vent on bad days and doesn’t get mad when we don’t de-cat our house very well.
  • Jen and Michael have lent their support online and over the phone throughout the pregnancy and beyond. We wish them luck with their (almost here) peanut and can hopefully continue beta testing parenting techniques for them.
  • Alicia came out and spent a week creating Jeffrey’s gorgeous mural and visiting the NICU with us. Thanks to her he has the coolest room in the world. We all wish we had this when we were kids. She has incredible talent and a beautiful heart. Support her art and buy some of her stuff, people!
  • Mike and Wendy drove to our place at two in the morning to get us clothing and camera when we found out we’d be having a baby that night. It’s tough to find better friends.
  • Adam & Joanne and Angela & Mark, the editors-en-absentia of our parenting guidebook, volume 2.
  • Sue, the dispatcher from Hilton Fire Department, made preemie-sized clothes for Jeffrey while he was in the hospital and has been a great source of advice along the way.
  • Monica (Jeffrey’s Physical Therapist), Jennifer (Jeffrey’s Vision Therapist) and Michelle (Jeffrey’s Early Intervention Coordinator) for being the closest thing to a manual for “Why did my kid do that?” and “When should we … ?”.
  • Al Davis, the former president of RIT who setup the Sarah Patterson/Louise Hall scholarship in honor of his late wife’s sister which has greatly helped us to afford Jeffrey’s childcare expenses.
  • My coworkers went out of their way to be accommodating to me during this entire year. They let me pump fifty times a day when Jeffrey was still in the hospital and understood why my mind wasn’t completely on the job. It’s a pleasure to go to work every day with such good people.
  • The following people, in no particular order: Fred & Maria, Nichole, Tiffany, “Aunt” Cindy, Kitty, Barbara, the entire staff at Premier Abstract & Title/Gates Ambulance (for keeping Jeffrey entertained while Brian fixed computers!), the blog readers from and, Mary, the staff of the Golisano Children’s Hospital NICU, (there’s a humor-side to this, after all), Ben & Shipley, Rich & Lisa, Margaret’s House (especially Ana, Julie and Roberta)

A special note to our families:

Thank you so much. Thank you for my showers and for driving out to see us, for listening to our rules about the baby and not getting angry or demanding with us. I wish we were able to see you all more often and that I was able to adequately express my profound joy in having such a giving family. Thank you for the hours you’ve spent with us on the phone assuring us that it would all work out. Mom & Dads Meehan & Sheppard, Meme & Poppy, Grandma & Grandpap Sheppard, Bonnie & Roger all spent countless hours with us in person and in spirit – and sometimes just to remind us to update the blog!

Especially thanks to my mom. She drove back and forth with me daily to the NICU, gave up two months to come and stay with Jeffrey and respected our house and our rules without any complaint. She made me proud to be her daughter and I can only hope that I can be half as good to Jeffrey as she is to me.

I am simply so amazed at the love and care that people poured out for us. Thank you everyone for your generosity (of both gifts and spirit) and if I didn’t mention you specifically it is not because you didn’t touch our lives but because there are too many people to mention. Looking back, this was one of the most heart wrenching and yet fulfilling years of my life. We found our Jeffrey and he is life-affirming and spectacular. We discovered that life can be tough with your family far away, but that friends are the family you pick out yourselves. All in all, I’m looking forward to next year and new memories and more time with our precious little boy. Have a wonderful New Year and may all your wishes come true and your lives be full of blessings.

Danielle (and Brian)

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