Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Team Tessa Take 2!

Events in life that really, truly merit a 3:30 AM alarm clock buzz are few and far between.  For labor, I’ll allow it.  A flight to some exotic paradise, it’s not off the table. Otherwise, 3:30 is not an hour that I have any appreciation for.

For Team Tessa, I’ll make an exception.

When we woke the girls up at that ungodly hour (which was so appropriately deemed “night time” by Ellie), they were rarin’ to go.  Bleary eyed adults piled into our van for the trek to the city, wondering what in the world we were thinking getting up so early but the girls?  The girls were ON.



In case you can’t tell, that’s me looking exhausted, Ellie looking annoyed at another picture being taken and Tessa with her best “I’m not impressed” face.

We had an amazing team running for UPS for DownS again this year.  With the help of friends, family, coworkers and totally random, awesome people (seriously), we raised over $4,000 for the group.  It takes a lot of courage to sign up for any running event in Chicago in July and today’s heat and humidity were unrelenting.  I’m so thankful for these amazing people and their dedication to running for Tessa.


And of course, the spectators are pretty awesome, too.


The rock, the glue, the heart of this team, John has fought through late night and early morning runs, calf pain, exhaustion, and an irritated wife to make this happen.  His dedication to the cause, like his dedication to our girl, is unbelievable.



Despite the 90 degree heat and 95% humidity, we had a great day!  And since I’ve been up since night time, rather than lots of words, you’ll have to settle for photo evidence…



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Team Tessa Rocks Chicago

The last week and a half was so busy and went so fast that I’m trying to figure out if it actually really happened or not.  I’m looking forward to sharing some pictures from our great vacation in Saugatuck, Michigan.  But first, we had the most amazing day on Sunday.  Team Tessa absolutely rocked the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and 5k!

We raised over $5,000 for our favorite parent support group, UPS for DownS and were the top fundraising team for our group.  When totaled, all of the runners who came out to race raised over $34,000!!!  Amazing!!

Team Tessa is ready to race!!


While the day started a LOT earlier than any of us would have liked (especially me, as we were at a wedding the night before…), it was so cool to walk through the city early in the morning, watching the sun rise up over the buildings as 30,000 runners made their way to the starting line.  Ellie was very excited to see the skyscrapers and to wear her Team Tessa t-shirt.

Ellie can’t believe that she has her two favorite people, her grandmas, (almost) all to herself!


As we waited for the race to start, Tessa managed to have her own little monumental moment… she held her bottle on her own for two full ounces!!  I was able to send this picture to John right before he started running:


But apparently, that milestone really took it out of our little rock star, because she slept for most of the rest of the race…



Ellie had a great day too, despite the fact that she got up at 5:00 in the morning.  She managed to be three-year-old-meltdown-free until we didn’t let her take off her shoes in Subway after the race.  She loved watching the race with her Papa.



Somewhere between miles 4 and 5, we saw some of the racers.  Clearly, they weren’t too worried about their time, because they took a second to say hello!

Waiting for the finish, the Team Tessa supporters who were able to come to the race on Sunday gathered for a cute picture.


While I hoped to catch all of our runners out on the course, three of them were just too fast for me.  But  here’s a picture of John and Uncle Mike crossing the finish line:



It was such an awesome, inspiring day.  We met some great people, enjoyed the great city of Chicago, were blown away by the supporters of our group… and were amazed at the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends.  We can’t wait for next year’s event!!