Tuesday, September 27, 2011

20 years ago today…

20 years ago, I was a freshman in college and loving it.
20 years ago, I was almost 18 years old.
20 years ago, I was the oldest of 4 kids in my family.

Until #5 was born… 20 years ago today.

Happy birthday, Ryan!  AKA, Buddy Fella, Fry, Squeak #2. (Wow, those are from a LONG time ago… I’m so out of date on nicknames.)

I’ve never actually resided in the same house as this sibling (and another one following him…stay tuned for that birthday in November) but I’ll vouch for the fact that he still ranks high on my list of sibs.  Smarter than seems humanly possible, witty, polite and gentlemanly, athletically blessed, a fine example of faith, and totally thriving in the best and won’t-regret-it-later kind of way in college.  We’re all pretty proud of him.


(And yes, little brother, if you see this, I clipped this from your FB photos.  And yes, I searched a long time to find one of you withOUT a cute young lady next to you.  And I did not succeed.  So my apologies to whoever I cut out of this one.  She’s nice,  I’m sure.   But really… how do you have time to stop and smile with so many?  Smile)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lunch visit

Today we went to Jack and Dashlyn's house after school to play and eat lunch.  It is so nice to have friends close by!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Understandable confusion


Kinlee picked up this picture today out of a photo album of “baby Mommy pictures” that the girls look through sometimes. 

She looked at it for a moment and said, “Mommy, who is this holding me?” 

I told her it wasn’t her, that it was me and that was my babysitter and Santa. 

She looked at it again, pointed, and said, “No, who is holding ME?”

It must be the emotion that’s tripping her up. Or maybe it’s the finger in the mouth.  Or maybe it’s the stylish attire.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pathetically proud


This is my kitchen floor.

It’s clean.

The fact that I’m proud enough of it to take a picture and post it… pathetic.

Yes, it’s that rare.

And it’s almost midnight.

But I got it done. 

The kitchen is “clean” in my new normal way.

That happens occasionally.

But for me to actually clear the floor space and sweep and mop the floor. Twice.  Because I’m sure it needed that second pass. That’s something.

Now, tomorrow it’s on to tackling the piles of clothes in the girls’ room.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sweet face. Smart girl.

She’s pretty, isn’t she?  I’m biased, and yeah, she resembles her mom a little… what can I say??

But really… sometimes I’m just surprised at how sweet she can be. Like when I told her the other day that I didn’t feel well, and she jumped up from across the room where she was playing.  “Mom, don’t worry, I’ll come give you a hug and a kiss and that will make you all better.”  She proceeded to do just that, with gusto.  And darn it, if I didn’t feel a bit better right then.

She has been returning a bit to the ultra-dramatic phase, and that’s no fun, but in between… she is pretty fun.  She has a “buddy” for various things… Daddy is her “swim buddy,”  Miss Julie is her “QT buddy,”  and of course, her “shopping buddy” is Auntie Rach.  Just ask her.  She’s happy to tell you.

Quite often, she will ask about feelings… “Mom, how are you feeling?”  And she is not asking about feeling tired or sick. She wants to know if I’m “pleased” or “grouchy” or “sad.”  Those are her most common options.  She will assign feelings to people around her, (even the dog) comment on the feelings she sees in people faces, and when she does wrong and sees less than a “pleased face” on me, she is so sensitive to it. And yet, sometimes it seems she just can’t keep from making bad choices.

She’s very into reading.  Like reading books, signs, ads, anything.  She asked if she could look in my purse today, and she picked up a pack of gum and said, “Mom, why does this say “Big Red?”  I know she can read those words, but it’s just funny to me when she pops up with those things in real life use. 

Her sight word list is well over 200.  And she knows all her sounds and is getting a lot better at sounding out words phonetically. It’s amazing to watch her LOVE to learn.  At 2 1/2 years old.  Except for the writing element, she meets and far exceeds all the requirements for kindergarten.  (As does her sister…)

I’m not the best mom, and I often have days where I fail more than I succeed in parenting.  But I’m so grateful to have these two girls to stick with me as I try to get it right.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Longest in a long time



Braska had some kind of weird night. It started yesterday afternoon.  She napped ok at Auntie Rachel’s while I was taking care of some things there.  Then she woke and seemed “off” or not herself.  She had a GREAT day at school yesterday, by all accounts, doing really well with feeding therapy (yay!) and classroom.

We came home about 6 p.m. and she spent the evening very agitated. She didn’t want anything we offered. She acted exceptionally fidgety and had the sad, pouty face a lot.  She would flop on the floor, roll around and whine, then get up and take a few steps before flopping again.  When we would try to hold her, she’d squirm and then slide down off our laps. Everything we asked her about received a “No, not yet,” response with a very pathetic tone.  A few times she was knocking her head against the cabinet in the kitchen while I was there, and then the stove.  She only did this a few times, but I didn’t care for it one bit.

At one point, I was able to distract her with the sight words flashcards that she loves, and she seemed to kind of normalize for a few minutes, but then she returned to the highly agitated state.  She didn’t seem to be in pain, per se, but she was clearly very uncomfortable. 

We tried to put her to bed, but she thrashed around in her bed and would not settle down.  She didn’t cry, but grunted, sort of.  She didn’t grind her teeth, which I found odd, because that is almost constant when she’s tired and not feeling well. After about two hours, I got her up and rocked her, thinking I could help her calm down.  She went to sleep after I had held her pretty snugly and fought her fidgets.  (We do occasionally have to do this, hold her tightly and kind of assist her with turning off for the evening.  I’m sure it’s a sensory thing as well, but it’s usually easily dealt with and over for the night.) She gave up and went to sleep, but as soon as I laid her down, she was awake and upset again.  This happened several times. 

I took her into to my bed, thinking I could lay with her next to me and hold her tight to go to sleep, then she could just stay there instead of being moved.  Unfortunately, that means I do not sleep.  Even when she is sleeping well.  I just hear every breath and sound and wake with all of them.

But she did not sleep well even in our bed.  I tried every kind of pressure on her, including wedging her between me and a very heavy feather pillow.  It was clearly a sensory issue, in my opinion. It was like she could not stand being in her own skin.  She just could not get a moment’s reprieve from whatever was bothering her.  She would sleep for about 15 minutes, and then wake thrashing again for the next 30.  Then more sleep for 15 minutes, and on and on it went.  We even gave her a small dose of melatonin and it did not help one bit.

Several times I tried to take her pulse to see if her heart was racing.  But I literally couldn’t get her to be still long enough to get it.  Her respirations were definitely faster than usual, but not rough or labored.  It was really bizarre. And it just kept on.

I curled up at the end of my side of the bed and tried to sleep, but it just wasn’t gonna happen.  I did get a few little spots of 15 or 30 minutes at a time…not nearly enough.

About 3 a.m., I changed her diaper while she was thrashing and already awake.  (She’s been overflowing diapers at night lately…can’t have that in our bed!) She went back to sleep after some more tight rocking, but it only lasted about 30 minutes. 

She slept a little longer with shorter bouts of agitation as the morning went on.  And when M got up at 6 a.m. to get ready for work, I slipped into his side of the bed to try to sleep.  She woke about 7:30 a.m. and seems ok.  I can’t imagine how that’s possible.  I’m debating whether or not to take her to school.  Can she possibly be worth anything with so little real sleep? 

I feel completely run over.  And it’s a busy day full of must-do items.  I actually have a scared feeling when I consider getting through the whole day.  Strange.

And it bothers me that I have no idea what was going on.   What in the world would cause a reaction like that?  She had no red dye yesterday, which is slightly like what I would have expected with this reaction.  But it’s still different.  I just don’t know what it was.  And it honestly makes me afraid that it will happen again. 

I hope it was a strange one-time occurrence.

Anyone have any thoughts??

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We should never forget

It’s hard to watch the footage of 9/11.  It’s hard to hear the stories.  It’s hard to deal with the reality and gravity of what happened. 

But we HAVE to remember.  We HAVE to honor the lives that were lost that day.

And we MUST never forget what happened to our country that day.  As hard as it may be, hearing the stories and acknowledging the loss and the pain that was caused by the actions of other humans… it is necessary to be sure we do not allow the true horror of that day be left behind.

We move on. We have, as a country, continued to live.  But to forget what occurred that day is dangerous. We must always be mindful of what can be.  Not in a fatalistic and pessimistic way, but in a realistic and honest way. 

I know that many people don’t want to think about, hear about, or talk about the stories of that day.  It’s horribly hard to process.  But we need to be sure we never get comfortable pushing it aside, for there were many lives lost and the damage done to our country is long lasting. 

When we forget the pain, we are less motivated to remain united and strong against those who would repeat such an event.  I hope we never see such a thing.

Never forget.  Be grateful for each day, each breath of the day. Make sure the people you love know it, before it comes to that frantic phone call with moments left.  God forbid that come to be.

And pray we never see this kind of terror again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For Laynee: A little something

As I said the other day, I feel helpless when it comes to what to do or say for those who hurt for their pretty girl today.  Thankfully, I pray for them a lot, and that’s the best thing I can do.

But tonight, after a day of plumbing issues ending in big money leaving my bank account and a variety of other concerns that seemed *purposeful* in attempting to steal my focus on what this day means to me, I felt that I wanted to bring it back around, in the quiet before bed, to remember this little beauty and celebrate some of her favorite things. 

The best way I am able to do that is through playing with my digiscrap kits and such, frivolous as it may seem.  So I spent a little time tonight putting together a little siggy for Miss Jalayne Grace, the hee-hee loving princess. 

She was such a pretty little bug, full of energy and loved by SO many. 

Never forgotten. Always missed. You are forever loved, little Laynee.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Silent but with much to say

It’s been a very tiring 5 days for me. I’ve worked far too much for my liking. I’ve been more rushed and tense than I’d prefer.  I have had some wonderful moments within those days, don’t misunderstand.  But I’m exhausted.

And tonight, after my girls collapsed into their beds, having been transferred in from their car seats where they fell asleep, I had the opportunity to go to bed. Early. Before 9 pm.  But I couldn’t. 

I feel like I need to communicate something intangible. I have this urge to say something. And yet all words are empty and unimportant.  I’ve been sitting here with my laptop open, on, and my hands on the keyboard for almost an hour. And yet the words just won’t form any cohesive thoughts worth sharing.

It’s not about my busy weekend. It’s not about my world at all.  I’m left sitting here in bed, uncomfortable. Wanting to speak words of comfort and having none.  I so desperately want to share just the right note of encouragement, or the perfectly fitting verse of scripture.  But it still just feels like me talking.

For today, my dear friends, more like family really, must go to bed realizing that two years have passed since their bubbly, silly, pretty, energetic little girl hugged them tightly.  As my girls played in the pool today, laughing and splashing, I had to look away a few times for the poignant realization that water just like that was the cause of devastation that day. It literally brings me to tears to consider what they were experiencing at the end of their Labor Day in 2009.  And tears don’t begin to communicate the pain, I’m quite sure.

It seems that even though I feel strongly drawn to express what is going through my mind, it somehow cheapens such a pivotal moment in so many lives.  Like do I even have a right to be so affected by a moment that isn’t even mine directly?  Who am I to even pretend I can be of any value in a time like this?

And yet I have been blessed by the beauty that has risen from such a horrific time. The Glory of God has been shown in a manner I didn’t even know could exist in times of this kind of tragedy. The faith that has remained without fail.  The precious lives that are now part of mine due in part to a tragic loss.  Priceless. But so costly still.

I adore this family, to the point that I fear they’ll find me a little annoying one of these days, if they haven’t already.   But I would give it all back, every little blessing they’ve caused to come my way, just to return their Laynee Bug to them.  In a split second, I’d recuse myself from the learning I’ve received and the encouragement they’ve been to me, if only she could now be there with them, snoozing in her bed with her family nearby.

But it doesn’t work that way.  They know that all too well.  And they have continued to live in a most beautiful example of trusting in His promises, while never pretending not to hurt.  Never lessening the depth of the void that’s now left. 

Tonight as I sit here rambling, wishing I had something truly helpful to say or do or write or scream, I can only say that I hurt for them, with them, though I may never know the extent of the pain.  I hate that they have to hurt at all. But I know without a doubt that they live in the hands of the One who knows better than any other how it feels to lose a beloved.  And they trust Him. Implicitly.

Labor Day will never be the same, September 7th will always be marked.  For them, indelibly.   In our home, these days will never pass without purposeful remembrances of a delightful little girl we only had the privilege of knowing in pictures and through the stories told by those who love her, and prayers for the continued comfort for the 7 hearts closest to her. 

I may not have the right words at all. I pray only that God will take my heart and intentions and share that love in his perfect way.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bringing cuteness back.


There are a lot of things that I want to remember someday down the line, when my girls are too big for baths, too cool for cuddles, and too chic to chat with me about everything that’s in their little heads. 

One of those simple things is the fun they have in the bath together.  They are all about whatever they can do together. Alike. With each other.  And I don’t want to forget that.

I don’t want them to forget it either.  So pictures like this will definitely be brought out to remind them of their camaraderie when they are sick to death of each other in about 8 years.  I can’t wait to see their eyes roll when these pictures show up at just the right moment. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Denmark. Disturbing. Derogatory.

Denmark has stated openly that their goal is to be a society without Down syndrome.
Here's the whole article if you are so brave.

That statement in itself is disturbing.

My friend, Michelle, at Big Blueberry Eyes (one of the first blogs I found and followed after Braska was born) posted some comments about this choice, and I'll admit, it's a very difficult post to read. It makes me mad. It makes me a little ill if I think about it too long.

But I feel like it's important to realize to what extent the philosophies of disabilities in some countries have twisted. So check it out, knowing it won't give you warm fuzzies, but with the intent of knowing where "the others" stand, and how far they are willing to go.

Then tell someone... be sure that those who might be around you and think like this out of ignorance have the opportunity to learn the truth about what life with DS means.
And My Heart Cries

Lord bless our efforts to share with the world the value that all life has, especially now that of our precious "extra" wonderful kids.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pseudo bed next to bed

KiKi has a bed. It is about 3 inches from this chair. And yet she often will hop between them from night to night. Sometimes she changes locations during the night.

Tonight I got home from work and then cleaned the carpet in a couple of rooms. It's a very small house, and that is a loud machine. They were in bed already, but awake, and I figured the girls would quickly just fall asleep with the added, though loud, noise. (They have a loud fan in their room already. I have white noise issues. Must have for sleep.)

I went to check on the girls and they were out. Braska in her bed where I left her and KiKi in the chair with Purple, her pillow pet. I suppose sleeping is better than awake, even if its not in the bed.

Do your kids sleep in places other than their beds at night??