Friday, January 27, 2012

dirty job

Let me first start this post with a disclaimer.  I choose to stay at home and raise our kids.  I don't love my job every day, and miss "having a life" A LOT.  But, I make the best of it and know that I made the best choice for our family and that brings me great peace of mind...ok now to the nitty gritty...

This week I was up at 2am with one feverish, sneezing, coughing kid and let them climb into my bed.  I laid there while they hacked on me and wiped their snot on my shoulder and I thought, this is one dirty job.   I thought of that show, you know the one, where they talk about the nastiest jobs in America, well, is Stay at Home mom on that list, because it should be!  Jeremy left for sunny CA for "work" and yes I put that in quotes because to me ANYONE that gets to leave the house and DO ANYTHING other than care for children is on a vacation.  I know, I know that raises peoples hairs, pisses people off, but come on, there just isn't a HARDER, dirtier, more challenging job, period.  Think about it, my day began at 2AM and ended the next evening at 930 pm, no I am not exaggerating, I had ALL three kids home with no help, no husband for two entire days and that didn't include the 4 days total that he was gone, just the TWO that was 15 hours of snot, crying, cuddles, baths, Vicks, humidifiers, veggies and fruits, soups and juice, and lots of IBUPROFEN for them.  Not a moment that I sat, without someone needing something, sheets to be washed that were peed on, spit up on and bodily fluids encasing my home.  There isn't much worse in the life of a mom that stays at home, then a sick kid times three.  See, we can't say, oh well I get to stay home today, yeah!  No, it cancels any and all chances of outside human interaction, because no other stay at home mom will come NEAR you.  You can try and brave Target and be judged and gazed upon as your sick kids infest the building and everything they go near.  But, is it worth it to have your good name and reputation be destroyed around town for an hour of whining and screaming and really, who wants to get the little buggars dressed when every sleeve is covered in green slime.  It's nasty.  I am telling you.

So, I hear all the time, well as working moms we do all the same things AND work.  No you don't.  You get to pee alone at least once a day, that's a treat in mommy land, no joke.  You get to drive in a car ALONE, I don't know what that's like, it happens maybe every 2 weeks if I sneak off somewhere for a bit.  And it's heaven, I can't believe I used to hate my commute, I would LOVE one now.  If my husband ever complains about traffic I look at him like he's nuts, you can listen to your radio ALONE without interruption.  You can talk on the phone, ALONE without handing somebody goldfish, or finding a crumpled up piece of napkin to wipe someones nose with.  You may get yelled at at work and have demands, but guess what, you also get PAID and told your rock sometimes and you have an identity outside of, "mama!!!!!!!!!"  Your ego dies when you stay at home, you find yourself making up challenges to keep your sanity.  Like how many loads of laundry can get done before 11 today?  Bam, the answer is 4 if you wake up at 6!  You can stop at Walgreens or Target and get 10 things without children during a lunch break, or on your way home.  When you are sick, you can bring your children to daycare and stay home ALONE and REST.  We don't have a call in sick option or vacation option or holiday option.  Here's the thing.  I used to have a life, a career, I was a person who could make jokes, go to lunch with friends in the middle of the day, told that I was awesome for picking up slack, or feel like I truly helped a family through a crisis, I was filled professionally, and in a lot of ways it fulfilled me personally.  I went to 6 years of college, have my Master's Degree, I am not your typical stay at home mom, well, in the sense that most everyone I knew was SHOCKED that I was choosing to do so.  How could such a type A overachiever who worked hard to get where I was at such a young age give it all up, and for what?  But, I always knew it was what I needed to do, for my kids.  It wasn't for me, it really wasn't, but I knew if I was going to do it well, I had to find a way to be happy while doing it.  That meant meeting moms, staying social and active in my community, finding ways to still fill myself intellectually.  It's not easy.

The hardest part of staying at home truly is the monotony.  Wiping the same counters day in day out, same time of day, you really feel rather useless, bored and unappreciated rather quickly.  But, when you stop and see the magic you are doing, the joy you are bringing and knowing that with every single day that passes, I won't think ONE time, "wow I sure wish I didn't stay home", it's worth it.  So, when I go with my husband to work functions and get the judgmental looks from the moms in the group that work and have successful careers thinking I am doing less than, I think, "HA you wouldn't last ONE week doing what I do".  It is the hardest job on earth, and for the record, I haven't found ONE mom that stays at home and has worked too, that thought it was easier to stay at home, unless all their kids are in school all day, that would be amazing, but still plenty to do and fill my days with, again, it's what you make it.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Don't you love your home?  I mean when it looks like this outside, don't you just love being in the warmth of your home?  No I don't mean the look of it, the design of it, the size of it...the fact that we don't have a mud room and I may pull my own hair out if I step on a big sopping wet puddle from boot number 7 left behind...I mean your home.   I mean wherever you are in the world, no bed feels cozier.  No sheets softer.  No pillow better.  I love nothing more than clean, fresh sheets and climbing in after a long day to our featherbed king sized bed and letting every inch of it envelope me.  It's awesome.  It's home.  There is something that lies within these walls a place of peace, contentment and happiness that no vacation, or exotic location can replace.  It's home.  I often think about my home growing up and the memories of my mom playing piano in the living room while I fell asleep.  The newspaper spread all over the table in the morning and afternoon from my dad's never ending need for information.  It's fascinating for me to think what will our kids think about when they look back?  What will they say is like "home" for them?  Right now, it would involve about 348 pieces of legos looking for a home and squinkies, zhu zhu pets and well of course 10,000 baby toys for Nolan...but these times shall pass and the little things that I overlook will most likely be their memory.  Hoping it's not the unmade bed, I just am NOT a bed maker, I try, day in day out to be one, but I am not, my bestie has that on her new years resolution list and is living up to it, me, not so much!
yes, my daughter is wearing hideous Mario PJ's another side effect of the WII around here!

Last night, Jeremy was gone and they both snuck in at different times saying, "I can't sleep".  I said, come on, hop in, snuggle up and DON"T KICK me!  They were thrilled a sleep over with all of us.  I drew the line of sleeping in the middle of them, I need to pee ever 2 hours, yes even at 15 weeks, it's brutal!  There were tears shed over who had to sleep on the outside, but eventually Graham was brave enough to do so,  and soon their breaths slowed and the room filled with calm and peace that only a mother of sleeping children can truly understand.  The peace came around 10 pm, yep for this control freak that is LATE.  And we had one remaining snoozer this morning at 845, when I snapped this pic of Graham, taking Daddy's spot! I hope this is some of what they remember.

I spent some time with a friend and her kids this weekend, her hubby was out celebrating his brother's 21st in Vegas...umm yeah, lucky MAN, I know she's nicer then ME!  Anyway, you may remember her, she wrote an amazing blog about Nolan's birth and took beautiful photos too, here it is, if you haven't checked it or her blog out, you will love it.... 

Anyway, I know what it's like having a hubby that travels and is gone a lot and let me tell you, it blows...seriously, it seems fun at first, but when it is for extended times or every week, or in this case over a weekend, that is just painful for a stay at home mom.  So, we made plans, for my man to spend some quality time with our kids and me to go to their home and have a visit.  It was awesome, to sit and play with her kids, I brought Zingo over, our kids favorite game, to which they shouted, "Bring it BACK!!!" when I left.  We must have played a dozen games and trust me the kids don't tire easily of this game, we ran races, colored a little, laughed a lot.  Liz made the most amazing squash, scallops and asparagus dinner drizzled with garlic butter, mmm, my mouth is watering now, she spoiled this preggo!  The night ended with snuggling and cuddling with her Charles who is 3 and telling him a bedtime story, such an honor and treat for me.  It's so great to spend time with others kids on an intimate level like that.  To see them in their home.

They were so proud to show me around, each room, point out their favorite things.  Grace, who is 5 needed to "prepare" her room, before I could come in, which involved setting her 7 foot, ok ok, 4 foot barbie house up, those barbies are living the high life nowadays, let me tell you.  I felt a cool breeze and Liz pointed out their rooms get so hot with the radiators that she cracks them at night to cool them off....I heard classical music as a quiet lull in Gracie's room and sure enough, she informed me that is what she fell asleep to, that and a string of soft pink lights adorned her room, it was little girl perfection.   Jack's room was all boy.  Sports, reds and blues, adorned the walls and shelves, he too showed me his ultra cool "boom box" not sure he referenced that term, but I love it just the same!  A classic old school desk with attached chair finished in navy blue and perfectly restored wood sat in his room, I noticed it immediately.  Liz explained Brian found that and re-finished it for Jack, wow, what a cool treasure, loved it, that is until Jack got excited and slammed Charlies' finger in it, to which Charlie shook it off and proceeded his big boy strut.

Each room, filled with love, energy and captured the essence of this family.  That's what a home does.  And when you get to spend time in someones beyond their perfect living room, you really feel it.  It was so fun to see the pictures literally covering walls and nooks, Liz is a photographer and you can tell it's her passion the moment you step inside.  It was an honor feeling a part of that home for the night.  It ended with a hysterical dance off.  I mean listen these kids can move....they were going for the win and they stood and waited for their judgment and scoring and Jack insisted one winner be crowned...not tonight, that evening we were all winners, it was a perfect night, at home.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Sometimes in life it's time for a new definition.  Like when you've styled your hair the same way since when you watched Growing Pains, it might be time for a change?  Other times you are jolted into a new way of thinking or stretching yourself to a point of view that may be painful to see, but needed.  I truly think these times of growth, however painful, are oh so necessary.  I've been trying to tell myself that for about a year now.  And, well, I am slowly learning.  Learning that life is ever changing.  Although there are moments I wish to freeze forever and days and events that you don't want to end.  There are also those moments that you wish life was a DVR and you could simply fast forward through them and get out on the other side.  I've been thinking a lot lately about forgiveness and what it all really means.

This takes me back to this past summer.  We were intending to go up north with the kids and our family for the Fourth of July.  We were excited, packing, doing laundry.  It seems these events just get better and better in the life of a parent, your kids really can teach you to appreciate every sparkler and gooey s'more finger a little more than you have before.  Well, our plans were sidetracked, to make a very long, complicated story brief, we found ourselves in Children's Hospital on the Epilepsy Unit with our 10 month old baby and the worst news we could have thought of, a "catastrophic" childhood epilepsy, that is difficult to treat and has very, very poor outcomes.  We were devastated, our world shaken.  We asked that family bring our other two kids up north without us and have a happy holiday, we wanted that so badly for them.  After a couple of days and discussions of the severity of the medications, we decided we really needed to go up north as well, to eek out the least bit of celebration and happiness when our hearts were very heavy and our outlook bleak.  We needed our other children.  Our family.  It was a decision that changed the definition of family, I am afraid forever.  I don't want to hash out details, or point fingers, or have a sob story.  But, my heart is heavy thinking of it.  And honestly, I am at the stage of just trying to figure out how to now move past it all...

I guess the point is that almost everyone in our life was amazing during that time.  They provided us with love, support, meals, phone calls, cards, gifts, drinks, everything we needed, they were there.  The people in our life we needed.  Jeremy and I aren't people who are very good at accepting things from others.  We aren't "needy" so to speak.  I am so envious of someone who truly knows how to graciously accept the generosity of others, I am learning and Nolan has helped immensely.  But, it isn't easy, you find yourself squirming, tripping over your words, saying you are fine too many times, when obviously you aren't.  But, when you succumb and let the love that others are trying to share in, it's beautiful.  And it was, to see the support around us, friends from near and far sending their best and prayers for our boy and our family.  So, to have my immediate family fail on such a scale that is truly still incomprehensible to me, well, it's not an easy pill to swallow.  You try over in your head to say, what so many have said to me, "some people don't know how to react to tragedy."  And I am sure that is true.  I am sure it is difficult to be on the other side of this outside of our lens.  But, it was the first time, in a very, very long time, that I remember feeling so vulnerable, so "needy" of that love and support.  See, it wasn't one of these, "well, it sure would be nice if someone helped me out here" kind of moments.  It was one of those, peel me off of the floor, I can't stand anymore and hold it together for my kids and myself kind of moments.   You know the kind.  I used to think that not everyone has had those, and maybe you haven't.  But, unfortunately, I believe we all do.  We all at some point find ourselves helpless and devastated.   And for me, a person who prides myself on strength and resilience, it's a tougher position to deal with.  The short of it is, they failed, epically.  They lost sight of big picture and thinking outside themselves.  Does that make them bad people or good people who did a bad thing?  I've come a long way since July, my boy surpassing all expectations, surviving the horrific treatments and smiling and laughing has sure helped heal my wounded heart.  But, my heart still hurts, wounded.  I am not sure how that heals.  I like to have a plan, a picture of what is "needed" to be done, what will make it better, and I don't have that.  I have zero idea to be honest.  I just know that personally I need to stop focusing on others and their behaviors.  I wrote about that here...

But it's tough.  Somedays I want to just pretend it's all a bad dream and move on, can't take the conflict in the air.  The unspoken words that hang heavy at any and all events.  Other times at 2 AM, I want to explode and just shout out, "what were you thinking?!" Neither are helpful I am sure of that.  I need to forgive.  My question lately, is how do we do that when there is no conversation?  When there is no closure?  I love this quote from Buddha.... "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."  I think that's so true.  So, don't get me wrong, it's not something I do day in and day out.  But, what's worse then something that plagues you in the dark of the night, when all else is still?  That's the thing about hurt, disappointment, expectations, it's you that has to deal with them, you that has to figure out what is really worth it.  So, in these moments, I stop myself and focus on my blessings.  It's easy really, I have so many.  I think about all the people who did step up and help us during that time and throughout my life.  I have two aunts on each side of my family that I call dear friends.  I mean how cool is that?  My mother-in-law is seriously for real, going to be sainted...ok but she should be!  We have so many amazing friends, one of mine sent me mixed CD's from across the world, just some cool music, awesome.  My bestie, she listens to me, hugs me, held and soothed my sick baby for hours, she's like a sister.  We say we were separated at birth because our craziness has to be genetic somehow.  But, how cool to have a friend that loves you and knows you like that, good, bad, and oh so ugly.  

So, I am working on this whole forgive and forget.  Finding peace within, but in the mean time, I have some awesome people I do call family.  And I have discovered a new truth, a new definition, I truly believe that family is what you make it, with those around you, building traditions and memories with the people who truly know you and love you as you are, we aren't always born into that, but we can always find it, if you look...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Last night was awesome, we had officially celebrated our anniversary this past weekend out for an intimate dinner with my betsie and her husband and got the private wine room, oooh romantic, but better than that, we could talk about innapropirate topics and no one could hear us!!! But last night, it was what we wanted it to be.  It was us and our kids, looking at them laughing, remembering and picturing our future with one more this year!

I didn't really have some grandiose plan for the day, but thought a nice dinner would be good.  I decided to make risotto, scallops and asparagus at, oh ya know about 230 in the afternoon!  So, I picked up and dropped off three of my friends kids and then took Audrey and my bestie's daughter Emmerson to Kowalskis to get needed supplies.  It was 4pm people....I ran around that store like a crazed lunatic and let the girls pick out desert!  Which they did happily, waiting to eat that said desert, they weren't so happy about.

We rushed home and due to the 50 degree day out, unheard of in January the kids wanted to go to the park behind our house, so they all ran there and Nolan and I began creating.  First up was Punch Pizza for an appetizer.  I had prepared the dough a few days before and had extra balls in the fridge (stop it that sounds awful!), perfect, simple and delicious...can't believe they put the recipe online but they did!  I tried to link it here, but can't for some bizarre reason, just google punch pizza recipe and it will come up from Kare 11 website.  Anyway, it was delicious.....and ready to eat by 5pm....listen even I was patting myself on the back for a 30 minute turn around on that gooey goodness!

 The kids still at the park I started on the risotto....I used bacon pea risotto recipe, it's my favorite, I left out the peas as my hubby can't stand em, but it is really good with them too!  If you have never made risotto you wouldn't know that you can't leave it, you have to slowly add fluid, a 1/4 cup and stir over and over for 8 cups, it takes about 20 minutes, which is a long time of stirring, but why I got the scallops because they cook in 5.  And when that risotto is a creamy goodness and there is zero cream in it, the stirring is so worth it, trust me!  So, the asparagus didn't look good at the store at all, so I went with green beans instead and they were just as delicious.  I seared the scallops in 1/2 butter 1/2 oil combo with sea salt only and they were amazing.   You may be thinking did your kids eat that?? NO, my kiddos, who I am too greedy to share this deliciousness with, ate their chicken nuggets and green bean dinner and were happy as can be!  They just wanted the desert that Audrey picked out, chocolate cake!

We had dinner served at 530, thanks to my bestie who was at the park with the kids until 520 and Nolan who was having fun ripping apart the kids scholastic book order forms, (they didn't think it was so cool) oops!  Anyway. It was delicious, perfect and fun....And I love nothing more than a spontaneous decision to take a risk and go out on a limb to pull something off in record time and it all works!  We then settled in to watch our favorite show, Parenthood cuddled on the couch, a perfect ending to a beautiful celebration :)  Thanks for all the congrats and well wishes, so fun to share all of this with our friends and family!  Now go cook something delicious it's so rewarding! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

true love

True isn't always pretty.  In fact it's got some pretty get down dirty secrets sometimes.  But, still on this day, 13 years ago, I met mine.  We married 5 years later on the same day, January 10th, 2004.  It's been EIGHT years.  And wow, who knew that we'd have 4 kids 8 years in, NOT US!  I told Jeremy this morning, "wow, I've been pregnant, 4 of our last 6 anniversaries!"  Craziness really.  We were such young, and innocent kids when we met.  We thought we were so old, so wise, funny thing about life, how the older you get the more you realize that you are less wise every year!

But, although true love isn't perfect all the time.  This day was.  In every way.  The most perfect day.  It was gorgeous.  We decided to get married far away in an intimate setting, only family.  Then have a large reception, celebration 6 months later in June, because yeah, I needed a reason to wear that dress twice.  Oh the dress...I found it 2 years before we got married, fell in love with it!  Not the price!  But, it was so beautiful, and perfect.  Not exactly Hawaii though, so needed to find a venue that was old world, charming and intimate and we did.  A private estate on the beach, with green grass and blue skies in abundance.   I loved every detail of my wedding day.  But, what I loved the most, what I cherish the most, is the emotion of that day.  Captured in every photo.  Our happiness.  Our love.
I mean look at the moment we first saw each other....perfect.

Let's get down to the details that truly made the day even more was heaven digging this all up this morning...(not the digging! but the finding!)
My mom made this purse from extra fabric from my dress and gave me her handkerchief inside, my something borrowed and blue garter.

We gave sandalwood fans for favors at the ceremony and silk travel journals marked everyone's place at the reception with a handwritten note on each first page, I love what Jeremy wrote, but that's a secret...

Remember these??? REAL TICKETS!  I am so happy I kept it!  I mean how funny to see! They look like rotary phones!

Upon each guests arrival they had these amazing boxes waiting for them in their rooms, I kept ours just as it was...might I remind you we were in Hawaii so getting this all back isn't as easy as it looks!  But I am so glad I did, I opened this box and smelled all the yummy goodness inside still, the macadamia nuts, still looking edible, shockingly enough!

I kept the note Jeremy sent with the roses to my room while I was getting ready, a bag of rose pedals we passed out to each guest for tossing, the champagne cork and I had to keep that bouquet, even all shriveled, it's too hard to throw away!

My dad eyes full of tears of joy as he was walking me down....he wrote the most amazing card to Jeremy the day of our wedding, simply stating how blessed he was to call him a son...they both are so close and lucky to have each other.

Our vows, we wrote and printed and read for the first time that day to each other.  No idea what the other wrote and Jeremy's were LONGER than mine, shocking I know!

It was the most serene, beautiful wedding ceremony I have ever been apart of.  It was beyond my dreams.  Just as my man is.

See when you live with me, it isn't always this pretty.  I am tough, analytical, critical, high maintenance.  And Jeremy, he is patient, stubborn, strong and kind.  Mostly we are funny and inappropriate.
 And we bicker like we've been married for 50 years.  We compete in fantasy football and with our driving skills, well and just about everything else too.  We can argue about how long it takes to get from point A to point B and who's way is fastest.  Yeah, we are adolescents in so many ways.  But deep down.  Deep down there is a love that is indescribable.  True.  Deep.  And always present.  When you have two people that are as strong in personality and opinion as us, well it's never boring.  We like that.  We like passion and intensity.  We aren't for the weak or consistent.  We like to shake it up.  I love that about us.  Sometimes of course I wish for a better way to communicate than rolling my eyes, or huffs and puffs, but that's us.  Our kids will know that love is up and down and all around.  But in the end, when it really matters it is overflowing and ready to fill you back up.

So Happy Anniversary to my love.  Thank you for all you do for us, all of your hard work and standing in line for 30 minutes last night for a meal for this pregnant chick, just to make me smile.  It's one of the 1000 reasons I love you.  Heres to 50 more.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

baby baby baby ohhhh

Oh the feeling of babies is in the air...memories of our babies growing too looking at pics, remembering squeezing those chunky, little legs and princess at 9 months....

Hurts my heart how fast it all goes...too fast.  So, how did we end up in the predicament of getting preggo AGAIN!  Honestly, we aren't really sure!  I mean hello we are aware at this point how it happens, but we honestly thought we took appropriate precautions, one of which my husband would say the birth control that is just having three children under 5, isn't that enough in itself?  Add that to another and we had zero intention of having another right now.  I say right now, because I didn't feel done even weeks before giving birth to Nolan.  At first, I wanted a re-do, just to rewind my whole life and be back to the naive life I once had where all babies come out perfect and your worst problem was when you would sleep again.  So, I didn't know how long it would take or if ever I would feel like I was wanting another for the "right" reasons.  Well, it happened.  I did know.  This past summer I felt like OK, I do want more and it has nothing to do with wanting to replace or re-do Nolan's experience.  I needed that.  I did want to plan it though and just soak up every moment of what may be my last pregnancy.  I wanted to plan for a spring birth and have Nolan walking and Graham and Audrey in school, that was the PLAN!!! HA!  Well, such as most things in our life my grand plans go to crap and we are left navigating some crazy path with a different design.  At first it's thrilling, then terrifying, then thrilling, then nerve wrecking, you get the picture.  A little roller coaster.  With age though, I find peace.  Peace in the unknown, the things at power that are bigger than us and free us from worrying.  It does no good anyway, right?  So, we had Graham and Audrey 15 months apart and listen, I still remember how difficult that was, waking with one baby teething, the other nursing, carrying two babies everywhere, feeling like if ANYONE touched me I may burst after a day of a baby constantly on all seemed like such a whirlwind and then bam it was over and I had two toddlers who adored each other and loved to play together and it was the best!  I would have for sure done it again that quickly with Nolan had he not had Down Syndrome and other challenges that made it more difficult to imagine them that close, but guess what, they will be less than two years apart and with his development where it is currently it will most likely be like them being about 1 year apart!  

It's cool, isn't it? When life happens.  It just shoves you to a place of this is it.  You may not have planned this, but it's your life.  And honestly Jeremy and I when we aren't talking about giving up our lives for the next two years, all of the sleep, travel and going out, we are missing out on, :), we are talking about how perfect it really will be for our family and that neither of us is to "blame" per se.  It's all meant to be.  And there is no other way I'd like to have it.  Now, another summer birthday, I could have done without!  July 14, 2012, is our due date and with a May 13 and August 23 and 30, we are on summer birthday overload over here!  But, there are worst things and bigger problems, right?  

I wanted to talk a little about a lot of questions I know people may be wondering or have asked us already and just address it head on, kind of how I function in life.  When Nolan was about 6 months old I was convinced if I was pregnant again, I would do testing, I would want to know...have to know.  To prepare myself.  I posted earlier in the Choices blog about my feelings about testing, so most of you know where I stand.  And does that change when you have a child with Down Syndrome....well for me it hasn't.  It has re-enforced my belief that all things happen for a reason and that you are in charge ultimately for writing and telling your story.  I can't describe to you the peace I am at with this pregnancy.  Not that the baby is perfect or that it has to be "this time".  Nothing like that.  Peace that I know we will love this child and embrace him, (I'm convinced it's a boy!) But also that we can handle anything life throws at us.  That we are strong enough, brave enough and we will in the end be ok with any outcome.  It's not to say I am not wishing and hoping and expecting all to be OK, I am.  I have no reason not to.  But, there is a fear, a knowledge that we now have that things happen.  Life throws you curve balls.  So, no testing, none.  And no finding out the sex again this time, we want to be surprised!

I was watching Grey's Anatomy last night, and it was about "sudden impact" how you don't know the moment your life may change forever.  I think it's almost laughable now to say that down syndrome was that for us, seems like such a minor problem.  When you see news stories such as this....

Makes you want to do this and never let them play anything or go anywhere again....

Or the story of a young police officer killed and he has three small children, just a kiss goodbye one morning and then bam, life changed...

I mean how do you compare this those real tragedy's of life?

It's all perspective really.  Realizing that of course it was a challenge this journey to acceptance and I am sure there will be days in the future that it is still a struggle.  But, in the end, we are so blessed and so excited for our new chapter as a family of SIX! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Graham carries this calculator everywhere, yeah we know he is UBER COOL! :)

2011 was a challenging, interesting year. As with anything in life it seems that we flourish and fail in times of struggle. It takes us stretching, pushing and pulling to succeed sometimes and often times despite our efforts we still fall short and more challenges await. It's interesting though the strength you find in challenge and tragedy if you look hard enough. Well, we've looked and found it. The year began with so much hope and promise. Nolan was strong and doing well, we were settling into three kids quite easily actually much easier than I anticipated. Then February came, Graham broke his leg and found his dreams of becoming a peg leg a reality. My concerns for Nolan's lack of development grew and so did numerous appointments and specialists, until finally June 30th an answer. Although, you may find an answer it may not be the one you want. For Nolan it meant Infantile Spasms a horrendous diagnosis and our worst fears were confirmed. It was a very dismal Fourth of July with the help of my bestie and family it was salvaged for a brief moment and then the month of July seems a blur, Nolan was miserable…blew up to a balloon... the first  two photos are from our first night in the hospital and the last was just 1 week later for an updated EEG.  It hurts my heart to see our boy so miserable and remember how difficult that time was for all of us.

But, it also reminds me how far Nolan has come, how strong he is and how much he is capable of.  Also all of the outpouring of love and support from so many of our friends and family during that time. Nolan took ACTH for 28 days, two injections daily given by us, honestly easier than I thought and I have earned an RN from that experience in case you are wondering!  Anyway, he began smiling, interacting, coming to LIFE in just two weeks!  

It truly was a miracle and through all of that so much peace, appreciation and gratitude was found.  I often talk to my friends and Jeremy and discuss how now my heart literally doesn't ache anymore, there aren't ANY moments that I see a boy Nolan's age and it sinks thinking what he "could" be.  It used to, not that long ago, I wondered if 20 years from now I would still be "stuck" in that world.  But, I wonder, without the tragedy of seizures would I still be "stuck" wishing for more?  I like to think that if he had developed with typical peers with Down Syndrome it would have been an easier journey, but perhaps not.  Perhaps I needed that tragic experience to realize, how grateful I am for just who Nolan is, JUST AS HE IS.  Not that I wish that or wanted that.  Don't get me wrong.  I still think about life and compare to his peers, but now, well it's different, it's "Oh that is what 16 month looks like for typical kids." And well that's about it.  Nolan isn't typical at all, he is spectacular!

 I love that he smiles and lights up your heart every day.  He is such a gentle, sweet soul and  that radiates through him.  I like that with every little milestone we celebrate it like a rock star.  And he just can't stop, he went from doing near nothing in August, to babbling, crawling, grabbing at toys, feeding himself, holding his bottle, giggling non-stop and crying when he's mad, yes we even are grateful for his new personality, even though he used to like to shop a lot more before he learned to crawl!  Amongst all of Nolan's accomplishments and growth this year, Graham started Kindergarten!  And Audrey began preschool!  

They seem so grown and old now....where does the time go?  Graham seems like a sassy teenager who likes to challenge our knowledge, for instance, Elfie brought him a penguin pillow pet, and he said, "why did Elfie bring me a penguin, that isn't Christmas?" I said, well don't penguins live in the North Pole with Santa? He said, "No, they live in the South Pole in Antarctica."  Yeah, he's learning a lot in Kindergarten!  Forget who's smarter than a 5th grader, I'm not smarter than my Kindergartner.  
Audrey, well she's still a shy, little girl who lets her sass shine to her brother the most.  She is loving school too and learning many new songs and improving her art skills!  Her Christmas program may just be the cutest thing EVER!  She practiced her songs day and night and was excited to show them off, a little case of stage fright led to more mumbling and shy smiles than anything else, perfect just the same. 

This year we learned that bouncing on air can break your leg.  
That your children can break your heart and fill it back up just as quickly.  
Family and friends are essential to survival.  
Relationships and love are the most valuable thing in life.  
Crawling like an inch worm is the cutest thing ever.  
And well, one more thing....
just when you think you have a handle on life and a plan for your future you get another curve ball....

We didn't plan to have another baby in 2012, but yep we are going to have one!  And sometimes the best gifts in life are surprises!  We know it's going to be tough having 4 kids 6 and under and well just as with everything else in life you just gotta go with it.  I can't wait to share it all FINALLY!  It's been a LONG 12 weeks to try to not give it away, morning sickness has been ALL day sickness!  
Here's to an amazingly adventurous, exciting, promising year 2012!  
We love you all!

Happy New Year!

Wrapping presents naked, why not?

I'm going to be a BIG brother!
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