sufjan in the summer

I am once again enjoying a great morning, just me and annabelle, and the sound of my Sufjan Stevens station on Pandora Radio. AND a great cup of french pressed coffee. Annabelle is snuggled up in my lap right now, and I am trying to manuever my arms around her to type. She is struggling to like the smaller looking soothers right now, the ones that i think look "cuter" in her mouth. I will soon give in and giver her back that ugly, giant round one that she loves, but will continue to try others! :)

So, i will be away from my baby longer today than i have been yet. my sister and I are going to a party for the afternoon, and Annabelle will spend her time at Pearl's. (my mom) I want to enjoy myself and have a good time, but I already miss her just thinking about the few hours we will be apart. :( I want her with me always!!!

So, there is something I want to share. I think often, of course, about Down Syndrome. What will my baby's future hold? How do I help her? WHAT do I expect? I think of all kinds of things. Then, there are times, when I dont think about it at ALL!! Like, i totally forget about it. Its not something I struggle with, i mean. I have such an overwhelming peace every single day about our lives, and the surprise that was given to us. I think the Lord wanted me to read this story this week. Please read it.


Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

So, here I am, i guess, in Holland? I dont know. I think more of something like, here I am in the "Rocky Mountains". Or in Disney World. I have arrived here, when my plan was to go to South Dakota. BORING! I mean, I have arrived somewhere way BETTER than my plan. Who wants to go to the Dakotas??? ha! I am in a place much more exciting and beautiful than I had expected. Disney World, rather than the community park.

I was told about this woman's blog by a friend after I had written this story about Annabelle. Her baby also had Down Syndrome. She had no idea before delivery, so was surprised. I read her blog often, and see pictures of the beautiful baby she was given. I want to share something that she said, in the midst of contemplating this new adventure of Trisomy 21....

"And, though I may have cursed wooden shoes and Holland, I came to the realization that, in any parenting situation, there are a thousand Holland situations. And a thousand Italys too. (Warning: Going into far-fetched Analogy Zone. Hang on.) And there's air traffic control monitoring this constant stream of flights, for any given child, that take off and land in both the beautiful expected and the unknown lands where we must search for beauty. Perfectly "normal" children with 46 chromosomes take their parents to Holland. When girls grow up and tell their moms they aren't having children, thus crushing grandchild dreams. When boys choose art over football and disappoint their fathers. When children move away and don't come home for Christmas. When girls become teenagers and slam doors and call their mothers b-words.

And who says Nella will never take me to Italy? I feel like she already has...when she's breathing heavy on my chest at night and the weight of her tightly-jammied body sinks right into my soul and I smile thinking, "this is just like Lainey." When she takes her first steps someday. When she says 'mama' or 'I love you' or reads her first book out loud.

It's just a mess of flights and destinations for every child...some good, some bad...but that's parenthood. Period."

I couldnt explain it better myself. I love my little adventure.


Father's Day and such...

This is a little video of my sweetie dancin with her sweet daddy! Craig had his first Father's Day! He is so in love with this little girl. as am I! We didnt do much, which is exactly what Craig wanted, to just relax. We played cards all afternoon with my dad and my sister.

I had the opportunity last week to go to Memphis with my mom and aunt to visit my cousin. I was a little nervous about the long drive, with Annabelle, but was excited to go. Unfortunately the plans fell through for me, but I was so glad to be able to be here for Fathers day. I was going to miss it. Next week we will be going on our first little trip. My mom, sister and I will be going to Beaumont to see my great aunt and uncle. I am excited to see them. It has been a long time. And Annabelle maybe needs to get comfortable with long car rides, cause we plan to go to Minnesota at the end of July. THAT will be a long drive, yikes!

Annabelle and I are enjoying our days together. She is doing so well! I am SO BLESSED!!! She is eating well, sleeping well, and smiling oh so cute! I am loving this!

what else? i am not sure what else to write about. I was inspired to write a whole big blog this morning, but got a little distracted. I had a REALLY nice morning, by the way. We slept till about 7:30, i enjoyed a latte, made of a mix of half and half and milk. Oh so creamy! I enjoyed some alone time on the couch being lazy and wasting time. I love alone time every now and then. I mean, Annabelle was close by, but snoozed a bit. My kitty found an opportunity I guess, and finally jumped up to snuggle me. She was staying at a friend's house for the first 6 weeks of baby's life, and when she came back to the house, she was super distant. Today, she finally loved on me. :)

OH, we have an appointment with ECI in the morning. Our first appointment. I am anxious to see how it goes!


SO head over heals!

My girl melts my heart!!! :D She has been making faces the last couple weeks that LOOK like smiles, but I just wasnt sure. Last night, she gave Craig and I a HUGE smile, and I got a little teary eyed. who knew a simple smile could just melt your heart like that! Craig and I were playing with her, and she kept smiling at us. I loved it. Then, we kept trying to get her to do it, and i think we just frustrated her. it was funny. Then, this morning when she woke me up, she started sounding like she was trying to giggle. So fun.

So, some other Annabelle updates...this little girl is growing! I am so proud of her. I understand that the fact that she has Downs, her growing is going to take a little more patience. But, I am still so so proud of what she IS doing! We went to the doctor for her 2 month check up on Wednesday this week. Her weight and height was on the lower end of the typical developing growth chart. BUT, her doctor said that in the Down Syndrome chart, she was JUST where she needed to be! I calculated that since she was last weighed, she has been gainging almost an ounce a day, so to me, that is awesome! She has grown a little over 2 inches. I am a proud mamma!

She also has been doing so well trying to hold her heavy head up. if I hold her straight up and down, she does pretty good. a little wobbly, but she is trying! We do a lot of tummy time, and she has also been working on lifting herself up a little. she doesnt like it at all, but she trys! thats all i ask! :)

Sleep department: AWESOME for momma! I am so thankful for this little sleeper! There was a night last week sometime that she slept almost 10 hours. I felt kinda bad, thinking she might be hungry, so I didnt let her sleep any longer than that. But, she has been averaging between 7to8 hours. I got a little worried that it was too long for her to go without eating, but her doctor said it should be alright. yay! Last night , she did wake up hungry in the middle of the night, so maybe this wonderful sleeping streak is ending. I dont want to get my hopes up that it will happen every night, but when it does, i will be SO thankful!!! :)

We are also working on getting ahold of someone with ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). I hear that they will come to our house and evaluate her and work with us, letting us as parents know more about what we can do to help her thrive! I will do anything for this girl. :) I will update more about that when we move forward with it.

My sister now has summer since she is a teacher, so she has been with us all week! Annabelle really has the best aunt. i am really thankful for Lisa and the love she has for my daughter. we have been really blessed with aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends who are loving on our little girl! thank you, family!!!! I dont take your love for granted.

I am sorry i dont have pics to post right now. Head to my facebook, if you need to see pics. I post some all the time!