Pretty girl in the mirror

All of the appointments before vacation are over! Annabelle's ECHO appointment only ended up being an EKG and the cardiologist listening to her heart for a bit. She was so happy with the way she looked, that she didn't think we needed an ECHO that day. Good news. So, we will go back in 6 months and do it for sure. She was quite wiggly for the nurses. They were trying to hook up some wires and take her blood pressure, and mom and dad were doing their best to keep her still. I am wondering how this flight is going to go next week.

Maybe if we bring a mirror, she can entertain herself like this:


PS...Can NOT even wait to go to Minnesota next week. Even when life is not too stressful or busy, you can still feel like you NEED to get away on a vacation.


Week of Appointments.

It seems like when it comes to Annabelle's appointments, they all happen at once. Maybe because they all are appointments needed around the same age. It gets overwhelming and brings me back to a reality that I guess I typically stay out of. When I think of Annabelle and raising her, Down Syndrome is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. I don't talk about it a lot. I don't read a lot about it. I don't focus on it. Annabelle, and WHO she is, at this time in her life, is always my focus. There has continued to be 'new' things to focus on with her, and her growth. I also know that there are things she may be slightly behind on, but none of them concern me so much at this point. ALL kids grow up differently, and reach milestones at different times. I was told at the beginning, "Annabelle will do '_______________', but all in HER time.

Sometimes, I want to see it happen in my time, or in the time span of typical milestone charts. (Charts that I no longer look at, but studied during her first months) I just don't focus on where she is behind, as much as being excited about where she IS. I think today, I realized that maybe I do this, not only for HER sake, but for mine. To keep myself out of a bit of reality, so that I don't get overwhelmed by it. I NEVER want to think my child can't do something. I am not avoiding the 'What If's'. I'm not.

Today I felt a little overwhelmed, and Down Syndrome was on my mind. With evaluations, and an ECHO next week, I felt those emotions of a mom with a child with special needs. Not sure why these emotions arose. I wondered if they were emotions that are always there, that I don't allow to rise to the surface. Honestly, yes, I have fears. I also find that sometimes, just sometimes, jealousy, envy, and timidity are my initial reaction to seeing other babies her age ahead of her. That's typical in most mom's I think. Quickly, that reaction is replaced by how stinkin PROUD of her I am and how incredibly, and overwhelmingly thankful I am that Annabelle is mine, and belongs to no one else. The Lord overwhelmes me with peace about our life in the Schmidt house. :)

We have ECI appointments twice a month, with an O.T. We have been focusing so much on her motor skills since she was about 2 or 3 months old. I usually enjoy these meetings, and her OT is typically pretty proud of her progression week to week. Over the last few months, we have been stuck in just about the same spot. With the same goals and homework. Still, I haven't been concerned much about that. I don't think 'Down Syndrome' every meeting. I really think ANNABELLE. Today, we had an evaluation for Annabelle with Early Childhood Intervention. In the past, she has 'scored' right at her appropriate age. Today, she scored about 3 to 4 months behind in just about every area. I am not sure why, but today, I felt overwhelmed by that. They go through and ask questions about what she is doing, and how she is doing things. I hated it when I had to answer the questions with, "no, she doesn't do that", or "no, she can't do that". I almost felt tears well up in my eyes when they told me where she scored. They were very happy with her scores. They were very content and proud of the progress she has made. Me, on the other hand, had one of those times of the initial reaction. I was confused with thoughts I really have not had since the beginning. These thoughts did not last long. Really, they didn't. I do understand these are feelings I will have ocassionaly. My OT gets so pumped up and excited when she talks about her kids she sees. She gets SO excited about their futures and what they will be capable of. She encouraged me so much today just while talking about life in general and bits and pieces of her job. She was not trying to encourage me, cause she did not know I was feeling the way I was. She was just talking in general. I, too, get SO excited about Annabelle's future, and what she IS and WILL be able to do. She's incredible. I would not trade this experience for ANYTHING!! For real!

I had strange mom guilt today,that maybe there were things that I am not doing well enough. Just recently on Facebook, one of my friends updated her status with some clever sentence about how strange mom guilt is. She felt guilty for not taking her kiddos OUT to play enough. Then, she said, "Mom guilt is weird." Its true, it is. So weird. I pray I do everything I can for this girl!!! Everything and anything. And understand that mom guilt is just sometimes weird, and part of parenting.

Last Friday, we enjoyed a little family swim time at Lisa's apartment! Here are some adorable pics of Annabelle. She has THE GREATEST daddy!!!

And, this is her friend Lexi, feeding her some supper. She did a great job, and Annabelle loved it!

A couple cute videos for ya!



"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."
Author: Erma Bombeck

It seems like once July hits, the summer flies by as if it wasn't even here. So, I am soaking it all up while I can. Not loving the heat here in Texas, but making the most of it. Summer happenings fill up the week days, which keeps Annabelle and I from the "normal" days of the school year. I get to enjoy summer as if it's different than the rest of the year for us. All because of my sister and mom having time off and the typical excuses to just "play" more. :)

We enjoyed celebrating the weekend of the 4th with a party with church friends, and Annabelle's little nursery friends, on Sunday. Annabelle had a blast splashing in a little tiny pool, which I think was once a sand box, while Craig and I enjoyed fajitas and homemade ice cream over sweet conversation.

Monday was hot as heck, of course, but my mom and I decided to brave it like EVERYONE else seemed to be. We spent some time at the festival in the park, pushing the stroller through the crowd to get our bag of cotton candy. Cotton candy is basically the only reason I went. It doesn't feel like the 4th if I don't have it. ;) I remember last year when we were walking around, we kept saying, "Oh, next year, Aannabelle will enjoy this." Or "Next year, Annabelle can do the petting zoo and pony rides." This year, which IS next year, we said the same things and kind of laughed about it. I guess I was thinking that a 14 month old could go on a pony ride. Then, when we got there, I didn't think it was the best idea for her. Maybe even next year she can ride those crazy swings? But, NEXT year...

That night we had a party with awesome summer type foods full of salt, sugar and calories! YUM!! My friends are such a blessing, and was happy to repeat almost the SAME party as last year, with the addition of a few extra people. We live close enough to walk to the park for fireworks, which were basically the ONLY fireworks in our area due to a major drought. And they were good, and loud and bright. Oh, and NEXT year, Annabelle will watch them, and I am sure enjoy them. (My parents stayed back with her as she had already been asleep for over an hour.)

Next week, we have an E.C.I. evaluation and another ECHO. I pray that both go as super as they have been. This time, if the ECHO looks good, we won't have to go back for like a year or something. That is what we are praying for. I pray for Annabelle's little heart all the time, and have been incredibly grateful to God for how he has kept her healthy and safe. I tell you what, this little girl has definitely been used to keep my conversations with God VERY regular. For that, I am also thankful.

In a couple of weeks, Craig and I will be taking Annabelle on her first plane ride. We are going to visit some VERY missed friends and family in Minnesota. I can't even wait. I LOVE going back to Minnesota to visit. It is always such a breath of fresh air for both Craig and I. I come back with my spirit filled. ESPECIALLY in the summer time. THE MOST gorgeous summers anyone could ever experience. Especially after the continuous 100+ degree days we have been having.

So, clearly, I am enjoying summertime. Summer is just one big excuse to PLAY! :)

THIS picture is from Annabelle's birthday back in April. I just got this picture from a friend last week, and HAD to share it. One of my favorites from that day.