Sunday, October 31, 2010

Playing Dress Up

I can't think of a better day of the year to play dress up than Halloween.

Chubbsy couldn't decide what to be for her first Halloween, so we tried out several different outfit combinations. What do you think is her best look?

1. Pumpkin McPhee
(Seen in Header)

2. Doll McPhee
(not really, but this is what she wore to church this morning, so we had to start with this...thanks to Grandma Smith for the outfit)
3.Princess McPhee

4. Skier McPhee

"Just call me 'Lindsey Vonn"
Super G McPhee
5. Strawberry McPhee

6. Skiing Strawberry McPhee

7. Farmer McPhee

8.Clown McPhee

9. Naked/Anne Geddes Audition McPhee

We stopped after nine new looks because she started getting mad at me...but we had fun up until this point. (-:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

List for "Past Deanna"

I've been wanting to do a post like this ever since 31 for 21 started...a month ago. You can tell how quickly I jump on my ideas.(-:

Anyway, I was thinking ever since my post a while back about what "present Deanna" wanted to tell "past Deanna" that it would be great to compile a list of all of those tidbits that I wish I could share with "past Deanna". I really just started this list yesterday, so I'm sure I'll think of more things and come back in and add.

Here goes.Things I wish I could share with myself 1 year ago:

1. You will fall so breathlessly, hopelessly in love with your daughter.
-When I was pregnant, I kept having a reoccurring dream that I gave birth to my baby and then I couldn't stand to look at her or be near her. I dreamed that this innocent baby was lying in one of those glass cribs at the hospital, licking her hungry lips and I mercilessly turned and walked away because I didn't want to be her mother. This dream terrified me. I was sure that I wouldn't be able to love my daughter. To my surprise, that was such a silly worry. I fell for her almost immediately. Sooooooo in love. (-:
2. Enjoy your pregnancy-Stop the worrying, fretting and feeling sorry for yourself. You are carrying a human being inside of you. This is a privilege and a miracle. Enjoy it!3. Stock up on cute baby clothes and accessories. You are going to want to show that adorable baby off!4. Don't feel guilty about using an already chosen "cute baby name" or family name.
-I have loved the name Addison simply forever, but when I found out that she was going to have Ds, my first response was that perhaps I should save the name I really love for the next baby because it was a "pretty girl" name. How wrong I was. I'm so glad that I kept with the name Addison because it fits her so well, and I can't think of a "prettier girl" to proudly wear the name!5. Don't label your worth as a mom based on a seeming "failure" to give your baby the proper number of chromosomes. This does not mean that you are going to be a bad mom. This is something that God chose for you- not something that you failed to do right.6. Don't get hung up on your baby's future. There are no guarantees with any child's future. Focus on one day at a time, enjoying your baby.

7. Don't look at other adults, children or babies with Ds and assume that your baby will be just like "them". Individuals with Ds are people first and include as much variety as "normal" people. If your child is born with blonde hair blue eyes, do you look around for adults with blonde hair, blue eyes and assume that your child will turn out just like them?8. It's OK to grieve. We've all been there. Just remember, when your tears are dried, there's an absolutely beautiful baby who desperately needs you.
9. Don't hear the medical words 'mental retardation' and just accept that your baby won't do anything in life or not be a "contributing member to society". Your baby still has great potential and will go as far as you enable her to.10. Don't fear- your baby will look like your family...although I'm guessing that this level of cuteness was never before seen in your family...(-: (somewhat biased mom's opinion...(-: )
11. Don't judge yourself if you still have hard days even after you have accepted your baby's diagnosis. There are ups and downs to every mom's journey.

12. Don't freak out about the medical "what ifs". Yes, babies with Ds are more likely to be born with extra health needs, but most all of them are fixable things. Just be there for your baby and commit to helping her through whatever she needs to become that healthy, happy baby that you have been dreaming about for so long.

13. Find other people who understand. Even close family and friends who try to be supportive- if they haven't been through it themselves, chances are they aren't going to completely understand. Sympathy and Empathy are two different things.

Here are some of the blogs that I have been following these past few months of people who totally understand and have helped me through some hard days:

Our Little Chili Tribe
A Perfect Lily
live, laugh, love
Dear Laura, love Sissy
A Different Kind of Perfect
Love for Colin
Sweet Ella Grace
Our Unexpected Journey

...and that is just the tip of the iceberg of help that I have received from understanding people. I never really started to truly heal until I read that other people were feeling the same things- and it was OK.

14. Don't be afraid to express yourself honestly. (this is so important)

15. Don't ever think of your baby as imperfect or flawed. Your baby was sovereignly designed by an Almighty God. Don't let others refer to your baby as a mistake. I cannot stress this strongly enough, but your baby is absolutely perfect. God never makes mistakes. He made this baby just for you. There will come a day where you look down at your bundle of joy and think that you wouldn't change a thing if you could.16. Be proud of your baby. She has worked so hard to "beat the odds" this far just to survive to birth. She is a determined, amazing individual who will continuously amaze you.17. Be excited! You're having a baby! Don't let the diagnosis color your response to the birth. You're going to be a Mommy! This is cause for celebration!18. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. Your life is about to change in so many ways....for the better.

Yep, if I could have shared these things with myself a year ago, I think a lot of heartache would have been spared.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

my beautiful daughter

Thank you, everyone for your encouragement yesterday! The more I look at/get to know Addison, the more I am convinced that she is simply beautiful- just the way she was made. Even if I have a horrible day...(AKA yesterday) the end of the day, I still get to look at Addison's smiling face, so life is good. (-: Here are some pics from today as well as some more pink vest shots.

Before I forget, here is a link to a new chicken dumplings recipe that I tried earlier this week, and it was AMAZING. Thank you to my friend Amy from MN for passing along the link. Now my favorite comfort food recipe: chicken dumplings

back to the subject at hand...
love, love, love this little girl!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

overly sensitive

I know and recognize the fact that I tend to be overly sensitive to the fact that my beautiful daughter has Down syndrome.

I do, I know this...and yet time and time again, I somehow allow the overly sensitive side of myself to control how I think and view situations

Standing in the grocery store line....a lady stands behind us...she stares at Addison for a long moment....and then changes to a different line to wait first thought? "she noticed the ds."

Watching as people are so excited for my sister's baby...posting pics and announcing to the world about the new addition to the family...and I can't remember them doing that when Addison was first thought? "it's because my baby has ds...they weren't as excited"

Yesterday, I posted on a Mom blog post about having a preemie baby and relating to NICU stays, stating clearly in my comment that my baby has DS....I watched all day as other comments were posted and replied to....and mine was never posted to the thought? "they didn't want to post my comment because my baby has ds"

Listening to people all around me making jokes and flippantly using such words as "handicap" and "retarded" and find myself torn between shriveling up inside and holding a grudge and yelling and screaming about how much I hate those words.

I have a picture of Addison up in my office at school, and one day I returned to find a gaggle of high school girls standing outside my office door, staring at Addison's picture, and one of them was proclaiming in a loud, obnoxious voice "That is the ugliest baby I have ever seen!" It took my entire 26 yrs of built of restraint to not throw my entire mug of scalding hot coffee on this teenage girl who was staring at me with guilt as it clicked in her head that it was my baby that she was talking about. I was convinced that she had seen the ds in Addison's eyes and that was why she had declared her to be ugly.

These are just some small examples of me being extremely sensitive. I know that some of my friends and family walk on egg shells around me. I know that, and normally I would feel bad, but honestly some things just hurt so much that I really appreciate so many people in my life going out of their way to tell me how beautiful Addison is and how much they view her as any other baby and they don't use words that they know keep me up at night in fits of tears.

I know that the lady in the grocery store probably just saw a shorter line, that people did congratulation Addison just as much as my sister's baby...I just had so much going on I didn't notice all of the posts, that the blog writer emailed me and apologized for the mistake as my comment had gotten lost in the spam file, that people don't mean what I am imagining what they mean when they use those words, that that teenage girl was just trying to impress her friends......

I know. Yes, I do. And yet....I still cry and lash out my Mama Bear instinct to protect my daughter from ever having to be hurt like I am time and time again.

I am working on this...I promise...

Monday, October 25, 2010

addison's new cousin

There's something so magical about a new baby being born into the world. Dreams become reality when that little bundle is transferred to the new Mommy's arms for the first time.

Today, my beautiful sister Bekka became a Mommy. I could not be happier or more excited for her.

We are eighteen months apart and have always done almost everything together since we were quite young (including forced matching dresses...ha). It almost makes sense that we both would become mothers for the first time during the same year. (we also got married two weeks apart four years ago)

Bekka could not have been more supportive this past year as I have struggled with my new role in life, and I just want to say that I appreciate and love her more than words can express.

Lauren Rebekah Slepitis
7lbs 3 oz
18 1/2 in
born TODAY

Of course Addison had to meet her cousin (we can't fly to WI yet, so this will have to do for now...note: please excuse the disaster behind the computer....still recovering from the weekend...)

"No Lauren, hold your hand like this..."

"hi Lauren....I love you! Mom keeps wanting me to look at the camera, but I want to look at you..."

I love you, Bekka! So excited for you and Eric as you begin this new adventure with your beautiful bundle. I hope that she is as much as a trouble maker as you were as a child....mostly because it will keep you on your toes, but also because I still often think about how narrowly I survived my own infanthood because of you. (-: Ha.