Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Blues

I don't know about you, but I'm fighting a bit of the winter blues (as well as an oncoming cold). The only thing keeping the smile on my face these dreary, dark winter days?

My children. They are frickin' hysterical. (oh yes, I am one of THOSE mothers)

This is me attempting to cheer up:

1.The following is not a staged picture. It actually happened. Apparently signing "eat" to get food of her own was just too much effort...who needs a dog to lick your face when you have a hungry big sister?

2. On Saturday I was organizing some stuff in the kitchen and Daddy was watching the children staging a revolt. I was hastily called in and found them doing this....(Daddy seemed pretty pleased with himself for the organized activity...I'm SURE he taught Addison her fancy footwork piano moves)
3. a smile from this girl brightens the darkest of days...
4. which made her speech therapist my new favorite person when she brought bubbles for the long Monday morning session...
5. of course, good therapy has to be rewarded...

6. the sign over my kitchen sink helps break winter blues as well. (I feel a deep, thought provoking blog post from all the thinking I have done on this while I
wash dishes
rinse vegetables
scrub bottles
make more coffee)

There, I spent an entire blog post cracking myself up...problem solved...wait, you're still here?

In that case....

7. MAKING A DIFFERENCE in a little girl's life helps fight the winter blues like you wouldn't believe. Please check out this blog and help if you can!

What do you do to combat wintertime blues????

p.s. anyone have any good book recommendations? Just finished the 3 Hunger Games books (in 24 hours...could NOT put them down) and I'm looking for another good read...

Friday, January 27, 2012

don't let the diagnosis fool you...

Addison is extremely good at problem solving.

Exhibit A: We set up her picnic table as a road block of sorts for the little girl who kept just crawling out of the room during therapy. She looked at us like "duh" and then deftly wedged her body underneath the picnic table and elbowed her way to freedom. "I DON'T WANT to be here and I'll escape anyway possible!"

Exhibit B: She was helping me pack away some Carter clothes in tupperwares that she somehow knew were leaving the house...and after I had put her down for her nap and was refolding the clothes I discovered a tiny pair of pink glasses that had been "stored" under a pile of clothes in a sealed container. "Hehehehe...and that's the last I'll see of THOSE."

Exhibit C: I was bribing her to take steps by holding out a chocolate Hershey kiss in front of her and she broke free, crawled away from me and found a dish holding LOTS of Hersey kisses hidden behind a lamp on the other side of the room. "Are you really expecting me to WORK for one piece of chocolate when I secretly discovered an entire STASH? Puhleez."

Exhibit D: She will do ANYTHING at the promise of Signing Time. Including give the annoying little bother a kiss.

Exhibit E:
Today she helped her friends make some sugar cookies
and then enjoyed one after nap time.
(she was especially a fan of the pink frosting)
"Oh sweet nectar of the gods"
 She was pretty ticked when she was told only ONE cookie. I could see her wheels turning..."How do I get some more of that frosting...hmmmm"
Her plan? 
Sneakily hanging around while I was loading the dishwasher.
Waiting until I looked away....
And then diving in.
Pretty happy with her sugar-high self, she lapped up the pink frosting as quickly as possible because she knew I would notice her sooner rather than later.
Her guilty lips formed "NO" in response to my reaction
and she helped herself to more...waiting for me to physically drag her away..."mmmmmm LUV me some pink frosting"
Seriously this kid is so smart...she knows how to get what she wants. #I'mInSoMuchTrouble

p.s. Addison would like to wish a very happy birthday to both of her Grandmas

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WALKING and flirting

Please excuse me a moment while I stop and enjoy this moment spiced with liberal bragging and appropriate beaming with joy.

Last Memorial Day, Addison started cruising while holding onto furniture. And as far as progress towards walking? It's been at a dead stop.ever.since.

Even all summer when I was hugely pregnant and plead with her to "rise up and walk" because I felt the physical strength necessary to carry her was gone...NOTHING.

I've begged her, bribed her with chocolate, made Carter's chunky legs appear to be walking to make her jealous...NOTHING.

But then out of nowhere, a couple of weeks ago (OK, not nowhere, chocolate WAS involved) she took her first independent step. YAY!
Then it was two at a time, then three, then four (well, you get the idea)

The other day in therapy, she maxed out at THIRTEEN! I'm so proud I could weep (mostly that's my back celebrating that hopefully soon I will only have to carry ONE baby everywhere)

but also proud at how hard she has worked to get to this point. YAY ADDISON!!!!!

and just in case you don't believe me:
keep in mind she was walking in socks on hardwood floor (she keeps taking her shoes off)

we're definitely not to the point yet where she ONLY walks...but for the first time, she wants to try.

She's had to work so hard to get to this point, and I couldn't be more proud.

This is huge.

and I'm.so.grateful.

(meanwhile, what has Carter been up to? the start of a long career of shameless womanizing)
watch out for this one, ladies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

winter makes me lazy

Living in a northern state with two babies in the wintertime pretty much guarantees a home bound lifestyle. Getting them all bundled up...avoiding the flu and other bugs...keeping tiny hands and ears warm...it's just a LOT of work.  Because of being stuck at home more than usual, I've been feeling a bit cooped up, so when my husband suggested we go skiing one afternoon-just the two of us-I was excited about the potential adventure/kid-free afternoon.

In the olden days, I could just hop into my car with my skis and meet him up at the mountain (where he is working these days). Now, however, this meant I had to take two hours of prep time and

1. pack a bag for Carter including bottles, diapers, changes of outfits, toy, blanket
2. pack a bag for Addison including snacks, her DVD player/signing time, diapers, a change of outfit, glasses
3. locate all of my ski stuff- helmet, gloves, poles, boots, skis, snowpants that fit...etc

Carry all of that plus the two children out to the car.

Drive across town to drop Carter off at a friend's house, drive back across town and drop Addison off at her grandparent's house and then drive the 45-50 minutes up to the mountain.

I started all of my prep at 11:30 and by the time I was actually at the mountain it was 2:00.

It was cold; lose-your-nose to frostbite kind of cold. I waited patiently for my husband to join me where I thought he said he would be, but when 45 minutes had passed and I was starting to turn into a purplish/blue icicle I thought perhaps I should get some runs in by myself.

It took me 20 minutes to finally get my boots latched up because they kind of froze open (rookie mistake) and then I willed my wobbling legs to cooperate as I boarded the ski lift. (This was my first run of the season)

I got to the top and slowly skied off the chair lift and almost knocked over a poor unsuspecting little boy because I discovered very fast that the snow had been replaced with ICE. (no wonder the mountain was so empty)

Carefully making my way down the mountain, I kept hitting patches of ice and just sliding out of control. Not being the seasoned skier that my husband is, this made me extremely nervous and tense. Also, scattered across the trail were tiny little balls of ice that kept scratching my skis and propelling me towards the larger sheets of ice.

I do NOT like skiing on ice. (for those of you non skiers, it pretty much means that it can be impossible to stop...and it makes you go WAY faster than you had planned...in a break-your-neck kind of way)

I had the newscast all planned out in my head where they would announce that a stay at home mom from Essex lost control on the ski hill that afternoon, leaving two beautiful children behind. Skiing on ice does funny things to my already somewhat precarious balance of pessimism/optimism.

I fell once (but Jess Turner if you're reading this I DID NOT FALL at all) and couldn't get back up all by myself because the snow was so icy I kept sliding down the hill sideways every time I tried. An instructor finally stopped and helped me up. I kindly refrained from dropping Aaron's name. No need to embarrass the hubby by letting his coworkers know that it was HIS WIFE who was attempting to claw her way back up the mountain to a spot flat enough to find her feet.

I finally got to the bottom of the mountain, my heart in my throat and and every muscle aching from how tense the icy hill made me. I'm going to miss those toes that the cold claimed half way down.

I saw my husband standing at the bottom of the hill.

"Ready?" He asked, grinning. He is a mad skier, and loves to test the limits of our marriage by trying to convince me onto black diamonds with the assurance that it is mislabeled.

I looked into his blue eyes and gave up trying to be the strong mountain woman (yeah, who was I fooling, anyway?)

"Let's go get a coffee."



When he agreed rather quickly, I realized that he had been out in the 0 degree weather and fighting the ice ALL DAY (with a group of third grade girls that he was teaching).

So we settled into a nearby restaurant and had coffee...and a hamburger...and fries.

My "intense skiing" workout of the day ended up not to be the calorie loss I had intended.

...and that is why I prefer to stay at home in my sweats, folding laundry, drinking coffee that I didn't pay $4 a cup for, and watching Shark Tank while the children nap in their own beds.  It's just easier...and I'm lazy...

was all that worth it for ONE RUN?

(the date with my husband was nice...but we could have done that at home. right?)

It's settled. I'm a boring person.very.boring.

But as much a it bugs me to admit it...I really was looking forward to some good skiing. (I'm turning into a Vermonter-OH NO!) I think I'm going to have to try this again soon. (Note to self: bring mountain thawing blow torch.)

It turns out that Addison is much braver than I am when it comes to snow activities with Daddy...
and Carter counts down the days until he can join in the fun.
Happy Tuesday....stay warm, avoid the ice...and drink lots of coffee. (my newest recipe for happiness)

p.s.I would like to thank the BJU magaine for doing such a sweet article on Addison. We are happy to share our story in the hopes that we are making a difference. Thank you, Emily Park.

p.s.s. another way we hope to make a difference? our ebook. Have you read it yet?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Design

January is the birthday month in our little family. Aaron's birthday is in January...my sister's birthday is in January...Aaron's grandpa's birthday is in January...my mother and mother-inlaw's birthdays are in January (both on the same day-and year, ironically enough)...
I am HORRIBLE with birthdays, so this means that I usually spend the entire month of February feeling guilty for not getting everyone their card/present/cake combo on time- or at all.

The next ten months are spent in intensive psychological therapy working through my guilt for being a horrible wife/sister/daughter/granddaughter/daughter-in-law and then before I know it...January is here again ready to slay me yet again with birthday after birthday after birthday after birthday.

But as bad as I am about buying those cards and presents, my husband is 10x worse. Too harsh? Well, my birthday was August 8th and I got my present....today.

To be fair, my birthday is three days after our anniversary, so I end up applying a lot of pressure for either one AWESOME gift or TWO medium gifts. As it turns out, he gets so intimidated and overwhelmed that both get sadly neglected. You would think that after 5.5 years, I would have learned not to do that....but apparently I'm not as bright as you might have originally given me credit for. Must lay off the pressure.

All of that simply to introduce this year's birthday gift which came in time for my half birthday (hehe).

What is this noteworthy gift, you might ask?

(really? you had to ask?)

My incredible new blog design by Minx Designs!

I dabble in a lot of things, but blog design is NOT one of them, and I was so thankful to have a pro take over and make it...as Addison would say "a pretty".
Seeing the new design makes me duck in shame at my feeble homemade attempts which makes me
think that I owe you all a big THANK YOU for still reading and not complaining about the dim lighting in here. Because wow...doesn't it look so much better?!

Thank you Minx Design! (and thank you, Holly for recommending!)

Thank you Aaron for the birthday gift! LOVE! (totally worth waiting for)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some birthday gift shopping of my own to do...

p.s. have you checked out my ebook yet????

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Subtle Chubbs, subtle.

It's 2:52 am, and yet I am awake.

I woke up about an hour ago and made the mistake of checking my email and facebook. The overwhelming response from all of you dear friends who bought my humble book, read it, said nice things, shared it....I cried. (I know from the book you're going to think that ALL I do is cry, but in all reality...I hardly EVER cry...extenuating circumstances only...I promise)

But I was so touched that so many of you care. You care about our journey, and you care about helping other moms. You care enough to send me the most gracious, thoughtful notes letting me know that this is not all in vain.

I sat and deliberated for a long while yesterday morning. Book was uploaded. Blog post was written. A trembling finger was poised over that PUBLISH POST button...I just couldn't do it. So much of myself was in that book. Was it perfect enough? What if everyone hated it? Did I truly express myself to really show the story in HD? (You know, the book version of HD...written well enough to give the clearest picture)

While I was fighting the inward demon of insecure perfectionist, what was Miss Addison doing?

eating poop.

Yes, that is correct- poop.

I suppose my first clue should have been that she smelled strongly of her own poo and yet didn't even have a wet diaper when I changed her. My second clue was the fact that she crawled very deliberately up to me, stood, took a few steps, and then handed me a very wet, old diaper.

My third and final clue was the brown little chocolate like looking balls, liberally sprinkled with tiny bite marks, scattering the floor in her nursery. (except if you were to see these wrapped up in silver wrappers and placed in a box with the flavors depicted on the lid, it would read: Gross and Grosser)

I'm glad that Addison didn't try to force feed her latest findings with her brother (he was asleep). She's super thoughtful that way.

I then just happened to remember that I had placed a dirty diaper on the floor instead of in the diaper pail because the diaper pail had been moved and I didn't want to leave Addison alone on the changing table to throw it out...I mentally made a note to move it later...and then forgot.
At this point I was really regretting our chuddle/face eating nibble time just minutes before I discovered the chocolate balls...at the time I was confused as to why she was so odorous

So yeah, Addison was eating poop- smearing it gleefully all over her little face..and then rubbing off all evidence of the deed. (she is seriously so smart...I have a blog post brewing with all her latest antics of genius)

"CHOMP CHOMP (smear) lick...hmmmmmm, Mom hasn't given me this flavor of chocolate yet. I feel pretty deprived. Good thing I scouted it out for myself."

It was then I realized that I didn't have a second more to waste with my inward battles. I pushed publish, prayed that it would somehow strike a chord with someone who would forgive the fact that I wasn't perfect....and went to mother my very curious, very mischievous toddler who sent more than subtle hints via her daily perfume that SHE NEEDED ME. (it's amazing how much trouble she can get into within seconds of me turning my attention away)

I left my computer behind and bathed, redressed and tried to encourage a very hyper girl to take a nap (poop must double as an energy booster...note: remember to recheck more carefully the ingredients of future energy bars)

All that to say. a giant THANK YOU. I look forward to responding back more individually (at a more sane hour), but you all mean so much to me and I feel overwhelming honored and blessed to have you all in my life.

and in case you have no idea what I'm talking about:
please check it out! (and share)

Many asked about being able to read it without an ebook reading device.
You can still read this ebook even if you don't have a Kindle. Simply choose Kindle for PC as your delivery choice and download the free Kindle for PC onto your computer (it is free).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dreams Change

In a few short weeks, little miss Addison will be turning the very old sounding number of TWO.

These past two years (plus her pregnancy) have changed me into a much different person than I was that first moment that I realized that I was pregnant. I used to write about that a lot on here- my struggles, my fears.

Many of you wrote encouraging comments to me and I will forever be grateful to you for your support.

The journey of a special needs mom is not an easy one. This blog has helped me not only learn to cope through therapeutic writing, but learn to love, love, LOVE this journey of being Addison's mother.

For those of you who might be new here, her first year of life was not easy for her physically (she had three surgeries, nine months of oxygen, a g-tube, a long NICU stay). In addition, her prenatal diagnosis was one of the worst things that I have ever suffered through.

I don't write about it much anymore...because it all seems far away. Distant. It's hard to pay attention to the angry waves a few miles out in the ocean when you are busy admiring the feel of the wet sand between your toes, the little laps of water catching the bottom of your feet, the beautiful shells begging to be picked up and treasured.

But in the last couple of months it has occurred to me that while I am ending that part of my journey- someone else is just beginning it. While I am hopelessly in love with my daughter sporting the extra chromosome, some others were just given their amnio results that make them feel as though they were robbed of every last chance of happiness due to this "extra chromosome deformity". While I am luxuriously enjoying the beautiful shells in my life now, someone else is stuck out in the angry waves- drowning.

And while I don't have a magical pill for you so that all of a sudden life is full of rainbow eating kittens and pastel covered marshmallows floating from the sky instead of that car-crushing hail you're currently experiencing...I can be completely honest with you. I can give you the assurance that you're not alone. I can share exactly how I felt when I was there, allowing you to experience the journey with me from there to here.

In celebration of Addison's 2nd birthday, and to formally close this chapter of my life:
(click on it...it's a link)

I have written- in more detail than ever before all about her diagnosis, her birth, her NICU stay...

and then I compiled all of the posts that I wrote these past two years while sorting through becoming a "special needs mom". Her first heart surgery- her milestone celebrations- coming off of oxygen- having doubts- falling in love...it's all there.

It was long (60 pages) so that it was much bigger than a blog post, or two blog posts, or even three. So I created an ebook and made it official by putting it up for sale on Amazon.

This is my way of emotionally saying goodbye to the grief and fear and continuing my life of a very normal mom to a very normal daughter.

It is also my way to help put out there what it's really like to those moms who are learning earlier than ever their child's diagnosis and being encouraged to choose abortion.

It would be easiest to keep these painful thoughts and emotions bottled up for my own private memory, but on the off-chance that perhaps it would help that one mom going through the same thing....

...or the "normal" parent wondering what the other side is truly like...

I offer my version of a life boat, braving those angry waves one more time because of those just entering the churning waters.

And in order for those who truly need to hear what is in these e-pages to know about this...please share this book. You don't know who it is around you who just received the news and is considering terminating her pregnancy rather than be stuck with a "different" child. You don't know who is privately struggling, bitter and resentful that God made a mistake when creating her child. You don't know who needs to realize that her child is perfect even if that child doesn't line up to what they always dreamed of in parenting. Sometimes the ones grieving the most are the ones who are most quiet.

My dreams have changed these past two years. Sometimes the things that make us the happiest are the things that we think we don't want- fight against, even.

Read here about my changed dreams. (you can download to your computer if you don't have a Kindle)

and thank you...in advance.

(Note: This is NOT the book that I have been talking about forever. This is a side project that I did just for Addison's birthday...more on the "big" book later)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I have been silent of late. Not because I am purposefully neglecting my blog, or my children, or am going through a crisis...but because all of my blogging time has been funneled toward a different project. A project that I hope to announce to you here on my blog within the next few days. No more details for now...I promise to spill all as soon as it is finished....and catch you up on our everything and nothing over here in Essex.

To tide you over? (because I'm sure that the suspense is already killing you

A few pictures that we snapped of the children in outfits that Grandma Ruth sent for Christmas. I was trying to get a good shot, but instead got a pictoral documentary of crazy Chubbs. Carter was pretty sullen himself throughout the entire photoshoot...soooooo we're going to have to do this again.
Captain Chubbs and First Mate Carter
"Stop looking at me like that. You're creeping me out."
A smile of evil plans to dump her brother off the couch (good thing Daddy was there to assist)
Carter must have nudged her funny bone.
thrilled to be taking part as First Mate Carter
Captain Chubbs
changing the rating on this photoshoot with one kick of her daisy shoed foot
"Look Carter- couch diving is cool!"
"Yeahhhhh....we're done here."
Happy Tuesday to all of you! We'll be back soon with big news! (-:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Bunny Hill's Lindsey Vonn

Once upon a time, there was a family who loved to ski.

And when they had a little girl who came sportin' a little something extra, they worried that she wouldn't be able to share the family's love for the snowy slopes.

But one day, there was a tiny pair of skis
 and a girl wearing a tiny pair of boots
 and a ski instructor who bore the name "Daddy".
 Being  more than thrilled to give this whole "skiing thing" a try
the little girl placed herself in her Daddy's capable hands.
 She stood all on her own and was happy
 (as long as Daddy kept her moving)
 on those magical things called skis.
 Being a natural
 (of course)
 the little girl perused the ski hill and imagined herself at the top one day (soon).
 But for today?
she was quite happy to take her little determined face to the bottom of the hill and practice using those legs like a true Vermonter
 "we're going to need to do this again" she said earnestly
 to Daddy and Mommy.
 Wrapping up the day with a giant bouncy castle,
 a bad case of hat hair,
 and a Signing Time DVD

The whole family agreed, "We should do this again....soon."

(Except for Carter who was at Gwampa and Gwandma's house screaming loudly protesting that he was not part of the day's expedition)

the end