Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-Sneak Peek of Halloween!









Can you guess what everyone is going to be???;)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Fears Found In The "Basement"

On Saturday Mike was organizing our basement and he came across this book that I had partially filled out before I even had kids, on December 12, 1999 to be exact. He started flipping through the pages and then he came to this page and read it out loud to me (this is just too crazy people):








It says: Your greatest fear about having children...

WOW. Did I actually write that? When I heard him read it I said "What!" "I really wrote that?" "I can't believe I wrote that!" I think at first when I heard the word "retarded" I was floored but we'll get to that in a minute.

So the fear about a child being sick-hmmm...for those of you that don't know, Ainsley was very sick when she was born. I wrote about it in my very first post but she had something called Nonimmune hydrops fetalis and the doctors told us that 70% of babies with hydrops do not make it out of the O.R.- meaning they don't survive birth. If you go on the internet (which of course I did while Ainsley was in the NICU-bad, bad, bad) the mortality rate for hydrops is in the high 90's, percentage wise. So there's one of my fears that came true (not to say of course that one of them won't get sick like that again-but Lord willing they won't).

Now onto that other one. The fear that my child would be retarded. {Taking a deep breath in}There's two parts to this that get to me. 1) This word I used bothers me. It bothers me because I don't know why I actually wrote retarded. I hate that word and I hate when people say that word and I hate to think about Bennett in that way but was I writing it in the terms that the medical community uses it as in "mentally retarded" or did I just used to throw that word around like it was nothing? I really don't think it was in my common vocabulary, I just really don't and I'm ashamed if it was. And 2) Once again a fear I had, a fear that I actually wrote down... (I realize the fact that having the fear that your child will have a mental disability or any disability is not uncommon, but to write it down and then to have it happen-WOW) ...happened. In the "basement" of my heart I had these real fears and totally forgot about them until Mike found this book. So what's going on here?

Recently I remember reading the status of a friend on facebook: "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans" (thanks Susan)- I laughed when I read that. Now, this can seem a little harsh but I don't think it's meant to be and I don't see God up there laughing at us and our little plans in life and destroying them (or so we think) or laughing at our fears and then throwing them right in our face. The way I look at it is simple: He has his plans, sometimes they go right in line with ours and sometimes they don't and sometimes we just have to face our fears head on to realize that with Him we don't have to be so afraid. The above saying is kind of like the one about "Don't ask God for patience or he'll give you something to be patient about" and I'm not saying "You better not write down or voice your fears because watch out, God will allow them to happen". God isn't like this. But I do think that sometimes what we think we fear most, God has a way of showing us that maybe it's not so much to fear and I guess in my case it just so happens that he wanted to show me them directly.:)

And I do believe "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" but sometimes I think he does give us more than we think we can handle. Like God didn't give me a baby Bennett, a 5 year old Bennett, a 15 year old Bennett and a 30 year old Bennett- now that would be too much to handle. But we've all had times where we think "this is enough, I can't take any more". So by giving us more than we think we can handle, he's not punishing us but maybe it's so we will come to Him because if every thing were just bearable, just enough where we felt we could handle it, we'd never look to Him and we'd never be able to experience Him handling our fears or trials with us-head on.

I'm still sitting here amazed that I actually wrote down those two fears and they actually happened, they literally happened just as I had feared (and yes I cringe at the thought of Bennett being retarded because this word to me is very hurtful and I will NEVER refer to him in that way). Am I angry that these fears happened? No. Are there times and will there be times (specifically with Bennett) that I wish they didn't happen-yeah, I think so. But you know, those aren't my fears any more. And frankly I don't know what my fears would be now. I'm just living and trying not to live in fear and I think that's what God wants.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Finally Did It...

...I finally made dinner. Okay, okay this may sound silly but stick with me. This is sort of a running joke in my family and Mike's family: "Adrienne never cooks"- ha, ha, ha. And no it really doesn't bother me because 1) it's not that I can't cook, it's that I don't cook and 2) I'm confident enough to know that I'm very good at other things and 3) it's just not my thing, although I love to bake. Not cooking is kind of like my guilty secret along with my messy closets and messy car. People may think I have it all together but sadly, I don't.

So I used to cook before we had kids but once Ainsley came along and I worked full time I just didn't see how it was possible and then Harper came, forget it even more and then I stayed home. Then the pressure was on. I must cook for my family, I thought.(Let me just add that my kids get fed, I just haven't been cooking family meals) It was even my New Year's resolution last year. Well, let's just say after I found out about Bennett, at first I really didn't feel like doing much at all. And then I was just tired from being pregnant (making a lot of excuses aren't I?) And then, well then there was no then. I decided it was time, plus Mike was really getting on me about it and I've only felt guilty about it for almost 5 years now. So I started off simple but I must say it was healthy, it was good (even Mike said "this is pretty good") and it was served right when Mike was walking in the door from work (I felt like I was living in the 50's, the entire family is sitting at the table, the hard working father walks in from work and the wife sits his plate on the table and he sits right down-too funny)-even Ainsley was laughing at how strange and comical the whole thing was! Of course I took pictures to document this because this is kind of a first for me! Again to most of you, this is probably ridiculous but let me ask you, how do you do it? How do you find the time to make dinner every night? Is every mom making dinner every night for her family? Am I the only one that hasn't been? Now, before you rush to make a comment, this is what I need to fit in to almost all of my days and I'm not really willing to budge on anything:
  • Feed the children (this includes 4 bottle feeds that can take a long time)
  • Pump 2 times a day
  • Feed and take out the dogs
  • Take Ainsley to school
  • Play with Harper
  • Play with Bennett
  • Therapy for Bennett (2 times a week)
  • Pick up Ainsley from school
  • Exercise (this is a must for me)
  • Keep the house somewhat clean
  • Grocery shop (once a week)
  • Play dates (occasionally)
  • Actually sit down and come up with a meal (this is so hard for me!)
  • Relax (occasionally)

So I basically have maybe 20 minutes to fit in preparing a dinner as I see it. Any quick recipes for me that you can suggest? The one I did last night was simple but I need more ideas other than pasta dishes because I can do those. Mike has cooked for too long and don't get me wrong, he is a great cook, his steaks could rival any fancy restaurant's but he's tired and he wants to work out too and play with the kids and unless we both wake up at 4 in the morning, something has got to give. And I think that's got to be me. So I will leave you with the meal I prepared for my family on September 24, 2009 (everyone enjoyed it and Mike even said "I may have to blog about this one"lol!)

Baked chicken with ranch seasoning and bread crumbs



served with baked potato and steamed broccoli. (I know ya'll are totally laughing at my simple meal!)


Thought I'd throw this one in, Harper was thoroughly enjoying her pudding while I was cleaning up and I looked over and this is what I found!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Thought I'd Share...

video

...my little guy rolling over! I think we can officially say he's doing it! And he's very close to rolling over from his back to his tummy but I know that may take some time. I think Harper was nearly 7 months before she did it that way so we'll see if Mr. Bennett can do it before she did! Anyways, I'm just excited I actually got him doing something on video- that never happens!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bennett Is 4 Months Old!

Well once again, I can't believe it's been 4 months already! Bennett has been making some major progress in the head control department this past month! He's smiling more than ever and has the cutest little giggle. Honestly, sometimes it's hard to put him to bed at night because I just want to eat him up! He'll just look back up at me and smile and coo-he's a major flirt! He is still the easiest baby and just goes with the flow.

Bennett weighs 13.6 pounds (Ainsley weighed this at 6 months-she was so tiny!) and I'm not sure how long yet (4 months check up is on Friday) but I'm guessing about 24 inches. He has OT and PT at our house 2 times a week and Sue (his therapist) says he's doing great! She says his tone is good as he can keep his legs from frogging out, he holds his toys tightly and he moves his limbs just like any other 4 month old. Just recently he has started really holding his head up while on his tummy- I was concerned about this right after the surgery because he was not lifting his head at all but maybe he just need to recover more-I need to give the poor guy a break after having OHS!

The other night he rolled onto his back and at first I thought it was by accident (like maybe he just tipped over because he was holding his head up to the side) and then I rolled him back over and he did it again! Way to go Bennett! Here's some pics during a therapy session...

C'mon Bennett, you can do it!


Hang in there!


Hey, this is easy!

Bennett loves Mrs. Sue! (And I have a strong feeling she loves him;))


No frog legs!



Happy 4 months Bennett! Love you bub!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Son That Never Existed.

I've been doing some thinking. Thinking about how upset I was when I first found out that Bennett had Down syndrome. Almost immediately a little boys life flashed before my eyes. A boy I didn't even know but I felt I was losing him. Dreams that I had for this boy seemed to vanish, dreams that I had made up, dreams that we all make up. His face that I had envisioned seemed to vanish and even the names I had picked seemed to slip away. It was as if all of a sudden I was given this new child that I was not prepared for and that did not fit into my plans.

Now, I know that all of these feelings I had were normal and I don't think there is anything wrong with mourning the death of child you thought you were having. Because essentially that's what it feels like at first. However, I've come to realize that the child I had dreamed about and that I thought I was having never even existed. There was never a Bennett without Down syndrome. The moment Bennett was conceived, that extra chromosome was there.

When he was first born I used to wonder what he would look like if he didn't have Down syndrome or what he would be doing if he didn't have it. Would his eyes be big and round like Harper's? Would he be a strong baby and holding his head up more as an infant if he did not have DS? But now when I look at him, again I remind myself that there was never a little Bennett of mine without Down syndrome, he never existed. For some reason this thought puts me to tears, like really makes me cry but I don't think it makes me cry because I'm sad that there was never a Bennett without Down syndrome, I think it makes me realize how much of this life is not in my control and how God has his hands on everything and that's a good thing.

In the beginning I struggled so much with whether or not this just happened by mistake or if God knew this all along. Like when I was a little girl did God know that I would one day have two little girls of my own and then something special would happen and Bennett would be conceived? I struggled because I thought why would God cause this to happen, why would he want my son to have something that would cause him to be different or "not perfect"? But now I've come to believe that God allowed this to happen and although I do not know his plans or why it would happen to us, his ways are much bigger than my ways and it's okay to not know why. And for some reason it puts me at peace to know that this child I had in my mind, the child I thought I was having never was meant to be. Bennett, however was meant to be. He was perfectly placed in our family and not because we are special parents that have the strength to handle a child with special needs, because 1) we aren't and 2) we don't but because God has plans. And I'm so thankful I can now believe that Bennett was always the son I was meant to have, from the very beginning, just the way he is.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Visitors and A Ton of "Firsts"!

This past weekend we had Uncle Brian and (soon to be) Aunt Lauren come visit us for the first time! It was also the first time they met Bennett!

Uncle Brian with Bennett

And Lauren with Bennett

Lauren is a nurse and has worked in PICUs, NICUs, CICU's and probably more U's that I don't know about but she has a lot of experience with babies as well as babies with Down syndrome and has cared for some that have had the same surgery as Bennett. Needless to say I felt very safe with Lauren around and she was all about the hand sanitizer so you know I was loving that!:)


Not sure what Ainsley and Uncle Brian are doing here, Brian and Lauren had an early flight so I think he is pretending to go camping with Ainsley and he's pretending to sleep but I think he may have really been taking a nap!

On Saturday Ainsley went to her first ballet and tap class!
Here she is in her little ballerina shoes and leotard. She loved it and is thrilled about going every Saturday until May but she wants to know why she can't wear the recital costume now-she's is ALL girl!


It rained all day Friday and Saturday so on Sunday the sun finally came out and we went to the zoo for the first time! And what zoo did we go to??
America's first zoo, of course! The Philadelphia Zoo!

We thought that was pretty neat when we saw the sign about it being the first zoo.

The Philly Zoo was great and the girls loved seeing all the animals but both were a little scared and didn't realize at first that the animals were caged up. Both held on pretty tightly when we went to see the lions and tigers...


Harper was not so sure about the tiger that was sound asleep. I'm convinced the animals all have a party when the zoo closes because when people are around waiting for them to do something grand, they just lay there like we're boring them to tears!
Poor Lauren carried Ainsley for the first hour until Ainsley felt pretty sure that a lion was not going to jump out and eat her! {Oh and the pigeons, ducks, peacocks and geese that were casually walking around the zoo were not winning Ainsley over either}


Daddy with his girls.


The giraffe was a BIG hit!

We had fun on the jungle carousel (Harper's first carousel ride)!

Ya think she looks tired?? Yes, that was about all Miss Harper could take- she had an all out temper tantrum after I took her off of the carousel, she was exhausted but did not want to get off!

Umm...yeah, she was not happy. This is what Bennett did for most of our zoo trip. He's such a good baby!

Monday it was back to work for Mike and back to school for Ainsley! (Her first day:)) If you've been following my blog long enough you may have noticed how I like to look back and compare pictures from the same events in years past. So here is Ainsley last year on her first day of school...


(She started in November when we moved here)


And here she is this year-
she's looking so mature! I can't believe my baby girl will be five soon!



One last snuggle with Bennett before Lauren and Brian had to leave on Monday.

All in all we had a great visit and we're really looking forward to their wedding in December! I've got the girls dresses so now we just need to start practicing! {Brian and Lauren, I'm pretty sure Harper will not behave how she did this weekend at your wedding....I hope;)} Thanks again for coming to visit us!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our First September Visitor!

September is busy with visitors for us and first up was my sister Alexa! She came down to help with the kids last week and although her husband and boys thoroughly missed her, we loved having Aunt Alexa spend the week with us!!

She lives far away so we don't get to see her or her family too often but the girls warmed up to her very quickly and starting in on playing barbies, reading books and coloring. It was quite amusing to watch her play barbies when she's got two boys that are older than my girls and the mere fact that they are boys should explain why it was funny to watch her play with my girls!
Tuesday we walked to the park and then I had a doctor appointment so Alexa watched the girls-which was a life saver-any time I don't have to bring them along, things go much more smoothly! That night an old friend of my sister's, Jennine, drove up from Philly for dinner so we all had a great time catching up.

Wednesday we made a trip to the fabric store-always fun taking three kids to the "boring fabric store"! I've wanted a little something more in my family room as far as my windows go and I knew Alexa did not have her sewing machine so we were going to have to do some major "mistreating" of the windows. She helped me pick out the perfect fabric to go with my current valences and while I hung the hardware she "mistreated" the curtains! Of course the whole project could have taken 10 minutes but since I do not own a sewing machine she was forced to hot glue and use fabric tape for everything. I'm sure this was hard for her to do as her profession is mainly sewing!

Here's the hooks we used to hang them from.

And here's a sneak peek of the curtains.
The bottom matches my valences and this fabric used to be a bed skirt that my mom converted into valences and now the left overs are being used for the curtains- so this bed skirt has come in handy!

Once we put them up we both agreed they were adorable but a bit skimpy. You see, we bought all of this fabric that the store had but of course there wasn't much left. And then my mom (the interior decorator) got a peek at them from a picture and said "I'm sure I could find that same fabric at my Jo Ann's and I could add a little more to the panels"-this made me laugh because Alexa and I knew once mom saw them, being the interior decorator that she is, "mistreating" would not cut it for her! Just teasing you mom! She thought they looked great but agreed that they were lacking in the fullness department so once she gets a hold of them with her sewing machine, I'll show you the finished product.

Thursday was more shopping and then we took the kids to the pool which was so relaxing because we were really the only people there! The girls got to burn off some energy, Bennett slept and Alexa and I were able to chat. That night after the kids went to bed we sat by the fire pit and laughed about old times. It's funny because we are total opposites of each other but we get along really well. Of course it wasn't always like that when we were younger and in our teen years but we both got married young and had children relatively young so we're able to relate to each other in that aspect.


Alexa having fun playing with Bennett. She discovered he makes funny faces when you bounce his back!



The girls had so much fun with their Aunt!

I'm so thankful for my sister! She is the most patient and caring person and so easy to get along with. She's the person you go to when you're super stressed or scared or mad about something and has a way of calming you down and always has good advice. She was there for me every day on the phone throughout my pregnancy with Bennett which I know had to be emotionally draining for her at times. When we found out about Bennett she was sad for me and was hurting too but she remained strong and encouraging for me because that's what she needed to do. I can only hope and pray that Ainsley and Harper will have a good relationship like Lex and I do.

Thanks so much for coming Lex, we love you!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-Coordinating Cuties!



Okay, I went a little crazy with this guy-just can't get enough of his cuteness!!-Oops-this is wordless Wednesday-sorry!










See, what I mean? How could I resist? Sorry-wordless Wednesday, I know!