Monday, November 30, 2009

A Polka Dot Christmas!

Okay, I must admit that I have a slight obsession with....

Not sure what it is but as I look around my house I see them everywhere (done tastefully though-IMO;))
Here's just a few examples...

This doesn't include hair bows for the girls, clothes (except for Mike's-that would be bad;0), socks, purses, the girls shoes, blankets, sheets, jackets, play table that I painted polka dots on, and the list goes on!

So it was time for some new ornaments (balls to be specific) for the tree. When I walked into Hobby Lobby I had in my mind polka dot ornaments. Seriously, what is it with me and polka dots?! Well since Hobby Lobby has virtually everything under the sun, I quickly spotted them and about jumped for joy! And they were 50% off!

Now just slap some monograms on them and maybe a cute little polka dot bow and I'm in heaven! (I think I may try to make some myself!)

Then I saw polka dot wrapping paper and guessed it, I had to get it (also marked 50% off)!

I loved the houndstooth and diamond pattern too! Of course I will have separate "Santa" paper for the girls-Ainsley's catching on to things like that now.

I also just ordered Bennett his stocking to match our decorative stockings (we have our family made stockings that Santa puts his gifts in located in one place and then in another we have Adrienne's funky stockings because well, I don't know why-don't ask) and of course people, they have polka dots on them!! Well, mine, Mike's and Bennett's do (the girls have stripes on theirs).

While we were decorating the tree Mike says: "Adrienne, you went a little crazy with the polka dot ornaments, seriously." LOL

Oh, I'm annoying myself at this point but I just can't get enough of polka dots!!

Does anyone else love them like I do??

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Real, Fake and Candy trees!

We're a real family gone fake. I'm talking Christmas trees here. I have fond memories of real trees growing up. I always wanted the biggest tree on the lot and my dad usually let me get the one I wanted-as long as it wasn't too outrageously priced.

So Mike and I always bought real trees together, all through college and then up until the year Ainsley was born, that was the year I'd had enough...

You see we had already purchased our real tree but the bottom of it still had to be cut down some to fit into the base a little bit better, something Mike said he would do. Well I was becoming impatient to start decorating (surprise, surprise) and it was just standing there waiting to be decorated. I thought it fit just fine in the base even though Mike said that it didn't but I already had my mind set. Mike had to work late that night so I decided to just go ahead with it (I know, I'm bad) Well everything was going fine, I had the lights on and most of the balls on when the tree started to lean. Did I mention I was 32 weeks pregnant at the time?? So I thought okay, I'll just stick my hand on the trunk to straighten it out a little, well then it really started to fall. If I let the tree fall, all the balls would come crashing to the floor (hard wood) and it would be a complete mess not to mention glass all over the place. So I got up under the sap filled tree and held it....with my gigantic pregnant falling all over me...for close to an hour!!!! Just picture it folks.
Mike finally got home: " Adrienne, Adrienne-where are you?" and there I was under the tree, trying my hardest to keep it from crashing to the floor. All Mike could do was laugh and of course he helped me but I was not laughing, nooo, not at all. I told him it would be the last year we had a real tree. Yes I can laugh about it now-it's just typical Adrienne, I'm stubborn and once I have my mind set on something no matter how stupid it may be, I'm going to do it if I think it can be done. Ahhh, I don't think I'll ever learn from my mistakes either, I'm just too stubborn.

So from then on it's been our trusty fake with lights and all, we just pull it out from the basement whenever we want and plug the baby in. I know it's not as fun as going to pick out your own tree and you don't get that Christmas tree smell but that's where this comes in handy:

Smells just like a Christmas tree if not better!

Speaking of trees, how do you like these "sweet" trees the girls and I made?:

I have to say they look much better in person!

I saw this on HGTV last year but it was too late to make them so I decided this year I'd give it a try. I forgot how they said to make them so I went onto some sites and the instructions said to use powdered sugar and water to get the candies to stick. Um....that didn't work. Candies were quickly sliding down the cone into one. big. pile. So unless I'm missing a huge step here I just don't know where I went wrong. Before totally throwing everything away and giving up I thought I'd give my old glue gun a try and wouldn't you know it worked like a charm! Why I didn't think of it in the first place is beyond me. I love that glue gun!

Of course with the glue gun the girls couldn't help me stick the candies on the cones but they had just as much fun handing me the candies and watching the cones turn into colorful Christmas trees. And of course you can't eat them but I don't think the candies are meant to be eaten any way are they?? I figure if I just put these in a big zip lock bag I can reuse these next year-candy doesn't go bad, right? The girls really did like this little project and seeing the trees in the house just reminds you of being a kid again.

So...are you a real tree family or a fake tree family?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day 2009

This year we had Grandma and Grandpa visit us for Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful dinner and we have so much to be thankful for this year!!

Looking back over the year I think the thing that stands out most for me is being thankful for Bennett's repaired heart. I am reminded of it each and every day when I see his scar.
Bennett's first Thanksgiving!

Yes, we have much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Card Pics- The Outtakes!

I know many of you have seen some of the Christmas pics I took the other weekend but I thought I'd share some of the outtakes! As many of you know, attempting to take pictures of your children is not always the easiest, most pleasant thing to do, well unless you're a professional...which I am not. I did this by myself because Mike was out of town but I was determined to get a good shot, which to my surprise I got many but of course there were many not so good ones in between....

Bennett looks cute, Ainsley looks stressed and who knows what Harper is doing.

"Get your arm off of me!"

Harper's cheesin' it and Bennett looks like he may fall over.

Nice tongue Ainsley. Harper isn't too interested in this.

Now Harper's getting bored.

Still bored

Bennett sees something in the sky and Harper is really bored

now she's picking her nose

I just love Bennett's smile in this one-too bad Harper is not looking at the camera!

Ahh, fun times.

I will say this year was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be with all three of them, hopefully next year Mike and I can make the picture!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Apple Of My Eye is 6 Months Old!!

Umm yes, I do think I could just eat him right up!
No way, 6 months, really?? The more kids you have the faster it goes by I think!

Well Bennett is just under 16 pounds now and I'm thinking 26-27 inches (I have a scale but I don't measure his length-lol). That puts him in the 75% for the Down syndrome charts for both height and weight and in the 25% for weight for the typical charts and 50% for height.
He is currently getting occupational therapy twice a week and the request for physical therapy was made so hopefully soon he will be getting OT once a week and PT once a week. To my surprise he will also be receiving speech therapy!! When I called and asked for a PT, I also mentioned that I would like him evaluated for speech, knowing I would get some resistance, which I did: "We don't usually offer speech at this young age", well I got a little feisty (in a nice way) with the woman and next thing I knew a speech therapist was calling me! She also has a degree in teaching and is trained in developmental therapy as well so we will be working on things that Bennett should be doing cognitively as well as socially for a 6 month old and so on as he grows. Once she meets Bennett we'll determine how often she'll come out to work on prespeech, eating and developmental therapies.

I ordered Baby Signing Times for Bennett and I'm excited to start sign language with him! I think the girls will really like it as well. We've been working on "How big is Bennett?" and I swear he lifts his little arms sometimes when I don't do it for him- so cute! He also enjoys doing patty-cake and wheels on the bus, really he's just a joy to be around.

So at 6 months Bennett can/is:

  • roll both ways and is starting to continue to roll to move across the room
  • starting to push up on his arms to get his tummy off the floor
  • shake toys and rattles rather ferociously-quite funny to watch him shake his little car seat toy-he makes this serious face and really gets into it
  • working on sitting independently- this could take some time though
  • hold a crawling position with knees on floor, tummy off the floor and arms straight momentarily-this is just so cute!
  • working on putting weight on his legs-he loves doing this and just giggles when he's bounced up and down
  • working on eating solids-he seems to like it for the most part
  • working on holding his bottle

Bennett will be getting a hearing test this month (recommended for babies with DS at 6 months and 1 year) as well as an eye exam. Both the eyes and ears can be issues with kids that have DS so we need to stay on top of it. He will also be getting his thyroid tested-again another issue that can arise... I know, it's a lot but you know, it's not that bad and I'll do anything for this little boy. I was prepared for some of the extra things that come along with having a child with Down syndrome so I'll just go with the flow. I just can't believe he had open heart surgery over 3 months ago! Oh I'm just so thankful he's doing so well right now.

Bennett you are our little cuddly bub and we love you soooo much and yes, you are the apple of mommy's eye!

Happy 6 months!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giving Thanks For The Unexpected...

As Thanksgiving approaches, naturally I've been thinking about what I am thankful for. Of course I am thankful for good health for me and my family and good health for my extended family. I am thankful for Mike's job, thankful for the opportunities we've had with his job. I'm thankful for Mike and for God putting him in my life-honestly, I don't think anyone else could put up with me-Ha! And I'm thankful for my sweet, sweet children. As I sit here and think about each of my children I can honestly say I am thankful for every inch of their little bodies, inside and out. But when it comes to Bennett, I ask myself am I thankful for that extra chromosome?

Let me just tell you as a mom, as a parent, this is very hard to answer, at least for me. Let me share with you what that extra chromosome has given me and then maybe I'll be able to answer my own question...

Bennett having Down syndrome has allowed me to "meet" so many wonderful people that I otherwise would have never "known".

I have received countless emails from strangers that have told me their stories and how Bennett's story has helped them cope and how it has inspired them.

I have received the sweetest messages from good friends and others that I haven't heard from in years, that allowed me to see what type of person they really are and otherwise I don't think I would've known their hearts like I feel I do today.

I have seen a love from family members that can never be broken, not ever. A love so deep, so genuine and so pure.

For me and for my life, Bennett brings out the best in people. That's the bottom line. Basically he has allowed me to see into the hearts of people, really see their hearts and how they feel and to me there is nothing sweeter. But if he didn't have Down syndrome I honestly don't think I would even have this blog because I didn't even know what a blog was until I started looking at them right after we found out. I would have never "met" these wonderful people or heard from friends that I haven't heard from in years.

And if Bennett didn't have Down syndrome of course the love that people have would always exist but would I see it in my life, I don't think so. I wouldn't be brought to tears by the emails and messages I've received because there would be no reason for people to share their hearts with me. I wouldn't be brought to tears by all the kindness we've received from friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think Bennett is more special than any other baby. All babies are special and are precious gifts from God. I'm just saying that the things I am thankful for and the things that have made a difference in my life are in a sense because of him having Down syndrome. And Bennett is not just Down syndrome. It is not what defines him as a person, it is a part of him and if I love every inch of his body, inside and out then I have to love the part that is Down syndrome.

So as hard as this is to say or write for me, and as crazy as it may sound, almost a year later after being thrown, dragged, shoved into a world that I did not want to be a part of (kicking and screaming mind you), the world of Down syndrome that is, I can say I am thankful for every part of Bennett and for Down syndrome and the things it it has already shown me. There, I wrote it. Man that was hard to write, I'm not going to lie. But it is what God intended for Bennett and I am thankful for everything God has given me so Down syndrome must be included. You see,
"Every good and perfect gift is from above" James 1:17

And Bennett is good and Bennett is perfect.

It's so strange because it's never been a question whether or not I'm thankful for Bennett. But I've never been able to say I am thankful for him having Down syndrome. That's sounds crazy doesn't it? Why would I be thankful for something that causes delays in children and that sometimes causes health issues in children and that may one day cause him to be made fun of? Why on earth would I be thankful for that? The fact is that while the world of Down syndrome can bring on many scary things or many hurtful things, the good things from it far out weigh the bad and I truly believe they always will. I cannot change the fact that he has Down syndrome, would I if I could? Uhh- that's still so hard to answer because I know it would be like changing who Bennett is and I'm not sure I'd want to do that. And since I can't, why even pretend that I could? What can change is how society views my sweet boy so I will focus on that.

Through all of this, I am a changed person because of Down syndrome. I will never be the same but I am thankful for that.

Bennett is truly like a little piece of heaven for me to hold. I know that sounds like a cliche but I don't know, there's just something about him and that extra 21st chromosome. That extra chromosome that was so unexpected but that has given me many things to be thankful for.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Raleigh Reunion!

This past weekend we drove down to Raleigh, North Carolina for my friend Cindy's wedding and had a wonderful time seeing family and friends! When we arrived Friday we had to drive through our old neighborhood and check out our old house-just to see what the new owners had done with our house!:) While we were there we stopped by my friend Susan's house as well as my friend Emily's house-thanks girls for letting us barge in and take over your toys for a few-the girls really enjoyed themselves and it was so nice to see you guys!!
After that we went to visit the girl's babysitter Diane. Diane watched Ainsley from 3 months until we moved (a little over 3 years) and Harper from 3 months as well. The girls absolutely loved seeing Diane everyday while I went to work and she took such good care of them. We miss her so much!!

Diane was very excited to meet Bennett and did not expect me to have the girls (I told her a little lie and said they weren't coming to surprise her when we arrived). I think she was very surprised and thrilled to see them!
Of course there were so many other friends we really wanted to visit with but there just wasn't enough time! I need a good week to really visit like I want to:(
After driving through our old stomping grounds we drove down to Uncle Brian and soon to be Aunt Lauren's house to visit with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Kelly!
Grandma thoroughly enjoyed snuggling with Bennett whenever he wasn't being fed. And I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself as well;)

This was the first time Aunt Kelly met Bennett...

they hit it off just fine!
Saturday night Mike and I were able to get all dressed up (we never do this!) and go to the wedding! I was so excited to have a night to ourselves without the kids so thank you Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Kelly, Uncle Brian and Lauren for watching the kids for us!!

I had to get a picture of us dressed up because this may not happen for a long time!LOL
The wedding was beautiful and we had a great time catching up with college friends. Congrats to Cindy and Ben!!

Me with my friends Teresa and Erin.

And with the beautiful bride, Cindy.
All four of us met our Freshman year of college on the East Carolina swim team and have such good memories along with lots of laughs together. So good to see you girls!!

Ending a great night with a dance-we need to do this more often!
Well now that we've been down to Raleigh we miss it even more! Mike grew up in North Carolina, we both went to school there and then lived there for 4 more years. There's just something about North Carolina that we both love, it just feels like home to us. Maybe one day it will be again. Thanks everyone for such a great visit!! Miss you all-even if we didn't get to see you!
And a big thanks to Grammy and Granddaddy for taking care of the dogs while we had our visit!! Wish we could've visited with you all longer!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Alright, alright don't get annoyed with me here-NO, I have not started decorating my house in Christmas decor...yet. I will at least wait until the week of Thanksgiving for that! But I have changed my blog to be more festive-what do you think?!

I know it's just the second week of November but let me just tell ya'll that last Christmas was not a good one. I will write more on that later but I'm sure some of you can figure it out or may even remember. So needless to say I am very excited and optimistic about this Christmas. We've got so much to look forward to in our lives and I'm ready to have a Christmas filled with joy, laughter and just plain happiness this year. So I'm kicking it off early!! If I can't decorate my house without the neighbors thinking I've totally lost it well then I'll decorate my blog!:)

Here's to a wonderful Christmas season even though we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet! LOL

{Thanksgiving is like 2 weeks away or so, so really people, Christmas is just around the corner;)}

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I think I can now finally say that! I think we survived the swine flu and I can now let a little air out as this winter was going to be extremely stressful trying to avoid it. Now that we've had it I'm hoping the worst is over. It's been a long week or so with all of us sick and numerous trips to the doctor's office but I think the end is in sight for those trips.

Ainsley is now allowed to hold her baby brother again!

Today we took Bennett in for his 5 month "well" visit and his first RSV shot. Surprisingly he gained weight after being sick but the doctor did hear that there was mucous build up in his chest so we will do nebulizer treatments for the next 5 days to try and break that up. He is breathing normal so unless that changes or he gets a fever again she thinks he will be fine. The RSV shot was a doozy though-he never cries really when he gets shots but this one goes right into the muscle and the poor baby was crying for 10 minutes! But it's worth it to me and he's fine now.

Here he is taking his nebulizer treatment, just smilin' away. Seriously, I can't get enough of this kid!

I am on a slew of medications as well but I'm starting to feel better and get my voice back. It's so true that mom's just don't get sick days. That's just part of life with kids I guess.

But the best part of all of this is that I can finally kiss and hug all of my children!! I was avoiding Ainsley and Harper like the plague when they first came down with it to try to keep myself and Bennett healthy but of course still needing to care for them and then when Mike and I got it we wore masks and didn't want to get any closer to Bennett than we had to other than feeding him and then he got it anyway!
So now we can all hug and be close and just be a loving family again-LOL. Good grief trying to keep a family of five some what healthy this fall/winter is already proving to be quite a challenge!!
Mike will be going out of town for 4 days~oh joy! As long as we're healthy I think I can manage, hopefully.

Cuddling with all my kiddos is just....ahhhh!:)

Monday, November 2, 2009

First "Real" Haircut and My Roller!

Ha! I bet you thought it was Bennett's first haircut-nope, already taken care of that myself-just a little snip,snip here and there {don't worry, I saved it}. It's the girls that needed their hair cut and this time it was done by a professional, not mommy! I've been cutting Ainsley's hair into this little wedge cut for the last 2 years that was really cute but I'm kinda over it for her so I just needed someone to add layers.
First up was Harper:
She did really good, she sat somewhat still and watched Pinocchio.

Not much change here, she's still got that baby fine hair, hard to tell what her hair is going to be like.

Ainsley did good too, she was used to me cutting it all the time!

So while I'm trying to grow it out, it is a little shorter but it needed to be trimmed and layered so now we can start fresh and really let it grow.

This was her idea of "fixing it" after we got home-lol.

This girl has got some curls!
So Bennett decided he was feeling a little better and thought it was time to roll from his back to his belly today! He's been working on this for a while now but would always get stuck on the bottom arm...until today-take a look! (Excuse the shriek and the raspy voice-still recovering from this flu thing)

So proud of him!