Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enjoying the South for a bit...

Hey all or should I say ya'll?;) We're still around, just a bit further south, visiting Mike's family for the holidays. I've got lots of pics and stories to share from Christmas with my family, getting stuck in a hotel with the fam and 2 dogs and getting kicked while sleeping (numerous times) in said hotel by one feisty 19 month old , snow ball fights (we had a white Christmas, like many of you!), Bennett cuteness, etc. But for now we're enjoying a Southern Christmas but with semi Northern temps! I'd be lying if I said I couldn't live here though, because I could sooo live down here again!

Anyways, I'm excited because tomorrow we are meeting up with two of Bennett's "girlfriends"-that we've never met -lol! I met one mom through blogging and the other through facebook and I'm really looking forward to seeing their adorable daughters tomorrow! Stay tuned for those pics!
Hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's been 2 years since "the call"...

Two years ago on December 26th, our lives changed forever after receiving a phone call. It was the call telling us that our unborn son had Trisomy 21-Down syndrome. Unfortunately I remember everything about that sad day. So many tears were shed until I didn't have any left. Our lives seemed to stop while everyone else just kept on living theirs.

But now, how something so wonderful could come from such a sad day is truly amazing. Never in a million years could we imagine the blessing we were about to receive.

Funny how one phone call temporarily "ruined" our lives, "ruined" our Christmas but little did we know, it was actually going to change it for the better.

So we're 2 years into our "new normal" and it's not what we expected. Not even close. We have this perfect little boy now to cherish today, the 26th of December. Somehow through everything with him, he brings us happiness.

That call was a blessing in disguise.

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Phil. 1:3

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Reason For The Season....

Well we've got just 3 more days until the big day! The girls are sooo excited and Harper can often be heard saying: "It takes too long to get to Christmas!" And Ainsley: "I just don't know if I can wait that long."-LOL

With much of the focus being on presents, Santa Claus, decorations, parties, Christmas movies, etc. I try to (several times a day) remind the girls of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place....

We (meaning our family and yours, if you happen to believe what we believe) must stop, amongst all the hustle and bustle, the stress, the festivities- the craziness of the holidays and reflect on what it's all about.

My very favorite Christmas song has always been "Little Drummer Boy". Sit and listen to the words. A poor boy plays his drum for the King of Kings because that's all he had to offer Him and then....

Jesus smiled at him.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given....And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Don't forget the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Christmas Time In The City....

Call us crazy but we braved the holiday crowds and drove into New York City the week before Christmas! As much as I'd love to get back down South, it is pretty cool to live this close to NYC! So we took advantage of that and much to our surprise, it wasn't too crowded! Plus it was a nice way to celebrate Ainsley's birthday- once again!
So I've got lots of pics to share but I'll keep the words to a minimum. This first one was actually at the end of the day where Harper looks like she's going to fall over, she's asleep but we had to get a picture in front of the the Rockefeller Tree!

First stop was American Girl! Ainsley has been begging to go to New York to go to AG and Harper is totally into Bitty Baby but has never been there, so that's where we headed first! These girls were in heaven!

Time Square!

{Can you tell it was cold??!!}

We met up with our friends Scott and Alex and thankfully they knew their way around or else it would've been a long day;)

This is Scott and Alex- love this picture of them!

Macy's windows! {The ones at Saks were pretty cool too!}

We thought we'd go inside Macy's and just see if we could get a glimpse of Santa and while we were looking for him, we ran into someone just as important....

Mrs. Claus!!

She just walked right up and offered to pose with the girls-they were so excited since they had never really seen Mrs. Claus!

Alex and Scott jumped on the opportunity as well since you really don't get to take your picture with her too often;) LOL

BTW- a 2 hour wait for Santa- forget that! We saw our local Santa and that suited the girls just fine!

I haven't mentioned Bennett much but he was perfect the entire day! I had him so bundled up and after lunch he fell asleep right on his nap schedule;) Honking horns and the hustle and bustle didn't seem to bother him one bit.

We decided to visit the Empire State building because we've never been there....

Awesome view of the whole city!

Poor Alex is slightly afraid of heights but she was so brave and decided to join us-very proud of you Alex!!

Taking it all in.

So having 3 kids to tote around, I'd say we had a pretty successful day! With little ones you just can't be trotting all over the city so sticking to just a few attractions really well as a plan....and people that know their way around;)

Thanks Scott and Alex for joining us and for letting the girls pester you throughout the day;)

Christmas time in the city is beautiful!


{Or so it seems sometimes!}

Ainsley you are six years old today!!! You've been waiting to turn six since the day you turned 5! You love being a "big kid" and doing things independently. You amaze me at how quickly you pick up on things and how clever you are. You are beautiful, bright, caring and compassionate. You're the oldest so we tend to have high expectations of you but don't worry about mommy and daddy because we love everything you do. To us, you're the best!

Happy Birthday Ainsley!!

Mommy and daddy adore you and we're so proud of you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just Standing Around....

Bennett here.

So my mommy thinks it's a good idea to keep working on my standing. Lately she's had me stand against walls and various things....

Not quite liking it so much because I actually have to work a little! And I'm really not a huge fan of working.

Really not enjoying this.

But after a while I start to get the hang of it and mommy starts cheering and clapping and I LOVE when she cheers and claps for me....

I can do this!

I even stood (for about 5 seconds;)), without holding onto anything, while playing at the couch today!

Yeah, I'm getting the hang of all this stuff. Still don't like working though;).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Sweet Baby....

Yes, this one right here,
is LOVED...obviously. He is worthy, he is important, he is treated just like our other children- (stay with me).
To us he is beautiful, perfect, a blessing, an absolute angel sent from above.

But if he were to be born in lets say Russia or Eastern Europe, he'd be in an orphanage. And in just about 2 years, if no one came to save him, he'd go to a mental institution to die- a horrible, horrible place they send tiny, little 4 year olds. Can you believe that? Why? Why would he go to an orphanage and then a mental institution?

Because he has Down syndrome.

Yes, all because he has Down syndrome. It's true. I was moved by Kelli's beautiful post to write a little about this myself. It absolutely breaks my heart that these babies, babies just like Bennett are literally thrown away at birth. Many are left day after day in a tiny crib, in the same clothes, dirty diapers, drugged up to keep them quiet. And then at 4 they are stripped away to an awful, scary mental institution where they will most definitely die.

Because they have Down syndrome.


If this doesn't pull at your heart strings, even just a little, I don't know what will.

Thankfully, there is an organization called Reece's Rainbow that is dedicated to helping these precious children find their forever families. Imagine helping a child, a child just like Bennett, get closer to a safe home with a loving family. Giving him or her a life of freedom, a life filled with love, giving them parents that care for them. There are so many families that are trying to save these children and bring them home where they can care for them. Are you one of them? Or do you feel the need to help them?

Last year I came across a sweet boy on the Reece's Rainbow site and cried for him because he was just like my Bennett but I also cried for the many other children. I felt the need to donate towards this particular boy's adoption. I checked back on him this year and I am beyond thrilled that his forever family is so very close to bringing him home! Click on that link to visit their blog. They recently posted some videos of their little boy (still in the orphanage but you must watch them!) and again I cried. He is beautiful, giggling, starting to walk all around his crib, absolutely adorable and yet he was still thrown away, with the possibility of never having a family. However, by the grace of God he will be going home to a loving family that wants him more than anything! They will now give him a life he deserves. That's love, pure love. So then I cried tears of joy for him!

Please consider a donation. Even if it's just a small amount, to this wonderful organization, Reece's Rainbow. You may just help to save a life that is so worth living!

Click on the bubble below to make a donation or to find a beautiful baby that needs a home!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For Granddaddy....

and we're not talking about Santa here {for this post any way}.

We believe in you Granddaddy, you can do this!!

We pray for you Every.Single.Night.

{But speaking of Santa...}

For the first time in 5 years, we had no meltdowns! Bennett was about to but then it all went so fast that he didn't have time to process it all!

Stay strong in your faith Granddaddy!

"If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Mark 9:23

Friday, December 10, 2010

On a lighter note...Bennett Signing and "Talking"...

So Bennett has added a few more signs to his collection! He now will sign "mom", although he usually says "dada" with it and he gets the mom and dad sign confused sometimes. But I like how he said "daddy" or what sounded like it anyway in the video! He just picked up "yes" yesterday but it still looks like a little wave- he's definitely trying to bend his wrist up and down but doesn't quite have it.

As far as talking, he's perfecting the word "no" and is starting to use it appropriately, like any toddler;) I can also get a "bye-bye" with a wave every now and then-so cute! He'll say "nigh-nigh" when prompted to and of course mama-when he's whiny and dada.

Bennett's favorite sign though is "EAT"! As soon as I get him out of his crib in the morning he's signing "eat", it just makes us laugh. Just wish he was a better table food eater!!!

He's up to 10 signs and maybe 5 or 6 words now and at one point I didn't know if he'd ever get it, but he has! For signing, we do watch Baby Signing Time but honestly we haven't in the last week or two. I just keep doing the basic ones when I talk to him and he seems to eventually get them or some of them anyway.

Such a fun stage to be in right now! And no matter what's going on in our lives, he always has a way of making us smile!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Well once again, life has taken a wrong turn, according to our plans and once again, it's during the holidays. Not that it really matters what time of year it is but December is supposed to be a happy month, a joyful month, a festive month. And for the most part it is and despite what has happened in the past during this time and what is happening now, it still was and is a happy time.

There still was/is happiness, there still was/is joy and there still was/is holiday festivities. It's just hard to believe it's at the same "happy" time. We've happened to be with my parents during the past two hard times that affected Mike and I directly. They were there to help us, guide us, pray for us and suffer with us.

But now it's my parents that are directly affected.

My dad's Melanoma is back and it's not good.

I know I've mentioned this before but Melanoma has struck my family in the past with my dad's father, my dad's sister and now it's my dad and since March he's been fighting it. After losing his sister this summer who had Melanoma as well, it's almost too hard to believe. I truly never knew that Melanoma could be this bad but now, I know all too well.

I've done research, I've joined forums, I've read blogs. Once again I find myself becoming an "expert" in a thing that I never wanted to know this much about (although Melanoma is way more complicated than Down syndrome). In true "Adrienne fashion", my obsessive/compulsive personality has come out in full force to do whatever I can to help my dad.

At times I feel strong, knowledgeable, hopeful and want to shout:

"My dad's gonna kick melanoma's ass!"

And then there are times I crumble in my tears, like a 2 year old, out of pure fear and sadness. Does God hear our prayers? Does he see our pain? Doesn't he see us crying? Does he know our fears? Does he even care? The answer, I truly believe and always will no matter what, is:


The hardest thing to do sometimes is fully trust God and accept that His will, will be done. I know people tend to turn their backs on God when he doesn't answer prayers according to their will. But I guess I've never had good results by turning my back on God. I don't feel any better, the pain is still there. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely been mad at God in the past. But again, the pain doesn't go away, it gets me nowhere.

So yes, life has taken a very wrong turn according to our plans. My dad will have to endure toxic medications to try and kill this thing over the next several weeks. While others celebrate with Christmas parties my dad will be in a hospital room fighting a battle. This toxic treatment may work or it may not. If it doesn't work we move on to another treatment. But I'll have all of you know, through all of this, my dad has kept a smile on his face. Surgery after surgery, medicine that made him feel like crap, radiation- through it all, he's been amazing!

But with all this yucky cancer talk,

There is most definitely still hope.

It won't be easy. It won't be "warm and fuzzy", we all know that. But with a positive, hopeful and prayerful attitude I know God will be there with my dad and us every step of the way.

This is where my dad belongs, on his lawn mower;) NOT in a hospital bed. NOT battling cancer.

"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I"

Psalm 61:2

Thanks to the friend that led me to this verse;)

As always, prayers are greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Little "Minnie Mouse"!

This weekend we celebrated Ainsley's 6th birthday with a Minnie Mouse sleepover! Her actual birthday isn't until the 20th but I've found the closer we do it to her birthday, the lower the turn out due to Christmas parties and such so this works! Ainsley requested a "Minnie Mouse" theme so that's what we did....

The invitations-got these from here and then printed them out.

I got the banner from here, the mouse ears from Party City and I made the shirts.

I created a Minnie Mouse "Bow-tique" and all the girls received minnie mouse, matching shirts and ears when they arrived to change into...

This was Ainsley's very first sleepover and many of the other girls as well so I wasn't sure how the night would turn out;0

Her cake and cupcakes, made by my friend Jeannie!

I got the cupcake toppers from here, the boxes from Micheal's and the Minnie Mouse heads on the boxes were cut outs from extra invitations.

So cute!

After cake we played a fun game and then they decorated their own minnie mouse cookies. Believe me people, I had these girls on a tight schedule or else total chaos would have broken out! 7 girls, ages 3 (Harper) to 6-need I say more?

I ordered the Minnie Mouse head cookie cutter on line.  I got the minnie mouse confetti on the table from the same place as the banner and cupcake toppers.  

Here are some of the cookies they made! LOL, aren't they cute?! I wouldn't let them eat them though-they already ate pizza, cake and cupcakes and were getting ready to have popcorn! I told them they needed to "dry":)

After cookie decorating it was time to get in our p.j.'s (we call them "jommies" in our house) but that's definitely not what others call them as I found out when I said "lets get our jommies on!"-"Jommies??"Ha-ha.

We watched 2 movies (Minnie Mouse and Barbie) with popcorn, read a book and then it was time to brush our teeth and then "lights out"....

A couple of the girls started to get a tad nervous -"I miss my mommy and daddy";( so I asked if they wanted to have all of their heads close and that way everyone would have someone next to them. They liked that idea and then Ainsley suggested they all hold hands to help the girls that were scared;).

All was quiet by 11:30 and not a peep until 7:15 the next morning-not too bad! I must say that I was quite shocked that my Harper shared the spot of "ringleader" for much of the night. I don't think she realized or even cared that they were all almost 3 years older than her-she fit right in!

The next morning Mike made "Mickey/Minnie" pancakes!
(Just cook three pancakes together and you have Mickey/Minnie!)

Bennett was asleep when the girls arrived the night before but when he woke up...

he charmed the girls, naturally;)

So all in all it was a successful sleepover!! Everyone said how brave I was but really these girls were great and just so sweet and it really helped to have the night scheduled.

We love you Ainsley and hope you had the "best birthday party ever"!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Some Battles....

are just not worth fighting....

So I thought these were cute {Hobby Lobby}, we have a coat/shoe/hat/scarf/purse/book bag issue that I'd rather not get into {I really need a mud room!!!} so I thought these hooks would be cute and perfect for the kids- Ainsley=1, Harper=2 and Bennett of course is #3. Well not according to Harper!

"Hey, I'm 3!!" "I don't want to be on 2!"

LOL! Of course Ainsley being the rule follower and perfectionist that she is got upset that Harper was not "doing it the right way". I tried to explain why I did it that way (you know, the whole birth order thing) but she wasn't having it! This was the scene this morning before school.

Harper is now on #3, much to Ainsley's disappointment.

Ahh, life with kids...yes, some battles are just not worth fighting. And we're not even going to discuss the outfit issues with the girls! {I almost always win these though;0}