Thursday, July 28, 2011

It Sneaks Up On You.

The other night the girls and I were eating dinner out on the patio and I couldn't help but notice the sky....

It was the kind of sky that makes you think that heaven is opening up and shining down, you've seen the kind of sky. And you can't help but think that {that heaven is opening up}.

Harper noticed it too and said: "Mommy, see those clouds?" {I had not taken a picture of them at this point}

Me: "Yes, they're pretty, aren't they?"

Harper: "Yes, well those are the clouds that Granddaddy is sitting on and he's looking down on us!" Huge smile on her face.


Seriously?! Oh my sweet Harper. Even she thought it looked heavenly without me telling her that. She's 4!

And with that comment I had to excuse myself because although I was smiling at her and agreeing, the tears were welling up and just like that it snuck up on me.

Calmly I walked inside but as soon as I shut the door I burst into tears. For my little girl to say such a heart warming thing and to smile at her own little thought....well, I just couldn't take it.

That's how it usually is. It sneaks up, comes on quickly and then it quickly leaves. The littlest things will set it off. The tears are temporary but it's the kind of cry that takes your breath away and then just like that, it's gone. You wipe the tears away, catch your breath and you carry on.

I cannot tell you how much I miss my dad. I know I've said it before but it's still so hard to believe he's gone. It wasn't supposed to be this way. He's was supposed to beat this thing. Really, we had it all planned out.

But then, I guess it really was supposed to be this way. Just sucks. Big time.

If you're able, and he's able to answer, call your dad. Call him today and tell him that you love him. For no reason at all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's just say...

...Bennett had to wear glasses and he actually enjoyed wearing them.

Well, this is how it might look...

So what do you think of my "glasses"?

Wait a minute now, let's take a closer look....

Yep, this is me in "glasses"!

NOOOO! Do NOT take my glasses away from me!

Sheesh, mom.
There, that's better. And yes, I realize these glasses don't have any lenses but that doesn't really matter, does it?


Bennett as of now, does not need glasses and I'm thankful for that because it's one less thing for me to worry about. But many kids with Down syndrome do...well, I guess many kids in general do so who knows, maybe one day. But at least we know he'll look pretty darn cute while wearing them;)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Mom, why did God give Bennett Down syndrome?"....

I'm packing everyone in the van after one of Bennett's many therapies and this is the question I get from my oldest child. But before this BIG question she asked:

"Mom, does Bennett have problems?"

"What do you mean Ainsley?"

"Well, like he can't walk and talk like other people."

"He can't walk and talk like most 2 year olds but that's why he's in therapy, to help him eventually do that."

She then asked: "Does Colin have those things (orthotics) in his shoes like Bennett?"

"Yep, I think he does"

"Do all babies with Down syndrome have those in their shoes?"

"Many of them do."

And then she asked:

"Mom, why did God give Bennett Down syndrome?"

You see, Ainsley's been asking things like "Why does God make tornadoes" and "Why does God make bad people" and perhaps the most painful: "Why didn't God make Granddaddy better?"

My sweet girl wants so badly to believe that God is good and all powerful because she's been taught that but if he's so good, why does he let bad things happen? I've explained these tough things that adults don't even understand in the best way I know how but that brings me to her initial BIG question of this day...

When she asked it, I immediately thought-she's starting to see Bennett's challenges and that she may see Down syndrome as a bad thing. So I replied:

"Well Ainsley, I don't think God sees Bennett having Down syndrome as a bad thing. That's the way he made him and it makes him different but different is totally okay. We just work harder with Bennett and he'll get there."

Her reply: "Yeah, just because babies with Down syndrome can't talk as well doesn't mean we can't understand them, that's why Bennett and us learn sign language, so we can know what he's trying to say."

As I drive along I've got a huge smile on my face but I only reply:


But I'm thinking: That's right my sweet girl, that's right.

A minute later she asks:
"Mom, {preparing myself for another deep question} will Bennett always have dark brown hair?"

Sigh...with relief;), "Yes, sweetie, I think he'll always have dark brown hair."

And then that conversation was over, just like that. Her sweet, six year old self accepted my answer and hopefully she truly believes it as she gets older. I guess I can just hope and pray I know how to answer her tough questions as they come along.

But you know, sometimes I don't always know the answer or how to even come up with a reply because I often have the same question. To those questions, I suppose we'll find out some day but for now we just have to believe there is a reason for everything.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Colin & Bennett

What a great way to end a weekend- a trip to the beach and a visit with Colin!

Since we're moving soon, Kelli and I wanted to get the boys together (but it may not be the last time...more on that later!) and the beach was the perfect gathering! Kelli and Chris live over an hour away from us (very close to the beach though) but we've really enjoyed getting to know them and it's crazy how much Bennett and Colin have in common. While they have totally different personalities, they are like two peas in a pod when it comes to other things.

Pretty comfy looking ride, huh?;)

Over the last year or so Kelli and I have emailed, texted or called each other with the boy's feeding issues as well as others things. I think we've both been a "shoulder to cry on" for each other at some point. It's nice to know when someone is going through the EXACT same things that you are and is there to help or to just let you vent;)

It was the perfect day for the beach and to see Colin in what has to be his favorite place, was a treat...

This kid LOVES the beach and I couldn't believe how he just crawled right into the waves! Colin has the cutest personality and as Kelli has mentioned on her blog, his favorite word right now is "NO" and it is hilarious how he says it so quickly and clearly, no matter what you ask him.

"Colin, can I have a hug?"-"NO."
"Can I have a kiss?"-"NO." {But then he gives you one anyway!}
"Hi Colin!"- "NO." lol

The boys, over a year ago when we first met Colin at the beach.

I mean, seriously? How cute were they?!

And now at 2 years old!

This may have been the only picture I got of Bennett smiling while in the sand or near the water. This is where Bennett and Colin are nothing alike...

B was not happy and at this point just wanted to be held. Colin just wanted to crawl back into another wave or plop himself on someones sand castle.;) But to give B a little credit, the last time he was at the beach with a huge ocean was when we met Colin last year. Maybe with a little more time, he'd come to like it...maybe??

After we had enough of torturing Bennett we brought him back up to the blanket and he was MUCH happier....

Playing a nice game of catch!

Ainsley sure does love Colin!

Back at the house for kid pics! Kelli's parents had the cutest house near the beach and were so nice to let us descend on their peaceful place for a few hours!

Can't forget Miss Kailey!! She is the most pleasant baby! She literally squeals with delight...loudly-ha! And yes, her eyes are crystal blue like her brothers-gorgeous!

So while this would most likely be our last time seeing Colin and family (at least for a long time), guess who lives in North Carolina??! Kelli's brother! And not only does he live in NC, he lives in the same town we're moving to!! So surely these boys will continue to see each other!

When we first met Colin I really hoped he and Bennett could be good friends one day. And now, even though they will be well over a day trip away, I think that can still happen. Thankfully we can still check in on Kelli, Chris, Colin and Kailey through their blog and Kelli and I can exchange feeding tips...if we have any!;)

Thanks again for another great time at the beach Kelli and Chris!

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Bennett's Nautical Room...

Back in the winter, not knowing if we would move or not, I decided to change up Bennett's room. If you haven't noticed by now, I like to change things up...often;)

But I've always loved the nautical theme for little boys and while browsing in the Christmas Tree Shops, all of this nautical stuff caught my eye. If you don't have a Christmas Tree Shop near you, you need to find one! I have no idea why it's called the Christmas Tree Shops but they have the cutest things and their prices are unbelievable!

Anyways, no before pics because again, I'm too lazy. But you can go here if you'd like to see some befores.

Here's his new nautical room! He has the hardest room to take pictures of but I did my best.

Bennett would like to welcome you!

This "B" plaque is from Hobby Lobby and I found the nautical fabric at Joann Fabrics.

Cute little knobs are from Hobby Lobby as well. I'd love to paint this armoire a burnt red one day!The items above the chair are from Christmas Tree Shops- I think they were $3 each! The little boats were from there as well and were $3 each too. The lamp-Christmas Tree Shops-$12. The fun red and white striped window panels were a Christmas Tree Shops find as well and just $6 each! I also have these on our gazebo thing in the back yard.

Bennett loves to crawl over to his big red bin, grab a book and curl up in his chair to "read".;)
The book ends... you guessed it, Christmas Tree Shops! I think I paid $3 each for them and the big red anchor in the back was $8.

Well it wouldn't be a proper post without the proper "smile arms" from Bennett! Oh and those oars in the corner...Christmas Tree shop-$4!! Bedding is Pottery Barn-love madras!

So there you have it and soon enough he'll be in his new room but it will be staying in this theme for quite a while;) I would love to do his new room in some shade of blue with a fun stripe or two of white with a darker blue, green or red. I need to look at some inspiration pics first.

Enough pictures mom, can you please take me out of my crib?

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Serenity Now!

Remember that hilarious Seinfeld episode? George's dad calms himself by repeating "serenity now, serenity now!" If you haven't seen it, google it, it's hysterical!

Anyways, I often find myself saying quietly {but screaming in my head} "Serenity now, Serenity now!!"-I mean don't all moms?! However, recently with our house being on the market I find myself actually taking a deep breath and saying "ahh, serenity". Seriously, I actually whisper that to myself-I know, I'm strange. But why do I say "ahh serenity" you ask?

Because right now I've got perfectly spotless bedrooms....

Bitty says: "Serenity"...
And yes, Serenity!

Believe it or not, the rooms stay this way, well at least while we're trying to sell. The beds get made as soon as we wake up {totally doesn't happen normally} and the clothes get put into the hamper. Minimal things are in the bedroom so there's just less clutter and less to pick up.

While I'm no expert at selling houses or am I trying to claim that if you do this or that, you will sell your house...I am here to share just a few things I do to maintain serenity when trying to show my house. I have done this 5 times now, ya know? If you're trying to sell yours as well as maintain sanity, maybe these tips will help!

Serenity Tip #1: Declutter! Get rid of the nick nacks! When someone is or may be coming to your house to take a look, it's so much easier to dust in a flash when there aren't a thousand things on the end tables, night stands or coffee table. We all know in this market you really can't tell someone: no, you can't come look because the house is a mess. You must show your house when buyers want to see it. It's all about the buyer these days.

So same goes for pictures. I'm not against family pictures while trying to sell but the more pictures that are up, means the more you have to dust and sometimes buyers can get lost in all of the nick nacks and pictures, I know I do.

Same goes for the kitchen-take things off the counters while you're showing-so much easier to keep clean! And isn't it true- a clean kitchen means a happy mom?? Well, it usually does for me!

Anyways, it takes me about 30 seconds to dust my room now and about 3 minutes to dust the whole upstairs. I also removed little things from the kid's rooms that I think make it "show" a little bit better ie: names on walls, most of the pictures, almost all toys etc.

Taking my mom's advice I also made my house look more "model home" like by taking out my sewing area and adding a chair we had in Bennett's room. Do we actually sit there and read? Oh Please! But it looks a lot better than my stacks of fabrics, sewing machines, and Lil' Sis stuff. Plus it's so much easier to keep that area clean now. And it really does feel serene, which a bedroom should feel like!

Can you believe I used to sew in that tiny space?! Over one hundred sweet little outfits were made there-hard to believe.

Okay so this is totally random but I love my little gal here. She stands in front of my mirror and reminds me to try and look my best even when I just want to put on sweats to meet B's therapists or drive down to the bus stop-ha! {I do ignore her though sometimes;)}

Serenity Tip #2-Perhaps the biggest tip I can give you- remove about 75% or more of your children's toys out of, pack them away! Yes folks, your kids will survive if they don't have every single little toy at their finger tips. And when you finally move into your new space-it will be like Christmas with all the "new" toys!;)

I did a major overhaul of our playroom and went crazy with my organizing but it has helped sooo much with getting the house straight in a flash.

The girls know where things are when they want to play-no more, "mommmmie!, where's that barbie shoe!!??" and they know where things go when it's time to clean up. I can clean up Bennett's toys quickly if need be and even Mike knows where things go now;)

I've actually decluttered even more in this room- yet, the kids still have plenty to play with...imagine that! I'm telling you, your kids won't even know stuff is gone!

More randomness but I did one of my "mini makeovers" on the dining room that I meant to share a while back {too lazy to show the before pics}...

The palm tree prints stayed because I just couldn't find anything I liked so I painted the frames from dark to white. Eeh-it's okay, better than it was. I also added more of my favorite color-robin egg blue!

Obsessed with birds and shells, obviously. This table used to be our dumping ground for mail and packages-not anymore!

Finally got around to making some pillows for my chairs in the corners.

This was an easy picture to make-just some string and star fish and glued them to the frame!

So even though we're in this crazy limbo stage right now of Mike working down in NC most of the time and me trying to keep the house clean to sell...with three kids, I can walk down stairs in the morning and instead of saying "SERENITY NOW!!!", I say "Ahh, serenity." LOL. We're like a well oiled machine when we get the call that someone wants to come see the house and the stress level has come way down.

I highly recommend my serenity tips if you're in the same boat..just sayin';)

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Pictures really do say a thousand words....

Most days Down syndrome doesn't bother me. Seriously, I have the type of personality that will cry and pout about something for a minute and then shake it off and say:

"whatever, it is what it is."

I've learned to do this throughout my life: if I can't change it, embrace it.

But other days, it can be hard. Thinking about the future mostly.

And then I come across this picture:

{thank you Charissa Marks for capturing this perfect shot}

and thank God for making it the way it is.

This boy needs me, all of me. He needs me to not care about the fact that he has Down syndrome and not worry about the future. He needs me to just be his mommy and love him just the way God made him.

The way Bennett looks into my eyes gives me strength to keep working with him, to keep advocating for him, to never give up on him.

Then have no care for tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Take the trouble of the day as it comes. -Matthew 6:34


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3 Weeks....

Has it been that long?? Just about!

So we went on a little trip and did lots of fun things like.... new cousin Elle for the first time! {Mike's brother's baby} She's five months old and she's a doll! My sister-in-law has her dressed in dresses every day (so I'm told) and as soon as she gets enough hair, the bows will be going in! Love it!

We're very excited to be moving so close to Brian, Lauren and Elle!
Grandma came to help with the kids while Mike and I looked at houses! Ainsley was with my mom for the week at VBS so Harper got Grandma all to herself;)

Let's just say this picture was very hard to take-between Bennett doing his classic "smile arms"- (he holds them up every.single.time. I say "smile!" and Olive {the dog} barking at Bennett, I was lucky to get this one. I think Brian was about to kill Olive.So of course we looked at houses-one of my favorite things to do!! This is not one that we are considering but there are lots I fell in love with and I've got big plans for one in particular...sooo bad because it could totally be gone by the time we are ready to purchase but you know me!

After house hunting we went back to my mom's house to celebrate the 4th of July like we do every year. Of course without my dad there it wasn't the same. I think my dad lived for the 4th of July week when his two girls and their families came. There would be lots of cooking, playing, lounging, swimming, story telling, setting off illegal fire works;). It was the best.

But even though my dad wasn't there I could still feel his presence. I looked over at an empty rocking chair on the porch where my dad always sat with his dog and and glass of wine and I could still see him sitting there with us. He was there. He'll always be with us.

The girls were so excited to see each other after being apart for a week. Both cried when they had to separate, it was so sweet so when they got to play again, they played and played hard!

My sweet girls with their sassy summer hair cuts:)

Bennett got to go on the jet ski for the very first time! But this was as far as it went. I'm not ready to let my tiny boy out on that thing!

He did look handsome though in his life jacket that his older cousins have worn in years past.

Harper has become EXTREMELY protective over Bennett lately and lets me know when he is even close to, maybe, just possibly in any kind of danger;) She's also become quite fearful of things though ie: the jet ski, bugs, deep water, fireworks, sparklers, dogs, thunder, lightening...yeah, she's becoming just like I was at her age. Lovely.

We had a nice 4th and for the very first time I got a picture of all 3 kids standing with each other!! For some reason I have wanted to get a picture like this and was thrilled when Bennett decided that he would cooperate. You know it's about if he wants to do it. Bennett can do anything as long as it's his idea;)

So that's where we've been- PA, VA, NC and then back to VA and then PA!

The house is on the market, it's super clean and I'm loving it. Yes, it's hard to maintain but for this short time in my life I've got a clean and organized house and I'm going to enjoy it!

HUGE thanks to my mom for keeping Ainsley for the week and for Mike's mom coming to help with Harper and Bennett!! We love you guys!

Back to our "normal" routine for now and praying that our house sells fast!

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