Monday, January 31, 2011

On a Lighter Note

There is a time to worry, but there is also a time to enjoy what you have been blessed with. Like a Grandmother meeting her Granddaughter for the first time.




Work obligations and two other important additions to the family (our adorable nephew Calvin and our newest, littlest niece, Oliviah) kept my in-laws from making it down to meet Fiona. It was a long 5 and a half month wait. But how amazing to see your sweet blood smile back at you. We are looking forward with great anticipation to my father-in-law coming next week ( had to wait till after Super Bowl Sunday- Wisconsinites and their Packers! Love you, Bumpa)

We enjoyed a church picnic with another Grandma on Sunday, the kids running, like the wild boys they are, in the open grass and hill. We were fighting nap time and a little on the cranky side, but it was still nice to be out on such a beautiful day with amazing people.












The boys still whine about going to bed, but they barely put up a fight. And once they are down, they sleep like they have never slept before. Ahh, peaceful slumber without being kicked randomly through the night. I didn't realize how badly they needed their own beds. We have been enjoying popcorn movie nights with this Target dollar section find- popcorn containers. I love me a good movie night.


Fionas getting chunky! Rolls are forming on her little arms and legs and I think we may be working on a triple chin. She's still small as a hazelnut but you can tell shes been packing on some weight. We have been enjoying some late night play time, something that I truly savor, just being alone with my happy girl. Shes still sleeping through the night but instead of 9-9 she has been staying up with me till about 11. I'm lovin those two extra hours, but my body is begging me to get better sleep.








These things, these faces- sweetness that is still right in this world. Drinking it in.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can't Sleep

Its eating at me- 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed with Downs are aborted. 9 out of 10.

And I realized every Down syndrome blog I have come across, the parents did not find out that their baby had Downs till after they were born. I have yet to read of someone choosing to continue their pregnancy once finding out prenatal. No wonder doctors expected us to abort. Almost everyone does. Literally, almost every one who gets that karotyping done prenatal chooses to get rid of their developing baby. And I know countless women who have admitted that they would have chosen to abort if they knew prenatal their baby had Downs- and now that they actually have their baby, it haunts them. Once that baby is in their arms they would never think about getting rid of it, but when its hiding in their stomachs, where they can't see it, they would cut of its life support at the news of being different. Outta sight, outta mind.

Approximately 49,500 babies are aborted each year in the US just because they are diagnosed with Downs. 49,500. Remember only 5,500 are actually born.

I don't get it.

Our self-centered world sickens me more each day. I want to go back to my bubble where I thought everyone was accepting. And I so badly want to change this statistic.

I pray, someday, every single baby is born healthy. But not because we eliminate the ones that aren't- are we really reverting back to Sparta? Or have we never even changed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Energy

I'm exhausted all day, barely able to keep my heavy eyes open, until my kids fall asleep. A burst of energy from God knows where sweeps over me the second I close the boys bedroom door. All day, I dreamt of just closing my eyes but now I can't even force myself to sleep. And I know I will finally wind down just as my husband walks through the door from work, and I'll get a second wind and end up staying up far too late.

This burst of energy finally got my butt motivated to work out- its only been a year and 3 months since the last time I attempted to do anything traditionally active. I say traditionally because, technically, I work out every day just living life. I am a hands on, on the floor, playing with my kids kinda mom. And my twins constantly mistake me for a human jungle gym. I am climbed on, jumped on and swung from- my stomach and arms have never been stronger before in my life. But my back also has never been so messed up before either. Carrying twins took a big toll on my back. I already had slight scoliosis, but 12lbs worth of baby in my small frame made it even worse. On top of that being a hairdresser, carrying around 2 year old boys and now an infant car seat, its more twisted then ever. Losing baby weight came naturally to me (thank God!). I wish there was some crazy secret I could hand out on how to get in shape- but most of its nature. I'm young, I'm active, and I have a naturally good metabolism. When I hit 20, by body just balanced its self out, and minus two years of pregnancy, its stayed the same. Although I don't restrict my diet in anyway, I love healthy food- I crave fruit and veggies. The combo of what I love, how I live and how God made me makes staying thin relatively easy.

I work out more to feel good. Pilates, o how I've missed you! Just one 30 min session (and by session I mean good ol DVD in the living room session) and the pain in my back is a million times better. I feel taller, stronger and just more comfortable in general. Running is a therapy for me, but Pilates is like a quick fix pill. I instantly feel better. I love the idea of being a yoga girl, but I've tried and it just doesn't compare to Pilates in my book. Pilates is the perfect balance of slow resistance and stretching but still at a pace where I don't get bored.

As a teenager, I struggled with self image problems. I would work out hours on end, eat crazy diets and even went through a period of dealing with a horrible eating disorder. I spiralled through depression, obsessing over being thin. I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it and am actually a lot smaller now then I was back then. It is a horrible part of my past that I share with many other women. Something crazy like 98 percent of high school and college age women struggle with self image issues. Its one of my biggest fears for Fiona. After finding out she had Downs, the thought that she now probably won't deal with self image problems like "normal" girls was one of the firsts thoughts of comfort on the diagnosis.

I now strive to be healthy, not skinny, and have a healthy view on food and my image. And I know the importance of stressing health and not looks to my children. I want them to enjoy life to the fullest- something being lean and strong allows you to do. I am teaching my kids to eat to keep their hearts strong because heart disease is big in my family and keeping them active to stay lean to prevent diabetes which is also a problem in the family. The boys inherited my love for fresh food- they love all vegetables minus lima beans. Its actually harder to get them to eat the meat on their plate then the greens. We have our share of fried, baked and doughy goods as well, but its all in a healthy balance. So far, living my life with the motto "everything in moderation" has proven to work.

With Fiona nearing 6 months and getting stronger everyday, its time to start looking for a single stroller. Something that I can run with but is also small and compact and comfy for her. While my boys where walking at 9 months and rarely have used a stroller since, Fiona will most likely be using one for the next couple of years. I've given up my search for a stroller for all three because my girlfriend gave us a great Joovy sit and stand- Fiona clips in the front and the boys can both sit on the back seat. They rarely want to sit though, the seat is more for emergency situations when I need to get somewhere fast. So, I am on the hunt for the perfect jogging/functional/compact single stroller- suggestions would be appreciated!

Thank you Amber for the stroller, it works perfectly!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sickening Statistic

There are two issues in life that always lay heavy on my heart- abortion and adoption. Today I read something that rocked me to my core.

9 out of 10 families in the US abort their unborn baby that is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

I mentioned a month ago REECES RAINBOW- an organization that helps raise money and find homes for children in foreign countries that have Down syndrome. Children who are the least likely to ever find families and are not valued in their societies any more then a piece of dirt. The more I researched, the more I felt God pulling at my heart saying- you're not done. Just months after my heart feeling full and complete, He opened up a little more room for, hopefully someday, adding another daughter or son to our family through this organization. We are not quiet ready yet for an addition, but I know God will provide a way for us to help the "least of these". And my heart hurts everyday for my unknown child who will have to suffer before we find them.

Children with Down syndrome in these countries are discarded, left in "special" unvisited rooms in orphanages, malnourished, drugged and only given till the ripe age of 5 to find a home before they are doomed to a mental institution for the rest of their, sadly, usually short lives. When reading this, my ears where burning with anger and a knot formed in my stomach that made me want to hurl. I viewed these countries as barbaric and ignorant, cruel and unjust. "Here in America we were more advanced then that", I thought. And we are- technologically, but not in humanity. Americans treat these children the same way, they just discard them before they are born. Writing that hurts. It hurts when I look into Fionas eyes and can see so much potential and love. She laughs and smiles, eats and pops, plays with her hands and feet, adores her brothers. She is a normal baby in almost every aspect, she just has different chromosomes. And what is just as sickening to me as the fact that 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed like my daughter are never given the chance to thrive, doctors are wrong. They make mistakes. 1 in a million times ( yes small odds, but still odds) amnios are wrong. 1 baby, out of a million babies that was aborted, was actually fine.


I remembered someone, when hearing the news of Fionas diagnosis and health conditions, asked if I was going to have her. I starred at the words on the screen, sadden that they even thought that way. I confidently and without hesitation typed, "I love my daughter. If I found out tomorrow that one of my boys was disabled, I wouldn't throw him away." I cannot grasp the concept that people can so quickly  fall out of love with their unborn baby at the news there is something wrong. I fell deeper in love with Fiona. My whole body wanted to wrap my arms around her and protect her and make life the best possible for her. Getting rid of her was never a thought, helping her was all I thought about.



Thinking about that doctor that tried to give me no hope, and knowing this statistic now, I feel the need to shout from the roof tops for all to hear how wrong that choice is. I am not the only one. I read and talk to mom after mom of Downs children who not only love their children, but are proud and encouraged by them. These kids succeed in life more often then not- and one of the biggest contributors to their success is loving families- people giving them a chance.

Approximately 5,500 babies are born each year with Down syndrome- 55,000 are conceived. There are thousands of parents out there, fighting for acceptance for their kids, something that we are still far from fully achieving. Thousands of parents are voicing their stories and proving the wonders any person can be if given a chance, but our world seems to be turning a deaf ear. I'm not going to lie, its at times hard and painful to have a special needs child, for the parents. But its also hard and painful to have a normal child at times as well. I know, I have both. To discard a baby purely because you are afraid and it hurts you is selfish. Unfortunately, this is a selfish world. I will keep fighting for my daughter's acceptance and keep showing anyone who will listen how taking a narrower path is far more rewarding.

Do you know there is an actual waiting list to adopt a US baby with Downs? I thought it was amazing so many people wanted to adopt a Downs baby that there weren't enough to go around. But, no, the reason being is that in most cases, American parents find out pre-birth that their baby has Down syndrome and if they don't want it, they just abort right then and there. Few of the parents who actually birth their babies and then find out the diagnosis want to give up their sweet blessing. How many of those aborted babies would have been so loved by their parents if given the chance to meet them?

Fiona Hope, I cannot imagine life without you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Randomness

The boys stayed in their respective beds the whole night. They were just as proud when they woke up as they were the night before.

My husband's hockey team won the championship game for the season! We cheered him on from the  stands, the boys yelling " Good luck, daddy!" the entire game. In between eating, Fiona starred, mesmerized by the white sheet of ice and the fast-moving people whizzing by. Babies love hockey.

Fiona is still sleeping in our room. In-laws are coming soon and will be using her room, so that gave me an excuse to keep her with us for a bit longer. I wake up to her cooing and playing with her hands every morning, and the second her eyes focus on my face, she gets the biggest smile. Melt my heart!

My second Fiona "maternity" leave is over and I'm back to work. Bittersweet as always. Its back to just dreaming about being a stay at home mom.

I completely forgot to announce that our sweet niece was born last week. Welcome, Oliviah Marie! She's beautiful and healthy and from what I have heard, a happy little baby. Breaks my heart that we won't be able to make it up to see her till the summer, but I can't wait for the now 7 grandkids (all under the age of 5) to get together this 4th of July. Ill have to ask my bro-in-law if its okay to put up a picture of her.

Oh, and Fiona made me look like a liar at her therapy session. Peanut was rolling side to side, did fine on her tummy ( still not picking her head up, though, but at least she doesn't seem to be in pain on her chest) and ate from a spoon! Speech is still going to stop by to check her out, and PT is contacting me in the next week to start up more intense physical therapy. Time to start using some fun exercise equipment!

Just Skyped with my bestie from SD that I miss very very much. Thanks for making me smile for a good half hour, Peggy. Its rare with the time difference we get to talk, but I am oddly wide awake at 1 am our time tonight.

That's all for now. Random ongoings and updates at our home. Maybe Ill add pictures to this post on a later date when I feel like uploading them to my computer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bunk Beds

Peoples generosity has left me in awe once again. A family that my husband knows through work, blessed us with really nice, very well taken care of, hand-me down bunk beds! And it couldn't have come at a better time. As much as I love my boys sharing a big bed, it has its down falls. Lately, they have been waking each other up with their flailing arms and legs. So, the big padded wrestling area is gone (well, moved back to the nursery for now, which is incredibly over crowded. Its okay, Fiona still doesn't sleep in there- yep, that night that I put her in her crib? She was back in our room by the time we went to bed). Its replaced by these perfect twin beds for my perfect twin boys :)



 I loath anything with characters, animals, bugs, cars, trains, trucks, airplanes, footballs, any kind of ball or anything with any kind of object printed on it. Even chartoonish flowers and hearts are borderline. I swore my kids would never wear anything with the above mentioned on it and most definitely they would never have rooms decorated in a theme. Blue and green is and always has been my them. But when we turned down the boys isle at Target to pick out their first, very own bed sheets, I loved how excited they got over the Thomas the Train sheets. I didn't even bother to show them the plain blue or green ones, I wanted them to be happy. They carried those sheets with such pride and could not wait to open them and help me make their beds.

I draw the line with sheets though, we are not over-boarding their room in a Thomas wonderland. And the sheets will mostly be covered up by the blankets and pillows I made for them. Enough of our house has been taken over by kids toys- the decor is my territory.

I'm nervous as all hell to have one of them on the top bunk, but thats the only way all their furniture fit in their room. I pretended not to see the tag that clearly states, for safety reasons, children under 6 should not be on the top bunk. We had a lesson with each of the boys how to safely use the ladder, and put up the railing that completely closes in the top bunk. Also, we carefully chose Gavin as our top bunker because Breiden wakes up at night more often. Buba is our bigger boy, so in the long run, this was probably the smarter choice.

The boys rushed to eat their ice cream so they could "Go take a nap".  They love having a space to call their own, and to sleep on Thomas, James, Percy, Gordon and Henry? Well that it their dream come true! Breiden kept remaking his bed, making sure the blankets were perfect in this place he can call his own. I can't wait to check on them later to see if they moved to share a bed or if they actually stay in their own beds. And I am praying that no one falls!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I couple months ago, I posted ours and Fiona's story on National Down Syndrome Society's page- MY GREAT STORY   .

Here it is Fiona's Great Story  . Read it and vote... the most voted for stories get published in the NDSS newsletter every month!

<3

Maple syrup and Milestones

Everything smells like maple syrup. Dang Fenugreek. I can't escape from it, its in my pours, its in Fiona's pours. The sweet smell is giving me a headache, on top of my body being spent from trying to keep up with Fiona's new found love of food. I have over 200 bags frozen but I am so afraid of falling behind. So if smelling like maple syrup keeps it coming, I guess I can deal for now.

I am so happy to be complaining about struggling to keep up with her! I feel like I can see her getting chunkier and chunkier every day. Since she has been doing so well sitting up in her Bumbo, and shes getting more then enough calories and a significant weight gain, I thought its finally time to start introducing rice cereal. I may have to call up our speech therapist, because its not going great. Shes not taking to the spoon too well. But it is only day two of trying, so I'll give her a little more time.


I use the same silver spoon that was mine as a baby. She is my princess, after all, so of course she would be fed with a silver spoon :). Not sure why my parents had one for me, we were far from royalty and definitely not flashy. Must have been a gift.

We are nearing 6 months and shes falling a little more behind. The surgery definitely threw us a couple steps backwards. Tummy time has been out of the question this whole month- she screams in pain on her tummy from her chest being sore still. I don't know how long it is going to take for her breast plate to heal. They sawed it open and stitched it back with metal wire to help the bone fuse back together. Tomorrow, she will start back up with therapy again though, and hopefully they will get the ball rolling. I've run out of games to try to play with her, she just seems she can't get comfortable.  She rolls to her side all the time, but no further. And she seems to bore quickly with toys.  Her head and body control is getting better when sitting with support, but sitting, lying or even being in our arms, she doesn't like to be in any position for very long.

I didn't keep track of the boys development because, well, it was never a concern. They were always ahead of kids their age for every milestone. I had two infants walking, no running around my house at just 9 months. But, my trigger-happy finger saved evidence of where they were at each month through the thousands of pictures I took. I made a SHUTTERFLY book of the twins first year (which I have yet to order, 2 years later, because the book is over a 100 pages and therefore pricey. Charlie- maybe a mothers day gift?)



Looking back on pictures of Gavin and Breiden when they were five months, they could sit on their own, roll around the room and rest on their elbows while on their tummy to play with toys. I know that I can't expect Fiona to do things in the same time line and that its normal for her to be where she is.  I'll do as you do, just at my own pace. But I am struggling more then I thought with her being in the newborn stage for so long. I don't enjoy this stage compared to most. With my whole heart, I love cuddling with babies. But I long to play with Fiona like I do with my boys. My heart is filled when I can get her laughing and interacting with me- but its far and few between. I want to roll a ball back and forth with her and watch her clap with joy at her accomplishment. I want to chase her around the house, her telling me " you can't get me, mommy!" The greatest joy as a parent is watching your kids grow. And she is, just really slowly in every shape and form. I try to tell myself to savor this, because someday, when I have three bratty teenagers that want nothing to do with me, I'll crave these days. Days where the only thing that made them happy was to be in my arms and where they would let me just stare at their sweet faces for hours. The feel of their soft, chubby skin, the sweet baby giggles and the never ending adorable faces that will someday probably be replaced with rolling eyes. But I have to say, the first few months are very boring to me. My boys are ten times more work, but (sorry Fiona) they are ten times more fun.

As I write this, my little peanut woke up and so I stopped to be with her. And its as if she knew that I was saying that I wanted to play because she was all about some Peek-A-Boo, laughing hysterically every time I pulled the blankie back." See mommy, I can be fun, too." I needed that to snap back. Fiona is my little reminder to slow down, take my time and enjoy the journey. I am excited for the day all three of my kids are using me as a jungle gym, but I'll have to be patient with Fiona's pace.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Soul Food

I do not take full advantage of the beautiful place we live. Way too often, I let the hassles of taking out three under three scare me out of a good time. But after being quarantined for the last three months, due to the high risks this season of RSV and the flu,  and trying to keep Fiona healthy for her surgery, I was more then willing to deal with any inconveniences for just a few good moments with the kids outdoors. I cut my maternity leave short because I knew I would have to take time off for Fi's surgery. So I am thinking of this as my continuation of my maternity leave, and enjoying all this family time. We definitely do not do this enough.












Come on, a train playground? Could my boys have been more in Heaven?!

And we definitely do not do this near enough.











She flirts with him, and its so cute

                                       I think she enjoyed her first beach day













It was a perfect- 77 degree- sunny- breezy beach day. And as my husband and I lay in the sunny warmth, our daughter slept in the shade next to us and we watched our boys dig in the sand, we turned to each other and asked "why don't we do this more often" Its just good for the soul.
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