“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
~A.A. Milne, from "Winnie the Pooh"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What We're Up To

Dear sweet Bug,
This has been an exhausting week. We went to church with Grandma and Grandpa on Easter Sunday, so that Grandma could show you off. You did not care for it at all. You had your first major meltdown, and spent almost 45 minutes screaming bloody murder. We never made it in to the church service. Instead we just ducked into a quiet room, you, Daddy, Grandma and I, and spent the service letting you rest and play. It wasn't exactly what we had in mind but it turned out nice anyway...You have been so sheltered during your last four months, and I think that the big crowd of strangers, all the noise and being out of your comfort zone was just a little too much for you to deal with. But you looked sooo pretty in your Easter dress and pretty bonnet. :)

Monday you had your third therapy session with Carole. You did an amazing job, and proved that with a little help you can do awesome things! This week you worked very hard with very little complaint and even made Mommy a Mother's Day present! Carole was very impressed, and extremely excited to see how far you had come over the weekend. You can now hold your head up at a 90 degree angle and are impressively rolling over on your own. You don't do it often (usually when its least expected) but you can whenever you choose to. I think you don't do it very much because you really dislike being on your belly (other than when you cuddle up to go to sleep on Mommy's chest) so you just don't see the point of it all. lol She brought you a Bumbo seat this week to go along with your bright yellow exercise ball and you showed off sitting up like a big girl, even though we had to prop you up with a towel because you're still so very tiny.......
 Tuesday, you had to visit Dr. Perry's office for part of your four month shots. Little did we know what an awful night and day we were in for.... You had a reaction to one of the shots and although you were your normal, happy self the majority of the day, around 6 pm, you started screaming and wouldn't stop. You had your first fever and even though I gave you some baby Tylenol it wouldn't go down. After several hours of trying to comfort you, Mommy and Daddy decided that it would be best to take you to the Emergency room just to be on the safe side. They registered your temp at 101 and gave you more Tylenol, which shortly returned you to my smiley girl. Your nurse must have been spreading the word about how cute you are, even sick, because we had a steady stream of ladies coming in to peek at you. Even when you're not at your best, you steal manage to steal hearts where ever we go. :)
 Wednesday, you still didn't feel good and ran a fever off and on all day, although after our hospital visit, I knew how much medicine to give you to make you feel better. You would wake up from a nap crying and 15 minutes after I gave you medicine, you would be smiling, babbling and playing again. Still I was so relieved when we woke up Thursday morning without any sign of fever.
I still don't think that you're at the top of your game again yet. You seem jumpy and extra sensitive to noise. If I hold you and laugh, cough, or move suddenly, you start crying and it takes a lot of cuddling to settle you back down. I have been told by other mothers of special angels that this aversion to loud noises is normal, but it hasn't ever been a concern with you until the last week. I'm hoping that its just a lingering effect of your brief little illness that will pass us by. I love you so much that it hurts my heart for you to be so upset and have nothing that I can do to stop it except continue to cuddle you....Trust me, I don't mind the cuddles at all. I just hate to see you crying. We have a well baby check coming up this week, and more shots. :( I hope so much that these don't make you sick again......

I love you so much, my tiny little Bug. I'm going to head in and snuggle you tight for a little bit before I go to sleep. Here's looking forward to a much better week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How Far You've Come

Dear Liddybug,

This past week I found the cord to download pictures off of Grandad's camera onto the computer. There, snuggled into the memory card, were pictures Daddy took of you on the day after you were born, when Mommy couldn't come visit you. You were so tiny, and hooked to what appears to be miles of tubes, IV's, and monitor leads, with your tiny shades on to protect your eyes from the UV lamp that you also had to have because your were a little jaundiced. I have to say that I had forgotten those pictures and my heart did a little flip flop in my chest because oh, pumpkin, I am so darn proud of you how much you have grown since then!

I clearly remember how very much I wanted to go see you, and my frustration that the doctors couldn't get my pain under control so that I could. I finally lied and said that I was fine just so they would let me go. Daddy wheeled me over, and I was overcome as soon as I stood over your little bed and fully got to look at you for the first time. I stood there with tears running down my face, because you, my sweet baby, were so beautiful and I had waited so long to look at your face! I was a little overwhelmed by all your equipment but I knew, without a doubt, that it was all temporary and I was completely absorbed by the way you felt snuggled in my arms!

Now I look at you and its harder to remember that tiny girl. It seems that you change a little bit every day. You smile a little more (yes and some days yell more too!) and you rack up new accomplishments. You like to show off the new things you can do, even if its mostly to Mommy and Daddy. Your little face still lights up when we lean over your bed and you still quiet down (most of the time) when you get a good cuddle. You have a very forgiving nature and an absolutely gorgeous smile! Every one who meets you falls instantly in love (the ladies at Dr. Perry's office fight over who gives you your shots because none of them want to be the ones to hurt you!) How can they not? You are BEAUTIFUL!
I'm proud of you, wee little Bug, for everything you have accomplished in your short little life. You have proved that you are one tough cookie and that you should never be underestimated. I know that I have every confidence you are dynamite in a tiny package and that you are always going to have that "I can take on the world and win" attitude. Look at your humble beginnings and look at you now!  :) Thank God that He gave me you! I love you so much!
xoxoxoxo, Mommy

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Reason For My Words

My dearest Lydia,
It will be many years until you are old enough to read these little notes that I write to you. But I feel that these precious days with you need to be chronicled in some small way so that one day you will be able to look back and know what a huge blessing you are to me (and the rest of our family who all love you so much too) as well as how much you have changed my life for the better.  I knew that you were a miracle, but I never could have fathomed how very much I would love you! I remember the week that we found out about your tiny broken heart, and how much I cried that week. I also remember very clearly your daddy telling me that I would just love you even more because of it. I worried. That you would be so sick, that you would be in pain, that I wasn't strong enough or a good enough mother to take care of you with your special needs. All caused by fear of the unknown. But with every day that passed, I felt more and more at peace, and fell deeper and deeper in love with the tiny girl fighting so hard to grow inside me. You, my sweetest angel, are a fighter! I don't remember your brother or sister having half the personality that you did while I was pregnant, or being quite so reactive to what was happening outside your warm cocoon. You hammed it up for the ultrasound techs, moving your hands to block your face, pulling your feet away and hiding them just when they went to measure them, putting your hand over your heart when the doctors tried to do your echos, twisting and turning all over to avoid the monitors for the twice weekly stress tests we had to have at the end. Each and every ultrasound, I cried with sheer joy, to see your beautiful little face, to watch you growing and showing every one who had any contact with you that you were in charge! You waved at us, blew us kisses, and even made Mommy laugh by sticking your tongue out at me! You danced in my tummy when Caleb played his clarinet, and kicked me when he scolded you for kicking me in the ribs. lol He was the first besides me who got to feel you move, and I think that created a bond between the two of you that can never be broken or duplicated. And your daddy was right! I love you so much that sometimes when I look at you my heart hurts. (that sounds terrible doesn't it? it doesn't hurt because I am sad, but because it is so full of love and happiness!)

 I still have mornings when I wake up and rush to your bassinet, afraid that it has all been a beautiful dream. But there you are, sleeping peacefully or smiling up at me, and my heart breathes a sigh of relief. You are real, you are every bit as beautiful and amazing as I ever hoped you would be, and the reality of you is better than any dream I ever had. :) I'm going to make mistakes, but you will too. We'll just have to learn together. We'll both stumble and sometimes fall but in our love for each other, there will always be a safe place to fall and a comforting shoulder to cry on.

This family is my everything....and I can't wait to meet the beautiful, confident, outgoing, smart, and courageous girl that I know you will be someday. I can see you clearly in my mind, and oh Liddy, you take my breath away!!!! I love you so much. Until next time, xoxoxo Mommy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Growing Up

Dear sweet Liddy,
This week has been full of amazing joy mixed with a little bit of sadness. While I relish every little accomplishment you achieve, it also is a little bittersweet because they are all signs that you are growing up and reminders that you won't be little for very long. Since you are my last baby, I want so much to hold on to these sweet moments. I know that it seems like yesterday to me that Caleb was a little guy and now he's taller than I am! These little milestones that you are passing, in what seems to be an unwavering rush, just bring us closer to the day when you are no longer my tiny Liddybug, instead are a bubbly, happy, laughing little girl, followed by a beautiful young woman. I want so much for you! A life filled with sunshine and happiness, that you will be as lucky as I have been in friendships, that you will be an independent, strong woman like those in our family who have came before you. Those amazing women, some that you will know intimately and some that you will never know, have given us an awesome heritage and a shining example to live up to. And I already see so much of them in your tiny face. You have your Nana's smile, as well as her uncompromising love and the sheer joy of living that she exuded to everyone that she met. You have your Granny Cole's spunk and laughter, as well as the same hit the ground running attitude that she always had. These are the women that you are named for, two of the most beautiful women I have ever known, inside and out. I'm saddened that you will never have the blessing of having them in your life, like I did, and that you will never have the opportunity to watch cartoons with Nana, or have her read you the same book over and over, or to have a one of a kind Nana hug. But I know, without a doubt, that they are a part of you and that they are watching over you always. And sweetheart, it has to be said that they love you dearly. :) As always, I am so proud to be your mama and I can't wait until we are celebrating your next milestone (even if it does make me a little sad). I love you so much! xoxoxo, Mommy

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Amazing Feats, Full of Wonder

Dear Liddy,
You are amazing! We have been waiting on you to figure out how to roll over on your own. You have rolled a few times from your belly to your back but you never really could figure out how you did it and you were always so surprised! Today, you rolled from your back to your belly four times like you had been doing it all along. :) I personally think that you had been saving it up, to surprise us lol You start early intervention therapy tomorrow and I find myself looking back on the goals we set for you just two short weeks ago...holding your head up and rolling over were the major ones. Haha, joke's on us. During the last two weeks you have proven that you can do both perfectly well thank you. I wonder what the therapist will think ;) Other highlights this week are that you are smiling at us when we smile at you, which I have to say steals Mommy's heart every time. You have smiled practically since you were born but now I know that you truly are reacting to me..and Daddy.. and your brothers! I think that you are trying to start teething because all of a sudden, everything is a chew toy and your clothes are typically covered in slobber! We also spent some time on the front porch on the first very warm day of spring. I loved watching you take in everything..the birds singing, the squirrels (and Ayden) running through the yard, the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face. I love that you loved it so much, as I am hoping to spend a whole lot of time on the porch with you cuddled up in my lap this summer.
I am so thankful that I have you. I love your cuddles, your smiles and the slobbery kisses you try so hard to give when I kiss you, which are really just you licking me ;) I love you, sweet pea. xoxoxoxo, Mom

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sleepless Days....

Dear Liddy,
Today was a looonngg day! Every once in a while you have a day where you refuse to nap unless you are being held, and of course, today was one of them. Daddy or I would cuddle you until you fell asleep and then gently put you into your bassinet and WHAM! You'd be awake and crying. Needless to say, this little battle of wills makes you a very grouchy baby. I think you spent half the day yelling at us. Even now, at 9:30 pm, you are laying awake in your bassinet babbling away, even though five minutes ago you were (I thought) fast asleep. I even tried to cuddle you in bed with me, hoping that if we took a nap together maybe you would get a little bit of solid sleep. I know. Bad Mama. Not supposed to do those things. Your favorite cuddle spot is curled up on my chest, and you will happily sleep there. I just can't move. lol Oh well, I guess there will be days like this....and I do enjoy all the cuddles! I know from previous experience with your brother that before I know it, you will outgrow Mommy's cuddles and will cringe at my very badly sung renditions of (as Caleb always called it) "The Moon Song".
You held your head up today by yourself for about five minutes, which is the longest that you have done so. You typically just hold it up long enough to look around, then lay it back down and search out your fingers for a good sucking. Those little fingers always seem to be a little waterlogged lately! :) You have decided that they are much tastier than your pacifier and they also don't pop out of your mouth until you decide to remove them. You're probably going to be a thumb sucker, but then we should have expected that since you were already sucking on both before you were born. Daddy says that you also rolled over from your belly to your back today! YAY!!! You're getting to be such a big girl! I can't wait to see how you take off with a little help from First Steps!
All right, I've let you complain long enough. Mommy's coming to get you for another cuddle. Maybe this one will do the trick. I love you so much, Lydia Anne! XOXOXOXO, Mommy

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pictures From Our World

Tummy time is sometimes lazy girl time too! lol
Liddy and her Daddy hanging out...

Eating cereal is hard work!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cutest Complainer....

Yes, Liddy, you complain.... But its too darn cute to listen to, and your facial expressions are absolutely priceless!

Diamonds From Ashes

Dear Liddy,
While at the grocery store today, I had a conversation with the cashier who rang up our groceries (which took a while.. your brothers eat a LOT!). She was probably Grandma's age and was going through a divorce after being married for 30 years. Heartbreaking. And I remember so clearly the way standing in that lady's shoes felt. I was so heart broken, and I swore that I would never again put myself in such a position where I could be hurt so badly again. I thought at that time that my life was destroyed, I had failed, and I would never love anyone that much again. But then something magical happened. God took the ashes of that life and created a life that was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Because in reality, that little trip into sadness taught me so many things. I developed a new admiration for my mom and because of that, a much closer relationship with her. I learned to be who I was, instead of who someone else wanted me to be. I learned the value of wonderful friends who are there for you through thick and thin, who stand beside you and cry with you, as well as laugh with you. I learned to stand on my own two feet, even when I felt that I couldn't stand at all. I learned to face my own mistakes and to see my own faults and if I didn't like the person I was looking at in the mirror, I was responsible for changing. But most important of all, I learned that that ending wasn't an ending at all. Instead, it was a new beginning. For if I had never walked that road, I would never have met your daddy. I would have never been brave enough to stand in the white sand and say "I do" again. I would have never been Ayden's step-mama, I wouldn't be in school following my dreams (all because your daddy believed in me!) and I would not have YOU! Life is a funny thing. Sometimes the wrong turns you make turn out to have been the right ones all along. There will be times when your little heart gets broken. Times when you will fall to your knees and feel like you will never be able to stand again. But a wise person once told me that when that happens, you're in the perfect position to pray. I can't save you from all the pain, although I wish I could. But I will be here to hug you, cheer for you, and love you sooo much! I hope that I can teach you appreciation of God's awesome designs and help you to understand that all things can work for His glory. These are lessons that you have already taught me!!!!! :) I  love you, baby. xoxoxoxox, Mommy

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog's Mission Statement

Just a little side note..The New York Times ran an article in their May 7, 2007 issue about Down's Syndrome. They stated that with current trends in prenatal screening, 90% of babies who are diagnosed with DS before birth in the United States are aborted. And in other parts of the world, these babies are considered to be less than human and are often placed in orphanages and mental institutions where they are exposed to horrible depravities. I am going to jump on my soapbox here for a minute. 1 in every 733 births (approx) brings to this world an extra special being. A little angel who will bring such beauty and light into the lives of those around them. I'm not an advocate for or against abortion but I know in my case, it has never been an option. Fear of the unknown should not motivate one to end a life that would be an immense blessing. Do kids with Down's sometimes come with extra issues? Yes. But I have to say, after being little Lydia's mama for the last three months, that she is well worth the little bit of extra work. We brought her home on a feeding tube (which I hated) and a heart monitor (which was a pain in the neck) but I have had the joy of watching her shed both. I have had the immense pleasure of watching the world through her beautiful eyes and have learned so much about strength, determination, and love by watching her grow! I've said it before, but it deserves to be repeated. Every smile from her is a gift! This is my mission...to spread the love I have for my beautiful daughter to everyone I meet, and if that changes even one heart, then I will stand in front of my Maker with a big smile on my face because I have accomplished something great.

Are You Spoiled?

Dear Sweet Angel,
You are currently fast asleep, swinging away. We spent a little time cuddling this rainy morning and I find that I live for that moment when your sweet little face falls into dreams and your little body melts into mine. You wrap your fingers in my hair, just to make sure that I don't go anywhere. I love that you love me so much that you can't bear to have me far away. Some days, like yesterday when you got mad anytime anyone held you besides me, I think that I am spoiling you rotten, but deep in my heart, I know that Mommy is your security blanket. I am what you hold on to when you aren't sure about what's going on around you, when you are upset, when you just need a good cuddle. And although I should probably let you cry sometimes so that you DON'T get spoiled, I can't stand to hear the sound of your cries. All I ever want is to see that gorgeous smile on your face. I hope that you grow out of some of the clinginess as you get bigger but also don't want to rush that day either. I adore the way you will crane your neck to find me when someone else is holding you, and will watch my every move as I go about doing every day things. I love the way your little face lights up when I talk to you. I love that Caleb laughs at the way I talk when conversing with you, and the way he so clearly adores you too, especially now that you are alert, babbling and smiling. :) Most of all, I just love being your mommy! xoxoxoxo

Sunday, April 3, 2011

YAY!!! I have my very own blog! :) I am moved to tears by the thoughtfulness of my amazing husband, as this was something I wanted to do but just didn't know how! haha I find that I am moved to tears by the strangest things, must still be some lingering raging hormones! Not going to post much tonight,as my little snuggle bug is waiting for her mommy to put her to sleep. Nighty night, and John, I love you so much!

Happy 1/4 Year Birthday!

My dearest sweet Lydia,

    You are four days from being three months old and you have yet to cease amazing me. Had anyone told me a few years ago that now I would have another baby who had Down's and be so happy about it, I would have told them they were insane. I never planned on having more children and until I met your daddy really thought that I didn't want to. In reality, I just already thought what the doctors hadn't yet said, that I couldn't. But meeting Daddy made me dream again and I dreamed so much of having a little girl. When the doctors said it wouldn't happen, it broke my heart even though they were only confirming what I already knew in my heart. Then you. :) The most wonderful surprise! You are so much more than I ever could have dreamed, Liddy, the piece of my heart that was missing without me even knowing it. And now, even after knowing you for such a short time, I can't imagine my life without you in it. I am in awe of your beauty, your sunshine personality, your strength, your determination and most of all, that you are mine. Every little smile is a wonder, every cuddle a gift, and every day a blessing greater than I could ever put into words.

     The other day, at Caleb's doctor's office, someone said spontaneously, "Down's babies are so beautiful." I was taken aback for a moment because even though you having DS is a reality and one we deal with constantly, no one has ever said anything about it when they have met you before without being told. I don't see Down's when I look at you. I see  big blue eyes,  chubby cheeks,  soft crazy hair, crooked pinkies, and a gorgeous gummy smile. I see, quite simply, my baby girl. The one whose smile makes my day, and whose baby babbling fascinates me endlessly. The one who seems to perfectly fit in my arms and who had to have been made just to be my cuddlebug. The determined little being who is in such a hurry to grow up and is so fascinated with everything around her. I watch you drink everything in and I see the world as a different place right along with you. :) You have changed me and there isn't a word that could adequately thank you for being my daughter. I love you so much that my heart hurts, Liddybug, and I am forever grateful to God that He made you so beautifully perfect and gave you to me! Now I am going to go in, pick up my sleeping angel and snuggle you tight before I tuck you into bed. :) Sweet dreams, sugar plum. xoxoxoxo Mommy