“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"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Counting Blessings

Tonight, as I sit here in my warm house, with both of my babies tucked in for the night, I am so immensely thankful for a whole slew of things.

I know that when I get up in the morning, I will be greeted by the sweetest smile on the prettiest face and after the week this community has had, I find that, for me, snuggling my precious baby is something that I will never take for granted. Something that I will never cease thanking God for. 

What the last few months have taught me more than anything else is that life, all of our lives, are so fleeting. Much too fleeting, much to fragile, to not appreciate fully what our blessings are and to give praise to God for seeing fit to allow us another day with those we love.

 This year, I am thankful for a daughter with a healthy heart...a precious child who has changed me in indescribable ways for the better. She makes me a better person simply by existing.

 I am thankful for an amazing son, who never ceases to surprise me with his compassion, his confidence and his wonderfully sweet spirit. He is a voice for the downtrodden, the hurting, the abused..and I am constantly in awe of the young man I have had a hand in raising thus far.
I am thankful for a husband who has stood beside me through one of the roughest years of my life. He has held my hand, he has held me, he has been the rock that I leaned on. I'm so grateful that he came into my life and don't know what I would do without him.
I am thankful for an extended family who has loved and supported us, who have brought goodies to the hospital, who have held our hands in waiting rooms, who love my Liddy unconditionally. They have never failed us. Not once. 
I am thankful for so many friends, both old and new. Old friends who have celebrated our miracle with us every single step of the way, who have called and visited, who have went out of their way to make it known that we are loved...every single one of us. New friends who have shown me unconditional love, support, and friendship, who have celebrated (sometimes from afar) every accomplishment, prayed over every fear, laughed with me, cried with me. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and I could not be more blessed in the friends I have chosen.
I am thankful for a beautiful older daughter who longs to be a part of our lives, who is growing to be an amazing woman. (I got your note a few months ago, sweetie, and I love you no matter what. All is forgiven. There was nothing to forgive in the first place.)

I am immensely thankful that in a few days, I will be surrounded by some of the people I love most in this world, eating wonderful food, among awesome company. Even those who are no longer with us in body will be there in spirit, I'm positive. And life just doesn't get much better than that.......

What are you thankful for this year?

PS Please continue to keep baby Iris' family in your prayers during your Thanksgiving celebrations. While most of us have a whole lot to be thankful for this year, they have lost one of their greatest blessings. While the rest of us are cooking up a storm, they will be laying their sweet angel to rest. Just say a few prayers for their continued strength, and some sort of peace. Thank you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Our little extended family has taken some very hard knocks over the last month or two. 
The death of baby Aseman in Iran. The house fire that claimed the life of a son in a family who had buried another of their children less than 2 years before. And now, sweet baby Iris, who has flown home to her heavenly Father. 
My heart breaks a little more with every loss. I always had a deep compassion and empathy for those in pain, regardless of how well or how little I knew them. 
But this...this goes much deeper than that. I never truly knew these families before their times of need. Yet, as my wonderful friend Annie said once, when you pray so hard for someone, you love them like your own. 
My heart is broken. And although far be it for me to question God's plans and His infinite wisdom, I can't help but wonder, when will it end? When will our community, our extended family, stop being attacked from all sides?
We were not granted the miracle that we all prayed for so fervently. And as any mother of a baby who has undergone open heart surgery could tell you, what the Palma family has been through and continues to go through is the stuff that keeps us up at night, that keeps us hitting our knees again and again for our babies. This is what a nightmare looks like, friends. 
Tonight, I am going to hug my precious one a little tighter and thank God that my personal nightmare did not come to pass. Then, after she fades into peaceful slumber, I will be on my knees, with tears on my face, praying for safe passage of one tiny girl's soul through the gates of Heaven and for two mamas who are going through something that no mother should have to.
RIP Iris.

What a beautiful angel you are going to be......

Friday, November 18, 2011


Sometimes as a parent, we don't notice how much our babies are growing up.
Being Liddy's mama, it's often even harder for me to notice how she's growing since she remains so very tiny......
However, over the last few weeks, I have realized that that chubby baby face I love so much is changing. Fading away is the face of an infant and in its place is the emerging face of a little girl...
I took a picture today that truly reinforced this in my mind and so, I would like to share with you the evolution I have watched happening over the last several months.

4 months old.

5 months old.

7 months old. Fresh out of OHS.

8 months old.

Today. 10 months old. And oh, so grown up.

 has been replaced by this....

and I just don't know when exactly it happened.

Way to grow, baby girl. Way to grow. :)

P.S. Please don't forget to pray for Iris.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Desperately Seeking Prayers

My head is spinning...I have a lump in my throat the size of an apple...and my eyes are filled with tears right on the brink of falling. 
Nothing has happened here. All is well in my house. But all is not well in the houses of those in my extended DS family.......
Meet baby Iris.....


Beautiful, isn't she? Iris is in desperate need of one of God's miracles and I am begging you to lift her name on high, asking Him to provide her with one.
This precious girl underwent her second OHS on October 26th. Things have not been good since then. She has had excess fluid around and in her lungs, which she just can't seem to expel. She has been opened back up, she has coded and been brought back, and today she had a catherization in an attempt to ascertain what was causing the issue and what could be done to fix it. The news was not good. Her doctors said that her lungs were the worst they had ever seen and that there was nothing more to be done for her.
Our DS community is reeling from this news. I've said it before, and I may say it a thousand times more before I leave this Earth. We are family, whether we know each other personally or not. Our kids are the community's kids. We rejoice together in their successes and we cry together at their struggles. Cut one of us and every. single. one of us bleeds. 
We have been hemorrhaging during the last few months. Our family has been hit hard. We are on our knees begging and pleading with God because we have no other options. If there is nothing further that can be done medically speaking, we lift Iris to Him again as He is the only one who has the power to heal her. 
Will you please join us?
I want nothing at this moment more than to have the chance to come back proclaiming God's mercy and grace for this family....and singing His praises for her amazing recovery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Mama's Promise

My dearest Liddy,
Today I was playing the mp3 player on my phone for you. I was singing, we were dancing, you were laughing. I truly live for those moments. Spinning you around the kitchen, feeling like nothing else exists except you and me and the music. 
More and more our house is filled with singing. 
I didn't sing much to Caleb...although we did have our special moon song. I have so many wonderful memories of a sleepy eyed little angel boy snuggled beside me, barely able to hold his eyes open after his bedtime story, whispering, "Sing Moon Mommy."

You don't seem to care what I sing. I don't have to know all the words or sing it well. You just love the sound of music and even sometimes sing with me.....I love that. I hope you always love my singing to you just as much as you do now. 
I promise that I will sing and dance with you as long as you want me to, whether the day you exasperatedly look at me and say "Moooommm" comes tomorrow or never comes at all. We can be little old ladies dancing merrily around the kitchen together if that's what you want. I'm frankly a little in love with that thought. :)
My greatest regret in raising Caleb thus far is that somewhere along the way I got wrapped up in the day to day drudgery and forgot to enjoy the magic that surrounded me everyday. A little child is brimming with wonder, with magic, with unabashed joy at the new discoveries they make every day. It lasts such a short time. I blinked and it was over. I wish with all of my heart that I had slowed down a little more and spent more of my time seeing the world through his eyes......
I won't make the same mistake twice. 
I promise you that:
*I will always stop what I am doing to dance with you.
*I will splash in the puddles.
*I will sing in the rain.
*I will gaze in awe at tiny blades of grass, and ant hills, and any other thing you bring to me in wide eyed wonder.
*We will pick wild raspberries in the spring, and eat them sun warmed from the vine.
*I will always have time to kiss scrapes and bruises...and always have princess band-aids to make them better.
*I will be there cheering the loudest at every school program, every recital, for every accomplishment.
*I will make a thousand silly faces, and say a thousand silly things just for the gift of your laughter.
* I will cuddle you every single chance I get.
* I will encourage you to have big dreams and to chase after them with reckless abandon.
* I will tell you a million times how beautiful you are, that you can do anything you set your mind to, and how much I love you.
* I will wipe your tears when necessary. But I will also smile with you when that is warranted too.
But most of all, I promise that I will never take for granted how very blessed I am to have you. :)

I'll be....whatever it is you need. 

I'll Be~Reba McEntire
~When darkness falls upon your heart and soul.
I'll be the light that shines for you.
When you forget how beautiful you are
I'll be there to remind you.
When you can't find your way,
I'll find my way to you.
When troubles come around,
I will come to you.

I'll be your shoulder when you need someone to lean on.
Be your shelter.
When you need someone to see you through.
I'll be there to carry you.
I'll be there.
I'll be the rock that will be strong for you.
The one that will hold on to you.
When you feel that rain falling down.
When there's nobody else around.
I'll be.

And when you're there with no one there to hold.
I'll be the arms that reach for you.
And when you feel your faith is running low.
I'll be there to believe in you.
When all you find are lies.
I'll be the truth you need.
When you need someone to run to .
You can run to me

I'll be your shoulder when you need someone to lean on.
Be your shelter.
When you need someone to see you through.
I'll be there to carry you.
I'll be there.
I'll be the rock that will be strong for you.
The one that will hold on to you.
When you feel that rain falling down.
When there's nobody else around.
I'll be.

I'll be the sun.
When your heart's filled with rain.
I'll be the one.
To chase the rain away.

I'll be your shoulder when you need someone to lean on.
Be your shelter.
When you need someone to see you through.
I'll be there to carry you.
I'll be there.
I'll be the rock that will be strong for you.
The one that will hold on to you.
When you feel that rain falling down.
When there's nobody else around.
I'll be.
I'll be.~
I love you so much, little Bug. 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Being Special

My dearest Liddy,
I had hoped to write a post each day this month about what I am thankful for. I have failed miserably. I truly AM thankful for so very many things in my life and although it was a noble quest to proclaim my many blessings to the world, God and I are very aware of exactly what each and every one of them are because we talk them over every day. :)

I haven't written to you in over a month and I feel that it's past time.
There is much in the news about a new non-invasive test which can be administered to pregnant mothers at around the 10 week mark. This test is purported to have 99% accuracy in diagnosing DS, without an amniocentesis. It's said to be the next great thing, a medical break through. Yet all I can think about is how many babies like you will now never get the chance to live because of it. It's a thought that breaks my heart into tiny little pieces. 

Each of us is created differently. We are all unique. Being special isn't something that anyone should have to make apologies for, or defend, or experience ridicule for. Our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful. 

 The tiny differences that come with your extra chromosome aren't enough to make you unworthy of the same opportunities and respect that others have. In my eyes, they make you more worthy.

 You haven't even spent an entire year on this Earth, yet you have been through more than most adults. You have faced every challenge placed in your path, scaled virtual mountains that would seem insurmountable to many, with awe inspiring grace and a beaming smile on your face. Your strength, your determination, are an inspiration to all who meet you and even strangers are captivated by your laughter and your smile. You meet life head on and aspire to do great things already. 
I am so proud to be your mother and I can only imagine how proud I will be in the future as I watch you dream big dreams and chase them without reservation.

A few years ago, I could have never imagined that DS would be a part of my life. Yet now, I simply can't imagine a life without it.
A life without you snuggled against me...without the scent of your hair...without your precious baby babble...without  your big blue eyes and your gorgeous smile....without your crooked pinkies and your sandal feet..without your ever present laughter and your silly faces... is just not a life that I ever want to experience.

 We never knew what we were missing before you came into our lives.
You are the reason for the smile on my face. You are the very stars that light up my nights and the sun that lights up my days. 
So despite a world that thinks that it might be better off without DS in it, never ever forget that my world is a better place for your existence. I am better because of your existence. You bring out the best in me, wee Bug, and that's something that I can never repay you for. 
Your uniqueness makes you you. Never apologize for it. Never allow anyone to put you down because of it. And never ever hide that spark within you. You make this world beautiful, alive and full of color. 

 I love you so much.....


Friday, November 11, 2011

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

I want to take a minute from all the hustle and bustle to proudly say that I am thankful for every service man or woman, not just today, but every day. 
These men and women don't ask for praise or gratitude, even though they greatly deserve these and more. They don't consider themselves brave and shy away from being called heroes. 
But they are. 
Sacrificing time away from family and friends, missing birthdays, Christmases and other holidays, to do their thankless jobs. They don't get vacations, or holidays off. Sometimes they go days without sleep or food. They sometimes watch their brothers and sisters in arms fall beside them. They are privy to horrors that most of us can not imagine, images which often replay themselves in the mind for many years to come. Why? So that the rest of us can sleep soundly in our beds tonight and every night, knowing that we are safe and free.
I don't think it's too much to ask of any of us to show our appreciation every chance we get....
Our freedom comes with an often steep price, friends. The price of sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears that every single soldier freely pays...for us.

My family has had it's share of soldiers (and sailors). My great-grandfather was in the navy during WWII. My father-in-law served in Vietnam. My brother-in-law has served several tours of duty in war torn places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. And my nephew is in Iraq now.
These brave men have said goodbye to their children, to their wives, to their families knowing that their very lives might be in jeopardy, that there was a chance that they might not make it home. Knowing full well that those who stand beside them, proudly wearing the uniform of whatever branch of military they are in, may not be standing beside them when they make it back home. Hard thoughts to swallow......yet they do, because it is their job to worry about things the rest of us barely acknowledge.
I am beyond proud to know these men. I am beyond proud to call them family. And I am humbled that so many choose to do what others will not. Lay down their lives if necessary for me. For you. For thousands of others who they will never meet face to face. 

Please remember those who have laid down their lives for you. Be very thankful. 
Pray for peace.....
I know my prayers are filled with pleas for the safe return of one soldier who is dear to this family.....

Happy Veteran's Day! Thank a soldier!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Brimming with Pride

Today I am thankful for Down Syndrome. 
Kind of a strange thing to say, even to me. But the truth is that DS brought something truly special into my life, something I would have missed among all the hustle and bustle that is our lives......Pure, unadulterated joy at the simplest of things.
I'm not by nature a patient person. I like things to happen as I think that they should. I have rushed Caleb through his childhood milestones simply because I could not wait to see what was coming next. But sadly, while jumping from one accomplishment to the next, I missed the point.
I forgot to enjoy today, without the constant hurry to look toward tomorrow.
Having Liddy changed all of that, and a big part of the reason is Down Syndrome.
Her development of new things some times feels like it takes an eternity. It really doesn't, but some days it sure feels like it. We go along for long stretches of time without any real signs of any further advancement. Just the type of thing that before would have drove me absolutely insane. 
Ironically, I'm not the one in a hurry this time. I'm perfectly content with her learning new things whenever she learns them. I understand that even when nothing new is visibly emerging, the wheels are continually turning in her pretty head, just waiting for it all to click. 
This week a whole lot has clicked for Liddy. 
Months of playing peekaboo from the shower have led to my precious girl holding her blankie over her face until we say "Where's Liddy?". The reveal of that gorgeous face brings a multitude of giggles and trust me, she can play this game for hours and not get bored.
Months of therapy have led to a tiny girl with abs of steel, who refuses to sit back in any seat we have and who uses her trunk to pull herself up more often than her arms. This amazing feat has led her to comfortably lean forward in her high chair to pick various items off of the tray! 
Months of clapping and saying YAY when she accomplished even the slightest thing led to the very best early morning greeting this morning...When I leaned over to pick her up from her bed, she gave me her typical good morning sunshine smile and then...wait for it....SHE CLAPPED! :) 
And last but certainly not least, after months of telling her we were going bye-bye and asking her if she wanted to go too, yesterday, as I was riding high on the pride pony already, she looked up at me and said "bye bye". I wasn't sure that I had heard her correctly so I repeated it again...and so did she. 

Would I have been so ecstatic about all of these seemingly small accomplishments before DS became a part of our lives? Probably not. But every single one is something that has literally taken precious Liddy months of work to do. 
That makes each of them a little bit sweeter than they would have been without that extra chromosome.
So today I am thankful for the fact that we're not in a big hurry around here to get to the next accomplishment, the next goal. The future will bring whatever it brings and I, for one, am content with that. 
I'm thankful that I am no longer constantly looking towards tomorrow and forgetting to live in the present. Today is a pretty awesome day, and well worth the time it takes to slow down and drink in these precious moments that I already know are fleeting. 
And I have DS to thank for teaching me that lesson. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Contest

I just got word that my precious girl was chosen again to compete in a cover contest at parents.com.
This one is a whole lot like the last one....you can vote daily for a week (until 11/13) and the highest reader's choice will move on to the next round.
We didn't come close to winning last time but I think we can do it this time!!!

Please go here to vote! Thank you all so much for your support!!!!! :)

My Mama

I'm already slacking in the daily thankfulness posts. I'm going to blame it on whatever nasty bug I seem to be trying to come down with.....here's hoping it starts to move it's way out of my system soon. I can't seem to get a darn thing done. 
Today's is going to be short and sweet.

 I am thankful today for my mom.
I don't know what I would do without her. She knows the ugly in me, but sees the beauty instead. She encourages me regularly, she prays for me daily, and she understands me in a way that it would be difficult for anyone else to. 
I have known her worth for quite a while now....but this last year, she has truly shown me how much I rely on her faith, her wisdom and her strength to get me through. Never in my life has there ever been a time when I needed her that she was not right by my side. I am more thankful for that than she could ever know........

 Like My Mother Does~Lauren Alaina  People always say I have a laughLike my mother doesGuess that makes senseShe taught me how to smile when things get rough
I've got her spiritAnd she's always got my backWhen I look at her,I think I wanna be just like that!

When I love, I give it all I got!Like my mother doesWhen I'm scared, I bow my head and pray!Like my mother doesWhen I feel weak, and un-pretty!I know I'm beautiful and strong!Because, I see my selfLike my mother does
I never met a stranger,I can talk to anyoneLike my mother doesI let my temper flyBut she can walk away, when she's had enough
She sees everybody, for who they really areI'm so thankful for her guidance,She's helped me get this far
When I love, I give it all I got!Like my mother doesAnd when I'm scared, I bow my head and pray!Like my mother doesWhen I feel weak, and un-pretty!I know I'm beautiful and strong!Because, I see myself,Like my mother does!
She's a rock!She is grace!She's an angel!She's...My heart and soul!She does it all!
When I love! I give it all I got!Like my mother doesAnd when I'm scared! I bow my head and pray!Like my mother doesWhen I feel weak, and un-pretty!I know I'm beautiful and strong!Because, I see myself,Like my mother does!
I hear people saying... I'm starting to lookLike my mother does... 
I am so very thankful to be like my mother......

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Today I am thankful for......

my pint sized princess.

beautiful smiles meant just for me.....


precious baby giggles.....

big blue eyes.....

chubby cheeks.

wide eyed wonder of the smallest things.

bed heads on sleepy eyed girls, snuggly soft in their jammies.

 tiny toes and tiny hands.

pigtails and 


Oreo smears all over her face.....

the most perfect gift I have ever been given. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Proud to Be a Mama

I'm going to claim my glowing post about Caleb as my first thankfulness post since I truly am thankful for him and so very very proud to be his mom. Maybe that's cheating but, eh, you do what you gotta right? :)

That being said, today I am thankful to be a mama (and a birth mama too!). 
I always knew that I wanted kids. When I was younger, I claimed that I wanted a family big enough to rival the Duggards (although they weren't around back then!). A huge house full of little ones scampering about, their laughter echoing throughout the halls. As I got older, I realized that, although that was a very nice dream, it just wasn't practical for me. 
I have been immensely blessed enough to give birth to three precious, beautiful children. Each is special, each unique, but each is immensely loved. Not for who I expected or dreamed that they would be, but for simply who they are.

They're not perfect. But none of us are. They make mistakes. But all of us do.
Each has brought me great joy, as well as great pain, and each has taught me more about what it means to be a mother. Each has taught me more about myself and contributed something which has helped make me who I am today. There just aren't words that can express how very thankful I am that each of them exist.

If babies truly get to choose their mamas in Heaven, I could not have ever been any luckier that these three chose me.


Amanda (I stole your picture!)


I am thankful for each of you. Thank you for choosing me, who is entirely unworthy, to be the vessel through which you entered this world. Thank you for being the lights of my life, and for guiding me when I lose my way. Thank you for showing me the beauty within myself simply by being beautiful reflections of me. Thank you for being such great kids, kids that I am more than proud to call my own. 
I love you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Month of Thankfulness

A whole lot of my friends on facebook are doing something that I think is rather special for the month of November. Every day they put one thing they are thankful for as their status. I personally think this is a super idea, and since every day I make an attempt to faithfully count my blessings one by one, I'm going to attempt to write a post every day this month giving thanks for them all. 
I'm already 2 days behind!

Today I am thankful for my husband. 

When I got divorced nearly 5 years ago, I swore to myself that I would never get married again. 
Two years later, I met John. 

I have been privileged to not only know him and have him as a part of my life, but to also watch the man I already loved change and grow into an even more amazing person. A wonderful, caring father and eventually, despite my vow to the contrary, an absolutely amazing husband. 

I already knew that I loved him wholeheartedly when he moved his terminally ill father in with us. Watching him care for his dad, getting the chance to watch the two of them together, only made me love him more. I personally do not know very many men who would willingly, lovingly, take on the responsibility, the sacrifices, that were required to do this for their father at such a young age. At the age of 26, he was dealing with funeral plans, hospice nurses, and watching his father fade before his eyes. Pretty heavy stuff. He did it all gracefully. And I thought I could never be prouder of him.
He hasn't always been a poster child for responsibility. He has made mistakes early on, before I met him, that still affect his life. But he has overcome those and has became a better person because of them. Because of my being a small part of his metamorphosis, I have become a better person as well.

He desperately wanted another son, because as he said once, he has spent his entire life trying to understand women and still hasn't a clue. But one look at his tiny princess and he was head over heels in love.

Watching the two of them together has only strengthened the love and respect I have for him. 

He is an awesome provider for our family. I have known him to sell things that mean a lot to him in order to pay bills, buy Christmas presents, and even make a trip to Florida to give me my dream of being married in the white sand when money was tight. He has loved and supported me, allowing me to follow my dreams, even when it means that he is forced to work that much harder in order for me to do so. When tough times came to call and I was at my lowest following Liddy's diagnosis, it was his quiet words, "You're going to love this baby more than you ever imagined possible" that stand out as the brightest spot in some of the darkest days.
Turns out that not only is he awesome, he's pretty darn wise as well.

I can't imagine making it through the last year without him by my side. Without him to share the pain and the worry, and without him to encourage me when I most desperately needed it.

I thought I loved him then.
Little did I know back then how much more it was possible to love him now.


John Thomas Ehle, I am beyond proud to be your wife and to stand beside you in this crazy thing called life. This family is my life and not a day goes by that I don't sincerely thank God for bringing you into it. I love you even more today than I did 2 years ago when we stood in the warm sand and said "I do."