Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, look!

Our Christmas Wreaths magically appeared on our windows while I was at work.
I thought it was beautiful contrast to the fall leaves that were still holding onto the trees in our front yard!

We mustn't forget the other vibrant colors of the season...

Showing off her team spirit!

Julien handed Addie a balloon that we had just picked up at the store (of course it didn't pose a choking hazard...geez).
It was an effort to take her mind off of the drive home.
That effort turned into a captured moment of sweet curiosity while sporting her Alabama outfit and a rare ponytail!

One very determined little Monkey!

Monkey dropped Julien's gift card in the empty box (shhhh, don't tell Julien!) and decided she wanted to retrieve it herself!
The funny part was that Chris and I were busy in the kitchen when we heard the rustling of the box and turned around and saw this.
I just so happened to have my camera handy!
Monkey is like her Mommy...one very determined and stubborn little thing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Easy to please!

Give him a Steelers...anything...and life is good!
A big thanks to Aunt Nonna for one of Julien's favorite gifts of the night!

Slightly ahead of the game

After running home to drop off the newest members of our family, we actually managed to squeeze in a trip to Do It Yourself Crafts in order to make our annual Christmas Ornaments.
I am just so proud because we actually fit this in before Thanksgiving, which means we get to pick the ornaments up December 1st!
An entire month of the ornaments adorning our tree this year!
Julien and Addie did a great job in the time allotted (before rushing off to Julien's Birthday dinner) and I so enjoyed watching them and the effort they put forth in making these ornaments that I will forever treasure!

It is best to leave Julien alone while working....oh, and no pictures please (except this one that we just had to take)!
As a reminder, my baby boy is going through a phase of only wanting his picture taken when he chooses to have it taken.
So, there are more pictures of Monkey, but that is not by my choosing!Chunky Monkey went from crying to having a good time to crying again.
She was still battling that awful sinus infection! I can't get enough hand prints!
Trying to guide Monkey's hands from the paint pallet to the ornament and back again without her grabbing the ornament! Then she got the hang of it and painted like crazy!

As if I could say no!

Oh come on now!
I can hear all of you now....with your snubby little, "if that was my child, I would never...blah, blah, blah", but this is my child and I didn't say "no".
No matter how very much I wanted to.
My baby boy was looking (oh heck, he was peering at me) with those green eyes that just melts my heart and asking, "hey Mom, can I get the frogs up at the front?" "I'll use my birthday money and I'll take really good care of them and you won't have to do anything and they can stay in my room and the cats won't mess with them and they're really easy to take care of...since you said I couldn't get a rat". All of this on my baby boys birthday as we are standing at a fabulous little toy store that is within walking distance to the movie theater that we were just moments from walking into.
Good grief!
They were having a 20% off Pre-Thanksgiving sale for Pete's Sake!

I caved - after the movie.
I'm allowed and it made my baby's day. I don't earn a whole lot of "Mom Points", so it's nice every once in a while to bank some.
So, meet the newest additions to our family....or as I like to fondly call them: Cat Food.

Here is Spike and Monkey (don't ask) and Allie our fat rat of a cat.
Bless their little amphibian hearts.
I'm sure she is just babysitting, ensuring that they are acclimating to their new environment...seeing as how they should be up in my baby boy's room and not sitting on the buffet basking in the glow of Christmas lights.

Happy Birthday Julien!

I just can't believe how quickly the last year went by!
I just can't believe that my baby boy is growing up so fast and that I'm getting older so fast.
I took the day off of work and we spent the day together doing whatever Julien wanted.
We had a fabulous day together and I am reminded of how important it is to treasure each moment, as it seems to be gone before I know it.
I am so very "home sick" for a visit back to Washington.
I keep telling Julien that we will go back and we will as soon as we can.
Airfare for four is not exactly on any Black Friday ads and we can't drive 3000 miles with a screaming Monkey, so I keep waiting for the moment in which it will all fall into place.
It used to be a tiny little hospital with only six birthing suites.
The hospital is still small, housing only two Obstetricians! Can you imagine there only being two OB's in this area?!?
So as another year passes and we celebrate the life of my amazing son, we hold on to the goal of going back to visit a place that is so dear to our hearts.
I can't wait for the day I get to take Julien back to one of the most beautiful places on Earth - as I always called it:


(Picture from Washington Visitor's Bureau)

Deception Pass Bridge connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island (Anacortes).

Other than by boat or aircraft, this is the only way onto or off of the island.
This bridge held many memories for me. One of them being one of the most beautiful places that I have ever fell violently ill in front of complete strangers.
:)
I was so very, very sick morning to night the entire pregnancy with Julien. I literally could not eat anything without it coming back up.
As a reminder of our goal to go back as soon as we can, I have a beautiful picture of snow covered Deception Pass hanging in my living room.
Then, I was paroozing through the real estate ads earlier this year and happened upon this house. This house was a great reprieve to me at a point during my time in Washington. Now if only I could have ten to fifteen of my closest friends agree to go in and buy this house, we could have a little vacation getaway and a memento of some really great memories!
Okay, okay...dreaming way too big at this point, but I'm allowed daydreams every once in a while!
The house has been on the market for a while now and the owners are incredibly nice people, so maybe they would be willing to knock off $2 million or so...

Really...not even a little break?

Ugh.
Monkey had a really rough weekend and I knew she had to be getting sick - yet again.
When I walked into her room to wake her yesterday morning (yes, she slept through the night Sunday night!!!), I realized that the entire side of her face was wet - I will spare the really yucky details that only a select few had the pleasure of hearing - when I looked closer, it was her ear draining like crazy all over the place!
To sum it up, Monkey has a really bad sinus infection, yucky runny eyes and an ear infection - in both ears!
Our routine now includes antibiotic drops in her eyes, antibiotic drops in her ears and now antibiotics to coat her little tummy.
Hopefully she will be feeling better for Thanksgiving. We need a beautiful long weekend with everyone feeling well!

Wish us luck!

Just us

Little Monkey had hit meltdown.
In an attempt to get her to laugh, we tried swinging her.
Julien felt quite confident that he could fly her to the moon without any permanent bodily damage, while I was worried about bruising her little wrists.
Chris was trying to thaw out his hands and we had just about had enough.
I think this was one of the very last pictures, right before the rain started coming down - again - and the wind was so strong that it ripped the umbrella out of my hand..but check out the beautiful fall colors!
The session was in such a beautiful setting and regardless of all the circumstances surrounding this day, we ended up with pictures that we will cherish forever!
Thank you Kim, I can't wait to see you again next month!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My little Monkey








Photos by Kim Sharit Photography

More pictures coming your way!

I am still sifting through the photos from Kim and have several left to share.
I thought this one was just precious!

What a sweet, sweet candid shot - you would never know it was freezing and raining!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 2nd Annual Ladybug Fundraiser!

We were truly honored to be a part of The 2nd Annual Ladybug Fundraiser!

The Ladybug Fundraiser benefits The Bell Center for Early Intervention and was created, organized and managed by Scott and Michelle Shunnarah.

Scott and Michelle are an amazingly beautiful couple who are now dedicating their lives to raising their beautiful daughter Edie and to raising awareness of Down Syndrome.

I truly am in awe of what Scott and Michelle do for the charitable organizations in which they are a part of.
Everything about the evening was wonderful and we enjoyed meeting so many new people and spending time with friends.
Although Chris and I felt a bit guilty for outbidding a fellow Bell Center couple, we walked away with the winning bid for a mini getaway!

Our hearts were yearning for the trips to Jackson Hole and Colorado Springs, but we are just not there yet.

We just can't leave the kids and go on a vacation of that nature.

We have all the time in the world for that when the kids are older.

We were just thrilled at the prospect of winning the getaway and making a contribution towards The Bell Center in honor of Edie Shunnarah!
We are truly blessed to be surrounded with people who dedicate their lives to showing this world the beautiful journey of raising a child with special needs.
Thank you Scott and Michelle for your amazing dedication and for the honor of allowing us to be a part of this event!


Here is Monkey and Patti having a little chat!
Patti was a huge help tonight in keeping Monkey occupied so that I could mingle and take part in the silent auction.
Addie met new friends as well and we had to do our best to keep her from squishing them - sorry about that Allie!
Look at that mischievous little grin!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

There's a monkey in my living room...

After I was able to detach the Monkey from my upper torso, I convinced her to let me take a picture of her new Monkey pajamas.

I think they are perfectly beautiful and so does Monkey.

She was still shaken from the events of the day and refused to even act like she was going to smile for the camera.

Friday, November 20, 2009

There's a monster in my bedroom...

Thank you to all of you who have asked for an update on Chris.
Surgery went well, more invasive than we had originally thought, but still everything went well.
Dr. Davis - yes, that would be "Addie's" Dr. Davis - "reconstructed" Chris's sinus cavity.
Bless that man.
I really need to ask him if there is any way that a brick on his house could possibly be engraved with our names on it.
I mean really...if not a brick, at least a paver.
We are incredibly fortunate to have a fabulous ENT who has been with us since the beginning with Addie and then now with Chris, this makes surgery number four and I wouldn't trust anyone else to take care of our family.
The evening was a bit chaotic between juggling the kids and Chris and as soon as Julien left to go to football (thanks Mom!), I started talking to Addie once again about her Daddy.
I told her that Daddy had a boo-boo on his nose and a big boo-boo band-aid.
We talked and talked and I was really hoping that she was somewhat comprehending what I was trying to tell her.
As we were walking up the stairs and into the bedroom to check on her Daddy, I kept reminding her that Daddy had a boo-boo.
It took all of a second before Addie hit meltdown.
She took one look at Chris, started shaking and then screaming hysterically.
It took an entire 45 minutes for me to calm her down.
I had to take her downstairs and rock her. The entire time she had her face buried in my chest and every few minutes would turn and look behind her and then start crying all over again.
It was horrible.
So not only did I have one very upset little Monkey, but I also had one little boy who wasn't too thrilled at the idea of seeing Chris either because I kept getting asked, "but what does he really look like?".
Then finally I came to the realization that I have a monster in my bedroom (smirk).
All I can say is that when I took Addie into our bedroom this morning, she almost jumped out of my arms trying to look over on her Daddy's side of the bed.
To top off that story, I was informed that Ronald McDonald (good grief - CREEPY!!!) paid an unexpected visit to Addie's school yesterday.
Seriously?
Who could have possibly thought that was a good idea...how traumatic, even to me and I wasn't even there!
We had a day of clowns, monsters and hysterics, but a very productive day I might add.
Thanks to a fabulous surgeon, my husband is on his way to having a less problematic sinus cavity and my children have learned that not all monsters hide under the bed...some sleep next to their Mommy.
:)

Blog is under construction

It is that time again!
I have started updating the blog with our newest pictures from Kim Sharit Photography!
Kim managed to work her magic and present me with surprisingly good pictures.
I was absolutely certain that we were all going to look like drowned rats in these pictures...but not so much!
As always, this will take me several days to get everything the way I like it (for the moment), figure out how to play with the code and sizes and to have the new header made and colors updated by my little blog helper.
As many of you know, Kim holds a very special place in my heart.
She is a fabulous photographer and a wonderful person with a heart of gold!
If you are in need of new family photos, please give Kim a call!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It is so wonderfully different this year!

For starters...look at Addie standing all by herself and reaching so high to try her best to put an ornament on the tree!Then there is Julien who can almost reach higher than me this year!Finally...the beautiful sight of my baby girl learning what we were doing. She doesn't quite understand the whole concept, but this year is different.
Addie knows that we put all this stuff onto or into the tree, what she doesn't understand is there are items we don't put onto or into the tree and we definitely don't pick and choose which ornaments to take off at random times throughout the day and evening.
We also do not hoard ornament's under our arms to carry through the house showing anybody who will look.
Oh no, these are things we shouldn't do...but yet seem to be happening.
Julien, Chris and I are just so thrilled to see the look of amazement and excitement on Addie's face, that we just don't care how many pine cones she steals from the fireplace to put into the tree or the fact that our tree is now drooping from Addie playing with the ornaments.
This is the first year that she even seems to take notice that we have a Christmas Tree and we're not going to waste time on the small things that don't matter.
We are going to enjoy the innocence that we get to see through the eyes of our very special baby!



For all of you that bring out your corduroy Polo's, wool socks, put on merry Christmas melodies, start a fire in the fireplace and inhale the smell of fresh apple cider as it wafts through the house while you and your family glide oh so joyously around the entryway trimming the tree...God love you.

We do good to even be properly dressed, while stepping over Rubbermaid containers to wipe a runaway Monkey's nose, throwing broken ornaments into empty boxes and asking who the lucky soul is that is going to be stuck with making lunch.

Oh, the holidays...aren't they wonderfully delightful?

All patched up and hanging out!

We spent the day putting up our Christmas tree.
It was either today or no decorations this year since I have never stepped foot into the attic and would not even attempt it, which means that I am completely dependent upon my husband to handle all of those "manly chores".
"Manly chores" of that nature will be placed on a leave of absence as my husband very unwillingly gives in to a surgery that is long overdue this week.
Unlike the response I expect from my husband...this little elephant isn't whining, complaining or asking for anything.
Surgery right before Thanksgiving?
Apparently we are just keeping in line with scheduling our surgeries right before major holidays.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday

Saturday passed in a blur.
I am still trying to figure out how we packed in so much in just one day!
It all started with football pictures at 7:15 a.m.

Followed by game three of the season at 8:00 a.m. - game three, win three!

Next came game four at 9:00 a.m. - game four, win four.
Addie and I missed game four and a pretty awesome interception by my baby boy due to Addie's dance class.
Immediately following dance, came Addie's six-month dental check-up - complete disaster!

She hit meltdown as soon as we walked to the back and never recovered until Julien took her to the waiting room so that Chris and I could talk to the dentist.
This was the other dentist (our dentist canceled so they fit us in with the other dentist in the practice) that we had never met before, so we had the opportunity to ask our standard questions all over again to some new unsuspecting soul.
You know the ones (how many children have you treated with Microcephaly, what is your experience, blah, blah, blah).
The good news is this dentist was very pleased with the health of Addie's teeth and the fact that we are blissfully blessed that there are not any malformations!
The dentist was more than happy to tell me about a child he saw (in school mind you) that has Microcephaly and once again we are reminded of how truly blessed we are.
Oh...but guess what???
We just have to wait and see how things progress!
We just have to sit back and wait until around age six before we will know what to expect - that is a completely different post, full of nausea inducing details!
After the dental torture session, it was time to run home, change, send Julien off to a friend's birthday party while Addie napped.
After nap, came Julien's Birthday Party with his friends....that did not end until almost 9:00 p.m. when the last child went home.
It was a wonderfully busy day!
Our chaos continued on into Sunday and is just getting started for the week.
We have a lot going on!

Friday, November 13, 2009

One more boo-boo....

My little Monkey is very, very tough.
I hope that is all it is.
A few advisors have me wondering way back in my mind if I should be more worried about my little Monkey, but right now I think she is just a tough little cookie like her Mommy!
In fact, most times we don't know that she is hurt until we see a scrape, bruise or blood.
I had no more than settled into my morning routine at work when the phone rang. It was Monkey's teacher calling to let me know that Monkey had a boo-boo.
Monkey was "trying" to walk from the table to the refrigerator to put her cup away (because we have to take a special cup for Monkey everyday), when she fell.
She hit the side of her face right by her eye on a chair...
Her teacher said that she looked around knowing that she needed help, but never cried.
How tough is that?
When we picked her up this p.m., she has a definite mark on her face that has got to be sore!
Sweet little Monkey can't tell us if she is hurt, so I just make sure to give lots of extra kisses everyday just to cover all bases.

I forgot to tell you guys!!!!

Guess what my little Monkey can do now????
Oh, it is just perfectly beautiful to witness!!!!
She has learned to stand up all by herself (most of the time)!
If she is on carpet or a surface that is not too slick, she is able to stand all the way up from a sitting position!
Monkey is so proud of herself and it has given her a bit more independence!
We are all just thrilled and love watching her over and over!
I don't think we will ever tire of watching such a beautiful miracle!
Had this moment taken two more years, it would have been just fine with me.
It is not the time it takes for us to get there, it is the getting there that matters.
Your prayers and our God is what made this milestone possible!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Water, milk, ice....anything!

At around halftime, Addie spotted what was left of Chris's drink and begged for some ice.
She loves to eat ice chips, but her little fingers just can't grasp them very well!

So, Chris resorted to Plan B.

I wonder if this possibly bought us our Monday morning trip to Greenvale?
:)

Kind people

As soon as we made it to the field last weekend, Addie spotted a lady sitting with her daughter on a blanket. They were making bracelets. Addie walked right to the edge of their blanket and sat down. She never attempted to mess with their things, she just wanted to watch.
Not long after we arrived, their game ended and they started to gather their things.
It was at that point that they really took notice of Addie sitting and watching. The Mom made a comment that she wished she had more time, she would make Addie a bracelet and continued to gather her things. The daughter looked up at me and told me that Addie could have the bracelet that she had just finished making.
Up until that point we hadn't said anything to them and I don't think Addie really wanted anything more than to watch what they were doing. She is definitely a people watcher and loves to take in all that is around her!
Let me tell you though, they made her day! Addie was thrilled to have this bracelet and I don't think these people have a clue how they made my day.
I keep telling everyone...it is the little things that matter most to us.
Kindness and respect is all we ever want from people.



So proud and showing her Daddy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Game two - win two!

We were finally able to play game two of the season last weekend.
It was beautiful outside and the day was made even better by a great win by our team!