Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Celebration at school

Addie was so happy during the party...and she loved her new dress.
This year, I bought her a few dresses since this is the first year that she can walk independently. Although Addie still climbs on her hands and knees, we don't have to worry with the walker or her crawling the majority of the time.
She loves how pretty she looks in her dresses and just know that every morning before we walk out the door, I take her to the mirror to show her how pretty she looks.
I tell her that she is beautiful and I have her look in the mirror to see her reflection so that she will know that I am talking to her.
I see true beauty every single day when I look at my Baby Girl.
Sweet Addie had the very best time at the party!
She loved dancing with W. and was so happy to see Chris and Me when we walked into the classroom!

I love these moments!

My Sweet Baby Girl - She is so happy!

The Big Egg Hunt!

With the walker packed away in the basement at home and the braces tucked safely away in her cubby, Addie was ready for her very first Easter Egg Hunt where she could walk with her friends!
It was such a beautiful sight to behold!Kristen was more than happy to help Addie!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today was a really, really big day!

Today was such an exciting time for us!
Today was the very first time that Monkey was able to walk for her Easter Egg Hunt.
It was such an amazingly beautiful sight to see!
Just one year - one more milestone - all because of our GOD and answered prayers.
Chunky Monkey waited patiently for the egg hunt to begin.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Sweet 16 Kayla!

I don't know how it happened, but my niece turned 16 today!
Talk about making me feel old!
My sister held her party at my house and it never ceases to amaze me how many people we can cram into our house - surely we're breaking some sort of fire code.
We had a great, great time and I think my niece did too... considering she got a car....that she doesn't have to pay for.
We love you Kayla - Happy Sweet 16 - Enjoy every minute of it!
In case anyone is wondering...the green nail polish was traded for hot pink - to match her braces.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Playing and being sweet!


***Voting is now over***
Hey Guys!
I need your help and here is the very short abridged version of the story - and it's FREE:
I was contacted by a lady in Colorado yesterday because she was trying to contact someone who I have mentioned on the blog (amazing how you can find anyone on Google).
Anyway, I think we have all seen the contest for Nascar...and this family is trying to get into the top ten finalists in order to bring awareness for Down Syndrome.
Can you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE for the car in the link below? It doesn't take but just a minute and there is only ONE day left to vote. I am pretty certain that you can vote from every available computer and handheld device and it counts as a separate vote.
Also, when you click the link it looks like it is going to "error out", but keep going and you'll find the button at the bottom right of the screen to VOTE for Niki's Ride!
Good luck to Niki and her family - we're cheering for you!
Send this on and let's try to get as many votes as we can!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sky Hike

Our next adventure was to try out the Sky Hike.
If you notice in the picture below, Julien was taking pity on me for going a girl.

Julien had a great time!

(He's going to hate me for this picture!)
We were ready for a nap!

Sweet (and cozy) Baby Girl

For the health and welfare of all the animals, I decided that Monkey and I would wait outside the farm area for Julien and Chris.
One look at this little piggy and it just made sense to let sleeping pigs lie.
So, Monkey and I snuggled together and talked about our trip and waited on our boys to finish up.
The little Monkey was so content and cozy hanging out in the carrier.
Monkey was so cozy that she kept laying her head on my shoulder, then she would look up and start playing with my hair, earring and necklace.
Anything to keep from falling asleep!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Antebellum Plantation

We spent a relaxing morning touring the Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard.
The weather was exceptionally beautiful and we were able to make the rounds at our leisure with only a few other families.
My Baby Boy has a great sense of humor and as we were touring one of the last houses (below), he told me in his most authoritative voice,
"Hey Mother, I do believe this house is almost as big as ours".
I just smiled in reply.
Julien couldn't believe that the houses for the slaves were the same as for the doctors and found it interesting that the only houses of any remarkable size was the main home and summer home of the plantation owners.

This photo is not posted for everyone to view the outstanding size of my is intended to portray the beauty of how real men can wear pink and be proud.
Notice Julien is wearing the baby carrier with Monkey in it.
He dared anyone to make a snarky comment in his direction!
(For the record, we all know how I hate the color pink. When I bought the baby carrier last year, it was the only color they had in that brand and we were in a pinch and needed one immediately.)

Side Bar

I need to have a little chat with my husband about his photography skills.
I can't tell you how many pictures from our trip were taken of my backside - seriously.

So, try to focus on the foam stairs in the back of the picture and not on the big gray whale at the front.

The first several times, Julien and I had to help Monkey up the stairs by either holding her hands and moving her leg from stair to stair or by giving her support as she crawled up the stairs.
After a few minutes, she walked away from the stairs and slide and was playing in the rock tunnel (bottom of the picture).
I backed away a bit and went over to talk to Chris.
No sooner had I backed away, the little Monkey decided she wanted to try the stairs again. She was doing such a great job so I stayed back trying to see what she could do by herself.
After all, the stairs are foam and the floor is made of rubber.
Poor Monkey made it to the third step when she lost her balance and fell back smacking her head on the wood on the corner of the wall!
Of all the cushiony child-friendly things in the barn and she gets smacked in the head with a piece of wood!

My point being, she tries so hard to do all the things that the other little ones do.
It's crazy how I can be so proud of her one moment and my heart just aches for her the next.
I thank our GOD for choosing me to endure the pain.
Monkey doesn't feel the pain of rejection and defeat.
She is so beautiful and proud.

Monday, March 22, 2010

While waiting for the movie to begin

I grabbed the camera for just a few more photos... and when Monkey saw the camera, she wiggled down out of my arms and "ran" over to the other side of the room and said, "cheese!".
She wasn't about to miss out on a photo, this is the photo I took....
followed by this stunningly hilarious photo!

It was taken at just the right angle where it looks as if
Julien is a giant next to the little Monkey and check out the expression on her face!

Not to mention the expression on Julien's face - man he loves her!

I have always believed

that GOD places people into our paths for a reason.

Not long after the God of Grace kicked me right off my pedestal, we encountered a family that made my heart so full of joy that I could barely bring myself to carry on an intelligent conversation with them.
Somehow my shyness kicked in and left me a bit at a loss for intelligent conversation.

While at The Great Barn, sweet Addie was so very content to pick up the foam balls and put them into the vacuum tubes, into bags, hoard them or share with others.
She was so sweet and shared with whomever would pay her a bit of attention.

Chris was watching Addie, while Julien and I played on the rope ladders and slides and when I came back to check on Addie, she was playing with a family who was sitting nearby.
Addie would pick up the foam balls and take it to them or would throw it to them.
I immediately hit my shy zone and was a little concerned that they would feel bothered by her.

Just a moment later, one gentleman asked me how old Addie was.....(Inhale).....I answered with my standard, "she's three" and couldn't bring myself to even make eye contact with them.
I had a knot in my stomach and was trying to mentally prepare for what could possibly be coming next.

What came next almost brought me to tears.

The gentleman got up and came to stand next to me and he asked me the question.
He asked me the question.
This gentleman asked me what Addie's condition was!!!!

I was surprisingly floored and so very happy!
I gave a brief explanation and had to keep myself from choking up.
I told him "thank you" for asking, that he was probably the only person in three years to ask (thinking back, there have been a couple of people to ask in round about ways, but not like this).

It was such a simple question, but it made our whole trip.

You guys have no idea how happy it makes us for people to take an honest interest in Addie because we all too often encounter people who look at us with disdain.

As I have said time and time again, Addie has a beautiful purpose.

I believe in my heart that her purpose is to bring joy to others.

In this journey, I can only pray that I am able to find ways to educate people on Microcephaly, special needs and how this beautiful journey with my sweet Baby Girl is a gift from GOD.

So, a very special "thank you" to The Fiske Family.
You may never truly understand how one simple question tilted our little world in the right direction that day and made us feel a little more accepted in a moment when our hearts were breaking because of Addie's differences.

(I'll find my way back to Facebook one day, in the interim, there is a link on the right hand side of the blog to my private email address for anyone who wants to contact me directly - for those of you that missed it - Facebook and I are not good friends although I do realize that I am probably missing out on communications with the vast majority of the human species!)

Sweet little Monkey loved watching the other little ones having so much fun...
and patiently waited for her turn.

Ride The Ducks

We temporarily left The Great Barn for our appointment to Ride The Ducks.

This attraction involved riding in a 1940's Army DUKW, an amphibious truck that started out giving a tour on land and then proceeded to slam into the water for a different view of the park.

It was awesome.

We had the very best time and learned some very interesting facts.
The guide asked if anyone could tell her who the carvings on the mountain depicted.
A little boy in the back, of no more than five-years-old, proceeded to give a verbal dissertation on the history of the mountain.

Hence, the look on my face - he has a great Mom who obviously started reading to him at a very young age (like my Mom did with us - Thanks Mom!):

We were given the most annoying duck quackers for the ride.
The quackers were fun enough for the ride, but after a few hours of having the quacker, quacked in my ear, I was ready to use the long, green string to tie my Baby Boy's mouth shut!

Addie tried and tried to make her quacker quack.
Even Addie humored the massive amount of noise!
After we made it into the water, all the little ones on board took turns driving.

Julien was thrilled!Addie just took it all in...and was content.So content on the water, that she wanted nothing more than to nap.
If you guys remember, there is something about boat rides that sends Addie right to the land of nod.

Darn undeveloped frontal lobe!

Try not to nod off during this story...
Lets jump around a bit and piece together a few different stories.

Join me for a quick ride down memory lane.
You guys remember the God of Grace?
She doesn't like me.

I try to be a composed person, a somewhat decent representation of proper manners, grace and gratitude.
It doesn't always work.
Sometimes, I just can't help but laugh at extremely inappropriate situations and sometimes I just cannot keep my composure and get so angry that I feel like I just want to pinch someones ear off.
Let me explain:
This is the golf course that we passed at least ten times during our stay at the park. I love golf.
I love watching the game of golf in person (watching on television drives me crazy!) and I love to watch my husband play golf.
He is a great golfer and I feel that we are up-to-date on proper golf etiquette.
My Baby Boy on the other hand, would much rather have a football in his hand than a golf club. He makes fun of grown men who spend hours chasing a little white ball around the grass - I get that.
So, imagine us - driving by the aforementioned golf course on our way to start our first morning at the park.
Keep in mind that at the age of eleven, the frontal lobe is still undeveloped.
The mouth of an eleven-year-old has problems with filters and hasn't quite gotten the whole cause and effect thing down to a science.
As we are approaching the golf course, we see a group of men preparing to tee off.
At that moment, my son takes it upon himself to roll down the window and yell in his loudest eleven-year-old voice -
At that moment, the golfer - in his back swing mind you - stopped and flipped off my son.
Remember my rocky relationship with the God of Grace?
She kicked me right off that pedestal once more and I couldn't help but laugh.
I laughed so hard.
I just couldn't help myself.
What can I say?
Instead of taking that opportunity to remind my son of manners and respect - I laughed and just couldn't help myself.
Sometimes life's best lessons are learned the hard way.
That Darn undeveloped frontal lobe didn't develop during our vacation and the filter remained broken, because later in the day we decided to take a quick reprieve at the local play park.
As we were parking, there was a lady who was out enjoying a leisurely jog around the park.
To put it nicely, she lacked the proper undergarments that are desperately needed by us big girls when we're out for a run.
Chris and I made eye contact as we both cleared our throats in a "wow" kind of way.
Julien caught the look between us and wanted to know what was going on.
(Because I'm an honest and very frank kind of Mom)
I just told him that it is important for women to wear proper undergarments especially while playing sports or jogging.
He didn't quite pick up on what I was saying and asked if there indeed was a restrictive undergarment to keep someones behind from jiggling while running....which led to a conversation about derrière's.
Which led to him making the comment that there is no way that his derrière is "as big as yours Mom"!
Darn undeveloped frontal lobe.
So much for a self-esteem boost.
Moving on...
Since I was already off the pedestal, it was fitting that I had a minor encounter with a woman that I just wanted to pinch her ear off!
I have a sweet story about Addie, but before we get to that, we have to visit the other story.
We were very fortunate that the park was not very crowded.
Inside of The Great Barn was a nice sprinkling of people.
Just enough to make it fun to play, but not enough that there was a line of people waiting for anything.
In this one little area, there was a big cow that children can climb on and then big steps up to a slide.
In this area was one other family.
Addie walked in and was so excited.
She wanted to climb onto the cow and up onto the stairs and so I was helping her.
Bless her heart, she is just so slow and caused the other child to have to actually wait their turn - imagine that.
At one point, the Mom asked me - in a snotty voice, "how old is she?"
I answered her with a polite, "she's three".
Her response: "Three? Really?"
As if I were making it up.
She had such an ugly tone.
I just couldn't help myself and I picked up sweet Baby Girl and told her that we would find somewhere else to play.
I usually don't remove us from those situations, but why was the tone even necessary?
Luckily, the God of Brattitude was having a good day or else I could have gotten very ugly, but then I would be lowering myself to her level and I don't like to be that kind of person.
***Not to worry - We had a family who unknowingly was put into our path and made our entire trip. Story coming soon!***
So, I didn't win any Mom of the Year Awards...but I sure did get a few much needed laughs!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The first morning

Being on vacation requires me to find one of my "Happy Places".
This Happy Place exists in the land where germs are good because they build the immune system.
I had to find this Happy Place as soon as we set foot in the hotel and I had to remind myself how great my Happy Place was as the little Monkey was touching the thousands of foam balls.
The Great Barn has the appearance of being incredibly dirty, but despite being covered with nose-picking, virus carrying, saliva-dripping children, it was actually fairly clean (and the staff was amazingly friendly!).
It was dark and run down looking to give the appearance of a barn.
The barn was created so that children and their poor unsuspecting parents could be lured into climbing rope nets, sliding down slides, shooting and throwing thousands of foam balls, while only politely restraining themselves from braining one another (until closing time when it was a free for all).
We were only at the barn for about half an hour while we waited for our appointment for the duck event.
Julien and Addie both had the very best time and couldn't wait to get to go back later in the day.
Part of me was very much at ease because I was fairly certain that we wouldn't see anyone that we knew, while the other part of me was nervous about how other people would react to Addie. I didn't want the day to be ruined because of some rude response from someone. Addie spotted the big green button - she was so excited!

The first night

When we arrived, it was miserably cold and raining.
We drove straight through lunch, so we were ready to eat by the time we arrived.
After checking into the hotel, we found the closest place to eat that was open.
Of course it was at the golf course and lucky for us there were only a few stray golfers out, so we had the restaurant to ourselves.
The food was mediocre, but the view was phenomenal and the staff was very friendly!
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and were feeling a little more relaxed by the time we got to our room.
After arriving at the room, I had to "prep" the room for our stay before we could unpack the car.
This involved removing the bedspread and decorative pillows, wiping down all hard surfaces with Lysol wipes, spraying all surfaces with Lysol and calling guest services for new sheets and blankets.
(Housekeeping is not allowed back in the room for the rest of our stay for fear that they will contaminate my sterile field.)
Then we went for a walk around the hotel while the room was airing out.
I am fully aware that I have a germaphobe disorder.
I can't help it.
Thank goodness Julien and Chris just go with it.
They have yet to admit me to an inpatient clinic for rehab, I guess they figure there is no professional that is skilled enough to treat me.
None of us could sleep the first night and Chris and I were pretty certain that our three nights away were going to be shortened because there was no way anyone in the hotel could listen to a crying Monkey all night long!

(The opposing view of the restaurant)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We're Baaaack!

It's awesome to be back HOME!
Let me first say, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!
Your prayers were heard and answered!
The Monkey Car Crier did better than we ever could have imagined!
I think it was a beautiful combination of answered prayers and Monkey having the best big brother in the entire world!
Julien kept Monkey entertained and he admitted just how exhausting it was, but we managed! The 2 1/2 hour car ride took a little over 4 hours on the way over, but we made it home in just over 3 hours on the way home.
We made it home in just enough time to stop in at our local Mexican restaurant for dinner.
I have to tell you how wonderful everyone is at this restaurant.
I'm pretty certain that before my bottom even touched the chair, there were people at our table bringing a highchair for Monkey, a booster seat for ER Baby, a bowl full of crackers and a Styrofoam cup full of water for Monkey and everyone was telling us how much they had missed seeing us. about making us feel special!
It was a very nice way to end our evening.
As soon as we got home, straight to the shower we went, then off to bed.
The kids went to sleep fairly quickly and slept the entire night!
I have 334 pictures to sort through...and a few stories to tell.
More coming soon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Playing quietly

Addie went from just overly sleepy to zombie like.
There is a reason that toddlers take naps...a very, very good reason!
She was being sweet and playing nicely at this point...this was before the demonic possession took place.