April 28, 2011

My "Battle Cry"....

My strong lil' lady!!
I found myself crying hard today for the first time since we brought Ruby home from the NICU.  That ride  seemed long..not to mention long ago, and I found each day quite emotional but have not had a good cry since.  Dr Wong (Ruby's cardiologist)  has this wonderfully round and gentle face and I am sure has given his fair share of bad news.  Today, however, he had the pleasure of telling me that my sweet lil' lady's lower VSD has closed on it's own.  Ruby was born with a hole in her heart..about 80 percent of Down Syndrome kiddos have some sort of heart defect at birth and only 10 percent of the particular hole Ruby has (or I should say HAD:)) will close on it's own.  Some of these amazing kiddos have to have open heart surgery before even leaving the hospital.  Talk about an emotional ride!  This is her third check-up and he seems to think she will never have to have heart surgery.  I was suprised at my reaction when he told me...all I could do was hug and squeeze this amazing lil' lady and cry....I cried my eyes out. I am usually not a "tears of joy" kind of lady.  People asked me when I got engaged (wonderful story BTW..will have to tell later..) "did you cry?"....to wich I replied "of course not..it was one of the happiest moments of my life!"  Anywho.. It was a good cry, one that afterward I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and Ruby just let me hug her tight..the way my mom used to hug me until I felt like I was being suffocated...and whisper into her ear. I told her how lucky we are to have her in our lives..how she amazes me everyday..how I can't wait to watch her grow strong and become whatever she wants to be.  I will be there for you always, I whisper, and you will ALWAYS know how very much I love you and just how special you are.  This wasn't a cry like the fear of the unknown...that was my "hospital cry"....these were tears of joy..tears of pride..tears of excitement for the future.  The future still is "unknown"...and no doubt will have some rough patches....but I am so UNBELIEVABLY PROUD of who my daughter is, every little thing about her.  The joy, happiness and even heartache I feel for both my girls makes me appreciate life..I have said it before and am sure I will say it again..LIFE IS GOOD MY FRIENDS!  Seek out the wonderfullness in all peeps...and in yourselves! Gotta run cuz my girls are actually napping at the same time..so this mama is going to try and sneak one in too!!  LUV LUV!!

April 24, 2011

Happy Egg hunting Ya'll!!

Ruby Doobs Easter Booty

My Easter Girls
Easter is such a funny and sweet holiday.  We usually go out to my Aunt's house with cousins and family where they serve up a good ol' southern meal that makes you wish you had worn elastic banded pants. So we pack up the pip-squeaks in thier matching outfits compliments of G-ma and head in that direction.  Ella Mae by-passed her nap, although her daddy warned her "It would be in your best interest to take a nap on the way out there."  Isn't it funny the things we tell them? I found myself telling her the other day "you really need to learn to control your emotions better"....I laughed out loud later thinking that I said that to my 2 yr old!  Maybe I need to take my own advice..Ha!!  Anywho.. She ended up having no melt downs ..even though she did not heed his warnings.  I looked back on the drive home and she was passed out..head dangling in car seat..with a chocolate mustache and matching beard.  I would say that's a good indication it was a good Easter.

 Saturday we had a 'Culde Crew" egg dying party in the front yard..super fun. I had never done it before, but my inner Martha Stewart was whispering in my ear to have fun with the kiddos.  Note to self for next year... must use vinegar or it doesn't take.  Our "round twos" were much better than the first batch.

After the very messy dying of the eggs, we "hid" them in our neighbors front yard we refer to as the "jungle".  It's not really a jungle, but to a wee one may seem that way.  And of course I use the word "hide" loosely....

Ready...set....Happy Hunting Ya'll  :)

Our finished beauties..soon to be deviled eggs!

Have a wonderful week!!

April 22, 2011

Free in the Culde

"Higher Mommy! Higher!!"
My daughters and I were out in the front yard this afternoon hangin out watering the plants...I decided to invite them to my ''15 minutes" of solitude today.  My oldest loves bugs..she has since she before she could say the word bug.  She would kneel down when she would see any kind of insect..caterpiller, lady bugs..anything that crawled...and she would say in a long drawn out voice..."BBUUUUUUUUGGG!!!!" Now, of course, her descriptions are much more elaborate and she actually has conversations with them.  Today we found one that looked like a ladybug that was all black..no spots.  Ella Mae and I had the discusion about it and came to the conclusion it was "not a lady bug because it had no wings"...Ella's words.  She is so darn cute!  She has the bug on her hand and says to it "Hey lil' guy!"  It is so funny to hear myself in her sometimes...that was exactly what I would have said to the "lil guy".  Anywho...after playing with it for a while she has it nestled on a leaf and decides to let it "free in the culde"...Ella's words.  We both walk out to the driveway and she puts the leaf on the ground, kind of a ceremonial gesture to "release the lil guy" back to the world. She was literally laying on the concrete (in her princess dress of course)..almost nose to nose with her bug buddy.  She was so proud of herself..."Free in the Culde" is a great feeling.  It's like a boat ride with the wind blowin' through your hair.. or Ella Mae swinging in the back yard yelling "Higher! Higher!"  without any fear...or Ruby Doop Doobs using that sweet voice to "tell Grandmother how the world should be run"..grandmother's words. We could all learn a little something from that lil' wingless ladybbuuuuggg.  We should all spend our lives "Free in the Culde"  :)
Ruby "Telling Ella Mae how the world should be run"

April 18, 2011

The little things

So I went out to water my new lil' garden I have planted out front yesterday.  It's kinda "my time"...it's only maybe 10-15 minutes, but I quite enjoy being out there, nurturing my plants, one with nature kinda thing.  Anywho..as much as I would like to think I have a green thumb, my hubby and I seem to kill most anything we plant into the ground.  This garden however, and all my plants out front, seem to be thriving, blooming and doing quite well. Maybe because my sixty something year old mom came and spent an afternoon cleaning out  the jungle of a bed, stocked with trees and who knows what else, to try and help us not be "those neighbors" in the culde-sac...I feel a huge obligation to keep it alive. Well, I was taking my "15 minutes" yesterday to water, and when I turned on the hose realized it had busted and water was spewing everywhere but where I needed it to be.  Crap!!  I had just bought this stinkin' hose maybe 6 weeks ago..and already a break!  It is those little things that seem to just get my feathers ruffled!  How was I to nurture my plants and take my one little moment of solitude with a huge hole in my hose??  I seem to cope quite well with the bigger curves in the road..why do these little things matter so much?  I am barely phazed by the fact my daughter has an extra chromosome..but a break in the hose messes with my entire day?

Fast forward to the evening...my hubby and I are sitting with "Rubster Doobster", as Ella Mae calls her, and we are doing "thearapy" with her. It is basically us just havin' fun and playin' with her.  We are holding mardi gras beads above her and trying to temp her to swipe at them....oh the things one will do for those mardi gras beads..HA! Anywho..it takes her a minute to engage..but she is watching them intently....then her little hands come up...steady..steady..GOT IT!!  Our lil' Ruby has moved passed just randomly swiping at things and is spotting what she wants and going for it!  I love a girl who takes charge and goes for it!! WOOT! WOOT!! Such gratification seeing those chubby lil' hands wrapped around those beads. I feel like a peacock spreading my feathers with pride!  Then I realize it's not only the "little things" that ruffle your feathers, but the "little things" that make life so wonderful. Just the simple softness and smell of  Ruby's lil' feet..although I probably won't be smelling them for too much longer...

or Ella Mae's lil' arms wrapped around my neck in the morning with her breath on my cheeks..those little moments with both my daughters laughing and smiling.  I absolutely adore catching my oldest dancing (in her princess dress of course :)) hand in hand with her barbie without a care in the world...twirling and singing at the top of her lungs.  Life is good, my friends...and without all the ruffling of the feathers..I feel certain I would not have been able to handle all the bigger bumps in the road.  So next time I get my blood boiling over a "little thing" I have decided to not beat myself up about it, cuz inevitably it is preparing me for the "bigger things".....Happy Monday Ya'll!!

April 12, 2011

Is this what the world is coming to??

So I was chatting with a client the other day and something he said has just been weighing on my mind.  He was talking about a friend of his who actually got to "pick" what sex of kiddo they wanted.  I found it kinda disturbing cuz it made me wonder if kiddos like my wonderful lil' Ruby Doobie would someday become extinct.  If everyone could pick their "perfect" child...would they pick ones with that extra special chromosome?  I look at my daughter and to me she is "perfect"....but would I have chosen from other so called "typical" kiddos if I had the choice?  It makes my heart hurt just the thought her being any different now than who she is. I feel so blessed and my heart is so wide open...because of who she is!  She is meant to be exactly the way she is and I know how much we can learn from her sweet spirit.  If we were all "perfect"...how boring would the world be??  It is our individuality and those "extra chromosomes" of the world that makes life so wonderful and interesting!!  Just look at my beautiful "Ruby Cakes" and tell  me her smile doesnt make this world a better place.......
Hope everyone is havin a kick ass week!!  We sure are :)

April 10, 2011

They really DO Listen...sometimes

My oldest daughter (she's 2 1/2) has a love affair with barbies.  Her BFF from the culde gave her the first one for her second birthday...and since then it has been all about "princess dresses" and "barbies".  Her princess dress she got from grandma for her second birthday has seen better days because she wears it ALL the time...so much I can't seem to sneak it away for a good cleaning.  I keep saying to myself.."she's two..they are SUPPOSE to be dirty at this age..", but when my neighbor (who has chosen ,after a few adult beverages, to be called "CONDOR" in my blog)  mentioned that her beautiful "pink" princess dress looks like a "camoflauge" dress now...I realized it was time.  It is in the wash now while she naps, hopefully to be ready for her playdate this afternoon.  If not, we may have a minor meltdown!

I have to say that I am liking the barbie stage right now because it gives me a little glimse into what goes on up in that brain of hers.  Yesterday she had out princess barbie and another barbie the parents refer to as "stripper barbie". This barbie boasts it can move in over 99 positions...really?  My 2 1/2 year old needs a barbie that can move like that?  Too funny...It's not like it even came with like a "gymnastic" theme or something.  It came dressed in platform shoes and a short (very short) mini-dress!  Anywho..her two barbies were having a conversation and I was eaves-dropping.  Princess barbie says "My mommy tells me I am beautiful all day long!"  To which "stripper barbie" replies "I know, I am beautiful too!  My mommy love me!"  It sounds kinda stupid, but is sure made me feel good.  They really do listen!  Now my daughter also tells me to "relax mommy" if I get worked up and the other day our littlest pooch Captain Bananas, who Ella Mae calls "nanners", had tinkled on the floor to which she said loudly..."freakin' nanners!"  So yes....they are listening...even when you think they aren't.  So keep lovin' em the way you do and surely they will grow up right!!

And a "Rubster" update...at 4 months she is weighin' in at 10 1/2 lbs these days.  My neighbor gave me one of those "Bumbo" Chair thingies that allows her to sit up.  It has a little tray you can put things on and she can swat at them and try and grab them.  She looks kinda like Godzilla swatting at the airplanes at this point...but we are workin' on those fine motor skills with her occupational therapist.  She's come a long way baby!!  Right on target for even a "typically developing" preemie her age.  I just can't stop kissin' those cheeks......

April 9, 2011

Friday night "Culde Crew"

So... I have to say that I love my nieghborhood.  My friday nights have changed quite dramatically from nights out downtown, driving around endlessly for parking,  pushing my way up to the bar for a drink, waiting in line for the bathroom....to  simply stopping for a bottle (the big one..which to my defense, I share with neighbors in need) of vino on my way home from work and pulling my lawn chair out into our culdesac, ordering pizza and pretty much letting the kiddos run wild in the street (we put up a big orange cone in the culde entrance to "alert" the other neighbors of the action). They run around like a pack of wolves, with the occasional scraped knee ,poop in the driveway(more on that later), or fight over a barbie to wich we have to mediate.  For the most part we(the parents of the wolves) get to sit around and enjoy an adult beverage, catch up on our lives...and really just let our kiddos do all the entertaining. I thought inebriated adults were entertaining..not so much.  Finally getting to hear what goes on in those lil' brains of theirs is much more hilarious!  It's like watching and independent film that is not quite polished, interesting to only certain people (that would be us, the parents)...

"Happy hour" last week had a pretty funny twist.  It started off inocently enough with the sprinkler going in my neighbors yard.  Next thing you know my daughter, the pioneer of nudity in the culde, has stripped down and is running through the sprinkler...all the culde kiddos to follow.  This seemed to be a great kick off to spring, keeping them entertained for quite some time....until we hear a cry from my daughter and scream from her BFF in the culde.  Upon further investigation, we realize our lil' lady has left a little "gift" on our neighbors driveway.  You know you are a redneck when.....just kidding! HA! Luckily we were sitting with our neighbors at the time and it gave us quite the chuckle.  Crazy pip-squeaks!  We had a long talk about "poo poo POTTY...not DRIVEWAY"....this could be a long summer  :)

April 6, 2011

Here goes nothin' !

So I have been yippin' to the hubby about starting this blog, not because I think I have anything too terribly important to put out there, but I find my family extremely inspiring and hilarious, my favorite past time is chatting about them to anyone who will listen...so here goes nothin'!

First a lil' background on my "Sweet Littles"....

 I always had pets and could not imagine loving anything more than my first pooch Baker. I think a few of my friends thought me getting a dog would be a bit disaterous, but the love I felt was infectious, and from that moment I knew I wanted kiddos of the two legged variety someday.  I was addicted to the unconditional love I felt from  her and could not wait to start a family and hopefully give that same feeling to another lil' person!  Enter....hubby.  Well, at the time we met I had no idea we would be where we are today.  He was a punk surfer kid, friends with my neighbor, who loved to ruffle my feathers and attempt to beat me at various games...pinball, horseshoes, slip n' slide wiffle ball.  Little did I know that summer in San Diego would change my heart and my life so dramatically.

We married a few years later and not too long after that found out we had a bun in the oven.  Such exciting times!  Of course we have no self control and shouted it to the rooftops..only to miscarry at 11weeks.  It was a devistating feeling because until then I had felt pretty invinsible.  People always say things happen for a reason, although I hate it when people say it to you when the "thing" is happening, I do believe it and feel these life experiences make us better human beings, better friends, wives, mothers.  I will talk alot about taking things for granted, and I think this was my first glimpse of trying not to do so.  You never think these types of things will happen to you...and then they do..do they ever!

My pregnancy with my first daughter Ella Mae, was wonderful...no morning sickness, not too much back pain. My only complaints were heartburn and my feet gained a full size!  What's up with that??  I didn't have a huge shoe collection to begin with, and then all of the sudden none of them fit.  I felt kinda like Fred Flintstone...but I am not complaining, it could have been worse.  Anywho..she was a full two weeks late, we had a beautiful birth at a birthing center, they plopped her on my chest and she never left my side. (could be why she still doesnt sleep through the night and we here the pitter pats to our room in the darkness.  Ha!!)  She is this crazy athletic, energetic two year old with these big blue eyes that are engrained in my heart.  I thought I knew what love was when I first looked into Baker's lil' eyes and felt that wet nose on my cheek....but I had NO idea.  Not that my love for her was not real, but the intense connection I felt with my daughter the moment I held her in my arms was no comparison.

After Ella's birth I knew I wanted another one.  It is true what they say...you forget the pains of child birth the instant they place that" little" in your arms.  My hubby laughs cuz I always say that her birth "wasn't that bad" and he certainly remembers a different oppinion I may have given midway through labor.  But nonetheless..I was ready for another.  Little did I know how much our next pipsqueak would rock our world!

This is where the whole "taking things for granted" thing comes into play again.  My pregnancy with Ella Mae went smooth with no major issues as I said, so I just assumed that's how this pregnancy would go.  Everything seemed to be going beautifully..we did the 20 week ultrasound in 3D and she looked just like her big sis in the pictures.  It was un-canny!  It was only until I was getting further along that I noticed differences.  I never really felt like I was getting bigger and she didn't move quite as much as I had remembered Ella Mae moving around.  I would mention it to people and they would say "everything is fine..all pregnancies are different" or " maybe she is balled up tight".  My mid-wife at 34 weeks said I measured small, but didnt' seem too concerned until at my 36 week appt I had not gotten any bigger.  You can imagine the horror I felt as she said I needed to go to their neo-natel specailist Dr right away.  I just kept thinking "she's OK...everything will be OK..It just has to be."  The Dr. confirmed she was an itty-bitty and wasn't growing in my belly, and from his office I was to go home and pack my bags and we were gonna have this lil' lady today or tomorrow.  He was so calm and matter-of-fact about everything, reassuring me that she was fine, just small, my body wasn't giving her the nutrients she needed to grow so we had to get her out so she could grow outside my belly.  I could not believe this was happening!  How could my body have failed her?  As a mother, you put all the blame on yourself.  It is a horrible feeling and it is hard not to, as you are the one and only person (minus the one swimmer from the hubby) this baby has relied on since conception. Ruby was born the next day via C-section.  Her birth was the complete oppostite of anything I had known with Ella Mae, but still just as beautiful because what I got out of it was my sweet lil' Ruby Doobs (there are many nicknames to come)!

I had only seen my sweet Ruby's face for 5 seconds and kiss her tiny cheek once before the neo-natel team wisked her away, and my hubby to follow.  I lay there in the cold room just thinking..."What the heck is taking so long??  Just stuff everything back in and sew me up so I can get to my baby!!"  It seemed like an eternity, but finally they wheeled me into a recovery room where my body was shaking and teeth were chattering so loud I could barely concentrate on what my hubby was saying.  "She's doing good..She squeezed my finger...breathing on her own.."  Dangit!!  My body is failing me again and not allowing me to get up and run down the hall to hold her!!  I can barely even hear above the chattering of my own teeth!  And then the moment that rocked our world...In ones lifetime I think every experience brings you to where you are today, but certain ones define who you are as a human being. For me, I think all my life-learning experiences were preparing me for this one moment...luckily I have had lots of them, so I think I was ready...

Ruby's Doctor, one we had not met yet, comes into the recovery room and is telling us the details of her medical needs..she will more than likely be in the NICU for a few weeks...she is on oxygen to help her, altthough her lungs are good..yada yada yada.  At this point I am physically holding my jaw closed to stop the chattering so I can try and hear what he is saying.  And then he says without warning, "She has several soft signs of Down Syndrome"  and proceeds to go over them...large gap between big toe, space between thumb and index finger, low muscle tone, ears slightly low.  He goes on to say they are pretty sure but are going to send off the chromosome testing and we will know in about a week.  "OK" he says.. and just walks off.  WOW!!  My hubby looks down at me and says "did that conversation just happen?"  I wonder now through this experience if Doctors become numb to the fact that they are "rocking your world"..but I guess there may not be a "right way" as everyone is different and what might be the "right way" for one is not for the next guy. 

I am lucky in the fact that my hubby and I are one in the same, for the most part, when it comes to dealing with life situations.  To us, there is one way to go...forward.  We both process for a few minutes...and then all I can think about is holding my sweet baby girl and kissing those tiny cheeks again!  As soon as I can feel my legs move I insist that the nurse put me in a wheel chair and roll me down to the NICU.  On my way there I have a looming fear...am I going to be able to give her everything she needs to grow and be all she can be?  Can I rise to the challenge of loving her in the way she deserves?  I had been around only a few children with disabilities before,so was unsure of the road ahead and what it meant to have a child with special needs.  When I got to the NICU and saw my new beauty..she had an oxygen mask on, tubes everywhere, so it was quite the ordeal to get her in my arms..I knew. 

I knew she was strong. I knew she would teach me and guide us, give us the strength we needed to be the parents she needed.  I knew that extra chromosome was no mistake..she was perfect in every way.  She was special, not because she had Down Syndrome, but because she was our wonderful lil' lady that posessed the best parts of both me and my hubby in that extra chromosome.  I knew then our journey ahead might be different then we had planned, but life is beautiful..and at the end of the day I get to kiss the sweet cheeks of my wonderful ladies, not to mention my hubby.  So if you feel like your world has been rocked...I say "Rock on Peeps!"