Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Rambling...

Summer 2013 is in full swing...
I haven't blogged in so long, it's almost shameful... 
I blame Instagram. 
I just wanted to jot down a few of my favorite memories of what's happened in the last few months. 
We're getting ready to take a big family road trip to Chicago soon. 
I'm anxious and super excited to see our friends! 
I might even plan a few IG meet ups! 

(My favorite photo to date: Lennon & Birdie... Sans pants.)

The Pioneer Woman has changed my life with her "Perfect Iced Coffee." I no longer break out into mad sweats in the mornings after my 3rd cup of coffee. 

Chick-Chick has been pushing the limits of toddlerhood these days. She has started taking off her diaper and tinkling on the floor... Or the ottoman. I think now is the time for big girl panties & to get real serious about potty training. 
Katie, bar the door.

When the cat's away, the mice will play. Lake, Lennon, & I had a little mommy-kiddos date night while daddy was out of town last week. Lennon was full on silliness, as usual. Lake and I get tickled when we go places. We open the door & let Lennon walk in first. She immediately princess-waves to everyone and yells, "Hey!" Everyone stops, looks, laughs and they can't help but say, "Well, hey there!" She just laughs her little laugh. She knows she is special :)

(Saying "Rawr!" instead of "cheese.")

I don't even know if I can put into words the joy it brings me to meet new friends who are on the same journey as us. I feel like I am in this elite club. It's such a good feeling, and I think it will always surprise me how good it feels. We always have different but similar stories about the funny quirky stuff our littles do. There's never a dull moment. It's so cool, because our older kids get to meet as well, and make new friends. We met Deacon this past week. Oh my stars... He is a doll baby. I could just kiss those cheeks all day! His family, they are just as darling as he is. 

(No mam. Nice try, but way too young.)

We had the opportunity to meet with these beauties in NOLA a few months back. Brenda, and her daughter GiGi. Both are breathtakingly gorgeous inside and out.... Beautiful souls. Brenda has an amazing family, and I count it a privilege to have met them. We had a splendid time drinking coffee, talking and walking. I look forward to the next time!

The same week we went to NOLA, Lennon and I took a mother-daughter trip to my old stomping grounds, Dallas, TX. We stayed with, and hung out with, two of my close friends and their daughters. Christy (met on IG), and her daughters, Bailey & Abby, and Andrea (met through a mutual friend), and her daughter, Hannah. I can't tell you how refreshing this trip was. Lennon had the absolute best time mingling with the girls. There was a dance party in the den, Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and plenty of photo ops for us moms. Life was grand!

(Photo credit: Andrea Hughes)

One of my very close friends, and prayer warrior, sent Lennon a plush toy... She wrestles this little monster, feeds it bottles, and kisses it on occasion. 
I get all misty-eyed when I think of the heart that went into this Muno gift.

I don't know why it still blows my mind that people are so loving and generous to people they don't "technically" know, but it does. My Instagram friends are always sending Lennon sweet little gifts... I don't have all the pics saved (most are on my IG), but here are a few of the blessing she has received. My hope is that one day, when she is old enough to understand, we can go back and look at all the photos and I can show her where people just wanted to love her. I know it will mean as much to her as it has to me. My heart is so full. 

Not to mention, my friends here in town who randomly bless her with sweet little outfits "just because." I get emotional thinking about all the love and prayers that have covered her in her few years here with us. It says so much about the people surrounding me. It says so much about God's love in their heart. 

Last but certainly not least... Summer is upon us. Lake & Lennon are testing me in every way, pushing the envelope of motherhood woes, and I am doing my best to make sure it's a summer filled with fun of some kind every day. I see their relationship growing into that of brother & sisters who don't always want to share, who get in each other's way, and invade personal space. I also see how fond they are of each other, and how much more they adore and love each other every day. It blesses my mama heart to see them interact.


Friday, May 31, 2013

That bleeping bus...

I consider myself a darn positive person when it comes to Lennon and her Down Syndrome.
I don't get too caught up in the "who's kid is doing what and mine isn't" crap... Because, really, it is crap. 
Comparison is crap. 
Crap is in comparing.
I try to just look at Lennon for who she is and what she can do and we work on what she isn't doing. 
Then, out of nowhere, that bleeping comparison bus comes flying around the curve, cornering like it's on rails... 
And there I am... 
Frozen like a deer in headlights... 
I'm shocked, scared, and in the fetal position. 
Now that Lennon is 3 years old, I see more of a gap in her and her same age peers. 
It makes me sad. 
She loves to play, but still doesn't really "get" playing.
She is so friendly and funny, and I wish I could say all the kids love her, but truth be told, some don't want to play with her because they can't understand her verbally, and she doesn't get "rules" of play. 
She gets aggressive rather quickly, and upset when she doesn't understand. 
We have also had a major setback in potty training. 
Maybe it is because she has been sick with croup and an ear infection. 
She downright refuses to go potty when she was doing SO well. 
I'm at a loss. 
I'm frustrated. 
I don't want to be upset with her, but I can't help but think, "What is your problem, kid!? You KNOW what to do, so do it!" 
Ya know?
I know this is just one day in the thousands of days ahead.
So, I will have my pity party for a bit and then I will get back on my high horse and push forward, again. 
She might just need a little more cuddling today. 
Maybe she isn't ready to be a big girl today.
We'll try again tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mexican Chicken Meatzza

I had a few people ask about today's lunch recipe. I basically combined two recipes and altered them to my liking. 

Here is what I did:
I took Rachel Ray's "Mexican Meatzza Pizza" recipe & combined it with Paleo's "Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers" recipe while altering it to my liking.

In a skillet, add a little olive oil, dice & cook chicken. Once the chicken is done, add black beans (drained), diced bell pepper (I used orange), 1/2 tbsp cumin, 1/2 tbsp garlic salt, 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper, 1 tbsp chili powder, and a can of Rotel (drained - I used "chunky"). Cover and cook.

I stuffed a boiled (and halved) bell pepper, and baked it with this concoction for dinner last night. I used the leftover chicken/bean concoction for today's lunch.

Next, make a thin cornbread - about 1" thick. Make sure you adjust the cooking time. I used the Jiffy brand and it took about 10 or so minutes.

Once the cornbread is done, slice yourself a piece and layer these:

Cornbread, chicken/bean mixture, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, & cilantro. In the past, I have also layered guacamole, black olives, and fresh tomatoes... I was simply out of those things today. 

Anyhoos... That's it. Super easy and super delicious. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday's InstaLove

Decided today... I am going to post a favorite pic (from Instagram) every Wednesday.

I am still in awe at how well she said "I love you". Though I didn't hear her say it again yesterday, or today... It still sounds very loud in my heart

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Your Love is Like a Roller Coaster, Baby

Other than my uber ridiculous Facebook page rants, where I'm letting off steam about my struggles in raising my angels, I really do try to look at the brighter side of things. I really do believe in the silver lining in all things. Usually, after I post something about what is annoying me (or making me act like a psycho) at the moment, that is usually the moment I put on my big girl panties (emphasis on the big) and choose to get over it. I have a quick rebound. I'm hot then I'm cold.
Some would call it bi-polar, but whatever.

With that being said, this week has been more trying as a mother than any week... Possibly, ever. Maybe it's that Lake has been out of school for 2 weeks and at least half, or more, of that was spent indoors because it was raining or just too cold to take sister bear out... We can't afford for Lennon to get sick. I didn't want to take the littles to playgrounds because the flu Is running rampant in town, and everywhere, it seems.

After several ...and I do mean *several* days of sister bear fighting naps... or waking up at 4, 5, 5:20am wanting to play or eat... I just didn't have the "oomph" in me to be Super Woman any more.

Then, there was yesterday...
All the way up to 11:50pm the Tasmanian Toddler spun around wreaking havoc. I cried twice.

Once, I cried on the couch because she just would not nap... She kept getting up (more than 10 times) and playing... But she was so sleepy because she had been up since 4:30am... she was rubbing her eyes, and she was *very* whiney. A momma knows when her baby needs sleep... And though, I did not give in to her demands of "no nap", I did revert back to rocking her to sleep (which took FOR-FREAKING-EVER to get away from). A momma's gotta do what a momma's gotta do.

The second cry came close to midnight. You see, I felt bad that it had rained a lot, or that Lake hasn't had a "fun enough" Christmas break... I worry about dumb stuff like that. So, Charlie and I planned a quick overnight getaway to Shreveport. We took Lake & Lennon to the Space Center. They have the Sci-port exhibits and are currently hosting the Titanic exhibit. If you know Lake at all, you know his love & interest for all things Titanic. He gets it honest, I love it too. He was soooo excited. He loves science, he loves space, he loves the Titanic ... This was the perfect place for him. Win - win.

What wasn't perfect was Lennon staying in a hotel... A strange place. I sometimes get confused on what is "because of her Down Syndrome" and what is "personality related". Like, for instance, when we got there, she was all keyed up, as if the 2 double beds were a jungle gym. It took a long hour to get her calmed down to go to bed, and once we were in bed (she slept with me, Lake slept with C) it took another
hour to go to sleep. Once she was asleep, I finally fell asleep. Then, an hour and a half later, she woke up, didn't know what where she was, got freaked out & started screaming / crying. This went on for at least another hour - seemed like an eternity. I was exhausted to the point of tears again. I literally laid in the dark beside her and let my tears soak my pillow... exhausted, confused, and frankly scared.

I get so frustrated with her stubborn streak or how she gets so crazy when we go out of town... It's EVERY time we travel. Why can't she just enjoy it? The car ride has gotten better... We've learned to stop frequently - for long periods of time. However, over night stays are down right miserable. Will this ever change?

It made me sad...
Sad because I have big dreams for she and I... And they involve traveling the globe to meet my friends from afar, those I have met via the "world wide web" & have children like her. Will she ever be a good traveler?

It made me wonder...
I wonder if her ears are hurting? Is her throat hurting? Why is she being so "crazy"? Is this a DS thing or is this just a stubborn 2 year old? Why do children with DS have a label on them for being stubborn? Why can't we just assume it's them simply being a CHILD? I mean, honestly, children are DIFFICULT... And then they become teenagers... With smart know it all mouths.

Then, I thought...
What if she isn't feeling good?... She is almost 3 years old... She **should** be able to tell me what hurts... But she can't, because she can't talk. In the past year, we have celebrated a few words...broken English, yes. But words, nonetheless. Nothing consistent, not even "Mama". I know people look at her and think "oh she is dreamy"... I get it, I do too. I am in love with my children. They are true joys, and beautiful beyond description.... But after 3 years of crying, grunting and half pointing at what she wants... I'm TIRED. I am EXHAUSTED. I want to KNOW what is upsetting her. I want more children... But I know my husband thinks I can't handle anymore and I know we'll never get to a point where he is comfortable enough to want more if we don't make some sense out of what she is saying.

I also know, she is SMART. She understands most everything I say. She follows directions... When she wants to. I know we are blessed. We have a healthy little girl. We have the unique opportunity to raise a child with Down Syndrome. We are lucky enough to be on a journey of looking at life through rose colored glasses.... through her eyes. I do not want to take that for granted. I want to jump and shout and praise God for this special gift.

So, then I start feeling guilty...
I feel guilty for wanting "more" out of her. I feel horrible for not being satisfied. I feel horrible for pushing her to obey and try harder. I question myself, my motives, my actions. It becomes all too overwhelming.

Now... With all that being said, tonight I was thinking about her progress. And that's when it hit me. In the last week, she has said more than "Mama". She has said a few different things, and most excitingly, she has said them CONSISTENTLY. Ok, just typing that made me cry. It's what I pray for constantly ... I pray for it while washing dishes, or over her while she sleeps, or when I take a shower and no one but God can see me and hear my pathetic sobs. CONSISTENTLY.... She has said, in her own broken English:
"What is that?"
"I like it"
"Yeah" (when answering a question)
Not only is she saying things, but *finally* after almost 3 years of signing to her, she is FINALLY understanding that if she wants something she can't say, she can sign it. Twice this week, she came into the kitchen and signed "eat" and followed it up with the sign for "banana". I was so excited I had a banana with her. (Fat girls, we like to eat our emotions.)

Her words... They are hard to understand if you don't know her dialect, or if you don't know the way her fingers don't quite match the sign language perfectly... but it's there... and she is saying it.

God hears me. God is looking at my heart's desires and He is giving them to me, right when I needed them most. He has a way of doing that. He knew, after this week, I would need a "pick me up". He knew I would need a "boost" in my confidence and faith.

I'm so exhausted and tired and overwhelmed from a roller coaster of emotions I could cry myself to sleep - except I won't... Because I am too tired to even put forth the effort... And because I am too thankful for the silver lining I look for in all things.

I almost missed a great deal of "consistent *word* blessings" because of myself... Because I was allowing the stress and annoyance of dealing with a fussy two year old and a six year old boy with cabin fever to blind me of the gifts right in front of me.

I won't do that again.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Season for Change

I am a sucker for an infomercial... currently watching one on a Saran Wrap and tin foil cutter. I need it.

That's not what this blog is about...
I just felt the need to confess.

Christmas has come and gone, once again. All the little elfish surprises are done, presents are opened, and I have eaten enough junk for an army of Sumo Wrestlers. As I prepare to embark on yet another year, I like to look back at the past year, & think about what weighed on my mind the most and how could I change it.

The first thing that comes to mind is Lake. Most of my days do revolve around Lennon, what we do, where we go. I am at home with her every day, most the day. Lake is at school. He comes home, we do homework, we play a bit, I get dinner started. Looking back, I hate that I missed this age (Lennon's age, 2) with him... He was in daycare, I was at work, & by the time I was home from a long and mentally exhausting day at work, being a super fun and creative mom was the last thing I had time for. I took it for granted. The very little time we had together. He's six now, almost seven years old, and he loves his momma.

To say the past year hasn't been a trying one, would be a lie. I have a toddler... It's supposed to be trying. That, and Lake seemed jealous of Lennon. More than normal. She was a bit demanding, and tornado-ish as ever, and I felt I neglected Lake in trying to channel her wild ways. I mean, I know I didn't, but I felt he didn't get enough of my time. It's one of those bad mom moments, a terrible feeling!

This past week with him out of school, with the holidays upon us, I promised myself I would make it a Christmas he wouldn't forget. So, after many hours of Pinterest searching and blog readings, I found the ideas I liked best, made a "to do" list and dangit we had a good time. I know these are the last few years he will believe in Santa, and all the child-like magical things, so I wanted to take advantage. We have never really talked about Santa, so I was honestly shocked as to how gullible he was. He always seems so much older than he is. I call him an "old soul".

So... Instead of just some ole ho hum average Christmas season, I made it a butt-load of fun. I created a "12 Days of Christmas" advent calendar, I bought the "Elf on the Shelf", and then on Christmas night we made a runway for Santa's sleigh & reindeer. I even gave up my OCD controlling ways & let my little guy help me pick out Christmas gifts for the cousins. Ok... so he picked out 2 of 7. He also picked out the gifts for the 2 less fortunate kids we shopped for this year.

Anyways... We did the usual, new Christmas pajamas & a Christmas movie night, hot chocolate most every night, reindeer food, milk & cookies, & a birthday cake to Jesus... And when he said he "heard Santa using our bathroom & sink" that wintery night, I knew my work had not been in vain. And when he gasped and nearly stopped breathing altogether when I showed him the picture someone shot of Santa's sleigh in the sky.... I knew my work was done.

The past 2 weeks, he has laughed louder and laughed harder than ever before. My heart has been so full. To see him happy is the best feeling in the world.... Knowing your child is happy, makes all the difference.

The next year will be full of surprises, as it always is. I will make an extra effort to make every day magical and special. I will not take for granted the days I have with my babies.., they are only little for a little while.

Tomorrow I will begin my focus on living a life full of intention. Year 2013 may not include hover crafts and flying cars... But it is going to be a wonderful year, full of surprises, answered & unanswered prayers, and lots of miracles.

Happy New Year to you & yours.