Archive of ‘gratitude’ category

Finish the Sentence Friday- (a little late)

I’ve recently become a geeked out fan of Kristi over at Finding Ninee. Her writing is beautiful, clever, hysterical, and the emotion behind her prose is very familiar. She reached out to me through a few comments and I became like a giggly schoolgirl all excited to hear from a blog “celebrity.” 
Anyhoo…. I hope to be guest posting on her awesome site at some point, and in the meantime I am doing a “Finish the Sentence Friday,” that she and a few other bloggers host every Friday.  (Yes, I am aware it is almost Sunday, but we’ll just ignore that little fact)

This week’s prompt is:
 The best part of my day is…….

I wasn’t planning to blog today. I am shooting to get one blog entry done a week, if I can manage that, and I already filled that quota.  However, I had a few emotional few days this week and then today was a darn good day. An all around, decent, worth remembering, GOOD day. And those days need to be blogged about. Like that preposition at the end? Good, because there will probably be plenty more, I have a tough time avoiding them. 
Typically, the best part of my day is the last ten minutes or so before I put Evan in his crib for the night. We sit in his nursery almost every night, feed the fish, sing songs, and cuddle. We sit in the dark, whispering, singing, and wrangling. Wrangling is what I do when he wiggles all over the place  trying to get out of my arms. I wrap him up in his doggie weighted blanket and some nights he actually leans on my shoulder and allows me to hug him and really hold him. I can remember when he was teeny tiny and I could do that whenever I wanted to. However, because of many different circumstances- MAJOR sleep deprivation being the main one- I didn’t enjoy it like I wish I could have.
But I sure do now.
And today was a day where I feel like I had moments like that over and over. I started out the day heavy lidded, as I listened to Evan bounce and sing in his crib at 7:15.  I typically would have been thrilled he slept that long but I had a tough night’s sleep so I was pretty out of it.  But then he ate a great breakfast, almost an entire waffle with jelly and cream cheese, and we set out in stroller and on foot to the local park to meet E’s speech therapist for a session at the playground.  On the way, she wrote me to say she was running a little late. So I walked a longer route, and took Evan out of the stroller along the way to let him walk. He toddled all over, through piles of leaves, sidewalk, grass, transitioning from surface to surface with no problem. I was amazed. Each person who passed by jogging or walking a dog was greeted with a very upbeat “Hi!” and a huge toothy smile from Evan. He independently pointed to and identified flowers and a dog. I just couldn’t stop smiling. 
Then on the playground equipment, we had a ball. During the speech session, we worked on two word combinations, waiting for him to say, “Push, Mommy” when on the swing. And then generalizing to, “Push, Becky.” to his therapist. Not only did he do that after only a few examples of modeling- we are pretty sure he tried to say, “Push me, mommy!” Which is MASSIVELY HUGE. I don’t know that he has said three words together on his own, except for book text or songs. One of the most exciting moments was when he went down the twisty slide totally on his own- so much on his own, that I didn’t even know he went down until he was at the bottom, face down because he went down on his belly. A few months ago he wouldn’t have gone down even with assistance.
He did get a mouthful of mulch once, but he bounced right back. I love his resilience.

Becky worked on adjectives in two word combos- “Green leaf, yellow leaf, bumpy slide, etc.”  All the leaves she used were on the ground.  On the way home I stopped a few times and pointed up to trees that were within reach and without receiving an cue- he said “green leaf.” Of course he did that for red leaves too, but it was two words, and he knew they were leaves! I just kept beaming. 
One thing I have been working on with Evan for months and months is getting him to use please and thank you. Becky has said it is not necessary for me to worry about him using them with any type of consistency- that we should focus on other things first. But I still keep trying. I had just mentioned to her that Evan still isn’t saying please. Well, we got home, and I got out a bag of veggie sticks (the ones that are glorified potato chips in stick form with a little veggie dust. I held one out to him and he said, “stick please” (his approximation sounds a little more like “ick, pee.”). I squealed with happiness and he definitely got his ick.
Moment after moment of progress and joy.  
He also ate a dinner that consisted entirely of solid foods. No jars. Fish sticks and tater tots. Gourmet and fancy it was not. But age appropriate it was. Our tough little guy who used to balk at eating anything that wasn’t watery and on a spoon.
My favorite part of today was the whole kit and kaboodle. I was able to take a nap with Todd while Evan napped. Evan ate like a toddler. I finally bought new shampoo this week so I was able to clean my hair today without squeezing the heck out of an practically empty bottle. Evan sang along with me while I sang some showtunes. 
Thursday night I found myself teary eyed while talking to some friends about how I was worried I was “missing it.” Worried I was missing the good moments with Evan, that life was passing by too quickly now that I was back to work. 
Then today happened.
I’m not missing it. 

Not entirely anyway. Today was a good day. Darn good. And that is all that matters right now.

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Reading in the book nook he created.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables  
Future Riders like their Pop Pop
Riding with Mama


Funny Faces!

The ultimate in sensory play
Framer, pun intended
Choo Choo!

Getting signed up for hippotherapy!

Evan loves his Pappy

And his Mimi

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Yes, Virginia, there IS good in the world.

Bouncing. What E does better than anyone.

I woke up today to a post about a fatal shooting that happened locally to a 53 year old woman who was house sitting.  Last weekend we watched the news reports about the gun man who killed 13 people at random at the Washington Naval Yard. This.  Last December I blogged about the horrific events in Sandy Hook.
These are the events that cause us to cling to our families. To talk around the water cooler about how unsafe we feel, how our hearts are shattered, our fears renewed.  You will often read posts on Facebook saying, “What has this world come to?” “I can’t believe I am raising children in a world like this.” And the scared, angry, questioning posts keep coming.
I am not writing today to say that these events are not scary. Or that there aren’t horrible, evil, ugly people on this planet.  I know there are.  But I also know that there are some amazing people that do so much for so many And lately I have been reminded of that on an almost daily basis.
That trampoline picture at the top would not exist if not for our neighbors. They have showered us with hand me downs from their adorable twin boys who are about a year older than Evan. When I say hand me downs, I should say almost new wardrobe. Clothing from Baby Gap, good quality, barely worn in clothes that Evan can jump, crawl, walk, and roll in. I was just folding all of the pajamas they gave us for the colder months and I think there are over 20 different sets, offering different amounts of warmth. They have given us blocks that have helped Evan to count, and stack. Their boys are so wonderful with Evan. Even though the twins are highly verbal, they do not display frustration with Evan when he tries to communicate with them. One time I heard one say, “I don’t know what you say Evan, but it’s funny!” They giggle together and push around trains. They are lovely, generous people and I am just so grateful they moved in.

Evan at his “work station” before I realized the chair could be flipped so he was higher. Whoops.

 I could do a whole separate post about Early Intervention and how awesome Evan’s therapists are.  They are loving, experienced, thoughtful individuals who have helped Evan to blossom.  A friend of mine from work who also does E.I. has taken a special liking to Evan.  I was definitely friendly with her when I was teaching and she was the occupational therapist at our school. But we weren’t socially close, we did not really talk outside of the school environment. Well now I feel like I could call her ANYTIME and she would be there for me in a heartbeat. She helped us get the blood work we needed for a research study, she got Evan into a music class in a program he was not “officially” a part of, she came over multiple times in the months after E’s diagnosis  to give us tips and things we could start to work on while we waited for early intervention to begin. She got us into the Hanen speech workshop which led to our new speech therapist and HUGE speech gains for Evan. The program she connected us with for music also led to Evan’s preschool prep class and the cube chair that is in the picture above. She shrugs it all off saying it is no big deal but she has helped our family so much, I can’t begin to thank her enough.
It’s no secret, I went into my transition back to work with a lot of trepidation about Evan starting school. I was worried about his eating, his talking, his sensitivity, would he nap? Would he make friends? Would the teachers be overwhelmed by his needs? Would they find Evan to be too far behind developmentally? I preach honesty on this blog and I can honestly say………..Evan’s new school and his teachers are incredible. Simply amazing.  They care so much about their students. I knew they were nice ladies. I knew the ratio was small and lovely. I knew they were willing to have Evan as their only child with special needs, even with his age being slightly under their minimum. All reasons that helped us to choose the school. What I did not expect was how truly interested they are in Evan and his success.  They ask questions, give feedback, and run things by me before trying new things.  I noticed a fun toy on the floor that I recognized from Baby Babble and I commented on it. The director of the school said she bought it over the weekend after thinking of Evan and how he might like it-it was in his age range, that the cars were not too small for him. E is struggling to nap there (transition from cozy dark room at home in crib to a dimly lit room on a mat where he can just roll right off and walk around) and they constantly say, “we will try anything, just tell us.” The biggest heart melter was when I received a text from the director after I had sent information to them about an upcoming WS conference locally. She said she was very interested and wants to attend! The director of my son’s daycare/preschool wants to attend a Williams Syndrome conference! After he has been in attendance for two weeks. Evan’s occupational therapist wants to attend too!!! So thrilled.

Off I go, Mom, I got this!

Just a few more examples of goodness that has sprinkled around in my life in the past few weeks.
-Without asking, my mom has emptied the dishwasher for me and kept my sink empty the days she watches Evan.
-My dreamy husband is brewing a Chocolate peanut butter stout because of how much I love pb. (don’t hate, I tasted it today, yum!)
-The  morning I dropped E off for the first time,I walked into my classroom and found a vase filled with fresh flowers from the woman I co-teach with.
-Unsolicited, a co-worker I am not particularly close with shared her peaches with me at lunch after I lamented missing out on the last cup.
-A friend is working on a new blog design for me, and sharing her expertise for nothing. She said she enjoys what I write and she enjoys designing so it is her pleasure. 
I realize that shared peaches, or friends who send supportive text messages when you need them most, are not going to end all of the unnecessary violence, hatred, and prejudice in the world.  I figure I can’t control the evil that exists, and that can be unnerving….. but I can control how I focus my energy.  And I am choosing right now to focus my energy on love, the love that surrounds me and the love I feel compelled to put out there. Evan exudes love, and I see no reason not to try to reflect that myself.
Put it out there people.
Put love, kindness, patience out there.
See if it sticks.
I know it has in my life.

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I didn’t know..

First Day of School for Evan (27 months) September 2013

 Well….I did it. We did it. We made it through week one of Project Return to Work. The last day I taught in a classroom setting was in April of 2011.  I was 9 months pregnant and incredibly eager to meet my son and become a mother.  I can honestly say I had NO CLUE what the next two years would bring. 

None. Zip. Nada.

I didn’t know the excruciating pain of labor. 
I didn’t know the extreme joy of holding my first born child after carrying him around for ten months and five days.  
I didn’t know the turmoil that sleep deprivation can do to your emotions and your psyche. 

Saying hi from my classroom.

I didn’t know much I would need and love having my mother in law stay with us when I struggled with anxiety and insomnia in the months after giving birth. 
I didn’t know that being a mother is not necessarily an inherent skill you are born with. It takes work and experience just like any other job. 
I didn’t know that I would miss getting dressed for work in the morning and the adult conversations that go along with having a job outside of the house.
I didn’t know how guilty I would feel for missing those things.

I didn’t know how much guilt stinks. 

I didn’t know  how being a SAHM sometimes feels like high school all over again, with the mommy cliques and the comparison conversations that go on at the playground and indoor play facilities.  
I didn’t know how much richer my relationship with my mother would be through becoming a mother myself.  
I didn’t know how important it would be to make sure to have a child free conversation with Todd every day.
I didn’t know how hard it would be to leave Evan with a babysitter. We still have not “hired” someone outside of our circle of family members and friends. 
I didn’t know how exhilarating it would be to have a baby free dinner with Todd.
I didn’t know we would find out our child has a rare genetic condition.
I didn’t know how life changing a moment in a doctor’s office could be. 

Evan (1) after diagnosis

I didn’t know how hard it would be to be around my friend’s children for a while.
I didn’t know how desperately I would try to find a reason to believe the  doctor might be wrong.
I didn’t know that one day I would realize my child was going to change people’s lives. For the better.  
I didn’t know how music would bring so much joy to our child.
I didn’t know that I would end up taking an additional year off and have no regrets.
I didn’t know how I would go from wanting to work, to not wanting to work, to needing to go back to work and all the emotions that go along with it.
I didn’t know the power of online communities. 
I didn’t know I would make lifelong friends on a support board. 
I didn’t know I would wear a Williams Syndrome awareness tee shirt to the store and hope that someone would ask me about it. 
I didn’t know how the half hour after nap time would become my most favorite time with Evan.
I didn’t know how important early intervention is.
I didn’t know how much I would value Evan’s therapists.

I didn’t know how hard it would be miss some of Evan’s therapy sessions because of work.
Again, I didn’t know how much guilt can really stink.
I didn’t know how hard working moms work. 
I didn’t know how hard stay at home moms work.
I didn’t know conflicted I would feel about being both of those things. 
I didn’t know how hard it would be to give up the amount of control I have over Evan’s life.
I didn’t realize how much I value being in control.
I didn’t know how two big blue eyes could just fill up my heart and tear up my insides all at the same time.

I didn’t realize how blessed I was, and would continue to be. 


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"It’s a Major Award!"

“It’s a major award!”

I seem to have received the Liebster award. 


 A fellow blogger, Blaine Turk, nominated me for this awesome honor. This award is given to bloggers, by bloggers.  It’s purpose is to encourage new writers with a small number of followers to continue their blogging.  Blaine was extremely sweet and said she appreciated my honesty so she nominated me. 

So the way it works, in order to accept the award, you have to write 5 interesting facts about yourself and nominate 3-5 other blogs with less than 200 followers.  

So I will nominate first, then share facts second.

1.) Star in Her Eye. Heather writes primarily about her daughter, Fiona who has a rare condition called Wolf -Hirschorn Syndrome. My favorite post of hers is here. She has such a gift of expressing her thoughts on the page.

2.) Natalie Falls.  I think Natalie might have more than 200 followers, but I can’t find the list on her page.  But I have been following Natalie since I started blogging and I adore her blog. Her writing is simple and powerful. And I love her photography. My heart is full after I read her entries. 

3.) Williams Syndrome Smile. The author Vanessa is a friend of mine who I met through our online WS community. She was apprehensive about blogging and I encouraged her to grab her computer and do it!  I am so glad she did, because hers is one of my favorite to read.  I think you will agree.

4.) Love the Blink You’re In. I met Ashley once IRL once, at a local MOPS meeting back when she was feeding both of her girls bottles in their car seats on the floor.  I remember thinking, what a pretty girl with beautiful babies. And I bet she is more tired than me, but she looks great! 🙂 Her blog is also beautiful and upliftin.  She writes in a really lovely prose and who can resist her edible little girls?? Our children are only a week apart so it is fun to follow their stories.  

5.) Brewing and Chewing. Since there are no “official” rules to the Liebster, I had to nominate the husbo.  As his other half, I know very well how incredible his mind is. He is always thinking, dissecting, pondering.  And his blog is a reflection of the journey his thoughts can take.

Please take the time to check out these bloggers, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

5 interesting facts about me:

1.) I belonged to American Coaster Enthusiasts  as a youth.
2.) I can’t bend my right pinkie finger due to a kick ball injury.
3.) I played Calamity Jane in my fifth grade play and my mother made my whole costume.
4.) I can quote the majority of the movies The Parent Trap and Splash.
5.)  I have lived next to Philadelphia my entire life and I have never sat through one of the Rocky movies.

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