our magpie

our magpie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

cuties in costumes

we have had a very busy week and a very busy weekend coming up! we have had class parties and pumpin carving and trick or treating on our town square...and it is not even halloween yet! and we have two parties going on today and more tomorrow :) soooo...i don't really have time to post but i had to share a few pics of our cuties in their halloween attire....

is this not the cutest little lamb you have ever seen!

our beautiful butterfly, spooky witch and loveable little lamb

this look was too funny not to post! not sure what was going on...it looks like she is going baaaaaa!

carving 'punkins' at our barn...as rayley beth says :)

one of the finished products

our little magpie loved being part of the whole pumpkin carving night...but she did not love ANYTHING about the pumpkin guts! i thought she might like to play in them...NOT!

so we have been having lots of fun round here and i have alot of pics to share from our buddy walk last weekend..which was a beautiful day by the way. lots to talk about and share but for now off to get ready for party #1.....have a great weekend and a happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

birth story revisited

For those who do not know October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. It is when we all try to raise awareness for the sweet ones in our lives blessed with that magic chromosome. Alot of the blogs that I follow have been reposting their birth story, so I decided to as well. As I have read everyone's story, including my own it is amazing how although we were all scared of the unknown that we all quickly realized how truly blessed we are to get to go on this journey. I wish I could go to the then Jeff and I and just give us a big hug and say... 'I know it is a little scary just because it is not what you were expecting...but with faith it is all going to be okay. It is going to be so much better than okay. This sweet, innocent soul is going to make your life grow in ways you did not know possible. She will light up your life with her sweet smiles that come straight from her heart. When you look into those sweet little almond eyes you will truly feel closer to heaven. Like she knows so much more than I do. She is just this little ball of happiness that makes everyone around her smile.'
So the 'now me' just wants to provide such hope for anyone who is the 'then me'...and say there is nothing to be scared of. It is going to be wonderful. Pure happiness. True bliss. Better than you could ever imagine. And I do feel so blessed that Jeff and I accepted it all so well...so early. But it is all do to faith in HIM who made it so easy to accept our perfect little Magpie...just the way she is....perfect to us...perfect for our family.

Well I have been remembering all day where we were exactly one year ago today. We were cleaning our house in a mad rush to get ready for the appraiser to come that Saturday afternoon so we could start our addition. I remember working inside and then going outside to start mowing, and I remember it started raining and me running inside in the rain. I remember being so anxious about meeting our new baby, the one that had been kicking me like a star soccer player for months, and that had the hiccups many times a day! I wanted to know the sex of this precious being in my belly, I wanted to hold it and see it and know everything was "perfect". After we got the girls in bed I took a long bubble bath, did a mud mask, heated gloves with lotion, the works, getting ready to be induced in two days. I would pack for myself and the girls on the next day, Sunday, May 17th. I would have all day to get ready so I was just going to relax tonight. After my 2 hour bath I laid down in bed with Jeffrey to watch the season finale of Lost.

I remember saying "Baby, I can't tell if I am having contractions or just cramping." Jeffrey said "Let's try and time them." Sure enough they went from "I can't tell every 7-8 minutes to "I can't stand up long enough to throw stuff in a bag to go to the hospital to get checked out", just in case! Well somehow we made it to Baptist Hospital, breathing through contractions every 3 minutes, about midnight.

I remember the sweet grandmother-like nurse finding us a room when at the desk they said none were ready. And thank you Lord because I was already dialated to an eight!! I barely remember my parents, sisters and aunts coming in the room to help us welcome Miss Maggie. I did get an epidural, THANK YOU! and Miss Maggie Rae made her arrival just barely one hour later at 1:16 am. I have been writing alot of this in a journal over the past year, but tears still stream down my face everytime I relive it all, or atleast all that I remember.

But they are happy tears now, the only thing I wish I could change about that night would be that we were not sad the first few hours of her life, that our hearts would not have been so heavy. If I had known then what I know now we would have been rejoicing and smiling and so happy our hearts would explode. I remember seeing her when they held her up and laid her on my chest and thinking--

"Something is not right, she look's nothing like my other two girls, is that my baby?" But I knew. I knew the second I saw her. I was just to scared to say anything.

I remember waiting for someone, anyone to say something. Did they not see it too? Everyone was just "She is beautiful, but she looks nothing like her sisters!" Or that they could not believe it was another girl.

But you don't notice anything else, no one? Nothing?

And so we all got to hold her for about 5 minutes and then they said they had to take her to put her on a little bit of oxygen, no big deal...

So everyone left to go back home to bed, and it was just Jeffrey and I in the room. I remember it being so quiet. So empty. Where was my baby? I should be nursing her and loving on her, just like my other deliveries. They were picture-perfect deliveries. Baby out in a few pushes, then laying on me nursing while I stared at them thinking "Did I really make this? Something so sweet and perfect and wonderful?"

Finally I was brave enough to look at Jeffrey and ask--

"Did her little eyes look ok to you baby?"

Through tears he said "No baby, I'm scared."

Well that totally freaked me out because Jeffrey is Mr. Positive, Mr. always-look -on-the-bright-side, Mr. glass half full. Which is one reason I love him so. And so it scared me to death to see him scared for the first time in almost 10 years.

So we sat in total silence for hours. I think we both shut down. I was scared to ask him anything else. I was scared to ask where Maggie was. I was scared to breath, move, think...anything. It was like I was out of my body for almost 7 hours. I would cry myself to sleep and then wake up and cry myself to sleep again. I remember I wanted to wake up and it be a bad dream. I wanted everything to be the way I thought it would be. I wanted to be so excited to call my girls and tell them thay had a new baby sister, not a new baby sister with Down Syndrome.

And finally at 7:30 am I finally got the nerve up to force my mouth to open--

"Baby, I need you---"

And Jeffrey crawled into bed with me and we both cried.

We cried harder than I knew humanly possible. And I hurt. My heart broke into a million pieces. I could not believe this was happening to us. Was I not thankful enough? Is this a lesson I am being taught? I did not appreciate having such a wonderful husband, two beautiful healthy girls and owning a business that I loved for almost 11 years. Now looking back I cannot believe I ever thought any of those things. But I feel it took going through all of those feelings to now see it as not what happened to us...but for us.

And then enter the wonderful on-call pediatrician. She found us in bed together crying and said "So someone has spoke to you?"

"No, no one. We just could tell by her little almond eyes."

She asked if we knew anyone with DS...


Well, she then started telling us so many wonderful things that we knew nothing about. They do not all have health issues. They can live into their 80's. She will bring so much joy to us and teach our other girls so much about unconditional love. She was so positive, and we feel so blessed to have her to be the first one to speak to us. She sat in bed and held our hands and cried with us. She was definitely sent to us through many prayers that were being said in the previous hours.

Then I called my mom and Jeffrey called his.

We had to tell everyone. We needed support and that is exactly what we received.
I remember crying and how bad it hurt to say the words to my mom.

"Momma, Maggie has Down Syndrome."

And she comforted me like a mom always does.

"It will be okay. We will help you. We love you and we will be here for you. We will do whatever it takes."

And then they finally brought Miss Maggie to our room.

Jeffrey walked over to get her and handed her to me in the bed. I remember taking her and putting all of her 6 pounds 2 ounces up to my face and breathing her in. It was like heaven. Just like the other girls. She was this sweet, innocent soul looking at me...

"Please love me, please want me. I know I am not what you were expecting...."

And I looked into her eyes and truly feel like I could see her sweet soul. I remember my tears falling on her perfect little face, but they had now turned to happy tears. And then I tried to nurse her, "Please do this, you can do this. I want that special bond I had with Emme Grace and Rayley Beth." And she did. She latched on just like they did. I think she knew I needed that. Even though it was harder for her she did it like a champ..and is still nursing like a champ!

And then waiting on the big sisters to arrive...they had gone to bed with mom and dad at home and woke up to Nana telling them they had a new baby sister waiting at the hospital! Needless to say, they were ready to get in the car to meet their new sister. And I remember worrying that something would be different, something taken away from them. But I will never forget when they walked in that hospital room...

So much excitement behind their shy little smiles as they walked toward me and Maggie in the bed....then my sweet little girls reminded me what unconditional love looks like...with the absence of stereotypes...

Rayley Beth's first words out of her mouth when she met Maggie--

"She's the cutest baby in the world."

It took my sweet 5 year old to remind that we should all be just like her....proud.

It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I think she knew just what I needed to hear. My tender-hearted Miss Rayley Beth, reminded me how to love.

And then my sisters...Tina was online for hours looking for us an inspirational website and she found the perfect one. Thank you to Lisa at bridgets-light.com... you provided us with so much that first day. You gave us so much inspiration watching your videos of your sweet Bridget. And thank you Tina for your words you wrote to us, of how lucky we were to get to go on this journey. You helped us realize how good it felt for others to be feeling the same as we were....happy. It only took holding Miss Maggie to feel her sweet, gentle spirit and the feeling of ...it is going to be okay. And Susie who told us we had so much to look forward to, since she works with DS children on a weekly basis at Vanderbilt. Thank you to Jana for coming to meet your new niece and reminding us how beautiful she truly is. Thank you to all of our family and friends who visited and showed your support and helped heal our hearts by just knowing your love and support were there. We love you so and feel truly blessed to have such an amazing support group.

And Jeffrey, when I watched him holding Maggie...well, it just made me fall even more in love with him. It made me feel so safe, all of his words that this is part of God's plan and what we have to look forward to.

The morning after Miss Maggie entered our lives the clouds definitely parted. You just have to love her up and you"ll see what I mean. And if I would have known those first few hours what I know now, like how her smile lights up the whole room,
(and they are many!) or how much of a snugglebug she is or how she holds her little hands like she is praying and she loves her feet like no one's business! And how she loves her sisters and smiles everytime she sees them, and makes them smile and laugh so much.

I feel truly blessed and have thanked God many times for all the wonderful things he has planned for us. I feel like he has written a new story for us and is teaching us, through Miss Maggie, to turn each page slowly. To take in one day at at a time and to truly enjoy all of the small things because those are always the best things. What joy this past year has brought us and we have so much to look forward to....Happy 1st Birthday Miss Maggie Rae, our little love muffin.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

library love

yesterday was a beautiful day...one of those days where you truly appreciate the warm sun on your face and the blue sky with the cotton candy clouds spaced just perfectly... and i think you enjoy those kind of days that much more because you know the chill of winter is just around the corner. so after miss maggie's therapy when emme grace said 'can we pleeease go to the library today?!' i said okay. because i know it will not be that long before my girls aren't begging to go to the library. because the time goes by way too fast. it seems like just yesterday i took them for the first time..so tiny. emme grace was 2 and rayley beth was just one. and they loved to look at the books and play on the computers... i have a picture of miss rayley beth working that mouse at the age of 2....so cute! her hand looked so tiny, even on the child-size mouse! and our maggie loves the library just like her sisters. of course this time now that our girl is CRAWLING she just wanted to crawl down the aisles and touch all of the shapes on the carpet!! but i cannot wait to watch her grow and love books as much as her sisters.

miss emme grace

so me and my girls picked out our books and then headed outside the library to do homework and to read and to soak up the beautiful sun. we are so lucky to have an amazing library with a beautiful park with a waterfall to provide the perfect calming trickle and rock paths leading to moss covered benches and huge trees that provide that perfect shady spot to plop down and start your journey into the perfect book. i would have taken some pics inside the library but... i of course did not carry my camera in! but once i saw the way the sunlight was hitting my girls reading their books i of course had to drag everyone to the car to get the camera and then tell the girls....'okay, just as you were before we had to go to the car to get the camera!!' because i don't ever want to forget these moments.....

our baby girl was so content just playing in the crinkly leaves while her sisters were reading...

and my heart was so happy when emme grace came running to me and the first three books she wanted to check out were on sign language...because she is such a good big sister and she and rayley beth work with miss maggie on signs all the time. our baby girl already uses 9 signs and it is the cutest thing! so emme grace was in the library reading the book of animal signs to miss maggie....our big girls love our maggie so much. it just makes my heart so full to watch my girls together in moments like these...

so a busy week ahead and our first buddy walk this saturday. we are very excited to walk for our magpie and all of the other sweet souls like her blessed with that magical chromosome :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

home sweet home

well we are home from the beach...trying to get back to some kind of routine before school starts back on monday. trying to do some of the laundry in the huge piles everywhere i have chosen to ignore for two days :) our big girls said that they were missing the beach the day we got home...but when i asked miss maggie if she was happy to be home she shook her head AND did the sign for yes, both for the first time! it was too funny!! our baby girl loved the beach but she is definitely happy to be home!

a few of my fav pics from the last couple of days at the beach...

our beach baby

miss rayley beth

emme grace in the huge hole she and rayley beth and jeffrey dug...actually rayley beth only helped about 5 minutes...it went like this :)....

rayley beth -- 'i'm done. i can't take it any more.'

emme grace--'here let's swap jobs. i'll dig and you scoop.'

rayley beth--'i don't want to swap. i don't want ANY job.'

emme grace is our busy worker bee. rayley beth...not so much:)

our funny girls having fun

those eyes...part bambi/part puppy dog/part angel...they melt my heart

sweet and shy rayley beth

our big girl emme grace

possible family christmas card photo...we only had to take about, oh i don't know, 40 or so to TRY to get everybody looking AND smiling!

our 3 little love muffins

our girl LOVES LOVES LOVES to swing!

miss maggie loved scribbling in the sand

so we all had a wonderful time taking miss maggie for her first trip to the beach...she loved it which i pretty much figured she would. our baby girl is so content and so happy...she would just play in the sand, wet or dry...or find her shadow...or watch her big sisters splashing around or building sand castles. she just adores her big sisters and loves to really take in every little thing that they do.

so a wonderful fall break but we have a busy week ahead..lots of therapies, field trip with miss rayley beth to the pumpkin patch and a hayride which will be our first chance to wear our new costumes! the girls are so excited...we have a butterfly, a witch and a skunk. can you guess which one miss maggie will be? ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

dolphin day

we had a very impressive start to our second day at the beach...from our 11th floor balcony we watched 4 dolphins having a big time playing putting on a show for anyone lucky enough to watch. they were really close to the shore, about 50 to 75 feet and the girls were just in amazement watching them jump several feet out of the water. but of course both cameras were in the car :( this was a wonderful treat and totally free, courtesy of GOD :)

we are still enjoying beautiful sun-filled days and chilly nights. all three of our girls love the beach. the big girls have been building sand castles surrounded by water to protect the princesses inside....trying to catch sea creatures with nets...splashing in the tiny waves hoping they will get bigger before we leave! and the new thing to do this trip is see who can pick up the most 'tiny sand donuts'...they are the little holes in the sand just under a couple inches of water that are the entrance to the home of little sea creatures that look like little crabs/water bugs. and they look just like tiny sand donuts!

one of the tiny sand donuts perfectly picked up by miss rayley beth

a very proud rayley beth :)

our sleepy girl

our happy beach baby

emme grace hard at work

our girl finds her shadow EVERYWHERE!

after eating at red bar....

the view leaving red bar...also courtesy of GOD :)

so another great day and i have girls ready to go to the beach now and do it all over again!!