Thursday, December 29, 2011

Battle of wills

When will these kids ever learn?!? 
We learned today that Aiden has been testing his teachers at daycare the last few days.  The boys are completely different when it comes to getting in trouble at school.  Ethan will run to us and explain what he has done before we can find out from the teacher.  Aiden, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.  His expressions let us know he has gotten in trouble but he never will speak up first.  After we hear from the teachers and question him, he says "I don't know... I can't remember." 
Well... that is what we heard tonight.  When he got home he was sent to his room and Daddy also told him that he would be going to bed early tonight (8:30).  That was a little too much for him to handle.  He decided that he was just going to stay in his room for the rest of the night until his Daddy changed his mind and moved his bed time back to 9pm.  And so begins the battle of wills.
We go about our normal routine and Aiden stays in his room making as much noise as he possibly can.  Every squeaky toy he can find is making their sound all at once.  After about 15 minutes he decides to rejoin the family but with a lot of pouting and stomping so he gets the warning that additional time will be taken from his bedtime if he doesn't turn his attitude around.  Shortly after dinner, I turn the corner to find this...
Aiden put himself to bed (on the couch) 2 hours before his bedtime.  I guess he wore himself out caring around the extra attitude.

Battle of wills:  Daddy 1  Aiden 0

Our visit with Santa

Note to self... don't wait until the last minute to meet up with St. Nick. 
The line was long, the kids were restless, Isabelle fell asleep and then Mommy got a stern talking from Santa because the boys didn't send him a letter and now it was too late.  Bad Mommy... but at least Santa is quick on his feet and came up with a great alternative.  The boys were told to leave a letter for Santa under the tree and he would take care of everything.  Although, by the time we got home the boys had forgotten what Santa said and I didn't remind them so... life goes on.  Don't worry Santa, they don't remember what I say either.
Isabelle didn't even make it to Santa before falling asleep. 

Next year, we will visit Santa earlier and also remember to send our wish lists.

Christmas Eve

This year we changed things up a little bit and had the Holt's over to our house for lunch and presents.  Ryan and I (with some coaching from Mimi) cooked the Christmas lunch and Mimi prepared the dessert.  Everything tasted yummy- if I do say so myself!!
Next up were the presents...

Walking in to see their ginormous basketball game set thing

We will be rearranging the play room to make it fit but we are all enjoying the basketball hoop. 
After our lunch and presents we headed to the Christmas Eve candlelight service with my family.  Then over to my parents for some chili and dessert.  It was getting late so we had to hurry home to feed the reindeer, make sure Ollie was prepared for his trip back to the North Pole and then get to bed so Santa could make his visit. 

Isabelle after the Candlelight service

Ian and Isabelle.  She sure likes him!

The boys putting out the reindeer food and Daddy is doing some sort of stretch.  Whatever makes him happy!

Daddy and Isabelle

My little family

And... this is how they really are- crazy!
Isabelle couldn't wait any longer to meet Santa

The last sightings of Ollie for 2011...

Ollie has returned to the North Pole for the year.  He was waiting for Santa under the Christmas tree and caught a ride on his sleigh. 
Before he left, he made sure to keep us on our toes.

Ollie... our time with you this year has been memorable.  Until next year... our little elf friend!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One year ago today...

One year ago today, we got THE call from our high risk doctor/genetic counselor.  The call that would forever change our world and we would enter a new world as parents of a special needs child.  A world that was so unfamiliar to me that I was instantly lost and overwhelmed.  As I think back to that day, it seems like yesterday and the emotions easily come flooding back to me. 

It was a Monday and I went to work and tried so hard to keep my mind from thinking about the "what ifs".  I watched the clock and as each minute passed, it seemed like hours.  I left a few minutes early so I could get home for the phone call. 

I had asked that they call me at home so Ryan and I could be together.  They finally called and even though we knew what we would hear, the moment we heard that our baby girl would have Down Syndrome, time stood still.  I couldn't breathe or think but the tears started flowing and I don't recall when they finally stopped.  We started making phone calls to our parents and my SIL and through the tears we explained what little information we had learned.  Our family was devastated yet supportive.  That night my Dad called and through his tears all I heard was "I need to see you" and I ran to my parents.  Ryan understood... we had cried together and now I needed my parents to hold me and let me be their little girl again (if only for a little bit) and that is exactly what they did.   

That day began a roller coaster of emotions for the rest of my pregnancy and beyond.  I was angry, sad, full of fear and also experiencing grief for the daughter I thought we would have.  I prayed a lot but now I admit that I was praying selfishly and I thank God everyday that those prayers were not answered.  I felt guilty for the emotions I was experiencing and I prayed that I would be able to accept Isabelle's diagnosis even though our future was unknown to me. 
However, now I have my "special needs" baby in my arms but all I see is my Isabelle.  I don't see her as "special needs or a baby with Down Syndrome".  She is just Isabelle... the baby girl we were meant to have.  Sure, she learns things at a slower pace but the point is... she learns things and I am learning to accept this and not compare her to other children.  She is and will continue to do everything my boys did as babies and on into adulthood.  Just a small brag (even though I just said I won't compare... don't judge- I am still learning), she rolled over much earlier than both of her brothers. 

 Had I known then what I know now... I would have enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy.  This was my last pregnancy and the last 5 months were anything but good.  Trust me... we have had both good and hard times in these 7 months of Isabelle's life but we have made it through.  Isabelle has taught us so much in this short amount of time that I am excited to see what the rest of our life has to offer.  I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was.  When it comes to my children, I can and will do anything.  It may be hard and I might struggle but I will always protect them and stand by them.  In these short 7 months, Isabelle has started therapy, had OHS and blown us away with her progress and her strength.  My baby girl is my hero.  I love her and I am so thankful she is a part of our family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Isabelle- 7 months

Tomorrow Isabelle will be 7 months old!

*She currently weighs 13lbs 7ozs.  She is gaining weight slowly but surely. 
*She can still fit into majority of her 0-3 months clothes but we are slowly transitioning into the 3-6 months. 
*She is loving her fruits and vegetables (Stage 1) but has snubbed the meats.  She is not a fan!
* We are still working with her on sitting up.  She has a little ways to go before she masters it on her own but she will get there. 
*She wakes up smiling and goes to bed smiling but we have yet to hear her giggle.  She is so close and looks like she is ready to burst but then nothing. 
*Next Friday, we will be heading to Pensacola to meet with an ENT. She is still congested and we have tried everything recommended so now on to the next step.

So... what has Isabelle been up to lately???

Daddy is teaching her how to use the remote. 

She took her first ride in a bye-bye buggy.  She might look a little unsure in this picture but I can almost guarantee that as soon as we walked away, she threw her hands in the air and let the breeze flow through her hair.

She has been sitting around with this silly mustache lately. 
She fits perfectly into our silly little family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Ryan finally put our fire pit together this week and we have been making up for all the time it has been sitting around in the box.  The last few nights, we have been enjoying some family time around the fire.  One night we roasted hot dogs for dinner and then had smores for dessert.  Delicious!!

Then Aiden turned to us and said- "Mommy and Daddy, this is the most perfect day ever!"  Moments like these make everything feel right and reminds me to slow down and cherish these times with my kids.  They grow up way too fast. 

Latest happenings...

Last Friday- the last day of school before winter break- the boys had Pj day to enjoy a day full of movies and parties.  Izzy didn't want to be left out so she wore Pj's to daycare also.  If only I could have worn Pj's to work, all would have been perfect.
That evening, we had our Holiday party at the Hotel.  The boys look forward to this party all year and this one was the best by far.  They had their face painted, got some balloon animals and filled up on cotton candy, snow cones and popcorn.  They did manage to eat a bite of something healthy at one point during the evening.
Izzy receiving her gift.  Really all she cared about was the shiny bow!

The boys waiting patiently for their balloon animals from the nice Elf.

Alien- I think they get the same things each year.



Santa with the beginnings of a tummy ache from all the sugar!  Look how fast Mrs. Amy is moving behind them distributing all of the toys to the kids.  (Mrs. Amy and I are the work Elves and we distribute toys to all the employee's children.) 

This is the last picture I was able to get before they starting pinging off the walls.

Then, I was feeling a little spontaneous or maybe just a bit crazy so the kids and I decided at the last minute to try and make it to Chipley for the Barfield Christmas get together (1 hour and 15 minutes away). We finally made it and I was able to fill up on oysters while the boys played and Izzy was passed amongst our family. On the way home, Santa and Rudolph passed out.

I wonder if Rudoph minded having Izzy's feet in his face the entire drive home??

Sunday, we took our annual Christmas pictures around the church Christmas tree.  I am pretty sure this is torture in the eyes of our kids but it is a must- you can't break tradition!

Nana and Papa with their grandkids

Aiden picked out Izzy's flower- he was a proud big brother.

Ian and Izzy

Monday, December 19, 2011

Do you think they have enough???

Not if you ask them...  This is what I found when I turned the corner to go to my room.  Nice, huh?? 

What has Ollie been up to these days?!?

Ollie has slowed down a little bit these past few days mainly because Mommy has been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. But that doesn't stop Ollie from still getting into to everything. 

Hanging out in a stocking

Coloring to make the time go by at night while waiting for the boys to wake up.

He caught himself a reindeer.

Reminding the boys to be good because Christmas isn't too far away.

Just hanging out

Doing some more hanging.
We definitely have enjoyed having Ollie around this year.  The boys have really gotten into it and can't wait to see where he is each morning.  We had a slight mishap on Sunday morning.  We don't follow the book exactly and the boys do play with Ollie during the day.  They know he doesn't turn into the "elf" until they have gone to bed.  So they had left Ollie on the floor in the dining room and since I went to bed a little earlier than everyone else, guess who was still lying on the floor in the morning.  Sunday morning, I had a little boy in my face a little worried that Ollie might be sick since he was in the same spot.  Oops!!  I won't let that happen again.  Lesson learned!