Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Embrace It

Happy December!

By now, most of us who celebrate a holiday this season have begun the traditions of decorating!  We got started this past weekend!  So this morning as I sat here, admiring our tree, the words "embrace it" came to mind!

I've already lost track of how many posts across social media I've read in the past week regarding the decorating of a Christmas tree, but the message each time seemed to be: it must be perfect.  There was also a common theme of children helping and parents "fixing" later.

We decorated our tree as a family.  There was a certain teenager who, for whatever reason of the moment, refused to join in; but apart from that it was a family activity!  It was a time of fun & togetherness - with a mama requested group hug at the conclusion!

So, this morning as I sat quietly and gave it a good overview, I noticed things.  Our ornaments must get lonely easily, because they seem to be in clumps groups!  Some of them don't seem to know which way to face.  There's quite a few that are way down on the lowest branches, dangling into the blank under tree space.  Ninety-nine percent of the ornaments are on the "front" of the tree.  We've yet to put anything on top of the tree and, oh look, a random ornament (bought as a toy because it looks like Angelina ballerina) seems to be catching a nap on a branch under the twinkling lights.

Do you think my tree looks "perfect"?  Would it make it into a magazine?  Or be featured on a blog or Instagram page?  Nope.  I know it wouldn't, but I say it is perfect.

It's perfect because it was done in love - with all the excitement and anticipation of this most special season.  What joy my children had, after begging me and continually asking if it was yet "time to do the tree?"!  It's also perfect because it's a memory.  There may come a time where I stand in front of a Christmas tree alone, recalling memories with each ornament hung.  I can imagine myself wishing my children were still small, helping me make what many might call, a messy tree!

So I will continue as I have for a few years now.  I will not "fix" our Christmas tree.  I will embrace it for all that it is and all it represents.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015



As we approach this holiday each year, we make the effort to pay attention to all we have to be thankful for!  There have been years where I joined in with doing daily Facebook posts, sharing something I'm thankful for.  Some years I've even copied that over to the blog.  As we know this blog has been seriously neglected for years now ... I really do want to get back to blogging, but I just never seem to find the time!

I'll be honest, lately I find myself a little less ... shall we say, content?!  On the one hand, this year has brought me so many people ... on the other hand, I feel so lonely sometimes.  So in all these thoughts of feeling a little left out and way too far away from family and close friends ... I decided to stop it.


Stop the whining.  Stop the moping.  Stop the pity party.

just.  stop.

... and, as my five year old says, open my eyes!

Open my eyes and not only recognize but acknowledge at least a few of the endless blessings I have to be thankful for.  So that brings me here, to share.  I have a feeling this post might get a little long and it may end being a bit of a wrap up of our year ... and that's just fine with me!!

 (all photos from our Thanksgiving "shoot"!  felt food from Nene's Numnums!)

I am thankful to have my husband home to enjoy this holiday season with us.  Last year he was gone and missed all of it.  It's not easy adjusting to him being gone, then adjusting to him being back - we all have our challenges with that ... but this year, he is home!

Along those same lines, I am always thankful for my husband's hard work & dedication to provide for us.  His job may take him away from us at times, but he has a job.  We have health insurance.  We have dental insurance.  These are things that deserve thankfulness! 


I am abundantly thankful to have four healthy children!  We've had a few moments this year where we didn't know if health might be an issue ... but each time we received reassurance from a specialist or test results that were all normal.  This is not something I ever take for granted.  I pray for many parents & children that are fighting big fights.  I also know of many families who have seen their way through the darkest days of illness ... coming through as warriors, some with their sweet ones still by their side and some with their sweet ones gaining angel wings.  I know that health is a priceless gift.

I am thankful for friends and community.  I've talked before about the honor we've had to meet some incredible people this year.  I may have "fought" moving here (you can't truly fight it, so denial is a better word I suppose) but now I wish I never had to leave.  There is an incredible down syndrome community in the area and I have been able to join in more this year, that makes my heart SO happy!  Zoey has some little buddies, too, and that is an answer to this mama's prayers!  Whether face to face or via social media, knowing and sharing with others who "get it" is an incredible thing!

I am thankful for family that have been able to visit us!  This summer all our travel plans came to a halt when the hubby had to have surgery.  The thought of not seeing his family was hard, but then they came to us and it was so good!!!  I am also thankful that my parents are able to travel and see us a few times a year - and this year my mom & I got to go on a trip of a lifetime!  How incredible to travel to Australia and see family for only my second time ...and meet brand new family (more on that in a second), too!!!  Family is precious.  I wish we weren't so far from our family, but I am thankful for the times we do get to spend together.

As for the new family, how grateful I am to have met my aunt.  The sister my mom never knew she had.  I got to be witness to a side of adoption I never dreamed I'd be a part of and my mom "got" the sister she always dreamed of.  It was a treasure to meet Dawn and her husband, daughter in law, and granddaughter! 

and finally, I will wrap it all up with being thankful for life.

every day I wake up, I breathe in a new day, I hug my children & say "I love you" & kiss their cheeks!  I wish I always remembered to stop and take in the abundance to be grateful for.  I wish I never complained or felt sorry for myself.  I am a work in progress and I am eternally thankful for the Lord who knows my heart ... His grace is sufficient for me.  So, I will always get up and brush off the dust and say: 

I am thankful.

now, let's feast!!!

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

down syndrome is a beautiful thing ...

so, you can read how this all started in the description of the video! 
but, I had to share it over here on the blog ...
I am just so blown away by all the support and people willing to be a part of my little idea!!!

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

walk for wishes ...

this is Coco, an amazing little girl who battled and BEAT cancer!!!
she was able to be the recipient of a very special wish and now she wants to give back!!!

we're in, are you??? 

ZoeyGrace has joined Coco's Crew for a Twilight Walk for Wishes in Sacramento
and we are thrilled to be a part of this!  if you can't join us in person, please consider donating ...
we have set a goal of $100 - can you help us reach that?  

visit this page to donate:

here's some information from the page:

Join me as in support Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada as we "Walk for Wishes"! What a better way to spend a Saturday evening than to walk with friends, family and co-workers to benefit some very courageous children in our community.

This event benefits the local chapter of Make-A-Wish to help grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions in the 37 counties the Foundation serves. Your participation will bring Hope, Strength and Joy to children enduring the burdens that a life-threatening medical condition brings.

A wish brings joy, laughter and a reason to keep fighting a very grown up battle.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

happy Memorial Day ...

today we reflect on the many men and women who have given everything for our right to freedom.
thank you.

we are so blessed to have the freedoms we do.
proud to be an American!
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shining her light ...

 friday afternoon made me smile.
well, it wasn't friday afternoon that made me smile ... it was Zoey on friday afternoon.
I promised (over on instagram) to share the whole story, so here it is ...

Zoey had an appointment friday afternoon to have an ultrasound of a bump on her back.
no real biggie, she seems to have a lot of appointments for one thing or another,
and we're in an appointment heavy "season" right now!

so we got there quite early and had time to just sit and wait ...
but, that's not really Zoey's style - unless I bring the stroller along, which I didn't
because I'm trying to work on her independence from the stroller.
anyways (this might get really long) ...
she had her Anna doll and was pretty content to play with that and dance around with her 
doll and "lie down" (as she says) on a bench that she insisted was a bed.
there was a young woman there who seemed quite entertained by Zoey's playing and
dancing and I thought that was pretty sweet!
after a while, a mom with two little girls came in.
Zoey was in the middle of the waiting room just spinning around with Anna ...
it was clear right away that this mom was probably having a rough day.
these two little girls were just sort of standing there,
and that's when it happened ...

Zoey reached out and took  the little girl's hand.

she then put Anna's (the doll) hand into the little girls hand and formed a circle with
the three of them: Zoey, the doll, and the little girl.
round and round they went, "dancing" with Anna ... it was so sweet.
soon the other little girl joined in.
as the mom sat down, she looked at me across the room and smiled.
I mean, a whole hearted smile.
my heart skipped a beat.

my little girl was shining her light and bringing smiles to the faces of adults
who a few minutes before looked annoyed, upset, and just plain bored!

this playing went on for a good fifteen minutes,
until the lady was called back and the little girls left.
it was precious, watching my sweet Zoey interact with these two little girls ...
it was surprising and funny, watching my fiesty daughter be quite bossy - and even more surprising
to watch the little girls just follow her lead and do everything she said!  haha!!!
before it was our turn to go back, the young woman said to me "she just made my day" -
finding Zoey quite adorable!!
we had our appointment and Zoey did great!
we ended up leaving at the same time as the mom & girls - and all the little girls
were saying goodbye to each other.

and that was it.

but that wasn't it.
you see, I've been having some inner struggles lately.
I've been feeling down because I don't understand why my daughter can't 
be accepted the way I feel she should be.  
I feel frustrated reading about how other children with down syndrome
are in "gen ed" classrooms and have "full inclusion" ...
but the district we're in wants to put Zoey off in a "special day class" where she'll
spend nearly all of her time only with other children who have "special needs".

why don't they see what I see?

my daughter ...
knows shapes: circle, square, rectangle, triangle, heart, oval, star, diamond, octagon ...
knows colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, gray, black, brown, white, silver, gold ...
knows her name: she can recognize it, she can tell you how to spell it, and she can write it ...
she can also identify a few other random letters and numbers ...
her speech has improved leaps & bounds over the past year ...
she has made amazing progress with potty training ...
she has made progress with several gross motor skills ...
she has made progress with several fine motor skills ...
she loves to draw and color ...
she loves to learn and seems to pick up on things quickly ...
she loves to play with other children ...

I know she's not where a "typical" five year old going into kindergarten would be ...
but that leaves me questioning - does that mean those other children are?
is she behind, even within the realm of her "special needs"?

the past two weeks have kinda blown me away.
I mentioned in my previous post that some of our favorite instagram-ers (that's a word, I say so)
live right here in our area - and, yes, for whatever reason that is awesome to me!!
I went and saw "Where Hope Grows" and was amongst a room of mamas and families
that all love someone with down syndrome - that was amazing!
and afterward I got to finally meet some of these ladies I have only known online ...
and after chatting with the lady that introduced me to this group,
combined with reading I've done and observations I've made,
and then this day and what I witnessed - which truly touched my heart as a mama ...
I've come to the conclusion that no, Zoey is not any sort of exception.

our kids are no different than other kids.
they're each going along at their own pace.
they're each finding their wings ...
they ALL deserve to fly.

they were ALL meant to fly. 

there's a lot of changes occurring at our house in the upcoming months ...
one of those being that Zoey will be coming home for kindergarten next year!
I pray that I can give her everything that she needs.
I pray God gives me the strength and wisdom to seek out what is
best for her education and to do everything I possibly can to help her on that path!
I pray wisdom for the people at the charter school we go through
and that they also will provide everything they should for Zoey's education and needs!
I pray that God will provide us with friends to spend some time with!
(my best friend is about to move and so are our neighbors - leaving my boys without any close friends)
I pray that my children attending public school will be safe and will learn and thrive! 

I pray.
I pray that the limits that some people put on children like Zoey will one day vanish.
I pray that she will be accepted, just as she is.
I pray that everyone will see her and those like her for the amazing people they are!
I pray that.
and I thank God, every day, for blessing us with Zoey Grace!!!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

chromosomally enhanced ...

do we have to talk about how I've totally failed this blog?  about how I keep promising it -and my kids reading this in the future- that I'll get back to it?  about how it really is our family "scrapbook" and I'm gonna have all these years of photos and stories missing?  about how instagram has taken over, and the find of chatbooks did not help the blog's case?  no?  oh good!!!

let's talk about Zoey Grace then, shall we?

the IG world started opening up for me about two months ago!  I realized that shops (for me, this means kids clothing & accessories) have IG pages to promote all their adorable stuff, I realized that there are shops out there that design absolutely amazing stuff for kids rocking their extra 21st chromosome, I realized I need a second income because I love buying all that cute stuff for Zoey Grace!  ha!  

anyways, here she is in one of our most favorite shirts!  it's from Littlest Warrior Apparel and we love it!!!

ya know what else I have been finding on IG?  this year has opened my eyes wider than ever to 
the growing population of kids and adults with down syndrome on IG!!!  I have been amazed to find 
out that I have been following some people that live right here in our area - that really blew
my mind!  I also have found that many, many of the folks I follow on IG who have littles blessed with that extra chromosome have adopted those precious blessings - I love that!!!
so here's to all the rockin kids, the rockin parents, and IG ...
I mean the blog, haha!
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