Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeding Frenzy

I fed my soul.  Kayla fed the geese.

We pass this little pond at the entrance of our neighborhood daily.  Sometimes a few times a day.  Although we live on a larger pond, these geese seem to prefer this smaller pond.  Let me clarify…not just geese…beautiful white snow geese, Canadian geese, mallard ducks and even a few sea gulls.  

For several months Kayla and I have talked about feeding the geese.  

We pass the pond at a snails pace just to look at the beautiful winged creatures.  We talk about the geese, count the geese and describe the geese…their color, whether they are swimming or not and even make observations about whether or not we think they are hungry or cold or tired.  It is a ritual I look forward to.  It’s a ritual I love. 

Rewind just a bit…Kayla and I cleaned out the pantry this week and as we were doing so we filled gallon sized Ziploc baggies full of “treats for the geese”.  What do geese eat you ask?  Well, eating from our pantry…some craisins, cheez-its {the educational scrabble kind...if only geese could read or play scrabble}, chips, crackers and walnuts.  

Today was magic.  Kayla loved feeding the geese.  She loved calling them {at the top of her lungs} “here, geese…quack, quack”.  She would squeal with delight and excitement as they got close, yet clutch my leg with uncertainty.  

Twenty minutes into our adventure I thought it was quite possible that we would be out  by our little frozen pond all day.  Kayla would reach into her bag and throw just one little treat at a time.  Not a handful…not a few…just one at a time.  She apparently wanted to make that moment in time last forever…and I have to admit, I did, too.

While we created a feeding frenzy among the geese today, we also created a soul-satisfying feeding frenzy.  These little moments of wonder…of joy…these are the moments I love.   

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pinker Than Pinkalicious

With winter comes snow…lots and lots and lots of that beautifully magical white stuff.  Though the view out my window may have been white, the view inside was pink.  

My girl likes pink…no, correction…LOVES pink…pink room, pink shirts, pink shoes, pink hats, pink nails…if everything could be pink, Kayla would be one happy little girl.  So when we decided to make cupcakes she of course wanted to make them pink.  

She actually requested strawberry knowing that flavor is pink but settled on pink icing…lots of pink…pepto pink!  And what's the best part about making cupcakes?  Licking the batter off of the whisk, of course!

Rick asked her what she put on the cupcakes {probably expecting the answer icing} and Kayla said with excitement “decorations”.  Her words are amazing…and where did she get that from?  Decorations?  Love her.  

Usually she could care less about sweets {probably a good thing}…but when she makes them?  A totally different story…she eats them…no, devours them saying “I made this”.  Cutest thing ever.

Actually the cutest thing ever is this…
Rick may kill me for that one but he is the best Daddy in the world.  From tea parties to dressing up to makeup and everything in between, Rick is not afraid to play with Kayla.  While I am pretty sure he would prefer playing ball or tag or video games, it doesn’t matter what she wants to play as long as he is spending time with his girl.  I am a very lucky girl.

Waking up with day two of school closing due to snow we had to find another full day of activities…

Kayla decided she wanted to go outside to build a snowman.  This by the way is what happens when you tell a four year old fashionista to go to the coat closet and pick out her hat and gloves…ummm…yeah….

After 20 minutes of bundling and matching from head to toe...even her pink turtleneck to match her pink hat and pink scarf and pink gloves...we were on our way outside.  We made it down the first two steps when she declared "I have to potty" back inside we went...taking off hats, scarves, gloves, snow pants, pants, and undies...finally making it onto the potty.  Round two of bundling and we were on our way outside to play...

Oh we played hard.  Did you know that snow plow hills make great slides?  Fun stuff...

And my girl who doesn't really care to touch the snow let me talk her into making a snow angel...and she actually loved it {the end result at least}...

And she did a little bit {ok...a lot} of cheezin for the camera...

We played outside until we could no longer feel our faces.  When it was time to go inside we needed to find something fun to do.  Enter snow cream.  Knowing that my girl loves to create we decided to make snow cream and she got into it…way into it…

The recipe?  A bowl of snow, a few sprinkles of vanilla, some milk, and powdered sugar to taste.  Wanna Kayla-fy it?  Make it wearing a pink “chef” hat {aka outside hat} and add some pink, of course.

Add lots and lots and lots of pink!  She loved the snow cream.  She even wanted to freeze some for Daddy {which she by the way ate after showing it to him}.  These past two snow days have been filled with the good stuff...the creating, the cuddling, the playing...the everyday stuff that blends between the big memory making ones...but these are the days that mean the most...the little days...filled with love.

As I tucked Kayla into bed tonight she was full of chatter about our day and our plans for tomorrow.  And our plans?  Well...she declared "we can make decorations...hearts...and paper and cut them with scissors.  pink paper.  and we can hang them.  all over.  lots of them...".  So there you have it...guess that's a spoiler for what is to come...lots of pink hearts.

And my heart?  Well it is full...overflowing, actually.  I love my life...colorful and pink...and so full of love.  So very full of love.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Testing for Down syndrome...

What if there was no Kayla?
That’s a question I can’t even comprehend having to answer.

There has been talk of a non-invasive test swirling around for some time now {and has recently been brought into the media again} that will allow expectant mothers to know whether their fetus has Down syndrome. In the first trimester. No amnio needed. You can read more here {Dr. Skotko, the author, by the way has a sister with Down syndrome}.

Shockingly, 92% of all women who currently receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancy…without this upcoming test. So, what does that mean for the future of Down syndrome? Will there be less amazingly wonderful and loving people that have Down syndrome? And why? Because our society views them as “less than perfect”? Or “different”?

Does the fact that Kayla has Down syndrome mean she is not perfect? Does having something “extra” mean she deserves less from her journey? Her life? Our society is perfect…with perfectly “different” people everywhere. Black people, white people, people of different religions, shapes and sizes and abilities…we are all perfect…just the way we were made…just the way we are. We all have different talents and strengths. We all have something amazing to offer this world. We are all here for a reason. Kayla and her more than 400,000 friends living in the United States today with Down syndrome are all different…yet alike. Just like you and I. We all wake up in the morning, setting out for the perfect day…we give, we live, we love…and if we’re lucky, we’re loved back. And I am loved. I am so loved and so in love with my girl with designer genes. My life is perfect. And while Kayla may have Down syndrome and may require a few more doctors appointments, some PT, OT and ST {and a few other alphabetical acronyms in between} and sometimes {but not always} a little extra help in school…she is the same as you and me. She has likes and dislikes, she plays and she learns, she lives and she loves. She lives, teaching me how to live. She loves…showing me how to love…unconditionally…just like she does. Kayla has Down syndrome…and she is perfect. More than perfect…because she has a little something extra. An extra little 21st chromosome.

I can tell you this my friends…If someone told me when I was pregnant that Kayla was going to have Down syndrome, I am not sure how I would have reacted. And my reaction to discovering she had Down syndrome the day she was born? Well, that's a story that will be saved for another day...but this “medical advancement” means much more than increased abortions…it means the possibility of less babies with Down syndrome. Not necessarily because of the diagnosis but sadly because of the way that doctors…yes, doctors…deliver the diagnosis. Some people…mostly people uneducated about Down syndrome and people that have never had the pleasure of knowing and loving someone with Down syndrome…say that this pre-natal screening is a blessing because there will be less people with Down syndrome and therefore less people will have to “suffer”. To those people I say…

Does this look like a face that is suffering to you?
What about this face?
Or this one…
Kayla is a beautiful, intelligent, loving, caring and outgoing little girl that just happens to have Down syndrome. She is not “suffering” because of, “inflicted with” or a “affected” by Down syndrome. She simply has Down syndrome. It does not define who she is or who she will grow up to be. And so to the people that believe the world would be a better place without people with Down syndrome I say this…

My life would not be better without Down syndrome because without Down syndrome I would be without Kayla.

From her beyond perfect face down to her perfect little toes
{within these adorable Chuck Taylor's}...

My Kayla is perfect. Her life is perfect. My life is perfect. And while we may encounter struggles…and difficulties…that is apart of life. Of everyone’s life. Down syndrome or not. We should not focus on what we can’t do in life or we won’t do what we can. Live your happy with who you are and who you were meant to be. These are lessons I plan to teach Kayla…because she deserves to live a happy, fulfilled and enriched life. She will teach people that she is not only living…she is living a perfect life…a happy life…the life she was meant to live...everyday.

How many of us can say we do the same?

Monday, January 24, 2011


Last night we celebrated my Mom.  It wasn't her birthday.  She didn't win an award....wasn't inducted into a hall of fame...wasn't signed for a record deal {thank goodness}...wasn't nominated for an Oscar.  Last night we celebrated for a far better reason.  Five years ago to the day my Mom quit smoking.  Something I never thought would happen.  She smoked my entire life...well over half of her life {close to 40 years} least one and a half packs a day.  She used to quit almost every New Year and by January 2 {okay, maybe January 3} she was off sneaking cigarettes again. Five years ago was different.  Five years ago I was pregnant with Kayla and she knew she needed to get healthy for be there for Kayla.  To be a MomMom for a long time to come.  So last night we celebrated her amazing accomplishment...and we celebrated how amazing she is...and how amazing the bond is between my Mom and Kayla...because it truly is nothing short of amazing. 

They are two peas in a pod...partly because my Mom will do anything for her {and Kayla has her completely wrapped} and partly because Kayla thinks she is one of the best people in the world...and she's argument there!  She's amazing and Kayla sure lets her know it!

After our little dinner celebration my Mom went home and Kayla was off to her big girl bed for sweet was a school day, after all.  She woke with such excitement to share her weekend news...she declared she was going to tell everyone that she spent the night at MomMom's.  Whaaaaaaaat?  That was the exciting part of the weekend?  Spending the night at MomMom's on Friday night?  {Don't forget...she is one of her favorite people!}  Well, I thought for sure she would be eager to share the news about her big girl bed.  Guess I was wrong...but at least she was going to share something that actually happened.  Kayla used to have a tendency of doing what I call "one-upping".  For day back in the fall I observed from the booth {a fun prospective of her day hidden behind mirrors} as her classmates were sharing their weekend news.  One of her friends said "I went in a boat"...another said "I played with my Daddy" and another said "I saw an elephant".  So...what come's out of Kayla's mouth you ask?  Just the sweetest little one upper you've ever heard..."I played with my Daddy in a boat AND saw an elephant".  No...I didn't pee my pants...ok...I almost peed my pants.  You have to admit, that was some really good thinking!  But while that was some good thinking, her weekend news lately actually is HER weekend news...not a culmination of her friends' weekend news.  So while it may not seem as exciting as playing with Daddy in a boat and seeing an elephant,  to her spending the night with MomMom is all that and so much more.

How do you top that?  Well, today was not only weekend news day...Kayla was Calendar Girl!  Each day a different child gets to have a turn being Calendar Girl {or Boy} and today was Kayla's turn.  Being Calendar Girl is a highlight...something she so looks forward today was her turn...her time to shine.  And shine she did.

She sat up front.
Picked the word "Monday" out of the pile {with tons and tons of pride pouring out of her little body}.

Read her morning sentence.

Wrote 24 for the day {with some help}...and beamed with even more pride as she showed the class her numbers.

Whether you are celebrating a milestone, a victory, a funny one-upper or just a wonderful moment...just celebrate, friends.  Life is all about the celebration!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Big Girl Bed Of Tears

I sat in Kayla’s room last night and cried.  I remember sitting in her room the night we finished her mural.  I remember that feeling of being fulfilled…and content…yet longing to hold my baby in my arms.  Knowing that room, that place would be her room…her special place.  I stayed up most of that night staring, wishing and dreaming.  I was overwhelmed with the thought of bringing home my baby, my princess, to this place…this room filled with so much color and life and joy.  And I cried.  Once again, I sat and thought of that moment and how much has changed since that night.  How much my life has been rocked to the core…yet feels like it’s always been this way.  This room has brought me so much comfort and happiness for nearly five years.  This place is happy.  This place is pure joy.  This is a room for a princess.  While I’ve been putting it off far too long, my girl deserved a big girl bed.  My Mom had been nagging me {isn’t that what Mom’s do best?} for over a year and I finally caved.

Tonight we disassembled her toddler bed.  

With each turn of the wrench, another tear fell.  Piece by piece…tear by tear…this was no longer her bed…

While it once was the crib we brought her home from the hospital to sleep in and the toddler bed she grew into…this was no longer her place to sleep…and I cried.  As the back of the crib was removed from the sides I sobbed…out loud…really loud.  I cried that really ugly cry…swollen eyes, mascara running down my puffy cheeks, needing several tissues kinda cry.  I cried in part because she is growing up…but that is something I am aware of everyday.  Each step she takes, each new funny phrase she speaks…all reminders of how she is growing.  While I cried because she is growing up way too fast, I also cried because of the unknown.  The fear.  I know that crib…that bed…they were comfort.  I placed her in that bed every night knowing I could protect her everyday. 

I could hold her at night and guide her through the day.  This change…this change is much more than a bed.  This means far more.  She is moving on to another stage.  A stage where I can no longer protect her from morning ‘til night.  My baby, while she will always be my baby is now a big girl.

And while I cried as we disassembled her toddler bed, assembling her new bed brought so much joy.  
A huge weight was lifted from my heart.  I knew that my girl was gonna love this bed.  She was gonna love being a big girl…with a big girl bed.  And so…we built and we decorated and my heart continued to fill with joy.  Kayla stayed at MomMom’s house so we could surprise her this morning with her new bed…and surprise her we did!  Her reaction was priceless!  She entered the room and closed the door behind her {never mind the bazillion bows hanging from her know my girl is always accessorized}...

As she stepped further into the room, eyes wide open and chin pretty close to the floor, my Mom asked her “where’s your surprise?”…and her reply?  Her reply was quite possibly the funniest statement to ever exit her mouth…“Where?" {looking around the room as if she didn't notice the gigantic big girl bed as she entered the room}...and she continued with "really?  oh my gosh, that’s so wonderful…it’s brand new…my new bed…”  I don’t know where she comes up with some of the funny things she says…but my girl is funny…and she is definitely a big girl now.

She slowly observed everything in her room…as if everything in the room was brand new.  When I asked her if she would be taking her babies in her new bed she quickly replied… “no…I’m gonna jump on there”…holding back laughter we convinced her to save that for another day…

Then Daddy...

So how do you know if your decision to get a big girl bed was a success?  Answer: when your child doesn’t want to leave her room for an entire day.  Not for lunch, not for snack, not to play with Mommy and Daddy, not to watch TV…not at all.  She played and played and played…in her room…by herself.  Anytime we tried to join she would close her door on us!  Hilarious!

She’s also never been so excited to go to bed.  We climbed in bed together and read Cinderella {thank you, Daddy for taking pictures}
She was one happy girl.  One very happy girl.  

Sleeping in her perfect big girl bed…in her perfect princess room, fit for a princess {my princess}…a very beautiful, grown up, big girl princess.  And while less than 24 hours ago I was crying {a really ugly cry}, tonight I am filled with tears of joy.  Tonight I am celebrating my very big girl getting her big girl bed and I am also celebrating the life of my maternal grandmother, Betty Scott.  While she no longer walks this earth with me, I know she is with me everyday.  She would have loved my princess but I know that she is loving her from heaven everyday.  Hope you are celebrating your birthday in heaven with PopPop tonight, MomMom…wearing your pink lipstick and Charlie cologne.  

While you may have moments of sadness that overcome you, friends...I hope they are short and few...and your moments of perfect happiness are many and long...