Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To my oldest...

Yesterday you turned seven. It doesn't really seem possible. I don't know how you got to be seven and how the years flew by so fast. It seems like just yesterday we brought you home from the hospital and both mommy and daddy took turns staying awake for 4 days straight just so we could make sure you wouldn't spontaneously combust on us. You were our little first born. So long and skinny, no clothes would fit your lanky baby frame. 

There is a special place in a mom's heart for their first born and you have no idea how special that place is for me.  I won't ever forget any of your firsts. Your first bath (scary for mom, you screamed), your first steps (way to late if you ask the baby books), your first car trip (to see Grandpa Jeff in California), your first day of school (your backpack was bigger than you!). I won't forget how you are growing up to be a wonderful little man who worries about everything and questions everything and cares more about his little sister than anything else in this world.

I love sitting with you on the couch and reading our big book of answers. I love surfing the Internet looking for funny videos of cats and dogs. I love holding your hand because I know you don't think it's cool anymore but you do it anyways because you know I like it. I love talking to you because you are so smart and you ask such good questions. I love how you are so interested in my work and remember all the details. I love how dark your eyes are and how happy you get when we do a family movie night.  I don't ever think you will understand how much you mean to me. How I know that you are my little clone and how happy I am to have a little clone.

You might not like to cuddle, but the pictures you draw for me and your voice on the other end of the phone telling me to hurry home because you miss me are your cuddles and I cherish each one.

You made Daddy and I a family. You taught us how to love so much we thought our hearts would explode. You taught me how to be a protective mommy and when to back off and let you learn on your own. You have been a great example for your little brother. You have held my hand when I was sad with Ella and told me that she is the most awesome sister ever. You are wise beyond your years little one. You have no idea.

Your seven years here have been the best seven years of my life. I love you Ryzonimo. I love you forever and ever and then some.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Can I just complain for a minute or two???

I am in a sour mood.  The kind of mood where I want to run outside and yell all the swear words I know at the top of my lungs and then just stand there and see if anyone has the guts to tell me to shut up.  Yep, that sour of a mood....

Why am I in a sour mood?

I am worried about my little Reed as he is always sick and randomly runs a fever and I just want to get him to the doctor to get him checked out so my mind will stop wandering to all the "what if's". He is going to the doctor tomorrow but right now I want him to feel better and not be sick.

I am angry about work and the snails pace we are moving at.  About 2 months ago now we purchased a national franchise and we have been slowly rolling it out.  I don't do slow.  I want to throw myself into this 100% and not sleep until the entire state of Arizona knows who we are.  Unfortunatly I am not the only one in control of the time frame.... The department of real estate and the phone provider and our new landlord and just about every vendor we deal with seems to not think that a fast roll out is necessary.  I literally wake up ready to go and have myself a little hissy fit every morning because I can't get to work until Ella is done with therapy and the nanny gets here.  I want to get to work at 5 and work until 8 and well, I can't. This is the worlds biggest internal struggle ever...  I love to work, I love to take risk and I love what we are putting in place but then on the flip side I love my kids and my home life and well.... Balance isn't coming easy these days. When you own your own business you are only successful if you make it successful, so when I stay home or leave early i feel like I am cheating the business but if I stay and work I am cheating my family.  Without the business my family suffers as I need to be able to pay for food and shelter and those expensive nintendo games so how do I win?  I think once the kids are back in school it will relieve some of the stress as I know they aren't sitting at home wishing Mommy could play with them but damn...It's not been fun lately.

I am also very angry about the fact that I am apparantly to old to work out.  I did a "boot camp" for 2 days and after that second day the back of my leg hurt. I assumed it would go away..  Nope.  It's getting worse. I haven't worked out in almost a month and if I leave my leg bent for longer than 2 seconds, I am in pain.  I wake up at night from the pain.  I am dissapointed in my old body.  I should be able to work out more than twice and not have such an issue.  It's like my body wants me to wear my fat jeans forever.  I want to go back to boot camp but honestly, given the fact that I threw up at the last one and now I can't walk without looking like a 90 year old,  I don't think I can show my face there...

I am mad that I haven't had more time to spend with those parents who are just finding out their babies have Down syndrome.  I want to be there for them. I want to one day be the one who is able to tell others that it will all be OK and that you can balance a family, a business and Down syndrome.  I just need time to figure out how to get the message out.

What else...

I am mad at people who drive slow.

I am mad at the store for never having Ella's formula

I am mad at it not being football season yet

I am mad that I got sea sick from riding on an intertube behind my boat (again, another testament to my old age)

I am mad that Ryan will be 7 in a week and I am not creative enough to throw him a party straight out of Pottery Barn. My parties are straight out of Party City.

I am mad that my housekeeper came and within 25 minutes of being home, my house is messy again

I am mad that I wake up early to enjoy my coffee and I am out of coffee.

Well, that about covers it for today.  Let's see, to balance out my sour mood, it is only right to share something about my little ray of sunshine, white wine. Oh, wait, I meant my kids....

Ella is doing awesome as usual. Just being herself and not really caring about much other than smiling and hanging with her brothers. Reed is sick but somehow manages to still be cute and Ryan is turning into quite the big brother. He is all about Ella and listening to each of her therapist and doing her exercises with her and making sure she is happy. I love them all even when I am in a sour mood.. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I thought it was just Ella....

SOOO.. My super awesome therapist, Tess, told me about a family she is seeing that has a baby who is 4 months old and has Down syndrome.  She mentioned that the family would love to talk with us and she gave me their number.  I was really excited as I don't know anyone else who has a baby with Down syndrome. I called right away and we seemed to have more than just Down syndrome in common and it was a great talk, until..... she said these words.. "I swear our baby seems like a really high functioning Down syndrome baby".  Oh. See, I am a pragmatic person so either her and I have the only two high functioning Down syndrome babies in Gilbert, AZ or I am in denial about how things should be at this stage. Ella seems so normal (ok, I know she doesn't babble or sit up or always hold her head up) but I swear that from what I thought she would be like to what she is really like, she seems as normal as could be.  When you get a diagnosis like Down syndrome, the books make you believe that from the minute that child breathes air you will notice they are different. You get signed up for therapies and early intervention plans, you have people from the state at your doorstep evaluating your little baby for life long care benefits. You get sucked into this abyss of "wow" this is serious stuff. BUT, you have this baby and for the life of you, this baby seems so normal, so peaceful and perfect and beautiful. You realize all these people are here to help make her "more mainstream" but when you are alone with just her, you don't see this diagnosis, you see just a baby. It messes with you. Hearing this other mom say those words was a good wake up call but also comforting. It's nice to know that someone else think and feels the same way I do right now. Right or wrong, we both believe our babies are the little miracle Down syndrome babies of Gilbert, AZ!

What else today...

Losing a nanny isn't as bad as it seems when the new nanny rocks.  Our nanny of four years up and quit on us by text about a month and a half ago.  Yeah, it sucked. I don't really get why she quit other than she wanted a $2 an hour raise and we offered a $1.  I know that in the midst of her quitting Ella was in the hospital, Mike's dad was in the hospital, work was busy, etc, so we focused more on getting through the weeks rather than her absence and somewhere along the way we learned to make do without her.  Brigid stepped in like a gift from god and watched the kids this summer and we found a great nanny finder person (NannyPoppinz in case you need a nanny finder) and she sent us Roxie and Roxie interviewed with us and she was wonderful from the start. She's British and full of energy and today my children told me they like her a lot because she plays great games with them.  She came with glowing reviews and seems like she can make my life easier and I will miss Brigid but since she won't give up being a teacher, I think Roxie will work out just fine!

Good night friends! Remind me to write about work next time. It's drama like you wouldn't believe! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

All that I'm after

Is a life full of laughter...

In the days after I had Ella, the chorus to this song ran through my head constantly.

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you
I don't really know why this song stuck in my head. I wasn't a huge Daughtry fan and I can't say I had really heard the song a bunch before, but everytime my mind wasn't full of worry about our new life, I heard those lyrics playing loud and clear.  The night we brough Ella home I decided to give her a bath and I turned on my little radio in the bathroom and what did I hear? This song. I sat down (after removing her from her baby bathtub) and sobbed.  Giant sobs that were so loud Mike came into the room. I couldn't tell him why I was crying other than the fact that the song was on.  If you listen to the whole song, it doesn't really have a thing to do with my situation (I mean, Mike has never had his car break down on his way to tell me how awesome I am, not yet at least) but the song kept playing over and over again in my mind. 

I remember scribbling down on an envelope the words and a few thoughts after each line - All that I was after was a life full of laughter and suddenly, in the span of an hour and a few pushes, I was given a different life. No laughter, just pain and sadness. The song played in my head like a script that was mocking me.  As long as I'm laughing with you - nope, this wouldn't happen, I wouldn't laugh with anyone, what would there be to laugh about.  I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after - In those first few hours, all that mattered is that my life was over. My baby girl was different.  Love couldn't - at that point - fix that.  Nothing mattered anymore but the shocking news that was my new life. After the life we've been through - This line was the worst. Who did I piss off to get this new life? After the life we've been through shouldn't I get a new baby with rosy cheeks and an outcome just like other new babies? 'Cause I know there's no life after you - I took this line literally. No life after you. Everything would be different. I would never leave the house. People will stare. I will become so consumed with the diagnosis that I won't ever be the same.

Yes, I thought these things. I heard this song everytime I shut my eyes or took a shower. The minute I had time to just be quiet this song played and I teared up. I cried for everything these lyrics meant, this stupid chorus was ruining my life and it played constantly.

At some point I downloaded the song and played it over and over again and cried and cried and hated Chris Daughtry for writing a song about a girl and making it so much about a baby to me. 

After the first week at home (and a few glasses of wine and a few good cries) I started to hear the song differently. All that I'm after is a life full of laughter -  Of course that's all I am after. That should be all that anyone is after. Laughter. What is better than a big belly laugh from your kids or your husband or your 90 year old grandma. NOTHING! Those few pushes didn't change what I am after! As long as I'm laughing with you - If I am laughing with you it means we are both still above ground and able to communicate. Maybe, in Ella's case it doesn't quite yet mean laughing real laughs, but it means I am with you, smiling, happy, that means we have things to laugh about. Who doesn't find humor in throwing paper clips as your assistant or slapping your husbands butt as we stand in the checkout line at the grocery store! I do!! I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after - This might be just a line in a Daughtry song, but it is very prophetic - love ever after IS all that matters. Of course it is. I could be the richest person in the world or the prettiest or the president of the united states but really, all that matters is love. Love in any form. Love from my kids, my husband, my love of pedicures or my love of my work. Love is what matters. Loving what I am, what I do, where I am. Loving the fact that I am here and my baby girl is different.  To love something means you love it no matter how awful it is (when I get a bad pedicure I still go back for another 3 weeks later) and you love it no matter how wonderful it is. After the life we've been through -  So true. Something I couldn't understand right after I learned Ella had Down syndrome, but now, after what we have been through, I understand it.  I get that sometimes you have to experience something bad to appreciate something so good. When life is too perfect you get spoiled. You forget to thank your lucky stars and throw the salt over your shoulder when you spill it. After getting bad news (once you emerge out of the fog) you see things differently. The flowers are a little brighter and the salt doesn't spill as much (but when it does, you make sure to toss the whole shaker over your shoulder). 'Cause I know there's no life after you - Do I really need to elaborate? Ella is here, she is perfect and without her, I wouldn't of ever thought this deeply about a Daughtry song.  There is no life after her and sometimes, I don't even know how there was life before her...

Thanks American Idol.  Your offspring saved me a ton of money in therapy.  :) If I was more talented I would have this song playing in the background right now, but I am not, so instead, I leave you with a picture of why I know the chorus of this silly Daughtry song plays everyday in my head.  Sing the song (just the chorus!) and look at this picture and you will get it. 

And thank you to Erin who is never afraid to call me out when I don't keep my promises.