Monday, December 31, 2012

2013...a year of hope

It's New Year's Eve, seven-fifteen p.m. I'm nursing a yucky head cold at home, complete with plugged ears, sore throat, cough, and no voice. My family is at church enjoying a potluck dinner, and Lily and I are keeping each other company. While I type, she is singing at the top of her lungs, in between bites of Rice Chex. Every now and then she murmurs in contentment at her dinner..."mmmmm" ...and then enthusiastically indulges in a few more bites before breaking out into song again.

 I love to hear the clanging of her tiny pink spoon against the ceramic green bowl - just another reminder of a milestone surpassed in 2012. Self-feeding is something she worked hard on the year before, but she has mastered it this year and moved on to bigger and better goals, like dressing herself and learning to jump in place.

 A few days ago we were relaxing at the beach house we always stay at in Depoe Bay (the backdrop for the new blog header - do you like it?) when Lily decided to demonstrate one of these new-found skills. The kids and I were eating breakfast downstairs, and we heard the tell-tale signs of the Lilybird's awakening...the soft thud of her feet as they hit the ground (letting herself down off the bed: another milestone this year) and the typical sing-song chatter of her fairy voice echoing down from the bedroom above.

 Caleb bounded upstairs to retrieve his sister... returning to the kitchen, he placed her on the floor and announced with a wide grin, "Guess what Lily has on??"

Little sister beamed up at me and placed her chubby hands on her hips, swaying them back and forth like a miniature hula dancer. There, carefully hiked up over her footsie pajamas, were her big sister's underwear - worn proudly, albeit crookedly, as if to say: I'm a big girl now.

She did this every morning of our vacation, with no prompting, and very matter-of-factly. I wonder what went through her little mind as she opened her eyes each morning ? Somehow she now knows that getting dressed for the day is a priority...because she had to deliberately dig through the suitcase to find a new pair of "chonies" as we call them at the Rice Ranch, and she insisted on wearing them throughout her breakfast. Something tells me potty-training is next on the list of milestones...

And speaking of milestones, I decided tonight to look back at my old blog headers for 2012. Lily was just beginning to walk at the beginning of this year, and her hair was long enough to do up in the looped ponytails I had done on both sisters before her. I remember sitting her on the deck of our old house and watching her grin back at me with that mischievous twinkle in her eye, and thinking- the terrible two's are surely about to begin...



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We definitely saw a stubborn streak emerge this year. But whether her calm nature can be chalked up to her extra chromosome, or just to the personality God gave her, I have yet to see a rebellious side that compares to any of her siblings before her. She has her moments of feisty-ness for sure, but for the most part my little imp remains a very easy-going little girl, and those rare moments of defiance are few and far between.

However... if you've ever heard that old poem about the little girl - the one with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead? I think someone penned that about Lily.

"And when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was HORRID."

Yeah, that one. Nailed it.

Moving on !!!


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This photo above makes my heart ache so much it hurts. I miss my old home. I miss the beautiful view from my back deck, the green grass and mountains in the distance, the clouds that rolled in from the coast every morning, the sheep and the sounds of the farm behind us, the stillness of the night and the stars. I miss my vaulted ceilings and big picture windows, the sound of my children running on the deck that surrounded our house on all sides, the smell of the pasture and the million memories we made there.

I miss the tiny baby that we lost last April, and the one who left us before Lily was born.
I miss it all.

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But time has a way of softening the ache of loss, and it's hard to grieve too long when I'm reminded daily of the grace of God on our lives. I have a husband who loves me and dotes on me, and I have a beautiful little girl with a crinkly-eyed smile who keeps me laughing every day. I have nine other amazing children, two wonderful daughter-in-loves, and a delicious grandbaby to enjoy each and every day, and above all things I am a blessed mama.

2012 was a year just like any other year- a year of loss and triumph, heartache and laughter, good and bad, a year of growing and learning and changing, and I can truly say - it is well with my soul.


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So what does 2013 hold for us?

A beautiful new baby for one thing. I go for my level II ultrasound this Friday, and in all honesty I can say I am not afraid. I will be 45 when I deliver this little one, and my odds for having a baby with Down syndrome are about 1 in 30.

I have a little confession to make here....

I'm almost a little worried my baby won't have Down syndrome.

If you would have told me that three years ago I would have said you were crazy.

But there you have it.

I'm enjoying Lily so much, I am so used to being able to savor every milestone, to soak up every moment of her babyhood without it rushing past me, I am so in awe of every little thing she does, that I'm worried I won't love a "typical" baby as much.

Isn't that ludicrous?

But I'm going to trust that God is giving me exactly who He wants me to have, "magical" extra chromosome or not, and I'm going to enjoy every moment of this last baby and not let any fear rob me of what lies ahead.

And even if this baby presents us with challenges we've never faced before...I have hope.


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Which brings me to my final thoughts on New Year's Eve, in these closing minutes of the year 2012.

We have many uncertainties facing us in the months ahead. So many uncertainties.

With the passing of a new law in Russia, orphans with Down syndrome face a life of institutionalization, unless an amendment is passed to exempt children with special needs. My heart is breaking for the families who are in the process of adopting these children - and for the children whose lives are hanging in the balance. Olga and Albina and Artem and Celine and Kacey and Nanette and Kamdyn - please pray for these families and children, as they need an incredible miracle in the upcoming weeks.

My oldest children are facing losing the baby they have raised for the past 18 months. He's never known anyone but them as Mama and Daddy, and he is just as much a part of our family as any baby could be. I will never forget the day they brought him home from the hospital, and I held him for the first time. I thought I could never love a baby as much as my own, but Baby K showed me otherwise. I honestly don't know what we'll all do if we lose him. Please pray for a miracle for our children, and pray for God to move on the hearts of those involved.

Times are changing in America. The days before Christmas left our nation broken and vulnerable, and I think we all held our children a little closer, knowing that life is so very fragile. These are frightening times to be raising families, and I've found myself crying out to God for safety and protection more than I ever have in my life.

But if I could choose a word- one word - to define 2013, the word I would choose is....




Hope.


“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”
- Orison Swett Marden

 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19



What about you??

If you could pick one word for next year, what would it be ?



Here's to hope in 2013....Happy New Year !

Sunday, December 23, 2012

winner...for reals :)

The winner of the iPad Mini is...



Bethany Murphy said...
I shared this blog post with my 3 older children last week and they immediately ran and grabbed their wallets to donate to Nanette's fund. They each donated not $10 a piece but $11! (So cute!) The next day, I was sharing my story with a social justice school that we are involved with at YWAM Denver and ended my talk with the journey (through having a DS child) that we have been on since our Lily's birth. I also shared Nanette's story and the urgency for special needs adoptions.
Patti, thank you for your blog. It has helped me process my emotions and thoughts as we navigate this new world of parenting. 


and the winner of the $50 Target gift card is...

Jean Brinkley said...
Tried to leave a comment earlier, but don't know that it got through. I donated $10 and shared on my personal Facebook page. Thank you for raising awareness of this. I hope Nanette gets the loving family she deserves very soon.


Winners, please contact me with your addresses so I can get those prizes to you...


Merry Christmas !!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winner

The winner of the iPad mini...


...will be announced tomorrow. Sorry for the delay !

Thursday, December 20, 2012

last day !!







Go HERE to find out details about how to enter !!

oh my !

Lily's "Oh, my!" face


Only two more days left to our iPad mini giveaway...


Details can be found HERE.

 And Lily is SO VERY EXCITED that Nanette's grant fund jumped over a thousand dollars this week - thank you to ALL who have contributed to make this happen !!


As well as the iPad mini, all donors also have a chance to win a $50 gift card to Target...
Merry Christmas !!

Monday, December 17, 2012

four days left

Only four more days to enter our iPad mini giveaway for Nanette !!


Just donate ten dollars or more to Nanette's grant fund on Reece's Rainbow (paypal box on sidebar links you directly to that) and LEAVE A COMMENT saying you did so to be entered to win.



Blog or facebook about this giveaway for additional entries (leave comments) and one additional entry for each person you share this giveaway with who enters. (They must leave a comment saying you sent them.)

So far almost $800 has been raised for Nanette...you have extremely good odds to win an iPad mini OR a $50 gift card to Target right now, as there are only 76 entries.

PLEASE do everything you can this week to spread the word...a winner will be drawn at midnight this Friday and announced on Saturday.


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Little Miss Stubborn learned how to say "pretty" today. She said it- I kid you not - fifty times before I turned the camera on. But this is what happens when you're two....





She watched the video with me after I recorded it- and said "pretty"  every time she heard me ask her to say it.

Yep, that's my girl.


Good thing her cuteness covers a multitude of sins ;)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

grief

Praying for the families of Connecticut, and all those affected by this tragedy. Words just don't do justice to how heartbreaking this is.

None
Emilie Parker, age 6, victim at Sandy Hook Elementary
  

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Party at the North Pole

*warning - the slideshow starts automatically and I don't know how to fix it. Tomorrow when I wake up I'll try to do that. But...

It's very late...actually, very early on Wednesday morning. Last night we hosted our first ever North Pole Party, and I made the mistake of drinking several mocha frappucinos while I did party prep yesterday....the result being that I am now posting at 4:33 in the morning, and I am just beginning to feel sleepy. (I don't normally do caffeine, but the next time I need to be up all night for something I will know how to do it.)

I think somebody sneaked something into Lily's sippie last night, because she is laughing and trying to swipe the mouse as I type...girlfriend is WIRED on something, although it might be the fourteen candy canes she consumed yesterday while I wasn't looking. So if you notice the following slideshow has any repeat photos in it, chalk it up to one glazed-eyed mama with a feisty toddler on her lap, and pretend it looks perfect.

Because it was a perfect night. About fifteen minutes before the party started I heard a piercing shriek, and several seconds later Caleb and Noah were carrying Jack into the room, his arm dangling precariously at his side. I had visions of racing him to ER and asking them to throw a cast on his arm STAT, as I had a party to host. But Nurse Mackenzie took one look at the crooked limb, promptly jerked it back into place, and voila --- good as new. We haven't raised 7 boys around here for nuthin' and nurse's elbow is something we can fix in a jiffy.

So yes, the party was saved, and I don't think I've ever had so much fun in the presence of 21 children before. (If you count my oldest as children...which I do ;))

It was...fantastic.

My kids are all plotting next year's party already, and how we can do it even better. I don't know that it's possible, unless St. Nick and all his reindeer landed on the sunroom roof and dropped in for a visit. Because if you could have heard the excited squeals of all those kids when they spotted several elves running past the window- you would have thought someone just handed each kid a million bucks. They were that thrilled. I'm sure my littlest ones are going to be peeking out our windows every day until Christmas looking for a return of pointy-eared little people in green caps.

(side note: you don't even have to actually have pointy ears to pull this off- these children were certain they saw pointy-eared creatures with pointy shoes riding reindeer in my backyard, when it fact it was just Jonathan and Caleb with elf hats on. I want to be that young again !)

Hope you enjoy this little slideshow. All photo credit goes to my lovely daughter Mackenzie (with a few taken by Abbi and myself), all inspiration goes to my fellow blogger and friend Kelle, as well as Pinterest, and many thanks to the sweet mamas who dressed their little angels up and stayed to help pass out treats and cocoa and gifts.

Enjoy !!

*** restart and un-mute the sound to enjoy the slideshow with music***



Sunday, December 9, 2012

behind the scenes

Before Lily takes over this post I wanted to let you know about a very simple, easy way to help rescue an orphan this Christmas.

The Morris family has been working so hard to bring their beautiful girl Natasha home from Eastern Europe. I'll share Katrina's words with you, and I hope you listen to this mama's heart...


Hi Patti,

I know you are busy trying to raise money for your Angel Tree Baby, but I was hoping you might be able to put a plug in for our Amazon Link. Right now we have made $70 for the month but I would love to get up to at least $200. The more people who use it the more we make, and it doesn't cost them any extra to do it. 


People do not have to do anything special to use it. They just click on this link and shop like normal. They do have to checkout within a few hours of putting the stuff in their cart after using our link . But they will not see anything different when they check out. 

Natasha turns 7 this month. We are the 3rd family to try and adopt her and have been trying to adopt her now for 18 months because of her region's shut down, new rules in her country and expired paperwork. Our hearts ache to think that once again she will not be home for Christmas or her birthday. We are awaiting a court date any day now and are still short about $7,000 for our last trip. If you could just share our link that would help so much. People shop Amazon a lot at Christmas time and this does not cost them anymore to use. 

Here is a video we made for Christmas for Natasha too.


If you can help by blogging for us we would really appreciate it. 

Thanks,

Katrina


If you are a blogger, could you share this information as well ? As Katrina said, it does not cost anything extra - just shop as you normally do on Amazon, but first click on the link above to begin your shopping.

Thank you !!


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Hey friends, Lily here.

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes here on A Perfect Lily ? Maybe you've been curious how my mom gets so many cute pictures of me on a regular basis? Well, today you're going to find out.

I should start by telling you that my mom works very hard to get me ready for mini photo shoots, dressing me in fun outfits and doing my hair, while setting the stage with little decorative props. But sometimes I just don't feel like having my picture taken, you know? I'd rather be playing with my brothers and sisters, or destroying their lego castles, or pulling my dog's tail, or getting into my mom's make-up. What's the fun of being a toddler if you have to act like a grown up all the time?


So here's just a small sample of what my heroic mom endures to provide you with darling photos of me on a regular basis.


Thursday's Photo Bomb Shoot...

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My mom's big idea was for me to hold that cute reindeer and smile at it. See how it matches my shoes, and how there's a green bow in my hair ? Very Christmas-y. But there was a small problem.


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I hated that stupid reindeer.


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Really hated it.


My brother Tyler tried to get me to hold it while Mom squatted in her slippers on the cold deck. I thought it was kind of funny seeing her shivering in the cold while I refused to take that stupid reindeer. Especially because she was only wearing her jammies and no jacket, and I was dressed all nice and warm and pretty. She kept saying things like "Lily, look at the pretty reindeer!" and stuff like that, because she didn't want our neighbor to walk up and see her squatting in the cold in her jammies.

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Tyler finally made me hold the stupid reindeer. Yuck.

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His antlers were even crooked. Stupid ugly reindeer.


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Then I saw our neighbor drive by. Hi, Neighbor !!


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Neighbor ! Hey, neighbor ! Come over here and get me out of this dumb photo shoot  say hello!


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Neighbor went inside.


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Doesn't anybody CARE that I have to pose with a stupid old reindeer doll ?!?!


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Maybe if I stand here pretending to cry they'll get me something to eat.


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It worked !!!!


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The world is a beautiful place again ...


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I love reindeer. This one especially. Isn't he CUTE ???


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SMOOCH !!!


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So that's how we do it around here.



P.S. This was a good day. You should see me when I'm really at my stubborn-est !!  :D


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Please don't forget about our iPad Mini giveaway for Nanette. Almost $600 has been raised in five days...thank you to all who have given !


Friday, December 7, 2012

iPad Mini giveaway

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Dear Friends,

 If you missed it, I'm giving away of of these...



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...an iPad mini !

 The giveaway is to help save my friend Nanette, who also has Down syndrome. But she doesn't have a family like I do. Will you go read about her HERE and then donate to her grant fund on Reece's Rainbow? You could win a fifty dollar Target gift card or the iPad mini !!!


Merry Christmas,

Lily oxoxox

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the yellow bonnet

There are twenty days left til Christmas.

I have ten children, two beloved daughter-in-loves, an adorable grandbaby, my husband, and a host of friends and loved ones to buy for. Things add up quickly when you're shopping for that many. My children have needs as well as wants. My mama's heart wants to meet every one of those needs, and the wants too. It's the joy of my life to bless my kids and my husband, the most important people in my life. We live a very modest lifestyle and we have to stick to a budget to make things work...as I'm sure so many of you do. We shop sales, we buy used, we pinch pennies to make Christmas special.

Because I want to make all of her dreams come true...


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But there's a little girl on the other side of the world who has nothing.




Nothing.





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The little yellow bonnet she's wearing ? It wasn't even hers. It belonged to the orphanage where she lived for four years, along with all of her clothing. She slept in a crib that had been slept in by so many others before her, played with used toys and dolls that so many other children like her had shared over the years.


And yet even those things - which were not hers but at least familiar - were taken from her.

Everything she knew - the yellow bonnet and the shared dolls and the caregivers who had watched over her since she was left at the orphanage - were taken from her the day she left the only home she ever knew.


If you're not familiar with what happens to children with Down syndrome in Eastern European countries, this post is for you.


Babies born with Down syndrome in Eastern European nations are considered outcasts from birth. They are rejected by their society and placed in orphanages where they will live in seclusion until they turn four years old. Most orphanages cannot continue to house children past this age, and the answer for so many of them is to turn these "older" children over to mental institutions.

Do you know what a "child" with Down syndrome at age four is?


She is a baby.


Lily is almost three years old. She cannot verbalize her needs most of the time, she cannot use the bathroom, we still carry her much of the time, she is just now learning to use a spoon or fork properly, she is as small as an 18 month old, and very much on par mentally and physically with one as well.

She is a baby.


I cannot imagine Lily - a year from now - being placed in a mental institution.


Can you ?


I cannot imagine my Lily being taken from the only home she ever knew, however lacking, taken from the only caregivers she ever knew, and being left in a place that is no place any child should be.

I cannot imagine my Lily growing up in that institution, shut away from society, witnessing things that no child should see, living among men and women with a future as bleak as hers with no hope of ever escaping.

I cannot even think about that.



Can you ?


Nanette did nothing to deserve her fate. She arrived in life with one too many chromosomes and her fate was sealed.


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I'm not able to go rescue Nanette. Our family does not qualify financially to adopt internationally.

But someone out there does.

Reece's Rainbow is an organization that raises grant funds for children with Down syndrome in other nations. It's my hope and prayer to raise Nanette's grant fund to attract a family who can adopt her. International adoption is expensive- I want to do everything I can to help ease the burden for someone so that they can adopt Nanette.

I don't have much to give - but I'm going to give what I can.

I'm going to go out on a limb here...


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I'm sacrificing some "wants" this Christmas because there's a little girl who has a NEED.

Nanette has absolutely nothing in this world - and compared to that we have everything.

My children are clothed, they are fed, they are loved.

They have everything.

How could we not give when we are so blessed?

I'm giving away an iPad mini 16GB to one random commenter on this post.

Here's how the giveaway works.



*Donate $10 or more to Nanette's grant fund on Reece's Rainbow and leave a comment saying you did so to be entered to win.

*Blog or facebook about this giveaway to receive an additional entry.

*If you tell a relative or friend about this giveaway and they donate AND they leave a comment saying you told them about it - receive an extra entry.



Giveaway ends December 21st at midnight, winner announced the following day.



Will you help me give Nanette a family for Christmas?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Merry Early Christmas

Hello, December !!!

This is a hodgepodge post with almost no smooth transitions from one thought to the next. Because it's late Sunday night and all of my kids are ferociously participating in a very LOUD game of Pit (is there any other way to play that game??!) and this is about all my brain can muster. I apologize in advance for the extreme randomness !

Are you ready? Here we go....


Someone was very excited to decorate for Christmas last week. She examined each and every ornament and kissed it before placing it on the tree :)

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She was wearing the jammies her big sissy wore as a little girl. They're faded and show lots of wear, but they are so loved...the best kind of jammies !



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I mentioned this on Instagram, but Lily is obsessed with pickles. And I do mean obsessed. She would eat the whole jar if I let her.

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Notice her signing "pickle" above ? Her "p" is a little off, but I'm impressed anyway.

And here is the little pixie wearing the cutest pair of boots ever, that we found at a second hand store...I LOVE these boots.

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Do you follow us on Instagram ? If not, join the fun and follow aperfectlily. Hashtag your favorite photo #aperfectlily and you may see yours appear here at the end of the week !



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I'm on a mission to buy Lily a pair of moccasins like these for Christmas...



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 I have searched all over the internet and found them with free shipping on Zappos (thank you, Kelle ;)) and the last pair of size fours sold just as I was checking out...I know, because there was a little "one left in stock" when I clicked on place in cart, and the next second it was gone. WAAAHH! So if any of you find a pair online in a size four - can you email me right away ?? Because apparently they are a hot item. And I really want to buy some for my Lilybird !


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How is your Christmas shopping going? Do you have something for everyone on your list ? May I make a suggestion ?


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Isn't it darling ?! There are loads of equally darling and yummy smelling products to shop from in Lily's Scentsy Store.

For the month of December ALL of my commission goes to Nanette from Reece's Rainbow...


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Just visit Lily's Scentsy Shop and shop from Nanette's Basket Party during the month of December. Please leave a comment here letting me know you shopped there to be entered to win a $50 gift card to Target...


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 Merry Early Christmas from Lily !!!


p.s. do NOT buy the game Pit for your kids this Christmas. Or ever. Just sayin.