Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 Something has happened to my baby...

She turned two last month, and all of the sudden it's like she turned the final corner into toddlerhood. She ditched her toosh-scoot for full-on walking now. She climbs on furniture (and houses) and carefully gets herself down from beds and couches.

 She's always been obsessed with phones, iPads and computers, but now she really gets how to use them. Well, sort of. She flips my phone open and starts pressing keys frantically, until she sees a different screen.

So far she has: called Daddy several times and chatted with him unbeknownst to me; texted Kenzie at work and told her "sn39vnw"; ordered several large pizzas from Domino's.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

She wants to be a part of everything the older kids are doing. If it's schoolwork, she wants a pencil and paper of her own. If they're playing a board game, she wants to move pieces or hand out money. If they're playing the Wii, she wants a controller. She's content to play with her own toys, but she'd much rather be in on their action.

Last Saturday night Mackenzie and Abbi and I went to see the play, Annie, at a high school here.  Lily asked to go. I told her she might not get the plot, and it was kind of a long play- we'd probably be up past her bedtime. Lily said she was up for it, I said we should wait until she's older, she insisted...

Guess who got her way?

She stayed awake for the first half, sang along to several songs, crashed just before intermission, and then roused herself just in time to introduce herself to the star.


She says next year she wants a leading roll.

I found a bag of clothes I'd forgotten about the other day. They were gifts from Lily's baby shower, all size 12 months. Last year they were gigantic on her, so I had stashed them away for another day. Finding that bag was like Christmas in February- dozens of outfits with the tags still on. I had to clear out all of her drawers and her closet to make room for the new clothes, and I admit to crying a little bit as I folded up onesies and baby gowns and tiny booties....just one more reminder that my baby isn't a baby anymore.

She's a big girl now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012


It's Sunday night and I'm wiped.

I could burn the midnight oil and write lots of descriptive words that go with these pictures, but they pretty much tell a story all by themselves. And I happen to think it's a better one than I could come up least in my present state of semi-comatose post-weekend deliriousness. I just need my pillow. So I'll let the pictures do most of the story telling, with just a few hints from me on plot and props.

There once was a little girl....

...and after that she plopped to the floor in dizziness. For a few moments. Looking adorable. With her hair in pigtails, adorned with adorable monkey and banana clippies from her beloved Grammi....

And then she decided she wanted to go outside. Only her mommy told her it was too cold. SO she pulled out her best weapon...the pout...

And guess what? It worked....

Delight !

And the little girl loved her play structure. And I do mean LOVED her play structure.

And she lived happily ever after.

The End.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

success !

I think this little picture pretty much defines our day ...

                      *taken on Daddy's phone

I cannot believe- actually I can believe, given the amount of people praying for our girl - how wonderfully Lily did.

I woke up at 2 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. I truly didn't feel nervous, just wide awake. So I got up and prayed for awhile and read a book til 5:45. Lily woke up and was COMPLETELY happy. Didn't sign to nurse, didn't cry, just sat on the bathroom counter while I combed her hair and stuck a bow in, just chattering away in her baby talk the whole time.

Sam and I quietly got ready and woke up Caleb up. He's our eleven year old, and he is the family "worrier." I shouldn't say that- he is a nurturer. He has gone in with Lily for all of her shots, and if she is upset or sick, Caleb tries to take over mothering her. He is going to make a great daddy some day- he has the same compassionate, affectionate, protective personality his dad does. So when he asked me...begged me...last night to go in with us this morning, I could not resist :)

(disclaimer: the next photos were taken on my much-blogged-about ancient flip phone. I considered lugging the Canon in, but ditched it for convenience sake :))

From the moment we got to the hospital, everyone there showered us with kindness. It was as if God whispered in each person's ear this morning: be extra nice to this family today. From the receptionist, to the nurse, to the anesthesiologist, and yes, even to the ENT, everyone was so sweet and made us feel entirely at ease about Lily's surgery. If you knew what we went through two weeks ago, you would know why this was just what I needed. I'll save that experience for another blog post, when I'm not associating poor bedside manners with any doctor in particular....I'll just insert here that it's probably not best if you're a medical professional to tell any parent that "Downs kids suffer from smashed in faces." Just not gonna win ya any brownie points.

Moving on !!! Lily did great. She did more than great- she was fantastic. She never ever cried, which was a complete miracle. This is the little girl who nurses faithfully at five or six in the morning every morning to go back to sleep. And wants to nurse again when she wakes up. But she just sat on the hospital bed or on our laps or on a blanket we spread out on the floor, playing, chattering, reading books, playing on Daddy's iPad, Mama's phone, etc. right up until her surgery. Nurses kept stopping by and peeking in to see the little pixie in her gown, and everyone kept oohing and aahing over how tiny she and cute she was. It helps that my two oldest sons are EKG techs at our hospital, and they are DOTED ON by every nurse in that place. Literally, every time we've been at the hospital, or met any staff, without fail they always tell us how much they love our boys, and what a great job we've done raising them. It really does make a mama proud to hear that kind of thing.

When the anesthesiologist came back to get Lily, she just went right to her, no tears, no drama, just stuck her thumb in her mouth and put her arm around her neck and stared into her face like "who is this nice lady coming to get me?". I did cry a bit, but only briefly, because right after that Jason came in to wait with us. He wasn't working today, so he had to time to come...Josiah was up at the heart center, or he would have been there too. In fact all of my children wanted to be there, but we told them that probably wouldn't go over very well in short stay surgery :)

A half an hour later the ENT came back to tell us she was done, and that she did great. He said he drained a ton of goo from her ears, and that she would be hearing so much better now. He said things are going to probably sound a little loud to her today, and that she would probably be a little fussy as a result. Fifteen minutes after that they brought her back- she looked soooo cute all groggy and splotchy faced and with cotton in her ears. She was crying, but stopped once they handed her to me, and after hugging me and shuddering a few times (I hate those post-crying little shudders!) she said dadadadyyy and reached for him and melted in his arms. Then she reached for Jason and hugged him for a minute or two, reached for Caleb, reached for Mama, reached for was so cute, she just wanted to be passed around and snuggled by all of her family :)

After she was done hugging us she signed to nurse, and did so voraciously. That is the longest she's ever gone without nursing- ten hours - and I'm sure she was famished! She was still groggy and had a few crying jags, but overall she did very well recovering. When we put her in her carseat she dissolved into tears again, but when I pulled out a bacon egg and cheese biscuit from the cafeteria, she stopped crying and devoured it. Poor baby was hungry !

I wish we had a video of walking in the door with her- you would have thought Lily had been gone for days or had open heart surgery the way our kids bombarded her with hugs and kisses.

And right here I have to say- if you are a mama who has gone through that- my hat is off to you. One tiny little tube surgery made this mama a near wreck for two weeks. I cannot imagine what it's like to hand your baby over to someone, knowing her life is in their hands, and not knowing if you were going to see her alive again. You mamas are my heroes, and I am so sorry if I've never conveyed that here before. I hope we never have to go through anything more than tubes with Lily, and my admiration for all of you just went through the roof this morning.

I didn't take any pictures of Lily when we got home- I wish we had taken a video, but I was just too exhausted and too happy to think of it. I hope mere words can do it justice....our girl is hearing well for the first time, and it is amazing to behold.

I put Lily down on the floor and sat behind her. She finally seemed like herself- up until then the effects of the anesthesia were evident, and I wasn't really sure what she was hearing. So when I whispered, "I love you, Lily", and she JERKED her head around to look at me, I knew the tubes were a success. I can't even tell you how that feels to know your baby is hearing you when you're just whispering. For months we've been noticing that unless we're talking directly at her, and she sees our faces, or talking very loudly, she doesn't respond. Quite honestly I thought it was the Down syndrome. Or the fact that she's turning into a toddler :) But seeing her react to our voices today, and turn her head to see where they're coming from, just shows me how much she's been missing.

Sam stood across the room and just quietly said, "Lily" and she completely turned around and smiled at him. We are all pretty amazed at such quick results, and I can't wait to see how her speech develops after this. I've had people tell me that their kids literally started saying new words the day after tubes were put in, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too of my very smart doctor friends told me to remember that she hasn't been hearing well for a long time, and at her age it takes awhile to process what she's hearing and turn it into speech.

But for now I am thrilled at what I'm hearing- a definite YEAH and NO from a little girl who just yesterday was uttering things that were only intelligible to us. I'm hearing lots more vowel sounds this afternoon than I've ever heard before as well- oooh and eeeee....maybe to moms of typical kids this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is music to this mama's ears.

I just want to thank every person who emailed or texted or commented about Lily's surgery...we are overwhelmed at how many people love our little girl. I went to sleep shortly after we got home- three hours of sleep caught up with me fast - and woke up to an inbox and cell phone jammed full of well wishes for her. It just really means a lot to know so many of you were praying for Lily, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have a very beautiful little girl to talk to....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

asking for prayer

...for my Lilybird. I do realize that surgery to have ear tubes put in is so minor compared to what so many of you mamas have gone through. But it's still a first for us, and it makes me nervous having my baby put under. I had several little meltdowns today (Babycenter moms know why, but I'll save the complaints about the insensitive ENT until after her surgery). It is so nice to know there are many friends out there praying for our girl.

Tomorrow I'm going to focus on the fact that tubes are going to help her hear well for the first time...I just can't wait to see her face when she does:)

This is just a quick video of her signing cookie- we taught it to her yesterday, and she had it down today. Sweet little girl is signing it furiously as I type and refusing her nightly snack of cheerios...I think we may have created a cookie monster here...

That's all for tonight...
Lily can't nurse after 2:45 a.m. and this is the main cause of my (little) anxieties...she gets the tubes in at 8:45 a.m., so I would really appreciate prayers for that window of time. She's two, but she nurses as much as a 6 month old... only she knows how to sign "nurse" and "please"....yikes.

Pray for me too, if you think of it!


the blues

This afternoon I was doing one of least favorite things in life: cleaning my bathroom. If any of you share my bathroom-cleaning-phobia, you will know what I mean when I say I would almost rather be at the dentist than cleaning my toilet and shower. Well...almost.

I've tried different tactics for dealing with my phobia, none of which has worked long term: listening to Norah Jones while I scrub, talking on the phone to one of my friends, eating chocolate while I clean...each one of these methods has its perks and each one its drawbacks.

I practically ruined my love for Norah Jones, because I now associate her with that ugly ring inside my toilet (the one I am still looking for a cure for...input please??) Talking on the phone does provide momentary distraction, but I haven't yet mastered the art of scrubbing said toilet ring and balancing my beloved flip phone between my ear and shoulder effectively... which has proved disastrous once or twice. (sprint: looks like your phone has suffered a bit of water damage, Mrs. Rice. me: what? impossible, I am soooo very careful with my phone!) Even my fool proof recipe for endorphin boosters - a hefty piece of a Dove bar wedged between my teeth while I apply elbow grease and equally hefty doses of Tilex to my shower floor - loses its power after several minutes of deep cleaning. Because when it comes down to it, there's just no getting around it: I hate cleaning my bathroom.

However, today I discovered a little pixie dust that cures the bathroom-cleaning blues in a heartbeat.

Enter Miss Lily....

Just as I was about to attack my toilet with a brillo pad (I am willing to try anything at this point) - in walked my little pixie. Actually she was banging incessantly on the door, yelling MAMA at the top of her lungs, and when I let her in she made a beeline for the bathtub, laughing all the way. She stood on tippie toes, peered down at her musical dolphins, and started signing furiously "bath" and then "please" with the biggest grin on her face....

I mean, seriously- would you be able to resist this face???

(thank you Cara and Abigail for the darling skirt!)

I threw the cleaning supplies into the sink, declared a truce with the toilet, and told Lily it was bath time. I plugged the tub, turned the water on, and had just started drizzling Johnson's baby bath in, and Lily was already frantically trying to get her skirt off. This girlie looooves her bathy !

One minute later....

I have found the cure for the bathroom cleaning blues...insert one adorable Lilybird into a tubfull of suds and grab a camera. Call in a sibling or two to watch the little mermaid while finishing scrubbing the shower, stopping every minute or so to snap a photo (removing latex gloves before doing so)...

...continue this process until both the bathroom and baby are sparkling clean....

And there you have it. Better than Norah Jones, flip-phones and Dove chocolate. The cure for the bathroom cleaning blues.

p.s. now can someone please come finish my toilet?


p.s. winners for the Covered For Charlotte giveaway are posted HERE.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

daisies, ice vipers, and flip phones

I am so excited about this post- I cannot wait to share a special offer with you, because it's something we've had in the works for a few months, and I just love how the finished product turned out.

But I first wanted to thank every one of you who commented or emailed me about my last post, Enough. I was pretty nervous about publishing it; I'm very aware that there are pregnant women coming to read about what the future might hold for them, and I hesitate sometimes in writing about some of the challenges we face as parents of children with special needs. But I think it's important that as parents we present all sides- that life can be difficult at times, and not everything is sunshine and roses on this journey...and yet at the same time, being Lily's mama is more rewarding than I ever dreamed possible.

I was deeply moved reading all of your emails and comments regarding that heart goes out to every single one of you, and I am so thankful and blessed to know that hitting "publish" turned out to be a good thing. Writing for me has always been very cathartic, and judging by your response, reading about someone else's dreams and desires can be equally so. We think we're so alone sometimes, don't we? Each one of us has our own issues of insecurity or guilt or self-doubt when it comes to parenting, and yet I'm finding that more often than not those feelings are universal.

So now for the fun! Last summer one of Lily's readers, Jennifer, contacted me about an online store she was starting, featuring custom silhouette wall art. She offered to do a silhouette of Lily, and I am absolutely thrilled with the result.....

Jennifer literally worked for weeks with me on this silhouette- it was not easy to get Lily to sit still for a profile shot, so I originally sent one that I took of Lily taking a bath in the sink. When I realized her hair looked a little too stringy as a result, Jennifer completely started over on a new photo...she went the extra mile to make sure I was absolutely satisfied with the finished product- a keepsake I will treasure for years to come.

Custom Silhouette 5x7

 Jennifer's online store, Early Spring Daisies, features classic, elegant, personal canvases.  Choose from silhouettes, quotes, names and initials, all custom made to order.

For the month of February and March, Early Spring Daisies is offering Lily's readers a ten percent discount off all products by using the code PERFECTLILY at checkout.

In addition to this offer, Jennifer is donating 35% of her profit for the month of February to the Bailey family, who is adopting Carlton from Reece's Rainbow....

...check out Early Spring Daisies and make sure to use the code PERFECTLILY for 10% off your order!


I have just a few photos of Lily to post today- these were taken at my boys' basketball game a few weeks ago. Lily has the same enthusiasm for sports that she does for praise and worship at church- if there is cheering or clapping going on, she absolutely must take part. As soon as she hears the crowd going wild, she throws her hands in the air and starts yelling along. I love watching her clap her hands furiously, as well as seeing the ecstatic grin on her face - I don't remember any of my children cheering as loudly or as enthusiastically at this age. In fact at this very moment, my husband is leading our kids in their good night prayers and Lily is literally stealing the show, bowing her head, clasping her hands and "praying" verrrry loudly.


Okay, well actually she looks pretty subdued in these pictures, but don't let that fool you. I was a cheerleader back in the day, and I have no doubt Lily will be begging for a pair of pom poms in just a few years as well. Go Ice-Vipers !!!!!

Can't remember if I posted this one, but Lily was bustin' some moves out on Valentine's Day. While she may have inherited her cheerleading skills from me, she definitely got the dancing genes from her daddy.    teehee:)

Lily and her favorite brother...well, he's in the top seven ...

And again, my imitation Instagram collage. I'll even put my imitation Instagram Collage explanation underneath, for all my fellow flip-phone users who (like me) refuse to join the 21st century...

Flip-phone collages are made by sending individual photos from your ancient flip-phone to your email. Open each photo in your email and right click to save...painstakingly upload each one to and create a collage. Choose the retro setting and fade your collage just a tad to give it that imitation Instagram look. Round the corners and right click and save to your desktop. Voila ! Soon all your friends will be begging their husbands for a flip-phone too!!!

Happy Monday !!!