Friday, December 21, 2007

Life is Beautiful

Antalya had fun playing with the wrapping paper on her presents.

Mary and Joseph

The angels

The enactment of the nativity story

Christmas morning hike in the freshly fallen snow

What a wonderful time of year. I enjoyed Christmas this year, my only complaint is that it passes so quickly that there is little time to stop and contemplate the wonderful "true" meaning of all the celebrating. I am truly grateful for and humbled by the birth of a little child so long ago in a land so far away. Without Christ's birth, ministry, atonement and resurrection there would be no meaning or purpose to our life here. No hope of a better world, no hope of reuniting after this life is through.

Several days ago I was talking with a friend about another friend of ours that is struggling to come to terms with some things that are happening in her life. "Life is so unfair. " We both agreed, but I also commented "but isn't that part of the beauty of life?" My friend didn't seem to agree, which left me pondering if I really meant what I said. Is life's seemingly unfairness part of it's beauty? I believe it is. Isn't it through our tailor-made trials that we gain the wisdom and experience we need to help others? Isn't it beautiful when people come together to help lift someone who has fallen or offer an understanding heart and a shoulder to cry on to someone who is alone? I believe our lives are all knit together. Each sorrow and each joy helps to unite us as brothers and sisters. How much of life's beauty would be missed if we lived in a 'fair and equal world' where each person received the same as the last!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Annual Grandkid Photos

This year we decided to take the annual grandkids photos ourselves in hopes that the kids would be a little more relaxed and willing to work with us. What an experience. Several hours later, we still didn't have one of all the kids together. At least the individual shots turned out alright. Here are the winners. What cute kids!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Time

I knew Christmas was coming soon, but I had no idea, until I looked at the calendar today, that Christmas is less than two weeks away. My favorite time of the year is almost past, and I feel as if I just barely started to enjoy it. Something I look forward to about this time of the year is all the yummy food. Here are thirteen of my favorite foods that remind me of Christmas.

1. Big juicy grapefruits
2. Pomegranates
3. My grandma's divinity
4. My mom's hot wassail
5. Almond Roca
6. Cinnamon Bears
7. Hot Chocolate
8. Peppermint Ice Cream with Hot Fudge
9. Shrimp Cocktail
10. Cheesy Potato Casserole
11. Red, White, and Green Jello Salad
12. Pecan Logs
13. Candy Canes

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: T21 Mom

I love reading Thursday Thirteens, so I've decided to start my own. This week it is about Down syndrome (what else would I choose for my first topic?) Lately I have really struggled as the gap between Antalya and other kids her age is slowly widening. The hardest part about it, is that it will only continue to get bigger and bigger the older she gets. Every week for the past six months or so, we have gone to playgroup with several other little girls about her same age. It seems like it happened just over night, that they all past her up, even the younger ones. While Antalya is still working on learning to crawl and recognizing and responding to her own name, the other girls are walking and learning to say words. Am I complaining? No! But I do have to be honest with myself that it is hard to deal with my emotions in such circumstances. Do I think these feelings will ever go away? No, although I do think with time it will not affect me as strongly. I hope when the day comes that all her "normal" friends are going away to college, getting married, and starting families and careers of their own I can handle it without getting so emotional.

So this weeks list is thirteen reasons why I love being a T21 (Trisomy 21/Down syndrome) Mom.

1. Before the hospital would let us take her home for the first time my husband and I had to pass off several requirements that ensured the staff we were competent in diaper changing, bottle feeding, burping, infant CPR, giving baths, taking her temperature, washing her hair, etc. This was great training for first time parents!

2. Even though Antalya will be 14 months old next month, she is still happy to let me carry her around in a sling all day.

3. Our local T21 support group that puts on the funnest activities for the kids throughout the entire year.

4. Visits from our occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists every month. They come to our home, and are such a resource with games and activities that I will also use with our other children. Not to mention the fun Early Intervention playgroup that Antalya has just started attending.

5. Big slobbery tongue kisses.

6. Feeling an instant connection and bond with other people. For example, while we were in Chile, we went to the market one day. It just so happened that I ended up standing right next to two ladies who where discussing a Ds event they had just attended. I quickly jumped in to introduce my daughter and find out who they knew that had Ds. We chatted like old friends for several minutes, then parted.

7. My baby doesn't grow up as quickly as other babies.

8. Antalya is the sweetest, happiest, most easy-going baby I have ever known (except when she's not!)

9. Antalya's cute little face. This past year has taught me that babies with Ds are the cutest babies out there.

10. I am more grateful for good health. Not only did Antalya have a rocky start in this world, but having Ds makes her more susceptible to other illnesses and diseases. Each day that I get to hold my healthy baby girl is a miracle to me.

11. I appreciate western medicine more than I ever thought I would. I know realize it a blessing when used properly. If it wasn't for skilled doctors and nurses during my pregnancy, and during Antalya's hospital stay, she might not be with us.

12. Learning to let go of my expectations and trust in the Lord that His plan for me and my family is greater than I could ever have imagined.

13. I get to be Antalya's mom! And that to me is one of the greatest blessings in the world!