Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Chapter

Moving day came! 
IMG_6566My parents deserve an award for putting up with us in their home for six months. We loved spending so much time with them, and I am grateful my girls had a chance to get to know them so well. My parents are amazing. 

But all chapters must end, and new ones must begin.

And this next one keeps us in Utah for at least a couple more years. Jason's parents were called to serve a two year LDS mission in California. When they asked us if we'd be willing to stay in their home while they are away, we jumped at the chance. 

The girls are enjoying having so many new closets and rooms to discover. But despite new toys, new hiding places, and our first ever 'playroom', the girls still prefer what they call 'making a cake' as the activity of choice the second I sit down to the computer, or start talking on the phone.

With the move, Antalya had to say goodbye to her school class that we have grown to love so much. But at her new school she gets to ride the bus. 

Victoria and I see her off each day,
and then anxiously wait for the bus to bring her back home.

Life is good!

Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tis the Season

One of my most favorite things about Christmas in Utah is seeing
the lights at Temple Square. 
It signals the beginning of the Christmas season for me.
Last night we bundled and went as a family to show the girls the beautiful lights.
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May your season be bright!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Since returning to the states, I have had the craft bug like never before.
I think it comes from a strong desire to settle down and make a home - to decorate walls and have throw pillows, to watch the girls playing in the yard from the kitchen window, to be in the same spot long enough to make it feel like it's ours.

In fact, lately, I would rather be sitting at the sewing machine than the computer (or at least that's my excuse for not blogging lately).

Tonight I stumbled upon these cute stockings.

I think I might add it to the list of things to make before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Wow! October completely got away from me. It's been a busy month with lots going on.

So here's a quick catch up with photos...

Antalya turned FIVE!!! There was much celebrating!

On Antalya's birthday, Victoria gave her the best gift possible. She asked for her to push her in the swing (usually if anyone except I pushes her, she instantly decides she doesn't want to swing). This let to helping each other in and out of the swing and taking turns pushing. It did this momma's heart good to see them playing so well.
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It seemed we had more than our share of Halloween parties this year!
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We spent three wonderful days camping and hiking at Zion National Park with some of the cousins.

We had a fun outing to HeeHaws farm with the cousins.
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Antalya had her first dance performance with the Pals dance group. When she realized everyone was watching her and clapping for her, her face just lit up. It was so fun to watch her. Her group is performing at the Festival of Trees this year and I can't wait to watch her again!
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New Family Photos!
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We found lots of witches at the WitchFest with Gramma.
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Trick-or-Treating Fun!
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Hope your October was a good as ours!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


At 6:30 this morning Antalya and I were in the car rocking out to her favorite version of The Wheels on the Bus. Despite my efforts to convince her otherwise, Antalya was convinced we were headed to Uncle Scott's house to play. We've only been to his house once, and it most definitely was not at 6:30am. 

As we drove through downtown Salt Lake City I was reminded again of how quaint this city feels after being in London for two years. I feel like I could pick up the whole city and hold it in the palm of my hand. But I love it! Especially when I hit every green light on South Temple. This city is my home.

Just as the sky was beginning to lighten behind the mountains, we pulled into the parking lot at Primary Children's Hospital for a full day of doctors. Lucky for Antalya, she will asleep for most of it! They let me follow her back to the OR and stay with her until she was out. As I walked out, I couldn't help looking back at my little girl. She looked so tiny laying on such a big operating table. 
She will be out for the entire morning with a line-up of dental work, ear tubes, echocardiogram on her heart, and ABR hearing scan. 

And I will spend the morning waiting, reading, and enjoying a few quite hours all to myself!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I am beautiful.
I am smart.
I love to dance.
I forgive quickly, and love unconditionally.
I am a friend.
I can always make people smile.
I am loved by many.
I have blue eyes.
I am a sister.
I am a daughter.
I am Antalya!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Today begins Down Syndrome Awareness Month. 
It is also the month Antalya was born, so naturally always brings with it much contemplation on the blessing this little angel is to our family.  
Watch for lots of post this month celebrating Down syndrome and the life of my beautiful daughter Antalya. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Free Day Out... 'Cuz It's Been Awhile

It's the end of the month, our budget is blown, and we still don't have income. So, instead of heading to a park like we usually do when we need to get out of the house, we decided to head downtown.

We didn't want to pay for parking, so we found some free metered parking (Saturdays the meters are free) near TRAX on 3rd South. Our first stop was the new art installation next to Capitol Theatre.

The girls had fun running through the metal poles that move and make noise when you push them. It's supposed to resemble a field of grass.
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When we had had our fill, we hopped on TRAX (we were within the free-ride zone) and rode the train to the Clark Planetarium. The exhibits are all free. We didn't pay to watch a movie, because our girls wouldn't have sat through one anyways. I wasn't sure there would be enough to keep the girls entertained, but we found plenty to do.
planetarium collage

When it was time for lunch rode the train back to the car and drove a few blocks up to the State Capital Building and had a picnic on the lawn. We eventually wandered inside. I was glad it was a Saturday and no one was trying to work. You wouldn't believe the echoes!! They seemed to go on for minutes. Antalya was in heaven - a very loud, full of lots and lots of yells heaven! And Victoria thought the marble staircases were pretty amazing to run on.
capital collage

It was a perfect outing - few tantrums, new sites, and all we spent was a few dollars on gas to get there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The End

The long, hot, lazy days of summer are quickly coming to an end. 

We are soaking up every minute we have left!

Soon enough, we will be burdened with layers of clothing, and big decisions about where to settle down and create a home for our family. But for now, we will run careless and free for a few more days.

For the girls and I, it has been a summer to remember - filled with friends, family, popsicles, watermelon, and picnics.  But not so for Jason, who has spent the entire summer in an unfinished office in my parent's basement, pounding out his dissertation.

Tonight he will push the send button on his computer, and this school year will finally come to a close for him! And we will have exactly 11 days to make this a memorable summer for Jason before Antalya starts school and longterm decisions must be made.

We will make sure this summer we go out with a bang!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Moment

A couple miles from my parent's house is a beautiful canyon. I have so many memories of hikes, picnics, campfires, cook-outs, and late nights looking up at the stars. A few years ago they put a pay station at the entrance and starting charging $7 a vehicle to enter. The put a damper on my visits to this beautiful place.

Just last week I found out that Antalya's National Park Access card will get us into the canyon for free (did you know anyone with a disability just needs to take proof of the disability to a rancher station and they are given a lifetime pass that can be used for free entry to all National Parks, National Forests, and BLM land?)

So this morning we packed a lunch and headed up the beautiful canyon. I had visions of us spending the entire morning hiking, throwing rocks in the stream, and exploring nature. I should know better than to set such high expectations.

Antalya picked a picnic table to sit at and we started our picnic.

Soon the girls discovered the stream, and so we moved our picnic to the water's edge.

As I was sitting there thinking enjoying the sound of the flowing water and the birds chirping I couldn't help but think what an absolutely perfect it was. No sooner, than I thought that, I heard a loud rumbling coming down the trail. Victoria suddenly jumped into my lap screaming "hold you, hold you" in her sweet little voice. And just like that our wonderful morning out in nature was so rudely interrupted by this monster tractor, that began work 200 yards from where we were sitting.

The rest of our short-lived picnic played out with Victoria clinging to me for dear life, Antalya peeing in her pants, and then running off bare-foot, leaving me to clean up as quick I could, grab shoes, and go chasing after her with Victoria crying on my hip.

But that's life isn't it? Moments of absolute bliss that give us a short reprieve from all the upset, chaos, and hard work of everyday. The challenge is learning to appreciate those short moments when they come around, and adapt to change when it suddenly throws your plans out the window.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sister Love

I don't have a sister, and growing up I believed it so much better to have only brothers. With brothers, there was no one to steal your clothes or make-up, no one to compete with over friends and boyfriends, and no one to have to share a room with.

But my girls are changing my opinion of sisters. I love watching their bond grow closer with every day and see the many ways they are able to communicate using only one or two words. Watching them, I am now convinced that what every little girl needs is a sister! Someone to dress up with, play dolls with, create mischief with, and giggle with in bed. Someone to help you put on your shoes when you can't quiet figure it out, but don't want mommy to help, and someone to help you when you get stuck on your bike.

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The devolpmental gap between them is getting smaller and smaller. They push each other, and compensate for each others weaknesses. And I notice when they are playing games, they seem to use each other's strengths to work together and accomplish things they couldn't do on their own.

They are definitely two peas from one pod!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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More Birthdays

Jason has finally entered his third decade. I thought he would never catch up to me, but it feels like he has!

And so we celebrated!

Swimming with the girls in morning.

Lunch date just the two of us (and we even remembered to take a picture).

Pizza and arcades in the evening.

Thirty gifts from the girls and I to celebrate every year Jason has been alive.

And then of course, German Chocolate Cake.
Happy Birthday Jason! We love you!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Camping Trip

I have always loved to camp. In fact before I got married I would camp almost every weekend during the summer, even if it just meant throwing a tent up late Friday night in a nearby canyon only to take it down at first light the next morning. When I am in the mountains I feel more alive, more like my true self.

Once I got married and then after Antalya was born, we still camped quite often. In fact, the within a week of Antalya getting released from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) the three of us were sitting around a camp fire with friends for the weekend. She was still on oxygen (ya, I know, having my infant and an oxygen tank near a fire is not the smartest thing I have ever done - good thing I'm getting smart with age).

But then life caught up to us. And I suddenly realized it has been almost four years since I have been camping. So when my brother-in-law invited us to go camping with them, Jason and I jumped at the chance.

We were a bit nervous of how they would be with the campfire, how anyone of us would sleep all in one tent, and how to keep Antalya from wandering off, but they both did surprising well. Only once did Antalya wander off, and it doesn't even really count because she went to the horses at the camp next to us, they stayed a safe distance from the fire the whole time, and as far as sleeping in a tent - not a peep all night (which is a complete miracle for Antalya who normally wakes up crying several times a night).

I only got a few pictures before the camera died, but the girls loved roasting hot dogs over the fire, going for a hike the next morning, playing in the hammock, and even taking a short ride on the neighbor's horse.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

While we were living in London, we had a small toddler trike that I would push the girls on inside our small flat. I tried over and over to teach Antalya how to pedal the bike, but it seemed she just couldn't get the alternating motion of it.

Several weeks ago, we were at a friends house when Antalya hopped on a trike and starting pedaling down the street. Once the shock of it wore off, I realized a few tears were trickling down my face. I was so proud of her.

Either this is something she learned at nursery in London and the bike we had at our place was just too small for her to pedal, or it just all happened to click at the right moment when she hopped on the trike. But whatever the case, Antalya can now pedal a bike!

Maybe next summer we'll try a two-wheeled bicycle?!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Here is a post I just found that I had written a couple months ago, but forgot to publish:

Antalya is so excited to be going to Papa's house in a few more days. She's flown on airplanes enough that I think she understands pretty well what is happening. When I pulled out the first suitcase to start packing last week she instantly said, "airplane, papa's house!" Her enthusiasm is wearing off on Victoria who now says "papa's house" whenever we see a airplane.

It's been quite the year for Antalya in terms of growth and development. And since it's been awhile since I have done a post about her, here's a snapshot of Antalya at 4 1/2.

She continues to be an early riser - getting earlier every year. She's now at a 5:30am wake up time - much earlier than this momma would like, but I've learned that there's just not much I can do about it. She is finally sleeping through the night most nights which is something she has always struggled with. She still takes a nap most afternoons - in fact, she is usually more in need of a nap than is Victoria.

She is a thrill-seeker! This week we were at a play place that had some monster-scary slides with a completely vertical drop. There were a few older girls in line for the smallest one, but all were debating on who would go first since they were all too scared. Without batting an eye, Antalya climbed right up in front of all of them and off she went, laughing the whole way down. Next she moved on to the highest one that begins with a two-story vertical drop. As I sent her off the edge, my heart stopped for a moment. But sure enough when she got to the bottom she burst out in laughter and yelled "again". I climbed up on the platform to join her, but after one look down decided it was more than I had the guts for.

Every day at lunch she requests a "cheese-meat-munch" which means a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It is her absolute favorite and has eaten it nearly every day for about two years.

She loves other people and frequently reaches out to grab other's hands as we walk by or are standing waiting to cross the street. I've try to stop it as much as I can, but most people don't mind. She grabs their hand and then looks up at their face with a huge smile that is full of so much love. People can't help but smile back.

She loves to dance and sing and talk to herself in front of the mirror, using anything she can find as a pretend microphone.

She loves electronics - cameras, computers, phones, stereos. And she seems to just know exactly how to work the devices. If I let her have her way, she would spend all day on the computer.

She is busy, busy, busy. She has always been my little tornado - going from room to room leaving some giant mess to clean up in her wake.

She loves her little sister and is always so thoughtful to share with her, and give her a kiss when she gets hurt or is sad. She is very much the leader and is happy to have Victoria follow her around, and copy her every action.

She gives the biggest, most sincere hugs of anyone I have ever met!

I love you Antalya!!!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Look Who's Two!

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Victoria turned two last week and boy did we celebrate! We took the girls out to eat for breakfast (something we do about once a year, and then we remember why we only do it once a year), then to swimming lessons.

When we got back Antalya helped her open her gifts just like a big sister should. Jason spent the two nights prior to her birthday repairing, sanding, and repainting a baby cradle that was my mom's when she was little. It had been broken for years and was on it's way to the trash pile when I rescued it and volunteered Jason to bring it back to life. Victoria loves it!

That night we had a birthday celebration at the park with many of Victoria's cousins. Victoria was heartbroken when the party ended!

Victoria at age two...
  • never stops moving (I don't know where this girl gets her energy)
  • constantly has bruises everywhere (just tonight, while I was in the next room, jumped from the desk to the bed in one giant leap which sent her flying across the bed smacking her forehead so hard against the wall it left a dent in the wall)
  • loves to make up games to play with Antalya
  • goes absolutely crazy for anything sweet - her favorite being marshmallows
  • hates when I leave the room
  • likes to do everything herself
  • loves babies and all animals to the point of going a bit crazy whenever she sees one
  • loves to laugh and scream (usually at the same time)
  • adds so much fun and craziness to our family!