Monday, February 28, 2011

What to Say

I've always been pretty good with words, but I've found that most often when my skill forsakes me it's when it's needed the most.  When my talent counts, when it's really needed, I never know what to say. It's frustrating to feel that way. Almost useless. This is a post for when you don't know what to say to me, two little things that can mean everything.

Whatever your feeling is okay.
There are days when I'm angry, when I think there is injustice in the fact that people call my sweet Austin a "Downy or a Downs Kid" like he has no identity. There are times when seeing a new baby pushes on those tender places still in my heart, and I wish I could get back those first few weeks when I didn't know what I held in my arms. There are moments when I feel relieved that he's doing so well and then guilty because I feel relieved, days when I think I know exactly what I'm doing only to realize I don't know what the hell I'm doing at all and all that confidence slips away. Occasionally I let myself wallow in self pity about silly little things that really don't mean anything and yet they do. And sometimes. No most times, I am blissfully at peace.

I love you.
Because really that's all I need to hear.

Two small sentences.

Eight little words.

Things we all need to know.

Whatever your feeling is okay. I love you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weaving the Cloth

Today I sit and wait for inspiration to come.


As pandora plays softly in the background a new song comes on and I flip through file after file of photographs.

Life's not the breath you take, breathing in and out

That gets you through the day, it ain't what it's all about

Austin is to little for Mcdonalds but I think he knows what he's missing

You just might miss the point, trying to win the race

Life's not the breath you take, but the moments that take your breath away

Remember the cloth that is our life? The one of many different threads seamlessy weaving in and out. Each day the pattern becomes more vibrant, ever changing as we weave. I pour my heart and soul into it's making, and though we've veered from the pattern I had planned, I've discovered this one suits me. The moments that take our breath away are here all the time, if we take the time to appreciate them.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring in Pennslyvania

Today I saw a flock of geese. They were black specks against a brilliant blue sky, holding formation steadily as their instincts urge them ever faster towards their northern home. For a moment as I gazed at these tireless travelers I felt a pang deep in my heart for the north that I left nearly ten years ago.

As I type this old man winter is growing weary, ever tired of the steady onslaught of sleet and snow, he is nearly ready to pass the torch of the changing season. Everywhere people watch eagerly for the first sign of springs approach, the geese will fly home, and the robins will bare red breasts as they herald the awakening of the earth. Spring could almost go unnoticed as crocus and daffodils peep their courageous heads through melting piles of remaining snow, but soon the hills of Pennsylvania will be awash with green. Spring will be sprung in all sorts of beautiful ways that I took for granted growing up and now as I write about somehow fall short. I miss it all today, the fragrance of Lilacs, and the search for Pussy Willows along bubbling creeks. Standing under trees full of blossoms and feeling enchanted as petals fall softly around you.

Photo from
Pennsylvania I miss you, mostly because you have some unnatural hold on the folk that share my blood, also I love you a little, but seriously can you beat this?

The slow pace of the southern day.....
My two oldest...Growing so quickly....
 to the even slower pace of a romantic stroll under spanish moss on a moonlit southern night.

Can you find anything sweeter than the first Ice Cream cone of the year? Especially when it comes in February with eighty degrees and a cooling breeze, with one of the most adorable toddler girls ever in the history on man. 

I think not.....but you'll always have a place in my heart.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just Stopping By

Really quick tonight guys cause I've got a husband who's not asleep and I'm trying really hard to get to bed before that changes.
Today I get a gold star on my mommy award board. Here's why:

A)Austin had a playdate this morning with the most adorable little girl. I tried really hard to impress her mommy (like I actually FOLDED laundry). I mean she has to like me if we're going to be in-laws someday right?

Blog meet Amalia and Austin......

It's so funny when how our little chromosomally enhanced littles join us together in so many amazing ways. Not to mention that Amalia's brother Ethan looks pretty darn cute with my Analeigh Rose. Just sayin...
B)After said playdate I worked, had a yummy lunch date with hubby, went back to work........

C)Took the kids to the State Park where I taught them to appreciate the wildlife and that turtles ALWAYS have the right of way...
D)Made sure Austin got some extra fiber in his diet while his big brother and sisters played in the lake
Then realized....
E)After my rule breaking spell,unintentional though it was, I was determined to show my children the correct way to behave. So we stopped at this sign and I explained to them that in America we always drive on the right hand side, and then I showed them how they drive in Europe. (Not really...I totally stayed on the right, there was a car coming after all)

F)Even though I had to get home and do bath time and dinner and make phone calls and blog.....(my mother in-law is cringing after all those ands) we still made time to enjoy the sunset together.

No aha metaphors.....

Just me and four sleepy babies watching the close of another day, with the promise of another together tomorrow.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Walk in Someone Elses Shoes

Have you ever wondered what the cashier that struggles with words wanted to be when he grew up?

Do you see a mother with a new baby that looks a little different and feel sorry for her?

When you see something unfamiliar and uncomfortable do you avert your eyes and then think how lucky you are?

I remember the first time someone told me I had compassion. I was in the 5th grade. My teacher had gone over our daily writing assignment and left me a note. "Julia, you write with such compassion. I'm so proud to be your teacher." Over the years I've done my best to live up to that word, and I've always thought I did a good job.

It's not true.

I never understood. Not really.

And then there was Austin. And now I know.

On the great cloth that is our life Down Syndrome is just one thread. So many are woven together to make the intricate and beautiful pattern that it is today. Often that one lone thread goes unnoticed as it seamlessly blends with the others, but there's no denying that it's changed us. One little thread. One tiny little soul, teaching us lessons that some will wait a lifetime to learn.

That cashier has a momma just like me. She sent her baby out into a cruel world. One that he has very little opportunity in. Maybe he wanted to be a veterinarian. Maybe someone told him it wasn't possible, so he takes what is offered him and he does his best. His speech may falter but his heart is whole, please treat it gently.

New momma how I long to hug you. Yours is perhaps the most difficult job. You will spend the rest of your life trying to explain the blessing that is in your arms. Not many will understand the gift that we have been given, but Erma Bombecks words are true."She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations." I have seen three little sets of feet take there first step. I have heard the melodious sounds of first words thrice over. I know what it is to feel pride. But I have never known to celebrate the small accomplishments. So many amazing things I never noticed. Little miracles that I once took for granted are now celebrated, and I am proud. So proud of my boy.
Seven months ago I read a birth story. A beautifully written homage to a new baby born with an extra chromosome. I noted the skill of the author and thought, "phew, thank goodness that's not gonna happen to me". I never thought of it again. Until last week. I came across it again while sharing Austin's Birth Story, and I reread it, and then I reread it again. This women and I who have never met share this bond. I am walking in her shoes , sharing my story and the love that I have for one almond eyed little one.

I have the ability now to try on many shoes. It's shown me how true compassion feels. Will you wear mine today? Will you be the mother that wants her son and each and every one like him to be raised in a world that celebrates their victories and rallies to lift them up when they fall?

So now you have my "shoes". What kind do you wear? Do you ever wish someone understood how you felt? Anyone willing to share it with me?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LOVE-This Week in Pictures

I had a beautiful post planned out in my head when I first sat down to type, but after a few hours of messing around (I mean editing) my pictures my mind is pretty much a bowl full of jello. So you guys get a condensed version of what I wanted to say.

How do I say love? I say it in any langauge I can. I say it with hugs, kisses, and cuddles, but mostly love is Ken, Alli, Aidann, Austin, and Analeigh.

 Love is days spent searching for treasure with firstborns.
 Love is sometimes unexpected. A drop of wild color in a field of green, like this one lone clover daring to be different. A tiny heart held in the palm of a daughters hand.
 Love is chaotic and messy and beautiful in all its glory.
 Love is sleeping babies, with cheeks just begging to be kissed.
 Love is holding the hands of those we love.
 Love is in the setting sun, brilliant as it dips below the horizon.....
 and in the moon as it rises to bid farewell.....
 Love can be found in that moment. The moment where day and night meet.  Lovers caught in a brief embrace, dancing to music only they can hear, arms reaching out as they part yet again......
Until tomorrow.....

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mommy Guilt

Anybody know what I'm talking about? You know the kind that I mean. The kind that has your heart all tied in knots when you need some big people time and your little ones stand at the door looking all miserable and forlorn as you drive away. Or maybe the kind that stings a little when you let Daddy do the tucking in so that you can write or read or study or whatever it is that you need to do. Maybe you're like me and when your babies look at you with little eyes that you created, you find yourself wondering why you go to work each day and leave them? And then you remember the time you tried staying home, and how you almost lost your sanity?

I've found myself struggling with balance so much recently. The yin and the yang that make up my life have been feuding for control of each other, and I find myself wondering will I ever feel like I'm enough? The kids rooms are clean but I miss our playtime. We have pillow fights and smores by the fireplace but I didn't wash the dishes. I spend hours pouring my heart and soul into my writing only to find my husband already asleep in our bed, our quiet time missed yet again. Some people want to be great..... I just want to be enough.

Does anyone have a recipe for the perfect life? You know 1 hour of dance class, plus 30 minutes of cleaning, followed by 15 minutes of occupational therapy,  stir in 30 minutes of dress up time (no make-up), mix together with separated homework, followed by creamed knees after pulling weeds and the extra gray hairs from your newest stunt rider. Stir well. Bake on high Florida heat. Dip in cool water of pool. Sprinkle with leftover time with honey.

   I guess I have a recipe that's kind of evolving. I'm adding and taking away, and finding the best blend for us. So far it's messy and yeah a little bit cheesy, but its also sweet and tender and oh so filling. And you know what? It's enough. I'm enough.

And yes I have to repeat this to myself over and over again I will. Because I am. And you are. All of us battling in the parenthood trenches doing our best for our kids, for ourselves, for each other. We may not be perfect, we may not be great, but what we are is enough....

As Maya Angelou said,
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Here's to feeling loved.....

Sweet dreams my friends. That is all<3

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Week in Pictures

 This week has been one of those weeks full of not much. You know the ones I'm talking about. Nothing exciting. Just life. The ebb and flow of school and dinner and laundry, with those little stolen moments of fun  squeezed in. Like dirty faces. And taking pictures anyways because you know what. That's life.
 This week was tiny little hands that I love, asleep in the afternoon sun.

 and those same tiny hands getting their first taste of Florida oranges.
 And while trying to take my promised picture each day I discovered some beauty and fun in the mess, and maybe, just maybe I enjoyed it.

In a few short weeks we'll be moving, and while I'm so excited to see what our next phase in life will be, it's hard not to feel a little tug on my heartstrings. Especially about leaving my Floridian oasis behind.

It's amazing what this week of being behind the camera lens has done for me. You look through your lens and it's like magic. With just the click of the button the ordinary becomes something else. A snapshot of a moment that you will never, ever get back, and that my friends is something to cherish. Especially if those snapshots are of two beautiful sisters, and oh so yummy Saturday morning breakfast.

 And so in typical Julia style I'll end my post pretty abruptly, cause you know, when your done, your done. My week of not much turned out to be lots when I just looked at it a little closer, and maybe that's what life is all about. Slowing down. Looking closer. Enjoying the sunset......

 and wishing on the first star you see that you never loose that ability.

Night all!!!