EIGHTY-ONE…rambling woman

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Cecilia, Phoebe and I have experienced several rainy afternoons… hmmm, what to do… rainy afternoons with two toddlers… oooh I know, POTTY TRAINING!!!we have been working on potty training for a week now… …don’t ask… And then there is Cecilia … Continue reading

EIGHTY…DOWN RIGHT AWESOME!!!

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Today might have been the ‘BEST DAY EVER’ We started the weekend off with a good old-fashioned Buddy Walk… I must admit, since it was my first time attending this major Down syndrome event, I was not exactly sure what … Continue reading

SEVENTY-NINE…sometimes there are no words

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Siblings… When I went to my first Down Syndrome Awareness Group meeting I met a mother who spoke about her sons’ older sister. When her son was younger, in elementary school, his older sister (who was only 9 or 10) … Continue reading

SEVENTY-EIGHT…happiness

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My beautiful baby girl It has been such an incredible year our sweet turtle has made so much progress this past year So many times I have wished the moments after her birth would have been different. I wish I … Continue reading

SEVENTY-SIX…sweetness times 10

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Today,Instead of cleaning house or doing laundry…which sadly, is very much-needed… Cecilia and I got dressed up in our fancy picture clothes… retrieved our fancy multi-colored beach blanket, and headed out to a nearby park where mommy could focus on … Continue reading

SEVENTY-FIVE…a moment

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Freedom I was driving back from the dentist this morning by myself, which is important to note, because so rarely do I find myself ‘alone’. I was listening to XM and one of my all-time favorite bands ‘The Black Crows’ … Continue reading

SEVENTY-FOUR…getting back into the swing of things!

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2 weeks have passed since my last post. The time has flown by. There have been many situations I would have loved to blog about, but life got in the way. So many things have happened in such a short … Continue reading

SEVENTY-THREE…my little sailfish!!!

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Abby Leigh Miss kindergartener… What can I say about my first-born going to school… Is it normal for mommies on the first day to be so extremely excited that instead of crying, nervous energy manifesting itself in hyper overjoyed behavior??? … Continue reading

SIXTY-SIX…identity crisis

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The past two weeks have flown by…I am sure this is not the first time I have started a post with those very words… I dragged my poor 13-year-old niece on 2 separate photo shoots in 4 different locations when … Continue reading

SIXTY-FIVE…pump the breaks father time

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11 months the countdown begins 25 more days and this little girl is going to be 1-year-old That seems soon I of course am remembering the great parts of the year…the birth (looking back it was beautiful, just as they … Continue reading

SIXTY-FOUR…monday happiness/oxymoron??

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I have been trying to write this post for 2 weeks now…so ridiculous life keeps happening Our Busha came down for a visit…we rocked this town!!! Busha exhausted my girls and I am pretty sure my girls exhausted their Busha!!! … Continue reading

SIXTY-ONE…she’s got soul but she’s not a soldier

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This week has been hectic to say the least… The end of the semester grades were due and it seems I had more students and consequently more work to grade than previous semesters. Glad it’s over…I can’t wait for my … Continue reading

FIFTY-FIVE…my little turtle

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I would like to preface this post by giving props to the band Two Door Cinema Club and their song, ‘something good can work’….makes me wanna dance like I haven’t changed 6 poopy diapers…like I haven’t swept/mopped my kitchen, dining … Continue reading

FIFTY-THREE…the things we do for love

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Marriage is an amazing thing. I once heard someone say, ‘if you can’t be friends with your spouse, your marriage probably won’t work’. I butchered it a bit, but you get the gist. I genuinely enjoy Greg as a person … Continue reading

FIFTY-TWO…

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It’s March 29th In other words, our baby girl is officially 8 months. How did that happen? It was a special day for Cecilia in another way as well, today she had her interview with the state early intervention system. … Continue reading

FIFTY-ONE…out and about

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Our Asylum is very different these days… I don’t know how it is for other people raising kids ages 5 and under, but when my little inmates get to venture outside, everything is better. They listen better. Play better. Behave … Continue reading

FIFTY…reality rocks

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You know those moments when you’ve dreamed about something you want, so you research it, make a decision and eventually go for it…all the while hoping it’s everything you want it to be? what about those moments when the dream … Continue reading

FORTY-NINE…the countdown has begun

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3 days 72 hours 4,320 minutes 259,200 seconds we will be gassing up, shoving in, eating out and scooting down the road!!! EEK!!! Did I mention how excited I am??? AND on a side note… Do Kings of Leon ever … Continue reading

FORTY-EIGHT…we are making our move

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I have been posting pictures here and there of my new obsession… We are packing our little people up and relocating to this… well not right here per-se but extremely close! Oh warm weather, salty air, sunny skies, crazy thunder/lightning … Continue reading

FORTY-SIX…follow your bliss

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“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow … Continue reading

FORTY-FIVE…thank you mother nature

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I have so much to do today, so naturally I am procrastinating There are those days where it seems like no matter what I do, I cannot turn my non-productivity around. The universe has other plans for me. I just … Continue reading

FORTY-THREE…let those eyes sparkle and shine

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Our sweet baby Cecilia Rae is 6 months now  I remember putting lotion on her little body, putting her little newborn diapers on her little 6 pound 8 ounce frame, holding her little bottom in the palm of my hand … Continue reading

THIRTY-NINE…it’s deeper than you think

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I know I said I would ’embrace the cold as long as snow wasn’t too far behind’ but after the beauty that was today, I am afraid I have to change my mind… Oh I am lovin the sun and … Continue reading

THIRTY-EIGHT…a much-needed get-away

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Banner Elk, North Carolina… We were able to get away this weekend…I packed up the kids on Friday and we fled 115 miles north-east to Beach Mt., North Carolina, nestled atop Banner Elk. We were hoping to do a little … Continue reading

THIRTY-SIX…super tuesday’s

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Super Tuesday’s  our Tuesday’s are spent with our beloved OT and PT, Beth and Beth. Two equally beautiful, energetic, positive and gentle individuals, whose names are both Beth…obviously! In the above picture OT Beth is using the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol … Continue reading

THIRTY-FOUR…happy birthday greggy

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How do you celebrate someones birthday when they don’t really care about celebrating their birthday? this is how the Spranger girls celebrate little Greggy’s big day… I will let him sleep in a little longer turn on HOWARD STERN for … Continue reading

THIRTY…change

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Today was filled with music and laughter…and poop. AND I couldn’t be happier. Go figure? Seriously, I think I changed 6 poop diapers between Phoebe and Cecilia. Not to mention I picked up Bear’s poop in the yard. There were … Continue reading

TWENTY-SIX…the big wind-down

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This week has been filled with appointments, therapies, grocery runs for last-minute forgotten items and more appointments as well as more therapies. And one very important unannounced visitor…eheem Uncle Rusty. I really must say with our growing list of doctors … Continue reading

TWENTY-FOUR…strange week

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YEAH…Hello Weekend…Goodbye crummy week! Good riddance! Be off with you… What a strange week The highlights go something like this… 1. Cecilia had her OT appointment and rocked the house. We met her OT, Beth in the lobby of Cecilia’s … Continue reading

TWENTY-THREE…proud mamma

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My baby girl finally turned over today from her back to her front! I was beside myself with excitement! Of course she decides to make her triumphant debut right as I put my camera down. I was watching her as she … Continue reading

TWENTY…seriously

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I have one word to sum up where I am in my life at this very moment in time…that word is, yup, that’s right…seriously? I have a gazillion pictures of the beach…of which I am never going to do anything … Continue reading

SIXTEEN…I want my own personal life soundtrack

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Vampire Weekend…another righteous band! I was driving to Knoxville with Miss Cecilia the other day and Vampire Weekend came on….I went from an, ‘I’m barely awake moment’ to an, ‘I want to dance out of my skin moment’. I get … Continue reading

FIFTEEN…five

Abby Leigh.

There are words, phrases, adjectives that come to mind when talking about Abby Leigh…

loud

fun

sensitive

non-stop

She’ll give you everything she’s got

Sometimes Abby will spend the night with my mom or this summer she spent a week with her Busha. I was devastated. For the entire week, I slept in past 6:30 am, Phoebe went to bed at 6:30 pm…no questions asked or battles to fight, we had food in the cabinets and in the refrigerator and I actually experienced silence during the day. Yes I will say it again…

I WAS DEVASTATED.

It was the quietest week I have ever lived, since having kids.

You get used to the chaos and talking, singing and squealing, questions and comments about EVERYTHING everyone in the room is doing

Sometimes I need a 5 minute break from the chaos that is Abby

A quick five minutes does wonders

I constantly learn from Abby.

She is a ‘glass is full’ kind of girl. She loves life. I remember one day in the spring, I was pregnant with Cecilia, we were home from a long drive and collecting stuff that had piled up in the car. Greg carried Phoebe up to her crib in hopes of letting her stay asleep a little longer. Abby was out of the car and headed towards the door when she looked back at me. I didn’t say anything, but obviously I was having trouble getting out of the car. I had a lot of stuff in my hands and the car was at an incline, so the door wouldn’t naturally stay open. I was kicking it with my foot and the stuff in my arms was spilling out onto the ground. Abby rushed over to me and opened the car door and said, “I’ll help you mommy”. Tears of pride streamed down my face, honestly. Ok, so I was pregnant, hormonal and my feelings were probably hurt because I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do right in that moment. But she made everything better. How did she know to help me? As parents we are so busy helping our children do every thing…every day.

Here was Abby, at 4 years of age, seeing her mommy struggling and helping her.

Just yesterday I was blowing up balloons while the girls were playing with their dolls. A balloon popped in my face. It scared everyone. Abby and Phoebe jumped and their mouths were wide open. Both of them looking at me in shock. Abby said, “Are you ok mommy?” I just laughed. I asked her if she saw the piece of the balloon that blasted off…we certainly didn’t want Phoebe to get a hold of it. Abby started searching and found it on the opposite side of the room, “I found it mommy…it was all the way over there.”

She has such a wonder about her…

I am consumed by the love I have for this little girl. I am consumed for the love I have for all my children and my husband of course who constantly gives and amazes me with his sensitivity and love for his children.

I am having a moment…

the point is, I am so proud of the little person she is becoming!

I hope she has a wonderful 5th birthday!!!

FOURTEEN…two

Phoebe June turns 2 today…It’s an all-day all-weekend birthday extravaganza!

Sweet Phoebe June. Her birth was strangely easy. Immediately after she was born, I looked at Greg and said, “I could do this again”. When we brought her home from the hospital I remember taking catnaps with her on the couch and sleeping with her at night. She was always my little cuddlebug, always right there with me wherever I was! She still is…she will find a book, locate me and turn around with book in hand and walk backwards until she reaches my lap where she will sit down. She likes our reading time together. She likes to sit on my lap while we watch her afternoon shows…she will let me scratch her back and run my fingers through her hair, kiss her beautiful chubby cheeks and the best part of all, she doesn’t mind it when I stare at her.

Phoebe has such a great little personality, all her own. She enjoys playing with little dolls and animals, she’s a girly girl if there ever was one. At meal time, she enjoys the process of eating the food – the whole sitting down, talking, raising her glass to a good meal and good company. She loves to swing. She enjoys holding hands when she wants to walk by your side, but also letting go of your hand at inappropriate moments and running far away so you have to chase her. Typical…she is two.

Such a sensitive little person. She always has a laugh or a tear ready and truthfully, it always seems like it could go either way at a moments notice. I was so impressed with her when she met Collin Read as a toddler. Greg, the kids and I were having dinner with our friends Tom and Jill and their wonderful boys Brady, Owen and Collin. Phoebe was probably 1.5 years – it was over the summer and she was so amazed by Collin and gentle with him.  It makes me think she might be empathetic towards others…I certainly hope so.

For the most part she is very good at sharing. Abby has been known to just take it from her. Most of the time, Abby gets away with it. Phoebe will calmly find another toy. Sometimes though, when she is tired, she looses it. The sadness overwhelms her and I swear I can read what she is thinking by looking at her sweet face, “I really wanted to play with that toy…I had a whole story in mind for them…I was going to make my little dolls do this and that and Abby took them away without asking”. AUGH…breaks my heart.

She’s pretty sneaky too. She will spot Abby from afar playing with a doll she wants. She scoots near and continues to play just waiting for the moment Abby sets the doll down. When the moment comes, snoopy runs over very quickly, takes the doll, turns and runs in the opposite direction. Leaving Abby clueless. Often times she runs into her Barbie tent. Very savvy this little sister is.

I think she’ll do alright. I am so proud and in love with her. I love getting to know who she is and what her interests are. I hope she had a great birthday! AND it will continue tomorrow…THE SPRANGER GIRLS BIRTHDAY WEEKEND EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

NINE…yummy goodness

I was so excited when Miss Cecilia woke up at 5 am this morning! I ran up stairs, got her out of her crib, changed her little diaper, pulled down the covers on the spare bed and we climbed on in! We snuggled up so tight to one another. I thought I was going to try and go back to sleep, but she is so cute I just wanted to watch her. She is doing so many new things right now; she has been cooing and ahhing a lot lately…we are having our own private ooh and aah conversation

she has been bringing her hand up to her head – when she does this it looks as if she is carrying the weight of the world on her little 2.5 month old shoulders

she is locking eyes with me…so we are really ‘gazing’ into one another’s eyes right now, and she is beginning the belly laugh stage…so I find myself doing the strangest things in order to make her giggle.

Baby love.

I am knee deep in it folks!

So in love with Miss Cecilia!

She is YUMMY GOODNESS!!!

FIVE…it’s friday!!!!

AUGH we made it through the week! Abby loves her boots and so do I! Great purchase!!!

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We all ventured out to show our support for Phoebe. She needed a flu shot. It has been a while since she has had a shot. I was a little worried. She had her temperature taken and the nurse was ready right when we arrived with the shot…she stuck the needle in Phoebe’s leg and I am looking at her waiting for her to object and …nothing. No whimper, no tears, no anything. She really took me by surprise. She did give the nurse a look that kind of made me laugh…it reminded me of my brother JB, he has this priceless look he gives when he thinks you’ve said something absurd. It’s almost like he’s getting ready to smile – pulling up one corner of his mouth and crinkling his brow…that’s the look my little girl gave this nurse today! It was almost as if she was saying to the nurse, “that’s all you got?” OR “WTH? I thought we were pals?”…the look could have gone either way. Whatever she was thinking…she was pretty darn cute! I have to say AGAIN, I did not expect her to be so freakin cool about it. She’s such a rock star!

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I have been cleaning, laundering and packing today…we are headed up to Michigan for some R&R with Greg’s family and friends! It’s always fun to visit the people you love and don’t get to see very often. Greg’s brother’s family hasn’t met Cecilia yet. I am excited for her to meet her Aunt, Uncle and cousins.

I am always worried about the kids sleeping patterns when we go somewhere. It can never be ‘easy’. We are never able to carry over our good sleeping habits when we go away from home, for whatever reason. I tend to think it’s because we aren’t in our natural environment…the sounds in another home are different and probably my worrying about it only makes it worse.

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I am excited about the 12 hours in the car…knitting projects, eek!!! So I am taking along a lot of yarns I think Miss Cecilia would look good in…she needs a nice fall hat.

I am loving this fall weather and I am chomping at the bit to take my camera up north!!! I know their colors have got to be insane right now!!!

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AND on a more serious note, sometimes I think about the right way to introduce Cecilia to other people…I know what others will say…’there is no right way’ or ‘how ever you want to do it will be the ‘right’ way’.

But it has been on my mind a lot.

On the one hand, I am so proud of her that in the beginning I would just blurt it out, as sort of ‘by the way’ kind of thing. I quickly found out that approach really made people feel uncomfortable. AND by ‘uncomfortable’ I mean they weren’t exactly sure how to respond…I am sure it seemed like I was ‘in denial’ by the way I simply stated it as fact with a smile on my face.

I know ‘who cares what other people think’ but if I don’t mention it, does it mean I am hiding it or embarrassed by her?

I prepped my dentist the other day by saying ‘we are so happy and proud and I don’t want to make you feel awkward, but sweet Cecilia has Down syndrome’.

Some people I just want to tell because I hope 1. they will say something inspiring and insightful and potentially life altering and 2. they will say, congratulations, she is beautiful and she will bring many gifts to your family’. Luckily my dentist proved to be one of those inspiring and insightful people…as did my hairdresser.

Who knew? But I think I have decided, at least for now, not to tell people…just for a little while. Writing that just now, made me feel like I was ‘coping out’ or lying or…I don’t know. It felt dishonest and I don’t want to be dishonest. I think if I am with the other person, in the middle of a conversation and I want or feel let sharing with the other person, then I will.

I have read some horror stories about newbies (new parents) breaking the news about their baby and having to deal with off the wall comments some individuals make. I don’t think I can handle something like that right now. If it happens to me, I hope I can be the kind of parent who will educate and have sensitivity about the issue, be mature – at least for my children.

I feel on the one hand, If I get upset in front of Abby and Phoebe, it will be a source of tension and embarrassment in our household…and I definitely don’t want to send that message.

BUT if I show tolerance and patience and work to educate people, hopefully Abby and Phoebe will see that and try to emulate that in their own lives as they grow.

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Sweet sweet girl. so sleepy! When I look at her all she wants is to be held, changed, cuddled, fed, kissed and talked to. So simple. So complex. So beautiful, sweet and powerful.

Wow, for a Friday this post really became HEAVY!!! Happy weekend!!

 

 

One…us

I met my husband Gregory Kenneth in 2003 in northeastern Tennessee. We were both working for a small private college. He was a Professor in Computer Science and I was an Assistant Director for an Arts Outreach Program. We were the only two SINGLE people younger than 30 in the small rural bible belt town.

Luckily we hit it off and ended up glued at the hip, despite our default status.

Our first date was pretty amazing…I convinced him to ride along in my jeep Cherokee for 45 minutes of real mountain driving, otherwise known as BACKROADS!

I am a shoulder hugger which doesn’t sit well with middle-of-the-road drivers like Gregory Kenneth. I wanted to take him to the Smokey Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Driving in a car for 45 minutes with someone you have never spoken with could have been nerve-racking. But from the moment he opened the car door, I felt completely at ease. We didn’t stop talking until he was safely returned to his Jeep 4.5 hours later. We had beer and apps, we listened to some great music, walked along the streets in downtown Gatlinburg, and stopped at an arcade so I could ‘school’ him on a civil game of air hockey.

I WON of course!

He doesn’t remember it that way, but when it comes to air hockey, I always win!

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A year and a half later we eloped on April 1, 2004 in the oldest courthouse in Tennessee. Afterwards we ate crab cakes, fried green tomatoes and sipped on cold chardonnay in a quaint little restaurant.  Greg paid the bill and we were on our way. Until the nice waitress ran after us to hand me the marriage certificate I had forgotten at the table. …and I headed back to my part-time job as a front desk clerk in a hotel.

Thus began the quirky story of our little family. After a year of marriage, we decided we were ready to grow our little family. A dog was the perfect addition to our family and would allow us to practice our parenting skills. We decided on a Golden Retriever puppy and chose the name Bear (due to the abnormally large size of his butt in comparison with the rest of his tiny furry body).

In 2004, I began a Master’s program for Early Childhood Education at ETSU. I was two classes shy of my degree when my husband applied and received a position at a state college in northwestern Nebraska. Yet another small rural town.

What is it about us and small rural towns?

We were interested in an adventure, so we packed up and moved across the country. IMG_0041

He was loving life in his new position and after a semester of teaching Kindergarten, I found a job that suited my degree and goals a little bit better…a Director of an Early Childhood Program.

We were fitting in so well into our new surroundings, getting to know everyone in our small town, visiting the park 2 blocks from our house and our New Year tradition of visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

It was in this rural northwestern Nebraska town that we welcomed our first daughter Abigail Leigh on November 6, 2006. We were smitten, nervous, anxious, protective and overwhelmed with love right from the start.

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After Abby was born I had a strong desire to stay home with her. So, Greg went into the computer industry…which meant he was going to travel, sometimes for weeks at a time.

For a year, our little one car Subaru Forester, family drove together to take daddy to the airport sending him off to the big world only to pick him up a week later. It was an hour and a half trip one way. We wanted another child and were quickly growing out of our 950 square foot home as well as my coveted Subaru Forester.

We ditched the cool urban car and went for the mini-van. We searched the area for new homes, but decided with the amount of travel Greg was committed to, we would move closer to my family until we could find out ‘where’ we wanted to live.

Our first rental in TN was in a growing city in northeastern TN. The neighborhood was a little scary and the house was ok. Not completely desirable, but it was a step in a direction. 2 months after moving, I was pregnant with our second child…another girl.

On November 5, 2009 we welcomed our second baby girl, Phoebe June Spranger.

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Our little family was getting a little bit bigger and I was hormonal and growing impatient with our living situation.

My mother had a condo in a neighboring town that was rather large and currently unoccupied, so I persuaded her to let us rent it for a small fee and promised I would make small repairs on the home so she might have better luck selling in the future.

I think now might be a good time to mention I grew up in this condo…all the way from 5th grade to senior year in High School. Here we are, my husband, dog and two daughters living in the home I grew up in.

Low and behold, 8 months after moving in I found I was pregnant yet again.

On July 29th, 2011 Greg, Abby, Phoebe and I ….and Bear, welcomed Cecilia Rae Spranger into the world. Our third girl. I had always hoped for 3 girls…and now my dream was complete…IMG_0316or so I thought.

6 hours after Cecilia Rae was born we were told the on site pediatrician who was observing her suspected she might have Down syndrome.

My body felt like a furnace that had just been lit. Heat began to rise in my body from my feet all the way to the top of my head.

In the hours/days that followed I came to know what the definition of ‘marriage’ meant to me.

The pediatricians suspicions were correct, she did have Down syndrome. I have shared her birth story in another post, but for now…2 months 1 week and 5 days later I am completely consumed with love for this beautiful little girl who continues to surprise us with her development and her emerging personality everyday.

We are SLOWLY getting into our groove as a family of three beautiful, happy and healthy little girls.