TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE…Middle Middle, chicken little

I am forever in awe of my middle child.

The same child who 7 months ago, demanded we take her in to a beauty salon so she could “spike” her hair.

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Unlike Abby, who has been exposed to peer pressure and is consciously aware of her actions in a public setting, Phoebe could care less about what others think of her. Every floor is a potential dance floor to Phoebe and she wouldn’t give a second thought to breaking out her awesome dance moves in the middle of a crowded store. No doubt, if she did that, Abby would quietly walk away from her and hide behind a clothing rack, begging me to, “Please make her stop, mom, she’s embarrassing me!”

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Phoebe’s choice of clothes almost always reflect her personality for that particular day. If she’s wearing rainbow-colored clothes, chances are pretty high she is having a good day. If, however, she is wearing grey, blue, another dull color…save yourself grief and wait for her to change her clothes. I don’t believe her choice to match her attire to her inner self is a conscious one…but more ‘matter of fact’ kind of thing.

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When we woke up this morning, she requested a trip to Target. She has a “recipe” she wanted to try. I needed to pick up a couple of things anyway, so after breakfast, we all piled into the car. Currently, we are in Springfield, Utah. The local Target is the best Target I have ever been to: It’s huge, they have more than the average Target, and the grocery section takes up half of the store. When we have days like today where the temperature is in the triple digits, I purchase a Starbucks coffee and spend all morning exploring every isle in the store. After we picked up all of her key ingredients (peaches, bananas, whip cream, and cherries) we headed over to the hair section where I proceeded to convince myself that I needed a new brush and some other items I had “forgotten” to write down on my list.

While we were standing in front of the hair accessory section, Phoebe was dancing around. She was singing and twirling and the next thing I knew, she was falling on the floor of the display case. Once she got back on her feet, she turned to me with eyes full of tears and said, “I’m having a hard day Mommy.” There was no surprise she changed from her multi-colored twirly dress to grey t-shirt and jean short overalls when we returned to the RV.

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Around the 2:00 hour, it had cooled down enough for us to go on a walk. We were just going to do a couple of laps around the park. On our first lap, we made it 3/4 of the way around before we reached the playground. There were two boys around Abby and Phoebe’s age moping around the playground searching for something to do. I encouraged them to see if they wanted to play and watched as they headed over to make their introductions. I witnessed Abby tell the boys her name and hold out her hand for a shake. And then I saw Phoebe clap her hands, do an upward head nod, throw her little non-existent hips to the side, prop one of her hands on her imaginary hip, and point with her forefinger…followed by, “Hey boys, I’m Phoebe…my favorite color is purple, and I really like unicorns.”

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I had just enough of a vantage point to see Abby roll her eyes, bury her head in her hands, shove Phoebe on the shoulder and ask her to, “Stop Phoebe, just be normal.” I had this lump in my stomach. I was trying to formulate the words I might use when she needed to be consoled after the boys made fun of her for the ‘odd introduction’ Leaving her to face peer pressure for the first time in her life. But the reaction I was afraid of, didn’t happen. The boys said something like, “Cool…you guys want to play?” Phoebe started sprinting back towards the RV. When I asked her where she was going, she yelled, “I have to change Mommy…Abby I’ll be right back!”

Five minutes later she is running back to the park wearing pink shorts, with her multi-colored bathing suit on and her purple swim skirt pulled up to her chest. She repurposed the skirt into a ruffle top. On any other child, it would have looked ridiculous, but on her, it was totally awesome. It didn’t seem to bother Abby either. She was also sporting the rainbow winter hat I knitted for her three years ago. Did I mention the hat was wool? Did I also mention it was a solid 93 degrees outside. No one questioned her new look.

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They just wanted to play.

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FOUR…seeking stability within mobility

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being mobile full-time makes me realize how much I love and value my family and friends. There are some definite cons for travelling full-time. But you won’t ever hear me complain about the 3 hour time difference! At least not while I am in Pacific Standard time! Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO…eat, drive, pee…repeat

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5 days, 600 miles a day, 3,000 and some odd miles total…we finally made it to the west coast. Continue reading

ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN…3 is a good number

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This gallery contains 10 photos.

My baby girl turned 3 at the end of July. I had this *brilliant* idea that I would go through each and every picture file on my folder and pull out my favorite pictures of Cecilia over the past 3 … Continue reading

SEVENTY-NINE…sometimes there are no words

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This gallery contains 11 photos.

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

TWENTY…seriously

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This gallery contains 38 photos.

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

NINETEEN…home

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12.5 hours in the car with 2 toddlers, 1 infant, 1 golden retriever and 1 very determined driver… Her expression here pretty much sums up the trip home. I don’t want to see or hear from those mentioned above for … Continue reading

EIGHTEEN…what are we doing to our kids?

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This gallery contains 9 photos.

sweet heart…our power went out at the beach house tonight. It was super windy and rainy all day…we should have seen this coming. Greggy went to pick up a movie and of course like clockwork, 5 minutes after he left, … Continue reading

SEVENTEEN…this holiday season

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This gallery contains 10 photos.

Every once in a while I will have a moment with my family where I am teleported from my body to somewhere else in the room. I can see the girls chasing each other and giggling, Greg is preparing dinner … Continue reading

SIXTEEN…I want my own personal life soundtrack

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This gallery contains 24 photos.

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!!!

TWELVE…spooktastic, spooktacular, spookteriffic!

I thought it was crazy, Halloween on a Monday night. We had a Halloween Party Saturday night, a perfect fall festival Sunday day and it truly felt like Halloween had come and gone.

Never-the-less, we welcomed the wonderful holiday and dressed for the occasion. Miss Bumble Bee and our little rainbow caterpillar tuckered out pretty quick.

Miss Ariel could have gone all night long…

She was so HILARIOUS…I remember last year at the tender age of 3, she wanted to go up to the houses all by herself. She did NOT want me to go with her! This year, she wanted to hold my hand, she wanted me to go up to the steps with her, she wanted me to ring the doorbell or knock on the door. I loved every minute of it, but as stated before, it was quite a change from the previous year. As we were walking up to one house, she looked at me with those BIG blue eyes and said, “mommy this house scares me, I don’t want to go.” At another home there were skeletons hanging from trees and she grabbed my hand and hid her eyes behind her hands and squealed. Oh these tender moments we share with our kids, they are soon to be gone and forgotten. Faded from our memory.

There’s my little bumble bee…kissing the dresser doors. Another moment I might soon forget…

I might forget that Miss Abby went through 3 costume changes before deciding on Ariel. I might forget that it took me 20 minutes to figure out that the bumble bee costume had a velcro ‘area’ which might make it easier to change a diaper, if such an act was needed. It was needed. The bumble bee costume was exposed to hazardous waste.

I might forget that Miss Cecilia looks extra ‘caterpillary’ with her hat on…but the 6-12 month caterpillar hat was WAY TOO BIG for her beautiful 3-6 month old head and WHILE WE ARE ON THE SUBJECT OF INAPPROPRIATE SIZES…Abby’s Little Mermaid dress specifically said ‘xs – 3-6’ and it looked like it could have been M-6-9. It was hanging off her sweet delicate little frame. Looking at this picture, with her arms above her head, I might have forgotten that little detail.

All these tiny little details…these little nuances…I want to remember these things about my children. I want to remember how I felt about buying Abby three separate costumes and allowing her to make up her own mind. I want to remember how reluctant Phoebe was about going up to someone’s house and the way she held on to me while she was wearing her body-hugging black velvet bumble bee costume. I want to remember how Miss Bumble Bee’s poor little yellow feathers rubbing off on EVERY THING made me giggle to myself! I want to remember how poop got on to her Halloween costume. I want to remember all of the sweet comments everyone made about my little caterpillar. In fact, I want to remember all the nice things everyone said about all of our little cast of characters. I want to remember all of these things. I am a mother now. The weight of that phrase can really sober one up. One day these amazing little people are going to grow up…and they are going to find something they are skilled in, good at or enjoy.

One day, us old folks might be welcoming their little families into our home for the weekend. When I share stories about their ‘mommy’s’ life, I hope I remember all of these wonderful little details. I hope we can all laugh about these silly things together. But for now, I want to spend as much time with them as I can. Get to know them. Hear them when they talk about their dreams. Sing with them…the way they want to sing ‘off key, making up new words and as loud as I possibly can’. Let them pick out their very own little outfits…even if they don’t match or are in the wrong season. Let them eat candy and sugar before dinner and as soon as they wake up in the morning. WAIT – did I really just write that?  Show them all of the opportunities that lay before them. LOVE THEM. Celebrate with them. Celebrate them.

It’s November. WOW. How did that happen?

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!!

 

 

THREE…sleeping babies


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I love to peak on my girls when they are sleeping. They each look so different to me. And now I am going to let my freak flag fly high, I really love to get down close to their faces and smell their breaths.

Looking at Abby, I feel as if I get a glimpse of what she will look like three years from now. Her beautiful lily white skin with her pink cheeks and those full naturally red lips…so delicate yet so in your face.

I am able to see he with her mouth closed at least once during the day. Definitely a rare moment in this house. This little girl loves life. She explores her environment with everything she has. She touches everything, brings things to her nose so she can breathe in their inherent goodness, she is almost willing to taste any food at least once assuming her daddy and I aren’t pestering her to eat it, and she watches very intently with those beautiful blue eyes, and unfortunately for the two adults in the house she HEARS everything!

We have begun catching Howard Stern reruns at night. the phrase that best suits Abby is this: she wakes up talking and doesn’t stop until she falls asleep. The truth is, I am envious of her zest and energy for life. I could use more of that!

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Then there’s Phoebe. Right from the start this little girl has been a great sleeper. Greg and I used to joke that she slept the firstyear of her life away. It certainly felt like it anyway. She sleeps exactly how she lives..purposefully and with her whole body! she is beautiful in every way.

Physically she had me in the palm of her hand with her cuddly little body, her sweet round face, those enormous hazel/green eyes, big red poutty lips and sweet pink cheeks.

I have a saying about all of our kids that deals with old school real sugar bubble gum and chewing them on my back teeth to get all those yummy flavors out…really letting the freak flag fly now! She has a sweet sensitive side about her…she really tries to savor things.

For instance, in the morning she wants to hang on just a little bit longer to the early morning hug, before life gets too busy, she really enjoys food and will linger around before and after mealtime to make sure she has sampled everything on the menu, she breaks down at the slightest raise in pitch when communicating with her, she’s careful and deliberate in her choices and if you give her space to let her make her own decisions, she’ll love you with everything she’s got!

Sweet Cecilia…the third girl. The baby sister.

The new ‘squeaker beeker’…she squeeks just like her big sister Phoebe did. Her arms are out from her body as are her little legs…it looks almost as if she might melt into the mattress. Mouth wide open with that sweet baby breath.

She longs to be held, cuddled, cooed to, sung to. Recently she’s all about smiling and laughing. Just another way she is making me fall in love with her!

I love my sleeping babies!