Thursday, July 31, 2014

Proud Mama Moment

It's crazy to think about how fast time goes. Someone said to me today "the years fly by but the days drag on". I couldn't agree more. And, frankly, I am glad that the days drag on because I don't want to rush away these precious moments with a little boy that is becoming less and less dependent on me each day. 

Today, Christa and Antonella came over to put the final touches on three more baskets for Beautiful Beginnings. We wanted to get them done to send out to hospitals this week. When she left, the craziest thing happened. My phone rang, and it was my contact from Crozer telling me that a baby was just born and they needed a basket. I mean, honestly, could the timing have been any more perfect? We had just finished three! She then told me about the family- and that's when I just lost it. I was listening while silent tears came rushing.

The family just gave birth to a little boy, and he is in the NICU. Hearing that just brought me right back. It was only just last year, one week ago today, that my son was born at that same hospital and stayed two weeks in the same NICU. My heart hurt for the family because I remember the pain. The helplessness you feel as a parent when there is nothing you can do.

When I got off the phone I hugged Anthony so hard. He had no idea what was going on but he hugged me back. I can't wait to bring this new family their basket from Beautiful Beginnings tomorrow. I want to tell them just how much can change in a year. My whole world was shaken up last year... and even though I can't pin down the exact moment when everything took a turn for the better, it somehow did-right before our eyes. Everything became okay, actually.. much more than okay.

The way I look at it, this family is going to bring me the most amazing closure to a chapter that started our story. A chapter that will no longer define the rest of what comes. I will be able to pay it forward and bring this family the happiness and joy I wish someone had given me during those dark days. Hopefully it will help in some small way, I think it would have helped me.


Tonight, because of that phone call earlier, I was extra emotional and couldn't help but to cry again when I was reading Anthony his bedtime books.

Every day, and especially every night during story time before bed, I practice the "more" sign with Anthony. He has been getting super frustrated lately that he can't communicate what he wants. He "hulks-out" and makes little baby fists that shoot behind him while he puffs out his chest and yells. I really want to help him express what he wants in a way that we can understand, so our therapists told us to try the "more" sign. It's an easy sign, you close your hands so that all of your fingers touch and tap the points of your fingers together a few times while saying "more".

I have been practicing this sign with Anthony so much lately, and whenever I do it he just watches. He watches as I do the sign myself, and then bring his hands together to do it too. He is such a good observer, and I know he is just soaking it all in. I know that because tonight it finally clicked- and we were able to communicate! It was so beautiful that it brought me to tears.

I was trying to feed him his bottle when he grabbed my fingers and scooted down my legs. Then he started marching towards his reading nook in his room. This little boy LOVES reading! He plopped himself down in front of his book bins and yelled at me to take out his few favorites. He sat on my lap as I read him the first one and when it was finished I signed "all done book". I waited, because this is usually when he would throw his fit by kicking and yelling to read it again. But tonight, he didn't yell, instead he grabbed my hands and brought them together to say "more". This continued after each book we read , and each time I cried. I let him read way more books than usual tonight because I wanted to see it over and over again. It was amazing!

He is so smart, and he makes me proud to be his mom every day!

I love being his Mom, his teacher, and his best friend-I hope that last one never changes :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One - part 2

Date: 7/25/2014

Age: 12 Months

Weight: 21 lbs   0 oz

Height:   30 inches

Head Circ.:  43.81  cm

Eating: His feeding schedule is slowly changing- he is trying new food; eggs, granola bar, oatmeal. He is still drinking formula and eating baby food puree every two hours.

Sleep: He starts his night-time feeding around 7:00-8:00 pm, and goes to bed right after that. He usually wakes up around 5:30-6:00 am. 

Likes: Disney Junior, laughing, reading books, playing with new toys, going on walks, giving hugs and kisses, sand and water

Dislikes: When we sign “all-done”, being alone, when we pretend to sleep, strangers, teething again

Milestones: pulling from sit to stand, putting items in containers and taking them out, starting to self feed with puffs (We’re almost at a full puff)

I also promised to put up Anthony's first birthday party pictures! We planned a Sesame Street themed party, and I went a little Pinterest crazy! Thankfully, my family fully supports my desire to have everything over-the-top and creative, and they joined in to make a very magical first birthday for my son. My amazing husband, Mom, Dad and sister personally went above and beyond with anything I asked them to do for the party (and I didn't expect anything less!) They spent countless hours working on painting and putting things together for this party so it would look just like I showed them on Pinterest. I also want to thank the people that made the delicious food for the party and those who came early to help set up and stayed later to help clean up- it did wonders for my stress level!! Luckily the party was at my Mom's house and she took on a lot of the responsibility of getting things set up, so when it came to a cranky baby I could worry about him and not have to worry about the party too.

All-in-all it was an awesome party! Too bad he won't remember any of it, but that's what he has me for- the documenter :).  I must say that I thought I would have taken a ton more pictures and videos of the day than I actually did. . . I guess that is a good sign-the party was so much fun that I forgot to take the time to snap a billion pictures.

But, don't worry.. I still did take a bunch- just not a billion.

I may have left out the small detail that there were over 100 people at his birthday- quite the celebration indeed!

So handsome!

Play time for the lovebirds 

Woah, woah who is this? The Elmo I know is a few inches tall and I can throw him around....

Happy Birthday little man!

Hmm this is new! 

It's your party you can cry if you want to! I would cry too if I had over 100 people watching me eat! 

All partied out 

It took us two sittings to open all of these gifts! Such a spoiled little boy. 

Friday, July 25, 2014



At 1:53 on this day last year, my whole world changed.

I have been anticipating 1:53 coming with a heavy, fast pounding heart, and it’s here… today.  

Someone has pressed the fast forward button on my life, and I want it to stop… at least for these last few hours. I want time to slow down, if only just for today. I am afraid that if I turn around too quickly he will be a little bit taller, he will have grown out of those bite-able chunky legs, he won’t want to hold and squeeze my fingers while eating a bottle anymore, that he will be more independent and not need my help…. I just wish he could stay my baby forever!

That moment, of when Anthony came into the world, has been on my mind every day for the past year. Each day I relive it, and some days I let it take over and I completely get lost in the memory of that emotional day. I get angry at myself for feeling it all over again, and I feel guilty for ever feeling it in the first place. But, most days, I get stronger… I look back at that day with a new found courage. I am able to accept my natural honest feelings that surrounded that day, and can push forward. Each day it gets easier to leave the memory of those feelings in the past, but I know they will always live with me. They are the words that make up the beginning of a beautiful story, our story. I can’t change what happened and how it was written, I can only embrace the overwhelming feeling of love that I have for Anthony today. I only have the power to change the now. And I want to make every moment from here on out positive, each day overflowing with joy and love. Anthony deserves it. 

 It's hard to remember everything about this day last year, most of it seems like a bad dream. The way he was welcomed into this world, and the way the nurses told us about him having Down syndrome were both horrible. If you would have asked me then what my son's first year would entail, I don't think I could have even answered. I was so scared. In that moment I honestly thought it was all over. I was nervous for Anthony's future, and I was torn at how to break the news to family and friends. I never could have imagined what his first year really had in store and how amazing it was going to be...

 I should have never doubted the unconditional love from family and friends that quickly surrounded us. Their support and love has kept me floating when I felt like I was drowning. I owe all my sanity to our amazing family, friends, and community. Anthony is lucky to grow up with people all around him who will have his back no matter what. I can honestly say I am not scared for Anthony's future anymore. And for that, I am thankful. I can breathe knowing that no matter where life takes us, it's going to be okay. We will be loved. Anthony will be loved.

Anthony's first year was filled with such happiness. He has made me proud each and every day. I am so lucky to be his mom. This little boy has already accomplished so much in just his first year of life, I can't wait to see what this next year will bring.

So, bring on 1:53- I think I am as ready as I will ever be. I will be watching the clock all day waiting for it to happen, because when it does I am going to shower Anthony with all of the hugs and kisses he deserved this time last year. This year I am going to make up for it. I am going to celebrate his birthday with a full heart and with more love than I could have ever imagined. 

I am going to end this post with a letter to Anthony. 

Dear Bubs, 

Happy Birthday! You are Mama's favorite little man. I can't believe you are one today. Where has the time gone? On this day last year, you came into this world, and quickly made your way into my heart. And in just a year's time you have completely taken it over, my heart is yours. You have changed my life in ways you may never understand.  I feel so honored and blessed to be your mom. Especially today. When I look back on what an amazing year we had, it only makes me smile. Every day has been a new adventure, and I have enjoyed every second of it with you. You are such an amazing little boy, and you're showing the world just how wonderful you are. One day you're going to change the world, I know it's possible. You have already touched so many lives around you. Anthony, I want you to know that I will always be there for you. No matter how hard life might seem, you will always have your Mama. You can accomplish absolutely anything you put your mind to. And, whatever you choose to do in life, I will be right there at your side cheering you on the whole way. You're perfect. I love everything about you. Thank you for making me a Mama, and for showing me a much better world than I knew existed. I love you so much. Happy Birthday little man! 

Forever yours,


*Later tonight I hope to find time to post the pictures of Anthony's birthday party last weekend, so look out for that!