Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Usually every holiday is spent us driving from house to house and stressing what days we spend with what family. This year Thanksgiving was a little stressful at first but actually turned out perfect with the Apple Cup happening the Friday after Thanksgiving! That gave us the chance to spend Thanksgiving with my family and the Friday after with Ray’s family. (Sorry for the serious lack of photos!)

My mom hosted Thanksgiving at her house for the first time and it was wonderful! She saw a cute idea to make place tags for each person and on the back of the card that person has to write what they are thankful for, then they were hung on a tree and it became the ‘Thankful Tree’. Our plan was to start a tradition of this each year and the following year see what everyone had been thankful for the year before. My parents cooked 2 turkeys and made 10 pounds of potatoes for all 24 of us. The potatoes were gone by the end of the night! We had a lot of Grandma’s recipes and pies and my mom even got to borrow some placemats that were Grandma’s. Madi got to sit in her high chair and make a mess with mashed potatoes and stuffing, we learned then that this girl LOVES mashed potatoes!  (Sorry no photo of the mess after.) It was so nice to have Grandpa there, he wasn’t feeling too great but I think he just enjoyed being with the family. My family loves to play games together – pretty much my favorite part of our family get-togethers! It is usually the women playing games while the men watch some sort of ball game on TV and this holiday was no different. At one point I went out to the family room and every inch of the huge couch was covered – half of the people napping!

On Friday I got myself and Madi up early to go out shopping with my family at Southcenter mall. I got there about 9am and left at noon. I think I got there at the perfect time because I had missed the crazy people there for opening but the afternoon crowd hadn’t shown up yet. None of the lines were crazy and there was still product available. When I left the mall at noon it was CRAZY! Like took me 30 minutes to get out of the parking garage crazy! Do not ever plan to get to the mall at noon on Black Friday!  I mostly spent the time with Nancy, Erica and Tara, trying to find a dress for Tara’s Homecoming dance. We didn’t buy a dress but found a couple maybes. It was nice to get to spend time with those girls! As I walked through Nordstrom though I saw the perfect TOMS for Elli and now I’m just dying to buy them for her!!

That afternoon we went over to Rhonda’s house to eat more and watch the Apple Cup! We watch the game together every year so this worked out perfect to join Thanksgiving and Apple Cup! Randy had to work so Rhonda called DirecTV and ordered a DVR to get there before Friday in order to record the game and watch it when Randy got off work. Rhonda is the only Husky fan in the family – us kids are all Cougar fans. You could say the house was a little loud during the last quarter/OT with us kids getting excited! It was a wonderful game and a lovely night as always spending time with family. Elli adores her auntie & uncle and has super energy with them!
This year I am thankful for many things – see next post with copies of my 30 days of Thanks from FB. But mostly this year I am thankful for my family. With losing my Grandma in October we all came together and supported each other. We all understood each other’s pain and spent those sad days together. I am also so very thankful for my girls who even though test my patience daily, give me the most joy, the biggest smiles and a heart just bursting with love.  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and would love to know what you were especially thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Madi's Photos

Before Madi was born we had planned to get newborn photos of her. I had pregnancy photos with Elli and thought it would be fun to do something different with Madi. I was so disappointed to have to cancel Madi's photo shoot when she was born. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks and we didn't want photos done there. I have been so bad about getting her photos done every 3 months like I did with her sister (we only went once) so I thought it was right to get 1st birthday photos done for her. We haven't ordered prints yet but so far the extra investment of going to a professional is worth it!

We chose to go to Kayla J Photography in Monroe, we had originally planned with her for Madi's NB shoot. She was recommended by two friends and had very reasonable prices. I was so happy to finally meet Kayla and see her amazing studio! She was great with the girls, loved on Madi and seemed to understand my being late. We are already looking forward to going back next year!

I was so embarrassed though the day of because I had been thinking all week our appointment was at 10:30 only to look at my message to her on the way there that I had said 10! So we were running a half an hour late...which wouldn't have been so bad if I had known about 522 closing daily from 10:15-11:15. We were seriously at Echo Lake intersection at 10:17 when we realized this. We then had to go to highway 9 to highway 2, an extra half an hour! Now our 90 minute appt was cut to 45 minutes all because I didn't double check myself before leaving the house!

I am so very pleased with the photos we were able to get in that time and am currently having a hard time deciding what to order! You are more than welcome to check out our album here until they expire on December 1st.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I've never been a huge fan of Halloween, although I did some dressing up in my early twenties with my besties! I've always enjoyed the trick or treat aspect and the beautiful fall weather we usually have, I just hate the darkness of this holiday. But while we have little ones I will enjoy the fun of trick or treating!

About a week before Halloween we went to Rhonda's house to carve pumpkins and celebrate Halloween with her, Randy and Shawna. Elli had fun carving pumpkins, decorating cupcakes and goofing off with uncle!

This year Elli wanted to be Cinderella which is great since we already had almost everything for her costume! Great choice Elli! She loved getting to put makeup on and wearing her crown.

I recently pulled out all the 9 month clothes from Elli for Madi to start wearing and we found Elli's first Halloween costume! Here is Elli at 3.5 months and Madi at 10.5 months old in the same pumpkin costume. So fun for them to share that first! And the pumpkin was a perfect addition to Cinderella!

Before dropping off Elli at Cubbies we decided to get Red Robin so I didn't have to cook. Unfortunately we had the worst service ever! After dropping Elli off at church Ray and I took out pumpkin to Target and she got to sit up in the cart for the first time! So much fun.

After Cubbies they had a little festival for the kids with games, face painting and hay rides. Elli had a blast and got lots of little prizes.

We thought we would be home too late to trick or treat in our neighborhood so we decided to stop at my parents neighborhood on the way home. They don't get trick or treaters up there so the few houses we stopped at Elli got a ton of candy! She loved looking at the moon while walkng around. It was a nice night together as a family!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Madi's Monkeys 2012

Sunday the 7th we participated in the Puget Sound Buddy Walk. Our team was Madi's Monkeys and we had a wonderful turn out! It was an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny and 70! Since the walk is in October I planned for cold weather and designed team sweatshirts. I guess I needed to remind myself how unpredictable our weather is here.  Next year will be 3/4 sleeve t-shirts!

We had a team page to raise money for the Buddy Walk and the Down Syndrome community and we were so blessed! I was amazed at the support we got for our first year! My mother in law alone brought in $150 from her co-workers, friends and customers! My original goal of $250 was more than tripled! $850 will bless so many in this community! After seeing what we can accomplish in our first year supporting/attending the Buddy Walk my goal is to double that $850 next year!

I think I was a little overwhelmed at the actual event and didn't participate as much as I should have. I'm always worried about others enjoying themselves that I forget to take time for myself. We had a large group walk with us and we are so thankful for all of their love and support. It made my heart smile so big to see everyone there for our girl! I made a point to get a photo of Madi with everyone that came to walk in our team to one day show Madi how much she love she has surrounding her since she was born! (Some of you may notice that my side of our family other than Ryan, Tara and Jesse are absent but I know they would've been there if they could have, but many of them spent the day with my Grandma, and that was right where they needed to be.)

I was truly amazed out how many people were there to help show awareness of Down Syndrome. To hear others stories and to be reminded that we are not alone in our daily struggles was inspiring. It is wonderful to see how the view of DS is changing in our world. I am thankful that our daughter was born at this time when she is loved just for being her. She is a quiet, happy, cuddle-bug, mama's girl. I hope that the society we live in will continue to embrace her and not use her DS as a way to describe her but see DS as the little extra piece God gave her to make her extra special.

Here are the photos of everyone that came (I somehow missed Juli from Ray's work though - sorry!) There are more photos online here if you want to see the rest. :)

 Madi and Grandpa
 Madi and auntie Donna
 Madi and Joan
 Madi and uncle Randy
 Madi and Maka
 Madi and uncle Rick
 Madi and uncle Tom
 Madi and Skyler
 Madi and Jake
 Madi and Shelly
 Madi and auntie Shawna
 Madi and Grandpa Kevin and Grandma Mickey 
 Madi and Mona
 Madi and aunt Rocky
 Madi, Danielle and Ryan
 Madi and most of the Dowrey family
 The Isoms
 Madi, Tara, uncle Ryan and Jesse

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grandma Williams

The world lost a wonderful woman on October 8th. My loving, sweet, God loving and beautiful grandma passed away in the morning of October 8th. She fought a strong and short battle with pancreatic cancer. My grandma was such a loving woman and such an amazing mother. She raised 5 kids in a tiny 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home in Ketchikan AK and raised them to be wonderful children of God! She was blessed with 15 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren and we all share such amazing memories of going to Grandma's house. I am so happy that my girls got to spend so much time with their great Grandmother. I hope that Elli always remembers her and how much Great Grandma loved her. I will always cherish the photos I have of her with the girls.

We first found out about Grandma's cancer this summer and were told she had anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. Our family then made the choice to spend as much time together as possible. I love my family and spending time with them makes me truly happy, and those are memories I will have forever. Our family has many birthdays in August but my mom and Grandma shared a birthday on August 19th. Our family got together then to celebrate and I insisted we have a small photo shoot while we were all together. I did get a few whines during the process but I know that everyone is so happy that they have those photos now. My Grandma's health started deteriorating very quickly after that. Each time the girls and I went to visit it became more and more difficult to see her like that. We all spent the evening of the 6th together at Grandma & Grandpa's house and I was so happy when I said goodbye to Grandma and she recognized me and told me she loved me. (crying now)

The hardest part of the last few days of her life was that my Grandpa broke a vertebrae in his back by helping move Grandma in bed. He was then in the hospital a few days and then had to go to rehab for a few weeks. He did get to come by the house before going to rehab to say goodbye to Grandma which was the sweetest and saddest thing ever. They were best friends and the loves of each other's life. Watching slides as a family it was so fun to hear Grandpa say how beautiful his wife was and still is. :)

The funeral service was on Sat the 13th and my family did a great job putting everything together. My mom's friends were so generous by setting up a cookie reception for after and my aunt Karen's friends put on a lovely dinner for the family after. It was so nice to see so many old friends and family of Grandma at the service. Elli sure made everyone smile also while in the middle of the service went from lap to lap in the family and whispered yelled 'why did they close the lid on Grandma?' It was such a bittersweet day knowing she was no longer here with us but knowing she was healthy and rejoicing in Heaven.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I need to do this more often!

I'm so bad at this! Why did I start a new blog with the plan to post all the time? I either get too busy, or want to cuddle Madi or Elli or just have nothing of interest to say. I think blogging should be an upbeat thing so I don't want to talk about work since a lot of days aren't happy. And right now my family is sad. We are about to lose my grandma and no matter how many times we tell ourselves and each other how happy she will be in Heaven, we are still sad to be losing her here. I have been wanting to write about Madi (and down syndrome) and our thoughts and emotions and daily concerns with her but I'm still trying to organize my thoughts into something I can put in words. 

Right now my focus is on my mom and family, on finding a white dresser for the girls, on having an amazing time with our friends and family at the Puget Sound Buddy Walk this Sunday and living/loving/enjoying all life has to offer us right now!

Side note: Look at this creepy 'rug' someone put in the lobby of our building! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Update

Oh my it has been awhile since I have posted! Here is a quick run down of the last few weeks!

  • We just spent a week in Billings to see my very best friend and her family. She had our newest godson, Eli Jacob on July 10th so we went to get some baby cuddles! It was wonderful getting to spend time with those boys! Madi enjoyed checking Eli out! Elli and Isaac loved playing all day every day but that also led to some fits and time outs. It is so fun to see all the little personalities they are developing. Elli definitely needs to learn how to play better with others...especially sharing. 

  • I wanted to start Elli in preschool this year but didn't realize most places have to pre-register like 6 months in advance! The church around the corner doesn't look full for their preschool so maybe we will see if we can still start. She is registered for Cubbies and will be starting that in a few weeks! Since she goes to Subday School with my dad she will be doing Cubbies with the same kids. At least she will have some interaction with other kids even if not in preschool!

  • Madi had her ear tube surgery a few weeks ago. It went so well and was so fast!! We barely sat down before they paged us! A few days after there was some dried blood in her ear and of course got anxious. She is just fine though, and so an I after the nurse told me it was normal. We can already tell she can hear better and Ray got her first laugh the other day! I wish I had been home to hear it but he was wonderful and recorded it for me!

Look at those knees!
  • The 2012 Buddy Walk in Seattle is on October 7th. I invited all of our friends and family to walk with us. I made these adorable sweatshirts for everyone that walks with us. I have to say that I am a little disappointed that nobody has ordered one yet! :( I have already gotten a donation though p, so nice! Thank you anonymous! :) 

  • I took the girls to the doctor this morning because Elli has been sick for a week and threw up this morning and with Madi's heart we can't let her get too sick. They just have a cold but Elli now has an ear infection. Ray has been sick and now I have a sore throat. Definitely not a fun week!

  • My grandma isn't doing well. She has declined really quickly, way faster than we expected. Please keep my family in your prayers to have strength and peace in this difficult time. We are all very happy I decided to take all of these photos just a few weeks ago! I just wish the Blankenbeckler one had turned out better!