Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

It's quiet. The hush inside the house with most of its inhabitants settling into late afternoon naps is complemented nicely with the staccato downpour of a comforting rain outside the house.

And by 'most inhabitants,' I mean everyone except myself and the little one who stretches happily next to me.

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The girl has found her thumb. And I am quite entertained with cheering her on as she frantically fumbles her fist in front of her, rooting at her cluster of fingers until she finds it--that blessed thumb--and satisfactorily settling into a rhythmic suck.

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Not that she needs the comfort. The little bean exemplifies the beauty of Chill and spent the weekend contented by nothing more than being surrounded by much love.

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We welcomed friends this weekend. Good friends who came into our lives this year and have settled into new places in our hearts. And when new souls come into our lives for good reason, there's just one place to take them to initiate new friendships...new futures.

Why, it's the Isle of Capri, Baby. And our place delivered. Bringing us another magical day where we simply be. Existing contentedly, happily amongst sun and sand which saturated us with their presence and their reminder to drink it all in.

And that we did.

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We swam. We kayaked. We sipped cold beer, dipped grouper in thick tarter sauce and slurped hot seafood chowder. We watched as littles ran from crabs and attempted to contain the gelatinous goop from jellyfish in their grasp.

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We hugged hot babies that were cooled by the sea breeze and made beds for them between chairs in the shade.

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We kissed the salty cheeks of sweaty toddlers and later marked the salty craters of low tide with the footprints of our friends.

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We celebrated with dock dives and rollicking splashes.

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...and then came the sunset. Oh, the sunset. The ceremonious end to a magical day.

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The cue for last hoorahs and the grand finale of multi-hued light that slowly fades past the horizon while bodies transfigure to mystical silhouettes.

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And, as darkness curtains over the beach, we head inside the tiki hut for just a little more. The last dance of the night...another dollar on the bar beam, another notch on the belt of Really Good Times.

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...and the last of her sweet smiles for the night before the jammied little body, souveniered with sand, settles into her sleep hunch in the car seat next to her sister on the long ride home.

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To our new beautiful friends--David & Nadya and Meg...you've been sworn in. You've shared "our place." That's love, you know. And to our "old" friends...thank you for joining us again for an incredible weekend...where many more memories shall bloom.

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...and that's Memorial.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me Lub Life.

Nella had her four month appointment yesterday.

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And, amid most of the time where I honestly forget she's different, I am reminded every once and awhile. Like getting ready to go to the doctor and feeling a little flutter inside. Like what if they tell me something. Like what if they rock my world again. Like what if one of those "increased likelihoods" that happen to attach themselves to that sweet little chromosome comes true.

But, here's the thing. Once you become a parent...once you start feeling a little funny and you buy that pregnancy test...once you see a pink plus sign...once you know it's not just you anymore...well, you automatically carry around, for the rest of your life, an increased likelihood. To have your heart broken. And it's a constant fear that we struggle to put to rest.

And we can choose to be afraid or we can choose to live.

And I choose to live.

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Because an "increased likelihood of having your heart broken" also carries with it an increased likelihood to find yourself the happiest you've ever been in life.

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And so we walked into that exam room, as a family, and everything was just as it should be. Nella is doing great--a robust eleven-and-some pounds--and happy to play patient to Dr. Foley and her assistant, the big sister.

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And I am reminded, once again, of my gratitude for having the most caring amazing pediatrician...

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...who has this incredible ability to compress all the scary things I might have to think about for the next three years into a few lines of chicken scratch on a small square of prescription paper...and then she takes all my freakish motherness with its dumb questions and silly comparisons and melts them into relief when she laughs with her warm, motherly grin and says things like, "well, of course she's perfect!" or "she IS normal, Kelle...with just a little something extra."

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I made an appointment for her six month eye exam after our doctor visit yesterday. And I rattled off insurance information and birth date and spelled out her name to the kind woman on the phone, and then something happened. For the first time, I spit "it" out without the slightest of pain.

"Reason for visit," she asked.

"She has Down syndrome" I answered.

She has Down syndrome. How many times I've said this these past four months and felt that pain. That sting that surges deep inside. Nella Cordelia has Down syndrome and, for once, it doesn't sound like a statement from an obituary. I rattled it off to Karen the receptionist like I was announcing something as simple as a rash, a cold, a fever. I hesitated for just a moment after I said it, waiting for that sting, but it didn't come. My shoulders rested and I smiled.

"Okee-doke, we'll see in you July," she finished. I could sense the smile in her voice. She didn't flinch. She didn't speak with apology like so many that obviously feel so sorry for us do. We were just two women on the phone, throwing around the D.S. term like it was no big deal and whether or not Karen the receptionist knew, she was part of a bigger deal for me. Another step along the journey of acceptance.

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Oh, it feels so good to settle into this. It feels so good to know that we've transformed deep discomfort into a comfortable place of knowing that this is just a part of parenthood. Parenthood that comes with the increased likelihood of facing trials and coming out stronger, wiser, better.

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I've already been on that journey...

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...and this one's not much different.

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We spent the rest of the day as a family, grabbing a burger and fries late in the afternoon at a local cafe, watching Lainey dip her fries, lick the ketchep off and proclaim, "Me lub kep-kep."

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Me lub a lot of things. Like weekends and coffee and knowing that tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day. Isle of Capri, Baby. With a huge crew of our friends...some old, some new.

Me lub Life.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It started with cream...

The day began delightful. Like the kind of delightful where you think, for a minute, that you're out of coffee cream but then you find a brand new pint behind the pickle jar. And you dance a little happy dance right there in the kitchen, in your pajamas, with a baby in one arm and your new found cream in the other. Because sometimes, there is nothing sweeter than starting your morning finding cream when you thought you had none.

And, of course, cream that almost wasn't is the creamiest of creams. Consequently, coffee made with that cream is the best tasting coffee your lips have ever sipped. And, I guess the argument follows that any reading material you enjoy while drinking that coffee is more interesting, any baby you hold while reading is more lovable, and any morning from which you drank that coffee, read that magazine, held that baby...is delicious.

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You follow?
I suppose that's all suffice to say...'twas a happy Wednesday...and Nella agrees.

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Lainey's sunflowers have finally bloomed their happy golden heads.

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And it's all I can do not to drag my Sharpie marker out there to draw happy faces on all of them. Because I see faces on sunflowers. Like the kid in The Sixth Sense saw dead people. I really do.

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(no plants were harmed in the enhancement of this photo...ha ha. do I really have to say that?)

And if finding lost cream and discovering sunflower faces wasn't enough...
we got a package from Grandma Krissy today.

My mom is amazing.
She likes European shoes, vintage baby dolls and scoring Italian yarn lots on Ebay. Put these likes together and you have the coolest grandma who gives amazing gifts that have included European shoes, vintage baby dolls and beautiful things made with Italian yarn.

So when I opened the box to find two complete matching outfits for my girls, perfectly detailed from hand-crocheted sweaters to the trim she added to the socks, I totally cried.

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And the shoes. Oh, the shoes. My mama knows how to pick 'em. Soft and supple leather. No frills. No bells. No flashy lights or sequins. Just plain Dick and Jane t-straps and maryjanes. Me likey.

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Lainey has mastered the mouse and computer time has just become her favorite reward. It's still strange to me to see a three year old maneuvering a mouse, double clicking and properly responding to prompts from the screen. Not sure what I think about it, but, used moderately, I'm quite assured that pretty mess of fun plus educational can be nothing but beneficial.

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One of the cool things living in Florida gives us? The Sonic Boom. With the space program ending soon, we won't be hearing them anymore so we made a big deal of today's, the last of Atlantis.

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Boom Boom.

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Celebration of Summer continues with picnic in the woods where we ate grapes and cheese and graham crackers with frosting from the comfort of our blanket...

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Other than that, I could tell you that I left the clothes in the washer overnight again so they smell like a public bathroom. I could tell you that I found another moldy cucumber in my vegetable drawer. I could tell you that I wiped Lainey's mouth with my sleeve six times today, that Brett and I had a silly argument walking into Costco that, I'm sure, made us look like the worst married people alive to anyone watching or that I had a sunblock reaction that turned my boob into something so leprous-looking, I actually photoshopped it out on the last photo in this post. I could tell you all that because that is life too. And delicious Wednesdays will always come with a few bitter bites, but really? At the end of the day, all I remember are the good ones. The pudding-filled bites. The butter-drenched ones. The sweet, succulent drips of a really good day.

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Screw rank laundry and rashy boobs. I'll take my glass-is-half-full, thank you very much.

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We dance.

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Hello!


And we celebrate.

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And that's life.