Friday, January 14, 2011

Celebrating Differences

It's been amazing to watch the donations pour in for the ONEder Fund. Not that I've been checking the link every few hours and refreshing the page over and over just to watch the total change every time. Cuz that would just be crazy! But I've heard about some people who have been doing just that. The original goal of 15K was reached in record time, less than 24 hours.  The goal was then doubled to 30K, then 47K and now 63K.  Last time I checked the donations totaled more than $60,000.  Incredible!  Such an outpouring of love from all around the world. 

We've been driving all day today.  Vacation with the big kids.  I clicked on Enjoying the Small Things to check the total and was left speechless.  No words can do this justice.  Watch it for yourself and you'll know exactly what I am talking about.

I've watched this video over and over.  Convincing myself that this time I'm not going to get emotional but everytime I lose it when the video gets close to the end and Kelle gives a litttle shout out to Morgan.  "A world that celebrates . . . Morgan."  It's over.  No matter how many times I watch it.  I love everything about this video. It's time we learn to not just tolerate differences but celebrate those differences.  Imagine a world that celebrates every individual! 

Please take the time to watch this video and help make a difference for the 400,000 individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States.  And be sure to look for Morgan doing a puppet show!(1:08)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rapunzel, Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair!

Mia's been obsessed with 'Punzel.  She didn't enjoy the movie, Tangled, very much while she was watching it.  Mommy, I scared!  Wanting to be held for most of the movie.  I think I had both Morgan and Mia on my lap at the same time during various scary scenes.  But she loved it once it was over.  I see Tangled again? as we were leaving the movie theater.  She thinks she has really long hair just like Rapunzel, especially when it's pulled up in some sortof princess do.  Like this . . . 
She opened this crown, earrings, necklace and bracelet on her birthday morning and wore them all day.  Playgroup.  Lunch date.  Birthday party.  Girl knew it was her birthday and she was gonna work it!

We took her out to lunch for her birthday.  I gave her the choice between noodles and fortune cookies (Panda Express) or quesadillas and strawberries (Cafe Rio).  She doesn't really like quesadillas but she LOVES strawberries and mama's salad.  So Cafe Rio it was.  She got lots of looks as she sported her princess crown and jewelry.  We were surprised to see Aunt Jennie and Lilly eating lunch at the same time.  Lilly pulled up a chair and shared a lunch date with the birthday girl.  "Wow!  That's a cute tiara, Mia!"  "Tiara??? (giggling) Thanks!"  Mia had no idea what was cute but she was gonna go with it because she knew she was rockin' out the cuteness on her special day!

Every time I talked to her about her Princess Party, she made sure I understood it wasn't just a princess party.  It was a Princess Rapunzel party.  So when I saw this crazy wig at Target I knew I had to get it for my girl on her special Rapunzel birthday.  I surprised her with it right before the party started.  She was so excited!  She wore it the entire party.  Some party guests had a hard time recognizing her.  And I thought it was a toss up between Hannah Montana and Rapunzel.  Either way, Mia was in heaven.  She stood at the top of the stairs, saying over and over, "Rapunzel, let down your hair!"  And then she would put her hair over the banister and we'd pretend like we were climbing up her hair.  Carefully of course.  Didn't want the wig to fall off!

It took about 30 tries to get this picture.  Morgan kept grabbing unsuspecting princesses right before I could snap the picture.  We finally got a willing volunteer to stand by her.  Our knight in shining armor, Griffin.

There was dancing, twirling and singing to Disney music.  Proof that Mia loves to twirl!

Then it was time for the princesses to get their fingernails painted and lips sparkly with lip gloss.

And hair styled just like a princess.  Morgan absolutely hates having her hair touched or combed.  Sensory overload.  She refused to look at me for a picture, making sure I knew she was doing this against her free will.  But she loved it afterwards.  Look Daddy!  See my pretty curls?  My dear friend Kim was so sweet to come and do all of the girls hair.  Heaven knows I don't know how to do anything cute with hair.  My poor girls.  They get three options every morning.  Ponytails, braids or down.

Then it was time for gifts.

Plenty of helpers with unwrapping, reading cards and opening the gifts.

Cupcakes and ice cream.

All of the princesses.  Cutest little girls!  Unfortunately I couldn't convince the knight to take a picture.

In honor of her 3rd birthday, 3 things we love about our Mia:

1.    She loves her soft, pink blankie.  It was originally Morgan's baby blanket.  She's dragged that poor blanket all over.  The house.  The backyard.  The car.  Church.  Trips. Walks around the block.  It's gotten lots of lovin' these past three years and it shows.  It's falling apart with holes on all of the seams and edges.  Batting falling out.  Just makes her love it even more.  About a year ago it was absolutely filthy and I finally was able to sneak it away from her long enough to wash and dry it.  I put her down for her nap and put the yummy, clean blanket right next to her face and with the most loving voice let her know that her blankie was all clean.  To this day she still has to say, "Blankie all clean!"  every night before I close the door to her room.  Most of the time it's not clean but I just smile and agree.  "You're right Mia.  Blankie all clean!  Good night sweet girl!"

2.  She loves Pinocchio.  We got the DVD for Christmas after Griffin asked me lots of questions about a wooden puppet whose nose grew every time he told a lie.  Figured my kids needed to know the classic Disney shows.  Mia wants to watch it everyday.  And is just as excited as Pinocchio when he turns into a real boy.  "I'm a real boy!" (said at the same time with Pinocchio).

3.  She loves to dance and sing with Morgan.  They pretend to be the characters from whatever movie they are watching (there seems to be an underlying theme to this post.  My girl watches a lot of movies!) and dance just like the characters.  My all time favorite was when I caught them doing the song from The Sound of Music and acting out the parts of Rolf and Liesl in "Sixteen Going on Seventeen".

You can tell that Mia is a good sport.  Takes all of the tough love Morgan gives her and just loves her right back.  Even when Morgan expects her to catch her from the couch!

Happy 3rd Birthday Mia Kate!  As impossible as it seems we fall more and more in love with you every single day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Princess Mia

It's Mia's birthday tomorrow and she's turning three.  My sweet little girl is growing up and changing.  She's become such a big girl this past year and everyone seems to be noticing.  Griffin used to always talk about his "baby Mia" but he's starting to wonder just how much of a baby she really is.  He just started noticing all of the new little babies at church.  Looking at them.  Looking back at Mia.  Looking back at the baby.  Mom, Mia's not a baby anymore.  She's a big girl now.  We need to get one of them for our house! (pointing to the darling baby).  As much as I would love to get one of  them in our house, it's not gonna happen.  But I can't complain.  We lucked out with this little surprise at the end of the family.  She's our yummy dessert.  The perfect ending to our family.  So tomorrow we will be celebrating the day this sweet little girl entered our family and changed our lives forever.   And we're gonna party Princess Mia style --since she's ALL girl and loves fingernail polish, hair bows, dresses, princesses, twirling, tutus, and dressing up.  Can't wait for my house to be filled with all of her princess friends!  Let the celebrating begin!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pay it forward. Nella's ONEder Fund.

The mission of the NDSS (National Down Syndrome Society) is to create a culture that fully accepts and includes individuals with Down syndrome.  That's something every parent should be able to expect for their child.  Please take a minute to click on the link and make a small donation.  Every little bit helps in this mission.  As I watched each donation come in last fall for Morgan's Buddy Walk, I was so moved by the support of so many friends and strangers.  It meant so much more than money to me.  It represented love and acceptance for my little girl.  A big thank you for everyone who has opened their heart to Morgan and taken the time to get to know her and all the beauty she brings to our life.

You can read more about this amazing fundraiser over at Enjoying The Small Things.  And while you're at it, you may just wanna bookmark that site, if you haven't yet.  You'll leave a better person after visiting.  Promise!  And the fundraiser post has so many cute little faces.  You won't wanna miss it.

P.S.  I'm a little partial to that adorable blond girl with beautiful brown almond shaped eyes named Morgan.  She's got an extra large place in my heart!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A new year and bucket lists.

I've got most of the Christmas decorations put away with just a few things left on my dining room table.  The house and walls look so empty and bare now but it's nice to have some openness again.  I start feeling ornery and ancy with all of the new gifts, toys and Christmas mess all over the house after the big celebration.  I'm always more than ready to put it all away once it's over.  Griffin came into the family room this morning and had a sad face when he asked, What happened to my Christmas tree?  He's already planning and talking about what he wants for Christmas next year.  It's always that way with him.  He talks about the last holiday until the next one comes around and takes all of his focus.  Before Christmas, it was all Halloween and what costume he was going to wear next year.  So I'm trying to help him with the adjustment by looking forward to the next holiday.  We pulled out some of the Valentine decorations today.  Heart plates on the dining room table.  Now it's time for some early spring cleaning.  I'm excited to go through all of the closets and toy room and fill up bags of stuffed animals and dolls to donate to our local good will.  Find a place for all of the new Christmas goodies.

I like that we celebrate the new year.  A new beginning.  A chance to reflect on your past and change your future.  To make resolutions to become a better person, mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.  I had to look back at the pictures from this past year to help me remember all that happened.  

2010 was a good year.  

Full of happy and fun times.  Trips to Arizona, Las Vegas, Alaska (epic trip!), St. George, Park City, Oregon, Washington, Bear Lake and Lake Powell.  

Full of celebrations.  Gavin and I both turned 39 years old and also celebrated the birthdays of six children.  Nothing compares to celebrating your child's birth and reflecting on the day they entered your life and changed you for the better.  Our year was full of Minnie Mouse, American Girl doll tea party, Toy Story,  boating, Nemo swimming, and laser tag parties.  

It wasn't free of pain or worry though.  We cried and rallied together with the support of our family and friends last January when Morgan was fighting for her life in the ICU.  Just another reminder of how lucky we are to have this little girl in our life.  And to appreciate every moment we have with those we love.  

So we celebrated the end to a good year with hopes for the upcoming year.  We started off the celebrating with a yummy dinner at "Laylas" with my family.

Then made it over to our house for an evening of food, games, movies and lots of laughter.  It was a perfect ending of 2010 and beginning of 2011.

Gavin grabbed my camera and started taking pictures "for the blog".

We played a new game, The game of things . . .  I'm pretty sure I've never laughed this much playing a game.  If you play it and don't think it's very fun then you might just need to borrow my brother Chad.  I sat on a bench with my little sister, Brittany, and little brother, Blake, and on more than one occasion we wrote down the exact same answer.  Word for word.

We turned on the TV just in time to watch the countdown.  Gavin loaded the kids up with tupperware (huh?) and spoons (a few years ago all of our silver bowls and pots and pans ended up with big dents in them).  Grandma loaded them up with silly string.  And we made a mad dash for the front door.

And we celebrated.  Freezing temperatures and all.  There was clapping and yelling and string shooting and tupperware hitting and one crazy teenager thought it was only fitting to breakdance while rolling in the snow in his shorts. (Video footage below).  The highlight of the night for all of his cousins.

Silly string and laying in the snow = a very happy New Year's Eve!

We went back inside and noticed that someone decided to silly string our bathroom.  Our house looked like we had just hosted a frat party.  It was thrashed!

The aftermath of the party.  Just in case you didn't know (because I didn't), silly string doesn't come off of concrete.  It's gonna look like we're always in the middle of a party at our house!

The kids all loved getting sprayed and covered with silly string

A toast to the new year.

There were some serious melt downs after midnight.  There's a reason these kids go to bed at 7:30 pm and not 12:30 am.  Griffin was crying because his can of silly string was empty.  Mia was crying because she couldn't push down the thing to make it spray.

And then they both wanted to be held.  By mom.  At the same time.  And I loved every minute of it.

My babies are growing up quickly and I really do savor the moments when only mom will do.

(P.S.  That's silly string on my shoulders and back.  Not dandruff!  At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

New Year's Day was full of new adventures for Morgan, Mia and Griffin.  SLEDDING!  They had never been before and loved it.  Yes, we live in Utah and have snow all around us but for some reason we had never taken them before.  They had a blast.  Except for the 10 minutes of pure panic when Griffin went sledding full speed into a parked car.  Miraculously, he didn't get hurt.  He was hysterical but I think it was more out of fear from our reactions than anything else.  He warmed up in the car for a minute and then was ready to take on the hill.  Just a different hill.  The one without parked cars at the bottom.

I signed up for the Daily Challenge at Me You Health.  Today's challenge -- share five things on your bucket list.  I love reading other people's bucket lists but for some reason always have a hard time thinking of things I want on my bucket list.  I feel like I have had amazing experiences in my life and have traveled and seen much of the world.  I am filled up with love with my amazing family and six children.  But I am gonna do it.  I'm gonna start a bucket list of 5 things I want to accomplish in my lifetime.

1.  Become a grandma.
2.  Go on a cruise with my family, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.
3.  Serve a mission with Gavin.
4.  Backpack thru Europe.
5.  Take the family on a humanitarian trip to a third world country. 

Whew.  That wasn't so hard.  

Wishing you all a very happy new year!  May you drink it all in, every last drop!