The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Monday, April 30, 2012

11 Random Things

Several weeks ago, Andi from Bringing the Sunshine, tagged me for the 11 Things Blog meme.  This might be a tad difficult.  My husband always jokes that if someone meets me for the first time, they will know my entire life history in less than 30 minutes.  I'm a complete open book...I share my opinions and feelings openly and honestly...and newsflash...I'm not shy!

So...let's see if I can come up with some things that I haven't shared :-)

The Rules

1) Post these rules.
2) Post 11 random things about yourself.
3) Answer the questions set for you in the post of those who tagged you.
4) Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer. (I'll have to wait until part 2 for this...I had a hard enough time doing this!)
5) Go to their blog (or email them or tweet them) and tell the people you tagged that you’ve tagged them.
6) No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

1. My husband and I met when we were 19 while working at an amusement park.
  He was working as a lifeguard and I was working in the office.  I thought he was the most arrogant male I had ever met.  Who would have ever dreamed 19 years later, we would be married 10 years with 3 fabulous children?!?!?

2.   The Midwest is in my blood.
  I was born and raised in Indiana and attended college in Indiana.  I lived in Kentucky for a little while but never caught on to "y'all", lived in New Jersey for about 6 months...some of them could have eaten me alive, and now have lived in Ohio for 12 years.  Some say that we are "backwards" or "behind the times" but I enjoy the Midwest and our hospitality.

3.  I have an odd list of employers.
  I have worked at an amusement park, the college library, as a middle school tutor, a coal mining company, a bank, a cabinet manufacturer, waterpark, production home builder, job & family services, and collecting urine for a drug testing company.

4.   I grew up in a very rural area.
We were green before it was "in"...we grew most of our produce during the summer and canned or froze it for the remainder of the year.  We didn't have air conditioning until I was in high school.  Most of the kids in my school had parents that attended school with my dad.  We helped my grandfather every year butcher pigs...don't worry, I won't go into detail with that one :-)

5.  I once fell asleep during a concert.
For my 18th birthday, friends and I attended a Metallica concert.  I'm not sure why I was so tired but I feel asleep midway through it!

6.  I have a horrible habit of starting projects and not finishing.
I am notorious starting an exercise program and stopping.  Getting the house organized and then having a few piles start accumulating.  Not matter how good my intentions are...I tend to get a little absent-minded :-)  I'm working on fixing this issue!

7.  Before having my daughter, I did not know anyone with Down syndrome.
I  was one of those people that looked at families with a child with DS and felt sorry for them.  I didn't know....I lived in the dark...  My daughter has not only made my life brighter but has opened a whole new world to me.  I want to share everything I've learned with the world.  I don't want others to miss out on what I missed out on before Hailey.

8.  I am an open book.
My husband is often floored at my openness.  I can strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere.  I can generally find something in common with anyone.

9.  We planned the date of our honeymoon around the ProBowl. 
My husband had a business trip the week after we were married so we had to postpone our honeymoon by a couple of weeks.  My husband then realized the ProBowl was scheduled for 5 weeks after our wedding and convinced me to postpone it for over a month after the wedding.  The plus side is that we spent Valentine's Day in Hawaii at a luau.

10.  I loathe peas.
I have never liked peas.  I think it is because we were always offered canned peas.  I think I might have enjoyed them fresh but now I can't get it out of my mind.  I once had to stay with a relative for a week while my dad was out of town.  Peas were on the menu that night....I refused to eat them.  I sat at the table until bedtime.  The next day, we had peas again.  I ate them (I was 6...I didn't want to miss playing with my cousins again).  Obviously, it scarred me for life...I still remember it all 32 years later :-)

11.  I have a bachelor of arts in mathematics.
I originally planned on being a middle school/junior high/high school math teacher.  Somewhere along the way, I changed my mind but it was too late in my major to change.  I find it ironic that two of my best friends also majored in math (no...I didn't meet them both in college, one was just in the last few years) and do did my brother-in-law.  

Tag!  You're It!  (A few of the blogs that I follow and some that helped me through the days right before Hailey's heart surgery).

1.  Elizabeth at 365 Days of Abby
2.  Leah at Our Cora Bean
3.  Jackie at Meeting Lauren
4.  Laura at Ben's Blessings: Our Journey with Down Syndrome and ACC
5.  Deborah at What a Team
6.  Karrie at Johannsen's Crazy Life
7.  Kerry at The Adventures of Ty the Toddler
8.  Shannon at Lifes Little Surprises
9.  Jennifer at Life as We Know It
10.  April at Small Lucky Package
11.  April at Living By Faith

Albert Einstein

Can you imagine the surprised look on someone's face when searching for information on Albert Einstein only to happen upon a blog written by a stay-at-home mom about her "boring", "ordinary" world of 3 children and Down syndrome? Ha! Kind of funny, when you think about it.

Before Easter, my oldest son's class set up a "wax" museum.  Each child spent a great deal of time reading about an important person in American history, writing their presentation and rehearsing their presentation.  My oldest loves math (and frankly, it does come easy to him) so he chose Albert Einstein.  I was very proud of him so I thought I would share these pictures of him that day.  Yes, I was so proud...I cried.

No...this is my middle child but he looks so funny that I had to share it too!

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Normal" life

I have been absolutely horrible keeping up with my blog in the past few weeks and I have absolutely no excuse...none!

Once a month, I meet up with local moms from our DS association.  Our association is so large that we have to break up into smaller groups for some activities.  I love Moms Night Out.  I was so incredibly nervous the first time I joined them for dinner.  I felt like I was a new student at a new school.  Of course, I enjoyed myself.  I think Hailey is one of the younger babies in the group.  Some of the children are in preschool or in the early years of elementary school.  These moms have been there, done that.  They've been on this journey longer than me and I trust their advice.  More than one of them over the past 6 or 7 months have told me that the first year is challenging and it will get better.  I listened to them but I'm not sure I truly believed them until recently.

Webster's defines "normal" as "a form or state regarded as the norm (standard)".  It is a is left up to interpretation.  What one person's normal is not the norm for another person.  I don't even like using the word "normal" but it seems to be a word that most people can relate to and it is quite over-used.   "Normal" to me is living life day-to-day with my family and friends.  It is watching my boys go to school, play soccer, spend time with their friends, and pushing the limits as they gain independence and turn into young men (one day...I don't want it happening too soon!).  It is watching my little girl overcome the obstacles that are put in front of her.  It is breathing easier because her heart is is dealing with her diagnosis of Down syndrome but not letting it define her.  It had caused some of her obstacles and will continue to do so.  It doesn't consume every thought, but yes, it will always be a part of our lives.  We accept her diagnosis, but we don't use the word "can't".  There is nothing we are telling her she can't do.  In fact, we plan on pushing her to overcome her obstacles and to become the best person she can be.  "Normal" is having dinners outside on the patio with the kids, it is playing kickball in the backyard with the boys, it is watching Hailey observe the world around her and watching her try to figure out how to get into stuff (especially if it is not for toddler consumption or suitable for toddler play).  Our normal is watching our children enjoy living and become individuals. 

Today, I was talking about "normal" and my lack of blogging recently.  She looked at me and said, "What a relief for everyone.  Normal is what we all prayed for after Hailey was born."  Some people (more than likely, those outside of the world of DS, heart defects, or special needs) wouldn't understand why "normal" is such a big deal.  A year ago, I was still reeling from Hailey's Down syndrome diagnosis and that of her heart defect.  We were struggling with each bottle.  Praying that she would actually finish the entire bottle and do it in under an hour.  Praying with each doctor's appointment that she would gain weight.  Praying each minute of the day that her heart would keep working hard enough to keep her alive.  Praying each night that we would all see tomorrow.  We lived in constant fear of the unknown and of the future.  We hadn't learned much about DS and we were terrified of her impeding open heart surgery and we didn't want all of that to dominate the boys' life.  We walked through life going through the motions.

Sometime after her open heart surgery, I woke up so to speak.  I'm not going through the motions anymore.  We are living life.  I will admit normal is a little different than it once was.  We do have a few more doctor appointments...therapy appointments that we hadn't had before...but more than that has changed.  We have changed.  We don't take life for granted anymore.  We see the world differently.  Things that we thought mattered before really have little significance.  We see people different...I see people as individuals..with thoughts, feelings, opinions...value.  Every life has value.  I don't judge as quickly or I've said before, everyone has a story.

I don't know how long this "normal" will last but I know that I'm loving every minute of it and we will take the new "normal" in stride whenever it comes.

I guess the only thing these pics have in common with this post is this is what is normal now!

This boy loves everything!!

He is getting too big!

She has a new obsession with sitting while taking her bottle.

She is always after electronics!

My little #4 didn't have a chance against yellow #10!

Can you tell she LOVES food?!?!

This looks so very painful!  This is for all the readers who love the way Hailey falls asleep everywhere and anywhere!

My middle guy

This boy smiles through everything!

Look closely...she is asleep!  She was even snoring!

Happy weekend to everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We are a pet-free household at the present time.  I grew up in the country.  Our dogs were watch dogs and lived outside.  My husband had fish when he was little and then a small dog the last two years he lived with his parents.  We had fish for a couple of years and the boys loved them, but after way too many of them died we decided to pack it away for a little while.  We can't have cats because my youngest son and I are both allergic to them.  The boys ask for a puppy from time to time.  We always joke that we didn't get a puppy...they got a baby sister instead.

Recently though, we are beginning to wonder if they did get a puppy after all......

See for yourself....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mommy Guilt

Mommy guilt...we've all experienced it...we've all tried to overcome it...we all try to find a way to deal with it.  I remember my first experience with it.  I had just found out I was pregnant with my oldest son....I recalled I had drank alcohol tailgating at the OSU/Michigan game (I didn't know I was pregnant).  I worried and paced for days until I spoke with my doctor about it all.  I was afraid I had done permanent damage to my child.  I "might" have over-reacted in that instance.  But it definitely started the long line of "guilt" I felt over my children.  What I did do and what I failed to do.  Did I feed them enough?  Did I feed them the right thing?  Did I read to them enough?  Did I show them enough love?  Did I teach them the right things for school and how to be a good person? 

With Hailey, I have had mommy guilt but with more intensity.  Am I working with her enough?  Am I challenging her enough intellectually?  Am I pushing her gross motor skills enough?  Am I working on find motor skills?  What more can I do for speech?  Am I spending too much time with Hailey?  Am I spending enough time with the boys?  Will they resent their sister?

Recently though, the tables are turning.  Hailey is attending a LOT of her brothers' activities.  Soccer practices and soccer games are consuming about 4 evenings a week and our Saturdays.  We try to tag team and only take the child to the field that has practice but with my husband's work schedule that doesn't always work and there are days that both boys have activities at the same time but different places. 

Earlier this week we had the 2 children at 2 different places at the same time scenario.  I had Hailey with me.  We had about 30 minutes to kill while the oldest was in religion class.  I gathered a bunch of toys from her backpack and let her play on the van floor.  Then it hit me...she had spent Saturday the same way while her brother played soccer in the pouring down rain.  I feel bad sometimes.  I feel like maybe we aren't giving her the attention she needs to reach her maximum potential. 

Hailey's playroom for the evening

I guess she doesn't look too distraught, does she?
In the end, I realize that my mommy guilt is self-imposed and it is more a disappointment of my expectations than anything.  I realize there are positives and negatives to every situation (only child vs more than one child).  She is quite adaptable and seems to go with the flow of it all.

For the record...I do hate mommy guilt :-)

She doesn't seem scarred for attending too many of big brothers' events :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Break has come to an end :-(

Well, the boys head back to school tomorrow.  Spring Break 2012 has come to an end.  It was rather uneventful.  Spring Break happens to be a super busy time for my husband at work so we never venture far from home.  The boys spent the week hanging out with some of their friends in the neighborhood.  We were able to go swimming one day.  Hailey hasn't been many times...I'm not sure why...maybe it is just a LOT of work with all 3 of them or I just seem to forget that it is an option.  She loves the water which is such a breath of fresh air.  Ian loathed the water for 3 years.  Swim lessons were such a nightmare and I swore off swimming for the rest of my really was that bad!
My little bathing beauty

Swimming wears the girl out

Tired little guy!
The weather was a little chilly for mid April in the Midwest but they enjoyed themselves outside when they could.  We didn't get in a hurry for much of anything last week.  Wake up times were later (yay!), breakfast was later, mom's rules were a little more lax last week.  Thursday, we headed to Entertrainment Junction.  We had never been so we thought we would check it out.  They have huge train displays, a circus-like funhouse and a play area for the kids to blow lots of energy!  Ironically we ran into one of our neighbors.  The boys loved the outing and it was a bonus that they ran into friends there.

He was in awe of the displays and detail of it all.

Big brother pointing something out.

Hey guys...what are you looking at?

I cannot get enough of this face!

She is a daddy's girl!

This makes me oldest is getting to "old" for mom!

This room was built on a 25 degree made me dizzy!

Too much excitement!

Look at my big girl!

I would rather not crawl.  I'm just going to smile at you.

Oh wait...does he have a snack?
Tomorrow everyone goes back to school and Hailey has therapy.  I'm so excited to show her therapist that she is crawling!  She started the day of her last appointment...I figure we won't get much accomplished...she will be in too much awe!

I hope everyone had a good week/weekend.  This week is nutty with soccer games, an event at a friend's church, soccer practices, school, etc.  I'll try to hold onto the memories of our low-key, stress-free week for a little while longer (especially tomorrow when I have 3 cranky tired children)!