Sunday, April 28, 2013

"By This Time Next Year"

If you are reading this I have to warn you, I take a lot of pictures.  Too many, really.  So this blog is going to be filled to the rim with picture after picture.  My hope is to some day print this blog for Ellie so she can see what her life was like when she was little. I figure even if no one reads this, it'll at least serve as the most bad a%$ baby book ever! 

Did you know there is a site that prints blogs into book form?  I didn't until just recently! It's called Blurb.  I actually used this company 6 years ago to make a book for my mom and the quality is amazing. Interestingly enough, you can still preview the book.. as I discovered one day while I was bored and googling family member's names for fun! :-P

Just about four months ago it was Christmas.  Our hearts were full with anticipation over the upcoming birth of our last baby.  The excitement I felt was overwhelming, what will she look like? Will she have blonde hair or brown hair? I wonder if her eyes will be blue like mine, or if she will have beautiful green eyes like her big brother Will.  Maybe they will change into a stunning deep brown like her brother Luke's.  Or perhaps she will have hazel eyes with that special twinkle just like her daddy's. 

At every holiday I would always say to our family... "just think, by this time next year our little girl will be doing (name any milestone here)" And I remember how often I would say "by next Christmas I bet she's close to walking!" 
My Christmas Ellie Belly
Little did I know 4 months ago what was to come.  It was only 10 days after Christmas that our world was rocked with Ellie's birth.  OK, so she won't be walking by Christmas. That's alright. My mom bought her an adorable 0-3 month size dress for Easter before she was born and I said "there's no way she will fit into that size at 3 months old!" Jesse and I make big babies. Both of the boys were already squeezing into 6 month size at that age. Well the dress fit her perfectly and Ellie looked beautiful in it. So she's smaller than her bros were, that's alright too.
Ellie and I on Easter
It's funny how much emphasis we put on milestones without even realizing it. Speaking of milestones, she is still working her little bootie off to gain that head control.  She has bi-monthly physical therapy now.  She also still likes to get into her signature pretzel position that freaks everyone out (see the latest pic below!)
Ellie is sound asleep- I know, it's crazy!
I say she'll be an acrobat some day. ;-)  And she will hold her head up soon, it's just going to take her a little longer. That's alright!  Her PT evaluator reassured me that "she WILL do all of these things, crawling, walking, etc.. it just takes longer."  She has worked with kids with DS for 25 years and has not had one patient unable to do these things. This made me feel better about it.

Look at that head control! Proud of our girl.
To be honest I feel like I'm anticipating each milestone with a little bit of worry.. "will she ever do it?"  Jesse finally said "honey, BE PATIENT, sheesh!" because I keep worrying and waiting... especially for her smile. At her 2 month check-up with our home health nurse she was writing down everything Ellie WASN'T doing.  It was hard to hear.. "oh she's NOT smiling yet?"  Nope, but you know what? She is now! She smiles all the time. And sometimes her eyes go into a half moon shape and she smiles just with her eyes. It melts our hearts every time.  And daddy seems to get her to smile the most.  She has an amazing little grin. 

Oh and she knows how to wave too! Check out the video here: Ellie Waving to Daddy

OK, OK.. I know babies don't wave until 6 or 7 months, it just happened that she had some arm movements that looked like she was waving and I caught it on video!! Ha!

Here are some photos from some of Ellie's firsts this month. Her first big family holiday, Easter, where she was snuggled the entire time.  We also went on her first beach trip to celebrate Grammee's birthday.  Where, surprise, surprise, she was snuggled the entire time as well.  This girl gets lots of lovin' everywhere she goes. 

And by this time next year, Ellie will still be melting hearts like a champ. I'm trying to throw my milestone expectations out the window and enjoy every moment with this amazing little girl.  She will be able to do everything, but it'll be on Ellie time.  And that's ALRIGHT! ;-)

End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys

Easter table setting at my amazing mama-in-laws. So pretty!

Ellie looks like a ballerina here!
Uncle Danny and Ellie
Grandma Barbara lovin'!

Sweet smiles for auntie DiDi
Getting love from her Auntie.
Easter egg hunting with the cousins!
Happy Easter!

Sweet faced baby girl at the beach
More cousin time!
Hanging with Papa 
Will being Will.
Ellie's cousin, I love this photo of her. 
Brrrr... Oregon beaches aren't very warm!
Hi mama!
My loves getting ready to go on the beach.
Luke fell in... it was a little scary... AND COLD!
Wherever Anna was.. Ellie was.
Cousin love!
Snuggle time with the birthday girl

Friday, April 26, 2013

Quest for Quinn

Cabbage Patch Kids, growing in the garden, Cabbage Patch Kids, growing in the sun...

Cabbage Patch Kids Theme Song

As a child of the 80's, I was the proud owner of many Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of these cute little babies with yarn hair and button noses, I would like to share a deeply personal story about my first born, Quinn Willy.

In 1998, Cabbage Patch Kids had a story contest for their 15 year anniversary. My brother Joey submitted our story about Quinn Willy and won 2nd place. He received a 15th Anniversary doll as a prize.

The 2nd place prize
Original story 

Quest for Quinn

The story begins in 1984. My sister, Tiffany, age 6 receives her first Cabbage Patch Kid. It wasn't Christmas or her birthday, just a gift. My parents sat her down and asked her the BIG question - "Are you ready to be a mother?" After the interrogation they gave her the doll.

Quinn Willy was his name. How could I forget? That's all we (my 5 brothers and I) heard day in, day out! Quinn Willy this, Quinn Willy that.

Anyways, August rolls around - vacation time! We decided to rent a motor-home and drive from Oregon to an amusement park in California, visiting relatives along the way. There were nine of us. Ten if you count Quinn Willy!

Well, after so many miles and so little space, one tends to get bored. And what do you do when you get bored? Pick on the youngest - it's an unwritten rule. I should know - it was 7 long years until Tiffany came along.

So I grab the thing dearest to Tiffany's heart - Quinn Willy! Who at this time has somehow morphed into a female doll! A game of keep-away begins. Hey, it beats counting cars! I toss it to brother Matt. He throws it to Kevin. Kevin throws it to Darren. Tiffany is screaming through all of this. 

My dad, a burly man, is trying to drive the confusing streets of California in the heat of August, in this giant motor-home! So he's yelling at us, Tiffany is screaming, we're laughing pure mayhem!

And then it happened. Like a scene out of a movie. Everything fell silent. Darren picks up Quinn to continue the game. He tosses it toward Matt in a slow-motion fashion. I could hear the wooshes every time Quinn turned in the air. It appeared that Quinn Willy was headed toward Matt's face. So he did what instinct told him to do... DUCK!

What happened next was horrible. Something a 6 year old should never have to witness. In a scream heard across California were two words I will never forget... "QUINN WILLY!!!"

Tiffany's doll had flown out the window into some serious traffic. She was crushed. Mom and dad were angry, and we were in trouble. I felt really bad, for it was I, angelic Joey who started it all!

There was no way my dad could have turned around to save Quinn Willy so throughout the rest of the vacation, Tiffany would have to deal with the fact that Quinn Willy was gone. Promises of other Cabbage Patch Kids only worked temporarily. Tiffany had racked up 7 promised Cabbage Patch Kids by the end of our vacation, but that didn't seem to fill the void. 

So when we returned to Oregon, my father - Chief of Police - wrote a few letters, made a few calls, and started the Quest for Quinn!

Sadly, Quinn Willy was never found. but what my father did for his youngest child, and only daughter was an act of love.

Unfortunately the letters my dad wrote to the LAPD have gone missing. I sent a message out to my brothers to see if they may have the only copies of the letters but so far no luck. I also have been trying to find photographic evidence of Quinn Willy's existence but can't find a photo to save my life. Then I received this quick video clip that Joey made. Here he is in a video from the summer she was lost, my she-boy Quinn Willy!

Defending Quinn - 1984

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

15 Years Already? A Shout Out to my Pops

With my dad in 1978
I can't believe it's been 15 years since you passed away, dad. 15! I was 19 years old, it was April 16th, 1998.  You always said 16 was a lucky number because 1 + 6 equals 7... I remember because your first grandson Josh was born on the 16th a few years earlier and you had mentioned that. You know, Jess and I ended up getting married on the 16th for the same reason. :-)  (By the way I have a weird OCD number obsession thanks to you!)

I'll never forget that night. I was on my way home from the beach and wasn't in the mood to go to your house.  I hated seeing you sick.  My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to visit you and mom even though I didn't want to. I'm so glad he talked me into going.  I'm so grateful I was there when you passed, along with mom and Kevin.  Seeing you take your last breath and the look of peace on your face proved to me that you were going somewhere special. Mom told you to go to Grandma Hattie. I know that is who greeted you at the pearly gates!

Since that day you have given me many signs that you are OK.  Even kicking me in the butt while visiting your grave... it was a real kick, on my butt, and knew it was one of my brothers. When I turned around.. no one was behind me.  Or the eagle that always flies over when I think or talk about you. I can't even count how many times it's happened. We were on our boat last summer and "Knocking on Heavens Door" came on the radio. I mentioned to everyone that it was the song that we all cried to after you died.  As we were zooming along the river an eagle flew overhead as the song was almost over. And who can forget the eagle soaring over us the day I married Jesse.  Our family knew it was you. And the time I was telling Candice about the eagle while we were visiting your grave and wouldn't you know it, one flew over and made us squeal and get goosebumps. 

Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan

I can feel you around me all the time. I also know that my kids know you.  I think they were with you before they came to this earth to be with me.  The way they know you and understand you still stumps me to this day.  How did Will know that you used to imitate the cowardly lion?  He told me about you singing "if I were king of the forest" when he was 3 as we were watching the Wizard of Oz.  I had not told him about how you used to sing that song! And sometimes his mannerisms and the twinkle he gets in his eye remind all of us of you.  He wants to be a cop someday too, but I'm sure you already know that. When I told Will about Ellie's Down syndrome, he was fine with it but I could feel his worry. The next thing he said was "I wish Popeye was here".. I think he felt you around him, helping him to know that it's going to be OK.  

My parents. I love this pic!

At Lancaster Mall in Salem OR, 1982 maybe?

Senior prom, 1996

There's something cool about old grainy pictures from the 80's :-)