Tootle-loo, 2010.

With all due respect 2010, you were fine and all, but it’s time you go.

I mean you gave me an easy pregnancy and a beautiful baby boy, but really, I can’t imagine all the grey hairs I’ve gained and the many, many times I held my breath in fear, sadness, absolute shock or a mixture of the three.

2010 is a year I will never forget. It’s also a year that was distinctly split into two sub-years: January through July and August through December.

I was invincible through July.

After August, I became vulnerable. But perhaps that’s the best part of 2010; the one true treasure the year brought to me. It’s OK to be vulnerable; it’s better, I think.

The year began by missing my midnight smooch with my husband because the Baby Z-2-B was slamming down on my bladder. I found myself flushing the new year in while Scott found himself alone. This year, we’re hanging out quietly in our home after a week of travels (updates to follow in the coming days). It’s a great way to cap off this year.This year was all about family, from just a few weeks before last New Year’s Eve, all the way to the moment I laid my son in his crib tonight, wishing him sweet dreams and reminding myself that sometimes life is all about a mohawk.

I am grateful to 2010. Here are a few reasons why:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who provided…

… love. faith. humor. inspiration. kindness. deep thoughts. belly laughs. photos. gifts. advice. grace. hope. kisses. hugs. smiles. visits. talks. friendship. selflessness…

… and did i mention love?

I hope that I may return the favor to you in 2011.

My resolution is simple.I want to be simple. Think simply. Live in a realm of simplicity even when life is not easy. Enjoy the small things. Relish the big moments. Stop worrying. Stop thinking. Just LIVE.

May your dreams come true, your love come alive and your heart soar with happiness. Every day. If it doesn’t just magically happen for you when you wake up in the morning, make it happen. And just live.

Happy 2011.

Mommy-to-be update

Several of you have asked if Meghan has had her baby yet…

Not as of yesterday. The good news is that she will be induced Christmas Eve (tomorrow) if that stubborn little girl doesn’t make her grand entrance before then.

Please keep Meghan and her family in your thoughts and wish them well with their best Christmas present ever.

 

And a Merry Christmas to all…

Zack and I had a serious moment the other night.

We had just finished up one of our first adventures in eating rice cereal like a big boy (!) and I was burping him and rocking him near our Christmas tree. Annie Lennox was showing off her Christmas album on the Sirius channel I was listening to when -wham!- on came this song.

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I’m gonna help you find the way to keep you safe from harm. We’re gonna be a special place, a shelter from the storm. I can feel you, you’re everywhere, shining like the sun. I wish to God that kids like you could be like everyone.

I looked down in my arms, and Zack’s eyes were just closing. A sigh escaped his partly-opened lips and his arm went to a dead weight on my shoulder. And then I realized the wet spots in his hair were the tears that had been falling down my face.

The happiest, most lovely tears I have ever experienced.

I am at such a peace and I have so much comfort and strength.

 

 

We are gearing up for a fabulous visit with friends and family this next week — about six stops in two states in seven days.Nearly 18 or so hours in the car, without traffic.

::Insert happy Momma face here::

Zack is completely packed. His two bags, bath tub, stroller, car seat, high chair, blankets, play gym and 10 toys.

Momma and Daddy still have to pack, but fear not relatives we’re visiting, it should be significantly less than the Z-man’s luggage. I hope.

 

I don’t know if I’ll be blogging at all over these next few days, so I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a special 2011. I hope you get everything you were wishing for, even if it’s not something you can put under the tree.

(Sorry for the lack of photos — apparently my camera has already been packed!) Just picture a really cute baby with a big smile and a mohawk and a handsome guy holding him. Oh, and maybe a Christmas decoration or piles of bags to fit into the car, too.

Ho, ho, ho!

A little girl’s letter to Santa

As per the requests of many faithful readers…

[Taken as is from a letter dated 1990, age 6 1/2 years)

To Santa

from Wendy M.

for Chritmas I want little miss magic hair. and My little Pony bride. and a new bike. and a sweater to wear for Christmas Day. and a game and a dancing ballerina doll. and candy.

I am being a good girl. and I love you. and I am leaving you cookies and a beer and a carrot for the rain deers.

Love Wendy Rose

xxxoooxo

(heart, star?)

 

What a sweet, innocent and very wise girl, eh? :-) You better believe that Zack’s Santa will be enjoying himself a Yuengling for many, many years. My husband, er, Santa, wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

If I had to update my letter to Santa for this year, it would probably be something like this:

To Santa,

From Mrs. Z(ee).

For Christmas I want open doors and open hearts for my son. I want safe travels this holiday for us and all of our loved ones that we are looking forward to seeing.

I’ll skip the candy and will gladly accept more time to bake my own sweets in my kitchen.

I want a shirt to wear on Christmas (or at least once a week) that doesn’t smell like sour milk.

I want to dance like crazy once every day, preferably by myself in my living room or in the shower.

I want my blog to continue as therapy for me and inspiration for others. I want myself to continue to be inspired.

I want the words “down syndrome” to hurt less. I want to smile with my Dude more often.

 

A lot of “want” going on here. My only need? To be as happy tomorrow as I am today. And to realize tomorrow how blessed I am today. And then the day after that and after that and after that. I want a part of me to always be the six-year-old whose biggest wish was My Little Pony. And a part of me to remember grown-up me makes her own wishes come true.

Love,

Wendy

PS – I know you’re not a big part of our lives yet this year, but I am so excited to start traditions all about you next year when Zack can really enoy it all. Merry Christmas!

Dedication and Celebration

Sunday was a special day for Zack in many ways.

Hopefully the first of many important steps in his faith journey came with his dedication at church. In our church, a dedication is most similar to what you would see with a Christening in the Catholic or Orthodox faiths (where I came from). It’s a way for the church family, as well as Zack’s parents and other loved ones to promise they will help to keep faith in Z-Man’s life and to teach him all he needs to know about being a good person. Nope, GREAT person.

We were one of four families who had little ones dedicated on Sunday. One by one, Pastor Wayne would snuggle up with the child, introduce them to the church and say a prayer over them. We also were presented with a Faith Journey Box for Zack to keep all his church and faith collectibles in over the next many years and a white rose to mark the occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

Another Proud Momma moment came watching Zack cuddle in to the pastor’s shoulder as the amazing man carried him down the aisle that Scott and I walked down as man and wife just over a year ago.

 

 

Then we came home to enjoy an early Christmas with Scott’s parents and grandparents since us three are heading out to New Jersey and Massachusetts for celebrations with my family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We loved the gifts, we enjoyed the ceremony and we appreciate all this fuzzy-wuzzy l-o-v-e.

 

 

 

Q & A… with friend Meghan

Hello and happy weekend!

Guess who’s going to be a Momma ANY.DAY.NOW?! My college friend and former Cross Country teammate Meghan’s due date is today. I’m not even sure if she’s had the baby yet… her Facebook page is quiet and I haven’t gotten any messages yet… so here’s hoping for a safe and easy delivery of her baby girl really soon!

Despite growing up in two different states, we two ladies graduated college and went on with our lives and careers and loves… and wound up living 20 minutes away from each other now and bumping into each other every now and then for work. It’s a crazy, small ole world.

I introduce to you, Miss Meghan, who will be a fabulous mother…

<— (Meghan and I are sitting next to each other in this photo, taken before a championships race for college Cross Country in 2005).

 

 


<— (Meghan and I in XC in 2005 with teammate Daisy in the middle)

How do you know Wendy?

MEGHAN: Wendy & I were XC/College buddies and somehow Wendy ended up in my hometown area after college (God what were you thinking :) ). We reconnected after my GM ‘spilled the beans’ and said I was pregnant after I told him not to!!!

Blogger’s note: I was covering a story at the resort Meghan works at when I was about five or six months pregnant. The General Manager hadn’t seen me while I was pregnant yet and started telling me this “funny story” about a catering manager who was pregnant before I could tell him I had an idea of who he was talking about…

 

When is your due date? What are you having? Any names chosen yet?

Due Date = 12/17/2010; we’re having a little girl (my poor husband) and we haven’t been able to settle on a first name yet!! We’re between Samantha, Cassidy and Sidney. Her middle name will be Marie in honor of my late grandmother whom I was very close to. She passed away my Junior year of High School.

How was your pregnancy?

Pregnancy was a SURPRISE!!! I didn’t even find out until I was 13 weeks!! I was sick as a dog until about 17 weeks (you would have thought I’d figure it out with that, but I was in denial and also planning my wedding so I attributed it to stress). From weeks 17 to  35 I felt GREAT!!! Still super active, didn’t gain a ton of weight…I’m a wedding planner and I was still able to put in my 15-hour Saturdays and come home and be okay!! Then, at 35 weeks I went into pre-term labor contractions and had to be put on medicine for roughly 10 days…I’m now at 39 weeks and it’s starting to hit me, but all in all…I’ve been pretty darn lucky!!

 

What are you most worried or nervous about with the delivery/labor? What about those first few months with baby?

I am afraid that something will go wrong during labor. I’m also afraid that I will run out of steam part way through and not be able to push enough to finish everything. I’m still up in the air about an epidural because I figure that…up until this point, I’ve endured discomfort for 9 months, why not see if I can just finish it off the old fashioned way! As far as the first few months…I’m terrified of EVERYHING!!! I’ve never really held or been around tiny babies (neither has Matt) – I’m still flabbergasted at the fact that these doctors are going to allow me to leave the hospital with this little creature…I’ll probably feel like I’m stealing something…like “are you really sure you’re letting me take this home?”

 

What are you most excited about?

I’m very excited to finally meet her – I’m adopted so my daughter will be the only blood relative I have in my life and that’s a pretty cool thing. I can’t wait to see what she looks like & then also see her personality develop: who will she be like? Will she be a math lady like her dad or a planner like her momma?

 

What nitty-gritty information do you really wish you knew?

I would want to know all the horrific gross stuff that happens AFTER you have the baby: no one really gets into it with you about the bleeding, your nipples feeling like they’re falling off, not being able to hold your pee like a normal human being…like, give it to me straight. Everyone kind of glosses over stuff (even in the classes)…tell me if I’m going to have to sleep on a puppy pee pad for 6 weeks after the fact because I’m leaking all kinds of nonesense!!!!

 

What kind of mom do you think you’ll be? How do you think Matt will be as a father?

I think I will be a basketcase as a mom. Hopefully I’ll do a great job and teach my daughter to be a strong and independent young lady that has LOTS of confidence. I also think that I will have way too much fun ‘dressing her up’ and will encourage a dangerous shopping habit from an early age (much to her father’s dismay). Matt is going to be an AMAZING father…honestly, until Matt, I never even wanted children. He is the whole reason that I ever entertained the thought: he is the kindest, most amazing person I’ve ever met and I can’t wait to see him hold her when she’s first born. I mean, c’mon…what is sexier than your husband holding a baby!!!?

 

Best wishes and lots of get-a-lot-of-sleep happy thoughts to Meghan and Matt!

Baby check-up

Zack had a pediatrician check-up appointment today.

I think Dr. D is about the only doctor I’ve EVER been excited to go to. Z-man’s doc is a cool fella — a sharp dresser (a Hawaiian shirt our first visit, an awesome multi-piece suit this time), an awesome personality and first-hand experience as the parent of a child with Down Syndrome.

Scott and I (and Zack!) just love him!

 

Anyway, at Zack’s visit, he weighed 14 pounds, 3 ounces and was about 26 inches long. And for all of you caring (cough, weirdos, cough) folks who care about this measurement, his head was 16 inches in circumference. And because most of you will have the question of “where does he fall compared to other babies” now, I found this at http://www.babycenter.com:

Based on the data you submitted, your child falls into the following percentiles:

Length = between percentile 75 and 90
Weight = between percentile 25 and 50
Head Circumference = between percentile 5 and 10

Of course there’s a growth chart for babies with Down Syndrome. According to charts provided by the National Down Syndrome Society (www.ndss.org), Zack’s length is above the 90th percentile for length. His weight is between the 75th and 90th percentiles. And his noggin is about at the 75th percentile.

A couple of issues that we were concerned about were addressed with a no-big-deal attitude from our doctor, so I am breathing a little easier tonight. The doctor was so very pleased with Zack and told us that we were truly blessed with how well he’s doing so far.

 

 

It couldn’t end on a very happy note though, as The Dude had to get two shots in the chunky part of his thighs.

He cried for a minute or so but was comforted rather quickly and off we went, with two Band-Aids to mark the scene of the crime.

 

 

One of the things I love about Dr. D’s office is the inspiration — not just from a positive doctor and his obvious compassion for Zack, but for the messages throughout his office. In the waiting room is a sign that says “Worry ends where faith begins.” So true, right?

Then today, I noticed this message hanging in the room we were in. It was perfect for my latest mindset.

It read, in part:

“All men are driven by faith or fear — one or the other — for both are the same. Faith or fear is the expectation of an event that hasn’t come to pass or the belief in something that cannot be seen or touched…”

“… Faith is to believe in what is not seen. The reward of faith is to see what one believed…”

(and then my favorite part…)

“In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at halftime. The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.”

 

 

 

Have faith, friends. It’s all around us.

 

 

 

Sometimes staring you right in the face.

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

… a frenzied Momma preparing for the holidays while working full-time (and then some), taking care of baby, trying to get quality time with Handsome Hubby and counting the days and hours and minutes until my super-dooper Christmas vacation traveling through New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Phew.

No wonder my licked Christmas card envelopes are going to smell like Pinot Grigio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am, underneath the build-up of stress and anxiety and the apprehension and absolute joy and excitement about our travels, I am still the little girl who wrote to Santa, bribing him not with cookies and milk, but with a beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am overjoyed every time we receive a new adorable photo card from our friends and family with little ones.

 

I feel at such peace running my hands over the ceramic Christmas tree my mother made with her hands years and years and years ago.

 

 

 

 

I gaze, with Zack, at the lights on our tree — those lights that are turned on first thing when I walk downstairs in the morning and stay on until we go up to be each night.

 

 

And the Christmas music that is probably driving my mother-in-law absolutely crazy when she’s over baby-sitting still hasn’t gotten old to me.

 

 

I am in a beautiful place in so many ways. And I still bribe my “Santa” with beer.

And promises of a lifetime of love and all that stuff, too. Oh, and cute babies. REALLY cute babies with mohawks.

 

Viewing life

It’s so cliché, but really folks, life is pretty darned short.

I’ve obviously adapted to a new way of looking at life since the birth of my son. But that doesn’t just reach a new level and stay there. It creeps up and up when I’m not looking, when I’m not expecting it, when I’m not looking for it — little wake-up calls, if you will.

I spent the better part of a 12-hour day today interviewing the families of four people killed in a car crash this past weekend. Ordinary and extraordinary, all of them between 37 and 51 years old. Four people going about their lives, taken in an instant. I’ve heard all about them today.

“We stuck together through thick and thin,” said one son of his mother.

“She liked helping people out when they needed it,” a daughter said of her mother.”Their biggest joy was being grandparents.”

People would have a better life because of her daughter, a tearful mother told me.

No matter how many feature obits (as we call stories that honor a recently-deceased area resident) I do, they still hurt. They’re still the intimate tip-toeing into some of the most difficult hours a family has to endure. But I can’t tell you how special these stories mean to most of these families. Instead of an obituary, they have this opportunity for a beautiful last thing for their loved ones.

What would your feature obit say about you? Have you made the most out of THIS day?

In less whoa-deep thoughts, I’m loving my new camera, but I realize every day how very much I still have to learn. It’s a Nikon D-3000, so if anyone has any pointers on how to not be point-and-click dependent, I’d love it.

I’m getting there. I just love all of the memories I’m able to capture. I love viewing this beautiful life of mine through the viewfinder on my favorite new “toy.” The things I capture — not due to my talent as a photographer, but due to my luck and blessings as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend… — they’re just perfect.

The days my son has a weak Momma

Every now and then, I slump a little in my seat, smile a little less, lay down my SuperMom cape and sluggishly lift off my armor.

And all that remains is the weak Momma.

She doesn’t come out very often. In fact, Weak Wendy is almost unheard of around here anymore. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. But I’ve gotten so used to the tough-as-nails me that those other moments come as such a slap in the face I’m overwhelmed; I’m caught off guard.

There are the moments where just looking at pictures of other babies on Facebook or hearing other moms-to-be talk in anticipation makes me bitter. No, bittersweet is more like it.

I look at Scott in these moments and want to scream. Why are you handling this all so much better than me, Mean Mommy yells from inside that Deep Dark Place.

The hardest for me are therapy sessions. Funny, huh? The best thing we can possibly be doing for Zack; his best chance at capturing all of the dreams this world threw on him when he was still in utero, and I sit there, nodding at new exercises and watching every move, blinking back tears and just trying to breathe past the knot in my throat.

But then.

Then.

 

 

But then there’s a nap together on the couch some lazy Saturday afternoon. His hair tickles my nose and my cheek and I listen to him sigh in a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

There are the smiles from both sides during leg lifts and belly time that make us both forget that what we’re doing is work. And those giggles.

 

 

 

 

Then there are the times when I watch Scott with him.

I can feel the love — the warm, warm combination of their two souls radiating through the room — and I am OK.

 

 

And the armor and cape come back out and Super Momma returns. All is well and I can move on.

But I still feel so darned guilty for feeling weak in the first place.

 

At church this morning, Zack had a dirty diaper, didn’t want to take the nap he needed and then got the hiccups. I left Scott in the pew as I took care of the diaper and paced back and forth in the lobby for about half of the service. I listened to every word from our pastor, taking it all in while breathing in the scent of my baby boy.

A congregation member came up to us just then, admired Zack and then told him this:

You bring so much joy to your mom.

 

Yes.

Joy and strength.