Off days that are spot on

Oh, glorious days off.

I love my job, I truly do. But there comes a point, usually a couple of hours before my fourth or fifth or even sixth day of work in a row where I realize that I am so close to a day or two with the loves of my life that I can barely contain a grin. I literally exhale with all of my might as I pull in to the garage and then squeeze my two guys a little harder when I walk in the door.

These days off are so perfect.

The kind of days with no make-up and yet you still feel beautiful, your hair styled by twirling little fingers and your perfume of choice a jazzy little number called Bananas. Where the hand holding with your husband comes so easy and the hugs keep going right up until the first snore of the evening.

Pinch me.

And then punch me if I ever complain about not being lucky. Because I have got to be the luckiest girl in the world.

The Dude and I started our “weekend” with a hike with our friend Meghan and her daughter Bree.

The weather permitted me to roll a window or two down and I couldn’t help but feel so very fortunate to call these long lines of mountain ridges and fields dotted with silos my home. The rolling stroller wheels and our conversation on everything from Mommyhood to working and being a busy wife and mother mixed in with the chirp of a flying friend and yes, I swear, I could even hear the wind passing through the trees. It was a fantastic morning and I’m looking forward to many more.

It doesn’t hurt to have not one but TWO sets of beautiful blue eyes staring up at you. Our children are so beautiful, Meg!

There was a visit to see my father-in-law, too, where a quick financial question turned into a terrific hour or so. I have always admired and respected my FIL — he’s funny, he cares about his family and he’s always acknowledged me and my interests and passions. He really “gets” me, too. And none of that has changed, nearly five years later, not even the grabbing infant on his knee while he sits in his office, surrounded by photos of his grandson. The word “proud” might as well be stamped across the office walls.

I was brought back outside again that afternoon, pushing off the front porch floor with my bare feet as the porch swing creaked along, Zack’s hair blowing back and forth as he turned his head quickly in one direction, and then another, and then — what’s that?! He was so mesmerized by it all. I’m so grateful to be having lovely spring weather finally. (Although it’s gone again for a few days, hmrph)

Even the animals are loving the open doors and fresh air!

And speaking of Zack’s hair, the little guy had his first haircut last night! His hair has always been super long (everyone remembers the natural mohawk, right?) but it stopped sticking straight up a couple of months ago. And then it could be easily contained to one side or the other, a la Donald Trump Combover. But recently it just became a hot mess, mostly sticking in his eyes or getting covered in the flung food from breakfast. So Momma broke down and agreed to a trim.

The first few moments with the cape on were a little unsettling for Z-Man, but then he was entertained by the shiny scissors (oh, great!) and colorful items the hairdresser’s assistant was holding up for him.

He got one to two inches trimmed in most spots, believe it or not, which just left his pale blond roots. It makes him look like a totally different baby — and more like a boy than a baby!

It was a very, very cool one of our “firsts.” Even if I’m still in denial that he needed a haircut already. I know I’ll be hearing from some of you. 🙂

I feel like my days off have become a collection of really special moments just strung together. Sloppy open-mouthed kisses and spontaneous power naps on my chest.

Perhaps Zack’s newest smile inducer is his recent babble. It’s happening much more frequently, longer and louder. It’s usually a ba-ba-ba sound, but I’ve heard a couple of “da” sounds in there and Scott swore he heard “Mom-mom-ma” the other night while he was making the Dude do some exercises.

The “a-ba-ba-ba” is hysterical and most often heard from the little man, with a bit of chomping motion from his mouth, but we have been seeing all sorts of different types of babbles — “yelling” at Rocky the cat who is almost always laying near the baby, excited, just-woke-up phrases with his tongue sticking out, conversations in the mirror and many more. I love them all. His sounds are just taking off suddenly and it’s amazing to watch it happen.

Basically, Z-Man is just amazing. And I’m not biased.

Back to work today and already planning my next “a-ba-ba” conversation with my handsome guy.

Because maybe “a-ba-ba” means “I love you.” 🙂

8 Months!

 

I feel like I barely catch my breath before the baby formerly known as Little Guy/Man is another month older and I’m left wondering where the 30 or so days are going. I was thinking about days off that I would need in the coming months and realized Zack’s first birthday is already in what I would call the near future.

 

UNBELIEVABLE!

 

 

 

 

We have entered a really exciting time with Z-Man. He’s so alert, so aware, so curious. His big blue eyes get even larger when he hears a sound, sees a movement or wants to share a babble or two. I’ve loved every phase and stage so far, really I have. The newborn phase is so special and involves so much close bonding and snuggling that the lack of sleep is forgiven and almost forgotten. Then we saw our first smiles, which warmed my heart in unimaginable ways. And then the laughter topped it all. Then we achieved goals of rolling and head-lifting. It’s all so amazing.

 

 

 

And here we are, eight months in and loving every minute.

As I’ve hinted, the Zack Attack is getting his very own personality. He’s a terrificly happy baby 99.7 percent of the time. I can’t describe what a joy it is to have all that, well, joy, in our lives so much of the time. He wakes up happy, he goes to bed happy and is even relatively pleasant when he’s tired or hungry.

 

 

And now some random tidbits from the past four weeks:

 

He’s wearing Size 9 Months clothing and Size 3 diapers.

He’s eating baby food with different cereal for each of his three meals, with only a bit of formula in the morning and just before bedtime.

We’re not sure of a weight or length yet, but we’re thinking 18 pounds or so.

Dislikes: Not being able to eat 24 hours a day.

Likes: Food. Walks outside. Laughing. Eating. Petting the animals with his hands and feet. Food.

 

 

 

Here’s to another great month!

Everybody poops and there was some sunshine

This post is actually about five posts in one. Bits and pieces of thoughts from this day and that day and retracing notes on scratch paper from work and home.

there’s a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark

Truth be told, I was going to write in honor of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day a couple of weeks ago. About how one diagnosis has changed my family’s world. About the darkness Scott and I found ourselves in one afternoon in the hospital nearly eight months ago.

Then, funny story.

I was planning the post in my mind when Zachary’s diaper exploded right after a meal when I was home alone with him. The shock of such a poopy sight all over his highchair made for one of those deer-in-headlight moments on my face, I’m sure. Within moments of sharing the yucky story on facebook (with none of the photos I took, be still, although this one is from the immediate and clean aftermath…), I had several of my Mommy friends sharing stories of poopy highchair experiences of their own, and the ones in the carseat and the crib.

You see, my baby poops just like any other baby. Even with the Big Bad Down Syndrome label.

throw your soul through every open door (Whoa) count your blessings to find what you look for (Whoa-uh) turn my sorrow into treasured gold


You see, he has messy diapers like any other (nearly) eight-month-old. He eats the same baby food. He rubs his eyes like most babies do when he’s sleepy. Just like other kids, he smiles a lot. And he cries his fair share through cranky moments, too.

And as his parents, we’ve shared a lot of experiences that other parents have, DS label and all. We fought our way, numbly and in a daze, through sleep deprivation. We learned the hard way not to leave a baby boy’s penis exposed without covering. I have playdates with friends and their babies and it’s not awkward or uncomfortable or even sad anymore. We scoop up each other’s babies, and I can’t speak for them, but I feel the same glorious love and motherly awesomeness when I see and hold their babies as I do with my own.

We probably think a lot more than other parents because of DS. We think about exercises and goals and physical therapy. Those are things most of our friends don’t consider.

I know I regret. Regret wasting my time making plans I had no business planning. And dreaming daydreams of things that aren’t that important.

And we worry. We worry about missing goals and lazy days of exercise. We sometimes, when our guard is down, worry about the future. That big, unpredictable scary series of tomorrows. Tomorrows of shorter life spans and unknown skills and achievements and delays. Tomorrows of teasing and confusion and the need to spend an entire lifetime “proving everybody wrong.” How sweet it would have been to have felt no need, no pressure… no DS.

But really, the majority of our lives are not spent thinking about our lives with Down Syndrome, but rather thinking of a life that has beautiful blue eyes, blonde wispy locks of hair and reaching, grabbing, exploring fingertips. A life that has taught us to live.

A co-worker used the “r” word in front of me last week. And it was the first time since Zack was born and I started following the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign that I haven’t felt the need to throw a fit and stand on my soapbox with a megahorn.

We have hibernated our long, cruel winter.

I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And Spring is arriving, in teasing, agonizing glimpses here and there, but it is arriving nonetheless. Better late than never.

Between the budding flowers and green fields along my walks with Z-Man and the new job and everything that it brings with it, I am truly opening my eyes to everything around me.

The love given so beautifully and easily to me from my two guys. One who has given me the ultimate battle of my life so far and the greatest pride, welling up in a happy lump in my throat when I think of his purity, innocence, gorgeous giggles. Another who has fought the good fight with me every step of the way and who is the only person capable of making me feel so good at all of my jobs — mother, wife, manager, daughter, friend, woman, soul.
It almost feels like Scott and I are in our early days of dating again. We nuzzle together and send texts and leave little love notes. It’s pretty romantically gross, really.
There is more laughter in our house lately, and more love.
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it’s something worth fighting for

I can smell candles burning and the steaming cup of coffee in my hands.
I hear the background hum of a favorite ballad and a high-pitched squeal of delight.
I feel the warmth of muscular arms holding me tight, the warm breath from a good-morning kiss.
But what I see. Oh, such beautiful things.
Few things will ever compare to that big goofy, gumless grin that greets me after a long work day. Zack’s face just seems to explode with delight every single day. The 30 or so minutes that follow, although at his most tired time of the day, are so beautiful. My hair twisting in his fingers, his blue eyes searching my own.
So forgive my infrequent posts. I can’t offer you a glimpse into our lives every day any more, but I hope never to stop this blog.
I just need more time to see things in a quiet place far removed from everyone and everything. I need time to watch the cardinal that was dancing on my front porch this morning while I danced with my son to a bad 90’s song.
I need more time to laugh with my son and hug my husband so very tightly. Then, I can come here and share it all — the good, the bad and the ugly.
For now, I am so very happy.
And I think my two guys are pretty content as well.
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here