Saturday, April 30, 2011


When I was a kiddo and still in the custody of my biological mother I longed for a brother or a sister to share my time with. Sometimes, I wanted a sibling that was older and who would take care or me and stick up to those nasty kids who often made fun of me. Sometimes, I wanted a sibling that was my own age. One that I could stay up late with and become best friends with.

I never had another sibling. At least not one that I grew up with. I had a half sister that I knew of. Charity. I had met her when we were very young. We shared several visits together before my mom lost custody of me and I became a ward of the state and was moved away.
My younger childhood was pretty lonely. Making friends never seemed to work because every time I did get close to someone, I would get moved again. I wished on many occasions that Charity was moving around with me. Then, at least then I would have someone.
As I grew older I still wanted to find her, talk to her and possibly become friends with her. A couple of years ago I finally did find her, practically in my own back yard!  She had been living in this area and only ten minutes from my house for years! We never knew that we were so close. How that was even possible is beyond me.

Over the last couple of years our friendship has grown. We still have a lot of time to make up for but hopefully we both have a lot of time left here on earth, to do just that.

My childhood has made me build a wall that practically never comes down. Its something that I am working on and probably always will be, but its something that I work at even hard for my sister because I want to be her "big sister" and someone that she can depend on. Plus, she has a son, Lex (or Alexander) and I want to be his aunt. I want him to know me and to know my children as his cousins and not just as some kids that he randomly plays with. I want the same for my children as well.

Family is important to me. It is something that I prayed for as a child and it is a prayer that God has willingly and graciously answered for me. I don't take this gift lightly.

On a side note, A couple of years ago I also found out that I have yet another sister as well as a brother, both whom are quite a bit younger than I am. We speak on occasion and I love them both dearly!

Point and Shoot Queen!

I am very picky when it comes to pictures of me. I'm just not a photogenic person. I tend to get uncomfortable when the camera is pointed in my direction and I end up making weird faces or giving odd smiles. Which is ironic because I use to think that I wanted to be a model.

Typically, I am the one behind the camera and that's just where I like to be. However, that poses a problem when I actually want pictures of me with my children/family/friends.

Today, I met up with my sister. We decided to meet at a park because it was so nice out. Plus, my nephew would enjoy running around and playing and that would make it easier for her and I to catch up.

Since I got to the park ahead of my sister I set up my tripod with the camera and began taking pictures. Eventually, my sister and nephew walked up and I asked her to try to get a couple pictures of Vada and I. I showed her my camera and told her not to worry about anything- "Just point and shoot". With my nephews help and a little cropping/editing these are the pictures that she took of us. I absolutely love them. She did such a fantastic job! Thanks sis!

There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.

Especially, when he or she is your very own sleeping baby.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Kate Middleton made one beautiful wife and I adored her dress but I don't regret not staying up late to watch her get married.

I read all kinds of Facebook posts over the past two days. People were saying that they were waking up at different times just to watch the wedding live in their specific time zones. Suckers! I got up this morning and watched all of the recaps.

Seriously, I don't even know this girl or the Prince and I like my sleep so I was fine watching a re-run of the live version this morning and fully rested (or as fully as I can get with a baby who likes to night nurse)!

I do however, love seeing a good wedding! My ultimate favorite parts from all weddings are- seeing the anticipation in the faces of the bride, groom and their guests, the way the father walks his daughter down the isle, not fully wanting to let go and then the look on the soon to be husbands face as he watches his soon to be bride approaching him. That and the kiss!

Justin watching me walk down to him.
My Dad and I
... and then we kissed.

When I was watching Kate walk down the isle I thought to myself how her wedding was a dream of most every little girl that I think of. To be a princess, to marry a prince and to live happily ever after, isn't that what we all pretended as little girls? I wondered if the princess herself once had those same dreams and if this same shared dream was why watching the wedding was important to so many. Was this why waking up at Godless hours in the middle of the night to watch some strangers exchange their vowels was so significant? I smile to myself with that thought and an even bigger thought brings a new smile to my face. Every wedding should be something royal to the couple. After all we are all princes and princesses in the eyes of the Lord. When you marry someone, no matter how big or small of a wedding ceremony, it is sacred and should be celebrated.

Just as every wedding does, this one made me reminisce our wedding day. Not that it was even close to being as extravagant to the "Royal Wedding", but I did marry my very own prince charming! We've been married for almost three years now. Which is such a short time but it feels as if we have always been together. Those childhood dreams that I once had doesn't even touch what I am living now, with Justin. We may not live in a castle or have tons of money but we have love, friendship, companionship and trust. Together we have built a family with three fantastic children (who even in the worst of moments I wouldn't trade) and a stinky dog named Cody. While watching the soon to be princess walk down the isle I wished her all of the happiness that I have with my husband and I thanked God for giving him to me.

These wedding picture's were taken by Justin's cousin Amber-Thank's Amber!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Grand Little Get Away

Kiliegh's birthday is three days after Vada's heart surgery making celebrating it on the actual day some what difficult. With Justin's work schedule (M,T and Ffor one week then S, Su one week and then W, Th the next and every two weeks alternating from nights to days) and the girls visitations with their bio's the only time that we could all be together to celebrate her actual birthday was this last weekend. So we decided to go out of town  and to do something new. We didn't go far from home, but far enough to seem away from our everyday "norm".  We went to Dubuque Iowa, which is only about an hour and a half away.

Our destination was a place called Grand Harbor. Known for it's indoor water park and restaurant Tony Roma's it offered everything we needed to relax, have fun and celebrate Kiliegh turning 8.

We arrived at 1PM on Friday. After checking in we had a light lunch and then we headed straight to the pool.

Every hotel trip needs to have the beds inspected. The girls take pride in doing so.

Notice the french fry that Vada left on my shoulder. Often, I walk around with all kinds of things on one or both shoulders not noticing until later when I am home. I think its part of the criteria for being a mother.
The Family before heading to the pool

The water park area was an enclosed portion of the Hotel and very humid as well as very busy.After waiting about twenty minutes I decided that I didn't want to leave my camera in those conditions. Plus, I wanted to swim and not worry about leaving it unattended. This was the only picture that I was able to get.

Vada looks as if she is melting but really she is just a very tired girl.

We stayed all afternoon and until around 6 PM when we finally decided to get some dinner. After diner we were too tired to go back into the pool so we went up to our room. Jasmine had been to an over night skate party the night before and had slept very little. All of the running around and swimming had tired Kiliegh out completely and she had actually stated that she wanted to go to sleep. Justin had worked his normal 12 hour shift the day before and my nights are all screwed up with Miss V waking up two to there times to nurse and I think also because of her teeth. So, getting some much needed rest was welcomed by all.

Vada and I slept on the floor which was a B-A-D choice on my behalf. I hurt in the morning!

On Saturday we woke up, packed and then checked out of the hotel by 10 AM. We had decided to skip breakfast so we could get a head start on our day.Which later became a mistake, because we were all starving! Our next stop was at  The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquiarum. Which, by the way is right next door to the hotel.

Kiliegh was so excited to finally be able to see a real live seahorse.

My sweet husband..., wishing that he could catch one this big!

How could I refuse?

There were many different water exhibits.

They had these lily pads on an amphibian exhibit and look... a pretty little flower bloomed on this one.

There were caves to climb in, on and through.

There were two different gift shops which were all too fun to play in.

There was a lot of hands on things for the children and for the young at heart. Besides Jasmine who had gone with our church, it was a first time experience for us.It was nice to get away together. To not over think things, together. To play, laugh and enjoy each others company all together. In our family getting everyone together all at the same time is a difficult process, but one well worth the wait!


Yesterday was the first day that someone has ever commented on how small  Vada is.

Usually, it's been people saying things like; "She sure gets enough milk.", "She's not lacking in the food department."and "Are you sure she weighs (insert weight amount here____) and not more?"

Maybe I am a little sensitive. I have come to terms that I probably am, actually, I have come to terms with a great deal of things over these last two years.

I think its safe to say that a lot of my sensitivity then (during the seizures), came from fear and stress of the situation that we as a family were in. Maybe my silence towards what others were saying was my way of accepting that they just didn't understand and had no idea that what we were going through, was tough.
When Vada was born she weighed 6lbs-8oz. She was so tiny but by far a giant when compared to all of the other babies who were in the NICU.

Vada only minutes after being born.
Vada's low muscle tone, sweet cheeks and marble of a chin made her seem a little fuller than she really was. However, once she was in our arms, she felt weightless.

I'd like to believe that in general, most people are good and would not intentionally say things to be hurtful. People made their comments about Vada's weight not realizing that I was putting my 7 month old baby in 18 month baby clothes because her head was so swollen from the steroids that she had to take to stop seizures and not because of the abundance of milk she was drinking.

People didn't realize that their comments actually stung more at this point in her life than they did when she was born.  It was on a rare occasion that I would comment on other peoples remarks. There were so many that sometimes it just seemed like an endless battle.

I once read a post from another mother who had gone through the same battle with seizures, steroids and weight gain. She had commented on how there were times where she would throw shocking comments back to those who made rude remarks. Mainly out of pain and in her own words, she would say how these thoughtless people were making fun of a very sick baby. I too have lashed out in such a way on several occasions but it never made me feel better. I didn't like the look of guilt that I saw from the stranger that I had just hurt and I certainly didn't appreciate the pity that came afterward. Eventually, I just smiled because I knew that they didn't know and really what did it matter?

Vada's 1st Halloween ~ 11 Months old

Around 10 months old, Vada was just a couple of ounces off from being twenty pounds and she was only 25 inches long. Looking back at these pictures I don't remember seeing her this way. I knew she had gained, I knew she was swollen but I was with her all of the time. This was a gradual thing and truthfully, her weight was the least of my worries.

Today, the exterminator came. (If we don't spray we get Earwigs and Centipedes and I am scared shitless crapless of bugs that are inside of my house.)  Anyway, he was a new guy and had only been to our house on one other occasion. I was just laying Vada down on the living room floor to play as he was walking in through the front door. He took one look at her and said "Oh, you've got a new one." Justin had begun to walk him through the house and he replied to the exterminator with her actual age, almost fourteen months. The "bug man" stated how little she was and Justin agreed.

I was still in the living room as they were walking away, but I heard the short conversation and to hear someone finally say something other than her being "fat" warmed me up inside. I think babies should have good healthy rolls, but when it's all you hear about it begins to become offensive.

I don't know if this guy had children of his own, but lets face it men are not always the best judges when it comes to babies ages in comparison to their actual size. Vada is a pretty average size now, at least I think so. She is 17 pounds (give or take a few ounces) and she is right around 27 inches. She is wearing 12 month clothes and even some of those 18 month outfits/shirts that she was in months ago now fit her correctly.

The day before her 1st birthday.

She has her face back and doesn't look so uncomfortable anymore. She still has some baby rolls, which I think are fabulous and she still loves her milk, but now she is just more the size that she should have been. I am so grateful to be past that time. I pray everyday, sometimes several times a day, that we don't have to go through that again and I thank God for Vada's good health in the area of seizures.

Vada  on Easter of 2011

Ive learned a couple of things about the words we (the world in general) allow ourselves to say. In reference to babies I never refer to the baby as an 'he' or a 'she' if I am uncertain. I once had a elderly woman tell me that Jasmine, who at the time was in a pink dress, was a cute boy. I wont make the same mistake. Instead I ask the baby's name or I keep quiet until I know for sure. I never say a baby is cute if in my opinion he or she is not, because not all babies are cute and I don't say how something else on the baby is cute to deflect what I am really thinking. Mainly because I have had to endure quite a lot of that and you can tell that the person is searching for something to compliment on. Lastly, I never comment on a baby's weight. Too small or too big, you never know what the reasoning behind the situation and you never fully know what a person is going through.