Hunter and Ella's Uncle Dustin (my brother) and Aunt Marie came up here to Alaska to visit today. They live in Georgia and stopped over in Vegas to get married and are up here for 2 weeks. Dustin was able to fly out and meet Ella when she was 5 weeks old, boy has she changed since then!!! I have to say that these are the first pictures of Ella in a long time where she has actually looked little to me, it helps that my brother is 6'3" : ) Hunter of course loves having another guy around to play and wrestle with! Here are a few pics of Ella and her Uncle.
Here is Ella with the happy new married couple!
Uncle Dustin thinks Ella's chubby belly is funny!
And Ella thinks it is funny to eat Aunt Marie's hair!
4 Generations of women, my grandmom, mom, me and Ella. I have to say I feel extremely lucky that I have such a young family, and that we can all be together. My grandmom is leaving tonight to head back to Georgia, and in our typical fashion we waited till the last day to take pictures of the four of us, and of course it was rainy all day. Oh well, we got a few good ones, a lot of funny ones too!! It was hard to get us all looking at the same time, my poor dad was trying to take the pictures and get Ella to look at him and smile while Hunter was running around like a maniac and of course Ella was watching him. Here are some of the better ones.
Then when we came in my dad said, "just think in another 18 years you can take pictures of 5 generations." Ugh. Of course he didn't think about Ella and having a baby of her own. Now, I know that physically she can have a baby, with a 50% chance of having a Down syndrome baby, but mentally probably could not handle a baby. I know it is such a touchy subject and really I don't care to think that far in the future right now. My mom said to my dad "I think you are forgetting
something," pointing at Ella. He said "You never know it could happen." Ugh again. My husband is pretty much the same way, they don't really look at the whole picture. Anyhow, I'm going to get off of this train of thought before it depresses me. So, enjoy the pics : )
Today was yet another beautiful day here in Alaska, it was about 80 degrees and just perfect out. Hunter lives outside here, and Ella seems to enjoy sitting outside too. She got to play in the grass today, until she figured out how to pull it and eat it. Of course I took a million pictures so here are some of them.
I was looking at the pictures here on my parents computer that I downloaded from my camera when I was here this past winter. I can not believe how much both of the kids have grown. Just thought I would share them, from Jan/Feb 2007.
Ella's hair that is. So the day after my last post I stopped by to talk to James. James is the guy that used to cut my hair when I lived her in Fairbanks, he is from Columbia and is absolutely hilarious. Anyhow, I was going to ask his opinion about Ella's hair and then beg for him to squeeze her in sometime before we leave on August 21st, (he is always booked months in advance.) Let me tell you a little story about James that he told me when I ran into him last February when I was up here visiting. James has a 17 month old son, Jericho. When James' wife was pregnant she had the triple screen and it came back with a high risk of the baby having Down syndrome. They decided to do further testing, but being as Fairbanks is fairly small and pretty remote they had to go to Seattle for the testing. James said that the two week wait for the test results all they did was cry. There baby turned out to be "typical" but you know that he looks at Ella and thinks, wow that could have been my son. Anyhow, I believe that he has a soft spot for little Miss Ella and he just says over and over again in his thick Colombian accent how beautiful she is. So, I show up and he is of course busy with a client but immediately stops what he is doing and comes over to talk to us. I told him my delima and he played with her hair for a couple of minutes and then said "okay, I cut it." Having complete confidence in him I just let him have at her. He asked his client to go sit in another chair then had Ella sit in my lap and began cutting away. It was really cute, she was moving all around diving towards him and trying to eat the buttons on his shirt, and he would stop every few seconds hold her face and say "oh you love James, sisisisi." Anyhow, he trimmed up her hair and kind of cut her bangs but not really, it pretty much looks the same except a lot thicker and not hanging in her eyes. Before I post the pics of her new do, I have a couple of other quick stories. After Ella's haircut my mom, grandma and me went to a baby store here in town. We were shopping away when this man came up and said "when babies do that with their tongues, we say that they will be very lucky."(she was tired and doing the open mouth with tongue protruding. ) He appeared to be from India, and not to be stereotypical but there are not many minorities in Fairbanks unless they are with the military so I am pretty sure that he must be a doctor. Plus I have to say that of Ella's doctors that we have seen, the nicest and those that seemed to know the most about Down syndrome were of the same race as this man. So my new question that constantly runs through my head is do people just look at her and automatically know she has Downs or is it only those that have experience or personally know someone with it. People are always fussing over her, and I always just wonder, and I always feel the need to somehow work it in to the conversation that she has Down syndrome. Then today we were at the mall (ha, not really a mall, more like a hall,) and they were having an antique show, so different vendors had tables set up to sell their stuff. The first one we stop at I recognize one of the ladies as someone I used to work with when I was a dispatcher at the police department. Anyhow, you could totally tell that her and her friend knew, her friend volunteered at my old high school and worked in the special ed classes. So we talked about Down syndrome and how she used to work with an adoption agency and placed a baby with Down syndrome in a family that had already adopted another child with DS. She said the birth parents felt like they wouldn't be able to handle it, and they were so full of regret years later but at least knew that the child was well taken care of. THEN we go to another table and the lady at that one starts saying how great Ella looks, and that she is big for a child with DS and wow, what great head control she has so on so on. Was it just me that didn't have a clue about Down syndrome before I had Ella? Everywhere I go lately it seems I am running into somebody who knows something about it. Quite frankly though, I am pretty sick of talking about it even though sometimes I am the one who mentions it. Will there ever be a day where it won't be the first thing on people's minds? Doubtful. But hopefully someday I will not feel the need to mention it. I guess part of me does it though because I can't stand the do they know or not game, I'd rather just say what she has and move on. The other part of me wants people to know she has it so they can think " wow, did you see that happy baby, she doesn't seem so different than any other baby!" Okay, I am done rambling. Here are some pics of Ella's new hair do. Like I said really not that different, though I'll be the first to say that I kind of think she looks like a boy, maybe that's just cause she has had her hair in a pony everyday for the last few months, I don't know. Here they are oh yeah and one other thing, Ella looks so tired because she is!! That little stinker was up SO much last night, and having fun with her new game, throw the pacifier out of the crib. Then to make it worse she took 2 pitiful naps lasting 10min and 20mins, so that explains the dark circles under her eyes.
That is the question!!! Ella's hair is driving me so crazy. It hangs in her eyes at all times unless I put it in a ponytail or pigtails, which I have to say is quite cute. However, I wonder if the little ponytails ever hurt her head. I mean from the second she wakes up until she goes to sleep at night her hair is up or she can't see. She doesn't cry when I put her hair up. But, that doesn't necessarily mean anything with Ella. Yesterday we went shopping in all of the little touristy shops downtown and I bought Ella a Kuspuk, a beautiful little dress like the Alaskan Natives wear. Anyhow the sweet little old lady that owns the shop was trying the kuspuk on Ella, as a side note she said "Oh she is a good size. How old? 10 months!!! Oh, she is so big. Wow, she's big." and on and on, it was pretty funny. When she took the Kuspuk off of Ella there was a huge scratch on Ella's arm, I'm talking like six inches, dark red bleeding, obviously painful scratch, and Ella never poked out that bottom lip, cried, or even blinked an eye. So, the point of that story is that Ella doesn't necessarily cry if she is in pain, if you hurt her feelings or make a loud noise she will cry, but not always when she is hurt. So, do I cut her hair to avoid constant ponys?? I'm so scared to cut it though. But she does at least need a trim cause she has some scraggly hairs that are longer than the rest and if it was trimmed up at least it would look thicker. What do I do?????????????????
SO BIG!!! Yep, this is Ella's new favorite game. It is so cute, especially how those chunky little arms barely go above her head. But, as always the best part is how thrilled she gets with herself.
Know what else is SO big????
MOOSE!!! These two moose were walking through my parent's front yard. Crazy huh? Only in Alaska, (well maybe not, but it's the only place I've been where these things happen and it's just another day!) I'm glad that we had come in from playing and didn't meet up with these two face to face! I have fond memories of walking to the bus stop in the middle of the winter, no street lights and armed with only a 4 inch flashlight, scared to death that I may walk between a mom and baby moose. Ahhh, childhood. Funny but I am still scared of the same thing. My mom and sister and I have been taking walks and I still jump at any little noise, sticks breaking about makes me pee my pants. Oh and did I mention that this year alone 9 bears have been shot in this area?? So as we are walking I keep running through my head okay if it is a grizzly then do you play dead or do you run or do you fight it, and how about if it is a black bear? I guess when I just passout from fear we will see : )
Here are some pics of the kiddos. I love when I actually get them both to sit still long enough to be in the same picture, and today they were both pretty cooperative!
I know Hunter looks less than thrilled but he actually thought it was pretty funny that Ella was sitting on his back, although he said "mom Ella is really heavy!"
Ella thought it was really fun to pull Hunter's hair.
Hauling precious cargo!!
Well, he didn't really haul her, just posed for the pics.
Ella wanted to taste the trailer.
Awww, Hunter is so sweet to Ella!! I hope that this will always be the case! I know they will have their moments, what brother and sister don't, but I hope they are close through out their lives. Sometimes I think all of this isn't really fair to Hunter, he will have to deal with a lot because of his sister. But I hope that it will make him a stronger, caring, and more compassionate person!
As a side note, I forgot to mention that the day before we left home, I got a call from the pediatric clinic on base saying that Ella does have low thyroid. I had her tested when she was 6 months old and she was close but still in the normal range, then again at 9 months and she is in fact low, well the number is high but that means low thyroid. Anyhow, so I was upset that we couldn't get her on meds before we came here for 7 weeks but I guess once shes on it she has to be retested. I'm very interested to see if the medication will increase her endurance, and if she will slim down a little which will have to be easier to move around. Don't get me wrong I love my little chunky monkey but she doesn't really eat THAT much and therefore shouldn't weigh this much. So we will have an appointment when we get home, yipee.
Well we made it to Alaska. It was a very long flight, 13 hours to be exact, the kids were very well behaved but it was still very long. Ella was hard to deal with, she just wanted to get down and play so instead she busied herself with pulling my hair, standing up, sitting down, pestering her brother, and trying to throw herself off of my lap to get down. The weather is absolutely beautiful up here, it has been in the 80's the last two days, and as you know this is the "Land of the Midnight Sun" which of course means it is light 24 hours a day. Hunter, the smarty that he is, has used the "but it's still sunny out" excuse to avoid going to bed. On the 4th we went to Alaskaland, which is definitely no Disneyland, they have a playground and a train and little shops. Hunter had fun, so it was worth it. When we got back to my parents they gave him his big present, a John Deere power wheel, ya know the car for 3 year olds. Boy is he in heaven. He looks so big driving that thing around! It has been a little bit strange being here. I guess Ella's having Down syndrome is more real to me here. Maybe because I am out of my comfort zone so to speak. I guess I forget, not really but put it out of my mind, when I am at home and around my friends that see her all the time. So, flying on the plane and being in the airports it was the same old "are those people staring at her?" Plus I think the older she gets the more her features stand out. She has started here lately with her mouth hanging open more and her tongue sticking out more, which she wasn't really doing. What makes me so mad/upset is that I even think this way. I KNOW that it doesn't matter and I KNOW that I love her just the way she is and that she is perfect to me, but my mind always defaults back to the why and being so defensive about her. I drive myself crazy. Anyhow, the kids are being wonderfully spoiled. My grandma and sister are also here visiting and after they leave my brother and his new wife will be here, and my kids just eat up all of the attention. So, that's it for today, I will put pictures on pretty soon, my parents computer takes forever for them to upload and it is after midnight so I am heading to bed.
PS - Katrina that commented on my last post, I wrote you back on that same post.
Two of my friends that I go to church with were both pregnant the same time I was. It was so nice being miserable in the Texas heat together!! Here we are at the end of August 2006. It's Jennifer, Liesl, and me.
Here we are with our cute little newborns.
Awwww! Aren't they sweet!! It's Cana, Savannah, and Ella
Here are the 3 in their pretty Easter dresses.
And here they are today in their red white and blue! Savannah, Cana, and Ella were not really in the mood to have their pictures taken!
It's so neat to have the "triplets" (as they are called at church) together. The girls were all born within 1 week of eachother. It's pretty amazing especially considering how small our church is. Anyhow, just thought I would share those pics!!
The kids and I are heading up to Alaska on Tuesday, we are so excited. I am dreading the flight though, ugh. Texas to Alaska takes us about 13 hours of flying and airports, yipee. I plan to keep blogging while I am up there, though it may be a while before I get to it. We will arrive at midnight July 3rd/4th, then of course we have the 4th events in town to go to. My dad's retirement party is on Friday, oh and did I mention that my grandma and sister are both coming up on the same day too. It's going to be a full house, but it will be fun!!! Hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th!!!
P.S. I posted this and it is not working out like I want it to. So, sorry the picture labels are not above the individual pictures. Not sure why it won't do it!
I am a mother to two incredible children. Hunter is 8 years old and Ella Grace is 6 years old. My children are my life, my true joy. My life was turned upside down when my daughter was born and surprised us all by having Down syndrome. Since her birth I have come from sorrow and a sense of loss to greater happiness than I ever imagined and I owe it all to The Amazing Ella Grace! Contact me anytime by email firstname.lastname@example.org
My face may be different,but my feelings the same.I laugh and I cryand take pride in my gains.I was sent here among you to teach and to loveas God in the heavenslooks down from above.To Him I'm no different,His love knows no bounds;It's those here among you, in cities and townsthat judge me by standardsthat man has imparted,but this family I've choosenwill help me get started.For I'm one of the children,so special so few,that came here to learnthe same lessons as you.That love is acceptance, it must come from the heart;we all have the same purpose,though not the same start.The Lord gave me lifeto live and embrace,and I'll do it as you do,but at my own pace.-Unknown