About Me

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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Sleeping

Kyle asked me the other day when Maddie would sleep in her bed all night.  I just laughed. 
Although Maddie has always been a good baby, she's never been a good sleeper. 
I finally came to the conclusion that Maddie will never sleep the recommended 14 hours of sleep for her age group.  And there's only so much you can do when it comes to someone else sleeping.  
We have numerous "routines" we rotate through.  Just when something begins to work really well, Maddie will become immune to its sleep-inducing powers.  
I've made up our own lullaby song to the tune of "Goodnight Sweetheart."  That worked for a while.  
Then we tried the magic lotion.  I told her this was special lotion and when put on it her leg, it would cause her leg to go to sleep.  I would say, "Go to sleep leg, Go to sleep leg, Go to sleep." And would repeat this until she was covered with magic lotion.  That worked for a little while.  
We've also tried "unpacking the day."  While she's in her crib, we talk about what we did throughout the day, detail after detail until she yawns and gives up.  That worked a couple of nights.  
Our go-to routine though is reading a couple of bedtime books and say a bedtime prayer.  
We decided a long time ago to stay in the room until she fell asleep.  We tried the whole leave-the-room-let-them-cry-come-back-in-5-minutes thing and it did NOT work for us.  Not only did it feel completely unnatural, Maddie was so sensitive when we would leave her anxiety escalated to the point of stimulating her to a more wakeful state.  She was far more concerned about where we were and when we would come back than dozing off to sleep.
 So for the last couple of years our nights have consisted of putting Maddie to sleep, which Kyle and I switch off each night.  This could take 15 minutes or up to an hour, depending on the night!  And then Maddie always wakes up sometime in the middle of the night.  Instead of repeating the same ordeal, I just scoop her up and bring her to bed with us. 
I'm sure there's a lot of experts out there who could point out all the flaws in our plan, but you know, it works for us...at least for now. 
I actually remember the first night I had to go to sleep in my own bedroom all by myself.  I was terrified, but my Mom assured me I wasn't alone because I had all of my stuffed animals with me.  That worked for me. And in the morning, I did feel proud of myself for what I had accomplished!
  When Maddie gets older, maybe we'll give that a try.  Just not sure when "older" should be.
  Any suggestions?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Decorations- CHECK!

This may be the earliest I have ever got Christmas decorations up!  It helps that I've kept things really simple the last couple of years since Maddie's been mobile {and very curious} and she's also at the age that she can help, which I knew she would love.  

Kyle and I set up the tree yesterday while she was  napping having "quiet time."  This was her reaction when she came into the living room...

I knew she would love it!

She understood the concept of decorating the tree...and apparently, anything goes!

And this was her section of the tree...

Here's some of our other decorations...

Super simple, but I love 'em. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photography Biz

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!
We had a great time.  A bit of a catastrophe with the sweet potatoes which involved one too many sticks of butter, some spillage in the oven and lots of smoke, but we all survived.  And thanks to all the family members who tried the sweet potatoes...you were troopers.  : )  

I have been happily busy with my photography lately!! I have done 16 photo shoots to date.  I can't believe it.  It's crazy that I even get paid for this, it's so fun.  

Here's some shots of my recent shoots...
I got to shoot an amazing family from church.  I really wanted to capture how this family loves each other.  They are sweet, funny, and just so fun to be around!
One of the best examples of everlasting love I've seen. 

I'm a little partial to Daddy/Daughter relationships...love this exchange. 

I think I may have found a new favorite genre...Seniors!  At least if they are all like Carly.  We had 
so.  much.  fun.  I love how the pics turned out. 
love that smile!  Carly has such a bright, shining spirit about her and a heart of gold.  I think it shows through with this capture... I just love it!

one of my faves!!

We were SUPER excited when the train came!!  I clicked and clicked and clicked.
I still have two more photo shoots to edit and another project I'm working on.  It's good to be busy. : ) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hope you guys do lots of it with family this Thanksgiving holiday!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Maddie's Day of Discoveries

We had one of those great days when we stay home all day and play. 
I know not every day can be like this but when they come around, I really cherish them.  
Maddie discovered the basket of Tenley's bottles on the counter while eating her toast.  
When I came into the kitchen this is what I found...
 she's a steady stacker!

She also discovered her magnets stick to the dishwasher...

Next, we got the markers out and discovered a masterpiece in the making...

While I was cooking dinner, Maddie discovered her own first-class front row seat...
This is her booster seat that belongs at the table! : )  

Finally after such a long, hard day she discovered the perfect pillow...

So many discoveries in one tiny day!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Little Thanksgiving Project


OK, just had to give a heads-up.  We made a little something for the grandparents and great-grandparents on Friday.  So much fun!  Maddie absolutely loves getting her hands messy so I knew this would go over well.  
At first she was interested in the texture of the cotton ball and painting with it.
But then it got a little gloppy.  
So as with every painting project, she ended up using her good 'ole hands!

 A note to my Mommy friends...even though I know how much Maddie loves to paint the thought of getting out all of the supplies and cleaning up the mess, sometimes often times deters the activity.  But I have to say, this wasn't a great big mess and we really had a great time. Here's a few tips to make it easier to clean:
1) use a smock...I just used an old t-shirt and cut off the bottom to Maddie's height.
2) I like to use these trays from Lakeshore Learning.  They are a great size and it helps define a boundary.  I just tell Maddie to "keep it on the tray" and so far she hasn't tried to repaint the walls or table or anything else!
3) I planned this for a time when I could take her straight to the bath.  Maddie was in heaven...first painting then bath!!  
4) Use washable paint. I like these paints (again from Lakeshore Learning).  I've tried other {cheaper} paints, and I think quality really does matter...even with children's paints.  The other paints were not nearly as vibrant and seemed runny, so Maddie had much better "success" with these. 
That's it.  Hope you find some time to paint with your little ones too! : ) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Night Out

Last night we enjoyed a night out at Bricktown and had Tapas for dinner at Bolero.
Afterward we went to the fountains and I had no choice but pull the camera out.  She was just too cute!

Happy Friday!! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yummy Broccoli Soup!

So, what do you do with delicious home-grown broccoli given to us straight from the garden of our good friends? 
You make broccoli cheddar soup!
Since becoming a Stay-at-Home-Mom, I've began to channel my inner Donna Reed.  
There's something about not just quickly throwing something in the oven to heat up to declare dinner ready, but instead putting some effort into good ingredients and giving presentation some thought.  
There certainly are times when we have get-what-you-can-find-out-of-fridge-I'm-not-spending-another-second-in-the-kitchen-nights!
But last night wasn't one of those.  I actually enjoyed the entire process.  I found the recipe, shopped for the ingredients, and decided to make it extra special with presentation. 
 Bread bowls from Panara Bread : ) 

If you happen to make this recipe, don't buy the packaged, shredded cheese.  The quality of ingredients makes a big difference.  I really like Tillamook Cheddar cheese. 

You can find it at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.  It's soo much better than the other stuff. 
I also drove out to the farm to get fresh, raw milk and cream.  The recipe actually calls for 4 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of half and half!  YUM!  This time of year the cow's produce more cream so the milk is extra good and delicious! 
So we had garden fresh broccoli, fresh raw milk and cream, and a good cheddar cheese.  I don't think I could have gone wrong with this one!  It was delicious!!

This dinner falls into that category of put your very best into whatever you do. 
Or, in other words, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man." Colassians 3:23