Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

I just can't believe how quickly the last two years have flown by. It seems like only yesterday I was in the hospital, presented with this beautiful, mostly healthy, perfect baby girl! We have had a whole new world opened up to us by Samantha, and it's a wonderful place.

We knew nothing about Down syndrome when she was born. My initial thoughts were about how I was going to protect this helpless child for the rest of her life. My next thoughts were that she would never do or enjoy all of the things that daughters normally do with mothers, like travelling, shopping, enjoying museums, borrowing clothes! But we've had a massive educational experience since then, and discovered that life with a newborn is a massive educational experience in itself! We've discovered a whole community of amazing families who love and value their children, and believe in their children's abilities and potential.

We've discovered that this bright, bubbly, beautiful and very, very busy little girl is full of surprises and still has so much more to show us. I still worry about her future, but I know she'll be able to do whatever she sets her mind to, and will have a happy, productive life full of friends and love and options. She'll play soccer, create and discuss art, learn new things at school, even ask to borrow my clothes! She'll date, maybe even get married. She's feisty and determined, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us!

Happy birthday, baby!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yes, England Played Yesterday

Well, it was a friendly game between England and the US, and England won. Steve was all ready to make excuses for the England team, since they've just finished their season and are exhausted and have a ton of players out injured. He was quick to point out that every time the US plays England in a friendly, this is the time of year they do it, the US is fresh and ready to play, the US plays their top team, and England rests their top team and has their "B" team play. So sometimes England lose. And it's because America is so arrogant that we don't take any of those factors into account.

Ah, the joys of living with a proud Englishman. :-)

I love Sammi's little England kit! It's an enormous 5T, but the shirt works fine. We'll just have to wait a few years for the shorts and socks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend at the Lake

I love this photo. It's of Samantha and Grampa. She's just started calling him "papa", which I think is so sweet!!

We went down to the lake this weekend. The weather could not have been more perfect! Of course, the car ride there could have been much, much, much better. We left pretty early on Saturday morning, and it was smooth sailing until we hit a 15+ mile backup on 95 from an accident close to the exit we would be turning off of. Figures. We bailed out onto an alternate road and had a nice, clear 4-5 miles, until our luck ran out and we sat in a total standstill with no possibility of escape. Surprisingly, Samantha was soooooo good throughout the whole ordeal, making for calmer, happier parents.

Once we got there, we relaxed for a while, then took Sammi over to the beach at the park. She really still doesn't want anything to do with sand or water. I guess we'll just have to keep pushing it until she gets used to it. Poor little thing--she just dug her toes into the exact spot we set her down, and refused to move. Her bottom lip started to quiver until one of us picked her up.
On Sunday we drove into Fredericksburg to walk around. It was only @30 minutes from the house. It was pretty busy, due to the holiday weekend. We bought Samantha an Elmo doll (that she's totally in love with--she keeps asking for "momo" and cuddling and kissing him).
Not a lot of excitement, but just a lovely weekend. My mom's an amazing cook, too. :-) Sammi and I will be going back down on the 6th for a long weekend while Steve's away in Richmond with Special Olympics.
I can't believe Samantha turns 2 on Friday! We're going to stop her formula and bottles that day and put her on a more normal feeding schedule. The fomula and bottles have been such a convenience for us, and now it's definitely time for her to eat like a big girl! She doesn't know "when", though. She'll keep on eating and asking for more until we totally remove the food source, so it'll be a challenge if we want her to have her meals with us. We tried the new feeding schedule this weekend when I totally forgot to bring the formula with us. It went fine. She totally doesn't care whether we feed her formula or not, or a bottle or not. I still can't believe she's turning 2 on Friday! Time flies.
(Sorry for the formatting issues w/the photos. I hate that what you see when you set the post up isn't anything near to the finished product, and it's a real pain to edit!!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oatmeal and Tears

Oatmeal and Tears
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom

Sammi and I went to the DSANV Spring Picnic at Bull Run Park yesterday. Steve was at a Special Olympics meet, so it was just the two of us, along with another DSANV mom and her son, to whom we gave a ride. Samantha had already had her morning nap, but was just so cranky! She was definitely not that into it. The weather was wonderful, but the ground was soaked through from all the rain, and everything was muddy. I think she would have had a better time if she could have played out on the grass, rather than being confined to the chilly, dark pavillion or the stone-covered driveway area. She enjoyed the petting zoo, and got to see a real sheep and real ducks!

On another topic, something that's terribly exciting to us, Steve went into her room yesterday shortly after she had been put down for a nap. She looked up at him and said, "poo poo" and tapped her bottom! So Steve asked her, "did you do a poo?", and she smiled, so he checked her nappy, and sure enough, she did!!! This is exciting on so many levels. Dr. Lewanda (her geneticist) seemed to think at their last visit that Sammi should have a little potty to sit on and get used to in preparation for potty training. We, of course, thought it was way too soon, but we got one and I've been setting her on it and talking to her about it when I'm in there myself. Sammi's very bright, and I'm pretty sure she'll get it sooner than we can imagine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

At The Lake

At the Lake
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom
This is a photo of Samantha at Lake Anna. Mom and Ray have built an amazingly gorgeous house right on the lake (well, more like at the top of a cliff on the lake--you take your life in your hands to get down to the water!!), and we went down a few weekends ago. We definitely plan to spend plenty of time there this summer! Sammi doesn't get too much of a chance to get near water, and I'd love for her to enjoy it and ultimately learn to swim. The water that day was full of "pollen", although I think it may have been nuclear reactor sludge washing ashore...(just kidding, Mom!)

Sammi's been taking off with her words again. She's learned a lot of new signs (which she's not afraid to use regularly!), has FINALLY learned to blow a kiss, (rather than just making kissy sounds), and has picked up a ton of new word approximations. Of course, Steve and I are the only ones who know that "doodoo" is kitty (or cookie, in reference to Cookie Monster, depending on the context), "doo" is either shoe or chair (depending on the context), "mehmeh" is mirror, "a-a" is sheep (she says that because I always say "baaa" with a bleating sound when I talk about sheep), "mo-mo" is Elmo, and "ng" is blocks. Uh huh. Really. And she's started to "play" with her stuffed dolls by making them dance to music or give each other kisses (while she makes a kissy sound!). It's so cute!

I can't believe Samantha will be 2 years old in three weeks! The time has really flown. We're combining her birthday party with Matthew's at Clemyjontri Park on June 1st. She's such an amazing little girl. I don't know how we got so lucky!