Monday, December 31, 2012


Check out our magazine debut at:

Our Christmas Card/Announcement 2012

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

And... Let the Chaos Begin...

It was my first attempt to leave the house on my own... with my two children.  A feat I had dreaded as soon as I was pregnant with #2.  The thought that kept running through my head: how in the world would I be able to handle two children?  It was something I knew would be difficult, something I knew would take lots of strategic planning and teamwork and something I was so not ready to wrap my head around.  And then... enter the news of baby #2 having dwarfism.  So interesting how all of that changed.  I no longer had the head space to worry about how I would handle two children.  My fears shifted to much more serious, long-term worries.  I remember a close friend asking me after we received our baby's diagnosis, "Are you ready for the day-to-day with two children?"  I told her that I hadn't even been able to think about it.  And, that I couldn't go there.  Not yet.

As we all know, this is a journey for me and my family.  I warned you... there would be lots of changes going down... lots of growing, lots of learning, lots to be humble about.  I realized before Lilah was even born, that we could get through this and everything else that is thrown our way if we just take it one day at a time.  If I try to look at the long-term/big picture, I get overwhelmed.  But, I can handle one day.  And then, flash-forward a month and I am knee-deep and right in the thick of day-to-day with two.  It is a blur... filled with lots of happy moments and some I am glad are behind me!  Sleepy eyes and feedings and Mickey Mouse and snacks and dirty diapers.  Then push the repeat button every three hours.  But leaving the house... all three of us?  Hmmm... it seemed my fears were about to be confronted.

So there I go... me and the kiddos.  I painstakingly review every detail before I leave the house.   Wet wipes... check.  Two diaper sizes... check.  Car keys... check.  Water, blankies, burp cloths, snacks, coats, wallet, sleep sheep, paci, phone... check, check, check.  I put Clay in the car seat, run and grab the diaper bag and put that in the car.  Then comes Lilah.  And off we go to have a joyous morning at our library story time that we participate in every week.

And joyous it was.  Clay was an angel as he sat quietly with the other twenty children listening intently to the story.  Lilah lay asleep in my arms, so peaceful.  Craft time went off without a hitch as Clay followed directions and made he cutest santa hat.  We proceeded to pick out our books and we walked hand in hand to the counter to check out our books.  The librarian commented on how well-behaved my kiddos were and I politely smiled and said, "I know."  It was joyous, our little trip to the library.

Haha... I almost had ya.  Yeah, that never happened.  I wrote that dreaming about what it would have been like if it had gone well... my first trip out alone.  But, it went more like this: We arrive at the library with an insane amount of stuff like we are actually staying the night.  A stroller with car seat, big diaper bag, my handbag, a duffel bag of library books, a toddler and a newborn.  Everyone keeps a good 20 feet from us as we maneuver through the library.  We head over to the book return where you can fit about three books in the slot at the same time.  I was thinking about the weeks earlier when I was holding Clay and we were putting the books in together--counting, laughing, smiling.  And now, I was shoving the books in as fast as they would go as Lilah realized we stopped moving and decides the library is way too quiet.  She starts crying and I try shoving the books in faster as a line forms behind me.  Of course.  I turn around after every shove-in to see if Clay is still within sight.  Finally done.  I get Lilah out of the car seat and start the bouncy-walk... the only thing that keeps her cries at a minimum.  With a, "Come on Clay," every 5 seconds, me pushing this bus-of-a-stroller and doing a ridiculous bouncy-walk, we make our way to the children's section.

Story time begins and Lilah decides now is not a good time to sleep although I begged to differ.  I choose a spot in the back so I could keep the bounce going.  I reach into my diaper bag for Lilah's bottle and I pull out one that had to be in there for at least a week.  Nice.  That will smell good when I dump it in the sink when I get home.  I find the right bottle and she doesn't want a bottle.  So, she keeps crying and my bounce gets deeper.  I am now doing dips.  All twenty children all around Clay's age of two, sit and listen to the story as Clay proceeds to grab my skirt and pretends that together, we are a human bell as he shouts,"Ding, ding, ding!"  I grab him with my one free hand as he falls to a noodle on the floor pitchin' a fit on the way down.  Grandma Mary, the story time leader, is saying her shhhhhhhh's to all the kids... I mean to my kid.  Since Clay is already on the floor, he thinks it would be fun to rub his head all along the carpet similar to that of a dog trying to itch an unreachable itchy spot.  Oh joy.

At craft time, we spent a record 3 minutes on the santa hat.  And when I say we... I mean me.  I did the craft quickly to get us out the door and to prevent any further embarrassment.  Clay still managed to lick the glue stick in the 3 minutes we were at the craft table.  And, since I was hurrying, I didn't follow directions and the hat was way too small to fit on Clay's head.  Oh well.  Off to check out our books.  I put Lilah in her car seat which she loudly protests as I am putting her straps on.  Her protests turn into an all-out wail and the librarian checking out our books gets really uncomfortable.  She says, "Oh no!  Get her out.  She hates that."  I reply, "Yes, I know... but I have to strap her into her car seat.  We are going out to the car and it's raining."  She continues, "Let me hold her.  She is so mad."  And I smile, grab my books and move my caravan to the door.

I get home and Corey says, "How did it go?"  "We survived," I said.  And survive we did.  And tomorrow, we will pack up, head to the library and do it all over again.  And one of these times, it will get easier.  That... or we will be uninvited to story time.

Crazy as it sounds, I thought I would give it another go.  Feeling pretty good, I had the optimistic attitude of, "I got this... the initial outing is behind us and now I can do it."  So, I took the kids to a store where I wanted to pick up some more toys for Clay's birthday party.  It went well.  I was pleased.  As we leave the store, I am carrying Lilah in my arms and pushing the cart to our car which is parked right out front.  As I go to put Lilah in the car first, Clay takes over the cart and pushes it off the curb where it proceeds to fall on him knocking him and the contents of the cart into a mud puddle.  I throw open the passenger car door and lay Lilah down on the seat.  I go back, pick up Clay and put him in his car seat.  I then realize he is covered in mud, so I take off his shoes, fish around for wet wipes in the diaper bag and clean him and the seat which now has mud all over it.  I look back and a nice mom with her two angelic daughters are helping pick up the cart and the toys from the mud puddle.  I say, "Oh, thank you!" And she says, "Weren't you at the Fisher's Library story time a couple of days ago?"  Crickets.  My head was saying, "Nope.  Not us."  But I squeaked out a, "Yes.  That was us."

Yes, Lilah has taught me lots.  She has taught me that fears are just that.  A word that is sometimes scarier than the connotation attached.  When you actually think about the worst that can happen if the fears become a reality, they often times aren't as scary as we make them out to be.  I admit... it wasn't pretty... me and the kiddos out in the public for all to enjoy.  But, nothing bad happened and after all, we did it.  All by ourselves.  And I have to say, there is some satisfaction in that.  Another thing Lilah has taught me... a situation doesn't have to be perfect, pretty or even without a tear or two to be successful.  We accomplished what we set out to do and sometimes that is enough.  What is enough for us... is enough and we can be proud of that.  Looking back, there were some shining moments in those experiences.  The "old me" would have let the bad define my day.  But, why not focus on those shining moments throughout the day instead of getting caught up in the what didn't go right?

See, I am learning.  One day at a time.  And we will get to making situations pretty... and if not, dang-it, we are going to have fun trying!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Two Sides of Acceptance

Acceptance... a word I have thought a lot about in the last two months.  What does this word really mean?  Isn't it the root of what everyone wants in this lifetime... to be accepted?  To be accepted by strangers, friends, parents, your spouse, and yourself.  Isn't that why we do the things we do?  It's one thing to say, "I don't care what others think."  I have heard myself saying this over and over lately.  But... is there any truth to that?  Do I really not care?  Hmmmmm... thick skin is what I want, but I know deep down that I care.  I care what others think.  I care how I am treated by others.  I ultimately want to be accepted.

I have had two extreme experiences with this word acceptance... all in the week Lilah was born.  Both occurring by chance.  Both rocking me to my core.  Both teaching me about this word.

Three days before my scheduled C-section and my dear sister-in-law baulked at the doctors' orders for no nail polish in the surgery room and scheduled pedicures anyway.  She knew exactly what I needed, what I wanted... to be pampered.  As we made small talk with the ladies each attending to our toes, the conversation moved to my pregnancy and talk of how small I was considering I was giving birth in the next few days.  I got this a lot with both of my pregnancies and I just shyly smiled and said, "Yeah, I know."  The lady working on my sister-in-law says, "My daughter was big.  9 pounds and something-or-other ounces and she had a huge head."  The way she said it made us giggle... I guess it was not what we were expecting her to say.  She went on to talk about her theories as to why she thought her daughter has a large head.  The gal working on my toes says, "It's like midgets.  They have huge heads."  Then a pause.  And then, "I mean little people.  They don't like to be called midgets."

There it was... me, my child,... not being accepted.  All of the air felt as though it were sucked out of the room.  I felt my cheeks get hot and my mind spinning and spinning.  The irony... it just about killed me.  This stranger had no way of knowing that in three days I was going to give birth to my very own little person.  The fact that she even said that caught me so off guard I don't think I said anything for the next ten minutes.  I just kept repeating what she said in my mind thinking, "Did that really just happen?"  At first I was hurt.  I was hurt that she thought that was funny.  I was hurt that I didn't say anything in response.  And I was hurt thinking about how I would feel if she had said that to my daughter.  But then, I felt myself smiling.  It made me feel vindicated for putting my story out there for all to hear and know.  I just thought, "See... this is why I want everyone to hear about Lilah and know that her story is one of love... not hate, not ignorance, not unnecessary words."  There are people out there that need to hear my message and understand that words can hurt.  Understand that differences can and should be celebrated.  It's ok if we are not all the same and I happen to believe that being different is a good thing.  And then there are people out there that already know this.  And for those people, I just hope my story offers a smile, inspiration and a message of love.

{For the record... the word midget is inappropriate and is considered a derogatory term.  I apologize for using this word in my blog.  But, for me the truth has to be told as it is and by skirting around this word, I am not teaching anyone what is okay and what is not okay.  Therefore, I used this word in the context it was said, as unfortunate as it was.}

And then... the day of Lilah's birth... as I am being wheeled into my recovery room straight from surgery, flowers are brought in right behind me.  Corey reads the card... they are from our local chapter of the LPA (Little People of America).  When we first received news of Lilah's diagnosis of dwarfism, my mother and my California sister-in-law reached out to the local chapter of the LPA for support.  My family knew we would need to be corralled by another community-- one of understanding, one of familiarity.... one of acceptance.  But it was the acceptance of the individuals we have been fortunate enough to meet/get to know over the last month that blew me away.  See, the LPA is a group of people just like any other group of people formed by commonalities.  They didn't have the luxury of choosing us to be in their group.  When we contacted them, they didn't ask us questions judging us and deciding whether of not we would be a good fit.  They didn't meet us in person, ask about our backgrounds/ethnicities/occupations.  They embraced us wholeheartedly in a way I have never seen and they genuinely offered their support, love... and acceptance.  I am so humbled by these individuals and the LPA and their example of unconditional love.

Both of these experiences have made me realize the depths of this word acceptance.  It has made me understand what it feels like to be accepted and what it feels like not to be accepted.  And for the same reason.

It amazes me that this is a choice that we all make-how we treat/react to others, how we make others feel.  I have learned that even strangers and words from strangers can make an impression and a long-lasting impression at that.  It is important for me to be an advocate for the LPA, little people and for my daughter, Lilah.  Someday, strangers' words and stares will hurt her and in turn hurt me, too.  If by sharing my story affects even one person to be more open, loving, accepting... then it is worth it for me.    But this can be a lesson to all of us.  We have all heard comments about race, cognitive abilities, ethnicities, physical appearances and so on.  I challenge you... next time you hear someone being put down, a derogatory comment,  or stereotyping of a group of people... stand up and say something.  When I have the chance again, I promise, I will stand up for what I believe and protect those I love.    

And at the same time... words can do so much good if we choose them wisely.  From my experience with the individuals that have reached out to us in the last few months, I have learned to be more compassionate for others, the way compassion has been shown to me.  I have learned to go out of your way for those you love AND for those you are yet to love.  I have learned that its what's in your heart that matters.  Thank you to the LPA, the Rollins family, Mama Gray and family, the Spears Family, Hidi Gardener, Leslie Walden, Marcia Bagwell, Jamie Nading, and Sandy Becker for reassuring me, guiding me along the way and being a hand to hold.  You have all been incredible teachers and I cannot thank you enough for your support, friendship, love and... acceptance.