The Simple Life

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We just went on a short trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee with my parents. It was just the three of us and them, but we had a great getaway. Nana and Poppa took Abigail swimming. We visited the park and rode the carousel, walked the foot bridge and got ice cream. Then we took a trip to the aquarium and the zoo. It was a quick, but full trip and we all had fun. But this trip, as going out to any place, always reminds me that my baby girl is not normal.

Abigail could care less about the fish and the animals. She was more interested in eating her food and hugging whoever was carrying her at the moment. She is a very social baby, and loves giving out those precious hugs. As much as Abigail has improved at noticing her environment and being aware of things around her, she still never even noticed that we were surrounded by new creatures and that we were in a new place. She had her family with her and that is all she needed. It is frustrating at times that we go places and she has no idea where we are, or what is going on around her, but then you see that little smile spread across her face and you realize that she is enjoying just being with us.

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At the zoo with Nana and Poppa!

So often I wish that we could do fun things with Abigail that she would enjoy. I wished while we were at the zoo to see her eyes light up as the birds and monkeys wandered up to the enclosure to see her. I wish she could stand up and run around so we would have to catch up to her. I wish she could communicate her excitement when that giant fish swam right by her hand. I want to be able to take her places like the local splash pad, and the children’s museums and things like that. I want to be able to cook with her and run around catching bubbles and drawing on the sidewalk. Oh I want these precious memories. My mama heart is often sad because I feel like Abigail is missing out on so much.

But then I see her smile as she gives me the biggest and best hug of my life. I see her excitement as I pull out her scooter so she can ride around the house. I watch her eyes light up when Daddy comes home from work. I hear her squeals of laughter when we take our daily stroller rides. And I watch her splash away as we float around the pool. No, the things we do might not be exciting in the world’s eyes. No, the activities Abigail enjoys may not be normal toddler activities. And no, we will win no award for an adventurous life. But our simple little life is good! We are happy and have a little girl who is so joyful, and for that I am thankful.

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That smile is a ray of sunshine!

Maybe one day we will be able to do these things with Abigail, but I am thankful for today. I am thankful for a little simple getaway with my parents. I am thankful for my simple days I spend with my little girl. I am thankful for her joy in the small things. I am thankful that I have these moments to treasure in my heart forever. And I am ever thankful for a little girl who is making her own path in this world.

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Abigail’s Special Ability

We were sitting on our front porch and we watched three little girls ride by on their bikes. She watched them riding by, giggling as they went. As they disappeared around the curve she reached her little arm out and I explained they had already gone. She just kept reaching, processing everything that had just gone by her. My own eyes filled with tears as her eyes kept watching after those three girls. My baby girl cannot keep up with those girls. She might never ride a bike or run around the front yard. As she watched those girls go I wondered what she was thinking.

A questionnaire I was filling out at the doctor’s office asked if Abigail’s condition affected her relationship with others. I had never thought of it affecting her before. She is such a friendly, social little girl. But as I sat there pondering that question I thought of how much she is affected. She cannot explore her environment as a normal toddler would. She cannot socialize with other children her age because they are too fast for her, and they scare her. Yes, she is cute and a show stopper in so many ways. Yes, she can get all the attention in the room quickly. Yes, she is a social butterfly and does not mind getting attention from complete strangers. And yes, she loves all people. But how does her disability affect her socially?

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Would Abigail be who she is today if she was not developmentally behind? It is hard to think of Abigail as being ‘normal.’ I cannot imagine her running around, getting into everything and talking to me in her own toddler language. Would her personality be as glowing and sweet? Would she be a calm child or one who is into everything. Would she be adventurous or cautious? I would like to think that she would be the kid climbing the walls and coloring the walls. She would be strong-willed and stubborn. She would be independent. Maybe I am glad to have a toddler who cannot move. Just the other night she literally poured out an entire bag of cheerios on the floor in a matter of seconds. I had given her the sealed bag to play with while I talked to Jordan. Neither of us were paying her any attention, and then we heard the Cheerios spilling out. They were everywhere before we knew it. That little stinker managed to open the bag and spill them all without even leaving my lap. She is a mess and a half and she knows it too!

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As we watch Abigail grow day by day I realize how long she is getting. Her baby-ness is disappearing and she is turning into a little girl before our eyes. Yet, every time I talk about her for the first time I do not mention her progress or her abilities. I always tell people about her disability. I explain she cannot sit up or walk or talk. Her disability is apart of who she is. I do not do this because it defines her, but because people realize something is not quite right and it is easier to put them at ease then make them quietly question it in their minds. Yes, her disability is apart of who she is, but it is not all of who she is. Abigail is a smart, spunky, independent little bombshell. She is hilarious and the life of the party. But because she cannot do anything independently she quickly gets overshadowed by everything else going on around her.

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I want Abigail to always remember this. She has the ability to do so much, and I want her to never think because of her disability she is not enough or not worthy. Yes, she will struggle. Yes, she will do things differently than everyone else. Yes, she will have things to overcome. But this will only make her stronger. It will give her a story that can only be hers to tell. Oh may her ability to do what she sets her mind triumph her disability every day!

Babies Grow Up

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Abigail, only hours old

Our sweet, not so cuddly, newborn baby we brought home two years ago is growing. Her baby fat is melting away, her hair grows inches everyday I swear, and if Abigail would stand she would be almost 3 foot tall now! I see the changes everyday – a baby turning into a beautiful little girl.

She is learning so much and is becoming interested in her environment around her. She loves people and will interact with any adult she sees whether we are in a restaurant or checking out at the store. Her joyful little personality comes out day by day. She brightens up a room, and makes people smile in her own simple way.

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One year old Abigail. What a cutie patootie!!!

If Abigail was your typical two year old she would have be jumping around and climbing into everyting. She would be an adventurous, that kid who is into everything and we would be exhausted at the end of each day as we try to keep up with her. Abigail is fiercely independent and stubborn. She is adventurous and a little dare devil. She has no fear of getting hurt, falling or being in danger. She is our blonde headed wild child.

When I lay her down in her crib at night I see her length has taken over her crib. Yet, she finds a way to snuggle all the way to the bottom of her crib with her legs always at crazy angles jutting out away from her most nights. I know it is going to be time for a big girl bed soon, and that excites me and saddens me all at the same time. This baby is turning into a girl, and we have so much to learn about raising a child!

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Trying out the big girl swing in the park the other day. She is still so tiny in it.

My little girl will always be my baby. So often it is hard to see her growing up because she is still so dependent on us, but I am seeing her grow before my eyes. One day she will not be as reliant on me. One day she will feed herself or get herself dressed and I will be a proud mama who will treasure these moments, but for now I will watch this baby girl of mine grow into a lovely child who will one day shine her bright light for the world. Right now though she is my innocent, sweet little baby girl snuggled up in her footie pajamas just sleeping away in her crib. Oh may this little girl grow into a godly woman with a big servant’s heart.

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I love sleeping babies!

A Day in Abigail’s Life

I cannot believe we have a two year old! This time two years ago we were attempting to go to bed to prepare for our early induction time at the hospital. In honor of my little girl turning two tomorrow I wanted to write about Abigail, but I write enough so I thought I would change things up though and write from her perspective. So here is a day in the life of Abigail from her view of the world!

“I wake up in the morning when the light turns on in my room, and I like to just lay there and make noises. Hearing myself talking is so fun! I say ‘da-da’ a lot right now, over and over. ‘da, da, da, da, da, da’ is all you will hear me say for now, but I can make other noises if I really want to. Eventually my mommie comes into the room, and I know she is going to pick me up so I am so happy to see her. I usually laugh because she is so funny and tells me silly things like, “Good morning.” What’s a morning?

Mommie takes me downstairs and sits me in my chair. She lets me play in this thing that pulls out from the wall while she walks all over the room putting stuff in front of me. I just like pulling stuff out and dumping it all on the floor. The sounds the toys make as they hit the floor are funny, and I know Mommie will pick them up for me. I love her so much I even share my toys with Mommie too as she pops, what she calls, Cheerios into my mouth. They taste good! Then Mommie finally sits down beside me, but she closes the thing with all my toys and makes me eat food. At least I like the food she gives me and I am hungry because I haven’t ate for a looong time!

Then it’s back upstairs to my room again. Mommie always says we have to get ready whatever that means. Again she walks all over the room pulling things off shelves while I lay on the ground and play with my toys. I like making messes and handing Mommie things. I can even roll over and grab things I can’t reach. Mommie calls it getting my wiggles out and I have lots of wiggly time now. Then that lady makes me take my jammies off, and she yanks all this stuff over my head and my legs. I feel like I’m being thrown everywhere so I don’t help her very much. But then the worst part happens – she takes this pink thing and rips my hair out. I like my hair just the way it is, and I don’t like Mommie touching it so I try to protect it as much as I can. I think I beat Mommie because now she doesn’t make me wear all those silly bows and hair ties anymore. I like touching my hair, and those things are icky!

Sometimes I get to play with Mommie if she doesn’t take me to the car first. My favorite things to play with are my basket of toys. I love handing things to Mommie and then we take turns kissing all my toys. It always makes Mommie laugh. I also love it when Mommie tickles me. My back and my ribs are very tickly and she knows it too! I laugh and laugh at that lady when she tickles me. Then she makes me do exercises, but I don’t mind them too much. And some are even fun like when I have to put these colored things in the holes. Or when Mommie gets on tummy time with me. I don’t like it when she makes me get on all fours and makes me hold myself up. It takes a lot of work and I get tired so I try to fight Mommie and she’s strong but sometimes if I fight enough I can win! After we play and exercise I get to watch Mickey Mouse and eat a snack. I just like the music, and clapping along but Mommie is always talking to the tv like Mickey can hear her. She is so silly. I just ignore them and play with my toys while Mommie feeds me.

If Daddy is still at home I get to go wake him up and tell him I love him. I love it!! Mommie lays me in the bed by Daddy and I start telling him all about my day. Sometimes he groans and I’m not sure why, but he always turns around so I can touch his face and blow him kisses. And no matter how far he tries to move away from me I just follow him over because I have to be close to Daddy. They always seem impressed that I can move to him, but I like being close to him.

Then we always have somewhere to go. Mommie takes me outside and puts me in the car. She always locks me into this huge seat. I don’t like being constrained, but the seat is nice and I know Mommie is somewhere with me because she talks to me as we move. While we are going around I talk and talk to Mommie. When it is just Mommie in the car I love to scream and I can get really loud too, but Mommie screams back at me! She must know my language because she is really good at it, but a lot of times I can be louder and she gives up. We stop and Mommie gets me out to go get stuff from stores or we go to therapy.

There is so much to watch at therapy. While Mommie holds me I watch all the big people and little people. I love the big people like Mommie and Daddy, but the little people scare me. They are so fast and I am scared they will hurt me. But I get a lot of compliments and I love that! I love being the center of attention. Then my therapist comes to get me, and I don’t like leaving Mommie, but I know my therapists love me and we always have fun too even if they make me do hard things. They always bring me back to Mommie and say I am amazing, so that makes me like them even more!

Mommie tries to put me back in my bed for some reason, but most days I just lie there and talk to myself and try to get out of this cage she has stuck me in. Mommie always tells me to close my eyes and sleep, but I am not tired. Then she calls me a stinkpot when I giggle as she comes into my room. I don’t know why she leaves me when all I want to do is play. She comes and picks me up eventually, and I tell her I love her. I like hugging my mama and touching her hair. She plays with me all afternoon and we go for walks outside where I scream some more to see how loud I can be.

We eat dinner together, and Mommie and Daddy don’t always talk to me because they are too busy talking to each other so I let them know I am still around. I told you I like to be the center of attention, and I know how to get people’s attention. I am just too cute for my own good I guess, at least that’s what they say. Mommie gets me ready for bed, and there’s that pink thing trying to rip out my hair again. But at least at night I get to snuggle with Daddy! Mommie reads me a story and puts me in my bed. I try to stay up so I can play more, but for some reason my eyes won’t stay open and then I don’t remember much until the light turns back on in the morning.

A few of my favorite things: I love people’s faces and hair. People are so fun and interesting. I love when my family takes me out places so I can just look at people, and if I really like them I reach for a person so I can touch them. Laughing is fun and I am perfecting my laugh right now by trying out different ones. Daddy says I have a great evil laugh whatever that is, but I just like seeing what I can do. I love pulling things out of baskets and bags. Mommie says for a baby who can’t move I sure do make a mess, but I think she is okay with that. I love fruit and bread, and I eat it all day long! They always try to make me touch my food, but why pick it up when they can do all the work for me? I can clap and I love clapping when people sing songs or I hear a beat I really like. Mommie also calls me a daredevil because I like to be tossed and flipped and swung all around. She also calls me a mess a lot because I have a lot of personality in this tiny little body.

I am happy a lot and people always smile at me. I have lots of family that I see a lot and they love me too! People say I am spoiled, but I know I am just well-loved by many, many people. My family and therapist tell me I am smart and I can do anything I set my mind too. They have helped me learn to do a lot of things, and I like learning. I am very excited to keep learning and discovering new things!!! I may be tiny and a little different than the other little people I see, but I love my life and I am happy to be me!”

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Well there it is in the best of my ability to write from her perspective. Trust me, if this kid could talk she would be full of fun and personality. She makes life fun, and I am so thankful God blessed us with such a sweet, joyful blessing two years ago. We don’t deserve Abigail, but we are beyond thankful and proud of her. Having a child always changes your life, but Abigail has changed mine and Jordan’s for the better. We love our birthday girl and are excited to watch her grow as the days and years go by!

My Sunshine

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I love this time of year! Everything is blooming and waking up from its winter slumber. Nature is just beautiful, and even though my allergies are at an all time worse, I love driving and seeing all the beautiful scenery. But the sunshine as it kisses my skin is my favorite. I am up early enough to see the first rays of light touch the earth and brighten it as the sun rises. I love the feeling and warmth of the rays and knowing no matter what that the sun will come up and be there to welcome the day.

The sun brightens everything and shares its light and warmth. Abigail is my sunshine. She brightens everyone’s day that she meets and she never meets a stranger. She loves “waving’ at people, which is really her reaching out to touch them. Faces are her thing. If she could play with your face and hair all day she would be the happiest baby! In just the first five minutes of meeting Abigail, she reaches out for your face and hair and smiles her perfect smile. Abigail is simply a joy to be around, and I don’t think I am saying that just because I am her mom. She smiles and laughs at people while we are in the check out line. Her therapists love her and say she makes their days better. And friends and family always tell us she’s wonderful. People are just taken with her because she is such a welcoming little one.

When I think of the way Abigail brings joy to people, the way she just makes people smile with her beauty and joy, it brings hope into my life. Maybe this is exactly who Abigail is meant to be. A little blonde headed ball of joy who is a little odd compared to others. A person who stands out in the crowd. Until you meet Abigail yourself you cannot fully grasp her personality. I cannot put it into words correctly, but this child can change the atmosphere in a room instantly. Even as tiny as she is Abigail makes a big impact in a room of people and I love that about her. She brings life, and joy and hope to others, and she is not shy to have all attention on her. She does not realize she is missing out on so much. She does not want things other toddlers want. She is content to play with your face other than a new toy. She just wants to be with you more than anything in the world. In the arms of a person who adores her she works her magic and you cannot help but catch on with her contagious smile and adorable giggle.

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Our precious Spring pictures from last year.      Happy Spring y’all!

Abigail Paige is my sunshine. All children have an innocence about them that is perfect, and their joy in the smallest things lights up this world. That is what Abigail does for me; she is my bright light in this dark, confusing world. She warms up my heart and allows me to love freely. She helps me see special needs in a whole new light, and she is teaching me she does have purpose in this world. Abigail can be a world changer with just her smile. And she is by lighting up lives with her tiny rays of joy everyday!! Oh I hope that those sweet rays continue to shine for a long, long time.