Category Archives: The Good Life

LeBonheur Heart Reunion

Last weekend Lily, David, my mom, Morgan (affectionately called MoMo), and I loaded up and headed to Memphis for the weekend. Our first stop was Didi and Uncle Steve’s house. Uncle Steve is a great cook, and we had a yummy meal of grilled fish, vegetables, and risotto waiting on us. We always have fun at DiDi’s house. Lily had the camera, so excuse the little finger in the way.

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DiDi lives 2 blocks from LeBonheur, so during those first weeks of David’s life we spent alot of time here. Many memories came flooding back – panic attacks, sleepless nights, exhaustion like I’ve never experienced before, tears (tears and more tears), bowls of strawberries and yogurt waiting on me because Uncle Steve and DiDi knew that those were some of the few foods I could keep down, the fear on the morning of David’s Hirschpreung’s surgery…

Here we were 10 months later to attend the second annual LeBonheur Heart Reunion. A lot of those memories brought tears to my eyes, but the faithfulness and mercy of God moved me to tears also. I was there with my two children and with some of the individuals who stood beside me through those difficult times. There was David snoozing on DiDi’s chest, swinging in his little portable swing, happy and content and making us smile with his smile – that smile that lights his entire face. Lily was busy playing in the warm sunshine, and serving Uncle Steve breakfast, and cleaning the cat box, (because that is the “neatest” chore in her book). She is a big sister because of God’s mercy in answering so many of our prayers.

The heart reunion was a lot of fun. It’s kind of strange how easily you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. We all have a common bond – our babies were alive and well because God has given man the ability to repair tiny hearts. There were miracles everywhere you looked.

There was face painting and cookie decorating

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and crafts

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I love this picture of Lily and David.

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Dr. Knott-Craig arrived about half way through the reunion and you would have thought a celebrity entered the room, well, I guess to us he is a celebrity. Mamas holding their heart warriors swarmed him. If these pictures don’t melt you heart…

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yeah, I was crying happy, thankful tears! If I’ve said it once I’ve said it hundred times. I will say it until the day I die, “I will be forever grateful for Dr. Christopher Knott-Craig.”

Outings with Lily

Louis and Lily had their first daddy / daughter date a few weeks ago. Lily is a daddy’s girl, so it didn’t take much to fuel her excitement about the evening. Tickets to Disney on Ice and a new dress were purchased, and a plan was made upon Lily’s request to eat at a restaurant where she could eat a quesadilla. Lily marked off days on her calendar in great anticipation. When the long awaited evening finally arrived I curled her hair, painted her finger nails, dressed her in a new dress and gold shoes. She was watching out the living room window waiting for Louis to arrive home from work – hoop skirt and all. It was precious! I wish I was better with words so I could describe the sheer delight of this little girl when Louis walked through the front door with flowers. There were squeals and giggles and kisses.

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Louis’ act was a hard one to follow, but Lily and I braved the holiday madness and went Christmas shopping together. She wanted to get a Christmas present for her daddy and Sunshine. We had fun together. I think I told her “no” at least hundred times over the many princess items she insisted she needed for Christmas. We wrapped up the evening at the movies. This was her first theater experience, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it…

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and I did too.

Good, sweet times with our little girl who fills our days with funny faces, silly rhymes and jokes, laughter and joy…well, most of our days.

The Three Thanksgivings

We enjoyed Thanksgiving for a week…literally. Our first Thanksgiving was at DiDi’s and Uncle Steve’s house. These two were amazing host. Everyone helped with food preparations, but Uncle Steve and DiDi cooked a feast before the arrival of any other dishes. Two words for my favorite Thanksgiving food this year – oyster dressing! Seriously delicious! There was food, food, and more food.

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On Tuesday we traveled to Smithville, Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with Louis’ side of the family. A trip to BeBe and Bubba’s house is always greatly anticipated by Lily. We enjoyed visiting with family and overeating a mixture of Arabic food along with the traditional Thanksgiving spread.

There was food preparation.

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BeBe, GooGoo and Aunt Wanda

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Time with family. Louis with Uncle George.

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Buba and David relaxing.

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Pa, GooGoo and David

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David enjoyed his time with Pa.

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Maria has been especially kind and thoughtful to us since David has been born. She has called, text, and there is no guessing about how much she loves our Sunshine. Louis’ father’s family is from Israel. In the picture below Maria is singing to David in Arabic, just in case you can’t tell from his huge grin – HE LOVED IT!

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Maria, Arianna, and Aunt Lillian

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If you know Aunt Lillian there is no question as to why we chose the name Lily for our daughter. The two Lilys…

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Lily enjoyed playing with Mia. BeBe has a play room that is a kid’s dream come true.

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We wrapped up Thanksgiving week at my parent’s house. We had Thanksgiving southern style with BBQ and ribs.

It was a week where the family reflected on God’s goodness to us this year. A year where we were brought closer by the unexpected events surrounded David’s birth. A year that brought us mercy and blessings. There were prayers and thanksgivings whispered that this little guy was able to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with the family…

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A Happy Tuesday

 

This is how my happy Tuesday began. Really all my days begin like this because Sunshine smiles ALL the time. His nickname couldn’t be more perfect.

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 I was doing therapy with David, and Lily came in to be “timer girl.” So, my day just got happier. When we received our therapy program I was concerned about the time it would involve, but the program has actually been something that we can all do together. Lily thinks it’s fun to keep time and some of the therapy activities she can do herself. She enjoys being the big helper. In this picture she was helping with his face to face therapy – she takes the face to face quite literally.

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I was downstairs cleaning when I heard happy chatter coming from the baby monitor. David was taking his morning nap, and Lily was playing dress-up…or so I thought. Yes, she was in his baby bed with him. This made me happy.

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Happier

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and more happy! and YES David still has a crazy mo-hawk. We try to tame it, but it’s futile.

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Then the mail came, and I received a package. A friend of mine recently attended a pro-life dinner. One of the guest speakers was a woman with Down Syndrome. Do you remember that 92% of women who receive a DS diagnosis abort their babies? This woman talked about how she loved her life, was happy, didn’t want to be different. She designs and sells these shirts. This shirt made me happy. I actually cried happy tears, because it came on a perfect day. A day when I can truly feel and can say with all honesty that I love my life! I love my children and wouldn’t change a thing. They make me happy.

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I hope you are having a happy Tuesday, too!

 

Autumn

I love this time of year. It’s the beginning of cool days, the holiday season and activities that are special for this time of year.

Lily enjoying a small fire with a great daddy on a cool evening.

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We made caramel apples. I LOVE caramel apples. I knew Louis was a keeper when eleven years ago this fall I received an unexpected package in the mail. Yep, Louis sent me caramel apples. It wasn’t the apples – it was the kind gesture, the attention to detail, the fact that he listened to some random comment I made about caramel apples. He’s still that same wonderful man!

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Nora Kat, Lily and Charlie

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David was too busy reading to make a caramel apple.

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This year we have enjoyed the pumpkin patch twice. The first time with my sister, her girls, my mom and DiDi (my Aunt Diana). The second trip we made with a group of individuals who are expanding our world. We had a play date with four other families who have children with Down syndrome. These families are a blessing for our whole family.  I took lots of pictures…

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I call these “redneck tricycles.”

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Hay Maze

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Zip Line

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I love this picture of Louis! Isn’t he handsome!

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Super Slide! and it is a super slide. Lots of fun. This is Louis and Ramsey. Ramsey is five years old. Adorable! Loving! Full of Life!

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Cooper, Cason and Lily enjoy a train ride.

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Me, Morgan and Eskimo David

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I hope we get to spend more time with these families. I love meeting families who lives have been touched by Down syndrome. It gives a glimpse into the future. Last week I struggled. I struggled with anxiety about the future. I struggled as I tried to be the best mama I can be for both Lily and David. I struggled with worry over David and fitting in therapy on our already busy days. At the end of this week, God allowed me to see that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are good. I know these families would say the same.

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And last, but not least…the fall and this beautiful weather allowed for Pop and wheelbarrow rides. He’s such a cutie, I had to include this picture – Abraham.

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Our Beach Trip

A few weeks ago our family, my sister’s family, my mom, and Sarah Hardy packed up and headed south for Orange Beach, Alabama. I LOVE the ocean, and I had been telling Louis that once heart surgery was complete we were traveling to the beach to rest and recover – HA! What was I thinking…I have two children. My romantic idea of sitting on the beach listening to the waves, reading a good book, and relaxing was shattered shortly after we arrived. We had a blast, but my relaxing vacation days are over for a while…and that is just fine. It’s been a family tradition since our beach going days began that the first stop is always Cracker Barrel. We filled up on biscuits, pancakes, bacon and eggs, and hoped this big meal would make all the kids pass out for the remainder of the trip…our plan didn’t work.

Lily and Charlie

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Nora and Lily
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Our days consisted of lazy, balcony sitting, coffee drinking mornings that were followed by trips to the pools, lazy river, or beach. Lily is a cautious child. With her arm floats and ring she would enter the 1 foot deep kiddy pool and yell, “Mama, look how brave I am.” It made me laugh.

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We went to Lulu’s for dinner. This is a great place for the kiddos.

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We went to an alligator farm which proved to be a neat adventure. The kids got to pet and feed the alligators. We went during a feeding time and watched as they fed an entire pig to the alligators.

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…did I mention that Lily is a cautious child? Our next stop was Lambert’s where the rolls are as large as a child’s head – literally.

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Louis joined us at the end of the week, and we were all thrilled to see him.

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Overall, we had a great vacation! We ended the week with breakfast at Tacky Jacks.

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