Sunday, December 28, 2014

My New Normal

Before Hazel's diagnosis, my life was relatively normal. I am married to the love of my life, raising two young girls, just under 2.5 years apart. I stay at home with the girls in our town home in the middle of Suburbia, while he works a manual labor job for 50+ hours a week. We attend church on a weekly basis (sometimes more!), where we are active in ministry, both serving and being served.
Then my world was rocked with the word "achondroplasia".
My youngest is now considered a special needs child.
Specialists, x-rays, adaptations, therapy, and her future were being discussed in a serious matter.
I reached out to other parents through social media. I never thought I'd be so thankful for Facebook and Instagram. The other moms I talked to seemed to be so casual about their children's diagnoses. It seemed so normal for them. I went through the "this is the stuff that happens to other people" feeling over and over again. It didn't feel real. It didn't feel normal.
It felt strange. I wondered if her x-rays got mixed up with another child's. Maybe she's just really short. Like, really, really short. I knew though, that those thoughts were untrue. Hazel has achondroplasia. Just like she has red hair. It's a part of her.
In the end, Hazel is still Hazel. Nothing has changed about her. We just got to know her a little better.
And she is little and loving it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Why We "Do Santa"

Growing up, my Christmas traditions consisted of Christmas Eve service, an angel on the tree, and Santa. I remember waiting in line at the mall to sit on his knee, and whisper my wishes into his ear. Light up shoes and Pow-pow-power Wheels. While Santa always had other gifts in mind, I never stopped believing in him because he failed to bring me those two items. We always left out a few cookies (sometimes homemade, other times packaged) along with a glass of milk for him, and a few carrots for his reindeer. I remember bouncing down the stairs, hair uncombed, still in my jammies, making sure the jolly old man enjoyed his treats. cookie crumbs, half-eaten carrots, and an empty milk glass sat on the kitchen table. He was here! Stockings were dumped, and wrapping paper was torn. Soon, the morning tradition was over, but not without me shouting, "Thank you Santa!" out the window. My poor parents!
My husband had a slightly different experience. His parents chose to skip the Santa traditions completely. They still gave and received gifts, but none of them were from Santa. There was no talk of reindeer or the North Pole. No cookies and milk were left out.
So when we started our own family, we were faced with the question of which traditions we would keep, and which ones would fall by the wayside. It wasn't an easy decision. We wanted to honor our faith, and keep Christmas about CHRIST. I admit, at first, I wasn't too keen on the idea of "lying" to my kids, conning them into good behavior, lest an old man in a red suit fills their stocking with coal. But by the time Annabelle's first Christmas rolled around, I began to soften up to Santa again. Her second Christmas, she was 17 months old, and starting to understand a little more, and I became mush. I just couldn't make it through December without Santa and his reindeer.
I realized that Santa is more than that though. He is more than just a sleigh-flying cookie-eating, reindeer-feeding old guy.
I enjoy giving my girls gifts, and receiving no credit for it.
Santa is when we don't let the right hand know what the left hand is doing (Matthew 6:3).
When you hear stories of people paying for a family's meal at a restaurant, or leaving notes of encouragement on someone's windshield, or paying off layaways at the department stores, that is Santa.
So, I encourage you reader, be more Santa this year. It doesn't have to be as big as paying off someone's layaway purchases. It can be as small as helping a stranger load groceries into their car, or buying a stranger a coffee.
We do Santa because it adds an extra level of joy and love to this season.
 (By the way, I still want a pair of light-up shoes).

Monday, December 1, 2014


And just like that, she's one.
So here's a little bit about our joyful little girl.

And of course, Hazel is little & loving it!