Tuesday, February 28, 2012


After an inadvertent hiatus [because I'm awesome and left the power source to Mr. Computer plugged in a thousand miles away], I am happy to announce we are back! It's nice to be here, thank you. Since I've been aching to tell you what we've been up to these past few weeks, without further ado... 

My son never ceases to amaze me. I've become a little more of a worry wart in my old age, but I'm starting to learn there's really no reason for it. Ben has experienced more in his little life than most sweet babies and he has always handled new things like the champ I know he is. This fact was proven again during his first flight! [applause, applause, applause] 

He was so intrigued by his surroundings. He hardly made a peep, played with some toys, enjoyed a snack or two and our last leg was spent cuddled up like so... 

Where were we headed, you ask?
Back to good 'ol Longview, Texas to surprise the handful of people we still know there. Rule number one of surprises: always have a videographer. Longview is the land where nothing has changed yet everything is different. It felt strange driving past memories. Going back proved that the roots we had planted have been moved and engulfed in salt water. And I'm glad. 
But it was oh so good seeing said wonderful people. Texas delivered some of the best friends our little family could ask for. These women should have medals proclaiming "I'm Awesome" along with a cape like Wonder Woman. 
[We can nix the ever-so-sexy head piece, though.] 
We spent our week eating junk food, catching up on chick flicks, staying up way too late and 
 enjoying some much needed girl talk. 

It was a junior high slumber party... with kids. 
Including this little gem who I snuggled with as often as I could.

Brooklyne Taylor Jensen, you have your Auntie Amber wrapped around that little finger of yours.

The 'View was needed, appreciated and well spent. 
Here are some more snap shots from our week. 



In other news: 
We have started a new journey with Early Steps. As his fearlessly wonderful therapist [She needs a cape, too] said, "He's not behind, but we want to make sure it stays that way." Our first session was this past Monday and Ben enjoyed Ms. Jan. She pulled out her Mary Poppins bag and her never ending supply of learning tools and tricks. As Momma, I'm thrilled to allow such wisdom into my home on a weekly basis.

Also, this little blog of mine has entered a contest. It's an honor to have been placed in the Top 25, but I need your help to keep it there. Just click HERE or the little badge on the left side of my page to vote. You can give us a "thumbs up" once a day until the contest is over [March 7th]. Thank you to those who have been voting and keep 'em comin'!

And don't forget about our fund for Ben's Rockin' First Birthday! The National Down Syndrome Society needs your help and we would love nothing more than to meet [and surpass] our one thousand dollar goal. What a fantastic birthday present that would be! 

Speaking of birthdays, Benjamin will be 11 months old tomorrow! I can't believe it either. His milestones are nothing short of a miracle and we are so blessed God gave us our little dude. 

What the heck; we'll give him a cape, too. 

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Our first Valentines Day was one for the record books [or not]. We were in high school and were trying to figure out how to get to know each other under the circumstances we were in. I came home from school that afternoon and found a converse box full of Hershey bars and a note that said something to the effect of, "I really dig you." Ah, young love...
Micah and I are best friends. We share a bond that can't be broken by distance, hardships, misunderstandings or differences. We've proven that. A lot. If there's one thing we've learned throughout the years, though, it's that relationships take work. Eventually the honeymoon ends and you've got to learn how to rely on more than just love. 

I remember a conversation with a friend going something like this:

Her: "Ugh - I don't understand why he didn't help me get the kids ready for church this morning. I could have really used his help, but he decided to do other things instead. So frustrating!"
Me: "Did you ask him to help you?"
Her: "No. He should've known."
Me: "But if you didn't ask him, how is he supposed to know?"
Her: "It's Sunday."

Sunday or not, ladies, men can't read your mind. Just communicate. It's not as difficult as we make it out to be. Asking our husbands for help, telling him what's going on in our heads or having to explain something further doesn't make us insignificant or needy. It makes us women. It makes them men. We're wired differently and that's the beauty of relationships. That's been a learning experience for us both, but so worth the effort to figure it out.
*Soapbox, out.*

Moving on...

Today was peaceful. Ben and I enjoyed the company of our Mom and Tots group, mailed Daddy a package and came home to perfect open windows weather. While Ben and the dogs napped, I took that time to just stop. I ignored what needed to be done and allowed myself to breathe. I began to write and remind myself of the beauty that is... life. 

I semi-forgot about Valentines Day until these arrived yesterday. Hubs still knows how to make my heart pitter-pat even from the other side of the world. Ah, older love....

Truthfully, though, Micah is the best. His generous spirit, teddy bear hugs, get-lost-in baby blues and infectious laugh make my life complete. We go together like Hershey bars and converse boxes. God knew what He was doing when He brought us together all those years ago.

And because I can't pass up a good challenge... 

My darling love, 
I, Amber, do vow to you, Micah, my everlasting faithfulness, support and abiding love. I promise to stand beside you in good times and bad. I promise to continue to let you make me go weak at the knees. I promise to respect and honor you. I promise to cherish your heart and give you mine. I adore you. I need you. I'm proud to be called your wife.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 13, 2012


You know those people who can wake up without hitting the snooze button? Like actually wake up. They're happy, energized and completely ready for the day.
Yeah... I'm not like that.
When Micah and I got engaged, my roommates warned that dear boy about my morning routine.
I believe their exact words were, "You're not gonna want to talk to her when she first wakes up. Just give her space, man."
I've never been one of those people who can just hop out of bed and be excited that it's morning. I'll rise and shine eventually. Just don't rush me. And no; it doesn't matter what's on the agenda for that day, how "gently" you tell me "it's time to wake up," how much sunlight is beaming through the curtains you've flung open... I'm just not going to be pleasant. In fact, I've probably had choice words for those of you who have done those things. My bad. 
It's a flaw of mine and I've come to grips with it.

My son, though?
Dude wakes up like this...

That's no lie. 
I snapped this while changing a morning diaper. 

He's seriously the happiest, most content kid in the world. His smile is infectious and he's never been one to avoid new friends. He waves at everyone even if they don't wave back.
 I envy and crave his joyfulness. 
It's incredible. 

Today was no different with Dude's mood. 
That infectiousness boiled over onto everyone we came in contact with. 
Our morning started insanely early [much to my time clock's dismay], but it resulted in a much needed and ultimately wonderful experience. The "hurry up and wait" mentality at St. Joe's was nicely balanced by incredibly sweet doctor's and nurses who made this mama's nervous heart settle down.
There was really no need for nervousness, though, because Ben was perfect [per usual]. His ENT and Audiologist were impressed with his hearing ability and lack of fluid in those teeny ears. [Side note: Benjamin is 10 months old and his ear canals are said to be the size of a newborn.] He's never been able to pass previous hearing tests. Not because he can't hear, which was confirmed today, but because there was never an instrument small enough to get an accurate reading. We made the decision to do a sedated ABR hearing test several months ago and were finally able to get all straightened out along with the ENT appointment to see if there would be a need for tubes. 
Two birds with one stone, baby! 

Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers today. They were truly felt and appreciated.
 And special shout out to Cory for keeping me sane. 

A very happy Monday to you all! 

Monday, February 6, 2012


I wrote this several weeks ago and couldn't hit "publish." After re-reading it, I think it needs to be read. So here you go. Real. Raw. Emotions. 

If you don't yet follow this blog, you should. I've read Nella's birth story a hundred times. I have different emotions every time I read it. Most of the time it's "I know just how you feel" tears. Tonight, though, it hit hard. Floods of memories I didn't know I had crash in like tsunami waves. It hurts.

I didn't want to be alone that night. I didn't want to grieve by myself. I wanted somebody to share emotions with me - excited, sad, confused; any emotion at all would have sufficed. I don't blame anybody. I just wish it had been different than it was. Hiding my face from the reflection in the TV screen. Wanting so badly for the pain to go away; physical and emotional. Wishing I could clutch something other than my pillow. I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to look in his eyes and pretend stereotypes didn't exist. I just wanted to rewind and start over.

When morning came, I did just that. I held my baby. I wanted so badly to feel something. I loved him; I knew that. But I needed the numbness to go away. I needed to feel it. It would be weeks before I would. It would be weeks before I worked up the nerve to tell somebody I needed them to rescue me.

I've learned to be independent with Micah being gone. Most of the time that's a good thing to be. That time... that time it wasn't. There was one night in particular I remember vividly. Ben slept peacefully in his pack n play next to me. Roxy curled up at the foot of the bed and stared at my like she knew exactly what I was thinking. God and I got to know each other inside and out. I cried out to Him like I never had before. I screamed at Him in anger and swore this cross was just too much for me to bare. I laid in the darkness and clutched the same pillow I hated just a few weeks earlier. I wept. The kind of crying that leaves you breathless; every fiber of your being stiffens like a 2x4.

I'm not writing this for sympathy. I'm writing because it's hard to believe how far we've come. Benjamin will be 10 months old next week. 10 months. Some days I forget that he wore preemie clothes when we brought him home or the size comparison to his daddy's Monster can.

I don't want to forget. However painful the memories may be; however emotional the weeks after; however long it took to swim out of that rip current. I want to remember every detail. I want to scribble it down before I have to share the pen with something else. 

I want to remember it all so I never forget how to thank God for the blessing that is.... 

my son...

my reason for living.

You gotta get through the storm to appreciate the rainbow. 

Best freaking rainbow. Ever.