My baby boy is now TWO. It has certainly been the most challenging two years of my entire life - and yet, surprisingly, also the most rewarding.

Two years ago, when Aiden made his grand debut that shook my family to its core, I had absolutely no idea how much I was capable of. I had dreams and ideas about the kind of mother I wanted to be - would be - but no concrete evidence that I would ever live up to my expectations.

Oh - but look at me now!

I've experienced the deepest pain my heart has ever endured, felt it crumble into a million pieces right inside my chest, then glued it back together piece by piece - slowly, steadily, and with the support of many.

I've been challenged and tested - as a mother, a friend, a daughter, a wife - and feel on top of the world with how things have turned out. My emotional wreckage has found calmer seas and bright blue sunny horizons.

I've learned things I never would have seeked out on my own - medical terms, surgical jargon, therapy suggestions - once exhausted by all of this information, I am now finding ways to empower myself and make a difference with my newfound knowledge. (More on that to come in the very near future...)

Whereas I once questioned what I was going to do with my life, I now have a deep and clear understanding of where I am going.

Most of all, I have SURVIVED!

And I owe it all to my boys.

And to this smile.

I am so abundantly blessed to be Aiden's mommy and so hopeful for his future. Every day that goes by I am reminded of all that he has helped me overcome - and become.

You know when people say their children are their inspiration? Yeah, I get it.

Happy birthday Aiden - my little fire :)

Why I haven't posted in a few days...

Trust me, I have a few good posts in me about Aiden turning two. I've really really wanted to get them down into writing and share the pictures with everyone from his birthday (which was just a small celebration at home...his "party" will be in a few weeks at Chuck E Cheese - a joint endeavor for both Aiden and Ethan's big days).

However every time I sit down to write, it seems my boys sense the lack of attention being paid to them and start doing...


...AND THIS...


So...if I want to keep Ethan from "love strangling" his brother, to preserve my neutral walls from little pink hands (he said he was doing it to look like Minnie...), and to start piecing their war-zone of a toy room back together, I must close my laptop for a bit and rather than write about parenting, actually do it. :)

Until they nap. [Please God let them nap today]...

In 2 days...

...I will have TWO 2 year olds!!!! Not many people who don't have twins can say that.

Aiden will turn two on Thursday and I can hardly believe it. At just 11 months apart, Ethan will hang on to 2 until March and I will try to hang on to my sanity.

I'm sure there will be a long post reflecting about the past two years on Thursday. But honestly, tonight I'm too tired to start thinking about it. :)

If you can handle the cuteness...

I admit - I've been totally slacking on updating and posting new pictures. I finally hunkered down and got caught up. So...if you can handle the cuteness...click the links below!

Something More

I borrowed this from a friend's blog. Carly and Jay have beautiful twin girls. One of them was born with a rare condition known as Holoprosencephaly (HPE). She pulled this from one of the support pages on Facebook for families with that particular condition: Families For HoPE.

Having a support network has been such a blessing for me and my family. I, along with Carly, often look for encouragement and motivation from others who are able to put into words what we sometimes cannot. It may seem small, but when someone is able to capture a feeling to which I can relate, or an idea that I support, or even a message that I wish I could get through to others, it actually has a very significant impact on my life. Pieces like the below provide honest perspective. Thanks for sharing this with me Carly!

SOME MOTHERS GET BABIES WITH SOMETHING MORE… My friend is expecting her first child. People keep asking what she wants. She smiles demurely, shakes her head and gives the answer mothers have given throughout the ages of time. She says it doesn’t matter whether it’s a boy or a girl. She just wants it to have ten fingers and ten toes. Of course, that’s what she says. That’s what mothers have always said. Mothers lie. Truth be told, every mother wants a whole lot more.

Every mother wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin. Every mother wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly. Every mother wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule. Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions. She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire ballet class. Call it greed if you want, but we mothers want what we want.

Some mothers get babies with something more. Some mothers get babies with conditions they can’t pronounce, a spine that didn’t fuse, a missing chromosome or a palette that didn’t close. Most of those mothers can remember the time, the place, the shoes they were wearing and the color of the walls in the small, suffocating room where the doctor uttered the words that took their breath away. It felt like recess in the fourth grade when you didn’t see the kick ball coming and it knocked the wind clean out of you. Some mothers leave the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, take him in for a routine visit, or schedule her for a well check, and crash head first into a brick wall as they bear the brunt of devastating news. It can’t be possible! That doesn’t run in our family. Can this really be happening in our lifetime?

I am a woman who watches the Olympics for the sheer thrill of seeing finely sculpted bodies. It’s not a lust thing; it’s a wondrous thing. The athletes appear as specimens without flaw – rippling muscles with nary an ounce of flab or fat, virtual powerhouses of strength with lungs and limbs working in perfect harmony. Then the athlete walks over to a tote bag, rustles through the contents and pulls out an inhaler. As I’ve told my own kids, be it on the way to physical therapy after a third knee surgery, or on a trip home from an echo cardiogram, there’s no such thing as a perfect body. Everybody will bear something at some time or another. Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, medication or surgery.

The health problems our children have experienced have been minimal and manageable, so I watch with keen interest and great admiration the mothers of children with serious disabilities, and wonder how they do it. Frankly, sometimes you mothers scare me. How you lift that child in and out of a wheelchair 20 times a day. How you monitor tests, track medications, regulate diet and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists yammering in your ear. I wonder how you endure the praise and the platitudes, well-intentioned souls explaining how God is at work when you’ve occasionally questioned if God is on strike.

I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy pieces like this one saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know you’re ordinary. You snap, you bark, you bite. You didn’t volunteer for this. You didn’t jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling, “Choose me, God! Choose me! I’ve got what it takes.”

You’re a woman who doesn’t have time to step back and put things in perspective, so, please, let me do it for you. From where I sit, you’re way ahead of the pack. You’ve developed the strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil. You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, carefully counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule. You can be warm and tender one minute, and when circumstances require intense and aggressive the next. You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability. You’re a neighbor, a friend, a stranger I pass at the mall. You’re the woman I sit next to at church, my cousin and my sister-in-law. You’re a woman who wanted ten fingers and ten toes, and got something more. You’re a wonder.