A view into the life of a family who encountered a different future than expected, but has become all the richer for it.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Dream?

I was woken up in the middle of the night by a horrible stream of screams coming from the baby monitor in Elyssa and Natalie's room. I always said that Natalie could star in a horror flick as a star screamer and this middle-of-the-night episode confirmed that once again. Natalie was screaming and crying. I waited for a few seconds to see if she would calm herself down in case she was having a bad dream. She didn't, so I slowly woke myself up enough to crawl out of bed to head toward her room. Once I got to her room, I kneeled down by her bed and gently placed my hand on her shoulder in hopes to calm her. I asked her in a soft voice, "Natalie, are you okay?" Immediately, she responded very passionately ... "I WANT CHINESE!!"
Go figure!

The only thing I can come up with is that maybe Natalie was dreaming that we were at the mall and she was wanting to eat at the Chinese restaurant there. Needless to say, she gave me a good laugh although she woke me up from a very deep sleep!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Playground

I had just picked up Victoria from Mom's Day Out (at our church) and we walked over to our church's Christian School to wait for Elyssa and Natalie to get out for the day. Since we had some time to kill, Victoria and I went out onto a small playground that is right beside the school building so Victoria could play a little. Kathy, one of the the custodial staff at the school who just happens to have Downs, must have seen me and Victoria on the playground through the double-glass doors. She came out to the chain-length fence and said "hey" to us. Kathy LOVES to see Victoria (see my previous blog titled "She's Like Me" to get the full story on Kathy and Victoria's encounters). I walked Victoria over and told her to wave at Kathy. She blew her a kiss instead! Victoria went on playing and I stayed by the fence to talk to Kathy.

I was amazed at the depth of the conversation between Kathy and me during those few moments we talked. Kathy told me that she understood how I felt. She said that her mom went through the same things with her that I have gone through with Victoria. She said that her mom had therapists come to her house to work with her when she was little, too. She told me that she can do more than a lot of Downs folks can. She said she can hold a job and has for many years now. She said some "DS" people cannot do all that she can do. I told her that I knew that. I asked her if she was as active as Victoria when she was little. She laughed and said she probably was.

Next, she asked me something that I had to ask her to repeat. She speaks very clearly ... so it wasn't that I didn't understand what she said. I was just taken back by her question. She asked me what I thought of Victoria since she has Down syndrome. Can you imagine? A 30-year-old woman with Downs asking me how I felt about my own daughter because of her disability! I almost cried. I knew how, at one point when Victoria was first born, I felt sad to have a special needs child. I knew that I had grieved over having a child that was "different." I thought back to all of those emotional times as I thought through how to answer Kathy's question. I couldn't bring myself to tell Kathy about all of the thoughts I struggled through in those beginning days. But, Kathy's question made things come full circle for me. It made ME wonder ... how did Kathy feel knowing she was different as she was growing up? What types of emotions and thoughts did she or does she have about being a special needs child/adult? It made me realize, again, that I need to always be sure I build ALL of my children up with encouragement, even my special little girl. So ... after a ton of things flooded through my mind, I answered her. I said, "Well, I think Victoria is pretty special." I told her that I love her and know that she is a big blessing to our family.

It was a real ironic moment. I think God has allowed our family to have contact with Kathy to see all that Victoria CAN do. Not what she CAN'T do! I think the thing that I always have to remember on this journey is to push Victoria to be all she can be. I want to treat her as "normal" as possible. I want her to accomplish much in her life. I don't ever want her to make excuses for herself just because she has Down syndrome (and I don't ever think that will actually happen because our little girl is SO determined!).

I think I will be blown away by all that Victoria will accomplish in her lifetime. And, I know that I always want her to feel loved and treasured. I want to help her reach her goals and see great things for her life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nice in Nevada!

Mark and I had such a great time at Green Valley Baptist Church in Nevada last weekend. Saturday, November 20th, I had the opportunity to sing and speak to the women at their Holiday Tea. It is always a blessing to hear the responses of women after I share of God's faithfulness in my life, even in the midst of difficult and life-changing circumstances!

On Sunday, I had the privilege to do a mini-concert in the three morning worship services. Dave Simpson, the Worship Pastor, wanted me to share a word of testimony that morning, as well, and requested that I share my song and video, "She Is God's Child." There were many sweet tears and many encouraged hearts that morning.

And, a very special moment that morning was when I was able to sing with Dave and his wife, Annette. We all were on staff at the same church at one time and sang together a lot during those years. So, we pulled out one of our favorite trio songs, "When He Comes Down." It was a powerful time of worship! (The photo you see of us here was taken during our rehearsal time on Saturday afternoon.)

Mark and I toured some of the area and enjoyed our time away. No trip is complete without a visit to Hoover Dam and Graceland Wedding Chapel to see Elvis!

Thanks again, Dave and Annette, for letting us come share with your church and for being such wonderful tour guides! We had a great time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Elvis Lives On!

Mark and I are enjoying time in Las Vegas this weekend with our wonderful friends, Dave and Annette Simpson. Dave is the Worship Pastor at Green Valley Baptist Church in Henderson, NV. I was blessed to speak and sing at the ladies' Holiday Tea and do a mini-concert on Sunday morning in all three of their worship services.

Dave and Annette have been showing us the town. One of the highlights of our trip has been to visit the Graceland Wedding Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. A member of Dave's church, Brendan Paul, owns the chapel and impersonates Elvis there. We had the best time meeting Brendan today! He put his Elvis outfit on for us and sang a song especially for Mark.

Take a look! I think this will make your day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Singin' and Talkin'!!

Victoria did a great job "singing" some songs for me (signing them while I sang them) and saying a few things for me tonight. Just wanted to share these cute videos with all of you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"She Is God's Child" Uploaded!

A new version of my video song "She Is God's Child" has been uploaded to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Vimeo (www.vimeo.com). Just type in the title "She Is God's Child" and it will bring it right up for you! Please share it with your family and friends!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Walmart Walk

After I picked up Victoria from Mom's Day Out yesterday, I thought we might have a few minutes to take a quick trip to Walmart to grab a few items I had on a small grocery list. I loaded Victoria into the van and we went just a mile or less down the road to our local Walmart. It is sad, but Victoria KNOWS when we are getting close to Walmart. She begins to grunt to make sure I know that she KNOWS we are close to "Wally-World." She expects me to turn into the entrance and if I don't, well ... she grunts in contempt that I'm passing up one of her favorite places to visit!

As I turned into the entrance of Walmart, I began to realize that I, in fact, didn't have time to get everything on my list and began to turn around in the parking lot, opting to visit Walmart the next day. Victoria realized that I was moving further away from the store entrance and began grunting in protest. I giggled after hearing her "voice" her opinion! I decided to just go in through the garden center and only get two of the items on my list since I needed to pick my other two girls up from school shortly. At least Victoria would be able to make a quick trip in to get "Walmart" out of her system!

I usually plop Victoria in the seat of a buggy so I can keep up with her easily in the store. She can walk VERY well now and could definitely handle walking all over that store, but there is no way I could get any shopping done. On this day, however, I decided since I only would get a few items from my list ... I thought I'd let her walk through the store with me, holding my hand. I've not ever done this before, mind you! Victoria was so giddy as she walked through the store with me! It was quite funny. She would laugh and run in place because she was so excited. She felt like such a "big girl." She waved at every single person that crossed our path and talked to almost every one of those folks. Of course, everyone laughed or smiled at how cute she was and waved back at her.

I remember when Victoria was a newborn. One of the things that I grieved over was the thought that we would now be a family that folks stare at when we walk into Walmart or some public place because we have a child that looks different. Yesterday, as we walked through Walmart, I felt such joy holding Victoria's hand. I felt proud to be her momma. I bubbled up inside seeing her bring smiles to those around her. And, I felt blessed. Blessed to know that God has given me and my family such a special gift.

With every passing day and every trip to a public place ... I come to treasure those moments. I think, "What in the world was I grieving over??" I now look forward to the times that Victoria gets special attention from strangers we meet. I realize that God uses those moments to minister to people around us. Not only can my "special" little girl bring smiles to passers by, but it gives me and my family an open door to show those around us a little of God's love.

I'm so thankful that God continues to disprove all the myths I had looming in my head about raising a child with special needs. And, I'm glad that anytime I have a bad day ... I can grab Victoria up and drive to Walmart to take a walk (without buying a single thing) ... and I'll feel better by the time we walk out the door to go home!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Buddy Walking with Victoria

What a beautiful day it was for a Buddy Walk at Hank Aaron Stadium with our precious little Victoria! There were hundreds of folks in attendance and we all walked in honor of someone special in our lives.

I remember being nervous about going to the Buddy Walk last year. It was the first time I had ever attended that event. It was also the first time I had been around so many folks with Down syndrome in my life. I think I was nervous about seeing what Victoria might grow up to be like. It was another event that caused me to remember that my child was not "normal" and that she, indeed, had special needs.

This year, however, I was excited to be a part of such a lovely event. God has really softened my heart towards special needs individuals and their families. I realize that all of us parents just want our kids to be accepted and loved. There was such a moving moment for me during this year's Buddy Walk. As we rounded the field ending our first lap and beginning on our second, there were volunteers that were lined up along the sidelines clapping and cheering on all of the walkers. I had signs that we held up that said, "Walking in honor of Victoria Jayne." The volunteers read the signs and cheered for Victoria. They said, "Yeah, Victoria! Go Victoria! Great job, Victoria!" I about lost it. I realized that they were doing what I pray that people will do for Victoria every day of her life. They were cheering her on and supporting her. What a powerful picture of acceptance! That is all the parent of a special needs child wants ... for their child to be loved, encouraged and embraced.

I cannot tell you the love I felt toward all the little Downs kids I saw. I just wanted to hug them all! And, on top of that ... I wanted to hug all of the parents and let them know how special they are to love their kids the way they do!

This is an interesting journey I'm on and I'm enjoying it more and more every day. I realize that I've changed in the process. In walking down this path of faith, God has given me an even greater desire to minister to those who find themselves in situations that they would've never dreamed up for themselves. Maybe they are not sure why they have been placed where they are, but friends, God has a wonderful plan! They may not always see the hope in that plan, but it IS there! And, my prayer is that all of us are brought closer into a "real" relationship with our Lord because of our journeys!

Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I KNOW the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope!'"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jesus Loves Me!

Victoria recently surprised Mark and me when we were eating lunch after church one Sunday. Mark was asking Elyssa and Natalie some of the things they learned in Sunday School. The "Bible Point" they were taught that day was that "God Loves Me." Mark quoted the "God Loves ..." part and wanted them to fill in the word, "Me." Well, as soon as Mark could get the words out of his mouth, Victoria blurted out (in her own way), "Me" and pointed to herself. I was blown away. I guess I didn't realize that she had learned that in her Sunday School class, too. We had never heard her say, "me" before so it was such a fun moment for us! You just never know what even your "special" little kids pick up! I felt so proud of her! She's a smart little cookie!

I recorded Victoria while I sang "Jesus Loves Me" the other day and wanted to share this cute video with you. If this doesn't bless your heart ... well, I don't know what will! (Also note her sign language of "Jesus" in the song.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Buddy Walk

It's that time again! The annual Buddy Walk is here again! If you would like to walk or donate in my little Victoria Jayne's honor, please visit her Buddy Walk page at:


Monday, September 6, 2010

Late Night with Victoria Jayne!

Tonight Victoria talked and talked while being in her bed ... at bedtime ... in the dark. I kept waiting on her to go to sleep and she just wouldn't. So, I went in to check on her. I changed her diaper and thought maybe that would do the trick. She kept signing "eat" to me, so I figured I'd give her a little something to eat. "Maybe she just didn't eat enough supper," I thought. So, I gave her a little Gerber cereal bar and some milk. I brushed her teeth AGAIN and then she wanted to walk around the house. She was full of energy at 9:30pm, mind you! She was so cute. I took a short video of her and couldn't help but want to share it with all of you! Hope you enjoy seeing her growth and progress! She is quite a character!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gene Stallings

What a wonderful honor it was to meet Gene Stallings tonight! Some of you may know him as a great past coach of the Alabama college football team. In my family ... we are avid Alabama football fans, so we have known who Gene Stallings is for quite a while.

Coach Stallings came into town this weekend to speak at our church (First Baptist North Mobile) on Sunday morning for our "Every Sunday Is Game Day" kickoff. My husband, Mark, picked Coach Stallings up from the airport and as they drove he began to tell him about our little girl, Victoria. This, of course, was a very special conversation due to the fact that Coach Stallings had a son with Downs named Johnny.

Mark drove Coach Stallings to meet a small group of folks for dessert. I was among the few there and thoroughly enjoyed meeting Coach Stallings. He asked me right away how my little girl was doing. He shared many encouraging words with me that night concerning having a child with special needs. He hugged and kissed me on the cheek twice that night. He was such a sweet man. He wanted to make sure that I brought Victoria to meet him the next morning at church.

The next morning, Coach Stallings spoke at North Mobile and was swarmed by a slew of folks after the service was over. I managed to get to him and introduced him to Victoria. Without saying a word, he handed his Bible to Mark, immediately grabbed Victoria from my arms and kissed and hugged her. It was not only moving to me, but I believe it was for him, as well. You see, he lost his son Johnny several years ago and misses him so much.

I was very encouraged this weekend by a very special man. If you haven't read Coach Stallings' book, Another Season, I strongly encourage you to. It is an amazing account of his past football career intermingled with the struggles and joys of having a child with special needs in the family. You can find the book at www.amazon.com/Another-Season-Gene-Stallings/dp/0767902556.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Terrible Two's!

Victoria turned 2 in March and is still a really pleasant child. She is pretty determined at times, but she continues to remain a very sweet and innocent girl. Our challenge with her is the fact that she is so physically capable of doing anything now! She has been able to climb up on the tall bar chairs in our kitchen, as well as any other chairs/couches that are lower than those. One day I walked into my bathroom for about 3 minutes to finish fixing my hair and Elyssa came running to me yelling out my name. She said it was an emergency that I should come right away. I went quickly with her into the kitchen where I saw Victoria STANDING on top of our breakfast table. I totally freaked out! I couldn't believe she was able to get up there. I immediately got her down and locked her in the bathroom with me until I was able to finish my hair. I have realized recently that I cannot take my eyes off of her for very long at all now.

I recently took my active little girl for her first haircut and here is a photo of her new "doo!" If you ask me, she is a doll!

Even though she keeps me on my toes, her "Terrible Two's" are still a joy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dancing Around!

Victoria is growing so fast! Although she turned 2 in March and still only wears 18-month clothing ... she is doing some big girl things!

I recently put in a DVD that we purchased during our week of VBS at the church. I put it in for the girls to listen to and caught Victoria raising her arms up at the exact point in the song that the dancers in the video prompt you to do. I was amazed!

More and more I see that Victoria "gets it!" There have been moments that I wondered if she really understood things. As I see her grow I find myself constantly amazed at all she DOES know and understand.

She is picking up sign language that I teach her right and left. If I were more consistent in adding new signs more quickly, she would know much more than she does know! She is such a smart girl.

God has truly given us a gift! And, just as Victoria raises her arms in praise songs as she watches her VBS DVD ... I find myself doing the same as I praise God for letting me see so many miracles in Victoria's little life!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meet Us Here

I would love to invite all of you to purchase a copy of my brand-spankin'-new CD! It is called Meet Us Here. I believe you would be blessed by it!

Five of the eleven songs are original songs that I wrote. One song, in particular, is very special to me. It is a song that I wrote about my "special" child, Victoria. The song is called "She Is God's Child."

Another song I wrote, "Great God," is receiving local airplay. You can hear it played on Power 88 (88.5 FM), if you are local. If you are not, it will be featured on Power 88's "Local Artist Spotlight" myspace page in the next day or so. Visit that page at: www.myspace.com/power88local.

If you would like to order or download a digital copy of Meet Us Here, you can do so at www.cdbaby.com/heathermessick. You can hear samples of each song on that website, as well.

Happy Listening!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Night Of Blessings

Thursday night was Ladies Night Out at First Baptist North Mobile. I was the guest singer/speaker for the event. It was a night full of blessings for me.

What a unique opportunity it was for me to share at Ladies Night Out. You see, First Baptist North Mobile is my home church. Some of the ladies present for the event have seen me "live out" the journey that I've been on. They see me and my family in all of our disfunctional-ness (I'm sure that is not a real word!) on a daily basis. They have known Victoria from birth and have prayed her through many physical struggles. So, I felt honored to be able to share with those ladies in this sort of setting.

I was also able to share with a diverse group of women. There were women present who have struggled with substance abuse, women who had children with special needs (and some brought their "special" children with them), women who had completely different struggles that sometimes carry those burdens secretly and women who had come from other churches just because they were curious about what I would say. What a blessing for me to be able to share with all of them.

I was blown away by all of the women who came up to speak to me before the event started. I saw one lady who I met a month or so ago in Springhill Hospital. When Victoria was in the hospital with pneumonia, this sweet lady was in the same unit with her 22-year-old quadriplegic son who was sick, as well. We talked and cried together in the hospital about the griefs and joys we have experienced as mothers of special needs kids. How awesome that she would want to come and hear me share my story at North Mobile.

I also saw a woman at Ladies Night Out that I met almost 2 years ago at a Breakfast For Santa event that AIDB put on for the "special" kids they serve with therapists. This lady's son, Hollis, has the same birthday as Victoria. I felt so honored that Gwen, who I've not seen in such a long time, would come hear me speak and sing. When I saw her before the event started, she was holding her son, Hollis. Let me tell you ... I almost lost it when I saw that sweet boy. My heart just swelled with joy to see that God drew this sweet woman to our church on such a special night.

Have you ever realized all of a sudden that God put you in such a unique ministry? I think I realized that on Thursday night. I was overwhelmed by God's grace and goodness to use such a broken vessel to minister to women from all walks of life. How incredible. How amazing. And, just because I'm open to share my struggles, griefs and joys with others ... it blows my mind that God can take that and bless it.

I look forward to the days ahead and pray that I will always be faithful to share with others (even on a daily basis) how God has walked with us through our "special" journey.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Physical Therapy

Victoria met with her physical therapist on Monday of this week. This is the first time that we have met with her since Christmas. Victoria has been doing so well that her therapist thought that she didn't need to come see her as often.

When Candace saw Victoria this week she was in awe of how great she was doing. She said that "Victoria has officially turned into a toddler!" She was so excited about how Victoria can walk outside (on uneven surfaces) with little or no falling. She can also walk over thresholds and other objects now with ease. It was a great visit with Candace. As a result of Victoria's wonderful progress, she has been released from her physical therapist! Candace said that Victoria's sisters are now her main source of motivation!

Victoria is a very busy girl. She is getting into everything. I even see her opening drawers that once were out of her reach. She actually pulled a hairbrush out of a drawer today and acted like she was brushing her hair. It was the cutest thing.

It is amazing to see how well Victoria is doing. She is doing several simple signs now and realizes that signing is a form of communication. She is even beginning to try to form words. She isn't just grunting anymore. I really believe that she will soon be saying things that I can somewhat understand. I think the day she says my name ... well, I'll just cry.

I am forever thankful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to see Him work in such miraculous ways on a daily basis! The thrill of seeing a special needs child achieve new things never gets old. You don't take for granted that tasks are easy for them because you know they are, in fact, a challenge. You know your "special child" works much harder than a normal kid to do the things they do. But, the thing I'm aware of so much more now is that Victoria doesn't do what she does alone. The Holy Spirit is at work in her life! I truly believe that God has done things in her body that is just plain miraculous. I credit the Lord for all that Victoria has been able to do so far and will continue to do. And, as long as God lets me hang around on this big o'l ball we call earth ... I will forever be amazed at how awesome He is!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ladies Night Out!

Hi Ladies! If you are in the area, I wanted to let you know of an event that I'll be singing/speaking at in May of this year. The event is called Ladies Night Out. The event will be held on May 6th at 6:30pm. Dinner will be served. You can purchase tickets from First Baptist North Mobile. Contact the church at 251-679-3266 to obtain tickets.

Click on the photo above to see all of the information concerning the event! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Victoria Is 2!!!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Victoria Jayne!! It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone! I have enjoyed every moment of life with you and am thankful that the Lord saw fit to bring you into our lives!

You have done so many things this year that I am so proud of. You began walking, started jibber-jabbering (although we are still waiting on real words to come) and have done tons of things that have amazed your therapists! You are a miracle living right in front of our eyes!

Thank you for being so loving and such a blessing to your momma and daddy! We pray that this year is a great one for you! We love you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

She's Like Me!

Now that Victoria can walk really well, I'm letting her walk a lot on her own. She'll walk with Natalie and me from their Mom's Day Out classrooms over to the other side of the church to Elyssa's 4K classroom. The other afternoon, we were walking over to the school to check Elyssa out and saw a lady in the hallway that is no stranger to us. Her name is Kathy. She serves as a maid at the school. Kathy also has Down syndrome. She is the sister of Kim, a sweet, fellow church member. We met Kathy a little over a year ago when Elyssa started 3K.

As we were walking down the hallway, Kathy intently watched us. She especially seemed interested in Victoria. We passed by Kathy's cleaning supply room and proceeded to sign Elyssa out for the day at the school office. As we walked back to Elyssa's room we, again, passed Kathy's room. Kathy came out of her room and tapped me on the shoulder. She then said, "She's like me!" She was pointing at Victoria. She said again, "She's like me!" I replied, "Yes, she is!" Several people in the hallway passed Kathy, but not before she told them that Victoria was like her. It was the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed. I almost cried. It was such a touching moment to me. I felt blessed to know that one day my little Victoria would be so sweet and innocent ... and maybe she, too, would find pride in meeting others who were made "special" like her.

Kathy walked down the hallway with us, trying to hold Victoria's hand as she walked (although, Victoria is quite independent and doesn't like to hold hands!). Kathy asked me before we left the school if she could hold Victoria. I had wished at that moment I had a camera with me to capture this moment, but I didn't. I handed Victoria to Kathy and she held her for a few seconds (as long as Victoria would let her). It was so sweet!

I told Kathy that Victoria had heart surgery just like she did when she was little. She said, "Really, she had heart surgery like me?" She was so amazed at Victoria and how much she had in common with her.

Before we left, Kathy told me, "I am Down syndrome and she is like me." And, with much joy in my heart, again, I said, "Yes, Kathy ... yes, she is!"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day!

Today it actually snowed in Alabama! Who would've ever thunk it! I dressed Elyssa and Natalie warmly and we played in the yard while the snow was pouring down. There were some really big pieces falling! It was a lot of fun! I always hope for snow each year, but it usually doesn't happen so this was a huge treat for me!

Here are a few pictures from our snow day!

The girls before we went outside! We were ready for the cold weather!

Elyssa made a little snowball!

Mark with Victoria


A picture of our front porch. You can really see the snow coming down!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daddy's Pants

Today my mom had several medical tests done because of some issues with her bladder. My dad took off of work so he could be with her. While at the doctor's office, he looked at my mom and said, "I must have lost some weight because these jeans feel big on me today." My mom remembered washing clothes the day before and hanging up some clothes in their closet. She told my dad that she remembered putting her jeans on yesterday and told him that they had felt small on her. Then came the moment of revelation! My mom said, "Howard, maybe I hung my jeans on your side of the closet and hung your jeans on my side of the closet!" She told my dad to go to the bathroom and check the size on the jeans he was wearing. He came back from the bathroom and sure enough ... he had on my mom's jeans! They laughed and laughed. My mom then knew that she had worn Daddy's jeans the day before and that Daddy was wearing her jeans today. They continued with their plans to go to the mall and eat out for lunch. And, all the while my dad was wearing my mom's jeans!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Trip Outside

I know this sounds crazy, but today was the first day that Victoria has ever been able to walk in our driveway and yard in her life. She is almost 2 so this has been a long time coming.

The weather was just right for being outside today. Victoria took on the driveway and sidewalks like a pro. The grass was another story. She was quite wobbly.

Victoria's physical therapist told us when we could get her outside to walk on the grass it would help strengthen her legs even more. She has mastered walking on our level floors inside the house, but the uneven surfaces outside were more of a challenge. I'm looking forward to a little warmer weather so we can continue to let Victoria explore her yard.

We took a few pictures that I wanted to share with you. We had a great afternoon and it was encouraging to see that Victoria liked being outside so much!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Semi-Annual Evaluation

This morning was a little tough. Victoria had her semi-annual evaluation by her Early Intervention Coordinator and one of her therapists. While Victoria has done so well in her gross motor development, her speech development has not improved at all in the past 6 months. I was told that Victoria is operating at a 1-year-old level in speech right now (She will be 2-years-old in March). Even though this was very discouraging to hear, Victoria's coordinator told me it was very typical for a child to excel in one area (like Victoria's gross motor skills) and be behind in another (her speech). Maybe I'm just an emotional mom, but after Victoria's therapist and coordinator left ... I cried.

It is hard to describe how I feel. I love Victoria so much and want her to do well. And, while I'm told she is very intelligent and progressing so well ... I can't help but want her to talk. I think the day I hear her finally say "Momma" I will have a hallelujah hoe-down!

After I finally composed myself from my emotions this morning, I picked Victoria up. I held her in my arms and told her that if she never talks (or doesn't talk for a while to come) ... I still love her. I told her that I was proud of everything she has done and how thankful I was to have her in my life.

Victoria will be set up with a speech therapist soon and my prayer is that we will see her progress by leaps and bounds once she starts receiving services in that area. She is a smart little girl and I know she will eventually catch on.

She holds a very special place in my heart and even though I fall apart at times ... I wouldn't trade the life I have with her and my family for anything in the world. The Lord only draws me closer to Him through Victoria. Sometimes the drawing hurts a little, but I know it is only for my good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Natalie Turns 3!

It is hard to believe that our Natalie Joy Messick is 3 today! She was born at Springhill Hospital on January 10th, 2007. From what I remember, she was born around lunch time. She weighed 7 lbs 15 oz and was around 21 inches long.

She is such a fun little girl and we feel so blessed to have her! She has a very silly personality. Everyone who meets her just loves her. She loves to sing and she is into wearing princess gowns and shoes now. I love when she tells me that she looks "gorgeous!"

Mark and I are so thankful for our Nat Nat today (and everyday)! We love you, Natalie! You are a beautiful little girl!

Momma and Daddy