This and that, here and there

This post is mostly a photo dump. First, a few more random pictures from Lina’s birthday weekend, pulled from my camera.


Grandpa Sharp’s endless stores of energy came in handy for hauling the cousins around the neighborhood.








I couldn’t let Lina’s birthday completely pass without saying more about the caramel apple cake. It took three tries to get the caramel sauce right, but it was worth it. This recipe was YUMMY. Also probably the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever made.

My parents suggested we take the kids to an apple orchard last Sunday, so we headed to Jackson’s Orchard in Bowling Green. I was disappointed they don’t offer a self-pick option, but they have a lot for kids to do, the weather was incredible, and we had a lovely day.











This week has thankfully been relatively quiet. (Our barometer for these things has changed. We had three appointments this week, but none required the Vandy trip.) The big development for Corin was the switch to an honest-to-goodness big boy bed now that he is finally nighttime potty trained.


First night in a real twin bed, sans headboard and footboard.


Lovely new bed, passed along to us from Grandma and Grandpa


He’s a fan.


No changing pad!

My favorite season has arrived again, and life keeps moving forward. Lina is this close to crawling, Corin is more independent every day, and change is always on the horizon.

Happy fall!


One Year

My baby girl is one year old today.


There is so much swimming around my head, I hardly know where to start.

One year ago today, this was me:


And not long after, there was this:


And then came the chaos. (Full story here, for those who haven’t read it: Part I and Part II.)

I look back to the moment I first held Lina, just a few feet from where I sit now. I remember what I felt when I first laid eyes on her, long before my conscious mind had processed what I was seeing. I looked at my daughter, and she was not what I expected. I didn’t know what that meant yet, but I remember experiencing an instant shift. In my memory, it seems as if there was a nearly-audible “CLICK” as I looked at that tiny, red bundle. Without understanding what was happening, my world adjusted and my heart opened. It was as if a train had suddenly changed tracks. I pulled that baby girl to my breast, and from that moment, there was no going back. I don’t know for sure if it was a formed thought, but I knew: “She is not what I expected, but she is mine.”

A year has gone by. First, there was grieving. Sometimes, there still is.

There was never any question of loving and accepting our precious girl. But we had to grieve the baby we thought we were having, the parenting experience we thought we were signing up for. There are still moments I watch other families and feel a stab. Sometimes I wish for a simpler life. Sometimes I have flashes of resentment for our increasingly-packed schedule, the extra worry, the complicated decisions.

But always, always, always, I am so grateful for my daughter. A simpler life would not be worth having if it didn’t have Lina. When we meet new people, when we mingle with friends, when we visit the local park or library, I feel one thing above all else; I feel pride. My baby girl (who is not really a baby any more) is awesome in countless ways. Above all, through all, I am proud to be her mother. (Jon, it should be noted, wants it said that he is also extraordinarily proud to be her father.)

This past year has taken me to school. I have learned that hiding behind my conviction of my own open-mindedness lay a lot of preconceived ideas about people with certain kinds of differences. I’ve learned what it means to toss out the superfluous and really get down to the core of what you want for your kids. I’ve learned a new vocabulary. (Levothyroxin, conductive hearing loss, baha, organized feedings, hypotonia, ling sounds, TEIS, ISP, IEP… The list goes on.) I’ve learned to navigate the Vanderbilt metropolis like a boss. I’ve learned how to find and read school achievement stats. (Thank you to my good friend Kelli Gauthier on that one.) I’ve learned that my prenatal worries over bonding with a child who wasn’t biologically mine could not have been less relevant. I’ve learned that God really is as big as I need Him to be.

The lessons are ongoing. The challenges are ongoing. But Lina is growing and changing every day, and I get to be there for it. I get that front-row seat. I get to be her mom.

Lina is a year old. There’s still a lot I don’t know. But of one thing, I am certain: I’m so glad she’s mine.

Happy birthday, Eline Katherine Sharp. My love for you is endless.

Support Team Lina!

Sorry to make this blog fundraising central for the next few weeks, but I will be posting regular reminders that we are raising funds online for the 2013 Buddy Walk on October 19. The majority of funds will go toward essential programs for people with Down syndrome and their families here in Middle Tennessee. The Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee is doing great work, and our family directly benefits from their efforts. A small portion of funds will also go to the National Down Syndrome Society, which is doing great work at the national level.


I am in birthday party planning mode this week. In the rare quiet moments, I marvel that in two days, my Lina will be one year old. It doesn’t seem possible. I have a lot to say about that, but I’ll save it for an upcoming post. For now, I’ll just say that she is an amazing gift to our family, and we are so grateful for the support resources our community offers for her and families like ours. These organizations depend on the generosity of people who understand the importance of what they do. Your donation will mean the world to us as we celebrate one year with our sweet girl. THANK YOU for helping us reach our very optimistic fundraising goal!

And local people – come out and walk with us! It’s FREE if you register by September 19. We’re going to have a great time strolling around Centennial Park with a lot of other awesome people. Celebrate with us and be an in-person member of Team Lina!


A little daddy

Corin has been talking a lot about being a daddy. He tells me he’s a daddy who’s still a little boy. I think he is trying to say he’s a daddy-in-waiting.

Yesterday, he said he is definitely going to have a little boy, but he wasn’t sure if he was going to have a little girl. I told him little girls were a lot of fun, too, and he decided that yes, he wanted a little boy and a little girl. He asks a lot about family relationships and is starting to get clear how it all works. Last night, I heard from the living room, “Lina, when I have a little boy, I will be his daddy, and you will be his aunt.”

The one part of the equation that remains fuzzy is the concept of a wife. He is unclear on which member of our family will be his children’s mother. I heard Jon explaining to him last night that he would marry someone from a different family. I think he’s still mulling that over.

Frankly, I’m content with this state of affairs. There will come a day when I’m no longer queen of my son’s heart, but I hope it’s a good, long way off yet. Somewhere, another family is likely raising a little girl who will capture Corin’s heart and share his life. Someday, she may be the mother of those children he already imagines. I pray for her sometimes, and for her parents. I pray that they are raising a strong, smart, capable woman of character, someone who will be fun and interesting, kind and unselfish, godly but not pious, a well-matched partner and companion for my son. I’m not holding back on the list of stellar qualities, and so I pray that I will help Corin become the kind of man that girl will want to marry.

For now, I love that he wants to be a daddy someday. As for that little girl: she can wait her turn.