Nola's 1st Birthday Celebration

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Ok so somehow it's Thursday. Well then...

Here's some pics of the big birthday celebration, which is quickly becoming history as the days keep flying by. I must admit I really, truly enjoyed planning this party. I generally enjoy entertaining but since I've had 2 kids, I find it so difficult to find the energy to really PLAN a party. Like put 100% effort into every detail. For this party, I was all in. I am really happy with the final product. It was a really inviting, calm atmosphere. The kids got to see some cool nature displays and adults got to sit, talk and enjoy each others company.



Nola, however, had this face....ALLLLL DAAAAYYYY!!!




I just had to add this pic of my father-in-law eating lunch with all the kids. His choice, of course.



Literally....ALLLLL DAAAAY!!!



The only photo I have of the 2 girls together #fail.



Smash cake. She really was gentle with the cake. Not a messy smasher at all.



While Nola was having her moment, this adorableness was going on right in front of her. I absolutely LOVE how much Hazel loves her big cousin Owen. Imagine the smile on his face too. Ughhhhh...



Actually she looks happy here. Interesting.



Cutest ever!!! She saw the candle lit and was totally obsessed with the cake. Wouldn't take her eyes off of it.

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Love was in the air...



The best gifts are the homemade ones. Stella really outdid herself with an album just for Nola. A picture from each month of her life. Such an amazingly thoughtful gift. Of course Hazel got one too. All 3 of our nieces bring so much love into our girls lives. I can't wait to see how their relationship grows and how close they become.



So thankful to have been able to celebrate all of your 365 days baby girl. You bring life to this house every single day.



Sneak Peek (plus an early Happy Friday)

WE HAD A PHOTO SHOOT!!!!! Another Vita Photography miracle. I will share more soon but for now here is a sneak peek. And seeing as I am heading to Nashville before the sun wakes up tomorrow (ya I am, y'all!!!!) this will have to do as an early Happy Friday too.

Hope you enjoy your weekend. Something tells me I will...



Giddy Up!!!


Happy Friday!!

Alas a Friday post!!! Don't think I forgot what I said about September. Yes, I have a birth story ready to go. I have a summer recap and lots of pics to share. BUT as I said I am working on a blog redesign which always comes with some challenges and trials. I'm gonna get it big time for posting this post today, but that's how much I am committed to you.




Hopefully see you next time with a brand new look here on Chasing Hazel and Nola.

Happy Friday!!!

Another week has come and gone. Sometimes as the weeks pass our kids enter into good phases. Cute phases. This week Hazel has decided to start waking up at 4 am (ish). So that's super fun. It's one of the cutest phases ever! (NOPE - NOT AT ALL). On the other hand, Nola is finally starting to see that she doesn't NEED to eat every 3 to 4 hours through the night. Small victories... Anyway... It's Friday. Friday to a long weekend. That's something right?

Hazel thinks so...




Have a good one everyone! I'm going to get a(nother) cup of coffee...


Hit the Motherload Monday

I had no time for the Friday post so I am offering you this on Monday. I DID IT!!!! I did it. I DID IT!!!!

Both girls together in one pic smiling at the same time. If only you could see what I am doing and the sounds coming out of my mouth. I'm pretty sure they are laughing at me not with me. It's not the first time I've sold my soul and forfeited my dignity.






Happy Freaking Monday peeps!!!!

Happy Friday!!!

I know this pic isn't great quality but I LOVE it!!! Hope you are all enjoying your week. Thank you so much to those of you took the time to read our last post about educating other children about Down syndrome. I was so happy to hear from those of you who provided feedback about the new series that I am going to attempt on the blog. I hope I can do it justice and provide you all with some useful resources. Please feel free to share any and all ideas that you have found helpful.

Also, thank you for sharing the image of Hazel on your social media outlets. We really do appreciate all your love and support.




Happy Friday!!!



(I have had this written for a while, for some reason, it was hard to part with)


If I knew then what I know now...


Celebrating and reflecting on our year of growth, both hers physically and ours mentally, has been emotional. We are the same people we always were, but the lens we see through now create a vision much different than what has been seen in the past.


We see hope, joy and endless possibilities for us all.


We have been active agents in observing how one little baby can conquer so much. We have redefined beauty in our lives and embraced difference in all that it offers. We have accepted our challenge as parents and have never felt more fulfilled to have been given the opportunity to truly abandon all that was familiar. Both in terms of becoming new parents (cause that's hard enough) and also in recognizing that Down Syndrome is just that, an extra chromosome that happens to be part of our baby's genes.

Whatever...we got this!!!

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(rock our world indeed)


We have made it a priority to steer clear of Baby Center milestones and just celebrate what IS. We find solace in the fact that Hazel will do all the things she is supposed to, in her own time. Just as all children do, when they are ready.

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That is not to say that we don't work with our girl, support her and provide her with every opportunity there is for her to succeed. It's just that we do it with ease and at her pace. Just as any other parent, we have a deep desire and a vested interest in helping her to grow and be happy.





We will do almost anything to see this smiling face...



The pictures of this time around her heart surgery are difficult to see, but they are a perfect reminder that our girl is a fighter. She makes us so proud everyday.



She comes out on top.




She surprises everyone with her will and determination to meet milestones with grace and contentment.



There is NOTHING more beautiful than these almond shaped eyes. All the time - everyday - they put butterflies in my stomach.



She is silly, fun, stubborn, ambitious, expressive, happy and sometimes mad (if you can believe it - she yells a lot...seriously it can be rather offensive).





She has grown so much in 1 year. WE have grown so much in 1 year. I was excited about the future the moment we stepped foot into our home with a new baby girl.  She has delivered in every category. At this point, I have no words for what the future might bring. I am almost giddy about it.



Waiting so long for her to join us is not lost on us. We still have a hard time believing that she is ours. We still appreciate every moment of her life. I look in on her every night before I sleep. I am so overjoyed that she will be there in the morning when I wake, and every morning, with a smile on her face ready for a new day.

It has been quite a year. So many challenges, so many battles. Yet at the same time, I have never experienced such strength, love, pride, joy and PEACE. Most importantly - PEACE.

My wish for all of find PEACE. I find it here, with her.





I can't wait to see what is in store over the next year. I know our learning and growing as people, as a family, has just begun.

If I knew then what I know now...

I would have been beside myself with excitement about the future. I would not have been as scared and worried about the challenges that may have awaited us (although part of me still is). I would have started to compartmentalize the overwhelming amount of pride that I have for my girl (sometimes I feel like I am going to explode with it). I would have prepared myself to receive love in a way that is unconditional and pure. And I would have been ready to surrender to the all-consuming LOVE that I have for my girl.

You know what they say about hindsight...


Love & Peace