Sunday, August 31, 2008

Big Sister

Now it's time to introduce the other namesake of this blog: Brighton. She's our two year old, and she is really a handful. Brighton is a huge fan of animals; she's helped us really get the most out of our family pass to the Dallas Zoo this summer, and she has also made trips to the Dallas World Aquarium, the San Antonio Zoo, Sea World, and the Austin Zoo. I'm telling you ... she loves animals. It's also a pretty common family event for us to gather around Youtube and watch videos of lemurs, dolphins, turtles, okapis, or whatever other animal she wants to see. Keeps us busy, for sure.

But even more than animals, Brighton LOVES being a big sister. She has been so excited about her little sister and has already been a huge help to us. She constantly wants to help feed Berkeley or hold her hand or give her kisses. It's so sweet! On the way to church, Brighton proudly proclaimed for the entire ten minute drive, "I'm the big sister!" I thought about turning up the radio to drown her out, but I realized that I should be truly grateful for a two year-old who loves being a sibling. She hasn't exhibited any signs of attention-deprivation or jealousy of the new baby (yet), so we're pretty thankful.

It would be too much to try to catch you up on two years of Brighton, so we'll just start here and share some of the good stories as they happen going forward. I'm sure there will be plenty.

Berkeley's Arrival

Well, we're going to do this slightly out of order, just because of the recent nature of Berkeley's birth. We'll introduce Brighton properly soon enough, but for the purposes of the blog, we're going to start out with baby Berkeley.

Berkeley finally showed up five days ago at 7:36pm on 8.26.08. She was 6 lbs and 12 oz at birth and 19.5 inches long. She was just a little squirt. We were truly overjoyed to finally meet her after nine long months of watching her grow and move hidden in "mommy tummy" as her sister would say.

We quickly realized that Berkeley was going to be a very unique and special girl, and we sent out a notice to several friends and family members to inform them, as well. For anyone who may have missed out on that, here is our letter to friends and family:

Julie and I wanted to take this chance to share some more news with you about our sweet little Berkeley. You may have already [heard] from those who have visited or called, but we wanted to tell you ourselves that Berkeley does have Downs Syndrome. We knew early in the pregnancy that there was a heightened chance of that with Berkeley, and we were able to discuss that ahead of time and prepare ourselves for the challenges of parenting a special little girl.

We want you to know we are totally excited about Berkeley, and we are not at all sad or disappointed about raising a child with Downs Syndrome. We feel extremely blessed to have such a beautiful new little girl to bring home, and we know that God has entrusted us with a special task. We also know that God won't just leave us hanging, and that He will supply everything we need to make sure Berkeley grows up just the way He wants her to.

The reason we wanted to share this news with you all is so that you would not feel awkward or uncertain about how to approach us with regards to Berkeley. Every question we've asked the doctors has been answered with something to the effect of "Just do what you would with any other kid." And that's the way we feel about Berkeley. Even though we don't know all that is to come, we feel hopeful about the road God has laid before us. We have questions, concerns, and prayers, but we don't have any doubts.

Every night since Brighton was born two years ago, we have tucked her into bed and said three special things: "We love you so much, you are so beautiful, and God made you just perfect." Brighton even says them with us now. Two nights ago, when Berkeley arrived, Brighton helped me say those things to Berkeley, and she'll hear them every night when she goes to bed. We fully believe those three things about both of our wonderful little girls, and we're going to raise them to know that they are loved, beautiful, and perfect.

We are open and willing to talk about any questions you may have about Berkeley or any wisdom you may want to share with us, but you should not feel at all uncertain about how to approach us or Berkeley. We have a wonderful support system of family and church and friends, and we know that you will all be a vital part of the lives of both of our girls. Feel free to ask us about anything, and we hope you get to meet Berkeley soon.

Sean, Julie, Brighton, and Berkeley Smith

We've already received numerous phone calls, emails, and personal visits that have proven true our belief that we have a wonderful support system of friends and family and church to help us raise our sweet Berkeley.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brighton and Berkeley's Beautiful Beginning

Well, the Smith family is finally taking the plunge and joining the blogging world. It's sort of a weird feeling, honestly. Feels kinda like we're kicking down a wall on the side of our house and inviting the world to peek inside to see what's going on. I guess we've decided that's kind of what we want to do, though. Two years ago we were blessed with an amazing little daughter named Brighton. Five days ago, her sister Berkeley arrived. The two of them are so overwhelmingly amazing to us that we can't keep them to ourselves any longer, so we've set up a blog to let friends and family keep up with our crazy lives as we try to keep up with our daughters. Hopefully we'll get a few more posts in rapid succession here to give you snippets of each of their lives, and then we'll settle into a more regular schedule of updating the blog. See you soon.

Sean, Julie, Brighton, and Berkeley Smith