30 and Grateful

say hello to the newest member of my family, my little niece Annabelle Lilly Rose

my cousin Jordanna and her partner Jon met their first child today just after noon at Women's Hospital.  me, the kids, a handful of family members and friends made their way over to support the new family and to meet Annabelle.  you can see that she is a little different.  this little girl was born by means of a c-section to increase her chances of survival as it was discovered earlier on in the pregnancy that Annabelle had a condition called anencephaly.  beneath the tiny hospital hat that so many mothers treasure as one of their first keepsakes, lies the tinniest little bowl.  Annabelle was born into the world with no brain, just a brainstem.    
 there are not a lot of women that would not follow through with their pregnancies after learning of such a tragic condition.  Jordanna was one of the courageous women that decided to go all the way, despite knowing her little Annabelle might not live more than a few minutes after being born.  9 hours was the last update.  whether or not she is with us for much longer, i definitely feel her purpose.  with her fatal condition, she has already had a huge impact on everyone who met her today.  life is precious, no matter how long or how short.  she is still someone's baby to love and cherish.
 auntie nicole holding Annabelle for the first time
 mom & dad
 she is so very very little at 7 months
 everyone's moods were up and down throughout the day
 it was good to have so much support from friends and family
 Annabelle had her hands and feet stamped and molded for keepsakes
  perfect little footprints
a handful of support from my mom's side of the family

i was nervous when Jordanna requested i take photos.  i was not sure that i would be able to handle it.  when the c-section was changed and scheduled for my birthday, i was even more nervous.  after a few weeks, my nervousness settled.  a few friends have asked how the day went, and i am happy to say that i am feeling ok.  Annabelle's condition is indeed tragic, but the love and strength that have risen to the surface from Jordanna herself and all those who came to support her & Jon, has been incredible.  feelings of hope and peace have filled my mind and heart.  compassion, kindness and and overwhelming sense of gratitude have been instilled in the hearts of many today.  that in itself is a wonderful purpose.  i could not have spent my 30th birthday in a better way.  it was a truly meaningful and important day in my life meeting Annabelle.  

we stayed until 3pm when our street parking came to an end.  it was a quiet afternoon.  kevin arrived home and we decided to head out to my mom's to have a small intimate birthday celebration.   we ordered some Japanese takeout and my brother created a special cake from scratch for me!
 i had not eaten much throughout the day, i went to town!
 as did chloe and momo
 i'm really loving hangouts with my bro.  i feel like it's old times, like when we were REALLY young kind of old times.  two crazy cancerians constantly goofing off.
 hundreds of Canon Powershot Selfies were taken in this well-lit bathroom throughout my early 20's
this dude is getting super jacked these days.  amazing.
 me: why don't you ever go running?
bro-james: why would i ever run when i could just UPPERCUT! UPPERCUT! UPPERCUT!
 familiar hallway views
 pancake, chocolate, fresh mango, pancake, chocolate, coconut,  pancake, chocolate, fresh mango, pancake, chocolate, coconut,  pancake, chocolate, fresh mango, pancake, chocolate, coconut, ....  this was SUPER SUPER delicious!!!!!

the pancakes were super light, 70% dark chocolate mixed with a little coconut milk, fresh sliced mango...  super light and not super sweet, i split another piece with my brother...  and i have another piece that i am going to eat for breakfast tomorrow.
 chocolate lip liner gone bad
 if you never had a chance to know my dad, these photos of my bro with the kids are precisely the kind of goofy photos i would be taking.  super ridiculous and totally not caring, just as long as the kids are laughing and having a great time.
i could not have asked to spend this milestone birthday in a better way.  it was a great day to be quiet, to reflect and to be grateful.  i have been blessed, greatly blessed in this life.  my one wish is that my children be as blessed with the same health, happiness and love as i have been.

so.  it's official.  i have now crossed the threshold.  i am 30.  
looking forward to what this decade has in store for me!!!!


  1. This was a heart wrenching and beautiful post Phanie... Ever since I learned of baby Annabelle she has often been in my thoughts and i think how incredibly brave and strong her mother was to take Annabelle to term and allow her to feel so much love and spirit and support. Love and prayers to all, this courage has really struck me. Rest in peace Annabelle. Xo


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