December 31, 2013

new year

I used to hate New Year's Eve.  So much pressure for such a non-event.  When I was younger, it was the realization that, yet again, I had no boy to kiss at midnight.  Then as I grew older I felt like I had to assess my life and pick out the things I didn't like and make grandiose plans to change things.  Thank goodness I am secure in who I am and no longer fret over New Year's.

It took me many years to get here.  When I graduated college, I worked for a science museum which was a great job.  Then we moved so my husband could finish school.  I worked in the admissions department of a massage therapy school.  As far as office jobs go - it was pretty chill.  There was the weekly chi gong lesson and the ability to volunteer your body for a massage when the student clinic had an opening.  But my office was a closet with no windows.  I did mundane work for a stickler of a boss.  I developed these horrible stomach pains.

I decided to make a change.  So I became a nanny.  I found a job with an amazing family.  Took the kids to the park every chance I got and the stomach pains disappeared.  Unfortunately, I was still young and worried what others thought of me.  Whenever someone asked me what I did, I started out telling them I went to college and then worked it into being a nanny.  I was embarrassed.

Eventually I made peace with it.  I still felt like I had no calling in life but I didn't really stress over it. I'm more of a enjoy the moment kind of a girl.  Then I had kids and it all made sense.

There are things I don't like - dishes, laundry and the *%$#@ grocery store.  But this is the life I chose and I try and enjoy as much of it as possible.  I don't live for tomorrow or think the grass is greener somewhere else.  I am happy to my core.  I look forward to 2014 as another year to hug my kids and hear their laughter.  I hope to challenge myself and push myself into new adventures but I know that some day, these kids will be grown and I will have all the time in the world to explore the things I like.  Right now I like looking at these faces:

December 18, 2013


When your child is born with Down syndrome, you are changed in so many ways.  Some that are quite clear from the start and some that show up years later.  If you are lucky, someone appears in your life that has a child with Ds and lets you know that everything will be fine.  If you are even luckier, you get to be that person for someone else.

I received a letter recently from a friend who called me when her son was born with Down syndrome.  She was full of gratitude and the letter made me cry in that happy blubbery way.  My goal in writing about my buddy and putting him out there in the world was just to help one person.  It is not in my nature to be so open, but the feeling I get each time someone thanks me is indescribable.

Life with my buddy can be really hard.  But life with my buddy is always incredible.  This morning I had to bring him along to a check up for rara.  He was zooming around the exam room on the doctor's chair.  As I tried to get him to stop, he looked up at me and signed "fun".  That is my buddy.  Always looking for the fun.

We got a holiday card in the mail that his Kindergarten teacher sent out.  Inside is his name scrawled at the bottom.  We debated if he could actually do this on his own - after all, in September all he could do was scribble.  I handed him a piece of paper and a pen and asked him to write his name.  Sure enough, he did it.  That boy constantly amazes me. 

I just want to thank my buddy for being who he is and giving me the amazing opportunity to share him with others and help some friends out along the way.  I also want to thank my friend for her touching letter - your words were felt deep in my heart.

December 11, 2013


Warning: There will be poop in this post - a lot of it.  It is unavoidable.

I've spent almost a year trying to figure out what was causing my buddy to have such horrible loose poop.  I tried lots of things.  I met with a dismissive GI nurse practitioner who said she was fine with chronic peanut butter consistency poop and suggested Metamucil and mentioned that once he is potty trained it most likely won't be an issue.  I listened to many different doctors and did research on my own.  I finally found something that worked.

I took the advice of my favorite doctor that just happened to coincide with something I've been wanting to do anyway.  I cut out processed foods.  Not 100%.  Personally I'm more of an 80 - 90% girl.  It's too hard to do anything 100%.  I am just not that perfect.

I don't buy anything unless I know what all the ingredients are - no crazy chemicals.  Like tortilla chips should have corn, oil and salt for ingredients.  Organic when possible.  So far I can't get my buddy to give up store bought snacks.  He's not into my home made muffins, crackers or bread.  Within a week of the diet change, he had a healthy poop.  And they have all been healthy poops since then.  (except for when he was so scared at the sleep study that he had diarrhea, but that's a whole 'nother issue)

And then last night after dinner, the girls were in the bathroom and my buddy came up to me and signed "potty".  At first I dismissed him thinking he just wanted to start trouble with the girls.  Then I saw what can only be described as the 'poop face' and I asked him if he wanted to poop on the potty.  Well, my buddy said yes, so we rushed to the potty and wouldn't you know he pooped on the potty!  Oh the happy song and dance we did was legendary.

I love when peer pressure works in your favor.  Rara has been potty training herself - saying poopoo when she has to go and once in a while actually doing it on the little potty.  I've been talking to my buddy letting him know he could do just like she does and tell me when he has to go.  He wanted to sit on the little potty just like rara - of course his 5 year old tush is way to big for that but he was OK using the big potty. 

I know the potty training road will be long with my buddy.  But this was such a huge milestone for him.  No poop has ever made me prouder!

Enough poop.

Onto the Holidays!

my favorite tradition - chopping down the tree

hovered over the iPad after tub. no one wants to be too far away from the pack.

winter wonderland

I just came out from putting the little ones to bed while big sis played on the iPad.  She greeted me with, "I just learned how to say 'poop' in sign language."  I guess we all have poop on the brain.

December 4, 2013


It's been a busy couple of weeks.  My parents were in town affording me such luxuries as a haircut, attending my 20 year High School reunion and a lot fewer dishes to wash.  It's the first time in many years that we've had the room for them to stay with us. It was great to have conversations and spend lots of time together.  Rara mastered saying Grampa and Nana.  They worked tirelessly and we sent them home with our sickness.

sharing a love of cars

Nana always takes on outside playtime
My buddy has just been hammered with colds he can't get over.

The days that all the kids are sick are the days I want to run away and throw in the parenting towel.  I ask myself how it is that I am the adult and have to care for the needy, miserable children?  Even with my parents here to help me, sick kids always want their Mommy.  I try so hard not to complain too much.  After all I really have so much - a wonderful home, food on the table, a husband who adores me and 3 lovely littles.  But the crying and screaming and freaked out misery can take its toll.  As I write this, rara is napping in her bed (hopefully on the mend) and big sis is napping on the couch after a touch of the tummy bug last night.

My mom spent hours preparing a delicious Thanksgiving meal. My buddy ate Cheerios.  I was just happy he was eating.

big sis loves her Nana so much

It was neat to start a new tradition of our own Thanksgiving.  We had dinner at a time that worked best for us and ate all the things we like to eat.  Aside from the fear that I will have to do all the cooking next year, I like to think it is a tradition that is here to stay.

Big sis and rara were very upset that Mommy and Daddy were going out together.  We have a short supply of people that can handle watching my buddy and the other two so we rarely go anywhere.  Big sis was crying when we were going.  After we explained that we never go out together and this was a chance for us to spend some time together.  She replied, "You left last year at Christmas time when Nana and Grampa were here."  Pathetic.  It's been a year since we went anywhere.  And last year we left to go Christmas shopping... for them.

big sis took this one.  Makes her Daddy look like a super hero.
My brother worked in a long layover.  It's been over a 1 1/2 years since I've seen him.  Fun times.

We managed to squeak in an outing and some good times. Or not so good times if you are my buddy getting his hair cut!  There was mall walking, story time, nap time and of course some stellar outfits from big sis.

I really love when my parents are here.  Things are so much easier.  Life seems manageable. I love watching their relationships with the kids grow.  I think they should leave OK and move back to CT just to make my life better.  So who's with me?

November 10, 2013


You know those days when you lose your temper and act in a way that is not very becoming?  Well, I feel like I've been having a lot of those days lately.  It's not his fault that he's been working like crazy and coming home super stressed.  It's not her fault she hasn't recovered from the time change.  It's not his fault he is up at night with a terrible cough.  It's not her fault she never sleeps through the night and has a cold.  Being sleep deprived is no excuse for taking it out on all of them.

I know that all parents... scratch that... all people have times where they react to a situation and show their worst possible self.  If someone was secretly recording me the last few weeks, I'm sure I would be mortified watching it back.  But it's like this black hole where the grumpier you feel, the deeper into the grumpy pit you fall.

I need to find the switch.  Turn myself right around.  I need to accept the fact that there is a dog in my life and stop being ticked every time I have to scoop her poop, clean pee off the carpet or toss another book she destroyed.  Let the resentment go.  Just stop shouting at the kids.  Get up off my duff and make some positive happen.  After all, they are worth it.

His new favorite trick.

She helped me fix her hair.
My grumpy always rubs off on her.

November 6, 2013


Rara is not quite a year and a half old.  I really had forgotten how much fun this age is... or maybe I never appreciated it before.  When big sis was this age, I was dealing with a newborn.  My buddy hit milestones at his own rate - and never all at the same time - so he was never like this.

Rara can communicate most of her needs.  She is really funny.  She's shy around strangers but outgoing at home.  Your heart melts with just one of her smiles.  She is fearless.  Rara really is good company.  She has this baby that she drags around with her everywhere.  The doll has become - 'favorite baby.'  Don't even think about putting clothes on that baby either.  Rara will shout, "OFF" until she is naked once more.

Rara will let me pull her hair back.  Then a couple of minutes later, after I'm feeling all smug like I finally did it, she will pull the elastic or barrette out while laughing and running away.  She is a dickens.  And now her hair hangs in her eyes all day long.  Although, I do like watching her little hands push the hair out of her face.

When you ask her a question, she will answer with an adorable, "uh-huh or no."  Big sis loves to ask her a ton of questions and see what the answer will be.  We usually end up in hysterics.  Rara can't say big sis' name so she calls her Mama or Dada and then laughs.  Rara is the only one in the house that searches out the dog just to play with her.  

Even more than the dog, rara loves her Daddy.  When daddy is home, no one else will do.  She won't let me pick her up or put her to bed.  She follows him around never taking her eyes off of him.  It is the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

November 3, 2013

sibling love

My buddy and big sis are just 15 months apart.  I really wanted kids close in age so they could be best buds and developmentally into the same toys/classes/etc at the same time.  I figured since I was neck deep in baby, what's one more?  Of course, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.

One worry when you hear the words Down syndrome is for the sibling.  Will they feel burdened or embarrassed?  Will they still have a sibling relationship?  Of course we put all our preconceived ideas of what a child with Down syndrome is like onto the sibling.

Big sis and my buddy have the best relationship.  They play games together and want to do what the other one is doing.  They miss each other during school.  The smile they give each other when they are finally reunited is heart warming.

Big sis doesn't know life without my buddy and without Ds.  Having therapists come to the house was a norm for her.  Learning sign language so we could communicate better just came naturally.  They really do have the sweetest relationship.  I like to try and talk to big sis about my buddy but try not to focus too much attention on his differences.  Two recent conversations went like this:

Me:  Do you think my buddy has taught you anything?
Her: He taught me to be more brave and not to be afraid of dogs.

Me: Do you think my buddy is different or just like other kids?
Her: He's different.
Me: Why?
Her: Well he can't talk like other kids and he gets really frustrated a lot.
Me: Do you wish he was just like the other kids?
Her: No, I love him the way he is.

She truly does love him just the way he is.   And his love for her is pure and beautiful.

October 27, 2013


I love our family traditions.  Even though we moved and the locations have changed, the traditions still remain.  Most of the traditions revolve around a holiday - trying to make it as special as possible.  I love my memories from growing up and I hope to do the same for our kids.

This weekend we went to the pumpkin patch.  We found a new one - no apple cider donuts but there was a kid sized hay maze, hay ride and wagons.  We ordered a turkey for Thanksgiving.  It feels good to support a small farm.  Plus those turkeys were running around enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

We were a little late in heading to the pumpkin patch this year but we found two gigantic "perfect pumpkins" that were turned into excellent Jack-O-Lanterns.  My buddy didn't freak out on the hay ride and a good time was had by all.

They love each other so much.

Being pulled in a wagon sealed the deal on the good time.

She wanted to wear her hat... most likely to be just like Daddy.

Hay ride to the patch

Rara doesn't leave Daddy's side all weekend.

Big sis designs the face and then Mommy carves.

My buddy got right in there scooping out all the pumpkin guts.

October 24, 2013

a wordy one

My buddy had his 5 year old check up a few days ago.  The doctor said his results for Celiac were off and he should see a specialist.  I was preparing to alter his diet and gathering information.  Out of all the possible things to come out of his blood work, Celiac was the least of my concerns.  As long as the doctor never says, "leukemia," I can handle it.  I've also had ongoing concerns about his poop and gas (to put it bluntly).  I thought that maybe this was the answer.

We take the time off from school, drag rara with us and head to the specialists office where she promptly tells us he does not have Celiac.  I was relieved, of course.  Completely changing the way he eats would have taken a toll on my buddy and me.  And he would have to be aware for the rest of his life.  But part of me felt bummed.  The GI dr said the same thing our old doctor said - could be the fruit in his diet.  I tried to take him off fruit for a couple of weeks, but it was so hard when he begged me for some grapes or a banana.  And I would run out of things to feed him.  We were also living in the camper then, so maybe I'll give it another try.

But then I had another thought... maybe 5 year old boys with healthy appetites don't go well with diapers.  Maybe if he went on the potty, I wouldn't even notice.  I feel like there are so many more things to worry about with my buddy and since he can't tell me if his belly hurts or not, I have to play this guessing game. 

On a side note.  Rara, at 16 months, told me she had to poop and then actually did it on the potty!!!!  Go rara but, like with a lot of milestones, it's a kick to the gut when you think about my buddy.  I think that's enough poop stories.  Bring on some pictures...

he loves to push his new glasses up into his hair leaving him looking like Nick Nolte

she loves to sit on the potty just kicking her feet... for what feels like hours

Big sis broke my heart the other night.  I had put her to bed and was washing some dishes when she came out crying.  After she composed herself enough to talk, she told me the story of her bracelet.  A few days ago she wore her bracelet that Paige made her to school.  J wanted to wear it, so big sis being the incredibly nice person, let her.  J wore it home even though she promised she would give it back at the end of the day.  J forgot to bring it back for the next 3 days.  Then she brought it in, but gave it to L.  Big sis said something to J who claims it is one that looks like hers, but not actually hers.

Anyway, moral of the story, even though big sis didn't want to give her bracelet away, she did anyway because she's a quiet, people pleaser.  She is to shy to use her strong mean voice or to ask the teacher for help.  I get it.  I am just like her.  I have screamed things inside of my head and never found the courage to get the words out.  I don't know if the other girl is intentionally being mean or is just being a forgetful 6 year old girl.  Either way, my girl ended up in tears.

I was planning on getting her a Rainbow Loom anyway, but you bet your bottom dollar, she got it a lot sooner than she would have otherwise.  I fired up YouTube and got a lesson from a grade schooler with sparkly nail polish and made her a bracelet to help take the hurt away.  And it worked.  I know Mommy's magic will only be good for a limited time, so I'm going to use it as much as possible.

rainbow - because I was obsessed with them as a kid

she told me she feels all better now

Guess I had a lot to say today.  I think I'll quiet down now and end on a cute note.

I love that face.