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.

October 22, 2013


I don't talk a lot about relationships.  I think each one is unique and what might work for some won't work for another.  There is one universal truth in cohabitation, however.  When one person wants one thing and the other person does not.  Someone wins and someone loses.  Rarely will I say, "No absolutely not."  But I still hope the other person will let me win every time.

This time I lost.  The husband has wanted a dog for as long as we've been married.  I've been enjoying a pet free home for the last couple of years after our cats died.  I'm finally in a place where life is not insane and feels like something I can handle.  So now I have a host of dog related things to suck up some of my much needed 'me time'.  I do take solace in the fact that the dog likes me better than him.  She knows who is Alpha around here!  OK and she's kinda cute too.

I've also been thinking a lot about happiness and how this moment, right here, is life.  Am I making the most of this moment?  Every moment can't be perfect - after all there are laundry and dishes to be done.  But in those free moments... am I choosing to do things that don't really matter to me?  Am I letting my time get sucked away?

So I will put down the iPhone (after I snap a quick picture so I can remember the moment) and we'll play a game of chase.  We'll read that book.  We'll flip upside down and tickle.  I'll carry you around until my back aches.  I'll clap and cheer at the things that excite you just to see your face light up.  I'll let you pick as many leaves as you want and try, so hard, not to hurry you along.

We will go do special things even though it can be so exhausting.  Because those memories are precious.

And then I will read my book.  I'll take a walk - not to lose 5 pounds or stop some jiggle - but to enjoy this world I live in.  Breathe in fresh air.  Appreciate the beauty that can be found everywhere.  Notice the little things.

Then I reserve the right to rot my brain in front of the TV.  Because sometimes it's just what you need.

October 15, 2013


My buddy is five.  I think he got the memo because he suddenly seems like such a big kid.  He is able to handle situations better and has this control I never thought he would.  We were at a fair and my buddy was totally into the model trains zooming around a track.  He stood there perfectly still with his hands behind his back just watching and not touching.  Amazing! 

Along with every birthday, comes the memory of the birth.  I wonder how long it will sting.  That disappointment and heartbreaking sadness when we first heard the words Down syndrome.  I read a blog where the author said she wished the doctor who 'discovered' Ds wasn't Dr. Down.  She imagined if his name was Dr. Awesome - your child has Awesome syndrome.  How cool would that be?

My personal mission is to take the sting out of the words Down syndrome.  I don't want anyone in hushed tones saying, "Oh, he has Down syndrome."  I throw the word around everywhere I can.  Big sis uses it all the time in her pretend play.  The kids in my buddy's class know about Down syndrome from the book I sent into school. I love when kids ask me questions.  I give them a straight forward answer.  The more people that my buddy interacts with, the more people won't be freaked out by Down syndrome.

My mother was a Special Ed teacher and worked with kids who had severe cerebral palsy.  I would go into work with her sometimes and see kids who couldn't walk or talk or feed themselves.  My mom would set me up on a bean bag chair and have me read to them.  It's funny.  I have so very few memories of my childhood, but I can picture it perfectly.  I also loved playing on all the physical therapy things they had.  Anyway, my point is, I was less scared of those kids after I got to know them.

Along with every birthday comes another complete blood count, thyroid test, celiac test, etc.  I wait, wondering, worrying, until the results come back.  We have been so very fortunate with my buddy's health.  I NEVER take that for granted.  More than any cognitive delay or speech delay or hard to manage behavior is the fear that he will fall victim to one of the countless health concerns that come along with the extra chromosome.

My buddy has perfected smiling for the camera - even if he moves the instant after he flashes that grin.  He has become gentle with rara (at times) - letting her crawl on top of him and wrestle him without knocking her down.  Whenever he sees big sis in the hallway at school, he runs over to her giving her a full body hug.  He truly lives in the moment, lighting up when something pleases him.  Even without too many words, his personality is huge.  In the swimming pool of life, my buddy jumps off the high dive.

October 9, 2013


I never set out to be one type of parent.  Things I knew about parenting back when I was a nanny are no longer so concrete.  I am different with rara than I was with big sis.  I believe there is no one way to do things, but whatever way works best for your family at this moment in time.

Rara is not a great sleeper.  Her naps are usually too short, she is unable to get herself back to sleep and she really likes to be held and moving to fall asleep.  But rara is my baby.  The last.  So a lot of naps end up looking like this:

sweaters and a sleeping baby... win win

Bis sis had a strict schedule and I sleep trained her.  She is now an excellent sleeper.  My buddy wasn't such a good sleep trainer so I spent a couple of years doing random butt pats at different times in the night.  He is now an excellent sleeper.  They both slept through the night at a young age and gave up breastfeeding around 11 months.

Rara gave up daytime breastfeeding around the same time, but has yet to sleep through the night.  She still nurses a minimum of 4 times a night.  I know many people who think it's time to give it up.  I never intended for the night time milk bar to stay open so long.  But for so many reasons I am not ready to stop. 

I breastfeed her at night because I can climb into her bed and do it laying down while half asleep.  If I don't feed her she will wake 20 minutes later.  I can't seem to summon the energy to let her cry at night.  It's too painful to listen to plus she will wake up the big kids and then everyone will be crabby.

I wish someone could tell me two things. 1) If I continue to feed her all night long, will she just grow out of it one day and sleep all on her own?  2) How long will she cry for and for how many days before she happily sleeps through the night?  Then I could really weigh the pros and cons and make a choice. 

She is such a happy, well adjusted kid during the day.  Rara is easygoing and fun to be around.  Why rock the boat when the boat is happy and cute?  As I see it, the only one losing around here is me and all I am losing is a little (OK a lot) sleep.  I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer, but I know things were so crazy for the past 3 months.  I am happy just to let things be.

October 7, 2013


My tendency to over-mother (4 words in and I'm making them up already) combined with my husband's nervous helicopter ways has created a lack of independence around here.  I am working hard on getting big sis to take care of herself more.  I've been really pushing her.  It's funny because she will spend hours taking care of her 'babies' yet she will get out of the shower and stand there dripping wet waiting for me to dry her off.

At times we may be a little hard on her, but I believe big sis can rise to the challenge.  We still respect her limits - she is not into physical activities and tends to tire easily.  Most of our walks end up something like this.

good thing I keep the sling in the stroller in case of emergencies

I set up a cabinet she can reach with snacks that she likes.  I'm encouraging her to help with cooking and cleaning.  She spends a lot of time looking out for the littler kids.

brushing her own teeth

helping to bake a cake

She has always been good at picking out her own clothes and entertaining herself.  She has this amazing creative mind and a bucket full of empathy.  I wouldn't buy her a new doll, so she made one herself. 

it's the little mermaid

I'm still working on other ways to up the independence.  She has a lot of fears.  She won't go in the backyard by herself.  She's still afraid to be in one part of the new house alone if we are all in a different part.  I don't want to change who big sis is - she is amazing.  I just want to help her take it to the next level.

On a lighter note: