Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LOL/LOL: Getting to Know You

Greetings, friends! Did you think I’d dropped off the face of the earth? Not exactly, but I have been away from the computer for a bit. I am writing to you today from the Outer Banks of North Carolina! YAY for vacation!!! (Boo for crummy weather, but that is completely secondary to the fact that my whole family is together for a whole week! :-) ) I also have very limited internet access, so after this post, you likely won’t hear from me again until next week.

Last week I introduced you to a new blogging series I’m doing with a friend called Lots of Littles/Lots of Laughs. You can read more about it here. Today we’re doing another round of introduction-y questions. As with last week, please play along! Leave your answers in a comment or post them on your blog and put a link in the comments. And don’t forget to check out Jamey’s answers at Zehlahlum Family when you’re done here.

1. How’d you meet your husband?
Oh, this is a story. Sit back and grab a cup of coffee. On second thought, I’m on vacation and want to get back to family time, so I’ll give you the abbreviated version. But someday I’m going to write it all down. The first time my hubby and I met was at my aunt’s house. My cousin was dating a friend of his, and he had come to my aunt’s to swim. He didn’t even know I was alive, though… since he was 17 and I was 12. So I just harbored a big crush on him all through high school. Then I went to college and didn’t think much about him… until my junior year, when another cousin of mine was working for him. I came home for Christmas break and took her out to lunch, and he came along. Suddenly the 5-year age difference didn’t seem so huge, now that I was 20 and he was 25. The next week, the three of us had lunch again, and that cute guy and I exchanged e-mail addresses so we could keep in touch when I left for school later that week. We had our first date at the end of January, got engaged in May, and got married the following February. And it’s been almost 10 years of wedded bliss! :-)

2. How/why did you start blogging?
I have a two-part answer to this one, because nothing is simple with me. :-) This is actually my second blog. I started my first blog a few years ago. I love to write, I was working on a few articles for publication, and a blog seemed like a good fit. Shortly after I started it, I also had the chance to meet my biological father, and I decided I wanted to chronicle my adoption story, so I told it there (in much the same way that I told Roo’s story here). I abandoned that blog around the time that I got pregnant with Roo, mainly because I had finished my adoption story and the depression I was struggling with made me feel like the well had run dry.

Fast forward about… oh, say… 9 months. I had been turning over the idea of taking up my old blog again, to get my creative juices flowing and of course to share my adorable children with the world. And then in June my sweet Roo was diagnosed with Down syndrome. As hard as it all was, a blog seemed like a good way to record it all for myself, to share the news and story behind it with friends I don’t see often, and I hope to help others going through similar situations. But for some reason, I felt like it merited a new blog, a fresh start. So here I am! :-)

3. What are your three favorite blogs/web sites?
Can I say Facebook, Facebook, and Facebook? No? OK, then…

Honestly, most of the blogs I read are written by people I know, not the “big” ones that are so popular. I mean, I enjoy Pioneer Woman as much as the next girl, but I can’t honestly say I read her on a regular basis. My three favorite blogs that I actually read are Zehlahlum Family of course, Bring the Rain, and Enjoying the Small Things.  Now that I look at that, only one of those is by someone that I actually know, but... whatever.

My three favorite non-blog web sites are Facebook, Amazon, and Allrecipes.com.

4. What are your three favorite things to do with your kids?
I absolutely love cooking with my kids. Monkey especially enjoys helping me in the kitchen. They like to help measure, mix, gather ingredients, plan meals & desserts, everything. We have lots of fun.

I also enjoy reading with my kids. They love books of all shapes and sizes.

And… hmmmm… I guess my third favorite thing to do with my kids is crafting. This is where Lamb really shines—she is the craftiest little 5-year-old I have ever met, and the happiness she gets from it makes every ounce of effort worthwhile.

5. What are your three least favorite things to do with your kids?

I hate trying to get my kids to clean up their room. No matter how small the mess, Monkey absolutely melts down when I even hint that a clean-up might be in order. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make it less intimidating for him and less stressful to me.

Bathtime. I know, it should be lots of fun. The kids enjoy it, they behave well, and they are contained. But I hate it. My wonderful hubby works lots and lots of hours, which often leaves me feeling like a single mom at bedtime, and baths have really become a chore for me. I’m working on my attitude about it. 

Getting out the door in the morning. My kids are actually pretty early risers, but it seems like every morning something comes up to keep us from getting in the van and going. I am so thrilled to be on vacation now (Did I forget to mention I’m writing this poolside? How awesome is that???) and have a whole week where I don’t have to say, “You need to hurry up, honey” or “We’re waiting on you” or “No more. Get in the van NOW.”

6. What are three things you’d like to do with your kids that you haven’t yet?
Let’s start with a small one. There are several “drive-through” wild animal parks around us, and I really want to go to one!

Disneyworld. Yep, my mother-in-law and I did Disneyland with Monkey & Lamb, but I’d love to just spend a week at Walt Disney’s Florida experience.

Europe. Jon and I spent three weeks there before we had kids, and I cannot wait until they’re a little older and we can take them to experience the culture, sites, and food across the Atlantic.

Alright friends, that’s all for me. I am excited to spend more time with you soon, but right now I have some relaxing and some quality family time to attend to. Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Play date

My husband and I have said for years that our friendships would eventually be shaped by our kids' friends. We would meet other parents at Boy Scout meetings or soccer games or choir concerts or… whatever. They would become the people we spent time with.

Today I had the opportunity to let one of my children shape some of my friendships, but it was in a way I never imagined. Today I met six moms (and two dads!), each of whom has a child with Down syndrome. And it was the most normal I have felt in the three months since Roo's diagnosis.

Today I didn't have to explain what PT and OT mean. I didn't have to explain why Roo doesn't do some of the things a "typical" 5-month-old can do. I didn't have to wonder what someone meant by "How are you?" I didn't have to wonder if being frustrated or disappointed would be interpreted as disappointment in my son. I didn't have to wonder if being happy would be interpreted as a lack of caring. I could just be. And they all knew. They all understood.

Today I got a glimpse of what my little boy might look like in a year or two. And the answer is… pretty darn cute.

As if I didn't already know. ;-)

Today I met some new friends. Roo doesn't know it yet, but so did he.

LOL/LOL: An introduction

Welcome to a new exhibit here at our zoo! My friend Jamey over at Zehlahlum Family came up with the idea to do a blog series, and I am so excited to be a part of it! The series is called Lots of Littles/Lots of Laughs (LOL/LOL for short). As moms with multiple young children, we often get “How do you do it?” kind of questions, and this blog series will seek to answer many of those without scaring you away. We will be posting every Tuesday, and we hope to add another mom or two to our series in time.  We also hope to have some of you play along with us--more on that later.

Today is an introduction. If you are coming over from Zehlahlum Family, thanks for stopping by! You can find a more complete introduction to our family at the About Our Zoo page, but I’ll give you a brief overview here. (If you’re already familiar with my family/blog, don’t stop reading here! There’s more after this…) Our zoo is made up of three animals. Lamb, 5, is our oldest, and just started kindergarten earlier this month. Monkey, 3, is doing some preschool stuff at home this year—not because I feel the need to start educating my children as early as possible, but because I feel the need to find things to do with him so that I don’t lose my mind. And our newest addition is the baby Kangaroo, or Roo for short. He is 5 months old, and was recently diagnosed with Down syndrome. He is the sweetest little guy I have ever seen. :-) My husband Jon and I do our best to tame the wild animals, and we usually have a difficult great time doing it.

Jamey is even crazier than I am, with three kids under the age of four!!!  She is candid and transparent and funny, and you need to head directly there and get to know her.  But please come back!

So to help you get to know us a little better, Jamey and I have chosen ten questions to answer. Go check out her much wittier introduction & answers after you read these...

1. What is your favorite kind of cookie?
I know this is rather boring, but I’ll take a good old chocolate chip cookie any day. Soft, though, not any of those crunchy non-cookie-like Chips Ahoy things. There is nothing better than a classic, homemade chocolate chip cookie.

2. Do you have anything hidden in your house? What is it?
I periodically hide chocolate from my children. Does that count? I don’t take their candy and hide it—I just hide the good stuff.

3. What's the rudest thing you ever did while you were pregnant?
Oh my word, I don’t know. I was extremely irritable in my first pregnancy, but I think I typically kept it to myself. And in my third pregnancy I was just plain MAD. A lot. But I can’t remember… expressing my anger. I’ll keep chewing on that one. If you’re reading this and knew me during my pregnancies, please feel free to remind me of my pregnant rudeness. :-)

4. What's your favorite and least favorite Christmas movie?
I’ll start with my least favorite, because that’s easy. It’s “A Christmas Story”—you know, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” I know, I know, everyone loves that movie. I just feel so darn bad for the kid the whole time, I can hardly watch it. It’s turning my stomach just thinking about it. My favorite one… oh my gosh, I LOVE all things Christmas, so it is really hard to just pick one. I guess I’d have to go with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, just a little 22-minute cartoon. I love it. I love the story, I love the animation, I love that it is still on every year just like it was when I was a kid.

5. How often do you vacuum your house?
Ummmmm… Supposedly, I vacuum it once a week. I have a scheduled vacuum-the-house day. It doesn’t always happen. Let’s just leave it at that.

6. Where do you most want to go on vacation with kids? Without kids?
I know how cliché it is, but I really want to go to Disneyworld with my kids. My mother-in-law and I had an opportunity to spend a day at Disneyland in California two years ago with Lamb & Monkey, and I think I was more excited than they were. I loved every minute of it. I think I could honestly spend a week at Disneyworld and not get tired of it. And having my kids along makes me seem less weird. (Disneyworld, the Grinch, chocolate chip cookies… I feel like I’m giving away too much of myself already…)

Without kids… Australia. I have always wanted to go there. Currently, my hubby and I are planning to do that for our 25th wedding anniversary, but with the recent news about Roo I’m not really planning that far into the future anymore.

7. Name one person, living or dead, that you would most like to slap. And why.
Eve. Because childbirth sucks.

8. How often do you wear makeup?
Let’s see… I go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays… so at least twice a week. I have gone through different phases in my five years of motherhood… The “I never leave the house so why bother” phase, the “Woo-hoo I’m walking to the mailbox, so let’s get dolled up” phase, the “I’m worth it” phase, and the current “if I have time and happen to remember” phase. I try to put it on when I’m going somewhere public so I don’t scare people away, but it doesn’t always happen.

9. What is your favorite hobby? How has motherhood affected it?
I have several hobbies that I don’t get to do as often as I would like—scrapbooking, playing the piano, reading, biking, and the list goes on. I think my favorite hobby, though, is writing. Motherhood has given me new focus and new topics for sure, while also limiting the time I have to put into it. Blogging has been a good “fix” for me, while also providing me with free therapy. :-)

10. What do you want be when you grow up?
I don’t want to grow up. So far I’ve managed to just keep having kids so I can put off worrying about that. But someday… Well, I love writing and speaking, and I really love being involved in women’s ministry—and especially ministering to moms. If I could mesh all of those into a single ministry/career, it would truly be a dream come true. I have a book or two rolling around in my head, but the thought of actually doing something with them makes me jittery.

So there we are in a nutshell!  Just a couple of nutty moms, trying to make it through our days with too many little ones.  Join us next week when we tackle more of those tough mothering questions.  And if you would like to play along, just answer these same questions on your blog and leave a comment here so we can find you--and if you don't have a blog, start one for goodness sake!  This is important stuff we're doing here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Can you hear what I'm thinkng?

So here's the deal, friends.  Lately I've had a lot of deep & important thoughts... that I haven't been sharing with you.  Why would I do something so cruel?  I mean, I know you've all been just hitting that refresh button over and over waiting for my next deep-and-important post, right???  Well, it's written.  In my head.

In the meantime, my full-time nanny/housekeeper/personal massage therapist/hair stylist has not yet arrived in the mail.  (Darn Amazon.)  So until that happens... or until I invent a thought-to-text translator (and then become a millionaire)... I'm having a very hard time getting posts written.  And laundry done.  And dishes done.  And taking a shower.

In an attempt to remedy this--and to prevent "the crazy" from taking over--I'm going to implement an old favorite organization/clean-up method.  Are you ready to hear about it?
The Method: Timed Intervals
The Basics: Set a timer for 20 minutes.  Work on one floor of the house (we have 3) until the timer goes off.  Go to another floor.  Repeat.
The Goal: To get some basic clean-up done throughout the house, and to provide myself with both motivation to get started and limits to keep from getting overwhelmed.

I like this method because it also allows for kid-friendly breaks.  If Monkey needs me, I can tell him I will help him as soon as the timer goes off.  If Roo needs me immediately, I can pause the timer.  If I need a little reward, I can add a 5-minute break in between work segments.  And as an added bonus, I'm always surprised by how much I can accomplish in 20 minutes of concentrated work.

So that's what I'm off to do today.  And possibly tomorrow.  And hopefully, I'll be hit with some new deep & important thoughts comparing cleaning house with our spiritual lives, and I'll actually be able to TYPE. THEM. OUT.  Stay RIGHT THERE on the edge of your seat.  I'll be back.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Created to be

For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
    --Psalm 139:13-14

This isn't taking God by surprise. I have heard—and spoken—some form of this phrase a zillion times since Roo was diagnosed. In fact, even before then. When Roo spent a week in the hospital as a newborn, I said it to God, although I followed it up with "But that's not really helping me right now!"

God knows. I get that. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't, but He knows. He knows what's coming and He knows how we'll feel about it and deal with it.

But God doesn't just know. He controls.

I was having a little discussion with God this morning—most of which will be in another post, hopefully tomorrow. And somewhere in the middle of it all, it hit me. God created Roo.

I knew this, of course. On the surface, it shouldn't be a surprise. But there's a deeper truth in there that I had been missing all this time. You see, here's how my talk with God went. (OK, disclaimer here. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but let me say it again: I do not hear God speaking audibly. When I talk about feeling crazy, it's NOT that kind of crazy. ;-) I just mean that I was praying silently, and God uses Scriptures and truth to reveal Himself and sometimes His answers to my prayers. I may have worded that awkwardly, but it's the best that I can do on the amount of sleep I'm getting. Are we all on the same page? Same chapter, at least? OK, let's move on.) My talk with God…

Me: "I put a shirt on him this morning that says, 'I want to be a fireman when I grow up' and I almost cried, Lord. OK, I know, what 5-month-old actually wants to be a fireman when he grows up? It's silly. But still, he won't. He's not going to be able to be a fireman or a doctor or a lawyer or… so many other things."

God: "Then those weren't the things he was created to be."


And then my heart skipped a beat.

Roo was created with Down syndrome. God didn't just know about Roo's "condition" before we did. God created him that way. The life Roo will live is not some consolation prize because he ended up with Down syndrome—it is the life God intended for him, the life God purposed for him. Maybe Roo wasn't created to be a fireman or a doctor or… whatever. But he was created to be something. He was created in God's image. He was created to bring glory to God. He was created to fill a unique purpose.

God's not just OK with this. This is His plan.

I have been told many times in the past three months that God has a plan for Roo and for our family. I knew that, but somehow in my mind it was always a "Plan B"—the way things were going to be now that Roo has Down's. But no. This is Plan A. For Roo, for Lamb, for Monkey, for my husband, and for me. Roo and his diagnosis and the way that he has and will always touch our lives—they're all part of God's plan.

God knit Roo together in my womb, and He crafted each and every cell with one extra chromosome.

And for the first time, I can look at the Down syndrome and at the months behind us and the years to come and say… Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appreciating the Up

Have you ever had one of those times when you had nowhere to go but up? That’s how my day started.

Roo woke up at midnight last night, which is unusual for him but was expected because he had fallen asleep in his car seat on our way home from my parents’ house. He just ate and went back to sleep, but remember what I said about my hubby’s snore button? Yep, still true. I thought I’d just play around online and give it a half-hour or so, but I was just too tired, so I spent the night on the couch. Until 5:45, when Roo woke up for good. Time to rise ‘n shine! :-)

I had woken up thinking about a friend and felt that I needed to e-mail her. I briefly considered typing it in Word and then copying it into the Facebook message window, since that window is tiny and a bit of a pain, but decided it would be quicker to just type it and send it all in one place. I sat down and wrote her a huge message. I pressed enter to type my closing thoughts… and my computer froze. “No, no, no!!!!” Sometimes it’ll freeze briefly and then recover (Yes, I said “sometimes”, as in, this happens regularly. That’s another story.), but not this morning. This morning I got the blue screen. GRRRRRR. I looked at the clock. It was almost time to get the big kids up. No time to reboot and retype now. At least she wasn’t expecting an e-mail from me, so she doesn’t know what she’s missing. ;-)

It wasn’t going to be a good day.

A few minutes before Lamb usually gets up, I remembered that she hadn’t gotten a bath last night and that she desperately needed one. So I got her up (and Monkey got up too—the joys of kids sharing a room), got them in the tub, and the phone rang. I immediately “knew” it was my mother-in-law, calling to say that she wasn’t going to be able to come over. (I think I mentioned this before, but she typically comes in the mornings to help get the kids ready, give them breakfast, etc. She started after Monkey was born because I had such a tough time with depression—and handling two children under the age of two—and still comes most mornings, now just because she wants to see the kids.) I was wrong—it was my dad. My parents had a 10:30 flight this morning, and my brother, who was supposed to take them to the airport, had gotten a piece of cornstalk in his eye (He’s a farmer.) and had been up all night in pain. I quickly offered to drive them to the airport, but then said I had to run because I was already behind schedule.

Since we have decided to boycott the buses for a while, we now carpool with a neighbor—I drive her girls and Lamb in the morning, and she picks the three girls up in the afternoon. I called her to see if we could switch today, and got her voicemail. While I was trying to leave her a message using my cell phone, my home phone rang. This time it was my mother-in-law calling to say she couldn’t come over this morning. While I was on the phone with her, my cell phone started ringing—my neighbor calling me back. GAH!!!!

I finally got all my phone calls handled. And then I remembered that I hadn’t packed Lamb’s lunch yet, something I usually do the night before. “Hey!” I said to Lamb as excitedly as I could. “Let’s look on my computer and see what they’re serving for lunch today. You could BUY!!!!” Big happy smiley face.

She was underwhelmed.

“No. I don’t want to.”


And did I mention that I was already weepy when I woke up this morning?

“It really just can’t get any worse,” I thought. “How on earth am I going to handle the two boys all day?” I could barely keep myself from crying.

But you know what? Sometimes, when you have nowhere to go but up… you go up.

Thank the Lord for my fabulous husband, who made Lamb’s lunch while I helped the kids get dressed, got the big kids breakfast while I got Roo (who had fallen asleep again) up and dressed, and took Lamb to our neighbor’s house while I loaded the boys in the minivan. My parents came and loaded their stuff up, and off we went.

The airport is close to a shopping area I don’t get to visit very often, so I decided to take advantage of the proximity. I took Monkey to Starbucks, where I treated him to a mini-doughnut and chocolate milk while I indulged in a scone and iced tea lemonade. (I love that stuff. I make it sometimes at home. It doesn’t compare. Starbucks puts crack in theirs, I’m almost certain. I’m not complaining.) I felt better already.

Next stop, Borders. I found a couple of books for myself on the bargain book shelf—Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (no, I don’t agree with his... theology, but I find his fiction interesting, and for $3.99, why not?) and one by CouponMom. I was actually hoping to find Schmetterlingszauber or Freundschaft by Conny Wenk. She is a photographer who has a child with Down syndrome, and her books contain many photos of children with Down syndrome.  I especially want the first one, as it is Down's children and their fathers.  I couldn't find them, but I didn't really expect to.  Anyway, I also got Lamb her first Junie B. Jones book, and Monkey picked out a book on trains. By this time I think I actually had a smile on my face.

By then Babies R Us had opened, which was in fact our original destination. I needed a second booster seat now that I’m taking the neighbor girls to school in the mornings (and Monkey’s going to be ready for it before long anyway), and I decided there were a few other things that we needed as well… like a toy to hang from Roo’s car seat handle. And Lightning McQueen band-aids. And Diego bubble bath. Yes, I was feeling better… and indulgent.

We ran some more errands, then went to Chick-Fil-A, where Monkey played while I fed Roo and myself. (Come to think of it, Monkey never did eat lunch today. He just hasn’t been hungry.) And while I sat there with Roo, I sat him on the table and talked to him, and he started giggling! It was the. cutest. thing. ever. Yes, I have heard him giggle before, lots of times, actually. But I’ve only ever heard it when I tickle him—he’s very ticklish. This is the first time he’s just spontaneously burst into laughter. I was completely won over. It’s a great day.

And since I was enjoying spreading happiness to my boys, I was only too happy to stop when Monkey spotted PetSmart and asked if we could get new fish for our fish tank (which has been sitting empty for a month or two now). So we are the proud owners of 2 black mollies (both girls, thankfully!) and 1… other algae-eating-kind-of-fish. And some new tank decorations.

And now I’m home, my van is cleaned out, and it’s quiet—the big kids are playing at the neighbors’ and Roo is hanging out with me while I “work around the house.” Ha. Today has been redeemed, my friends. It has been saved from the depths. Hallelujah.

Speaking of “Hallelujah”, this video made me laugh yesterday.

And speaking of churchy things, this post really made me think today.

And speaking of today, I’d better get back to real life and get a few things done before I get my kids and make dinner.

See you soon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Growing and adjusting

Hey! It's 5 AM—are you still sleeping??? Slacker. We "hard core" moms have been up since 2:45. OK, so I got up at 2:45, changed a very poopy diaper from a baby who hadn't pooped for 2 days, and climbed hopefully back in bed… But an hour or so of snoring confirmed that it was not to be. So I took a hot bath, did some reading, and now I'm here to chat with you. And I'm pretty sure I'm at my wittiest first thing in the morning.

Aren't you glad?

So the first 5 days of kindergarten are officially behind us. Lamb seems to be enjoying it quite well, with one major (to a 5-year-old) exception: lunch. She doesn't like places with a lot of background "static"—she even gets frustrated in our minivan when we're talking while we have the A/C on high. And her school cafeteria doubles as the school gym, so you can imagine the acoustics in there. Add to that 100 or so kindergarteners, plus the "big kids" who are already in there before her, and she's not starting off on good footing. Also, her class lines up in their classroom, walks to the cafeteria, then sits in the order of the line. Does that make sense? So she has lunch with whoever was next to her in line. For some reason, she cannot figure out to try to line up with her friends, and she has subsequently had a couple of lonely lunches next to (according to her) boys who won't talk to her.

I say "so" a lot.

Anyway, after she came home heartbroken on Wednesday from not having anyone to talk to at lunch—and not being able to buy dessert, which is a whole other story—I decided it was time for Mommy to visit at lunchtime. I have to say, I love that her school has an open-to-parents-lunch-policy. I can go in and have lunch with her any time. It was so fun to see her at school, happy happy happy. And she was genuinely excited to have me there, too. J I talked to her a little bit about trying to stand in line with her friends (without breaking any rules or getting herself—or anyone else—in trouble), and about the fact that everyone has days where they don't get to sit by their friends at lunch, but that's OK because you get to see them at recess. And then we had a slushie together. Yes, her school has a slushie machine. How cool is that??? It was a fun little adventure for me.

Our only other little hiccup has been the bus. I debated and toiled and agonized over whether or not to send her on the bus, and finally realized that I personally had no qualms about her riding the bus—my issues came from seeing other moms drive their kids to school and worrying that they would judge me if I didn't. Not a healthy decision-making place. So I decided to put her on the bus. Well, let me tell you, it has been a crazy experience. I won't go into it all here, but the final straw came when the bus forgot our stop—which consists of three neighborhood kids—and the older boys told me when they (finally) got home that the bus driver had been distracted because the kids on the bus were so out of control. This was not the first time they had mentioned the bad behavior on the bus, and it's only the second week of school people! So Lamby won't be taking the bus for a while. (And remember, this was just the last straw, not the only issue.) Fortunately, our wonderful neighbor & friend has two little girls at our school and has been taking AND picking up Lamb so far. I really want to coordinate schedules so that I can do some of the driving, but it has been heavenly not having to worry about taking the boys to the bus stop or wondering how far the monitor will reach as I walk to the bus stop or anything like that.

So that's kindergarten.

Monkey is missing his big sister something fierce, but he hasn't had a whole lot of time to worry about it. On Tuesday we were able to start his preschool curriculum and spend some time together, but then we went to MOPS, ran errands, ate lunch, took naps, and Lamb was home. Wednesday we were gone all day. And yesterday I spent the morning on the phone—not on purpose, but it was just ringing off the hook—and then took the boys to a friend's house so that I could have my lunch with Lamb. Today I promised him that we would make a trip to Lowe's to get a new lightbulb for his nightlight, a special bulb that Wal-Mart doesn't carry. Exciting times. Next week we'll be home more, spend more time together & working on preschool, and work on getting Roo into more of a routine. Right? It sounds good, anyway.

Roo is doing great. He is so cute and sweet and happy, I've had several friends and nursery workers at church threaten to keep him. J I just smile and tell them that they might change their minds at 4 AM, which is when he thinks the day should start. Yep, he's an early riser. And a cat napper. Have I told you all that sleep is one of my "hot button" issues? I have to make sure my kids get the rest they need—good naps, early bedtimes, etc. This kid is my sleep nemesis. I do not know what to do with him. ANYWAY, everything else with him is going well. I had a chance to read a messageboard the other day where moms of kids with Down syndrome were discussing their children's developmental milestones. I actually had to stop and smile when I realized that it fascinated rather than saddened me. I have heard at least a zillion times that there is a huge range of ability/capability within the "Down's spectrum", but it was really interesting to actually see it from child to child. One three-year-old had almost no motor delays, but still only said a few words; another two-and-a-half year old could talk and sing with the best of 'em, but still isn't walking. It really was a confirmation that Roo is… Roo. He's going to do things when it's the right time for him. Yes, we of course want to provide him with every therapy and opportunity that we can, but there's no schedule, no pressure. He is his own unique little guy. I can take a deep breath and not worry about whether he's measuring up or whether he'll be walking by the time he's two or whether… whatever. It's going to be what it's going to be. And he's going to be darn cute every step of the way.

I feel like my last several posts have been general updates. Now that Lamb is in school and things are theoretically settling down, I plan to post more so I can be a bit more "nitty gritty" with you all. I'm reading some really interesting books (yes, plural, I have never been able to just read one book a time…) and have lots of insights and nuggets I want to share with you. For now, have a great day. I can't say that I love getting up so early, but it does help me to get a lot more done in a day. ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A few updates

Good morning!  I hope you're all having a fabulous week.  I am missing my Lamb while she's at school, but enjoying the new routine that we're (sort of) establishing.

So a few maintenance things... I'm making some changes to my blog.  You will see that I have added a few pages.  One is just a little intro to the zoo, and the other has the links that will take you through Roo's pregnancy/birth, the hospital stay, and everything up to his diagnosis.  That way new people can get caught up on our story.  I'm hoping to make some other changes to the look & feel of the blog in the next few days/weeks.

I'm also going to be part of a blogging series with a couple of other moms with little ones.  We'll be kicking it off on September 21, and we'll be talking about life with multiple youngsters.  I think we're planning to do our series each Tuesday, so keep an eye out for that.  In the meantime, I'll still be dazzling you with my wit and my glamorous life on other days as well.

Speaking of the blog series, my friend Jamey who put it together is currently doing a giveaway to help a family raise money for their adoption.  It's a cool blanket that she made--check it out.  It looks like the Ethiopian flag, because she herself recently adopted a little girl from Ethiopia.  (And of course, you can read more about her story on her blog as well.)  And for those of you who are wondering why Jamey gives cool homemade giveaways while I do gift cards & Glee albums... trust me, you don't want anything that I have sewn.

Non-blog updates...
  • Lamb is doing well with kindergarten.  Her first day was less-than-spectacular--I thought I sent her to school with a bad case of nerves, but later found out that she had a stomach bug!!!!  Poor thing!--but she has been enjoying it since.
  • THANK YOU to all who have asked about our latest round of blood tests.  We do not have the results yet.  The geneticist's office told us it would be 2-3 weeks, which means 4-5.  It has been 3 weeks, so hopefully it won't be much longer.
  • I'm helping with a new women's Bible study that starts today.  Yay!  I am so excited to be involved in this ministry and to be getting plugged in at church.
OK, I need to be out the door in about 30 seconds, my 3-year-old just had an accident (Hello???  Where did THAT come from???), and my 5-month-old is rethinking his decision to get up at 4:30 AM today.  Gotta run.  I will be talking to you soon.  Really.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reality Check

Monkey and I were just reading a book together while I fed Roo.  Monkey pointed to an arrow and said, "Look, Mommy, that arrow is pointing down, just like Roo has Down syndrome!"  He was so proud of himself.

Talk about bittersweet.


My baby isn't a baby anymore!!! Can you guess what today is? I'll give you a hint…………

Isn't she beautiful? Oh. my. word.  OK, maybe I'm a little bit biased.  :-)

Yes, today is Lamb's first. day. of. kindergarten!!!  But first, let me back up a little bit.

So after my crummy day on Tuesday, I rallied well yesterday. I let Lamb choose how we would spend our day, since it was her last day of freedom. (And no, I did not use that term in front of her. What kind of moron do you think I am?) We toyed with the idea of going to the beach or the zoo, but ultimately she decided she wanted to be with Nana and Papa, my parents. The kids played, went on a tractor ride, played the Wii (yes, we have one at home, but it is SO much more fun at Nana & Papa's), watched a movie, and even got an unexpected visit with some cousins. As an added bonus, it was Nana's birthday, so we got to wish her a happy birthday and Lamb got to present her with a special homemade card and gift—a little bead taken straight from Lamb's "bestest stuff box." Yes, my sweet little girl absolutely LOVES to give gifts. Can anyone say "Love Language"????

And last night the school preparations began in earnest. Lamb informed me exactly what she wanted for breakfast and lunch, picked her first-day outfit (Is it wrong that I used some veto power here?), and reminded me enthusiastically that Jon and I promised to take her anywhere she wants for dinner tonight. (It looks like the winner is a McDonald's with a playland.) At bedtime we read The Kissing Hand. (I was fine until the part when the little raccoon kisses the mommy's hand. I almost lost it then.) After she went to bed I packed her lunch—I'm relatively certain there have been CIA operations executed with less forethought.

Our morning got off to a little bit of a rough start, with an upset stomach caused by nerves. (Her stomach & nerves, not mine!) But we quickly calmed it down with Sprite and crackers (Yes, at 6:30 in the morning. Don't judge me. It worked.), and the rest of the morning was lots of fun. Daddy stayed home, and we were soon joined by Gram (my mother-in-law), Nana (my mom), and Papa (my dad). As mentioned earlier, Lamb had requested a special breakfast—toast, yogurt, granola, fruit, and orange juice—and we were happy to comply! We laughed, talked, took pictures, an all around good time.

Then another tough part. I have to say that our school district does not do the best job of communicating bus pick-ups. They tell you what time the bus leaves the bus garage and what route it takes, but that's it—no idea of how many stops it makes on each road or approximate time of pick-up, nothing. So as we (the entire entourage! ;-) ) walked out to the end of our road (where the bus comes), we saw a bus drive by. We weren't sure if it was Lamb's bus or not, so we walked on out to the end of the road and waited for a few minutes. This little confusion, though, was more than Lamb could take on her first day.

Her stomach started hurting again and she got very agitated. So we walked back home and hopped in the van, leaving the grandparents with the boys. (We later realized that we had not missed the bus, but it at that point it wasn't worth changing the plan on her again.)

To be honest, part of me was looking forward to that picture-perfect "getting on the bus for the first time" moment, but really I was glad to take her in this morning and be able to walk her to the door of the classroom. By the time we got to the school, she had pretty much calmed down...

 but by this point I was a mess. I managed to get her all the way to her room, talk to her teacher for a minute, and turn back down the hall before the tears came. Yay for me…!

And now it's 11 AM. She's having lunch at school, away from me. She's almost halfway done with her first day of school. And I'm pretty sure I'm done crying… for this morning. After noon there are no guarantees.

But for now, I have two handsome boys home with me. And we've been keeping ourselves busy. Can you guess what we've been doing?

Yes, for Mommy Sadness, there is no cure quite like fresh chocolate chip cookies.

And for Little Brother Sadness, there is no cure quite like time with Mommy… and a movie. He's watching "Bolt" now, done with the cookie baking once he got to lick the beater. J

And the littlest brother? Well, he was fussing in his Pack 'n Play a little bit, and I was trying to get the next batch of cookies in the oven… Apparently he gave up.
No, I don't usually let him sleep on his stomach, but he rolled himself over at some point and fell asleep this way all on his own. So I'm not bugging him. Stop judging me. (Oh wait, maybe that was just my own inner mom-guilt-voice.)

So that's it for this morning. I'm going to go snuggle my boys, watch "Bolt", and wait anxiously for the RIGHT bus to pass our house around 3:30 this afternoon. Maybe I'll go out a little early… like 2:15… just to be safe.

Oh, and I was wrong about not crying any more this morning.