Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just a Few Things

* I started off the day today meeting a friend for a walk with our boys. I've written about her before - she has a gorgeous son who is the same age as my nephew, Dylan (who I miss very much) and who also happens to have Down syndrome. It was a chilly but brilliantly sunny morning so we grabbed some coffees and walked a trail while we caught up on life. It was so good on so many levels...nice to see her after a long stretch of being busy with other things, so fun to see her boy growing up so much, and a much needed physical exertion in the fresh air.

* I was flipping back through photos I've taken recently on my phone and I realized how many people I have connected with who also have children (or other relatives) with Ds. I had photos of no fewer than five other cuties with extra chromosomes! It took me a long while to feel like seeking out the company of other mothers of kids with Ds, but am so, so grateful for these connections I've made. I feel like I am in a position to be a source of information for other parents, which is really nice. I have never felt as though I had much in the way of resources from other people of older kids (probably because I never sought them out), and so I'm happy to be that for others.

* My grandfather, my dad's dad, passed away last night. He had a long life and had been struggling with health issues for some time so it was not a surprise that his time was up. Still...I'm sad that Pacey only met him once and Brighton never in person. I don't remember my dad's mother because she passed away when I was very young and I always wish I'd been able to know her. The kids can't really grasp the concept of relatives beyond their grandparents (and aunts/uncles/cousins) at this point, but I will enjoy sharing memories with them as they get older.

* I'm having a real live date tonight with my husband. We have been slacking on the date nights so I'm dragging him to see The Hunger Games. We have both read the books and I've heard great things about the movies so am very excited. Frankly, I'd probably pay a babysitter just to be able to sit in my car somewhere and not deal with the bedtime theatrics for one night. A movie and alone time with my husband are just the sweeteners!

* I'm discovering that another of the Not Joys of having potty trained children is the nighttime potty wakings. Pacey has yet to EVER wake up to pee...once he is asleep he is down for the count. For the past three nights, however, my daughter has woken up somewhere from 3:30 - 4:30 am crying for me to come and take her potty. I know it's not really reasonable to expect her to go by herself at this age, so I don't mind getting up, but boy am I out of practice. It takes awhile to convince her to go back to sleep in her bed, and then it takes me awhile to go back to sleep myself. Consequently, I've been waking up at just the wrong part of my sleep cycle and feeling very bleary in the mornings. It's not even that long ago and I already wonder how in the world I dealt with sleep deprivation for so many nights in a row.

* We found out last week that our dog Simon, our first "baby," has lymphoma and likely doesn't have more than six months left with us. He seems ok for now and the vet has said that giving him prednisone daily should keep him feeling ok until the disease gets to be too much for his body. Still, I'm not ready to deal with this for myself or for the kids. It came as kind of a shock...our other dog has already had a tumor removed and we believe him to be a couple of years older than Simon (we adopted him so don't know for sure) and both Chris and I always assumed that Huff would be the first to go live on the farm, so to speak.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stepping Off the Treadmill (or trying to anyway)

I've been expending rather too much mental energy and brain space lately on things that are largely out of my control. It's been hard to see and appreciate where my time goes since so much of what I do is consumed is eaten, clean clothes are dirtied, toys redistributed, etc. One of the things I loved so much about the first year staying at home full time was how accomplished I felt just keeping on top of the daily chores of life. I don't know whether my standards for myself have naturally increased over time or what, but I'm having a hard time feeling any real sense of achievement.

I've said it already but the kids are requiring more constant attention these days. Brighton is not napping right now unless I want her to stay up until 9:30 pm (which is, um, never). While Pacey is still content to disappear and play by himself for periods of time, my lovely little shadow is never far from my side and is, in fact, insisting at this very moment that "you gotta talk to me Mom!" My to-do lists are constantly half-finished, which to me is worse than not writing them in the first place.

I do, however, have a happy life, comfortable home, solid relationship and two strong, healthy, smart and increasingly well-mannered children and I have to attribute a lot of that to my efforts. So, I'm going to try to start focusing more on what I CAN (and do) get done during a day, rather than all those things that aren't getting done.

The kids have spring break next week and we have lots of fun things planned with friends. My tomato seedlings are going gangbusters and we'll probably get out in the yard this weekend or next and get our vegetable bed built and ready for planting later in April. We're spending more time with different friends and I feel like we're really building our "village." We're closing in on the end of our second year here in Minnesota and it really feels like home. I am prepared to give myself a little credit for making that happen.

I really loved the 31 for 21 challenge I did last October, so I am going to make a commitment to myself to write something here every day in April (although I'll probably cheat and try to bang out a few entries to have in reserve in the next few days!). My mom brought some old school work of mine with her when she came earlier this month, and hidden among the journals I kept through early elementary school was a journal she kept during the first months of my life. I so, so loved reading her thoughts about me as a baby and about motherhood. I do want part of this blog to be a connection my kids will have to me when they are older and thinking about my mom's entries will help inspire me to keep writing.

For now, though, I gotta go talk to my daughter. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21st is one of my new favorite days of the year - a day to celebrate this guy:

I can't imagine how I could possibly love him more. We are so lucky he's a part of our family.

(the significance of March 21st is 3/21: three copies of the 21st chromosome)

Monday, March 19, 2012

In a Blink

She goes from this:

March 2011

To this:

March 2012

And he, from this:
March 2011

To this little man:

March 2012

So true what they say...the days are long but the years are short!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Ahead

I have about 10 posts that have been writing themselves in my head and I just don't seem to have the time to transcribe them. We've been having an absolutely unprecedented early and warm spring here in MN and the prevailing attitude is "drop everything and get outside!" Total no-brainer, and it is beyond glorious to be back out in the fresh air. However, for a schedule-based planner like me, it really sort of throws me out of whack. It's hard to keep track of what HAS to be done vs. what CAN be put off even if it's hard for my Type-A self to accept it.

Another big roadblock to having writing time is my lovely, lovely extremely verbose daughter. She's attached to my side these days, often ignoring requests from her brother play in order to follow me around. It's sweet and, for the most part, genuinely nice to have the company. However. She is absolutely exploding with ideas and imagination and energy and enthusiasm and it's completely exhausting. She requires SO MUCH feedback, all the time, and sometimes I really struggle against my natural response to just ask her to be quiet for a little while. I know I should be fostering this amazing brain development, asking her questions about her ideas, etc but sometimes it feels like one never-ending, stream-of-consciousness style conversation from the time she gets out of bed to the time she gets back in. And speaking of getting back in bed, she is becoming a master manipulator at bedtime. I know this isn't unusual, but she's using her newly potty-trained status to stretch the bedtime routine out by a good 30 minutes. By the end of the day I am just utterly drained. I just put the kids in a lottery for summer preschool through June, three mornings a week. I really, really hope they get in so that my poor ears can get a little break!!!

Pacey has been powering forward in his own way. He's discovering the power of words more and more, and is developing strategies to make himself heard and understood. Usually this consists of saying "Mama, mama, mama, mama" with increasing volume and urgency until he has my complete and full attention before he tries to say something. Very effective, and he has obviously learned that that is his best chance at being understood. But he has no concept of interrupting, or when I might not be able to give him my full attention (like when I'm driving) and in those moments the ceaseless repetition of "mama" is akin to water torture. It's so wonderful to hear more words coming out of him too, though, and his play styles are developing as well. He's never really built much with Legos before, but this morning he presented me with a fairly intricate creation and told me it was a baby jaguar. Kind of blew me away.

I took him to Kindergarten Roundup, an evening event that you attend with your child entering kindergarten. The various teachers and administrators talk to you about how things work at the school while your children leave with their future teachers and go explore the classrooms. I have really positive feelings about the school he'll be attending and everyone seems excited for him to start. It's such a huge step forward though, and while I have no reason to believe I will have radically different expectations for what Pacey needs to be successful than the school district will, I do foresee the need for more advocacy on my part for him. Starting kindergarten means that academic achievements become "need to haves" rather than "nice to haves." Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by the ways in which I know he is significantly delayed comparative to his peers that I find it difficult to remember that in many ways he is right in there with them and will hold his own. The kid's been in school since he was 18 months old, so he is no stranger to the learning process and is incredibly willing and excited to learn. But it will be a challenge for him and a challenge for us and it's going to be a hell of a ride.

And with that, I have a to-do list a mile long for this afternoon, including caulking a bathtub, making dough for homemade breadsticks and shoveling soggy dog poop (we actually hired someone to come do the bulk of the poop clean up, but I have to at least shovel it off the path the dogs take to the backyard or they have no choice but to walk through it on their way back to the house. Ugh.) Renaissance woman, at your service!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

I hosted a Red Carpet Oscars Party for my MOMS Club

I made serious headway on my new playroom for the kids (full reveal to come when all finishing touches are in place)

My mom was here for a week and we did so many fun things with the kids, including Three Generation Pedicures,

Bowling for the first time (locals, Pinstripes Mom and Tot morning is AWESOME)

Plenty of shopping

Supervising slave labor while we enjoyed the high-50s spring thaw

Attended a Young Athletes program run by the Special Olympics of Minnesota (more on this to come...siblings were invited too)

Cheesing for photos while consuming "food"

I hope to get back to regular posting next week. I love keeping up with this blog, but it turns out that living our lives is slightly more of a priority than writing about them :)

Happy Weekend all.