Friday, May 31, 2013


We are experiencing one of those last-minute snafus that you hear about in relation to real estate transactions. It's causing a lot of general stress and anxiety so I'm doing my best to focus on the (hopeful) end result of moving into our new home next Thursday. School finished today for Brighton and Pacey has only one week some ways I'm exhausted thinking about entertaining them day in and day out on top of everything else right now, but the truth is that I'm looking forward to the extra time we'll get together. They are in the most entertaining phases the two of them, and here are a couple of bits I'll want to remember when they are surly teenagers...

* On the way in to school today Pacey picked up a long stick and was doing a sort of strange hobble/limp while saying something unintelligible. It took a few tries but I finally figured out that he was saying "I'm an old grandma" while he pretended the stick was a cane. This was a big leap for him in terms of pretend play that wasn't instigated by his sister, but also hilarious considering both of his grandmas are well-preserved and spry 50-somethings!

* On the subject of grandmas, Brighton has taken to telling me new things she learns and then telling me her "grandma that lives in Florida" taught it to her. We don't have a grandma that lives in Florida. Nor have we ever been there.

* We were at breakfast the other morning and both kids needed to go to the bathroom so we took a group trip. While they took turns using the toilet, Brighton piped up, "Mom, when I grow up I want to be a pancake-maker! Pacey, what do you want to be?" He thought for just a minute and then replied, in the way of small boys everywhere, "Batman."

*Pacey showed up in our room at 6:45 one morning last week and informed me he was ready to go swimming. I especially love the long white socks.

* Brighton informed me the other day that she was planning to marry her friend, Jack, from her preschool class. I know this is a common theme kids at this age explore, so I asked her what it was that she liked about Jack. Apparently, his most redeeming feature is that "he likes it when I talk, mommy. He likes my voice." Astonishing self-awareness, as any ideal partner for this child will ultimately need to REALLY like to hear her talk. Her teacher informed me today that she's been referring to Jack as her boyfriend at school, as in "Come on, Boyfriend!"

(As an aside, I am personally not all that fond of Jack. He's a bit whiny for my taste) (Also, my husband just had a heart attack and died, right after he considered hunting down Jack's address for a little chat)
She may be talking about marriage but she still falls asleep
in random places, wearing mismatched socks and clutching her
beloved bundle o' rags
* We finally had a chance catch up with my friend S and her little boy A, who also has Down syndrome. We met almost three years ago now, when A was just an infant. Hard to believe! Anyway, just after I took this photo, Pacey looked at A and gestured to himself and said, "Same!" I don't know what he meant by it, but I believe it's possible he recognizes that he and A share something in common beyond shaved heads. 

* Although there is a bit more general squabbling between the kids nowadays, they still show the most tender and genuine love for each other. They frequently tell each other they love each other and if they have been apart for any reason other than the usual school hours or whatever, there is often a very excited and affectionate reunion. It melts my heart every time and I hope so much that they maintain their closeness as they get older.

There are definitely times where I question how good a job I'm doing as a mom and plenty of moments where I feel like I have no clue about anything. But these kids...they constantly show me that they are growing into considerate, affectionate and happy people so I guess we're doing something right.

Bonus photo: Me at 31 weeks wearing the world's ugliest maternity fleece jacket. I purchased this for $4 from Old Navy, never intending to wear it out of the house. But, you know, Minnesota's crappiest May ever and here I am, in that place where I just don't care. Feast your eyes on the lurid stripey goodness.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Pacey playing Little Brother Pig in his school play. He
did a fantastic job. You can see he's still kind of a peanut
compared to his peers (like his mama)

The only real picture I have so far of our new house

Cinderella with the Birthday Brother

Princess fashion show

Kids' faces are so sweet when they are being sung to

Kite flying on a rare day I had enough energy to take the kids to the park

Great way to burn off energy!

Teaming up to conquer a tricky water fountain

Pacey about to win a game of Sly Fox

Love, love, love these two and their happy faces

B captured a pretty good picture of me and my boy(s)

"Look mom, I fly high like a bird." Hearing this kid's words never gets old

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dusting Off

Well. I hate these unavoidable absences from the blog because the longer they last, the harder it is to find the time to come back and start again. Things have been...nuts. Every minute of every day is pretty much spent before I even get there, and this is WITH the kids still in school. I'm going to do my best to catch up on everything in one fell swoop here and then hopefully sneak in short posts a little more frequently to keep it up.

The House

We have a house! I can't even remember where I got up to in our saga with finding it, but we ended up with the very first house we loved but thought was going to be out of our reach. Some unintentional hardball negotiation meant that we were able to finagle it and I couldn't be happier. It's a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood and I look forward to staying there forever and ever and never moving again. Ever.

The Move

We move in two weeks. I've been slowly packing boxes a few at a time and we spent about 10 days going through the garage and weeding out stuff, plenty of which hadn't even been unpacked after our last move three years ago. We were pretty ruthless and I don't think we will be moving with anything extra, but it's still rather overwhelming to see your belongings piling up in one place. Like, holy shit we have a lot of stuff. Chris has recruited his rugby team to help out with the actual move...between the two closings we have to attend (sale and then purchase) plus the move, that day is going to be a whole lot of not fun. Followed by a whole lot of not drinking by me. Take my advice: don't move while you're pregnant.

The Hedgehog

He's doing great, growing well, causing me to pee every five seconds, pummeling me from the inside and giving me heartburn after even such benign consumption as WATER. We are still on track for delivery on 7/22, so just a bit over eight weeks from now. I'm still in a bit of denial about actually having the baby, which I think will start to sink in once I don't have the move occupying so many brain cells.

The Big Brother

There are about three posts I have percolating about my boy, a couple even half-written but I just don't have the head space or the time to sort it all out. We have had a challenging time of late and I have had times of feeling very discouraged as a mother. My reserves are pretty low and the management of him has required more energy than usual so I'm pretty depleted. I'm looking forward to school ending in a couple of weeks, getting into our new house and then starting a more relaxed schedule that will hopefully ease some of the tension. As we come to the end of the school year, though, I am bursting with pride at how well his year has gone and what incredible progress he's made this year. Even six months ago he was working on putting 3-4 intelligible words together and now it's full on sentences with some complex structure and very age-appropriate content. Physically he's doing wonderfully, socially he has had a good year and I am just all around so proud of him.

The Big Sister-to-Be

She turned four!! See ya three, I'm not sad to see you go. We had a wonderful birthday party for her with an appearance by Cinderella (pics to come) and she really enjoyed having her special day. She remains ridiculously enthusiastic for life, will make friends in an empty room and continues to be just the best possible sister for Pacey. She's so excited for Hedgehog and I think she is going to be really helpful when he arrives. She has a hilarious sense of humor and is going through a pretend-to-be-a-baby phase which Pacey is very indulgent of (thank goodness, because: kill me now). She is constantly catching me off guard with her observations about her world and I am realizing that there are some serious conversations on the horizon.


I'm just trying to keep sane through it all. Having just gone through the process of doing all the planning for next school year in our current district, I made the decision to bite the bullet and get everyone situated in our new area right away in the fall. Brighton will attend a preschool in our school district, which will hopefully mean we meet many of the local families that have kids that will start kindergarten next year too. I am beavering away at getting Pacey's placement and services all figured out...not an easy task but I think we will end up very happy with his school. Transition is hard for me. I like my routines, I'm very comfortable where we are and have built a really full support network of great friends in this community. We've already had many positive experiences in what will be our new neighborhood so I'm not worried about what's to come, but it is hard to leave this comfort. Throw in the addition to the family and...well, I'll be pulling out all the coping mechanisms.

I'm sure there is more but I have to go keep to our somewhat rigid evening schedule...a certain boy child has been waking up very early lately so I'm having to be a stickler about bedtime. I'll be back tomorrow with some pictures.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Miracle League

Pacey had his first Miracle League baseball game today. Apart from a very brief foray into soccer when we first moved to MN, this is the first organized sports team we've signed him up for.

I sometimes wish Pacey could just play baseball with all the other little 6-year-olds around here. I believe in his inclusion in the community and feel like reasonable accommodations can be made in certain scenarios such that he could participate and feel good about it.

But for now? Pacey needs someone to play baseball with him. And the fact that this league is available, a league where it doesn't set him apart to have someone run the bases with him and remind him of his job as third-baseman, is awesome. He gets to have a buddy - today a young men's team from a local private school was volunteering - who helps him understand, truly be a part of and enjoy the game. He didn't have to be the only kid who had their mom (or dad) trying to help keep their attention on the game amidst all the other stimuli. The kids had a blast and although I fully accept (cynic that I am) that these teenagers are likely largely fulfilling their college-application need to volunteer, I hope that they got something more out of it. They were kind, respectful and really did a great job of helping without overshadowing.

All in all, it was a day of smiles and feelings of achievement. WIN.

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Four Years Minus 10 Days

Oh this girl. She alternately tells me I'm the best mom ever to live with, or the most boring mom. She has big ears (figuratively speaking) and unwittingly calls me out on occasion. Her little-kid speech patterns are rapidly disappearing, enough that I've stopped correcting. I want to hear her call us the Harris Fal-imy for a bit longer.

She picked out the above outfit entirely from Pacey's closet. Well, except for the socks. She apparently likes to wear two different ones "so I can remember which one goes on which foot!" What you can't see is that the outfit is completed by a pair of Shrek briefs, worn backwards of course (why don't they put the picture on the front?!?) This was the day I was taking her for her state-mandated Early Childhood Screening (where they identify any areas your child could use intervention to ensure kindergarten readiness). It was terribly difficult for me to not make her change, but I didn't. She loved the outfit and I can tell it made her feel good. So, whatever. The examiner complimented her profusely on her enthusiasm, cooperativeness and general good-nature (and my girl is a smarty pants). Although my two children score very differently on these standardized tests, I hear equally complimentary things about their participation, willingness and manners and I could NOT be prouder of either of them.

When she sleeps, scrappy blankie wrapped around her face, 17 books open around her and more often than not a few stuffed toys also keeping her company, she still looks little. Her cheeks have a little baby-curve left in them and her pouty little lips look the same as the day she was born. But the rest is disappearing so fast (in other words, the time is right to bring a new baby home!!!)

Age three has absolutely had its challenges, but on the whole I have enjoyed this year with her immensely.