Fun Gifts

In my family, for the most part, we know what we will be receiving for Christmas. It's just easier that way. Everyone gets what they want. No one wastes their money. We don't have to feign loving gifts that we just don't dig and then figure out what to do with them. And we don't have to fight the after Christmas traffic to return unwanted or unneeded gifts. We like it this way. Now, admittedly it takes away the element of surprise for the giver and the receiver but we have learned through the years that, eh, that's a small price to pay. This year, however, I got a fun little surprise. But first I must give a little back story. . .

A couple weeks ago I had another "what has happened to my life" moment. My cousin has opened a new boutique. She is a fashionista of sorts. Very hip and stylish and wears designers I only read about. She recently opened her own boutique, called Max and Prissy. Needing some fresh air and desperate to get out of the house I decided to go check out her new store. There was a time when I would not leave the house without at least applying a little lip gloss and mascara but not anymore. I went up to visit my cousin's store in all my ragged glory - no makeup, hair disheveled, with all the boys - Timothy had dried blood running down his nose from banging it on the bed frame earlier and Wil had dried up yogurt on his face because he has an everlovinfit if I try to wipe it off and that day it just wasn't in me. And Luke was with me too, filthy cowboy boots and all. So here I go traipsing into this cool boutique with its hip sofa's, chair's and clothing displays. There is my cousin - looking all cutting edge along with her manager, also looking very cute and stylish. Now, I try to maintain some level of style but really I felt pretty darn UNHIP! And old. And wrinkly. And outdated. And boring.

So we descended on her store and I noted how very out of touch with up to date fashion I have become. I tried on a couple of cute pieces including a darling coat that I could not justify purchasing. Not only was it not within our budget but it wasn't practical for this mom of three small boys who just doesn't get out that much. I mean really, where would I wear such a cool, tweed, knee length coat? But it's fun to look right? So I replaced the clothes, peeled Luke off the floor where he had found a place to color, and loaded them back in my oh-so-cool minivan and declared myself officially "last season" as we headed home.

But first I got a Starbucks. At least I can have a Starbucks. As we drove home I looked in the rear view mirror at the boys laughing at each other and decided that I would take all my drabness for the madness that is my life. I don't think that being a mom means you have to give up on all the great styles that are out there but for me they have surely been redefined.

And my fun, surprise gift? The cool, tweed, knee length coat. I just love it. It was a gift from my mom, dad, and aunt Susan. Thanks you guys for keeping me hip and happeinin'!

Here is a picture of the coat. It surely doesn't do it justice. But Leah, I knew you would ask. :)and for those of you who are really bored and want a good look at the detail here are a couple more pics.
So if you are ever traveling through Columbia on I-20 make sure you get off on Clemson and visit Max and Prissy.

An Inspiration

Karen Gaffney is an inspiration to many in the Down syndrome community but I think you will be inspired by her too. The Today Show did a great job of highlighting one of her latest accomplishments as well as communicating the importance of changing the way the medical community and society as a whole view people with Down syndrome.

Just for Fun

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celeb - Collage - Morph

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Vintage photographs

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph

The Diagnosis

A friend and educator from another state is updating a "new parents packet" that is given out in her community. When she was given this task she was surprised to see that there was not anything to address parents of special needs children or adopted children so she set about to change that. In addition to collecting resources to include she asked that I write a bit about our initial response to Wil's diagnosis. Because I get occasional feedback from new parents of children with Down syndrome I thought I would also share this here.

From the moment you get a positive on the home pregnancy test (and maybe before) your thoughts begin to swirl with the dreams and images of things “baby.” The sweet fragrance and soft skin, the cuddles, the coos, the clothes, the nursery. You start making your birth plan as your belly grows. You form all sorts of ideas about what your life will look like once baby is on the scene. If baby is not your first you begin preparing sibling/s for the changes that will come with baby in the family. It is an exciting time. It should be.

What you do not plan for is the phone call from your doctor asking you to come in to discuss some test results that are “a bit concerning,” or the uncomfortably quiet 20 week ultrasound followed by “we would like to do some follow-up testing,” or a premature birth that leads to a diagnosis that is a complete surprise to you. There are countless ways the news of a special needs child comes. For many it is on the heels of a very typical pregnancy and delivery, making it all the more shocking. It is never ever easy. It is not what you hoped for. No one I know prayed that the child they were carrying would come to them with medical or special needs. (though I must insert here that I now know many people that, having been blessed with such children, have gone on to pray that special needs kids would be placed in their home through adoption – amazing!)

Yet here you are. The day you have been planning for has arrived, though it is not at all what you thought it would be. There is medical jargon flying around, your baby has been whisked off to another room for testing, the air feels thick around you. You hear the sounds of laughter and joy in the rooms around you but there are no congratulations being offered in your room. Why does it feel more like a funeral than a birth? Every time a doctor comes in the room they bring more news. It may or may not clarify things for you.

For my husband and me the initial adjustment was to NICU. Our second son spent the first month of his life there. We did not get a diagnosis right away; that took some time. What we did know was that many of his numbers were not what they should be and those things needed to be investigated. As a result we could not hold him, our older son who was 2.5 at the time could not visit him, and we had to go home without our baby. That is when our new reality began. By the time our son left the hospital weeks later we had an official diagnosis of Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and Congenital Heart Failure as a result of three heart defects that would require open heart surgery at five months of age.

So we now live a reality that is different than we ever imagined. It is filled with challenges and struggles to be sure. It is also filled with a joy and fulfillment unlike anything we have known. It is funny how these things – pain and joy, struggle and fulfillment - intermingle, how they rub up against each other and remind us of what is really important. Our son with special needs, who is now the middle of three boys, is vibrant and determined. He is confident and stubborn. He gets what he wants by giving out hugs. He is motivated and trying hard to be independent even though his physical weaknesses limit him. He is precocious and clever. He is adored by his brothers. We already get glimpses of the long term impact they will have on each other. He fits perfectly into our family.
We are thankful our lives are not what we would have designed. Parenting is not about having perfect children. It is about providing the children that you do have with what they need. You will find that in the process of healing and grieving in the weeks and months following the birth of your child with special needs that a tenacious love for him/her creeps in. And that initial sinking feeling that you had after the diagnosis, that your life would never be the same? That feeling is not so heavy anymore. Actually you find that you embrace the fact that your life will never be the same again. Because you are learning it will be better!

*Thanks Holli for making a difference for families who don't start off in the typical manner!

At 68, Oldest Man (on record) with Down Syndrome Dies in England

By Katy Wheeler
The oldest man in the world with Down's syndrome has died aged 68. Doctors didn't expect Peter Davison to live past 14, but he went on to have a long, healthy life and was even awarded the title of "Oldest man with Down's syndrome living" by Guinness World Records. He died peacefully on December 12 surrounded by friends and family at Barnes Court Nursing Home in Wycliffe Road, High Barnes, Sunderland.

Today his devoted big brother Alf paid tribute to a man who "showed others what people with Down's syndrome could achieve". Alf, 76, said: "Everyone was really proud of Peter. When he was born handicapped children tended to be hidden away, but that was never the case with Peter. "My parents made sure he had his independence, and everyone knew him in the area. He was always smiling and was a proper little character."

Alf cared for Peter at the family home in Midmoor Road, Pallion, for 27 years after the death of their parents, Joe and Della. A keen knitter, rug-maker and puzzle-solver, Peter was always active and attended the Fulwell Training Centre for 40 years. One of Alf's proudest moments was in May when Peter, then aged 67, was recognised by Guinness as the oldest living man with Down's syndrome. He went on to extend the record by 215 days. In the last 12 months Peter's health had deteriorated as he developed dementia and Alf had to do everything for his brother – but he wouldn't have had it any other way. The former driver for the Little Sisters of the Poor said: "I wanted him to stay in the house he knew. He was very intelligent. His speech wasn't very good but I knew exactly what he meant."

On July 31 this year, Peter's health took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to hospital with a urinary blockage. This led to other complications and over the next few weeks he was in and out of temporary respite homes, as his condition was too severe for Alf to look after him. During this time he contracted MRSA and was unable to use his legs. Eventually he was admitted to Barnes Court Nursing Home where he spent h is final few weeks before he died from bronchial pneumonia and a heart attack. Brothers Joseph, 80, Alf and sister Maureen, 71, were by his side. Alf said: "We would visit him every day, so it was some comfort that we were there when he died. He didn't suffer." Neighbour Marie Wood also paid tribute to Peter and says he will be sadly missed in the area. She said: "He was a gorgeous man who was always friendly and smiling. He used to say that my seven-year-old son Jay was his best friend and Jay would make him cards and go round and watch TV with him. He will be a big miss in the neighbourhood." Alf said: "I just want to thank everybody who helped Peter on his last journey: Barnes Court, the Carers' Centre and Doctor Wilderman. All the neighbours have been marvellous as well."

Words and Games

Wil has many signs but only a few spoken words. He can say "Dadee", "Hi", "Ooww", "Mooo", and "Ba" which means bath. His newest word is "Uh oh" and I love his little voice when he says it.

I often have Wil and T hang out in my room in the morning while I am getting ready. I have learned the hard way that it is the only way to keep them out of trouble. They keep themselves busy while I shower and get ready for the day by emptying all bathroom drawers within reach and placing everything in the garden tub, pulling clothes out of drawers, rearranging the shoes in our closet, clearing our bedside tables, removing books from shelves and well, you get the picture. This morning when I got out of the shower I found everything as disastrous as usual with T sitting in the middle of it all but Wil was quiet. After a quick search I found him in the closet. Hiding! He was definitely hiding because when I rounded the corner he looked over and broke out into a big grin and giggled like he had really fooled me. He was also pretty pleased that he had found such a great perch on dad's shoe rack.

Special Needs

At one and the same time I seem to want to communicate to others that our lives, because of Wil's presence, are not any different than anyone elses and our lives are quite a bit different than everyone elses. We strive to advocate for Wil, to remind others that having Down syndrome simply gives him an extra 21st chromosome and that given time he will accomplish many of the things his peers will accomplish. And we do believe that he will. But our lives are different. When I look at how my friends that do not have kids with special needs spend their time or plan their outings I realize, yes our lives are different. I am not complaining. It is our reality and I wouldn't change it. I have been thinking about this reality the last few days though. While certainly not exhaustive, here are a few ways you know you have a child with special needs in your home:
1. Medical files are housed in three ring binders, not folders.

2. You have had to ditch one pediatrician in search of another that knows at least as much as you do about your child's medical needs.

3. Painting the table with yogurt is Occupational Therapy.

4. Climbing from floor to chair to table and tossing dishes, while discouraged, is Physical Therapy and secretly applauded.

5. You have had to hand your child over for at least one major surgical procedure with fear and trepidation.

6. Spitting is Speech Therapy. As is blowing repeatedly into a harmonica, whistle, or any other instrument - Ouy Vey!
7. The staff at the doctors office's know you by name.

8. You don't ever buy a toy without thinking about it's therapuetic value.

9. Insurance companies won't touch your child with a ten foot pole.

10. But that's okay because you find there are good programs out there to help out.

11. You know which ER's to avoid.

12. You have your doctor's private number.

13. Under no circumstances do you cancel an appointment with a specialist.

14. You live with a mild physical and emotional weariness.

15. You could take up part time work as a PT, OT, SLP (okay, not really, but it feels like it).

16. You can't believe your pride when the smallest of milestone's are met.

17. You can't believe your amazing good fortune that God brought this child into your family.

Boys, Gas, and Roughousing

Luke is really growing up. Some days I marvel at how mature he seems for a five year old. He asks such thoughtful questions. He is so helpful around the house. He is so insightful.

Other days, well, other days he seems very very five. And very very boy. Those are the days normally filled with bodily function sounds. This is a growing fascination with him much to my dismay. And there seems to be nothing I can do about this trend. The more I address how inappropriate it is the worse it gets. In fact yesterday I took L with me to run some errands, one of which involved going into the Kidney Foundation to turn over some paper work to donate our jeep. I had a nice brief talk with Luke before we entered the quiet pristine building about the nature of this office and what I hoped from him while we were inside. "Yes, ma'am." After, oohh, about five minutes Luke approaches the pleasant middle-aged woman at the reception desk and said, "watch this." He proceeds - before I can do anything to stop what is about to take place -to turn around, stick his bottom toward her desk and wiggle it while making the farting noise in his hand. That's right folks. Now, really, I was pretty speechless. Did that just happen in front of this obviously proper Southern Woman?! I am aghast but remain nonplussed, give a little "boys" chuckle and ask Luke to take my hand. I have never seen him do anything like this in the presence of perfect strangers. And after we had come to such a clear understanding just minutes before, noless!

Girls don't do these things do they???

Luke redeemed himself later while playing with Wil. This is where Luke's mature part comes in. And where he perplexes me a bit. The boy has a very low threshold for pain. And I do mean low. You don't want to be around when he gets a splinter for example, it is not a pretty scene and your eardrums are sure to be damaged. But Wil climbing all over him? He tolerates it. And it hurts. I can attest. Wil pulls, pokes, sticks fingers places where fingers shouldn't go, scratches, pushes, but Luke tolerates it all. He loves his brother and he tells him to be gentle and does his best to let him climb, poke, and push. Here is Luke "tolerating" Wil -now he is a little distracted by Curious George, that helps. :)

In My Own Time

With some frequency we are asked when Wil is going to walk. He will be three in March. Most kids with Down syndome are walking by 28 months or so; Wil is definitely considered a "late walker." Our answer, of course, is that we don't know. Admittedly I have days when I wish he were walking. Usually that desire springs from my own aching back than from hopes for him. It's not that I don't want him to walk - I do - it's just that I really do enjoy Wil exactly where he is and I enjoy watching him strive, explore, work, and play as he learns about the world around him.

There is news on this subject in the Down syndrome world. A study, here showing that babies that train on a treadmill walk 4-5 months before those that do not. I really like what Jennifer over at Pinwheels said about this. I can't really say it better myself.

And then there is Timothy. He is approaching 15 months and he is not walking. I know. Not that big of a deal. But am I ready for him to walk? Yep, yep I am. You see. He can walk, he just won't! He won't because Wil isn't and he does not do anything that Wil does not do. I know - sweet, right? Wil cruises furniture and walks behind a push toy and that is all T will do. T does it really well and is very stable - I have spotted him transferring and standing alone but he plops as soon as he knows he is seen. T, like his brother, will not walk while holding our hands. He does the noddle legs thing. Absolutely refuses to place weight on them. Although now that Wil is showing interest in standing alone and taking a random step we have our fingers crossed that T is taking notes.

Here they are on the playground. Wil went belly first down the slide, so T went belly first down the slide.
And here they are testing out the kiddie seesaw.

Timothy has also picked up all of Wil's sign language, which is great, though he is seemingly uninterested in trying out verbal communication. Unless it involves guttural squeals.

Timothy and Wil are great buddies. For now, Wil is being looked up to as big brother. He is being admired by Timothy. He is being mimicked throughout the day, it is really sweet. I know that one day that will stop. I know that one day Timothy will grow into his own skin, he will stop wanting to be like his big brother and Wil's place in the family may shift. One day it is going to be Wil trying to keep up with T, so for now I am going to enjoy the dynamic and the fact that I am getting some forced exercise with 28 lbs in each arm.

Our Christmas Tree Solution (warning, it's lame)

Okay, here it is.

What is it you ask? why it is a vase filled with cranberries crammed with woody branches. I made it as a centerpiece for a church function last night. It worked quite well. Is that the best you can come up with for your substitute tree you ask? Yes. Yes it is.

You see, I'm tired. I know. You are tired of hearing me say that I am tired. But it's true all the same. And here we are at the end of another round of rotavirus for Wil. It's been a bad week for him. And he ended with a bang today. He got it all out (do ya know what I mean? he cleared those bowels big time - it musta felt good!) this morning in our front room. I was upstairs changing Timothy's poopy diaper when Luke started screaming ( he is mildly dramatic) that Wil had stinky everywhere. Yup! James got him upstairs to the tub while I finished with T. I then finished up with Wil so James could get to work. I dashed downstairs to gather our things only to find poop everywhere. On the rug, on the sofa, on the books. All discovered as we were loading up to take Luke to pre-school. I couldn't just leave it because that is Wil's "therapy" room and his PT would be arriving shortly after we returned. Fun times. Here is Wil's pitiful self the past few days.

Luke has been keeping himself, and us, entertained by drawing on his socks and providing puppet shows.

And speaking of Luke. He does have some concerns about the "tree." "What if Santa doesn't know what it is?" * "Santa won't know exactly where to leave the presents." * "What if the cranberries go bad?" (good point - I will change those my bright young child) Of course, two days ago Luke came to me and exclaimed, " I don't think that Santa is real." "Oh no?" I say. "No, I just don't think there could be such a person, you know doing all that stuff in one night." "uh, huh, did you talk about that with someone?" I ask "No, I was just thinking it," he shrugged.

Ahhh. . . more good news just came by phone. Our beloved jeep that has been in and out of the shop for the last few weeks must go to the vehicular graveyard. sigh.

So back to the "tree" - yeah - that's the best I can do this year. Sorry kids. :)

Could it be?

Are these curls forming on the head of our third child?
If this is the case he may never receive a haircut. I don't think I can bare to cut them. :)


James and I had hoped to make a day trip to Asheville today. It wasn't meant to be. Again.

Wil was sick yesterday so we saw the writing on the wall. I have been feeling crummy for over a week now and that peeked last night when during my 2 am coughing spasm I was certain the pressure behind my right eye and ear was going to create a nasty mess for James to clean up. So, since James had already arranged to be off today I called and begged to be seen by my doctor. After explaining my symptoms the good doctor looked in my right ear, laughed, asked how I could even hear, then proceeded to sandblast my ear in order to get a wax cork out (that's right!) and I was quickly diagnosed with a nasty sinus and ear infection and sent home with three prescriptions. Hopefully in a couple of days I will be feeling a little less thick in the head. Maybe.

So, on to our serendipitous moment. After feeding Wil and Timothy (Luke was at Nonnie and Papa's were he was no doubt having a hamburger) I was on the floor working with Wil. We were mainly working on coming from sitting to stand when on his own initiative he removed his hands from me, stood alone and took two steps toward me. The second step may be questionable as he was falling into me but I am counting it! Did you hear the screaming? James and I had him do it again and again and being the dutiful guy that he is he did so until his legs gave out.

Here he is coming to stand. Taking one step. Then another.

My body still feels crummy but my spirits are soaring. We are so proud of this little guy!

The Christmas Tree Dilemma

Over the years we have made several changes in our home in an effort to keep our guys safe as they grow and explore. Lots of little things like getting rid of the coffee table to avoid losing an eye from slamming into the corner or wrapping rubber bands around kitchen cabinet knobs to make them more difficult to get into (Luke's brilliant idea - and much more effective than all the child proofing gadgets on the market!). Really there is only so much that can be done. And most of the damage over the last few years has not been to the children, it has been to our belongings. We have lost many dishes thanks to both Luke and Wil. (James and I have certainly had our share of mishaps, too) My favorite lamp has been broken and repaired twice. My grandmother's pie crust table, which we had refinished last year has lost all of it's "crust" thanks to Wil and Timothy - they get a big kick out of tipping that thing over! Luke sprayed bleach on a brand new shower curtain and rug. Our books. Well they have seen better days. We are constantly putting the rugs back in place, moving the chairs back to the table (this is the newest fascination - using the kitchen chairs as push toys, works great on the hardwood floors), putting the books back in place, closing the shutters, putting the cd's back in the armoire drawers, and so many other things.
Which brings me to my point. The Christmas Tree. How in the world can we possibly have a Christmas tree and all that goes with it. I don't think it would last half an hour. Thing One and Thing Two here would have every ornament within reach pulled off and the tree tipped over.

The gifts beneath would be ripped open and the paper ingested. Now on a positive note it would keep them occupied. hmmm. So what to do? We are trying to figure that out. I do love having the smell of a fresh tree in the house. Maybe we will get a small Charlie Brown tree to put on top of our foyer buffet. . . it is at least out of reach of our little troublemakers. Any ideas?

Taking action

A couple of days ago I posted about the report that came out of Serbia on the conditions and treatment of the mentally disabled in the country's institutions. A fellow mom and blogger, Michelle, of a daughter with Down syndrome has come up with some great ideas for those of us that would like to find ways to help. Here's what she suggests at DownBlogger on ways to help.

Feeling Helpless

We all see and hear of things around us that leave us feeling angry, sad, helpless. Today's report on the "Mental Institutions" in Serbia has left me feeling that way. I am pretty speechless actually. Here is the link from NBC, story.

Here is the NYTIMES article. Children with special needs are seen as throw aways, having no value at all. They report rows and rows of children with Down syndrome, that are mobile but not given the opportunity to move around, confined to metal coffins (small cribs). It is unconscionable.

There are so many things wrong with this story that there is really just too much to comment on. However, I cannot overlook one thing because it just jumped off the page at me and frankly really irritated me. The journalist is telling of one young man who appears to be 7 or 8 but is really 21 and has not been removed from his crib in the 11 years he has been institutionalized, in fact he has been tied down! The journalist then notes that, "the boy, who suffers from Down syndrome and can hardly communicate, is visited by his mother." I'm sorry but he is not suffering from Down syndrome, he is suffering from 11 years of abuse and neglect.

This is an old picture of Wil that I thought I would share. It was taken in our Florida home around the time that Wil started to really get the hang of 4 point crawling, we were all so proud of him. Today he put something else together. While listening to James on the phone he said "dada, dada" while signing daddy. He did it repeatedly so we know he made the connection and he knew it too, he was really proud of himself. Children with Down syndrome, like every other child, need input. They may need a little more in one area or another but the bottom line is that they need to be loved. And they will love you back in ways that are unlike anything else you have known. The thought of children like this little guy being tied to cribs to sit in their own waste. . . well, I just don't know what to do with it. Jesus said that "what you have done to the least of these, you have done to me."

CNN interview with Congresswoman Rodgers

Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers was interviewed by CNN yesterday. The interview was not about policy, elections, or any political controversy. It was about her son Cole, who happens to have Down syndrome. He was born last May and is adorable. To see the brief interview click here.

I hope that we will hear more from Ms. Rodgers and Cole in the months to come!

A Welcome Sight

Our home was blanketed in a sea of orange and blue over the weekend as we welcomed some University of Florida students that James worked with during our time in Gainesville. They made the drive to Columbia to watch their gators, ahem, embarrass my team, South Carolina. They were gracious winners and we had a great time visiting with them and our kids had so much fun playing with them. Here are a few pictures of their visit.

We recently had some trees removed from the backyard so the guys tried out the new space with a game of softball. Sorta. I'm not sure that we actually have a softball and I am not sure if that is actually a bat but since our yard is pretty much a dirt lot right now a game of pick up stick ball was appropriate.

Timothy and Rob enjoyed some one on one together. All I know about this is that I kept hearing Rob say, "this is the coolest toy, this is the coolest thing ever. . ." I'm not sure if he was talking about the stacking stars or the dump truck. Either way I think a break from the books was definitely needed. :0)

Timothy wowed and amazed everyone with his ability to stuff as much banana as we placed in front of him in his mouth. He is indeed a talented young lad.

James and Ryan were able to grab a few semi quiet moments (until I wandered in with the camera) to catch up on issues slightly more serious than Gator football.

Brandon and Wil enjoyed a little ball

And Luke and Stephanie (his personal favorite, I believe) played a mean game of Caraboo.

Luke especially loves a house full of people. The more the better. This group seemed to encourage some very random statements, proverbs if you will, from little Luke around the breakfast table. The crowd favorite, that we all pondered, but left us a little puzzled was, "If you want peace then you must sleep with your hair squared." This was evidently inspired by Ryan's coif.

We so enjoyed the added chaos for the weekend. These guys were such an encouragment to us and left us only slightly homesick for Gainesville. :)

It's not your fault mom

That's what Luke said to me as I was backing out of the garage with everyone in the van while on the cell phone filing a claim with the insurance company for a broken windshield (honestly, having them confined in their seats feels like the only time I can get through a business call). Slam! I ran into the jeep. The jeep which had just returned from the shop. Sigh. The part that bothers me about this is not that I hit the jeep. No harm done to the jeep or van - a few more black scuffs actually makes it easier to identify among the sea of silver vans in the Wal Mart parking lot. No, what really bothers me is how quickly Luke jumped in to emotionally take care of me. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate his sensitivity and love that he is a compassionate little boy. But I do worry that, at five, he is taking on roles he should not. He tells me often that he can't wait for his brothers to walk and talk so they can play with him ( me too, I think ) and does his very best to play on their level. I have been his play mate and companion for some time now and Luke has watched me closely. He has watched me struggle after Wil was born, struggle through Timothy's pregnancy and then his birth, struggle with our recent move and the strain it has caused. I am always aware that he is watching and try to be careful about what I am communicating but I am also aware that Luke picks up far more than I realize. And somewhere in the midst of all this he is feeling like he needs to take care of me. So, this dynamic. Not good. I'm not worried, we'll get it worked out. Just not so bummed I hit the jeep anymore.

And Luke. Praise God that he has been given some desire and talent in the art department. Because Wil and Timothy cannot play with him the way he desires and I cannot sit with him without constant interruption Luke has had opportunity to develop his drawing abilities. Here are two of his recent pictures. He really does enjoy coloring, drawing, and writing. He is particularly into rainbows right now as you might notice some on the boys t-shirts. In fact today we saw two rainbows in the afternoon sky. Luke got so excited because we have not had any rain and said he thought God put them there just to cheer him up since he did not have a very good day. ( He wanted to go to the football game with James and the Gainesville crew that came to town for the USC/UF game and was very disappointed to be left with me and his brothers) The rainbows did indeed cheer him up and we had a very nice evening.

Happy Birthday Papa!

Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Dad! A man who has loved and served well his whole live. He has served his country with commitment and honor as a Marine, he has served his community for three decades in law enforcement and now has the often thankless job of keeping kids safe (and in many cases keeping the community safe from the kids) for a local school district. Most importantly, at least to some of us, he has sacrificially loved and served his family with consistency and strength. And now that he has three demanding grandsons down the street he is back in the business of putting together toys, pulling out splinters, and flipping burgers for birthday parties. Not to mention providing handyman services for James and me.

So Happy Birthday to Dad, Papa, Pop (Luke's new name for papa - evidently at 5 it becomes much cooler to shorten everyone's name to one syllable. I am no longer mommy but mom, James is now dad and my mom, previously called Nonnie is being called Non.) Anyway, back to Pop. We pray that this year brings you much joy. You know you won't get any peace with us around. :)

Please bare with my indecision

I have kissed and made up with blogspot - this blog - and am sticking with it. The kinks have been worked out and I have too many other things going on to get used to a new blog host and all its funny ways.

Thank you for baring with me as I test drove I am happy to be back where I am more comfortable here at blogspot.

On the home front I sense another round of doctor visits on the horizon as Timothy can be heard from all corners of the house barking a painful sounding dry cough. Wil has been crying on and off all day for no apparent reason apart from the fact that he has not been sleeping well the last week and is likely fatigued. And Luke just came out of his room and told me "his body feels like it needs medicine." He couldn't point to anything in particular that was bothering him, just a generalized ickiness. So, I am thinking tonight might be the beginning of another round of the sickies.

And on an embarrassing note, yesterday we had some time to spare before church so were enjoying the brisk afternoon air while walking around five-points when Luke started fussing about a rash on his bottom. This happens from time to time. Luke, having very sensitive skin, must be very careful to clean up well after using the restroom otherwise he gets rashy. And being five and all he just doesn't want help in this area any more. On the other hand being five has done very little for his ability to control himself when he is feeling discomfort. So I grabbed W and T's diaper ointment and headed into the Starbucks bathroom to take a look at Luke's bottom. He was indeed red. As I was trying to clean him up he screamed like I was sticking red hot needles in his eyeballs saying, "get that out of my bottom!" Now, I am certain that everyone on the other side of the door could hear us. I try to calm him down by telling him that someone is going to take him away from me if he doesn't stop screaming. Naturally this doesn't help. I tell him to just let me get the ointment on, it will feel better and we can go. He is still crying heavily but agrees. When I apply the ointment he lets out another wail, "it burns, it burns, take it off!" Oh my. We get a few glances when we emerge, most keep their heads down and give a quick look over their books as we scurry out. I don't have to wonder where James is with Timothy and Wil, I just follow Wil's screams.

Church at 5 pm. After "falling back" for daylight savings time, fun times.

Luke's Spider Web

I went up to put Wil down for his nap today and this is what I found. Luke’s spiderweb. Of course I couldn’t get Wil to bed without removing the web because much of the string was wrapped around his crib. Luke managed to use an entire ball of string that I have managed to hold onto for years now. He also managed to wrap it around every possible fixed object in their room multiple times. I was going to get the scissors and just slice right through it but some obsessive part of me wanted to keep this ball of string in tact. Sooo, I took Wil back downstairs, delaying his nap, Luke’s quiet time and mine, in order to find the end of the string and weave it in and out and through the web until I had my ball of string back. Luke was awed and amazed when he walked upstairs and saw that once again the string was back in a ball. It is now beyond the reach of five year old fingers.

Happy Day After Halloween

Remember the Halloween scene from ET? Kids coming out of the gutters, around the corners, out of the trees, and God knows from where else, swarming the streets of the neighborhood, lining up at homes begging for candy? That was our experience last night. Pure madness I tell ya. It was fun. Luke loved it and had as much fun sitting on our front porch rockers handing out candy when we returned from our jaunt around the neighborhood as he did knocking on doors. And Wil and Timothy seemed mesmorized by the sites and sounds of Halloweens and there were plenty. Our neigbors go all out, it is really remarkable. Some of these folks clearly have more time on their hands than we do.
If you can’t tell from the pics Wil was a Monkey, which suits him because he is the best climber in the house and it is his best animal noise and Timothy was a dragon. Doesn’t really suit him but the outfit was super cute. Luke actually dressed as a pirate for the second year in a row, giving up his desire to be a ghost when his craft-challenged mom couldn’t get the eyes to line up properly. He was a great sport about it though. We have already decided that next year our two little guys, who will be walking, are going to be Thing One and Thing Two from Dr. Seuss. I think I better start on those costumes now since I had a hard time making a sheet work.

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