22 September 2017

Favorite Part of the Day

The arrival of the bus is pretty much Eleanor and Theodore's favorite part of the day. A few minutes before it's scheduled to arrive, we head outside and wait.

We take silly pictures, investigate falling leaves, and spread dandelion seeds.

I feel guilt over the deterioration of the flower beds and the insane progress the field bindweed has made. The bus pulls up, Eleanor jumps on board for five seconds of actually getting to be on the bus, and Theodore waits eagerly.

Abigail gets off wearing someone else's pants. Apparently potty training: day 2 didn't go so well.

The bus drives away, we all wave, and the kids tromp inside, and promptly begin fighting. But tonight when they go to bed, they'll tell me about when Abigail came home on the bus, having forgotten all about the arguing that came afterward.

The kitties favorite part of the day comes after the kids go to bed at night. If I'm on the couch with a book, there are two kittens sleeping on my lap, tangled in a warm, purring ball.

One of my favorite parts of the day is getting dressed in the morning. Even un-showered with no make up because I am down 40 lbs since January. Every day that I get dressed, my clothes fit better than they did last time, because I am dependably loosing 2-3 lbs per week. I weigh what I did when I got pregnant with Eleanor. I have only 20 lbs to go.

13 September 2017


I am not a "do it all," busy bee mom. You know the type - this kid is in dance, that kid in swimming, "after Zumba, we're all going blueberry picking!" You have to get her a month ahead of time in order to hang out. You know what I'm doing after Zumba? Going home, putting to bed whomever is still awake, then I'm either watching This Is Us and knitting or reading a book. I'm going to go to bed early. I'm totally free next weekend, and the weekend after that, too. But I'd still like it if you book me a month out because I hate short notice.

Sometimes I really want those experiences for my kids or there's a really awesome event, so we try it out, the "something every day" type lifestyle. But by the week's end, I'm exhausted. Going out in public takes a monumental amount of work and I'm so done by the end of it. Packing and lugging snacks and water bottles, trying to coordinate times so we are either home or on a long car ride during nap time, staying 100% vigilant the entire time my kids are not in their car seats, breaking up fights in the backseat. On Thursday afternoon, I'm checking out next week's line up, wondering what I can bail out of. Is it because of my introverted personality? The old-soul, homebody-ness that is me? Is it because of my tiny car? Sometimes I seriously bail on things because I can't handle packing everyone in and listening to them fight, "Eleanor foot! NOOOOOO!!!!!" We borrowed a minivan for a weekend once and I couldn't believe how quiet everyone was and how much easier it was to load everyone in and out. It was amazing. Is it because my kids are just really young right now and one has special needs? I hope it's that last one, because if everyone has to work this hard and is handling it just fine, then I feel like a total pansy. But things get easier when they get older, that'd be a huge relief. For the most part, Eleanor is really good at following my verbal commands and that does make things a lot easier. But she's still three, ya know? So I can't really take my eyes off her and trust she'll look both ways for cars or realize I kept walking when she saw something interesting through another doorway.

Autumn always does seem to be the time when my schedule fills up, though, and this year is no different. So I lied earlier, I am actually busy this weekend and next weekend. I'm half excited but half nervous too. Abigail has much more energy when she gets home from school and really misses the music therapy class she took in the spring and the riding lessons she took over the summer, so I signed her and Eleanor up for little gymnastics classes one night a week. It's through our local community education program and we did this class once before, back when Abigail was an only child (or maybe Eleanor was just really tiny?) The classes run back-to-back in the same room, so I'm a little worried about how Theodore will handle the monumental unfairness that will soon come his way. In news that is super boring for you, but super exciting for me, I bought a new stroller that I hope will help make having a busy schedule easier.

It's a Phil & Ted's Navigator stroller that I found on Ebay. It's an extremely light and small stroller and navigates really well. My old stroller was still in amazing condition and handled like a dream, but it was a tad big in buildings and crowds and took up almost all the space in my trunk. There were certain doctor's offices where it literally didn't fit in the exam room. It was great when I used to take 60+ minute walks every day, but with my current lifestyle, it was no longer maximally beneficial.

So I researched new strollers, sold the orange, our cheap-o umbrella strollers, plus my first-ever stroller, and a tote of baby clothes. The whole time I scored Craig's List and Ebay in search of a new stroller that was in budget and an attractive enough color.

So far the new-to-us yellow stroller has been pretty good, it doesn't have the storage capacity that my older ones did, but it's small and light - perfect for "lockdown" when we're at the doctor and I need to focus on Abigail. Or when I need Theodore not to go bonkers at his sisters' gymnastics classes.

So, yes, we're going to give "do-it-all," busy-mom life a go, with a little support from the new stroller. As long as I have a few days per week when I spend the afternoon snuggling with a lap full of kittens, I should be able to make it until snow flies. Right? I hope.

But when snow does start to drift to the ground in beautiful little snowflakes, all bets are off. Because I hate driving in those slipper suckers.

28 August 2017

The New Additions

It has been a long and emotionally draining process that involved about a dozen applications and the sudden death of a kitten we were about to adopt. But on Saturday, we finally brought home Kalley, a four-month-old Oriental Shorthair mix (Orientals are hypoallergenic)...

She is uber shy and super scared of everything and everyone. I snuggled with her a lot during the first day, but once she escaped me, she ran under our bed and hasn't left our room since.

Then this evening I brought home Cora, an 8-week-old Russian Blue mix. (Also hypoallergenic.) Cora is a typical kitten, who was running around the house and playing within minutes.

It's basically a constant fight between the kids over who gets to play with Cora.

That moment when you're attacking the couch and you accidentally fall asleep.

Kalley came right out to meet Cora, and then promptly hissed at her. They've eaten together and Cora makes sure to bound under the bed and "sneak" attack Kalley on the regular, so I suspect she'll break down Kalley's walls soon.

I am so happy to have cats again, and I can't wait until they get more comfortable with us. Although I do still really miss Belle.

21 August 2017

Just Keep Swimming

I made a rule that I'm not allowed to blog when I'm feeling depressed and emotional, so I haven't been blogging lately because I'm feeling an excess of those things. Loosing Roxy in June, having a miscarriage in July, and loosing Belle in August has really drained me emotionally. I'm 100% back on all my supplements for depression, and I'm trying to process all my emotions instead of burying them. Abigail starts school in one week; I'm excited for the therapeutic support, but, as per usual, I am feeling really guilty that I can't wait to lose one of my kids for 7 hours per day.

When she starts back up, it's going to be another two weeks of everyone adjusting to the new schedule. Monday is a half day, and then she'll have Friday and Labor Day Monday off. I can see how all this would mean theoretically that she'll be able to slowly ease back into school, but really it's just going to confuse the hell out of her. It's far better to drop Abigail into a new schedule, even an all-day one, rather than tease her with half days here, vacation days there. It is my goal to be very easy on everyone, including myself, through mid-September.

Not everything is going wrong in my life, though. Despite this summer's numerous challenges (some of which I can't discuss online, but do exist), I have had enough positive "steps forward" to keep myself sane. I re-ran last year's 5K from hell and rocked my best 5K time yet! I was the 14th female runner out of 48, which isn't objectively ground-breaking, but is really good for me.

I also went to a Mom's spa night out as part of my Down syndrome support group and had my makeup done by a profession makeup artist for the first time. I didn't even have it done for my wedding! I finally learned (at 30!) what contouring and highlighting and bronzing is all about. I picked up my own fancy contouring kit when I was grocery shopping later that week and have been experimenting to recreate the look.

I also - very excitingly - have officially lost 30 pounds since January (and remember, for just over two months during that time period, I was pregnant and couldn't lose weight as well!). I'm flirting with my pre-pregnancy weight from before Theodore and excited to keep loosing until I hit my goal weight - about what I weighed at my wedding! I actually paid to get some outside help, but I'll talk more about that in a different blog post.

I'm really proud of myself for not turning to emotional eating to deal with all the challenges of this summer. As embarrassing as it is to have gotten so heavy and to have lost a whooping 30 pounds and still have so far to go, I'm really, really proud of myself for not giving up. Which is pretty much my motto for 2017: Just Keep Swimming.

10 August 2017

The First Time

We were at the park when I heard another girl shouting from atop the play structure: "That girl! That girl!" I groaned, but looked up and followed her pointing finger down to the ground. To Abigail. I wasn't surprised it was Abigail being called out of all the kids on the playground, but I could not figure out what she'd done. I'd been keeping a close eye on all three and she hadn't done anything to indicate a run-in. Her behavior had been exceptional and nothing gave me suspicion that she'd been throwing mulch or pushing, and she long outgrew her hair pulling phase. Since the accuser wasn't being specific and not pushing the issue, I dropped it. A few minutes later, I heard her again, "This girl! She's my friend!" I looked up again and the same girl had a friend with her. They were both standing by Abigail and trying to get her attention.
"Hello! What's your name? My name is -, what's your name?" Abigail turned away to climb up a ladder, but she insistently followed her, going on the other side of the ladder to maintain eye contact. "I like your cookie! What's your name?"
Abigail tried every body language trick in the book to get the other girls to leave her alone, but in the end, she said, "Leave me alone," and climbed to the top of the ladder and the other girls did leave her alone.

It broke my heart. My heart is always breaking with her. It is extremely rare for other kids to engage her, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time a child of her own age, outside of her classroom, has ever tried to engage her. Usually when the rare occurrence happens, it's an older kid who thinks she's cute. While that's nice and all, it still breaks my heart when an eight-year-old swoons over my six-year-old who can count to 100 and write her own name like she's 18-month-old Theodore.

And here we have two girls, sporting Frozen t-shirts and sparkly skirts trying to befriend her in a totally normal, typically-developing way. And Abigail demands to be left alone.

I did tell her, "Abigail, she wants to be your friend!" But I knew it wouldn't help, I just wanted to reassure the other girls (and their dad who was standing nearby) that I saw their kindness. I hope - I pray - that kids will keep reaching out to her. One day she will reciprocate. I know it.