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Diggers, Dump Trucks, and Delight…

Our middle child, Cole, is obsessed with all things construction.

It is a fascination that has been ongoing for quite some time now.  It does not seem to be a passing fad, in fact, the longer he spends loving them, the deeper and more concrete his love for them grows!  (Side note: this obsession is fodder for my completely immature and childlike side ~ every time he says “dump truck” the word “dump” ends up sounding more like “dumb”, and the rest, well, you can figure out on your own!  Needless to say, it causes me to chuckle every single time it happens!).

As a result of this love of construction toys, we decided to go with the digger / dump truck theme for Cole’s 2nd birthday.  He. Loved. It.

So did I, but for different reasons.

I loved seeing my child’s face light up the first time we sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and he realized that the candles, the sparklers, the pomp and ceremony, the singing and cheering, were all for him.  The look on his face was priceless.

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I loved watching him make connections about traditions for the first time.  He knows now that on your birthday, you sing, you have cake, you open presents, you have a party.  I delight in watching him grow up and watching things start to stick with him in his memory.

I loved the look on his face as he was opening his presents.  The overwhelmed, “I can’t believe all these presents are for me”, “I’m so happy I don’t even know what to do right now” look of a toddler, completely reveling in the moment.  The look of pure delight.

Happy Birthday to my big boy Cole!  You are such a great kid, we love you so much, and we are so proud of you!

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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Sometimes it’s Okay…

Sometimes its okay to stay up late.

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Sometimes it’s okay to let your kids eat junk food.

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Sometimes it’s okay to get dirty.

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Sometimes it’s okay if your kids get angry.

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Sometimes it’s okay to push the boundaries.

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Sometimes it’s okay to dance like no one’s watching.

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Sometimes it’s okay to snuggle your kids to sleep.

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Of all the above statements, this last one is the one that rang the truest for me this past weekend.  Jake woke up in the middle of the night, and started crying.  His noise woke up Cole, who was sharing a bed with him, and the two of them were whimpering “mommy, mommy” in the black night of the tent trailer.  Shivering, I crawled out of my toasty warm sleeping bag, crept my way across the tent trailer, and gingerly lay myself down on the bed in between them, careful to avoid tiny limbs in the process.  As soon as they felt my presence, they curled up to me, one on each side.  Both of them clung to me with their tiny arms, legs wrapped around my torso, and bodies snuggling into the curves of my frame.  “Kisses, hugs”, whispered Cole in the dark, and I willingly obliged.  And without another word, I felt both of their precious bodies begin to relax, their breathing become deeper and more regulated, until one by one, they sunk back into a deep sleep, releasing their death grip on me.  As I lay there in the dark, listening to my babies fall asleep, warmed by their body heat, I felt privileged to be a part of such a precious and fleeting moment.  Too often I am frustrated at the bedtime routine, but that night, I was stilled and calmed by the realization that sometimes it’s okay to snuggle your kids to sleep.

Sometimes, it’s okay…

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Ringbearing 101…

Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to celebrate with my friend and participate as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

This friend and I have walked a long journey together.  We have been friends for many years.  We have seen each other through boyfriends and breakups, through heartache and happiness, through loneliness and longing, and so much more.  She walked beside me as I entered the married phase of life, and has been there to hold each of my children as babies, and to be a part of the village that is raising my children.

And last weekend, I had the privilege to stand with her as she declared her vows to her new husband.
Oh, and did I mention that I was not the only member of the family to take part in her special day?  That’s right…Jake was a ring bearer for her ceremony!  And, he rocked it!

Ringbearing 101…

Use. Elmo. To. Get. Job. Done.

I wasn’t sure if Jake would actually make it down the aisle.  He gets distracted at the best of times, and I figured that with every seat in the house full and all eyes on him, he was likely to decide to play up to the crowd a little.  I do, after all, have a very social little boy!!

The bride, Merissa, however had a fantastic idea.  She thought that perhaps Jake just needed a little help to keep his eye on the goal.  And what better motivation than his favorite thing in the whole wide world…Elmo!  We gave one of Jake’s Elmo dolls to the best man, and when it was Jake’s turn to go down the aisle, he saw Elmo, his face lit up, and he bolted to the front to claim his prize!  So quickly, in fact, that he was not interested in stopping for the ring pillow, and so Curtis had to follow him down the aisle and turn over the rings!!  In the groom’s thank you speech at the end of the evening, he thanked Jake for his role as ringbearer, and he thanked Elmo, who made it possible!

It was a great day, amazing weather, and a joy and pleasure to be able to stand with my friend Merissa.  Congrats you guys:)

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Me and Noah:)

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My almost-two-year-old Cole!! What a big boy:)

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Ring bearer Jake! (who by this point was more interested in his fishy crackers in the bowl than in getting his picture taken!)

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This is the closest we could get to a family picture! When, oh when are we going to be able to just smile all together and look at the camera!!??

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Just goofin’ around! Jake loves it when he can see himself in the camera and plays it up a lot more!

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The beautiful bride Merissa, along with my great friend Julie. I love these girls!!

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Bedtime, Bubbles, and Belonging…

Bedtime:

I wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation to everyone who chimed in about the battle of bedtime!  When I wrote my last post, I was literally at my wits end.  My kiddos wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t stay in bed (they were sharing a room), and they were wearing me down night after night!

Thankfully, we have mitigated the problem, and we are doing much better!
After a hard fought battle, I had to admit defeat.  Perhaps my children are just not ready for that much freedom and independence!  So, much to my chagrin, we split them up again into separate rooms (Cole will now have to share with the baby).  I was still gravely concerned that separating them would not solve the problem of Jake getting out of bed and playing until all hours of the night, but it has!  I am pleased to say that my children have both adjusted really well since being separated, and will now go to bed at night with little to no objection!  Nothing is forever, and we may try and put them back together down the road, but for now, this is working, so why mess with a good thing?!

Bubbles:

I love watching the magic of discovering the little joys in life through the eyes of my children.
To me, bubbles are old hat.  To my children, however, they are a new experience, an expansion of the world as they know it.
I love the way their faces contort with concentration while attempting to master the skill of blowing bubbles, and then light up with delight upon the successful completion of said skill.  I think the pictures speak for themselves!

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and Belonging:

Every year, Ups & Downs: Calgary Down Syndrome Association puts on a walk called “Street Meet” (somewhat akin to the “Buddy Walk” in the States, but on an infinitely smaller scale).  This year, we invited our extended family, we met at Fish Creek Park, did a 3K walk, and then had a BBQ, games for the kids, etc…
It reinforced to me the sense of belonging that we feel.  We belong within our families.  Jake belongs right along with us.  There is no distinction, no differentiation, no distance.  We belong.  We are blessed.

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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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You Win Some, You Lose Some…

I think I might be fighting a losing battle.

The battle of bedtime.

I feel battered.  I feel bruised.  I feel defeated.  I am losing this battle, and a little of my sanity as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we made the decision to switch Jake and Cole into toddler beds.  They have been sharing a room for a while now, and were doing great with the room-sharing, that is until they started being able to climb out of their cribs.  Correction, they could climb out of one of the two cribs in the room (the other one was deeper, and therefore too high for them to climb up and out of).  This new found freedom resulted in many nights of getting out of bed, turning on the light, and playing together.  Whoever was in the short crib (which was usually determined by who we deemed to be the most tired on any given night, and thus less likely to try and escape!) would entertain the other, throwing books, stuffed animals, and other assorted paraphernalia into the deep crib for their poor, trapped sibling.

After a few weeks of this, we decided that since they were hitting this stage, we should just take the plunge and transfer them into toddler beds.  I mean, they were already climbing out of the cribs, what difference would it make if they were climbing out of a bed?  Or so we thought…

As it turns out, I am at my wits end.  We are two weeks in, and while Cole has sufficiently learned that he needs to stay in bed and lie down, Jake is a completely different story.  He. Does. Not. Listen.  I can speak rationally.  I can yell.  I can flick his hand.  I can sit in the room and tell him to lie down every time he tries to climb out of bed.  I can hold him.  I can rock him and sing to him.

Nothing. Works.
Nothing.
He thinks it is funny.  He thinks it is a game.

As a parent, I feel like I should be able to be victorious.  I should be able to figure out a way to get through to my child.  After all, Cole learned the lesson quickly.  But this is a battle that I am losing by a landslide.  And I don’t know what to do.  How much of this is personality related?  How much is related to a diagnosis of Down syndrome?  What can my child comprehend or not comprehend?  Is he too young?  Am I just making excuses for him?  There is a part of me that feels like a failure because I am seemingly unable to get through to Jake regarding the proper protocol for bedtime.

You win some, you lose some.  I seem to be losing this battle.  But mark my words, although I may experience some significant setbacks, I will eventually win the war!  In the meantime, however, ANY ADVICE would be appreciated!!  How do I teach my kid to stay in bed?!

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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Techie Toddler…

I officially have a techie toddler!

I have also learned an important lesson about Jake’s capacity for learning.

I would have pegged my oldest son as the guy who takes a while to catch on.  There are some things we have been working on for over a year that he still doesn’t get, like needing to stop and hold hands before crossing the road.  But give the kid an iPad with an interactive game, and the myth about being a slower learner is completely and utterly dispelled!

I. Was. Shocked.  I could not believe how quickly Jake caught on to the first game I showed him on the iPad.  It took all of about 5 minutes for him to understand the concept, grasp what he was supposed to do, and get down to work!  And the smile on his face when he did what was asked of him correctly and the pomp and ceremony from the game ensued, well that was worth a million bucks:)

In no way am I anticipating that the iPad will take over the time I have spent doing activities with Jake and helping him to learn.  In no way am I viewing the iPad as a babysitter ~ he knows he only plays it when I am there with him.  In no way am I allowing the use of technology to eclipse all the great life lessons that can be learned in other ways.  But…all the dangers of technology aside, I also believe it can be a very effective tool.  And apparently, Jake thinks so too!!

 

What are some of your favorite educational apps for your little ones?

(for those of you who are interested, this is Jake’s favorite app so far.  It is called “Endless Reader” by Originator Inc.)

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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What They Don’t Tell You…

Last week Jake had surgery.

He had his tonsils and adenoids out.  We were prepped to the nines for this surgery.  We knew all the health risks, all the potential complications, all the possibilities of what could happen during (or directly after) the surgery.  We knew what to expect from the day.  Surgery, recovery, and then off to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to be monitored for 24 hours.  None of the knowledge actually made the experience easier, but at least we were armed with the knowledge of what to expect.

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Pre-surgery…all ready to go in his hospital scrubs!

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Entertaining himself with the nurse’s stethoscope pre-surgery!

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Post-surgery snuggles with daddy. We bought him “Despicable Me 2″ for the hospital. He watched it six times in 24 hours!

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Post-surgery snuggles with mommy. He wouldn’t leave our laps all day:(

But here are a few thoughts on what they don’t tell you…

…What they don’t tell you is how helpless you will feel.  Holding your child in the recovery room after surgery, hearing him scream “mommy, mommy” over and over again, his tiny little body racked with pain as he realizes that all is not as it should be.  Waking up in the middle of the night to your baby boy crying out, awoken from the restful healing quality of sleep because the pain of swallowing is too much to bear.  Knowing that as you snuggle him close, softly stroking his hair and singing into his ear to calm him, you are helpless to take away his suffering.

…What they don’t tell you is the emotional roller coaster that your child will be on, which coincidentally correlates closely with the intervals of pain medication he is receiving!  One minute he is playing outside, running around, oblivious to the events of the past few days.  The next minute he coughs unintentionally, and the reality of the pain he is experiencing comes crashing down around him, causing him to run back into my arms in tears.

…What they don’t tell you is that your child’s tiny voice, which was just finding its way in the world, will change.  That the little “mommy” which has become so dear to me no longer sounds the same.  And in a small way, I mourn the loss.

…What they don’t tell you is how much of a failure you will feel like.  When your stubborn, obstinate child (traits that will serve him well in other circumstances!) refuses to eat or drink, and will not take pain medication.  When you have tried everything in your arsenal to get him to swallow something, anything.  When you have tried to hide Tylenol in a bottle, in every sort of food and drink imaginable, and to no avail.  When you are sitting on top of your precious little boy, pinning his arms and legs down and sobbing every bit as hard as he is, trying to get him to swallow the medicine that will bring the relief he desperately longs for.  It is heart-wrenching.

I know this is a season.  I am aware that this, too, shall pass.  And I firmly believe that the surgery was the right decision.  But today, it hurts.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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