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A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I surrender.

Parenting is rewarding, funny, challenging and sometimes it is just plain HARD!

Today was a hard day. Greg's been working a lot, this week he's working 7 days, meaning 13 days in a row... IF they don't need him to work next Sunday too. We are both thrilled for this opportunity and very thankful for the extra income. However, this means (what feels like) an infinite stretch of solo-parenting. Greg's exhausted when he gets home, he went to bed at 7:30 tonight.

I got a flat tire today with both kids in the car. Greg was at work. Thank GOD my dad came to rescue us, cutting short his workout and changing my tire- all with a smile on his face and joking with me and the kids!

Lauren is embracing her toddler-ness with a vengeance. I felt like I neglected Ryan today, and he was crabby because of it. But you know what they say about the squeaky wheel...Lo is my squeaky wheel. My adorable, loving, smiley and extremely clingy squeaky wheel.

I am worn out. I don't know when I'll possibly get a "break" next, I have commitments during my normal free-time (the 2.5 hours Monday-Thursday while the kids are in school) all week. I'm trying to set up a hair appointment for some much needed "me time" but then I'll feel guilty for leaving the kids with their exhausted dad, amazing as he is. I did great myself to an extra hot, extra long shower today after dinner.

Its just that kind of day. I feel like I'm engaged in an ever-present battle against sure defeat. I'm tired. I'm failing. And I have two little people who both need their mama, plus a wonderful husband who needs his wife. I'm blogging via my blogger app, getting teary eyed while watching the millionth episode of Tom and Jerry, thinking about how I hope this sweet boy knows how much I love him- even if some days I don't show it like I should. My house is a disaster and we're drinking water out of coffee mugs because I haven't even had time to run my dishwasher.

I'm waving my white flag today. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Embracing change and protecting hearts

The past couple of months FLEW by! I can't believe it's already approaching mid-January. Ryan turned 5 last month, Lauren turns 3 next month. Insane.

Christmas was wonderful, we spent a lot of time with our families and the kids were spoiled rotten. I finally took down my Christmas tree today, with the help of my parents who came to hang out with the kids while I shoveled and cleaned my house. My mom even vacuumed the (fake) pine needles up for me! The kids had a snow day yesterday (with no snow, it was just cold) but I had to sleep so the babysitter came. Today I'm home alone with them and really having a good time! Parenting is hard but at least they're cute ;)

Ryan has been being even funnier than usually lately, which is not easy! My nephew was over yesterday and kept saying, "My hulk! My hulk!" in regards to a toy. Ryan piped up with, "It's not going to be anyone's hulk in a minute if you keep saying that." LOL! He loves to parent his cousin and sister. It's so funny hearing him repeat things I've said a million times.

A lot has changed for us lately. We've left our church and are attending a new one. For some of you, this may seem like no big deal. But to us it is a HUGE deal and a great time of transition. If you are the praying sort, please pray for us and the kids as we sort through this transition period. It's been going great so far. Greg and I have kind of jumped in with both feet and have already joined a young marrieds small group. We're not used to being new in this situation as we were leaders in our old church, but everyone was extremely welcoming and our first time went great! We're starting a new study at church with our small group next week and we're really looking forward to it.

We met at someone's house for our small group last week and brought the kids along. I always worry about bringing Lauren somewhere new because it would absolutely break my heart for her not to be accepted. I know it's bound to happen eventually but so far we've been spared that hurt. At church on Sunday she was welcomed into her age-appropriate classroom and really seemed to have fun! And at our small group meeting she played with the other kids and both kids had a great time. The ever-adaptable Ryan even invited himself back over to play!

While I'm learning that I can't force everyone to love my children as much as I do, for now while they're young I feel as though I have the responsibility to guard their hearts. This is made especially challenging with Lauren having Down syndrome. I feel like it's my responsibility to guard BOTH kids from experiencing judgment based on Lauren's special needs. This is a challenging task for any person to take this on, as we can only be accountable for our own actions. But my hope is that for a little while longer I can protect my children from small-mindedness and ignorance as well as the hurt they cause. This is why I have such anxiety regarding change. I am so incredibly thankful that we've been welcomed to our new church and small group with open arms.

 
Thankfully Ryan has actually been agreeing (for the first time ever) to wear a hat outside!

 
Lauren REALLY missed school over Christmas break! As you can tell, she was ecstatic to be back with her friends and teachers!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Non update update

We really don't have a whole lot going on, knock on wood. We are getting ready for Christmas though!! Our tree is up, our house is lits and most of the gifts are bought. We're also really trying to teach Ryan the true meaning of Christmas this year and his adorable five year old (!!!) self is excited to celebrate Jesus' birthday!

Speaking of birthdays... Ryan will be FIVE this month!!! I'm not sure how this happened, I feel like I had him last week! I am so proud of the sweet, wonderful, caring and loving person he is becoming. He is such a blessing. I love his goofy personality, his love for his sister and his little quirks that so much resemble mine.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Running wild!

Lauren is basically a gross motor genious, if I do say so myself. She is running now! Its so cute and funny because she barely bends her legs and she pumps her arms so hard like they're propelling her. All of this while laughing hysterically. Every time!

She's also a little mama now. She LOVES baby dolls. And real babies, which is terrifying. She wants to hold my 8 week old nephew 24/7 and gets so sad when its somebody else's "turn". She beings him blankets, covers him up, gives him his pacifier. Its so completely adorable but we have to watch her like a hawk! We've caught her more than once trying to pick him up. She's just so full of love!!

She's still loving preschool and obsessed with her big brother. He's been awesome with her too and I'm so glad they're so close in age. He turns 5 in 18 days!!! And lauren will be 3 in just two months.

Time flies when you're having fun and so busy you can't see straight ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Skipping school

We skipped school today. Ryan woke up at a normal time and played with his toys. I must've shut off my alarm because Lauren and I slept in until 11:30!!! She's a little under the weather and took forever to go to sleep last night. I'm not sure if she woke up a lot overnight because my wonderful husband (and light sleeper) usually gets up with her.

So we played hooky. I took the kids to Costco where we shopped and ate lunch. We had so much fun! I feel minimally bad that I didn't take them to school but I also know this is Ryan's last year of preschool. I can't just not send him to Kindergarten, so I should enjoy this while I can. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Struggle

I've been doing two different bible studies on thanksgiving and thankfulness with my YouVersion bible app. Doing these studies has really helped me to realize how I have so so much to be thankful for. It's been eye opening and with Thanksgiving approaching, I feel like it's a very relevant topic!

However, being thankful doesn't always make me feel qualified.

Today has been a particularly trying day in regards to my sweet Lauren. She has been very whiny, acting like she can't do things for herself (like getting on the couch- she is totally capable of doing this with no assistance), and just crying for no reason other than she wants attention. It's really hard sometimes because I try to have extra patience with her, but when does it become too much? When do I need to put my foot down and demand appropriate behavior? Would she even "get it"?

I do truly feel so incredibly thankful and blessed that I've been chosen to be this special girl's mama. But sometimes I cant help but wonder- why? I don't always feel capable. I don't always feel like I'm very good at this. Raising Lauren has been a lesson in patience, that's for sure. Sometimes, like today, I wonder why God felt I was equipped for this.

When she throws her lunch on the floor for the millionth day in a row, I wonder what the heck I'm doing wrong. When she throws herself to the ground, again for the millionth day in a row, trying to avoid a ponytail I wonder how else I'm supposed to get her ready for school. As much as most of our lives with Lauren really are puppies and rainbows- raising a child with special needs is hard sometimes. Is it okay to admit this out loud?

 And I'm sure I don't speak for just myself when I say I feel like I'm all alone in this sometimes. A typical almost 3 year old could get a time-out, be told not to do it again, etc. But I know that right now she doesn't really understand. Sure, she knows she's not supposed to throw her lunch on the ground, but would she understand the consequence of a time-out?

And at this exact same time, Ryan is begging me to "go somewhere just you and me". Sometimes I feel so stretched thin between just one kid, and I have two! It's a balancing act where I don't always succeed.

I was attempting to rock her to sleep for her nap today, assuming she must be tired if she's whining and crying so much. And she was! I knew it, she knew but, but toddlers don't easily admit defeat. I was praying for patience and asking God WHY? Why did You feel I could do this?

A saying popped in my head- God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called.

I 100% believe this to be truth. For other people. But it's so hard to apply this to my own life. Days like today I feel like a failure. But I am still so incredibly thankful that she's mine to raise, even if I don't always feel like I'm doing a very good job.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"What's Down syndrome?"

Let me start from the beginning.

We're running late to school (shocking, I know) one day last week. As I haul Lauren's wheelchair out of the van, Ryan asks me "When do I get my wheelchair? I want a green one!"

I replied with something along the lines of, "Ryan, honey you probably won't ever have a wheelchair. Lauren has her wheelchair because having Down syndrome makes it a little harder for her ride the bus because she's so small. So her wheelchair allows her to ride the bus with you and still be safe."

"Lauren has Down syndrome? What's that?"

Uhhh..... I wasn't expecting this question yet. Or, like, ever. I guess I just assumed he knew since we talk about it at home and it's not a secret.

I said, "Down syndrome is just part of who Lauren is. Like how you have brown hair and she has blonde hair, or how my favorite color is green and Daddy's is blue. God makes everybody different. Down syndrome might make it harder for Lauren to do some things- that's why it took her a longer time to learn how to walk and why we sometimes have a hard time understanding what she says. But it's not bad, just different! God made her that way."

"Oh, ok!"

Um, what?! I needed to prepare for this! I needed to rehearse, write it out, edit out anything stupid I might say. I didn't plan on having this discussion with my almost five year old while we struggle to pull the wheelchair (that he insists on pushing) out of the van in the freezing cold.

I think I handled it alright. I hope so, at least.

I wanted to convey to him that while he and his little sister are different, I love them just the same. And that just because I might help Lauren a little more sometimes or show her extra patience at times, I love them both with every fiber of my being. I want him to know that I am equally proud of them for what they accomplish and who they are, regardless of how different they might be.

Ryan gave me a huge blessing- he made me a mommy and so he will always hold that special spot in my heart, just for him. And Lauren made me grow up and learn who I am, who I can be and how to truly love unconditionally and so she was always hold that special spot in my heart, just for her.

It was such an emotional conversation for me and it took place in about 30 seconds. I'm sure I messed it up, didn't say everything I meant to tell him and maybe even confused him. But being their mom means I get to show them every day how special each of them are. I get to show them how much I love them and how much I celebrate their difference and take joy in their similarities.

Parenting is a really hard job sometimes but thank GOD I get to have it.