Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ian's Obstacle Course

We are going a little crazy with the video function of the camera here.  Ian wanted me to record him on the obstacle course he created in the family room after dinner last night.

Bonus footage of Chase tackling Gavin and me yelling at him to stop are included.

Elmo and Ricky Gervais

I posted this on Facebook, but wanted to be sure it was here, too.  This video of Ricky Gervais singing Elmo a lullaby is hilarious in itself, but watching Chase and Gavin watch it is almost better.  Chase copies all of Elmo's moves- you can see it if you watch closely.  He also tries to get Gavin to do it, too...mostly by pushing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Small Milestones

Chase is growing.  He can fit into some 3T pants!

That is all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a really really nice Thanksgiving this year.  My mom made the pies, the gravy, and the stuffing.  I did the sweet potatoes, mashed taters, pumpkin dinner rolls, turkey, cranberries, and green beans.  For the first time ever, everything was ready at the same time.  Believe it.  We even had time for some outdoor activities:

Overheard from Papa, "Oh, no.  Mom's on the trampoline..."

Bryan carved the bird...which I did a dry brine on, and it turned out really yum (BONUS- no gross turkey-water filled cooler to clean afterwards.)
 The table and the guests (Guy, Uncle Scott, Gaga, Ian)
 Ian again, Papa with his eyes closed, Chase (who is really excited to eat his 4 bites of dinner).
 Look!  We even got to sit next to each other!
 Bryan made me take this picture to document that I am a bad vegetarian and tried some of the turkey.  Okay, okay!  I had like 2 bites!  I am allowed to sample it, because I spent 3 days cooking the dang thing!
 Scott has always been photogenic.
 This is a picture of a very full, very satisfied boy after he inhaled Gaga's pumpkin pie AND apple pie.
 Chase tried the pies, but mostly ate whipped cream.
 Guy is signing for more whipped cream, too.  That was a big hit.
Full bellies here:
 ...and here:

These are from Friday- round 2 of eating and gathering:
 Terrible photo, but Chase was playing a game with Scott on the couch that had something to do with falling off the edge in fits of giggles that was too cute not to try and capture.
*sidenote:  I am sure Scott will want me to add that that is Rachel's laptop covered in girly stickers, not his.
 Gaga and Papa brought a 500 piece puzzle to keep everyone occupied:
 Puzzlemania lasted well into the night...and, yes, we finished it.  

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  Hope everyone had as much to be thankful for as we did :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's time to plant the tulips!

This was sent to me by a friend in our local DSAC group...she reminded everyone to think about the Welcome to Holland piece while viewing the photographs.

Holland really is beautiful, isn't it?  I know I have rough days, and sometimes still get sad about the things that Chase isn't quite able to do yet...but then I have to step back and realize that he is NOT like everyone else, nor is he meant to be.  God absolutely has different plans for him, and for us as well.  Holland is NOT Italy, and I am glad for it.  Because I would have missed out on all of these amazing blooms...

Pre Thanksgiving Things to Do

Let the kids make themselves breakfast:

Skewer cheerios and spice gumdrops, stick into an apple and serve.

 (Porter ate his before I could get a photo)

That's healthy, right?

Actually, Andey, Ian and Porter made the gumdrop ones.  Kenna opted for a whole-grain version (and also ran out of the house with it before I could take a picture, apparently!).

Right.  So.  I guess I should start cooking something that the rest of us can eat tomorrow...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Different Christmas Shopping

I love love love shopping online (have YOU tried shopping in real life with 3 boys 5 and under?!?) and I'm branching out from my usual Amazon.com tactic. This year I've spent a lot of time thinking about how truly lucky we are to have everything that we have.   

I'd like to get gifts that are cool, but also have some sort of impact on charities.  I know it is little stuff, but it's also pretty incredible to find unique gifts for good causes.  I bought some cool jewelry for my nieces and nephews on Fair Trade Gifts (and ok, I may have bought these for myself, too).

I am also going to get some Rock On shirts from Andrew Banar (who happens to have Ds) with Group Hug Apparel, who divides his profits amongst saving for his college tuition and donating to local charities.

And don't forget about Always Happy Life, who chooses a different charity to donate to each month.  They carry fun t-shirts, onesies, bibs, and other apparel.  

I'll keep adding worthy stores as I come across them.  Anyone else have more suggestions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Momentous Occasion

Just as I was about to investigate the possibility of ordering replacement balls for the ball popper toy that Guy loves so much...I found them.

I have turned the house upside down twice looking for 3 of the 5 missing balls, and had decided that they were most likely thrown away since we keep the trash can out of the pantry now and little hands can sneak things in when I am not looking.

But today, I did a quick pick up of Ian's room, and found them- all 3 of them- tucked behind his little art desk.

Good day, today.  It is a GOOD day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recipes I Forgot

My mom taught me how to make an awesome lasagna.  I made one for a friend today...and can't remember when the last time was that I made it for my own family.  Oops.

So I made an extra for us for tomorrow night when I have a date with my Ds mommies for wine and cupcakes (best Mom's Night Out ever).

I decided I need to work on a recipe recovery program...I need to go through my cookbooks to figure out what I've made before that I can put back into rotation.  I am terrible at planning meals, and more often than not end up throwing things together because they are in the pantry and not necessarily that they go together.  They often turn out good, but when they do I have a really hard time duplicating it.

Eh.  Anyway.  This is not the most exciting post ever.

Funny story:  I packed the meal up to bring to my friend, loaded the kids in the car for Ian's Kung Fu class, fully intending on going straight from the class, through the Sonic Drive Thru (don't judge.  Every once in a while a kid needs a grilled cheese and an order of tots.), and on to Mindi's house to see her new baby, then straight home to bed for the boys.  I was so proud of myself for remembering every detail to make this plan work.  Then I realized that my wallet was still at home.

So, that fracked up my whole plan.  No money for dinner OR for gas, and not enough time to go back to the house and then double back up to Ft Mill.  Ian whined at me the entire way home because he wanted to "play with Drew and Annabelle so so so so so so so so so so badly."  And I kept repeating in my head (and out loud) that I was so sorry, and that we simply CANNOT go, not because I am mean, but because I can't remember anything.  Ever.

Oy.  I put the lasagna in the freezer and we will try again on Thursday afternoon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Lot

We spent a gorgeous day out at The Lot on Saturday, where someday, someday soon, my parents will build a beautiful log home, with a loft and a porch, a basement, and a big fireplace to gather around.

For now, we have a tarp, a plastic table and chairs, a fire pit, and a giant swing :)

There is still plenty to do, as they have been clearing the land on their own, and there are bugs and snakes, plants and dirt, a creek, and big rock piles to explore.  The kids LOVE it out there, and really, Bryan and I do, too.  It is a shame that we don't get out there more often.  I guess, now that Guy is walking, it is a little easier to be out there all together, and we need to make a better effort into making time to go.

Here's a video of Ian on the swing-  I rode it too...it's pretty awesome.

No pictures, please.
 Guy loved 'flying'.
 Papa made the most perfect marshmallow fire.
 Proof that I was there.
 Guy is mad because I won't let him hold his own roasted marshmallow.  It's ok...Gaga gave him one later that he smeared and squished all over himself.
 Ian and Gaga and his Giant Root.
Chasey wanted to "oooh rocks?"  (throw rocks)
 Gavin wanted to eat rocks.
Men, men, men, men.
 Look at that sky! The camera couldn't capture the fall colors well enough, but they were beautiful.  Gavin and I took some time to lay on the blanket.  Ok, I tried to lay on it, he spent most of his time crawling over me and bouncing on my stomach.
 Love this photo.
 This one, too.  I so rarely capture Chase's eyes.
 Action shot:  Chase throws a handful of dirt on Guy's head.
 No worries.  Gavin likes dirt on his head.  Also in his belly button, which he put there himself.  Seriously.  Boys!
I love this one of Ian.  He is just so big and independent. 
Awesome way to spend a Saturday :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Ds presentation follow up

I met one of the parents of Ian's classmates yesterday at the dance.  She started talking to me about our Ds presentation, and said that her son came home so excited to tell her about what he had learned...and even showed her the activities that I did with the kids.  She said that Mitch never has more than 2 words to say about his day, so this was truly incredible.  ALSO he was in the preschool class last year as a peer pal, and was friends with another little boy who had Ds..and it wasn't until now that anything clicked, or there was ever any understanding about Down syndrome.

It was pretty awesome, hearing actual feedback from a parent and knowing that our message made it out of the classroom and home with the kids.  Because not only did I want to reach the kids to give them some understanding in the hopes that it will lead to acceptance, but there is a whole generation of parents out there that has a really outdated understanding of Ds that needs to be addressed and changed.  

Conversations with Chase

Typical conversation with Chase:

C:  Mommy?  Milk?
M:  Hi Chase.  You already had milk.  No more milk now.
C:  Cheese?
M:  You want cheese?
C:  (big smile)  Okay.  heads to refrigerator

He does this all the time.  He will try so hard to use his words, and he is getting pretty good at it.  I can understand most of the time what he is asking for, but I usually say it back to him to confirm...and every time I get it right, he smiles and says, "Okay."  Like, great idea, Mom!  I would like some cheese!

Another one happened yesterday at the lot with my parents.  He was sitting on top of a giant pile of rocks, and kept saying, "mumbly-mumbly-mumble mumble oooh rocks?"  And I said, "You want to throw rocks?"  and he got that huge smile and said, (you guessed it) "Okay!"

More things he is doing, speech-wise:
*possessives- as in "Guy Guy milk?"  "Chasey milk."
*when he gets excited about something, he says, "oh!!! oh!!  ______ fill in the noun", as in "oh! oh!  Cookie!"
*consoling- when anyone is upset, especially Gavin, he will pat them on the back and say, "It's okay, Guy."
*singing- he doesn't get all the words, but he definitely is starting to try to sing along with the radio, the tv, and finger play songs...mostly he gets the ends of phrases.  I even see him anticipating the words/sounds, so now he is almost on target instead of 3 beats behind. He is also doing the hand movements and dance moves that he sees- too awesome.

Oh, and a side note to all of this:  He just came up to me, asked to sit on my lap ("Eck-You?"  which means "Carry you?" in Chase-speak) and hung out with me as I typed.  After he left, I discovered a chunk of already chewed cheese on my chair.  He is so lucky he is cute, because that is simply gross.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Cards

Before I was too busy to think, and had actual time to start and finish projects, I spent hours and hours stamping Christmas cards for all my closest friends and relatives.  And even though it was fun, and I mostly did it with my friends (so it was really a thinly disguised excuse for eating junk food and gabbing)...I can't even imagine being able to set time aside for that anymore.

It morphed from hand stamping individual cards, to hand stamping 100 of the same card, to sticking a photo of our family onto a hand stamped card, then a photo stuck into a store bought photo frame card, and finally, I sucked it up last year and ordered those picture postcards from WalMart.  Oh!  And I forgot about the time I went green (or procrastinated too long to do anything else) and send a holiday eCard.  For shame.

BUT this year, it will be different!  Because have you seen the cards at shutterfly.com?!?  They look like I spent hours on them (but only you and I will know it took less than five minutes of clicking!  Shhh.  Don't tell!)

I was thinking about something like this, so I could put a photo of each boy in each little window (because you know how difficult it is to get them all looking the same way at the same time in one photo together).

Or maybe something like this, if the magic happens and I can get them all in one happy family shot:

OR, even better, I could even do my Christmas shopping and get these sweet ornaments for the grandparents:

I don't know.  I will have to get my camera out and see what kind of photos the boys are interested in posing for, and then see what strikes my fancy on Shutterfly.  You know I will post the results, but will make every effort to actually mail the cards out before Christmas :)

Also, bloggers, if you haven't heard yet, Shutterfly is giving 50 free prints to you!  Follow this link to get yours:
Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly. Sign up: http://bit.ly/sfly2010http://bit.ly/sfly2010 

Thank you to Kacey Bode at Ella Grace with the Pretty Face for recommending Shutterfly to me!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things I Found in the Boxes on the Top Shelf in the Garage

I did some cleaning/reorganizing/purging yesterday in the garage.  Those things should be illegal- garages, I mean.  Or basements, for that matter.  You should not be ALLOWED to store THAT much crap for THAT long.

I really went in to find a long lost Geoboard from my elementary teaching days because Ian told me about how he used one at school and loved it so much...but, alas, I found no Geoboards in my many many boxes.  I did, however, find many interesting things:

*Bryan's Pepsi License to Chill
*An 8th grade class photo
*The book my 4th graders wrote giving tips to my next class (one page is titled How to Suck Up to Your Teacher)
*My prize box from my classroom, complete with 5 year old LifeSavers
*My copy of The Witches, which I used countless times in my class, and I started reading to Ian this morning over breakfast...he loves it so far, but was very concerned that Witches are really REALLY real
*Halloween items that I bought on sale LAST year for use THIS year
*Seven sprinklers
*a box full of baby bottles and sippy cups that were non-BPA free (guess I probably can't sell those now, huh?)
*2 poorly made coffee mugs from my pottery class 6 years ago (8years?  Idk)
*ten thousand glass jars we are saving for honey season (Bryan has very high hopes for a good flow!)
*2 full boxes of wire, various lengths, widths, and purposes
*the case for possibly the world's first portable computer
*the prototype of the 21st century car from the 1991 GM World of Motion brochure from Epcot Center

*Photos of Bryan and his brother Todd in what I can only assume to be Halloween costumes (I hope) when they were about 8

(Todd looks natural in those heels, doesn't he?  Honestly, I don't think I could pull off that look better than that  Bryan, however, looks butch at best.  Sorry, honey.)

Fun stuff.  Also good to free up a couple of shelves in there for more junk that I need space for...*sigh*

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Morning Moments

This morning the littles slept in, and of course, instead of sleeping in myself, I am up at 6:30 because, well, I don't know.  Just because.

I spent some time reading and drinking coffee in the quiet of the resting house, which was heaven.  I think that is my most favorite way to wake up...slowly- not hitting the ground running, which is usually the way it happens.

Ian came and joined me next.  I so love that kid.  He was in the greatest mood ever.  The rest of this post is going to be filled with Ianisms.

He was wearing shorts, short sleeves, and no socks (it is like 60 in the house).  I suggested he put some slippers on, and he exclaimed, "Thanks for reminding me, Mom!"

I made him some hot chocolate and stuck some marshmallows on top.  When I set it down in front of him, he looked at it with eyebrows up and said, "Mmmm!  Extra marshmallows!  Thank you, Mom!"  And then he went to take a sip, but first he used a spoon to scootch the marshmallows to the side, telling them sternly, "Go over there, you little marshmallows.  I am saving you for last!"

He decided he was going to take time this morning to draw his friend Andey a picture.  So he sat at the little table and set up his little work station, and I moved my comfy chair over to hang with him.  He drank his hot chocolate, colored and asked me how to spell things.  I drank my coffee and watched.  He told me all about how he does NOT draw stick people any more, and next week at school he is going to start drawing his people with necks.  He told me how before he uses his Root Beer scented Smencil, he always smells it once, like this, "sssssnnnnnniiiiiifffffff."  He asked me what color I thought the sleeves of Andey's shirt should be.

When he was done, he slurped the rest of his hot chocolate, put his mug in the sink, and told me about how he just wanted to give me the biggest hug EVER but he knows that he can't give really hard hugs to me because he doesn't want to hurt me...but that he would still give me a big hug right after he wipes the chocolate 'stash from his face.

And later, after he delivered his drawing to Andey, he and the Larsen crew decided to play outside together.  He came in briefly because he was "soooo freezing out there" and needed some gloves.  I tried to convince him to put on, perhaps, a sweatshirt and long pants, but he declined and settled on this little ensemble:
And then the little guys woke up, and I had to document the really awesome way that Chase and Guy like to sit at their little table for their meals now.
This happened to be when Chase was singing along to the Mail Song on Blue's Clues that was on in the background.  I accidentally cut off his jazz hand up there.  Another bit of cuteness that I did not capture was after this, when I gave Guy a bowl of grapes, and they sat there, across the table from each other, Guy doling out the grapes one at a time (or as Ian would say, One At-EEE Time) and Chase telling him "thank you" and "you're welcome" after each one.  Adorable, I say.

I love moments like these.  How lucky am I to have this experience?