Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Children of the corn

We're in NY at Little GG's house, here to stay for a bit while she is in the hospital.

Kids are good at taking your mind off things.  I'm sitting here watching the boys in the cornfield out back,  thinking about how if GG was here,  she'd be watching us from the kitchen window and laughing.

We have good memories here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer lovin': jammin'

We have to make enough strawberry jam to last us through the school year,  so I enlisted help.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Camp Papagaga

Where there are sticks and rocks and dirt, Chase is happy.  He doesn't want me near him,  so I am sitting on a fallen tree trunk at a Chasey-approved distance, taking secret photos of him while he plays in the woods in back of my parents' house.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Ms Margaret-Ann brought Ian to another Charlotte Eagles game tonight, and she got the players to sign his shirt. He is one thrilled little soccer fan.

Buddy Walk- Save the Date!

So, last year, with all the hullabaloo about Ukraine and whatnot (seriously- did we really DO that?!?)...we totally missed the Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Well, we had our reps there..the amazing Larsen family, who not only brought their ginormous family, but our kids, too (remember?).  But, it's not the same as actually being there, right?

It's all good, though.  Because it's time to start thinking about Buddy Walk 2012 already!

We will officially be walking this year as a family with 278 chromosomes (figure that one out!), so especially if you haven't had a chance to meet our newest Maddex, Zeke, please be sure to save the date- October 6th- and be a part of our team.  We walk to spread awareness of Down syndrome- to promote the opportunities available to a population who has had to fight for the right for the life that you live every day.

Saturday October 6th.  Freedom Park.  Fun for all, even if you only have 46 chromosomes.

More info to come about joining our team :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Note on Schooling in the Fall

I'm not going to go all into details about this one, because of confidentiality of our mediation agreement with the school, but I also wanted to get some thoughts out there about Kindergarten for Chase and Zeke.

1- Both kids are going to need more support than the typical kindergartner.
2- School is there to prepare children for entrance into the real world.
3- Our priority is that Chase and Zeke will be included with the rest of their peers from day one of school.
4- The law says that we need to exhaust every support available before changing the classroom setting to a more restrictive environment.  That is all we asked for for the boys.

I don't presume to be an expert on all things educational.  I don't know if we are making the right decision by placing them in a regular education setting with an EC assistant.  

I do know that there is extensive research about the benefits of inclusion (when provided with appropriate supports), and that I can't settle on anything else until we've tried this path.  I also know it might not look like the path that someone else chooses for their child, and that's ok.  We're all trying to navigate through this special-needs parenting thing the best way that we can.

I hate that there is no perfect solution, and that (like it or not) funding is limited in the school system.

I wish there was more time for teacher training, more money for programs and lower class sizes.  But it is what it is.

This year should be interesting.  I'm planning on some serious communication with their teacher to make sure everyone has the best chance possible for success.  I'll keep you updated :)

A real honest-to-goodness post!

So, yeah. I'm still here.

 The working, the mom-ing, and the wife-ing...not to mention the moving, the unpacking, and the potty-training...well, it all leaves very little time to actually sit down and compose a string of coherent thoughts. Being a teacher is super nice this time of year, though, even though I don't really have a job to go back to in the fall...

 We're in full-swing summer here, though, and thankfully, the three littles are worn out enough with our crazy bucket list of summer activities that by 1pm they will all still take a nap.

 Yeah. Potty training. Chase is the last hold out. Truthfully, I'm about to lose my sh*t here. The house is covered in towels, wet and dry. There are little underwears scattered everywhere. Chase doesn't want to wear a diaper, a pull up, or the Buzz Lightyear unders I got for him, but he also does not particularly want to let loose on the potty, either.

 He WILL, however, sit on the potty and eat M&Ms all day long. Oh, and pee outside on the dirt. Or on the pile of rocks. I did catch him midstream today and run through the house, carrying him by the armpits, to sit him on the toilet for the last remaining squirts.

 We celebrated that one a LOT.

 It's all very glamorous here.

 Trying to balance the needs of one kid (who needs to be about 6 inches away from a potty all day long) and the rest of the kids (who need to be running around outside or at a water park somewhere) is really, really hard. I'm trying to do as many at-home special things that I can (water balloons and Popsicles this afternoon, marble races last week) and putting the PTing on pause every once in a while in order to hit Carowinds. I know that isn't the most consistent move I can make, but we all have to make some concessions here. (Ahem, Chase, you are not the center of the universe here, DUDE.)

 Anyway. I'd love your suggestions about potty training your child with Ds, mild sensory disorder, and basic stubborn-as-all-get-out attitude. Don't tell me about Cheerios, character underpants, rewards for every step of the potty process.

 I need something new. Like magic. If anyone has a magic potty wand, I'd pay good money for that right now. And it's only really day 2. *sigh*

That all sounds very negative.  I want to end by saying, "YAY SUMMER!  I really do enjoy being with my kids.  Just not the pee part."

Summer Lovin'- balloon ping pong

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The after school/homework/dinner/bedtime routine here since school resumed after spring break has become especially hellacious.  Like, 'I'm screaming SERENITY NOW in my head for 3 straight hours' kind of hellaciousness.

So, after a particularly rough afternoon, which stretched into the evening hours, in which Ian spent an estimated 3.5 hours making excuses instead of doing his homework (which should take 30 minutes)...I decided to chat with him before he went to bed.  This is how it went:

Me:  Ian, today I was very very frustrated because you chose not to do your homework.  I asked you a zillion times to get busy on it, and you always found something else to do.  We've tried a timer, rewards, and even losing your allowance, but nothing seems to work.  What should we do?

Ian: I don't know.  But I will try really hard to just sit down and do my homework right after school next time.  Oh, and hey, Mommy!  Guess what?  I really really really wish that Blue Dog had a scent like Chasey's new Lotso cinnamon stick or something.  Because it is really unfair that he gets a stuffed animal that smells like strawberries and none of mine smell like that.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

(365:?) Yellow bird

Guy told me: Push me high, mom. I wanna fly like a yellow bird!

(365:?) How much you've grown!

Surely this daredevil isn't the same child who was content to sing songs as he gently swung on the orphanage swings...?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paying it Forward...

When we were stuck in Ukraine for an extra long time, a fellow adoptive momma and blogger helped us raise a bunch of extra money to help with the added expense.  Now she's doing it again for another family.

Would you please, please consider donating just $10 to the Greeson family in their quest to adopt Mila from Russia?  They are facing an appeal and extra expenses...and they don't need to be worrying about covering the cost while they face that stress.

Visit Tesney's blog, Minivans and Mom Jeans, to help.  They have a raffle going to win a really awesome hummingbird necklace by Funky Fish Designs (truthfully, I don't want to tell you that part because it decreases my chances of winning, but that is how dedicated I am to helping this family as they face the same circumstances that we did in Ukraine!)

(365:56) playdough Saturday

Saturday, February 11, 2012

(365:42) Birthday cupcakes

Zeke was not happy about getting fronting on his hands...!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ian is 7 and Chase "reads"!

Oh, my WORD.

Two great things today:
1- Ian turned 7.  Holy smokes.  I have a seven year old.

...and he is amazing.  What an incredible boy he is- kind, patient, loving, smart, headed at times, a champion procrastinator, and the best big brother to his "littles".

So, yeah.  He had a great day.  It started with 7 balloons on his ceiling when he woke up, then a Toaster Strudel (did you know they have a Boston Cream flavor now??!) and hot chocolate breakfast, a new BeyBlade, a half day at school (where he forgot to pass our the $20 of cupcakes that I sent in with him) and finally, Bryan picked him up and took him out to see Star Wars 3D- complete with the biggest tub of popcorn, a hot dog, his very own soda, and 3 boxes of candy.

I have one happy seven-year-old tonight.

2.  While the big boys were out, the triplets and I stayed home.  The evening was pretty normal, until we sat upstairs in Chase and Zeke's room for bedtime stories.  Then two things happened:
         a.) all of them sat still and listened to the books.
         b.) Chase "read" a book to us!

I know, I know, I know.  He wasn't really reading it.  But he was showing HUGE pre-reading behaviors.  He tracked print, he followed left to right, he said the memorized words, and he reacted to the story.  Total awesomeness.

This was the book (which really is quite hilarious):

I caught him on video because he kept reading it over and over again.  The video is a little long, and it wasn't his best run-through...but he and Gavin and Zeke are so freaking adorable that it is worth 4 minutes and 30 seconds of your life.

This moment is so important for me, because with Chase- he is just so stubborn and hard headed that I sometimes wonder if anything that we do really sinks in.  Yeah, we read a lot to him, and we speak in full sentences with him, and we encourage imaginative play, and try to enforce positive behavior with him...but just by nature, it takes a LOT of repetition to see results.  I sometimes wonder if I'm doing the right things, or doing as much as I need to do.

This is a confirmation of the path that we are on.  I'm so proud of him...and me, too.  And his teachers.  We're all pretty awesome.

(365:41) happy 7th birthday Ian!