Made it through

Well, I made it through yet another year of NaBloPoMo managing to post every day. This year I definitely thought about it less than usual and there were a couple nights I almost forgot. I guess I really am busier with 4 kids. Shocking.

Anyway, I think I generally do a “what the kids are getting for Christmas” post, so here goes for this year. Mostly I can sum up Kalena and Will’s gifts in one word: LEGOS. Legos have been a huge hit around here lately and I’m a big fan, so there will be many new lego sets under the tree this year.

Will is especially obsessed with Chima Legos, so he’s getting several of these speeder sets:

chima speedorz

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I don’t even know if he’s getting that exact set, but sets like that. I found them at Target for 50% off back in August or something and bought a bunch.

He’s also getting this storage bag to store them all in. (He’s kind of obsessed with the storage bags Brian has for his models, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to love this.)

speedorz bag

{photo from}

Kalena is getting some random Lego sets, because she doesn’t have one specific obsession like Will does. So!

A princess set:

lego jr princess

a Lego Friends set:

lego friends

a Lego Movie set:

lego movie

and a Ninjago set:


{all photos from}

She’s also getting a My Little Pony, and a little learn to stitch set (because she watches me cross stitch and wanted to learn.)

The two of them are getting an Angry Birds Go board game, because the love the app and I came across this on clearance for like $7. Plus they’re each getting an extra car for it as a stocking stuffer.

angry birds go

{photo from}

They’re also each getting a $20 gift card to the Disney store, because I had enough Disney Movie Reward points to get them. How could I say no to free gift cards?!

And because *I* needed it, they’re getting the Research Institute Lego set too.

research institute

{photo from}

In fact, maybe I should just put that under the tree with my name on it.

Daniel, because he loves Elmo, is getting an Elmo stuffed animal, Elmo book, and an Elmo spoon & fork. Plus some bristle blocks. Oh, and because she’s the best, my sister is making him a “basic skills” book- the kind where he can zip a zipper, button a button, put something in a pocket, that sort of stuff.

Lydia needs nothing, but no presents is no fun! She’s getting some stacking cups, a couple soft books, a twisty teething toy, and, because sometimes I’m sentimental, a glow worm. (I had one I loved as a little kid.)

Oh, and all the kids are getting pjs in their stockings. I know lots of people do new Christmas pjs on Christmas Eve, but 1) I’m not a fan of opening gifts before Christmas morning and 2) only Lydia’s are actually Christmas pjs. Kalena’s are My Little Pony, Will’s are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Daniel’s are bears. Anyway, there you have it! I still don’t know which gifts will be from Santa and which ones will be from us. And I may get each of the big kids a book. I usually do (because books are the BEST) but I haven’t yet. Also, I ordered a couple movies from Disney Movie Club recently, and I’ll probably just wrap those up and stick them under the tree too, because why not?

Typing this all out it feels like a lot of stuff. Is it? I didn’t pay full price for any of it (okay, except the Disney movies) but staying in budget doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of gifts. Maybe it just feels like a lot because it’s everything for four kids? I DON’T KNOW. What are your kids getting?



Hurry up and wait

Thanksgiving is over and I am SO ready to decorate for Christmas! But we’re not going to decorate the apartment, because we’ll be moving out of it just a few days before Christmas. Technically our lease here isn’t up until the end of January but I’m packing things up here, not getting them out. Plus I don’t want to drag out the move, so even though we could spend Christmas here if we wanted, I’d much rather spend it in our new house. So I’ll wait.

I’m in a weird sort of waiting place with packing too. I’ve packed up almost everything that we’re not using on a daily basis, and I can’t pack the other stuff yet, because HEY! Using it on a daily basis. I did finish sorting through the kids toys today looking for stuff to get rid of. I feel like the kids have too much stuff, but they play with everything they have, so what do I get rid of? Is this just life with 4 kids? I don’t know.


There are always so, SO many things I’m thankful for. I could list 100 things and not even be close to done. But this year there’s something extra big to be thankful for.

We bought a house!


We’re moving in a few weeks.


sick baby

Lydia is sick again. Just with a cold but, she’s pretty sure it’s the worst thing ever. We’ve learned what kind of sick kid she is too. All kids have their own way of being sick, you know? Will sleeps all day. Kalena is way more likely to puke than the other kids. Daniel gets pathetic and snuggly. Lydia? is our fever baby. Apparently when she gets sick she runs a fever. And then she won’t sleep. It’s all thrashing and fussing and nothing we’ve tried so far makes it better. I’m really not a fan.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post about things I’m thankful for. Tonight I’d be thankful if this baby would go to bed.

9 months already!

Little miss Lydia is 9 months old already! Well, tomorrow. But we had her 9 month well visit today. Here are her stats:

Height:                          26 7/8 inches          25%

Weight:                         16 lbs 13 oz              20%

Head circumference:  17 3/4 inches          75%

So, she continues to be pretty teeny, although moving up! And giant head, because she is our kid you know. Developmentally she is right on target. I won’t lie, it’s kind of nice to be able to answer yes to all the “is she doing ____?” questions.

Sleep has been better. She’s still up a couple times a night, but back to bed right away instead of up for hours at a time. Take what you can get, right?

She’s still adorable too, in case you were wondering.



Thanksgiving stuff

We’re having Thanksgiving with a group of families from church this year. My sisters are hosting most of my immediate family, but they live 11 1/2 hours away soooo, that’s not happening. Anyway, I figured Thanksgiving with a group would be less stressful, right? Less cooking, less prep work, etc. And it WOULD HAVE BEEN less stressful had events gone differently!

Let me back up. I offered to bring stuffing and candied carrots and to make the turkey cookies for the kids to decorate. And then our lovely host sent out an e-mail with a few food gaps that needed filled and I offered to bring apple pie. Last Tuesday I figured I’d bake the cookies and freeze them, make the pie over the weekend and freeze it, then Thursday morning it’d be no problem to do up the stuffing and carrots. Except then I couldn’t find the cookie cutter. I figured that was okay, because I could do the cookies AND the pie over the weekend. Except then I got sick. And spent all weekend in bed. I should have made the cookies today, except I wasn’t in the mood to bake (and we all know that’s what I should be focused on right now, right? Whether or not I’m in the mood to bake?) Anyway, I didn’t. And I have appointments during the middle of the day tomorrow AND Wednesday which leaves me all AAHHHH!! When am I going to make all this stuff?!

Answer: probably tomorrow afternoon.

Of course, I could be doing it RIGHT NOW, but I’m not. Because I’m super smart. Okay, actually it’s because when I’m in the mood to bake it find it relaxing and when I’m not I just get annoyed and when I’m annoyed and baking I do things like burn stuff.


Back to the questions

I promised a couple people in the comments on my questions post that I’d write more about it. And I meant to do that right away, but busy and then sick. So! Getting back to it now.

I didn’t mean to come across in that post as feeling offended by those questions, because I don’t! I just meant that the answers to those particular questions aren’t really informative about what life is actually like with a child with Down syndrome. I think most people ask questions to try to understand more what my life is like, and those questions don’t really answer that. I’m not going to give you a list of questions not to ask, because I’m pretty happy to answer ANY question. AND I’m extra glad when someone feels comfortable enough to ask ME something that might be offensive to someone else, because then I can try to help them avoid that.

Anyway, in regard to the first question, “did you know ahead of time?” I’m not especially fond of that wording because of the subtext that can exist, the unspoken, “would you still have had the baby?” If you want to ask someone this, I recommend asking, “When (or how) did you find out?” which leaves more room for a story to be told. If you ask me when I found out I can explain that the ultrasounds all looked good but that I worried. That I wondered when he opened his eyes. That I knew what the nurse would tell us when she started asking questions. There’s so much more to be said than, “No. No I didn’t know ahead of time.”

Some words on, well, words. Something I read a lot about when I first had Daniel is using “people first” language when talking about people with Down syndrome. For instance, say “a kid with Down syndrome,” instead of “a Downs kid.” I am fairly unbothered by this distinction, although I understand why it’s encouraged. I think people often say something like “the Downs kid” in the same way they’d say “the red head kid” or “the short kid.” It’s a descriptor, and yes, Down syndrome is an easy way to differentiate one kid from many. The problem, I think, comes with the connotations. I think in general you say “Down syndrome” and people jump to the negative. Anyway, the point of “people first” language is that anyone with Down syndrome is a person first. It’s a good message.

April asked if you can think of Down syndrome as being on a scale, and the answer is: not really. Unlike the Autism spectrum, which includes a whole range of conditions, Down syndrome either IS or IS NOT. Either the third copy of chromosome 21 is there or it isn’t. (Yes, I’m ignoring Mosaic Down syndrome here for ease of explanation. It accounts for 2-4% of Down syndrome cases, you can read more about it here, if you’re interested.) Now, YES, there is a range of abilities for people with Down syndrome. Think of it as equivalent to the range of abilities that exists in the typical population. Some people are smarter or more talented. Some people struggle with things that others find easy. Having Down syndrome doesn’t make everyone the same, it just shifts that range over a little. I hope I’m explaining this well. Another thing is, genetics is still playing a big part here too! Which is why Daniel looks so much like Will, even though he has Down syndrome. So genetics will also play a part in the rest of his life too- what he’s good at, what he struggles with, where his talents are- just like it will for our other kids.

And, getting back to the original point of this post (maybe? I think?) Brian and I really encourage all questions about Down syndrome. I’m especially fond of answering scientific questions about what exactly Down syndrome is, or how it happens. (And MAN I’ve had people think some crazy things.) As long as people aren’t being rude I’m good.

So. Any other questions?


Growing up we had several Christmas decorations that we put out every year (as I’m sure everyone did) and one of my very favorites was a little scene with a couple snowmen. Well, a snowman and a snow-woman. It wasn’t fancy, or big, or even especially Christmas-y, but I loved it. I remember feeling happy to see it every year when we pulled it out. As an adult I mentioned this to my mom and she gave it to me! So now I have it in my own Christmas stuff and I love it and I feel happy every year when I get it out.

This year when I first saw Christmas decorations at Target I saw these little birds and thought, “How cute! I should get some!” But I didn’t figure I really needed to be spending money on Christmas decorations so I didn’t. Then the next time I was at Target I checked them out again. You know, to see if they were still cute. And yes, still adorable, but again I didn’t buy them because budget, blah blah blah, responsibility, blah blah blah. But TODAY they were on sale and I just couldn’t resist any more. Because, SO CUTE! See? I love them.



What Christmas decorations do you love?

Impossible to find

Have you ever thought, “Oh, I’ll just run out and get [fill in the blank]” and then quickly discovered that while you THOUGHT [fill in the blank] was a basic thing and would be easy to find, it’s actually nowhere in existence? I’m having one of those experiences.

We’re going to be having Thanksgiving with a group of families here, and since the group includes 18 children (ages 8 months to 14 I think) the host asked us for ideas for activities to keep them busy. I offered to bring sugar cookies and stuff for them to decorate. Because hey! What kid doesn’t like decorating cookies, right? Totally fun. Anyway, I figured I’d be ahead of the game and make the cookies yesterday and freeze them. Except when I went to get my turkey cookie cutter I discovered that WHOOPS, I don’t actually have one. I would have SWORN I had a turkey, but no. (I even called my mom to see if I’d left any cookie cutters there. I mean, I have one of those 100 cookie cutter sets. But also no.) I have a pumpkin, and I know that’s fall-ish, but I really wanted a turkey. I figured that was no problem though, because I’d just run out and get one.

You know where this is going, right? Walmart had ZERO fall cookie cutters. No leaves. No pumpkins. And definitely no turkeys. So I thought, okay, I’ll go to Hobby Lobby. They have a whole aisle of Wilton stuff, surely a turkey cookie cutter is one of those things. But again, NOPE. And on and on. Nothing at Target. Nothing at Bed Bath & Beyond. And obviously it’s too late for me to order one online.

Fortunately, internet to the rescue anyway. My googling informs me that the Crate and Barrel closest to me has one. On clearance even, because who wants Thanksgiving stuff when it’s only a week away AMIRITE?! Anyway. Cookie decorating is saved! Good thing I was actually on top of things for once. This would have been bad if I’d waited until the night before to make them.