Thursday, January 29, 2009

Glorious Days and Nights

When I woke up this morning I had the wonderful thought that it was the first time at least since Justin was born that I went to bed at the time I wanted, woke up at the time I wanted, and nothing in between! It was truly glorious!

And yesterday we had no therapy appointments and I was just party-planning, so we stayed home and did...nothing! I did take food to a friend who just had a baby, and Travis helped me cook, but other than that, we played and read books and talked and just were a family. There were lots of things I COULD have done, but I decided the few days with no pressing obligations should be cherished, and so we did. It was glorious!

And Travis has not had a potty accident for two nights, but he has made up for it by peeing on me and all over his clothes each of the past two days. I think I almost prefer the night bed changes because then there is none on me. And there is less laundry. It is an automatic reaction for me to try to keep the pee in the potty when I see it flying rather than get out of the way because if I can keep it down it doesn't fly everywhere and make an even bigger mess. So I almost throw my hands and body toward the pee in a containment effort. It has to be funny if ever there would be anyone watching, but I think that probably won't ever happen, so it will just have to be imagined how we look. The first few times Travis thought this was funny, but he has since learned I do not think it's as funny as he does, so he is quick to apologize. So that may not be quite as glorious, but I am SO thankful that I do not have to change Travis' diapers anymore. THAT is glorious!

The boys have been playing so well together. Justin reaches for Travis and watches him play. I can tell he wants to join, and I know it will be soon. Travis likes climbing in Justin's crib after his naps, and then he plays with the toys that are attached to the sides of the crib. Yesterday they were playing with the butterfly that makes music when you pull the ring at the bottom. Justin just likes biting on it, but Travis likes making music so they had to share. Travis pulled the ring and Justin chewed on it. And Travis helped Justin chew on it. It was great fun! And glorious too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's Up

I am sorry for not writing sooner. There hasn't been a whole lot going on. Nothing of real note anyway. But here's a few things we have been doing:

  1. We caught another possum. We catch and release, far away from our home, across busy roads. Randy says if they can find their way back, they can stay. I'm not sure how he knows if it's the same possum. We certainly don't mark them.
  2. More insurance woes. We started our new insurance and it doesn't appear to be paying for therapy the way we thought it would. So instead of $3.61 it is $25 per session. And we will probably be cut off after 25 visits. At our current rate that will be about mid March. I asked Justin's therapist today if she felt we could cut back and still get benefit and not lose ground. She was confident that we could, and so we will probably cut back to prolong our sessions. If he regresses we can pick back up, but then the rest of the year we would have to pay out of pocket. I think it's somewhere between $100 and $125 per session. More than we want to pay, but we trust that if it's necessary, God will provide.
  3. I am in the throes of planning Big T's birthday party! It is a Disney Car's theme party. He is very excited. It is a bit tough explaining that while yes, his birthday is not until next month, his party is this month. We got a present in the mail today and he followed me around the house whining about opening the box. "But I REALLY want to open it!" Oh, well if you REALLY want to do it, then it's okay. That is the exception to "no".
  4. Justin is sleeping like a champ! I decided to start keeping track of his eating and sleeping to see if I could see anything that needed to be changed to help him sleep better, but as soon as I started keeping track, he started sleeping. Apparently the subtle threats worked. I wish I knew how...
  5. When we started letting Travis sleep without diapers, we still got him up before we went to bed to go to the bathroom to avoid excessive potty accidents during the night. Well, we stopped that on New Year's Eve because we were afraid the fireworks would keep him up. He did great for a while, but he has these spells where every few days he will have 2 or 3 nights of accidents in a row. I got tired of doing laundry, so I made him wear a diaper the other night. He hasn't worn a diaper in about 2 1/2 months, so it was hysterical watching him walk with it on! He kept pulling at it and saying that it felt funny. But no accident. So I let him go without, but told him he had to wash his laundry if he had an accident. So last night I got the call, "Mommy, I pee-peed in my bed!" Why doesn't he ever call Daddy?? So we change the sheets, and it was laundry day today so I caved and didn't make him wash the sheets. But if he has an accident tonight, there will be laundry duty in his future! I think we will go back to waking him before we go to bed to take him to the bathroom.

That's about all. This will be a big weekend: 2 parties!! Travis and SUPERBOWL. We are huge football fans, and Travis was actually due on Superbowl Sunday 2006, but it is my belief that he came early so he could watch the game with us. I told him that I would be watching the game even if I was in labor, so it would do him better to avoid that day. Very thoughtful, wasn't he?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo Session

When Travis was 6 months old, my sister moved in with us for a few months. The exciting thing for me was that it meant a new photographer had moved in, and the hope that maybe I would get to be in some pictures with my baby. She has a knack for catching some odd moments.

So this was one of her first photo sessions with Travis:

And then the other night she got a few more choice shots:

We can call this the preparation for Travis' upcoming birthday, now less than 2 weeks away!!

We Caught Another Coon!

Yep, we got the trap out again and in a week we caught a possum, a cat, and another raccoon!

Our yard appears to be on some sort of trail that leads cross country or something, but we have animals that have dug holes under two sides of our fence, and they come through and dig up our yard as they pass through. So Randy set the trap right by one of the holes and the second night we caught the possum. Travis calls it a hippopotamus. Two nights later it was a cat (we let him go right away with a stern warning). And then this morning I was getting dressed for work and I heard banging and I didn't know what it was. Randy said he thought we caught something in our trap. It's almost as good as a birthday present! We are getting our own little zoo going. Travis is quite enjoying it too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day

I knew this would be a busy day, and I was prepared for that. We had to leave the house by 7:50 am and we probably wouldn't be home until about 5 pm. Each person requires three things to be prepared to leave the house: clothes, breakfast, and potty. I was hurrying around the house checking on how things were going: one boy dressed, eating breakfast now, I need clothes, other boy needs a diaper... I was dressing myself thinking that I should come up with some system of knowing how the day was going to be based on how much time I was able to spend getting myself ready. (And I did get up early to get dressed before the boys woke up, mind you, but someone forgot to tell a certain little boy that just because mommy was up doesn't mean it was time for HIM to be up too.) Like if all I get is hair combed and teeth brushed, that's the bottom tier, but if I get all the way to perfume, then it's a date night! So I was pondering this as I headed back into the kitchen and Travis says, "Mommy, you look pretty. Your hair is hanging nice." And he repeated this several times. Well that TOTALLY made up for it being a lowest-tier day! Completely unprompted and everything. That was so sweet, and I had to say that was from God, because I really wasn't feeling that bad or hurried, but that was a great reminder of who matters and that the day may be busy, but it was all good and truly what I was supposed to be doing. I would like to think that while I was wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt, Travis was responding to the inside and how that looked, because I know for sure at his age, that is what matters SO much more.

So then we were out the door and one of my stops was delivering some meat from Meat Day. My friend invited me in for a cup of tea, and since Justin was sleeping I stayed for a minute. It made me think of that story about the professor who does the demonstration putting large rocks in a jar and then asks his students if it is full and when they say yes, he adds smaller rocks. And then he continues with gravel, and then sand, and then in one version he pours his cup of tea in at the end. He then asks what the point is and they say that there is always room for something more and he says no, there is always time for a cup of tea. That's my short version anyway. So I was thinking how much there was to do and in the midst of it, before the day was too far gone, I had my cup of tea.

The day went great, and I wasn't hurried or stressed and we even finished early and Justin got a nap at home finally. I got some laundry done (Justin helped).

We ate leftovers (NO doughnuts!) and played a bit before bath and bed. I think I might even have another cup of tea tonight...

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I am sorry for my lack of recent posts. I woke up at 3 am this week and couldn't move. Really. Then Justin started crying and I had to wake Randy and tell him that he needed to get Justin and then get me. I wasn't sure I could get up, much less pick up Justin or even drive to the chiropractor to get fixed. By morning I felt a bit better and I could get up, but not much else. It was definitely a sweat pants day! I spent a lot of time on the couch laying on the heating pad, but not much else. Fortunately, it was a day we didn't have therapy, but I don't feel like our schedule allows for much "wiggle room", and that just reinforced what I had been thinking.

I am struggling a bit with having a routine. Or not having a routine. Or sometimes wanting a routine and then fighting the constraints of the routine. We have therapy either 3 or 4 times a week, and I am trying to get back to the gym, and I work a couple of days a week. And I want to have some playdates, or do some shopping at places other than the grocery store or Wal-mart. And then there's the regular things like cleaning, laundry, ironing, and cooking meals. I am not sure how to make it all happen. If I cut back on therapy, will I compromise Justin's progress? (Which of course may happen anyway when we get hit with the "medical necessity" clause in our insurance contract.) I want to be a homemaker like God wants me to be, but I also want to plan a great birthday party for Travis when he hits the big 3! I want to contribute to the family (work) but I also want to spend time as a family, with all four of us. The only day that happens now is Sunday, and we have church all morning and small group at night. That leaves nap time that we are together. I don't think sleeping counts as being together!

Is it just a phase that I need to accept and know that it will change as the boys grow? Or is it important to establish the family time and the priority early? I am not certain. I guess it's really just the working mom/stay-at-home mom controversy, with a few more complications.

In some ways for me it boils down to trust. Do I trust that God will do what he promises to do? (Take care of me.) What is my response to that promise? And what does trust look like? Is trusting mean that he will make it possible for me to work? Or do I let go of that safety net and fall into God's arms and let him carry me? I always have more questions than answers. I pray that God will make it clear. Every time I feel like it's time to let go of work, something happens that makes it easier for me to keep going. Now it's just the weeks that are hard. I just thank God for making Travis the way he did. He loves going to therapy and when it's not a therapy day, he is sad. I have amazing friends who take Travis to play and he happily goes with them. I just want the best for my family. I don't want to settle for good, and the best is being in line with God's plan. It's just sometimes hard to hear what God is saying when what I want is screaming in my head!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Night Light- I love you!

It has been 3 nights (not counting the first night) of the night light and I am in love! I haven't seen Travis before 6:30 am and this morning it was closer to 6:40! He is happy and excited and wants to show me the sun. I cannot tell you enough how great this invention is. It might seriously be the best money we have spent (next to Justin's heart surgery!) My next request is how to help babies learn about the sun! Justin has been up and down from 5 am every morning and often during the night as well. But at least it's only one boy and not both.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Night Light- The Second Night

Travis did awesome! He came out of his room at 6:30 and said, "Mommy! See the sun! I can get up now!" Yes you can, Travis! Randy asked him if he had woken up before the sun turned on and he said yes, but he didn't come out of the room. Who knows for sure, but I was pleased with the results anyway. So far, I am a big fan!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's Here!!!

Travis' new night light arrived yesterday and he loves it!

He was so excited to open it up and see it. We read the directions and got it set for bedtime (8 pm) and wake up time (6:30 am). He went to sleep very quickly. And happily. The light is supposed to fade a bit after an hour or so. When we went to bed, Randy got a big smile on his face and said, "I want to go up and see what it looks like now." I think he was as excited as Travis!

The results: My mom was in town and she got up to go to the bathroom at 6:02 and Travis heard the noise and woke up and started crying, which he doesn't normally do. When I went up to him, he wanted me to stay until the sun turned on. I didn't stay the whole time, but he came out of his room at 6:30 and yelled, "Come see mommy, it's a sun!!! I can get up now?" We'll have to continue our test tonight...

Octopus- Part 2

So I went to work and my mom was in town to help Randy with the boys. Travis brought out his new books for Nana to read. Randy was in the other room and she was reading along and then she just stopped. After a little bit Randy went in and saw that her eyes were all red and she was crying a bit. Randy said, "Oh, so I guess you don't know about the book..."

I got in trouble when I got home!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Picture DayS

We went to take nine month pictures of Justin this week. I say this week because we went 3 times to try to get pictures. Pictures with Justin smiling. It didn't happen. Not even one smiling picture. I have never felt like such a failure as a parent before today. Okay, so I probably have, but today is looming so large I cannot think of anything else.

One of the things I hoped to accomplish with this blog was to be real and honest so people can see both the bad and the good of our lives. Today was one of the bad days. Nothing seemed to go right and I pushed the kids beyond what I knew was good to get everything done. And at the end of the day was pictures. You know it wasn't going to be good. I did end up with some decent pictures, but not enough to get the CD so I could post some here. But by the time we were heading home it was almost 6 pm and the boys take a bath at 6:30 and they hadn't eaten dinner. I rushed home and got some food out for Justin and I didn't know what I was going to feed Travis. Then I remembered that I had been to the bread store earlier and we had gotten a treat for daddy (and Travis). And that was how I fed Travis a doughnut for dinner. I meant to give him an apple or yogurt, but he didn't want either, and I wasn't in the mood to press him. He loved it, and the night was saved. I still remember the time my mother gave us cherry pie for breakfast. (It does have fruit after all!) Maybe Travis will remember the time he got a doughnut for dinner. I just have a strange feeling it won't just be "the" (ie. only) time.

And after all that, the only good part of pictures was that Justin sat up the WHOLE time. I did pick him up ocassionally, but he never fell over. And here is the picture from home to prove it:

He is up to at least 10 mins. sitting up, and he can even reach for toys without falling over. I am so excited that he can sit up in the bathtub now. The boys were both splashing away tonight. Justin was getting water in his face, but I am not sure if he realized that HE was the one doing it!

Nine Month Check Up

We went in today for Justin's nine month well-baby check-up. Travis made very certain everyone knew we were NOT there for him because he is not three yet. While he knows his birthday is in February, he doesn't know that it's the month right after January. We'll be there for him soon enough!

Justin is up to 13 lbs, 8 ozs. which puts him in the less than 5th percentile, on the DS chart. The doctor is fine with that because it follows the same line he was at for his last visit. And he is 26 in. long, and again, less than 5th percentile.

The biggest thing was the blood work. I didn't remember the routine 9 mo. blood work from Travis, but it had been a while. "Routine" tests are never feel routine anymore. She said she would have done it anyway though, because of the DS. They did a CBC, to check for leukemia, among other things. (Justin is more prone to leukemia.) And his counts were great! And also an anemia test, for celiac disease (also, a possibility with Justin.) And again, the results were fine. We will have to repeat the tests at 12 months, and also a thyroid test, which will require a blood draw. I am glad that our doctor is up on things. That is what I really wanted, and I am so glad she is what I had hoped her to be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We'll Paint the Octopus Red

Travis got a book for Christmas titled We'll Paint the Octopus Red. It's a book that helps children understand DS. I had seen it before, but I hadn't read it. It got some good reviews, so I thought it would be good for him. The story is about a girl who learns she is having a baby brother or sister, but she isn't excited about it, so she talks with her dad and they come up with a whole list of things that she will be able to do with her new brother. Then when the baby is born, her dad comes to tell her that he has DS. She is upset because she thinks she won't be able to do all of the things with him. They go through the list and they see that while it will take a little more time, her brother will be able to do all the things that they had planned, including painting the octopus red. At the end there are several questions that children have asked about DS and some simple answers. We have read the book a lot since Travis received it, but I haven't been able to read the entire book without crying yet. Travis is so sweet and he looks at me when I am crying and asks me what is wrong and why I am dripping. It doesn't mean much to him yet, but I think it will later. For now it is just a good story. If I could get through it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Justin's Tricks

Randy's mother always asks what Justin's newest "tricks" are, so I thought I would share some of his progress. We had Lucy back today, and she was SO impressed with him. I was excited for her to come so I could show him off!

  • He rolls like a CHAMP! It's actually funny sometimes. To go from his stomach to his back, he puts his arms under him and pushes his butt in the air and turns his head opposite the way he wants to go, and then his body just FALLS that way. And he especially likes to do that when his therapists are trying to get him to do some stomach exercises (like reaching and pushing up on his arms.)

  • He got his second tooth today! For real, and it's the mate to the one he has, which is even better. This is weird but, Travis has very weirdly shaped toe nails (they kind of curl down) and they are hard to cut, but Justin has very pretty toe nails. I kind of wonder if Justin will end up with the good genetic stuff from each of us that is not affected by the DS and Travis will get all the "bad" stuff. Wouldn't that be odd?

  • Justin can sit for about 3-5 mins. His stamina is great, when he's not tired. Otherwise he folds himself in half and cries and pulls his socks off. I know I put is left sock on today at least 25 times. Not even kidding.

  • We are working on "supported standing", and he is pushing as he stands. At first it took two of us to keep his feet on the floor, his legs straight, and his head up. If we lost focus, he would pull his legs up and he was just hanging in the air. Very funny!

  • Also, we are working on kneeling for crawling. This is SO hard to do when 1) He is tired and 2) The person who is holding him only has 4 limbs (pretty much every person I know!) To do this a person must 1) be on their knees 2) face him away from you 3) use your knees to hold his knees together 4) support his chest with one hand 5) use the other hand to keep both of HIS hands on the ground (you see how you need more than 4 limbs, and they are all in use!) When he is tired he wants to suck his thumb, so he lifts one hand, and we are still holding a lot of his weight, so sometimes we don't notice that one of the hands is not down. And while he prefers his right thumb, his left will do if you take away the right!

  • His hand strength is improving. He doesn't hold toys for very long, but the teething is making him WANT something in his mouth, which helps our goals. He would like for me to hold a toy in his mouth FOR him, but I won't, he has to do it himself. And he can transfer a toy from one hand to the other, and sometimes reach across midline for a toy.

  • He is eating a bunch! And the people who haven't seen him for a while can tell that he has grown. Today I finished feeding him and he cried and I could tell that he was wanting MORE. We are working on signs, but I got the message without the gesture. Travis has "more" and "all done" down pat, but Justin not so much.

We got word that insurance has a limit of 60 visits per calendar year, which at our current rate will last for 6 months. I am not sure if we want to cut back to extend our insurance, or risk the appeal process to get extra therapy for medical necessity. To me it's no-brainer, but it seems that's what the insurance company has. Just kidding! I am so thankful for insurance, after the bills for heart surgery and for the synegis shot! Yikes!

Justin has been driving his car and he is a very laid-back driver. The material is slick and he slides down until he is like this.

And then Travis took it for a spin:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The End...The Beginning

I have been struggling with what to write for an end of the year/new year-type post. Fortunately I have had a few extra days to think about it since I've had to work this week. I took advantage of Randy being home and I worked three days this week. It is fun to go to work because it's something different and a bit of a break. (I get to speak with adults all day long! They don't always act like adults, but it's the holidays, I am giving them a break!) But I don't like being gone so long that I don't even know what clothes the boys wore during the day. I miss meals with my family. It gives me some perspective for what Randy experiences every week. And I think he gets some idea of how my days can get so crazy so fast! There is something to be said for switching roles occasionally.

So what to say about 2008? Would you laugh at me or think I am crazy if I said that 2008 was the best year ever? In some ways I think it was. We welcomed another sweet little boy and having him made me love all my boys (including Randy!) so much more. Our family is growing stronger and better with age. God is teaching us. I learned more in 2008 than in several previous years and I am looking forward to what is coming in 2009. I don't want this growth and maturing to stop. There are new goals, new challenges, but more than that, it's new ways to internalize and embrace God's eternal promises. It is a reassuring comfort knowing that while people change, God never does. His strength, his purposes, and his promises are as true as they were 2,000 years ago. That astounds me! All I know on earth is change. The seasons change, jobs change, people change, I change. But my rock and my foundation never change. Sometimes it's difficult to get me head around something so big. But God says it's true and I know I can believe what God says. I have experienced it. I have felt it. I think I go through different steps to learn something. I need both heart and head to believe something. I have done lots of head and heart learning this year.

That's what makes it such a great year. When I feel like I am a different person than the one who began the year (for the better!) it is a great year. I don't need more stuff, or more earthly security, or even perfect health. If God's work is being done in me that is all that matters. Whatever comes in 2009 will not all be happy and pleasant. And it won't be easy, but it will be God's plan, and that makes it a good year already.

Holiday Reflection

This past month was a bit odd for me in comparison with Decembers past. The month always seems hurried and full of lists! This year I tried to make it different by really committing to finish shopping before Thanksgiving (close, not quite!) and planning the holiday things we wanted to do to make sure we didn't miss them. I think this might be the first year in a long time that the holidays are over and I am not filled with regret. It was more of the ordinary things that were harder. I had to push to get some things for Justin. It was one of my first experiences being his advocate. I struggled with insurance issues, sleep issues, and family issues, and I didn't always come out looking very rosy. I read in one of our DS books that one of Justin's struggles will be with consistency in his muscle strength. I had to laugh! I am inconsistent in so many things, and there's one more for poor Justin! I strive to be consistent, but I ignore the source of my strength. The only way to improve my "consistency muscle" is to flex it more frequently. I am thankful for the little reminders God sends me. Even in boring textbooks!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Project

One of the things Randy wanted to do while he was off for the holidays was replace the baseboards in his closet. They were damaged during a little termite incident we had several years ago, but we just noticed it recently. Well, you know Travis was loving the thought of using tools and helping daddy. He really got into the project. He was a very good helper, and he didn't give up early and go play. He kept coming to tell me what they were doing. Randy did a good job of explaining everything and being patient with his efforts. That meant a few hour project took nearly all day, but Travis didn't mind. Daddy didn't get to watch much football though...

First they had to remove the old baseboard.

Then fix some dry wall.

And then cut new pieces.

Randy even let him drill! I didn't get a picture of this, but I heard it was GREAT!