Monday, June 29, 2009

Starting Over

I received a request today to pass on my name to someone who is having their child tested for DS. I quickly agreed and then spent the morning trying to think of what I wish someone would have said to me when I was waiting for test results. Randy and I never had that opportunity. We decided not to share our concerns with anyone, so no one knew we were waiting for test results. I know at least I felt a little silly saying that I thought something was wrong when even our pediatrician didn't mention anything. It's that parents' intuition, and a little nudge from God I think.

But we spent those 6 days waiting by ourselves. There was some anxiety, but mostly love, enjoying our new baby and coming to face the possibility that we might be in for more than we had planned. I know I spent lots of time talking with God. It might be better termed begging and pleading for him to make that test be "normal". I cried some, but couldn't cry as much as it felt like I should. I did not spend one minute on the computer searching for anything on DS. I clung to the fact that one of the physical markers for DS is also present in Travis. (And he doesn't have DS.) And mostly I waited, and wondered if anyone else could see what we had seen. But those 6 days. Not ones I want to do again.

Here's what I think I would say to someone who is waiting: Spend the time getting to know God. He will be your very best strength and ally. He is trustworthy. He knows all your fears and doubts, so telling him won't be shocking. He is faithful and what he has promised to do, he will do! Check out those promises in the Bible. If you cannot see God for the enormity of the situation, then look to where you saw him last. He's the same. The same way he worked and moved in other places, he is aching to do more of the same, if we let him. And if you can't seem to remember the last time you have seen God, then ask a friend. Ask me if you can't find anyone else who can tell you stories of the wonders God can do. I have tried to write of the amazing ways God works, and I hope that is clear. And the other thing I would recommend is to find someone who will just be with you. There is nothing a friend can say that will make the time go any faster, or any better. Just acknowledging how hard this is, and then listening to whatever the person wants to say. I don't think I would have said anything. But having someone to cry with and wipe my tears on would be enough.

If the test comes out negative? Wonderful! Just consider what God wanted you to show you through this time of waiting, and don't allow the lessons to pass unlearned. There is a point to everything. Sometimes more than one, and sometimes not just for the person going through it.

And if the test comes out with DS? I would say that while it's not what you thought it would be when you had your sweet baby, it's also not what you are thinking now. Thoughts of children mocking our son and him having to ride the "short bus" to school were all that we could imagine at first. It's some major grieving that has to happen, and it's not something that passes and never returns. There are always moments of whistfully hoping things could have been different. But there is also promise and joy. It's not "going to be okay", but you will survive. And soon, you will thrive. But don't get too far ahead of yourself. Take one day at a time. Don't let worry consume you. And above all, enjoy the precious gift God had given you.

At this point, I can barely see the screen through my tears. Like I said, there are moments in which I desperately wish things could be different, but they pass more quickly each time. I don't know who Justin would be without DS, and I love my little boy fiercely. His joy bubbles over and he is enchanting and captivating to all he encounters. He can bring me to the highest of heights and to the depths of frustration in a heartbeat. He is definitely the little boy I never knew I needed. This isn't going to be a comfort to you while you are waiting. I am speaking with only 15 months experience. That is just a drop in the bucket of Justin's life. I certainly don't know it all, but I know how raw the emotions can be. But I also live each day knowing that it's not me who has to do it all, and I lean on God for the strength to carry me when I have nothing left.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Accident Prone

Our family seems to have problems with trees (limbs, roots, stumps, etc.) and sharp objects. About 7 years ago we took out some trees and in the aftermath of attempting to remove the roots we broke several sections of the underground sprinkler system. And then a friend came to help us, and the first swing of the ax broke the main water line into our house, resulting in a geyser that watered our house until we could get a curb key to turn it off. (Did you know that no other wrench, pliers, hammer, etc. will turn the water off? Only a curb key. It is worth the cost to invest in one, or at least know which neighbor has one handy.) And then last year the stump that broke the patio door.

So yesterday Randy was working outside and he decided to cut out a section of root that was getting close to the front sidewalk. He and Travis worked and got out a section and then tried to get another section and whack! He hit another section of the sprinkler system. And since it was close to the sidewalk, it was hard to clear out the roots and dirt to fix the problem. You need to know that not only did Randy hit the one pipe, but also the one lying directly underneath. And the one he hit connects to the main control box for the sprinkler system. Too much fun! It was quickly declared a 2-day job, and after a bit more analysis, work ended for the day. Of course, Travis may not be the best helper, only because sharp tools are involved, but I say we need to teach him how to fix things if we are so accident-prone. Today, the repair effort continues, and with one more trip to Home Depot, we should be done.

Oh, and the patio door? Still broken... We're working on it... Other things just seem to come up...

Speech Therapy

We started speech therapy with our new therapist the beginning of June and we are really learning a lot! Maybe a better way to say it is that I am painfully aware of my lack of knowledge in this area. PT and OT seem fairly straight forward. Maybe not all the theory, but at least the visible evidence of progress and the exercises. Speech therapy has me a bit stumped. I can understand the explanations, but I can only plead ignorance when it comes to the progression of speech development and the "good" and "bad" things Justin is doing. Of course, I learned earlier that raspberries, while annoying at times, are actually "good". And I learned that while feeding it is "bad" for me to lift the food and scrape the food off into his mouth.

I have been asked several times what sounds Justin is making and if he is making any given sound. I often say no because I cannot recognize the sounds, but the therapists will then point it out to me, and by golly, he can make that sound! In fact, Char, his current therapist, said that she can hear just about every sound a child should be making in the "babbling" phase except for the back sounds (huh?) which she then clarified as the "k" and "g" sounds. She is extremely pleased with his current abilities. And he can imitate, which apparently is good for speech development. She makes sounds that she knows he can make, and then he repeats them, and then she changes it a bit to see if he will continue to imitate and make the different sound. Pretty clever, if you ask me. We'll see how Justin does.

Travis is in love with Char already, as she has a bin of trucks for him to enjoy while we are in therapy. And not just trucks, but also semis. And Travis discovered the first day that one of the semi trailers has stabilizer feet, which he has determined to be the very best part of trailers. (The feet support the trailer when it is not attached to the cab of the semi, for those of you without young boys.) He exclaimed in a very loud voice, "It has stabilizer feet!" To which Char replied, "I don't think anyone has used such a big word in this room ever!" And she is now equally smitten with him. Fun times!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Unintentional Stay-cation

We planned a trip to see family this week, but due to an unexpected illness we ended up cancelling and spending the week at home. It has been a very good week, an unanticipated answer to prayer for more family time all together. We wanted to do some fun and different things, but the weather here has been unbearably hot! We couldn't really do anything outside that didn't involve large amounts of water, so we had to improvise and just relax. We have done some regular things, like go to Justin's therapy sessions, but Randy was able to accompany us and meet Miss Penny for the first time. We also did a few "couple" things, like watch some movies and go out on a date night just Randy and me. We were able to do some housekeeping things that needed to be done, like clean out the pantry and apply for Justin's passport. It has been a really fun change of pace, but I think Randy will be ready to go back to work next week!

We had some lazy mornings, and I was able to make breakfast and eat with the whole family together (except for Justin, he can't wait for biscuits to bake). I couldn't convince the kids that it would be fun to sleep in though. Travis did some repairs around the house,

and then we went to the Children's Museum for some cool indoor playing. Can you see why this is one of Travis' favorite places? We were able to introduce Randy to some of what we do every week.

Justin even got into the spirit and tried to stand up next to the train tables they have. And then he got tired and just rolled around on the floor. Of course we had to take a ride on the carousel, and Randy was able to get away with only one ride, not the usual way Travis cons his grandparents (I get 3 rides because I am 3!)

You'll have to just trust me that this is at our favorite birthday restaurant. We celebrate every year at the Melting Pot for our combined birthdays. Mine is in May and Randy's is in July, so we split the difference and celebrate in June. We enjoy the long, drawn out meals and the quiet atmosphere that the Melting Pot provides. Anyway, it's a tradition!

But I think our favorite activity this week has to be swimming! It's too hot to do much of anything else, and our friends' pool is the perfect spot to relax. If you have ever seen an oasis, this is it! Palm trees and a rock waterfall, and a beach entry make for the ideal swimming hole! We invited some other friends, the TD family, and made a morning of it. With Justin having surgery last year, we weren't able to swim much, so this summer has been a real start over for Travis. He has been doing great and each time we swim he is more confident and enjoys the experience that much more. He is scheduled to begin swimming lessons next month, and I think he will be ready. He has gone from being unwilling to jump in the pool without holding on to a hand and not letting his ears go under water, to jumping in by himself and going under the water and coming up with a huge smile on his face! I am so excited for him to enjoy swimming as much as I did as a kid. One problem was that Travis developed a fear of the pool cleaner. (The one that crawls around the bottom.) It crawled up the side and sprayed him when he was going to jump in, and that was the end. He is now convinced it was out to get him!

The beach entry was the perfect place for Justin to sit and splash. There actually were a couple of areas with benches to sit with 3-4 inches of water on then where Justin could sit. He did require constant supervision, as he face-planted once when he leaned too far forward. It doesn't seem to bother him too much. He sputters and cries for a second, and then he's ready for more!

Travis started "swimming" with his water wings on. I am glad he is getting the idea of how to move in the water.

The TD family, sans Mr. TD. Someone has to work I guess!

Justin did some surfing on a kick board.

And playing with the water that pours out of the hot tub. Not necessarily very hot these days!

This is another one I just love!

This is how we discovered Justin's tooth the other day. Justin enjoyed this position because he could watch the trees blowing overhead.

The whole family enjoying the pool.

Princess TD and Travis relaxing after a tough morning of swimming. They are even holding hands! So cute!

Our week is coming to a close and it's almost back to "reality". Somehow being on vacation at home feels different than going away on vacation. It certainly involves less planning! I am so glad we had this time at home, and maybe we can do it again sometime?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And So It Begins...

Around the time we were in Arizona, Justin cut three new teeth. That combined with an ear infection, and the crazy schedule made it difficult to know what what upsetting him at any given time. Two of the teeth he cut were on the top, but not next to his middle teeth, which he already has. I actually missed the first one because I wasn't feeling that far back in his mouth! It was the second one from the middle tooth, and then he cut the opposite one of that a couple days later. We have been warned that delayed teeth/unusual order is one of the things we can expect with DS, but Justin really had been doing very well, until this. I filled in the dates on his little tooth chart and waited for the other to fill in. I was a bit concerned because the tooth seemed really far back, and maybe we would have more problems because the one tooth that would be in between would not be enough to fill in the gap. Then we were swimming last night and I laid Justin back to float on his back and I noticed something white poking through in the back of his mouth. I dared insert my finger and realized that it is the back part of his MOLAR! It wasn't the second tooth back, but his first molar! No wonder he has been pushing everything so far back to chew! I can only assume that the other side is also a molar and we can expect more fussiness until that one breaks through completely. So now it begins. I am going to need to feel the entire length of his gums to determine the cause of the irritation, and hope that the others fill in soon! And I might need another tooth chart...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

We went to Randy's parents' house for lunch to celebrate Father's Day. Travis thoroughly enjoys visiting Me-Me and Pop, and as soon as we leave he misses them until the next time. He is a very good helper for Me-Me and Pop too. He helped get drinks out of the refrigerator for everyone.

He helped put cheese on the hamburgers.

And then he enjoyed his first corn on the cob. He is a big fan! Anything that can get eaten with his fingers! Oh, and at Pop's house he gets orange soda to drink. This goes along with my friend's theory that you get the good stuff at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

The flash is a little off on this one, but here's the family on Father's Day. Check out our red noses from the beach!

Randy even got out of mowing the lawn today. I managed to do it with Justin and Travis on Friday. Justin played in the laundry basket and Travis would retrieve his toys as he tossed them out. It worked better than I had hoped! And now Randy can have a relaxing Father's Day!

Beach Weekend

We spent the weekend at Surfside Beach with some friends. It was the first time in a very long time that we have gone anywhere just for fun, without visiting anyone. We had a great time just hanging out, relaxing with no schedule or obligation. It was Justin's first trip to the ocean, and I wasn't sure how he would do. I knew he would eat some sand, and he did, but he did better when he sat in the wet sand where the waves were hitting. He splashed and otherwise enjoyed the water. Here's some of the pictures:

The house where we stayed had a little pool table, and when we shortened the cues sticks, the kids did very well. Of course, they both won!

Here the kids are ready for the beach. On the walk to the beach Travis fell and rescraped his knee for the third time in about 2 weeks. The bad part was that he also scraped his stomach and the salt water kept stinging when it got in the scrape, so every half hour or so he would run over jumping and wiggling and ask for clean water to rinse off his tummy. Oddly enough, swimming fully immersed in the water didn't seem to cause a problem...

And here is enjoying the ocean. I introduced Travis to my favorite part of swimming in the ocean: Wave jumping! Our family loved swimming in the ocean, and as kids we really enjoyed jumping the waves as they rolled in to crash on the beach. Travis seems to be equally entranced by the ocean and sand.

No, Justin, not in the mouth! He didn't seem to mind the taste of the sand or the salt water, but he really didn't like me scrapping them out of his mouth! Justin enjoyed the water too. He watches everything intently and enjoys observing everything that is happening.

I just love this picture!

Later that night after dinner we taught the kids how to eat pixie sticks. Or we tried to teach the kids how to eat pixie sticks. They didn't quite seem to understand that they couldn't put the end in their mouth or the end would get clogged. I never really thought about how difficult that might be, but fortunately their ability (or inability) to eat pixie sticks probably will not affect their future success in life. Justin was just an observer. Maybe watching this once will give him a head start for his first real pixie stick lesson.

We did have to cut the weekend short on Saturday night because I have to work tonight (Sunday). But we all got some good sun and good naps on Saturday afternoon. So worth the trip!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Justin Update

Some things that are up with Justin:

  • Here's a picture of Justin taped by his PT. Actually two pictures, she did front and back this time. It seemed to do what it is supposed to do, which is give his muscles more "input" to get them to work right. The tape stays on for up to 4 days, which works well since PT is Thursdays and OT is Monday, so he gets tape Thursday and we remove it Monday evening. It can go in the bathtub and swimming with no problem (but heat makes it stick more, so NO drying it with a hairdryer!) Justin doesn't seem bothered by it. We will remove this set tonight, and this is the first time we have done the stomach taping, which happens to cross his belly button, and he has quite the outie, so I wonder how that will be affected. More on that later...

    He has the tape on under the washcloth. On his BACK, not his head!

  • We are having HUGE food issues! Every day it is a fight to get something in his stomach. The only things he really eats consistently are his breakfast of cereal, fruit, and milk (we try to feed him one liquidy meal to make up for his drinking problem- yes, that's what we call it), yogurt, and applesauce. Not really enough to call it a balanced diet. Some days he won't take anything off a spoon, other days he won't pick up anything off his tray, other times he screams if we try to put anything in his mouth at all, and he wants to examine it from every angle to determine if it's worthy to be consumed. It was hard to give Randy instructions for feeding this weekend while I worked. So he mostly ate yogurt and applesauce. Very hard when a child is taking harsh medicines. I learned the hard way on Friday that I should take the "take with food" warnings serious on Justin's antibiotic. (The first round of meds from the urgent care clinic did not work so we had to go back to the dr. when we returned home.) And I also learned that if your child acts at all sick, do not feed him blackberries. Purple is not pretty color when it comes up... Friday I fed him broccoli and he decapitated every piece and loved it! Won't touch it now... Any ideas? I am getting desperate!

Examining the broccoli before consumption...

The remainder in his bib...Watermelon, broccoli, and water.

  • Justin did great swimming in Phoenix. He rode with my mom on the pool noodles and jumped and really pushed with his legs. Really good exercise! His legs seem to be stronger than his arms, so I hope the taping helps improve that.

And I forgot to mention that Travis got a water gun in Phoenix. So much fun for him!

  • I cannot say how how truly wonderful Travis is as Justin's big brother. He is always trying to teach him things, share his toys, sing songs, and generally involve him in everything. This morning he said Justin should sit right here as he patted the floor, so he could watch Travis and me play fishing. Justin and I fished for Travis and when we caught him, Justin would chew on his finger to decide if he tasted good enough to eat, or if we should throw him back and try again. Travis loved it! And Justin got to chew on something other than ME! This was Travis helping Justin ride his horse, and he was very gentle in bouncing the horse. It honestly brings me tears as I ponder their future as siblings when Randy and I are gone.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One More Diversion and Then Back Home

My cousin, Carl, whose family we visited the other night, happens to be a firefighter in Scottsdale. And I happen to have a son obsessed with trucks. It worked out very well that Carl invited us to visit his fire station one morning after work. He works 24 hours on-24 hours off so when he got off in the morning, we arranged to meet him. His night had been fairly uneventful, so he was more awake than I am after a night of work.

One of the trucks was out on a call but we got to explore the other one. Carl was able to show him where he sits and what he does when they have emergencies. Thankfully their station is in a fairly residential area, so we could not play with the siren. Carl recounted the story of another child being allowed to pull the cord of the siren and he would not let go, so they had to lift him up to get him to release his strangle hold on the cord!

Carl gave us junior firefighters hats, badges, and even some pencils (not sharpened, thank goodness!)

Travis got to sit in the captain's chair and watch the computer.

Carl let him wear the headphones and hear how they talk with each other when the siren is blaring. This fascinated Travis!

Of course we had to check out some of the firehoses.

And Justin even got into some of the action.

And a few pictures of the boys with cousin Carl. Even Mommy got in a picture!

It was great to see where Carl works, and I think Travis will be willing to go back whenever we want. We did get to see the other truck come through quickly between assignments. His station has two trucks assigned to it right now, but they are building a new station which will house three trucks when it is completed. They were also doing a Soles for Souls shoe drive (I think that's what it was called) and they had about 50 large garbage bags full of shoes. Plus several large boxes. It was impressive!

And then it was time to make the trek back home. I was ready to be home, but I was also sorry to leave my mom with so much left to do. The boys needed to be home too. So we headed back to Texas, to collect one of the shipments that we had sent from Phoenix. Fortunately our plane was late, and someone else was able to pick up the very heavy boxes so I didn't have to!

We got home late Tuesday and the boys didn't get to bed until about 9:30. I was prepared for another early morning, but YEAH! I love changing times this direction! I had unwittingly made a chiropractic appointment for that morning (wise, considering the shape I was after all that lifting and moving!) but it was for 8 am. I woke up at 6:30 and drank a cup of coffee Randy had left for me (something I rarely do because there is no amount of cream and sugar that can make it more than barely palatable). Travis stumbled out of his room at 7 am and we had to wake Justin at 7:30 to leave for the appointment. It took a couple of days for them to get back to normal (sigh...) But those were some good mornings!

So that's what we've been doing. Now it's back to work and therapy. I'll have another Justin update soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

The original purpose of my trip was to help my mom sort, pack, and ship her things to prepare for the sale of her condo. We really didn't get to work on that until Friday, after the party and after everyone left. So that left mom, me, and the boys. Two semi-sick and needy boys. I am sure that Justin's first words are going to be, "I want mommy" because that is what he hears most often! Between cuddles and meals and playtime we did manage to get some work done.

It is difficult to plan and execute a move in an ordinary situation, when you pack up all your belongings and move from one place to another. But my mom already has a condo in WI, that is perfectly outfitted with everything a person needs. So this was a bit more challenging. The things we had to save were the things that my parents had brought to Phoenix originally, and also the mementos that were accumulated during the time there. And THEN we had to decide what went where: WI or TX, plus there were the items going to WA for Mireille (remember the desk??) So we had piles...everywhere! We had to clear places for Justin to sit, and ensure that he had nothing dangerous within reach, and his reach is getting farther every day!

Some moments were easier than others. Going through the pictures was one particularly hard time. It's so easy to wonder and doubt things that you once counted as true. I listened to my mom and we shared stories and cried together. It's truly a death. Like the "death" Randy and I felt when Justin was born. The death of our dreams, but also the creation of new ones. Neither is better, just different. I ached for her, knowing that I couldn't take away the pain, but that I could only listen and shoulder her grief when it was too much to bear alone. I fought my own emotions through the process. I did a lot of talking with God and asking for understanding. My list of questions for God when I get to heaven gets longer every day!

There were some crazy times too. One memory that I have etched in my head was preparing my mom's sewing machine table to be shipped. We took out the sewing machine and took off the legs and then I looked at Mommy Sharon (remember: 70-something years old?) and I said, "Do you think you can help me carry this upstairs?" I cannot believe those words came out of my mouth! Even now I shake my head at my stupidity! It was not a light table, and it was upstairs! To my credit, she did say, "Sure, if you carry the heavy end." (With the drawers) Okay, so we started up, and we made it around the first set of stairs and I was smashed against the wall, which has a large mirror and I said, "Okay, you have to keep moving." To which she replied, "I am trying!!" Somehow we tumbled up the last few stairs and she sort of fell up the last two and the sewing machine started falling on the backs of her legs (she had gone up facing forward) and I was envisioning myself crumbled at the bottom of the stairs under a pile of shards of mirror and covered with sewing notions. My mom came to the rescue and we managed to get the table set down. And that's where it stayed, at the top of the steps, until our muscles reformed from their jelly-like state. We got it out to the garage and it did get shipped without further incident. It did, somehow, leave a trail of safety pins wherever it went. (?)

I am so glad that God created our bodies to heal themselves. I am so covered in cuts, scrapes, and bruises, that if they had to be cut out, like we do with the bad spots of fruits, I am sure I would not have a leg left to stand on! I even have a bruise on my chest from that sewing table when it rested on me as we stumbled up the stairs. And my toe. How do you get a bruise on your toe? I know I didn't drop anything on it. I would have remembered that!

In the end, after 2 rounds of shipping we sent 40 boxes and pieces of furniture (total, not each!) totalling 1,750 pounds! It's oddly rewarding to have a scale confirm that, yes, that IS a heavy box! Of that total I lifted at least 1,000 pounds of that myself, SEVERAL TIMES! No gym for me last week. I finally had to stop and remind everyone that I still am just a girl and I cannot lift as much as my brother. I am very thankful that the truck we had help us haul everything to the shipper had a lift on the back so I didn't have to carry the desk one more time. It took Jerry, Mireille, and me to move it out of the house into the garage. The thought of lifting it again was not a pleasant one.

I didn't really think pictures of packing would be all that interesting, but there was time for a bit of entertainment. One thing we found while sorting was glasses. Lots of glasses: sunglasses, reading glasses, weird glasses, etc. So my sister took a couple of pictures with her phone and sent them to me.

I am glad I went and spent the time on Phoenix. I have some great memories there, even if I never really lived there. There is something about Phoenix that attracts lots of different people. I stil have family there, and friends, so I know we will be back. But for this trip, it was now time to go home!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good-Byes and Hellos

Friday morning we had to say good-bye to Jerry and Mireille. They left early (no problem for us!) and there were many tearful farewells. Check out Ami's kiss on Justin's cheek!

And then they were gone. It was a difficult good-bye, but we know we will see them again soon. They plan to come back for the Buddy Walk, and we will be glad to see them!

Then we had to say good-bye to Daddy Jack and Mommy Sharon; they left early to spend the weekend with their daughter and her family who live in Phoenix. They came back Monday morning, and it was not soon enough! Jack was such a good playmate for Travis! They would play on the porch and feed the ducks, go for LONG walks (Travis' words) and play hide and seek. Jack would muse, "I wonder where Travis is?" and Travis would respond, " I am under the stairs!!" We might have to teach him some more about that game! And it really helped having another pair of hands for Justin too. Then two people could be packing and one on baby duty. Oh, well, it was just us for the weekend!

So, everyone was gone and we got to work! Travis fixed the stairs, and Uncle Johnny taught him all about hack saws, planers, pipe wrenches, crescent wrenches, and ratchets. He really knows his tools now!

(Still working on the w-sitting...without much success!)

We packed boxes and sorted through papers, clothes, everything you can imagine from a house. The boys did very well. Travis was in heaven fixing everything, and Justin spent a lot of time in a laundry basket so he couldn't reach the little bits of paper and other things that shouldn't go in a little mouth. At one point we stripped him to his diaper, took him outside, and gave him a popsicle. Mom was holding it until I needed her help, so she gave it to him and he ended up holding the popsicle part and he started screaming! Too cold, Mommy!

Saturday night we went to visit my cousin, Carl, and his wife Lisa, and their son, Mason, who is almost a year old and just started walking. We had not met Mason yet, so that was a special treat. Travis gave Mason a good workout as Mason attempted to keep up with Travis. We tried to get a picture with all of the boys, and this was the best we could do. Mason's birthday is not until July and look how he compares to Justin!

I think Lisa enjoyed snuggling with Justin since her son is already bigger than Justin and of course he moves much faster than Justin!

Travis and Mason decided to hide under the table and be sneaky. We found them pretty easily!

On Sunday we got to meet my brother's girlfriend, Olivia. She just flew into town for the summer from Pennsylvania. I missed getting a picture of her, sorry! She and Jon had gone to school together several years ago and have just recently reconnected. Travis really enjoyed playing with Olivia. She works with kids and it was very obvious as Travis did not want her to leave ever! He told her that he loves her, and that he wanted to sit by her at dinner. It's good that she has two sides, or Jon would have gotten left out! Some of Travis' favorite toys are ribbons, ropes, strings, or anything that can tie things together so they can be towed or fished. And my mom has stairs that you can see through (see the above pictures of Travis working) so they make for perfect fishing! Travis was having Olivia tie his tools onto his strings so he could fish for them. (Usually my job, not sad to have it reassigned, at least temporarily!)

So, it was a good weekend, with some diversions, but lots of work! That's next...