Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Just like Justin's birthday, Easter was kind of low-key this year with Alaina's surgery.  We went to church to the Easter Egg Hunt, but we missed the actual hunt so some great friends shared some of their eggs and even set up a little hunt just for the boys.  Alaina didn't really care.  :)  The boys had fun so that's all that really matters.

Alaina wasn't sure about the Easter bunny, but she didn't cry!  Justin wouldn't let go of Nana's hand.
Easter Sunday we got up early and and went to sunrise service.  I actually had to wake up the boys to go.  (Alaina was awake of course.)  She and I went to the kitchen and helped prepare breakfast for everyone after the service.  It was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed the morning.  The church has the most beautiful field that makes for gorgeous sunrises.  Here's the gang dressed for Easter:

We went to dinner at Randy's parents house for supper.  (It was kind of late so Alaina went in her PJs.)  The Easter bunny came to their house and everyone got some chocolate.   The boys got Star Wars Stormtrooper bunnies and Alaina got a regular girly bunny.  She started chewing on it through the plastic.  I figured it didn't really matter until I noticed that she had managed to gnaw through the plastic to get to the chocolate. 

So I took it away.  She wasn't happy.

So I gave it back to her.

 She's a girl and it was chocolate.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Happy Easter!

Happy Birthday Justin!

Hip, Hip Hooray! Someone in our house just turned five!
Can you guess who?

I cannot believe that five years have passed, but it's true.  Justin is a whole hand old!  And he can even say "five".  It's adorable, kind of like he is.  Justin's birthday party was right after Alaina's surgery so it was kind of low-key.  He didn't even care!  He just wanted "Veggie Tales" and legos.  Veggie Tales are still his favorite thing, and with Travis' fascination with legos, Justin needed some of his own.
I love how he reads his cards.  He says "Me read" and opens it up.  Of course they all say "Happy Birthday Justin"!

He got a Lego (Duplo) fire station, which pleased him to no end!  The best part of Legos is crashing them down so he needed his own to crash.  Travis is not a crashing kind of guy...

Since Justin can't have regular cake, and he LOVES ice cream, we just bought ice cream and dumped it upside down on a plate and frosted it with the new cool whip frosting.  A few sprinkles and a candle and voila - instant birthday cake!  It was a big hit with everyone. 

So we now have a five-year old.  He still is making huge strides in therapy.  He has learned to ride a tricycle and he can jump and walk on his tiptoes.  He can swing on a regular swing without fear (my fear!) of falling off.  He can run really well, with arms pumping and knees up.  He is learning his letters (to write them too).  He is not very good with this yet, but he's just starting.  He is working on his hand strength and stamina so his therapist sets the timer and he has to color for five minutes without saying he is done.  It's tough (we do it at home too) because he has no ability to focus except when it comes to TV.  He is also working on buttoning buttons, which he can do on a shirt in front of him but not on himself.  Good thing boys wear mostly t-shirts! 

His speech is what is the most remarkable.  Justin's OT who moved to Austin came back to visit and she was amazed at how much progress he has made in the 8 months she has been gone.  I think his learning seems to progress in a spiral:  We don't understand him for a while and then there is a huge breakthrough and we understand most of what he says and then he wants to say more and we don't understand again and then he gets clearer and we understand again and then the cycle starts again with his desire to say more increasing.  It kind of started with him only talking and referring to things in his visual sight and current experience.  Then he talked about things that happened in the past and we struggled with understanding because we couldn't just guess things that were right there in the room.  Once we understood is was about something that happened earlier in the day we could train our ear to listen for those words.  Now he has gotten abstract and refers to things he would like to do or see.  It's kind of fun but it's a lot more guessing for a while.  He sure can tell a good story!  And he started learning mostly nouns, and then he moved on to verbs and some adjectives.   Now he is on to adverbs and prepositions.  It's amazing to hear such long sentences come out of his mouth!  He's up to four and even five words sometimes!

Justin certainly has a great sense of humor.  He can tease and joke and I cannot help but laugh.  He so wants to tell knock knock jokes (like Travis) but they are completely nonsensical (um, kind of like Travis...)  He likes to sing songs out of the blue and he gets most of the words so I can understand enough to figure out what he's singing.  We are learning "Holy, Holy, Holy" in school and he can get that part perfectly.  But forget about the cherubim and seraphims for sure!

He adores his "Pop" and constantly asks for stories.  Pop starts every story with "Once upon a time there was a boy named, oh, what was his name?"  And Justin immediately pipes up, "Justin!"  "Oh, yes, that's what it was, Justin..."  It is precious seeing how much they love each other.

His sleep has improved.  Since I put him back in diapers for the night he sleeps most of the night without waking up.  Good for mommy's sleep.  He doesn't wake up dry but he tells me "not much, lil' " is how much he peed in his diaper.  If it's a little or a lot, does it really matter?  So that's still a work in progress.  Last night I slept for 5 and a half whole hours straight!  Whoo hoo!  He does seem to be more well-rested so that's a huge improvement.  I am sure we are due for another sleep study soon, but I am putting it off as long as possible!
So that's our boy:  Sweet, funny, crazy, silly, precious, and cuddly.  All wrapped up in one adorable package called Justin!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Alaina had her 9 month check up this month and the doctor found that she had a hernia.  We suspected it so we weren't surprised.  But we didn't expect it would require surgery.  I guess she didn't want to be left out being a child in our family and not having surgery!  So we had our obligatory visit with the surgeon.  (Yep, it's a hernia.  She'll need surgery.  My assistant will call you.)  And then on to surgery.  We are getting pretty good at this by now so it wasn't too bad.  The early mornings are the only tough part.  She even did well not eating so I can't complain.  Here's the happy before pictures:

And the sad afters:

I would take a dozen hernias over tonsils!  This was like a walk in the park after heart surgery and tonsils.  She ate just fine and then fell back asleep.  She reacted a little over-zealously to the morphine (the boys did too, interesting...) so she needed a little blow-by oxygen, thus the tube.  She has been recovering very nicely since then.  No ill effects from the trauma.  She has been indoctrinated into the family.  She is a full-fledged DeCarlo with the scar to prove it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


It's bluebonnet season in Texas and we try to celebrate with pictures.  Adding children has subtracted the number of good pictures I can get with all of them in one picture, so it was a pretty hillarious venture.  Travis is extremely sensitive to sun and as it turns out, wind too, so he could NOT keep his eyes open and smile without looking pained and tortured.  Which maybe isn't all that untrue.  Hmmm...

I tried to make it a fun outing with friends, and picnic, and a park, if they could just make it though the dreaded pictures.  All I can say is, I tried.  The picnic and playing at the park were fun, if that counts for anything.  The morning was not wasted for sure.

Anyway, here's the best of the worst for your viewing pleasure!


And this was when I knew my picture-taking was over!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Silly Alaina!

Just some funny Alaina pics:
Gotta love bed-head!

She has entered the "climbing" phase...

Alaina has taken to wrestling with her brothers.

And going for a little afternoon ride.

She and Justin share a little secret.  Hmm, I wonder what they're whispering about...

She is not a baby anymore and she will soon be walking and then running before we know it.  The boys enjoy being able to be a little more rough with her and she is taking her punches and dolling them right back.  I love it!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

End of Soccer

Travis played winter soccer this year and he enjoyed the season.  It finished up the beginning of this month.  It was a little difficult for all of us at all the games because we actually got a little cold weather (you know, it being winter and all) and I didn't want Alaina out in the wind and cold.  We all looked a little funny in our blankets and cold weather gear (Northerners would definitely laugh at us!), but we enjoyed the time with friends and the chance to get outside without intense sweating!  Travis' team finished the season 4-4 and they somehow managed to get into third place!

 Levi's sister Ellie loves Justin and the two were thick as thieves every week during the games!

So after the game they distributed the medals and Travis brought his over for us to see.  He said, "I wonder what it says on the back.  Oh, I bet I know what it says, "Made in China"!"  He flipped it over and it didn't say anything at all.  That pleased him to no end and when we got home the first thing he did was run to Randy and say, "Daddy, guess what?  My medal wasn't made in China!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Down Syndrome Day!

It's March 21 (3/21) - National Down Syndrome Day!

Here's a good article about Jerome LeJeune (credited with discovering that Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of the 21st chromosome).

Monday, March 11, 2013


So Travis asked if we could play hopscotch the other day and it was awesome weather so we took advantage and did a little hopping.  He caught on really quickly but I made the squares a little big so it was a bit hard.  He did fine and we played a rousing game.

Then Justin wanted his own place to play so I drew him a smaller version and he started attempting to play.

And then he got the chalk and put on a little lipstick.

It was a funny day!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lego Build

After my last Lego post several other friends were interested in joining us this month for turtle mania so we had some fun in line this time!  They started letting us in really early this time and I got the low down on the way it all works so I am learning a little more every month.  Of course, when school gets out it will all change so then it's all new again!

This month the build was a turtle and it was actually very cute.  (As far as something made out of bricks can be of course...)  Here's the boys at it:

And Justin doing his thing.  Of course at the end he decided he wanted one so we grabbed one to go.  I didn't get any pictures of Alaina, so I'll just tell you that she had fun too.

This is our friend, Jake, who came with us, and his mom.

And his sister, Grace.  She held on to her turtle very tightly.  I think she didn't want it to get away!

And all the boys with their turtles at the end.  (And Justin behind playing on the computer.)  The flippers even really flip! 

I noticed that the Lego store is very yellow.   I think I need to work on finding some non-yellow backgrounds for next month's pictures!  Next month's build is a sheep and a lamb (for Easter).  Mark your calendars for April 2!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Nine Months

Well, she's almost there!  Only three more months to complete the first year.  She is just as precious as ever and getting into everything.  She is definitely mobile!  Alaina can crawl and pull up and she is even starting to cruise a little bit.  The gates are back up at the stairs and the boys are getting better at keeping their toys off the floor.  It only took a few pages getting ripped out of books before we learned our lesson.  She is still all mama's girl and she can curl that lower lip over quite a bit to show her displeasure!  She loves all the food I have made, but I am not sure where she is putting it all since she is still a petite little girl.  She still has 4 teeth but several are really trying to make an appearance.  She is definitely lots of fun and the time is going so quickly.
One more highlight of the past month:
Alaina scored her first sticker from therapy!  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of course! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rodeo Time

We made a trip to the rodeo this past weekend.  This was Alaina's first rodeo experience!  She seemed to have a good time.  Every year is fun and different.  The boys were much less scared of the animals and much more curious.  Travis is learning about mammals in science so this was a great was to check out lots of different mammals.
We first went by the birthing area.  We saw a cute little 65-lb baby calf and a huge litter of 10 piglets (2-3 lbs each).  Justin was a little afraid of all the excitement so I held him.

Then it was on to the rabbits and guinea pigs.  They voluntarily petted them both!

Watching the chicks hatch is one of the highlights of the experience.  It's fun to see the whole process from egg to live, active chick.  I think they were Alaina's favorite part of the day.  They were curious about her and she was curious right back! 

We went to the petting zoo.  This is normally NOT the boys' favorite, but Travis was interested in their fur (since mammals have fur and we've been talking about its texture).  This is my favorite Justin picture of the day!  Check out the wallaby in the back.  It was hopping circles around the enclosure!  It almost knocked over a few of the smaller kids.  And it almost escaped!  The man did not even notice it sneak past him out the door!  He sure jumped when we all yelled at him.  They only had one person watching everything that was going on and the animals were all very active.  She had quite the tough job!

This was the most adorable little mother/baby moment.  This little goat was curled up right on top of its mother's back.  She was completely content in the midst of all the chaos. 

This was the softest llama.  And she was very gentle. 

Alaina enjoyed being carried EVERYWHERE!

And we can't go to the rodeo without tractor tire pictures!  Travis was not excited about the pictures, but he gave in.  I am not sure I will be able to convince him next year.   It seemed like they had some smaller tractors this year.  (Of course, the boys are getting bigger...)  When I mentioned it to one of the workers, he said it was budget cuts!  Too sad!

Alaina's first tractor picture!  Gotta love it.

So do farmers have corn boxes instead of sand boxes?

Travis wanted to do the tractor pull again this year.  You can't see, but there is a sled with weight in the back that climbs closer to the tractor as you pedal.  They determine the weight by age.  I think Travis is at a disadvantage since his birthday is right before the rodeo.  20 feet is a "full pull".  He really tried hard!

He got another ribbon just for trying.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but it was chilly. The kids are all getting over colds, so we went through a LOT of tissues!  We had our fried oreos and this year they added oreos dipped in cookie dough batter and then sweet batter and fried.  We didn't get them, but ooh, they sounded good.  Travis got his first taste of funnel cake.  He loved it.  How much powdered sugar so you think those places go through in one day?  It has to be insane.  Poor Justin had three potty accidents leaving him in(wet) shorts and wrapped in Alaina's blanket.  He didn't seem to mind the pink.   It was a full morning of activities and by the time we drove home, everyone was pooped.  Especially mommy and daddy!