Tuesday, November 26, 2013


     Happy Thanksgiving! It's hard to believe it's the end of November already, although it feels as though winter is here with the cold temperatures we've been having. Fall has come and gone and things have been really busy around here--the boys are growing and learning like crazy. It is so fun to watch their relationship grow as Bryce is becoming more and more able to interact and play. For a long time, Connor was pretty indifferent about Bryce. He completely ignored him for most of Bryce's first year. He finally started considering him part of the family and paying a little attention to him this summer. Now, the past month or so, they are becoming buddies. Connor gives him hugs regularly, loves making Bryce smile, includes him in our family tickle/wrestling matches, and always seems to want him around. It is so fun to see; both Bryce's ability to play, and Connor's acceptance.

      Connor turned four on November 15th. Four seems so grown up, and I know next year will be even harder for me. Once he turns five, his babyhood is REALLY gone :( 90% of the time, Connor is such a pleasure to parent. While his incessant talking sometimes gets old (like when he talked constantly for the first 45 minutes we were awake this morning....seriously didn't stop for 45 minutes), he is so funny and I remind myself to enjoy the fact that he has an imagination, and that he wants to talk to me. I know, sadly, that both of those things will change as he grows up. His vocabulary continues to surprise me, and his memory is a steel trap. His favorite show right now is Peppa Pig, which is a British cartoon on Nick Jr. Since he started watching that show, he often slips into a British accent, which is hilarious. He spoke to our pediatrician with his British accent, and the doctor agreed that it's great to have a few accents in your back pocket :)

     Connor has always been a kid with very specific interests. If it interests him, he immerses himself in it. If it doesn't interest him, good luck holding his attention. Lately, he has been very interested in learning to read. He has always loved letters and books, but now that he is getting older, he wants to be able to read himself. He knows many sight words, and has been more interested in sounding words out. I'm so excited by this, and have been trying to get him to do some workbooks with me. He wants to read, but has no interest in writing the letters, so doing workbooks has proven difficult. I am trying to find a way to teach him to read that will keep his interest...I may need to resort to computer programs. His preschool-age stubborn streak certainly shows up occasionally, and I am having trouble adjusting to him not taking a nap, but otherwise he is just a joy. He says the funniest things!

Connor's Thanksgiving Feast at School

Wall-E for Halloween!

     Bryce has also been learning and changing like crazy. Until the end of August, he couldn't even sit up unassisted, and now--just a few months later--he is belly crawling (quickly!) to get around, sitting well on his own, and has even started to sit himself up (finally). His newest accomplishment is climbing. He climbs all day long. His early intervention team brought over a climbing toy (foam/vinyl with steps on one side and a ramp down the other), and it was the best thing for him! The day they brought it over, he climbed the two steps on the second try--he had never attempted to climb anything before! He brought me to tears, I was so proud! Last week, his PT showed him how to climb the real stairs, and the next day I found him on the second step, trying to get to the third. I am so proud of his determination. He has to work SO hard to get up those steps, but even if he's fussing with frustration, he keeps going. His teacher witnessed that last week, and she was very impressed with his perseverance. It takes him longer than the average kiddo to reach milestones, but it makes each new accomplishment so much sweeter. I'm so proud of that little bugger.

     When Bryce had his first birthday back in July, I remember being really sad because I didn't even know what to put on his gift wish-list. He just didn't really show any particular interests, and since he couldn't even sit up, he was very limited. I remember just crying and feeling guilty because by Connor's first birthday, I knew exactly what he would like. Bryce has changed so much since then, I know exactly the type of things to put on his Christmas list. He LOVES cars and trucks, and just like his brother, he will spend a great deal of time lying on the floor driving his cars around. He makes a cute driving noise, and always has two vehicles with him. When teaching him to climb, we'd always lure him up by putting toys on the higher levels....he now does that himself, so there are always cars and trucks on the steps and his climbing toy. He also loves putting toys in and on top of things--give him a bucket and some toys and he's happy! It seems like such a simple thing for a 15 month old, but seeing that intentional play and his new interests makes me so happy!

     Bryce is also trying to communicate a lot more, and is doing some signing. It's still new and inconsistent, but his desire to communicate is making me much more diligent about using signs with him. Even when he does signs, he makes a sound like he's trying to say the word too (it's no where near the actual word sound, but his teacher is so happy he's even making those connections). I'm just having such a great time seeing him grow and develop his personality. He continues to be the EASIEST, HAPPIEST baby ever born. I'm pretty sure that's not an exaggeration :)


Teddy for Halloween--15 months!

      With all their individual growth and changes has also come growth and change in the boys' relationship with each other. Connor cheers and claps for Bryce's accomplishments. Bryce still admires Connor, but has also learned to push him away if Connor's in his space. It's so great to see Bryce able to join in when Connor and Mike wrestle. Life is just really good right now in our household.

      I hope everyone has a safe and family-filled Thanksgiving. We will be busy with three family Thanksgivings and Connor's birthday party this weekend. Take care!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness

Hi Friends--

   I've been absent for a while....not much to report. Mike was out of the country for three weeks in October, and I tend to just go into survival mode when he's gone.

   It is November now, and I was reminded yesterday of the Thirty Days of Thankfulness "campaign" that has been around on facebook for the past few Novembers. I did it a couple years ago, and found that it is a great exercise....one I should probably practice 365 days a year, not just thirty. If you haven't heard of it, basically you just look back at the end of each day and find something you're thankful for. In my case, I put it on facebook, but simply telling your family, spouse, or writing it in a journal would work too.

   Since Bryce was born, I have found myself being thankful so much more often than I did before. I wallowed in self-pity and "why us?" for a while, but since then I've been reminded over and over again that there is always someone worse off than I am. When Bryce was still in the hospital after his birth, and I was still in grief-mode, a nurse came to talk to me about her son, who is severely disabled and needs care 24 hours a day. I think I said something very insensitive at the time, but it was really a turning point for me. If we had to have a "disabled" child, we hit the jackpot with Down syndrome. I put disabled in quotes, because I don't consider my son disabled. He is able to do everything everyone else is....just at his own pace. Being a part of a new community of people has made me so much more aware of parents whose children are sick or truly disabled, and I am constantly looking at BOTH of my healthy kids and sending little "thank yous" up to God. It could change at any moment.

    Life is so fragile. It is so hard to remember this on the hard days. You'll be surprised how much stopping to think about what you're thankful for changes your way of thinking. If you've never participated in Thirty Day of Thankfulness, I challenge you to do it this year. You'll be amazed by the silver linings you find--especially on days when nothing seems to be going right.

    Today I am thankful for all of you, my friends! Take care.