Sometimes we do stuff Archives

Three times.

Three times in a row this boy has been the 100th customer at Chick-fil-A and won a bag of Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  I’ve never won anything by placing an order there. Even when it costs more than $60 because I forget that feeding 10 kids actually costs a lot of money.

Matthew has some sort of magical chicken ordering skills or something.  I need to start having him place all of our orders.

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Did you know that I run every day? I’m not exaggerating. My legs do at least one mile each and every morning and most of the time I run longer. Sometimes I run in the evening too.

Rabbit and 5 of my kids run every day too (6 if you count Lanie in the stroller) and even though we all prefer to run at different times of the day, we run in pairs and I always have at least one of them running with me.

There are things I’ve noticed since my family started running together that are definitely worth telling.

When I started running every day I was not new to running. Matthew(13) and I had been regularly competing in local 5K runs, and I was pushing Lanie in a jogging stroller (Lanie is another reason I run. I’ll explain that in another post later). Pushing that stroller, however, was taking so much out of me that I decided to do a little bit every day to build up more strength. Matthew joined me in that every day running challenge. Two days later, Sam(9) decided to start running with us and the day after that Ben(12) opted in too.  Since then, Gabe(16) and Rabbit started up with our little running club. And just a few days ago, I bought Jesse(8) a pair of running shoes because he wants to start running with us too.

Kait doesn’t run with us because she’s out on her own but she runs every day too and joins us for 5k races.

And now Joe(19) is considering it.

A while back my sister and I were having a conversation about getting kids to be active.  She said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it should be a family thing and that she had this idea to start a family exercise program to get parents and children working together to achieve fitness goals.

And what she said is really starting to make sense because, while that wasn’t my goal when I started everyday running, I have noticed that in this short time of doing something hard together every single day our already bonded family has become considerably closer. We are setting goals together, encouraging one another, and holding each other accountable. We keep each other working toward something bigger. We keep each other running.

Running every day has become this huge bonding experience that I could never have predicted.

I’m not saying that you need to run everyday or workout or start this crazy, sweaty, heart pounding program to bond with your kids.  What I am saying is that doing something hard with your children, setting goals with them and meeting those goals with them, being proud of what you have accomplished together…  This is the kind of stuff that binds people. And while they grow up and morph into adults in the blink of an eye, and it sometimes seems like there is not much you have in common with them anymore, you’ll have this big thing to give you that common ground.

I am really having trouble figuring out how to end this post so I’m just going to leave it at this.
Don’t be afraid to do hard things with your children.

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In search of a Spring garden.

I took the little kids to pick out some flowers at our local nursery and let me say that it was so much more expensive than Lowe’s.  I am all for shopping locally but, seriously, it was prohibitively expensive and we’re on a budget around here so I can’t drop $300 for the same thing I can get at Lowe’s for $75. I just can’t.

So we did what we could and I let each kid pick out two small flower pots at the local place and decided we’ll have to head over to Lowe’s to get the rest later.

Jesse only wanted blue flowers and when he found them he was finished.  Lucy could have wandered around the nursery all day long talking to herself about how much she loves all the colors and smells.  Maggie just wanted to reorganize all the pansies and bring home one of everything.

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Just looking at this picture reminds me of how much I spent on some simple flowers and makes me cringe just a little but these three had a lot of fun and you can’t put a pricetag on that, right?
Actually, I can. And I did. And it was ridiculous.

 

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I blogged on Friday and then I didn’t blog through the weekend.  I had expected I would pick it up again on Monday but then I didn’t do that either and now it’s Wednesday so I figured I’d just post an update of sorts.

Things that happened while I wasn’t blogging:

— Our main toilet has started flushing on it’s own.  If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that it was about time something like this happened again.  We are known for appliances and other supposedly inanimate objects to start deciding things for themselves.  Remember the Tell Tale Microwave? How about the range?

— Kait’s guy sprung for dinner on Friday night and it was a great evening.  I really enjoy double dating with those two.

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I almost spit water out of my nose, which is par for the course when I’m around Kait for any length of time.  I would explain why she’s sitting on the ground by the trash can but you kinda had to be there. You really missed out on that one.

— Rabbit got me exactly what I wanted for my birthday, which we celebrated on Sunday night.  I wanted my own Aden & Anais bamboo blanket because Lanie’s is so soft and I felt bad for constantly stealing it from her.  He got me two of them.

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I’m over the moon in love with these blankets. And him.

— Will somebody please make an infographic to help husbands understand that if an Amazon Prime package is delivered to our door we will be compelled to open it unless we know that we shouldn’t because you tell us there is a Prime package coming that we shouldn’t open? Because that happened.  Again.

— I turned 42 on Monday and now have the answers to life, the universe, and everything. This should be a very informative year for you all. You’re welcome in advance.

— Spring happened on Monday as well and BAM! Just like that, it’s 85 degrees. Loving it.
I love Spring weather. I love the sun. I love warm afternoon rain showers. I love the rosy glow of my kids’ cheeks when they’re warm from running around outside. I love their bare feet and dirty toes and wild hair.  I love Florida.
Also, I love free ice cream at the Dairy Queen.

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— Tuesday was World Down Syndrome Day. We are still trying to figure out how our family will celebrate this day but yesterday we wore our Nothing Down About It tee’s and went to the library.

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Then we went to eat a Chick-fil-a.  There wasn’t one table open. Not even outside.  We ended up having to have them bag our food so we could take it home, which was sad because the kids couldn’t trade their kid’s meal toy for an ice cream cone.  I gave them a dessert anyway but now I have all these little kid’s meal toys all over the place.
Rabbit commemorated the day by wearing mismatched socks under his flight suit and I also did my morning run in mismatched socks.

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— Matthew and I have been running at least a mile every day. We do 5K races together but pushing Lanie in the stroller was killing me and running was no longer fun. We have some good hills in our neighborhood so I make sure to run some every day to help make pushing the stroller easier and help keep the enjoyment in running. Today was day 8.  Lanie loves it.

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The hills are still killing me but I can tell that I’m getting stronger. I’m starting to wonder how it would feel to run without pushing a stroller. I bet I could run like the wind blows.

Oh, and Maggie decided to floss.

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I asked her what she was doing and she said, I need to floss. My tongue is stuck in my tooth. 

And there you have it, my (mid) week in review. Now go and make yourself a Bavarian Crepe today because it’s National Bavarian Crepes Day.  Who knew.

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How they do St. Patricks Day in Whoville.

Last year on this day I was in the hospital with Lanie, who was just 2 days old. She had bad jaundice, was not pooping well, had a wonky thyroid, unsettling sugar levels, and a rough echocardiogram.

wpid-wp-1460835101529.jpgThey couldn’t find a vein to redo her IV and had to call in the NICU nurses (again) to help find a vein. I remember nurses wearing cute shamrocks and one had a small one painted on her face. I appreciated her effort but, and I don’t know why, it all made me feel so sad.

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I’ve been thinking back on that day and I realize how far she has come. How far I have come.

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#theluckyfew is darn right.

A few days ago I told the kids that I was going to make them green pancakes for breakfast on St. Patricks Day. Then I woke up this morning and remembered that Gabe has cello lessons on Friday mornings so I promised the kids that I would make the green pancakes for lunch instead and that is what I did.

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Traditionally, I try to remember to buy the kids a box of Lucky Charms for March 17th, which I did, so I topped the pancakes with some syrup and added Lucky Charms marshmallows on top to keep the old tradition going strong and the whole thing turned out to look like something you’d see in a Dr. Suess story.

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The kids thought they were terrific, especially Jesse, who couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it looked and how great the color green was going to taste.

Pancakes with Lucky Charms on top for lunch was delicious, indeed.

I should also note that I went on a run today.

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Out at the farm

We’ve been more busy than usual lately and while that means that I have much more to blog about, it also means I have less time to blog.  I used to be able to hammer out a blog post in 3.2 seconds flat but something happened to the writer in me and I am no longer able to do that for some reason.  I still love to write. I long to write. I just can’t seem to fit it in but where there is a will there is a way or some such nonsense, right?

We went to a friend’s farm on Saturday.  They weren’t in town but Kait was farm sitting and there were a ton of baby animals that Maggie just had to see.

She couldn’t even be bothered to stop for a picture because COWS! so I barely got this picture of Lucy and her.  She wasn’t able to hold still enough for more than that.

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Until we were getting ready to leave and she became very upset and made many statements about her feelings.

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“I just want to stay here with Kaity.”
“I just want to stay here and pet the cows.”
“I just want to stay here for a really, really long time.”

Turns out that all the mamas had put their babies down for their afternoon naps.  The sow was very protective over her piglets and you don’t mess with a mother pig. The calves were sleeping too and a couple of the mama cows made it quite clear that we’d better not wake their babies.  I experience this feeling every single day so I understood.

Kait said she was taking a picture of a different cow and this gal just walked up behind her and nudged her shoulder for a selfie.

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And she got some pictures of the babies while we weren’t there.

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The 1-year-old was clearly annoyed by his younger brothers’ antics.

And the piglets.  Kait said she sat on a fence at a safe distance because that’s a big angry pig right there.

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Hopefully, I’ll be able to take the younger kids back out there this week for a better look.

One particular cow took a liking to Rabbit.

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A serious liking.DSC_0486

She kept trying to rub her face on him and wrap herself around him. He told her he was a married man but it seems she took that as a challenge. It was quite humorous.

Joe met a Lady.
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Lady is a dog.  She’s a Great Pyrenees and she is so sweet and much larger than she looks in this picture.

Super friendly cow again.

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And Gabe with Lanie.  He was holding her most of the time so I could take pictures.

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She was super smiley until we took her over to see the animals. Then she just stared and stared at everything and everyone.

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Before we hiked it out to the animals I got a bunch of pictures of her being super happy and adorable in her new Carters duds.

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I’ll write about my new love for Carters and Oshkosh in another post because what they are doing in the T21 community really deserves some extra attention.

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She’s growing and learning and achieving milestones and I’m so proud of her.
And just like her typical counterparts she’s curious and wants what she wants…

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And often what she wants is to put leaves in her mouth so she is actively learning the word no.

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I had a picture of everybody walking out to the pasture but it disappeared and that is disappointing to me.

Can you tell I have a better camera? I appropriated one of Kait’s Nikons and now if I snap enough pictures I can usually get a few decent photos. That’s the type of photographer I am.  Just point and shoot and shoot and shoot.

And hope for the best.

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We took the whole family to a hockey game.

I say it a lot, I wish I would have gotten a picture because…

And that was true once again at the Pensacola Ice Flyers hockey game Saturday night when my boys sat slack-jawed as they watched two grown men throw off their gloves and start punching each other.  Joe, especially, could not wrap his mind around this and why the crowd was hootin and hollerin very excitedly.

It was their first hockey game and afterward we spent some time explaining about the protector and the goon and that every team has an enforcer and this is part of the game.

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I was wondering what effect that was going to have on their opinion of the game and it turns out that they all loved it and are excited to go again.

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Gabe looks bored but he wasn’t, he just wasn’t feeling great. He gets low blood sugar easily and once he got some sugar in him he was back to his normal self.

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I took a bunch of pictures but when I got home I noticed that most of them were gray with no image at all, sort of like when you forget to take off the lens cap but I was taking them on my phone so I am not sure what happened there. I’m a little disappointed.

My pictures of Maggie were some of the ones that didn’t turn out so I stole this one that Kait took off of her Facebook page even though it’s backwards and why is it backwards?

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All that girl wanted to do was go down and skate with the guys.  After the first period Kait took her down to the glass to watch the zamboni. The driver waved to her numerous times and that seemed to satisfy her temporarily.

Lanie though. Oh my goodness she was so cute the whole time.

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She wore her Ems For Babies and slept for the first half of the game (can’t say enough great things about these ear muffs for protecting little ones’ ears) and then was either clapping and dancing, or snuggling for the second half of the game.

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We’ve realized lately that the hardest part of getting all 12 of us out doing something together is actually getting out of the house.  Once we’re on our way to where we are going everything else seems to work out just fine.  People ask all the time how we do it and to be honest, I don’t know.  I think a lot of it is that we just aren’t afraid to try.

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Josh Sitton football camp take 2.

This past Saturday 4 of our boys were able to attend a free football camp at Catholic High in Pensacola for the second year in a row.  This is a camp where Josh Sitton (Green Bay Packer turned Chicago Bear and how does something like that even happen) comes and helps coach all the kids, giving them pointers, tips, and life encouragement. I don’t know the man personally but he seems like a really good guy who genuinely cares for these boys.

It was sponsored by the Blue Wahoos, our local baseball team because that makes so much sense.
(I couldn’t help the snark but really, we’re so thankful to the Wahoos for caring about their community and our kids!)

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The UWF football team gets involved too and each group of boys has a coach from the Argonauts working with them.

The quarterback was Matthew’s coach.

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Some of these kids were much older than the maximum age for the camp and that was disappointing but Matthew (far left standing up) held his own and did very well.

I don’t know much about Ben’s coach. Not sure what his position on the UWF team is.

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I’m sure when the season starts I’ll become more familiar with these specific players since my kids know them. Ben (Also far left standing up) had a great time and said he did much better than he did at last year’s camp.  He isn’t sure he wants to play football again though. He’s looking hard a tennis which would be so much better for me too because Ben had a bad hip sprain and a concussion (two different instances) last season and my heart can’t take it.

Sam had a great time too but he loves everything and could probably have fun having his teeth pulled. I’m not even kidding.

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He’s far left on the bottom row. I’m so proud of his spirit and love for life.

This was Jesse’s first football camp or football anything really.

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Jesse (left side with coach’s arm around him) was very confused about what was going on but had a smile plastered on his face the whole time.  He made quick friends with another kid and the spent their time rolling around on the ground and pretending to be dinosaurs.  I was 2 parts the mom trying to get his attention so I could tell him stop because there are no dinosaurs in football!, and 2 parts the mom trying to get a video or pictures of the what he was doing.  There were probably people talking about me and that’s too bad because I was completely unsuccessful at both getting his attention and collecting photographic evidence.

In the end, we went home with pictures of their time with Josh Sitton and the UWF football team, a belly full of pizza and Powerade, and pink cheeks because it was 65 degrees and I forgot for a minute that we were in Florida.

ProCamps puts these sports camps together all over the US. Professional athletes like Josh Sitton come out and work with our kids (often for free) and the children have so much fun. Make sure to look into it if you have kids who love sports.

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The library and back again. A large family tale.

We went to the library today.  We haven’t been in years, not that we haven’t tried.  For some reason the library tends to call to us to make a visit on days when it’s closed for unscheduled librarian meetings or book inventory or we forget our proof of residency requirements. Again.

Today, however, we hit the jackpot.

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Not only was the library open, but we were able to get library cards and check out books.

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And the place was almost empty because public school was in session and homeschooling definitely has its perks in times like this.

Lucy was so confused by how the library worked.  I think she was trying to look at as many books as possible before we left because she didn’t realize that when I said we could borrow any books she wanted to read, she thought I meant just while we were there.  I figured it out after her 7th or 8th book and told her that she could pick some to take home.  Her intensity immediately calmed, she picked out 4 books to take home, then started showing Lanie some board books.

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Lanie was particularly fond of one particular book and spent about 5 minutes completely enthralled with it.

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She used up every bit of her energy on the little starfish page, which is funny because that’s one of her nicknames.

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Then melted into a pile of exhaustion, nursed for a few minutes, and fell asleep, which was appropriate because today is National Public Sleeping Day and we were in a public library and she was sleeping. I should have gotten a picture.

Matthew found a book quickly, then Maggie snapped him up to read something to her.

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Sam and Jesse were all but silent the entire time. Seriously. I showed Jesse where the dinosaur books were and he was content to quietly look at all of them one by one and Sam sat and read one book, the first in a new series he’s now excited about, the entire time we were there.

Other than Maggie being noisy and wanting to check out every single book in the juvenile section and stacking them in great piles while I was distracted by reading a ridiculous book to Lucy about a kid who ordered a penguin from Santa Claus (I’m sorry Librarian and I hope we got them put away properly), we had no anomalies while we were out and about. Unless you count our Whataburger experience. We don’t eat out often but when we do they never get our order right so a gold star goes to Whataburger for getting it correct the first time today.

And we’ve been home for about 2 hours now and I think we’ve managed not to destroy any borrowed materials yet so that’s new.

Before I go, I would like to make a public statement that I am firmly against not being able to check out reference books because when a teenage boy who has already graduated high school wants a math textbook for fun, you let him have a math textbook. And Ben wanted the Guinness Book of World Records but no, it was for in-library use only. I call foul on that one. What a dumb rule.

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31 for 21 Day 22. Life is normal.

Since having Lanie I’ve run across many online discussions where people imagine that families who have a child with Down syndrome can’t live normal lives or do normal things but that really isn’t true at all.

Matthew is number 4. His team lost tonight and that was hard but we were all able to go watch the game and cheer him on.

It was cold and we’ve discovered that Lanie is much happier in cooler 55-degree weather. I’m not, which is why I don’t have a picture of her from the game. My hands froze over early in the evening so here’s a picture from yesterday where Lanie was talking with Gabe.


I know this post was supposed to be about physical therapy tools but that’ll have to wait. It was a long day and I’m just too tired.

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