I have an addiction. A baby clothes addiction.

I have an addiction to shopping for and buying baby girl clothes and shoes. And blankets. And toys. I regularly have shopping carts at 6 different online stores filled with the most adorable baby outfits that Lanie must have RIGHTNOW. The addiction is still developing and growing and new baby items get added to my must have list every day. Like board books and straw cups. Rabbit gives me the side-eye about it but I go to Lowe’s with him so that and the occasional heavy sigh are about all the hassle I get.

I get her new clothes and then I pose her like a doll and try to take pictures.  More than often they end up like this because she does what she wants and often what she wants to do is dance while I try to take pictures with my phone.

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Or this. Where she is just disappointed in me for setting her down again.

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She seems to enjoy Gabe’s cello lessons and even though she is normally tired at this point I can usually get some smiles out of her while we listen to him play.  I am irritated that even with a really good camera I still get so many fuzzy pictures.

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We’ve always liked Carters and their sister company, Oshkosh. Lately, however, they are the only baby clothing brands I want to buy.
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I struggled with accepting that Lanie had Down syndrome. It’s difficult news for the vast majority of new T21 parents to accept. Some people had even warned me ahead of time that I had better be careful having so many kids because I might have one with Down syndrome. For people outside the Down syndrome community, Down syndrome is often scary to think about. I get it. It was scary for me before I knew better.

But it’s not scary. Seriously. It’s just not.

It takes more than a village to break the largely untrue stereotypes like the ones that surround Down syndrome, and Carters and Oshkosh are helping to shed some of the scary stigma by regularly using these kids in their social media advertising.

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Because just like their typical peers, they are cute and charming and beautiful and there is no reason to not include them in every normal part of life and people are starting to see that and inclusion is becoming a real thing.

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Just about all the clothing Lanie is wearing in these pictures is from Oshkosh, Carters, or Child of Mine by Carters. Everything except the shoes.

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I know this sounds like I’m trying to sell something but this is not an advertisement. It’s just my thoughts on something that is happening and that I think is great. We need more of this in our media. More acceptance. More inclusion. More kids with Down syndrome just being kids.

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Filed under: Down syndromeLanie

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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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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Filed under: Down syndromeFloridaFriends & FamilyJoeLanieLucyMaggieSometimes we do stuffThe Rabbit

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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Filed under: BoysFriends & FamilySometimes we do stuff

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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Filed under: BenBoysfancy foosballFloridaJesseMatthewSamSometimes we do stuff

Our number 2. Joe.

When he was little, maybe 5, Joe wanted more than anything to be a superhero.  He switched between Superman and Spiderman and when he started to jump off things to see if he could fly or swing from a web, I decided it was time for a conversation. When I told him he couldn’t actually become a superhero, it was just pretend, he broke down in tears and told me that he thought he already was one.  Realizing that I had just broken his heart with that news made me unbelievably sad but he quickly moved on to believing he was actually Link and everything I said to him suddenly made sense.

(picture of Joe dressed as link to be added as soon as I locate it because it is awesome.)

Joe is 18 now and while he has not given up on his dreams of being a superhero, he has certainly reevaluated what that dream will look like in the real world and is working on a criminal psychology degree so he can help put the bad guys away and save the streets of Pensacola from madness and mayhem.

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He also has this huge heart and a compassion that most people don’t get to see.  I wish I could predict the next time he was going to sit on the side of the street with a homeless man so I could get a picture without him knowing. He brings them food, breaks bread with them, and gets their stories. He sees their needs, individually, and does what he can to provide.

And he loves his siblings.

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He’s a very serious person but that doesn’t stop him from playing with the littles just about every day. He asks them questions and gets silly with them.

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He encourages them.

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And cares deeply for them.

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He invests time with the older siblings because relationships are important to him.

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They are important to him.

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Joe takes advice very seriously and while he doesn’t always agree with his father and me, he considers what we say and holds our opinions in the highest regard. He meets with our pastor on a regular basis to ask questions and gain a better understanding of The Word. He wants to do life right and is constantly working to create good habits, meet goals, and learn more.

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I am so proud of the son he is and the man he is becoming.

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And I cannot wait to see what his future has in store for him.

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Filed under: Friends & FamilyGod is.Joe

Maggie speaks

31949292731_490b8eb50c_oMaggie talks quite clearly and in large, winding sentences sometimes, but doesn’t always make sense.  Recently she came into my room quite taken aback at some odor emanating from the other room.

Maggie (3 – making a yucky face): Mom, it smells so bad out there.

Me: What does it smell like?

Maggie (more yucky face): I don’t know. Yuck!

Me: Does it smell like a poopie?

Maggie: No. (exaggerated yucky face) It smells like back.

Me (confused, needing clarification): It smells like back?

Maggie (louder, as if I am asking a ridiculous question): Yes. Back. And it smells so bad.

Me: What does back smell like?

Maggie: I don’t know but we can no longer eat the dirt from outside.

And that must have been all she needed to say because she quickly turned back around and headed out of the room.  I still don’t understand the relationship between the smell of back and eating dirt from outside. I’m pretty sure we’ll never know.

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Filed under: FunnyMaggie

Last night

I’ve had these baby headphone ear protectors for when we have a loud music or sporting event to go to for years and last night at the Globetrotters game was Lanie’s first time wearing them.

It really wasn’t all that loud but she seemed uncomfortable so I put them on her and it was quite humorous to watch her reaction. She kept looking back and forth between Rabbit and me with a confused expression on her face. 

Eventually we took them off and she seemed to do better with all the commotion, smiling and dancing to the music, but it was helpful to have the ear protection to give her senses a little break.

Everybody else had a great time too.


No video this time because taking care of Lanie was a full time job but we really did enjoy ourselves and will definitely return the next time The Harlem Globetrotters make it back to our area.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Wha what?!

Kait has some terrific bonuses at her job and one of those cool extras has now benefited our entire family. We snagged these tickets for a very good price and got enough for our whole family plus Kait’s guy to only the best sports show ever.

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That’s right. We’re going to see The Harlem Globetrotters tonight!

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We’ve seen them before, many years ago when Rabbit was out at sea and I was in the throws of morning sickness.  We had to get out of the house so I bought some last minute nose bleed tickets and accidentally parked in a not-so-good area of Jacksonville because there was a sign that said “Globetrotter Parking” and I believed it because we could see the coliseum from the lot. Luckily we didn’t die that night and now we’re able to go again and it’s very exciting because Rabbit is with us.

You might recall that I got a little bit of video of it last time. If not, here.

I’ll try to get some video again. Hopefully it’ll turn out a little better this time because, A. I’m not with child, and B. we’re not in the nose bleeds.

This is all so very exciting.

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Filed under: Something Sam Said

I remember being so excited about Kait losing her first tooth until she actually lost it and then I felt incredibly sad and ever since then, whenever one of my children gets that first loose, wiggly tooth, I get all excited with them on the outside while, really, I’m dying a little bit on the inside.

Today, Lucy lost her first baby tooth. Actually, it’s her second because she knocked out a tooth when she was 2 but it’s her first baby tooth to fall out and I’m feeling all sideways about it.

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You can see in the picture that she already has an adult tooth pushing through.

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My sweet baby girl is growing up so danged quickly and I cannot even stand it. I know that this is life and this is how it is supposed to happen.

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And I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

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But I don’t understand why losing baby teeth has to hit me so hard.

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Filed under: Lucy

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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Filed under: Friends & FamilyLanieLucyMaggieMatthewreasons to homeschoolSometimes we do stuff

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