Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pictures of the Boys

We have all been sick lately. Some horrible cold that doesn't want to go away. It gave Jacob and ear infection, Aaron pink eye and has some how made me sick again before I really got over the first bout. We have been a pretty miserable bunch for the past couple of weeks, but I did manage to take the kids outside to take some pictures at the end of last week. I figured I would see what kind of shots I could get with my fancy camera. I'm no professional photographer, but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Here are a few of my favorites!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Magnolia Munson

So Matt and I temporarily lost our sanity and decided to get a puppy! An English Bulldog puppy to be exact and we are all completely in love with her. She is all white (with some black spots on her ears, but all the fur is white) and just as cute as she can be. Right?!
We decided we would go ahead and name her because if we let the kids name her she would be either "Dog!" (Aaron) or "Woofy" (Jacob) or something to that effect. So Matt and I settled on Magnolia (for the beautiful flowers/trees in our home state of Georgia) and Munson (for the late, great Larry Munson - longtime Georgia Bulldog football radio announcer) and we'll call her Maggie for short because it's such a cute name!
Since she's so cute, here's another picture.
 Rather than telling the kids before we brought her home, we made it a surprise. We took her to the vet to have her checked out before introducing her to them because we didn't want any broken hearts if there was something seriously wrong with her (Matt and I have been through that with a puppy before and really didn't want our kids to experience that too). Luckily, the vet checked her out and said she looks great. Perfectly healthy and ready for her new home.

So when I brought her home, she was in a box (without the top on it - I'm not inhumane) but the kids couldn't see her. Matt told Jacob we had a new family member and he got a really confused look on his face. When I showed him what was in the box his jaw dropped and his face lit up. Aaron started doing the sign for dog (which is patting the side of your leg) and yelling "Dah!" "Dah!".
So, Friday will make one week since Maggie joined our family and so far things are going great. She isn't so sure about Jacob yet (the feeling is mutual though) and she likes to play with Aaron (again, the feeling is definitely mutual). She likes to eat, sleep and chew on things. Crazy, I know. For the most part, she uses the puppy pads and she has fit in with our family pretty seamlessly. We all love her and hope she lives a long, happy life with us.

Aaron is especially fond of her and I have been astounded at his instinctive calmness with her. As wound up as he gets, I thought he would be really rough with her. But once she was comfortable in our house and he had calmed down enough to stop yelling "Dah!" at her every time he saw her, he has been nothing but gentle. He sits down when she is out playing with him, he pets her gently, he gives her hugs (without squeezing her) and he holds his hand out so she can sniff him. It appears they already have a kinship which I hope will be good for both of them for years to come.

So, I hope you have enjoyed the pictures of our new furry family member. Welcome home, Maggie!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Craft Time

Although I am not very "artistic", I do have a creative streak and a love of making things that most definitely came from my mother. Being the only female in the house, I am pretty much on my own when I want to take on a craft project, but that's alright. Trying to find a big enough chunk of time to actually get something done is always a challenge, but every once in a while the stars align and I manage to finish one of my many projects.

Since no one in my house really cares about any of the things I make (what can I say, they are boys) I figured I would share them here!

Most of these ideas came from Pinterest, or were inspired by things I found there. I love that site! Makes me feel crafty even when I'm not. :-)

I saw a similar sign on Pinterest that was made by someone that was selling it on Etsy for about $40. I LOVE the saying, but didn't want to shell out the money for it, so I thought I would try to make one myself. I found a piece of plywood and a decorative dowel at Michael's and painted them both white. Cut the letters out of scrapbook paper using my Cricut machine and glued them down with Mod Podge. I added a picture hanger to the back and voila! I love that I was able to make it my own, with the colors I wanted and only spent about 10 bucks.

I came up with this one on my own! The door hanger cost 99 cents and I had everything else. White craft paint, black paint pen, green Sharpie and the Cricut machine to cut out the monkey and vine. I think it's cute, but Aaron likes to take it off the door and throw it. Of course.

I actually made this several months ago and have been using it with much success! I got the inspiration for this from Pinterest as well. Each child has a pocket with "technology tickets". I cut up pieces of scrapbook paper and tied ribbons to the ends. Each ticket is worth 30 minutes of technology time (tv, video games, computer, etc). Jacob gets 14 tickets per week and can use them as he pleases but once they are gone, they are gone for the week. Occasionally, we take away a few tickets when he gets in trouble as well. There are limitations, he can't use any until his homework is done and he can't use them all at once. Mom and Dad always have the right to overrule his decision on when/how to use them. For the most part it has worked great. Makes it easier (for both of us) to see how much time he has spent in front of a screen.

Thanks for taking the time to see what I have made over the past few months! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Overcoming the Exhaustion

I love my son but taking care of him is exhausting. I like to think that my friends whose children don't have special needs are also tired, and I'm sure they are, but not like this. It's not complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion every single day. I feel like I am constantly running a marathon and the finish line is nowhere in sight. In reality, there is no finish line.

I don't like to complain about being Aaron's mom. I am so thankful that he is my son and that God decided he belonged in our family. He has changed our lives in unbelievable ways and I really don't want to change it. But it isn't easy.

There seems to be two different ways of thinking about Down Syndrome out there. Many parents look at it as a blessing and wouldn't change a single thing about their child even if they could. If there were somehow a "cure" (which is kind of ridiculous - you can't change someone's DNA), they wouldn't want it because it might alter their child's unique and wonderful qualities. I get that, I really do. I'm not sure I'm squarely on that side of the fence, but I can understand the thoughts behind it.

Then there are the parents that look at it as a terrible disease. The parents who will do anything and everything out there to try to minimize the effects that this extra gene has on our children. There are nutritional supplements, rigorous therapy schedules (as if our five hours a week aren't enough!) and dietary protocols that are aimed at improving the child's chances of living a more "normal" life. I know I'm not on this side of the fence, but I can see this perspective as well.

Honestly, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of these two views of Down Syndrome. Either that, or I still haven't quite figured out how I feel about it. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who is stuck somewhere between "I love DS" and "I love my child, but I hate the syndrome". I have always hated the stuck in the middle feeling. It's not a good place to be. But I suppose part of my journey is to learn to accept that. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. If a miracle drug is developed someday that will effectively eliminate all of the effects of Down Syndrome in my child, I will have to decide then if it is the right thing for him. I'm not holding my breath, but you never know what the future might hold.

For now, I'm just trying to get through each day. Running through the never-ending race that is my life. Doctor's appointments, therapy visits, trying desperately to figure out how to communicate with my son, studying every label of every food that might go into his mouth to make sure it isn't going to make him sick, running after him or trying to hold onto him every minute that we are outside of the house, beating myself up about not doing enough for him, trying to make sure I give Jacob everything he needs while constantly worrying about his brother, struggling just to make dinner for my family because I'm so tired and stressed out by the end of the day and wishing I had time to even think about doing something for myself. There is so much more that goes into every single day of my life, but that is just a sampling of the thoughts that I have on a daily basis. I want to update this blog more frequently. When I actually do get a few minutes to think clearly, I have to decide whether writing for my paying job, cleaning the house, attempting to relax or one of the dozens of other things I need to accomplish will be the priority that day. Unfortunately, this blog doesn't top the list very often. It's therapeutic for me to write here, but there are just so many other things that need to get done, that it doesn't happen very often. And it's really hard to form a complete thought when I have a three year old tugging on my arm and screaming at me to turn on Blue's Clues...