Friday, June 26, 2015

Well Hello, Blog

I've had several people mention "your blog" to me lately and I'm all like, "Blog? what blog?"

It feels like forever since I have written here. Not because I have stopped blogging or because I HATE THE BLOG but rather because life has become a whirlwind.

Addison finished her final year of preschool (hip hip horray!) which means that her summer break lined up with Aaron's busy season (landscaping is best done when it isn't -20 outside...or so I'm told) which means that I have 3 kids all day long with no helper spelling me at bedtime...which means that life has suddenly sped up like crazy.

I have gotten a few breaks this week because of friends being in town and a dentist appointment and Papa and Grandma's church hosting VBS that the older two have loved attending...so don't feel too sorry for me. I only had to call Poison Control ONCE this week (and it was really mostly just to chat to see if they were missing me too much).

So what have we been up to??? I will let the pictures do the talking.

                     First Day of Preschool                                Last Day of Preschool
 Here are the kids all looking at me like I'm crazy (this happens surprisingly a lot. OK maybe not surprisingly.)
 Here they are smiling and looking pleasant ALL AT THE SAME TIME (If I bought lottery tickets no doubt I would have run to buy one on this day).
Here is the very first batch of cupcakes that Addison decorated. (I feel like this should be an "in memory of" picture as they cupcakes are loooong gone.) She was quite proud of her work.
 Here they all are trying their very best to fall into the sheep pen at the farm.
 Here is Addison at her cardiology appointment with Eli as her comforting presence. Apparently I was just their ride home. (Good news...her pulmonary hypertension is FINALLY gone.)
The kids also had their first boat ride. (we stayed in the shallow water...and this only lasted 20 min). Ever since the kids have been begging for "MORE BOAT!!!" The masses have spoken.
This is what happens when I forget to invite Addison to help me roll out the pizzas and she takes it upon herself to "get it done" in the kitchen...
I have started a #triplewagon series on Instagram to document some of our adventures. (Spoiler alert: the triple wagon is in all of these pics)
Addison has bitten up her lenses so badly that she won't tolerate her glasses until the new lenses come in. (this takes 3 weeks) She seems to see pretty well without them (I'm assuming this is unrelated to her running into the open car door this morning?)
 Carter is turning into a gentleman who looks out for the other two in a very kind way (except for the 2% rascal that he pulls out when I least expect it.)
 Eli still hasn't had his first hair cut. He is becoming a big boy, and seems to have inherited the same rascal gene that his brother has. I think the Bible says this comes from the father's side?
 So yeah. My 3.
Side note: I am reading through a book that uses a LOT of parenthesis. I find this habit to be rather contagious. I should apologize (so sorry).

I know blogging has changed to where we are supposed to post only "10 things to help you become a better blah blah blah!" But if I hold myself to that standard...you will most likely never hear from me again because I just don't have the time or energy to creatively craft this sort of masterpiece. (How to be a better blah blah blah 1. Stop calling yourself a blah) 

This summer is simultaneously dragging and flying by. The days with the kids are both hideously difficult and beautifully precious. I am learning a lot about myself (mostly that I am not naturally good at this mothering thing), and trying to learn more about my 3 to help them better navigate into the fall. Because you know what happens this fall????

Kindergarten for Addison
Preschool for Carter
Mommy time ALONE for Eli

So we are treasuring each and every summer day (while wishing for some for HURRY UP AND BE DONE ALREADY). But mostly the treasuring thing. We soak in the rays and we take long naps on the rainy days. We make messes and then we learn to clean them up. We read books and we take long walks. We take adventures and we stick to the boring ol' normal. We eat ice cream and...well, mostly just ice cream.

Oh and also-- thank you for your help in spreading the word about Motherhood Unexpected. Last week on our free day (which ended up being more like a day and a half), we had 1,717 new downloads. Here's praying that those downloads fall in the hands of the ones who need that encouragement the most.

I hope your summer is going well! And as long as you can excuse our more casual approach to summer blogging...we will see you here again soon(ish).

Monday, June 1, 2015

We Are All Good At Different Things

The other day I was trying to get a picture of the newly mowed lawn (which had previously been a prairie) to send to Aaron. Carter followed me out, so I decided to include him in the picture.
"Jump!" I shouted. And so he did.
Later that day I was back out with all 3 kids, and I decided to get a jumping shot of Addison too. 
"Jump!" I shouted. And so she did.
When I uploaded the pictures, I was struck with the contrast between them. Addison has jumped with her feet off the ground before, but for some reason today this was as high a jump as she was able to muster. Carter excels at jumping and I felt happy to just be able to capture one of them so clearly.

When you first look at these pictures side by side,
your first thought might be..."Poor Addison. Down syndrome is holding her back from achievement!"

But before you complete that sentence, I need to give you more background. You will notice that for Carter's jumping picture, he is in a sleeper....and for Addison's jumping picture, she is in a super cute outfit.

You see, Addison is very good at dressing herself. She will take herself to the potty, put on a fresh pull-up, and then put on her pick (or somethings things I have laid out) of clothes. Carter? He thinks he is being majorly tortured if I expect him to ACTUALLY take off his sleeper by himself to go potty let ALONE dress himself in new clothes. Mean mommy with too high of expectations!

What is my point?

I feel like this excellently illustrates something that I have been feeling for a while. And that is-- we are all good at different things and none of us should be judged based on the things that we aren't good at just because someone else along side us IS good at them...and vice versa. These skills grow and change as we grow and change (oh goodness I hope Carter isn't in college some day calling to me to come help him with his sleeper zipper), but the truth of the matter is, we will have different areas in which we excel and areas in which we...simply don't.

Sometimes I think people look at Down syndrome and see only the difference in jump heights:
without taking into consideration that there are many other moments when it is Addison flying into the area and Carter is barely lifting his heels. (like moments before the first picture while she dressed herself and he refused to try)

I don't say this to compare the two or to pit them against each other. I say this merely to remind myself of a simple concept that having a child with special needs has taught me. 

We are all good at different things.

Sometimes the "things we are good at" aren't easily defined, tangible things. Sometimes it's an emotion, a gesture, an artistic expression...a way we make someone else feel or even what we teach someone else through who we are. Because of this, outward "what we are good at" appearances can be deceiving.

I have 3 kids. I know they aren't all going to be brilliant at standardized testing...or athletics...or music as my childhood starred in. But they are all going to be brilliant. Just in their own way. And there is no "better than" or "best" when it comes to areas in which to show brilliance. All areas are equal.

You know how I know this? Addison taught me. Because while I am good at thinking inside the box and judging based on perceived intelligence, Addison is really good at demonstrating outside the box how intelligence doesn't always look how I once thought it did. Intelligence is a sneaky thing...it is all around us. In many different forms.

Sometimes intelligence means struggling to communicate verbally...and finding a million other ways to say exactly what she means. Sometimes intelligence means NOT following instructions not because they aren't understood...but because she has a mind of her own and a will to explore. Sometimes intelligence means smiling and laughing hysterically over the smallest things because the value in the little things are comprehended without having to be taught.

We are all good at different things.
Always look deeper than the first glance. Always assume that there is more there. Search to find the "good at" in both sides of a situation where you are tempted to judge "Good" and "Bad" at something.

Living with 3 children very different from each other, I feel like I have a first row seat to this life lesson.

And sending a child with special needs off to kindergarten in the fall, this is what I wish her kindergarten world would know. No, she won't jump as high as the rest of her class in academics...or PE...or even in feeding herself at lunch. But she is good at other things. Other things that are just as important. You just have to care enough to notice.