A New Journey

In the months after Bunny was born I did a lot of reading on down syndrome.  One of the things that caught my attention was that kids with down syndrome are more likely to have celiac disease.  I knew that we would most likely be transitioning to gluten free at some point but the thought completely overwhelmed me.  Bunny has never had issues with gluten that I have noticed so I have dragged my feet in making the transition because it's admittedly hard to change something when you aren't seeing negative effects.

However, Bunny is not my only child as we all know.  One of my daughters has had a few symptoms that have been troubling me for awhile.  Then a few months ago her behavior really began to take on an aggressive trait that I didn't think fit her heart.  I began researching.  I read both  this book, and this book.  They are both about food allergies in children and some common and uncommon signs of a possible allergy.  They also address deficiencies and how to correct those.  My conclusion after reading those books and applying it to all of my children's symptoms was that we were possible dealing with food sensitivities if not allergies and I definitely needed to consider omega 3 deficiency for one of them .

I considered getting them tested and I may still do that but in the meantime I decided that we would take out gluten because gluten and dairy seem to be the main causes of problems.  In all honesty.....I think dairy would be way harder than gluten so I decided we would see how it went on gluten free first.  My goal was to start off as gluten free and transition to grain free as time went on and the kids got used to the changes.

The first week was really hard.  I had a meal plan (as I always do) but walking through Trader Joes I almost had a panic attack as I had to pass by our tried and trues for lunches.  I thought "What am I going to feed my kids??"

I explained to the girls why we were doing it and they seem okay with it.  They are used to eating different than other people but they know that we are trying to make good choices for our health.  The first few days they seemed more emotional than normal but other than being hungry all the time they seem fine with the changes.

Then a week in I made a big batch of guacamole and we ate it with organic blue corn tortilla chips for lunch one day.  Both girls had a bad reaction to it which made me realize we needed to tweak things even more and really work on getting those grains out.  I have to admit that those chips are my very favorite lunch and I was pretty sad.  However, getting myself out of the rut of my same very favorite lunch has made me eat a much healthier lunch with a much wider variety.

I suspect that we may need to cut dairy too.  At least for awhile.  Did you know that one of the signs of an allergy is that you crave that food?  Well Baby is a dairy fiend.  She also happens to have pink circles under her eyes which is another possible side effect to a dairy allergy.  I have no idea how I am going to pull off no dairy.  Bunny definitely has a dairy sensitivity.  I already avoid dairy for him. His face gets bright red when he eats dairy and his digestion gets all out of whack.

I have been journaling our food intake and anything weird I see during the week.  I honestly feel a little crazy about the whole thing but I truly just want what is best for my kiddos.  Yes staying up every night making food and having dry scaly hands from all of the dish washing is not my favorite but it's totally worth it.

This week has been the calmest our family life has been in months.  There has not been one explosion all week.  There have been tense moments but I was able to talk the girls down before it got bad which I was not able to do in the past.  The girls are also falling asleep right away each night and getting a better night's sleep.

We did also start a new chart system this week which I think is greatly contributing to the peace and love in the home but I know it's not the only reason.  Emotions were raw and out of control before and they have been reigned in.  I feel that it is too soon to say anything for sure but I definitely feel positive about where this is heading.

For myself I feel like I have more energy and my moods are more stable.  I can go almost to bedtime (the kid's) without feeling like I am going to lose it.  And believe me, that is saying a lot because dinner making time is crazy time around here!  I don't feel as tired in the afternoons either.  Prior to launching my investigation on my children I had also read this book (I highly recommend this book to anyone who deals with mood issues!) for myself and was beginning to think I should make some changes because I was feeling irritable ALL the time!

So that's what's new with us.  I have once again tweaked things to make things more complicated for myself.  Oh and we no longer have cable....but that is a different story.  Maybe next week I'll decide we need a large pet to make things even more exciting around here.

**The pictures are from a family trip to the park last week.  We unsuccessfully tried to teach the girls how to ride their bikes (Yes Boogie is 8.  We suck).  We're not giving up though!


My Hams

I see a Taylor Swift concert in my future...

The singer.  His head bopping kills me.  He catches on to words in songs surprisingly well and sings along with the radio.

The dancer.  Stevie Wonder has got nothing on my boy!  I can't wait to see his moves once he starts walking.

And just to prove his enthusiasm...Bunny has a new sign.  He uses it to tell me he wants me to play the songs on my phone.  He says dance too.



It has been so cold here.  Buddy is getting naughtier and naughtier every day because the poor boy is bored out of his mind!  Today we had no therapy or errands to run and it wasn't quite as cold so I decided that my boys needed some Vitamin D!

Buddy was so excited that he even posed for the camera so that we could get moving!

I even got a smile!  I guess I found the secret for getting Buddy to smile for the camera.  Usually when I get the camera out he points at it and screams "No! No! No!"


It was a great morning for all of us.  The boys were a bit cold when we got home but they were in much better spirits.

And now we need to talk about vultures.  Apparently, there is a group of them that hang out near my house.  I first spotted them huddled on a neighbors roof...walking around like old men.  It completely creeped me out.  I told Daddy I could not be responsible for my actions if they ever decided to walk on my roof.

I haven't seen them on the roofs in awhile but they are always flying around near our house.  Baby has pointed out that I am obsessed with them.  I kind of am.

I have this weird irrational fear that they are going to swoop down and try to pluck one of my babies away from me.  When I saw the creepy things "sunning" themselves on our walk I stood there in horror at their freakishness and then decided I should share my horror. 

I apologize if you also share my fear and are no going to have nightmares.  I suggest you scroll back up to the cuties to wash the horror from your memories.


What to Say

I have been trying for a long time to get a picture of the boy's feet next to each other.  The size difference is amazing.  While this picture isn't the best for comparison, you can get an idea.  When I bought them new shoes the other day Buddy got a size 8 wide and Bunny got a 5.  The 5 is about 2 sizes too big for Bunny but I needed them to fit over his orthotics.

When they are sitting next to each other in their stroller they look about the same size from the waist up and then you see Buddy's long legs hanging over and Bunny's short little leggies just sticking out and you can tell their is a MAJOR size difference.   I have mentioned it before, but when I tell people that the boys are twins they usually look at me a little funny.

I had the boys at the girl's school the other day for Boogie's birthday celebration.  While I was waiting for the bell to ring another mom came up to wait for her son and she was watching me and the boys interact.  She asked me how old they were and when I just said "22 months" she look confused for a few minutes and then asked "they're twins?" and then said "Wow.  That one (pointing at Buddy) is twice the other ones size."

And this is the point in the conversation where I never know what I am supposed to say.  I think it is pretty obvious that Bunny has down syndrome.  I am not the least bit ashamed of his down syndrome but I also don't feel the need to define him by that label so unless people ask I usually don't bring it up.  I said something like "Yes he's quite a bit smaller but he probably always will be" or something along those lines.

The next day Bunny had OT and as we were waiting in the waiting room a dad came in with a little guy around Bunny's age.  The boys checked each other out and as it turned out shared a therapy room.  I *think* the little boy had down syndrome and you would think I would be able to tell but in all honesty I usually can't.  I wait to see how the baby moves because that is my best indicator.  He moved in a way that is very familiar to me and was working on things that Bunny was working on for low tone.  Had I just glanced at him on the street I wouldn't have been able to tell.

That got me thinking....I would never go up and ask the baby's dad if he had down syndrome.  I wouldn't ask a parent if their child had any kind of condition.  I feel like it's rude. 

I remember a man at my favorite health food store making a big deal over how cute Bunny was and then later asking me how his heart was.  It was like a secret code.  It was a way to let me know he knew that Bunny had down syndrome without just coming out and asking it.  Turns out he had a 22 year old son with down syndrome.

A person who doesn't know the secret codes would have no idea how to politely ask about Bunny I'm sure.  Unless I volunteer the diagnosis they probably aren't going to point blank ask me.  So now I'm wondering if I SHOULD say something when people inquire about the size difference.  Obviously not to every Joe Blow on the street but to people, like that mom, who I will probably come in contact with many times over the next few years.  I don't want to label Bunny but I do want people to know that it is not a taboo subject and that they can ask me about it.

I'm very curious to hear other moms thoughts on this.  From both sides...the asking and the telling.


My Life in Pictures

My orthotics are in!!!!
We pick them up tomorrow.  I doubt that Bunny will actually be this happy about it but here's hoping!

Twin Thoughts

As I was perusing Facebook this morning I came across this blog post on twins where one has down syndrome.  It touched my heart because I have had so many similar thoughts and fears.  I fear that my boys have been cheated of their twin experience because of Bunny's extra chromosome and I fear for what their relationship will be like in the future.

They must have sensed my sadness because they pulled out some seriously cute twin love today.

There is no question in my mind that they love each other.  Buddy is especially sensitive towards brother and always ask for him when he doesn't see him.  My hope is that as Bunny gets stronger and more active that these two will be the dynamic duo.

Yes, I realize I should be careful what I wish for...

I know that my job is to help foster their relationship and be sensitive to each boy's needs.  I want them to always be close.  I want Buddy to be protective of Bunny but I never want him to feel burdened by him.  I want Bunny to just be his brother.  The brother that he teases and wrestles and gets into mischief with.  I want them to always have each others back. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds as they get older.

At the moment I think we are right on track.

My Life in Pictures

Why yes.  My middle name IS Cute


Thinking Things Through

Here is a tip for expectant twin mothers:  You must ALWAYS think things through!

Today I got a call from the school.  Baby's teacher was asking if she was getting hot lunch because she had no lunch bag.  I had a flash in my mind of Baby jumping out of the car at drop off and I remembered her backpack was unzipped.  I found her lunch bag in the car.  So off we went to deliver it.

I was hoping for a quick drop off in the office while the boys waited in the car.  When I got to the school, the parking lot was blocked off and I had to park on the side street.  And then I realized I didn't have the double stroller in the car.  I decided to put Bunny in the Boba and let Buddy walk.

It was fun because Boogie was on snack break and she was quite surprised when she recognized us walking along the playground.  Buddy was having a great time feeling like a big boy.

As we were walking back to the car I realized that Buddy was having a little too much fun and that he wasn't going to like being strapped into his car seat again.  I was wearing Bunny so I had limited movement.  I made a quick attempt at putting him in and he freaked out.  I had to stand by the car for a few minutes realizing that I totally screwed myself because I had no way to get both boys in.  I couldn't leave Buddy on the sidewalk while I strapped Bunny in (his side was on the street).

In a moment of genius I decided to put Buddy in my seat real quick while I strapped Bunny in to his seat.  He had a great time as he loves to pretend to drive.  Then I had to wrestle him into his seat for 10 minutes while he screamed and all the kids on the playground gawked.  My boy is FREAKISHLY strong.

So moral of the story.....always think things through to the end! 

Practical Gifts

At Christmas I like to give practical gifts.  The girls usually get a jacket, books, some uniform pieces and then a few things they want.  We don't need any more toys around here that's for sure!

I put a lot of thought into Bunny's gifts this year.  The table above was his main present and the brain child of his PT and myself.  It's a smaller train table that we added holed board (I have no idea the real name) and then zip tied toys on.  I picked a train table because it needed sides for Bunny to pull to a stand. 

This table happens to be the perfect height for him.  I also wanted to be able to use the table for other things once he no longer needs it like this which is why we added the extra board.  The zip ties are so he can't pull the toy off the table...he has to stand there and play with it. 

Bunny loves the table.  He is a little scared to stand by himself.  He does pull into a high kneel at the side so that is progress!  He will also perform if I sit behind him which makes me realize he is just unsure of himself.  My boy needs confidence in his standing.  Hopefully the orthotics will help with that.  They should be here soon.

Buddy likes to be involved in all therapy.  This picture just melts my heart.  Buddy just adores his brother.

It's a good thing these beads are just zip tied because I may have to change them out soon.  Once Bunny realized he could play with the beads without standing he was a happy boy.  That completely defeats the purpose of my table.  He sure was entertaining himself and his brother!

Thinking about it......

but his feet are unsure.  He'll get there....I know.


Boogie is 8

My sweet Boogie girl turns 8 tomorrow.  Daddy and I have been wondering all weekend how that is possible.  Unfortunately for Boogie, her birthday falls on the first day back at school so we thought we should do celebrations today.

Boogie planned the whole thing out weeks ago.  She designed a "food tour" for her birthday.  She is her father's child.  She picked Daddy to take her to breakfast.  Mommy for lunch and Grandma and Pa for dinner.

Daddy and the girls (Boogie decided Baby could join her celebrations just for one meal) left early this morning and came back stuffed.  My last words when they left were to take lots of pictures.  Do you see any pictures?

Because Boogie's birthday falls right after Christmas she is usually stocked up on toys so I asked her if she wanted to have a shopping day were she could pick out some new clothes.  Also being a daughter after her mommy's heart, she jumped at the chance.

We put together 5 or 6 outfits and hit the fitting room.  Boogie happily modeled the outfits for me.

We had so much fun!  I am loving the transition from little girl to my shopping buddy.  Our time together is more like hanging out as she gets older. I love it.  After we selected the winning outfits we accessorized and headed to lunch.

Boogie and I are obsessed with eating soup in bread bowls.  She asked me all about my jobs over lunch.  It's fun when your kids start to realize you had a whole other life before you started a family. 

Grandma and Pa were happy to oblige Boogie's wishes and picked her up for dinner.   They had a great time and even thought to bring Mommy back some tiramisu. 

In all honesty, a day of restaurants is my worst nightmare health wise but we don't do elaborate parties around here and since she came up with it herself I just went with it.  It's one day.  I hope she felt as special and celebrated as she is.  I just love this sweet girl!!

So Much for THAT Plan

Remember how we were going to make the best of the rest of the week?  You know what changes in nursing and extreme tiredness is a perfect recipe for?  I know you nursing mama's do!  Yep our good old friend mastitis.  I got hit HARD with a case that started on New Year's Eve.  When my home remedies couldn't stop it I gave in and went to urgent care. 

After I gave myself a few days to recover I was in slight panic mode that the Christmas decorations were still up and my Purgefest2013 had not even begun.  I worked hard the last few nights and here is one of the fruits of my labor.  A new playroom!

I have been dying to do this for months but a trip to Ikea is not exactly convenient for me.  I suckered Pa into helping me and then begged Daddy to put everything together that night.  He just LOVES it when I get like this!

It is such a perfect play area though!  The boys are happy to play in there for hours.  There is enough to keep Buddy occupied for awhile and Bunny loves to crawl around and explore.  It's also easy to clean up and I love that the big boxes hide all the toys from view.

Obviously, sisters have been playing in here too.  Buddy IS a genius but he is not spelling just yet.

I have gone into the room a few times and just turned on the light and smiled.  It's exactly what I wanted.  I didn't get much done this vacation but I got the important things done.