Sunday, May 29, 2011

Toddler Quirks

Violet is an enigma. Although she babbles all the time, she is only now starting to put complete sentences together at 28 months old, and those are fairly limited in terms of vocabulary. So when she plays by herself and babbles, I have no clue what's going on in that little head of hers.

Two mornings a week, when Simon is at preschool, Violet has the house to herself. I usually employ this window of time to get some chores done since Violet (generally) loves having the run of the house and the toys. I love to hear her "talking" to herself while I clean or fold laundry. This morning of the photos (before the week of rain hit us), she was going back and forth between the four open windows in the living room and dining room. I am not sure what exactly she was doing, but after about 20 minutes, she moved on to another activity. Then I saw all the open windows and the creatures she had left there. I think they were guarding the house for me. I left them there all day because they were so cute and it reminds me of the little unknown joys that children bring.

Violet also has a fondness for having a container of "stuff." Usually little baby dolls from the dollhouse, Littlest Pet Shop animals (her favorite being the tiny birds, which she calls "tweet tweet"), and other sundry odds and ends. Usually, she steals Clare's ballet purse or some other purse to carry her loot in. But on this day, I found her walking around with her prized possessions in a cage. Slightly odd, but very endearing. Sometimes I share the sentiment that life would be easier if I could just put all my little darlings in a cage!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Boys V. Girls

Since we do not know the sex of this baby, we have had many queries about if we "think" we know what we're having. And, of course, the answer is NO! How could we possibly predict that?? But the debate rages on.

Last week, one of the neighborhood boys was playing on our swing set. He is 5 years old with an older brother. He asked me what the baby's name was, and I told him I did not know because we didn't know if we were having a boy or girl. His response was: "Oh, you're having a boy. You have a lot of girls already!" I thought it was cute that to him (only having a brother), two girls was "a lot of girls." I didn't point out that we also had two boys since apparently this was not a lot of boys to him! Then this morning, Simon told me the baby was a boy because "we already have a girl baby... Violet! We don't want two girl babies!" So maybe the baby is a boy??

Weirdly enough, I do not have pregnancy dreams. I have not dreamt of labor, delivery, or whether the baby is a boy or girl. These days (or nights rather), I don't think I am asleep for long enough stretches to even have dreams! And just when I thought we were settled on names, it turns out we are not. Our boy's name is decided (right, Shawn?) but we're still throwing out girl potentials. Nothing has grabbed us and screamed THIS IS IT! I felt like with each of the older four children, as soon as I heard what is now their name, I knew that was the perfect name. I just don't have that feeling this time when it comes to a girl's name. So my prediction is that this baby is a girl and will not have a name until we see her!

Today marks 37 weeks, and we are all so eager for this pregnancy to end and meet Baby #5!! This is the latest in the "summer" I have been pregnant and have the cankles to prove it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011



A film about Williams syndrome.... the trailer alone made me cry.

You have to check it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Personality

"Cocktail Personality" - One of the first phrases we heard six years ago to describe individuals with Williams syndrome.

Even the Wikipedia definition of Williams syndrome contains this statement: "Most individuals with Williams syndrome are highly verbal and overly sociable, having what has been described as a "cocktail party" type personality, and exhibit a remarkable blend of cognitive strengths and weaknesses."

In the past few months, Clare's "cocktail personality" has really been coming out full force. She talks to EVERYONE everywhere. She loves to say "hi" to every person she encounters. But she just does not say hi. She likes to add something personal, such as "Hi, guy!" or "Hi, lady!" Recently, at Jamie's soccer practice, she passed one of Jamie's teammates - a boy who has pretty long hair for an 8-year old boy. Clare brightly chirped, "Hi, girl!" as she waved and walked by. That prompted our discussion about how saying hello is okay, but we can leave it at that. If we do not know the person or do not know their name, we can just say "hi." Nothing else needed to be added. It's weird the conversations you have with your children and the rules you have in place that you never dreamed you would need.

I love that Clare is friendly and outgoing. That she smiles at everyone and wants to brighten people's days. That she enjoys striking up conversations with just about anyone. But I admit there are many times I cringe knowing what's ahead, the scenarios I can see coming - such as standing in line behind the woman with purple spikes at the OB's office ("I like your purple hair!") or passing the overly-made up woman at the grocery store ("I love to wear make-up like that!") or her new favorite is telling the entire world that her mom is going to have a baby. (At least she doesn't try to pull up my shirt to SHOW everyone like Violet does!) These days, we are receiving ample opportunity to talk about boundaries, personal space, and appropriate conversation.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More Photos!

Clare's 6-year photos and Simon's 4-year photos. Once again, I love that the photos completely capture their individual personalities!

Clare was quite the ham for her "photo shoot," and I ended up with about 20 amazing pictures. Very hard to narrow it down! Simon was being goofy and didn't want to take any direction, but the photographer was amazingly patient and able to capture some great shots. I am very pleased with my new wall hangings!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Photos Photos

I brought Jamie and Violet to have their professional photos taken a couple months ago around their birthdays, and today I am taking Clare and Simon, so I wanted to share them. (I will share Clare's and Simon's once I have them.)

The last time I took the three older children to have photos done was two years ago. (I did do Violet's at one year old.) With the age of digital photography, we have thousands of photos - and thousands of REALLY good photos. So I let myself skip a year last year. But I still love the professional shots to decorate our walls. I love photos of my children and family and would rather see those around my house than any other decoration. I regret not taking Jamie, Clare, and Simon last year, although it gave me a chance to enjoy their beautiful 6-, 4-, and 2-year old photos for two years!

I debated attempting the group shot today, but being 34 weeks pregnant and having no clue what to put them in to coordinate, I am wimping out on that. Plus if I wait 6-7 months, I can get one with all five children (and maybe even a family portrait, since Simon was 11 months old the last time we did that!). But these are Violet's stunning 2-year photos and Jamie's awesome 8-year photos. I love that they totally capture each child's unique personality.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


We recently made a decision in our life. Nothing earth-shattering or even something that in a few years we will really think about. But, in the moment, this decision was eating me up for some reason. To me, it's all about leaving the comfort and security of a place I know well, people I truly like, and a situation I am used to, familiar with. To begin again in a new place with new people, but one that will be easier for us logistically and financially and hopefully make our life slightly simpler.

There are always choices to be made as a parent. And I struggle constantly with whether or not I am making the right choices. Some of these choices are so tiny in the grand scheme of life. I remember how much I agonized eighteen months ago about putting Clare on the bus to school. I went back and forth in my mind, with Shawn, in my mind again. We ended up letting Clare ride the bus to school because it truly was what worked out best for our family at that time, and it turned out to be a non-issue. In fact, Clare loved every minute of it. Then there are the huge decisions to be made when it comes to our children's health, particularly Clare's. In some ways, though, those decisions are easier to make because you weigh your child's life against the risk of a procedure or other medical decision. And your child's life wins every time.

When I attended my Moms' Day Away, we talked both in our large group and small group about cutting out the extras from our life. Those little things we do or traps we fall into that really make our life more complicated than it has to be. Does my child have to play two sports plus learn to play an instrument? Do I have to empty all the hampers every day or will the earth continue on its rotation if I let the laundry pile up a bit? Do I have to be president of the PTO or even attend every meeting or is it okay to simply be one of the parents who bakes for the teacher's luncheon once a year? As our family grows in size and busy-ness, I am slowly coming to peace with the fact that I cannot do all I want to do. I cannot be everything I want to be. And I think I am okay with that. Because it makes me less stressed and a happier wife and mother. Which makes my husband and kids happier. Which makes life so much sweeter!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Simon!

Happy Birthday to our spunky, goofy, cuddly, new four-year old Simon Joseph! It has been an awesome year watching you grow in leaps and bounds. You have become a great playmate to all your siblings. You love playing with Violet in the mornings, and I often find myself with two crazy kids concocting all kinds of interesting schemes! You enjoy the afternoons with Clare, playing computer or board games. Once Jamie comes home from school, the two of you will hole up in your bedroom with Legos or Bionicles. But your favorite activity is snuggling with me on the couch reading I-Spy books. You cannot get enough of them and can find the hidden items quicker than Mom can. I love that I have a buddy to eat carrots and hummus with, since none of the other kids will touch them! Your love of learning, activity books, mazes, and games is insatiable, and I hope you always have that love of using your mind like that. You are such a joy to us, Simon, and we love you so much! Happy Birthday!