everything is possible... the impossible just takes a little longer

slow and steady wins the race

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tooth Fairy please stop here!

The Collins boys are keeping the Tooth Fairy off the streets.  If she had any thoughts of picking up a day job she should think twice.  Tonight she will be making her second visit this week.  And in our oh so infinite wisdom we have stopped putting money aside for their college education and have started socking away funds to cover the cost of braces.  



Saturday, March 29, 2008

new developments and home decor

OK... so Sean has decided that he wants to crawl.  I KNOW!!!  He is able to get up on all fours and then does this lurch, rock, lurch, slither sort of inching along commando crawling thing.  I came back from the bathroom to find him gnawing on the leg of a dining room chair.  I left him on a blanket with lots of  baby approved items to keep his interest and 6 feet away from the nearest hazard. Obviously those items have lost their appeal and he has moved on to bigger and better things.  He is now a double threat... mobile with teeth...a force to be reckoned with.  We are in such trouble.  It is clear that he wants to be a big boy... he is no longer thrilled with the rattles and baby teething toys...no, he want the TV remote, the phone and all other toys that are composed of small parts not approved for those under the age of 3. It is also beyond me why he wrinkles his nose up at yummy applesauce and peaches send a shiver through his entire body but he will gladly sink his chops into a box of baby wipes, a shoe or edge of a cardboard box with utter joy.  For now he is still slow moving... I have that going for me... but he is gaining momentum and it is only a matter of time before he debunks everything I thought I knew about child-proofing a home.  Since we have an open floor plan now he has access to everything... for example we can't just put a gate up going into the kitchen.  I need to find new places for Sam's medical equipment and keep on Andrew to keep his small Lego pieces out of reach.  

It is also clear to me that my dreams of having a nicely decorated (I am serious... if anyone knows Nate from the Oparah Show... please give him my address), clean and well organized house are just that... dreams.  For now I will settle for our current decor which is best categorized as classic Hasbro with a dash of retro dinosaur and a mix of modern medical.  The native wall markings that are constantly being updated are all the rave these days are are sure to become the next big thing in home decor.  I have found that matchbox cars and other hard objects make the most interesting marks... nothing says FAB-U-LOUS like a gouge in wall (crayons and other removable marks are for amateurs).  And Sam worked really hard to add a touch of flare to our otherwise boring Ikea furniture.... that boy has a knack for distressing. Some people pay a lot of money for this sort of thing and how lucky are we that we have a furniture distressing savant right here in our own home who is willing to work just for the sheer joy of the work itself.  Ya... I'm spoiled.  And when you come to my house please note that the general disarray is an intentional part of the overall appeal and brings a bit of unity to our eclectic decorating style.  We worked really hard to achieve this level of Unkept Chik.

Friday, March 28, 2008

10 things that made me drop what I was doing ...

1.  "Moooooommmmm... I see blood!"

2.  "Sam lost a tooth and I can't find it... maybe he swallowed it?"

3.  "TURTLE!!!"  (When Sam tips over in his feeding chair... on purpose... while he is still strapped into it he looks like a turtle with a shell on his back)

4. " 23-19!!!!"  (when diaper contents are visible outside of the diaper)

5.  "I'm stuck."

6.  "Moooommmmmm... Sam has a crayon and he just scribbled on the TV screen."

7.  "Moooommmm... Sam got the remote and turned the channel again... I think it is a naughty show and I  don't think I should watch it."

8.  "Some guy is at the door... can I let him in?"

9.  "Moooommmm... Sam is sitting on Sean!"


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PLAYDATES: the good, the bad and the uninvited

down stairs = fun

Andrew has a friend over and they are having a good time in the basement... lots to do down there.  Upstairs it is a different story.  Sam is beside himself and desperately wants to be doing whatever it is the big boys are doing down there. The scene being played out at the gate to the basement is a quite dramatic and pathetic display mixed with a dash of "that's not fair", a pinch impending temper tantrum, numerous rounds of "baby tipping" and whining...lots and lots of whining.  Once the big boys come up for a breather I will take Sam down stairs to play on the swing... that will make him happy.  For now he is not thrilled with the balls, musical toys or even his favorite piano... baby tipping seems to be his only pleasure at the moment.  Sean has had better days and as the punishment trickles down... he has started biting me!  I know he just wants to nurse and go down for his nap but I refuse to allow him to work out his frustrations on me (OUCH!) perhaps he is just all worked up about being tipped over all morning... anyway you look it, everyone upstairs is just his side of miserable, bleeding or  beyond tired.  After lunch I will devise a scheme to get everyone downstairs and happy... it that doesn't work I have very large roll of duct tape and I am not afraid to use it!  

up stairs = no fun

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Creature Feature



Sean 7 months

Awwww! Yay you can say it.  This is the sort of photo that every mother loves, the infamous naked baby bath photo, that will as if by magic appear at various times of a child's life causing them to blush and roll their eyes.  This one is pretty "clean" so maybe he won't be too embarrassed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

I think Andrew found most of the eggs before anyone else got up Easter morning.  Before he was too jacked up on sugar, we went to 8:30am mass then came home and started cooking.  We had a full house for dinner and everyone left fat and happy.

Before all our guests arrived, Andrew went outside and drew a message and "life size" Easter bunny with sidewalk chalk  in the driveway to greet everyone when they got here.  The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Hard to believe that we got nearly 14 inches of snow just days prior

sleepy, sleepy tired bunny

Easter Egg coloring is a full-contact sport

"the rookie"

"the Master"

"the Messiest"

In our house you don't get an option of choosing "shirts" or "skins"... skin wins and it is every man for himself.  The boys had fun.  Andrew had a system.  Sam gently put the eggs into the color and then grabbed them out, smashed them and threw bits of egg everywhere.  Sean choose to just suck on them.  Promptly after egg coloring Pat gave the boys a bath and I am happy to report that they are back to their original color.  Meanwhile, I scrubbed the carpet, the table, the kitchen floor, the chairs, the walls and all other newly speckled surfaces.  And I want to send a big thank you to the makers of BIZ... 

Happy Easter Easter Bunny

Andrew's loose tooth

string tied on tooth... check

string tied to door knob... check

realizing that someone is now going to slam the door shut in an attempt to rip the tooth from my gums... scariest thing ever.

Andrew's tooth is still just hanging there in his mouth... I am sure that a strong wind could flick it right out of there but he is determined to just let it "fall out" on its own.  I just want to jump on him, hold him down and yank it out.  It is sooooo loose.  

Friday, March 21, 2008

World Down syndrome Day!

Today, in celebration of World Down syndrome Day , 3/21, I have updated Sam's montage.... take a peek at his amazing journey.  It is nothing short of a miracle that he is where he is today.  He  has moved moutains and truly is a toucher of hearts. This montage chronicles Sam's amazing journey from a 27 week preemie, to a medically fragile infant, to a child battling a rare seizure disorder, to the exploits of a naughty little 5 year old boy... who just happens to have Down syndrome.  We are so proud of his accomplishments... and once he mastered the basics (breathing, swallowing, eye contact) everything else has been icing on the cake.  We are thrilled and excited to see what Sam will decide to do next.  He has proven to be one of our greatest teachers, a wonderfully naughty little brother, a caring big brother and an inspiration to us all.  

Slow and steady wins the race!  

View this montage created at One True Media

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The New Weekly Creature Feature


Andrew is always building something... usually a creature, robot, fighter, swimmer, flyer sort of thing.  He creates them out of various Lego pieces and some of them are down right impressive. They all have names, powers, abilities, and various traits that make them unique.  For example some can only come out at night, others protect you from warewolves, some are bad guys... just because, some are made for fighting, some can only survive in the bath tub and others really like to ride in the van.  So because this is so much a part of who he is right now, I thought it would be fun to feature a different creature each week (see the Creature Feature in the side menu).  It will be Andrew's little spot to show off his creativity, to let his imagination shine and a wonderful way to document this magical time in his childhood.   

Friday, March 14, 2008

I got tagged!


1.  I am a wealth of useless knowledge.  The fact that I rattle off the names of all the Presidents or elements on  the periodic table or that I actually know what an astronomical unit is and can use it in a sentence, has never really been beneficial except when picking teams for Trivial Pursuit.  And who really cares to know that shellac is made from beetle spit or that Cool Whip is just one molecule away from plastic?  Not the mommies at play group ... that is for sure.

2.  I have a knack for packing... it will fit damn it!

3. One of my biggest fears is Death by Algebra.  

4.  I was Homecoming Queen in high school.... I know... it is a weird, weird, crazy world.

5.  Chess and Euchre are my 2 favorite games.

6.  I would LOVE Nate (from the Oparah Show) to come and decorate my house.  This is a cry for help... so if you know someone who knows someone who knows Nate... please give him my address and tell him he is welcome any time.

7.  I am a cheap date.  2 glasses of wine is all it takes to make Rae a happy girl... I am actually quite happy after one 1, but 2 really seals the deal.

8.  I am tongue tied.

9.  I have cookies and milk almost every night... really I could quit at any time...really.  

10.  I believe that everything is possible...the impossible just takes a little longer.  Yes, I am a hopeless optimist.  

OK... I am going to tag... Mike, Kristen over at Mommy Needs a Cocktail, Jen at Sanctuary Arts, Katie and Chris at Notes from the Trenches.  Just because.  

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quick and easy dinner

Need a quick and easy dinner idea... well you came to the right place!  
Here is my "under 30 minute" dinner.  

Crunchy Chicken Breasts

**Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

**Beat 2 eggs and roll chicken breasts in egg

**Smash up some Frenches Fried Onions (yes the kind you use to make that green bean casserole at Thanksgiving) and roll the chicken breasts (with the egg) in the crumbs... I coat them really good.

**Put coated chicken in a pan and back at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until chicken is done all the way through.

***** since full chicken breasts are not on the list of edible foods that Andrew will consume, I use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the chicken into chunks and follow the above recipe.  He thinks he is actually eating chicken nuggets and it is really not much extra work and everyone is happy.  Any dinner without tears is a good dinner.

Bean Bundles

**2-3 cans of green beans (un cut)

**Take strips of bacon and cut them in half

**Make a small bundle of green beans and wrap them with half a piece of bacon and secure with a tooth pick

**Arrange bundles on cookie sheet

**In microwave, melt 3 Tbs butter and mix that with 3 Tbs brown sugar.  Spoon this mixture on each of the bean bundles.

**Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or longer if you like your bacon more crispy

****notice that the chicken and bean bundles are baked at the same temperature... yup, I am that good!

Super Fast Mashed Potatoes (with the skins)

***I use EXCEL Potato Pearls : creamy butter with skins.  These are actual freeze dried potatoes that just need reconstituting.  Just add water and you literally have mashed potatoes in about 1 minute.  The are very buttery and fluffy and only 3gms of fat per serving.  This is an easy way to have mashed potatoes without all the work. 

And there you have it.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So you've heard of cow tipping...

I am not quite sure of his motivation, but Sam has started what can only be called "baby tipping". Perhaps he feels that Sean needs some tough love, maybe he is jealous or maybe he just thinks it is funny... whatever the case may be , "baby tipping" sightings have become a frequent happening around these parts.  

So here is how it all goes down... literally.  Sam goes up to Sean and positions himself behind him, gives him a kiss on the top of the head and than puts his hand in the middle of Sean's back and gently pushes until he topples over and does a face plant into the carpet.  Quite pleased with himself  (as if he has performed some great public service), Sam then moves on to other things.  Sean in the mean time is left wailing on the floor in an almost frozen state with is face in the carpet and his butt in the air... as if he is locked in the sitting position when the tipping occurs.  He feels betrayed and is not quite sure how to handle this sort of brotherly love.  Sometimes Sam takes a full frontal approach and all I can say is some webbles DO fall down.  

Over all Sam still remains quite affectionate towards Sean but this baby tipping thing seems to be more of an experiment in Physics than an act of malice.  Gravity is often fascinating and cruel.  It is almost as if Sam is testing him... sort of like a Zen master trying to explain the importance of balance through example.  Practice and patience young Grasshopper.  

Saturday, March 8, 2008

he's a moose

Recently I noticed that Sean's toes were at the very end of his footy PJ's so I pulled out larger hand-me-downs.  He is in the 90th % for height and at 18 lbs. 13 oz,  he weighs 1 pound less than Andrew did at 1 year... and he is only 6 months! I thought this little outfit was soo cute and I remember I bought it for Andrew to wear on Christmas.  I pulled it out of the box, sized it up and determined that it would never fit Sean next year... so I thought I would see if it fit him now in hopes we could get a few more uses out of it before it becomes too warm... well it fits...barely!

Here is a pic of Andrew at 13 months...


Here is Sean in the same outfit at 6 1/2 months... 
with not much room to spare.

Friday, March 7, 2008

betrayal... oh Mom how could you?

So I just introduced bananas to Sean.  I thought bananas were safe... all babies like bananas... right!  Sean got this look on his face that translated into something like "hey lady, what was wrong with just the rice cereal?"... "why'd ya have to go and mix things up?"  I got a similar reaction when I tried to give him the Tri-Vi-Sol liquid vitamins.  If you have ever tasted that stuff yourself you will surely agree with me that the person who invented this stuff did not like children!  It is horrid. Anyway... the open jar of pureed baby bananas has a shelf life of 2 days in the fridge so guess what he is getting for dinner.... LOL.  

Monday, March 3, 2008

I only turned my back for a second...

 Note to self... next time don't buy a couch with removable cushions.

green is the color of the day

So it has been another one of those days.... a green day as a matter of fact... and not the kind of green I long to see this time of year. The suction machine has been working overtime and I am about ready to use it on myself.  You might think this is funny... but it's SNOT!  Andrew and Sam are on antibiotics for sinus infections and although I have refused to admit it... I have had one brewing for sometime now.  I read somewhere that whether or not you treat a sinus infection with antibiotics it takes about 2 weeks to get it all out of your system.  So because I am still breastfeeding, I drank fluids, used the neti pot and smothered my self in Vics hoping that if I was only patient my body would heal itself with no other pharmaceutical intervention.  Well we are approaching the 3 week mark and I have now admitted defeat... I will see the doctor on Friday.   

Saturday, March 1, 2008

doin' the happy dance

I just had a proud Mommy moment and I am doing the happy dance.  More and more Sam is letting us know that he understands what is going on around him.  His attention span is getting longer, he is able to complete simple tasks without getting distracted or side tracked (sometimes), and is needing fewer visual or verbal prompts.  For example if I wanted Sam to ask me to turn on his toy piano rather than screeching  and throwing it at me, I would have to ask him to say "Piano Please" and that would sometimes get me a "P" sound and a sloppy ASL sign for please.  More recently I have been able to just ask "What do you want?" and he is able to provide me with the same Pa-Pa sound and sign.  This shows me that Sam is moving beyond just being a mimic and is actually pulling the response out of his head on his own without the prompt from me.  

*** allow me to do a little happy dance here***  

And as if that is not enough... there is more!!!  As you know we have been working very hard to get Sam walking.  He takes a few steps here and there but crawling or walking on his knees is his mode of preference.  I can tell that walking is becoming easier and less foreign to him because he throws more of a fit for the physical therapist when working on walking.  It is not because he can't... rather it is because he has a general idea of how to, knows it is more difficult and chooses not to.  She is relentless (God bless her) and does not give in to his oh so dramatic complaints.  Little does he know that he is actually working harder trying to not walk than if he would just get up and do it.  And he is more willing to attempt a few steps if he thinks no one is watching. Well today Sam once again had moved the chair away from the DVD cabinet, opened it up and was pulling movies off the self at an astonishing pace... obviously he had not found what he was looking for.  In middle of his movie flinging frenzy I stopped him and said... "Sam if you want a movie you walk to mom and I will get you the movie you want.." and OMG he stopped, he pulled to stand, balanced himself between the couch and the chair and took 2 steps towards me.... and he didn't even have his braces on.  I was stunned... not only because he took steps but on an even higher cognitive functioning level he knew exactly what I wanted him to do, he thought about it, made a motor plan and followed through.  

***OMG I'm dancing again***

THEN...yes... there is still more!!! I selected 4 movies and placed them on the floor in front of Sam.  He sat there patiently with his hands in his lap and looked at each one...really looked at them.  Then he picked one up, looked at it and put it behind him (He did not throw it!!!) then he picked up 2 more, one in each hand, looked at them both and then handed me one (again he did not throw it!!!)  I about cried.  I then put a pillow on the couch and asked him if he wanted to get up there to watch his movie... he said "Yah" got up there and assumed the position.  It was a real communication break through.  I've said it before... and I will say it again... SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE!  I am so proud to be Sam's mom.  This child has moved mountains to get to where he is today and I am more inspired by his abilities than I am discouraged by his disabilities.  

Here is Sam lounging on the couch watching the movie he selected... 
Toy Story.