Friday, April 30, 2010

Nap Time

A few weeks ago Antalya started really fighting nap time. She would be exhausted, but just unable to unwind enough to fall asleep. The girls have always napped at the same time during the afternoon so I have an hour to clean up lunch, get dinner figured out, and spend a little time on the computer. For a couple weeks it seemed that by the time I finally got Antalya asleep, Victoria was waking up. Something needed to be done.

The solution presented itself almost on accident about a week ago. When it's nap time, I turn on an episode of Sesame Street, put some pillows and a blanket on the couch, tell Antalya it's time to go night-night, then I close the door and go feed Victoria. Thirty minutes later when Victoria is sleeping soundly in her bed, and I have cleaned up lunch, I come back to check on Antalya and this is what I find:It amazes me how Antalya can look so grown up and "un-baby" like when awake, and then as soon as she is asleep all I can see is my little baby girl.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Honest Truth

I miss the special needs support network I had before we moved. I didn't realize what a incredible blessing it was to have so many friends with children with Down syndrome, and to be involved in the Early Intervention program which surrounded us with other developmentally delayed children.

Antalya is the only child with special needs in her school. It's great for her, but I struggle a lot with it. Just getting to and from school with both Antalya and Victoria is an ordeal. An ordeal that I don't mind, except for the fact that everyone else in the preschool seems so perfectly British in that they are so proper and well-behaved, and I feel every pair of eyes on us every time we enter and leave.

I know I'm being ultra-sensitive here, but I resent that fact that every day several others moms see me struggling to communicate with Antalya, and see me struggle as I try to keep her with me as I push Victoria in the stroller, and see me struggle as I try to work through Antalya's meltdowns. I feel like they pity me, which probably isn't true, but it's how I feel. I want them to reach out to Antalya because she is a darling, fun, loving, and sweet three year old. I don't want them to see the way she screams and hits, and throws herself on the concrete because someone thought they were being kind by holding the gate open for us instead of letting Antalya do it herself, or because someone said hello to Antalya in just the wrong way and made her feel threatened, or because someone rode their bike to school and Antalya doesn't understand why it isn't her bike.

I don't want her classmates to know her as the girl that doesn't talk, or the girl that yells when she is frustrated, or the girl that doesn't use the toilet like all the rest of them, or the girl that is different. I want them to love her because she is funny. Because she loves to have fun. Because she is so full of life. Because she has so much love for everyone.

Sometimes I just want us to be like everyone else. To not hear little voices asking their moms why Antalya does things the way she does, to not have eyes watching our struggles. To just be one of the crowd.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Fun With Two

One of Antalya's new favorite activities is to sit in one of the toy bins and then have Jason or I pile as many toys as possible on her. She thinks it is hilarious. A couple mornings ago she wanted to play this game with Victoria. It was so cute to see how excited she got when she saw both her and Victoria covered in toys. I know she looks beyond thrilled in the picture, but that is just because she absolutely hates me taking pictures (I have an unbelievable amount of pictures with that same look on her face - the "mom, will you please put the camera away" look).

And, I know this picture is really blurry, but the moment was so cute. I was making blueberry pancakes and as always, Antalya wanted a bowl of frozen blueberries to munch while I made the pancakes. I informed her she would need to share with Victoria. After several minutes I looked down and found my two little girls completely engrossed in a "sister moment". Antalya very happily showing Victoria how to eat the blueberries with the measuring spoon she stole from off the counter and Victoria very focused on taking in all Antalya's actions.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lera Needs a Family

I have always wanted to adopt a child - since as long as I can remember. After Antalya was born I remember hearing a special on NPR about orphaned children with special needs in Russia and how it broke my heart to hear about the way they are treated.

About that same time I discovered Reece's Rainbow. An organization that helps facilitate the adoption of children with special needs (particularly children with Down syndrome) throughout the world. Occasionally I check the site and look through the photos of all the children waiting for someone to step up and love them, and provide a home for them. Several months ago I spotted this girl and my heart melted. I wanted her to be in our family. But unfortunately, due to our lack of income (living the student life) we don't qualify to adopt.

That's where I need you to help. Once children turn 5 years old they must leave the orphanage and are sent to an institution, where in most cases, death will occur a short time later due to lack of care, attention, love, and the necessities of life. Lera is turning 5 in just a few short months - and she needs a family NOW! My heart is going to break if she doesn't find a family that will love her, and cuddle her, and help her reach her potential. Will you help spread the word to find her family?

Click here for more information.

Trent Country Park

I recently found a gem of a park. Free parking, huge open grassy areas for picnics, playground, farm animals, fishing pond, small cafes. You name it, it seems to have it. Jason is busy finishing up a paper for school and the thought of being indoors on such a beautiful day was enough to drive me mad. So we called up some friends and headed to the Trent Country Park for a morning in in the sun. Although we were only a 20 minute drive from our house, it was hard to remember we were still in London. No crowds, and we seemed miles away from everything.

We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch on the grass:

Found some cool wooden swings:

Met Kim the goat:

And chased this cute little face all over the place:

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Quick Post...

because things are busy around here. Antalya is still on Spring Break. Yes, folks, can you believe a 2 1/2 week break from school. I'm beginning to wonder how I ever accomplished the basic tasks around this place without a couple quiet hours in the morning. Add to it a 9-month old with an ear infection and four teeth pushing their way to the surface, and a husband who is MIA from sun up to sun down six days a week (in the midst of final papers and studying for final exams). But we are surviving and having fun while we're at it.

The messier the better for this little one

Antalya loves playing at the sink

Can you believe her hands are covered in slime and she is almost smiling!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter in the Cotswolds

I'm still here, despite my two week disappearance from the blogging world.

We've been busy. My good friend Sonja and her husband came to visit for 10 days. It was so much fun having them around and having an excuse to go do some sightseeing.

Since they left on Tuesday I have had my hands full taking care of two sick girls. It's only 8:30pm, but my bed is calling. I'm gearing up for another long night.

I'll post more photos from our travels, but for now, here's some pics of Easter. We spent it in the little town of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. It was a beautiful, quaint, English town - and full of all things English (rain, mud, old cemeteries, wind, cold, lots of green, castles, and an occasional glimpse of the sun).

cardons easter 2010