Sunday, July 28, 2013

Even Aunt Leanne Has Her Limits

While this blog generally addresses topics related to Down syndrome and our two family members who have it, Instagram followers are well aware that there's a whole world of entertainment brought to us by one of our chromosomally deprived family members - it is filed under the hashtag #HurricaneMerryn
Merryn is Josie's almost 2 year-old little sister.  She is a charming, beautiful, fun-loving, and impressively intelligent child who brings immeasurable joy to our world.  So why do we call her "Hurricane Merryn"?   Because she is a storm surge of mischief waiting to strike.  You know she's coming but you're not sure exactly when or where she'll hit and you can always count on a FEMA worthy wake of destruction.  Some of Hurricane Merryn's favorite pastimes include:
* Making a mess
* Removing vent covers and leaving them strewn throughout the house
* Shoving toys and other small objects down the vents
* Making a mess
* Opening drawers and removing the contents
* Breaking things
* Taking her clothes off and streaking through the house squealing "Naked baby!"
* Making a mess
* Climbing on furniture
* Scaling playground equipment intended for kids four times her age causing Mom to accumulate gray hairs as she looks on
* Yanking Josie's glasses off of her face, popping out the lenses, and playing innocent while we frantically search for the tiny, transparent pieces of plastic amidst the debris of toys and vent covers
Did I mention that she enjoys making a mess?
While the ornery gleam in those big blue eyes is a source of endless amusement for her grandmas, is not always appreciated by this frazzled mom whose pursuit of a calm and tidy home is challenged daily by this dimpled dollface. 
Even Aunt Leanne, who is at her absolute happiest when she is doting on her precious nieces, has her limits:

Apparently she answers to "Thelma" now...???

If it weren't for Instagram's 15 second video clip limit, you would have seen that exact same sequence of events happen about five times in a row before I finally stepped in and helped redirect the little cyclone for the sake of my big sister's sanity.  Ah, yes.  Welcome to my world, Leanne.  Just try to fold a load of laundry or unload a dishwasher with "Thelma" in tow!

Oh but who can resist that face?  Or her "easy breezy" tribute to Aunt Leanne when she poses for a picture?

She gives us a run for our money but I think we'll keep her - right, Leanne?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Aunt Leanne and the Cooler Full of Booze

I originally hesitated to blog this story because it may make us seem like lushes but my friend, Aleksandra, said it was her all-time favorite Aunt Leanne story and that I owe it to the world to share it.  So A, this one's for you...
As loyal readers know, we recently relocated to another part of the country with my hubby's job.  So one of the stipulations of moving is that the movers hired by the company will not haul certain things like weapons, cleaning products, and liquor.  Well, you know how much liquor costs and of course I had a brand new bottle of PatrĂ³n and other expensive stuff that I didn't just want to leave behind.  When we drove up here in May, the car was absolutely packed to the gills with all the necessities for us and so we gave our liquor collection to my mom to bring to us when she came to visit over the summer. 
Fast forward to last Friday.  Mama Hop pulled into our driveway with our liquor in a huge cooler in her trunk.  She and I were sitting out back on the patio and she asks Leanne to go get her atlas out of her car.  Leanne returns with the atlas and announces that she brought the cooler in, too. 
Mama Hop: The cooler?!  How did you lift it?  It's too heavy for you!
Leanne: I didn't.  The guy next door did. 
Me: Who?
Leanne: The guy next door in the yard.  The worker. (My neighbors are getting a sprinkler system installed)
Me: You asked the neighbor's lawn guy to bring in the cooler full of liquor?!?!  What did you say????
Leanne: I said "Here, you carry this.  I'll get the door."
My mom and I both looked at each other and started laughing out of mortification at Leanne's audacity.  That is how diva Leanne is!  She thinks the world is her staff!  So she just ordered the neighbor's landscaper to unload my mom's car! 
And I turn 25 shades of red wondering if he saw what was in the cooler and what he possibly thought about this adorable little chromosomally enhanced person (most people think she is about 14 years old) directing him to carry her enormous cooler full of booze into the house for her!!!!!  It's not like she asked - she just said "Here - you get this and I'll get the door."  Couldn't you just die?!?!  I barely know these neighbors so it's just that much more embarrassing, but that's my sister for you...
That's SO Leanne!
*** Mama Hop wanted me to clarify that no open container laws were violated.  She is a law-abiding citizen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Aunt Leanne's Summer Visit: Part 1

As with all of Aunt Leanne's visits, this one was so full of entertainment it will have to span at least 4 blog posts!  Let's get started...
It was Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne's first visit to this new residence of ours.  We were so excited to be reunited.
 And if the importance of the bond between Leanne and Josie wasn't evident before, seeing those two reunited definitely demonstrated how special their connection is:
 Of course Mama Hop would never show up empty-handed.  She brought some really fun gifts for both girls.
And even though Merryn got her own gifts, she was still much more interested in what her sister received.  Anyone with a sibling can relate to this concept!
 Those Divas got down to business doing their "Diva" thing
 And as always, Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne jumped right in and took over all the important childcare duties around here like feeding, bathing, and bedtime stories.
 Since we knew they were in such competent hands, Travis and I left the girls in the care of their grandma and aunt while we took a little road trip to Ikea to acquire some furnishings for the new condo.  It's been awhile since we were able to get away without children so we really appreciated Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne taking over all the duties on the home front.
 And you know the World's Best Babysitter doesn't work for free.  No way!  Girlfriend expects "the tips" so we obliged in the form of umbrella straws.  Leanne likes to add that kind of tropical fanciness to her daily beverages:
 The following photos may be familiar to Instagram followers but we figured we'd share them with the blogosphere, too:
Stay tuned for more photos and anecdotes from our visit with Mama Hop including a classic "Aunt Leanne story" that will undoubtedly make the "Aunt Leanne" tab at the top.  That is, if I can muster my nerve to post it.  Oh yeah, it's that bad.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Aunt Leanne blogs

dear evrbody
hi Leanne
puctures of babys
catfish keetcup

hair off
jeans 6
messy room
clean up
eat good
a walk
love Leanne
Even though Josie whines (bad) and even though she took her jeans off (six times) and even though Merryn has a bad hair-pulling habit, and even though they are very messy, Aunt Leanne will miss them tomorrow when she leaves.
We will miss you, too, Leanne.  More than you know...

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Wait is Over

Aunt Leanne has arrived!  She and Josie picked right up where they left off - a good, old fashioned, Divas hugfest:
It's been two months since we've seen Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne and today it was as though no time had passed.  But just in case it wasn't clear that their bond was just as magical as always, the Divas had a heart-to-heart that clarified that neither time nor distance up ever weaken the love they share:

What a world this would be if we were all that comfortable openly expressing our feelings.  We are absolutely overjoyed to have Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne back!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The countdown is almost over...

...until the "Dual Divas of Down Syndrome" are reunited!
In case you missed our big announcement, this visit will hopefully be the last short visit because Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne will soon be part-time residents of our lovely new town.  We can't wait for them to see the condo we selected and Travis and I are going to take advantage of Aunt Leanne's awesome babysitting skills to be able to shop and make additional condo preparation plans.  We are SO excited!!!

Speaking of Aunt Leanne's finesse with children, yesterday she came up with a doozy.  We are potty training around here and Merryn made a poop in the potty which is a BIG deal because girlfriend isn't even 2 yet and she's catching on! 
So for her celebratory phone call, she requested we call Aunt Leanne.  Upon hearing Merryn's toileting success story, instead of the enthusiastic praise Merryn was expecting, Aunt Leanne replied: "Ewww!  Too much information!  You ruined my lunch!"
Nice, Leanne.  Real nice. 
What can you do?  Aunt Leanne is nothing if not honest and such topics don't really contribute to the most appetizing lunchtime conversations.
And even though Aunt Leanne can't feign excitement over a bowel movement, Mom sure can.  Go Merryn!  Woo Hoo!!!!  Once Leanne arrives and takes over potty training duty, she'll understand just how exciting that actually is!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The countdown continues...

The one and only Aunt Leanne is coming in:
Oh, how I live for my big sister's wink face!
If the wait is killing you (like it's killing me), I suggest you check out the "Aunt Leanne's Top 5" below the blog header to hold you over.  I'm banking on being able to add to this tab after her visit. 
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The countdown is on...

Amidst the whirlwind of activities/chores/responsibilities/excitement around here, there hasn't been much time to blog.  However, we would be remiss not to mention that Mama Hop and the original Diva herself will be rolling into town in:
The anticipation is palpable so we just had to take a second to share!
More soon...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A 4th of July Tradition

As with every Independence Day in the past, the kids got dressed in their most patriotic attire and we set out to capture the perfect Kodak moment.  It's kind of a holiday tradition around here.  However, today it became apparent that kids have a little 4th of July tradition of their own: make the photo shoot as difficult and fruitless as possible. 
I started to get suspicious when Merryn busted out her best Gary Coleman impersonation...
 No matter what I did, I could not get both of them to look at me and smile.
  I sang songs...
 ...played musical instruments...
 ...I even tried to bribe them with Teddy Grahams!
 Here's the money shot:
And as for Mom's goal of complete cooperation and simultaneous smiles?  Ha!  Until next year...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This One Goes Out to Pudge & Biggs

Pudge and Biggie have gone missing from the blogosphere and the void is painful.  However, after consulting with Ms. Courtney Heigele herself (the mastermind behind the best blog on the Internet), I am pleased to announce that this sabbatical is only temporary.  After she resolves a few copyright infringement issues, Pudge and Biggs (and that adorable little Effie) will be back in full effect!  So all of you protesters can unchain yourselves from our front porch and take your picket signs and head back home to cope with your Squib withdrawal as best you can knowing that it won't last long (Pudge recommends you eat two handfuls of Cheetos and a monster cookie to help get you through).  In the meantime we have been instructed to "carry the torch," as if that's possible...
 Remember when I only had one baby and her name was Josie and I took pictures of her and posted them to the blog almost every day? 
Easy Breezy
That was pretty easy to do back when baby #1 sat on her behind and danced and admired her reflection in the mirror all day.  And then in the funny way that this universe works, baby #2 came along and baby #1 was miraculously mobile and suddenly, it wasn't as easy to find the time to take photos and write blog posts.

Sisterly love
Well, I still take photos every day.  It's kind of a hobby.  Some might consider it an addiction.
Artistic Expression 
Perhaps my obsession with photography is because it will make sure and preserve these moments despite my well-documented memory failure.
It's all fun and games until someone starts eating crayons... 
Daily photography is important to me because it's the compilation of little moments woven together that form the fabric of our lives (now I sound like a Cotton commercial).
Dad returned from his week-long business trip to Canada
And also because my kids are so darn cute!
We broke out the baby pool and celebrated the beautiful summer weather
Point being that this is kind of a sorry excuse for a blog post because there is no story, no witty captions, no controversial issues addressed...
Josie celebrated her newest skill: blowing bubbles
...but there are photos!