Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy Mommy New Year!

Alice (Preschool) Makenna (1st grade) Claire (3rd grade)

Back to school always feels like the real new year.  The kids move up with new teachers and a new rhythm to our days begings.  The fall transition has been a time of anxiety for me as a mom.  Over the years we have had a lot of bad experiences with Claire and school.  I try the organize everything because I have so little control once she is off to school.  I am distracting myself, hatching plans for what I'm going to invest my newly acquired free time into.  We are making big decisions about Nate's upcoming deployments.  Fall is when I make resolutions for parenting: we are going to get the homework done as soon as the kids get off the bus, I'm going to bring the teachers coffee more often, Claire will always have her glasses, I will only were yoga pants 50% of the week...  I clean out the closets, dressers and car in preparation for a new school year.  I have made a plan for the crazy paper pile that will inevitable come home in those four new backpacks all lined up at the front door.

I had a crazy couple of weeks recently.  My beautiful daughters were suddenly so destructive, like the crazy purple minions.  They are not normally gentile but this was way beyond rough.  They had taken scissors and cut sheets, cut hair, painted with mud on just about every surface in the back yard and themselves, broken DVDs, written with markers on my SUV's interior, spilled nail polish on new school cloths, smeared poop on the bathroom walls... you get the picture. Where was there mother you say?  I was cleaning up messes and worrying about the new school year, a looming deployment and my nine year old daughter with Down Syndrome suddenly having poop accidents. 

I think the kids were conspiring to teach me a lesson.  The more I tried to organize and control the crazier and messier things got.   I thought, if I can just get the house clean and the kids ready for school I won't be so anxious (lies we tell ourselves).  Hunkered down in a corner somewhere I thought, what do I need in this moment, a clean house or to not be alone?  I deeply needed to not be alone because more important then the kitchen floor being muddy, my heart was weary.    I texted my sweet friends Amy and asked her to please meet up with me. We dropped everything and went to the park.   I was still a mess but I left feeling loved and not alone.   

My new years resolution in January 2015 was to "have friends over for dinner and game nights more often."  I think it is still perfect as I am entering mommy new year.  When I am with my friends I worry less.  My prospective changes and suddenly I am surrounded by this dream team of amazing people who want to bring out the best in me and my family.  I see their challenges and my own as opportunities for growth.  We bring all our needs to the table, filling in the gaps to make eachothers dreams reality.  I read a cheesy quote on Pinterest yesterday and loved it, "If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough."  Ah, my dreams scare me all the time.  But my dreams are amazing, inspiring, life giving and I absolutely cannot do them alone.  I want to use my energy investing in my community, neighbors and friends this year instead of worrying over things I cannot control.  It's okay if my kids are muddy, maybe that will even encourage a friend who needs to know she is not the only one with muddy kids.  I want to focus on hospitality, community, generosity.

Thank you to all the friends who checked in today to see how it went for Claire.  I appreciate your support more then I can say.  To know she has a community for people who love her praying for her and her new year blesses my heart. 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014

Dear friends and family,

Merry Christmas to you all.  This time of year there are so many fun things to do and see with the kids I can hardly cram it all in.  We have been crafting Christmas ornaments from our advent calendar, making cookies and gifts, spending time with loved-ones, and our elf on the shelf has been hanging around the house making mischief of all kinds.  Last night we went on a drive to look at Christmas lights, listen to Christmas music and drink hot cocoa.  Alice heard Oh Holy Night and asked "Mommy, is that the angels sining?"  I love Christmas!

Claire 8, Alice 3, Makenna 5

We are so thankful for our new home, neighborhood and school this year.   We were able to sell our house on the south hill this summer and move to a community just off the Pullman highway between Spokane and Cheney.   We love it! 

Frozen night at the park in our new neighborhood  

Claire is 8, I know, how did that happen?  She is doing great in her new school.  She is in the second grade and has made lots of friends.  She enjoyed horse back riding this summer with Equine TLC and can’t wait for the weather to worm up so she can get back out there.  Claire started reading this year!  It is such a blessing to see the beautiful, friendly, sweet girl she is becoming.  We were at a restaurant last night and she found a woman named Ariel to talk with.  You would have thought it was the mermaid princess herself Claire was so thrilled.  Ariel was very nice and happy to visit.  We always make new friends when you go out with Claire. 

Step Up For Down Syndrome 2014 

"Claire's Walkie-Talkies" 

"Say Cheese Olive" -Claire 

Makenna started Kindergarten this year!  She is enjoying being at school with her sister.  “The best thing about being 5 is Kindergarten” and “the best thing about kindergarten is P.E.” she says.  She is always up for an art project or bike ride.  Her big accomplishment this year was taking off the trainings wheels on her bicycle.   Makenna is looking forward to her 6th birthday party two days after Christmas.  Makenna is our adventurous little princess and wants to try ice-skating for her party this year.  She a great helper and a leader.  Makenna loves being the "big" sister.  She is such a blessing. 

First day of Kindergarden 

 Makenna and her friend Zeke camping this summer  

 Makenna holds her cousin Wes 

Alice turned 4 December 14th.  We had a fun family party at an indoor water park.  She says “the  best thing about being 4 is going down the big bowl water slide.”  She road down with me, wide eyed and stunned into silenced.  At the end she shouted at the top of her lungs “I was not afraid!”  She is such a joy to our family, absolutely hilarious and adorable.  I love getting to hang out with her every day. 
Alice's Birthday 

 Happy Place 

Nate finally got a full time job with the Air National Guard as a Boom Operator.  This is a huge accomplishment and we are very proud of him for working so hard.  Nate is enjoying extra time home with the girls and all the extra princess tea parties and dance offs.  He is such a fun dad.  

My life was very full doing foster care this year but we do not have any placements at this time.  I have been making lots of cakes and goodies in my free time.  You can check them out on face book at Leitz Delights (https://www.facebook.com/leitzdelights).  It’s such a great artistic outlet for me.  Hanging out with our little people and volunteering at their school is a blast.  I have the best job ever!  I was able to work on our blog this year for Down Syndrome awareness month in October (31 for 21), 31 posts for Trisomy 21.   
Halloween 2014 

Alice with one of her favorite cakes 

Grace and piece,

The Leitz Family

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

They are so cute! 

I was telling myself all day, I'm going to miss this.  
Three little princess  

When Alice saw Nate in his Caption America get-up

At school it was crazy hair/duck tape day 

She really liked her cupcakes.  Another super sweat friend in her class had matching hair.
They were both excited to match. 

Makenna didn't have kindergarten today but we couldn't resist. 

 Guess how loved making things out of tape?  Yep, our craft girl. 

The little girls and I went to Claire's special ed class today for their class party.  It is the first opportunity I have had to linger in there with the kids.  They were all very nice and excited to meet Claire's sister and have "new friends." 

It was so nice to have the opportunity to meet the kids in Claire's special ed class, put faces with names.  We see her 2nd grade class every day but the kids in special ed are in and out.  

We also got to go to big recess with Claire today.  I stood back a bit from where Claire was to watch her.  She was totally fine the whole time, yay! 

It was fun to see all our neighbor kids at recess.  They kept coming to hug us, ask me to watch a trick and introduce us to their friends.  My heart is full.  The kids totally noticed that Claire was not a recess with them before and now is.  Individually at lease four of them came up to me and said they were excited they get to play with Claire now, so sweet.

Being there today was also a good conformation that this was the right battle to fight.  Just over the fence, across the courtyard was Claire's special ed class, all 4 of them "playing."  They have a sand box, picnic table with benches and one toddler size slide climbing toy.  All of the kids were just sitting at the table with their para for most of the time, not running around, not playing.  Claire swinging, sliding, running, laughed... with her classmates the entire time. 

Arn't these veggie skeletons the cutest?  The kids made them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crazy Eyes And A Joker Smile

I'm making a bunch of cakes this week.  This afternoon I was working on a princess cake with 7 Disney princess miniatures dancing around the outside.  (The girls are pretty bummed they are going to the party with the large mouth bass cake I'm also making.)  Claire, Makenna and Alice all wanted  a piece of the princess action.  The temptation to play with the little princesses was too great.  Sense these do not belong to us I made a rule that they had to stay at the bar by where I was working to play with them.  Claire was not fond of this rule.  At one point she threw herself to the floor humphing that she could not walk away with the figurines.  When I told her no, just where she would have stuck her tung out in frustration she gave me crazy eyes and a scary joker smile instead.  I had to stop myself from laughing as I realized that they have been coaching her on this at school.  Her teachers and classmates are telling her "smile please" when she sticks out her tung.  Just like she was plotting to kill batman Claire did the joker smile for Nate at the dinner table tonight, LOL, Nice work Claire!

And some cellphone pics of family date night. 

She can't let a hug go by with out jumping in.