I CAN hear you now!

I haven’t said a whole lot here about our move. Maybe that’s odd, given it’s the biggest thing happening in our lives right now. It’s a little tricky to know what to say, though, because circumstances seem to change on a daily – sometimes almost hourly – basis. The bottom line is that nothing about our plan to move has been simple. It was a difficult decision to make, and now that the ball is rolling, it’s a bumpy ride. I won’t drag you through the minutia and mini-dramas; I subject my parents and a few close friends to that and hope they still love me when it’s over. Suffice it to say we currently have no idea exactly what lies ahead. We made the decision this week to walk away from the house we were contracted to buy due to growing concerns about the property, and we are facing some challenges in the sale of our home, as well. We continue to pray to the only One who knows all ends and trust we’ll come out of this where He wants us to be.

I have a suspicion I’m being allowed another growth opportunity, because a state of limbo is my very least favorite place to be. I do not like uncertainty. I want to make plans, take action, forge ahead. I am getting a lot of practice at doing the exact opposite: sitting back, waiting patiently (ahem), allowing circumstances to unfold. It does not come naturally. I realize in times like this that for all my talk about faith through the unexpected, it’s still an area where I struggle. I trust that God is going to work all this out. I really do. I just wish He’d give me a peek ahead so I don’t have to do all this waiting and wondering! 

Meanwhile, life moves on in other areas. Lina was a very sick girl for a lot of this week but is on the mend, thanks to good old amoxicillin. (We suspect scarlet fever. Add that to the list of scary-sounding diseases I used to think were obsolete.)


Poor, sick baby fell asleep on the dirty laundry.


And then, today, Lina had an audiologist appointment. (I realize I’ve buried the lede here…) Because of her early diagnosis of conductive hearing loss, she goes in for periodic hearing tests and checks on her bone anchored hearing aid. The booth hearing tests they use can be problematic for young kids. They hadn’t gotten great results from her previously, because she wasn’t fully participating in the test. I had low expectations for today’s appointment. Imagine my surprise when Lina turned immediately in response to nearly every noise the audiologist played through speakers, over a range of frequencies and volumes. Girl tested at normal hearing, without her hearing aid! They will repeat the test in three months, and if the results are similar, they will remove the conductive hearing loss diagnosis. It was pretty exciting news, and a huge relief for me. I’ve struggled with a lot of guilt over how little use Lina gets from her hearing aid, thanks to her refusal to leave it on her head. I can now silence the guilt gremlins and know that my baby girl is likely hearing me just fine.

In a week of plentiful challenges, I’m so grateful for the win on this one.

Pumped Up Kicks

As of Monday, Lina has new orthotics to help her progress toward walking. They provide extra stability and balance, and the hope is the boost and extra confidence will get her from crawling and cruising to taking actual steps in the next few months. She doesn’t seem to mind them. I’m totally on board with anything to help her continued progress, but I’ll confess to cringing a bit at New Balance sneakers instead of strappy summer sandals.




She pulls them off remarkably well.

Finding joy

Life is chaotic and stressful. Let’s just assume that statement stands until further notice.

In the meantime, the kids keep right on growing and changing, and I hang on for dear life, trying to soak in the joy that mingles with the exhaustion, frustration and uncertainty. Life is so rarely entirely one thing or another. I can think of very few times that have been purely awful or entirely blissful. Finding joy seems to be an exercise in plucking it from the messy reality we live. I don’t always do it well, but I keep trying.

In that vein, we recently spent a lovely weekend at a cabin in Pickett State Park with some friends. We felt privileged to be along for baby Kathryn’s first camping trip. Corin had a run-in with a wasp, but otherwise it was a relaxing time and a great way to enjoy the first blush of spring, which has come late to the South (and pretty much everywhere else, from the sound of it) this year.



















Corin William at 4 years


Corin at 4:

  • Can talk your ear off, spinning wildly fantastic stories about any subject that has captured his imagination. He is sometimes shy, particularly in new situations, but he is also often friendly and chatty with strangers in the grocery store. He uses a very grown-up vocabulary and syntax, which can sound pretty funny out of the mouth of a pre-schooler. (For example, he uses “certainly” quite regularly.) He speaks clearly but still has a few holdovers from toddler speak, such as “y” sounding like “l” (“lellow”) and “th” sounding like “f” (go “wif” you somewhere). He also has a bit of a southern accent, which is more developmental than regional. He wants you to sit “next of” him at the table.
  • Is a sweet-natured kid who generally remembers his manners and behaves well in public (with the inevitable off day here and there).
  • Tends to be a non-participant in structured group activities like singing along at church or Mother’s Day Out. He prefers to be an observer, and he’ll then sing the songs in their entirety at home.
  • Is usually a good eater, and with some encouragement will eat a wide range of vegetables and fruits, including salad. His favorite foods are haystacks (similar to a taco salad), macaroni and cheese, hardshell bean tacos and enchiladas. (There’s a definite Mexican theme.)
  • LOVES books and will sit quietly and be read to as long as someone is willing. He is able to enjoy simple chapter books. His favorite Bible story is David and Goliath, which gets regular time in his imaginative play.
  • Is fascinated with airplanes, construction vehicles and cars. His transportation-themed toys are in constant rotation.
  • Is beginning to appreciate Legos and the skill of building things. He is pretty adept at following a simple pattern.
  • Has really developed socially and loves to play with other kids. He interacts well with kids who are his age or even quite a bit older. An example: At a playground recently, I lost sight of him for a few minutes and then relocated him learning basic soccer and football skills from a couple of very patient 9- or 10-year-old boys. They were having a great time, and he was chatting away with them.
  • Is becoming more independent all the time. This has never been one of his stronger personality traits – he’d really rather someone else do things for him, if possible – but he is learning to take ownership of simple tasks and will often insist on doing things himself, now. He feeds the fish by himself, dresses himself, cleans up his own toys and occasionally helps feed the dog or set the table for supper. He likes to help cook. He helps with simple yard work tasks like pulling weeds.
  • Can be very bossy! He has very specific ideas of how things should go, and he won’t hesitate to hand out orders like a worksite foreman. He does not like having his carefully-arranged toys messed up by, say, a baby sister on the prowl.
  • Does not respond well to pressure. If he senses a lot of pressure to do or say something specific, he will often shut down. If I want to know how his day at Mother’s Day Out went, I often have to let him tell me in his own time. The details will usually eventually emerge, but pointed questions may get an, “I don’t want to tell you” response. Reverse psychology works wonders at this age.
  • Is a knowledge sponge. He asks lots of “why” and “how” questions, so we’re relying more heavily on Google these days. We recently spent a good hour reading about the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, super sonic flight and the space shuttle.
  • Shows little artistic or musical aptitude yet. His idea of craft time is cutting pieces of paper into small bits or smearing water color paint around on a page until it all looks a murky shade of brown. His singing is…rather bereft of tune. His strengths seem to lie in communication, conceptual and imaginative pursuits and possibly technical or engineering-related skills. We’ll see if that persists.
  • Loves the outdoors and is a great hiker. He has been known to hike at least a couple miles without issue.
  • Is sometimes argumentative and certainly knows how to push the boundaries. He likes to test his parents. He has a rather loose relationship with the truth.
  • Is very attached to his lion lovey. He can sleep without it, but he wouldn’t be happy about it.
  • Still adores his mama and likes to take time in his day to “cuddle on the couch wif you.” Of course, he also loves his daddy and grandparents, and he’s a pretty sweet big brother to Lina. He loves to have her come with me to get him up in the mornings, and sometimes I have to respond to her wails because brother and trying to keep her with him against her will.

He is my heart.




His most frequent pose.


“Corin, your hair’s a mess.” “Here, I’ll fix it.”


“Is that better?”


That sweet face – 18 months


I’ve been meaning for a while to do a bulleted list of where Corin and Eline are at their four-year and 18-month milestones. Life is in the crazy-stressful zone this week, so this is my escape to a happy place. I realize the details of my kids’ development are probably only interesting to me, but at least it’s documented somewhere. It’s certainly not in Lina’s baby book. Poor kid is the cliched second child on that one.

Eline at 18 months:

  • Is experiencing another big developmental leap in all areas. Her speech, cognitive and gross, fine and visual motor skills are all improving simultaneously. This is of note because it’s common for kiddos with Down syndrome to have a laser-like focus on development in one area while the other areas take a back burner. Interaction with her now is so different than it was even two weeks ago.
  • Crawls at warp speed to get pretty much anywhere she wants to go. Is active, inquisitive, and always on the go. Pulls to standing easily and has just started cruising along the couch. Turns pages in a book upon request. Points to items that catch her interest. Puts items in a container.
  • Is very independent. Therapies can sometimes be challenging because she doesn’t want anyone helping her or showing her what to do. She wants to do it herself. She has clear preferences and her own agenda, and she does not like being thwarted in her plans.
  • Her current favorite activities are pulling books off her shelves; crumpling paper; playing with any tags, strings, hair or other loose bits that can be pulled, twirled and twisted; bath time; playing with musical toys or most anything that makes loud noise; imitating brother.
  • Says at least a vague approximation of more than a dozen words or sound effects: mama, dada, bath, all done, out, duck, quack, a motor noise for vehicles, an “aaaaah” sound for airplanes (as taught in therapy), bye-bye, hi, and probably a few more. She also uses a handful of signs or gestures, like waving hello or good-bye, blowing kisses and signing all done or more.
  • Laughs frequently, at herself or others, and loves to play games and spend time with close family members. She is strongly attached to immediate family and currently is going through another phase of serious stranger aversion. She prefers mommy, but she also adores daddy and brother. Grandparents are dicey, therapists are maybe okay if mommy is present, and anyone else is a no-go.
  • Is now a regular champ with bottles. We were able recently to switch from the obnoxious latex nipples to a wide silicone one. She takes 5 oz. of toddler formula by bottle just before meals. We are still working on drinking from a cup. There has been some limited progress, but we have a long way to go there.
  • Still LOVES to eat. She is a bread and protein girl. Her favorite fruit is banana, and she often eats an entire one in a sitting. Unlike her brother, she’s not a big fan of pasta, yogurt or applesauce. She can usually be coaxed to eat her vegetables. She prefers peas, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, and maybe green beans, asparagus or brussels sprouts. Often it works best to mix the vegetables in with something she really likes. She still sometimes throws food, but that has improved some. Meals are generally very messy affairs. I struggle to understand the volume of food that winds up on her back and butt.
  • Usually won’t leave hair bows in and refuses to wear hats. She does not do well with her bone-anchored hearing aid. We try to use it for reading books and close communication, but she cannot wear it unsupervised, as it will be promptly removed and abused.
  • Can be LOUD! She yells when she’s excited or upset, and when she’s really angry, she can rouse the neighborhood. Her chatter voice is very sweet, and her laugh is a funny staccato that makes everyone else laugh, too.
  • Still sucks her first and middle finger when she is sleepy or hungry.
  • Sleeps around 11 1/2 hours a night and takes one two-hour nap beginning around 11:30 or 12:00. She gets a little snuggling and rocking and usually goes to sleep easily on her own with her bunny and blanket.
  • Is coming up on 23 pounds and is wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 3-4 shoes.






Girl has got some hips.

Corin’s update to come.