Avery loves to draw circles.  Sometimes, we call them “O”s, sometimes it’s “zeros” but really, they’re all circles, and he’s very good at making them.  When he works, his face tightens with concentration as his little fingers grip the pencil.  His tongue peeks out, a wisp of golden hair falls in his eyes.  Continue reading “Circles”



Lately, Bennett has been giving Tom and me little performances in the evening, usually a combination of dancing and karate moves.  He twirls and then chops the air with the heel of his hand, or bends over and kicks his back leg up into a handstand.  By this time, Avery has joined him and they jump and spin all around until they become dizzy and fall down.  I always worry they’ll bump into each other, accidentally konking heads, or that a stray kick will land in someone’s eye. Especially, I worry about Avery. Continue reading “Spinning”

Flotsam and jetsam, or…

in other words, this: you know how, if you go into any house where there’s a toddler, you’ll always find a wicker laundry basket placed discretely behind the couch, or beneath a window, or even left right out in the open; and you’ll always find it because it’s just so very handy. A place to put all the debris of the day, a home for all the miscellany. That’s what this post is like. A wicker laundry basket of odds and ends.

Here we go:

Lots of folks have noticed my new(ish) header. And like most things in my life, there’s a loooong story behind even this littlest of changes. For a while now, I’ve been aware that people would like to see visual images of my family. I don’t know why it’s been such a dilema for me; still, I always had once excuse or another. First it was that I didn’t know how to get photos onto my blog, then it was that I didn’t have a camera. Then, I didn’t know how to use the camera. And of course, I’m always too busy….

I could go deeper, about my inherent dislike of cameras (which I wrote about in my book! Say Cheese!) or about Internet privacy issues (how many folks write whole books about themselves? Or, how many authors tell you where they live?). All of it would be true. All of it factored in.

But then, I saw Trig Palin on TV. I know Sarah Palin is sometimes criticised for “using” her family; I can’t speak to that point, because I don’t know what motives are in her heart. What I do know is that seeing Trig on television helped me, and my family, and particularly, Carter. And so I thought, If she can do it, so can I.

And later, I chickened out.

And later still, I made a compromise: one teeny, tiny photograph of Avery. In the header. For DS Awareness month.

Baby steps, no?

So thank you for your kind response, and the encouragement. I need it!

Speaking of encouragement, there’s another thing that’s been on my mind for a while now. When I returned from the NDSC Conference in Boston, I had many feelings about my weekend, all possible feelings really, everything you could imagine beginning and ending with tears, of happiness and of sadness, too. Sadness for the women who should have been there with us; for the ones who needed the support and education and resources even more than I did, women who couldn’t be there simply because they didn’t feel they deserved it, couldn’t make it work, didn’t have the money to go.

I want to help. I had this little plan that I could put ads up on Pinwheels and use the revenue for a scholarship each year to the NDSC Conference, and if there were enough money, maybe even send another woman to BlogHer too. I was so excited in fact that I contacted some people who explained to me, in the nicest possible way, that I can’t have ads in my current blog set-up. I’d have to change my hosting service, or other things (that are way too technical for me to explain myself), and the news, which was really just a little bump in the road, a tiny speed bump, was enough to set me back. For now, all I’ve been doing is wishing I could make it happen. And I need to do more than wish. So I’m asking you, dear Internet, for your input. Any thoughts? Any ideas? Any suggestions?

And finally, lots of folks have asked for an Avery update now that he’s 5 1/2. And like any proud mama, I’ll tell you all the things he can do–he’s potty trained. He feeds himself. He walks, runs, climbs, jumps. He’s mastered stairs, and he sleeps through the night in his bunkbed, which is on top (with rails), and he climbs up the ladder himself. He is excellent at the skill, Poke. He is also very good at bugging his brothers. Coincidence? I think not (I’m looking at you, Brittney).

He loves: music, our dog Bailey, his brothers, yogurt, drawing, bananas, oatmeal, cooking (especially licking the spoon), sweeping, folding laundry, and loading the dishwasher. And best of all? He finds me each morning, like he always has, and gives me the first hug of the day.

One last thing?  I’ve got another book to share.  Go here to check it out.

The sometimes strange synchronicity of life

Like most of my stories lately, this one is long and a little bit rambling. It involves fall and homeschool and books and reading and even, apples. So here we go:

A few days ago Bennett asked me where apples come from. To use one of Bennett’s very favorite expressions lately, Yike! Some homeschool! So I quickly set up a field trip to a neighbor’s apple orchard, where we could pick MacIntoshes and Golden Deliciouses and Braeburns in the fall sunshine.

The apples were all around; many of them were falling from the trees, hitting the ground with quiet thumps. It was an odd sound, disconcerting, but also a little comforting, too. A letting go, if you will. A stripping away of everything else but what is essential, to face the coming winter.

Later, in the night, when the kids were settled and the house was quiet, I picked up my reading, a book by Louise Erdrich called The Painted Drum (HarperCollins, 2005). And here is what I read:

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.

Tears filled my eyes, because it seemed as if the words were written directly for me; as if they lept off the page and became a voice whispering gently in my ear.

And I thought, I’m trying. I’m tasting as many apples as I can.

Permission to slow down

I received this email from Amelie, who blogs at Lola’s verrückte Welt. She writes:

When I learned that Lola, my now 10 month old daughter, had Down syndrome, or at least, when I first had this suspection, on my own, alone, in the middle of a November night, in a hospital bed, shortly after having given birth, laying lonely without my belly, without my baby, I only had the wish it would all be a nightmare. I will wake up, and everything is alright, my baby here, the sun, and all… But then, another strong feeling overcame me. I don’t remember where it came from, however, it entered my mind. It was the feeling of a deep relief, of gratitude. ‘Did you have to come to show me?’ The strong knowledge, somehow, that I couldn’t go on like before, trying to make my career in adademic life, succeeding in science, under the incredible pressures of our system… and I felt so deeply relieved that she had taken this burden from me and would show me her way of life, simple and rich…

and there I went, somewhere in between these two thoughts, sometimes quite close to the nightmare feeling, although I would never admit that. Sometimes closer to the relief-side of the feelings, but never quite managing to feel it as intensely as in that night. Mostly trying to find my way in between. Trying to make things better, let love come and take me. One part of myself struggling against the deep wish to do the things the simple way, telling me that it’s too obvious and naive, urging for complications that sound more important. I never imagined it was so difficult for me ‘to take it easy’. Although Lola is my best teacher. And she has taught me so much, already.

Your life – as catched in your book – is such an incredible and moving account of how simple and rich life can be if you take it to the bottom – and smell the dusty autumn, put on the candles in the kitchen on a winter day, see your kids run down the hill, cook a chicken and it’s smell in the house… and all the little details which remind us of our own childhood and there you can touch them again… and our kids grow, and grow, at their pace, in the rhythm they got from heaven.

Amelie also writes about our email exchange, here.