Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Mom Kryptonite

I will just put this out there: I find it completely impossible to be an effective parent while wearing skinny jeans.

I don’t know, it might be just me, but hey, God has blessed me with a curvy figure, so those skinny little leg holes don’t have quite enough room to fit my calves (and let’s not even talk about the lack of support for my hips and leftover baby belly).  Sometimes, I get a little brave and throw them on when I’m hanging out with my kids.  It always seems to be on a day when I’m going somewhere in public and inevitably, as soon as I’m dressed, Ellie’s hands suddenly seem to be coated with a thin layer of butter and everything she touches falls to the ground.

Is it really possible to bend over and pick anything up gracefully while wearing skinny jeans??

I share this because when I put on the skinny jeans, it’s like kryptonite for my mom-ness (surely not a word, but yeah.) and while sometimes that’s ok, I feel like being a mom is so ingrained in me right now that losing any of the Mom Super Powers gets me totally off-kilter.

Case in point:  Last weekend, John and I hit the city with some childless friends of ours.  The girls were with my mom and dad over night, we were staying downtown… I decided to rock the skinny jeans.  And high heels.

Please understand that, for my entire life, I’ve been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of girl.  This extends far beyond the years that I have had babies, but at least before the children, 10 pm didn’t seem like the middle of the night.  On this particular evening, we had dinner reservations at 8:00 (gulp.) and then tickets to a comedy show at 10:30 (people actually go out of their homes that late at night??).  “Have fun!” they said. “You need to get out and live it up!”  they said.

In my fresh, hip, and completely impractical outfit, hot dang, I was invincible.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast.  We had great conversation, I got to drink a glass of wine uninterrupted (but only one because Good Lord, I can buy two bottles at Meijer for that price) and have adult conversations… It was fabulous.  So fabulous that we decided to keep the evening going until the wee hours of the morning.  Irresponsible, but fabulous.

One week later, I am still tired.

And those jeans?  They have been banished to the back of my closet, hidden under a pile of more reasonable boot-cuts, until my next temporary lapse in sanity.


World Down Syndrome Day – A day in the life

Last year at this time, with my just-barely three-month-old nestled in little bouncy seat beside me, I sat down to write about life with a little one with Down syndrome in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day.  For as much as the children have grown in the past year, so little has changed.

I’ll be honest, this post about what life is like with a child with Down syndrome seems a little silly to me.  I’ve been working on it for a week now, trying to find some spin, something interesting or relevant.  Maybe it’s because she’s young, maybe it’s just because things aren’t really that different… we love our life and wouldn’t change a single, solitary aspect of it, but let’s be honest, it’s not exactly thrilling.

Our mornings still start early… I’m out the door by 5:40.  We can usually hear Tessa starting to stir on the monitor by then, but we let her stay in bed until John is ready to let the chaos begin.  We have also found that Ellie is a lot happier with life when she is woken up by Tessa’s babble rather than Daddy’s insistence that she get moving.  On the weekends, we have breakfast together.  Sundays, I make pancakes.  Otherwise, Ellie mooches John’s oatmeal.


During the day, my kids go to our daycare provider while John and I work.  Tessa has great motivation to keep up with the kids around her; she so loves (and is loved by) the other children.  A couple of her therapists do her sessions there, otherwise she has them after I get done with school for the day at our house.

I pick the girls up in the afternoon and at home, Ellie watches The Pioneer Woman (every.day.) while Tessa plays and I finish up my work and check in with the mom groups that I am a part of through social media.

(I used to be pretty active in typical “mom” groups.  As of late, that has become… challenging.)

99% of the time, the girls get along great.  Just recently, we’re starting to witness the usual sibling annoyances:

Around 4:30, Tessa makes her way to the garage door, where she sits and signs “Dad” until he walks in the door.  We sit and eat dinner as a family every night.  Ellie is the slowest eater on the planet.  After dinner, there is almost always some kind of dancing.

Occasionally, we get the girls into the bath.  We pretend to fight over who gets to put Ellie to bed while the other feeds Tessa and wrangles her into her pajamas.  By 7:30, both girls are asleep, I’m mostly asleep, and John’s enjoying his quiet time on the couch.


I would not change a thing.

Every 24 hour period is a blessing.  Every second that we get to spend loving each other is precious.  Our family’s minutes and hours are not much different than yours.  I hope you can see that, feel that, believe that… and include others with Down syndrome in your life right along side us and our little girl.

For more stories, visit adayinthelifewithdownsyndrome.com.



3 Decades

A very special kind of countdown has started and I’m super excited about it!

(No, Mom and Mom-in-Law, I’m not pregnant.)

Today, I am celebrating the beginning of my 144-day “make fun of John because he is 30” extravaganza.  I only get 144 days because of course, then I will be 30 also.  But for now…. let the fun begin.  🙂

As I’m sitting here, he is telling me that he does not want a post in celebration of his birthday… which is fine, because this isn’t about that…. it’s just about him.  I have done exactly what he told me.  😉

I had to laugh today, going through old pictures of him, because I was trying to find just one to share here in celebration of him.  it’s impossible.  I don’t know if there is just one picture that can really embody his accomplishments, his determination to provide for his family, his devotion to us and to the girls and to God.  This is a remarkable man.  And for all of the amazing things that he has worked so hard to provide for us, these are the things that I love the most:

photo 2 (2)IMG_5741 IMG_4123 IMG_3973 IMG_4434 IMG_3607 IMG_4345 IMG_0574 IMG_5973


Signs of Spring

We waited in a line for the car wash today that was 10 cars long.  35 minutes, sipping my decaf iced coffee, listening to Ellie chatter in the backseat about how, now that she’s three, she’s brave in the car wash.  When she was two, she tells me, it was too scary but now, well, now three means that she isn’t afraid anymore.

“Mom?  Maddie’s mom died and now she lives with God,” she tells me.  “And I’m going die too, someday.  And who else lives with God?”

I took a long sip after that question.  Seven cars in front of us still.  I guess we’re having that conversation.  Again.

Winters are harsh in Chicago.  The wind chill, the salt on the roads… But now, there is a palpable energy in the air.  SPRING.  It’s 30 degrees warmer today than we have felt in months.  There is sunshine.  There are puddles.  I’m sitting by the back door watching Ellie play outside.  She’s still wearing a coat and picking up what is left of the (filthy) snow, but when her cabin fever got to be too much, it didn’t take me 20 minutes to bundle her up enough to send her out the door.

John, too, is suddenly out of the winter funk.  As soon as he saw a 50 in the forecast, his winter doldrums switch flipped off.  He’s barely cognizant of his 30th birthday coming up in a couple of days.  He is, quite literally, ecstatic.  He’s always been this way.

I’m more cautious with my optimism than the rest of our little family.  It has been a long winter and I’m not convinced that she won’t rear her ugly head yet again.  But still, I’ll wash the road salt off the car and pack away a few of the heaviest sweaters, hopeful that we have turned the corner for good.

For what it’s worth, I’m thankful for the winter.  It makes the spring so much more special.  Such is life.

One year ago…


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Only once in a blue moon do I check my Facebook or Blog Reader for updates in the morning as I am getting ready for work.  Yet earlier this week, something moved me.  I opened my WordPress app to find the news that one of my dear blogging friends, Tessa, had lost her baby girl in the wee hours of the night.

There are no words.

I have waited this week for my brain to make sense of this loss, to find the right way to express my feelings and to offer some kind of condolences to Tessa and her family.

I just can’t.  There is simply no right way to say I’m so sorry, to take away any of the pain, to carry her grief on my own shoulders for even a moment.

If you can, please light a candle in remembrance of Eva tonight at 7:00 pm (central time).  That is the time that her own family will be celebrating her life in New Zealand. Tag it #theoneinamillionbaby so that Tessa can see the outpouring of light for Eva from around the world.

Go rest high on that Mountain, Peanut.  You are so loved.