Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Home.

Everything we do is an adventure.

The adventure of our new forever home is short and wild and sort of overwhelming, but in a good way. It’s all good.

About a week ago, we decided to start looking for a home casually. This is the last time I am moving (I swear) and we want to do this right.  We feel a strong need to find the right place.  I have been scouring Zillow for months, waiting and waiting for the right home to come up.

It’s been rough.  Our list is short, but crucial.  Must have two full baths and a main-floor potty.  Must have a basement for severe weather.  Must have a yard that can be fenced. No well water.

Do you know how hard it is to find houses with two full baths in our area??

On a whim Saturday, we visited an open house.  We wanted to get a feel for what 1,400 square feet might feel like.  It sounded small, smaller than our last town home, but the layout in our last home was as open as open can be.  I didn’t want to go down that road again either.

After 5 minutes in the house, we both knew it was “the one.”  That night, we joked about putting in an offer.  We both sort of agreed that it was crazy because we hadn’t seen anything else and who does that??

Well, we do.

By Monday night, especially when we heard another offer was coming in, I was pretty much desperate to make this home ours.  Quite hesitantly (because “people just don’t do this, Mag!”), John called in a offer.  He was not happy with me, but I’m a girl who knows what I like.

We got into a double-bidding situation.  After a meeting with our realtor, we had to put in our highest and best offer for the home.  As I grew more and more anxious, I decided to write a letter to the sellers to ask them (or beg them, really) to choose us.

(This has been edited for location privacy)

Dear Sellers,

We are writing to ask you to give us the privilege of purchasing your home. Our family is very early in our search. In fact, yours is the first and only home that we have visited. However, last Saturday, when we came to your Open House, we knew right away that your home is the perfect fit for our family. It is exactly what we need and want for our forever home.

We have been prayerfully waiting for the right home to be available in this neighborhood. As a child, I attended ______  and when our youngest daughter was born with special needs two years ago, we knew that we would be moving back from _______ so that she could attend _____ as well.  The school is well-equipped for her needs. We sold our previous house and have been living with my parents while we wait for the right place and the right timing.

Our four-year-old is very excited about the backyard and that we may be able to plant some vegetables in the summer. We envision cook-outs and family gatherings on the brick patio. The location is perfect – we frequently visit _______ and their proximity to the home cannot be topped.  We are in love with the kitchen space. I am not always excited about doing dishes, but when I think about doing them by that window in the kitchen while the kids play outside, it’s much more bearable. 🙂 My mother-in-law visits regularly to help us care for the girls and I know that she will appreciate her own bedroom space on the main level, rather than sleeping on an air mattress in the girls’ room. My husband has been mapping out plans for the basement “man cave” and I would love to use the other first-floor bedroom as a sensory play room for our youngest daughter.

We are ready to settle into our forever home. We can tell by the care that has been put into your home that you have kept it well and that it has been loved by your family.  We love it too, and would be proud to make it our own.

Many thanks for your consideration,

John, Maggie, Ellie, and Tessa

Long story short, after a nerve-wracking two-and-a-half hour wait, we received word that we had won the bidding war.  Even though our bid was slightly under that of the other party, our letter convinced the owners that we were the right family.  We are over the moon with excitement.  It has been a whirlwind week, but finally, finally, we are going home.

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Little tiny boxes, big fat dreams

When we bought this seemingly giant townhouse, we couldn’t imagine how we would ever fill it.

We lived on hand-me-downs, quite literally, for quite some time.  A futon that dipped in the middle almost to the floor, a loud floral print sectional sofa draped with bed sheets to tone it down… a mishmash of his life and mine and everyone else’s came together to make Home.

New things trickled in.   We bought a cheap kitchen table that we wouldn’t use consistently during mealtime for well over a year.  A shiny new stand mixer as a wedding gift, a bedroom set, a new sofa.  There was a wine rack purchased from our elderly neighbors on a whim, holding fancy wine given to us by dear friends as a wedding gift, and more barware than any other home I’ve ever visited.

Wardrobes purchased, wardrobes replaced…  Elastic waistband maternity clothes lined the master closet, then drawers full of little tiny onesies in pink and purple and sparkly loveliness.

Piles and piles of books fill shelf upon shelf.  From infant swing to exersaucer, pink plastic Big Wheel traded for a Disney Princess big girl bike, there are toys in every single room.  Camping gear and Christmas decorations are stacked up high in the garage.  Furniture for one child doubled, but try as we might, we couldn’t stretch the space.

All of the things are slowly making their way into little tiny boxes, ready for The Big Move.

Can I just say…. there is so much HAPPY here.

The tiniest little corner of my heart worries that we will jinx it, moving out of these lovely little cramped quarters.  But the dreams… the big, fat, hazy dreams… they keep us packing.

This little love makes it worth every piece of bubble wrap and packing tape.  She is the one teaching us what dreams are all about.

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Definition #3

 We re-did our little “office” nook in preparation for The Big Move.  It’s got a cute little bookshelf and cute little chair and it’s incredibly cozy.  While it is not ideal for blocking out the noises of the chaos in our home, it is a partial escape.  I’m still tuned in to what everyone is up to, but I just put my feet up and listen.

I find myself trying to spend a lot of time up here these days.

Somewhere in the mix of this…

and this…


 and this…

and this…

 
there needs to be peace.  
It is hard to come by right now.

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Life, lately

It’s been difficult for me to sit down and write these days. Not for lack of words, I assure you, but simply for an odd restlessness that had settled into my brain. (Hello, 3 am wake ups, can we be done now?)  We’ve had a lot of serious discussion happening in our home about our future and those talks have mostly drained my ability to look at computer screen and write it out.

I realize as I re-read what I just wrote that I sound terribly melancholy. Rest assured, I am not. As a matter of fact, especially this weekend, I have had a rush of peace with the whole idea of our new family adventure. We’re moving forward.  It’s all good.

Very quickly After, we knew the time would come that we would have to move.  For more reasons than I could possibly go into (not the least of which being the cramped quarters of a home we meant to move out of 3 years ago), it’s time now.  And because of the fabulous fact that we bought our house at the second-worst possible time in recent history, our move is going to involve a stint living at home with Momma and Daddy Dub.

I didn’t expect to spend the summer of my 30th birthday moving back in with my mom and dad.  Then again, I didn’t expect a lot of the twists and turns that I’ve taken in life, so we’re rolling with it.  We don’t necessarily have a timeline for selling our current place, which is nice because there isn’t much of a rush to pack it up.  We’ve started, but it’s not all-consuming.  True to my usual manner of business, I’ve got a few spreadsheets rolling to organize us.  No major task in our family is complete with out some help from Microsoft Excel!!

The kids are thriving lately.  Tessa’s annual meeting went really well.  The therapists have been really impressed with her progress and I was able to push for a specific goal that I think will target her communication skills.  We (very necessarily) have focused a lot on eating in the first year.  Now that she’s sitting, beginning to sign (yay!) and beginning to have more feelings and needs, I’m looking forward to working more on communication during our sessions.  We will continue to have OT, PT, Speech, and Developmental therapy each one time a week.  She’ll start wearing a Spio suit soon, which looks kinda like the clothes you wear for scuba diving if you ask me (though it is sleeveless and shorts, not pants).  You should know that we don’t live in a constant state of therapy in our house – that really, truly, most of Tessa’s “therapy” comes from trying to get the toys back that Ellie steals from her.

Just before we had our meeting, I ran across a quote on the National Down Syndrome Society‘s website that was a lightbulb moment for me. On the surface, I knew this, but the words struck me in such a way that I had a productive shift in mindset.  It reads:

The goal of physical therapy for these children is not to accelerate the rate of their development, as is often presumed, but to facilitate the development of optimal movement patterns. This means that over the long term, you want to help the child develop good posture, proper foot alignment, an efficient walking pattern, and a good physical foundation for exercise throughout life.

Ok, duh.  I know this.  But, for whatever reason, the statement that Tessa is 48% delayed in her locomotion (moving) skills hasn’t phased me simply because of this.  Because suddenly, the delay isn’t about me not putting her hip helpers on her for three days in a row.  She should wear them, yes, but it’s not about me holding her back, but more about teaching her to do it correctly.  Weird how things can strike you like that.

I look forward to telling you about my older child’s awesome development soon… at a time when she isn’t hanging off of my arm crying that I put too much milk in her cup.  Ah life… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A picture of Ellie at hour 10 of an 11-hour Road Trip, just because.  She was 13 months at the time of this picture (same age as Tessa today).

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