Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

On trusting one’s intuition

Sometimes, I’m really good at listening to my intuition as a parent.

And sometimes, there are moments like last night.

I should have heeded our sitter’s warning when I picked up the children.  I always love the moment when I arrive to get the girls after a long day of work.  All of the kids come wobbling toward me, a little bit like Children of the Corn, babbling some nonsense about their day, all at once, none of it the least bit coherent.  “They are wound up today!” she tells me.

I got this, I think to myself, with no concern over my impending night of single parenting.  Ellie had been asking us to order pizza all week.  I’d pop in a movie, call up Vita Bella, and put the girls in bed a little earlier than usual.  No problem.

In this moment, I made my first fatal mistake: when Ellie wouldn’t put her shoes on and I was anxious to get home, I told her that I had “secret, fun plans” for us.

Through a series of unfortunate events, mostly due to the fact that Ellie had given up on her burning desire to eat pizza and still wanted “secret, fun plans,” (which I didn’t actually have), we ended up at Red Robin.  I knew it was a bad idea.  Every little voice in my head screamed “No!  Not tonight!”  and I ignored them.

If you aren’t familiar with Red Robin, it’s a hamburger joint that has generally been a really family-friendly environment (read: it’s incredibly loud).  Recently, our Red Robin has gone through a little remodel… they now have three “unofficial” sections: the adult (bar) section, the section for Parents Who Have It Together, and the Frazzled Parents and Loud Parties section.  There is a glass wall that separates the latter two sections, most certainly so that the Parents Who Have It Together can enjoy the show on the other side of the wall.  I’ll let you guess where they sat us last night.

Frazzled Parents, unite!!

In the instant that we sat down, Tessa decided that she was starving.  We have entered a phase of life where she can’t well communicate her needs, so there is a lot of growling.  Yes, growling.  Loud and forceful growling.

Three seconds later, Ellie told me that she needed to go to the bathroom.  Now I, as a parent with great foresight, knew that Ellie loves to check out public bathrooms and not actually pee, so I made her go before we left the house.  So, when she asked, I calmly told her that she would have to wait until we got home, feeling confident that she had just emptied her bladder.

Even after three portions of dinner and several soft pretzel bites (which I later found stockpiled in her cheeks and the roof of her mouth), Tessa continued to be starving.  She had had enough of the crummy, unsupportive high chair.  Ellie’s crayons were dropping all over the floor.  There was a lot of ketchup everywhere.

Before I knew it, Ellie was standing on her chair, announcing to me (and what felt like everyone in a five-table radius) that she needed to go the potty right now or the poop was going to come out of her butt.

I really need to listen to my intuition more often.

Our rockin’ night wrapped up soon after we go home… a lot sooner than Ellie would normally go to bed, in fact.  Later, I dozed off on the couch, only to be awoken by chubby little fingers poking at my cheeks and nose.  Tessa had been sitting on my lap, drinking her last bottle of the night, and was looking for more.  She smiled up at me with those little crinkly eyes and for just a moment, the events of the Great Red Robin Fiasco were a distant memory.

I can’t wait for tonight’s round two adventure….


The State of Our Union: July, 2014

Midway through 2014…


Seriously, when did that happen?  Our lazy days of summer have been very, very good to us.  With the Fourth of July holiday now over, I can already feel the itch to get back to school.  Crazy as I know it is, I do miss the routine of our school year.

But not enough to rush back in already.  🙂

Here’s an update on how we’re all doing… skip to the end if you’re only interested in our most-interesting family members (meaning: the kids.  I’m not offended if you don’t care much about John and I.  🙂 )

John and I

We’re coming up on our five-year wedding anniversary (this Friday!).  As we have spent every one of our anniversaries in the car and this year will be no different, on kind of a whim, we went out to celebrate last week.  Hiking in a forest preserve, beers at a local brewery, Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner (because it’s within walking distance from our house), and then walking home in the pouring rain… it wasn’t exactly a romantic celebration of our love, but I think it fit our couple personality well enough.  Maybe not the hiking… no part of me is a hiker.  But we did it.



Why buy a card when you can just show one to your husband in CVS for free???  🙂IMG_5746

John is loving every minute that he gets to play with his girls.  Grad school is in a lull right now before his final push to the end and Lord knows that no one is ready for that to be over more than we are.  He’s also training for the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (donate here), which means a lot of late-night and early-morning runs.  I’m so proud of him!  And, our team is in first place for the amount of money raised.  I can’t wait for the race!!  Team Tessa will be out in full force!


I’m settling into a new position at work this summer, which has been a (good) whirlwind.  I have also made some good connections with mommas in the Down syndrome community and I, like John, have really enjoyed time with the kids.  My travel bug bites are sufficiently calmed for a little bit from all of our mini-excursions, though my recently-renewed passport is just dying to be used…. someday….


Can I tell you again how much I despise potty training?

The child is a nutcase and I adore her.  She’s smart as a whip and fiercely in love with all things Frozen.  We have seriously watched the movie at least 5 times a week for the last month.  Now if we could just get her to take a break from her imaginary universes and start listening to her bladder, we could move all move forward.  Ellie loves her sister to pieces and we haven’t had a single issue with jealousy or regressing to baby behaviors.  What a blessing! 🙂


There is no filter on this picture.  Those eyes are going to break hearts someday….IMG_5778


We had Tessa’s six-month IFSP review yesterday (her IFSP is the document that outlines her goals for development).  She is almost seven months old!  Her occupational therapy evaluation was yesterday as well.  On the positive side, she rolls like a champion and is actually “advanced” for her age at that skill!!  However, she is struggling to use her hands to do more than swat at toys or put things in her mouth.  When she was evaluated today, we learned that developmentally, her fine motor skills with her hands are around the two-month range.  So, going forward, we’re going to add in occupational therapy once a week.  We have to work on her core strength.  It’s difficult for her to do much of anything until that tummy strength improves.  It will help her move, play, eat, breathe, interact… it’s a huge focus for us right now!  As our developmental therapist (DT) explained to us, she’s going to keep developing cognitively and if her body won’t do what her mind really wants to, we have to worry more about her behaviors (which, by the way, happens in classrooms all across the world all. the. time.).  In true Tessa form, as soon as she heard her DT say this, she started to improve.  I swear to you that as soon as this child hears that she isn’t doing what she should be and we’re going to add more therapy, she hurries up and “gets” the new skill…

This month, we also started solids with Tessa.  She seems to be indifferent to it really.  Can I also mention how much easier it is to do things like start solids when you just have one child?  I don’t know why, but we have been really inconsistent in feeding Tessa at the table.  Weird.  Anyway… right now, she doesn’t eat a whole lot by spoon and she’s slow as molasses, but she doesn’t spit it out!  While we can’t always tell if she is interested in more or not, she will let us know when she is done.  With great joy, she spits it all in our faces by buzzing her lips.  The joys of parenting…  I have started using a few signs with her (“more,” “all done,” and “eat”) and I’m sure that once John reads this update, he will, too. 😉

Tessa’s emerging personality is sweet and easygoing but has a flair for the dramatic, she loves people and being held, adores her sister and daddy (and most other people)…  She sleeps well, is now eating well and provides great balance for us and her goofy sister.  She is such a great addition to our family!




As our summer dwindles (but not too quickly!), I can’t help but feel so blessed for all that we have right now.  Our family, friends, and coworkers have been overwhelmingly positive, supportive, loving, helpful… I could go on and on.  For now, I just want to say thanks.  If you are reading this, you have been a part of this… of us and we can’t thank you enough.

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