Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

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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Inside and out

Look, I’m not a fan of the cold.  I’m sure someone could make the case that I’m really missing out by not playing with my kids in the snow, but really, I’m just fine with taking the pictures and making hot chocolate (recipe at the end).

Plus, on the inside, we have just as much fun.

At 6:15, Ellie woke up, looked outside and gasped.  “It’s Christmas!” she exclaimed.

Well no, not quite.  It was still dark outside and she was desperate to head out.  I managed to keep her calm until precisely 7:22 am.  Then I gave up.  When I told John I was sending her out, he look at me with giant puppy-dog eyes… “Can I go out, too??”

I bought this snowsuit a little too big last year and made it work.  This year, it’s a little too small, but still works.  Two years out of one snow suit?  That’s a parenting WIN in this house!


 Dora umbrella is back!IMG_7571

IMG_7569The first trek out was considerably calmer than the afternoon madness.

A kid in ski goggles… too much.IMG_7583

Blizzard Conditions… no kidding.

She doesn’t have the attention span to build a fort, so this will do.IMG_7589

And on the inside, I got to enjoy… this:

IMG_7576I win. 🙂

Our favorite hot chocolate recipe

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

1.5 tablespoons Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder

1 handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw everything into a pot, heat it until the chocolate is melted, serve in a mug with marshmallows.  All these ingredient amounts are total approximations, so good luck. 😉


November, in a nutshell

I cannot believe that we are almost to the end of John’s Master’s Degree program. He and I embarked on our journey of earning our degrees when Ellie was 6 months old. I finished 4 days before Tessa was born. In less than a week, John will join the club.  He tells me that, at 67 pages, he is done writing and that all he has left are some citations (which, at this point, I’d really like to just do for him so that it can just be done, but of course, I won’t, because playing with Tessa and Ellie is more fun than researching APA Style). Craziness (and crankiness) hit their highest point last week and we’re coasting into the finish line now… Here are some pictures of life lately…

Did I post this yet? I can’t remember, but it’s worth repeating anyway..

IMG_6659.JPG Trying to stay warm in our most recent snap of cold weather: IMG_6677.JPG     Tessa loves to play “sooooo big!” IMG_6706.JPG   We celebrated my nephew’s second birthday… this is my sister, sister-in-law, and I with our kiddos… IMG_6712.JPG   Sticking out our tongues in solidarity with Tessa 🙂 IMG_6766.JPG   So serious today…  IMG_6762.JPG   A little happier in this one.  🙂 IMG_6734.JPG   The media center at my school is having a “Shelfie” contest… Here’s our entry… IMG_6759.JPG   We put up our Christmas decorations a little early (sorry, Mom) and Ellie decided that Baby Jesus needed a check-up from our dear friend Doc McStuffins. IMG_6771.JPG   Holding her own bottle is super hard work!! IMG_6776.JPG  Sister love. ❤