Happy Trails

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He was loved. He will be missed.

Photo Fail

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We did a little holiday photo shoot last weekend. My camera was acting up, my backdrop was a major pinterest fail- but the kids definitely take the cake. I have no idea how we’ll ever get a picture of the two of them together again. They are so wacky.

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Reset

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Something weird has been going on with my camera. I had a setting, maybe something to do with my light meter set wrong but I couldn’t find it. My photos were getting worse and worse. My camera would tell me photos were overexposed, and I’d change the shutter speed only to find that the ISO was adjusted up to 1600 from 200. I don’t know. I couldn’t find it and I was really starting to think I’m just rubbish at photography. I reset everything and voila. Don’t know why I didn’t think to do that sooner. I still have no idea what setting went funky. I figured I’d learn more if I could figure it out. But I’ll settle for having a camera that works the way it should.

Annual Thanksgiving Family Picture

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Last year we set up the tripod, and snapped a great family picture.  It was sort of the catalyst that brought me back to my camera and got me taking pictures again. I had this fantasy that I’d take this amazing family picture this year and it would be a sort of metaphor for my photography journey.

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Instead, the best picture I got was underexposed, grainy, noisy, and we are disheveled. So in a way I suppose this year’s family picture *is* a metaphor of sorts.

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All was not lost though, because Henry actually let me take a couple pictures of him. And this one is incredible. The perfect Henry.

Typical

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It’s true that most days I forget about Down syndrome. I mean, it’s always there right? It’s not like Cop is ever going to catch up and be typical. He’ll always have an extra copy of that 21st chromosome and everything that that means for him. But most days we don’t think too much about it. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it lots more I’m sure because it’s true. It’s hard to imagine how easy it is to forget.

This weekend I took the kids to one of those indoor play places, where they have all sorts of toys and dress up clothes and kitchens and stuff. Four days at home creates a lot of pent up energy, for kids and adults, and it’s nice to cut the kids loose somewhere they can run and play and go bonkers with other kids. Unfortunately, there weren’t any other big kids there so I let Cop play in the little kid area with a couple other babies, and I split my time running back and forth checking on him and playing with Henry.

One thing that parents invariably do at these places is compare milestones. I was grateful to have my attention divided, it got me off the hook from interacting with these 2 eager first time moms. Their babies were 10 and 11 months, crawling of course, standing, practicing walking.

Cop’s enthusiasm is infectious, his big thing right now is waving, he will wave the heck out of everyone we see, everywhere we go. And so it was at the play place. He’s waving and doing his ingenious but funky army crawl to slowly navigate the tot area. When I come back to check on him one of the moms asks me his age.

And that’s when the pit starts. I know what will happen when I tell her, surprise then confusion will flash across her face, she’ll compose her features into a polite mask and say “oh…?”

And so it does. It always does, it always plays out like this.

And at this point I’m done with the moms, but I’m just starting on me. I’m so disappointed in myself, because in that flash of surprise and then confusion, I’m always tempted to explain, to tell them that Cop has Ds and… what? Apologize for him? Explain why he doesn’t meet the expectations of strangers? I won’t. I don’t. But I wish I didn’t feel like I what? Need to? Want to?

I don’t know. I ignore it, let them wonder, let them ask themselves what’s “wrong” with him. Who knows, maybe they can tell from looking at him that he has Ds. I have no idea. My frame of reference for that sort of thing is gone.

But I’m disappointed in myself. For even though I offer no explanation, I’m ashamed that for a fleeting second I felt like I should.

Becoming Human

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Girls night out- Now with crappy cell phone pictures!

On Saturday night I met a few girlfriends for our first ever night out- no kids, no husbands, no diaper bags and wraps and matchbox cars and snacks and wipes and… you get the idea. Just adults.

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I did my hair! I put on make-up! I felt good and had fun getting dressed!

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My girlfriend Bree bought me a drink all the way from Boston to celebrate a promotion I just got! Hurrah!

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We ate in the bar at The Girl and The Goat, drank too many cocktails, and ordered all the desserts.

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Drunk cab selfie. Because we don’t get out much, obviously.

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And of course, I was madly hungover on Sunday. One thing I’ve decided to accept about myself, is I’m prone to excess with drink when the occasion arises. I can have on drink, or I can have all the drinks. But I’m not co good at having a night out on the town and taking it easy. Fortunately Josh accepts this about me too, and when I was a pitiful worthless mess on Sunday he brought me a baby, and a blanket, and some snacks, and let me wallow in my hangover.

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All the better for afternoon naps with my snuggle buddy.

Copley- 17 Months

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In just one month’s time this little guy will be a year and a half old. This is such a fun age, babies are sleeping a little more, learning and doing more, but still sweet little snuggle babies. Cop is no different. One minute he seems such a  baby, and the next I swear you can see the big boy he’s going to be as soon as I blink.

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One marked difference between theses monthly milestone posts and Henry’s monthly posts is that milestones are fewer and farther between, harder fought, but sweeter won. Cop is slowly starting to move around the house more, he is slowly getting bigger and stronger. But the biggest change I notice this month is in his personality and opinions. He is engaged, and engaging.

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Copley recently got a new OT, and she can only come in the evenings so I sometimes get lucky and get home in time to see their therapy. Last night, Hurricane Henry was running around “playing therapy” and Cop was watching him, fascinated and delighted.

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Henry was playing with a ball, and Copley didn’t want anything to do with anything- except Henry and that ball. When Hen did something that delighted him he breakout into laughter and applause, that’s a new one, applause with purpose, it’s so cool to see him pick these things up.

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Giveaway- Diva Milano Ring Sling

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Let’s do a giveaway!

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This is so fun! I had fun reviewing the new Diva Milano Essenza wrap and I’m so pleased to be able to donate this wrap to 321 Carry. The generosity of our corporate donors is one way we are able to function and provide carriers to caregivers who need them.

But that’s not all! (To be read in your best TV announcer voice)

Diva was really generous and offered up yet another carrier for us to do a giveaway to one of our fans! Entering is easy! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter to win by liking The Maiden Metallurgist and Diva Milano on facebook (required) to enter 2 chances to win. Like 321 Carry and Purple Elm Baby for two additional entries. The winner will be announced on Monday November 10.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Day In The Life Of A Diva

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Me a Diva? Heck no, I’m a sweat pants kind of girl, but while I may (sometimes) slack on the fashion front (I am still living in my 33 item capsule wardrobe), I do love variety in my wraps. Diva Milano contacted me through my Facebook page and asked if I’d like to test and review a wrap for them, and frankly, because I love their wraps I didn’t give it a second thought before I said yes.

I was a little surprised when the wrap arrived and it wasn’t the Diva Milano I know and love but their new Essenza line.  Aesthetically the two lines are complimentary, however they are quite different in hand feel. Their high end line is a very soft, smooth, flat weave, somehow though cushy despite being very thin. The Diva Essenza 100% cotton wrap has lots of texture, but it’s not rough or beastly, it’s actually quite an airy weave.

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We woke up bright and early and started the day off with a snuggle. Best way to start the day if you ask me.

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While Copley took his morning nap, Hen and I had some fun playing around with the new wrap, Hen likes this game where he holds on tight and I drag him all over the house. It’s super fun until he falls over and hits his head and cries. Not that I uh… roughhouse with my kid or anything…

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After I warmed him up with a minor injury, I bribed him up with some m&m’s. I’ll take my mother of the year trophy now. I always like to cajole the big kid up when I’m trying a new wrap. This wrap was surprisingly comfortable with Henry. I did miss the signature Diva width a bit, but  unless you’re regularly wrapping your 3.5 year old, width shouldn’t be an issue.

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After morning nap I threw my baby up on my back so I could get ready for the day. How do people who don’t babywear do their make up and brush their teeth? It’s a mystery to me.

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We took a break from the arduous task of putting on pants and shirts and stuff to play another fun game, “Mommy! Watch This!” Which, I’m sure lots of you are familiar with, whirring, Henry incessantly yells at me to watch him throw things down the stairs. FUN!

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We finally all got dressed and shoes and hit the park for a walk.

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That was it. The highlight of the day, the big activity. A short walk around the park behind the house, then back home to throw more stuff and watch too much TV. Weekends are hard once summer is over.

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I spoke too soon! Getting eggs was the highlight! Eggs! From our chickens!

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One last up to wind down for bed time. Not a very exciting day, but these days, and day that is jam packed with wearing is a good day in my book.

Ever since I started 321 Carry, I’m always interested in wraps and carriers at lower price points, the Essenza line costs around 35% less that their original line and I really enjoyed having it here. The only draw back for me is availability.  I decided against placing a big order for 321 Carry a few weeks ago because the cost of shipping was too expensive for such a large order, but I think most people don’t have such (good) problems. Their customer service rep told me that they are working with Purple Elm Baby (one of my favorite shops!) to stock carriers in the US, and of course their carriers are available on the Diva Milano website.

Trying To Survive And Thrive

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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. You’d imagine it would be a big month here on TMM, but I haven’t really talked about It much. In fact, I’ve been a bad blogger all month. I haven’t been taking pictures, writing, sharing. I’ve been working and trying to get through, get to bed time, get everything done, the same thing that we all do. Trying to survive and thrive.

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This time of year is always a tough time to get motivated. This is my 6th October in Chicago, and it’s kind of a depressing month for me, each day that ticks by might be the last day we see the sun until spring. One day soon the clouds and the grey will roll in and it will be one long slog through Winter.

This year it’s particularly hard to keep in good spirits, as Copley has, inexplicably but not unexpectedly weaned himself at 16 months. Without my daily dose of oxytocin I’m having more trouble than usual perking up and engaging. I was having trouble sleeping, and started self medicating with a couple of Benadryl and a glass of wine or three to get some sleep. I was eating poorly, getting no exercise, and in the course of a couple of months I generally ran myself into the ground.

I was having what I thought was a lot of anxiety, and finally went to see a doctor, a really hard thing for me to do. I’d like to tell you that it helped, but it was a really bad appointment with a really bad doctor. It was all of my worst fears about going to the doctor realized in one excruciatingly long appointment, I won’t rehash it because I just don’t have the energy, but I cried the whole way home and certainly won’t be going back. Two good things came of the appointment though; I got my flu shot, and started thinking that what I might be feeling wasn’t in fact anxiety, but mild depression. I’ve never suffered from depression before, with exception of a few weeks of baby blues after Cop was born, and I didn’t recognize it.

Keeping in mind that I would reach out for professional help if I felt like I needed it, I started doing some research about what I could do to help myself. I’m not an expert, but I can Google like a sun of a gun, and here are the small things I started doing.

  • I talked to some friends about how I was feeling. It helped. One of them even made the connection between weaning and the onset of how I’ve been feeling, a correlation I would not have hesitated to point out to anyone else, but couldn’t see for myself.
  •  I made inventory of my responsibilities and tasks and one by one started doing things, even if I didn’t feel like it. I found that by completing these tasks I began to feel a bit lighter.
  • I quit drinking myself to sleep. I like drinking, I enjoy wine and cocktails, but this wasn’t drinking for enjoyment, it was self medication, and probably not very healthy.

I’m not sure if it’s really helping yet, but I have been able to fall asleep, and that’s a good start. Now I’m focusing on making some more small life changes. I am trying to do things that I know I enjoy, even if I don’t feel like enjoy them very much right now (like wearing my boy). I’ve been knitting and weaving, and I am going to make an effort to pick up my camera and get outside and shoot. I need to find a way to incorporate some exercise into my day. Truly, with my schedule and work hours I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I would like to find a way.

I’m starting to feel like I can turn it around. Joy, hope, and optimism are all defining pillars of my life, and without them I’ve felt lost. I want to feel like myself again. I think I can get back there.