Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Quote Post.

I remember praying this girl would talk....

Ellie: What's dramatic?
Me: Did you ask what's dramatic?
Ellie: CAROLINE is dramatic!


Before her flu shot:
Nurse: So she'll sit in your lap.
Me: She's fine solo.
Nurse: How old is she?
Me: Four and a half and braver than you'd expect.
Nurse: Okay.... gives shot.

After getting her flu shot with no tears, no whining, and watching the whole thing.

Nurse: Wow.
Me: I told you she's tough.
Nurse: She didn't cry.
Me: She watches blood draws.
Nurse: (speechless.)

Nurse leaves.

Me: You were very brave.
Ellie: I'm not brave.
Me: Brave means you are tough.  Did you cry?
Ellie: NO!
Me: Did you get scared?
Ellie: I'm not scared.  I got a STICKER! (BandAid)


Me: Ellie, ya know, I used to go to the bathroom alone.
Ellie: NO!  That would be sad.  You would cry.


In the car:
Ellie: Bass bass!
Me: What?
Ellie: Bass bass NO TREBLE!


After I cleaned up an incident with Caroline:
Ellie: Caroline, do NOT poop on anyone.  That would be gross.


(Stockings arrived when Ellie was at school.)
Me: Ellie, what do you notice?
Ellie: Socks!
Me: They're your new stockings for Santa to fill.
Ellie gets a look of terror.
Ellie: I can't go on the red! (Hearth area)
Me: Daddy or I can hand you your stocking.
Ellie: I can't go on the red.  Santa can't go on the red.
Me: Santa is a grown up.  He can go on the red.


After I got home from a photo shoot with Jessica, who Ellie adores.
Ellie: Mommy went with Jessica.  Just you.
Me: Yep.  But Jessica is babysitting you soon.  Just you.  Not Caroline.  Aren't you lucky?
Ellie: I'm not yucky, you're yucky.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Grace Upon Grace.

It's the little things in parenting and in life that make our days wonderful or put us over the edge.  Small moments and small talk make up the vast majority of our lives.

Yesterday, those moments had me on a bit of a roller coaster.

Caroline finally had a night where she was only up once!  But for an hour and a half of tears.

Ellie, with her tiny little nose and nasal passages, like many of her peers with Down syndrome, has hit the season of "super snot" from about November until March.

Caroline had a tummy ache and was inconsolable.

We had a 30 degree morning and I hadn't unpacked the winter gear yet, and Ellie had one mitten.

No big deal.  I dropped Ellie off at school, apologized to her teacher for her bare hands (the teacher laughed), said a silent thank you to Aunt Bonnie who had sent a hat after we moved, and came back home with Caroline.

I put her in a sling and managed to make cookie dough.  A friend (a kid friend) was coming over after school to make roll out sugar cookies.  House was prepped.  Caroline and I went to Target to pick up the rest of the ingredients for our Thanksgiving contributions.  I found the Ninja Turtle requested by a little boy who lives in a homeless shelter.  (Our church buys presents for the families at a local shelter each year.  Who knew Raphael was such a hot item?)  We stopped at Great Harvest and picked up bread for my first attempt at totally from scratch stuffing/dressing.

The grumpy one slept, albeit only with me holding her.  I read some emails that were exceptionally nice.  I found the buttercream recipe my mom used when I was a kid, and I assume she still uses it on her Christmas cookies.  I assembled ingredients for tomorrow's cooking spree and wasted time on Pinterest while Caroline slept in my arms.  I picked up Ellie.

Little things.

We came home, had a snack, and were ready to bake.  I washed a few last minute dishes.

And my feet got wet.

And there was water coming out from under my sink.

Little things.

As I was calling my friend to say, "Don't bother bringing your daughter" she knocked on my door.

And her kids played with Ellie and she held Caroline and I cleared out all the cleaning supplied we keep under the sink and mopped up the water and taped up the sink and called the plumber and made a game plan.

I'm an extrovert.  I hate making those decisions alone.  I need to talk through them.

So a plumber is coming today, we didn't make cookies or pizza last night because we can't really wash dishes, and my kids didn't sleep last night.  I've been up since three in the morning and I anticipate not sleeping until tonight.

Ellie's snottiness kept her awake.  She heard her sister (Matt was feeding Caroline in the living room) and wandered out, convinced it was morning.  I took her to the basement to sleep and she slept sitting up, murmuring about the old house being empty.

But ninety minutes later, she bounced up the stairs and told me her nose was crusty but she's okay, and we couldn't make cookies because the sink was broken and maybe the sink would be fixed and there are birds outside saying tweet!

Grace upon grace.  In little ways.

And the little glimpses of grace throughout the day kept me thinking about how easy it is to give those glimpses of grace to others.

In the next couple weeks, I'm going to put together my "giving" post with great ideas for gifts that give back and organizations I love.  Because we can all give.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


November has been busy.  I think this is the longest amount of time I've ever let pass between blog posts here.  As I sit on the couch typing, Ellie is demonstrating the signs for various letters as she "reads" The Very Sleepy Sloth to Caroline.  Caroline is trying to sleep (on the floor, at Ellie's insistence) while Ellie shoves a book in her face to show baby sister the sloth.

My weekends have been full of photography and editing, my weekdays surprisingly full as well.  The passage of over four years means I forgot how long everything takes with a newborn in tow!  And I feel like a first time mom all over again - a mom with less appointments for my baby, but also surprises - a baby who nurses all the time, who holds her head up, who outgrows clothes!

My two girls love each other so obviously already.  Jealously issues have been pretty minimal, and we've had a few conversations that include "Only GROWN-UPS pick up Caroline," and "You are NOT a grown-up!"

A photo posted by Megan Landmeier (@meganlando) on
We are coming up on one of my favorite times of year.  I love making the Christmas season magical for Ellie and I look forward to seeing Caroline's reactions... mostly to the lights, because she'll only be three months old at Christmas.  The girls' stockings arrive tomorrow and I've been editing Christmas card photos early in the mornings, all to the tune of Christmas music.

With weekends so full of photo shoots, I was also lucky to get away for a bit on Sunday with my sweet intern to head to Dumbarton Oaks.  Dumbarton Oaks doesn't allow professional or commercial photography, so the two of us went out with a goal of practicing with our zoom lenses and enjoying the last nice day of fall.

Shot at 55mm.

From same spot, 300 mm.

Some fun with the timer.  We didn't bring a tripod.


Also, lately?  Christina was in town and we made a gingerbread turkey instead of our normal gingerbread house.  Ellie has been working on her fine motor skills.  And my friend Stephanie, who (literally) wrote the book on Down syndrome pregnancy is in town.

A photo posted by Megan Landmeier (@meganlando) on

A photo posted by Megan Landmeier (@meganlando) on

A photo posted by Megan Landmeier (@meganlando) on
What are you excited about for the upcoming holidays?  I've been pinning and recipe testing.
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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ellie's Thanks.

Ellie, what are you thankful for?  What things do you love?  What makes you happy?

Her responses:

And Mama, too.  And the six.  (There's a six on my marathon shirt.)

(Putting a pacifier on a board book like a serving tray) And PIE!

(Caroline starts crying and I give the pacifier back to her.)  NO!  That's the PIE!

(I find a toy to be pie) I found a piece of pie!  It's a big piece of pie, Caroline!

So what else are you thankful for?


Another successful Ellie interview.  El, anything else?  Any other people you love?  Who do you pray for?

Daddy, Mommy, Baby Caroline.

Who else do you pray for?

I pray for God.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Thankful for Sisters.

Being a parent is hard, but I'm thankful for Ellie's recent demonstration that we're doing something right.  She's a great big sister.

Ellie had a snotty nose and a cough, nothing terrible, but enough to make her slightly miserable.  Early in the morning, she was sitting with me in her bedroom, snuggled on my lap.

Caroline started to cry.  We both paused, noticing the sound.  "What's that?" I asked Ellie, anticipating her frustration.  Her time with Mommy was about to be interrupted.  I was pleasantly surprised with her response.

"Caroline is crying!  I'll go take care of her!"  And she ran off to comfort her little sister.

I don't have nearly as many photos of Caroline as I did of Ellie at that age.  Part of it is having two kids, and an equal issue is that Caroline prefers the baby carrier to the stroller - I'm challenged to photograph a child who is always strapped to me.  But even without photographic evidence, I forget the love Caroline feels.  When Ellie was diagnosed, I wondered if future siblings might feel burdened by her special needs.  Caroline may someday, but I anticipate a pretty typical sister relationship.

Oh, and for a great encouragement having an oldest with Down syndrome, go read  The author has a big sister with Down syndrome.  She and her husband adopted a little girl with Down syndrome and went on to have two more typical little girls.  
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Sunday, November 1, 2015

{31 for 21} Day 31!

A day late, but I did it!  31 blog posts, some about Down syndrome!

Last night, we went trick or treating.

I asked Ellie about it.

What did you dress like?  A tiger!
What did you say?  Rawr.
What did you say at the houses, when you knocked on the door?  I cannot go in there.  Only the people can go in there, but NOT me!  
But what did you say to them? Trick or treat!
And what did they give you? Candy.  But only take one.
We did something else special, too.  I knocked the door.  I'm a tiger!
I meant the bounce house.  I jumped.  No, I bounced!

Are you going to share your candy with mom?  Yeah.  I get one and you get one.
What if I want two?  No, you get one.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

{31 for 21} So, You're Having a Baby with Down Syndrome?

I've been reading a lot this month (although not as much as previous years) for Down Syndrome Awareness.  I've read some beautiful posts about "If you're having a baby with Down syndrome, it will be okay.  Life will be beautiful."  But over five years post-diagnosis and much of that time spent chatting with new moms, my perspective has changed.

Oh, I don't mean that having a kid with Down syndrome will ruin your life.

These observations aren't about the first year.  Most of us, when receiving a new diagnosis, take it as "bad news."  I'm talking about what you settle into a few years out.

Are you generally a happy, positive person?  You will see your child as a delight, you will overcome the challenges of raising a child with a disability with a smile or humor, you'll get frustrated at times but Down syndrome won't define you.  You will probably see your child's genetic makeup as a fluke at worst or a blessing at best.  You'll see Down syndrome as a challenge, but you'll see the good things that come from it as well.  Even if you don't love Down syndrome, you will love your child.  Even if your child isn't a superstar (and really, few are in all areas) you won't let that define your child either.  In short?  You're a generally happy person and generally happy with your life, including your child.  You'll cry when things are hard and you will probably laugh, too.  You probably will see most of your life that way, just like you did before you had your child with Down syndrome.

Are you generally negative?  Guess what, your child with Down syndrome will challenge you daily, you will wonder what you are doing wrong.  You'll love your child but most certainly not love Down syndrome.  You'll see Down syndrome as a burden.  But you'll see a lot of other things as a burden, too.

Down syndrome doesn't discriminate.  Whatever your general outlook on life, Down syndrome will find a place in it.  Happy?  Okay, let the news settle (and it may take a year or more) but you'll be happy again.  Miserable?  I hope your child is joyful enough to change that for you, but that's a big responsibility to put on a kid.

We give Down syndrome too much credit for the general feelings we have about life as parents.
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