July 16, 2017: A Whole Lot of Not Much

What a dreadfully dull blog post this shall be, because our week was pretty low-key! I realized when downloaded the pictures from this week from my phone that I took almost none—except of food! Ah well, I’m sure next week will be different, since we have big plans next weekend.

Where are we going next weekend, you might ask? Why, that would be the NDSC (National Down Syndrome Congress) Conference in Sacramento! I’m so excited that Chris will get to attend this year, since he’s never been to one, and I LOVED the one I went to two years ago!

We leave on Thursday (news flash to would-be burglars: the pet sitter will be staying at our house, so don’t even try!), and the conference starts bright and early Friday morning. I signed Chris and myself up for different sessions Friday morning: I’ll be attending one on potty training, and Chris will be attending one on positive behavior strategies in kids with DS. I actually read the book written by the man who is presenting Chris’s, and it was excellent. Since Chris hasn’t had a chance to read the book, I figured I’d just sign him up for the session.

Beyond that, I don’t know what we’ll be attending. Only the Friday morning sessions have to be prebooked—everything else you can choose as you go. I’m probably most interested in sessions on education and speech, and who knows what Chris will decide he wants to learn about?

The boys will be in the Kids Camp during all the sessions, but with us for lunch breaks and after the conference ends each day. Should be fun—I’ve heard from many that the Kids Camps are a lot of fun!

Friday night I set up a dinner for the Original Rockin’ Moms who will be attending. I know literally hundreds of Rockin’ Moms, but my core group of ORMs is about 140 moms. There are about half a dozen who will be attending the conference or coming out for the dinner, along with kids and partners/spouses, so it should be fun!

And we no sooner get back from NDSC on Sunday then we leave five days later for our summer vacation! (Once again, our excellent pet sitter will be staying at the house, so would-be burglars need not apply.) This year we’re spending a few days in Portland, then a week in Seattle, then four days in Bend (central Oregon) on the way home. Should be a lot of fun! We’ll be seeing my sister, some Rockin’ Moms, and Auntie Lisa and family!

Both Chris and I are swamped with work right now, which is why this week has very few pictures and very little excitement. We’re working like crazy to try to get everything done before we leave! Heaven only knows whether we’ll succeed.

This week Theo went for a week at the local Parks and Rec camp with a friend from school, and he had a great time. He came home particularly jubilant on Thursday and handed me a slip of paper—an “ouch report.” Turns out he had stepped on a bee and gotten stung during camp that day, and he looked positively thrilled! I’m assuming bee stings are a badge of honor among the nine-year-old boy set. I asked him if he cried, and he replied, rather offended, “No, OF COURSE I didn’t cry! I just cussed.” Greaaaaaaaat, Theo. 😉

Sam had another week of CRP, which went well as usual. He has so much fun there! Saturday, he was talking up a storm in the car—to the point that I said to Chris, “Oh my god, we’re going to have two that never stop talking!” He he he… Seriously, we’re thrilled with any and all words from Sam, even if it means even more noise in our already noisy family! Saturday’s chattering was about 70% unintelligible and 30% recognizable words, but hey—it’s progress!

Sam is my fun little errand buddy on Fridays. He doesn’t have CRP on Fridays, so we go to speech therapy and then run any errands that need to be done. Turns out Sam, who is a nightmare in the store if his brother is around, is actually quite a nice little store buddy when it’s just him and I. Although Sam and Theo largely get along very well, it seems perhaps they are a toxic combo when it comes to running errands—both of them are much more pleasant companions if they are the only child in tow!

So on Friday, after driving forty-five minutes to speech therapy, Sam and I had to drive ninety minutes down to Stanford University hospital to bring a welcome bag to a new baby with Down syndrome. We stopped to pick up lunch for the car on the way out—Jamba Juice for Sam, and a mocha from Starbucks for me. He sucked down his smoothie in about five minutes and then promptly fell asleep in the car—which was great because the car ride home from Stanford took two hours. (It’s a long drive on the best of days, but on a Friday afternoon, traffic is hideous. We left Stanford by about noon, but it was already backed up. Ugh.)

Speaking of new babies…on Thursday I had a meeting at a large local hospital that is going to be our pilot partner for our Medical Outreach Alliance (which I’m the manager of). It was a terrific meeting—I think I’ll be doing some more trainings at the hospital in the coming months, which will be a great opportunity. But the most fun part was that we got a tour of the mother/baby and NICU facilities at the hospital, and I got to see some tiny babies! Oh, it made my arms ache—my own “baby” is getting so big I can hardly pick him up now! Sniff, sniff…

On Saturday, we headed to parts cooler, since it was due to be over 100 degrees both weekend days. Yuck! Instead, we went over to the San Francisco Zoo, which topped out at a lovely 70 degrees. Plus, it was Ice Cream Day, which meant a bunch of ice cream vendors were set up and selling treats. As it happened, there were two frozen custard vendors out there, so we had an extra delicious treat! I splurged and got a chocolate cupcake filled with frozen custard, while Chris got a double-scoop with toppings, and Theo mixed two flavors together. Sam, ever the purist, had a scoop of vanilla, which he devoured.

Now it’s Sunday, and while I wish I could say we were headed for parts cooler, instead we’re doing a variety of errands. We’ve acquired a free metal filing cabinet—which has been long needed but never purchased. So we need to go pick that up, plus a small bookshelf we also acquired. (Our local DS org is undergoing a major remodel, and they are giving away some pieces of furniture. Thus the new-to-us filing cabinet and bookshelf.) We also need to drop off some supplies at the Cub Scout campsite, because they’re short on some needed supplies that we happen to have on hand. And last but not least, we’re going to stop by the used bookstore. Unlike his mama, Theo can—and does—read in the car without getting sick. And ever since his magical third-grade teacher inspired him to love reading, he now happily pokes his nose in a book often during car rides, which makes for a lovely quiet ride for mom and dad! So, I want to pick up some books he hasn’t yet read in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Goosebumps series, both of which he loves, so we have them on hand for our looooong drive to Portland.

I’m not above using electronics to keep kids entertained on a very long drive (my usual rule is if it’s over three hours, I’m okay with them having some device to keep them entertained), but we have one issue: While Theo understands that WiFi doesn’t work in the car and thus his iPad has limited functionality, Sam does not. Which means if I allowed devices for the long drive, Sam would end up seriously pissed off that his iPad had very limited functionality, and I don’t want to deal with the whining. So, mean mommy made a “nope, not gonna do it—no iPads on the drive” rule. It actually works out pretty well. Theo is good at inventing car games for us to play, plus he likes reading. And Sam is actually fairly content looking out the window much of the time or kept busy with snacks, plus he will usually sleep in the car for at least a while if it’s a long enough drive.

(If you’re wondering about car DVD players…our van doesn’t have one, and despite Theo’s protests, we will not be installing one. I refuse to hear squabbles when one child doesn’t like the other child’s DVD choice!)

Anyway, the drive to Portland is more than 600 miles and takes at least nine-plus hours. Last time we did it, it took nineteen hours—but that was with many stops for kids and dogs factored in. So you can see why some new reading material for one kiddo is much needed. Used bookstore, here we come!

Happy week, y’all! Next week’s blog post might be a day late, depending on how wiped out I am when we get home from NDSC. But I’m sure we’ll have lots of stories to tell!

Quinoa and zucchini “burgers” with roasted spicy-glazed carrots. Not my favorite (I underseasoned the “burgers”), but the carrots were really good:

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Orzo with cherry tomatoes and roasted broccoli. Theo got to enjoy three of our dinner boxes with us this week (one particular company offers three-serving meals, so he gets to join us for those), and this was one of them. All three of us who ate it rated it our least favorite of the three meals, but it was still tasty. Just not overly exciting:

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This was Chris’s favorite of the three three-serving meals: Fried fish sandwiches with zucchini chips. It was pretty tasty, I must say!

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And here was Theo’s and my favorite of the three three-serving meals: Spanakopita grilled cheese with cucumber and tomato Greek salad. Yum!

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Back to the two-serving meals: Grilled poblano cheese sandwiches with avocado, and a zucchini/onion/radish salad with cotija cheese. Chris and I voted this the best box meal of the week!

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Enjoying Ice Cream Day at the zoo! Enjoy the goofy look on a certain member of the family’s face. 🙂

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Theo wanted to take a picture of a prairie dog:

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…and then turned the camera on himself, and I ended up with about a dozen selfies like this:

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Theo enjoyed gobbling at these turkeys. The female actually gobbled back at him quite a bit! The big male just gave him the side eye:

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Shrimp rolls with roasted sweet potato fries and homemade pickles. I set off the smoke alarm making this, but it was still tasty!

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