Monday, September 30, 2013

Big Guy!

Did I tell you 'Big Guy' started preschool?


Well, he did!

He feels pretty great about it.  This 'Mellow Miles', our shy little cuddle bug baby who just decided to be big this year.  And by big we mean confident.  Outgoing.  Talkative. Walk into a room and own it.

These Robinson boys blow us away with their wonderful awesomeness and knack for developmental surprises.  I don't get it.  If it's good and it's coming from my kid, I assure you I don't know how it got there, but I'm just as struck as you.  If it's something naughty, well, they could at least change their tone of voice to not sound so much like mine.  No, I'm kidding (a little bit).  I'm just trying to say, wow.  I love these guys.  Daily I watch them unfold into these people that I not only love, but I really like.  And I'm proud of them--all of them--from big brother Charlie, to Mr. Mastermind Calvin David, right down to our sweet baby Miles.  Not so much a baby anymore.  But don't tell him, k?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Did you ever have a friend?


Did you ever have a friend who  just "got" you?


Friendships are an investment in learning about one another.
 But maybe you are a complicated person. 
 
Friendships require understanding and compassion.
But maybe you need a lot of explaining.

Friendships may be built around shared interests.
But maybe your experience isn't typical.  


The best friendships help you to know that
you are not alone. 



Part 2:
These pictures are from our Buddy Walk last Saturday.  Pictured is Charlie and his BFF, "B", and also me and B's mom--one of my very best friends.  

Charlie and B... They both have developing friendships with classmates, which is valuable and wonderful and... can take a lot of mediation and energy to sustain.  You see, they have good days and bad days, these two--days where they are keeping it together like their 1st grade peers, and days where they roar like a dinosaur when they actually meant "hello" or "thanks for the present" or "please give me space".  But to each other?  No explanaition needed--they get that about each other.  They are each other's "safe" person whether their worlds are making sense or not.  Do we not all need a friend like this? 

 And B's mom?  Well... she's my safe person, too.  She rescues me with extra trash bags and wipes in the school parking lot (or at church) when things go south quickly, and she understands exactly what I mean when I say, "This is all so hard.  I don't know how I am doing this or how I will go on.  But I'm so glad for it.  I don't want anything else."

If there is one thing the Buddy Walk makes me feel every year it is Thankfulness, and the feeling that not only am I not alone, but I've gained a family I never knew I wanted to have.  All this Down syndrome stuff.  It's kind of a big deal.  

It's hard.  It's special.  Difficult and wonderful.  And it's all wrapped up together with a community of people on the same inspiring ride together.   It really is a blessing. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What makes me happy on my birthday? This Does.

Last week we were headed up to Auntie Kassi's ranch where we sometimes go swimming in the creek.  The boys wanted to know if we could go swimming that day, and we told them no, the creek was too shallow now.  Miles was trying to figure out what "shallow" meant, so Calvin explained, "Miles, 'shallow' just means there is not as much water.  Kind of like.... shorter than a mountain, but higher than a rat or a mouse."

Well, that solves it!

New coat rack the boys helped make.

On our vacation to Truckee, we were gathered around with some close family friends, and Cathy, our friend, was teaching Calvin how to count to ten in French.  Calvin was repeating after Cathy, "un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six," when Charlie burst into the group to add, "Fee Fi Fo Fum!"

Sounded like that to me, too, Charlie. :)


Ranch dogs make good friends.

Calvin, Miles, and I were reading a book about the human body.  We were in the section about digestion, just finishing up what happens in the small intestines.

Mom: Once the food is finished traveling through the small intestines, then it enters... where?

Calvin:  It goes into the large intestine...  And that's where the magic happens!

Mom: What do you mean?

Calvin:  The leftover food is transformed into poop!

Voila!  Magic!

He's trying to close his eyes.  He looks like this when he prays, too.

A few from Miles:

1. He calls himself "Big Guy."

2.  He starts most sentences with the word "even", as in "Even I like to play trucks," or "Even we went to the store."

3.  When called upon to give a reason for something, he often uses one of these go-to answers:  "because I'm Big Guy," or "because I like green."

"Miles, go to bed."  "Why?"  "Because I'm Big Mom!"

He's pretending he's a short little corn stalk to show off our big tall corn.

The other day we were playing in the yard.  Charlie was taking a turn kicking a ball and was saying, "Watch me now!  Watch me now!"  In Charlie's imperfect annunciation it sounded more like, "Watch knee how!"  Anyway, Calvin looks at me very earnestly (as only he can) and says, "Mom, what Charlie is saying is 'Watch me now', even though it sounds like he is saying 'Ni Hao'.  What he really is trying to tell you, mom, is he wants you to watch him, even though it might sound like he is saying 'Hello' in Chinese."

Ohhhh.... I was so confused.


And last but not least, a conversation between our left brained realist, and our right brained dreamer:

Calvin: Charlie, will you play with me?


Charlie: No.  I'm going to the moon.


Calvin: You can't go to the moon, Charlie.  You don't have enough money to buy a rocket ship.


Charlie: I have coins.


Calvin: How many?


Charlie: One.


Calvin: You can't buy a rocket ship with one coin. You need at least 200 coins to buy a rocket ship, Charlie.


Charlie: But it's reeaaalllllly big! (Demonstrates size of large coin with his arms.) Bye, Calvin! (Blasts off.)


Calvin: Mom, Charlie can't play with me 'cause he went to the moon.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

They see each other at lunch time

We have a couple brothers who started Elementary school last week!  Charlie is now in 1st grade, and Calvin is in Kindergarten.  What big stuff!


They each had a great week.  Calvin is in a K/1st combo class, which along with the new "transitional Kindergarten" year for many students, means he is familiar with many of the students in his class from Charlie's Kindergarten year last year.  Cal is a guy always rearing to go, and has had a great time so far, with a few small adjustments and warm ups.  He told me after the first week that he played in the sandbox at every recess because "I just think three classes of Kindergarten is too much on the playground."  I was flabbergasted to hear Calvin having any issues with anything at all (however small it was), but suggested he find a boy he knows from last year, and tag along with him.  He did that on Monday and was so, SO proud to tell me he had a great time on the playground playing with his friends.

Charlie is in his special day class for most of the day this year.  We are pleased with this change for him as his academic learning most definitely needs focused attention on his part--much easier to do in a smaller class with even smaller work groups.  And really, much more emotionally comfortable for him as the introvert that he is.  He spends the last couple hours of the day with a mainstream class, and is doing just wonderful in there as well.  His classmates are glad to have him back, and most important, he feels very comfortable at school this year.  He feels confident. 

At the end of his first day I asked Calvin what his highlights and disappointments were about the day.  He couldn't think of any disappointments, but he said, "My favorite part was seeing Charlie in the cafeteria at lunch time!"  In fact, it is a daily highlight for these brothers who wave and hug in the hallway, and who share many of the same buddies being just one grade apart. 

When we were making the decision about what to do for Calvin for school (choices, choices!), we ended up making the decision to make school a family affair.  There are so many neat schools and home school groups in our community we could have chosen from, but our reality is that big brother Charlie benefits very much from his educational placement in our local public elementary school.  Our reality is that our local public elementary school is a really fantastic school that, in my opinion, is under appreciated in the community.  And our reality is, we have an opportunity as a family to add great value to this little school as we invest in it with our efforts, presence, and prayers.  We have not yet had a chance to have a physical presence in the school beyond the fabulous addition of two energetic, curious, brave-hearted boys, but I hope very much to volunteer in the boys' classes very soon with the scrap of spare time I now have on my hands (more on that later).  In the mean time, I am just so thankful for a new school year that is beginning so very positively.  I'm prayerful about the challenges we will face as our guys learn how to make good choices in their lives, as they learn how to love their neighbors and respect their elders, and work hard at the blessing of an education.  It is going to be an exciting year.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Summer Vacation

And just like that, summer has come and gone.
Wow.  How did that happen?!

Oh, I know how.  Three wildly energetic boys soaking up life in the sunniest summer we've ever experienced.  Hardly a minute or a second to blog about it.  Well, there may have been some minutes, but I'm pretty sure I spent them laying on the deck in the hot, welcome sun.

Summer was good this year.  Typically summer break is a time where we sort of feel our limitations more acutely than at other times.  The reality of our oldest sibling having a developmental level about half his age, combine with the young age of all three of the kids, has meant turning down invitations to do things, or else failing miserably if I tried. 

This year the gang just seemed to reach a stage where things started to be possible for us.  Miles is more boy than baby.  Our big brother Charlie is getting some real maturity and self control to him, which means words like "park" and "river day" and "grocery store" do not automatically raise my blood pressure anymore.   And maybe I am getting better at the mom-thing, too (I may have sprouted another arm or eyeball somewhere?).

This summer, we actually did summer time things.  It was a lot of work.  It wore me out, really, but it felt like, I don't know...  It felt normal.  And the kids had a great time.

We went to my home town of Truckee, and we visited Uncle Russ and Auntie Renee in Reno.



Nana and her boys at my childhood hang-out.  

We spent some weekends at Autie Kassi and Uncle Ryan's ranch.

Harvey's race car getting repaired in the barn.  Always a highlight of going to the ranch.
Calvin telling Uncle Ryan everything there is to know about life.
Quad rides!  "We saw baby horses!" he says.

We didn't actually go to the river, but we did go to the beach!  And it was sunny!


We went to the races.

We spent a lot of time running through sprinklers, and doing "cannon balls" into a rubbermaid bin of water.



We had a HUGE garden, and daily snacked on snap peas and raspberries right off the vines (and whatever else was ready for pickin').



We hung out with our dog.




We also read a ton of books, let all necessary projects fall by the wayside, got a little tan (unheard of on this foggy coast!), went to the park a bunch, and thoroughly neglected a blog.


It was exhausting, I tell you!  But it was also very good.  So good that I don't think I'm afraid of summer anymore, or being alone with my boys on who-knows-what adventure.  Maybe even warming up to road trips.  (I know, right?)

And now, school is in session.  Charlie in 1st grade and Calvin in Kindergarten, and little Miles is doing a preschool program just a couple hours a day--a perfectly delightful playtime for a vivacious little boy loving the idea of being "big".  Me and Buster hang out in a quiet house for a couple hours every morning, ticking things off a to-do list that grew much too long, and giving our senses a rest from a baffling level of activity.

I love those boys.  I love their energy.  I love everything that they are about.


And that is it!  My Summer Vacation.
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