Wednesday, October 31, 2012

october in an instant

Oh, October. The month of beauty and birthdays, running and road trips, fall foliage and friends, crafting and cool breezes, blue skies and baking. I love so many things about October and it always passes so quickly. During this month especially, pictures speak louder than words. And we took plenty of pictures. Here's a snapshot. 

i have a thing for red heads

I guess you could say I have a thing for red heads. 

The costumes of Halloween 2012 have got to be my favorite yet. In years past, we've been felines, fowl, a witch (and her creeper dad), story book characters and princesses. But I think Annie and Raggedy Ann take the cake.

We had an eventful week planned, but not much panned out until today. Hurricane Sandy postponed a Tuck parade and party and Leah's school doesn't allow costumes at all {don't get me started...}. So, the Sachem parade was our big debut. And I can say without hesitation that Leah and Kate were both hits. We did a bit of trick or treating after the party - mostly stopping by homes of friends we knew would want to see the girls. 

Including our good friend Megan who was excited that Leah was sporting a wig that made them twins! 

Leah was so tired and could barely keep her head up. Which means this is the best picture we got of both of them. 

And this is what happened immediately after. 

 Love those two red heads of mine. Happy Halloween!

you are what you eat

Kate continues her quest for solid foods. 

So far we've tried oatmeal, green beans, carrots, prunes and now squash...

I think squash is her favorite so far - she likes it so much she's starting to turn into one! This doesn't surprise me at all. It was her sister's favorite, too. 


Happy Halloween!
Love, the Laytons

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diagnosis Day

It’s been three years. 

Three years since I got the phone call that dropped me to my knees and left me in a pile of tears. 

Three years since we got answers we didn’t want, but were grateful to have. 

Three years since we joined a group of some of the most amazing girls and families anyone could ever know. 

Three years of Rett syndrome. 

That’s more time with Rett syndrome that without. More time spent wringing hands than using them to read books. More time spent communicating with eyes than with a voice. More time being spoon fed than eating independently. More time spent at the neurologist than ever before. More time getting EEGs, EKGs, MRIs and blood draws than any five year old should have to spend. More time in IEPs discussing therapies and accommodations than I ever knew possible. More time researching sleep and seizure medications and side effects than I’d like to admit. 

But it has also meant more time relishing the small and simple things. More time spent celebrating each increase in ability. More time being humbled by the kind and selfless acts from family and friends. More time spent understanding the true worth of a soul, not all we try to decorate it with.

And, ironically, more time spent on my knees. That phone call on the afternoon of October 30, 2009 got me there and I’ve found it’s actually the best place to be. I have felt more love and comfort and strength from my Father in Heaven than I know I would have otherwise felt. I’ve been at the end of my rope on more than one occasion and He has given me the hope and strength to hold on. 

And there is good reason to have hope. 

Hope for treatments for Leah. 

Hope for a cure. 

It’s with that hope Ryan and I are thrilled to announce we will be running as part of Team Rett in the 2013 Boston Marathon. Twenty six point two miles. Training in New Hampshire. In the winter. It seems crazy, but I know we can do it because we are running for Leah. For treatments. For a cure. 

And we need your help to raise the funds to get there. If you have the means, we’d be honored to have a donation. Blog about it. Post it to Facebook. Tweet it. Send an email to your friends, families and co-workers. See if your company will match your donation. Talk about it and spread the word. 

It’s been a long three years. We have learned so much of patience, kindness, hard work, determination, laughter and love from our sweet little Leah. Though she still walks, she can’t run a marathon. And so we will race for her. Because we believe in her. We have hope that one day, she will run a race - completely different than the one she runs every day of her life.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

salem, mass

On our way home from the Cape, we made a scary pit stop in Salem, Massachusetts to celebrate Halloween. We went with one other family who had been in Cape Cod with us and together we strolled the historic cobblestone streets and sauntered solemnly through the graveyard.

Seeing as Sandy was on its way, it was a rainy pit stop, but fun nonetheless. We had five kids with us, so we didn't pay entrance to any museums, but it was kind of cool to step foot on such eerie, historically infamous grounds. 

 bewitched witch.
 heritage trail for witches.
 happy witches.
 chubby witches.
 witch families.
 fake witches.
 cardboard witches.
 witch villages.
 witch graveyards.

Cape Cod Half Marathon

1 amazing house on the cape
+ 2 well behaved little girls (during the day)
+ 3 carefree days
+ 4 hours of games and late night chatting
 + 5 pounds of cookie dough 
+ 6 meals eaten together 
+ 7 awesome families 
+ 8 hours of driving round trip
+ 9 second halloween parade
+ 10 minutes off my half marathon goal time
+ 11 kids in costume
+ 12 million pictures
+ 13.1 miles = 
a pretty great weekend

and now for an overload of pictures...
 such a great traveler.
 the course.
 the girls.
 the guys.
 the shoes.
 the medal.
 kate says it's real.
 two beach bums.
 don't take bread to the beach. the seagulls will attack you.
 raggedy ann.
 the costumes.
 the kids.
 the girls, showered.
 the crew, real life.
 the crew, posed.
the house.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

King Arthur Flour x2

As if one class from the incredible King Arthur Flour isn't enough, I got to take two classes in four days! The first class, New England Desserts, was full of tips and tricks to make the perfect New England crisps, cobblers and crumbles. The room smelled of delicious, fresh picked, local berries and fruits topped with pure goodness before being baked. It went something like this: mix, lick fingers, mix, lick fingers, pour, lick fingers, scrape bowl, lick spatula, crumble, lick fingers, bake, eat. 


The second class was filled by more than half with good friends. Together we learned how to make the perfect meringue buttercream frosting and then how to perfectly decorate any cake - crumb coat, main coat, decorations and all. I may or may not have eaten portion I chopped off to make the cake level. And it may or may not have been delicious and totally worth it. 

If you ever need the perfect birthday cake...don't call me. That wasn't my forte. But, if you're looking for a delicious New England dessert, those are right up my alley. A great take-away from my time here in the Upper Valley that I'm more than happy to share. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

kindergarten pictures

After last year's school picture retake fiasco, I decided to tag along with Leah on the first school picture day. The photographer was ever so patient and wanted to get a shot we were all happy with. They had Leah standing on this pedestal and she thought it was hilarious to try and step off. So her aide was standing behind her keeping her on the pedestal and her teacher and I were in front by the photographer trying to get her to look at the camera, smile and keep her hands out of the frame all at the same time. I even brought Po along for a laugh. It was kind of a circus. But after only a few minutes, we ended up with this one and I couldn't be more pleased. 

The old Maren would have been annoyed with a few details {looking up but not directly at the lens, hands in the frame, hair a bit askew up top}, but the current Maren has come to realize that this is Leah. Smiley, hands all over the place, hair kind of a mess Leah. She's the Leah I know and love. She's the Leah I want to remember.