Monday, August 31, 2009
There's a mom on a forum who is wanting to know and not many of us there have had one.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Check out this press release about the new clinic for ADULTS with Down syndrome soon to be opened at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield (St. Louis metro area).
I’ve known about this project for a while since my sister works for St. Luke’s (I call her my favorite big wig…I’m so proud!) but it’s new news that Albert Pujols has signed on in cooperation with this new clinic. That is exciting!
Many of you may know that Albert has a daughter with DS, and he has a foundation here in the St. Louis area, the Pujols Family Foundation, that does alot of things for people with DS and their families. They are very popular among the DS community in these parts!
How exciting is it to have an ADULT clinic designated for people with DS?!? So many of us cherish our DS Centers for our kids, and it’s great to see a need noticed to focus on their health after they’ve “aged out” of the pediatric practice system. Yay St. Luke’s! Yay Albert! Go Cards!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
If you've been through the surgery of your tiny one, you will relate, and it will bring back many a memory, though it's beautifully simple in it's presentation. It brought back a surprising amount of emotion for me, as I remembered sitting and rocking Braska just before we walked her down the hall to hand her over to the nurse at the door to the OR for her open-heart surgery. She was 3 months old. Sometimes, I still can't believe it.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
In the previous post, I talked of when I went to college, 18 years ago this past week. That first weekend, during orientation events, I met Melanie. We can’t seem to remember exactly when it was or how it was that we met, but she and her roommate, A, became my best buddies right away. Mel and I had MANY an adventure, some side-splitting hysterical, and some not as much fun, but all of them were priceless in their own way.
That first weekend we coined a phrase for which we now just use OTW. I won’t go into a whole explanation, but suffice it to say it was all about boys. Anyone surprised? I was 17…what else was there? Several years ago, Mel, A, and I went on a trip together, then another a year later, then another. We called them OTW trips, and they were so much fun.
In between then and now, we’ve lived a few hours apart, but now we’re only 10 minutes from each other, so we’re enjoying getting to hang out more. I’m loving being back on old stomping grounds and that Mel is back here, too. Even our getting together for dinner or just a hang out chat is easy, relaxing, and fun. We don’t get to do it enough, if you ask me!
We’ve not done a trip since Melanie’s son was very young, 5 years ago this month, so we decided it was time. A no longer comes with us, but being a duo instead of a trio doesn’t slow us down! With work schedules and kids and husbands, we couldn’t get a weekend on the calendar, so we took advantage of Mel having a day off in the middle of the week.
Tuesday night we headed downtown St. Louis to Lumiere Place to a room gifted to us for this little mini-getaway. Here’s the hotel atrium. (I didn’t have my real camera, just my phone…brilliant, I know. But it’s better than nothing, I guess.)
We checked out our super cool suite and dropped our stuff. Then after a bit of primping, we headed over to the casino to investigate the restaurants. We ate at a nice place, had a relaxing and totally non-rushed dinner, then we walked around a while to work off some of those calories.
We decided to go into the casino area to just walk around and see what’s there. Neither of us are gamblers in any way, shape, or form, but it was quite something to see and hear. Of course, we had to experience it a tad, so we spent $5 on penny slots. Big spenders, that’s us!
One of the machines we tried was called Wild Panda…so we just HAD to try that one. See it in the background?
Here’s Mel’s big slot machine debut.
And she ended up being much more successful than I was!
There was a little station of machines with Wizard of Oz characters and the super neat chairs. Melanie is a big Wizard of Oz fan, so she stopped to take a couple pics with her phone. A security guy gruffly told her she had to stop and that she had to delete the pics right away, while he hovered over her. He said no pictures in the casino. Oops, we didn’t know that. And while they were busy deleting the pic off her phone, I snapped this one. Daring rebel. That’s me.
We decided we’d leave the casino at that point… no reason to hang around if we can’t document our fun with pictures! We went and found another little place nearby and had a drink while we did some reminiscing of old silliness I had totally forgotten about.
We finally made it back to the room after midnight. WAY past my bedtime. I didn’t feel well during the night, and I didn’t sleep much or well. That was a bummer because the beds were very comfy. We had great views of the Mississippi River right outside our window, so that was neat to peek at when I was up trying to settle enough to sleep.
Wednesday morning we got up and checked out at about 11 am. Then we walked around Laclede’s Landing only to remember that if it’s not night time and if you’re not hungry, there’s not much to do down there. So we opted to head back out here to StC County and get our hair done.
We were fortunate that my stylist—actually Rachel’s stylist that I’ve glommed onto—was free for a couple slots that day. I got mine cut first (It looked ok, not great, but I like the cut), then it was Mel’s turn. In fairness, you should know that Melanie is way not into change with her hair. It’s been very similarly done for most of the 18 years I’ve known her…though she still seems to look cute all the time. I just look outdated, but I digress. Mel has ALOT of hair, and Stephanie had some good suggestions about things to try.
So after much work, including the longest blow-drying session I’ve ever witnessed, she was done and looking pretty darn smashing, I think! She just couldn’t get used to seeing herself…it was funny!
We picked up her son at school, stopped at B&N for a snack and saying hi, then dropped them off at home. All in all it was a fun, if short, getaway.
Thanks for going, Melanie! Biff and Sven say hello! (Remember, they’re under the bed!) And thanks to M for keeping the girls and doing a great job at it!!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tonight I went to visit my sister and see her new dorm room. She moved to college yesterday. She just decided to do so on Friday.
It’s weird enough that this sister, #4 in our 6-kid family, the one who was born when I was almost 16, the one who had just turned 2 when I went to college myself… it’s weird enough that she’s IN college. It’s weird enough that she’s 20 now. It’s weird enough that this is her second college, since she went last fall to a different school. All that’s weird enough in my brain.
But tonight, I drove up the street that dead-ends at the college in my minivan with my two daughters in the seats behind me. I drove onto the campus and pulled into a parking space. And as I parked in a spot that overlooks the whole place, I just had to stop and digest it for a split second.
For it was 18 years ago this weekend, 18 years, that I drove onto that same campus in my 1989 Ford Festiva following my parents in the big orange conversion van. It was so surreal. In many ways, the campus is unchanged. There are a few things that are different. Very few. One big new building, some nice landscaping. There is a sand volleyball court where there wasn’t one before. And let me say, that’s really the change I’d have wanted to be there back in the day.
In August 1991, I was so ready for college. I knew the campus backwards and forwards. I knew most of the professors and staff. I already had friends there. Of course, there was a guy there I had hopes of catching, too. (And I did, in short order, though short lived. Not that it was a good thing. But that’s another story.) I was READY to go to school. Happy to be there. Eager to get on with college life. And I felt a bit like I was already part of the “in crowd.”
You see, 24 years before I started as a student there, my dad was a young lad beginning his college career there as well. Two years after his arrival, my mother showed up on campus also. That story is one that is probably not uncommon. Parents watching their kids attend their alma mater. Siblings choosing the same school. One of my brothers has attended this college as well, his first year after high school, which was my first year out of that same college.
The difference is that this school is a small Christian college. And by small, I don’t mean like colleges that brag about a “small, cozy campus” of 4000 students. When I attended, the entire student body was about 220 students. Yes. 220. I didn’t forget any zeros. I don’t know how many were there when my parents were students. I know now they are having higher enrollments for freshmen, so I think they are currently a little over 300.
It’s not possible to attend a college that size and not know everyone. That is good and bad. It was great to have a big group of friends and basically no outsiders. But there were days when I wished for the ability to blend in, disappear, or get away for a while. It didn’t help that I was a representative of the college from my first semester through my last one, summers included, touring, singing, teaching, and promoting the school in dozens of churches and camps in several states. That made it hard to bow out of the spotlight since it was my job to be in it.
I lived and breathed that place for 4 years and 3 summers. And the night I graduated, I left as soon as I could walk to the car to head home. I was done. There are alot of reasons why. My last two years, especially my final year, were not nearly the *total blast* that my first two were. Life became complicated and sometimes dramatic, and I didn’t have the skills to cope appropriately. And because of that, I left and didn’t return for almost 10 years. I didn’t keep up with people. I didn’t attend the homecoming event each year, and still haven’t. Had I left after my sophomore year, I’d have been still a cheerleader for the college, happy to return and relive the good times. But I didn’t leave then, and the fresher memories and experiences were not so sweet. In the 14 years since I left, I’ve been back 3 times, well, 4 after tonight. I’ve driven by the big sign on the interstate about 200 times, glancing up the road that disappears over the little hill that hides the campus. I’m not sure what I look for each time.
So tonight, as I sat there for what was only 60 seconds in reality yet seemed like an hour, I looked over this place that was my whole world for a time and did not feel like I had come home. That’s sad for me, and I hope that it won’t always be that way. Going back is probably what I need to do to kind of start again, in a sense.
To start this new tour, we went to Joy’s room. On a floor I lived on my senior year. I laughed as I passed the kitchen and saw the furniture is still the same, at it was old when I was there. There are two girls dorms, more like large houses really. They are each 2 stories and have 12 rooms on each floor. She is in what we called the “old” dorm, the dorm my mom was in when she was a student there, as opposed to the “new” dorm that was built some years later, though not recently, by any means. Sitting there in the lobby for a few moments, watching the girls bring in load after load of brightly colored bedding, armfuls of clothes, and electronic gadgets that didn’t exist back when I moved in, it was easy to remember coming in and out that front door a million times. The sound of it slamming shut was so familiar.
We walked over to the “main building” as we referred to it when I was there, now the administration building, saw an old familiar face who was the youngest child of the coach and athletic director when I was there, a friend of our family’s, and now she is the admissions director. I remember curling her hair at church camp one year when she had just turned 6, I believe. Doesn’t seem possible. Then we went across the drive to the new building, where I’ve only been once before, a few years ago. I’m not sure how long since it was built, but it’s very nice. There used to be a small house on that part of the land, it was the “music building” back in my day, a place I spent plenty of time in since music was my major. It’s gone now, and in it’s place is a very large, pretty, new structure. Change is often a good thing.
As I left, I backed out of the parking space and smiled to myself as just 3 empty spaces down from mine was parked a vehicle belonging to someone who began as a student there 17 years ago. He was a friend, a beau for a while, and then he married my BFF from college (who is sneaking away with me this week for a 24-hour husband- and kid-free getaway!). Now he is a professor at the school. I just saw them this morning at church. I got to the little stop sign at the corner of the admin building and across from the new building, and I saw a group of people walking in, headed to the all-campus barbecue that was getting ready to start as part of orientation weekend. In that group were new freshmen, some returning students, and there was my friend and with his son on his shoulders. It struck me like a strange moment in time. He with his son, me with my girls, the old there with the new, ready for another year. Another year of space between the person I was then and who I am now. Very VERY different, those two versions of me.
It will be interesting to have this interaction this semester with Joy there, being so close, making trips to pick her up and to visit for games or such. I can’t say I’m completely looking forward to it, but I think it might be healthy. We’ll see…
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You may have heard by now that Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, died today at age 88.
There are many great things about her and the work she accomplished on behalf of the those with physical and intellectual disabilities. But one of my favorite things is that she displayed a complete example of defending the vulnerable, not only those with disabilities, but also the unborn.
From the USA Today article,
Unlike other members of her Democratic clan, she remained opposed to legalized abortion and was a longtime supporter of the group Feminists for Life.
From her family’s statement today,
Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing - searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change. (emphasis mine)
She will most definitely be missed.
Monday, August 10, 2009
We got back last night from Arkansas where we had a family reunion this weekend. It was a very long trip, and we’re glad to be home, but it was a nice visit. More on that soon.
We got home last night after 9 hours on the road to walk into a house that was 89 degrees. In the house. 89 degrees. At almost 11 pm.
Seriously… I just kept shaking my head. Unbelievable.
And it wasn’t cooler outside, so opening up would have been no help. (Plus I can’t sleep with windows open…not safe in my book.)
After a little investigation, the breaker was flipped, and when it was corrected, the compressor outside is definitely very sick.
M slept in the basement, the girls and I stayed upstairs since they were beyond ready for bed when we got in. But none of the three of us females slept very well. Even with ceiling fans on high, it was so hot.
Thankfully, this morning early it was a little cooler, so I opened up and kicked on the attic fan. The girls are rarely allowed to be in diaper-only fashion, but today, that’s the way to be.
We’re going to find someplace else to be this morning as it warms up (to a predicted mid 90s temp), so unpacking and getting the post-trip chaos resolved will have to wait. What else is new, right?!
The service guy should be out this afternoon, so we’ll see. Our home warranty expires in 2 days…maybe this is to make sure I renew.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
When there’s not time to properly write about the deep stuff, the next best thing is to just show some of the sweet stuff. I have a serious sweet tooth, so I’m always thankful for sweets around!
My girls… you know ‘em, you love ‘em. They’re adorable, and nothing if not sweet.
THE van… the one we’ve waited for these last few weeks. It turned over 200,000 miles on the second day I had it, but it still drives SO nice. And the price…well, you know those deals on TV when they can’t even tell you the price because it’s so darn low?? Yeah, even lower. Can’t beat it, trust me! I’m so happy to have it. For the space, for the ease of in-and-out for the girls, and especially for the lack of payment! Sweet!
And in turn, the van’s journey… here’s the “old one” behind the “new one” that my parents got to replace it as we made the transaction.
The fact that this whole thing worked out as it did, in the midst of a few little snags along the way, was nothing short of divine. That they were willing to give it to us for *ahem*… well, that is super sweet.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Is it wrong to have Rocky Road ice cream for breakfast?? Ok, I didn't, but I considered it.
The girls are doing great at Grammy's, not even a peep out of KiKi, the Mommy-needer. M is in C-U, he'll be home later today. I didn't publicize that I was home alone because I can be paranoid like that. I have had a weekend of complete solitude and I still didn't get the things done I wanted to... that means it's not that they're here. It's me. And that's not any fun to realize.
I suppose I best start making a plan to figure out what's up in this head of mine that's keeping me so stuck.
I admit, though, that the quiet has been nice. And I did get a few small things done... not enough though. I hope to finish a couple more today before M gets here.
Right now the house is WAY worse than when I started. The long sofa is standing on it's end, the rest of the furniture in the living room is shoved to one side. I'm cleaning carpets and we don't have room to remove the furniture to another place, so I did half the room last night and will do the other half today, hopefully.
Have a great Sunday!!