Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’ve come a long way, baby

I posted this on the iVillage DS board today, and though it uses pictures I’ve posted recently here and on Braska’s blog, I thought I’d repost it here. Because sometimes I forget just how blessed I am…

Lately, my attitude-filled toddler is not wanting to cooperate with the dozens of pictures that I take every day. So I get a lot of unusable pictures. BUT her dad captured one on Sunday that made me stop and really realize how far we've come...

Just over 44 months ago, Braska was born, we were shocked, I went into meltdown, and all rational thought left my brain, apparently. Even though I'd had experience with a variety of teens and adults with disabilities, including DS, I had a picture in my head of what my little girl would be like, and it wasn't pretty. It was grim, and boring, and unfun, and sad.

But wow...if I'd only been able to get a glimpse of THIS on that cold day in November...

I thought all my dreams of cute bows and girly clothes were lost. She wouldn't be pretty, she would just "look funny," I figured. I figured she would be a sweet baby, but I never expected such a FUN little girl!

I can't believe I thought she'd never giggle and play! I can't believe I thought she would be a little bump in the corner who wouldn't interact with people. If only I could have seen her with her little sister as they wrestle on the floor!

I thought we would never be able to chat about silly things, that she wouldn’t be able to talk clearly, that people would want to shy away from her.

But this morning she has run around the house with her sister, giggling and saying, “So funny! KiKi silly!” over and over. She came up to me while I was typing this to say, “Hi Mommy!” as clear as anyone could say it, and then followed the hug I gave her with “I love you” as she turned to go back to play. She’s a magnet in stores and public places and people just seem drawn to come over and chat with her. She is always happy to oblige.

I feared she wouldn’t learn. But we just finished doing her morning practice for her letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. She got every single letter in the alphabet right in the random flashcards. Twice through. And she’s 3. And she has Down syndrome. But who cares?!? She matched her colors and shapes like she was asked to do. She can name her shapes, and she is getting better with her colors.

She has amazed us over and over, but really all the change and growth has been in ME, for sure. We went from fear over the diagnosis to actually hoping that our second one would have DS when we found out I was pregnant. Crazy, I know! (We kept KiKi even though she was all typical and everything. :o) Ha!)

Not every moment is a party, but they are all so much better than I allowed myself to imagine!

Got the mid-morning blahs?

Take a couple of great smiles and call me in the morning.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A few more tidbits, or maybe several more

*I love iced tea. But I like it really weak. Light, I call it. I don’t like a strong or bitter tea. Maybe it’s more like a lightly tea-flavored water, with a splash of lemon and Splenda. When I get tea in a restaurant, that initial glass will make me several glasses because I’m constantly just adding water (which I also order for my little habit) to make it right.

*Most of the time if I'm in a restaurant, I get water. But if I get lemon wedge or two with it, I can squeeze it into the water, add a little sprinkle of sweetener and I'm good to go with a nice (again...light) lemonade. Yum!

*Speaking of drinks/tea, my favorite summer drink is a lightly sweetened decaf mint tea. In 6 cups of water, I toss 2 regular decaf tea bags and 2 decaf mint tea bags (sometimes mint green tea, sometimes just peppermint tea). I microwave it 8 minutes (thank you Betty and Jessica…from years ago!) add Splenda while it’s hot, then pour it in the pitcher over lots of ice and fill with cold water. Makes a gallon easily, sometimes an extra quart, too. So light and perfectly refreshing on a summer day.

*I sometimes get tired of our super-frugal living situation, but I’m SO glad we’re on a smart path. It’s worth it.

* High-maintenance people exhaust me. If I have to actively work to just be around a person and neither party seems to gain any enjoyment or benefit, I probably won’t continue to put forth the effort.

*On the flip side, I really love people who are comfortable just being. I appreciate those people who float in and out of my life each day with ease, not that it’s always perfect or anything, but there isn’t a lot of stress over simply getting through a conversation.

*Continuing the theme of ease and people…we like drop-ins. We are drop-in people, but we don't drop in anymore because it seems unwelcome in general. It makes me sad that more people aren’t drop-in people. We used to know a lot of drop-in people, but they all grew up.

*I so enjoy the very quiet times when I’m the only one awake at night and all I can hear is the soft whir of the ceiling fan and an occasional little sleepy noise from the bedrooms. I sure wish I didn’t require so much sleep. I’d enjoy more of this.

*I require a lot of sleep. At least if I am going to be at my best. If I get less than 8 hours a night for more than 2 nights in a row, things might get dicey.

On that note… good night. Sweet dreams.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Craving balance

How are you supposed to care about someone close to you and not want to give what-for to those who make them miserable?

How am I supposed to feel the need to care for lonely and mistreated orphans without becoming depressed and sick and overwhelmed at the conditions they are in?

How are you supposed to befriend a person who is not meeting their potential without becoming frustrated at their lack of concern about that fact?

How are we supposed to stand up for what’s right when it brings to light so many evidences of what’s wrong?

How am I supposed to invest my life in others only to be made vulnerable enough to be hurt deeply?

Balance is hard.  I’m a fixer. I need to correct wrongs and make things better. Right. But it’s not always (or even usually) up to me.

It has really been heavy on me lately that in working on myself in a variety of ways, learning to feel more and DO more for people who are in need, that I seem to have a consistent upset about it.  The urgency is good. It’s motivating. The need is there. But the discomfort that can come with a real look at that need is hard to swallow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The only constant is change

The girls are home. They were very excited about their time with Grammy and they were excited to see me, which is nice.  They generally don’t seem to care too much if I’m around or not if others that they like are there. 

For those of you following the school saga, there’s another piece of the fun puzzle to add. 

Recap: Miss N was Braska’s teacher last year.  We like her very much.  Braska was assigned to her again this year, but in the afternoon.  That was a no-go with me.  So after the short-lived no-budging policy, they moved Braska to the morning…to Miss N’s class.  YAY! 

And when we thought it was all settled…. the phone rang again.

Miss N called to tell me that she has just accepted a new position within the school to work with the kids getting ready for Kindergarten, and I’m happy for her that she’s glad for the move. But we’ll miss her as B’s teacher.  She assures me that I’ll like Braska’s new teacher, as she was Miss N’s mentor. She sounds like a good fit.  We’ll get to meet her in a couple weeks.

So in summary… I’m SO glad we didn’t cave to the afternoon plan JUST to be with Miss N, since she wouldn’t have been there in the end.  I’m hopeful that things will go well, that Miss A will be just what Braska needs this fall, and that Jack also does great with his teacher in the room next door to Braska’s room, Miss B. 

Ask me if I think this is the final chapter in this interesting story… go ahead. Ask.

Temporarily uncluttered

The girls have been at Mom's since Monday afternoon. I have been working on cleaning the carpets and rearranging rooms. Last night I finished the last of the carpet and put furniture back where it goes. And I am tired. I pick the girls up this afternoon, so I'm doing the last few bits of cleaning and organizing.

It rained everyday so I did not get to paint the shutters like I had hoped. But maybe next week...

Monday, July 19, 2010

The return of Plan A

I received a call this morning that Braska will be in class in the morning with her teacher from last year, the same one she was assigned to in the afternoon last week.  She’ll be in Miss N’s “early 3’s” class.  Basically, she’s repeating last year, so to speak, and I’m great with that.  She’ll enjoy meeting new kids, and then she can advance next year to 4’s (providing she’s ready…I don’t want to make assumptions).  Since her birthday is late, she gets basically 3 years in preschool anyway and will be almost 6 when she starts kindergarten.

We’ll plan on this for now.  If she starts with the constant illness again when school starts, we’ll shift gears.  I feel good about whatever we need to do.  That’s a good feeling.

Next stop on this ride, adenotonsilectomy on August 4.  The girls are at my parents’ for a few days this week, then we’ll hang out and enjoy the end of the summer before surgery. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

The ride continues…

I’m tired, and it’s late, and I had a nice evening so I want to go to bed with that peace to put me to sleep.

But I wanted to share the latest in the school saga.

Remember when I said yesterday that things can change quickly??  Late today the school called, a different contact, one that is more familiar with us and a person I respect for the work she’s done for us before.  She told me that after talking with a very wonderful member of Braska’s team and others at the school, they’ve decided Braska WILL be moved to a morning class.  I don’t know the details yet, who her teacher will be, if it will be an “early 3’s” class or a “3’s” class.  I told her I’d prefer the “early 3’s” option, and she was surprised.  But I feel like that would allow Braska to learn from her classmates, both those with IEPs and those without, and she wouldn’t be quite so much smaller,  possibly. (We’ve had some issues related to this, but I’ll have to talk about that later.)

I’ll know more next week.  We’re still thinking through everything.  But I’m glad that the school was able to make this adjustment.  It’s only right, in my opinion, to offer an option that will allow the child to succeed. I do appreciate their efforts.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Answering school questions

Several of you have asked questions in comments or emails, so I’ll elaborate a bit more about the school situation…

As far as why she was put in the afternoon class and if we had a say…  There was no request process or any kind of communication from the school until we received the call to tell us where she had been assigned.  We were told if we had any issues with it to call someone, and that’s what I did.  The person apparently in control of these things is who told me that there wouldn’t be any “shuffling” happening.  Obviously, had I been given the chance to put my 2 cents in, I’d have been very clear with this info about her needs at that time.  It never dawned on me they would choose to put her in an afternoon class.  It seems so very obvious to me that a child who has been noted as having focus issues in the classroom anyway would be assigned to start school at the least fresh time of the day.  I’m glad they wanted to put us in Miss N’s class, and if that was a special concession that I didn’t know about, I do appreciate the thought.  But Braska’s ability to perform and benefit from school is still primary.

(I’ll add in here that Jack is in the same boat as Braska. They were assigned to the same class, which we like, with the teacher we like, but not at a time that will work for either of them.  Julie may talk more about that on her blog at some point.  She is also quite unhappy with the situation, but she’s on vacation right now in the Sunshine State, so not sure when she’ll be blogging.)

We were told that “not all kids can go in the morning,” that they must have afternoon classes, so some kids have to go then.  I get that. But I have now talked to three other families who have kids at our school, kids with DS, and these kids are older than Jack and Braska by at least 6 months, and they are all in morning classes.  I was told by the school rep that they put us in with the teacher we liked, and  I’m guessing that this is why they did the afternoon class. (Her morning class is a “young 3’s” class…the kids who have just turned 3 over the summer. And that’s where the kids who turn 3 during the year go when they start. There are many of these “young 3’s” classes. We would have been FINE with them being in that class.)  I’ll state again…we DO like that teacher, and I had hoped Braska would have her again, but I can’t do the afternoon class even for that.

Because there was no communication or even a chance for us to preemptively let them know that afternoon was NOT ok, it would seem that there would be a back-up plan if the assignments simply don’t work for the child.  But it does not appear to be so currently.

I’ll also state again that part of me feels I need to go ahead and take steps to get her moved to the morning, if only to make sure that this process is corrected, that it’s not left as ok as is.  But for Braska, NOT being there, from the health standpoint, may well be better, so right now I’ll leave the battle to Julie.  She’s better for the job anyway!

It’s also been mentioned that Braska could nap before or after school…  After wouldn’t be an option, because she’d still be totally useless while AT school because she would be tired. And napping after 4:30pm, when we’d get home, would be just too close to bedtime.  And before, taking feeding time into consideration for her required schedule, would mean that she’d be needing to go down for her nap before 11 am.  And that’s just not going to work.  She’s still in her “go mode” at that point.  She hits her wall between 12:30 and 1pm, so she’s generally snoozing solid by 1:15pm on most days.

Regarding the question of if we have other schools to choose from… Nope.  That’s the easy answer.  Our school district contracts with this specialized private school for Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE). Some call it a developmental preschool.  The classes are generally close to 50/50 kids with IEPs and kids without.  So everyone in our district who qualifies for ECSE goes to this school.  Another neighboring district has the same situation with the same school.  The third district in our area has their own ECSE building/program. 

Clearly, this is not the way I’d have preferred it.  But we’re going to move forward feeling comfortable that this is the right choice for what we know and have access to right now.  All this with the knowledge that things can change quickly, as we’ve learned once again.  But for now, we have a plan and we’re ok with it.

Best option for learning

Well, well, well… it’s been a very interesting couple of days.

Thanks to all of you who have given input on the afternoon school versus nap situation.  I’ve really appreciated all the different perspectives and it’s been good to think through a variety of things.

Before I give you the latest, I’ll answer a couple of questions…

Bedtimes: The girls go to bed between 8 and 8:30p usually closer to the 8:30p mark.  It’s rarely much later than 8:30p unless we’ve been away from home for the evening for some reason. 

One thing to consider regarding bedtimes with Braska is that she is tube fed for the majority of her nutrition, and her intake is limited to the volume she can hold at any one feeding.  We don’t use a pump, so she just gets bolus gravity feeds 4 times a day in addition to whatever she might eat orally.  But she ALWAYS needs a feeding right before bed to get her calories and fluids in for the day.  She simply cannot tolerate all her required amounts in volumes that would allow us to cut the bedtime feeding yet.  And because we have to allow at least 4 hours between feedings in order that she can keep it down, this affects when she can go to bed.  We try to work it out so that her last feeding is at 8pm, but if the schedule gets off at any point in the day due to errands or just life in general, then it can sometimes be a little later.  There’s just not hardly any way to make her last feed before 8pm. The 8am 12n 4pm and 8pm schedule is the one that fits her best.  So we can’t really put her to bed at 7pm, for instance.

I hope that makes sense.  We just have some additional restraints on our routine than most.

School options: I had hoped I could talk with the school, explain our situation with naps, illness, and focus issues in the afternoon, and they would be willing to make some adjustments, but that wasn’t the case. 

So here is where we are right now… according to a representative from her school, she may attend the afternoon class or no class.  I was told that they are not willing to move her to a morning class and that they ARE offering an appropriate option for her.  Clearly, I disagreed and told them so. Politely but firmly. 

I’ve decided that the afternoon class is not an option at all.  After much deliberation and prayer and consulting others in like situations, I’ve decided, and M agrees, that she would gain no benefit from the afternoon class and would only be in a position for negative effects of the change—in reduced sleep, inability to perform well at all during that time period, and increased concern for illness, which has already been excessive since she started in November.

Beyond that decision, I’m still in limbo.  The representative from the school couldn’t offer me any info about where to go next.  I tried to contact the district (our district contracts with this specialized school for Early Childhood Special Education) but I’ve not received a call back. They aren’t in every day at this point, apparently.  I’m guessing I’ll need to reconvene the IEP team for a meeting and set up new placement for itinerant services.  This will mean that we will receive the therapies but no class time.  I’m hopeful that they will not make that difficult to achieve. 

My feeling right now is of disappointment.  It’s not anger, though I’ve been close.  I’m just so disappointed in this school.  We chose to live where we do, precisely where we do, in order to be in the area that utilizes that school for ECSE.  We heard many good things, and we have experienced many good things since we began back when she was 2 and going 1 morning a week.  Almost everyone we’ve dealt with has been wonderful, so helpful, very nice, and I count many of them as friends.  I’m disappointed because we have now had an impasse at a point that doesn’t seem that difficult to resolve.  At least to me.  But I’m just the mom.  I really believed they would be more willing to be INDIVIDUALIZED in their approach.

I kept being told that they can’t “shuffle kids around” (to which I responded that I’m not interested in “kids” I’m interested in my kid—one kid—and at 24 lbs and 3 years old she is not that hard to “shuffle around”) and that the schedules are set and that they have to have SOME classes in the afternoon, and kids will adjust.  Well, of course they will adjust.  But I don’t think I want or need Braska to adjust to this at this moment.  It’s not necessary. She is 3.  If she wants to nap and she needs to nap, then a nap she’ll get!

Braska’s teacher (last year and assigned for the coming year) is great. I’ve talked with her, and she is very understanding, but she’s not in a position to bring about changes in this situation.  I had offered the option to the representative at the school to have Braska be in her teacher’s morning class, the “early 3’s” which is the age that she was with this last year.  She would still be “behind” them, so the peer modeling element would be present.  But nope. No dice.

I could probably raise a real mess at the school and with the district, get letters from everywhere, go right up the chain of command to get her in a morning class.  I’m quite sure I could do it if I wanted to.  But in the last couple of days, I’ve learned I don’t want to. (Though I have considered taking it to the top just to pave a way for some other family who will come after us…but I don’t know if I have that energy right now.)  Braska missed SO much school this past year, and we would most likely be looking at the same thing again, because her habit of having her hands in her mouth so much is still continuing, no matter what intervention we try, and as long as she is doing that, she will continue to get everything that comes into the room.  Why go through all the hassle for this and then just have her miss every other week again?  Why deal with all the illness as it trickles down through all four of us and even causes M to miss work?  It’s not worth that. 

I say this alot—She is 3.  There is time for school.  She will go to school, I have no doubt about that at all.  But all signs show me that it’s not the best choice right now.

So it looks like, at this point, Braska will not be in school this fall. I hope we can work out the itinerant services for therapies, but I won’t send her to school JUST for that if it means compromising on all the rest of my issues.  I’ve talked with the pediatrician about taking a break, and maybe that’s what we’ll do.  Of course, we’ll continue to work on the things we always work on.  

Maybe we’ll only take off the first semester and then revisit the situation.  But for now, that’s where we are.  I am a little nervous, but I’m glad for some clear direction.  She will miss going to school…she really does love it.  But this is for the best, and the BEST learning option, in good health, is what I’m interested in right now.

Wow. What a difference a few days can make…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Naps and other questions

  1. When did your kids give up their naps?
  2. Did you alter the bedtime to make up for the sleep?
  3. How many of you have preschoolers who go to school in the afternoon??

I found out today that Braska has been assigned to an afternoon class for the upcoming school year. She is to go from 1 to 4pm Monday through Thursday.  I’m not sure what to think about this.  She still naps, and needs it—no doubt—so this would be quite a challenge.

The good news is that she has the same teacher she had last year, and we do really like her.  I was hoping it would work out that she’d get Miss N again.  So that’s worth something.

Not sure what to do. Not sure what the options are. But I have the distinct feeling that just shrugging and saying, “Yeah, ok. Whatever,” is not the right response this time.  Not right for Braska.  So more pondering to do…

22 years of sisters

On Saturday, my whole family was at our house for a get together for my sister Joy’s 21st birthday.

We grilled, hung out in the back yard, played some washers, and ate plenty.  It was a really nice evening of weather, except for the mosquitos, and I think the consensus was that it was a good get together.  I was able to sit and relax a while, and that is so valuable, especially when hosting.  I got to catch up with Ryan, who I hadn’t seen in quite a long time since he’s working/touring for his college this summer in OK and surrounding parts.  At one point, Ryan, Joy, Julia, and I were on the deck, relaxing at the table for a bit while the rest were sitting out in the yard.  I hardly even get to chat with the “squeeks” as we’ve always called them, and almost NEVER all 3 at the same time.  I was out of the house already when the last 2 were born, and Joy was only 2 when I left, so it’s been different.  It was good to catch up with the three of them without the “older set” interrupting.  No offense to the older set, but it happens.

Here’s the whole gang…  the must-have family picture at every gathering when we’re all there. Not that frequent with college involved now.

L to R:—Ryan (18), Skye, with baby on the way, and Jody(33), Julia (14) in front of them.  Patrick and Rachel (soon to be 30!!!) holding KiKi.  M and me (36-not afraid of it!), Joy (21) with Braska. And Dad and Mom on the end. 

Before the last of the party attendees left, we snapped a shot of the four sisters.

Julia and I are 22 years apart, both of us getting ready to have birthdays in a few months.  Joy just turning 21 a couple weeks ago, and Rach to be the big 3-0 next month.  Hard to believe we can all be this grown up!  Or maybe I should say it’s hard to believe how old we are instead…because we’re not really that grown up. Trust me.

Happy 21, J!!!

Last day to vote for Solana!

Remember little Solana?? She's dropped to second place and today is the last day to vote, and we want her to WIN! Please go vote for her again...(it's once a day allowed) and let's get her on the COVER!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ireland to the rescue!

Today Braska returned to school after being off all last week with a fever that wouldn’t quit, and when it finally did, would show up again shortly.  She was all good on Saturday and Sunday, so off to school we went this morning.

The nurse called mid morning to inform me that she had a fever again.  Good times.

I decided to call the pediatrician, since it’s been over a week with this fever stuff.  She wanted to see us, so in we went.  (Thanks to Julie for keeping KiKi on short notice so I didn’t have to wrangle two girls during naptimes.) Dr. A agrees that the odd little symptoms and strange happenings lately may very well be related…but we’re not sure how.  (Fingernails splitting in the middle, horizontally, peeling off in very odd ways. Behavioral changes that don’t make any sense. Obviously, 9 days of fever, give or take one or two in there somewhere. Congestion. Dry mouth. Loose stools. Agitation that seems like pain, but only in small, isolated bursts, then nothing for a while.  Anyone have a thought on a differential diagnosis??) 

So the testing and process of elimination begins.  (Strep test, urine sample, blood work, just for starters.)  Our fever fun means that we’ve been crushing acetaminophen and dissolving it to give to Braska, since she’s supposed to stay away from ibuprofen this close to her adenotonsilectomy in a few weeks.  That’s fine when we’ve got the right circumstances, but sometimes convenience would be so nice.  (Red-dye issues, Tylenol recall, no dye-free to be found…remember?)

When we arrive home from the doctor’s office, in the mailbox is a package from IRELAND!!!  How fun is that, regardless of what’s inside?!?

But even better, it’s the Paracetamol that the wonderful Louise has mailed me.  Dye free, sugar free, Paralink (Paracetamol) is the same as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and here it is in liquid form. TWO BOTTLES!  Isn’t she the best??? 

And she puts it OVER the top by including some CHOCOLATE!  Irish chocolate is cool just sitting there in the package, I think.

But come on—chocolate, with caramel. And it’s Cadbury! What can be bad about that?  Nothing!!

So Braska had a dose of Paracetamol, Kinlee had a bit of chocolate, Mommy snagged a tad as well, and all was good for that moment in our house. 

Thank you, Louise!!!   You really did make my day.  So generous of you to do this for us!  God bless you!!

Too cool for summer


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Down syndrome awareness via cute cover girl

I just heard about this tonight… there’s a really cute little girl who is in first place in the Parents Magazine cover contest.  She has DS, and we think it would be SUPER cool if she could win!!! 

Click here to see her picture and vote for her! And please spread the word.  How cool would this be??!?

Registration is required to vote.  I know that can be annoying, but really, you don’t have to sign up for anything to buy or anything like that… and if we could get a little girl with DS on the cover of PARENTS magazine, printed for millions… that would be pretty cool!  It took me barely over 60 seconds. SO worth the time!

Here’s part of what I received tonight about Solana…

My husband and and I have been blessed with two beautiful girls. Soledad is almost 5 and Solana is 2 1/2. When Solana was born and we were told she had Down syndrome our lives were turned upside down. Through our faith in God and the support of friends, family and various organizations, we quickly realized how one extra chromosome made Solana and all children with Down syndrome extra special!

A couple of weeks ago we entered Solana into the Parents Magazine Cover Contest. Between friends and family, co-workers and complete strangers around the world, she won the first round. Next week, starting July 7 and ending July 14th, everyone will have one last opportunity to vote (before it goes to the Editors at Parents) for the child that they would like to see on the cover.  If she were to win the contest, she would be the first known child with Down syndrome to grace the cover of the magazine. However, this is much more than a magazine contest. It is about giving the 5.8 million people in the world that have Down syndrome a voice.

Our goal is to have at least one vote from each of the 50 USA states and one vote from 30 different countries (please let me know if you vote via email with your country in the Subject line)! I would love to know that not only you, but your friends, family, state and local agencies and partners/members have joined forces with us in voting for Solana and getting the word out via email, Facebook, websites and/or blogs so that we can finally give Parents Magazine a new face and let the world know that Princesses can have Down syndrome too!

You can only vote once a day, per technology (iphone, ipad, cell phone, laptop, desktop, blackberry etc) so vote everyday!!! Here is the link:

Here is the link to vote:

By educating one person at a time we have an opportunity to educate one community, one county, one state and one country at a time. Everyone is looking for a way to make a difference. Lets give them one!

Watch this video to "meet" Solana:

Follow the Event on Facebook too!!/event.php?eid=137362816276529

With much love,
Andy, Sasha, Soledad and Solana

Friday, July 9, 2010

A few more tidbits about me

  1. I’ve never been on a vacation with my husband. We’ve been on trips and they’ve been good trips, usually visiting family in other states, but we’ve never gone anywhere just for fun.
  2. I love audio books. I have them on my phone all the time. I’m on book 23 of “The Cat Who…” series by Lillian Jackson Braun. Light murder mystery, a little quirky, nice to have in my ears while I’m working around the house.
  3. One day, I’d like to be able to make one dinner that will feed all of us. Instead of making 4 meals like I do now.  It’s exhausting. Some days it is only 3 if Kinlee eats chicken and veggies with me.
  4. My dreams of how I would like my life to be are so simple compared to many others I hear.  I don’t need frills. I don’t need massages. I don’t need brand new cars. I’d love a comfortable budget for groceries, a car that runs without warning lights, the ability to go out with friends for lunch occasionally, and savings enough to ride out the little storms that arise.  And I’d like to have a place for a table and chairs someday, so we can sit down and eat every night. We are relatively close. We will get there.
  5. I could go crazy if given 30 minutes in an office/home improvement store to snag whatever I wanted to get.  Not the expensive stuff, electronics…that’s not what I want.  I’d grab all the tubs and drawers and folders and cute boxes and storage everything!  Oh what I would do with better organizational structure!
  6. When I was little, I often said my ideal “job” would be to just make cookies every day to take to “old ladies” and talk to them.  I still often wish that was what I did with my time. I’d love to spend my time making meals and baking goodies for sweet ladies who just can’t get around like they used to but who are so full of wisdom and experience in life.
  7. I do SO hope that one day soon I am able to have a digital SLR camera.  I’d love to learn about lighting and settings and how to take neat pictures, well, neatER pictures.  I’m often pretty pleased with the ones I get…except for all the shadows with the flash and such.

Kinlee: 17 months

The time is moving quickly.  This girl seems to be the poster child for “they’ll grow up so quickly.”

She has really started to just talk.  Not like words, that we can count or keep track of.  She just talks.  I don’t know how that works without all the therapy and practice and such, but she’s got it!  I was debating compiling a list of her words, and it just got ridiculous because it’s pretty much whatever is required for what she wants to say.  She’s got a long way to go before she is giving speeches, but public speaking would not surprise me as a top skill at some point down the road. Yesterday, it was “want up bed!” that came out. She wanted to get up on our bed while I was getting dressed to go somewhere.  And then she said, “touch heart” when she wanted to be lifted up to play with the chunky wooden heart that hangs from one of our ceiling fan pulls.  Always surprises me.

Today in the van on the way to the store, she just was chattering with Braska, as they often do.  They mimic each other, or one says something and the other laughs and says, “So funny!”  I realized that they were singing, “Jesus Loves Me.”  Kinlee was singing, “Yes, Jee-zuz…” and Braska would say emphatically, “Luffs ME!”  Then again, and again.  Then Kinlee said, “Bah-bul tehs me…” and they both said, “SO!” very loudly. 

It cracked me up.  And it made me proud.  They took turns singing it again, switching off parts, singing some together.  Kinlee griping at Braska for interjecting too soon, and Braska squealing back at the reprimand.  Who needs a radio anyway?

KiKi is insisting on helping push the cart while we’re at the store.  Braska sits in the seat and Kinlee is below her feet pushing with all her might as we go.  I often stop to pick something up and the cart keeps moving.  The kid is strong!  Today at Aldi, she was grunting while I was debating a choice, and I realized the cart full of stuff was moving very slowly.  She was actually making it go all along, Braska and many pounds of groceries in tow.

She loves putting things down “the chute,” as in the laundry chute in our hallway.  If Daddy doesn’t want to get out of his chair to drop his socks in, she is more than happy to make the trip.  And she’ll stomp off in her very determined way…it makes me laugh often.  Something about that little walk when she’s on a mission.

Currently, she wants to “pat, pat, pat” everything.  She sees a cow on a bottle of milk. She’ll say, “Cow. Pat, pat, pat.”  That is to tell you that the milk needs to be within her reach so she can come over and pat it.  She’ll do so, then she’s good to go.  That happens with the TV, with books, with cars that go by (we’re not able to oblige her in that request usually), and with her sister in the flesh. Lots of patting going on.

Jumping on the couch or her crib or anything else with some spring is a favorite. Not that it’s allowed as far as the couch is concerned, but she loves to stand on the couch and look out the front window.  And inevitably, as the girls start to wrestle on the couch and run from end to end, jumping happens.  It’s pretty cute, I must say.  But we usually try to divert them to the floor, even if it means that we go to get a bunch of pillows and cushions and make our own little fluffy romper area.

She’s my little buddy. She wants to watch all the getting ready (except the hair dryer), she names all the make-up parts, “bwush,” “ipstik,” “muhkara,”, and she loves to brush her teeth while I’m primping.  She’s not a fan of baths right now, but she will play in the pool ALL day if you’d let her.

Yesterday, it was raining and she always seems to know.  Even if it’s not loud.  So she kept saying rain, and I opened the front curtains to see she was right. It was a very soft, summer rain, and she was excited to see it.  I opened the front door to show her without obstruction, and she wanted outside.  I shrugged and figured what the heck.  So the girls and I went out on the porch and the sidewalk and they walked back and forth, barefoot in the rain, up and down on the porch step 50 times, stomping down the sidewalk singing “rain, rain, rain” over and over and over.  KiKi only agreed to come in because it was time for snack—grapes! Her fave right now.

17 months already. She’s going to be a handful and a completely fun kid all wrapped up in a cute little package. 

Here’s a little short clip with some of her animal sounds… it’s rare that she will cooperate with video where she sees it.  (And the living room mess…yep, that’s a daily thing. We clean it up before lunch, again before Daddy gets home, and at night before bed. That’s on a good day.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What? No autograph?

M called a bit ago to tell me he had a little celebrity sighting/chat at work. He now works for a city government that has lots of influential and well-to-do St. Louisans living in or near there. It’s a financial center in St. Louis County and is not short on money at all. It’s like a little mini-downtown, luxury condo high rises and office towers in the middle of nothing else higher than a 2-story houses for miles. But celebrities? I didn’t much think about the possibility.

He was at a place doing whatever computer guys do and was approached by a guy and his family who needed assistance. Unfortunately, all M could do was send them off to someone who worked there (this is one of many city buildings he services), but he was pretty bummed he couldn’t have helped him. Because it was Joe Buck!

(If you need me to tell you which one is Joe, I sure hope you don’t fool yourself into believing you’re a football fan! That’s Troy Aikman, SuperBowl Champ Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, on the left, and Joe on the right. The announcing team that I PRAY is doing the game I’m watching every Sunday during football season.)

St. Louis born and bred, now the face of Fox football—including the SuperBowl, Cardinals baseball, and commercials and such galore. The Buck family is kind of like St. Louis royalty, and Joe’s been the first to “go national,” which is fun to see. Jack, Joe’s dad, was the voice of baseball Cardinals forEVER, and he’s one of the most beloved St. Louis sports figures.

Pretty cool, I think. How weird to just look up and be face to face (well, face to chest or neck, maybe… :o) tee hee) with someone you see on national TV so much.

Back on the bike

Got up early. Straightened the living room before I got them up. Made M's sandwich for lunch and kissed him goodbye. Then went to get them up.

Braska's still not feeling well, but she has moments where she seems to feel fine. Kinlee was only up twice last night, not for long each time, and this is an improvement over the previous nights.

Breakfast was waffle and scrambled eggs for Kinlee with a yogurt chaser, formula and then yogurt for Braska. All was well, and I thought we might be seeing the beginning of a pretty uneventful day.

Then came the vomit. Braska had a couple episodes again. Congestion and drainage in her throat caused it, I think, along with the fact that she was needing to "go peeyoooop" as she told me later. When her body tries to eliminate difficult things, the rest of it seems to have trouble functioning properly for a few moments.

We cleaned up twice, then headed for the bath. First she went potty and "peeyoooop" on the little potty, which was very nice. We celebrated. Then washed her up.

Now they are watching the oft-requested Baby Signing Time (Kinlee's favorite) while I take a 5 minute break before attacking the rest of the clean up from the icky episodes. Laundry to get started (on hot!), floors and high chair to sanitize.

It's a normal day. We're even gonna try to hit the store for a few groceries. I'm gonna have praise songs in my ears for much of the day to keep me from dwelling on little bumps in the road.

Gosh. This is ridiculous to have to talk myself through this stuff. But if that's what it takes TODAY, that's what we'll do.

Gotta run. Diaper Dance time. Everybody on the floor!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heavenly Peace

It was short-lived. I’m worn out, but we made it through the day, as we always do.  I just wish I could learn the skills to keep things more level all the time instead of these little valleys surprising me occasionally. 

To help me not feel so bad about complaining about my girls, who I AM aware are really not very high on the challenging scale of toddlers in the real world, I thought I’d show off some of their more peaceful moments lately. 

6/29 Naptime

Love those little fingers in the blanket. Braska used to do the same thing.

7/4 Naptime.  Kinlee seemed to enjoy having the puppy on her head. 

Later on 7/4… Miss K in Mommy’s shades.

7/6 Naptime. (And yes, our headboard is a mattress.)

Sleep tight, my little beauties.

(And if you didn’t see the fun little videos of sisterly interaction on Braska’s blog, go check those out, too.  It’s fun to watch them learn to play together.)

Relatively rough

I love my girls. But we’re far from perfect in our relationship. Yesterday's post makes many things sound rosy. Today is all thorns.

People have posted lately about days they’ve walked through that have been hard recently. And they are right. Each instance was truly something I wouldn’t want to have to deal with, and they did so with amazing strength.

Some people wish they had a toddler to pester them all day. They desperately miss those they’ve lost. They dream of one day having a child who will make a royal mess of the house. I’m blessed with two such beings.

Why is it then that a day like today gets put in the “so darn tough” category in my mind? Why can’t I seem to get this mothering toddlers thing down? What I’m dealing with is so miniscule in comparison to so many others. Yet it FEELS so very hard right now.

The clamoring for my attention just plain wears me down. I’m exhausted. I want to put them each in their cribs and just sit for a while. Why don’t they listen? They know precisely what I’m expecting of them, what I’m telling them to very clearly, and yet they refuse. I can’t believe how often I am physically making one of them do what they have been instructed to do.

I get to the point where if either of them touches me, I want to yell. Not because it’s them, but because I’m sick of being groped, grabbed, and climbed on.

Currently they are in their high chairs, less than 3 feet away, eating “fish crackers” so that I can breathe. I should be cleaning up the living room for the 5th time today or figuring out what in the world I am going to fix for at least 1 of the 4 meals I have to make for dinner. There is nothing in the house to fix for M, and yet I dare not go to the store with them in the state they are today. So I crumble into a chair and decide to type instead, because it’s cathartic. Because these tears of frustration are going to erupt into more yelling and the follow-up guilt if I don’t find a release somehow.

I want to be a mom that never needs to raise her voice. I want to be a mom that says something ONE time with a firm look and gets the desired result. How much time we’d have to play roll-around-on-the-big-bed and read books and play with all the fun toys together if it didn’t take forever to accomplish every tiny little thing!

It’s a moment. It will pass. I know this. But for me, for this little sliver of time, it’s rough.

Naming #2

My super cool friend Courtney asked:

Is there a story behind Kinlee's name?

The answer is yes. I couldn’t remember if I posted on this, but thought I did.  So in looking back on Kinlee’s blog, I didn’t find it.  I’d forgotten that it was posted on this blog when we found out she was a girl.

Can I just say, what fun to look back at the time when she was still a tummy baby… and the comments! Some of you have been around SO long!  I love that!  I need to remember sometimes how many buddies I’ve got that have been around for more than 3 years now!


It's not like we could go with anything normal, I mean, come on! We're a house full of weird names. The name is a combination of some family names. Lee is for Auntie Rachel's middle name, Car is for Grandma C, Carole, and the ene is for Grammy's middle name, Irene. And it's kind of just coincidental that the Kin is what's left...get it? Like kin=family.

I wanted something girly and cute.  And it was my turn to pick, since M had named Braska.  So after much pondering and debating—I liked names like Mallory, Natalie, Jennica, and others—I kept coming back to Kinlee.  And I knew the spelling from the first time I thought of it.  The middle name took more thought.  I wanted to combine the grandmas’ names, but several mash-ups just didn’t work. 

I figure if she wants to be a big-shot who can’t have a cutesie name like Kinlee, she can go by Carene and sound more sophisticated.  Options are good.

So there it is… thanks for asking, Courtney!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Comparing comparisons

Today I received an email from a blog friend (who I didn’t recognize immediately…sorry!) asking a question that prompted what I have been meaning to post about for a while.  So I asked permission to share the email and response, removing identifiers, for a couple reasons.

1. I don’t like to rewrite things when I don’t need to.  Who has the time?
2. I know there are SEVERAL of you other blog buddies out there who can relate to this situation, and I’d really love to share your input with her as well.

So read along, and please share your thoughts…if you want to do a post of your own, or you already have one that’s relevant, leave a link in the comments. Thanks.  Online support is VITAL, I think. I’d be lost without all the things I’ve learned from the other “DS moms.” (I know…not PC.)


Her email:
I have a 2 1/2 year old who has down syndrome, and an 11 month old who is 'typical'.

My question for you is: how do you not compare them? At 11 months, V is doing more things than R did at 18 months. 

It scares me how fast V is learning and reaching milestones.  I am ashamed that I even compare them at all.  It's so hard to watch R at her therapies, struggling to climb stairs, or say a word, or stack a block, yet V can do those things and we haven't even showed her!

I'm sorry. I don't mean to vent. I just thought you might have some advice for a mom with an older child with special needs and a younger child who will soon surpass the older.

Thank you.

My response:

I’ve been debating a post about this, formulating it in my head very recently.  Funny that you happened to write today.  I don’t know that I have any great advice, but I’ll share how it looks for me.

As you might know, my girls are 27 months apart, Braska will be 4 in November and Kinlee is a few days away from 17 months.  The simple answer is that I DO compare them, sometimes just because they’re my kids and I think every parent marvels at how different and how similar their kids are, no matter what their chromosome count is.  Sometimes I enjoy looking at how Kinlee at 17 months is the same size Braska was at almost 3 years old.  It’s fun to me, not to Braska’s insult, but just because I enjoy their differences.  I love to take pictures of Kinlee in things that Braska wore, though now, they are wearing many of the same things!

That said… there are times when it’s not as “cute” to compare, and I’ve found that recently I’ve been faced with the hardest issue.  It surprised me, but I’ve had to deal with it a little more than I expected.  You see, Kinlee and Braska basically started walking at the same time…Kinlee was 13 months, Braska was 40 months.  Braska has progressed well, is getting stronger, and has gained better balance, but she is still very wobbly and very much a “new walker.”  Kinlee sped right past her, handling steps more skillfully, climbing more, balancing better, almost running at this point.  Braska is significantly delayed in her gross motor—it is one of her toughest areas, as she has severely low tone.  We know this, we knew this would happen, and it was ok.  I’m not too bothered by the walking issue.  BUT in the past couple months, Kinlee has taken off in her speech and language.  This is Braska’s STRENGTH!  Braska’s done extremely well with speech and enunciation, especially in the realm of kids with DS, and we’ve been very proud of her.  We work with her, but it is clearly a natural strength of hers.  With Kinlee fast approaching Braska in the speech “race,” I realized the other day that soon, ALL of Kinlee’s skills will be beyond Braska’s.  And that was hard for me.  I could deal with Kinlee passing her up in the weak areas, but once she overtakes her in the area of strength…what else is there?  She already uses “yes” and “no” more appropriately than Braska, who only this past week has started using “no” when she has a preference that would make it the right choice.  She can make her requests, follow directions, and understand a more complicated situation much more easily than Braska can.  It’s all a little hard for me to accept, but yet I am excited Kinlee is doing so well.  How to live in both of those worlds?!?

I never expected this to be a concern for me.  We don’t really struggle much with what Braska “can’t” do. I’m fine with her pace of learning, I expect her to do her best, but I don’t care too much about where she falls on a chart or in comparison to other 3-year-olds.  And yet, I’m hit by this situation of Kinlee preparing to fly right by her in the milestone sprint she’s on.  What to do about it?  I don’t know.  I must refocus back on the fact that Braska is a phenomenal kid, just like she is. She is by far the sweeter, more compliant, consistently happier, easier to deal with, and more loving child.  And I love that about her.  Kinlee is pretty great in her own right, but she’s a challenge in many of these areas, which I think is probably to be expected, and yet we don’t really KNOW what to expect. 

I do SO get what you mean about how the younger can just GET things, like without being taught specifically for hours and hours before producing a result.  It’s been amazing to watch Kinlee surprise us over and over.  Last night I took her to the store with me, and she looked over at the side while I was choosing a loaf of bread and said “Buns!”  And she was right.  They were hamburger buns.  Something we NEVER have in the house.  I think we’ve used them once at her grandparents a couple weeks ago… how in the heck did she know that?!?  And animal sounds… we basically were reviewing with Braska, as we often do, just playing the “what does it say” game, and Kinlee knew them all right on after the first time through!    I can’t get over how one day she doesn’t know (fill in the blank) and the next day she knows it completely!  Braska has serious feeding issues, is on a g-tube, and isn’t anywhere near feeding herself, because she doesn’t really want food in the first place.  Kinlee was given a spoon, shown how to use it once, and she has a decent grasp of it.  Not that it’s perfect, but she gets it.  Amazing!  We often refer to Kinlee as the “superhero” of the family.  But then Braska is the one who has endured open-heart surgery and thrived with beauty and grace throughout the whole struggle!

Would I want to change Braska to make her “keep up” better?   Nope, not at all.  I’d love it if she were to be able to learn more easily or grasp concepts more fully, but I don’t know what other things we might lose in that adjustment that I’m not willing to let go of.  I have come to believe, once again, that she is precisely who she was designed to be, and I can only adore her for being so purely that.  There is no pretense to her, she doesn’t try to be what she’s not.  She’s 3, she’s a girly girl,  and that’s all that’s there.  And I like it that way. 

I don’t know if this helps any, but I can only encourage you that there are a lot of us out here who are in the same boat.  I have a few blogger friends who have a kiddo with DS as the oldest and then another one within the next couple years.  It’s amazing how similar our stories are, and yet how we each handle it with our own style.  If you wouldn’t mind, I’d love to post your question (names removed, so you wouldn’t be identified at all, if you like) so that some of the other moms in this position could offer their insight as well.  Would that be ok with you?

The day that Kinlee uses her first full sentence in a more concise and language-appropriate way than her sister, I’m going to have trouble with it, even while I celebrate her accomplishment.  I hate to see Braska be truly “behind” her little sister, but I know that Kinlee is going to be a great leader for her to follow after.  Braska will benefit greatly from Kinlee’s being “ahead” of her!

Many blessings… love them like crazy, and celebrate them, no matter how quickly or slowly they got to the sweet spot. :o)


How would YOU answer the question??

11 tidbits about me

Because I don’t have the energy to get up and do much of anything besides wiping noses or refilling Kinlee’s cup now that lunch is done and over, I figure I’ll throw some things up here that I’ve thought of lately and wondered if anyone knew*. (read: and/or cared about)

  1. I really wish I could develop a better schedule for my days. I function better, at least more efficiently, when I have a clear structure. Somehow the girls don’t seem to want to help.
  2. I’m waiting to hear back from the YMCA about our financial assistance application.  We have asked to have a discount on the membership, and I included a nice letter, with pictures even, explaining our “extenuating circumstances” that they asked for. Specifically the expense of Braska’s formula now that we’re no longer on WIC. $1300/month.  Anyone wanna add that to their budget?  I didn’t think so.
  3. I don’t like to talk about WIC.  I felt uncomfortable every single time I checked out. We used it. It served a purpose. We did it when we found that they would cover Braska’s formula. Now we’re done, and I’m ok with that.  Just another adjustment, and we’re ok with making it work.
  4. I often wish people would like me as much as I like them.  I find myself frequently feeling like I’m back in junior high trying to be good enough for the popular people.  I’m far too old for this, and yet it continues.
  5. I’m almost 37. That’s crazy.
  6. My want to be liked has a benefit that I like to include those who also seem to feel that way.  That is, IF they don’t have the element or air of entitlement or expectation.  I seem to prefer to help those who don’t demand to be helped. Not sure what that’s all about.
  7. I was totally against naming my first daughter Nebraska.  Totally against it.  Practically refused. Offered ANY other name. He wouldn’t budge one tiny bit. But I finally gave in because it wasn’t my biggest battle that I needed to fight at that moment.  And it’s her.  Braska is just right for her. If you want to see the reason why M was unwavering, click here to see what he wrote to me to plead his case.
  8. My shutters and front door need to be painted.  I meant to have it done by the end of this week.  Not sure I’m going to make my deadline. At least I’ve chosen the color. Almost.
  9. Kinlee scares me a little. She is so funny, like really seriously humorous, quite often.  But she is SO hard-headed. Doesn’t flinch when reprimanded, at least by me.  She is going to be one very challenging little girl to bring up right.
  10. I’m almost half way through the brand new book, Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson. I’m the first person to read this particular copy from a little unknown library here in town. So far, it’s very good.  Hard to read because it’s challenging to see what an important piece quality parenting is in a child’s life.
  11. My favorite number is 11.  But most of you probably already knew that one.  It’s followed closely by 7, 10, and 17.

That’s all for now. Maybe more installments later.  Anything you wonder? Toss me a question.  Very few things are off limits for me to discuss at least a little.

My latest crush

After searching for the dye-free Children’s Tylenol, it dawned on me last evening that I might be able to use regular adult tablets and cut and crush them.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, especially since this is what we did when Braska needed to take amoxicillin. (No dye-free available there either.) I’m going to blame my limited brain function due to sleep deprivation.

I talked to a pharmacist here locally and made sure it was all good, and then we cut the caplets to the right amount and crushed them, serving the powder in applesauce.  She took it really well.

So if you’re out and you find the dye-free liquid, still get it.  I’d like to have some for times when I’m not in a position to be cutting, crushing, and mixing.

Though Kinlee’s not had the fever as high as Braska, she has been up A LOT the past couple nights.  Saturday night it was every hour—on the :40 of the hour…how does she know that??—from the 9pm through 3am hours. Then up again at 6:30am, of course.  Sunday night, it was about 6 times, and she just seemed hysterical at times.  Then last night, she just wouldn’t go to sleep, or if she did, she was up again after about 20 minutes each time we put her in bed.  And this kid does NOT cry herself to sleep.  She’ll go for hours.  Last night, she ended up hanging with M a while from about 11:10pm, after I’d tried for over 2 hours to get her down for the night.  She’s generally an easy put-down, sing a few songs, pat pat, and leave the room.  So something is up.


And I’m back… had to take a break for Braska to puke all over me 3 different times. (This happens when she has lots of drainage—we’re not looking at a stomach bug/virus.)  Spaced out enough for me to change and clean up between them, of course.  Clearly we are not at school today.  Kinlee’s flowing snot like a faucet, and after her almost sleepless night, she’s not the MOST compliant little girl you’ve seen, let me tell you.

This morning I’ve received some great tips from friends, so THANK YOU to all of you who have texted and emailed and called. 

I’m well aware that this isn’t a disaster of major proportions, but it’s never fun to BE sick or have sick kids, and the combination of BOTH of those is enough to make me feel a tad on the brink today.  Always appreciate the encouragement from friends… you guys are great!

Gonna go get a bit of ice cream for the girls…cold on the sore throats and just the treat we need right now. I think it will hit the spot.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Personal Shopper? Anyone interested?

I have spent the last couple days looking for ANY PLACE that has dye-free Children’s Tylenol, or any generic acetaminophen option that’s dye-free.  There isn’t ANY to be had!  Even online I’ve struck out.  Thanks to the Tylenol recalls of late… grrrr.

Braska has a fever that won’t quit.  And her surgery is coming up soon, so we’re supposed to use Tylenol instead of the dye-free ibuprofen that we generally use. But that’s hard to do when I can’t find it!

So if you have a reason to be in a pharmacy area of the store you happen into in the next day or two, and if you see dye-free Children’s Tylenol or equivalent (NOT ibuprofen) please please PLEASE get it and I’ll buy it from you pronto and pay shipping to get it to me.

Thanks! Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

In review: Always on a holiday

1. Does this happen to anyone else?  Every time there’s a nice long holiday weekend to enjoy and relax, I get sick. Or at the very least feel very icky.  Sure enough, after acting completely bizarre and disturbing, at times, for the last couple of weeks (more on that in another post…maybe), Braska has a 101.6 fever tonight. And I’ve been feeling horrible today, worse tonight, knowing that it’s only going to get worse.  I can feel it.  It follows the same pattern.  She’s only been to school 6 days, and here we go again.  I seriously think I’ll lose my mind.

2. Kinlee’s really twitching me out with her talking.  After we got in the van on Wednesday morning, she looked and pointed at the seat next to her and said, “Braska’s seat.”  Possessive, identifier, two words. Clear as day. (Well, to be fair, it was more like “Brakka’s” seat. The SK sound is hard.) I don’t know much about normies, but that seems pretty good to me for less than 17 months.  She’s then been bringing me everything in the house, “Mama’s shoe,” “Dad’s shirt,” “Belle-Belle’s food.” She can also ask for Baby Signing Time quite clearly and is up to somewhere around 20 signs for doing them and about 50 for signs she can read and announce if we do them.   Lately she’s been asking for alot of “Rosies! Ashes!” as in Ring Around the Rosie…and she loves to play with Braska, but Braska just likes to hold hands and then fall down.  Frustrating to KiKi.

3. For those who asked about the haircut “after” pic, when actually in use, here you go, snapped last week on my way out for the evening… I definitely don’t look like this tonight.  Think blah, pale, scary-looking.







And this picture made me laugh a little because it is proof that my new smaller size allowed me to be inducted into the Polo t-shirt club.  I was gifted this shirt with congratulations.  (If you’ve met a couple of my more sophisticated family members, you’ll know that you rarely see them that this “horse,” as Kinlee calls it, is not present. 

4. I love July 4th, like any good American, but I can’t STAND that it’s acceptable (not sure if it’s LEGAL) for my neighbors to be setting off fireworks every night for the week before and the week after, give or take a few stragglers who throw in an extra week.  Right now I can hear 3 different groups setting them off.  I have kids trying to sleep, people!  And I feel less than great tonight and am heading to bed in about 5 minutes. Not that I’ll be able to sleep.  Even with my fan on high, I’ll still hear them.  And they’ll make me crazy.  Every year, I think I should find someplace where they are illegal completely except in organized city shows and go there for the holiday weekend.  Just to sleep peacefully.  I know—it makes me an Independence Day Scrooge, but seriously…they go til midnight sometimes!  Have some neighborly respect, please!

5. To end on a happy note, my husband washed our cars today.  A big surprise, but very cool. Thanks, babe!

Good night. Here’s wishing you all peaceful explosion-free sleep.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reach out and touch someone

No this is not a retro commercial for phone service. It’s a chance to win an iPod Touch and benefit a little boy who is soon to come home to his forever family…all in one little step!

Shelley has posted all the details for dear Lisa, who is raising money for a family to adopt the child she has been praying for, Zhora, soon to be called Levi.

All donations are tax deductible through Reece's Rainbow.

Each $10 donation will enter you one time in the drawing for the iPod Touch.

$20 enters you twice and $25 enters you 3 times in the drawing.

All donations go directly to Zhora's grant fund.

If you are not able to donate or don’t really need an iPod Touch, then please at least post the button for others to see.  Entries can be made until July 24th.

Click here for more

You can read about the family who is adopting Levi and his new brother Charlie at the same time by clicking here.

Anyone up for a meet-up??

A group of bloggers, forum buddies, and local yokels are getting together over Labor Day weekend here in the St. Louis metro. We've made some of the hotel arrangements today, and plans are starting to come together! We've already got people coming (driving AND flying!!)from KS, IA, TN, MO, IL--I know I'm forgetting someone! Sorry!--and we are hoping for one even from Rhode Island! Woo Hoo!

I won't be posting specific details just because...well, you know...there are weirdos out here in the world wide interweb. So if you're interested, drop me an email (braskasmom/at/gmail dot-com)or leave me a comment here with your email and I'll get you details.

It's gonna be a great weekend!