Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How can it possibly be that time again?!?


Grab This Button

The super cool and adorably honest Tricia is hosting The 31 for 21 Blog Challenge to Raise Awareness for Down Syndrome. (31 days in October, in honor of Trisomy 21 aka Down syndrome...follow?)

~You do NOT have to have a kid with DS to participate.
~You do NOT have to talk about DS everyday.
 
The idea is just to blog every day in October, and for those of us who have lots of DS related things we *could* talk about, it’s a good chance to catch up!
 
Now where to find time to carve out to actually DO it…
 
If you're a blogger and you want to blog each day in October, click on the button above and go over to add your name to the list.  And grab the button code from the box on Tricia’s post.  That’s it!
 
Oh and all you Facebook’ers out there… feel free to do it that way if you’d like.  We’ll take all the positive awareness we can find, but this is really all about the blogs… for those of us who still prefer them!  And yes, I’m one of those!
 
If nothing else…click on the button, go see the list of people participating as it grows this week, and enjoy getting to meet some new families and maybe make a few friends!

Free ColdStone?!? Yes, please!

Tomorrow, 9/30, ColdStone Creamery is offering a FREE 3 oz portion of a super yummy treat from 5-8pm.  More details here…. (thanks Hip2Save!)

Be sure to take a dollar or two with you and help the Make-A-Wish Foundation while you’re there… we know so many families who have had great experiences with Make-A-Wish.  And who doesn’t love ColdStone anyway?!?

Enjoy!  And leave me a note tomorrow if you go and share what you thought of the treat!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

EKS Day

Special Olympics Image

Today is Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day (EKS Day).  My friend Jen tagged me to help spread the word about this day celebrating Mrs. Shriver and her contribution to the world through Special Olympics and so many other avenues.

I’m in a conference this weekend but I wanted to share a couple links for you to check out…

~~Jen has a post with more info and some great quotes here.

~~More good stuff from Michelle’s post at Big Blueberry Eyes.

~~SpecialOlympics.org has a wonderful spread for EKS Day with many neat links and articles.

Monday, September 20, 2010

18-Month check. Give or take a month.

We are at the pediatrician's office for a combined 18-month check and follow-up visit from last week's fever fun. Don't worry that we are over a month late for the 18- month part.

The nurse asked if she uses 15 to 20 words. Wow. Is that the norm? I am in trouble with Miss Full Questions and Huge Vocab!

She has her becoming-classic rash post fever but otherwise she is feeling a bit better. Not quite 100% yet though.

Don't you find it a bummer when the awesome nurse who knows your kids well isn't at the office when you visit? I do. The other is nice but it's not quite the same.

Here's to a new week. Less drama. Less disappointment. More bright days and calm times. Amen.

I feel hopeful today. And that's nice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free photo book! Again!

Hip2Save.com has alerted the world that Picaboo is offering ANOTHER free photo book!  (I received mine from previous offer last week… it’s GREAT!)

So check it out… it’s for new Picaboo accounts.  A $40 value, hardback photo book, 8.5 x 11.  Just pay shipping! Can’t beat it!

Let me know if you score one!

Monday, September 13, 2010

About last night...

Thanks to all those who have emailed, called, or texted. Last night proved to be wonderful. Painful. Refreshing. Encouraging. Scary. But I'm very glad I went.

He did not disappoint. (God, that is. Though Travis was great as well.) He reassured me. He questioned me. He challenged me. Unfortunately, he did not choose to have someone magically hand me a small folded piece of paper that has my next three right steps on it. I was hoping...

But, oh, if I could have those 2 hours every single night, to praise at the top of my voice with a super talented live band, to be challenged by inspired words, to be encouraged by the faces of others--also struggling--but determined to praise through the storm.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Date night with God

Tonight I am sitting in a church I have never been in before. By myself but far from alone. I came because Travis Cottrell is here tonight. (He is Beth Moore's worship leader and right-hand music guy. That is how I heard of him.) I planned to come several weeks ago. I thought some friends would come too. But it worked out that I came alone. And I realized as I was coming that it was not by accident.

Tonight I need to spend some time listening. I need to sit in the presence of God and let him really get to me. Though that can be done anywhere, music is my avenue. It is the quickest way to my heart. And to share in a worship experience with hundreds of others is perfect right now. I am anonymous and yet not alone. And I know that HE will meet me here. HE will not let me down.

Hard decisions are just that. HARD. But I am reminded now that no matter what decision I make, HE will love me. That is so hard to accept in this wounded heart.

So tonight I have a date. And I am nervous

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lie back and float

Do you ever feel like you consistent answer for “how have things been?” is always “Oh gosh, it’s been crazy lately!” ?  Because I feel like at some point this must not be considered “crazy” anymore, but instead, it is just the new normal.   This is the way it’s going to be.  Maybe if I accept it as ordinary, it won’t seem so exhausting. 

That’s probably some active denial right there.

We’re here. We’re surviving.  I’m tired, but breathing.  The girls are good, as good as toddlers are when they are…well…being classic toddlers.  There is the daily whining and the fits that come out of nowhere and seem completely unprovoked, but they’re healthy and generally happy, so I’ll keep moving forward. 

I’ve managed to get into several new things that I didn’t plan on, and clearly didn’t say “NO!” to.  I’m a part of a community workgroup for the school district to figure out how to make recommendations on what things need to be cut to balance the budget this year.  Very interesting.  Sure to be trying, but I like that it makes me think, and it causes me to use my brain in a way that I haven’t had to do in a while.  I was recommended for this by someone who I clashed with initially, but she asked if I would participate because she felt I had “a (pause) strong (pause) voice.”  And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t talking about how I can verbally project across a room.  She was trying to say nicely that when I want something (especially related to my girls, something in their best interest) that I will be firm and consistent until that is achieved.  I’m taking it as a good thing. Some people have other ways of saying that, but I try to stay in the “Rated G” category.

I’m getting ready to start a new weekly morning Bible Study, a Beth Moore series, and it’s certainly going to challenge me, which is a good thing.  There are several possibilities of other activities on the horizon that I’m thinking about, praying about, and looking eagerly for direction.  Making right choices is hard.  Sometimes there is no clear “right” way to go, and I don’t like those so much.

There are also a few “hot button” topics that I have started blogging about in my head, but they’ve yet to make it to the keyboard.  I’ve been discussing them with some very wise people, and I’m finding that I’m not as alone in some of these perspectives as I’d thought.  So I’m interested to get them out and see how it goes… they won’t be greatly popular, but it might be something to cause us to ponder a little.  And that’s always a positive in my book.

Now, we keep truckin’. My counselor/therapist/advisor has given me some good assignments for homework this week.  Ones that will bring a great deal of discomfort at first, but I hope will prove to be immensely helpful in the end. 

The best things are often difficult, not gained easily.

If we are not willing to work hard, change, persevere, and sacrifice, the things we love most, the things we value and need, they may be lost. 

Life isn’t easy.  And that’s ok.  I’m still keeping my head above water, even if sometimes I just have to stop kicking and lie back and float.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got my blog cards!!

Remember the cool deal I told you about for free business cards from Zazzle that I heard about on Hip2Save.com?

I got my order of blog cards today, and they are GREAT!
(The top image is the back, bottom is the front. Click to make it bigger.)

They’re not fancy, but just exactly what I wanted.  I’m using my newly-coined (at least in my mind) title… Toddlerologist.  (Toddler: Small, cute, but needy human.  Ologist: One who actively studies and attempts to understand the thing before –ologist.) 

Simple and informative.  And a nice weighty card stock, not cheap stuff! Nifty, huh?

Buy shoes AND support DS!?! Perfect!

ShoeBuy.com has a great deal today!!  On Thursday, September 9th only, (TODAY!) ShoeBuy.com is donating to the National Down Syndrome Society for each pair of shoes purchased! 

AND—you can get a 15% discount if you use code INSHOES at checkout. 

What a deal!!  Go check out the options!

(Thanks to Cate for the tip!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sweet Laynee

A year ago today, the unthinkable became reality for very dear friends.  I have come to cherish this family, rely on the wonderful encouragement and example that Karol is to me, and it is absolutely invaluable how special they have all become to my girls.  Even in what little time we’ve had face to face, I have been forever changed by the interaction with each of them. 
 
Faith is not something tossed around lightly in their lives. It is something they have had to wrestle with and have come to find it as true in the deepest sorrow as it has been in all the many blessings in their world.
 
The last few weeks have left me feeling helpless. I want to do something, to be there, to say the right thing.  They are facing this toughest time, the one year mark from the day they lost their precious little ball of energy. But I fail to find that “right thing.”  So I pray often--for their comfort, for their broken hearts, and that they can sleep in the midst of the images that can haunt them. 
 
Their family is strong. They are holding tightly to each other, and clinging to the God they know is still in control. 
 
For their sakes, I wish we could snap our fingers and watch Laynee run into the room.  But since I cannot provide that gift, I did put together just a few of the many dozens of pictures of Laynee with their special song for her.  I never got to meet Laynee.  That makes me sad, but I have come to know her through her family, their stories, and the clear way that their love for her shines in the way that they celebrate her every single day.
 
Til we meet in Heaven, Jalayne, know that we will never forget your beautiful spirit.  Your glowing. Your joy.
 
Please take the time to watch this little video below… her smile is contagious and should not be missed!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Playtime!!

Indoor playground. Climbing structure. How can this NOT be fun????

The kids are loving it!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

It is underway in a big way.

Our first gathering...and this is just some of us. And of course they dont sit still for long.

Six families tonight...several more arriving tonight. Big parties tomorrow!

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Last minute loose-ends

Tomorrow many people will begin their journeys to the St. Louis area.  Our somewhat sleepy suburb of St. Charles will be the hub for a weekend of gathering, children playing, lots of acronym usage (Can we even HAVE a conversation without talking of DS, IEPs, PT, OT, ST,  AFOs, EI, ECSE, ABA, AAI, ABRs, and so many more?), some great meals, late night hotel antics (which I’ll miss as I sleep in my own bed), and great fellowship with others who know what life is like for my family in a way that the general population cannot quite understand.

With some late comers, who are still welcome (though they may be standing!), we are up close to 70 with about 17 families represented.   Some will come to only one event during the weekend, some will be at every one of them.  We love them all.  And I’ve never even met the ones who don’t live here already, and a few of the ones who do!

I’m excited, and I’m nervous.  Anytime I am involved in planning, especially when I kind of eagerly ran with the reins like this time, I feel responsible. For things to work smoothly. For people to enjoy the events. For friends to connect. And for new friendships to be made.

Clearly I’m taking on a lot that I can’t control.  But that’s not new. 

Because I didn’t have enough stress in these last few days of preparation, I decided it would be fun to have t-shirts for the attendees, if they so chose to want one.
A close-up of the logo…
STC2010-closeup

The StC is for St. Charles.  The ribbon on the right is referencing DS awareness, and is meant to give hints to the arch, too, paying homage to our Gateway area.

So far, they’re a hit. Only introduced a few hours ago.  So I’m spending my evening in a little mini (one person) assembly line, churning out some neat little wearable mementos.

There will be plenty of pictures, never fear.  But I might have to just collapse when it’s all over…so it might be a few days.

(Ha.  Who am I kidding?  I’m addicted to blogging. We are all aware of this.  You’ll have some sweet pics to document the fun, even if just phone pics.  Action as it happens… that’s what we’ll aim for. )

Have a great weekend everyone.  Whether you’ll be here with us or hanging with your friends and family far away.  Enjoy!