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Showing posts from October, 2007

31 for 21: Gettin' cardio early

(Update: I've included the article...for those of you that had trouble earlier.) My long-lost buddy Mary sent me a link to an interesting article. Treadmill training helps Down syndrome babies walk earlier CHICAGO (AFP) - Treadmills can help infants with Down syndrome learn how to walk months earlier than traditional therapies, a new study has found. Parents of 30 babies with Down syndrome were asked to help their children walk on the treadmills for eight minutes a day, five days a week. They sat on a bench which straddled the machine and held their babies as the treadmill belt encouraged them to take steps. This exercise helped the babies learn to walk up to four or five months earlier than traditional physical therapy alone, the study found. More intensive training helped the babies to walk even sooner, the study found. The intensity of the training for half the babies was increased gradually after the infant could take 10, 20, and 30 steps per minute. The speed of the treadmill

31 for 21: Ginger and Max

I found this posted by Tom at Narrow Ridge . If you've never checked out his blog, it is SO worth a look. He talks of many things, including adorable Ian, his son with DS, and he has a perspective on such that always impresses me and makes me think. This clip is so encouraging to me. I can't wait til Braska tells me silly knock-knock jokes. That will be some fun day!

31 for 21: First costume

Today we bought a costume for Braska's first Halloween. It's not really a fave holiday of mine, but I like fall alot, and what's not to like about putting a little baby in a funny costume next to a pumpkin for a picture. Plus Halloween is Grandma C's birthday, so we celebrate the day for her really. Check back for pics from the FunFest at church on Wednesday night. (We're not even telling her Pop what she's going to's a surprise!)

31 for 21: Life of the party

Tonight we went to a surprise party for our friend, Brent, but we missed the surprise. At least Braska and I did. But then we didn't know about it until like 5 minutes before then and it's a 15 minute drive. No harm though, and it was nice. Small gathering, interest-based group, as they all have MTG in common. I'm really just connected by marriage, so they let me come too. And who stole the show? Yep, that would be the tiny one . She seems to do that. I don't think Brent minded at all, as he's not a limelight kind of guy. And Braska had a peachy time watching her Pop play and banging on a very colorful table. It was a nice little party.

31 for 21: What to say

I have encountered plenty of people who ask "How old is she?" when Braska and I are out together here and there. They always guess her age about 5 months younger than she is, but that's ok, since that's what size she is. I have said several times that I can imagine it will bother me a bit more, although still not a huge deal, when she turns one next month and I see their reaction to that, as she still is in her car seat/carrier when we're in a restaurant or in a store since she doesn't sit up. Today, I met some friends for brunch. The waitress was a nice enough, very young girl, and she started cooing at Braska right away. That's nice. I don't mind, Braska likes the attention, and I'm proud of my cutie. The waitress asked her age, and I told her 11 months. She then said, "But she's not walking yet?" as she noticed that she was up to the table in her car seat/carrier. I just agreed and said, "Not yet." She said she h

31 for 21: Welcome new blogger!

I got a visit and nice comment from Rylie's mom today on Braska Bear and wanted to let all the cool DS bloggers (should I say bloggers who have children with DS?) out there know about a new friend. Check out her three adorable little girls and say hello!

31 for 21: The story: GTT, ultrasounds, and Quad screen

Previously on "The story..." Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 if you'd like to catch up or refresh your memory... The continuing saga... I didn't know a whole lot about the testing that is "normally" done during pregnancy. They gave me a folder full of all kinds of brochures at my first appointment. I read everything, but it didn't really mean alot to me. My husband and I talked extremely briefly about it and determined that we'd do the blood work stuff and, of course, ultrasounds, but nothing more invasive than that. I'm a chicken when it comes to needles and such, so the blood work was more than invasive enough for me. Due largely to unrelated emotional stress during pregnancy, I lost quite a bit of weight in the first trimester. These issues combined to cause the dr to want to keep a close watch on the baby's size, so I had several ultrasounds early on. I also wasn't really eating--even though I didn't have morning sickness like many,

31 for 21: Back when...we were the gang

I've been spending some time looking through old folders of pictures from our previous digital camera. It's fun to see how everyone looked a few years back, to remember the crazy things we did, and how much time we spent with great friends. I thought that as I have time and feel up to it, I'll put some of the old pics up. They're not all flattering, let me tell you, but they all have meaning. This pictures are from 2/15/2003. This is Mindy, Tim, Justin, Julie, me, and M. It was a crazy snowy night in town, and NO ONE was out except the snow plows. But since our small group from church all lived within blocks of each other, we thought it was a good night to hang out and play games. One couple couldn't come, and I'm guessing it was because Brad was out plowing, since that's what he does when it snows. The other three couples of us got together at Justin and Julie's house. I remember that there was alot of laughing, and I remember there were some surprisin

31 for 21: Baby A

Today I received word that a baby whose parents struggled a great deal with what to do after a prenatal diagnosis of DS was born this morning 4 weeks early due to some health issues of the mother. She was 3 lbs 12 oz and is doing well in the NICU according to the friend of a friend who is my connection. I believe mother is doing well, also. I don't know yet about her status of medical issues or not, but we're praying she is healthy and thrives so that she may go home soon. I am just so glad she's here, and her parents get to see and hold their beautiful child. God, bless them with strength. Thank you for letting them choose life for her.

31 for 21: Planted and done

If you're just joining us, you might want to catch up on where we started . The final shred of mulch was placed today. It looks SO much better I think. Of course, next spring and summer will be the real chance to see it all in it's splendor. It looks a little sparse currently, but I still like it better than all the old foliage clutter. Saturday, we worked on the rocks...and there was a TON of them. They had to be moved by hand. Yeah, that's right. Bending over and scooping up handfuls of big, jagged rocks. We had no idea how much was actually in there! Then the guys worked on them yesterday, most all afternoon. And they got it done! I can't believe how fast they got through it. This is what we ended up with. That's a pile of rocks about 3 ft wide and about 24 feet long and about 12 inches deep. That's alot of rocks. We'll deal with them later... anyone need rocks? Then this morning, this arrived. The fabric stuff got put down and the mulch started going in.

31 for 21: The story: Finding out and telling family

I've thought alot about how to tell my story of the pregnancy, birth, and following. The truth of the matter is that most of the pregnancy involves things, not pregnancy related, that I don't want to remember or write about here; it was not a pleasant time, as I wish that it could have been. BUT, there are a few parts that I have pictures to help tell the story, and that makes it easier. So I'll do this in pieces, and I hope you'll simply allow me the gaps. On March 31, 2006, I woke up early and took a pregnancy test. I had planned to do this the night before. I had been experiencing some symptoms and was headed to the dr, but I didn't want to look ridiculous and uninformed, so I thought this was a way for me to rule it out, to tell them that I'd already checked and this wasn't the problem. So you can imagine my surprise... Yep, I took a second one to be sure. It was about 6 am, and I woke my husband to tell him. He looked at the tests and said, "Hmmm.

31 for 21: Ignorant me

I need to put together "the birth story" before the end of the month, but I've not got the energy this evening. It's amazing to think about how much we learned in the last 11 months. I found an email recently that I sent to many family members and friends right after Braska was born, and it had the statement in it that "the doctors think she has some degree of Down syndrome" but we wouldn't know details for a few weeks. Crazy, huh? I guess I really was more UNaware than I even realized. I do remember hoping and praying that it was "the kind" that wasn't "so bad." I know now that what I was thinking of, even though I had all the wrong ideas and info, was mosaic DS. This just reminds me that even educated people, people who care and never intend to offend, if they have not had direct contact with DS, shouldn't be expected to say all the right things. You've come a long way baby! I'm just trying to keep up. (5 minutes ol

31 for 21: Grateful bits

I don't have alot to tell about today... and I have no great insights or thoughts to share. I have alot to say, but it's not appropriate to say it here, so I'm going to focus on some things I'm grateful for. Just a few, then I'm headed to bed early... These are at the top of my list right now. ~I love my car. I am thankful for having the means to drive something I love so much. I spent many years driving whatever was available, some of them hand-me-downs, and they served well for their time. But I am so thankful that I finally have something I picked out and still really love to get into every time, even 2 years later. ~ My daughter is so darn easy! I often say that for being so high maintenance, she's super easy to deal with. She's always happy, content to play on her own for a long time, and she loves to giggle and smile generously. Nothing better. ~I'm thankful for my husband's job and the health insurance it provides. Braska's total bills ar

31 for 21: It came and went

To answer the "Did you have a good birthday?" question, because I try hard to be a glass-half-full person... I started the day with this little peach. Received these mid day from my sister. Thanks Rach! And ended the day with Toro fried ice cream, courtesy of my parents 5 1/2 hours away. Thanks Mom and Dad! Thanks for all your well wishes!

31 for 21: Birthdays past and present

Today I get to start saying I'm 34 instead of 33. Other than that, birthdays aren't that exciting anymore. It's nice to have a day that those around you kind of allow to be all yours, but in a way it makes me uncomfortable. I think it's partially because days to mark anniversaries of various kinds (dates, weddings, new job, births, new dog) by their nature suggest a time of reminiscing. This is not a good thing for me to do, generally, at least lately. I mean, I love to reminisce, as a rule, but things can happen that change your perspective on everything. Reminiscing can then become tainted and difficult. It makes the time of your life before the world changed seem fake or like it is someone elses's that you just have heard about, not something that you've lived. **Let me say before anyone should misunderstand... Braska is not part of this. She is in no way an unhappy part of life. This has nothing to do with her or Down syndrome or health issues...those are

31 for 21: The Queen

I saw this on Artie's Mom's site , and I think it's great. I hope Braska has a similar story of a great school experience when she's a senior! Queen of Columbus COLUMBUS - Jordan Wiggs is the perfect homecoming queen: She's a social butterfly everyone knows and likes. She is spunky, petite and pretty. Some might say it would take a special environment for Jordan to be voted homecoming queen at Columbus High School. She was born with Down syndrome, in which an extra chromosome is copied into a fetus' cells and causes developmental delays. ( rest of story )

31 for 21: Shrubbery be gone!

For those of you whose curiosity was whetted by the comment in yesterday's blog post, here's the old view and the new view. Notice the pile of the remains of the demo by the street in the new view pic. The backstory--We bought this house almost 4 years ago, and originally, I thought the landscaping was nice, especially the lawn lights, which were a big fave of mine from the first visit. And it was nice then. BUT we don't do lawns. We don't do trimming, we don't do maintenance on landscaping. We actually looked into synthetic grass. Nope, not kidding. That's how much we don't do lawns. So these hedges in front of the house have grown out of hand. I think we've trimmed them maybe twice since we've lived here, but neither time was all that complete or well done. For the most part, I haven't minded it, except that our next-door neighbor has an immaculate lawn and spends hours a week caring for it. I've really particularly hated the bush on the

31 for 21: The view from here

So lots of you bloggers have been doing posts with pictures of your offices, desks, or other places where you work/blog. I work at home, and I do have an office in the house, but I don't work there anymore. It's so beyond chaos with paperwork piles that I've just given up and closed the door. Plus, it's easier to just be comfy anyway...and what's more comfy than a big squishy recliner?! So this is where I sit. This is what I see in front of me. Note football on TV, baby on the floor, and dog on the chair arm. Very typical. Here's my mobile office...laptop and PDA phone. And here's the view out the window to my left. It will be changing drastically this week...stay tuned. And there you have it... now you know.

31 for 21: Life savers

The other day my friend Sue mentioned that there were some friends that wanted to do something for us, just wanting to know what we might need. Now that's cool in and of itself, but what's cooler is this... I sent her a note back telling her what I'd be working on this weekend, by myself, as M had to work most of the weekend. The coolest? She called today saying she and her husband and their 6 kids were coming over today to help us do whatever we still needed to do. And if that's not enough, Marc and Ann came with their kids too! With me, M, and Braska included, we had 10 kids and 6 adults all outside working in the yard! It was amazing! We got the pool almost completely finished, only halted by a piece I have to buy tomorrow at the pool store. They cleaned the gutters, raked the back yard, deflated the inflatables, trimmed a bunch of old brush from a long fenceline, and cleaned up afterward. The kids were great and pitched in working too. They also enjoyed a li

31 for 21: Day off?

Saturday for some people means a day off. I used to get days off, and they were great since I worked alot and had fairly stressful responsibilities. Almost three years ago, I began my own business so that I could be home and work less, hoping to enjoy a bit of life outside of work for a while. In a matter of a few months, things had grown out of control to include an increasing number of clients and a few employees (independent contractors actually, but it's shorter to say employees). This business requries that I'm on call 24/7 and available to be at a client's office within a few minutes if necessary, so that quickly made days off a thing of the past. Although the work schedule is somewhat flexible ordinarily, we generally work 7 days a week, at least a little each day, to keep caught up. And at any time, a client may call and need work done right then, no matter when it is. Someday I'll elaborate on how that affected me immediately after Braska's birth...someday

31 for 21: Four things

Some of you know how I feel about participating in forwards or email chains or whatever...I'm a party pooper and I never participate. But since some of my oh so dear friends sent me one today, and they put me in the "friends who will respond" category, I did oblige this once, so as not to disappoint... So since I had to go to the trouble of filling it out, I thought it might be a good post, in case I don't come up with anything better. If you're looking for blogging fodder, feel free to take your own shot at it... Four things about me that you may or may not have known, in no particular order. Four jobs I have had in my life: 1. Wendy’s, Madisonville, KY 2. Special ed teacher, Salem, MO 3. Patient accounts supervisor, Urbana, IL 4. Practice Manager, St. Joseph, IL Four movies I have watched more than once: 1. What About Bob 2. The Matrix 3. Runaway Bride 4. Sneakers Four places I have lived: 1. Irving, TX 2. Hot Springs, AR 3. St. Louis, MO 4. Wayne City, IL Fo

31 for 21: Techie tips for the day

First off, check out the new contest that Christina is doing!!! Very cool book!!! Here's some little things that have come up recently in conversations about blogs and internet in general, so I thought it might be helpful to share the info. Many of you will be in the "been there, done that" category, but maybe there will be something new. I really appreciate that many of you are not big "internet junkies" like some of us, so the fact that you check in with us regularly makes me feel very special! ~When you see a highlighted word of phrase, like this , it's called a "link" and means that you can click on that word or phrase and it will take you to another web page or another place in the current blog or page. This is very helpful in avoiding alot of retyping and copying what others have written. Don't be afraid of a link! ~In Blogger (blogs that have "blogspot" in the address), the pictures used in a post can be clicked on in order t

31 for 21: The first straw

Today brought a visit from Louise, our speech/feeding therapist. She started working on teaching Braska to drink with a straw. The initial signs are good; she forms her lips around the straw really well, so Louise said we're off to a good start. There's no sucking, of course, but we've got an action plan. She also gave some encouragement regarding Braska's eating and speech habits already that show strength in her jaw and control of her mouth that will bode very well for us as we move forward. I feel like there was more to it that I was going to report, but now it's left my mind. But it was good...I'll just hang with that.

31 for 21: The whole dang jar!

Feeding issues aren't something every kid with DS encounters, but it's not really uncommon. It IS more rare that they have the issues and aversions as severe as Braska and for as long. I think she is just too much her father's daughter. He still has severe food aversions at 33. I'm so jealous of people that can plan their meals ahead of time, even a few hours ahead, and especially if they can fix just one meal.... I don't really remember what that's like. I typically get Braska's dinner, then fix something for M, and then decide what I'll eat. But that's another story for another day... Braska typically eats solids, AKA baby food from baby food jars, twice a day. She's much improved from what she was about a month ago in both the quantity she'll eat at a sitting and the rate of speed for the feeding, which I'm very thankful for. It used to take her about 45 minutes to get down maybe half of a level 1 jar. (That's a little over an oun

31 for 21: Columbus Day (observed)

This was the first year that Columbus Day snuck up on me. That might seem like a weird thing to say, but it's amazing to me. My brother's birthday is on October 12, the "real" Columbus Day, so I don't miss that one. Yet somehow, in my distractedness that is my normal way of life lately, I've somehow turned up 8 days into October without knowing it. It seems silly even to me that I'm making enough of this to mention it, but it makes me feel like I've really become out of touch. I guess that's what happens when you go 3 and 4 days at a time without leaving the house. Since it was a mini-holiday, as they call it at the bank where my husband works, he got the day off. He was on call, so there were some things to attend to, but for the most part, it was a work-free day. That's nice, since he had worked both Saturday and Sunday. It was a fairly non-eventful day of nothingness for me too. I got nothing done. I accomplished nothing. What did

31 for 21: Good football

M had to work today, so Braska and I went to church and then just hung out at home. I love football, specifically NFL football, so Sundays in the fall are always fun. Today there were some good games, and since I wasn't feeling 100% for some of the day, we enjoyed kicking back and watching the games. Jets and Giants was a good one... Indy was on fire, and that's always fun. But the big game was the night game... Bears and Packers. Luckily, M got home in time for the game. And it was a good one! The best part? Bears win! It's a classic game every year. Sometimes it's one-sided one way or the other, but this one was a great game...back and forth, great plays and plenty of sloppiness. Down to the wire, but the Bears pulled it out. Da Bears!

31 for 21: Thanks Karen K

Last night while we were at the concert, good friend Karen K came over to stay with Braska. She has two cuties herself, Maddy and Grace, but they got to spend the evening with their dad. Braska's had a bit of Must-be-with-Mommy-itis lately, so I was hoping that this wouldn't be one of those nights for her. We've left Braska with friends before, but we typically arrange not to be gone over a feeding time. But this time we couldn't quite work that out. So Karen came over early enough to listen to my run-through of the important info. ~If you want to try to feed her orally, here's the food, already thickened. ~Be sure to use this particular spoon. ~She won't open her mouth, but she sticks her tongue way out when she wants more. ~You have to have a spoonful of food ready and within sight for her to tell you she wants more. If it's not there, she seems to assume there's no more to be had. ~Push down slightly on her tongue and then into the mouth. She'll c

31 for 21: Divin' In

Tonight I went to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert with Bethany Dillon and Sanctus Real at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall. This is probably my 5th SCC concert in 16 years. He's my favorite all-time artist. It was an early birthday present from my husband. I knew every word of every song by SCC except for the ones from the album being released in a couple weeks. That makes it fun...when you can sing along and reminisce. He always does a montage/medley of his most popular songs and it's probably my favorite... I could listen to him go through all of his 45 #1 songs. Bethany and Sanctus Real were also quite good. I knew several of their songs as well, though some I didn't realize were theirs until the song began. I recommending browsing through the music clips on their sites... lots of good stuff. I thought it was especially cool that his 16-year-old son Will Franklin and his 18-year-old son Caleb Steven were in his band, playing the drums and guitar respectively.

31 for 21: The story: 10 years ago today

10 years ago today I met my husband for the first time in person. Ok, so he wasn't my husband at the time, but you get the point. Right about this time of the morning we were sitting at Denny's in Rolla, Missouri. He had grilled cheese, but I don't remember what I had. Let me back up a little... you might want to grab a drink and something to snack on. 6 weeks earlier I was housesitting for some friends who were out of town, and they had the internet. In their house! That was a rare thing back in late 1997 in small town Missouri...hard to believe, isn't it? Anyway, I had never really been online, even all the way through college as we didn't have it on campus. They showed me how to turn on the modem, connect with the right phone number, and I thought the crazy noise it made as it was connecting was just funny. Zhhhhhhhhh, bedong, bedong. So I connected one night, clicked on something that said Search, and just started throwing words in there to see what would happen

31 for 21: Already slowin' down

Ok, so I'm supposed to post every day, and I think I can do that. It's not that I don't have stuff to write, it's that I can't find the time to sit down and compose the long stories that would be necessary to do justice to some of these events. This month is going to be a good practice in time management.... stay tuned. So for today, instead of just talking about how behind I am, I'll simply touch on something that I've been thinking about alot lately.... ready? The whole stuff about "DS kids" versus "kids with DS" doesn't bother me. Now hold on ...I'm not saying I don't understand why it does bother some, it simply doesn't bother me. I can only speak for myself, though my husband agrees, that it makes me no difference the order in which the words are placed in the sentence. So if someone is telling me about "another little DS girl" that they know, I don't take offense. I admit that I notice it every time, mo

31 for 21: Cognitive prowess

The developmental therapist was here yesterday and said although Braska is well behind the curve in her motor skills, she's doing very well with the cognitive things. If I've gotta pick, I'll take that. As she said, the motor skills WILL come eventually. I just wish she'd get a bit more ambition with it... One example of it, as stated by Miss Judy, is how she controls her bouncy seat. She can kick like a crazy girl and make noise, but when she wants to just do some rocking, her motion changes to this... deliberate and very well controlled. It shows that she understands how her movement affects the desired outcome...cause and effect...good thing. She also got high marks for anticipating things, reacting clearly to different people, and a quality list of consonant sounds.

31 for 21: 21 things about me

So this topic was suggested, and I like to have an idea to go with, but I'm not very good at telling things about me... so we'll see what comes from the brain with no advance thought. Should be mildly interesting maybe. Some of these may be listed somewhere before, I can't really remember. 1. I'm the oldest of 6 kids, the youngest being 22 years younger than me. She turned 5 on my wedding day. Our ages now (at the end of this year) 34, 31, 27, 18, 16, 12. 2. At one time, before I was married, I gave private voice and piano lessons, worked with community choirs, and taught music theory. 3. I met my husband online before it was popular to do so. (Story forthcoming, hopefully.) 4. I got married when I was 27. 5. I currently live in Illinois, and this is the 3rd time in my life I've lived in this state. 6. I swore that I would not have toys all over "the good living room" when I was planning for life after delivery. 7. I owe about a zillion apologies to all th