Saturday, March 27, 2010

A little birdie gave me an award!

Here are the rules for the award:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Name the person who gave the award to you and link to their blog (or hyperlink).
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blogs to let them know.

Thank you to Stephanie at Our Daily Smiles for honoring me with a blogger award. How exciting! I actually haven't received one before so I'm quite excited about it. I laughed aloud at her comments especially about Peanuts addiction to Splenda.

Now besides winning an award, there are quite a few other things that make me happy, but here's 10. In no particular order, except 1 & 2...
1. Prayer. I thankful to have that special little connection to Jesus. There are days I falter, but deep down in the depth of my being I know Jesus died to save me and I'll be eternally be grateful for his sacrifice. I'm happy I'm allowed to pray whenever and wherever I choose.

2. Family, family, family. Family has always been such a strong hold in my life. My husband Bradley has been there through thick and thin. And Marissa just melts me heart with her sweet smile. And parents, grandparents, and siblings both my side and Bradley's. I consider my family to be my closest of friends. I can count on them and hope they feel they can count on me. Family, I thank God for them because without them I just wouldn't be me.

3. Music. I'm in no way musically inclined. Granted I was in choir in high school, but my vocal chords are getting old so I prefer to belt out a tune for just me and my baby, so you won't be hearing me go public anytime soon. But, the fact remains, singing a little ditty just makes me smile and bubble up inside.

4. Knitting. I don't much do it anymore, but I sure do enjoy my time with those clicking little needles. Nothing completes my knitting escapes more than a finished project that I can put to good use warming up my kiddo, draping across the couch, or even a simple hat to wear when it's cold and breezy outside.

5. Peanut's Snore. I know, I know snoring isn't healthy in the least, but I simply can't resist a smile when she's sitting in her car seat on the way from here to there sawing some logs in the back sleep. Smiling is irresistible when it comes to Peanut's snores.

6. Junk Food. From chocolate to fast food to an occasional deep fried vegetable, I love it all. My belly always grumbles and disapproves of my food chooses, but it sure is a tasty treat.

7. Water. I like water. I also drink soda and milk and juice, but my preferred beverage of choice is hands down water. It's fresh, clean, and just plain good.

8. Fresh cut grass. Who doesn't just take an extra moment or roll their car window down to let a little bit of your air conditioned air escape just to get a whiff of that sweet smelling aroma?

9. Thunderstorms, of course thunderstorms during the spring and summer. I could pass on rainy days in the fall and winter, but rain clouds that roll in on a warm summer day...ahh there's nothing quite like it. Rain clouds mean cozy, snugly naps and possibly even popcorn and a movie cuddled close to the loves of my life.

10. New Places. I love getting in the car driving around and seeing what there is to see. So much out there in the world, I'd love to see it all. I may not always be able to fly to another country to see the beauty we've been gifted, but I sure can take a moment to take in the local sights and sounds. So much that we've been given, so much to be thankful for, and I want to see it all.

And now for the long awaited, the nominees...
Check out Matthew Bill And Ria. her most recent post is sure to bring some tears and you'll need a couple of tissues handy, but it's well worth the read. Every time I stop by to see what Matthew is up to, it never fails that I learn a little more about Down Syndrome. Shes a wealth of information and presents it so it's easy to read and understand.

You should also swing by to visit Sarah at Class of 2008. Sarah is a busy, busy girl. A high school graduate, rides horses, and has recently peaked an interest in designing quilts! She's a go getter and make you motivated to do more with your day.

While you're visiting some of my blogger friends, be sure to swing by and visit Ms. Sweet Pea. She's an absolutely adorable little button of a baby. Sweet Pea has been a little under the weather lately, but regardless she still looks like an absolute angel in all the photos her mama's been posting. Her mom is sweet, sincere, and she's just a fun little baby to follow around.

And just like Stephanie, I enjoy following the weekly antics of Pudge & Zippy. Courtney will lure you in with her upbeat posts and humorous happenings in her home. Her 2 little peanuts are always up to something. Whether it be a "Parenting Dilemma" or "Bedhead Explained", you're sure to keep on smiling all along the way.

And last, but not least, Rees's Pieces Kim doesn't post too often, but her story is quite a tale. I found Kim over a year ago, shortly before Peanut was scheduled for heart surgery. Her daughter, Liliana, was also at the Clinic where Peanut would be and I wanted to know what to expect. Liliana went through what most kids DO NOT go through. She had infection after infection, which amounted to a very long hospital stay and a grueling emotional roller coaster for her family. But now, she's doing incredible. With an awesome family to love her and support her their little one is doing incredible. Go say hi and encourage her to update us on all the progress. ;-)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 26, 2010

God lives under my bed

Trust, it's an interesting little word. I continue to trust that my family and I will be protected, despite what narrow mindedness may exist in our world. I trust in kindness. There are days when that trust dwindles. See here some recent ignorance that has impacted my trust in the kindness of humanity Hijacked Posters

I received a forward while I was thinking about writing this post that I felt was applicable. One man was talking about his younger brother who has disability. His younger brother would pray to God every night and the brother believed that God was listening and was close at hand, under the bed. The older brother questioned his brother's abilities and the simplicity of such a belief. He thought it was somewhat silly that he truly believed God was under the bed. However, after some consideration the older brother realized his brother wasn't the one with a handicap, that he was.

The forward stated, "My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care. Who knows if my brother comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. My little brother won't be surprised at all!"

To my thinking, those that spread such ignorance are more disabled that anyone truly diagnosed with a learning disability. Those that thrive in ignorance and fail to educate themselves to the true beauty and joy to be found in people like my peanut, are missing out BIG time.

They miss the simplicity of life. They miss the small milestones that amount to mountains for kiddos like mine. They miss the sweet smiles and kind affection that comes without reservation. The miss the beauty, honesty, and love of God: a disability unlike no other.

My daughter is different, she did not chose to be different, but that she is. Different, but oh so perfect. And although there are those that continue to be ignorant and lack enough sense to simply be kind with the life they've been given. I trust that God will open the hearts and minds and maybe, just maybe, my peanut will be fully accepted-free from judgment and ridicule. This is my hope and this is what I trust God will bring to our table. I pray he brings it to yours as well.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

On our vacation:

Peanut met her half-brother:

She spent time with her Grandpa B.

She discovered a DANCING Donald Duck, available at your local Hallmark store.

She hung around a little here and there.

And she pulled herself to an almost-stand for a kiss from her cousin.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 22, 2010

Best Buddies International

Pepsi is running a contest call Refresh Everything. The site is People were able to submit ideas for a project that will benefit the planet, people, etc. and then others vote. The ideas with the most votes receive the money for their project.

Best Buddies International is one of the programs being voted on. This program focuses on educating people about people with disabilities, and trying to help bring more people with disabilities into the workplace. This is a program where able bodies high school students become a buddy to students with a disability. Basically they become their friend for the time in the program.

Best Buddies has submitted the idea to educate/train more students to be part of this program, but currently this idea is only on 5th, and needs to get to at least 2nd. THEY NEED VOTES.

Here is what you need to do:
* Log onto
* Click on the $250,000 button
* Look for the idea that says "Best Buddies International". Currently ranked 5th, but will hopefully move up.
* Click "Vote for this Idea"
* You will need to sign in with your Facebook account or create a log on
* Once that is complete, you will need to click the Vote button again

If you click on the link, you will be brought to the page that provides more information. I encourage you to watch the short video. It is inspiring.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh, there's fun to be had here!

So we're traveling around right now, spending a fair amount of time in hotels rooms and let's face it, you can only pack so many toys to entertain an 18 month old before she goes completely bonkers from boredom. But with a little curiosity and a smidgen of creativity just about anything can take on new meaning....take note:

What's this mom?

Does it go on my head like this?

Oh, it's a hammock for my toys?

Let's take them for a ride and spin in circles with my toys on the hammock!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First impressions

It's been a long time coming, but we were FINALLY able to meet Bradley's son. Bradley hasn't seen his son in a long time, since 2003. Not because he hasn't tried. He's repeatedly asked his ex for permission to come visit, but was repeatedly denied. For whatever reason, her heart was softened and allowed this visit to go as planned. We still aren't entirely sure of her agenda, but for now we are trusting in God that she has her son's best interest in mind and that it would be good for him to know his Dad.

But, we're not going to focus on the drama from the past, today's a day to celebrate. Bradley was finally able to spend time with his son AND we get to spend time with him for the next 3 days. My husband, myself, peanut, his son, and even his ex all sat down for dinner this evening at Olive Garden.

My 1st impression: he's an AMAZING kid! An interesting thing about Bradley's son is that when he was born he had a pediatric stroke. From the articles I've read a pediatric stroke could result in a variety of other complications which may impede a child's growth and well-being, such as seizures, cerebral palsy, and others. His ex painted a rather grim picture of her son's abilities over the years and, boy, was she wrong! He was polite, funny, and sincere.

He was an absolute inspiration to meet and to be with. He was lively, interesting, had an incredible imagination, and just seemed kind. It was obvious that we were all nervous, except for Marissa who was freely blowing kisses and checking out the coloring skills of her big brother. His son was happy to be coloring and excited about his pepperoni pizza. The conversation has a limited because we were all nervous and, I think just taking in the moment. His son kept sneaking glancing and little smirks between me, peanut, and Bradley. In short, being with this young boy, you wouldn't even know of the struggles he's experienced throughout his short life. He was just so "typical". His son is a survivor, he has exceeded expectations and has thrived beyond measure. My only regret for this child, is that he hasn't grown up knowing his Dad.

My husband has been an incredible father to our little peanut. Through all the ups and downs he's been there for our baby. Despite the times that he and I may not see eye to eye and argue about this or that, his love for us, for our baby has never faltered. He is an absolutely amazing father, and I regret that both he and his son missed out on some wonderful opportunities to bond and grow. I will continue to pray that their relationship will grow and be established on a firm foundation through Christ. I will continue to pray that although he and his ex were not able to see eye to eye for each other that she will be able to see the good that can come from knowing his real father. Whatever happens after this meeting is still unknown. We've been given the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with him and we are going to take advantage of every second. We would love to continue to get to know this child and watch him grow and see his successes continue to multiple.

He's an amazing child, indeed. Although Bradley hasn't been able to be apart of his life as he would have liked, God's hand has been upon this child. What a lesson to keep in mind: we aren't always in control of our circumstances. Although we have a plan for our lives: the way it should be, the route it should follow, and that even when others block the path of our ambitions, God will find a way the bless the plan that he has set forth for you. God's plan for YOU shall prevail. His love is honest, faithful, and never ending. His plan is perfect, unlike our own our.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Peanut on Splenda

Being the "wonderful" mom that I am, I gave Peanut a box of Splenda to occupy her little hands while I do whatever it is that I do. In her curious state of exploration she decided to down a packet of Splenda and this was the result...


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Hubble Bubble

What's with all the bags mom?

Oh, it's the stuff for our blogger friends, Wysdom, Lily, Max, and Sweet Pea.

We mailed everything out today so keep you eyes open for your bag of goodies. :-)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Alike Than Different

I'm just not sure what to say about the More Alike Than Different Posters. I honestly just want to close my eyes, turn off my mind, and wish I'd never been exposed to any of it, but I can't do any of that. I never entered my peanut into the contest because of this reason or that, mainly due to a lack of time. *For those that don't know, some sick individuals out there hacked the site and reproduced the images with inappropriate commentary.* There's been an uproar and the National Down Syndrome Congress is taking this matter very seriously.

First off, I am OUTRAGED. Second, I am deeply saddened. I wonder, do these people have nothing better to do, nothing more productive that they can do with their time than to make fun of other people? What kind of individual uses such a positive campaign to smear the images of such a wonderful collection of individuals? What kind of individual lacks the human decency to be kind and respectful to others no matter what the cause? I am utterly disgusted by the ignorance I have encountered via the forums posting these vicious posters.

Maybe my peanut wasn't attacked personally, but my heart aches for the families that were. The people that used these posters weren't looking for a personal attack per photo image, they were looking to cause pain and insult towards all individuals with Down Syndrome or any intellectual disability, for that matter. They attacked all individuals and their families on a very personal and very real level.

To each of the individuals that took part in such a vicious affair, I say shame on you for being so careless and cruel. Shame on you for continuing to thrive in ignorance. My daughter didn't chose to be born with her extra chromosome, but she was. God blessed her with inner and outer beauty. God blessed my family with an intimate view into His glory, honesty, and compassion. I pray that those of you that choose to only know ignorance will be enlightened some day to the true beauty and joy to be found in that simple extra chromosome.

I had this blog as a means to educate, advocate, and to increase awareness about Down Syndrome and I plan on continuing to do just that. But now I have this blog to encourage PRAYER for individuals who lack the desire to know and understand people like my daughter. May God's peace be upon you and may you one day realize that my daughter truly is "more alike than different".

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, March 5, 2010

Contest: Sensory and Fine Motor

A few days ago I did a post on Sensory Issues. In our house I developed a Textures Bag. Since I have a lot of left over fabric, I figured I'd put it up for grabs in a little contest. Anyone interested in receiving a variety of fabric swatches, play-doh, sand paper, and variety of other items then post a comment and I'll enter your name into a drawing. OR if I have enough then everyone will get a bag.

These are the fabric swatches you'll receive. Some of the fabrics include faux leather, wool, and rayon.

And here are the odds and ends textures such as play-doh, sand paper, and a few other oddities that feel funny. There's even a set of lacing blocks and chubby crayons to work on those fine motor skills.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sliding Good Times

Peanut recently acquired a variety of new/used toys thanks to a local consignment sale called Hugs & Kisses. One of the items we picked up was a little slide. I bought one last season on craigslist, but it's water logged and sitting in the backyard which hasn't gotten much use during the cold winter months. So, we bought a cheap slide and moved the fun indoors.

Slides are a great tool for physical therapy.
1. If the slide you have has steps, you can use them to teach your child how to climb steps which is a great exercise for legs and arms. It encourages the child to manipulate their body in different ways and weight bare in ways other them simply standing at the the couch or leaning on furniture.
2. The act of actually sliding is also great for core muscle strength. Think of all the muscles you need to contract to hold yourself upright and steady while being wisked away on a wave of windy bliss.
3. If at the base of the slide there's a "mini seat" or a "lip" before meeting the floor, you can use this area to help your child learn how to transition from sitting to standing. Doing this will engage leg muscles, think of it as a supported squat for your little one. I don't know about you, but after about 20 squats, my thigh muscles start to screaming.
4. Try to use the top ledge of the slide to place motivational items. For Peanut, we used a cup of milk and a small beaded necklace that she loves. This is a great exercise for pulling to a tall kneel and eventually to standing.
5. Not all children love the idea of racing to uncertain doom found at the bottom of the slide (this fear could play into a sensory integration dysfunction, so keep on presenting it until they learn to love it, or at least tolerate it). There are ways to increase enjoyable experiences without actually sliding. You would eventually work up to your little peanut making the big leap down, but you could start off by using the slide to roll cars and trucks or even let their favorite doll/stuffed animal take the first plunge.

And if you can't find a cheap slide or don't have room for one on the house, there's always the local park which offers an even wider variety of physical therapy montage. Have fun, happy playing, and be safe sliding the day away.

Here's a short video of Peanut exploring her new slide. :-)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Peanut and Elmo

Peanut met Elmo yesterday and she LOVED him!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spread the Word, End the Word.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sensory Issues

Does your child have sensory dysfunction?
"Sensory integrative dysfunction occurs when the brain is unable to organize sensory information in a meaningful way. DSI impacts daily life for children and their families, as the children are not able to accurately register, modulate, discriminate and integrate sensory information. The result is that the child cannot adapt as well and may react negatively to everyday life sensations. The results are difficulties with the child's learning, development and behavior." (Kim Kelley)

Please note that Sensory Integrations Dysfunction are NOT specific to Down Syndrome or children/adults with special needs. SID can occur in any individual. For example, when the stereo is too loud or there are conflicting sounds in the environment, I feel as though my skin is crawling and something has to go. Usually I turn something off and go about my business. For kids or adults with increased SID, they may struggle with a larger variety of environmental sensations.

A more interesting point of the said article is it's relationship with Down Syndrome. Sensory Dysfunction could result in "speech and learning delays, decreased self-concept and control, poor body awareness, an over or under reaction to touch, sound, sight, and movement, resistance to change, poor social skills, poor balance (clumsy or awkward movements, etc.")

SPD Foundation offers a wealth of information for families and professionals. If you are a family member, it's a great resource to investigate any concerns you have regarding sensory issues.

Peanut has a Textures Bag. In her textures bag there's all sorts of different fabric. There's a variety of little odds and ends that we pick up here and there. I've found the thrift store is a good place to pick up random fabrics that I don't mind cutting into smaller pieces.

She has everything from silky scarves, fake plant leaves, faux feathers, beaded necklaces, pipe cleaners, scrunchy ribbon, and a large variety of fabrics.

A couple more specific items that are "must haves" for a textures/sensory bag include textures that you wouldn't think to expose your child too. Sand paper or an emory board works well for rough/abrasive surfaces. Play-doh is another great textures. Some kids have a hard time touching it's mushy texture. Interesting enough, I also cut an old innertube into small squares to make for an extra smooth surface in the texture bag.

Do you have any good suggestions for textures to be added to Peanut's bag?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Just last week I attended the Print Tool handwriting conference offered by Handwriting Without Tears. I was given the opportunity to take the Print Tool workshop and the 2-day combo workshop that will be in my area in May through our local Down Syndrome Network. TDSN offers a scholarship program that I applied to in order to become a certified handwriting expert. I think having this knowledge will not only benefit Peanut, but also the local Down Syndrome community as I'll be able to assess and remediate handwriting for the school aged kids. I'm so excited for May to come around so that I can take the 2 day workshop and apply for certification. I never realized there was so much to know about handwriting.

Obviously Peanut isn't writing any letters yet, but I've been working with her on coloring. I want her to be comfortable holding a writing utensil, getting used to holding the paper with her opposite hand, and just enjoying coloring. So everyday Peanut and I sit down with a pack of crayons and stack of construction paper. I have her scribble with at least 5 crayons and take notes with how much direction she needed for each trial.

I count 1 crayon as 1 trial. And my notes consist of Fph, downarrow/ph, GP, and I. Fph is for a hand over hand direction: I have to have my hand on her hand the whole trial. Downarrow/ph for faded hand direction if I just have to guide her a little here and there. And GP is for gestural if I just had to point at the paper. I is for independent, she colors all by herself.

She most often needs a faded prompt because she hasn't quite figured out how to hold the crayon. One of the many things I learned at HWT Print Tool was that there are 2 ways to correctly hold a writing utensil: tripod and quadropod grasp. Using smaller writing utensils will actually improve one's grasp, HWT offers flip crayons and smaller pencils just for this reason. Since the conference, I have started introducing flip crayons during our daily coloring sessions.

Funny enough, sitting down to color isn't the only way to improve handwriting skills. Depending upon the age of your child, there's a long list of exercises to improve fine motor skills. I picked up a pack of lacing beads at Dollar Tree today for $1.00! Instead of string, I use pipe cleaners to make the task a little bit easier on Peanut. And another money saving tip, if you aren't inclined to buy those cute little flip crayons that HWT sells, you can always break a crayon in half or stock up on golf pencils. Other great ways to improve fine motor skills include playing with play-doh and turning pages of a book. There are a lot of great and inexpensive ways to introduce your child to handwriting. Whether you use a program like Handwriting without tears or not, the earlier you introduce the concept of writing, the better it will be for your child in the long run. With that, Happy Handwriting!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]