Monday, November 15, 2010


How Gorgeous is Jayson?! We want him to find a family!! So....
My friend has a business at Christmas time working for Santa. She sends Christ-centered letters from Santa to children and families. My kids LOVE these letters! This year she approached me about giving part of the proceeds to a child on the Angel Tree at Reece's Rainbow. (See more children on the angel tree at I am so thrilled she would do this!!! Let's raise lots of money and get Jayson a family!
Here are the details:
After Nov. 14th North Pole Secretary will be raising funds for Reece's Rainbow, a non-profit agency that helps fund adoption expenses for children with Down syndrome.
Individual letters for your child are $8
A letter to your family is $18

The letters are very detailed and are personalized for your kiddo/family and come postmarked from the real North Pole, Alaska. All letters also recognize your child for an accomplishment this year and talk about the Savior,serving and the true meaning of Christmas.

This is such a fun memory for your kiddos. This is also a fun way to keep kids on their toes through December... parents tell me that their kids were extra good because they got an early letter and knew Santa was watching them! I have clients who order this as a tradition every year!

Last day to order is Dec. 10th.

Letters will begin to be sent out right after Thanksgiving for a Pre-Christmas delivery!

Please visit the website to order and pay with debit/credit through PayPal. ON THE ORDERING PAGE THERE IS A PLACE FOR A PROMO CODE. PLEASE ENTER RR SO WE CAN RAISE LOTS FOR THE ANGEL TREE FUND!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recent antics

So people often say to me that I must have some good stories. Mostly this is parents who have children with Down syndrome because they have good stories of their own. Well let me tell you about a few in the last 2 weeks:
Fall Break, we head to the zoo. I purposefully do not put hats on the children because 2 of our hats are at the bottom of the zoo duck pond already. So, off we go. Max in the stroller, the other 2 walking. I brought my respite provider with us as Kevin had to work. Well, we almost made it out without an incident. Almost. My favorite animal is the otter. So on the way out I stop at the otters. I take Max out of the stroller and put him on my hip so he can see over the wall and that's when it happens. Mr. Octopus (aka Max) whips the hat off of a little girl next to us and before I even know it's happened, he has thrown the hat INTO the otter exhibit! The little girl is devastated and immediately begins crying hysterically! I had to run over to the snack shack and get them to radio for someone who could get it out. Which she did, thankfully. The girl was still crying when they left.

OK, here's another one. We had a primary program today in church which is where the children are up on the stand and sing for all the adults. Now I knew Tyler was going to have a hard time sitting for the hour in the same chair with nothing to do. (When he sits with us we bring quiet games/books etc.) So, the program goes as planned and both kids get up to the mic to say their parts. Tia added "The End. Thank you." and a few jumbled words to the end of her part but that was fine. Now comes the embarrassing part. The program is done and it is time for the congregation to sing a closing song. Only they can't. Because Tyler is now lying under the organ and won't come out! So I have to go up on the stand and get Tyler out from under the organ which is no easy feat as he weighs 75 pounds and there are chairs with children in them all around the organ. The congregation couldn't see him until I pulled him out looking half asleep and having no clue he was causing a delay. Yes, once he emerged I heard a few chuckles.

After church we set off on a hunt to find Tia who was not where she should have been. As I searched through the rooms and halls with one boy in each hand I enlisted help from friends. I began to get really nervous thinking she could have tried to walk home (we live across the street) so I looked out side all around the church. No Tia. I went back in to find her chatting it up with the Bishop and several other men in his office. Oh, that girl and her social habits! It may be the death of me. I'm going to have a tracking devise implanted in her!!! Just kidding. A mom's wishful thinking.

So, we set off home where within 10 minutes Max has emptied the entire jar of fish food all over the carpet. (He knocked it down by throwing a rubber duck over the fish tank.) Where was I, you ask? Just changing. Later in the day he climbed up on the piano bench and got my church bag. Normally this would be an OK thing to get down. Not today. Today's lesson was on music and we made shakers with rice and beans. So, he poured those all over the floor. Where was I? Making dinner. Have you guessed that Kevin has not been home today?

Max also has discovered he can turn on the bath all by himself. So, fully clothed he will get into the bathtub and turn it on. Luckily this only happened once and we got to him before he was too wet. That is so dangerous! So, we are back to locking the bathroom door. Ho hum. When will we live without gates and locked doors?

Now let me tell you that I know I should be happy. After all, Max twisted off the cap to the fish food and opened 2 ziplock bags to empty the beans and rice. This is good fine motor skills. He also does a lot of problem solving. Pushing the chair over to get what he wants up high. I recognize it but it doesn't seem to make it any less irritating.
Hope everyone is doing well. I will post pics of Halloween next week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Day of School 2010

Once again we have been blessed with great teachers this year! We really love our school. The kids are all doing great in typical classrooms. Tia is in 3rd, Tyler is in 1st, and Max is in Preschool. Our special ed teacher is wonderful and T & T spend an hour a day with her for math and reading. Oh math! Why is it just so hard for our kids? I am at the point I need to do some reading and find out how to make it easier for them. I've been lazy about that. I have to admit my focus has always been on daily skills and now that academics are getting more important I am a bit unprepared. On the other hand, my big kids can spell! Wow! I have been amazed at the memorization skills. Tia has 20 words a week and Ty has 10 but he gets the advanced list because the others are too easy for him. Go figure! Max is perfecting colors and shapes. It's funny because he knows Pink but not Green. (Tia is a bit dominant in our house.) Haha!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The two big kids getting big. Crazy!

Max posing at the ranch

Tyler REALLY got into painting at the ranch.

Oh my goodness, look who is EATING NOODLES!!! HUGE!

Tia being sweet with the donkey at WHR.

A little dress up fun.

Perfect paparazzi picture!!

Tia and Tyler in red, white and blue at the 4th of July parade.

Tyler's Kindergarten graduation with his teacher and principal.

Well so much for writing more often. Sorry. Summers are just so busy around here. Kevin and I went to San Diego to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary which will be on Monday. It was wonderful and weather was amazing!!! Nothing like sitting next to the ocean, reading a good book and having a cool breeze blowing. Fantastic. We rented a little beach cottage in Oceanside. It was really cute. I wanted to stay there forever and just ship my kids to us so we could all enjoy it. Max hasn't seen the ocean yet. Maybe next year we can all go.

This last weekend we took the kids to a ranch a few hours away. It's called Whispering Hope Ranch and it's a camp for children with special needs and their families. They have tons of animals. Cats, dogs, rabbits, ducks, geese, emu, a turkey, peacocks, goats, sheep, mules, horses, cows, llamas... Like I said, lots of animals. The kids had a blast and we met some great families. It always nice to meet other families and see what their children are doing. It helps motivate me to encourage my kids to be more independent and work on additional skills. One of my friends was saying her 8 year old is showering by herself. Have to say, I thought we were a few years from that. I have been teaching Tia to wash her own hair but her hair is long and she is NOT effective at rubbing the shampoo through it. So, we will work a little harder and see what happens. I think when it's your first child you are never sure what they should be doing by themselves. Max did start eating noodle while we were there though!!! SO HAPPY for that! We may progress out of pureed food someday after all. HOORAY!

School starts Monday. We picked out our school supplies today. Tyler is ready with his Buzz Lightyear backpack and Tia with her Hanna Montana backpack. Still on the hunt for good lunchboxes. We meet the teachers on Thursday. I'm trying not to stress to much. I do envy people who can enroll their kids in school and be done. No meetings, aides, arrangements, IEP's, worry about friends and teachers, etc. I know most moms worry about their kids so I try not to feel like I am too crazy for being anxious. Tia will start 3rd grade and Tyler will be in 1st grade. Same school as last year which is great. Just new teachers and possibly different aides. The kids are very well known at school so other teachers and administrators look out for them. I think my kids are the only children with Down syndrome at the school now.

Our school does not have a "skills program" which is the name for the self-contained classroom. It is at another school in our district so many of the other children with special needs attend the other school. We have been fortunate enough to have our kids in an inclusion setting that works well for us. They have one hour a day of resource or special instruction for math and reading. It has worked great so far so we hopefully this will be a successful year as well. I really just want them to have teachers who like them and challenge them and include them in the class activities. I'm not nervous for Max really. The preschool program is great. His teacher will be new this year so we will see if she has enough energy for Max. Ha ha.

So, that's our summer update I guess. I'll write more once school starts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

2 YEARS!!!!!

Serbia- May 2008
Remember the days he couldn't smile without his tongue out? Love it!

May 2009

May 2010

Yesterday was Max's Adoption Day a.k.a. Gotcha Day! I can't believe it was 2 years ago that we were in Serbia. It seems like last month in so many ways. It was such a highlight of my life! Beautiful country and beautiful friends there. We miss them very much!! So, above is the year by year look back. He is getting so big! My grandma was here a while back and was looking at pictures on the wall at our house. She said, "Now, who is this one of?" She couldn't believe it was a picture of Max taken at the Children's Home in Serbia. She said, "He just looks so different now. He looks like the rest of your children." We get that alot. Several of our friends have adopted children of different races and it's funny how even they start to just be part of that family's "look."

I think adoption is one of the stronger testimony builders I have had in my life. It gave me a stronger knowledge that God knows each of us and what we need in our lives. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Max was just meant to be in our family. I think of his birth parents often and think how proud they would be of him now. I wish we could share our joy with them to ease what I'm sure is still very painful to them. I hope they are happy and have been able to move forward.

Max is the world's busiest child. Kevin nicknamed him Velcro yesterday. He took both boys to the petstore and was amazed at how many things just "jumped" into Max's one free hand. He said "I was holding his hand! How could he have grabbed so much stuff!" I just laughed. Is that mean? =-) Don't you love when dad's experience a drop of what you have been dealing with forever! LOL Max is also the world's cutest child. (Yes, this is fact. I am not bias at all.) His preschool teachers are in love with him as well as everyone at every store we go to. He is getting more social now. He used to be grouchy to people he didn't know who said hi to him but he is gettting better. He is talking so much now. Preschool has really helped that. His favorite thing to eat is yogurt. He likes to color, play musical instruments and be outside. I am excited to start using the pool in a few weeks because I know he will LOVE it.

Anyway, so happy for the 2 years we have had with our awesome son and look forward to all the crazy things he will say and do in years to come!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just some cute pics to share

How cute is this guy? Yes, that is a spatula he's waving around. Maybe he's the Army cook??

Tia dancing with a friend at the Sharing Down Syndrome Easter Party. Adorable!

The highlight of our Spring is playing BASEBALL! They love it! Well, Tia more than Tyler (see quotes below.)

This pic is a little hard to see because I didn't want to disturb the moment. Here he is rocking a baby doll. The funny thing is this is a little boy doll we bought in Serbia. He later tucked him into bed. So sweet! I loved it so much because usually he is such a rough and tumble boy.

A great picture of the kids playing outside. It is getting hot fast so we are trying to enjoy every minute of nice weather.

A few recent quotes:
Tia: It sure was a fun day today.
Me: It was? What did we do that was fun? (It was only noon so I couldn't think of a thing.)
Tia: You know, went to church, ate breakfast.
My thought: I guess I set my expectation of fun too high. Breakfast? Really? Oh, to appreciate every little thing.

The other day a boy from church came to our door. Tia introduced all of us and then asked his name. He said, "Nick." To which Tia immediately replied, "Hi Nick, I'm Jonas." (Nick is the name of one of the Jonas brothers. I didn't even know she knew the names of the Jonas brothers. The important things you learn in 2nd grade.)

Tyler was giving me a hard time playing outfield in baseball.
Me: "Do you want to bat?"
Tyler: "No. I want to be on the team."
Me: "Well then let's go play."
Tyler: "No. No play. I just be on the team."
Me: "What does that mean to just be on the team?"
Tyler: "Say 2-4-6-8 and Good Game and do like this" (his hand goes into high 5 position)
My thought: Well, we can't all be Babe Ruth!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


So the other day I was in a friend's house and saw a plaque in her living room that read, "Remember: Everyone Else Thinks We Are a Nice Normal Family". I love this. Typically, I see plaques in peoples homes reading, "Return with Honor" or "Remember Who You Are" but to me just having your teenagers live up to the perception of being in a "nice and normal family" is about all you can ask for some days. LOL I certainly know that others do not view my family as "normal." I am a bit in denial about this most days. I feel like we have a very similar life to those around us. My kids are picky eaters- who isn't, my kids have schedules of therapies and sports- again, like most just with different activities, my kids watch TV and play outside and really enjoy life- like most families. So, every now and then when I am faced with a different reality it surprises me. (You feel a story coming don't you?)

Last night, with my husband out of town, I took my babysitter and 3 children to a church picnic at a park. I have never been to this particular park so I didn't know what to expect. I did know that there was a pond which is a HUGE reason I took my sitter. Off subject, why is there a law to have a pool fence in your yard and yet the city builds all our parks with unfenced lakes?! I don't get this! OK, back to the story. So, we park and make it onto the grass just in time for Max to throw his first fit. He wanted to go his own way and not hold my hand. He's three. SOOOO three. Off we go to find a spot to play.

I am scanning the park for the playground only to be sadly disappointed. 4 swings and some rocks to climb. 150 kids and 4 swings. I knew then that we could not go near them. If my kids do manage to get on the swings, they are not getting off in 2 minutes for someone else's turn. At least not happily. And I like happily. So, we settle in the volleyball court sand. Thank you to the mom that brought sand toys and let my kids play with them!!! I had already fed the kids because I knew they wouldn't eat with so much going on. (See, I'm not a Spring Chicken.)

Anyway, as I am sitting there looking around at families eating and children running around playing I start thinking if this would be possible for me. Could I sit and talk to other women from the church and let my kids run around the pond? The enormous park? To the 4 swings which are out of sight from the armada? To the bathroom by themselves? NO. I could not. But others could. There were little kids, 2-3 year old kids running and I mean running around the pond. This would give me a heart attack. If I let my kids run wild, I can pretty much count on the fact that within 15 minutes one would be in the pond, another in the parking lot and another crying from falling off of something. So there we sat in our contained little space and when all three children had their hair full (and I mean full) of sand, we left. (This would create tantrum #2.) I am not complaining. I love my life. Like I said, sometimes I just forget that it is different than most. I believe I get many blessings through opportunities that others do not get. Perhaps I miss out on experiences that they get but that's what life is about. Learning and becoming stronger people through the different experiences we have. I wouldn't trade. I really, truly wouldn't.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Belated pics of my preschooler

My first day of preschool!!!!!
The first pic makes him look so big and then you see the second picture where he is not even as tall as the door handle. SO CUTE this boy!

Ready for school. Backpack and all! Here is Max walking with his teacher on January 4th. Isn't he SO little? Yes, the boy next to him is 5 and in his class! The kids in his class LOVE him and so does his teacher. He is loving school. He has gotten sick a few times but we expected that. Nothing serious, just preschool, winter junk. I don't put him on the bus yet. He would probably love it but I would miss the 20 seconds of joy I get watching him walk to class with his friends and teacher. He is doing great and already picking up so much information. He is talking more which is always good. Sorry so short today but I wanted to get those pics up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Tyler!!!!

This is in January before he goes into surgery for his tonsil and adenoid removal. That was the only smile we saw for a few days. It was a LONG 2 weeks.

Are you sure Tyler is the little brother?? He out weighs her by 10-15 lbs. So cute!

Tia is giving him a birthday hug while singing Happy Birthday.

This boy waited ALL day to eat cake and ice cream!!!

Happy Birthday to my Tyler today! He is 6 years old. Amazing. He changed his request for his birthday cake 3 times. First it was an alligator, then a hippopotamus and finally a race car. I was glad not to do the hippo because that may have been above my amateur abilities. He sure is a cutie and we just LOVE all 65 lbs of him. A friend of mine calls him "her hunk-a-burnin' love"! He loves to watch TV, play on the playground, and eat pizza. He is super funny and loves to laugh. He thinks the word "buns" is the funniest word on the planet. (Oh, 6 year-old boys!) He loves school and his friends (once he gets there) but tries to convince me he's too sick to go to school on a daily basis. "I can't go to school. I have a cough. I'm VERY sick." His sister is his best friend and every morning they plan a "play date after school" with each other. He is a great big brother and a good helper to mom. He is a daddy's boy 100%. He and daddy go to the pet store every Saturday to see all the animals. He loves the zoo and would watch the elephants all day. The hippo is his very favorite animal but we don't have one at our zoo. He is a stubborn and wonderful boy and adds joy to my life every single day! Happy Birthday Bubba!!