Monday, June 29, 2009

Happiness is...

...when my Daddy steps in the room. Everything else ceases to exist.

video

...girly slipper socks.

video


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hawaii: Days One and Two

If you're sick of hearing about our travels, you may want to take a break from reading for a while. I'll be sharing a few of the 406 pictures we took last week.

We scored first class seats (I guess being nice still works) on the way there and Playette got her wings. BD and I got lots of comped food and drinks. Woot!

Playette loved riding in her carseat with the Travelmate attachment. I highly recommend these for air travel.

Our room was great. It was nice and big (which came in handy with Little Miss Busy) and the bed was comfortable. We got a crib for the Littlest, but most nights we were so exhausted we tended to all crash together.

Sitting area. You may be able to tell from this picture the kind of view we had. It was great to be able to wake up in the morning and see the ocean from the bed.

Looking out from the balcony

Looking down from the balcony

It was about 7 pm (3 hours behind what we're used to) by the time we got settled in the room. We met some friends at a restaurant nearby and had a nice time chatting, snacking, and sipping on fruity libations.

The next morning we got up super early, even though it felt like sleeping in, and headed over to hike to the top of Diamond Head. Talk about tough! Mannnn, that thing was no joke! They say it's only 1.5 miles round trip, but when you're climbing about 600 feet at the same time and it's blazing hot? Shoot, I was straight proud that I finished it.

Not quite proud enough to purchase a t-shirt on the way down (t-shirt dude deserves credit for hiking his stand up there though), but still.

That light line in the above photo is the "trail." Apparently this hike is considered "moderate." Ha!

I must mention this: There was a robot woman who was on her third trip up in the time it took us to finish. I have no idea how long was there before or after us. She was no joke. Not only was she fast, but she was serious. She had her iPod blasting, while balancing a Powerade bottle on her head, carrying what appeared to be weighted balls in each hand.

I so want to be that lady when I grow up.

Shoot, I almost didn't keep going when I saw this:


And this:

And this:


BD even had to crawl through a tiny space, with Playette on his back, to get to the tippy top.


But this made it all worth it:







I actually ended up liking the hike after it was all said and done. I thought maybe we should do it every morning during our trip.

That. did. not. happen.

After the success of the hike nevermind when I fell right at the very end and put on a tumbling show for all the other tourists, we deserved a treat.


Mmmmmalasadas!



And since it was lunchtime by then, we, well, had lunch. So what that we still had sugar crumbs on our mouths from "breakfast." It was time.

We ate at a local hangout that served traditional Hawaiian food. Playette loved the kalua pig and laulau. I didn't take the camera because I was working hard at trying to blend in places that didn't have an access fee.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were whooped. Whooped, I tell ya.

We finally dragged ourselves down to the beach for a while. BD played with Playette in the lagoon and I played with her in the ocean.

That night, we met our friends for dinner and tried FAILED to get Playette in a festive mood for her birthday. She was simply not having it, much to my disappointment.


But wait, there's more...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spent

It's been one of those days.

Not enough sleep.

The headache won't stop.

I almost quit my job. (I know. Enough with the job issues already.)

The IFSP meeting. Ok, so that didn't go horrible or anything (amazing), but it's absolutely not something I felt like doing today. We signed it this time, but have to reconvene on the 15th to resolve some additional issues with ST services.

And then the guy I was planning to marry when I was 5 goes and dies. (Those links are to the posters I had on my wall and door as a kid.) I can't even watch the news because I can't believe it.

It's not so much that it's MJ. Well, that's part of it, true. It's more about not wanting to think about mortality and the memories I have of my childhood that are somehow connected.

I remember my mother taking me to see the Jacksons' Victory Tour at the Meadowlands. Floor seats, y'all. My mother was the kind of person who did this type of thing for a kid way before I could ever appreciate it. We bonded over that tour though. She had the Jackson 5, I had Michael. Sigh.

Anyway, I wasn't intending to dig that up in this post, but there ya go.

A few people have asked me today how our vacation was.

Did I fail to mention that?

Yeah, we were on vacation.

I tend not to annouce those things.

I can't wait to look back at the photos (hundreds of them, I'm telling you) so that I can remember what a great time we had before the flight cancellations took us so far off track that when we got home all we could think about was, "Well, that last part sucked."

Thank you all so much for the kind birthday wishes for the Littlest. She had a great time while we were gone and even got to add a new state to her list. (And one more for me, yay!)

I just realized that I, too, have become the the kind of person who does this type of thing for a kid way before she could ever appreciate it.

Heh.

Oh, well.

We're still holding fast to our "You must be able to walk 5 miles without whining before we take you with us to Disney" rule.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We love you, Gabby

Tomorrow sweet Gabby is going to have her little heart mended.



While the surgeons are no doubt very skilled, it would surely mean a lot to her family if we'd all keep her in our thoughts and prayers today, tomorrow, and during her recovery period.

I'm sure she'll be just fine and I can't wait to cuddle the Princess again once she comes through this like a champ.

Update: Gabby's surgery has been postponed until July 10th.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Already?

Buddy Walk time is quickly approaching.

I know, I know...summer's just starting and all. But anyone involved in planning a Buddy Walk will tell you that October will be here before you know it.

When I was in NY last month, I spent some time in both Times Square and Central Park. As I stood there amongst the wonderful chaos and peacefulness of it all, I couldn't help but think about the Buddy Walk. How cool would it be to participate in such an event in NYC? To be with all those people and see the video up on the screen in person would be awesome.

One day, we'll have to find out.

But, until then, there's always the possibility of representing in another way.

Until July 15th, photos are being accepted for the annual Ds awareness video in Times Square.

If you're interested, please be sure to submit a favorite photo.

Contest info

2008 Video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, BD!

Early summer is high celebration time around here, with birthdays, an anniversary, and today that all deserve some form of acknowledgement.

Today is BD's day.

This is one amazing man. As good of a husband as he is, he's an even better father. He deserves great things.

So I've got something planned that I think he'll like.

Actually, since I'm writing this early so that we can spend some quality family time together, it already happened.

I'll be sure and post some photos soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happily Birthday, Playette!

The baby is two.

Two years old.


Two?!

Can you believe it?

I can't.


Precious girl.

We love you so, so much.

You're amazing.

There's no gift we can give you that even compares to the one you've given to us.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Everybody Clap Your Hands

I've been doing this whole blogging thing for a year already. Amazing.

I pretty much have the original email that I sent out, along with the link here, committed to memory.

I've been thinking about what I could do that would leave the longest-term impact to my baby girl's life as she reaches the milestone of her 1st birthday today and I came up with this: She deserves a mother who isn't afraid.

So, that's what I'm giving her. Consider it a baby step.

Through tears, I rehearsed it over and over and over before sending, afraid that I wasn't saying something right. Afraid of people's reactions.

I was pleasantly surprised though. For that, I am very grateful.

I've met some wonderful people along the way and I've had an outlet to express all kinds of thoughts and emotions, rants and ramblings.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey.

How it all began

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Friend Isabelle

We have this book and I think it's a good one. It talks about how even though Isabelle and her friend Charlie are different, they still enjoy a lot of the same things.

If you order it from Woodbine House, you can get the companion guide for free. I'm glad to have this one in my arsenal for when Playette starts school.

I never knew there was a video, but I just came across it and figured I'd share. It seems like it'd be great for young kids.

Video

Monday, June 15, 2009

SacTown

We're just wrapping up a pretty nice weekend over here, but before I can talk about that, I must take the time to acknowledge last weekend.

Last fall, Sheree and her family came to visit us. We had a great time chatting and going to the aquarium together. It was so nice that we promised to get together again.

And then life happened.

Next thing you know, it was May. I was bummed that we'd have to miss Gabby's birthday party since I was going to be away for reserve duty. When Sheree and I spoke, we made tentative plans to just pick a weekend in June and make it happen. And make it happen we did.

Early on Saturday morning, BD, Playette, and I piled into the car and began our trek.

When we got there, we were met by some of the most hospitable people ever. They immediately made us comfortable, told us to make ourselves at home, and meant it.

After playing with the kids for a while, we drove into Sacramento for our first activity of the day. I was very excited to meet Lisa and Monica, moms to Sheridan and John Michael, respectively. Monica also brought her lovely and helpful daughters, Anna and Greta.

The kids were so adorable, the day was beautiful, and the company was great. All moms of little ones with Ds (from 9-23 months), we shared ideas, answered questions, talked about the upcoming conference, and more. It was a great experience for me and I look forward to seeing them again soon.



After leaving the park where we had the playdate, the fun continued. Can you say "ice cream sundaes"? Mmmmm.



We weren't back at the house long before we were joined by Sonia and her family. None of us had ever met before, but Sonia and I have the Navy wife thing in common (plus, her husband is a Submariner, something BD can relate to).

So, now we've got a house full. 6 adults, 6 kids. The littlest ones were our three princesses, all at different stages, yet still a year old. It was so amazing and they were so sweet.

I got all mushy at one point when I looked at them. These girls are beautiful. Really. And I was overcome with the thought that people are afraid to have babies just like them. And then I thought of how wonderful it was to just be.

I mean, a lot of times when I'm out with people whose kids don't have T21, I wonder what they're thinking. Are they silently thankful that they're kid isn't like mine? Are they wondering why she isn't talking? Why is she so small? And if I haven't told them about her diagnosis, are they nervous about asking me?

You know, that kinda stuff.

Well, in this group, I didn't have to worry about that. Not one bit. I was relaxed. I was enjoying the moment. And it was great.

So I cried.

Sorry, y'all.

When I pulled myself together, I couldn't help but notice how grown up my little girl is becoming. She was enamored with the older kids and kept wanting to hang out with them.

Where's my baby?!

Oh, wait. There she is. Dunking.



I've been sitting here trying to figure out where all my pictures went and then *bam* it hit me. I was so busy coveting Sheree's camera, that I hardly picked up mine at all. Ha! Lucky, Sheree. Now she has a SD card full of artistic photos of things like Chick-fil-A nuggets.

For some different perspectives on that day, check here:

Lisa's post

Monica's post


Sonia's post

On Sunday, we woke up to the smell of this stuff called "breakfast." Have you heard of it? Apparently, it doesn't just come from a drive-through.

Sheree made us breakfast, y'all. You know I didn't want to leave, right? And she helped me make the Pumpkin Pound Cake I've been dreaming about since December.

*swoon*

Then we went shopping at a discount store.

*be still my heart*

We are so going back.

If they'll have us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Lust

Lisa has created a new blog that will serve as a place for us to review and trade books. It seems like some of us have been doing that for a little while, so this will be a place to keep it all organized.

Lisa reads a ton of books and I credit her for inspiring me to get back into the practice. If you're interested in participating, please contact her. [Posters are responsible for covering the costs to mail out the books to interested parties.]

I just posted over there and put Jewel up for grabs. If you want it, go on over and let me know.

I finished reading Expecting Adam and The Year My Son and I Were Born recently, so I'll be sure to post a review of those when I get some time. If you'd either one, be sure to keep checking back/your reader. First come, first served.

By the way, not all of the books offered will be Ds-related.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Day in the Life of Playette: Wednesdays with Mama

First, we slept in. Well, actually, Mama wanted to sleep in, but I woke up at my regular time, so after I screamed right into the monitor for a while, she came and got me and brought me back into her bed with her and then I woke up about an hour later when the phone rang. I have no idea how that happened. [Mama: Sleeper hold. Works like a charm.]

Then, we played. And ate breakfast. I even pooped in the potty! And then we played some more. I threw lots of towels all over the place because that's how I roll.








And then I put all the coasters on the coffee table into my shopping cart because that's where they belong. Why we even have coasters for a 30 year old coffee table is beyond me anyway.

We were going to go to Parents' Place and sing songs, but Mama was still in her pajamas when it was time to go so she introduced me to Elmo and some random green monsters instead. I was fascinated.


I also danced a lot. But of course the one time Mama decided to get it on video, I ate it.



Oh well. That just shows how tough I am. Mama says it's because she did Tae Bo while I was in her belly. Daddy would laugh if he heard her say that.

Mama also said she's amazed that I'm such a big girl already. Daddy might agree with her there. Hello...I'm gonna be two next week. I'm almost a grown up!


Then Mama jumped up, realizing that we were late. Again. Some more.

I watched her throw on some clothes and brush her teeth. She didn't even sing the song this time. Boo, Mama.

I ate nuggets and fries while Mama drove to the doctor. I was just there yesterday so they all know me like I'm famous.

Today, I got to get on the Big Girl Scale for the first time. I did really well. See? I told you I'm grown.


Look how much I weigh now! I like PediaSure and so does Mama...as long as she has a coupon.


The GI doctor was really nice so Mama liked her. It's always good when that happens.


She wants to test me for "see Lee yack the seas."


Maybe Lee is sick but I feel fine.


On the way home, Mama stopped at the outlets. Usually we only get off at that exit for one reason, but this time we actually shopped!

Mama got a new battery for her watch so that she can finally wear it again. Then she decided to look in the dress store. I liked it there and helped her pick out something pretty. [Mama: She's a great dress picker. I bought the one on the right.]






Apparently, my enthusiasm for shopping [Mama: exhibited by running through the store like it was a playground and making me sweat] was a bit much for Mama, so I ended up on lock-down.


Boo again, Mama.

To make it up to me, we went and got a few things to enhance my wardrobe afterward.

By the time we left, I needed a nap. Good thing I have Mama to drive me around.


Since it was late by then, we went straight to the Parent Support Group meeting. I like it there because I get to play with other kids. Some of them are unique in all kinds of different ways, just like me. We keep this world interesting.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Attention: Convention

If you're heading to the NDSC convention in July/August and you blog, please take a moment to check out this site.

DS Bloggers

A group of Sacramento-area moms has banded together to work on ensuring that we can all pick each other out in a crowd. They will be making special nametags up for all that choose to participate. [I had the pleasure of meeting up with these ladies - +1! - over the weekend. More on that later.]

Also, the registration deadline is quickly approaching, so please sign up soon if you want to come (I'm including myself here). It's a pretty pricey endeavor, but everyone I've spoken with says that it's well worth the sacrifice.

I think I'll be in training for work in Phoenix that week (with Playette in tow - we are so going to melt), but should be back in time to meet up with BD and attend the Pre-Conference sessions. As of this moment, I'm thinking that we're going to opt for the ST-related sessions, which means we'll be hearing Libby Kumin and/or Sara Rosenfeld Johnson speak on Friday.

Speech is a really big one for us right now and I'm second, third, and fourth guessing our current approach almost daily. I know I'm doing the best I can with the information that I have, but this is so difficult.

More difficult than what any parent goes through when thinking about things that will affect their child long-term? Maybe not. But it's hard for me to say since I only have one child. The thought that we may be setting her up for failure is horrifying.

When Playette walks in to a room, people see her disability. It's one that's almost instantly recognizable. What I would love is for her ability to communicate to contradict some all of the low expectations some people will immediately bestow upon her. If she can communicate well, she can explain herself, she can stand up for herself, she can build relationships.

I'd really hate to screw that up.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flashback Friday: I think my belly's bigger than that now.

I thought of this picture yesterday while I was "running."

What reminded me of it was the fact that, as I was huffing and puffing and sweating, much of that attributed to how much weight I was trying to move, I realized that I'm just about the same weight now as when I was when I was about to give birth to Playette.

That is so unfair.




These were taken when I got home one night from a Tae Bo class at the gym. I had had a good night and wanted to memorialize it. I was right around 28 weeks and so excited that I finally had a cute little belly. I got sick not long after this and had to stop working out, but - man - I used to love that class and the friends I had in it. I really do miss it. Did I ever mention here that I used to teach those classes a lifetime ago?

*sigh*

Anyway. We used to call Playette "Teep" in those days. "Teep" started out as "Tadpole" and then evolved right along with her.

I'm surprised the child knows her real name with all these nicknames.

We're heading out to the movies tonight, something we haven't been able to do in a while since we've bee Ms. J-less. I really, really hope the movie is funny because I want to laugh sooo bad.

Playette will be at daycare tonight for Parents' Night Out, but she's got a fun-filled weekend planned. I'll tell you more about that later.

We're meeting a new respite worker on Monday and I really hope that works out. The new IFSP meeting was just scheduled for the end of the month and I'd hate for the Service Blockers to try to take that away since we haven't been using it.

By the way, so many people are now coming to this IFSP meeting of ours that we've had to move it to a non-traditional location.

Making up gang signs is hard.

My dear friend, Kanuck, pointed out to me that I was confusing "D" and "F" in my photos from yesterday.

Obviously, I'm not watching enough Signing Time.

I blame Facebook.

Now. If there's one thing I've learned about gang signs, it's that you don't want to screw them up.

Trust me on this.

So, here's a new a new display that you can rep in your 'hood:

D (for real)
+
S
=
This.

It's subtle.

But, then again - and I don't know about you - but I don't typically go around flashing what looks like a #1 at people. So who knows. It's a possibility at least.

And, really, this is all about making me feel less uncomfortable when I stalk strangers, so I guess a lapel pin or a whistle could work just as well. I'm probably still going to look crazy, regardless.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Set You Claimin'?

I know I'm far from the first person to think of this, but we totally need a literal sign of solidarity within the Ds community.

Before Playette became a part of my life, I didn't really see people with Ds, it was more like I saw through them.

When we received her diagnosis, one of the first things I did was cry about how I'd treated people just like my newborn baby girl in the past.

What about my former roommate's little brother? I still remember making a comment about not wanting him to sleep in my guest room because I was afraid that he'd wet the bed. (I've since apologized even though she had no idea what I was talking about.)

And the lady from church's adult daughter? We went to dinner one night as a group and I don't think I said one word to her. None of us did.

How about the fact that I signed up to be a hugger for the Special Olympics every year in high school and never followed though because the idea made me uncomfortable? Instead, it was an excuse to skip school since no one was expecting me to be around.

Then there's the time I met my friend's cousin's newborn baby for the first time. Mom was 19, I think. I was a few years older. "Oh, she's pretty?" I said. I must have sounded surprised because my friend replied, "What did you expect?"

That still brings tears to my eyes. To this day, I feel bad about these things.

But as time has gone on, I see how different I've become.

I now seek out people with Ds.

I want to know them.

Last spring, we went to Las Vegas. Before heading in to see the dolphins, I saw her. Screaming her little head off. And there was mom, right behind the stroller, looking exasperated. At that moment, I wanted so badly to show her that I was with her. Maybe not in dealing with a toddler's tantrum, but that I had walked steps that she had walked and that we were linked in a way that made us sisters even though we'd never met.

Noting that it wasn't the best time, I kept moving, but I was hoping that I'd see them again.

Then there was the airport in Mexico. We had a very long wait for a delayed flight home and I hadn't seen one other person with Ds the entire week. I commented about this to BD only to shortly be proven wrong as not one, but two, families came through the security line and into the waiting area within the next hour.

But what to do?

If you're BD, you mind your business and hope that your wife doesn't persist to make a fool of herself. Again.

Poor guy.

You know I couldn't leave well enough alone. One family had a young daughter and I felt such a pull.

It was a pretty small area so I found them quickly. I got nervous though, so I went back to my seat. For a little while. Then I got up again, went up to where they were sitting and said something. I don't remember what exactly, but I had rehearsed it and it sounded pretty good in my head at the time.

The mom told me that her daughter was 12 and then asked about mine. I told her that she was sitting with her father and that I'd be glad to introduce her. She said she'd come by later and she (eventually) did. (Mom didn't seem as into this exchange as I was.)

Did I ever feel foolish.

The next time I decided to stalk a complete stranger was back in Vegas again. It was a few months ago when I went on a spur-of-the-moment one night get-away. On Monday, a friend and I went to the food court for lunch. Right by us was a family with three children, the youngest a little girl with Ds.

I kept glancing at her and talked to my friend about how I would love to go up and say hello. I can't explain why I feel this is necessary, but for all the things I've gone through that show how different we are as a family sometimes (see: yesterday's post), there are people that relate to those differences and an understanding smile from one of them means so much.

Anyway, so we finish our lunch and walk by them on our way back to the pool. Again, I mention how I wish I could just say something. Friend says, "Well, do it then!"

So I did.

This time, I said something along the lines of, "Your daughter reminds me of my daughter." What I wasn't prepared for was her to reply, "Which one?"

Doh. Didn't think that one through all the way. One boy, two girls.

I became more specific and the mom gives me the smile I was looking for. She then asks me where my daughter is. I explain that I'm alone on this trip and she proceeds to tell me about another family they met the night before in the casino and how it's great that we're all in this "secret club."

Exactly.

She understood.

Then, a few weeks ago, when I was in NY waiting to go in to see The Little Mermaid, I was startled when my aunt walked up because I had been watching this little girl with Ds so intently. She was with someone who could have been her mother and she was so excited and I was happy that she was happy and it made me look forward to the days that I could enjoy such things with Playette.

Even when I'm sitting at my desk at work, I find opportunities to show how "down" I am, literally. There's this guy who works here, Mr. P, I'll call him. Every afternoon, he walks by at least a half-dozen times as he completes his tasks. Almost every time, I go, "Hi, Mr. P!" "Hi," he says. When I ask him how he's doing, he always says "Fine." It's only when he gets really outraged that I hear him say much. Let one of his co-workers do something they're not supposed to do and he goes off!

Anyway, so one day BD brings Playette up here to surprise me. I get excited because Mr. P is around so I ask him, "Mr. P, do you want to see my baby?"

"No."

Well, alright.

I still laugh when I think about that.

I debate telling Mr. P almost every day about what he and Playette have in common. It hasn't happened yet, but maybe one day.

Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to be afraid or nervous or anything? And we'd know right away if someone was in our not-so "secret club" or not? There'd be no need for explanation and even if you're child/sibling/friend wasn't with you, you could still use it to say, "I'm 'down'"?

Maybe if we all shared our ideas, it could turn into something? Who knows.

For example:

2
+

1
=

K?


Ok, so maybe that can stand for...karyotype?

Womp, womp.

No?

What about...

D
+

S
=

Something that looks kinda like a fancy "ok" sign


We'd only use the combinations of the two signs when greeting one another. You know, like a gang. Or something.

Really, that's all I've got.

Creativity is not my strong suit.

Plus, my cell phone camera is crappy and it takes forever to get these photos done and loaded.

I'd love to hear any ideas you have. Trust me, they can't be any worse than what I've posted here.

If you post something on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!

Update