Monday, October 31, 2011

And Now, Some Words from Our Sponsor

My turn again. BD dropping in for his once a year check in. The one day of the year you have to deal with my poor English and pitiful writing skills. We’ve had one interesting year.

How time flies. This time last year I was sitting on an aircraft carrier listening to airplanes crash land on top of my head. I was off “saving the world”. It’s my job or something. My job also called for us to completely uproot ourselves and try out some new scenery to call home.

As fun and exciting as traveling around the other side of the world is, being away from the Momma and Playette always makes me sad. I know they don’t see it that way, but these 2 ladies are my world. I’ve been on deployments away from the US before, but this was the first time I had to do it since these ladies came along. It is a much different experience trying to be a husband and father from the other side of the world, with little to no internet and extreme conditions on every day. Just getting to talk to them for a few minutes every couple of days was great motivation to keep going over the entire stretch.

I was very impressed with how my wife managed to hold it all together while I was gone and then again as we moved. Having to be a single parent on random notice for weeks to months at a time is an extremely hard lifestyle that the majority of people aren’t capable of. The fact that she’s committed to doing it for the benefit of my career just shows how awesome a woman she is. I’m very lucky to have her! Love you babe!

The little one continues to grow and impress. She’s amazing to watch and an extremely cool kid to just hang with. She’s my partner in crime and every minute we hang together is just the best thing on earth.

Going away is never easy, but as they say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that has definitely been true this year.

Every time I come home to them I realize there is nothing better than their love.

BD Signing out. See you next year peeps.




Sunday, October 30, 2011

More About Yesterday

So, as I was saying before we had to pack up and head home, I didn't get much sleep Friday night. I did see lots of Law & Order though.

Thankfully, the wedding wasn't until 2pm, so we could move slow and take our time getting ready.

The weather was not too friendly though. Saturday was pretty nasty all up and down the east coast. Not to be deterred, BD and I made our way through the wintry mix to a local diner and indulged in lots of wonderful breakfast-ness.

Oh! That reminds me. Before all the hotel drama on Friday, we did get the chance to try a pretty nice Japanese restaurant. For dessert, we indulged in an order of Oreo Cheesecake Spring Rolls. If that kind of thing sounds good to you? It was just as you imagine. Yum!

We arrived to the wedding just fine and the ceremony was quite nice. My friend looked amazing and so very happy. I almost teared up a little.

The reception was a total party and our table was the party within a party. I've never seen anyone get kicked out of a wedding for having too much fun, but if that were ever to happen, I think it would have occurred at Table 11.

And then the music started. The bride is Liberian so we all enjoyed participating in the lively traditions. I was jealous that I'm not Liberian, too!

Table 11 represented well on the dance floor. Out of the 10 of us that sat there, 8 of us were responsible for shutting the place down. Really. At the end, it was the DJ packing up his equipment, the bartenders cleaning up, the coordinator wrapping up final details...and us.

So, yeah. A well-utilized night out. We made 8pm feel like 2am.

Bonus: I'm a huge fan of The Amazing Race and one of the former contestants is a friend/co-worker of the bride. She not only sat at our table, but her date to the shindig was none other than her partner from the race! How cool was that? Uh, very. They were part of the Elite 8, too. They could hang. Loved it.

This morning, I woke up early and BD went downstairs and grabbed us some to-go breakfast that we enjoyed in bed before making our move to come back home. It was a long ride back, but the weather had totally cleared up, so it was smooth.

Playette was glad to see us, but moments after we got home, she was already asking for "Pillow." Poor girl. She's not going to be happy until both families are living in a split level or a commune or something.

I'm glad that she had such a good time though. Being a transient family, it's nice to meet people that you can trust with your kid when you really need help in a pinch. We're so very grateful.


So. Well. Yesterday.

I was planning to just come and post something so that I wouldn't feel bad for missing a day, but that didn't happen. It completely slipped my mind before things got crazy and then after? I passed out from exhaustion.

BD and I got some alone time this weekend thanks to a great friend who offered to keep Playette for us. That friend is her bestie's ("Pillow") mom, so little miss was all too thrilled to get some extended time with them. To date, they've gone pottery painting, fine dining (CFA, woot!), attended the Ds group's Halloween party for kids (she won the costume contest!), watched movies, hung out with more friends, and, I'm guessing, tormented the crap out of his mom. Bless her heart. And her sanity.

Meanwhile, over here, we checked into a nice hotel and eventually realized why we scored such an elaborate suite for such a non-elaborate price. Turns out they were in the process of re-surfacing the floors of the parking garage.

Ok, fine. No biggie, right?

Except that by doing so, they filled the place with toxic (?), potent fumes. I guess they tried to keep us from being bothered by putting us in a very high room, far away from the elevator (which was bringing the smell to every floor), but no.

I don't do so well with weird smells and things that trigger my respiratory issues, as you may recall.

So, first, we asked for something, ANYTHING, that could possibly help. Candles? Air freshener? Plug-ins?

Someone came in a sprayed some crap, but then it smelled like flowery toxic crap. I tried to focus on the flowery and went to sleep.

Four hours later (at 2am), I was up again. The smell had tapped me on my shoulder and said, "Geeettt ooouuttt."

My mama didn't raise no fool, so after asking the front desk (at 3am - see? I really did try to tough it out) for an alternative, I called another hotel to check availability. I figured that while moving would suck, at least we didn't have to be up early.

We didn't hear back from our front desk guy for a while, so we started to pack up.

Some time later, we still hadn't heard from him, so we left.

When we got downstairs (soooo much worse down there), he said that he had just tried to call us. His solution? Send us elsewhere at their expense.

Wow. I thought customer service was dead?

Apparently, it still kinda is because he said that everything took so long because he called his manager for approval and she said she'd call him back after she got off the phone with her mom. And she never did.


He's probably going to get fired for helping us. Ugh.

So we moved. We had a view of the HVAC system instead of the city skyline, the tiniest bathroom ever, only one tv, and no living room. I mean, really. How would we make it? @@

But I could breathe. So, yay!

What I couldn't do was go back to sleep, so I indulged in four episodes of L&O while BD snored away.

Consider this Part I of our tale. I'll share the rest later today after we get some things done.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Giving #47 the Side Eye

Dear Extra Chromo,

I go back and forth regarding how I feel about you. In some ways, I do believe that you help my daughter to be the very person I adore and if you were taken away, would she be that same person? If I had that choice to make, would I?

In the past, I’ve always said that I would, if I could. I don’t think that’s changed for me, really. The decision’s just more complicated by the good things that come along with this new community that I was ushered into over four years ago unaware. There are lots of wonderful things I like about that.

I love the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, the things I’ve learned.

I appreciate my increased level of patience and compassion. I look people that are different in the eye. I say “hello.” I understand their value in this world.

I enjoy celebrating the accomplishments of not only my child, but the children of others who also have similar unique needs because I now understand what level of determination, passion, and commitment it takes for them to reach that milestone.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I crave the fire that the fight for my daughter’s basic rights brings to my being. It makes me feel alive and purposeful.


Then I think about how you stripped away the joy that others speak of when they first held their child after it was born. That “love unlike any other” feeling? I didn’t have that. I was afraid. I was sad. I was completely and utterly devastated by the unknown. You did that.

I think about how people look at my daughter and feel pity before ever giving her the chance to show who she is and what amazing things she can do. They lump her into categories reserved for what they believe to true about all people with Down syndrome. No wait: “Downs kids.” You did that.

I worry and have sleepless nights, scared of what might happen if she stays so friendly and continues to never meet a stranger. People prey on such things. You did that.

I want her to succeed academically, but then think that, if she does, and she’s fully included that she’ll only be patronized and not truly be accepted as a peer. You did that.

I can’t stand in line at a restaurant on family night without someone feeling like they have the right to come up and tell me that my child, who they have never met, “…might read one day. Just not at the level of a normal child,” all the while making sure to remind me not to keep my expectations too high because some parents are uppity like that and think their kids are higher functioning than they really are.

The features that revealed my baby’s inner struggles and opened up the door to insensitivity and presumptuousness are thanks to you.

The fear, the guilt, the pain. Sure, maybe I would feel that in some instances had my child been born like the other 690.

All parents wonder. All parents feel like they can do more. At one point or another, we think we’ve failed and are grateful for second, third, fourth and many more chances.

But some days I just have to think that it’s more for me because of you.

That’s why I don’t like you.

That’s why I’d let you go if I could.

But I can’t. I know that. And I deal. And I’m probably a lot stronger for it than I realize.

I do the best I can and I don’t dwell on the “why?” anymore.

I’ve passed the phase of trying to answer the question of “How dare you make an appearance in my life after all of the things I’ve been through?!”

I understand that we are a part of the “why not?” club.

The only criteria for membership is you.

I’m sure we’ll struggle, you and I, over the years. Many days, I’ll accept you wholeheartedly, not caring at all that you exist.

And then one day, out of the blue, you’ll sneak up on me, tapping my shoulder with an aggressive reminder of all that is different, all that is more difficult, because you exist.

I hate to give you so much attention. Really, I do. It probably makes me look weak and puts you in the position of appearing more powerful in my life than you really are.

But I’m confrontational like that. If I didn’t tell you, you’d never know.

I love my kid.

I’ve got my eye on you,

Thursday, October 27, 2011


When I was in college, there were a lot of rules. Especially the first year.

Meals during that time were quite interesting. Sit on only the edge of the chair, six inches in. Stare at the top of the plate. Request everything in a specific way. Have the menu memorized. Serve the upperclassmen. Don't speak unless you're utilizing the aforementioned request sequence.

It's been (ahem) several years and all of this seems like yesterday.

There was one other thing I remember vividly about lunches during Plebe year: grace.

Yup, the blessing of the food.

Because, in the midst of all this seriousness, we said grace.

Well, actually someone said it for us.

The Regimental Commander was quite the intimidating figure back then (as adults, we became friendly and I couldn't have been more proud when he was selected as a White House Fellow several years ago). He was tall and had a deep voice with an amazing accent that revealed his Haitian heritage.

He pretty much scared the crap out of me. But that's what he was supposed to do.

And everyday he would literally say grace. I found it hilarious. He yelled out so that every student in the dining hall could hear him, "GRACE! SEATS! Eat."

Never before had I considered saying grace as, you know, saying "grace."

I recount that story because not since then had I tittered at the blessing of food until Playette came along. She gets so much satisfaction out of it. She reaches out both hands to us (she sits at the head of the table and we're on either side), says whoknowswhat (hopefully, she's not praying that we'll choke on our Brussels sprouts) and then gives all of our connected appendages two pumps to the tune of "Ayyyy-Men."

We never know if this routine will occur before we eat or right in the midst of a mouthful.

And if that wasn't enough, she recently has acquired the habit of ceremoniously licking every finger before she reaches her hand out to be held. Usually it's on my side. Today BD got wet willied, too. It's so frickin' gross.

But I laugh every time.

Love her.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Three Things

1. Tricia was so kind as to share this video with me of Jamie Foxx and his sister, Diondra, (as well as others) at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show and fundraiser. How much would I have loved to have been there? A freakin' lot.

2. Gymnastics was slightly less awesome tonight as my child had a totally random and very rare accident of the #1 variety and then decided to top that feat moments later by spitting up some of her spaghetti dinner. At one point, she was walking around in a borrowed pull-up and a jacket because I didn't have any backup clothes because I'm cocky like that. Mom of the Year, ladies and gentlemen! Here I am. Right here.

3. Things went fine with my friend and the young man with Ds. I guess I didn't totally ruin everything, but my info didn't really end up coming into play this time. I was assured that he'd keep everything I shared in mind should the situation ever come up again. I hope you all can understand that I don't want to violate his trust by sharing any additional details. I just thought it was really cool that he asked me and found it heartwarming that all this advocacy is not always in vain.

Sometimes, it feels like I'm always talking to people that already know and understand everything I'm sharing, which is great because I totally need the support and validation, but...I also feel good knowing that people that don't have personal experience with Ds, especially people I haven't seen in many years, can get something from this as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ok, fine...

So maybe social networking is not totally evil. At least not all of the time.

Today, I received a message on the Book of Faces from a friend from college. He asked me my opinion regarding how he might handle a specific situation with a person with Ds in his professional life.

I couldn't have been more thrilled.

Seriously. I love answering questions.

Now, I don't think I'm the end all-be all when it comes to Ds. I don't know everything about everyone with 47 chromos, by far. But, I swear, it's nice to be asked. He didn't have to do that. It was respectful and genuine and that's the most I can ever ask for.

I took the time to think through my response, not wanting to do either him or the person with Ds a disservice. I thought about different scenarios. I weighed one possible situation versus another. And then I thought some more. And googled.

I probably gave him way too much information.

And when I finally sent what I had come up with, he responded. He told me that what I told him was pretty much in line with what he was thinking and that I gave him a few additional tips that may prove helpful.

I still can't help but think that I totally screwed that up because I am a pessimist at the core of my icy heart, but hopefully it all went fine.

I have to admit, if it weren't for FB or this blog, we may not have ever had that exchange.

So, fine. I give one up to the wide, wide world of web.

*shaking my fist ominously at the sky*

And now? There are some kids on my lawn that I need to go yell at.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In My Head

This is the first year that I can recall not being all stressed about trying to fulfill my 31-for-21 obligation to post every day in October. I think that may be because I'm not trying to make it all about Ds this year. And that's easier for me to do now because, as time has passed, that's become more of a side item in our dinner or life instead of the main course.

Ok, that was a little goofy, but you know what I mean.

There was a point where my life was all Ds, all the time. And not in a good way.

It was more like an overwhelmed, really sad, looking for a light at the end of the tunnel kind of way.

And I have to say, while our lives are now filled with more people and families that identify with Ds than ever before, it doesn't feel like too much.

It feels just right.

I love my friends with no children. I love my friends with typically developing children. I love my friends with children that came with a little something extra.

It's made my life rich, I think. I can't say "richer" for sure, because who can say, but rich fits just fine.

I like knowing that I'm not the only one wondering about Kindergarten placement.

I like being able to laugh at things our kids do only the way that parents who are "in the know" can.

I like answering questions from people that are asking because they care and really want to know what I think.

I like seeing my kid treated exactly like the others in the room, whether that's being fed, bathed, read to, or disciplined.

I like knowing, really knowing, that my child will never be left alone, even if I'm not here. She'll have someone.

That's really all that's on my mind tonight.

We had a regular day, doing regular things.

I don't feel particularly funny or eloquent or strongly about any singular topic tonight.

And that's totally working for me.


If y'all want me to expound on anything, speak up, 'k?

Before you know it, I'll be back in my weekly posting rabbit hole.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Giving In

I was going to wait to share Playette's costume until later in the week, but then I saw this photo that was taken yesterday at the festival we attended.

Resistance was futile.

She's too stinkin' cute to keep secret.

Check out our little peacock/butterfly.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sneak Peek

We took Playette to a party today. It was free to military families and gave us an excuse to try out her costume, so we indulged.

It didn't end up being as fun as the flier indicated, but it wasn't awful and we got some nice family time in. I figure that's better than passing out on the couch while watching crap on TiVo/college football, which mayyy be what we might do most fall Saturdays.

I'll never tell.

I freaking love her costume. Love, love, love. I claimed it last year after a friend had it on her daughter. We're no strangers to going green with the costumes. A couple of years ago, that same friend passed the insanely cute Nemo on to us and then we paid it forward to another friend. This year's costume already has a home for next year and I think that's great. Too bad women don't share wedding dresses the same way. Imagine all the money saved!

I love saving money. I will talk to anyone anytime about saving money. Trust.

Anyway, here's your peek. More to come as the big day approaches.

Hint: She thinks she's a butterfly. She's not.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Girls' Night In

BD went out to hang with some work folks tonight, so it was just me and the Littlest.

She ate spaghetti and then tossed some of it back up on the office carpet.

Good times, good times.

Thankfully, it got better after that.

There was some Dora watching and then I convinced her that a movie would be a good idea. She relented and after donning her pjs, we finally snuggled in on the couch and watched Tangled.

First magical thing of the night: She stayed awake the entire time, paid attention, and seemed to love it.

Second magical thing of the night: While walking her up to bed, she ALTERNATED HER FREAKING FEET ON THE STEPS!!! ALL THE WAY UP!!

Man, it's been a long time since we've have a bonafide big-ass milestone around here.

There's gotta be a technical term for this. Where's FNPT when I need her?

So I'm excited.

CAN YOU TELL?!?!?!?!

I don't really know how to calm down about this. I mean, I've never seen her do it. It's pretty flipping amazing. To me, at least. And that's perfectly ok.

I don't know when other kids do this kind of thing, whether they have 46 or 47 chromos, no matter.




All the while saying "left, right, left, right..."

Can you tell I'm proud?

I'm so stinkin' proud.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what having a kid with Ds gets you...

Insanely happy.

Everything happens. Just in its own time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Buddy Walkin'

On October 1st, we attended our very own local Buddy Walk. Imagine that, not having to travel by bus or plane! We didn't even have to drive more than about 10 minutes each way. Craziness.

It was the first day I remember really feeling like fall. And when I say that, I mean it was cold. I realized I had reached another weather milestone. Unlike when we were in The Land of No Seasons, it was going to go from oppressively hot to insanely cold. And I was going to have to learn how to deal with it. Bah.

I know. I'm a wimp.

So, yeah, Buddy Walk morning was brisk.

But it was gorgeous.

Playette got out of the car feeling nice and good.

She's on display, on display, on display.

We checked in, got our bag o' goodies and started with some face painting.

For some reason, Playette's ended up on her hand instead of her face. I'm not sure why I got hooked up and she didn't.

We didn't dwell on that mystery. Instead, it was off to the sidewalk chalk.

Not long after, it was time to start the actual walk. I really love the location of this Buddy Walk. It's scenic, central, and so many people come through there to walk dogs, have parties, work out, or to use the playground that I actually feel like that by having it there, some awareness is raised. People have to ask, "I wonder what's going on over there?" or "Who are all these people in matching shirts?" and I think that's really cool. I know that not every walk can be in a place like that, but it's nice that it can happen.

We did the mile-ish trek around the lake, checking out signs along the way that told stories of people with Ds of all ages. I had considered filling out the form so that Playette could have one, but I got a big, fat case of Something Shiny!Over There! and was distracted enough that I missed the deadline. Go, me.

When our loop was complete, we gorged on pizza and oatmeal pies.

Ok, maybe that was just me with the oatmeal pies, but still. Everyone else could have had some, too. They just need to learn to move quicker.

There was music throughout, with performances by cheerleaders and a dance team. We got to meet new peeps and spend time with friends. Playette also made sure to get her money's worth out of the bounce house.

Speaking of getting one's money's worth out of something...Sheree, if you're reading, please know that we squeezed every moment we could out of those shirts from last year. Both Playette and I were struggling to keep our navels covered. Now that's the mark of a good tee! Still useful and well-loved. We'll surely re-purpose those. Thank you, again. I wish we could be there with y'all again this year. Also? I totally wore those striped socks to the NYC Buddy Walk.

All in all, another great day. So great, in fact, that I came home and crashed for the rest of the night. Party animal. Woot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Playette doesn’t currently have any, but there’s always a lot of really interesting discussion going on around me about how people of all ages (must) feel about having a sibling with Ds.

Some believe it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them. They have joy beyond measure.

While others believe that it would be a pox upon their family for generations upon generations to even consider bringing a child with such a diagnosis into their home…for the sake of their existing or future children.

Personally, I haven’t ever felt like we would or would not have more children based on Playette’s diagnosis. It simply hasn’t been a factor for me. I don’t have expectations for another child of mine to one day be her caretaker, nor have I considered that having/bringing another child into our home would one day lead to resentment of either us or their sister. I don’t know if that makes me naïve or what. I’ve always - well at least after that first year of her life - felt that Playette would be able to one day do for herself. That’s the way we raise her. As if one day she will leave our cover and be her own person.

Shoot, we've got plans for 2025 and beyond. Grown-up plans.

Sometimes I wonder if other parents look at us in shock or disdain because we don’t do more for her, physically. As a first-time parent, I’m only doing what I think is best. Which means that I’m totally winging it.

So, yeah, I ask her to do as much for herself as I believe is realistic for her at that moment in time. Maybe one day I will discover that my expectations were too high. I guess I’m willing to take that chance. Again, it’s a personal philosophy based on how I, myself, was raised, combined with the input of BD, which is based on his experiences. Those were amazingly different, so we meet somewhere in the middle and have created The Smith-Smith Way. Which includes her taking off her own clothes and putting them in the hamper. You know, do as I say, not as I do. That kinda thing. One day, she's going to notice that I'm messier than she is.

But, I digress.

My point in addressing the sibling situation is that I wanted to talk a little bit about how this article made me feel.

In a nutshell, I liked it.

Even though, at age 27, Diondra is far from being Jamie’s older sister, as the article indicates.

Plus, a video would have been awesome. If anyone sees it somewhere, please let me know.

Maybe it’s because I’ve met them both (at different times) that I feel a teensy, itty bitty connection. It just feels like they have a great relationship and I love that. When we were in San Antonio last summer, I chatted with Diondra for a bit at the dance on Saturday night. I told her how I had seen her dance in his Blame It video and on an award show and she inspires me when it comes to thinking of my daughter’s future.

I remember how she placed her hand to her chest and lowered her head in that “Oh, stop, you’re too kind” way. After stepping away, I was told by a friend that she had been chatting with Jamie via Facetime on her iPad while he was in another country filming a movie. I remember wondering what they talked about. Was she telling him what a great time she was having? (Or that she was being stalked by this one weird mom, even?) Was he telling her to live it up and that he’d see her soon?

I’ll never know.

But what I didn’t notice was resentment or any sense of one being a burden on the other.

And I appreciated that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s That Time Again

I know it may seem early, but the hotel registration for the next NDSC Convention, to be held in Washington, DC, next July opened yesterday. I just booked our room. That’ll make four years in a row! (Sacramento, Orlando, San Antonio, DC-o)

So, trust me on this, you want to book your room(s) sooner than later. Already, the days are limited to Wednesday through Sunday. At least they were when I just was in the system. You may want to look into that further, especially if you’re planning a longer family trip to see all the sites and prefer to stay in a single hotel the entire time.

They are requiring a one-night deposit this year, most likely to keep people from booking and then canceling at the last minute as in previous years.

Bonus: It’s right by the National Zoo. Which is FREE, people. As all museums and zoos should be, said the girl from DC. There’s also Chipolte right on the corner. It’s a shame that I remember that, but still. There is.

So, jump on in! If you have a family member or friend with Ds, or you work/support people that have Ds, this is an overall great experience. There’s a TON of information and the general feeling of acceptance and being around thousands of people that “get it” is just…unmatched.

We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Times Square Video

I promised you a link and a link you shall have.

Here's a bit of what it's about, taken directly from the site:

"Every year, NDSS reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities through a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of the Times Square in New York City."

Click through for more details and to watch.

National Down Syndrome Society Times Square Video 2011

I tried to watch it again just now and I started tearing up. What is wrong with me?! I blame the music. I couldn't hear the soundtrack in Times Square.

Yes, I'm blaming an instrumental.

The video is about 19 minutes long. Our girl shows up at 8:35.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Snippet

Me: (while braiding her hair before her bath) Do you know I love you so much?

Playette: Yeah.

Me: Do you know what that means?

Playette: Yeah.

Me: What?

Playette: (paraphrased) It's a song.


This chick cracks me up.

While that's not what I meant because I was actually having a super mushy mama moment (where is my icy heart, anyway?), she's right about it being a song. I sing that to her a lot at night before bed. She loves it when I do.

Sidenote: I used to not like that song AT ALL. It's on this really annoying kid song cd that we have somewhere (hidden or lost, thank goodness).

But then, one day in the summer of 2010, on Lisa's blog, I heard her sing it to Sheridan right before he went in for open heart surgery and it totally changed my mind. Her voice and all the emotions of the moment replaced my memories of the other version and it came back to me with a brand new meaning. I actually wanted to sing it to my kid after that. So I did. Again and again and again. I don't think I ever told Lisa how much that touched me. Obviously, it did.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Needed This

Since (news flash!) it's Down Syndrome Awareness Month, there are lots of stories out there about people with Ds doing all kinds of things.

I think that's great.

But those aren't always my kind of stories.

I'm real wishy-washy on the homecoming court/non-defended touchdown type of stuff.

One video in particular that I saw recently, actually made me angry. Well, maybe frustrated is more fair. In a nutshell, it hyped the person with Ds up to be this amazing [fill-in-the-blank] and then when it was time to perform, I was confused, then disappointed, because what was promised wasn't what I saw.

I didn't think that was fair to me or the person with Ds.

I feel this way because I truly believe that people with Ds can do amazing things. Sure, maybe that person was having a bad day. That happens to everyone. But, if they're truly not THE MOST AMAZING WHATEVER, then let them be what they are. It's totally ok. No patronizing necessary. We're not all prodigies in everything. Shoot, sometimes I can't even walk across a room without tripping over my own feet.

So, in the vein of keeping it real, I give you...Addi. She's what I like to consider a breath of fresh air.

I had to come back and clarify my feelings for this video after reading Alison's comment. I can see now that I wasn't as clear as I could have been, originally.

Friday, October 14, 2011


It's nice to see a celebrity devoting some time and blog space to Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

I think that Tori Spelling's friend, Lisa, has a great attitude and I'm sure we'll hear more from her in the future.

Check out what she has to say, as well as pics of her cutie-newbie, Blake, here:

-->clicky clicky<--

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are you crossing the line?

On Tuesday, it was brought to my attention that I may want to consider setting my DVR to record yesterday’s episode of the medical information show, The Doctors.

Why? Well, they’d be talking about people with Ds who choose to have plastic surgery to change their much more obvious facial features to those that were considered more subtle. The goal would be to not be immediately identified as a person with an intellectual disability and perhaps then be afforded more opportunities or maybe even just be treated more like the average 46er. (Guessing these people haven't see this video of a woman getting taunted and beaten, but I digress.)

Ok. I understand the premise. I’ve heard of this type of surgery before, but there’s not a lot of information out there on people that have actually had the procedure(s) done. This is possibly because many of the patients are minors and/or it’s done in secret as to not bring attention to a surgery that was meant to defray such attention in the first place. I do recall seeing an article about a little girl in the UK a while ago. That’s about it though.

Really, it’s not about whether or not I agree with what people choose to do with their, or their children’s, faces. It’s not something I would do with my daughter. I can say that. As much as I wish we could keep her tongue from protruding, I'd much rather continue Oral Motor Therapy than clip it. I just don’t see the point.

Which brings me to the show.

I watched it last night thinking that there might be an actual debate. I thought that maybe they’d shed some light on the types of procedures people are having done, what the “success” rate is, or whatever. I wanted, and expected data. You know, actual medical information from a show built on providing medical information.


Ok, so the topic of the episode was “Are you crossing the line?”. They had several different segments that addressed people’s controversial cosmetic surgery choices, the last of which being the one that addressed Down syndrome.

I admit, I rolled my eyes a lot. There was way too much clapping. There was no debating like there had been in previous segments. It just seemed like, once again, the argument was that people with Ds are perfect and we can’t even TALK about things the way that other groups can.

Their faces remind people that they are different and that’s necessary because otherwise they wouldn’t get the help they might need*. (thunderous applause) People with Ds don’t need to try to be “normal”; “normal” people need to get with the program and accept people with Ds just the way they are.** (thunderous applause)

*But what about all the people with varying disabilities that don’t have Ds? Should they change their features to get help?

** Ok, fine. Yes. But what about the people who don’t agree? Let’s hear from them. Are there people who had it done and are happy with it? Show me. Or what about random audience members who have no Ds connection? Would they treat someone differently if they looked different?

Even Dr. Sears, who has a brother with Ds, said that his parents considered the surgery at one point, but opted not to go through with it.

He then went on to say,““We talk about trying to create normalcy,” Dr. Sears says. “But with Stephen, we could make him look normal on the outside, but he’s not normal on the inside.” (thunderous applause)


For a show that talks about Ds on occasion and has a sibling of a person with Ds on staff, you’d think that some People First Language would come into play. But, no. There was a lot of Down’s/Down syndrome babies/people this and that, plus way too much use of the word “normal” for my own personal taste.

Because, really, what is “normal”?

I learned nothing new from watching the episode so that was disappointing. Additionally, it felt very patronizing.

I’m not upset with the show because they chose to talk about a controversial topic. I mean, they didn’t even really dig deep into it or anything. Plus, they didn’t create the surgery; they just brought the information forth. But, blah.

I did enjoy seeing Gail and Blair Williamson on screen though. Gail was the catalyst for our participation in the I’m Down with You project and her son, Blair, is an accomplished actor.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I didn't think it was possible, but...

It got better.

Just when I thought gymnastics couldn't possibly entertain me any more (see: "triangle roll" from last week), I paid the registration fee and we were promptly given this to change Playette into:


Wednesdays are hereby declared as the most awesome-est.

Dude. Seriously. Just for the uniform alone.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Ride Home

Today was unique in that BD and I didn't carpool. Also, I got to drive the nicer car. The one with satellite radio. That really, really helps with the commute.

And my swag. I am much more fly when I drive the car. It's been scientifically proven.

Before I got in the car this afternoon to head home, I saw that my friend had mentioned on Facebook that one of Playette's favorite shows was acknowledging Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I made a mental note to turn to Kid's Place Live as soon as I started my drive.

It doesn't bug me to listen to that station, even when Playette's not around. I've caught myself on a few occasions singing along before I realized that I, as an adult, did not have to listen to "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for Your Eyes" for the 1700th time. Even when I have the option to switch it off, I sometimes stick around because, honestly, I kinda like it. Or, at least, I'm not horribly annoyed.

With that said, I was really anticipating hearing what the host had to say today of all days.

Right after I started the car, I heard her ask for callers who knew someone with Ds. Maybe a sibling? A friend? Or even yourself? What could you share with the audience about that person?

I figured I had a few minutes before the responses started coming in, so I switched to something more adult-friendly for a bit.

When I came back, I heard a little girl's voice. She was talking about her brothers. One of them with Ds.

What was most interesting to me about this scenario was that I recognized their names. And then I recognized hers. She was the daughter of my friend several states away. The friend whose announcement led me to turn to the show in the first place.

This little girl talked about what her older brother liked for a few moments and then she said something that has stuck with me all evening:

"He's the same and we love him."

I think that's what it's all about, peeps.

We're the same in that we're all unique. Every one of us brings something to the table of life. Whether one has 46 or 47, their life matters.

And we all need people to love us.

Thank you, Kit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Take Two

And here shall follow another post that proves that 31 for 21 doesn't have to include all Ds-related posts all the time. Because this one here? All about me.

Yes, again.

I'm pretty sure I only have 46 chromos, but no one's ever checked. Who's to say I'm not one of those people that doesn't find out until later in life? Ya never know.

So, today was one of those rare, awesome days that BD and I have off from work and Playette still has school. That almost never happens.

We got up and tag-teamed her right out the door before deciding that maybe a walk would be nice. And then when we were half-way home, I got the genius idea to...double the distance. Good grief. I just couldn't leave well enough alone, huh? It wasn't one of those situations where you could just change your mind mid-way either. I added a circle. A really, really big circle. With no short-cuts. One we started, that was it. We had to finish.

When we got home, I raced to shower because...

1. I had a massage appointment! Woohoo! It was the result of what I like to call the Summer of Groupon. I bought so much crap, I swear. And now we are in the Autumn of Using Everything Up Before it Expires.

Then I did something not nearly as fun. I went to sign Playette's IEP. Booooo. I got annoyed and kinda lost my zen-like state.

2. But then I went and got cookies! The local bakery that is known for its workforce of people with disabilities was right next door to the offices, so I just had to go. You know, in the name of Ds Awareness Month and all. I'm all about doing my part.

I got home and watched a little TV with BD, ate some lunch, and...

3. Went to get my hair done! (I hope you're all yelling appropriately when you see these exclamation points. This is exciting stuff.) The experience itself was less-than-awesome, other than the hair washing part - I love that, but the results were just what I needed. See, lately, I've been doing what I like to call the Lazy Brush-Over. I just kinda do the top of my hair. Whatever goes on underneath remains a mystery. Until I go to comb it and it takes 30 minutes of pain-inducing raking. It's a mess and I bring it on myself. With that in mind, I decided to get it temporarily straightened using a blow-dryer and scalp-scalding temperatures. I should have taken a before pic, but even I'm not that brave. Just know that it was an afro on it's best day and then remember all I mentioned about not combing it. Then make that picture in your mind 10 times worse. That was me.

And this is me now:

It's not flashy or glam, but I can get a comb through it. That's huge. And I'm good until it rains or I sweat. That equals about 12 hours, I'm thinking.

I attempted to have BD take the pics so it wouldn't be me doing goofy self-portraits in the bathroom mirror, but my husband and I had some creative differences. No worries. I love him for more than his picture taking abilities, thank goodness.

I still have my San Antoni-toes, but hey...I got a lot accomplished today. I'll get that pedicure in there sometime soon. That's a promise.

And I won't post pictures.

Well, maybe I won't.

Don't be mad. I have some pretty k-a feet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Another glorious day here, weather-wise. I did my best to soak some of that up because, before you know it, I'll be complaining about the cold.

Auntie left this morning and Playette was none too happy about it. She had her backpack donned and was all ready to go with her. She wouldn't even say goodbye at first. Poor chile.

Shortly thereafter, I began the Quest of Failed Self-Improvement.

BD dropped me off at the hairdresser, but I got tired of waiting, so he came back to get me before I ever got started.

Later, I decided that maybe a pedicure would make me feel better about myself. So I drove to the shop only to find it was closed.

I am still just as much of a mess as I was when I woke up this morning.

In the middle of all of that somewhere, I decided to check in on the TMR boards.

Because, you know, it's been a while.

I don't know what I expected, really. I think that I'm probably still naive enough at times to believe that, generally, people are more informed. That, regardless of whatever choice they make for themselves and their family, they're doing it with the total of the info available to us in 2011.

Just so you know...that's not the case.

I read a lot of ignorant stuff today about children, people, with Ds. Stuff that people really and truly believe. Some of which was delivered to them on a silver platter by medical professionals so it must be true.

At one point, I looked up from reading and directed my gaze three feet down the couch at my daughter.

I wanted to keep an open mind while doing so.

I wanted to see if she was, in fact, suffering and maybe in my own selfishness I hadn't noticed.

I wanted to see if the feeling of her being a burden washed over me.

I wanted to check for every serious medical issue that some of those posters affirmed would occur with every single child with Ds ever born.

And you know what?

I just didn't see it.

I did see a four-year-old girl smiling back at me, in anticipation of whatever I might say or do next.

Her white shirt was stained by the red juice she had had earlier. Her socks were just begging to be pulled off and thrown on top of the shoes she had already discarded on the living room floor. She had an excited little bounce to her, as she usually does.

She was just the way I thought she was before I had started reading.

Happy and healthy and just where she belongs.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


That's what's been yelled all through the house since yesterday evening when BD's sister arrived for a visit.

Playette could not be more thrilled. She gets a playmate and gifts? What could be better?

We went out to dinner last night and then, this morning, when Playette woke up...something was different.

BD and I were still in the bed. And we could hear her. But it didn't sound like she was next door.

Apparently, instead of providing us with her patented wake-up alert of "Mommy! Daddy! Potty!" she decided to quietly slip downstairs and wake her Auntie up.

Well. Hmph.

I'm ok. Really.

No, really. Sleeping in was awesome.

Once we were all up and dressed, we went grocery shopping in preparation for a fantastic dinner that I'm shocked hasn't put me to sleep by now. Barbecue ribs in the crock pot, jalapeno corn bread, pumpkin cupcakes. *swoon*

While everything simmered and prepped, Playette and Auntie battled it out on the living room rug.

After that, the grown ladies went for a walk to enjoy the gorgeous day we had here while BD stayed behind to yell at the TV some more and Playette took a short nap.

We were going to wrap things up with a viewing of Tangled, but...TiVo ate it. Or something. Not that we couldn't watch a million other things, but my heart was kinda set on that.

And, y'know, it's all about me. *eyeroll*

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Rest

So, remember that whole trip to NYC for the Buddy Walk?

Well, when our fun-filled Saturday was over, we still had most of Sunday to spend in the city.

After, once again, housing the breakfast buffet, we headed out. We had decided that we'd keep the day pretty Playette-centric.

First stop, FAO Schwarz.

It was a long walk from our hotel to there, so it was a welcome surprise to come across a market all down 6th Avenue. We stopped at a couple of places, drooled over some of the food being sold (only not partaking because we had just eaten) and ended up with new sunglasses for the bigger two of us. Five dollar bucks for mine. And they're cute. Score!

We eventually made it. I was whooped. Playette was rearing to go.

Check her out. This makes me laugh. "Dreeessss. Dreeessss. Dress! Cheese. (strike a pose)"

I have no idea who taught her that little pointed toe move, but she likes it. A lot.

Once we moved past the dresses, I just kept the camera rolling because she was funny to watch as she explored.

Don't worry. I went back and put everything back.

When I found my fam again, they were here:

Playette and I got down to our socks right after this and did some horrible big piano playing of our own for a while.

We thought about purchasing the floor model for the low, low price of $250K, but decided that eventually owning a home might be the more fiscally responsible option.

We are such dillhole killjoys.

To get the festive mood back, we played around some more before heading over to Rockefeller Plaza to tour an exhibit on education...

(I couldn't resist the scramble board.)

...back to Times Square for a Thai food lunch, people watching...

...and, finally, the pièce de résistance:

My little cell phone camera does this lighted mammoth no justice. Playette was excited as we stood in line (translation: she thought she was too good to wait and tried to bust ahead) and quickly pointed out the car with "Lala" on it.

That stumped us. We kept looking and looking, seeing Dora, well, nowhere.

Finally, I spotted her. Way up at the top, in the tiniest corner of a Nickelodeon-themed car. I can't believe this kid is supposed to need glasses. She wasn't wearing any at the time. Hm.

So, lucky us, for the next 15 minutes, we got to hear "Lala! Lala!"

And of course it's first come, first served. You can't just want "Lala" and get her.

I felt really bad by the time we boarded and missed it by one. She had to watch "Lala" go round and round in front of us the entire time. Womp, womp.

BD and I were ok with what we got though. What self-respecting child of the 80s wouldn't want to rock the Mystery Machine?! I mean, really.

They got a really cute picture of all of three of us in the ride, but, would have cost more than our lunch so...sorry.

It was another great day. We left there, grabbed our bags from the hotel, I went to get some bagels to bring home, we boarded the bus, and actually had a really decent ride back home.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Now that's it's a week past our local Buddy Walk, I hope I can get that in sometime soon, before we head to our third and final for the year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Oughta Know

  • I'm playing that song in the background as I type this.

  • I like lots of different types of music.

  • I didn't appreciate my kid this time four years ago.

  • Now I can't get enough of her.

  • I was afraid and couldn't fight through that or the sadness. For way longer than I even realized until after it was over.

  • I know now that I'm not alone in having felt that way.

  • I wish I had known then.

  • I hope someone else, who really needs to know, knows now.

  • I love the way that my daughter calls Dora "Lala" but then when you try to correct her and get her to pronounce it correctly, she says "d-d-d-d-Dora." It cracks me up every time.

  • I'm still not sure how I feel about going back to work.

  • That's not true. I know how I feel. I just don't know what I'm willing to do about it yet.

  • Now I'm listening to Kurtis Blow.

  • I love my friends.

  • I wonder what my mother would think of me today.

  • I really don't want to have to move again soon (destination: unknown), but I'll be more than ready to leave by then.

  • It's not the people, it's the place.

  • Except Sonic. And Chick-fil-A. And the beach. I like those parts.

  • I really, really don't like Facebook anymore. Surprisingly, it's not because of whatever changes they just made. I don't even really know what happened because I usually only check it from my phone.

  • I miss when people used to call me on the telephone. I actually like the telephone.

  • krlr, you should totally email me. My address is to the right of this post somewhere.

  • I really like beans but BD doesn't, so I had to turn my big batch into chili so that we'd both be happy.

  • That's love, y'all.

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    The New Definition of Wednesday

    In a word: Exhausted.

    Hopefully, it'll ease up some, but today I am D-O-N-E.

    For a couple of Wednesdays in September, I took Playette to a gymnastics class that I learned about early in the summer. Well, actually my friend B told me about the sign that she saw in her neighborhood and I gave them a call. Previously, they had hosted a Special Olympics Young Athletes (ages 2-7) class and I wanted to know if that was still available.

    While I am totally on-board with inclusive practices, I am also realizing that certain adaptive activities certainly have merit. I'm all about having options, y'know? I like the ability to make the best choice for my kid. When people take that away from you? It's called discrimination. And I kinda have a problem with that.

    So, add that to the fact that the Young Athletes class was free and I was sooooo in.

    Except it wasn't going on anymore. Boo. Not enough participation, apparently.

    But the lady was really nice and told me that she wanted to work with children with special needs again and that she'd make a decision by the time school started. When she did, she'd call me back.

    And she actually did.

    Not going did not feel like an option.

    Add to that the fact that she comped September as a trial and Playette loved it and...we're now a gymnastics family.

    It just makes for what currently feels like a really long day.

    I haven't been sleeping well this week, so when we got home after five, BD and I rushed to figure out what to make ourselves for a later dinner while thanking the babysitter profusely for taking on the task of feeding Playette something extremely quick and nutritious so that we could get back out the door in time.

    I've been late to this class once already. I don't want it to happen again.

    The instructor is Bela Karolyi-esque. She doesn't mess around.

    So with the rushing and the cooking and the eating and the actually having to participate in the class to help Playette and the non-stop yawning and then home, bath, and bed...I am so ready to eat and pass out myself.

    Tomorrow will be quieter.

    And our Littlest loves the class. She's about as graceful as a rhino and she rolls like a triangle, but we're all smiling throughout, so I call it a success.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Mama's Little Techie

    We pondered the iPad thing for a long, long time.

    To get or not to get?

    I mean, I knew it was helpful for a lot of people, kids included, but let's face's an investment. And Playette is four. And four can be quite destructive.

    Once I realized, though, that this would benefit all of us and her educational apps would just be a really nice bonus on top of a pretty cool gadget, I relented.

    And then, because I'm super tight with a dollar, we still waited a long time after that before actually taking the plunge.

    I must say, I like it.

    Mind you, both BD and I have iPhones and we have plenty of fun/educational stuff on those for Playette to partake in, but the larger screen? Eeeeeee!

    Still totally a want. I get that. Trust.

    But check this out.

    I've loved this app since seeing Miss G show her stuff in a video that my friend Tricia made. Playette gets a real kick out of it, so of course it was transferred over promptly.

    Check out how she signs and just really enjoys herself while playing.

    (Really, anyone know if she's signing "flag" and "pumpkin" here or is it something else entirely? I know she threw deer in there when she saw the picture of one, even though it wasn't the word that was requested.)

    If it weren't for this experience, I don't know that she'd currently recognize items like "harp" and "globe" and some of the other truly funky non-kid-ish words in the program that are totally escaping my brain right now. I mean, I know she'd get them sometime, she just wouldn't have them right now.

    And her exclamation of "Awesome!"....Oh Em Gee. Love it.

    By the way, it's the Receptive app under

    If you have other apps that you recommend, I'd love to hear about them.


    You know what? She may actually be signing "Hopkins", the name of the frog from Signing Time and not "pumpkin." There's that rhyming thing again!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Buddy Walkin': NYC Part II

    First off, HI, ZOE!

    Or do you spell it with a "y"?

    If so...HI, ZOEY!

    Zoe(y) is the nice lady we meet right after walking up the hill to the lovely home base of the NYC Buddy Walk and wandering just a bit. She was there as a volunteer, meant to assist folks just like us who needed some direction.

    But what was so unique about this direction-giver is that she recognized us.

    Wha?! Little ol' us?

    Yup, Zoe(y) reads along here and I really wish I would have taken more time to talk to her then. Since I didn't, I hope this salutation helps to show that you're appreciated. Thank you not only for joining us in our journey, but also for all you do to support the Ds community.

    Pretty quickly after that chance meeting, we were able to get all registered and shirted up. The six of us were all part of Team Signing Time, so that meant Playette got to meet up with her idol right away since it was almost time to take a group photo.

    They are just too cute.

    We even had the good fortune of meeting Rachel's family. Here's Playette with her three daughters, Laura, Leah, and Lucy.

    The look on The Littlest's face is her realizing that she's not, in fact, Signing Time's one and only love.

    Playette followed Rachel/Signing Time around a lot. So much so that by the time we looked up (and had finished some popcorn and cotton candy, natch), we had missed the start of the actual walking part of the walk. So, the group of us rushed over to the starting point, hoping that we'd figure the path out somehow. Good thing it didn't turn out to be too difficult after all. Plus, the mob moved slow enough that we caught up pretty quickly.

    I loved taking in the sites of Central Park. All of the runners made me want to run. It's just such a pretty place in the middle of the big city. It's hard for me not be awe-struck at least once during every trip.

    BD was carrying Playette in a backpack while we strolled and she made good use of her time by passing out about 3/4 of the way through the loop.

    She woke up in time to get her medal at the finish line though. Check her out, nice and refreshed!

    Which was a good thing. Because it was time for the Signing Time performance.

    It was wonderful, as expected. Rachel even called out to Playette a couple of times from the stage, which, surprisingly, didn't make her head explode right then and there.

    She did have the idea, though, that she belonged on that stage, so I had to go grab her back from trying to do just that at least twice during the concert.

    Leah performed with Rachel for most of the show and then Lucy came in for the last song. Which, um, had me bawling.

    Couldn't. Help it.

    Great, great, great time. We enjoyed it so much, we already have plans to see another concert again very soon.

    To keep the momentum going - I think we were all ready to celebrate that the promised rain failed to make even a teensy appearance - the DJ got to work.

    My girl loves to bust a move. It's almost like she's challenging BD to a battle at one point in here.

    There was lots more move busting and snack eating before we realized that, as usual, we were among the last people there. We know how to shut down a party, yo. We left to the sound of balloons being popped for clean-up.

    The rest of the evening was spent noshing on noodles here and slurping on sundaes there.

    We even had a Nina Garcia spotting.

    All in all, a great day.

    Thank you so much to the SkaSka's for joining us!

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Oh, by the way...

    I promise to post the follow-up to the last post tomorrow, but I wanted to say a couple of other things first. Before I forget. As I am prone to do.

    1. Have any questions for me about life with Playette? Down syndrome in general? Virtually anything? Please don't hesitate. Ask! I'm pretty transparent. And chatty.

    2. Feel inspired to share some thoughts with everyone? In past years, I've welcomed guest posters and this year will be no different. So, if you've learned something here or had some kind of flipping epiphany? Tell us. Shoot, I'm curious.

    3. I'd love to hear from more of you, in general. No full post required. If you're a more silent follower, please consider letting me know this month that you're out there. Just pop your head in somewhere or wave your virtual hand in the air. I'd love to know your here and maybe find out a little more about you.

    I think that's it for now. I need to take my tired self to bed. I think I'm grown and called myself going to the movies with BD. At 7:15 pm. On a work night. I must be nutty. We even stopped for a bite to eat.

    Party animals, I tell you.

    I'll be kicking myself in the morning.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Buddy Walkin': NYC Part I

    Oh, yes. It's me again. I'm crazy back.

    This whole working in an office - well, hopefully untainted trailer - thing? It's pretty draining. And hostile. But that's a post for another day.

    And days are something I have plenty of, actually.

    Because it's October.

    Yes, already!

    Today marks day one of Down syndrome awareness month.

    And with that comes one of my favorite ways to celebrate and advocate: 31 for 21.

    Grab This Button

    I've been doing this for a while now. I'm thinking since I started blogging back in 2008. The way it works is that I, along with many other bloggers, commit to writing every day in October (31 days) in a show of solidarity and support for those with Trisomy 21 (Ds results from having three of 21st chromosome).

    If you're interested in joining in, go see Tricia and sign up. You only need a blog, not a direct connection to Ds.

    Even though if you're reading here? Allow me to be your secondary connection. I've checked with Playette and she's cool with that.


    So, my first post is so late. Of course. But right on time for this effort, which means my procrasti-fatigue paid off in a way. I kept meaning and meaning to write, but with so much to say and photos and videos (which you all totally deserve after a pretty desolate September around these parts), I knew it would take time that I just didn't have.

    But I got up early today. Just for you. We have our local Buddy Walk this morning, but there's still plenty of time before that. I went to bed at like 9:30 last night so getting up at 6:30 felt like sleeping in and that I better go do something productive already.

    Since milking a cow was not an option, here I am.

    Last week was an adventure. For anyone that follows me on Twitter, you got a bit of a participation explosion from me last Friday night. Why?


    What seemed like a semi-good idea in the beginning turned out to be a version of torture for me. I mean, logistically, it made sense. We wanted to go to NYC for the Buddy Walk. Rachel Coleman was performing.

    [I kinda like seeing my kid lose her ish for Rachel. And then when she gets extra-stalkery, I have to step in, but still. She loves her some Rachel and Signing Time.

    Actually, she doesn't call Rachel by name anymore. She calls her "Signing Time." Which would be rude if it wasn't so damn funny to watch her do. Actually, it is still rude, bur Rachel's very, very cool about it.]

    Since moving from California, almost anywhere on the east coast seems close. Because we're not a country away from it, right?


    New York is not close. Trust me. And the drive to get there from here is painfully boring.

    And that's why paying someone else to drive us there sounded positively brilliant! Because, hey, we'd leave at midnight, a mile from our house, we'll save money in the end between gas/tolls/parking/wear & tear on the car, we'll surely just wake up, fully-rested, a few blocks from our destination. What could be better?!

    The answer is: a plane. A plane would be better.

    A plane doesn't take 6.5 hours. A plane would have only cost $30 more per person. A plane doesn't freak you out by taking you the wrong way in the middle of the night. A plane doesn't make that rumprumprump sound that scares you out of your 3 minute nap because the only time you should hear that is when approaching a toll or running off the road and YOU'RE NOWHERE NEAR A TOLL BOOTH!

    Yeah, I was grumpy. And because the last rider had spilled coffee in the seat next to BD, Playette was with me most of the time and she was a slightly less than stellar riding companion. Apparently, between the two of us, one of us needed to stand watch, so, as the "adult", I took one for the team. Yay, me. With no sleep, I was a flippin' peach when we finally disembarked in front of the peep show behind Old Navy.

    Classy, I know. You're totally jellus.

    I must mention the other reasons we decided to go. Some of our friends have an 18-month-old who also loves Signing Time and since they live in NY, we'd be able to enjoy the day with them. Plus, Central Park just sounded like an awesome place to have a Buddy Walk.

    Aaaand, Playette's picture was chosen for the NDSS video in Times Square.

    Had to be there. Had to.

    Don't know about the video? Here's a clip from the official press release:

    "The photo...was selected from over 1,200 entries in the NDSS worldwide call for photos. Over 200 photographs will appear in the video, which will be shown on the larger-than-life MTV plasma screen, located in the heart of Times Square."

    Yeah, we had lots of reasons to go.

    And, honestly, after that bus ride, things got much better.

    We got our bags and walked the short distance to the hotel. Playette was thrilled to get her land legs back and had a ball zipping down the clean and mostly-empty city streets. She did find it necessary to point out to me the people that were sleeping though. I wasn't quite ready to explain homelessness.

    When we got to the hotel, they had a room ready (bless them!) and extended the breakfast buffet to us (totally not required, but greatly appreciated). Grateful, we hustled upstairs and took naps before waking up, getting dressed in our gear courtesy of Sheree, housing the buffet, and walking to Times Square.

    When we got there, we immediately picked out our peeps, posted up underneath the large screen with the gold frame around it that reminded me of the mirror my mother loved so much when I was in high school and college and that I kept in my own home for many years.

    Yup, right between T.O. and LaLa. That was the spot. Superstah!

    I took that last picture on Sunday though. Because on Saturday, I was too busy running my mouth to all the people around us like Ben's family, out celebrating his first birthday in full force, and Jewel's whole group of Gems. They really came out to represent for those kids and I loved seeing how much support they had.

    I'm doing some thinking right now and choosing not to write it for the world to read, but if I didn't write something in this space, I'd be mad at myself. Infer whatever you wish. How's that?


    The video lasted about 20 minutes and Playette showed up right in the middle, with her cute self. I was riveted the entire time because I could not, for the life of me, remember which photo I had submitted, so I was freaking out that maybe I'd miss her. Really? I thought I wouldn't recognize my kid? I'm such a wack sometimes.

    When the video is available online, I'll share the link.

    If my mother were alive, I probably would have gotten popped right in Times Square for submitting a picture of Playette sitting so unladylike. Oops. Still adorbs though, right? I promise to keep her out of clear heels, 'k, Ma?

    Our friends arrived just as the first showing of the video was wrapping up, so we watched the second one, too, before heading to the buses that would take us to the main event.

    This seems like the perfect place for a cliffhanger, soooo...

    Stay tuned for Part II!

    And, if you're so inclined, any donations to any Buddy Walk are tax deductible. If you go to one in your area, let me know. They're fun. We went to three last year and will do the same this year.

    If you work for the Feds, both NDSS and NDSC are listed to receive CFC contributions.