Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Off and running through another week. I hope all of you up North are staying warm. If it is cold here, that means it must be freezing everywhere else!

Yesterday, I had to go shopping for all the things the girls will need this week for school-party supplies, not school supplies, mind you. Allison and Rachel need party favors and Leah needs candy for their parties on Friday. The fact that I had to go shopping, meant I had to go to Target. I have a love/hate relationship with that store. I love their stuff, but cannot seem to walk out of there without spending too much money and wasting too much time. My neighbor and I call it going into the "Target Zone." I spent 1 1/2 hours in there and spent $100-ugh! I did save 10% with my coupon though ;-).

Today started out COLD! I know that 50 degrees is not cold for most of you, but here, we freeze when the temp gets below 60 degrees. Today when we got up, it was 50 and very windy. The windy made it feel quite chilly. Thank goodness I was able to pick up some coats for the girls at Target yesterday! Allison has not had a coat for the last year. She went through all last winter wearing a fleece jacket. Some days it was just barely enough, so this year she has a new coat. (coat in Florida terms is actually just a little more than a fleece jacket)

I was field trippin' again this week. Fortunately, this trip was to a local restaurant and not the lagoon this time. This was Rachel's trip. The kids went to Carraba's (sp?) and got to try their hand at making pizza, meatballs, and salad. They seemed to have a pretty good time. Rachel was really scared of the flames at the grill and would not even look in the direction of the chef when he was cooking the chicken, but she enjoyed the pizza dough, and her favorite part was getting to eat the food when they were done. Below are some pictures of Rachel's trip.

Rachel gets off the school bus. She really seemed to be excited about getting to ride the bus!
Rachel wears her homemade chef hat. I finally have a picture of her wearing her glasses. She will not keep them on at home, she she wears them mostly at school.

Rachel puts on her apron. Now she is ready to cook.
Rachel works with the pizza dough. This was by far the kids favorite spot in the kitchen. Notice Rachel is not wearing her glasses anymore. She took them off just a few minutes prior to this picture and threw them in the floor.

Rachel's class poses with the chefs who showed them around the kitchen. They were soooo nice to all of us. I could not believe how patient they were with the kids and how they really seemed to enjoy showing the kids around.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Down Syndrome Buddy Walk 2008

We made it to the Buddy Walk this morning. It was broken overcast the first of the morning, but no rain. It was the standard warm and very muggy weather that has come to be the norm for the walk. It was great to get to visit with everyone. We also bumped into an amazing family I had heard about on the internet. They live about an hour North of us. They have taken on the challenge of adopting children with DS from places like the the Ukraine. In a lot of countries, these children are still placed in institutions with very little stimulation. This family has adopted two children with DS so far (I believe they have two biological children one of which has DS) and are actively trying to locate more families to adopt these special little ones. After the walk the girls got their faces painted, rode the ponies, petted lots of animals and played on the playground. Just as the festivities were winding down, the rain moved in. We got pretty wet walking back to the car. Thank goodness I had remembered to take the umbrellas along with us.

The girls just before the start of the walk.

Rachel in the bouncy.
Butterfly girls. They love the face painting, but I dread when they have to wash it off this evening.
Petting the pot-bellied pig. I had no idea their hair was soooo coarse. He was so cute!
Allison finally gets to ride a horse after having to watch Rachel ride every Saturday.
Rachel didn't have to go two weeks without getting to ride after all. She was a bit confused when she made one loop around and had to get off. You could see she was thinking that it was not long enough.
Leah gets her turn.
Rachel gets to swing in a big girls swing.

The rain begins to really come down on the way to the car. Of course it stopped as soon as we got to the car.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I forgot to mention that Mike returned from his cross country trek this week. He left on Thursday the 16th, leaving Melbourne around 2:00pm EDT on a commercial plane. He arrived in Portland, OR around 2:00am EDT. Friday morning he got in the company plane and started his trek back across the country in a small plane. He stopped in Boise, ID; Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; St. Louis, Mo; Nashville, TN; and Huntsville, AL. For those friends that we have in those areas, I just want to let you know that if he had been in the area for more than a few hours, he would have contacted you, but unfortunately he did not get a chance to stay more than a couple of hours in most places. He finally arrived back in Melbourne around 9:00pm EDT on Wednesday the 22nd. Thursday he got up and had to fly down to Vero Beach, but that is just 45 minutes away, so he was back home on Thursday evening. After his busy week, he says that he is going to stay home this weekend and not go in to work. We will see if he can stick to that. Below are some pictures that Mike took on his trip this past week.

I would certainly not want to go across the country in something this small!
Snow topped mountains. I would get Mike to tell you where this is, but after so many days of traveling he doesn't know either.
This was taken in Oregon. Mike says it is Mt. Hood. I would love to get out there sometime to see the sites.
Mike's requisite self portrait. He is really stylin' with the nasal cannula!!

Week of Goofy

Wow!! I cannot believe that it is Friday already. This week just zoomed by. Monday I volunteered for Allison's teacher. Fortunately, that was short and sweet. Tuesday, I was busy washing and folding clothes. It was the only day I had to get that done. Wednesday I was back at Suntree to volunteer for Allison's teacher. She gave me a "simple" task of sorting the class T-shirts and putting them in the kids' mailboxes. I was thinking I could handle that quickly. I was wrong! I put all the shirts in the mailboxes, only to discover that I had not noticed that there were youth mediums and adult mediums. Okay, easy enough to fix, right? Just go through the 23 mailboxes and find the mediums. That would have been easy if a kid had not gone home sick while I was there. I gave him his shirt before he left, but not before I discovered there were two sizes of medium. After going through all the mailboxes and not finding the adult medium I was missing, I assumed I sent it home with the sick kid. I called his mom and left a message for her to call me back. At that point, I came home to do some things around the house. When the mom called about two hours later, she told me her son had the right size shirt..........back to Allison's school, back through all 23 mailboxes again, no medium adult shirt to be found. The teacher and I came up with plan B to get a T-shirt to every kid.

I thought I was done with the school for the day. I was wrong again. The teacher happened to bump into the assistant principal and decided I needed to help him too. I ended up having to count out a couple of hundred papers and distribute them into the teachers' mailboxes. The teacher also decided that I needed to bring in a cooler to her classroom before school was out. I had volunteered to bring a cooler for the field trip the next day, but nowhere had I been informed that the teacher wanted the cooler at school the day before the field trip (I could have taken it one of the two times I had already been up there that day!).

After stuffing the teachers' mailboxes, I ran to get Rachel at her school. She and I ran home and grabbed a bite to eat and ran back to the school with the cooler. Then, we ran to the pediatrician to get Rachel a flu shot. When I first discussed this with the doctor, she stated that we did not need to make an appointment, but when I called to check to see if they had the vaccines available, they told me I needed an appointment-that costs me a $20 copay for an office visit. From there, we had to hurry home because the big girls were already home from school. I had given Allison the garage door opener when I ran back to school with the cooler. I told her that I probably would not be home from the pediatrician when they got home, but I would be home soon after that. I told her to just get her and Leah into the house and get started on their homework. Well, when I called home to see that they had made it into the house, no one answered. So I called next door and found out they were there, thank goodness. It turns out that on the way home from school, Allison dropped the garage door opener and the batteries fell out. She did not get them back in there correctly, so the she could not get the door opened. Note to self, next time give her a key!

Thursday I went on a field trip with Allison's class. It was to the Indian River Lagoon. The kids got to seine in the lagoon and take water quality tests. It brought back memories from my marine science days! It was a lot of fun. The class caught a HUGE puffer fish, two pipe fish, some juvenile fish that I have no idea what they were.......so much for those marine science memories.......and two of the tiniest seahorses I have ever seen. It was cloudy, windy and cool, but getting in the water was not too bad and it only rained on us a little. All in all it was a fun trip.

Today I had to go in for a follow up mammogram. I went in a couple of weeks ago, and they thought they saw something suspicious. Today I did another mammogram and an ultrasound. The doctor said it looked benign, but he wants me to come back in for another mammogram in three months just to be safe. This afternoon, the girls have had friends over to play. The girls are sisters that are Allison's and Leah's ages. They have played pretty well together, so maybe we will do it again. Tomorrow is the Buddy Walk, but it is supposed to rain. I am not sure if I will go if it is raining. I have done that before, but I am just not up for that this year. They neighborhood is also having a Halloween party at the playground and the girls are having a fit to put on their costumes and go to that. Below are some pictures from this week.
Rachel works on riding her tricycle. She is not happy here becasue she is saying "done" and I am saying just a little bit more.
Rachel's new favorite thing is the Leapster game, the Letter Factory. She may actually be learning some of her letters and letter sounds.
This is what happens when the kids get their hands on the camera and are in a silly mode.

Allison's field trip.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We've Got Style!

We got through this morning on schedule. I could not believe we made it! I reminded the kids that today was the day to wear red-for the Just Say No To Drugs Week at school. Fortunatley, Allison did not want to wear red. I actually don't think she owns anything red!! Leah said she wanted to change her outfit, so she picked out a red outfit and I ironed it for her. Then she decided that she did not want to wear the red shirt. I said that was fine, but I did not know that she intended to wear the red skirt with the brown shirt (with pink polka dots) from the first outfit. I suggested she not mix and match the outfits, but she would have none of that. Below is a picture of her as she headed out of the house this morning. The picture doesn't do the outfit justice. Oh yeah, the socks are light purple. She is my little fashionista!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

End of Another Weekend

Time to start another week. Mike had to go out of town on Thursday and won't be home again until the end of this week, but the girls and I had a pretty good weekend. Friday evening Leah and Allison went over to the neighbors to swim for a little bit. When they came home Leah wanted to eat out on the back porch, because she was still in her swimsuit and was cold in the house. I said okay to that. Then she decided we need candles on the table. So.....we ate our pizza and bread sticks (fresh from our grocery freezer) by candlelight on the back porch.

Saturday was horseback riding for Rachel. She is so loving it!! I am glad that she likes it so much, because it is supposed to be really good for strengthening the muscles in her trunk. She is now giving the horse commands when prompted by the volunteers, and she is somewhat participating in the warm up exercises they do. Throughout the week, she is now saying, "Horsey?" after which follows "Ride?" When I tell her that it is not her day to ride she pouts. Unfortunately, she will have to miss next Saturday, because it is the day of our Buddy Walk. (We have not missed one since we found out Rachel had Down Syndrome. Actually, the first walk we did was about one month before Rachel was born-in Duluth, MN they have the walks in September because it is too cool in October. Here in Florida, we have the walks the last weekend of October and hope it is not too hot and humid, but I digress.) Anyway, the horseback riding and buddy walking happen at the same time so we will have to miss the horses on Saturday. I do not look forward to telling Rachel it is not her day to ride for two long weeks.

Later in the day on Saturday Leah and Allison went back over to the neighbor's house to swim again. Our pool is starting to get into the shade of the house and we don't have a heater, so it is starting to get a little cool. The neighbor's pool still gets sun and has a heater, so the kids can swim for a while. Rachel thought she wanted to swim in our pool Saturday afternoon after the girls got back home, but she did not stay in more than 15 minutes before she said she was done. Saturday afternoon was appeared to be "nature day" too. The girls came running to the back porch yelling that they had found a turtle. They had to argue about who could hold him the longest for about 15 minutes before I made them release it into the pond behind the house. A few minutes later, they came running around the house yelling that they had a frog. Sure enough, in the little bug box that they have, they had the biggest tree frog I had ever seen. He was a feisty little guy too. He was determined to get out of that little cage. The girls have caught a lot of lizards, frogs, and snakes, and I have never seen one try to get out of the cage like the Godzilla frog did. I watched the Alabama vs Mississippi game off and on, and when it was over we all loaded up and went to McDonald's for Happy Meals. They were so excited, because it had been "so long" since they ate there last. I don't know how long it has been, but I can say that McDonald's is still giving out the same toy as last time, so it has certainly not been long enough!!

Today was a picture perfect day! It was only in the upper 70s, and it was breezy. I finally got to raise the windows and let in some fresh air. This morning we got up and went to church. (Yes, Mike, I got them up and to church. We were later than you would have liked, but we girls considered it perfect timing.) After church we went to the nearby park to see a horse show. The organization that Rachel rides with on Saturdays was putting it on. We saw lots of pretty horses, but I guess we are not horse show material, because we got bored quickly. Since we did not have to pay to attend, we headed home after about 45 minutes. It was lunch time and we were all getting hungry anyway. This afternoon, I rounded up the girls and some of the neighbor kids, and we all rode bikes down to the community playground. They played on the playground and soccer field for a little bit. Rachel is getting much more independent on the equipment, but she really just wanted to swing today. I made her climb a few of the ladders, but after a while she got grumpy and refused to do any more climbing.

The only glitch in today occurred when Rachel wandered out of the garage while I was trying to get the bikes ready for the ride to the park. I had my back to the garage door and told Allison and Leah to not let Rachel leave the garage. Well, in the short amount of time that I was putting air in the tires of the bike, Rachel headed out of the garage and down the sidewalk. She made it several houses away! This is the second time she has done this to me. The other time she headed out the front door. Now all of our doors are alarmed, so that should not happen again. I cannot believe how quick she is. Each time she was out and down the sidewalk in a matter of a minute or so!!

Everyone is now in bed so I guess I better head that way too. I just remembered that tomorrow the girls are supposed to wear red to school. They are already asleep, have already picked out their clothes, and guess what......none of it is red! Darn it! I am supposed to have Rachel at school 15 minutes early tomorrow so that PT can see her-something about the therapist having a really hectic day tomorrow. I did not ask. That should be fun too. I have to have her at school by 7:45am. That means I need to get Leah and Allison dropped off at their school as soon as the doors open and then race over to Rachel's school. I am supposed to volunteer in Allison's classroom tomorrow morning too. At some point I have to find some time to run to the grocery store too!! Yikes, it is going to be a busy day!!

Neighborhood Biker Gang

Rachel on the slide.

This is not going to end well.
We love this van. I saw it around town for months before anyone else saw it. No one believed me when I told them I had seen the Mystery Machine! Today it was parked across the street from the house. We did not see Shaggy and the gang, though.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Picture Day

Thank goodness picture day is over. We had to get up a little early to try to get the girls hair picture ready. Allison wanted hers flat ironed. She has a lot of hair and it is so long!! We actually got this done and made it to school on time. Leah, on the other hand, just wanted her hair to lay down! This is something that you would think would not take too much effort, but for some reason it does. First we wet it, let it dry a bit, blew it completely dry, and then flat ironed it. It was laying down a little better than usual, but we certainly could not replicate the stylist's work. It still didn't look like a bob! It will be interesting to see the pictures.

Remember me saying that Allison is getting pretty good about picking out clothes that look good together? Well, I take it all back. Allison decided to wear Leah's clothes, so they were a little small. Her waist size is the same as Leah's, but she is much taller, so the capris were only knee length. It was something she had never worn before, and something that just looked sloppy. I have no idea why she picked it out! I tried to talk her out of it, but she would have none of it. I decided that it is her picture, not mine, and she needs funny pictures to look back on when she is grown up anyway. At least I still get to pick out Rachel's clothes!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Through a Child's Eyes

Leah loves taking pictures. She grabbed the camera this weekend and took some pics of her own. These were taken when she, Mike and Rachel went out to lunch on Saturday.

Below Leah took a picture of our Halloween decorations. It is the only fall foliage the kids ever see! It looks like fall inside, but ..................
.....it is still summer outside!

Bribery Will Get You Nowhere!

Several years ago, I was told by a pediatrician that bribery will get you everywhere when it comes to potty training. He said you can work miracles if you can find the right bribe..........over the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to bribe Rachel to potty only in the toilet by singing songs to her if she is dry when we go to the bathroom. She loves singing songs, but apparently this is not enough incentive to keep her from wetting the pull up.

She is great about using the potty and will go every time I put her on it. She poops in the potty almost exclusively, but she still wets her diaper in between potty breaks. Yesterday, I decided to change the bribe and thought movies might be the perfect bribe. Rachel LOVES movies. We have had to cut her down to one movie a day, because she would watch them all day if allowed. I told her that if she wets in her pull up that she cannot watch a movie. An hour or so later, she was squatting in the kitchen floor. I asked her if she needed to go potty and she said an urgent "YES!" As she was walking to the bathroom, I noticed that her eyes were red. As we went into the bathroom, she started crying. I knelt down and asked her what was wrong and she just cried. I felt her pull up and it was wet. :-( She was so upset. I felt like the worst mommy ever!

I asked at school today to see if they needed any more diapers or pull ups. I never know if they change her there or if she stayed dry and is coming home in the same pull up she left in. They have a whole stash of diapers and said that she stays dry most of the time at school-little stinker! Today, when she came home from school, her pull up was dry, so she is currently watching a movie. I kept repeating what a big girl she is and that big girls get to watch movies. We will see how it goes. My only problem is trying to reward her and keep the number of movies viewed each day to a minimum. I may need to rethink this strategy too. If at first you don't succeed................

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Week Without Appointments!

Hope every one's week is going along smoothly. I got to start out my week with a day off.....sort of. Mike had the day off from work because of Columbus Day, but the girls did not, so after I dropped the girls off at school, Mike and I went kayaking. It was like not having kids!! Mike has had the boat for a while, but I have not had a chance to go out in it. The girls keep wanting me to go kayaking with them, but that means standing around the landing and taking turns riding in the kayak. Not exactly my idea of fun. We had a really good time. The weather was very comfortable, although a little windy. It made for some chappy water in places, but we were able to keep the boat in sheltered waters for the most part. We saw a mommy and baby dolphin feeding and three manatees just hanging out. In the kayak, you get a chance to get really close without scaring off the animals, so it was really cool.

After kayaking we came home and cleaned up, went and picked up Rachel, and went out to lunch. It was a much better Monday than last week when I spent all day running back and forth to the dentist and school. Afterwards, I had to come home and change to fish tanks and start on laundry. After to running all over the place last week, I was seriously behind on laundry. I got the girls clothes done yesterday and am working on mine and Mike's clothes today.

This week will be a bit less hectic than last thank goodness. No dentists, no haircuts, etc. The girls all have their school pictures this week. Rachel's was today. I worked and worked trying to get her hair to stay in place, but I am afraid it was to no avail. When I picked her up at noon, it looked like it always does-sticking up everywhere. The pictures were at 9:15am, so maybe her hair looked okay until then. The teacher told me that they took off Rachel's glasses for the picture. I was not sure I wanted to do the picture with her glasses or not, but I had sort of decided I wanted them on. I put them on her before school and the teacher did not ask me what I wanted to do. I figured that if I did not tell her to take them off, that she would leave them on. Oh well, I was not sure what I wanted to do anyway. Rachel does not wear her glasses at home because every time she gets out of my sight she takes them off and throws them in the floor, so we don't have any pictures of her wearing them.

Preparing Leah for her pictures on Thursday should be interesting. I don't know what I am going to do to get Leah's hair to cooperate. She is in that "growing out" stage and it looks a little crazy-I know the pictures of her hair cut looked cute, but that was the work of the stylist. We cannot get it to look at all like that! I cannot wait to see what she picks out to wear for the picture. She certainly has her own style, and sometimes I can change her mind and sometimes I cannot. I usually let her wear whatever she picks out, but on picture days I have to say no to some of her ideas. Allison is starting to have and idea of what goes together and what doesn't so she will not be as big of challenge. She has also said that she might want to have her hair pulled back out of her face. I was always trying to get her to do that in the past, but without much luck.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Last night we celebrated Rachel's birthday with a cake and presents. She loved singing Happy Birthday, blowing out the candles, and opening the presents, but she did not like the cake and was not too interested in the presents once they were opened. Below are some pictures of her big day.

The Loot
Cheers to Me Allison says, "Hi!"Talking to GrandpaHappy BirthdayOpening the presents

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thank Goodness It Is Friday

What a busy week! Monday was the volunteering and girls to the dentist post earlier this week. Tuesday was not too bad, just haircuts for the girls. Wednesday was my day to volunteer in Allison's classroom. The teacher gave me stuff do and sent me off with a permanent marker. I thought it would not take too long, but three and half hours later, I finally finished the stuff and was stoned on permanent marker fumes. I am still not sure if I spelled alliteration right, and I am glad that I did not get pulled over on the way to pick Rachel up from school! ;-) Thursday was my turn to go to the dentist. It was a "2fer". I got my teeth cleaned and got new invisalign retainers. The dentist said that the invisalign is working great, but he also found a cavity-ugh! Therefore........I was at the dentist again today to get that filled. I hate having my mouth numb!! I am sitting here now, trying to keep from drooling on the keyboard.

Today is Rachel's 5th birthday! Can you believe that? It seems like forever since we lived in Minnesota, but I still cannot believe she is five. As I was getting her ready for school this morning I kept trying to get her to say she was five and hold up her five fingers. (As I'm doing this, I am thinking that it is going to foil my attempts to get her into Disney parks for free by telling them she is three!!) We took some cookies to the classroom this morning so that the kids can celebrate with Rachel at lunch, and I went to the store this morning after dropping her off at school and bought her presents. Yes, presents. Allison and Leah each want to give her a present too. I hope I remembered all my instructions from Allison-get her a present from each of us, get a chocolate chip cookie cake, and get some m&ms for the party. We are just going to have a little family party tonight. I will send pictures of the birthday girl soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hair Cuts All Around

The girls got their hair cut this week....well, Allison got a trim. Leah's is more of a bob now and Rachel's is shorter, making her look older. Below are some pics.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What a Day!

I am glad that Monday is almost over! I took Allison and Leah to school at 7:45am, took Rachel to school at 8:00am, drove back to Allison's and Leah's school to volunteer in Allison's class at 8:30am, left their school to go pick up Rachel at 9:15am, back to Allison's and Leah's school to pick up Leah at 9:30am, took both girls to the dentist at 10:00am, ran home and fed Leah and Rachel lunch at 11:00am, and then took Leah back to school at 11:40am. I decided not to take Rachel back to her school because I would have to pick her up just 30 minutes later. Rachel and I went to downtown Melbourne to get Rachel's glasses fixed at 12:15pm (not a convenient place, but the only place in town to get Rachel glasses small enough to fit her face), stopped and got my oil changed at 12:30pm, went to the grocery store at 1:00, got home at 2:15pm, put away the groceries, cleaned up the breakfast and lunch dishes, and then the kids came thru the door. Fortunately, they did not have a lot of homework. I am tired. At least now I have something to fix for dinner tonight and will have something to pack in the girls' lunchboxes.

Forgot to mention........in the pictures of Rachel, the beautiful golden retriever puppy in the picture with Rachel is NOT ours-thank goodness. Her name is Sophie and she belongs to Allison's friend. Since Jake died in March the girls have been hounding me (pardon the pun) to get another dog. I just cannot bring myself to accept the responsibility of a new dog. I would like to have one, but I don't want to have to deal with whatever psychotic behavior it will have (because every pet I get is psychotic!) and I don't want to have to clean up after it! I clean up enough kitty puke as it is with Conan around. By the way, the trim we gave him seems to have helped the shedding and he has not thrown up too much since then. He is starting to shed again, so I guess it is time to for him to get another trim. Maybe we can do better this time.