Monday, October 25, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Rachel's class had a trip to the Pumpkin Patch this past Thursday.  She missed the trip last year because she was sick.  She just about missed it again this year.  She was home sick Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with a cold.  She missed a field trip on Monday, but made it back to school on Thursday just in time for the second field trip. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Riding Lessons

The big girls have been having a fit to take horseback riding lessons, so a few weeks ago we signed them up with this lady that does lessons in her backyard.  She is really cheap, gives hour long lessons, and the girls are having a great time with the horses.

Thank goodness Rachel is okay with the big girls getting to ride and her not.  This lady has LOTS of  animals at her house, so Rachel does enjoy checking them all out, and she loves playing on a slide and in a play house that are there. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Great Day For A Walk!

Today was our walk for Down syndrome awareness.  Unfortunately, it is no longer named the Buddy Walk, because NDSS copyrighted the name and required a large fee for its use.  Our organization wanted to keep all the money to help the local Down syndrome community, so they opted to change the name.   

We had amazing weather!!  It is usually VERY hot and sticky or it is raining.  Today was picture perfect.  The temps were comfortable and the wind was blowing.  It was perfection.  This year saw a record turn out and record donations totalling of $35,000!!!  It is so neat to see so many people come together for a great cause! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

When It Comes To Running.........

.....I have always been a sprinter.  Even as a kid, I was really only interested in running shorter distances.  I loved to run when it meant racing at top speed from one end of the yard to the other or around the house once or twice, but I never even entertained long runs.  My cousins and I would race every Sunday at my grandmother's.  I was one of the fastest, but one of the oldest too. 

Anyway, apparently in all aspects of my life, I am a sprinter.  I jump off to a great start and maintain the speed for a short while, and then I am done.   I present my blog as evidence.  I got off to a pretty good start on the 31 for 21 blogging project and even added a blog or two while entertaining company for a weekend.  But, I quickly faded and have totally lost my rhythm. 

Unfortunately, life is a marathon..  In life with Ds, there are lots of marathons....sometimes lots of marathons are going on at one time.  I am struggling to keep up the pace.  I actually never really even set a pace, LOL.  When I found out I was expecting Rachel, I prayed to God for patience.  When she was diagnosed with Ds, someone told me she would teach me patience.  As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!  I guess I better start training for a marathon.  Over the last seven years I have fought tooth and nail to remain a sprinter, but it is time to change gears.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Horseback Riding

I am not doing too well with this 31 for 21 posting...........I knew it would be a struggle, but my does time fly by.  I think I have just missed a day or two and am surprised to see how many days I have actually missed.  I cannot seem to get caught up from having company last weekend.  Well, that is my excuse and I am sticking with it! 

We have had beautiful weather here this past two weeks.  It has been nice to be outside when we have the chance.  Thursday afternoons, Rachel does her horseback riding.  Below are some pictures from this past Thursday.  I cannot believe how big Rachel is looking these days.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We Are Still Recovering From All The Fun

We had a very busy, but fun, weekend with our friends.  It is amazing how much sand seven kids can bring home from the beach.  I am still sweeping sand out of my house!   The kids were constantly on the go from early Saturday morning until Monday night.  They kayaked, went swimming, went to the beach, went shark fishing, and played on the water slide a neighbor let us borrow.  They also argued, complained, whined and told on each other, but generally a good time was had by all.  Tuesday morning, reality reared it's ugly head, and I fought an heroic battle to get the kids off to school.  I am not sure how, but I managed to get them out of the house and to school on time.  Our company left about noon on Tuesday, and that evening we were all worn out.  Even today I am still recovering from the hectic weekend.      

Rachel really enjoyed the water slide this time around.  In the past she has not been able to climb up the slide by herself, but this weekend she proved that she is indeed growing up by showing us she has mastered climbing up the water slide.  It was so much fun to watch her do it on her own.  I have tried to upload a video of Rachel on the slide, but it is not working right now.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Today, 10-10-10 is Rachel's birthday.  She is seven.  Where has the time gone? I still think of her as my baby, but she really isn't a baby anymore. 

For her birthday she got a little indoor trampoline, two books, and a Kids Bop CD.  Her favorite thing was the card she got from some friends that plays "The Hamster Dance."  So much for the gifts..........;-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Let The Fun Begin!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us, and the girls could not be more excited.  Our friend, Bill, who passed away in August, left behind a wife and four kids.  They will all be coming down from Alabama to spend the weekend with us.  Allison and Leah cannot wait for the kids to arrive.  They have been on pins and needles for the last week, and they were just silly all afternoon and evening they are so excited.  I am hoping that Rachel will be well for the weekend.  I kept her home from school today because she had had several bouts of diarrhea the last two days.  She seemed to feel okay, but I just thought it would be best to keep her home.  About noon today she threw up, but shortly after she was fine and has been fine all evening.  I am praying that everyone will stay well for the weekend!  It should be chaotic with seven kids...:-)  It will be strange to have Joanna here without Bill.  I still cannot believe he is gone.

In addition to the company, Rachel's birthday is Sunday.  My plan was to get out today and get some shopping done, but with Rachel home sick, that did not happen.  That means I have to try to work that into Saturday.  It should be lots of fun to have all the kids here for Rachel's birthday.  I plan on getting her one of those little trampolines that they use in therapy.  She LOVES to "jump" on the trampolines in gymnastics.  The problem is, she cannot jump.  She cannot get both feet off the ground.  Maybe if we have something for her to practice on she can finally reach that milestone.  She will have fun trying to get there, anyway.     

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I almost let the day get by without a post........well, actually the day is over here in Florida, so I will just have to pretend I am on Central Time tonight!  "Oots" is Rachel word for oops.  It is one of the many things that she mispronounces.  Mollie from across the street is "Moss", kitty is "killy", Whitney is "Nee", horse is "see"-see is also fish and cheese........we sometimes have to resort to sign language to tell which "see" she is talking about. 

I have waited so long to be able to communicate with Rachel and if you were to ask me today if she can communicate, I would say not really.  But, I have recently noticed that she is saying many new words.  She is still limited to one word at a time, but she is really increasing the number of words available to her.  Tonight the doggie gate going into the kitchen was a little hard to open.  When Rachel pulled on it and it did not open, she said, "Locked."  It is really cool to be hearing the new words.  Hopefully soon we will be hearing sentences!!     

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is It Just Me?

Today Rachel had speech therapy.  She gets speech in school, three days a week, and I take her in to someone else once a week.  Rachel has had speech since she was an infant.  Over all these years, I have been given numerous oral motor exercises to do with her.  I always try to be the good mommy and attempt to do what I am told, but it never fails that, even if I get off to a good start, I end up tappering off.  I always have some excuse not to do is too late, Rachel is too grouchy, there is not enough time, I will do it later, Rachel doesn't feel good, I don't feel good, we are off our schedule with travel or friends visiting, etc.....  I always have good intentions and have spent lots of money on these intentions, only to let them fall by the wayside over time.  Take the eProReading program.  We got through the first coouple of sets of cards, and then I started missing days.  Days became weeks, and now we are not doing it at all.  Am I the only one out there that has a difficult time doing all the recommended exercises? (I am not any better with the PT or OT exercises either, by the way)  If you are good about following through on things, how do you do it?!  I just feel overwhelmed with the things I am supposed to do.  All three girls seem to have a thousand things that they are supposed to be doing, and I feel like I just cannot keep up.       

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

School Pictures.......She Looks So Grown Up!

October 2006

October 2007

October 2008

October 2009

October 2010

I cannot believe that Rachel will be seven years old on Sunday, but when I see this recent school picture, I have to say she is growing up! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

One Month Down............

Rachel has been taking her thyroid medication for a month now.  I am glad to say that it has not been too hard to get the pill down her.  At first she gagged a little when I put it in her mouth, but she got it down.  She will still sometimes gag a little when she just sees me getting the pill out of the bottle, LOL!! 

After taking the meds for a couple of days, she started protesting when I would say it was time to take her medicine.  I was thinking it was going to get ugly, but she did not protest too hard, and now, she seems to understand that it is something she just has to do and protesting won't get her anywhere. 

Sometimes she seems to swallow it whole, but most of the time she chews it up a little before I can get her to take a drink of water.  She makes some nasty faces, but she gets it down.  Just this week I have been able to hand her the pill and get her to put it in her mouth. 

I am so proud of how she has adjusted to taking the medicine.  I was really thinking it was going to be an ordeal, and that I would have to get her up earlier for school in order to be able to get it down her and get her to school on time.  Leave it to Rachel to take it in stride.

For any moms out there who might not know, hypothyroidism is not uncommon in children with Down syndrome.  It is important to have regular check ups with an endocrinologist to monitor thyroid function.  We were taking Rachel in every six months.  Because we were monitoring her on a regular basis, we were able to catch it before Rachel was really experiencing any significant symptoms.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Beware Of The Dog!!!

You gotta feel safe when this is in your house to help keep a lookout for intruders!!  This is what I found the other morning when we walked in the kitchen to eat breakfast.  He never even knew we were in the kitchen and did not know I took the picture.  Good thing I was not looking for a dog for protection!   Cookie, we love you anyway!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Future Businesspeople Of America

In Florida, anytime of year is a good time to make a little money with a lemonade stand.  The girls got out in the driveway with the neighbors the other day and made somewhere around $24 selling lemonade.  What nice people I have in my neighborhood.  They are always willing to stop and buy a cool drink from the kids.  I wonder if they have any idea how happy it makes these kids to sell a cup of lemonade. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

What I Have Learned So Far

In honor of Rachel, I will be posting everyday in the month of October to help bring awareness to Down syndrome.  Before Rachel was born, I had had very little dealings with children with special needs and was not sure what it meant to raise a special child.  I certainly am not an expert in the field today, but I have learned some things in the last seven years.

I have learned that these kids are individuals with their own ideas.  In the past I did not give people with Down syndrome the credit they are due.  I never really thought that they were unique, and I grouped them all together like so many other people do.  "They are all such angels," is one of the most common things you hear about our kids.  Well, they aren't.  They are just like any other kid with good days and bad.

I have learned that in general, children with Down syndrome will learn some things more slowly than their peers, but they really aren't behind in other things.  Rachel did not walk until she three, but she was swimming on her own when she was five.  Not to shabby for any kid!  She also was the easiest of my three girls to potty train.  Imagine that.  The better her speech becomes, the more I realize how much information she has soaked up over the years.  Just because she has been limited to communicating basic needs, has not kept her from taking in all the things that surround her.  

I have learned that kids with Down syndrome are amazing when it comes to some things.  Rachel picked up the iPad and within minutes knew how to operate it.  I struggled for a while with it (still do, sometimes), but not her.  I was wondering how or if I was going to be able to teach her how to use it, but turns out she didn't need my help.  It took us a couple of tries to figure out how to lock out some of the functions on the iPad.  We would think we had it done, but next thing you knew Rachel had figured a way back to the movies or youtube.  She has a memory that is amazing too.  She will recall something from months ago if she is placed in a similar circumstance.  When she becomes a better communicator she is going to be a walking archive!!  

I have learned that as a mommy, I am not good at letting my kids do things for themselves.  I am much too quick to jump in there and help Rachel get dressed instead of letting her do it herself.  I have learned that Mike is much better at teaching the girls to be independent.  I have learned that Rachel may not be able to do something on her own simply because I have not given her the chance.  Down syndrome may make Rachel more dependent on me, but I have to remember to give her the chance to show me what she can do.  

I have also learned to appreciate the accomplishments.  So many things that came so easily to my older girls, have often been a struggle for Rachel.  Despite the difficulties she does it anyway!!  I have come to admire all the determination that is packed into that little girl. If only I had that kind of drive. you, Rachel.  Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  Thanks for all that you have taught me and all that you will teach me.