This is My "Real" Blog: March 2010

Angie's Blog!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3-2-1 . . . .

Blastoff, right? Nope. Not even close.

It's actually 3/21. . . and yes, it's today's date. But it's more than March 21. It's even more than the first day of Spring. Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day.

(And yes, those are pajama pants you see Mark wearing. We were in a hurry to get Caroline to bed!)

I'm sure there are people who are thinking that it's another pathetic excuse for Hallmark to make, distribute, and sell cards. But actually, it's a bit more than that. And I personally think it's a bit more special than that.

As most of you, my faithful readers, know - Caroline has Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is a condition (not a disease) that comes about at conception when there is an extra 21st chromosome. When she was born, based on doctors' observations (some of the markers were very clear) and genetic tests done within hours of her birth - we learned that she has Down syndrome.

That "little something extra" is in every cell of her body. . . . brain cells, skin cells, muscle cells, teeth cells, and I could go on and on. Because that extra 21st chromosome is in every cell, it affects every system of her body. Some systems -- growth, height, weight, joints, skin -- the differences aren't life-threatening, or even noticeable.

Other systems -- respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiac, circulatory, auditory, neurological -- well, those can have more serious implications.

Many of us with children with Down syndrome refer to that extra chromosome as the "happy" or "love" chromosome. . . and most days, that would be right on the money. But Caroline is typical when it comes to behavior issues. . . she's like everyone else.

Every child with Down syndrome does not have heart issues. Caroline did.

Every child with Down syndrome does not have gastrointestinal issues. Caroline did.

Every child with Down syndrome does not have hearing issues. Caroline does not.

But, every child with Down syndrome does have that extra 21st chromosome -- and as you've gotten to know Caroline, or others with Ds, you can see that it does make a difference.

Developmental delay is part of the diagnosis of Down syndrome -- but it doesn't mean she's slow. Developmental delay means that she processes things differently, and in a more purposeful manner than her peers that are what we call "typically developing."

You see - we don't say "normal" around our house when we talk about kids that don't have Down syndrome. Because. . .Caroline is normal. She may not be developing at the same speed or pace that her peers are -- but she's normal.

I'm not going to hop back up on a soap box about the "R" word - -because that's not what today is about. Instead, I'm going to celebrate this child of mine.

She's my joy.

She's my challenge.

She's my Rubix Cube that wears a size 3T pants and a size 5 shirt.

She's my favorite person with whom I color.

She's my "backseat driver" who now knows what red lights are for.

She's my favorite soloist.

She's my daughter.

Today, Caroline - I'm celebrating YOU. I don't know what I did to deserve a blessing like you. I certainly had no idea how much joy you would bring into my life -- but I'm grateful God chose your Daddy and me to be your parents.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Happy World Down Syndrome Day from our entire family!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ah, the memories. . .

Last year, I wrote a blog post about our trip to Bristol for the NASCAR Race. And yes, in spite of the fact that 90% of the sports-loving world is glued to the TV to watch College Basketball, this is Bristol's Spring Race Weekend.

I soooooooo wish I was going again this year. But not to work -- to watch. Oh well, maybe next year.

Right now, we're taking special care of a young lady who has come down with croup (again). It's not bad this time. . . or so it seems. We took her to the doctor today, and after two doses of her prescribed steroid, she hasn't coughed at all. . . and she seems fine. So, we'll see.

We're also dealing with 15-year-old syndrome. I know we'll get through this, but there are days when I wonder.

So, in between a couple of engagements that we must attend to this weekend - including me getting some new walking shoes, a DSAG family get-together, and the family trying Red Robin Restaurant for the first time. . .

"Red Robin. . . YUM!"

Sorry, slight diversion there.

In between all of that, we'll be watching Speed TV, CBS (for basketball), and Fox (Races, baby) in an effort to keep our "sports nerd" fix going strong.

And, if for some reason, you doubt my true devotion to NASCAR, specifically Bristol Motor Speedway, here's a blog entry from last year. (Thanks for the reminder and link, Steve!) It will not only show my love for the world's fastest half-mile. . .it will remind some of you of some seriously funny stories!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Super(Hero) Kids

That's right -- my girl's got MAD SKILLS!

On Tuesday, Caroline got off the bus - nothing unusual there. But in her book bag a little fuzzy muzzle peeked out at me. And, I got curious.

Mind you - she hasn't taken to a life of thievery, but I wasn't sure if this cute little puppy was *supposed* to come home with her, or not. Turns out, he was. He accompanied this certificate -- with her teacher's congratulations for reading all of her Kindergarten sight words.

Big day.
Big, big day!!

She's my (super)hero!

In other news. . . .

Edison is still on his class trip to Florida. On Tuesday, they visited Universal's Islands of Adventure, where he rode this

Here's another angle

and this

He complained that too many of the other rides were broken down. I assured him that I would much rather a ride be broken down before he got on it, than while he was on the ride.

He didn't necessarily agree with me. I can live with that.

On Wednesday, they visited St. Augustine. (Yes, he can - in a perfect world - share pictures when he gets back) But, remember, this is my 15-year old taking pictures on a class trip. I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

St. Augustine sites

And today, he went to Kennedy Space Center

I remember seeing this when we went through the tour in 1976. . . and yes, I was older than my son is now. (Sigh - anyone seen my Geritol?)

So far, from what we can piece together from text messages, he has had a good trip. Just surviving those two rides at Islands of Adventure qualifies him for sainthood in my book. He's had a good time -- this is the furthest he's been away from me where he wasn't with family.

He's done fine.
I've done fine.

. . . but every superhero needs to return to his home eventually.

Mine comes home tomorrow. And, I'm glad.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Because of Caroline. . . .

Mark wrote a beautiful blog entry today -- about today.

Today, March 3, is a day very near & dear to my heart. . . because of Caroline.
Our family has taken this pledge. . .because of Caroline.
We would be honored if you would do it too. . . because of Caroline.

Our lives changed six years ago - and in honor of our little girl, please read Mark's blog and consider making this change. . . .

blog link

. . . because of Caroline.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

S & S. . . really?!

Growing up, people redeemed S & S Green stamps for all sorts of fun things. I remember going into a redemption site one time, with my mom. It was near, or actually *in* the Plaza in Park Forest, IL. I remember seeing items that cost WAY more in green stamps than they appeared to actually be worth. But, when the Brady kids wanted to cash in their stamps, they got to choose between a sewing machine and a row boat. Seriously.

That's not the "S & S" that I'm referring to, today. (I know -- you had already figured that out, hadn't you?"

Mine would actually be more appropriately titled: ST & SD.

And yes, I realize that a very scary combination of the two would be STDS. YUCK.

Nope, this acronym stands for:

Strep Throat and Snow Day

Yesterday, while attending a day-long "retreat" with the rest of the Church staff, I got a call from Mark. Mark had taken part of the morning off to accompany Edison to the doctor's office. Edison is going on a class trip next week - to Florida. Edison has been sick. Edison has strep throat. Edison got a shot. Mark went to the dump.

Yeah. . . we're living the high life here once again.

And today - as snow gently falls outside my house - I have two children at home. When we went to bed last night, we anticipated a 2-hour delay for Caroline. But, at 7:47 this morning, the phone rang - there was no one there.

An immediate check on the "crawl" while watching the "Today" show revealed that Caroline's school was cancelled for the day. And, for the first time in a few years, Sevier County has used up all of their snow days. Also, for the record? Some of our worst snows have actually occurred in March.

So. . . . we'll see what happens this summer when the kids are supposed to be out of school.

As always, it will be interesting.

Okay. . . a few updates, and then I've been requested for some Wii bowling. . . .

Homecoming went well last week. There were a few minor hiccups - but overall, it was very well received, and ended on a good note. It was mentioned that I brought 23 musicians with me to participate in homecoming. Of course, we all didn't play all the time -- but in various rotations, I used 23 people. And there were at least five people that weren't involved. I'm pretty blessed.

Science Fair - Edison will compete in a regional Science Fair at the University of Tennessee later this month. We're not sure what the next step(s) might be - but we're glad that he's getting to take it to the next level.

Sight Words - Caroline's teacher sent home flash cards for the basic sight words that the Kindergartners are working on this year. She has almost half of them learned - and some of the trickier ones: where, what, and that - are just about mastered. She loves doing her sight words so much that last night, she didn't want to leave the table until we'd gone through them twice.

Wii Bowling has become a beloved pastime at our house. Caroline has a mean hook - and she's figured out how to adjust her throw to the right enough to get strikes and spares. She's hilarious. Of course, Edison and Mark put spins and curves on their throws - so I never know how the game is going to end - but one of the two of them usually beats me.

And finally. . .

Potty training is going much better. [Side note: NO - I never dreamed that I would blog, much less blog about potty training! Just wanted to make sure you understood that.] I was really concerned that the interruption in schedule (all these crazy snow days) would throw Caroline off her "game" when it came to potty training. But, remarkably it hasn't. She is staying dry nearly 100% of the time -- the only exception is at church. And, we've worked through that, I think. In fact, on Saturday, we took the kids shopping - and I can't begin to say how cool it was to go into four (4) stores -- and finally wind up at a restaurant, and have her say - just before we left that she had to go to the bathroom. No accidents. No pull-ups. No joking.

Well, as I finish this up - someone is at my elbow begging for me to come bowl with her. It's a snow day - -we're both in our jammies - - how can I say no?!

. . . I can't. See you all later!