About Me

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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Maddie's cousins in Kansas City will not want to see this post until after we open presents! We will leave tomorrow and head to KC to have Christmas with Kyle's family. Remember this post when I was working on some sewing projects?  I finally finished up the last gift yesterday.  This is what I made the girls...

Maddie modeled for me, and now I'm afraid when the girls open their gifts she's going to think they are hers!  She really enjoyed playing with them so I guess I'll add:  sew Maddie an apron and chef's hat to my list of things to do! : ) 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrapping vs. Gift Bags

I always thought that you had to wrap gifts for the little ones so they could tear into them and make a big mess.  But along came Maddie.  She definitely prefers the tissue paper for now!

And the bag...it came home with us as a "toy".  She has given her whole heart to Elmo, and with his little picture on the bag, it could not be parted with.  A special thanks to Cousin Emilie for wrapping her lovely gift in the best bag ever!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Moment That Melted My Heart

This is my nephew giving my brother-in-law a hug after opening his super-awesome Christmas gift.

I'm linking up to a great little blog I found.  She hosts a photo challenge to capture the simple things.  Join in if you'd like!

A Great Christmas!

Christmas 2010 is over...already!  We had a great time with my family.  We began with brunch.  I made a frittata, and the best monkey bread EV-ER.  I used America's Test Kitchen recipe.  It takes over 3 hours to make, but it was so worth it!

Later, all of the family came out and Kyle made beef tenderloin roast with red wine sauce and horseradish sauce.  Mom made her famous scalloped potatoes, green beans, and salad.  YUMMY!

Next we opened stockings from Santa! (totally not our traditional Christmas this year, but my Dad had to work, so we switched things up a bit...you know just to keep it interesting!)
The boys got mustaches from Santa, and we all had a some fun with them!
meet Luigi

I hope all of you had a great Christmas too!  Even though I'm kind of sad Christmas is over, I'm not too sad because we will leave in a couple of days to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with Kyle's family. Yay!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our First Gingerbread House

Last night we made our Gingerbread house.  It only collapsed on us twice.  : ) 

Ta Da!  Maddie especially liked the bottom right hand corner.  All of her gum drops ended up there. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where the Sidewalk Ends

A good book by Shel Silverstein and a real place in my neighborhood!
Maddie and I took advantage of the 70 degree weather the week of Christmas (crazy weather!), and headed to the park yesterday.  We did a little off-road-strolling when we came upon the scene above. 
She LOVED playing at the park.  It's been a few weeks and I could tell she really missed it!
She found a little boy about her size and made a fast friend.  He would walk away and she would march after him, following him everywhere.
She was so funny with the wood chips.  Every time we go to the park, one of her favorite things to do is put the wood chips on this round platform.  We pretend she's cooking soup, and today she took a stick and began stirring her soup! : )

Couldn't have asked for a better day!
The light was perfect for some good photos too!  I took these with my 50 mm lens, 1/400 shutter speed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Heart Baby Showers!

Yesterday I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for my good friend.  It was so much fun, especially since it was for a little girl, Kamrin Ann!  Here's some pics...

I think this lucky little girl will have a new outfit to try on every three hours of her first few months of life!  All of the little outfits she got were so precious!!
I had to contribute to the outfits as well!  This is what I made for her.
I'm giving myself the award for the most improved applique-er!!
It certainly helps that a pear is a MUCH easier shape then a reindeer! If you missed the reference, you can see my handiwork here.
Praying for Kamrin's safe arrival, and a quick and speedy delivery for her Momma!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Playing Reindeer Games and such...

Maddie has enjoyed our new reindeer puppets!  She likes to "help" me line them up, then she takes my finger and points to each one. : ) 
I decided to do some more research on teaching children with Down Syndrome using Montessori practices.  I found this case study on two girls with DS in Montessori schools.  I almost dismissed it when I realized it was written in 1974, but it was VERY interesting.  Some of the word choices are weird.  This was a time when they still referred to our babies as retarded, so I had to overlook that. (which I was kind of surprised how much that affected me...I mean, it's just a word, and in this context completely innocent, but I guess some words have been charged and carry more meaning than others.)
But the thesis of the paper?  Montessori environments enhanced both of the girls growth and development and expectations were raised in social and academic interactions.  Yay! Incidentally, in this particular case study, these girls were the first to ever attend a Montessori school.  I've realized some schools accept children with special needs and others don't.  It's a matter of finding the right one.
OK, so enough about that.  Here are some other pictures from the day...

As I was heading to bed last night, I looked at the Christmas tree and it looked so serene and beautiful. I had to capture the moment.
I love how you can see the "bare spots" where Maddie has re-arranged the ornaments! : )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From Drab to Fab

So, I haven't done Maddie's laundry in a while so all of her cute outfits are dirty.  This was the option I was left with yesterday morning.
I bought it at a consignment sale a while back.  I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but my rule with consigned clothes is no more than $5 per item.  I'm guessing I probably spent $2. 
It's OK. It's practical.  But it kind of speaks masculinity to me, and it seems stuck in the 80's.
So...I had an hour while Maddie watched Sesame Street and I did this!
 Aww, that's much better!  It's not perfect but it'll do.  You can't tell from far away, but my applique skills need a LOT of work!
HA! see what I mean!  I felt like a little schoolgirl desperately trying to color within the lines.  I just laughed when it was all done because it's such a mess!  Oh well, it will keep that deer on those overalls and that's really what I was going for : ) 
Despite the horrendous applique, I really like how it turned out.  Maybe I should forgo laundry more often!  Hey, I like that idea!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fun with Reindeer and such...

So Monday Kara, our speech therapist, was out and she always has great ideas on things to do with Maddie.  She gave us this cute little song, Ten Little Reindeer Sung to the tune "Ten Little Indians".  I just couldn't help myself when I found these patterns at The Idea Room blog.  I made one reindeer for each finger to sing with our new song. Maddie loved it!
We also worked on some of our Montessori trays.
I love that little look of concentration and determination.  It may be a while before she's really ready to use the tongs effectively, but she enjoyed it and that's the goal for now.  It's a fine line sometimes to know when to push a little and when to patiently wait for her skills to catch up with her. For now I'm just introducing things to her and keeping it lighthearted and fun.  I have a feeling she will find the motivation within herself to push through any learning obstacles later on in life.  If these power struggles we've had with time outs is any indication, she has PLENTY of drive! (and for that I am so very grateful : ) 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another New Christmas Tradition

I was inspired once again by Mari-Ann at Counting Coconuts.  On this post she explains that she wraps up 25 Christmas books and each night her little one opens one up to read.  I had a hard time finding 25, so I resorted to the library for most of the books.  It helped that I didn't start right on Dec. 1.  We began our new tradition a few nights ago, but so far it's been really fun.  We use it for our bed time book.  It helps with a smoother transition for bedtime.  Maddie is starting to get more and more excited about unwrapping her book each night.  I'll definitely be hitting after Christmas sales to bulk up our collection!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Good Night's Sleep

It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do!  Maddie slept through the night Friday night, and I woke up Saturday morning feeling like a new person! : ) 
I took some Christmas pictures of Maddie and they turned out really cute.  Here are a few shots...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good days and bad...

I can’t get motivated.  I’m so tired.  So very tired.  So tired of sleepless nights.  So tired of the monotonous mommy-chores.  So tired of correcting, re-directing, teaching, role-modeling.  I just want to collapse and cry. Cry out the pressure, the stress, the expectations.  Just cry it all out. 
Ecc. 7:3  “Crying is better than laughing.  It blotches the face but it scours the heart.”

I wanted to steep myself in this low like the peppermint tea leaves I soaked in boiling water last night.  Then I read this verse.  I had a good cry, and I kind of feel a little better.  I don’t mind steeping for a little longer though.  Many of you who know me wonder what alien has come and invaded my body.  I’m never down.  But today it feels right.   
I wonder if sometimes I need these hard days so I can be durable and firm.  When it comes to discipline, I have to admit I can be a softee.  Well, not today.  Maddie has been in time out only once in her 27 months of living and this morning she’s been in time out twice already.  (both times for crawling up on the table…even after a warning!)  I had no bad feelings about a good time out. 

I’m sure I’ll continue to cry all day.  I cried when Maddie was bawling because she didn’t want to go down for nap.  I cried when I watched a stupid interview on TV.  I cried when I looked around at the mess that surrounds me.  But my heart will be scoured and scrubbed and will hopefully come out polished and gleaming.  And my to-do list can wait for tomorrow. Sorry for the downer, but thanks for "listening". 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let me introduce you to Erythema...

So, Maddie developed this rash yesterday.  Totally freaked me out. 
I was able to get in to see the Dr. yesterday afternoon and the fancy name for this rash is erythema multiforme.  Probably the result of some virus, but don't know for sure. 

The good news is although it looks atrocious, it's completely harmless.  No itching, no burning, no fever. No treatment. The bad news is, it could hang out with us for a couple of weeks.  So this year for Christmas pics we may have a new member of the family to show off. : )  Meet Erythema.