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.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cooking "Toe-Toes"

Lately Maddie has really been enjoying her play kitchen.  
It seems like every day she's saying more and more words.  
She says, carrots, onion, pepper, and my favorite, "toe-toe" (for tomato).




Wednesday, January 25, 2012


A few weeks ago we went out to eat and Maddie made her own salad.  
There was a piece of lettuce meant for garnishment on the appetizer plate.  
Maddie took it and began tearing it up putting it on her plate!  Before we knew it, she had a pretty 
appetizing-looking salad!
Throughout the course of the meal, she added olives, bread, and tortilla chips.  

We are so fortunate that Maddie has always been a good eater.  
We've been making green smoothies for a little over a year now.
Maddie has at least one every day and usually two.  

I remember when Maddie was first born and we went to some Down Syndrome Association meetings.  We met other families who shared what it had been like having a child with Down Syndrome.  They warned us to get ready for lots of trips to the Dr.'s office.  Unfortunately, a weakened immune system is one of the characteristics of Down Syndrome.

Maddie has been sick TWICE in her 3 years of life.  Once when she was 6 months old she caught an awful bug that she was kind enough to share with her Daddy and me! 
The other time was when she was two and we were traveling to Kansas City for Thanksgiving.  
Neither sickness required much more than tylenol and TLC.  

The only thing I can contribute to her amazing immune system is nutrition.  
loot from our garden last summer!  
When Maddie was just two weeks old, we found out she had hypothyroidism and would require medication the rest of her life.  Her Dr. let us know that once children with this condition gain too much weight, it's next to impossible to lose.  We knew we had to establish healthy eating habits early!
We have always been very careful not to let Maddie have too many processed foods. Most of her snacks are fruits like bananas, grapes, or oranges.  She loves avocados, blueberries, carrots (without ranch!), bell peppers, peanuts, apples, and even broccoli!
Sometimes, I'm even amazed at what she'll eat. 

The added benefit for all this good nutrition is she doesn't get sick.  Right now she's struggling with some allergies but as far as getting really sick, it's been amazing! Not even one, single ear infection!!
(Knock on wood!)

I can't wait to get our garden started in the spring!  There's nothing better than eating good, nutritious food that you've grown yourself. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What I Love About You Project

Some of you may have read my 40x40 list in this post.
Today I'm getting started on #15...Tell the people I love in my life what I love about them.
I'm starting with my good friend Tracy. 

I have a theory...if everyone had a friend like Tracy in their life, no one would ever need a therapist again!
I have a few close friends that I can bear my whole soul to and they wouldn't flinch.  
Tracy's one of them.
I called Tracy the other day and we spent a little bit of time catching up and then, like all good friends, she knew something wasn't right with me.  
She asked me if I'm just having a blah kind of day.  
And this is what I love about Tracy...she's a great listener.
She really listens, and somehow she makes me feel like the most important person in the world, with the most interesting things to say, and the most dynamic puzzles to solve.
And even though I had problems that couldn't be solved in one day, I felt better after talking to her.
I always feel better after talking to Tracy.
There's just something so gracious about her presence and I am so thankful she's my friend!

To have a good friend, you need to be one. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope I can be as a good a friend to Tracy as she is to me!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

On To Something Good

I definitely think we are on to something good with the Pick-a-Stick jar.  
Maddie is still super excited about picking something out, and we are playing with things we haven't played with in a long time.  

Before preschool yesterday, she picked watercolors.  
Later that evening, she asked to paint some more!  Yay...she's actually asking for activities rather than T.V.  
She still asks for T.V. though- just not all the time!

I added a few more sticks like blocks and washing windows and follow the leader.

Maddie picked blocks.

We had lots of fun making an obstacle course for Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger.

On your mark, get set, GO!!

I love how Maddie says Tigger.  It sounds like she has a British accent and she says, "Kig-eh"

So cute!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I've really been trying to curb Maddie's enthusiasm for all things Elmo, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh (AKA T.V.)
The ideal day would still include two hours of T.V.  She gets to watch it first thing in the morning, and in the evening while I'm cooking dinner.  I have to admit though, lately we've been watching waaaaaay too much!

I've had some experience trying to eradicate bad habits, and I know it's much easier when you replace a bad habit with a better one.  
I was reading another mommy blog and got the inspiration for this idea (I try and link back when I can, but unfortunately I forgot where I read this!)

Of course I always have to give things little names so I call it, "Pick a Stick!"  

When Maddie asks for " Melmo, Peeeeeeese?" (translation: "Elmo, please?")  It's the "peeeeeeese" that gets me every time!  But now instead of giving in, I can say let's pick a stick!  It's been working great so far. 

Yesterday, she picked water play.

and a basting activity..
I like this one!  She uses the baster to transfer the water from one bowl to the next.  The rag is there to wipe up any spills.  It's a great fine motor activity and setting the bowls up left to right prepares her for reading.

Other activities in our Pick a Stick jar include:
Music (another favorite of mine!)
Water color
Read books
Sponge Transfer (like basting activity, only she squeezes a sponge instead)


One-to-One Correspondence:
Still working on this one...there are six cotton balls (snow balls) for the six compartments in the muffin tin, but Maddie just likes to cram them all into one!  

I love that she even gets excited when she sees the jar on the table!!  

It's always the simple things in life!

So, does anyone have any other good ideas for our Pick-a-Stick jar? 
I think (hope) we'll be using this for a while!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I love this picture so much, it literally takes my breath away.  

I'm a dreamer.  
I see life in big pictures.
Not so much.  
That's why I married Kyle : )  
I dream the dreams and he figures out the details. 

I've been dreaming a lot lately.
I'm going to be 34 in a few short months.
Which means I'm only 6 years and a few short months away from 40!!
What!? Really?

Not only am I a dreamer, I'm also a list-maker.
Oh, how I LOVE lists!

So, this is what I call my 40x40...
40 things I want to do before I'm 40.

1.       Make a quilt
2.       Write a children’s book
3.       Publish a children’s book
4.       Hike in the mountains with my family
5.       Learn to knit or crochet
6.       Can something homegrown
7.       Travel to Europe
8.       Travel to Hawaii
9.       Run a Marathon
10.   Teach Maddie how to take pictures

11.       Learn to play guitar
12.       Create on outdoor sanctuary
13.       Plant a willow tree
14.       Read the entire bible
15.       Tell everyone I love in my life what I love about them
16.       Read all of C.S. Lewis’ books
17.       Take pictures in Africa
18.       Climb Mount Fuji
19.       Throw a huge party for my parents 40th anniversary
20.   Pay off our house

21.       See the ocean
22.       Take Maddie to Disney World
23.       Swim with dolphins
24.       Have a Homemade Christmas
25.       Go an entire week with no T.V.
26.       Print my blog in a book
27.       Write a will
28.       Teach Maddie to read and write
29.       Go camping with Maddie
30.   Take an amazing photo of a bird

31.       Master food photography
32.       Potty train Maddie
33.       Work exercising into my schedule
34.       Make sure Maddie knows about Grandparents she never met
35.       Plan a girls getaway weekend with my gal pals
36.       Earn enough with my photography business to buy all of the equipment I want
37.       Win a photography contest
38.       Teach a photography class
39.       Go on a Cruise
40.   Set up a photography studio in my home.

I have no idea how or if I'll accomplish all of my goals.
Sometimes it's enough for me to just have them written down. 
It gives me something to dream about.  
And dreaming is good.  Goals are good.  It's better to have something to work towards and fail, than to never have set out to do anything at all.  
I don't really like to sit back and let life happen, I'd much rather be a contributing factor. 
I also know that planning too far into the future is futile.
God is in control, and his plan will override my own.  
Besides, I've learned from the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn that it's very possible all of these things on my list will be waiting for me in heaven if I don't get to experience them here.

And that's definitely something worth dreaming about!!

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."  -Philippians 4:8