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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hosting Christmas with My Family Part 2 - Maddie Opens Gifts!

Although we did serve the homeless for our Christmas we also did the whole consumerist-spoil-your-kids-rotten-thing with lots of gifts and goodies (thanks to Grammie and PaPa!!)

Our Occupational Therapist told us to get ready because this Christmas would be so much fun.  
She said Maddie would more than likely be more expressive and present.  
I actually thought Maddie was already pretty expressive until I filmed this video...
Now, I understand what she was talking about!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hosting Christmas with My Family, Part 1 - Blessing Bags

This was my first year hosting Christmas with my family.  
We did our Christmas last weekend since it's Kyle's families turn to get us for Christmas this year.
Hosting Christmas means planning Christmas...not exactly my forte.  
We ended up having a blast though.

For this post, I'm focusing on our first activity, the blessing bags.  

First, we created blessing bags, an idea I found on pinterest.  
We put together gallon size ziploc bags and filled them with things that might be useful to the homeless.  
Each family brought 3-4 things to contribute.  
The kids packed up the bags and made cards to go in them.  

They really enjoyed the process.

Then we set out to deliver them. 
While driving along the way we saw a couple of people holding their signs at the stoplights, so we gave them bags.  

We headed toward downtown, and this is where my "big ideas" don't always mingle well with the small details.    

We found someone pushing a shopping cart, so with a two car caravan we pull over and parked.
She was on the move so by the time we got 10 people piled out of the cars, gathered up the bags, then decided to hand out water too, she was a couple of blocks ahead of us.
We set out after her.
It felt really awkward chasing down a homeless woman on the move.
I can only imagine what she may have been thinking with 10 people trying to play it cool, but hurriedly chasing after her!!

We finally caught up with her and I realized this probably wasn't the best way to distribute the bags!
I asked her if we were to pass out more bags to more people where we might find them.
She was EXTREMELY helpful.
We got the inside scoop on where they all hang out.

In fact, this is where the experience became a shocking reality.
We saw one man's dwelling place.
Literally just a pile of blankets, with his bible and a couple of books in the doorway of an abandoned retail space.
The next doorway over was his bathroom.
It really smelled...bad.

We walked a few blocks and had no trouble finding people to give them to.
We brought 10 bags and could have handed out dozens.  

On our way back to the cars, we ran into a man who called himself "Cadillac."
He asked us if we would love him because no one else loves him.
He told us stories of himself  back in the '60's "saying what he means and doing what he says"
Turns out, he's a huge OU fan. 
The sad thing is, he probably won't remember us or our conversation. 
The alcohol on his breath was overly obvious. 

I think the experience was just as beneficial (if not more) to us than to the recipients of our blessing bags.
It deepened my appreciation of humanity.
I also felt my heart wanting to get to know these people more, but then I'm not sure I could handle if/when something terrible happened to them.
It was a good family experience...definitely something we will do again.   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Valet Service for Brain Waves

Music therapy.
It's amazing.  
I'm still in complete awe that we've come so far with brain development and technology.  
How can listening to music possibly help with potty training?!
I don't know but it does!!
Our Occupational Therapist explained that it's a technique called gating.  
They take the high-highs and the low-lows of a 20,000 hertz sound wave and use those to send signals to the brain. 
Right now, Maddie's brain is like a traffic jam and signals are not getting through.  
These high intensity sound waves are breaking up the traffic jam and re-routing traffic to their designated parking spots. 
It's our valet service for brain waves!  
Maddie initiated going to the potty and went all by herself this morning.  
This has never happened.  
She's pottied in the potty before, but she has never realized she's needed to go, gone to the potty, and used it before today. 
Not every day is a success story though.
I think any time you encounter "therapy" there will be push and pull.
Her body has already adapted to the status quo and has been coping for 5 years.  
Now, we are messing with the status quo and sometimes we have to give in to the resistance of changing that status quo.
Our goal is 30 minutes of music therapy daily.
Some days we do 40 minutes, some days we are lucky to get 10 minutes.  
On the rough days, Maddie will rip her head phones off.
It's imperative that she doesn't dictate when the therapy session is over.  
I have to force them back on her, hold her arms down and struggle through the next couple of minutes so I can be the one to declare the music session is over. 
Forcing your child to endure something you know is uncomfortable (and at your hands) is the worst feeling in the world.
I hate every second of the bad days, and so does Maddie.
But the good days are really good.
It's a nice, uninterrupted play time for at least 30 minutes.  
It's a chance to turn off all electronic devices and get back to the basics of just playing.   
Phones are put away, T.V. is turned off, Ipad is out of sight and we get to reconnect.
So much to be grateful for!!