Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Birthday to Emma!!!

Well this is sorts late, as her birthday was Saturday, but we're all just getting over the weekend, so this is the chance I've had to post. Emma turned 6 years old on Saturday. Wow, that's kinda scary. She had a great day. She woke us up extra early, fun, to ask for eggs & toast for breakfast. Then, after lounging a bit, we went out to lunch at Fazoli's, and then to the salon to get our hair cut. It was a family affair, as all of us, except for Sarah, got our hair cut. I desperately needed it, as the last time I got my hair cut was in April...I think. Then we went to Wal-Mart to get some last minute birthday party things, and then it was off to the SAC bowling alley for her party. While I'd invited her whole K class, I was happy to see that only 7 of the 16 kids I invited actually showed. I think that was our limit. It kept the party short & sweet. The kids had a blast bowling, then really had fun with the cake, a Coldstone cake, yum. And when she opened her gifts, the boys were kinda dumbfounded as to why the girls ketp getting all excited over Barbie toys & horses. Guess it's a girl thing. It only lasted about an hour and a half, which was the perfect amount of time for 6 year old attention spans.
Then yesterday we had someone showing the house, which Jeff was NOT happy about. But, our landlord promised us that we only need to deal with this for another 3 weeks. Either they'll sell the duplexes, or the contract with the realtor will expire. Either way, we're thinking we'll be out of here next July. So, we're looking into buying a house again. Since Jeff has had to slow down on school to halftime, it's going to take us twice as long to get outta here. So, buying a house might not be too terrible. We just have to make sure it's cute enough to sell when we need to get outta here.
And I think we've come to conclusion that Sarah is extremely sensative to milk fat. Or something in liquid milk that makes her projectile vomit all over the place. This has happened 4 times in the past 2 1/2 weeks. Ok, NO MORE MILK FOR THE BABY. Guess it's soy or rice milk time, joy. She's cool with cheese, yogurt & ice cream, just not milk. Little girl keeps us on our toes!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I swear I'm not dead

I know...I know...It's been awhile, so sue me. We've actually been quite busy, so it's not like I've just been sitting around eatin bon bons, regardless of what my husband thinks. We went to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. That was fun....long drive, with Sarah deciding not to sleep until nearly 4am...but fun. It was nice for Emma to see her little friends Ryan & Austin again. And Sarah had a great time following Justin around and generally wreaking havoc along with everyone else. Tiana & I did our annual "Get-up-at-the-butt-crack-of-dawn-why-do-we-do-this-to-ourselves-every-year" shopping trip, which was punctuated by going back home to deal with a fevery, lethargic, and anti-food & drink Sarah. It was made even more exciting by the fact that we had Thanksgiving dinner the day AFTER Thanksgiving. We drove down there on Wednesday night, it's a 14 hour drive, you do the math. Ok, so I'll tell you we got there at 7am, not entirely up for cooking all day. PLus, I felt bad that I wouldn't have been there early to help Tiana. So, we figured, what's the harm in putting it off for a day. The kids won't notice. And Jeff certainly didn't care. He got his hot wings that he wanted.
With Robert being in Afghanistan, it was up to Jeff to carve the turkey. Ryan helped, and it was really neat to see. The weather was ok, chilly the first day or so, but after that, warmed up quite nicely. We helped Tiana put up her Christmas lights on her house, and we spent a lot of time discussing a couple's trip to Sandals that won't happen until 2008, but it was nice to dream. We were able to stay until Monday, which made our drive home a lot less stressful.
Since we've been home, we've mostly been dealing with Jeff's finals coming up, people showing up all the time to look at the house, and trying to get organized for Christmas & birthdays. Emma's in on Saturday. She's having a party at the SAC bowling alley. She's really excited about it. Only one person has confirmed so far, though, so it might be a small party, lol. I invited everyone in her class. That's 17 kids. Yikes. Thus the reason we're not having it at our house this year.
We got our tree up last weekend. We went out & bought a 7.5 ft. fake, prelighted tree. It actually looks very nice. Emma put most of the ornaments on while I was busy trying to straighten out the limbs of the tree, having just come out of the box. Sarah was having a blast trying to eat all the boxes & bags the ornaments came in, and Jeff was being domestic, making his fabulous hot chocolate. All this topped off with Christmas music playing in the background, very Norman Rockwell.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ah the joys of Michigan weather

I say that with a BIG smirk of saracasm. It snowed yesterday. Not a bunch, maybe 1/4 inch, just a dusting. But, it's COLD!!!! The temp when we took Jeff to work this morning was 25 degrees, with a wind child of 10. Yes, 10, as in degrees. Brrrrr. When it's that cold outside, you don't even want to move, because it's too uncomfortable to try.
I bundled up Emma like a Stay-Puff Marshmallow this morning. She had a sweatshirt on underneath her snow coat, with one of my scarves wrapped around her neck & a fuzzy headband covering her ears (she keeps forgetting her snow hat at school), and gloves. I don't envy the teachers who have to unwrap the kids when they get to school.
I was a bit upset because when she got off the bus yesterday, she wasn't wearing her coat. She was wearing a dress, and her coat was in her backpack. Ok, these people put my child on the bus, where you have to walk outside to get ON the bus, without her coat??? I was a little flabbergasted. It was freezing yesterday. If that happens again today, I'll be having words with the person who puts the kids on the bus. I know for a fact that the bus doesn't always show up right as school gets out & I've seen the kids waiting for it outside for at least 10 minutes. My kid better not have to wait in the cold for 10 minutes when it's 30 degrees outside because you don't want to bother with asking her where her coat is. She's 5, she needs help.
This weather doesn't help my family, who are all in various stages of recovery from some sort of illness. Sarah has been snotty for 6 weeks, Jeff stayed home from work yesterday with the flu, and Emma was just put on some medicine for a viral cough. Joy. Sarah's pedi thought the snottiness might be from allergies so he put her on oral granules of Singulair. We'll see how that goes. And the little bugger hasn't been sleeping very well. The past two nights have been horrible. Then ight before last she woke up at 4am, happy as a clam; then last night she woke up at midnight & 6am. I'm exhausted. It's a good thing my morning sickness/nausea hasn't been as bad as it's been in the past otherwise we'd all be living like "Lord of the Flies" right now. We're halfway there as it is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Say hi baby!

We had our first U/S today. We were a tad nervous going into this today, due to the fear of having more than one in there, but that was quickly alleviated. There's only one, and so far, everything looks great. We saw the heartbeat, saw it moving around, and even saw it's arms & legs. Very cool. Got a couple of pictures that I need to try & somehow get into the computer. We don't have Photoshop installed at the moment, due to us getting a brand new computer this week. So I can't crop them & make them small enough to upload. But, hopefully soon. I also need to figure out how to take a decent picture of an ultrasound.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Too many movies, not enough time

There are so many new movies out that I'm dying to see. The new Harry Potter movie comes out next week, there's a remake of "Pride & Prejudice" that looks awesome, the Chronicles of Narnia one coming out in December, ahhhh! The list goes on & on! But of course, just 2 weeks ago, when we had TIME to see a movie, I didn't find anything that looked decent. Or that both Jeff & I wanted to see. He's still not into girly films, so I'll probably have to drag a friend to see Jane Austen. I know my aunt will be severely critical off the new film, as Colin Firth is her dream man. He played Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of P & P 10 years ago. She's got a wallpaper of him in full Mr. Darcy gear on her iBook.
Sarah has discovered our stairs and it's scaring the daylights out of me. She's SO fearless and has no concept of gravity, so she'll go up a couple and then plop down, thinking the ground will be there, like it's risen up to meet her diaper-covered bum. She took a small tumble over the weekend. Only one step, but still, not fun. And she has determined that sleep is for the weak. She's decided that regardless of the fact that she goes down for the night at 8pm, she thinks it's perfectly acceptable to still be awake at 10pm. I hope this is a phase, because I'm running on 5-6 hours of sleep a night as it is, which isn't cutting it for my pregnant self. I'm exhausted. It's so bad, I fell asleep at the computer the other night. I need to start taking a nap everyday, just so I can make it til the kids' bedtime!
Sarah has also decided that Duplo blocks are the best scatter & spread around the floor & then leave for me to step on and break my ankle. She does something put a couple together & then rip them apart, she likes the ripping apart.
Emma, on the other hand, is my prolific artist child. She is CONSTANTLY drawing, coloring, or creating something. We have bags of art & projects spanning only the last 2 years. It's crazy. But, she loves it. She's probably gone through at least one ream of computer printer paper, on her own, about every 2-3 months. We finally had to put a halt on that, and made her use her own construction paper. But, at least once a day, I get the question,"Mom, can I have a piece of paper??" I think the demand has gone down only because she's at school all day & uses THEIR paper. Maybe we have an ar-TEEST on our hands.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Morning funnies from Emma

My daughter is too funny. She tells me this morning, "I can't get dressed mommy, my bottom is itchy." Then she proceeds to ask me if I want to scratch her bottom for her, lol.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween Weekend

After admitting defeat at not being able to make Emma's costume this year (her demands were a little high, lol), we broke down & bought the girls' costumes. Emma went as Belle and Sarah a lamb. Emma's school had a Harvest Festival on Saturday afternoon. It was fun. The girls went to different booths & got stickers for doing different tasks, like playing Halloween bingo, pinning a nose on a scarecrow, and decorating cookies. Once they accumulated 8 stickers, they could turn them in for a goodie bag. They had a Goodie Walk, which was kinda like musical chairs, but with numbers on the floor. When the music stopped, you stopped on a number, and if your number was drawn out of a hat, you got a goodie plate, filled with homebaked cookies, cupcakes & other yummy treats. Jeff played with Sarah and she won after only 2 turns! Emma was determined to win something, and kept at it. She also won a goodie plate. Then the girls & I went on a hay ride and I met a woman whose sister-in-law is the one that started the Capital Area Down syndrome society! I thought that was such a cool coincedence. It was a nice afternoon.
That evening, we had our friends Andrea & Gabe come over for dinner. It was a nice relaxing meal, and afterwards, we taught them how to play Spades. Of course, the girls won.
Then on Sunday Emma had her last soccer game. The weather was beautiful and the team played great! We actually won!!! Our first win! It was awesome, the kids have had so much fun.
Yesterday, being Halloween, we went to the Towers on campus for our new annual tradition of Trick-or-Treating. It's nice, because there are 6 buildings of 5-9 floors each, with at least 5 rooms on each floor giving out candy. It's a kid's dream come true. We only had to go through 2 buildings to get each kid a full bucket o sugar. I've uploaded some of the pics to the photobucket page. Click here.
The only problem with going out for Halloween is that we miss all the kids who come around our neighborhood, but truth be told, there probably aren't many. The street we live on is very busy and we don't have a ton of small kids in the area. Mostly just college kids. But, that just means, more candy for us. Not like this preggy needs it, lol.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An apple a day won't keep the OB away

These are appointments we can't avoid when we're pregnant. Not that they're bad, as later in the pregnancy it's awesome to hear the baby's heartbeat. But, in the beginning, when you're forced to make all these choices about testing and making sure you're as far a long as you think are just not fun. And the filling out of the paperwork, such as what I ate for the past two days (huh?). I told the information nurse that I wasn't getting the quad screen test, because, honestly, what's the point? What could happen? I could have a child with Down syndrome?? Uh, check that off the list, I've already got Sarah, and she's wonderful. I even joked to Jeff the other day about how I feel for people with "typical" kids, because they always seem to be the ones who are screaming whenever I'm on the phone with their parents. Not to say that Sarah doesn't have her fair share of temper tantrums & meltdowns. Oh yes, she's definitely a toddler. But, most of the time, she's very pleasant in her demeanor. She doesn't get flustered as much as I recall Emma doing (such as me keeping her out of the pantry, she just doggedly keeps trying to climb in there, no tears, just determination). Maybe this is part of the stereotype of people with T21 are always so happy. I don't think that's it. I think they have a different prospective on life, even at this young of age. Sarah just doesn't see the point in getting upset if it's the 5th time I've dragged her away from the cat's water dish & told/signed to her "no". She just looks at me & smiles, as if to say, whatever mom! I'm gonna go back & do it anyways!
Anyways, Jeff wants me to get the test, for his peace of mind. But, I've told him, it won't help mine. It'll worry me if it's elevated, and it really won't even if it's normal, because what if it's wrong? I just don't want to deal with the stress. It wouldn't change my mind either way. The only thing I'm concerned about is the baby's organs, the heart, brain, that sort of thing. I might end up seeing an ultrasound specialist to get a Level 2 ultrasound, but he requires that his patients have the quad screen first.
My OB is concerned that I'm measuring a little farther along than I should be for 7 weeks. I've gained about 4 pounds (by my estimate) in the past 3-4 weeks, which is odd, as I don't think I've been eating more than normal. So, he's scheduled a regular ultrasound in his office in 3 weeks. One, he wants to make sure that I'm as far along as we think (if not, I might be 4 weeks ahead, not sure) and two, he wants to make sure there's only one in there, yikes! Don't even joke!!!!! The thought we could be having twins stresses me out more than the idea of having another child with T21. When I told Jeff this, all he kept saying was, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no! You're NOT having twins!" LOL I think I'm going to give the poor guy a heart attack. So, we'll see in 3 weeks how things go. I'm still having the nausea, but it's not as debilitating as it was earlier. Maybe I'm just learning to combat it a little better.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


That's how I feel at the moment. Ugh, morning sickness has reared it's ugly head. I've just been feeling slightly nauseous the past week or so, but today it got a lot worse. So much for my morning cup of decaf with french vanilla creamer. I know I need to eat something in the morning to help prevent it, but I'm always afraid I'm going to pick the ONE food my tummy can't handle that day, and it won't turn out so pleasant. But, so far, the nausea has been like it was with Sarah, once I get through it in the morning, I'm ok for the rest of the day. But, we'll see how it goes.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Jeff & I found out on Friday that we're expecting again. It's a little shocking & unexpected but we're excited none the less. According to my rudimentary calculatons, I'm due in the middle o June, near our anniversary. That's also near Emma's Kindergarden graduation, so we'll see which comes first, lol. Sarah came an hour into the day after her due date. And so far, both of my kids have been morning births, so who knows? If I miss Emma's K grad, I'll have a valid excuse.
Emma's already requesting a girl & Jeff a boy. But, I'm fairly certain the time has come & gone for putting in votes. The decision has been made & it's final. My grandparents from Santa Barbara were visiting on their cross-country trip said, "You could get both & have twins!"Don't even joke.
So now we have a little logistics to figure out: where everyone will sleep, as well as when to get Sarah out of the crib, and the dreaded "double-stroller" issue. But we still have a lot of time to worry about all that stuff. Now if only I hadn't just given away all my baby stuff...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Friends & colds

Our friends Robert & Tiana, along with their 3 boys, Ryan (5 3/4), Austin (3 1/2) and Justin (13 months) were here over the weekend for a visit. Robert is the one who's in the Navy, but who is being sent out to Afganistan to be deployed with the Army for 7 months. He's leaving the 23rd, and we wanted to see him before he left. It's always interesting whenever we get together. The kids run around and after awhile, get on each other's nerves. The babies roll/crawl (in Sarah's case)/walk (in Justin's case) and try to eat the cat food. And us adults play Spades and make outrageous bets. A fun time is had by all. But then comes the inevitable time of "the parting" and no one's ever happy about it. We live too far away from each other, minimum 12 hour drive. Needless to say, neither of us are ever too anxious to make the drive, although Robert & Tiana have done it quite a few more times than we have. But, with Robert leaving soon, we know we'll see Tiana & the boys more often. We're going down for Thanksgiving, they might be coming up for Christmas. And I know there will be a big celebration when Robert comes back from overseas.

The only bad part about this weekend was that Sarah woke up sicky on Saturday. She's got a cold, snotty and all nasty. No coughing or sneezing, so I'm hoping it won't get any worse. She's trying so hard to be positive, like my kids normally do, even when they're really sick. She still had enough energy to chase the cat & play with Justin. She just hates the bulb syringe. The "blue snot-sucker of death". She lashes her poor little head around, trying to evade the whooshing sound of snot being sucked out of her nostil like a vacuum. As much as I try to explain to her that she will be able to breath better without all the copious amounts of mucous in her nose, she doesn't quite believe me. Since this is really only her 3rd cold of her life (which is remarkable in & of itself), I can't really blame her for not realizing that it's helping her. She doesn't remember the last time we used it, lol.

On another note, Emma's team lost their 2nd game on Sunday. Boo. These 5-6 year old teams have ringers, I tell you! Each quarter there was ONE kid who just took the ball & knew exactly what to do with it. I'm not saying our kids aren't playing well themselves, but I think the kids on Emma's team are afraid of the net. They'll drive the ball right up to the goalie box, and ALL they have to do is kick it, but it seems like they chicken out. Emma does this, too. She'll run with the ball right up there, but then it seems she expects everyone to get out of her way and stop, so she can pause & kick the ball into the net without anyone trying to stop her. I think I should remind her the only way to do that is to get a penalty kick, and I don't think they implement that rule until about age 8-9. They're so cute in their little herd, ALL running around, no passing the ball to a teammate, no looking up to see where you're going, just running and kicking the ball. LOL It's too funny....frustrating, but funny.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This is too funny

Date: September 1, 2005
To: Child,
From: Kevin, VP, Toddler Division
Subject: Quarterly Objectives

Happy new year, company members! As you know, our first quarter was a fruitful and productive one. By working together to delay our bedtimes, we acquired over 53,000 extra hours of valuable awake time. That’s 53,000 more hours of running in circles. 53,000 more hours of shaking our heads wildly and arching our backs. 53,000 more hours of the Parents straining to communicate that toothbrushes do not go in the diaper. We have seen the Parents falter and ultimately give way under our consistent efforts, and we are proud.

It should be mentioned that some of our members have made great strides in drastically limiting the variety of foodstuffs they allow to enter their face-holes. We are thinking especially of Child 3A0762C-0908, who now ingests only raisins and lukewarm water sipped from a plastic spork; Child 5B0755F-0528: ketchup on crackers and the occasional mashed grape; and, most breathtakingly, Child 8A0576L-0108: plain dried breadcrumbs licked off a moistened index finger.

For the second quarter of 2005, we’ve strengthened our resolve and shown what a little determination and a lot of screeching can accomplish. And we are ready for the next phase: Operation No-Pants.

Every morning without failing, the Caregivers initiate a dressing procedure that is tiresome at best and scratchy at worst. It distracts us from our viewing of Elmo and limits our access to our smooth smooth skin. Their motives are puzzling: either they are jealous of our smooth smooth skin or else are attempting to break our wills by imposing nonsensical rules and demanding that we comply. But they will not succeed, friends. Because we will resist.

So: no matter how sopping wet or poop-crammed your diaper is, refuse to let Caregiver remove it. Declare that diaper to be your FAVORITE DIAPER. Do not allow any larger beings to lay a finger on it. For motivation, imagine that said diaper is part of your body, like a real tushie over your tushie. If any attempt is made to remove it, you will scream. Remember: the Scream is your friend. Caregivers live in fear of the Scream. If you add to the Scream “No hit! No hit!” they’re sure to back away for fear of the authorities coming after them.

Once a clean diaper is on very little can stop them from dressing you. The soiled diaper is your last and best hope.

Now that you’ve mastered toddler-ese, use it! Declare your opinions at each and every turn, and make sure that they are as vague and baffling as your pronunciation. If Caregiver explains that dressing is a vital step in a traveling-to-playground initiative, screech, “Murfy! TOO MURFY!” Do not explain. Never explain.

But why do we resist, you ask? Why not get dressed and enter the playground, where fun could possibly had? Because, that’s why. Because because because. Because we must take every stand we are able to take. Also! Because Caregiver is deceiving you. There is another, better playground, a Naked Playground, with balloons and ice cream and cake. The soiled diaper will lead the way. This is true, we think.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pics of Oreo

Here are a few pictures of our new cat, Oreo. This first one was right after we brought her home, she's hiding in Sarah's dresser.

Sarah chasing down the cat:

Sitting pretty kitty:

Buddy Walk

We went to the Grand Rapids, MI Buddy Walk on Saturday. It was a long drive but we can't go to the one in Lansing, and we really wanted to attend one. The weather was a little chilly, but no rain, which was nice. There were about 500 people there, and it was so awesome to see so many people celebrating Down syndrome. There was a little boy who is one month younger than Sarah and he was just crawling all over the place & waving to everyone. He was so cute! And he was huge! I guess I don't really realize how petite Sarah is in comparison to other kids her age. We have friends coming from out of town this weekend and they have a little boy who is 4 months younger than Sarah, and I KNOW he'll be a lot bigger than her. A big thanks to all our friends and family who helped us raise over $300 to donate to the Buddy Walk!!! You guys are awesome!!
I was also able to meet the very first person I ever talked to who had a child with Down syndrome. She really helped me through the early stages after finding out about Sarah. She has a son, Jarod, who is about 4 1/2.
Here are a few pictures from our day!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Really long quiz

name = Amanda
piercings = ears
tattoos = nope
height= 5'9 1/4"
shoe size = 9 (ugh)

movie you watched = Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
movie you bought = see above
song you listened to = theme song from "Little Bear"
song that was stuck in your head = some lame one by Mike Jones (thanks Jeff)
cd you bought = iTunes
cd you listened to = Gavin Degraw
person you've called = my mom
person that's called you = Jeff
tv show you've watched = MSNBC

you have a crush on someone = yes, my husband
you wish you could live somewhere else = yes
you think about suicide = only that it's selfish
you believe in online dating = better than bars
others find you attractive = don't know
you want more piercings = no thanks
you like cleaning = I like things clean, but not the process
you like roller coasters = yeppers
you write in cursive or print = mostly cursive

long distance relationships = depends on the couple, doesn't work most of the time
suicide = against
killing people = against
smoking = against
driving drunk = Completely against
gay/lesbian relationships = not up to me to judge

ever cried over a girl = my children
ever cried over a boy = many times
ever lied to someone = unfortunately yes
ever been in a fist fight = no

shampoo do you use = Suave color
shoes do you wear = Saltwater sandals, tennis shoes, flip flops
are you scared of = something happening to my kids

of times I have been in love? = twice
of times I have had my heart broken? = can't remember
of hearts I have broken? = none, I don't think
of times my name has appeared in the newspaper? = at least twice
of things in my past that I regret? = a few....

pretty= Sometimes
hot= yeah baby!
friendly= Always!!
amusing= I'm freakin' hilarious
ugly= can we say 6 am?
loveable= yes
caring= yes
sweet= I hope so
dorky= I'm 27 & I play video games, you take a guess

5 letter word: mommy
Actor/actress: Reece Witherspoon
Candy: See's
Cartoon: Blues Clues
Cereal: Raisin Bran
Chewing gum: Big Red
Color(s): Cerulean
Color nail polish: clear
Day of week: Saturday
Least fave day: Monday
Flower: Roses & daisies
Jello flavor: Watermelon
Jewelry: rings
Special skills/talents: I can simultaneously cook, talk on the phone & keep a toddler out of the cat's water/food dish.
Summer/Winter: summer

|| Person who last.. ||
Slept in your bed: me, DH & the cat
Saw you cry: DH
Made you cry:
You went to the movies with: Dh, and the kids
Yelled at you: probably Emma
Sent you an email: aside from the spam? Jeff

|| Have you ever.. ||
Said "I love you" and meant it?: yes
Gone out in public in your pajamas: oh I'm sure
Cried during a movie: many times
Planned your week based on the TV: uh no
Been on stage: yes
Been to New York: does JFK airport count?
Been to California: born & raised
Hawaii: yes
Canada: no, eh
Europe: yes
Asia: no
South: south of what???
Australia: no, mate
Wished you were another gender: no thanks
What time is it now?: 10:37am

|| This or That? ||
Apples or bananas?: banannas
Blue or red?: blue
Walmart or target?: Walmart
Spring or Fall?: spring
What are you gonna do after you finish this?: play WoW
What was the last meal you ate?: muffin & coffee
Are you bored?: not so much
Last noise you heard?: me turning OFF MSNBC
Last smell you sniffed?: the litter box, need to clean it, ew

|| Friendship/Love ||
Do you believe in love at first sight?: yes
Do you want children one day & if so, how many? already have 2, contemplating more
Most important thing to you in a friendship is: laughter

|| Other Info ||
Criminal record?: rode in a police car once
Do you speak any other languages?: baby talk
last book you read: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
Name some of your favorite things in your bedroom?: my pillow
Worst feeling in the world: heartache
Who do you love: My family, my friends

|| You ||
Nickname(s): Mandie, Woman
Initials: ANW, yes like the drink
How old do you look?: older than I want to
How old do you act?: like I'm 18, with moments of 27ish
Glasses/Contacts: not anymore
Braces: used to have them, probably need them again, stupid wisdom teeth
Do you have any pets?: cat: Oreo
You get embarrassed: yep
What makes you happy?: happy kids, clean house, loving husband
What upsets you?: whining and feeling completely helpless

|| Finish the sentence: ||
I Love to... make others happy
I Miss... everyone in CA
I Wish... for acceptance for my daughter
I Hope... my children don't go on Oprah in 20 years & say I ruined their lives (LOL)
I'm Annoyed by... stupid college students
I Am...unique
I Want to be... content
I Would Never...steal your car
I'd Rather be... closer to family
I Am Tired of... housework
I Will Always be... who I am

Friday, September 16, 2005

Expect the unexpected

That should be the motto of the United States military. They make promises that are bound by signatures & mountains of paperwork, but at the whim of some Head Honcho in Washington, D.C., you're whole existence can come crashing down on you. Which is the big reason why we got out. Our friends, Robert & Tiana, are still in the Navy. He's been stationed, on shore duty, in Tennessee, for the past 2 years. They were preparing for him to be leaving early next year for a Pre-comm shipp in Mississippi. It's still being built, so there was no chance he'd have to go out on deployment until it was finished. Then, his Command dropped a bombshell: he's being shipped out to Afganistan with an Army Unit for 6 months, and he's leaving in 4 weeks. Wait, he's in the NAVY. Like boats and stuff. No sand, no cammies, no gigantic arthropods. I don't get it either. Somehow, the Army doesn't have anyone who can do his job (insert lame joke about lack of military intelligence here). They have thousands of ppl on ships all over the world, and they pick him, from Tennessee. While it's a given that the military can uproot you whenever they feel like it, this was COMPLETELY out of the blue. It's one thing to be told, while stationed on a ship, of by the way, we're going on deployment sooner than expected (which has been happening quite frequently) but it's quite another to be on SHORE duty, and be told you're going to a base, in the middle of a desert, with a completely different branch of the military. It's not like he's a SEAL, or a SeaBee. He's an IT, the military equivalent of Jeff. In fact, Jeff did his exact job while he was in the Navy. I just feel so bad for his family. But, this has solidified their resolve NOT to re-enlist. Thank you Mr. Bush.

Growing pains

Think I've discovered the reason why Sarah's been extremely, out-of-the ordinary, makes you want to pull out your hair, cranky lately. If my calculations are correct, she's grown an inch & a quarter in the past month. While my method of measuring her might not be scientific (put a book where her head is, stretch her out & put another book where her foot is) that's better than what they do at her pedi's office. So I'll take my measurement above theirs anyday. According to the Down syndrome growth charts, this puts her at about the 15th percentile for weight & the 25th percentile for height. Yay! This means, on paper, she's almost into 6-12 month clothes, lol! Although 6-9 month clothes still fall off her. Now if only her feet would grow a bit more. I'm finding her size 1 Stride Rite "crawling" shoes are getting a bit too tight, but she's not quite big enough for a size 2. In fact, I just measured her foot (almost 4 1/2 inches) and 4 inches is a size 0. The website I found says that for each additional 1/3 in, goes up a whole shoe size. So, if she's between 4 1/4 & 4 1/2, that would make her about a size 1. It's too confusing, I need more coffee. All I know is she's small, and she looks like she's 9 months old. But, whatever. She's handy carry-out size. Probably why the cat isn't so afraid of her, cause she's not much bigger than Oreo is.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Long update

A lot has been going on in our house lately. Last week, Emma & Jeff had their first soccer practice. It was a little chaotic, as parents were showing up at all different times, some not sure where they were supposed to be, one little boy didn't know if he really wanted to play, and then there were the bugs, lol. But, a fun time was had by all (mostly) and it was a nice "get to know you" type of practice. We have another practice tonight & then our first game on Sunday.
Also last week, Emma had her first real dentist appointment. I've been really bad about not taking her before now. I think she went once while we were in San Diego, but she had real "white coat syndrome" and hated being looked at or prodded at by any medical authority. So, at the time, I figured it would be easier to wait until she was older and more able to handle it. Well, they took x-rays (which she did GREAT at) and they saw a couple of spots that show decay. ::sigh:: Guess I waited too long. But, they're only in between her back molars, which have always been very tight. So, in a couple of weeks, we get to go back and get them taken care of. Jeff doesn't think we need to get them done, as she's going to lose those teeth anyways, but that could take years. She still has a ton of other teeth to lose before she loses those molars. So, we'll see how things go. We're only going to do one side, and then the other side a few weeks later.
Jeff also had a medical visit last week. He's had this weird, cyst looking growth (I know, TMI) on his back for a few years now. It really hasn't bothered him, but in the last year or so it's gotten a little bigger, so we decided to have it removed. The doctor doesn't think it's anything serious, probably a fybroid or other non-malignant growth, but we'll know for sure in about a week. He goes back to get the stitches taken out next week.
Emma's still loving school. We're in the midst of her first school fundraiser. Selling boxes of frozen goodies (i.e. cinnamon rolls, cookies and pizza). A college students' dream. Her class had a special event on Tuesday for Grandparent's Day. As all her G-parents are in CA, I went and took pictures of them all so she could show her friends. The kids served us juice & muffins, then we decorated a picture frame, and then they had recess. It was nice. There was another child in her class, who sits right next to her, whose mom did the same thing. His G-parents are in FL & Canada.
In Sarah news, she's cruising!!! She's starting to cruise the furniture and we feel that walking may only be a few months away! Her PT & I had set a tentative goal on having her walking by Christmas, looks like she'll most likely hit that! She also is starting to let go while standing and is hovering for a little bit before plopping down on her bottom. She's also up to 15 lbs. 14 oz. which is 5 oz. more than she was 4 weeks ago!
On Saturday we went to the animal shelter and adopted a cat, named Oreo. She's a 5 year old black & white short-haired cat. She's very lovable, but it's taken her a little while to get used to all the raucous that goes on around here. She spent the better part of the weekend either hiding in Sarah's dresser, behind the toilet or under our bed. She mainly only came out at night, after the kids went to bed. But, she's slowly starting to venture out into the rest of the house, even jumping onto the computer desk & the window sills. She knows where her food & water dishes are, and had no problem adjusting to her new litter box. She's even starting to lie down on Emma's bed in the evening when she goes to sleep! We got her a "kitty condo", a 2 story circular retreat, which also can double as a scratching post. So far, she doesn't seem into it, but it might take just a little while. Sarah's having a blast, chasing her around the house, and Oreo will sometimes even let her pet her for a minute, before Sarah makes some loud commotion and she runs off.
We recently found out that Jeff made the Dean's list for both the Spring 2005 semester & both Summer 2005 semesters! He's settling into his new position of Manager quite well, and things are going pretty smoothly now that the students have returned. He's now taking only 2 classes per semester. He even subbed for his computer teacher on Monday! He's down to the degree specific classes now, so it'll be pretty much nothing but math & computer classes from now on.
Well that's update from the farm! Hopefully I'll have some cute pictures to put up after our game on Sunday. I'm still trying to get Oreo to sit still for a portrait, not working too well though, lol.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Saturday mornings at our house

On the weekends, Jeff & I usually each get one morning to sleep in. Saturday's are normally my days, but since Jeff had his "surgery" yesterday, I figured he'd been it more than I. He's had this cyst looking thingy on his back for a few years, and it's gotten a little bigger lately, so we figured it was time to get it looked at. They decided to remove it, just to make sure it wasn't anything serious. If you know Jeff at all, you know that he hates doctors. He hates needles & he hates pain in general. The procedure itself was pretty quick. Just a couple shots to numb the area, the doctor used a cookie cutter type thing to cut out the "anamoly", leaving a precise circle cut-out. He then stitched it up and put bandages on it. We were in & out within a half hour. So, all in all, it wasn't that bad.
So, it's just the girls & I this morning, until Jeff wakes up. Emma's on the computer, at the Playhouse Disney website. Sarah's on the floor, playing with duplo legos, and I'm sitting at Jeff's laptop, drinking coffee. Ah, coffee.
Our friends Robert & Tiana were the ones to finally get me to drink coffee. They introduced us to "French Vanilla Creamer". I'm now a coffee snob. Just regular old milk & sugar won't do. I'd rather go without than have coffee without creamer. Because it completely covers up the coffee taste.
I think we're going to go & get the cat from the shelter this morning. I was called & told the scab on her back was NOT ringworm, but just an abrasion. So, she's free & clear. Then we need to go & get all the cat paraphernalia.
OK, totally off topic, I just saw the new Budweiser commercial. It's hilarious. There are the Clydesdales, all standing around, looking at a zebra, who has his head in an Intant Replay booth. There are two guys sitting there, and one says "This ref's a jacka$$." And the other guy goes, "No, I believe he's a zebra." Too funny. I guess you had to see it.
Ok, Jeff's up now, so we have to get ready.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Revision to previous post

After I'd written and posted my "Joy of Baths" post below, I went back & read it. I made it sounds as if that one bath a year is the only cleansing ritual I have. I also shower, on a more frequent basis. Like, every day. The baths are like a vacation, they don't happen very often and require too much planning, but are fun none the less.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The joy of baths

I rarely, as in once a year, take baths. I generally don't have time, and, most of the time, I'm not selfish enough to demand time to take one. Today, though, I decided that Sarah and I would take a bath together. I don't think we ever have, and we both desperately needed some sort of cleansing. It was awesome. We played, splashed water and got squeaky clean. Sarah, I think, is in love with the water. Apparently both my kids are, because Emma can spend an hour or more in the tub, alone. Sarah loves to put her hand in the running water, feeling it splash all over it. While I was awkwardly trying to shave my legs, I had turned on the water. All of a sudden, I see her put her head really close to the water and I'm wondering what she's doing. I see that she's drinking it. She's sticking her head into the running water and drinking it. That's my kid for ya. She loves water. And apparently she was thirsty.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I hate Mondays

Wait, it's Tuesday!!! Oh well, it feels like Monday. It's interesting how sleeping in too late can ruin what was otherwise a pretty decent 4 day weekend. Emma was off from Friday to yesterday, and even Jeff had Labor Day off. Aside from the children deciding that last night was the night to try our patience to it's breaking point, it was a pretty nice, relaxing weekend. Then, I kept hitting the snooze button this morning. It might have had something to do with being up until 12:30 this morning. Or the fact that I'm not used to hearing the alarm (even when Jeff got up before I did and dealt with the alarm, I NEVER heard it). Or it could just be that my sub-conscious said "nope, I'm too tired, go back to sleep". Whatever the reason, all of a sudden, it's 6:55am, and I am woken up by the bus driver knocking on our front door. How I can hear THAT, through the baby monitor, and can't hear the alarm going off a foot from my head is anyone's guess. I freaked out, jumped up and ran to the door (in my nightgown, no less) and told the driver, yeah, sorry, we slept in, I'll be driving her to school. Of course, how I was going to accomplish that, I hadn't quite figured out, as we needed to leave within 30 minutes. Both Jeff & I needed showers (cause if I'm going out in public, I don't want to smell, even if it's just to drop my kid off at Kindergarten), both the kids needed to get dressed and ready and we were out of coffee creamer. I wasn't happy. Emma woke up as I was running upstairs to talk to the bus driver. She, very sleepily, asks me "Why didn't you ake me up?" I told her that I overslept and that we missed the bus. While I went downstairs to roust Jeff up, she got dressed, her shoes on & backpack on, and proceeds to announce "I'm ready!" Did I mention she loves school? I told her she still missed the bus and that I was driving her. She still needed to eat and brush her teeth & hair.
So, we made it out of the house roughly 30 minutes later, dropped by Mickey D's for some coffee for Jeff (I won't drink it, I'm a coffee snob), dropped him off at work, and raced to school. We were on time....ish. We made it into the school before the bell rang, that's good, right? I reminded Emma that she would still be riding the bus home today and that there might be a surprise waiting for her when she got home.
That surprise is a cat. We've been talking about adopting a cat from the animal shelter for a couple of weeks now. The Humane Society of this county has a website where they go to the shelter, take pics & get info on all the animals there and post it on their website. We were browsing through the cat section and Emma decided she wanted a black & white cat, Oreo. She's about 4-5 years old. We're not doing the kitten thing here. I want a mellow, relaxed cat, who won't pee on my couch or scratch up my kids. This is the beginning of responsibility for Emma. I'm still going to be the one who takes care of it most of the time, but Emma's been begging us for an animal, and it's hard to cuddle with a fish. So, this should be interesting. We'd like to have a dog, but not in a rental.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The solution to our problems...

This is possibly one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile. I was about to pee myself when I saw this. I'm ordering one for Christmas.

Coach Jeff

Fall soccer time is here, and Emma's going to play. She really enjoyed the summer soccer, and I think it'll be great for her. Not like she doesn't already have a ton on her plate as it is, but it only lasts about 8 weeks. Then, it gets WAY too cold to play soccer. Jeff had shown interest in being an Assistant coach for her team. Then, it was proposed by a co-worker, that he be bumped up to coach and the co-worker's wife be the assistant. That way, both our kids, their daughter Lauren and our daughter Emma, could be on the same team. So, now Jeff's the Head coach of Team 8 in the Mt. Pleasant Parks & Rec soccer league. He had a meeting last night, where he got all of his "coach gear", including balls, cones and a whole bunch of reading material. Practices start next Thursday, with games on Sunday afternoons. It should be fun! I'm going to be the Team mom, since I know NOTHING about soccer, but I want to help. We've got 11 kids on the team, and the focus is on learning skills and having fun. I vaguely remember watching my little brother (who's 12 now) playing soccer at this age. It was basically a herd of 5 year olds running around, paying no attention to position, with their soccer shorts hanging down to their knees. It's going to be so cute!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hug your kids

The past two weeks have seen the passing of two little angels with Down syndrome. While I never knew either of these babies or their families, the pain is still very real. That could've been Sarah. Sarah was born with Down syndrome, yes, but she was also at risk, from conception, of having serious health problems, the worst of which she was blessed to have escaped. Heart problems, digestive problems, breathing problems requiring a trach, blindness, deafness. Both the babies who passed away recently had a major heart defect which required surgery. Their names were Kylee Rose and Reese Adam. Kylee was 4 1/2 months old, and Reese just 2 weeks. It's so senseless. Why are we so lucky to still have Sarah? I've never done anything in my life to afford me such grace. She was spared the worst of health problems, hasn't needed any major surgery, and is developing wonderfully. She's the sweetest baby, always ready with a smile, and she adores her big sister. She's curious and worries me to death that she's going to get herself into trouble from all her roaming around and exploring. I see so much promise in her future that 20 years ago wasn't there. And Kylee and Reese didn't even get that chance. I don't understand.
Here are the Memorial Pages for Reese and Kylee.

I know at times I'm just so tired & frustrated with the kids, but it's things like this that remind me that I still have kids to get frustrated at. Some people don't.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This is what I think of lunch

Apparently she doesn't like green beans. She did this everytime I put one in her mouth.

First day pic

Emma had a great day! She didn't eat her hot lunch, and she has a bit of a problem with waiting her turn to talk, and she wants to get out ALL the toys, not just the ones her teacher says she can, but those are all things we can work on. She says she had fun and is really excited to ride the bus to school now. It's just EARLY! I set it up yesterday after school, and they said to expect the bus sometime between 6:30-7am. So, I got up at 6 this morning, got Emma up, and ready by 6:30am. The bus didn't come until almost 7:15. I could have let the child (and not to mention myself) sleep for another 30 minutes. ::sigh:: We've set it up to where she's going to take the bus to & from school 4 days a week, and then one day, she takes it TO school, and I pick her up. That way, I can touch bases with her teacher, pick up any big stuff that she may have forgotten, and pay for her hot lunches in person.

Monday, August 22, 2005

First day of school

Ahhhhh! I knew this day was coming, but it's still been a little hard dealing with it. Last night, we got a bath early, set out her clothes, got her backpack together, and "tried" to get to bed early, so we could have a good night's sleep.
Then this morning, I got Emma up, she had breakfast, put on her new outfit, and we all got ready to take her to school. Jeff took a couple pictures, but it was hard, as Emma just wanted to get in there. We hung up her backpack in her locker and put her blanket in her cubby (which reminds me, I need to send in a small pillow, as well). Then she got to work: putting together a puzzle, drawing and meeting her new friends. I don't even think she noticed when we left, but that's good. She ended up having to get a hot lunch today, which I think will be the biggest obstacle for her. She's a VERY picky eater and doesn't like much. But, I'm hoping peer pressure will help in that aspect.
So, you'd think that with one child out of the house all day, things would go pretty smoothly today. Well you'd be wrong. Go ahead, call Child Protective Services, because apparently I have instantly become a crappy parent. I was tossing Sarah up into the air this morning, and she promptly hit her head on the ceiling (BIG stab of guilt #1). THEN, while I'm trying to get her lunch together, I put her in her high chair & before I can put the tray on it, she proceeds to pull herself up and fall headfirst out of the chair, onto the floor (SHOOTING pangs of child abuse running through my head right now, contemplating calling 911). I seriously didn't pick her up right away, afraid she might have hurt her neck, so I just tried to calm her down for a minute, then she was moving around, and I figured she was ok. OMG, I'm a terrible parent. She has become SO quick the last few weeks, constantly on the go, can't sit still for a minute. When I change her diaper, even with the gigantic elastic strap on the changing pad, she still manages to wrangle herself into a sitting position, or tries to roll OFF the table, with the pad still strapped to her waist. I need a huge velcro wall to stick her on so she can't move anywhere or fall off. It's a good thing kids are made of rubber, otherwise we might have serious problems. The funny thing is, she didn't even cry when she hit her head on the ceiling, she just looked at me like, "ok mom, you love me, right? Cause that was just not smart." It's sad when your 16 month old gives you dirty looks, like you're really screwing this up.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Open House

Last night, we all went to Emma's school to check out her teacher & classroom. It was pretty exciting! Emma found out where her desk (well, a table with a chair) is, as well as her cubbie, locker, and crayon bin. There may be a few identification issues at first, as there are 3 Emma's in her class this year. There's an Emma F., And Emma K., and then Emma W. Apparently I WASN'T so unique with my name choices. Since my mom is still here visiting, she was able to go with us. I got a bunch of paperwork I need to fill out, as well as figuring out exactly when she's going to ride the bus, give the school money for her snack drinks, and try to convince her to eat the school's hot lunch.
One thing that I think is really cool, is there's a little girl in her class (don't know her name yet) who walks with a walker on wheels. I think it's so awesome to expose young kids to differences in people, so they can get used to the idea that not everyone's the same. She doesn't really see anything difference about Sarah yet, but other little kids might, and I don't want her to think that Sarah's the only one who might be see as "different". Kids can learn tolerance at a young age, and the younger the better, in my opinion. There was a little boy in her preschool who had glasses and most days, had to wear a patch on one eye, due to having a cataract removed when he was a baby. Emma, embarassingly, pointed that out to me one day, and I reminded her that not everyone looks the same, and we need to try not to point out other people's differences and make them feel uncomfortable. Accept people the way they are, and not try to change them to fit our mold. So I'm really looking forward to her starting Kindergarden and being exposed to a whole bunch of new things.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Argh, school blues

Ok, so I called Emma's school 2 1/2 weeks ago, asking where my information packet was from her teacher. They said to expect something the next week. That came, only with a generic letter from the school. We got another letter last week, only this was information about after school activities & the bus info. So, I called yesterday, asking where ANY information was from her teacher, whom I STILL don't know the name of. The lady said to expect it sometime this week. Mind you, school starts on Monday. She also said if I hadn't received anything by the Open House (on Thursday) I could just pick up the list then. 3 DAYS BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS???!!! This is exactly what I had wanted to avoid when I called them 3 weeks ago. Grrrr. I really hope this isn't a view of things to come from this school. It's a charter school, and I had really high hopes for it. It's a 20 minute drive from our house, which would be so bad if we didn't live in a town of only 25,000, and this school is in another town completely. I already bought her backpack, but I would like to avoid redundancy with school supply purchases. So if I don't NEED to buy her crayons, paper, etc, I would like to not HAVE to. I really hope this isn't the start of 12 more years of frustration with the school system. I can already foresee the struggles I'll be dealing with when Sarah starts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

An overdue update

A recent picture of my two beauties.

I just thought this was the most adorable pic of Sarah, using Jeff as her own personal pillow. It was apparently "daddy is my jungle gym" night, as she ended up climbing all over him. That'll teach him to be on the floor.

Well things have been going pretty well around here lately. Jeff finished his second summer semester last week. It's been a long 12 weeks of summer school. Glad it's over.
On the work front, Jeff has been made interim manager of Technology Operations. His boss found another job at the University of Wisconsin, and they decided to give Jeff a year of management experience before putting the job up for applicants. But, the only down side is that now he'll have to scale back school to half time, meaning we're going to be here longer. But, that's ok, he couldn't have passed up this opportunity. The funny thing with management is they usually want people with experience, but you can only get that experience by BEING a manager. It's a vicious cycle.
Jeff's sister Kimberly was here visiting over the weekend. She flew out from San Francisco. It was a really nice visit. Emma ran her ragged (but it's ok, cause she works at a preschool) and Sarah loved having another person to charm the pants off of. It was probably the MOST relaxing weekend we've had around here all summer.
My mom is coming out this weekend, and will be here for 8 days. She'll get to go to Emma's Open House with us, and meet her teacher and see where she'll be going to Kindergarden, in a week and a half!!! AHHHHHH! That just doesn't seem possible. Still don't have a school supply list, and it's starting to worry me a little. I suppose I could just go with my gut instinct and get the generic crayons, pencils, erasers, pencil case, etc. But after talking to my friend Jennifer in FL last week, whose daughter started K this past week, I'm wondering if they won't be requiring a few things that aren't on the general list. She had to buy shaving cream. And a mini Magna Doodle. And tissues. And while that was in FL, I wouldn't put it past MI to be freaky like that.
We've been trying to implement "school rules" at home to get her used to what it's going to be like once school starts. Like NO TV at bedtime. That's been a hard one. Also, a strict bedtime. Right now it's 9pm, but that may change after school starts, depending on what time she needs to be on the bus.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Going out of town

The girls & I will be in NE Ohio all weekend, starting tomorrow afternoon, to attend our first In Real Life meeting. We're meeting about 5-6 people who all post on I think a few people from MI are coming, as well as most of the people who live in Ohio. We're meeting at someone's house for pizza on Sunday afternoon, but I'm getting together with a lady named Christi, who has 2 kids, Wheatley, age 7, and Veronica, age 2, who has Down syndrome. It should be a great weekend. Jeff can't go, due to work & school. So, I've been working my tail off all day to make sure he has clean clothes, food in the fridge and a relatively clean house. Of course by the time I get back, he'll be walking around in a loin cloth, saying he's starving, and the house will be a pigsty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Now I have to wait 2 years....

for the next Harry Potter book. I'm finished with "The Half-Blood Prince". I'm sad, both at the events in the book, and that fact that I'm going to have to wait for so long to find out what happens. I guess the only solace I have is that "The Goblet of Fire" is coming to theaters this November. Looks really good. Can't wait to see Fleur Delacore in the flesh, as prissy & pretentious as ever.
Jeff, unknowingly, kinda spoiled the book for me. He found a website that has an audio file of someone yelling outside a crowded bookstore, the ending of the book. Turns out it was true. Which was not unexpected. Just wrong, plain wrong, that it had to happen that way. Jeff, who hasn't read any of the books, doesn't know what else happened, and I guess he really doesn't have time to read them in order to find out. I kinda tell him tidbits as I read them. So, again, I'm sad, I won't deny I cried, and it sucks that it's over. I suppose I could have extended it a bit by not reading it so quickly, but hey, it's me. I read the first 5 books in 3 1/2 weeks. What can I say?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Sarah is officially crawling! Of course, being as it's Sarah, she has to put her own unique twist on an old pasttime, and do it a little differently. Instead of being on all 4's, one of her legs sticks straight out, and she propels herself forward by pushing off from that foot. It's hilarious. I keep trying to correct her posture, but all she does is fall on her belly when I do. Oh well, at least she's making progress. She also pulled up to standing this morning! I was in the bathroom, and she crawled over to the tub, and pulled herself up while holding onto the edge! It's so cool to see her finally be able to get where she's been aching to go to for months. Although she's been rolling forever and army crawling for about 2 months, it hasn't exactly been the same as being able to make a beeline for where her aim is, and get there. Now that she's progressing to pulling up, though, we might need to rethink certain things, like where her crib mattress is, and what she can reach now on the coffee table.
Another milestone, while not alltogether a happy one, is the onset of Sarah's toddler attitude. And by attitude, I don't mean her giving me pouty looks and throwing herself on the ground in a pile of wallowing sadness, like her big sister. No, I mean the "I'm going to throw this on the floor to see what happens" attitude. And that's her big thing lately, throwing things on the floor. it wouldn't be so bad if were just things that I knew she was finished with, i.e. empty sippy cup or a toy. No, it's full bowls of food & cups brimming with liquid. But, I guess the funny part is, she doesn't care. She would not miss that food or drink or toy, until you had one. If she sees you with food and she doesn't have the exact same thing in front of her, you've committed a seriously heinous crime. And she'll let you know. Either by yelling indignantely, or by bursting into sobs. When you walk into a room with food, she'll eye you until you sit down, and if you haven't offered her a portion of it within a millisecond, she'll let you know her disapproval.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More medical fun

Ok, ok, OK! I get it! Kids get weird illnesses and funky diseases and fall and break thing. But, WHY do they always happen to MY kids!? Emma comes up to me yesterday afternoon, and tells me her foot hurts. So I look at it. Right by where she got a bug bite about 2 weeks ago, is a welt-like, raised area, with a swollen, red area about 3 inches in diameter, around it. I start to panic a little, as I'm afraid she might have gotten bitten by one of the innumerable bugs we have scurrying around the house. I check her temp (fine), ask her if she hurts anywhere else (no) and ask her if she remembers when it started hurting (when she woke up). Yay. So I call Jeff to let him know what's up, I go online (never a good idea, especially when there's pictures of nasty bug bites), and call my fahter-in-law (pest control guy) to ask him what he thinks might have bitten her. Everyone suggests I take her to the doctor. Good idea, but I don't have the car. So, Jeff comes home early, takes over Sarah duty, and Emma & I go to Urgent Care. The triage nurse says he thinks it's cellulitis. And, after waiting over an hour to see an actual doctor, that's what SHE says it is, too. So, she got bit by something and get an infection in the tissue under the skin. If this seems familiar, it should. Emma had cellulitits 6 weeks ago, on her thigh, after her immunizations. Sigh. This kid gets the weirdest stuff! So, we're on Prednisone (yay) and antibiotics. I think it looks better today.
So, I went to Meijer last night at midnight, to buy the new Harry Potter book. Why, you ask? Because I'm a loser, that's why. I didn't pre-order it, so I wouldn't get it before Monday if I'd ordered it online, and I couldn't have that, could I? So, I stood in line, with half the town, for an hour, to buy a book. By the time I got home, it was so late, I couldn't even read it. But, I have it. Yay me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Finally, some action

After Sarah's Upper GI a couple weeks ago, at first it looked like I was back at square one. The radiology nurse had given me false information that the radiologist thought Sarah had a condition called "pyloric stenosis", which is a narrowing of the tube from the stomach to the small intestine. But, turns out, he didn't even get a good look at that valve during her Upper GI, so I don't know where SHE got her information. Anyhow, her pedi still had a "wait & see" attitude. I was pushing for SOMETHING to be done, so I brought her in & got her weighed. She was down to 14 lbs. 10 oz. Still more than what she had been the previous week at the cardiologists, but still lower than what she was at 13 months. So, I think this was finally the kick in the pants the pedi needed. He called the pedi gastroenterologist in Lansing. He said he didn't want to see her just yet (figures) but wanted her to try Zantac (yay!) for a month and also get more blood work done (not yay). So, we've been on the Zantac for 2 1/2 days, and I'm not seeing very much progress yet. She's still spitting up after nursing and almost anything liquidy. She was chewing on the Infant Tylenol bottle this morning & when she spit up, it was quite forceful. So, just one more thing to talk to the pedi about.
On a good note, however, Sarah's been making some serious milestones!! In the past week she's: said her first two words (mama & dada), but hasn't said them again, lol; she's learned to wave with both hands (albeit different styles with each hand); she's starting to scoot instead of army crawl; and her 11th tooth finally popped through! She's also trying SO hard to pull up on everything. She's able to pull herself to her knees, but it's the process of getting her feet planted underneath her that's the next step. She's into EVERYTHING now. Gone are the days when I could put her down somewhere and she'd stay there. Nope, she's on to bigger & better things.
Emma started soccer last night. It's not really practices & games, but more of a 3 week training course. Just to get her introduced to the game. So, we had to go out yesterday & get the Mt. Pleasant Parks & Rec jersey (required), shin guards (also required), and some decent running shoes (required by ME). We got her some really nice Nike shoes, which I'm hoping will still fit her until about Christmas, as they were expensive. They're slip-ons, which is nice, so I don't have to worry about Emma's shoes becoming untied at school. She was so excited about soccer (although she keeps calling it "football", maybe she's tapping into her English ancestry?). But, as Emma is inclined to be, she wanted to be the center of attention. Which is hard to be on a team sport. Which is exactly why I put her in it. She needs to be in an environment where she's NOT the diva. So, after about 30 minutes of learning how to kick the ball & throw the ball (which she's quite good at), they had a little 4 on 4 scrimmage. The only problem was, Emma wanted to be the one to kick the ball ALL the time. She hasn't quite learned the "teamwork" part yet. So, she started throwing a fit, and told her coach she wanted to be on a different team. Nice. But, after a quick pep talk with Dad, she was off to her own team. We just have to remind ourselves that this is a learning experience for her, and it's going to take some time to change some of the "diva" traits she has, lol. But, she's excited about going again on Wednesday. So maybe by the end of the 3 weeks, she'll have a little bit of a different attitude.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

See, I told you...

After letting off some steam in my post yesterday, I do feel better today. I called Sarah's doctor and we have an Upper GI set up for tomorrow morning, so hopefully she'll get some relief for her reflux & start gaining weight. While neither Sarah's PT or OT got back to me before they were scheduled to be at my house, they were both understanding, with the PT deciding to change the time to something more convenient. Plus, she also ended up coming off as a qualified PT, unlike how she sounded on the phone, where she couldn't even remember Sarah's name and it took her 5 minutes to get a decent sentance out. But, oh well, I guess this proves that you can't judge people before you know them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Serious pointless vent

Ok, I've just about had enough with these Early On people. They just don't seem to give a crap about me or my family. They never return phone calls, are really hard to get ahold of in the first place, and don't seem all that interested in helping my aughter progress. It took them 3 months to get their acts together to get Sarah in PT in the fist place, waited until the END of the school year to finally decide to put her in OT, then change BOTH therapists on me, who apparently are NEVER in their offices in order to take calls. I accidently made both the PT & OT home visits for today at 1:30pm. I've been trying to get a hold of the PT (the only one I have a phone number for) for 2 days in order to change the appointment time. She hasn't called me back yet. The first time I tried to get in touch with her, it took a week before she returned my call. No one seems to think that urgency is of any matter here. Her pediatrician doesn't seem to think the fact that my child has lost almost a pound in month, and is steadily losing weight, is anything to be concerned about. We already KNOW she's hypothyroid, but the endocrimologist doesn't think that it requires medication. ARE THESE PEOPLE STUPID????? I'm so SICK of everything right now I could spit. My house is falling apart, I've got ants & spiders & pincherbugs everywhere, Sarah's puking on every square inch of carpet in this place, Emma seems to think she's incapable of getting herself dried off & dressed after a bath, and my husband, bless him, is trying his best to get good grades at school, while still dealing with a jerk boss & working 40+ hours a week. Between getting the kids fed, dressed, the house semi-cleaned and dealing with throw up on the floor every 10 minutes, it's past noon before I can do anything for myself, including shower. And I seem to be put back at square one every Monday. I think I've got things under control by the time Friday comes around, then everything falls apart over the weekend, and I'm back where I started. I'm exhausted and I need a break, from everything. I had been planning over the winter to go somewhere for a weekend, no kids, no husband. Didn't happen. And not likely to, either, for the next 2 years, until Jeff's finished with school. Am I being too selfish, to want some time to myself without getting puked on, or pulled out of a chair to perform a simple task for my daughter, such as taking a stack of books upstairs? Or is this all just part of the job, that unpaid job I have of being a SAHM. Am I just supposed to sit back & accept the fact that this will be my life, forever? I've sacrificed a lot, in order for Jeff to go into the Navy, to come here to go to school, and to stay at home with my kids. I've given up college, a career, even friends, because that's what's been best for my family. But, every once in awhile, I just get tired. I get cranky and selfish, and this is one of those times. I love my husband & my kids to death, and wouldn't give them up for anything. I'll feel better tomorrow, I know I will. But for right now, I'm just not very happy.

Monday, June 27, 2005

New milestone for Sarah

Sarah has started waving to people. When we wave at her, she does the same thing with her hand, kinda staring at it, like it's not part of her body, but some strange foreign object. She hasn't really imitated when you do something, so this is the first time that she's done it. Hopefully, now that she's going to start Occupational Therapy, things will start moving along.
She's getting another tooth, a molar. Poor kid's been smacking her hand against her ear, like the pain is radiating to it. She hasn't been exceptionally cranky, or else I might think it was an ear infection. I think it's almost through though. That'll be her 11th tooth.
Emma & I went to Coldstone last night after dinner. Jeff stayed home with Sarah. We got a bowl for him, and when I walked in, with two bowls of ice cream, as soon as Sarah saw me, she KNEW what it was I was holding, and immediately started squirming in Jeff's arms. She was flailing around, trying to get to the ice cream, furious that Jeff wouldn't let her fly out of his arms towards the ice cream. This kid, who can't even crawl yet, knows the sight of a Coldstone Creamery container. Guess that shows what her priorities are.
Jeff started his second semester of summer school today. He's got English 201 and Computers in Society. His book for that class is entitled Computer Concepts. Jeff IM'd me from that class, thankful there's a wireless internet connection, so he won't be bored for the 2 hours he has to sit there. I told him to be careful, as that's the same ideology he had during his A+ class, which ended up being harder than expected, due to his teacher being a complete perfectionist. He seems confident though, that it'll be no problem. Apparently his teacher is a little older, so he doesn't think that he'll expect perfection like the other teacher did.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I've got to see this movie, dude

Ok, just saw the teaser trailer for "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire". Totally seeing that movie. I've just recently joined the Harry Potter bandwagon, at least with the books. I've seen all 3 movies so far and loved them all, but I wanted to go back & read all the books. I'm on book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Considering I just started reading the books on Monday, you could say I haven't done much else. Aside from cleaning the house & taking care of the girls. But, the 6th book, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, comes out in 3 weeks. That means I have 2 2/3 books to get through by then, so I can buy the new one. They're pretty easy reads, but only because they're so exciting. I know, I'm sounding like I'm 13, but I don't care.
So Sarah had her cardiologist appointment yesterday. They gave her an EKG, which was normal. The doc listened to her heart with the stethoscope, and he was still able to hear her PDA, which even her pedi hadn't been able to do. But, he said it was "trivial" and we shouldn't be worried about it. He said he didn't feel he needed to see her again until she was 3, so that's a big load off my mind. But, when they weighed her, she was only 14 lbs. 4 oz., which means she's lost 12 oz. in a month. That's almost a whole pound. I don't know what's causing it. She's been on her medicine to help with her reflux for 2 weeks, and I really thought that would clear up, it's still there, but not as bad. She has been sick, she had a cold a couple weeks ago, and she IS teething, but I don't know if any of these were bad enough to cause her weight loss. I'm thinking maybe we need to put her on medication for her hypothyroidism. I feel paranoid, calling her pedi every couple of days, he's going to think I'm a hypochondriac, by proxy, lol. Other than the weight issue, she's doing really well. Moving around a lot, getting into trouble, like a typical almost-toddler; bugging her sister constantly with pulling her hair & puking on her toys, lol. She really does look up to Emma. You should see the way she stares at her, like Emma is the best person in the world. I think it's going to be hard on Sarah when Emma goes to K next year. Emma, on the other hand, can't wait for K to start. I keep telling her that certain things need to happen before she can go, but she doesn't understand. It looks like it's going to be a long summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Goodbye preschool

Today was Emma's last day at her CMU Human Growth & Development preschool. Actually, tomorrow is the official last day, but Sarah has an appointment in Lansing at 1pm, and we can't be at two places at once. So, it's been a bittersweet day. While Emma was at school, I went & picked up a little gift for her teacher, Mrs. Joanna Wright. She has been such an awesome teacher to Emma this year, being very patient and kind, and helping her with some very tough obstacles. She has also had about 20 student teachers during the course of 3 semesters, all of whom I know Emma is going to miss. I came back a little early, to watch Emma with her classmates and take some pictures while they were out at recess. I had a little chat with Mrs. Wright while I was giving her her gift, and she said Emma's made a lot of progress this year. She's also made some new friends. She and Jaida, whom she didn't like for the longest time, are friends now. They were inseparable today. They sat, nicely, next to each other on the Circle Time rug (where they shared the orange butterfly spot, which has been a source of contention between numerous students), they even played together on the swings, and followed each other around on bicycles outside. I got a nice picture of them, that I hope to be able to download to the computer soon. There's a driver or something missing, so I haven't been able to put any new pictures up for about a month. She's also become good friends with Wyatt, who has a new baby brother at home. I'm not sure how many of the kids from her class are going to Morey next year. I doubt any, as it's not a school that's close. But, I know Emma will make new friends nxt year, as she's about as social as any kid I've seen.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Steak & Star Wars

That pretty much sums up Jeff & I's anniversary date. We went to Mountain Town, a local brewery & restaurant. It was nice. We were there early enough where it wasn't that crowded. It was nice to eat a meal that didn't involve the words "french fries". We had dessert, too, which is even rarer. Then we went to see Star Wars: Episode 3. It was REALLY good. I think we liked it best of all. I even cried at the end, which is kinda weird, but hey, whatever.
One thing about the midwest that I'm noticing: people don't know the term "personal space". The theater was nearly empty, maybe 20 or so other people. Jeff & I got there about 20 minutes early, so we had picked our seats, and gotten our popcorn & soda. Not 5 minutes before the movie starts, well into the previews, a couple walks in & sits RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Not even a seat of space in between. Ok, I can see how that may seems a little selfish, but come on: the theater's not even close to being full & you choose to buddy up next to me? There were empty seats in the middle, in the row in front of us, behind us, ALL OVER! Then this woman I think fell asleep in the middle because she was breathing louder than the movie. I don't know, maybe I'm being too snobby.
Emma & Sarah were watched by a guy named Nate, who's a student who works with Jeff. He's a really nice guy & did a great job with the girls. They were both in bed by the time we got home. His fiance had come over (after we learned they lived right across the street) and the girls had a blast. Emma even conned them into making her jello Scooby snacks. She told me about it later, like it was a secret.
We're driving to Grand Rapids this evening, as Jeff has an interview tomorrow. They sent him a schedule for it. It's a pretty intensive interview, as it goes from 10am to 4pm, with sections entitled: Decision Quality, Composure & Conflict Management. Glad I'm not in his shoes. So the girls & I are on our own for the day. I was trying to see if anyone on either of Ds boards I frequent who lived in the area were available to get together, but so far, no one's answered. Oh well, if all else fails, we'll just roam around, maybe go see a movie. Or get the van's oil changed.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Edit to previous post

Cancel the BBQ, too cold. Bummer. :-( Oh well, guess it's a good thing I hadn't started the cookies yet! I think Jeff's still expecting them, though.

Out of the mouths of babes

Emma & I were reading a book from her school library this morning called "Where's Chimpy?". It's about a little girl named Misty, who has Down syndrome, and she's looking all over the place trying to find her toy monkey, Chimpy. Emma still doesn't fully understand what Sarah having Down syndrome means. And I don't mind that, but I also want her to be educated about it, and not, all of a sudden, have someone come up to her & make a rude comment about her sister or something.
Anyways, I started out by saying that the little girl in the book had Ds, just like Sarah. She said,"I want to have Down syndrome, too!" I guess she thought it was cool, since the little girl had her own book.
We're going to a BBQ at a park this evening, for all the Tech-Ops people that Jeff works with. I was volunteered to bring cookies. Which I was happy to do, until I realized that I don't have any chocolate chips. So, we may have to change which type of cookie I'm bringing, since Jeff has the car, which also has my purse & the stroller in it. So I can't even walk to the store. Oh well, looks like it'll have to be peanut butter chookies instead.
So, we have a sitter for 6 hours tomorrow evening. The only thing I know we're doing is going to see Star Wars. Other than that, we really don't have any plans. I think we might go to dinner. I wanted to go glow bowling but that doesn't start until 9pm, and we have to be back home by 10pm. We might try it. I like bowling, even though I'm not very good.
Ok, so I'm really tired of all the running around these medical people are doing with Sarah's heart check-up. I called the Heart Center, where Sarah's appointment is next Thursday, and asked them if they were going to sedate her for her echo to check on her PDA. Well, they proceed to tell me that they're not doing an echo, just a consultation with the Pediatric Cardiologist and an EKG. AN EKG!!!!???? They already KNOW she has a small PDA, why do they need to do an EKG? This check-up was just to see if the PDA was gone or not. For crying out loud!!!! They didn't even have her records from her pediatrician. Oh my goodness, the ineptitude is ASTOUNDING! It's times like this when I wish I lived in a bigger town that had more kids with Ds, so that they wouldn't always put Sarah on the backburner.
Ok, have to put a link to these pictures of this little girl named Kennedy. She's a year old and has Ds. She is absolutely adorable!!!!
I wish there were someplace around here that did these kinds of pictures. I would love to get some of the girls. Then again, maybe it's a good thing we don't, because I think I would go broke!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Happy Anniversary to us

Yesterday was Jeff & I's 8th anniversary. Since it's in the middle of the week (and we're po) we decided to wait until the weekend to go out. Luckily (or not, depending on how things go) Emma's preschool teacher and a few students were offering to sit for kids on Saturday night, from 6-11:30pm, for only $20. But, as of Monday, there weren't many takers, so it might be cancelled. But, even if it is, we have a back-up sitter. Our back-up is a guy named Nate, who works with Jeff at the college. He's a student, who is getting his degree in Early Childhood Education. He's a really nice guy, but at first glance, might seem a little scary. He's big, about 6'2", with a beard. While I don't care what he looks like, I know that Emma is used to small females watching her & Sarah. I'm only a little worried about Emma's first impression of him. But, even IF she is a little wary of him at first, something tells me it won't last. As soon as she realizes that he knows how to play, just like all her other sitters, it won't matter what he looks like.
Anyway, I made Jeff's favorite dinner last night (Hamburger Helper Stroganoff) and Emma & I baked a cake yesterday. It was kinda weird looking, only because the only cake mix we had was chocolate & Emma wanted to use the pink frosting with the sprinkles. Ok, whatever. So dark brown cake with bright pink frosting & sprinkles. Happy anniversary!!! Then, after the kids went to bed, we did what every other couple might do on their anniversary...we played video games. If you know us well at all, it's not surprising, as we're both addicted to video games. Especially World of Warcraft right now. We both just hit lvl 40 & finally got mounts. So, instead of walking everywhere, now we can ride horsies. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.
Jeff has an interview in Grand Rapids on Monday. So, we went out last night and bought him a suit. He had one that was made in Thailand, but that was 4 years ago, and it doesn't fit anymore. This one is very nice. We also bought a nice shirt & some Florsheim shoes to go with it. EXPENSIVE Florsheim shoes. Things were $100. I don't think I've EVER owned a pair of shoes that cost $100, and I'm a girl. But, he made it partly up to me by buying me a pair of cute strappy dress shoes. With a 2 inch heel. So now I'm very much taller than him when I wear them, lol. But they match the outfit I got for Mother's Day, so I'm happy.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Birthday cake & the doctor's office

What a combination in less than 6 hours. Emma went to her first school-friend's birthday party yesterday. It was for Sarah, who was turning 5. It was at a local McDonald's, and it was pretty fun. All the kids had a Happy Meal, a small ice cream and a piece of cake. Then they played games & ran around on the big play gym that they have. Emma had started to tell me that her tummy wasn't feeling very well while she was eating her cake, but I just thought she'd had too much. She didn't say anything after that. We went home, where Jeff had stayed with Sarah, because she was sick. She'd had a cold all week and it has started to get worse. When I got home, her temp was 102 and she was lethargic and could barely keep her eyes open. She hadn't been sleeping well and all she wanted to do was nurse. So, off to the Urgent Care we went. Of course, in typical "my kid" style, she perked up by the time we got there, but was still not her usual bubbly self. They took her temp (101), weighed her (still only 15 lbs.), and then stuck us in a room for an hour. She was pretty content just to lie on the table & be played with. A nurse came in and took samples of her snot (yucka) and a doctor listened to her breathing. I thought maybe, with her fever & weird breathing, that they'd order chest x-rays, but no. They diagnosed her with nasopharyngitis (a cold, but with an infection) and put her on Zithromax. Yay. But today, she's looking much better and seems to be in a better mood. Still doesn't want to eat that much, but what are you going to do?
In the meantime, while Sarah & I were at the hospital, Emma was having problems of her own. Jeff says that no more than 5 minutes after we'd left, Emma puked all over the floor and in the bathroom sink. He says that at least she recognized the fact that she has to vomit and was on her way to the bathroom, but didn't quite make it the first time. I felt so bad for my little girls. It's no fun to be sick. And, not to mention, both Jeff & I have a cold, as well. It comes in rounds for our household.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Disability can't keep woman from success in work, sports


June 8, 2005

Lisa Hannaman knows she's different. She was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation and abnormal facial features.

But that hasn't stopped the 29-year-old woman from achieving independence and success.

Employed as a part-time aide at Alcott Elementary School in North Clairemont, Hannaman cares for special-needs toddlers, some with Down syndrome, who are enrolled in an early education program at the campus.

She's been at Alcott five years, and her upbeat personality and dedication to her job have earned her a San Diego Unified School District employee of the year award. "She's been so inspirational. Sometimes parents will get sad and depressed when they have a child with a problem," said Lindsey Linden, a resource teacher for the program who nominated Hannaman. "Parents look at Lisa and they can expect their children can have a happy and satisfying life, too."

While many of her peers with disabilities live in group homes or with their parents, Hannaman shares an apartment with a roommate in Mira Mesa and takes city buses to work. Using the money she earns from her job and supplemental income from Social Security, she takes care of her own bills.

"She is totally financially independent," said Beth Hannaman, Lisa's mother, who is a special education resource teacher assigned to the district's early education program. "She doesn't have a lot of money left at the end of the month, but she is able to make all of her own payments."

Lisa Hannaman is also an accomplished athlete.

Since she was 10 years old, Hannaman has been active in a wide array of events sponsored by Special Olympics. This year, she competed in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, where she won a bronze medal in figure skating and fourth place in pairs skating. It was her second time participating in world competitions.

She also runs track and line dances. In the summer, she is on a sailing team. In the fall, she plays soccer.

In addition, she is writing a book about her life, tentatively titled, "What it is like having Down Syndrome."

At Alcott, Hannaman is one of several aides who help supervise children in class and monitor them on the playground. Her job also includes setting out play equipment, snacks and lunches.

"I can't imagine the class without her," said classroom aide Karen DiCarlo.

She said Hannaman has a gift for connecting with children."

"She gets right down to their faces and talks to them. She's real good at communicating with them. She's very sweet."

Earlier this year, while Hannaman was in Japan, her co-workers nominated her as a district employee of the year. Three weeks ago, Hannaman was named the 2005 Classified Woman of the Year by the district.

The district employs about 6,800 classified employees who perform various support functions, such as being classroom aides, secretaries and campus security assistants.

During a ceremony honoring her, Hannaman delivered a speech that moved a packed audience to tears and standing ovations.

"I hope this award makes other people with disabilities want to work hard and follow their dreams," she said.

A couple of times a year, Hannaman speaks to parent support groups, physicians and social workers about her experiences and what she's been able to accomplish, despite her disability.

Crystal Pacheco, whose 7-year-old son has Down syndrome and who works at Alcott's program as a nurse's aide, said Hannaman is an inspiring role model.

"I have a lot of respect for her. I hope someday my son can do as well as she does," Pacheco said. "She makes us all realize that people with Down syndrome can live normal lives."

Hannaman's mother said while her daughter was growing up, she was not treated differently because of her disability. Around the house, Hannaman, the middle of three children, did her share of chores. She played on the neighborhood soccer team, participated in gymnastics and took swimming lessons.

"She knows she has a disability," Lisa's mom said. "The only time she ever used it as an excuse was when she was in fourth grade. She said 'I couldn't do math because I have Down syndrome.' That's the only time I heard her give an excuse she can't do something."

Hannaman moved out of her parents' house when she was 25, with some assistance provided by the San Diego Regional Center, a state agency that provides support services to people with developmental disabilities. The center helped her find an apartment and a roommate and teamed her up with a life coach, who visits her periodically to provide guidance and oversight.

Moving out was Hannaman's idea.

"My mother did not want to throw me out. I wanted to live on my own," she said. "I am really independent."

Eventually, Hannaman hopes to buy a condominium and get married. She's had a steady boyfriend for 10 years.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fun in the sun

The girls & I were invited to go swimming at a new friend's community pool this morning. As it was already extremely warm by 10am, it wasn't hard to get the kids into the pool. She has 2 boys, Topher & Tolby, 4 & 3, and Seally, a little girl who is about 2 weeks older than Sarah. Emma had a blast! She's not used to going in big pools, so the water wings we bought yesterday, along with borrowing her new friend's inner tube, were on her at all times. But, she still didn't want to put her face into the water, even with the goggles we bought her. Oh well, it'll come with time. Sarah, who is battling a cold, I believe, was not a happy camper. We bought her a little floaty, that's shaped like a dolphin. She just sat in it, with her head on the little inflatable pillow on the front, and was basically solemn the whole time. In her defense, I had given her some baby Dimetapp to help with her coughing and runny nose only an hour beforehand. I took her out and she fell asleep on my shoulder while I was walking around the shallow end of the pool. She ended up taking a 3 hour nap. Poor little baby's just not feeling ship shape right now. Emma, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the pool. She didn't exactly fight me when it came time to go, but she deliberately stayed in the pool after I asked her to get out numerous times. I reminded her that if she didn't get out, she would miss her school bus. That got her out fairly quickly. We went home, and had just enough time to get a quick bath, eat lunch and run out the door for the bus. Can't wait to do that every morning starting in August.
Speaking of which, I finally took in Emma's birth certificate and shot record to her new school. They were the last pieces of info they needed before she was officially enrolled in the school. I put in a verbal request for a certain teacher, only because we'd met her before and the other K teacher is pregnant and will be leaving in the middle of the year. I know Emma has a hard time with that kind of stuff, so I figured I'd try to get the teacher that will be around the whole time.
Emma's preschool teacher and 3 student teachers are offering a "Parent's Night Out", where they will watch the kids for $20 flat for 5 1/2 hours. Considering our anniversary is next week, I signed Emma & Sarah up. I asked Mrs. Wright beforehand, to see if it would be ok for them to watch Sarah, as well, and she said it would be fine. But, $20 for 5 1/2 hours!!?? That's a deal! Generally we pay our sitters well, basically so they'll want to watch our kids again. Like, $30 for 3 hours. So this is a steal for 5 1/2 hours. I'll just make sure she's got enough food & drinks to last and toys to play with.