Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scenes from the Bathtub

Fade in…Samantha sitting happily in her bubble bath lastnight, me trying to think of ways to bribe her to get out, but entertaining her in the meantime…

Me: Do you want to sing a song?
Samantha: Yes!
Me: What song do you want to sing?
Samantha: A-Donald.
Me: Okay! (singing) Old Mac Donald had a farm…
Samantha: (singing along) ai ee ai yooooo
Me: And on his farm he had a…
Samantha: No.
Me: No more Old Mac Donald?
Samantha: No a-Donald. Pat.
Me: Pat?
Samantha: (looks over at the vanity) Pat!
Me: I’m sorry, honey, I really don’t know what you’re saying.
Samantha: Pat! (makes frustrated whiney sounds while still looking over at the vanity)
Me: I’m so sorry, baby. Say it again?
Samantha: Pat! (looks like she’s got an idea) Blue yellow red!
Me: Ohhhhh! Paint!!!!
Samantha: (looks very, very pleased) Yes!

I reach into the vanity drawer and pull out her 3-color bath paint set with tubes of blue, yellow and red. Life is good.

Fade out...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Here! Get It While It's Hot!

Yes, you heard correctly...the 2010 DSANV calendar, "The Eyes are the Mirrors..." is now here! I can't believe it's been a whole year already since I completed the 2009 calendar, and the last 6 months of working on this one went by so quickly. Once again, I had wonderful photographers to work with, photographing some truly beautiful and amazing people (see the lovely cover girl, Stella, from Audrey and Stella's Playground). Our models, or ambassadors, if you like, hopefully will help to raise awareness of the beauty, intellect, joy and complexity of people with Down syndrome. Of course the majority of people who purchase or view this calendar are people whose lives have already been touched by Ds in some way, but I know that changing minds and removing stereotypes of even just one person that would otherwise have no connection to Ds, is worth sooooo much.

The calendar can be purchased for $10.00 plus shipping at (the link is partway down the home page, and may still be for the 2009 calendar--we're working on an update, but you can still use it to order!). This will make a great holiday present for your OBs and pediatricians, btw. My OB has our 2009 calendar hanging in her office now. That definitely makes me feel so supported, and gives me so much hope that others will see it and know that the trip to Holland is a good one.

Wordless Wednesday: Falling In

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Let the Sun Shine In

Ice Cream Party!

A few months ago, I entered, and won, a contest I found on the internet from Edy's Ice Cream. The grand prize, of which there were 1,500, was a neighborhood ice cream party, including the ice cream, scoops, apron, table cloths, cups, spoons, signs, etc. (all the stuff you'd need). To enter the contest, I had to write a short essay explaining why I thought I and my neighborhood should win. I'm kicking myself right now for not having made a copy, since I had to enter through the company's website. They didn't send a copy back, either, although I may try to contact them for it. The gist of what I said, however, was that we'd recently moved to this neighborhood after purchasing our first house. We wanted to move somewhere safe and somewhere we felt our daughter with Down syndrome could grow up in a close, caring community where people would keep an eye out for her. I mentioned that while we thought we had found just such a place, I wanted the opportunity to show my gratitude and to meet more of the neighbors that we hadn't yet crossed paths with.

The day was absolutely beautiful. You couldn't really ask for more from the weather, and a decent-sized group of our neighbors (as well as my mother and step-father, pictured in the first two photos) turned out for the festivities and sugar-overload. I met a few for the first time, but for the most part, it was people we see at the other gatherings on the street. I do wish that some of the other folks had come out, but maybe one day they will. To me, a neighborhood is a place where everyone knows each other, where children play together. It's kind of funny that only half of the street seems to gather with any regularity, while the other half does its own thing. The street isn't very big--it's comprised of just 5 rows of townhouses (5-8 houses in each row). I live right on the border of the active and the inactive. Maybe this gives me a bit of an advantage and an opportunity to get to know both sides at some point.

I love that there are so many children on our street, and although most of them are considerably older than Samantha, there are still a few little ones that she'll get to know better as they get the chance to grow up together. I'm very happy about that.

Anyway, a BIG thanks to Edy's for the indulgence and a fun time had by all. Now I have to make sure I get back to the gym tomorrow morning to work off the daily dose of leftover ice cream (at least it's the Slow Churned, which is 1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream) I've been allowing myself every night before bed...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1st Day Back

1st Day Back
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom
Well, school started back up today, and for the first time we put Samantha on the bus. For the last two days, whenever I would mention taking the bus to school, Sammi would say, "yellow bus." So there were really no surprises when it arrived. She was fine getting settled into her seat, and Steve followed the bus to school so he could ensure she wasn't having any kind of meltdown (we weren't expecting one) and to drop off some school supplies that we couldn't very well send with her. He reported back that she looked a little dazed, but fine, when she got off the bus, and that she marched straight to her classroom and sat down with some books. Yeah, she'll be just fine! On a photographic note, the pics I took this morning mostly came out pretty bad. In addition to the ordinary lack of sunshine at that early hour, it was raining and completely dreary. Since I hate to use flash, I ended up with lots of blur. I posted a few usable ones on my flickr site, if any of you are interested.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome Home, Mommy!

I just LOVE that this is what greeted me when I got home from work yesterday. Samantha's definitely all better after her little stomach bug that plagued her for more than a week, and not a moment too soon since school starts on Tuesday.

I'm sad that the summer's winding down, although I do love the weather at this time of year. I may have said this before, on the first day of school last year, but I remember when I was a kid the weather was always crisp and clear on the first day of school. I could never figure out why the change was so sudden and coincided so perfectly, but I loved that I could start to wear my new back-to-school clothes that my grandmother diligently took me shopping for every year. Many of the school systems in the area started back last Monday, when the weather was at its most surprisingly cool and crisp. I think this Tuesday, when our county returns, it'll be a bit warmer, but still lovely nonetheless.

Open house at Samantha's school was yesterday, so we were able to go and see some familiar faces and meet some new ones. Sammi's little buddy (okay, betrothed--hehehe), Matty, will be in her class this year, which is especially exciting! The teacher said she'll be one of the peer models this year as one of the older kids. Peer model? Really? How cool! And seeing her in the class with some of the other kids, I can see she's come such an amazingly long way (see my post from a month or two ago) since she started this school thing last year. She's no longer the youngest and least-able. She exhibits good behavior in class, and joins in with the activities. This will be an amazing year for her, I am certain. She'll also be taking the bus for the first time. The driver did a dry run last week, and Steve stopped to talk to him for a few minutes. She'll be picked up at approximately 7:22 for a 7:50 school start time. Could be worse. Although if we drive, she would leave at 7:40. We'll see how it works out timing-wise and play it by ear. When she starts Kindergarten she'll be able to walk out the back door and into her school. :-)

Two more picnics (yes, both on the same day, although they're staggered by a few hours and only a 1/2 mile between them) on Monday to cap off the summer and to see what autumn is like in our new house and new neighborhood. Anybody have any ideas for Sammi for Halloween? It can't be expensive and it can't be difficult to pull together. We're last-minute types, so any early planning is a bonus...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Please Join Our Team!

It's that time of year again, and I've finally gotten off my duff long enough to set up my Buddy Walk Team and donation pages. For those two or three of you that read this blog that are not parents of children with Down syndrome, the Buddy Walk is the largest fund and awareness raiser of the year for both the national and local Down syndrome associations. The Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia is holding our local Buddy Walk on October 24th at Bull Run Park. If you can come that day, we'd absolutely love to have you join our team--it's a lot of fun! If you can't come, I still ask (humbly) for any donation you may be able to give. Supporting the Down syndrome associations helps to provide opportunities for people with Down syndrome to reach their full potentials. I have high hopes for my daughter and her future, and I feel so fortunate for all of the support we have received in the last 3 years, and for all of the programs that make so much possible. Please click on the link in my sidebar to go to my Sweet Pea United team page and help out.