Thursday, November 29, 2012

Projects, Projects, Everywhere! Here's One...

This time of year is a real killer when it comes to accomplishing a lot of stuff in a short period of time.  I like to make as many of my Christmas gifts as possible, be it a tin of cookies or a photo book.  But they all take time. 

For the past two summers, and likely next summer as well, my cousin has given us use of his vacation home down on St. Simons Island in Georgia.  The island is beautiful, quiet, serene.  The word of the week is always relax.  A mighty good word, if you ask me.  I decided this year to create a photo book for him to thank him, highlighting some of the details of his house and yard, as well as the "village" and the beach.  Back in August, after our trip, I told him I was making something to send him, and to keep an eye out for it over the next few weeks.  However, that fell during the time that I was frantically trying to finish the DSANV calendar in time for its Buddy Walk debut, and the thought of putting together a photo book in the midst of all that panic was just laughable.  Besides, with Christmas virtually right around the corner, it might make more sense to send it then. 

I finally finished the project, and placed the order lastnight, along with the order for my Christmas cards (won't preview them for you here, yet, until I've sent them all out to their recipients - I will tell you, though, that the photo is completely, hopelessly priceless).  I just want to point out the amazing deal I got (although based on what people have been telling me on Facebook, they've had some even more amazing deals!  I'll have to look more closely next year and not rely on waiting for/hoping for Shutterfly to do another "free 50 cards for bloggers" campaign that sustained all of my Christmas card-giving needs over the past two years) - 1) I'd purchased a voucher from TravelZoo for 30 Shutterfly cards for $20 (could only buy one, though), 2) Shutterfly was having 40% off cards, 3) there was an additional 20% discount code available yesterday only, 4) Free Shipping for yesterday only, 5) some random discount off the photo book, 6) and a $20 off voucher that I'd gotten for purchasing the Santa photo package at the mall last week (that totally sweetened the deal and made me feel not-so-bad about shelling out $30 for the pics!).  So, with all of that stuff thrown in and calculated at the end, I got (incl. the pre-purchased 30 for $20 voucher) 60 photo cards and an 8x11 photo book all for $50.00.  Not bad, eh?  Especially considering the shipping was free - it would  have been $18!  It was totally worth the time I had to spend on the phone waiting for Customer Service lastnight at 10pm trying to get the Free Shipping code to work after it seemed to bounce out when I added in the Santa discount (for the record, Shutterfly Customer Service were very nice, very helpful, and fixed the problem quickly). 

Anyway, if you were able to follow all that, great.  If not, just know that I'm kinda proud of myself for finding all those discount codes and getting them to work such a great deal.  :-)  If you'd like to preview the St. Simons photo book, here it is (my cousin doesn't read my blog, and doesn't even use the internet if he can help it, so no worries about him seeing this...):

(The embed code doesn't look like it's working, so here's the link to the book):

Click here to view this photo book larger
Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Perfect Model

Ever since she was born, I've been hell-bent on taking pictures of Samantha.  Like, lots of pictures.  I know I'm not alone in this, as everyone wants to take lots of pictures of their children.  Children are beautiful.  But I think my motives were bred from the disconnect between my pre-natal vision of the daughter I would bear and the post-natal reality of having a child with a disability that, frankly, there were not very flattering images of in my mind.  Granted, those images were based on dated, institutional photos of the distant past, glimpses of those shuttered away, hidden from view, never spoken of.  I was determined to capture the beauty of Down syndrome, to show the world that our kids are just perfect as they are. 

Not to mention, I really enjoy taking her picture.  She's fun!  She's a perfect subject, full of poise and grace and (usually) patience (especially when bribed with the promise of getting to see the photo immediately afterwards).  Recently she's been getting into the concept of posing for pictures.  Not sure what prompted it, but I'm sure it has something to do with me jumping up and down the positive reinforcement she gets when she follows my instructions and I can get a good shot.  And, let's face it, a little bit of vanity never hurt, either...

When I was a little girl, I suffered through the watchful eye of my father's camera lens, as well.  He had a darkroom in the basement where he developed some of the most stunning black and whites, photos I didn't appreciate so much at the time, but now have a whole new perspective on.  I did come to a point where I would beg him not to take my picture, but that's because self-consciousness and social awkwardness had begun to creep onto the scene.  I'm hoping to bypass that with Sammi, hoping she'll be my willing model for a long time to come.  So far so good.  :-)




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Everything and Nothing From...Springfield?

When I heard that Deanna (Everything and Nothing from Essex), her husband, Aaron and her two beautiful children would be traveling all the way from the outer reaches of Vermont down to the wilds of North Carolina over the Thanksgiving holiday, I couldn't help but jump at the chance to meet up with them somewhere along the I-95 corridor.  Little Addison and her brother, Carter, are just too yummy to resist!  We decided to meet up for dinner on Saturday evening, on their return trip home, at a family-friendly restaurant just outside of Washington DC, in Springfield, VA.  A locale a far cry from anything scenic, and a giant, tangled mixing bowl of overpasses and exit signs, making you feel more like you've been trapped in a blender, it was, logically, the perfect place to meet.

I always love meet-ups with other bloggers.  It's got to have something to do with discovering that they really are human, and more like ourselves than we ever imagine from reading their blogs (not that I didn't think you'd be human, Deanna...).  I think that's been the case in pretty much all but one (okay, maybe slightly more-than-one...) instance (haha, now you're all going to wonder who the one is, and wonder if it's you...LOL  Don't worry - it probably isn't...), and Deanna is no exception.  And something else...I think I remember her saying that I was the first blogger she's met!  How cool is that?  I hope she thought I was human, too...

Addison was a little bit under the weather, but absolutely lovely and sweet despite the fact that she wouldn't let me hug and maul her.  My fear of rejection-by-babies-and-little-kids is strong, so I tend to hold back.  And babies and little kids sense my trepidation and do exactly what I fear they will do.  It's a pretty miserable catch 22.  But I did get one little squeeze in...  Omg, she's soooooo CUTE!!!  And Carter?  What a little charmer!  Those eyes...

Of course, with gabbing and eating and child-chasing, the only photos I have are the ones Samantha took with my cell phone from her seat at the head of the table.  Amazing photographic quality?  Not so much.  Capturing her view of the world (and her thumb...)?  Pricelessly wonderful.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Wallet-Emptying

(Quick note before I get into the main post...Blogger finally forced my hand, after 5 1/2 years of posting and photo-uploading, and I had to upgrade my Photobucket hosting so I can continue to post pictures, change headers (notice I hadn't changed my header photo in 2 1/2 years?  Ever wonder why?), etc.  This coincided with my desire to simplify my layout a bit, and voila, hope you like it!  Btw, if any of you have any ideas about how to make my header photo take up a bit more space at the top of the blog, this has been a mystery that has eluded me for several years now, and I'd love to finally figure this out!)

I neglected to do a Thanksgiving post this year.  I can't actually remember if I've ever done one anyway, but I usually feel that giving thanks happens each and every day, and listing out all of the typical things I am so, so thankful for on Thanksgiving Day feels a little trite, as the list is comprised of things that everyone would expect to hear anyway.  Thankful for my family, our health, my daughter, my husband, the internet, this amazing online and IRL Ds community, etc., etc., etc...  See?  It looks and sounds the same as everyone else's lists.  Not like their lists are bad, because they're not.  I have truly enjoyed reading the things other people are thankful for, and am thankful for those posts and lists in turn.  I could get into all the minute, nit-picky little things I'm thankful for, like how Holly posted that her son (and she) is thankful for underwear.  But not everything's appropriate...LOL 

After stuffing myself silly with my mother's incredibly delicious Thanksgiving feast on Thursday night, I found myself, for the very first time, too full to eat dessert!  Uh, that has never happened.  I have always said that I have two stomachs:  one for dinner, one for dessert.  I think the two glasses of wine I drank clouded my portion-judgement on dinner, and I just. couldn't. eat. any. more.  We came home and tore through the newspaper inserts filled with amazing shopping deals for the wee hours of the morning, and I got to bed early.  Come 5am, I waited for the noise-muffling central heating to come on, tiptoed out of the bedroom, pulled on a pair of jeans and a hoodie over the t-shirt I'd slept in, and silently snuck out the front door, headed to Tysons Corner, the region's super-mall, an awe-inspiring monstrosity of gleaming chain-store goodness.

To give you a clue about how crazy Black Friday is at Tysons, there was a TV crew camped out front of the Starbucks in the mall to document the ridiculous lines streaming out their door and down in front of the neighboring stores.  By the way, there are two Starbucks stores in that mall...  I really needed coffee, but I am not a slave to Starbucks.  I walked a bit further down and got a delicious cup of the must-have 6am beverage from Cinnabon.

No line.

I'm a firm believer that you can't approach Black Friday lightly - you have to have a plan.  Map out your strategy with your list of specific items, and the randoms will come, falling into your lap when you least expect them.  I went to Tysons with one thing in mind, really.  I wanted to hit the sale at one store in particular, Naartjie.  I've written about them before, but they're a South American children's clothing retailer, and while I could have taken advantage of their sale and ordered online, going to the one store in the region and seeing the clothes in-person is so much better.  The photos online really don't do them justice.  This weekend they were boasting a 40% off sale prices discount, which, given how low their prices are already, is not to be missed.  I came away with two pair of pants, and a pair of leggings for $24.  And these are not ordinary pants or leggings, but beautifully-made, beautifully-detailed, super-cool pants...  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Something else on my list was to find a pair of winter Crocs for Sammi.  She loves her Crocs.  Pink fuzzy ones would be just the ticket.  I went to the local Hallmark in my town the other day, but the only color they had was black, and they were an exorbitant $39.99 (by the way, does anyone else find it somewhat disturbing, the random and strange offerings at Hallmark card stores these days?).  In the mall, at the Croc stand, they had the fuzzy ones (sadly only in black, brown and navy blue - I chose brown) for $19.99 and they were buy-one-get-one-free.  I selected a pair of non-winter pink ones in a size up from what she currently has, to get her through next year.  Score!

After a few other non-essential items from a few other stores, I headed home at 7:20.  But not without one final stop.  Target.  For Brave on DVD for a mere $10.00.  After having shelled out $30 for Cinderella a few weeks ago in order to not miss Disney's cruel, unnecessary and shameful (although more shameless to those-who-rake-in-the-dough) limited release, this was a big relief to me.  I got to Target at just before 8am, got a parking spot right up front, and was in and out in under 60 seconds, the prized possession bought and paid-for in my hot little hands, ready to turn over to Santa for his descent down our non-existent chimney and into our gas fireplace.

So while there were no big-ticket items on my Black Friday list this year, I feel like I had a successful trip out.  What were your shopping successes this weekend?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Break

To my readers and to those whom I read, my most sincere apologies, but I will need to take a bit of a break through this Thanksgiving holiday week.  Not only was I completely ambushed by the onset of autumn, but I was completely, hopelessly blindsided by the sudden appearance of the winter holiday season, punctuated by the shock of seeing Santa in the local mall (don't think we didn't take advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving lack of lines, though).  No more warm breezes, no more grass between my toes, no more beach bag packing, no more relaxing on lazy days...nope, all gone.  And, if the Mayans have it correct, they'll be gone for good.  But that's a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day...

The holiday season means I need to get cracking on my gift-creations.  Holiday cards and photo books, in particular.  I have 3 different ones I need to make, and while the DIY photo craft websites make it super-easy to do, it's also super time-consuming, and when tasty deals (buy 1, get 2 free, anyone?) are dangled in front of your face, they usually give you only a day or two to take advantage of them.  Sure, I could have created my books long in advance (yeah, with all of that luxurious spare time I always have...) and just ordered them when the deals came, but I laugh (!!) in the face of preparation and cry at the true reality of procrastination.

(on a side note, TravelZoo is featuring vouchers for $20.00 for 30 Shutterfly holiday photo cards - the vouchers can only be purchased through tomorrow, but can be redeemed up until Dec. 22nd - click here)

As such, I need to buckle down and get some stuff done over the next few days.  Plus, no one (myself included) even reads blogs over holiday weeks or weekends, so why waste my efforts, right?

So I leave you for the next few days with a photo to make you laugh, and a wish to you all for a very, very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

The stuff dolls' nightmares are made of.  Or at least the little guy sitting at his
computer...  I think he's saying, "Holy crap!"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Developmental Growth Spurts: Victorious!!

Sometimes you just know

You know that there's something...different.  Something tiny but incredibly powerful has fallen neatly into place, culminating in the blissful marriage of maturity and cognitive growth.  And how beautiful that marriage is...a marriage meant to last.  I hope.

As surely as the growth of the human body can be detected through sleeves and pant legs that are suddenly, slightly too short, growth of mind and spirit can also be detected through that sudden realization one day that the last few weeks have been...easier.  Not like things aren't always easy, because really, they are!  But something has clicked for Samantha, evidenced by the lengthier, more mature conversations we've had, her ability to comprehend far more than ever before, to begin to absorb more conceptual ideas, to transition so much more easily from one activity to the next, to participate in class (!!!!).

It really was quite sudden.  A bright little light shining on her, made even brighter by the smile of enthusiasm and pride that radiates across her face at the knowledge of a job well-done. 

This kid keeps me in check.  I've said it before, and will say it again, but I will never, never underestimate her again.  Never will I think, oh, she can't/won't/couldn't.  She CAN/WILL/COULD!  Who knows? 

My kid.  Who would NEVER participate in a group activity.  Who would NEVER get up in front of the class for any reason, preferring instead to cross her arms, lower her head, pout...

Last week, when called upon to present her Timeline project, a board with a photo of her from each year of her life so far, accompanied by sentences written by her (yeah, yeah, I told her what to write) about her First, Second, Third, etc. years, got up with no hesitation, walked to the front of the class, took the pointer from the teacher, pointed to each photo on the timeline, and read each sentence to her classmates.

And, holding their breaths both in astonishment and in fear of losing the moment, both her teacher and her aide were floored.  Needless to say, I received a very excited e-mail from her teacher immediately afterwards.  I read it over and over again, tears in my eyes, absorbing each word as my eyes moved across the message, barely able to believe it myself. 

The next day we learned that the class would be doing a Thanksgiving presentation the following Tuesday, in which they would be standing in groups, in front of their classmates and their parents, reading a poem about the Pilgrims.  Sammi's group of 3 students would have 4 lines to recite together.  4 lines.  In front of the class.  Yeah, right.  Good thing there were 2 other kids in her group or else her part would never be performed...

The day before yesterday I witnessed a real miracle.  I saw my girl, happiness and excitement glowing on her face, her eyes fixed on me, wait her turn patiently, stand with her group, recite her part perfectly, and grin from ear to ear with pride and accomplishment when they'd finished.  "I did it!" she exclaimed as the next group began their part in the program.  Mommy nearly burst with excitement and the promise of a truly bright educational future.  In just a week, a key part of her IEP has been accomplished, the part that kept me up at night.     

She did it!

Gah!  Stop twisting your hair!!!!!!  Btw, I'd post video of her stage debut, but in the interest of keeping her friends anonymous, I can't.  Friend me and check out my FB wall if you want to watch it...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I Want My Daughter to Remember

I've written about childhood memories before, about how I want to create long-lasting, positive moments that will stay with Samantha forever.  Sometimes it's the simple things I remember and want to pass along, the feel of the grass under bare feet, the smell of the sky after rain in the summer, the sound of children playing in the twilight outside my window as I struggled with the fact that it was my bedtime and I was too young to join them...  My memories live in an eternal summertime, a 5-year old's dreams.  But the reality is that memories are always being made, while learning new things, opening ones' eyes to new experiences, even, sometimes, doing very little at all. 

My memories are mostly happy ones, peppered with the occasional raised voice, a look of disappointment in the eyes of my parents, the anxiety of a teenager in "love."  I can't make Samantha's memories for her, I can't make them be perfect and happy, bathed in that endless summer sunset, but I can help facilitate the creation of some of those moments.

We thrive on routine, Samantha doubly so.  It's in her genetic make-up.  Change that routine, and you're either met with resistance, or sheer joy at the novelty of the bending-of-the-rules, just...this...once...  An unscheduled stop for ice cream.  A quick jump on the bed.  An extra episode of Curious George.  Those are some of the things I hope she'll store away in her memory banks, the things that make her smile. 

But more than anything, I want Samantha to remember just how much I love her, whether my voice is raised or not, whether I'm incessantly rushing her to get ready for school or cuddling her before bed, whether I'm away from her, at work, or by her side on a weekend adventure.  I want her to remember how much she is valued by so, so many people, how she has changed so many, made them better for having had the privilege of knowing her.  I see no reason why she wouldn't remember these things, as they are present each and every day.  They are the constant.  That a child should grow up with so much love and positive affirmation should always be the constant, no matter who the child is, where they live, who their parents are.

It's simple.

(this was inspired by Ellen Stumbo's writing prompt for this week, which for some reason I can no longer find the link to...)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Like You

I know this has made the Facebook/blog rounds a few times already in recent weeks, but I only just yesterday finally had the chance to view it.  Beautifully, beautifully done, a little uncomfortable when discussing some of the issues people with Down syndrome can have (especially when they're spoken about by their "typical" friends - hugging, memory issues, leaving the gen-ed class for resource time, sleepiness?), brought tears to my eyes.

I wish there was some way I could reach each and every person on the planet without the connection to someone with Down syndrome and have them watch this - it should be compulsory in schools for students and teachers alike.

Have any of you ever had luck in introducing something like this into your child's school's mandatory viewing?  Morning video?  Assembly?  Have any of you approached your child's school with this video?  Do you plan to?  Are schools even allowed to do that?  Have you shown this to your child with Down syndrome?  If so, what did they think?  Was this before or after you began talking to them about Down syndrome? 

I've been talking to Samantha more and more about it lately, and think this may be on the view-list pretty soon.  Self-awareness was one of my biggest questions when she was born - would she ever recognize that she was different?  Would she understand what Down syndrome is?  I know with absolute certainty that she will, and I'd like to raise her own self-awareness before someone else beats me to it.

If you are reading this and not connected to the Down syndrome community (other than by association with us!), would you please consider sharing this video in some way?  The more people who can view this the better, helping to enrich the lives and social interactions of people with Down syndrome, of all ages, everywhere.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Cranes

In Japan, the crane is said to be a holy, or mystical, creature.  It's said to live for a thousand years.  Legend has it, if someone folds 1,000 origami cranes, they are granted eternal good luck.  I have no intention of making 1,000 of them, but a friend has organized a countdown calendar exchange, something like an advent calendar, although it can be counting down the days to Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever one's beliefs/interests are, and I've decided to make 25, each with a hanging loop for a tree.  Once finished, I will package them and mail them off to the person with whom I have been paired, set to arrive by December 1st so she can open one per day up to Christmas. 

When I was 13 years old, bored and friendless and living for a year far-away in Japan, I learned to fold cranes, inspired by a folded unicorn that the object of my youthful crush and then future boyfriend sent to me shortly after my arrival there.  I became quite proficient quite quickly, making smaller and smaller copies with delicate precision, and, much like riding a bike, it's something you can never forget.  Your fingers know where to go, how to crease Folds crisp, exact (please don't notice the squishy head on the one in the photo...).

I'm excited about this project.  It combines the spirit of giving, the joy of anticipation, and the gentle comfort of hand-made creations.  Currently I have completed 7 of the 25, along with little origami envelopes to enclose them in.  I will number the envelopes from 1-25 and place them in a box before mailing them to their new home.

Several weeks ago, I showed Samantha the process of folding a crane.  She was far less interested in the crane, than in the fact that you could fold paper to make something wonderful.  Her attempts, while little more than pretty well-squished-up sheets from a drawing pad, were presented to me in royal fashion, a command that I close my eyes until the enthusiastic pronouncement of "Ta DA!!!"  Her pride made me proud, and I fawned over "it" for as long as the smile radiated across her face, until something more pressing caught her attention and she moved on.

I'll teach her one day.  May have to start with a folded heart, though.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pure Joy

The title of this post is kind of cliche.  The word "joy" may be a bit over-used in the Down syndrome community when referring to our kids, but there's really no way around it.  Joy:  the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

That's how she makes me feel.

And, lately, it seems she's had some sort of cognitive and developmental growth spurt, maturing rapidly, evidenced by new powers of observation, speech and language, and behavior.  Doing new things, holding cohesive conversations, reasoning...all so easy now.  Transitioning, something that had been the bane of my existence just a few years ago, is now a non-issue.  She shows me, more and more, the person she's becoming, the person she'll ultimately be, and I love it even more than I'd originally ever thought I would.  The young woman who will stand by my side, traveling, exploring, enjoying life and the world around us, is taking shape, cohesively forming before my eyes. 

On Sunday we went to visit a local woman and her gorgeous baby boy, who has Down syndrome.  To say Samantha was an angel is a gross understatement.  The beautific smile on her face at holding the baby, the care with which she held him, touched him, the sweetness with which she looked at him, made. my. heart. melt.  She loved every minute of the hour-long visit, beautiful, sweet, patient, a perfect little ambassador to a new mom to the fold, practicing her self-advocacy with the adeptness of a pro.  My heart sang.

Yesterday morning, at the crack of dawn, I took Samantha with me to vote, as she was off school, and Steve was working.  I expressed to her ahead of time the importance of what I needed to do, explained that we would likely have to wait in line for a while, that she needed to be patient.  I let her bring two books, and told her I'd have my cell phone if she wanted to look at the pictures and videos stored on it. 

The polling location was at her school, directly behind our house.  The line was long. 

The books and cell phone never left my satchel. 

She was awesome

And, in true Samantha style, she made friends with everyone around us, chatting up a storm, being silly (I had to explain to my fellow line-mates that contrary to appearances, I did not give my child coffee before we left the house), reading every sign posted on the walls in the hallway, finding one of her own class projects displayed on a board, and drawing grins and laughter from others waiting in line nearby.  "I can tell she's been reading for a long time," the woman behind me said as Samantha read the bathroom rules on the wall outside the girls' room.  I don't think the people around us saw Down syndrome.  I sure wasn't thinking about it.  And if that's what they did see first and foremost, I think minds were changed, preconceived notions and stereotypes removed.  I do think they saw a precocious 6-year old who loves her mother, who loves her life, who is smart, polite and funny.  

Because that's what she is.

And that's what I love, what equates to pure joy.             

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Bowling Party

Today is the 21st anniversary of Steve's and my marriage.  21!!!  Wow!  And to celebrate, we'll be watching the election coverage, a glass of wine in my hand (gee, I wonder if I can make up a drinking game around the election...take a swig every time another state's results are in...).  Sounds good to me!  We really don't do much on our anniversary usually, exchange a card, have dinner...  Every 5 years we'll say we'll do something grand, and every 5 years we say the same money, no time...  LOL  But we love each other, and have loved each other for 22 years, and have the most amazing gift we could ever have imagined in our sweet girl.  Happy anniversary, Steve!!

I've been laying low this past week, little time or opportunity to write or edit pictures in the wake of 31 for 21.  I finally managed to complete some photos that had been sitting for a few weeks.

Not only did we celebrate the 6th birthday of one of Samantha's friends two weeks ago, but we also had a breakthrough of sorts, and a new experience to boot.  I've said before that I refuse to allow her headphones to be a relied-upon crutch, but knowing that a) we were going to a birthday party and b) the birthday party was in a bowling alley, I thought the occasion was more than appropriate to break them out.  The night before, I asked Samantha to remind me in the morning to bring the headphones with us. 

I just love that I can ask her stuff like that, and she really takes it to heart, follows through.  She's getting to be so grown up, I can hardly stand it!  And waaaaay long gone are my days with her when I would be counting the minutes until she goes to bed and I can get a breather, and long have we been in the utopia of time spent joyously together, looking forward to the next set of waking hours in which to do it all over again.  She's truly my best friend, my companion, my little buddy who is so much fun to be around, whose neural pathways are ever-branching out into complex tangles of knowledge and a growing wisdom I never expected at such a tender age.

Now where was I? 

Oh yes, the bowling party. 

Is it just me, or are bowling shoes, so hideously ugly on adults, just too cute to bear on little kids' tiny feet?

Samantha had never been bowling.  I think I have such negative connotations attached to people with intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome in particular, going bowling, because of a certain Dead Milkmen song from the 80s.  I won't say the name because it bothers me so much, but if you look them up, you'll likely find it.  I used to like them back in my burgeoning early alternative years, but always was left with a bad taste in my mouth at that particular song, could never say the title.  And it brought to mind a stereotype that may or may not have existed at some point in time, one that was created in my mind as a result. 

But seriously, to hell with them

I think I can finally move past it, can create new associations, can enjoy others enjoying such a fun pasttime, can see it all for what it is - fun for all.

Samantha totally surprised me at her ability to pick up and carry the heavy, pink bowling ball, never dropping it on the floor (unlike some other child who dropped theirs...on my foot), so proud of herself as she watched it slooooooowly roll to its destination, occasionally tapping the bumpers in place to prevent gutterballs.

Every time the ball hit its mark, she jumped up and down, yelling, "Yaaaay!"  And how exciting when she bowled a STRIKE!! 

We'll definitely do this again.  I think she has a taste for it now, and Steve and I happen to love it as well, although I honestly can't remember the last time we went. 

Maybe that's what we can do for our anniversary... 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My *Brave* Doctor

Her nametag says, "Dr. Samantha."  Her hair screams Dr. Merida.  Uh...or Carrot Top.  Take your pick...  She could have been an ordinary doctor, but what else is there to do with a Disney movie princess wig gathering dust in the closet?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the sun finally made its appearance yesterday, blinding us after a long run of dreary, grey darkness.  The evening was cool, the air was still, and conditions were perfect for the hoards of stir-crazy children anxious to get out after 4 days off school and one shortened day back. 

Lastnight had to be the most fun Halloween yet for us.  Each year it gets better and better, from the very first, not quite 2 months into my pregnancy, when I walked down the street wiping tears from my eyes at the overwhelming thought of finally having a little one to share such joyous, traditional childhood events with, to now, when Samantha's unbridled excitement betrayed her growing maturity.

Her growth over the years has been evident, initially hesitant at walking through the neighborhood adding candy to the basket Mommy and Daddy would ultimately inhale themselves, finally loving the whole concept of Halloween, striding confidently from door to door, thanking the homeowners for their generosity, then taking her own station on our front steps, bowl of chocolate miniatures in-hand, doling out 2 to each costumed visitor and wishing them a Happy Halloween.

This morning the children at school were buzzing, a vibration in the air of excess energy, mighty suspicious of an early-morning candy high.  I pity the teachers that will be forced to deal with the aftermath as each head begins to droop, like spring flowers wilting in the heat of summer.