Friday, October 30, 2009

Storm Update

Hey Everyone,
I just wanted to update ya'll. Severe weather came through our area last night. Several tornadoes touchdowned. We were without power from about 7:30pm Wed. til about 3:30am Thurs. Other than the power outage and a severly soggy yard, Gerard, Riley, and I, and our three dogs are fine. Because of all of the weather Riley's school is closed today, so there won't be any Halloween party pictures, however it is supposed to be sunny tomorrow so I will post Trick or Treating pictures.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday(Guitar Lessons)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


So, I am the room mother for Riley's class and even though I'm tired and don't have enough time, I decided to do something special for Halloween. Instead of relying on the store bought orange pumpkin cookies(which there is nothing wrong with, and I have done before) I'm making each child a Frankenstein twinkie. Yes, that's right, a twinkie with icing. Yummy! I'm gonna get them all sugared up and send them home. So, tonight I did a practice run, Riley got to eat the results. She approved, whole heartedly. I thought these pictures were too cute not to share.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jim McCrery Scholarship Fund

Earlier I blogged about the Jim McCrery Scholarship Fund. I am so honored that Senator McCrery endowed Goldman School with a scholarship. I recently received some pictures from the event so I thought I'd share with ya'll. As you can see, Riley was quite the charmer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday(a look back)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Extraordinary Everyday

Riley and I went shopping today. She is becoming my best shopping partner. I love it when she tells me clothes are cute, or if she doesn't like something she tells me No mama, not cute. Today, like always, Riley was sitting in the buggy(cart for you non southerners)a lady came up and told her how beautiful she was. Riley never meets a stranger and was perfectly happy to converse with the woman. She told me that she had an adorable son, like Riley, then opened her wallet to show his picture. He was a precious little blonde boy with Down Syndrome. We talked awhile, I asked how old he was, she said he would be 27 years old(a year younger than me, but he passed away when he was 6 because he had heart complications and he had 4 surgeries in his short life. This is a very common issue for children with Downs. In fact 1 in 3 babies with Down Syndrome is born with a heart defect. It reminded me again how blessed we are that Riley has had no medical issues. And It also made me think how far medicine and the treatment of individuals with Down Syndrome has come. As the woman walked away she thanked me for letting her talk to Riley. Riley waved bye and blew a kiss, then as if she knew the woman needed more, she puckered up. The woman looked nervously at me not sure how to react, then leaned down and Riley kissed her gently on the cheek. Big tears rolled down her face and she said, "Riley you made my whole day!" I teared up, it was such an extraordinary moment in an everyday setting. I'm dedicating this blog to the memory of little "J" and all the babies like him who helped pave the way for better understanding and treatment for children like Riley.

DS Awarness Month Continued

Second post for DS Awareness Month, MYTHS AND TRUTHS

Myth: Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.
Truth: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. One in every 733 live births is a child with Down syndrome, representing approximately 5,000 births per year in the United States alone. Today, more than 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome.

Myth: People with Down syndrome have a short life span.
Truth: Life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years, with the average life expectancy approaching that of peers without Down syndrome.

Myth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.
Truth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35-years-old simply because younger women have more children. However, the incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are severely “retarded.”
Truth: Most people with Down syndrome have IQs that fall in the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability (formerly known as “retardation”). Children with Down syndrome fully participate in public and private educational programs. Educators and researchers are still discovering the full educational potential of people with Down syndrome.

Myth: Most people with Down syndrome are institutionalized.
Truth: Today people with Down syndrome live at home with their families and are active participants in the educational, vocational, social, and recreational activities of the community. They are integrated into the regular education system and take part in sports, camping, music, art programs and all the other activities of their communities. People with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and their communities, contributing to society in a variety of ways.

Myth: Parents will not find community support in bringing up their child with Down syndrome.
Truth: In almost every community of the United States there are parent support groups and other community organizations directly involved in providing services to families of individuals with Down syndrome.

Myth: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in segregated special education programs.
Truth: Children with Down syndrome have been included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country. In some instances they are integrated into specific courses, while in other situations students are fully included in the regular classroom for all subjects. The current trend in education is for full inclusion in the social and educational life of the community. Increasingly, individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school with regular diplomas, participate in post-secondary academic and college experiences and, in some cases, receive college degrees.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
Truth: Businesses are seeking young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in small- and medium-sized offices: by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and in the computer industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
Truth: People with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else in the population. They experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and they are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close interpersonal relationships leading to marriage.
Truth: People with Down syndrome date, socialize, form ongoing relationships and marry.

Myth: Down syndrome can never be cured.
Truth: Research on Down syndrome is making great strides in identifying the genes on chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Scientists now feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

As many of you know, October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. To do my part I will be featuring blogs about Down Syndrome. Here's the first, DOWN SYNDROME FACTS:

* Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
* Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome.
* There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
* Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
* The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
* People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
* A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
* Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
* People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
* All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
* Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
* Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday(Puddle Jumping)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

King Papaw

This weekend was the 34th annual Zwolle Tamale Fiesta. This year was extra special because my stepdad(Riley's Papaw & one of her favorite people in all the world) was King, we are so proud of him! Since his crowning Riley refuses to call him Papaw. He is now known as King Papaw and thats it. She gets very frustrated when you don't say it right. Riley really enjoyed spending time with all of our family and attending the fiesta. She went to her first parade, and LOVED it! I think by the time it was over she had eaten 6 lollipops. She also really enjoyed the carnival games and rides and the funnel cake! Here are a few pictures from our fun filled weekend. I guess if Papaw is king, that makes her a Princess(Something I've known since the day she was born!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Color Coordinated

Tonight, while I was washing dishes, I heard Riley playing with her baby. She's quite the little mommy. She loves taking care of her dolls. She lets them "eat" when she eats, they sit with her while she watches movies, she even spanks them sometimes. I heard her saying "Night Night, baby, Night Night with Mama". I looked into my living room and saw this seen. She had dragged her pillows off her bed, laid them on the floor and gone into the bathroom and gotten herself a green towel and her baby the matching washcloth.(Our bathroom has towels and washcloths in red, yellow, orange, green, and blue, So I was very impressed!)She tucked in her baby then laid down, covered up, and pretended to snore(Like daddy!) It was precious!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Riley's First Date

I want to start this post by saying Riley and I are both very lucky to have such great friends. On Monday, Riley got devoured by ants at while playing on the playground at daycare. It was so severe that she had to go to the doctor and get a shot and some prescription cream. So, needless to say she was feeling yucky. Every day this week, family and a few special friends checked on her. my friend Rachel texted me throughout the day checking on her, and my friend Emily emailed me for updates on her. I really appreciate you guys' concern and uplifting words. Thank you, you are TERRIFIC friends. Emily's son Frankie goes to school with Riley, and they are good friends(if you ask Riley, "who is your boyfriend? she says Frankie")Frankie was missing Riley at school, so Emily and I got together and set up a dinner date at McDonald's on Thursday night.(Don't worry, both mommies were there, no unsupervised dates til she's at least 40!) I think the company and the ice cream helped Riley make a full recovery. She was back at school on Friday and happy as can be. I am including pictures from the "date".