Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dance, Dance!

I am so happy to report that on Wednesday Riley is starting dance class. Pre-ballet and tap to be specific. I couldn't be more excited. Today, with the help of Nonna, we went shopping and are all ready for class to start. I must admit when I saw the pink leather ballet shoes, so tiny and perfect, I teared up. My tiny sweet baby has grown so fast and is now on her way to becoming quite a little lady. I'm so proud of her. She continues to amaze me! I'm sure there will be many posts as we start out on this journey, this will be the first group activity/sport Riley has been involved in and I'm nervous and excited! Look for many pics and maybe some videos of my baby ballerina. Here she is modeling her new dance clothes and shoes. The ballet shoes couldn't be any cuter, but Riley is absolutely in love with the tap shoes and the noise they make(especially on our wood floors!)

Monday, January 25, 2010


Last night was a very happy night in the LaBorde house. For the first time in franchise history the New Orleans Saints are headed to the Super Bowl!!!. You see, we are just a little fanatic about our Saints, we just had 8 puppies, all boys, all named for Saints players. They're our little team. The game was a nail biter, but we pulled through!And when Hartley hit the field goal to win in overtime, our house got LOUD! We were all yelling and screaming and jumping for joy. Riley stayed up for the whole game and wore her cheer uniform proudly. We are trying to teach her to say Who Dat! Can't wait for the Super Bowl. Geaux Saints.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blogs to See

I am so thrilled with my blog. When I started a few months ago, I really didn't know anything about blogs or blogging, and I still have a lot to learn. But blogging has definitely opened my eyes and my heart. I have "met" many new friends and have learned so much from this blog. I follow several blogs dealing with Down Syndrome, each doing their part to change the way the world views DS. I am so happy that so many people love and support children like Riley and are working to make the world a better place for children like her. Here are some of the blogs I follow, if you get the chance check them out, they range from moms of small children to a 13 year old girl with Down Syndrome who writes her own blog. They are all wonderful, and I hope you get as much joy out of them as I do. Alena

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday(Cheerleader)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Erase Down Syndrome?

I heard from a very dear friend today. She had just read about a new medical test that is being introduced. It will determine the presence of Down Syndrome in the first trimester. The article on the test said that doctors predict it will nearly erase Down Syndrome because so many people will opt to terminate the pregnancy. I cannot imagine a world without Down Syndrome, it would be a world without Riley, Lexi, Aubrey, Blake, Max, and so many other wonderful children and adults. A world without sunshine. I know that having a child with Down Syndrome is not what anyone hopes for, but those of us lucky enough to have the opportunity sure are blessed. I know that it is a life of struggles but it is also a life of purpose, a life worth living. I had the triple screen test when I was pregnant, it came back ok, so we did not suspect Down Syndrome and of course when Riley was born we were shocked, scared, and saddened. But I look at our wonderful life now, I wouldn't change one single thing. I hope that through blogs like mine(and some of the wonderful ones I follow),Buddy Walks, etc. we change how the world sees Down Syndrome. My sincere hope is that everyone learns to see the "Upside of Downs"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Little Miss Polite

It is never too early to start teaching manners. Gerard and I started with please, thank you, and your welcome. Riley is a pro and rarely forgets to use these. Now we are working on yes ma'am/sir, no ma'am/sir. We make her repeat these often. Especially when we are explaining why she can't do something or why she got into trouble. It's really cute the way she says yea mam, yea tir. This morning, while getting ready for work and school, I said, Riley you sit tight while I go get your boots ok. (If she wonders into her playroom, it becomes a battle to get her out the door for school) Her normal response would have been ooh kaaay, but she looked up at me, blue eyes shinning and said. "Yea Mam". It was so precious! I was so proud of her manners. I gave her a big hug and thanked her for being so polite and told her she was becoming quite a little lady, to which she smiled and said Yea.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cutest thing EVER!

I had to share the cutest thing EVER! My sweet child loves music and loves to dance. Her absoulute favorite thing to do is the cha cha slide(a hip hop line dance). She loves it so much and asks to Cha Cha so often I had to download the video and save it to my computer. At least once a night she says, "Mama, I wannna ta ta(cha cha).She also really likes to perform for other people. Anytime I'm down, or having a bad day, All I have to do is ask her if she wants to cha cha, it brightens my day everytime. So I thought I'd share it with you, hope it brightens your day too!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Have you ever seen those holiday letters some families send out? The kind that update or give an overview of their entire year. We do not send those letters.I do good to get all my Christmas cards out before Christmas Eve. However I thought in this first post of the new year, I would give a progress report on Riley, the ups and downs, reaching milestones and surpassing goals in the past 4 years.
As many of you know, we had no idea when I was pregnant that Riley would have DS. On our 1st wedding anniversary(6 days before my scheduled induction) I went into labor. After she was born and we were given the diagnosis, we were shocked, hurt, scared, etc. I remember thinking how could this happen to us. Once we finally saw her, and I held her in my arms, I knew she was our perfect child and that GOD had given her to us for a reason. And although we had no idea what our future would hold, we knew our lives would be filled with love. Looking back now, I feel ridiculous for wasting any tears, because when I think of Riley having Down Syndrome, all I feel is blessed. It does not define her or who she will be. I did not know at the time, but 1 in 3 children with DS have heart problems, many requiring surgery. 11 days after she was born, Riley was released from the hospital, with no heart, intestinal, vision, or hearing problems!
She began sleeping through the night immediately, in fact, the doctor told me at her 6 week visit that I needed to start waking her up to feed her. At 5 weeks, she rolled over. I don't think a parent has ever been so proud. I cried! It was then I knew that every milestone would be so important and we would never take them for granted. Her first year of life, Riley was pretty much a typical baby. She began uttering "da da" and after a while "ma ma" when she was around 9 months.
I was told that most children with Downs do not walk until they are at least two. So I was very happy when at 19 months, Riley took off(she hasn't stopped since)
We took baby signing classes and worked with therapist and day care teachers and by 2 she could communicate very well using sign language, (sometimes I miss those quiet times. LOL)
A little before her 3rd birthday Riley transitioned out of Early Steps(a therapy program for children birth-three) and into the school system. We went to an evaluation at the school board. Riley was given a doll to play with while I filled out paper work, then asked to put the doll away and stack blocks, name colors, match, etc. All she wanted was the doll, and she refused to perform, even simple task I was positive she could do. They cannot take the parents word, so Riley scored very low on these evaluations They offered her a spot getting on a school bus and riding across town all by herself 3 days a week. I did not feel we were ready for that so we opted to receive therapy at the wonderful daycare she attends. It is an inclusion center so children with and without special needs learn from each other. I am so passionate about how inclusion has helped Riley, I work diligently to raise money for her school and for training for other day care centers (even braving my fear of public speaking) It's amazing what love can make you do.
At her last IEP meeting after receiving one year of therapy, Riley is testing at an average delay of only 10.5 months. Meaning her developmental age is 3 years 8 1/2 months while her chronological age is 4 years 4 months. Not a very significant delay and she is growing, learning, and developing all the time. I am extremely certain she has a bright future ahead of her.
5 years ago I never could have imagined my life with Down Syndrome in it, now I can't imagine my life with out it! I feel so lucky to have Riley, she has brought such love and joy, not only to our lives but to so many family and friends. My hope is that through blogging and speaking about positive aspects of Down Syndrome changes stereotypes and fears and makes the world a better place for Riley and other beautiful children just like her. I don't know what 2010 has in store for our family, but I know that it will be a wonderful adventure based in love. HAPPY 2010 from our family to yours!