Friday, August 29, 2008

Orientation to Preschool

This morning we Kyle and I took Payton for orientation at her new school. We are very pleased with her placement there and we think she is going to have a great year. The teachers and the therapists are fabulous and they seem to sincerely love the children. There are only four kids that will be in her class to start and they can add up to four more. And, there will always be one teacher and two teacher assistant's in the room, so that is an excellent ratio! Here is to a great year!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Payton's Geneticist Appointment

Payton saw her geneticist today, Dr. Lewanda. She is very pleased with Payton and her progress overall. She referred to Payton as "very clever", which I thought was cute. We also pretty much came to the conclusion that Payton is in fact a 'moose', as a good friend so very affectionately referred to her. You know who you are. Here are her stats ...

Weight: 13.9 kg {30.64 lb}
Height: 88 cm {34.65 in}
Head: 47.8 cm {18.82 in}

On a standard growth chart, she is 57-75 percentile for weight, 10-25 percentile for height, and 25-50 percentile for head circumference. On a Down syndrome growth chart, she is in the 95th percentile across the board. I'm so happy with these measurements ... and I love my moose!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My babies are going to school!

Ahh! Today I got everything finalized for Mason to be in a preschool program three days a week. Payton will be going to preschool through the Child Find program two days a week and then she will be in a typical preschool program two days a week. We are going to be busy, busy, busy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

3 Things

There are 3 things that this picture shows you about Payton ...

1) She is a girly girl and loves shoes {even if they are way too big}.

2) If you say "smile", she gives you this completely cheeky, cheesy grin.

3) If you are taking her picture and you squat down, she will squat down too.

Have I mentioned how much I love this girl?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mason and the medicine

Throughout the day yesterday, Mason was feeling progressively worse. His fever went up and he spent the entire day in my bed watching TV. After I put Payton down for nap, I went in to lay with Mason because I haven't been feeling well either. He was burning up, so I gave him some children's Tylenol cold/cough with fever reducer. Well you would have thought I was asking him to drink the worst concoction on the face of this earth. I told him to plug his nose and swallow. Well, instead he held it in his mouth, gagged and threw up all over. He had just eaten macaroni and cheese, so I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Ish.

I'm not quite sure what the issue is with this sort of medicine, because he normally will take everything else fine. He will take Delsym down like it is candy. This happened one other time when he was younger, he was probably two years old. He was burning up and we had to pin him down to get some Tylenol in him. He was so upset and gagged so much that he threw up that time too ... all over the couch. He had just eaten macaroni and cheese that time too {that is a staple in our house}.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dang Tires

Remember a few weeks ago I blew a tire? Well, I'm still running around with my full size spare on my SUV. Yes I'm procrastinating ... do I spend the money to replace my already bald tires or do I just trade it in because we could be due for a new car anyway. I still don't know the answer to that, except now I have to make a decision.

Last night the kids and I ran to my cousin's house to pick up stuff for our garage sale. On the way home, my car dinged at me telling me to check the air pressure in my tires. So I looked at my pressure screen ... two tires were 29 PSI, one was zero {this would be the spare tire that couldn't register its pressure} and one was 19 ... and falling. I called Kyle and told him I suspected that my tire was going flat. Just my luck. Within 10 minutes, I was down to 9 PSI. I was close to home at that point, so I proceeded on. By the time I got home, Kyle could hear the air coming out of my tire and asked me if we had any glue. Umm, will Elmer's clear glue work? Seriously. So out he goes with the Elmer's glue to try to patch my tire until today. By the looks of the picture above, I don't think it worked. He really wanted some super glue, but I don't buy that because by the time I go to use it, it is always hard and I never get use out of it anyway!

So today I guess I'm off to get new tires. I held off as long as I could ... about 73,000 miles worth, which is probably about 23,000 miles too long. Perhaps we will be keeping this SUV for awhile longer. Hopefully the air compressor will get enough air in the tire to get us to the dealer today. I hate cars. With a passion.

Sickies All Around

Both of my kids have been healthy for so long, that I guess it is their turn to be sick. Sigh. Payton started first with snotty nose over the weekend and Mason followed that path soon after. Except he also brought with him what Dr. Mom is guessing is croup ... a cough that sounds like we have a seal in the house.

The funniest thing about all of this is that three or four years ago, I'd be calling the pediatrician. But, for now I think we will battle it out here at home. Hopefully they will be feeling better soon, I hate for them to be sick. Do you find yourself going to the ped less and less the more experienced you get as a mom? I do.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Mason Conversation

Preamble: We went to the fair last night with Kyle's sister {Shay} and others. We saw the motorcross while we were there and yes, Shay had gotten her hair cut. It is now about 12 hours later and Mason says to me ...

Mason: Mommy.
Me: Yes, baby?
Mason: When we were at the motorcycles, Auntie Shay looked different, didn't she?
Me: Yeah, she got her hair cut.
Mason: Yeah, she looks like you.
Me: She does?
Mason: Yeah, she weared her hair down like you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Crib

Mason never liked his crib. I always attributed it to the fact that we kept him in the co-sleeper in our room until he was about four months old. Plus I nursed him and he always fell asleep prior to being laid in his crib. So, he never was one of those babies that you can just lay in the crib and they will fall asleep. Ohhh no. He always wanted to be rocked for awhile ... he was such a cuddle bug.

Fast forward two years, Payton was born. Payton has never been a huge fan of her crib either. It is the same crib Mason had ... is the mattress hard or something? I was determined to have her be a good crib sleeper, so I think she only stayed in the co-sleeper in our room until about two months old. But, I nursed her too and she also always feel asleep prior to being laid in her crib. Sigh. So, we have never been able to just put her in the crib either ... she screams until one of us rock her for awhile, just like we did with her brother. She is just a cuddle bug too.

Mason did much better after we moved him into a big boy bed at two years old. We have been wanting to move Payton into a big girl bed too, but we just haven't yet. She usually naps in Mason's bed and she loves it. She does so much better in regular beds that I'm hoping this having to console her at bedtime routine will stop once she gets a big bed.

Tonight I just put her to bed with Mason. They both were so exhausted from a busy evening at the fair that they just passed out. I just went in to check on them and Payton is cuddled up against Mason's back. So cute.

So ... are my kids the only kids who hate/hated their cribs? Have we created sleep monsters here? I am so hoping that Addison is a good sleeper! After 4 1/2 years of this, we deserve a good sleeper!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Did he really just do that?

The other night, we were in the backyard with the kids playing baseball. Mason decided to go stand behind the toddler swing {Lord knows why} and about the same time Kyle decided it would be a good idea to chuck {and I mean chuck} a baseball at the toddler swing. The force of the ball caused the toddler swing to hit Mason in the face and blood gushed everywhere, so much that I thought it was coming out of both nostrils. Poor Mason ... apparently Kyle had forgotten that his aim wasn't the best after trying throwing balls at the dunk tank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My plea to you

You may or may not have seen on my blog me talking about the new movie "Tropic Thunder". Here is a short synopsis of why this movie is being hit by national disability activists due to the movie's use of the word "retard". Understandably, that is not a popular word in my house.

The following information should offend you. I even was surprised at the extent of it. I feel that if I don't pass this on, then other's feeling that I am overreacting to something simple might not quite come across as it should.

The "full retard" scene between Stiller's Speedman and Robert Downey Jr.'s Kirk Lazarus is more extensive than the clip distributed on the internet. Among the lines not included in the Internet version are this:

Stiller: You know, it was an intense experience, you know? I just did the work. I watched a lot of retarded people, spent time with them, observed them, watched all the retarded stuff they did. In a weird way, I had to free myself up to believe that it was okay to be stupid or dumb. To be a moron. To be moronical. To be a moron. To be an imbecile. To be the dumbest mother fucker that ever lived. Stupid ass Jack.

Stiller is made to re-enact Simple Jack to entertain his captors, and wear a coconut wig, improvised overalls and borrowed dentures to act the part. When he doesn't perform the way they like, they hit him and say "more stupid".

Offended? You should be. My daughter has a degree of mental retardation and in essence this movie is portraying to society that she is a moron, that she is an imbecile, that she is dumb, that she is stupid. This is being portrayed to a society that we fight so hard to just be accepted.

Maybe you can pass the word to more people so they too can realize that this isn't a comedy made to poke a little fun. Rather, it's offensive and if you substituted any race or nationality instead of it being pointed at the disabled, it would be considered a HATE CRIME. Please for my daughter's sake, don't see this movie. We need to prove a point to Hollywood.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Fun

Today the kids and I went to Signal Bay Water Park. We met up with one of Mason's friends from Chesterbrook, Alex, and his family. Mason and Alex are still best buds and I wish we could get them together more often.

I'm so proud of them

I'm so proud of my friend McKenna, mom to Darah, who has Down syndrome. She is awesome, they both are awesome. McKenna has had such a good voice about this whole Tropic Thunder controversy ... and tonight she made the news {click to see the video}! Good job McKenna ... I'm honored to call you my friend. :)

Also ...

My friend Diane, mom to MaryEllen, who also has Down syndrome, was also on the news {click to see the video} tonight! Diane is also an awesome voice for our kids and she has to be the sweetest person ever. Good job Di ... I'm honored to call you my friend as well! :)

She's Famous!

My friend McKenna just called me to tell me that Payton's picture is in a video on The Arc's website! The video was produced by Will Schermerhorn from Blueberry Shoes and is being promoted by The Arc in response to the objections to the new movie, Tropic Thunder. The original tagline of the movie was, "Once upon a time ... there was a retard." I'm sure you can imagine I'm less than thrilled about this movie.

Will Schermerhorn happens to live locally and also took that picture of Payton that is in the video. Here is the video ... Payton is right at the beginning where it says, "When you call me beautiful ..."

Swedish Festival

I mentioned that we went up to Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, this past weekend for their annual Swedish Festival. Back in the day, there were a lot of Swedes that settled in Mt. Jewett, thus the annual Swedish Festival. My grandfather was actually a founding father of the festival and this year, my grandmother was named Senior Queen. She said it meant a lot for her to have all of us there to celebrate with her and of course we were happy to oblige.

Here she is, the Senior Queen ...
Me and the Senior Queen ...
After we got there on Friday, we walked around to see everything. There is a new park, called Heritage Park. In order to raise money to build the park, they sold bricks to bear the names of people who live in Mt. Jewett. My grandmother got a brick for herself and one in memory of my grandfather ...

Mason and Tristyn {second cousins}
Natalia {my cousin} and Payton ...

There was a face painting tent that we found out was being run by a long lost second cousin, David Mollander, of my grandmother. This man's father {who was my grandmother's cousin} had committed suicide when he was young and as a result, this man really didn't know much about his heritage. It is such a sad story and it was cool to see him and my grandmother get to talk.
L-R: Grandma, David, Bonnie {my aunt} and my mom
Mason, showing off his flames ...Payton {eating her all time favorite ... french fries}
The dunk tank ... aren't these always so fun? The kids {including Kyle and Casey} took their turns ... in fact, I think everyone but Kyle and Casey dunked the guy!

Mason taking his aim ...

Later on there was a parade ...
the Senior Queen riding in her throne ...

L-R: Tristyn, Ethan, Mason and Payton {second cousins}

L-R: Marcus {Tammy's husband}, Tammy {my cousin}, Sherry {my aunt}, Bonnie {my aunt} and Lee {Bonnie's boyfriend}

Payton trying to motion for the firetruck to honk its horn ...L-R: Lindsay {Nathan's fiance}, Nathan {my cousin} and Kristie {my sister}L-R: Shirley, Alice and Betty {my great aunts - they are all sisters of my grandfather}
My cousin Natalia's husband, Larry, has a motorcycle. Mason is pretty much obsessed with motorcycles, so I asked him if he would give him a ride. Apparently they don't believe in helmets, so I told him he could go if he just went up the street and back ... slowly ...

After I found out that Larry didn't have a helmet for Mason to wear, I went searching for one in my Grandma's garage. I came up with my grandfather's old hard hat, but didn't have Mason wear it because I figured it would be more of a hinder than a help. Here is Ms. Payton modeling the hard hat ...
Payton and Tom {my uncle}
Tammy {my cousin} and the Senior Queen ...

On Sunday, we went to church at Nebo. Every year during the Swedish Festival, church is held there and parts of it are spoken in Swedish. It's pretty cool, especially when that is my heritage.

Nebo sits in the middle of the cemetery that most of my ancestors on my mom's side are buried at, including my grandfather. It always is an emotional visit ...
All in all, it was a great weekend. I love going to visit Mt. Jewett, I just wish I had the time to do so more often. Thanks for a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Bit Nostalgic

This weekend we went up to Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the Swedish Festival {explanation of that is coming in another post} with family. Mt. Jewett is a tiny town that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it is also where my mom grew up. My grandmother, aunt and cousins still live there.

When I was little, we often visited our family in Mt. Jewett and my favorite childhood memories surround these visits. My immediate family moved around a lot when I was growing up, so I've always said that my grandparent's house in Mt. Jewett was my long term stability.

There are a lot of memories that came from the house you see above, my grandparent's house. That house has been in my family for so long that my grandmother actually grew up there. I always was so excited after a long car ride to come around that bend in the road and see the end of their driveway. Once the car was shifted into park, my sister and I would race down the long sidewalk to see if Grandpa and Grandma had waited up for us. Usually we would find them snoring in their recliners. As much as I swore that house was spooked {I used to sprint up the stairs, because I swore someone was going to grab my feet from the playroom below}, I loved being there. The smell of the bread drawer {that is totally random, but the smell was so distinct, that to this day I remember it and I love it}, the angel bed at the top of the stairs {all of us kids fought as to whose turn it was to sleep in the angel bed ... don't ask me why we called it that}, Grandpa's 3 Musketeers bars up in the cabinet, the koo-koo clock that chimed every 15 minutes or so, the growth chart behind the basement door that Grandma measured all the grandkids on ... these are things I cherish and will never forget.

My grandparents ...

Sadly, in April 2001, my Grandfather passed away. He fought hard, but in the end he graced the angels with his presence. Shortly thereafter, my Grandmother decided to sell the house and move up town. I was nothing short of devastated. That was a huge part of my life ... gone. Now when I come around that bend in the road, I find my heart beating harder as I prepare to stare at that brown house with blue trim ... no longer ours. {Whew, the tears are flowing here.} This weekend was no different ... I actually had to hold back the tears as we passed by the house. That was just the first nostalgic moment I had this weekend.

Before we left Mt. Jewett today, I wanted to ride out past the Kinzua Bridge. When I was little, we used to walk across this railroad bridge for fun. My cousins and I were always so excited about this ... I'm not sure exactly why. I think we gave our parents heart attacks each time though ... in hindsight, I probably would have had a heart attack too. The railroad wood was not in the greatest shape and there were plenty of spots that had large gaps in them. In 2003, a tornado rolled through and the middle section of the bridge collapsed. My heart sank. All of those memories were shattered ... they fell to the ground with every last piece of wood from the bridge. I now dream of being able to take my kids across the bridge, just like I did when I was a kid, but that will never happen. Here are some pictures that I took today of the bridge ...

As I walked along the trails at Kinzua today, I spotted a ton of blackberry bushes. When I was little, we used to go blackberry picking behind my grandparents house. We'd get dressed, from head to toe, and get as many blackberries as we could without getting scratched by the prickers. Today, Mason and I wandered around the bushes, picking the blackberries ...

Another nostalgic moment, and I can't remember if we did this at Grandma's or just at home, but nonetheless ... you see the flower below? Did you know that if you put this type of flower in a vase with food coloring, that it will change colors? Learn something new everyday, eh?

All of these nostalgic moments had my mind going crazy this weekend, and it made me pretty emotional. It had me longing for my grandfather, and longing for all the great times I had when I was a kid. There are so many more memories ... snowmobiling with my Grandpa, sledding down the huge hill behind my grandparents {and having Grandpa pull us back up behind the snowmobile}, camping with my grandparents {Grandma, I swear I never swore at that Barbie girl}, riding the lawn mower, tractor and 4-wheeler around my grandparents yard, picking apples from Grandma's apple tree, going to church and having Pastor never know which granddaughter was which, getting yelled at by my Grandmother for ruining her flowers along the sidewalk {I can still hear her yelling ... "Not in the flowers!"}, having Easter egg hunts in my grandparents yard, helping my Grandfather in his shop ... the list goes on, but the best part of all of this was doing all these things with my cousins ... they were {and still are} my favorite people.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In The Jeep

The kids spend a lot of time right where you see them ... in the Jeep.
Driving circles around the backyard ... in the Jeep.
If one goes, the other goes ... in the Jeep.
Spending time together ... in the Jeep.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Opinionated Much?

Last night I took the kids to Target to pick up a few things. We walked past the Back to School section, so Mason wanted to look at backpacks for preschool. He immediately saw Speed Racer and then Cars ... he decided on Cars. I told him he could get a lunch box and thermos too ... wow, I totally had some deja vu from my childhood going on when I was looking at the thermoses. Did you know that thermoses these days have soft straws?! So cool! Scary to think that I'm buying these for my kids now!

While we were looking, I found a super cute Hello Kitty backpack for Payton. It was full size and a bit big, but adorable nonetheless. Not gawdy, but a cute, simple backpack that was black, pink and silver. There was also an adorable lunch box and thermos to match. I was so excited ... thinking she will be the cutest little thing wandering the halls of preschool.

Well ... Ms. Thang wanted nothing to do with Hello Kitty. Rather, she was much more interested in the Disney Princess backpack. Gawdy, cartooney ... ish. It also was a backpack on wheels, so she was having a blast pulling it up and down the aisles. I kept Hello Kitty in the cart, thinking I could gank the Disney Princesses and she wouldn't notice. Ha. Every time I put Disney Princess back on the shelf, she screamed at me and got it back. I showed her Hello Kitty and she yelled, "Nooo!" Ooook then! So I guess it isn't about what Mom wants, but what Chicky wants? Needless to say Hello Kitty got put back on the shelf and the Disney Princesses are now hanging on the hook next to Cars. Sigh ... maybe next time Mom.

Hollywood is making money off of my daughter's disability

Seriously. I am just going to let you read what my very good friend McKenna said about this ... I couldn't have said it any better ...

This is definitely not the first time I've been disappointed in Hollywood, but I think this may be the first time I am actually HURT by Hollywood. Ben Stiller's new film, Tropic Thunder has crossed the line. Dreamworks Production has agreed to meet with many representatives from disability rights organizations at 5pm Pacific today. To be honest, I don't know what can come from this meeting other than prevention of further damage. I will be very surprised if the scene is not pulled, but the hurt has already been caused. Sticks and stones may break my bones, and WORDS HURT Mr. Ben Stiller, Mr. Robert Downey Jr, and Hollywood!! My daughter has an intellectual disability and is not able to defend herself because of her age and her cognitive ability. How dare you use her medical diagnosis of mental retardation as an opportunity to put more money in your pockets. Shame on YOU!

The term "mental retardation" is being replaced with intellectual disability because of this misuse. This isn't the first time this has happened. You know those words, "idiot" and "moron." Those once used to belong to people like my little girl as medical diagnosis and we all know what happened to those words. How wrong is it that my daughter needs a new "term" because of the abuse of her medical diagnosis by people of average intelligence? How long until people start taking the new terminology and abusing it as well?

I have an idea....let's just abort every child with a disability before they're born and we won't have this problem! Let's just wipe our world clean of people with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, etc... and while we're at it, go ahead and take me out of that world, too, because I'm 5'10" tall and that's just not "average!" Everyone with large noses can have their lives spared as long as they get plastic surgery.

My daughter has to fight against this ridiculous ideology that she is "not normal" and "different" and "lucky she wasn't aborted" every day for the rest of her life and I'm going to do everything I can so she doesn't have to fight against the mockery and "harmless jokes" as well!

Race discrimination is off limits (as it should be!) but discrimination against individuals with intellectual disabilities has a green light. ENOUGH! I have usually excused comments that I hear everyday: "I'm so retarded," "what a retard," because I know in my heart they are not intentionally or purposefully directed at someone with an intellectual disability. Well, enough! Intentional or not, stop it! Use it properly or don't use it at all!

Leave my child, my friend's children, and the many individuals in our world who work harder than any of you alone! ENOUGH!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Can you help us?

Remember Emma? I am thrilled to say that she made it through her heart surgery better than anyone could have expected! She is still in the hospital in recovery, so please continue to lift her up in prayer.

Many people in the online community have expressed an interest in getting Emma's family {mom's name is Meredith} a special something ... perhaps a new triple stroller since their old one was ruined. Do you have a dime to spare to help us reach our goal?

Please stop by Meredith's blog and let them know you are praying for them!

My Sweet Boy

Mason is such a sweetheart. Don't get me wrong, he is a tad crazy at times, but beneath that layer he is such a sweetheart. Every day, Kyle takes the kids to daycare and I pick them up. I usually am out the door before Kyle and the kids, so every day I say bye and give kisses before I go. If by chance there is ever a day that Mason doesn't get a kiss, he will cry and get so upset. One kissless day, I was pulling down the road and I saw him run out of the house and into the driveway, tears falling. I hadn't given him his kiss, so I backed up and he got his kiss. Today, he was still upstairs and I had left without giving him a kiss. He ran outside with a look of panic on his face and again, he got his kiss.

Tip for the day: Don't forget to leave the house without kissing your kids.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Salty foods

Payton loves {I mean LOVES} salty foods and what else to better satisfy her craving than chips. This child would eat chips all day long if I let her. She wakes up in the morning and heads to the pantry to pull the chips out. It is a dangerous situation to even have chips in the house.

A little bit ago, she came in from outside and brought me an open bag of chips and a baggie. She wanted me to fill up the baggie so she could take them outside with her. Now tell me how I'm supposed to refuse that? She is communicating and using cause and effect ... such a smart little cookie. I filled up her baggie and off she went. I followed her to see her reaction after tasting the chips, because what she didn't realize was that they were her father's sea salt and vinegar chips. Ish. She made a funny face and went on to eat them ... anything to satisfy her craving, right?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Birthday Celebration

Today is my birthday ... 33 big ones. I had a very relaxing day doing pretty much nothing. That is the way I like it. Kristie and Casey, Shay and Jeremy and my mom came over for a BBQ and fishing. Wait, did you hear what I got for my birthday? Yep, a {pink} fishing pole and a net.

Why a net, you ask? Really, does an amateur fisherwoman like me really need a net? Why yes I do. We have three ponds in our community stocked with fish. We have been there fishing before. And little old me {not the guys ... ME} has caught some big 'ole catfish ... I'm talking 10-15 pound catfish. My new nickname is Bobber. So, in order to prepare for my next catfish, they got me a net.

Tonight, there were no catfish, but I did catch a bass. I'll note here that none of the guys have caught a bass yet ... even Mr. Determined {Casey} who has got the super bass bait {hahahaha ... I'm laughing all the way home}.

Me ... holding my bass all by myself {proud accomplishment}
Mason using my new net to hold my bass ...Sis caught a fish! Go Sis! {Sis is another name we call Payton}
Jeremy ... I blame him for getting me hooked on fishingMason and his fish ...
Not every man would fight this bush to untangle his wife's line. Give her a break, it was her first time fishing. Find anything good in there, Casey?Another fish of mine ...Kristie and her first fish ... using Mason's Cars fishing pole ...
Shay and her fish {she can multi-task}
Finally, after all those nibbles my Mom finally caught a fish ... using the Cars fishing pole, nonetheless!
Sis and her tackle box ...
Bye Sis! I guess it is time to go!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Praying for Emma

You may recall my blog entry about Emma Hope ... her family has found a surgeon that is willing to do surgery on her delicate heart. Her surgery date is two days away. Please hold Emma and her family up in prayer ... they have a long few days in front of them.