Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{31 for 21} Happy Halloween

I feel like I ended 31 for 21 on a lame note.  I missed posting yesterday, for no good reason.  Other than the fact that taking care of two small children and a house is exhausting.  And last night when I'm usually blogging, I was frantically cleaning the house for it to be shown, again. 

And tonight I'm sharing some sub-par Halloween photos. It's hard to get quality photos when you're scrambling out the door to so your house can be shown at 6pm on Halloween night.  (No, I'm not bitter about that at all.) 

My favorite part of Halloween was the fact that even though Kennedy couldn't say trick or treat, Happy Halloween or thank you she did say "BYE" and waved after each person gave her candy.  It was adorable.  I also loved that she picked one piece of candy out of the bowls when we told her to.

This is what happens when you try to photograph your child once they are mobile.

What?  You wanted my picture by all those pumpkins?

Caleb's first Halloween!

Kennedy was fascinated by the pumpkin seeds cooking.

Happy Halloween blog reading people!

Trick or treating at Kennedy's favorite grocery store.

My little poodle.

Choosing candy.

Getting a head start.... 

More candy!

She was so proud when I told her she did a good job taking one piece.

Back home and exhausted!

Mom, why did I have to go all around the neighborhood when we had a whole bowl at home?

Monday, October 29, 2012

{31 for 21} Tales of Toddlerhood

Kennedy is definitely leading the life of a typical toddler.  Playing with everything she shouldn't.  She even lost Grandma's keys the other day.  My house is a disaster, on a daily basis.  Sometimes she eats her food and sometimes she throws it.  When you tell her no or take something away she let's you know she's not happy.  And when she misses her nap there are tantrums of epic proportions.

Today was a nap-less day, which left my house more of a disaster.  And all of the epic tantrums made for one tired mommy.  So think of this as another post about why toddlers with Down syndrome are more alike any other toddler than they are different.

I hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy is safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

{31 for 21} Fall Fun

Today we spent a few hours at what Floridians consider, a pumpkin patch.  It was much more successful than last year's attempt and not nearly as far away.  We even had perfect "fall weather" as our friends and family in the northeast are preparing for the big Frankenstorm.  It made me think back to our day at the pumpkin patch last year.  We took Kennedy to IHOP, where Daddy drew her a picture with the crayons.  Then we drove down to the pumpkin patch, where she was too little to really enjoy it.  The pumpkin tents were infested with spiders, and we ended up taking her true "pumpkin patch photos" with her sitting in hay in a parking lot patch down the street from our house. 

This year, Kennedy had a blast.  She was very interested in the hay and pumpkins.  And since I'm the mother who lets her kid eat leaves, I didn't really bat an eyelash when she started putting the hay in her mouth. She crawled, climbed, and walked all over.  She was giggling, smiling and enjoying every moment.  She and daddy split a cheeseburger at he end, before we left with our 35 pound pumpkin.  It was a fabulous day.  And I cannot even begin to say how proud of her I am.  I feel like every day she's doing something new, and I'm so proud of everything that she has accomplished in the past year.  It feels like just yesterday that I thought she would be crawling backwards and getting stuck under the furniture - forever!!!!!  And today she prancing around the pumpkin patch on two feet!  And she even kept her shoes on!

Here's some photos from our day.

Hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy stays safe!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

{31 for 21} Friends

We're all very excited about our upcoming move. The move that's taking place in less than 3 weeks. I'm blaming said move for the the lack of interesting blogging lately. The hardest part about this move is saying goodbye to friends and even therapists who have worked with us for so long that they have become like friends. With the move getting closer and closer, we're starting to plan farewell play dates and saying goodbye to some of our friends. Today we spent the afternoon with our friends Beth and Lily. Beth was our amazing wedding planner. We met 3.5 years ago when we hired her to plan our wedding, and we've remained friends since. Kennedy had fun playing with Lily, and she was especially grateful for the cupcakes they brought. At first she wasn't so sure, her lack of nap contributed to a cupcake meltdown, and then she tasted it. Beth provided us with some adorable photos from the day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

{31 for 21} Just Some Cuteness

I have nothing to say tonight. But we had a really fun day that included a trip to the park. The wind was insane, despite the fact that we're really far away from Hurricane Sandy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

{31 for 21} My Little Non-Sleeper

Todays post has nothing to do with Down syndrome.  In fact, it has nothing to do with much at all.  Kennedy, who as we all know, happens to have an extra chromosome, has decided she doesn't want to sleep.  No more naps, and she's not going to go to bed easily either.  This has left mommy exhausted.  So if anyone has any tips for getting my little non-sleeper to go to bed at night, with out a huge struggle, I'll gladly take them.  She's still co-sleeping (though that may change) and no, we won't let her cry it out. 

I promise, more to come this weekend, including a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{31 for 21} A Lot of Random

A certain little brown eyed cutie around 31 inches tall and 21 pounds stayed up partying until 1am last night, so tonight's blog is just a little of this and a little of that. 

Did I mention that at midnight she was trying to sneak out?  By the way, when did the little cutie get big enough to reach the door handles?  I'm in serious trouble come the teenage years.

I read a great letter today.  It was written by a gentleman whom I have great respect for.  He happens to have Down syndrome and he stood up to Ann Coulter.  This letter was very well written and I can only hope that when Kennedy gets bigger she has the courage to stand up anyone who disrespects her.  Unfortunately from what I hear, it sounds like Coulter is just defending her actions, rather than apologizing.  Absolutely disgusting.

And here are some photos from today.

Caleb adores his big sister.  He loves to sit and talk to her while she eats.

 Someone's new game is emptying everything from the cabinets into her cart.

Water table fun!

Who cares about the water table when you're capable of walking around checking everything out?

Or doing the bear crawl to chase your shadow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{31 for 21} The R-word....Again

I've blogged about this subject many times.  There's not a word I hate more than this one.  It makes me cringe every time I hear it.  Not just because I know the person using it is using it in a way that has a negative connotation towards people like my daughter.  But because every time I hear it, I feel the need to say something, because I am my daughter's voice.  I don't want her to grow up hearing this word all the time, and as it stands, it's currently used all too often.  I get sick of having the same conversation when I hear it or see it on Facebook.  The people who use it don't understand that it's like a punch in the stomach to the parents of a child with an intellectual disability.  It's exhausting having to put so much energy into something that should not be an issue.

Recently Ann Coulter has used the word multiple times, referencing the candidates following the presidential debates.  In my mind, and the mind of many others, this isn't about politics, but about fact that she continues to use such an offensive and heartless word on Twitter.  After the first time she used it, I sent my usual email.  Isn't it sad that I have one drafted and just tweak it depending on the circumstances?  This week I decided not to bother wasting my time.  She clearly knows that she was criticized for it last week, yet she did it again.  Probably to add fuel to the fire.

I noticed that CNN featured a story about her choice of words, and I was impressed.  Some people will never change.  Some people don't see anything wrong with it, and some just don't care.  But with the story hitting media outlets like CNN, someone is bound to see the story and recognize how people feel when the word is used, and remove it from their vocabulary.  If nothing else, hopefully her ignorance will help raise awareness to end the use of the r-word.

Monday, October 22, 2012

{31 for 21} Tragedy

This is a post that I wish I wasn't writing.  There was a story in the local news today about a 10 year old girl with Down syndrome, who walked out of her school and disappeared.  Tragically, her body was found hours later in a retention pond.  I can't imagine what the family is going through, and ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. 

Not only am I saddened for her family, but I'm disgusted by he fact that there were 150+ students, 20 of them being special needs, were being supervised by about 10 people.  This is what scares me about the idea of sending my child to school.  Will anyone really be watching her. 

Full Article

Sunday, October 21, 2012

{31 for 21} Home Sweet Home

Kennedy and Caleb were very happy to leave the hotel, and come home. Now, life becomes pure chaos as we count down until our move, less than one month from now.

Really mom??? We're leaving??? Finally!!!

I'm excited to get out of here too!

Dinner on the road. Mommy never lets me eat fried chicken.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

{31 for 21} 21 Facts about Kennedy

We're driving home from our very exhausting and stressful trip, so I have no photos (again). I promise. Photos tomorrow.

1) Kennedy is 20 months old.

2) Favorite Foods: Chicken, tacos, yogurt

3) Favorite Songs: Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old McDonald, Wheels on the Bus

4) Favorite Toys: Fisher Price House, Piggy Bank/Coins, Pop Up Animals

5) Favorite Game: Peekaboo, catch

6) Favorite Animals: Dolphins and cats

7) Latest Accomplishment: Walking!!!!!

8) Favorite Activity: Swimming

9) Favorite Restaurant: Dave & Buster's

10) Favorite Place: Swings

11) Biggest Dislike: Bedtime, sock and shoes

12) Favorite Color: Pink or Purple

13) Favorite Drink: Milk

14) Loves to give kisses or blow kisses. And steal glasses.

15) Loves her baby brother.

16) Favorite Book: Any books with flip up panels.

17) Favorite stuffed animal: Sandy (monkey) and Lowery (penguin)

18) Favorite Treat: ColdStone Creamery - Strawberry ice cream with sprinkles

19) Favorite Hairstyle: Pigtails

20) Favorite Vacation Spot: Hilton Head, Orlando

21) Most excited about our move because she will get to play with her cousins more.

Friday, October 19, 2012

{31 for 21} 21 Facts About Down Syndrome

1) 1 in 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.

2) 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35.

3) There are 400,000 people living in the United States with Down syndrome.

4) 50% of babies with Down syndrome are also born with a heart defect.

5) The life expectancy for an individual with Down syndrome today is 60.

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition.

9) People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.

10) 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.

11) 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.

12) Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.

13) 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.

14) 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.

15) People with Down syndrome date, socialize, form ongoing relationships and marry.

16) 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.

17) About 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born each year.

18) The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother.

19) 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.

20) Children with Down syndrome have been included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country. The current trend in education is for full inclusion in the social and educational life of the community.

21) 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.

(Source: NDSS)

{31 for 21} Do They Know?

Down syndrome does not define Kennedy.  Which is why it's not one of the first things I mention when we meet someone.  In fact, I rarely mention it.  Sometimes people make comments or ask questions.  It makes me wonder if they realize Kennedy has Down syndrome or if they just don't understand the delays associated with it.  Either way, it can sometimes be an awkward conversation.  And when I'm being quizzed by random strangers about her milestones, I usually don't know if I should just shut up or tell them that she has Ds and will do things when she's ready. I've found that when I do say something I usually get a comment like, "well it doesn't look like she has Down syndrome." Are they trying to make me feel better? Not that I need a reason to.  I'm not bothered by her Down syndrome, with the exception of dealing with inconsiderate people.  Are they doubting what I'm saying?  Or is it that she's changing their perception of what Down syndrome is?  I hope that's it.

(And by the way. Blogging fail.  I wrote most of this last night and fell asleep.  I realized it at approximately 12:30, 1:40, 2:25, 3:50, 4:30, 5:45 and 7:00 when I was awoken by Caleb to eat or by Kennedy kicking me in the head.  Of course both are sleeping soundly right now so I have time to post this.  I'm daily certain it's safe to say, our family is over hotel life.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

{31 for 21} Your Typical Toddler

I don't care how many chromosomes Kennedy has, she is your typical toddler. We had a wonderful play date in the park, with our friend Ben. Unfortunately, I have no photos of said play date. Why, you ask? I was too busy chasing my toddler around the park. Since we live in a state where fall consists of like 3 leaves falling off the trees, Kennedy's favorite part was eating leaves. I gave up on stopping her. I'm pretty sure the other parents thought I was crazy. Especially the mom who pointed out that she was eating a leaf and I said, "yes, I know." She also spent a considerable amount of time digging in the dirt. Which meant a good scrubbing tonight. Oh...and then there were the swings and the slides.

After her busy afternoon at the park we had dinner and took a walk downtown. One of the local gym's was holding Zumba classes on the fake grass. Kennedy enjoyed dancing to the music. Oh, and yes. Kennedy once again won the battle over shoes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{31 for 21} My Little Walker

Less than 6 months after she started crawling, I think it's safe to say we have a walker!!!!  I don't think I've ever been so proud.  Now if only I could get her to keep her socks and shoes on.  Any tips? It's kind of an important thing when you go places, and are moving to a cooler climate.

Monday, October 15, 2012

[31 for 21} New Friends

For me, one of the hardest parts about leaving Florida is leaving all of my friends, and all of Kennedy's friends.  I feel like I've made a lot of great friends over the years, and especially the past 18 months.  I'm looking forward to creating new friendships, but I'm also dreading the idea of finding new mom's groups, etc. 

Over the weekend we attended the Step Up For Down Syndrome event.  When I found out we would be relocating I immediately checked out the area's Down Syndrome Association.  It seems to be much more active than the one in Tampa, and I'm looking forward to getting involved with them.  The event was a lot of fun, and it was great to meet so many wonderful people.  Conveniently, I know someone from a message board who lives in the area.  We've been planning to meet up and it hasn't worked out on any of our other trips, but our families were able to meet up this weekend at the event.  Kennedy and I were very excited to meet our new friends and are looking forward to many playdates! 

Here are some photos of Ben and Kennedy.