Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: The Final Cut

Before our Trick or Treating outing
At a church in our neighborhood. They had a Trunk or Treat, pretty neat :) The church where Jayden's goes to preschool had one too and we hit that one up also.

It was a little chilly outside!

Sophia, Jayden and IndiAnn

Walking up to our next victim :)

She was so excited after getting candy. All she could say was "YES, YES,YES!"

We didn't even get around to half our neighborhood, we were all getting cold, but we still made out with a nice size loot!
Halloween was a success this year! Jayden wore her full costume for the first time since she was 1! She had a blast passing out candy and going trick or treating herself. She's already decided that next year she wants to be SpongeBob SquarePants, we'll see :)
Well this is last day of October, which means that Down syndrome awareness month is over. Which really only means that I won't be blogging EVERY DAY! I have really enjoyed writing about Down syndrome and just about Sophia in general. I think that knowledge is the key to everything. The more you know, about anything, the more comfortable you are and that's all I wanted to do this month was provide anyone who reads my blog with some facts about Down syndrome and hope that you could walk away with more knowledge about Sophia, as a person, and about Down syndrome. The most important thing that I hope everyone realizes is that Sophia, and other individuals just like her, are truly more ALIKE than different. Sophia's diagnosis was never a deal breaker for us, and we never thought twice about wanting her. She was our baby from the moment we found out about her and she will always be that way, forever! She is a person just like you and me. She has wants, needs and most importantly feelings. She is a human being first and deserves just as much RESPECT as anyone else. All we want from our family, our friends and the people that surround us, is ACCEPTANCE of our daughter, FOR WHO SHE IS! Sophia is still a baby, and even though I'm sure people can see a "difference" in Sophia's beauty, I've never had a negative experience with people yet. Hopefully I never will, but I'm sure that won't be the case. My wish is that people, like you, who love Sophia and our family, will help us to bring awareness to people who just don't understand Down syndrome, which in turn makes them think that it's a bad thing. Do I expect people to go out and preach about Down syndrome to everyone they meet? No. I don't even expect myself to do that. But in the right moment, when you hear someone say something, or you encounter a grieving mother with a possible diagnosis, you will have more knowledge about Down syndrome and hopefully you will feel, just like we do, that having a child with Down syndrome isn't a "curse" but it's a beautiful thing that will open your eyes up to a whole new world of new experiences, new people and most importantly a whole new love.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Festivities: Take Two

We went to the Fall Festivial at the Fairgrounds this afternoon and had a good time. We got to go on a hayride, then go through the petting zoo and ended with a maze and a 3 nice pumpkins to take home with us. Jayden loved the animals, but was a little shy to go and pet them. She loved the donkey, which reminded us of Donkey from Shrek :) but her favorite was the pot bellied pig! She was down there snorting with it like they were old friends :)
I started my Christmas shopping today and I feel great about it! I hope to be done with all the kiddos tomorrow, who are the important ones :) and then finish the rest up later. Now I have to figure out where to hid everything, because our closet didn't work so well last year. We really have no good hiding spots in our house though?????
We are ending our night passing out candy to trick or treaters. Jayden dressed up and has been helping pass out the candy. She gets all excited at first, but then when we get someone at the door and she goes to pass out the candy, she almost freezes and doesn't know what to do :) She will never be an actor or anything involving being in a spotlight, because she can't take heat! She's so funny though :) Can't wait to take the girls out tomorrow! I'm interested to see how Jayden will do going up to the door!?!?
Are you sick of my facts yet??? Here's one of two more: While people with Down syndrome may not have a "personality type," they often share certain behaviors or coping mechanisms. For example, many people with Down syndrome prefer routine, order and sameness which is their way of dealing with the complexities of everyday life. This preferences for routine can sometimes be seen as stubborness. Anotehr behavior often seen in people with Down syndrome is "self-talk." Self-talk is the act of talking aloud to oneself and it is thought that people with Down syndrome use self-talk as a way of processing information and thinking things through.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Basketball Star?

We signed Jayden us for preschool basketball today at the Boys and Girls Club! It's only for 10 weeks, every Saturday, but I think she is going to love it! They teach them about the game the first 6 weeks and then they get to scrimmage the last 4 weeks :) She said she wanted to do it, and she likes playing in the driveway at home, so I hope it works out. It's another thing that she can call her own and I think it will be good to be in a different environment, besides school, with kids close to her age.
Down syndrome fact: Day 29 - Approximately half of all kids with Down syndrome also have problems with hearing and vision. Hearing loss can be due to differences in the structure of the inner ear bones or due to ear infections. Vision problems include crossed-eyes, lazy eye, near and farsightedness, and an increased risk of cataracts. Regular evaluations by an audiologist and an opthalmologist are necessary to detect and correct any problems before they affect language and learning skills. Treatments are typically glasses and hearing aids. So far we haven't had any problems with Sophia with either, vision or hearing. We do get regular check-ups and are due to go back for a hearing exam next Friday and we don't have to go back to the opthalmologist till next May.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween, Take One

Our little ladybug and our buff spiderman

Jayden's teacher, Ms. Angie leading her class through Meadows Shopping Center

Jayden, AKA Spiderman, walking in the Halloween parade at Meadows.

Jayden and some of her crimestopping friends

All the kiddos walking back over to preschool from Meadows Shopping Center

Jayden had her Halloween parade and party today at preschool and she really had fun. It was so cute seeing her walk through the mall all dressed up. I was a little afraid she would see Sophia and I and want to leave the "parade" and go home with us, but she was a big girl and walked right by us and waved and kept on moving with the rest of her class :) I also got the girls all dressed up to go to another trick or treat outing this evening, which didn't turn out like I thought it would. We got a flyer from school about Sycamore Manor having a safe trick or treat tonight with a magician, and I thought it would be fun. Well it was in a small area, lots of people crammed in and the magician was stuck in a corner with his table about 5 feet in the air and only enough room for maybe 5 or 6 people to stand around him, and most of them were adults! I told Jayden that maybe this magician would pull a rabbit out of his hat or something, so needless to say she was a tad disappointed with the performance. But we got some loot and it was just a run through for the big night on Sunday :)
Down syndrome affects a child's ability to learn in different ways, but most have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Children with Down syndrome can and do learn, and are capable of developing skills throughout their lives. They simply reach goals at a different pace. There is often a misconception that individuals with Down syndrome have a predetermined ability to learn. This simply is not true. It is now known that individuals with Down syndrome develop over the course of their lifetime and should be treated accordingly. The learning potential of an individual with Down syndrome can be maximized through early intervention, good education, higher expectations and encouragement.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Be a part of stopping the R word

"Retard" means hinder or slow. "Retarded" means limited or slow in mental development. While it is unfortunately clinically acceptable to say "mental retardation," you should use the more socially acceptable "intellectual disability." Using the words "retard" or "retarded" is hurtful and should not be used in any derogatory context.
I hate both of these words and it breaks my heart in two every time I hear someone use them. I'm not saying that I've never used them before, because yes I have. I had absolutely no idea how hurtful these words could be, until Sophia was born. Do I think that Sophia is "retarded?" ABSOLUTELY NOT! But do I think that other people in this world think that Sophia is "retarded," yes I do. Sophia is a child who is beautiful and loving and who strives each and every day to accomplish new things. She works hard for everything that she has accomplished so far, and continues to work even harder to reach all these goals that are set out for her. That's how I see her, and I know that most of you see her the same way, but there are people out there who see individuals, like Sophia, as a waste of space. That they will never amount to anything, and never deserved the right to be brought into this world and that is why I feel it's up to us to lead by example. Be more conscious of what you say, around your kids, your family, and your friends. Hold yourself responsible for the things that come out of your mouth, I know I have. I understand that most of the time these words are used to describe something stupid or dumb, however, when I hear these words I immediately think to the future when someone may be directing them at Sophia, and that really hurts. These words have become accepted somewhere along the way, but in our world of special needs, it isn't acceptable. In fact, it is hurtful and heart breaking. All I ask of each of you is to be aware of what you're saying and know that words do hurt. If you make a conscious effort to stop using these words, maybe you can influence others to stop using these words too. It's all about RESPECT and ACCEPTANCE of EVERYONE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reese's Rainbow

When we were at the Buddy Walk on Saturday I got a pamphlet that was being handed out for Reece's Rainbow, which is a public charity which promotes the international adoption of children with Down syndrome exclusively. I've heard of this before from other moms that had a child with Down syndrome and wanted to adopt another. For the holiday season they have something called The Christmas Angel Tree Project, which is their #1 fundraiser for the year. With a gift of $35 or more, you will receive a beautiful photo ornament of your sponsored child. The donations are put into different adoption funds for differnt children, and then when a family chooses that child, the money donated into their fund is given to the family to help with the adoption costs. The average cost to adopt a child internationally is $20,000. I thought I would share this information, in case anyone wanted to donate to a pretty special charity. You don't have to adopt to make a difference! Give the "gift of a family" with your generous sponsorship donation this holiday season :) Check it out at: Also, in the search box if you type in Melanie/Sader you will find a little girl who is trying to be adopted by a mom, and her husband, who I am friends with on facebook. They already have a 4 year old little girl, Ragen, who was born with Down syndrome and they are looking to add to their family.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Help us Spiderman

It has begun, the bugs are coming inside! We found a HUGE spider yesterday just chillin under Jayden's art easel in the kitchen! I absolutely hate bugs of any kind, especially when they come into my house. Lucky for us we have our very own Spiderman to protect us from all the evil insects that try to invade our living quarters.
I can't believe Halloween is approaching in less than a week and I am so excited to get the girls dressed up and actually go out around the neighborhood and snag some candy, for Jayden of course :) She has a Halloween parade at school on Thursday, and I can just see her now getting all dressed up in her costume and strutting her stuff, because I know that she's going to think she is hot stuff in her new spiderman costume, with muscles! I'm just excited that she's excited about it this year.
This is also the last week of the month and I have almost successfully posted every day for the whole month of October to bring awareness about Down syndrome. I hope that by posting the information that I have, that anyone who reads this blog has benefited in a positive way. My number one goal by doing this was to educate not only myself more, but to educate our closest family and friends, who will be a part of Sophia's life forever. And second, I hope that if any of you ever come acroos some one else who is either struggling with a prenatal diagnosis, or has a new baby and unexpectantly gets a diagnosis at birth, that maybe you can shed some light into their life and give them positive feedback about something that really isn't the end of the world. Life is full of twists and turns and unexpectedness, but I have found in the past 17 months that this journey I have been blessed to go on, has honestly made me a better and stronger person. I understand that everyone really is more alike than different. I'm seeing that life is so much more beautiful if you really take the time to stop and take it all in. With that said, the human race needs people with Down syndrome. We need them to be our teachers, to influence our souls and bring our humanity to greater heights. We need their unconditional love. We need their helplessness to inspire us to greater brotherly love and services, to better ourselves as people. We need them to inspire us by their perseverance, their stubbornness in doing even the simplest tak that we may take for granted.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Buddy Walk 2010

The first team kicking off the 2010 Buddy Walk around the canal.

Buddy Walk festivities up ahead
Lots to do and learn about under all the tents
Sophia, Mommy and Nana

Mommy, Jayden and Sophia petting the pony :)

What our wagon looked like for the first 5 minutes.....then Sophia started eating all the stars
and then she started working on the sign too and we ended up with a plain green wagon :(

I know that most of you have read this on our caring bridge site before, but I LOVE this and thought I would share it with you all again.

The Creed of Babies with Down Syndrome

My face may be different
but my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
and I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
to teach you to love
As God in the heavens
looks down from above
To Him I am no different
His love knows no bounds
it's those here among you
in cities and towns
That judge me by standards
that man has imparted
but this family I've chosen
will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
so special and few
that came here to learn
the same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
it comes from the heart
we all have the same purpose
though not from the start
The Lord gave me life
to live and embrace
and I'll do as you do
but at my own pace
-author unknown


Buddy Walk 2010

The Buddy Walk is a 2.6 mile no-fee walk along the canal beginning at the Celebration Plaza in the White River State Park. Down Syndrome Indiana's premier fundraising and awareness event. The walk is held each October and raises roughly $189,000 for the organization's operating costs. This year our team, Sophia's Stars, raised $1,480! thanks to all of the support from our wonderful family and friends! All of your support has been greatly appreciated and we are so thankful that you could help us give back to a cause so close to our hearts! We'll see you all again next October for another fabulous walk! :) THANK YOU! Team "Sophia's Stars"

Jayden wanted to give the St. Vincent Hospital bear a high five :)

Casey, Brooke, Roger, Mally, Jayden, Sophia, Uncle Andy and Nana strolling down the canal.

Uncle Rhett and Travis

Grandma, Grandpa and Randy pushing the loaded down stroller, with no baby in it :)


Jayden, Uncle Andy, Mally, Nana and Great Grandma

Kelsey, Matthew, Uncle Rhett and Travis

Jayden and Great Grandpa, right before Jayden almost took out our team on the scooter :)

Jayden and Sophia!

Mommy and Sophia. She almost made it to the half way mark of the walk, ALMOST :)

Sophia and Casey

Uncle Andy and Mally

Autumn and Sophia

Daddy and Sophia

Jayden, Sophia and Mally