Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baby Sophia?

Check her out looking so big in her booster seat!  Bye, bye highchair? (By the way, don't let the plate of food fool you, it mostly just sat there on the table, hardly getting any attention :)

Is Sophia still a baby?  To me, yes and no.  I mean Sophia is 26 months old, of course she's not a "baby," but it's so hard for me to see her as the big girl that she is growing into more and more every day.  I still have to do so much for Sophia and there are still some of those milestones that transition you from "baby" to "toddler" that Sophia hasn't quite met yet, but more and more lately I find myself thinking "who is this baby girl acting so grown up?"  Like when we go to the doctor and she patiently waits while the doctor examines her.  Or when she climbs up into her Ariel chair and just sits there with her little feet crossed, "reading" a book.   Or when I ask her to get something for me, or to help me pick up toys and she does exactly what I asked her to do.  And watching her take independent steps, short but sweet steps, ALL BY HERSELF, from point A to point B.  Or the way she holds her crayon just right so that she can color with Jayden and me.  And the way she needs her silverware to "eat" and she knows exactly how to hold it and use it, even though she refuses to use it more efficently :)  I really could go on and on, but the point is, my baby girl is not just a baby anymore, but she is growing up into a little girl!     

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chalk Outlines



Daddy getting in on the action :) 
(we didn't take a finished picture of Randy's outline, but lets just say Jayden and I made him look pretty funny!)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Tuesday, August 22, 2006, five years ago today, at 1:50 in the afternoon, one of the most beautiful baby girls was born, and she completely stole my heart.  I can't believe that my baby, my first born, is turning 5 today.  She made me a mommy 5 years ago today, and because of her, my life has never been the same.  Thank you so much Jayden Marie!

Jayden, there are so many wonderful memories I have of your life over the past 5 years, that I can remember like they just happened yesterday.  Of course I remember the day you were born, which is embedded not only in my head, but forever in my heart.  I can remember bringing you home from the hospital and being a nervous wreck on the whole drive home, all 10 miles or less :)  I can remember those sleepless nights in the beginning and how quickly they turned peaceful.  Lucky me right?  I remember giving you baby food for the first time, peaches, and how your tiny body looked in you big highchair and your messy orange face!  I have the picture from that day too :)  I remember coming home from work and Daddy telling me you rolled over for the first time and then you showed me how you did it!  I remember reading books and singing songs each and every day with you.  I remember your first steps solo, right before your first birthday.  I remember sweet conversations, just between you and me, that could go on all day, and still do!  I remember you and me, together, each and every day.  Jayden, you are truly my special little someone.  You are more like me than you can even know right now at 5 years old, but you are also so much growing into your very own little self.  I am proud to call you my daughter and lucky to have you as my best friend.  You changed me, and because of you, I am forever grateful!  You have turned from a baby, to a toddler, to a very amazing little girl.  I am so blessed to have been a part of all of it, and am excited to see what each new year brings for us!  Watching you grow and become someone that I know is going to do amazing things, is truly magical.  I love you so much Jayden and I wish you nothing but a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


One of the things that I dream of for my girls is that they will forever be best friends.  I want them to love each other unconditionally, forever.  I want them to stand up for each other and protect each other, forever.  I want them to be each other's cheerleader, forever.  I want them to know that when this world is mean and cruel and hurtful, they will forever have their sister.

Tonight when the girls were taking a bath together, Sophia just kept giving Jayden hugs and kisses, nonstop.  It was the cutest thing, and definitely made me smile.  Besides me, Jayden is the next best thing in Sophia's world, and sometimes Jayden even gives me a run for my money in that department (sorry Randy.)  And seeing them hugging on one another and neither one of them able to get enough hugs from the other tonight, touched my heart so deeply.  Of course Sophia almost always wants to be around Jayden, doing what she's doing, but their are more times than not when Jayden just isn't up for having her little sister tag around in her big 4 year old world, which will be a big 5 year old world tomorrow!  So when I see Jayden genuinely loving on Sophia or helping her to do something or keeping a watchful eye on her little sister when some other kid is trying to be a big bully, it makes my heart fill up with such joy and happiness and I always think in moments like those, "everything really is going to be ok."   

Camping Party

Last night we celebrated Jayden's 5th birthday, which isn't until tomorrow, and we went CAMPING!  The kids decorated walking sticks and roasted hotdogs and marshmellows.  We went on a "nature hike/scavenger hunt" and found lots of goodies along the way.  We went "fishing" and "bug" catching and told ghost stories to end the night.  It was a great evening and we are so blessed to have such amazing people to celebrate such amazing moments of our life with! 
"Happy 5th Birthday Jayden!" 
One of my good friends made this cake for Jayden and not only did it look fantastic, but it tasted fabulous!  Thank you so much Ashlee! (We had a camping party, but I promised Jayden a Spiderman cake) 
Our backyard campground :)

Kiddy table

It was hard to get them to sit down long enough to eat, but I think we got a few bites into each kid.

Sydney :)

Wild, Crazy kids

Going on our "nature hike" and "scavenger hunt."  The kids had to find: a red rock, acorns, leaves, pine cones, butterflys and a yellow stick to put into their bag.  Those walking sticks came in handy too,  it was a rough hike :)

They found some loot

The Party Crew

I wonder what she wished for?

Serving up the cake

Jayden made out like a bandit, as usual.  Thank you so much for all the awesome gifts!

Sophia and Nolan :)

Ghost stories in the tent....
Jaylee told us the scariest story of all!

Thank you so much to everyone who got to come and celebrate with us!  And we missed the one's that couldn't make it.  We are so happy to have such great people in our lives!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 Buddy Walk

It's that time of year again!  The 2011 Buddy Walk will be at the same place, the Celebration Plaza along the canal in Indianapolis, but this year it will be on Saturday, October 8th, with festivities starting at 9am and the walk starting at noon.  Last year we had an even better turn out with donations and walkers for our team than our first year in 2009, and we hope to have an even better turn out this year than last.  We have offically set up our fundraising page for "Sophia's Stars" and by clicking HERE you can go directly to our page now to donate.  If you aren't comfortable donating online and would rather write a check, that can be done too!  Just go HERE and print out the donation form, fill it out and write a check made payable to Down Syndrome Indiana, but please remember to write "Team Sophia's Stars" on the memo line so that our team will get credit for the donation :)  As always all donations, of any amount, are greatly appreciated and we would LOVE to have more of our family and friends join us on October 8th to walk with us and support all of the awesome individuals sporting that extra chromosome!  If you are interested in walking with us, please send me a message letting me know so that we can make sure and have shirts available for everyone coming out that day!  As always, thank you all so much for all of your continued love and support and we are looking forward to another FABULOUS Buddy Walk!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cracked under Pressure

You always like to think that when something bad happens you will rise up to the occasion and do what you have to do, be the hero, but yesterday that vision slapped me right across the face, hard.  I was putting Sophia into her crib, while she was feeding, and I must have gotten her feeding tube wedged between myself and the side of the crib, because when I went to put her down on the mattress, the WHOLE TUBE came out, leaving a little hole in her tummy where the tube was supposed to be.  The lights were out and it was dark in her room, but I instantly knew I had pulled the whole thing out this time, not just the top part like I've done numerous times before.  I flipped on the lights and was standing there will the whole button in my hand.  I immediately started yelling for Randy to get the emergency kit to put in a temporary tube, so the hole wouldn't close up completely.  When he came in with the kit, I was a wreck, shaking, talking fast and complete nonsense.  I felt completely out of control and didn't know what to do first or where to even start.  Here Sophia is just laying on her changing table, looking around like nothing has even happened.  None of it obviously hurt and she had no idea that it had even came out.  After a few minutes of me talking in circles and getting nowhere, Randy stepped up and did what needed to be done.  SLAP!  I'm the mom, I'm supposed to be the one to take care of my kids, always, and I couldn't.  Of course things are fine now.  We went up to Indy and got a new tube put in, which ended up to be a piece of cake, and things are fine and dandy.  I definitely feel like next time, not that there will be a next time, but if there is I hope I'll be ready.  I like to think that if Randy hadn't been here I would have rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done, because who else would have done it?  But falling apart the way I did yesterday was such a disappointment and I can't believe how bad I cracked under the pressure :(  Better luck next time, eh?   

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mama Soph

Taking care of her baby.  My little girl doing what she does best, giving some lovins out to her baby!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Mama's Heart Hurts

As a mother I want to protect my children from all of the hurt and heartache that may come their way in this crazy thing called life, but I know that realistically I can't shield them and make everything look like roses and rainbows forever. 

There has been a lot of buzz going around in the Down syndrome community lately about people using disability slurs and how hurtful it is to our children, to my Sophia.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am as guilty as anyone else for using the words retard/retarded before I had Sophia.  Am I proud of that?  Absolutely not.  Did I understand how hurtful and disrespectful that word is to so many individuals and the people that love them?  No way!  But now I know how every time I hear that word, no matter what context it is used, my heart feels like it has just stopped beating, and for that very reason, I feel like it is my responsibility to let other people know that it's not okay to use that word.  EVER!  I had no idea what that word carried with it before Sophia was born, and I never had anyone call me out or explain to me how wrong and hurtful that word is to so many people, so I never thought twice about using it.  I know so many people, some of them my closest family and friends, that have used that word in front of me, even after Sophia was born, not even realizing what they were saying and how inside my heart was breaking just hearing them say it.  They didn't know.  They have never been called out, or explained to how hurtful that word is, and so they just don't even think twice about using it.  You can't really blame someone for doing something or saying something when they just aren't educated on the subject.  I don't get mad when I hear the word, unless it's used in pure malice, but no matter who says it or why they are saying it, I immediately think of my sweet Sophia and cry inside for the stupidity that she is most likely going to have to live with during her lifetime.

I am usually more understanding when I hear some random Joe off the street saying something which is totally politically incorrect.  Maybe he doesn't know anyone with special needs?  Maybe he's never been informed or educated on how hurtful his words are to me and my daughter and thousands of others?  But when magazines and newspapers, television and movies start writing or saying politically incorrect statements, slurs, then I have a MAJOR problem with that.  Thousands, even millions of people read these magazines and newspapers.  Thousands and millions are also watching these television shows and movies.  These people who are putting this stuff out for millions to read and hear, need to have their sh*t together, period.  Because all of these people who are already uneducated about how hurtful and disrespectful it is to use the words, retard/retarded, have now seen it printed, or said on the big screen by their favorite actress or actor and they think, "well if they are putting stuff like this for millions of people to read and see, then it must be okay."  NO. IT. ISN'T! 

This post started because of a few articles that I have come across through the Down syndrome community recently and it just isn't okay.  First it started about a month or so ago with GQ writing an article about "40 Worst-Dressed Cities in America" list.  GQ wrote, "Boston is like America's Bad-Taste Storm Sewer: all the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate and putrefy."  The Web site then delivers: "Due to so much local in-breeding, Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome."  REALLY?  There were a lot of Mama Bears who made their voices heard, and I hear that privately they received apologies for what was said, but what about all those other people out there that read that?  So now they continue to think that it's okay to make jabs at my daughter, and so many other innocent individuals, who may not be able to stand up for themselves and take a stand against idiots like this!  Now I am hearing about a new movie that is out, The Change Up, with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman.  Apparently there is a scene in the beginning of the movie, Ryan Reynolds who plays a bachelor who has never settled down, visits his long-time friend Jason Bateman; he sees his twins in their high chairs and says, "why aren't they talking? - what are they retarded?"  As if that isn't hurtful enough, but then the movie takes it one step further and his character says, "And this one, he looks Downsy."  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WRITING THIS CRAP?!?!?!?  I mean seriously, does not one single person involved in this movie have someone that they love dearly that has an intellectual disability?  And not one single person is going to stand up and say, "hey, I think this is taking it a little too far?"  It makes me sick to think that highly educated people are putting stuff like this out into our world for everyone to see and hear.  It's not okay.  It really is not okay.  As a mother, it's hard for me to think that my sweet baby girl is going to have to live in a world where ignorant people are going to think it's okay to laugh at her and to make fun of her and to degrade her as a human being; and as the sweet, loving, innocent person that she is, she will accept them and friend them all the same.

**If you would like to go to the website where I got my information about the GQ article, click HERE.  If you would like to go to the website where I got my information about the movie, The Change Up, click HERE.  And if you would like to read more about why using the R word is so hurtful to so many people and why people are pledging to stop using the R word, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Down Syndrome Indiana's 5th Annual Fly-In

This past weekend we drove up to Zionsville, IN and went to our first DSI Fly-In, and we had a great time!  There was so much to do and see for the whole family.  There were army vehicles, big and small planes, crafts for the kids to do, face painting, bounce houses, food, music and so much more!  We even got to go up in a helicopter!  Jayden, Randy and my mom loved it, I wasn't so sure about it and Sophia seemed to like it, until she fell asleep!  It was a LONG day and that baby was TIRED!! 
these girls both LOVE to pretend drive, and usually fight over who gets to sit in the driver's seat :)

these two are ready to go flying!

Sophia and Mommy

Princess Sophia

"protect and serve"



Jayden either wants to be a police woman, firefighter or veterinarian :)

she was pissed off when I had to take her out of that seat!

this was the helicopter we went up in :)

Jayden and her shark tattoo.  Sophia got a butterfly :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Sunshine

This girl makes me smile with joy every day and of course she also makes me want to pull out my hair as well, but man do I love her so! 

(I had to remind myself of this cute, little, innocent face today, when she was being a holy terror!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mama's little helper

I've gotta train somebody to help me out with all this laundry!


Jayden is starting to turn into a true "gamer."  First, it started out with Mario Kart on the Wii, then her Uncle Rhett gave us a Xbox and there are some days where she just can't get enough.  She goes into "the zone" and will just sit and play and play and play.  What are we turning our child into????

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Black Eyed Peas

These pictures of the girls would have been pretty good, if I wasn't competing with a Black Eyed Peas video playing in the background on our computer!  Neither one of them would focus ON ME, but only on the computer behind me!  ***Note to self: turn off the music video before trying to take anymore pictures!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Caught a Fish

Ever since Jayden's swimming lessons at Rose Hulman, she has been obsessed with going under water.  It starting out where she just loved to dunk herself under, but yesterday she got a little adventurous and started "swimming" under the water in our little pool.  She, literally, could not get enough of being under that water!  She was going back and forth under the water, doing somersaults under the water and twisting and twirling anyway she could, under water.  I LOVE that she is LOVING the water this much and is eager to learn how to swim!  I LOVED the water growing up, and still do, and I am so glad that Jayden is loving it too!
"fish out of water!"  this tiny fish was drying off for the day :)