Sunday, October 23, 2016

She Walked By With The Dawn Dishsoap...

We figured something was up.
"Beth, what are you doing?"
"I cleaneen my trash can."

She's never cleaned her trash cans before.
She always put trash bags in them.
I asked her where she was going to clean it.

"Beth, you should do that outside."

"Or you could do it in the bathtub."

 I checked on her and there she was.
Cleaning her trash cans.

"You takeen my piture?" 

"Uh, yea!"
You're cleaning your trash cans!
Without being asked!
Of course I'm taking your picture!

She really surprises me sometimes!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One of the Most Interesting Things About Raising a Child With Special Needs

One of the most interesting things about raising a child with special needs is the reaction from the people around us.

When our family walks into a restaurant and the host seats us, I'm usually in the back. You know, to  make sure all the kids follow dad and make it to the table.

I can see the other customers faces as the host walks by, then Chuck, then usually Sharaya or Diana and they keep talking to the person they're with or they take a bite of food. But then Beth walks by and almost every single time they stop... fork half way to their mouths or mid sentence - and they turn to look at Beth. And they watch her walk all the way past.

Sometimes they look up and catch my eye and the look on my face varies. I'm sure it depends on the look on theirs. Sometimes it's knowing - an older couple with great big smiles and they'll wink at me. I wonder if they have a child or grandchild with special needs.

Other times it's people who just don't know what to think about her. They just look.

Still others will whisper something to the people they're with and kind of point to Beth, like they're saying, "Quick. Look at her." They don't smile. They just stare.

It's hard.

But then there are people who look at your child with love. They look at her and know she can do anything she puts her mind to. They look at her and are proud of her accomplishments.

I actually caught one of the moments with my camera. It was at Beth's high school graduation in 2004 and she had just walked across the stage, shook the principal's hand and received her diploma. Then she made her way down the stairs, past some of the faculty and was headed back to her seat when I snapped this:

She's completely oblivious to them but you can tell they're celebrating her accomplishment. They're genuinely excited for her! That doesn't happen all the time and I love the way they're looking at her!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Reason We Did It

We spent weeks planning it. 
Lots of secrets and hushed conversations. 
The first stop was the elementary school.
Allie was so surprised!

When we got home from the airport, Beth looked up at her, then went back to her movie. I told her, "Beth get up and give her a hug!" 

She really wasn't very emotional about Diana flying in to surprise her. Although later on that day she did bowl her best game in weeks! I think it was because Diana was watching. :)

When Sharaya arrived at the restaurant, she told Diana, "I knew you were coming." (Diana accidently spilled the beans during facetime a few days earlier. She tried to cover but Sharaya figured it out!)

I got to spend an entire afternoon with her. We went down to the beach, walked along the waterfront and spent a couple hours just talking. I absolutely loved it!

Diana was in town for less than a week so we had to plan both birthday's during that time. It worked out great and I loved having all my girls together again!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Today's The Day!

We celebrated Beth's birthday on Saturday even though her birthday is today, October 10. (I'll tell you why in another post.)

She said she wanted to go to The Spaghetti Factory this year and we were all happy with that! We hadn't been there in a long time.

Of course we invited Nick and his parents and the way it all worked out, she ended up sitting between Nick and his mom. Before they got there I asked her if she was okay with that, "Uh, yea!" Okay, just checking. :)

She's 32 this year and has been telling everyone! Thirty two!

Happy Birthday Beth! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Such A Total Doll!

We decided to go ahead with the c-section but only if Chuck could be with me when they gave me the spinal block. I had been in active labor for more than 30 hours, and was still having contractions when they started the surgery. I was shaking and crying and I thought could feel it! The cutting and pulling... I told them I could feel them in my abdomen and I could hear them cutting!

The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist's arm reaching over my face. Apparently I was freaking out so they put me out. And when I woke up in recovery, there was Chuck with a huge smile on his face!

"We have another girl!" 

Our beautiful baby Sharaya Dawn. 
October 6, 1986

This is what I wrote in my journal, "She's such a total doll! Huge blue eyes! Her fingers and toes are long. She's warm, cuddly and an angel!"

She looked exactly like Chuck. He was even biting his lip in his newborn picture too!

This girl has brought us so much joy over the years.

She was always smiling and was the peacemaker among our girls.

 I am so proud of you. You're strong in adversity, yet you have such a gentle spirit about you. I love you so much and I know there are great things ahead for you!

Happy 30th Birthday Sharaya!  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Entire Week

Night after night I had contractions, but not a single one during the day. For. An. Entire. Week. Needless to say I was exhausted.

I got up Sunday morning and started getting ready for church when I had a contraction. Wait, what?! Then a short time later I had another one. And another one! Oh hallelujah!!  

They continued all morning and all day and finally around 10:00 that night they started getting a little stronger. And closer together. We ended up going to the hospital at 2AM Monday morning. 

I've been in labor now for a little more than 24 straight hours and when they checked me I was dilated to a 4. After six more hours of labor I was at a 5. Seriously?!

My doctor told me he thought the baby's head was too big to fit into my pelvis and I needed to consider having a c-section.

I did not want another c-section but I was so exhausted, I didn't care. I just wanted this baby OUT! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Thirty Years Ago...

My due date was September 22nd but she was not ready to come out. They didn't induce labor back then the way they do now so we waited.

On the night of September 30 I crawled into bed... and had a contraction. Not a strong one but definitely a contraction!

Then an hour later I had another one. I dozed off for a while but then had another one! They came all night.

I got out of bed at 8am and they stopped. I didn't have another contraction the entire day. So we waited some more.

That night I crawled back into bed and the contractions started again. All night, about an hour apart and the next morning they stopped. Not one single contraction all day.

And the third night, the same thing! That next day not a single contraction.

This was crazy! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is This My Responsibility? If So, I'm Doing A Terrible Job

Beth ran out of one of her medications so we went to the store tonight to get it refilled and the pharmacist told me that she has to see the doctor before we can get more.

Okay, but she was just there last week for a complete physical. They confirmed which medications she was taking and the dosages. Shouldn't they have noticed that her meds were about to run out? Or is that my responsibility? Am I supposed to check her medication bottle to see how many months they allow, then make sure I schedule an appointment before it runs out?

Is that my job, or theirs? Either way, I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


We've been watching Born This Way on Tuesday nights and I can't help compare Beth to the actors on the show. I think the one thing I'm noticing most is the language.

I don't know if you've seen the show but when some of the actors are talking, there are subtitles at the bottom of the screen so you can fully understand what's being said. And now that we're coming to the end of season two, I realize how nice it would be if we could have some subtitles for Beth.

Chuck and I have wondered if some of the show is scripted or if the actors are all speaking their own words but we know Beth wouldn't know half the words they use. I wrote down some examples last night:

"They use explicit language."

"I'm feeling a vibe in this place."

I'm so anxious for you to hear it."

Another place I've noticed a difference in language is when I call DART to schedule or cancel rides for Beth. One of the things they say on their recording is, "We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes." She wouldn't be able to tell you what that sentence means.

 She had speech therapy up until she turned 18 and even though I begged them to continue it they said, "Sorry. You'll have to find someone yourself and pay for it out of pocket or see if your insurance will pay for it." Since Beth was still technically in school (students with special needs leave the school system here in WA at the age of 21) and we still had two more kids at home, we just never did it. I'm not blaming them, it's just that life was busy and sometimes things fall through the cracks and that was one of those things.

Beth's sentences are usually 4-6 words long. I think she would know the word 'anxious' but not 'vibe' and definitely not 'explicit'! I've wondered if it's because we don't use many complicated words here at home? And that could be because we've tried to use words Beth will understand. But maybe she'd understand more difficult words if we used them?

She will often talk too fast for us to understand her and her words are all smashed together. We have to be looking at her when she speaks.

She does know how to read and I'm so thankful for that. She can read a menu, read the signs at the grocery store... in fact while we were shopping for her Seahawks shirt I decided to stop leading her through the store and I casually got behind her while we looked for the dressing room. She headed off like she knew where she was going, except she didn't! After we got lost, she just stopped dead in her tracks and said, "I going the wrong way." Then she looked up and began reading all the signs that hung around the store. And sure enough, she found the one that read "Fitting Room" and headed in that direction.

I've tried to get her to read chapter books but she never showed any interest in those. But she does read a few times a week.

So, back to the show. There are so many similarities to Beth's life but their speech patterns are not one of them. It amazes me how well they speak and the complex words they use. Again, I don't know if they're coached or if they rehearse what they're going to say, but no matter what, it is such a great show and Chuck and I love watching it! We highly recommend it!

Now, can you tell me what aisle the subtitles are on? I'd like to pick up a few.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bowling, Boyfriends and Football!

We've had a fun couple of weeks. We went shopping and Beth finally bought herself a Seahawks shirt! It was so funny, you should have heard her giving herself catcalls in the dressing room!

Special Olympics has started again! You know it's Fall when the bowling alley is filled every Saturday!

 And guess who came to dinner today? It was the first time they've hung out together in a while. I offered to take them to the beach or anywhere, but they didn't want to go. They just hung out in Beth's apartment downstairs and watched TV. But they had a great time. I loved hearing them talk and sing and laugh together. 
 We hope you had a great weekend too!