Saturday, November 22, 2014

Taking a Back Seat

Blogging seems to be taking a back seat to life these days. And after reading some of your blogging posts, it seems I'm not alone.

I think so many moms are now posting on Facebook, asking questions, sharing pics and stories of their day to day activities, blogging just doesn't seem as necessary. I don't post too often, but I like to read about what others are doing. I'm getting annoyed with all the videos though, I want to hear about your lives, your kids. But I can't complain because I don't post about my life or my kids! :)

So, that's why there hasn't been much activity on here lately.

Chuck still hasn't found a job. He's had a few promising interviews and now we're just waiting to hear back. Waiting can be the hardest part.

Beth is getting over a cold. It seems she always gets one this time of year, when the weather changes for real and her nose gets cold and dry. She's better today though and has gone to work, the first time she's been out of the house in 4 days.

Sharaya and Diana just went to see The Hunger Games - Mocking Jay. They both loved it! This is the first Hunger Games movie Diana hasn't seen at the premier in London. She was so disappointed she didn't get to go this time!

Sharaya and Allie went to Disney On Ice last night and had a great time. Allison sure loves her Disney! Of course, so does Sharaya. I still remember her reaction when she got her first Jasmine Barbie all those years ago!

I'm gearing up for our huge Thanksgiving outreach next week. Our church puts on a dinner for the community and we serve approx. 1400 people in three separate seatings. It's free of charge and we serve the homeless, on duty police officers, single people without family in the area, anyone who wants to come and have dinner is welcome. They sit at round tables and are served by a table host who fills their drinks, offers seconds and prays with people if they need it. I lead the Condiment team. We provide the dinner rolls, pickles, olives, cranberry sauce... then after the program is over, we wheel out huge carts of slices of pumpkin pie, complete with whipped cream!

It's an exhausting day, but oh so worth it. A lot of planning and preparation goes into it and that's what I've been busy doing lately. Between work, and laundry and dishes... :)

I think about you all so often and hope things are going well for you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Bluff

Chuck was gone over the weekend and Allie ended up spending the night with me on Friday. On Saturday, Diana, Allie and I went to The Bluff. A place not too far from our house, over looking Puget Sound.

We parked at the end of the street and walked down the small path that opened up to the Bluff. There was a young couple sitting on the edge with their feet dangling over the cliff.

Another group of guys showed up and it looked like maybe they were taking their Senior pictures for the yearbook.

The weather was cold, the sky was clear and it was just beautiful.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"They Remind Me of Me"

Our Sunday school class was really full this passed weekend, we had 6 students and 4 teachers! We had one 5 year old and the rest were 12, 15, 20, 21 and 30.

We had a teachers meeting last night and one of the things we talked about was possibly needing to split the class into two, younger and older. There are 2 other preschool / Kindergarten aged kids plus a 5th grade boy (I'm SO thankful they all didn't show up on Sunday!) so separating the students would give us two relatively good sized groups.

One of the teachers asked what Beth thought about having such a diverse group each week. I'd never thought to ask her so this morning I did. She was eating her bowl of Cheerios and I asked her if she liked having the different age groups in our class. She said no, that she only liked having the little kids. When I asked her why she didn't want the older kids in our class, her response surprised me. She didn't hesitate in her answer, "They remind me of me."

I'll admit I was a little stunned. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind and then Chuck asked from the living room, "Beth do you like the little kids better because you feel more like a teacher with them?"


"And with the older kids, you feel like you're just a part of the class?"


At that point her bus arrives so I wasn't able to ask her any more, but I've been thinking about this all day. They remind me of me. I wonder if it's like watching yourself in a mirror as you go about your day, seeing everything you struggle with played out right before your eyes? Like when you watch yourself in a video and see all your inadequacies?

Do any of the other kids feel like this? What can we do to change it?? I've got to find a way to help them see themselves the way God sees them, amazing, caring, beautiful people with gifts and talents that He wants to use to bless others.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What a Weekend!

Diana's dog Sugar had a gran mal seizure last weekend. She's a 12 year old West Highland Terrier and she's never had a seizure before. Diana had gone out with friends so Sugar came to our room and was sleeping on our bed. It was 2:30 in the morning and man, was I scared! Freaked me out to wake up to that! After a visit to the vet, we learned that her platelets were high, possibly resulting in blood clots that may have caused the seizure. She's home and has been improving daily.

Chuck got word that he didn't get the one job he was hoping for. It's been a month now since he left Centurylink, a month since they closed his department. After 19 years he's now looking for a new job. He had applied for a management position at C-link but learned over the weekend that he didn't get it. So, back to the drawing board. He's on unemployment and taking classes at the Work Source office to help meet the unemployment requirements. So far, headed into month 2, all our bills are paid and we're doing okay. We're trusting the Lord, He's our provider and we know He'll be faithful to meet our needs.

Beth had her Special Olympics bowling tournament last Sunday and she won a Silver Medal! I forget each year, about the hundreds of people that pack that bowling alley. It's complete chaos... until the games begin! The 'kids' have so much fun and the families are all there cheering them on. It really is a fun event!

(Thanks for taking the picture, Sharaya!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Hard to Recognize it Anymore

Diana and I were at the mall a while back and we saw a mom with a stroller and the little girl inside looked like she had Down Syndrome. The moment we saw her, we both looked at each other with huge smiles and got so excited!

Course, we felt like we had to be cool around the mom, we didn't want to seem creepy. We were in a store, so we went around a few displays and came back to them again. She was with 2 other women and they were on a mission, you could tell. They were shopping for something specific and kept talking and looking at things, anxious to find what they were looking for.

It's so exciting to meet someone who has that little something extra! Diana and I kept trying to find a way to introduce ourselves without being overwhelming and then I got a little nervous. Her daughter was maybe 2 years old, maybe mom wasn't thrilled to have a baby with Ds? Maybe she was in that stage of anger or denial? How could we approach her, when mom maybe didn't even want to talk about it? I really wanted to be sensitive to her situation.

We decided to just leave the store cause we felt like we were being stalkers. There was another store Diana needed to go to and after being there a few minutes we turned around and wouldn't you know it, there was the mom again! Diana and I looked at each other, KNOWING we had to say something, but what? What should we say??

As she walked by, I smiled at her little girl, she smiled back at me (mom was so focused she didn't even see me) and I wondered, 'Wait a second, does she have Down Syndrome?' Her face was SO familiar, I began to wonder. How do you say, "I have a daughter with Ds too!" when this little girl actually might not have Ds.

I tried to focus on her eyes, 'Were her eyes almond shaped? Was that really the face of a little girl who has Ds?' I started to get so nervous, I wasn't sure anymore! And then they left the store.

We wandered down the mall in the direction we thought they had gone but never saw them again. I truly wonder if she really did have Ds. That face has become such a familiar part of our lives that it's hard for me to recognize it anymore.

It's no longer the face of Down Syndrome. It's the face of Beth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Birthday Pictures

Beth's birthday was on Friday, October 10th, but the big celebration was on Sunday.

Beth's boss gave her the 10th off, so we asked her what she wanted to do. "Bowling!" Of course, we should have known. Sharaya and Diana had to work, but Chuck, Beth, me and Allie all went bowling. It was at the same bowling alley where she plays on a league during the week and they greeted her by name when we got to the counter! Considering there are 150 bowlers on the league, we thought it was kinda cool that they knew her personally.

Usually on the kids birthdays they get to choose the menu. We started this when they were kids and even though they're all adults now, the tradition continues. Considering this was the big 3-0 we decided to go out to eat and a couple months ago she said she wanted to go to Olive Garden.

Really?? We rarely go to Olive Garden. We figured she had heard it from one of her friends and since she was 30 now, a real adult well, okay! We can go there. Then as her birthday got closer she changed her mind to Red Robin. We asked her a few times just to make sure and she definitely wanted Red Robin.

We invited a couple of friends from church who Beth has been texted and becoming close with and were so glad they could both make it!  After we left the restaurant we headed home and she opened a couple more gifts too big to bring to the restaurant. I finally finished her scrapbook from when she was in school (I don't know what took me so long!) and Diana bought her a huge karaoke machine! It shows the words on the tv screen, has a place to plug in her microphone, and a camera so she can watch herself!

What a weekend she had! I think Beth is thrilled to be 30, although she's using that phrase again...

"I'm an adult and I can do what I want."

Uh oh.







Friday, October 10, 2014

The Day She's Been Looking Forward to All Year

I've been sitting here a long time trying to figure out what to write. I've been thinking about all the things that have happened since Beth was born.

Should I write about her birth? She was an emergency C-section, our first child. I was only 23, didn't drink or smoke and at the time, went against all the statistics that proved most babies with Ds were born when mom was much older. They told us she might not live past her teens. My doctor secretly dropped the visiting hour rules and our family came and went all hours of the day. When he saw how much Beth was held and was the focus of every visit, he ordered the rules be reinstated. He just wanted to make sure she would be loved.

Should I write about what she was like growing up? Beth was healthy, with no heart issues and only an occasional bout of upper respiratory issues. We didn't have blogs, or the Buddy Walk or Down Syndrome Awareness month... no one knew she existed except her family and friends. She was just another kid in the neighborhood jumping on the trampoline, waving sparklers on the 4th of July, playing on the slip 'n' slide we made in the front yard.

Should I write about where we are 30 years later? That she graduated from high school, got a job, does her laundry, takes out the trash, enjoys art and music. Just everyday stuff like the rest of us.

Or should I write about where we go from here? Now they say she may live into her 50's, but who knows where science and technology will be 20 years from now and how long her life will be extended at that point? Is she at the peak of her life? If the timeline is correct, Beth is middle aged. We're beginning to watch for all that entails.

Or maybe I should just post pictures and let them tell the story. :)

My mom





Happy 30th birthday Beth!
It's a journey we didn't expect, but we're so thankful we get to travel it with you!

Monday, October 6, 2014


On October 6, 1986 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
The moment she was born, she became a baby sister. So small and new.
Her big sister was so excited!

And she was gorgeous. The minute I looked at her I fell head over heals in love. She was an easy baby, sleeping through the night even in the hospital!
She was such a sweet spirited little girl. Always thinking of others, wanting to please whoever she was with. She was kind hearted and gentle.
We nicknamed her Sweety Bear.

And with that kindhearted spirit, she sacrificed herself for her big sister.
Sharaya was the one who shared her birthday parties with Beth.
She was the one who stood next to Beth for choir concerts.
She was the one Beth went to for help.
She was the one they called out of class when Beth struggled at school.
She sacrificed more times than I ever knew about while she was growing up.

Sharaya, the Lord put you in our family specifically to teach us how to love, how to serve and how to give. You have been God's heart in our family.
I love you!
Happy Birthday!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last Day

It's just been a busy week.

Tuesday was Chuck's last day at Centurylink. After 19 years. I picked him up around noon and we went to lunch to mark the occasion. I asked him how he was doing and he said, "I'm really doing okay. Now on to the next thing." I wish I handled change as easily as he does.

Wednesday I filled in for a friend at work. It's a different position from my own and it was really fun to sit in her chair for the day! While I was there, Diana drove Chuck down to Starline and he left for Oregon with 20 other drivers. (He's driven part time for them for a couple years now.) They dead-headed down to Eugene, spent the night, then spent Thursday shuttling fans back and forth to the Ducks football game. They spent the night in Salem last night, then drove home today. The Ducks lost to Arizona. :(

Allie helped me a little at work today - I just had a few things to finish from the week - then we went to the park. The weather this week has been surprisingly good! Sunny skies and warm temps. We saw H at the park and her daughter L is in Allie's class in preschool. The two of them played while H and I caught up, we hadn't seen each other in a while. About the time we got home, Chuck texted me to say he was almost back to the yard. Allie and I hopped back in the car and - after spending more than an hour in traffic, oh happy day! - we arrived at Starline. It was SO good to see him again! He was only gone for three days but I sure missed him.

Now for the next 7 days we have our Special Connections class, Special Olympics bowling practice, two birthdays and I'm hoping to attend a forum on aging for people with Ds. I'll write when I can!

Friday, September 26, 2014

This is Our Life Now

As Beth approaches 30, I'm reminded of all the things our future might hold.

I go to Facebook and read blogs about the milestones of children who have Down Syndrome, those who are struggling to find their place in school, the issues parents have with their child's IEP, who to invite to the birthday party, tying shoes, riding bikes, making friends... all those things that used to be SO important to us.

But that was many years ago.

It almost seems like a different life. A different family.

Now my thoughts are on aging and everything that comes with it. What issues will we face? What will Beth's 'senior years' look like?

I'm part of a group on fb called IDSC - Parents/Caregivers of Teens/Adults. IDSC stands for International Down Syndrome Coalition. It deals with all the things that come with having - or caring for - an older child with Ds.

I find this is where I spend a lot of my time. This is where were are now. We're past puberty, past all the school drama and fighting for Beth's rights, past all the growing up years.

This is our life now. From here on out, we deal with employment, health, social services.

And aging.

As nervous as all of you are about the growing up years, I'm just as nervous about the aging process for Beth. And I'm a little shocked at how fast it arrived.