Saturday, November 26, 2011

48 Hours

Chuck is getting ready to put the turkey in the oven (I love that I married a man who likes to cook!) and I've been dragging Christmas decorations out of the garage. For the last 17 years, Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas have sort of blended into the same weekend.

Thursday was a long, exhausting day but it. is. so. much. fun! Chuck and I arrived at 8 AM, got our name badges and gave each other a kiss. We barely saw each other for the rest of the day. He drives for the transportation crew and I am in the condiment area. I learned something new on Thursday.

I learned that it takes 4 people about 45-60 minutes to open, score, cut, plate and tray 43 pies. We served 1,296 pieces of pie that day! Along with the cranberry sause, pickles, black olives and rolls. I had a team of 12 people that were amazing! They worked so hard, bent over tables cutting and pouring and scooping. It was 6 PM when we cleaned up and walked gingerly on very sore feet out to the car. Chuck was just getting ready to take the last shuttle load of guests home.

There are a total of 500 volunteers that take family photos, work in the clothing bank, prepare appetizers, mash the potatoes and provide transportation. And everything is free. I am SO grateful to be a part of a church body that gives so willing each year.


Last weekend Beth cought a cold. She stayed home all week, missing all of her activities and yes, even Thanksgiving. She was so dissappointed and we felt horrible for her! After getting her food handlers card, she was so excited about helping. Instead she spent the day in bed. :(

She has now developed a cough so I took her to the doctor yesterday. She is at the beginning stages of broncitis and is now on antibiotics. Not the best Thanksgiving she's ever had.

Today the kids are coming over and we'll be having our turkey dinner.... and decorating for Christmas.

Hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Just Want To Say...

Happy Thanksgiving!
We hope your day is filled with good food, great friends and family, and lots of laughter!

(I can't help but think about those who are facing this holiday without loved ones. There may be an empty chair at your table. Please know you are being thought of and you'll be in our prayers this weekend.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tiny Gloves

We've had a somewhat quiet week around here. We're gearing up for Thanksgiving outreach at church, but here at home, things are kinda boring.

And it's been kinda nice. :)

Beth had choir rehearsal this morning. They sing in the morning services next week and are also practicing for the Christmas concerts on the 18th.

Diana went to a salon to have her hair dyed this week but it didn't turn out the way she hoped. So she was in the bathroom late last night trying to blend the dark and the blonde better then the salon did. She went to work early this morning so I don't know how it turned out.

I babysat Allie on Wednesday. She is changing so fast. She talks all the time and doesn't stop moving! I bought her some little gloves and Beth helped her put them on before she left for karaoke.

It was cute to watch. Allie isn't quite two and would put more than one finger into a hole, and because Beth's fine motor skills aren't the best, it took her a while to move Allie's fingers into the right spots!

We got our first snowfall of the season last night. Nothing stuck but it's so exciting to watch it fall! I absolutely love the snow. 

Ho hum. Like I said, a quiet day today. Chuck is watching the game - Washington Huskys and Oregon Beavers. Of couse he's cheering for the Huskys.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Click and Drag

Last week Beth took the test to get her Food Handlers Card and she passed! I expected to see a video of a person in front of a classroom, teaching other students but this was nothing like that.

The videos were animated and the questions were all multiple choice. You'd watch the training part for a few minutes, then a section called 'Learn It' came on. It asked questions about what you'd just seen. A lot of it was click and drag (Beth loves that) then the voiceover would come on, "Correct! Good job!" Beth would pump her fist and say, "Yes!" :)

At the end of the training and Learn It sections, you took the test. There were 32 questions and those went pretty fast. It took us (Beth) about 90 minutes to finish the whole thing. Course, the first 25 minutes was just her filling out her name, address, birthdate, etc. I let her do that part and it took a while! You're allowed to miss 6 out of 32 questions. I tried to let her answer them by herself but we did talk through a few of them. She ended up missing 4. Not too bad!

Here she's filling out the contact info section.

Sorry these are so blurry.
This was about where to place foods in the fridge.

In the Learn It section, Beth got to click and drag the foods to the different shelves. The good part about this section was you could do it as much as you needed until you got it right. (You can see Beth's reflection in the bottom left of this picture. She's contemplating where to put the raw hamburger.)

When she was done, she said she wanted me to fill out the billing information. She got up and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d! The card cost $10 and is good for two years. She'll renew it again in 2013.

Now she's ready to help make appetizers for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Heart

I was flipping through the channels the other day and came across Pat Robertson on The 700 Club. He was talking about the new prenatel test that can determine if your baby has Down Syndrome. He was against the test, talking about how kids with Ds have had a positive impact on their families.

Then he said, "They are such loving children."

And I rolled my eyes.

Really? 'Loving' children? He's never spent much time with Beth. She's no more loving than you or I. I've grown to dislike that cliche. I heard it a lot when Beth was born, "Aren't they such loving children?" At the time I had no clue so I'd answer, "Yes!"

But now, I wonder if that saying got started way back when children with Down Syndrome were put into institutions. (Our doctor actually suggested that to us. Even as recently as the 80's they were including 'institution' as an option.) I don't know what these institutions were like but maybe the kids were starved for affection? The nurse or care giver would come into the room and the kids would put their arms out for a hug. Maybe? I don't know, just speculating here. But maybe that's how the saying became so popular, "They're such loving children."

In my opinion, and I know this is my opinion only, people who use that phrase really don't know anything about people who have Down Syndrome. They're just repeating something they've heard somewhere. When I hear that phrase it makes me think that others think she's a robot. Only one emotion, no brains, just a walking mass who likes to hug. Beth is no more loving than the next guy. She gets angry, she gets sad, she gets frustrated. She likes her alone time and isn't afraid to tell you.

But you know what I have noticed about Beth?

She looks at the heart.

She couldn't care less if your shoes are Nike or knock-offs. She doesn't know if your purse is Gucci or Goodwill. She does care how you treat her and others. It bothers her when someone isn't nice. She notices when you're being disrespectful, if you talk when the director is talking. She gets hurt when you ignore her or say something unkind. She notices the inside of a person, their character, not their clothes or hair.

She's more like Christ than I am. She notices the heart. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Beth finished her shadow box last weekend.

First she attached the photos to white paper using double sided tape

Then she attached velcro to the back of the white paper

Next she arranged the photos on the board

Attached velcro to the medals

 Then placed the medals on the board


Sunday, November 6, 2011


I went downstairs last night to remind Beth it was daylight savings. We changed her clocks and I told her what time to set her alarm. She had to wake up early this morning because she was greeting at church!

When we got there, she put her bag and coat on her seat (Youth section, second row, far right. Been sitting there for many years.) Then she came out to the foyer and just stood by the window. I hesitated to go over to her cause I knew she didn't really wanna see me. But she was just standing there alone. I pointed over to the greeters who were gathering by the information booth and told her that she'd be praying with them in a few minutes.

I saw Bonnie, one of the head greeters tell another greeter, "I better go over and talk to her. She probably doesn't know where to go." Bonnie looked at me and we both smiled. She headed over to Beth and that's when I walked away.

A few minutes later I walked through the foyer and saw Beth praying with everyone. It was good to see her taking part in an adult activity.

Last night I explained that her routine would be a little different today but that it would be okay. Instead of going to the coffee shop before service, she would have to go before Sunday school. And she was okay with that!

After Sunday school we went to the grocery store and she bought herself some canned fruit and some pringles. I was able to talk her into buying a package of 6 small, they're not cans, more like plastic containers of Pringles instead of the tall can. She tends to eat the whole thing at once. This way she can take one individual container when she goes somewhere. Pringles aren't the healthest food for her, but that's why she also bought the fruit. Also, instead of her usual soda, she bought an individual orange juice to take to art and karoake! (On Wednesdays, she has an art class and karaoke class. She's gone for about 9 hours.)

She just called. "Dad? It's me, Beth." :) "I'm ready for you to pick me up." Choir rehearsal is over and she's ready to come home.


She needs to renew her Food Handlers Card in order to help with Thanksgiving. There's a class tomorrow night at church, but I hear you can now take the class on-line. Not sure what we're gonna do yet. If she doesn't do it on-line tonight, we'll probably go to the class tomorrow. She had a card once and took the test with her job coach. I think it was when she was working at Auntie Annes Pretzels. I'm not sure how her job coach did it, if she talked her through the test, double checking her answers, 'Are you sure you wanna mark B? Let's think about it first.' Am I gonna be be able to coach her like that? Can I give her hints? I'm kind of nervous about doing it in a classroom setting. I like the idea of doing it on-line.

A friend told me you watch a short video, then answer 5 questions. Then another video and 5 more questions. I like the idea of short segments. It'll make it easier for her to remember what she's just watched.

So, I don't know. I'll let you know what happens!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Extra! Extra! Read All About It!"

Special Needs in the news.

Special Olympians skate with ‘Toy Story’ skaters

Special Olympians join 'Toy Story 3' skaters at Comcast

EVERETT -- Special Olympians Kristie Clark and Vicken Ouyarian skated at Comcast Arena on Friday afternoon with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie from the "Disney On Ice Toy Story 3" show.
They and eight other Special Olympians and their families received front row seats at a special performance by the show's cast members.

Clark, 38, of Everett, and Mukilteo resident Ouyarian, 50, eagerly laced up their skates to hit the ice with the professional skaters.

Ouyarian had one word to describe skating with the "Disney On Ice" stars.

"Excellent," he said.

This took place at an arena about 20 minutes from where we live. I thought it was great that they thought about doing this, then took the time to actually contact people and get everything set up. Way to go Disney on Ice! To read the entire article, you can click here.

One more -

These cheerleaders are from the same school that all three of our girls graduated from! They didn't have the Sparkles program when they attended but I had read about it in other parts of the country. I'm glad that 'our' school is the first one in the state to offer this program! The full article has an interview with a girl named Kendall. She attends our church and is in the youth choir with Beth as well as Special Olympics track and bowling.

Sparkles add shine to cheerleading

Program includes girls with disabilities

The Edmonds-Woodway cheer squad is shattering the preconceived notion of exclusivity with help from the Sparkle Effect.

The national program encourages school cheer squads and dance teams to include students with disabilities.

Local cheerleaders invited girls with disabilities to join the Sparkles last summer. Three accepted.

Senior Kendall Lancaster, 18, joined the Sparkles as a chance to learn new skills and make more friends.

A knack for forming the pyramid and performing in front of a crowd that's cheering her on have been the highlights of her experience.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Too Old

Our church hosts a Harvest Party each year. Beth loves to go to play the games and get the candy. Chuck and I were running the popcorn machines this year so Beth basically had the run of the place. Before we left the house I told her this would probably be her last year attending the Harvest Party.

She is 27 after all. And the Harvest Party is geared for kids 2 - 11.

I was talking to some friends at work and they both said, "Awe, but if she has fun...?!" And that's where the controversy comes in for me. Yes, she does enjoy it.... but she's 27 years old.

If I want others to treat her equally, I need to treat her equally. Which means not attending the Harvest Party....

But, I know the volunteers at the Harvest Party don't mind if she plays the games and gets a few pieces of candy....

But, we wouldn't let other 20 somethings stand in line behind a 4 year old to try to knock over some milk bottles....

So 2011 will be her last year playing the games. Next year we'll try to find a place for her to volunteer.


Our church hosts a Thanksgiving outreach each year. (Are you sensing a theme in this post?!) :) For many years I lead the Staff Childcare team. There are about 600 volunteers and we watched their children while they served food, bussed tables, took family photos, etc.

A few years ago we took a break and just stayed home. It was the most boring, uncomfortable Thanksgiving we'd had in many years! So a few years ago we signed up to volunteer again.

There are three seatings, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30. We serve a free meal, family style. People are seated at tables and are served turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie. There is a short program (this year a ventriloquist is performing), then the guests can visit our clothing bank, pick up the family photo that was taken before dinner, hop aboard our transportation shuttles and head home. We serve an average of 1200 people on Thanksgiving.

The pace is fast and can sometimes be very hectic. It's been difficult to find a place for Beth to volunteer. When I was doing childcare, she would help there as a volunteer and she would often be the last one coloring or would still be eating her snack when everyone else was lined up for the next activity. So to put her there as a volunteer now, I'm just not sure how that would work.

But... we think we've found the perfect place! There are a few ladies that prepare appetizers. They sit at tables and put cheese and meat onto crackers. The crackers are on large trays, then runners take to the trays to the waiting areas for those who have come early for the next dinner seating. The Appetizer Room will be the ideal place for Beth! Sitting at a table, putting cheese and meat on crackers?? Perfect! It's slow paced and comfortable and quiet. The ladies just sit and chat while they are there.

I still need to contact the leader of that group but we're hopeful and excited that Beth'll be able to volunteer this year!

Beth's adult life sure has brought some unique and interesting situations!