Friday, December 30, 2016

Another First

For the first time in 26 years, Diana celebrated her birthday while living in another state.

She was born two days after Christmas and over the years there have been big parties and small gatherings, but there's always been something!

This year she celebrated in Pennsylvania. 

Sharaya and Allie went back there for Christmas and I'm so thankful they were able to be there for her birthday as well.

 Happy Birthday Diana!
We love you! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The First Time Since 1983

Diana, Sharaya and Allie were in Philadelphia for Christmas this year so it made for a very quiet Christmas for us.

This was the first time since 1985 that it was just the 3 of us and it sure was different!

I almost didn't do it, but at the last minute decided to get out the 'manger' and put it under the tree. It's a wicker basket with a blanket that we've been using since Diana was born. After Beth went to bed I pulled 'baby Jesus' out and put him in the manger. (It's a porcelain doll that my sister had made from a photograph of Sharaya many years ago. We use 'her' for baby Jesus.)

In the morning Chuck read the Christmas story and then Beth wanted to hold the baby.

We had our usual cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then it took us about 15 minutes to open our presents.

Beth got the Finding Dory movie so we finally got to see that!
 It was a cute movie.

We got to skype with Sharaya, Diana and Allie and it was so good to see them and talk to them. On Christmas Eve they stayed on the 45th floor of a gorgeous hotel, overlooking Central Park! They spent Christmas in New York! Such a dream come true!

Chuck, Beth and I tried to take a selfie... 
we have so much to learn! :)

 Our day was very quiet and different from what we're used to but it was good. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

That Time When Beth Was Baby Jesus

When Beth was born, she was the only person in our entire church of about 800 who had Down Syndrome. 

She was born in October and for Christmas that year our church decided to do a live nativity in our community. 

And they asked Chuck and I to be Mary and Joseph and for Beth to be baby Jesus!

Even though we were in balmy San Diego, we brought lots of blankets, a few bottles and some toys but for the most part she just slept.

This is an article that ran in our local paper.

It's been 31 years and I vaguely remember doing it more than one night but I can't remember if there were any live animals. Every year I look back and remember how much fun we had! I think Chuck really looks the part! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Best Cookies EVER!!

When I got home from work on Thursday, Beth and I went to the grocery store, the poor girl was out of all her food! She has her specific foods that she likes to buy and she buys the same foods every time. She has her routine and she likes to stick to it.

We came home, put away the groceries and decided to make chocolate chip cookies! Usually I'll ask Beth if she wants to help me and she'll say, "Mmmm, I dunno." But this time she very clearly and excitedly asked, "Can I help?"


She did the brown sugar, the eggs... 

And when the cookies were all done... SHE DID THE DISHES!! 

 They were the best tasting cookies I ever had!! :)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Tis The Season!

I was cleaning out some papers and found some old lists (I'm always making lists) and one of the things on the list was 'Update Blog' and that reminded me, "Oh my gosh, the blog!! When was the last time I even posted?!"

So here I am, asking forgiveness for being away so long. I'll fill you in on what's been happening around here.

Allie turned 7. Sharaya had her party at the Pacific Science Center and it was so much fun! She's really into space and astronauts so it was the perfect venue. The kids got to check out the museum and there was a host who even did science experiments with the kids. 

Here she's making the ice cream that they ate with the cake!

We finally refinanced our home. We started the process back in the summer months and it became such a circus that the appraisal company returned all our money. But the process is finally over and now we can work on putting a new roof on our house.

I bought a new car. It's a long story as to why, but I've been driving a 1993 Town and Country that I bought off a little old lady who drove it once a week to church. Honest! The radio didn't work, the gas gauge didn't work, see those little square patches by the windshield? It's tape holding the weatherstripping down. This poor car was old and tired.

 Now I drive this. It's a 2011 Hyundai and not only does the radio work, but so do the seat warmers!! This car has so many amenities compared to what I've had, I'm still in shock every time I drive it.

Last night we had our first snow of the season and I was so excited I actually stayed up until 3am just watching it snow. I'd go out and take a few pictures, then come back in and watch it some more. It's such a magical thing and so quiet and peaceful. I love watching it fall more than actually playing in it. Maybe it's just my age. :)

I hope you all are having a great December so far!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

She Was The Ride Along

Deep Breath. Exhale.

Thanksgiving is over and now we can think about Christmas.

Our church puts on a free dinner for the community every year and so that's where we spend Thanksgiving. 

We serve over 1000 people and it takes more than 500 volunteers to get it all done!

I was in charge of the Busers and Servers this year, a job I've never done before so things have been a little stressful for me the last few months.

It was my job to place all 46 tables in a way that allowed space for the busers and servers to move around; for the large food carts to get through and for everyone to leave in an emergency if needed.

Thankfully another group of volunteers actually set the tables!

A few of the busers and servers getting ready.

 Servers, busers and table hosts ready and waiting for the guests to enter.

 The doors opened and the guests poured in!
(We did this 3 different times - 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30. As soon as the guests from one seating left, we reset the tables and did it again!)


We also provide transportation for those who need it and that's where Chuck and Beth volunteered. Chuck drove the shuttle bus and Beth was his 'ride along'. He told me that they picked up an older couple who was blind and Beth gently led the woman off the bus and into the church! (No pictures though.)

This was our 22nd year and it is always an honor to serve so many people!

We hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving too!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


We went shoe shopping tonight. 
She tried them on and squealed because she liked them so much!

Our rule is that she has to walk around the store. 
There were too many times that we'd buy the shoes and when we got home, she'd never wear them. She couldn't tell me why she didn't like them, she just didn't. 

So now she has to walk around the store. 

 This time she liked them so much she spun around and at one point, even started dancing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

More Test Results

Beth has been sick for over a week now. She won the gold medal a week and 1/2 ago and that Monday was her day off so she stayed home and did chores. When she woke up on Tuesday she told me she didn't feel good and that she had a headache.

I gave her some ibuprofin for the headache but the diarrhea stayed for a while. Day after day in fact.

We took her to the doctor and everything was normal. Her BP was good, her oxygen was normal, she didn't have a temperature so the doctor decided to order some urine, stool and blood samples and we came home to wait.

They called today and Beth has food poisoning! It takes between 7-10 days to run it's course and she's been getting better. She can start eating regularly again and she's definitely happy about that. By the way, we've thrown out the frozen food she ate the night before she got sick!

We're planning to have her go back to work this weekend and she's ready! It's been 8 days since she left the house! It has not been fun for her.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

40 Teams - Lots of Noise and Fun and Smiles!

We got there early to make sure we all got seats, but when the coach got there we found out Beth was assigned to a lane a few lanes away from us. But we realized we were able to watch her ball hit the pins!

 Every time she got up to bowl she'd look over at us and smile and we'd all cheer and holler!

We left our seats when it was time for the medal ceremony.

"And the gold medal winner is..."

"Elizabeth Anderson!"

 We went to The Pancake House afterward to celebrate.
 She loves her hot tea!

 We missed Diana but other than that it was a perfect day!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Was Watching TV When A Familiar Face Came On The Screen

I was pleasantly surprised!
Gosh she was so cute!

Just an average commercial.
About two kids playing with a toy.

Great job Fisher Price!
I've always liked you!

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!