Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Reader

I need your help. Your advise. Your expertise.

Chuck and I teach a Sunday school class for kids with special needs. We have kids with ADHD, Autism, one child has a seizure disorder. Our daughter has Down Syndrome. We know Down Syndrome. We've lived with it for 25 years.

What we don't know is Autism. Or ADHD. Or seizure disorder. We've talked to the parents and they have given us some good ideas. You know, my child likes to color. Or our child doesn't like loud noises. I've been on-line reading about classrooms and each of these (disabilities? Needs? Not even sure what to call them nowadays) but haven't had a lot of information to go with. I'm also considering meeting one on one with each parent, maybe go out for coffee and just let them talk.

Anyway, today I was thinking of all of you. We don't know these disabilities, but you might. If you do, would you be willing to leave a comment giving us some advise about these incredible kids? What makes your child relax? What causes them stress? When are they the happiest? What have you learned to do or not to do?

Tell me about your kids.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clean Shaven

Chuck shaved off his beard and mustache a couple weeks ago. It's the first time I've ever seen him clean shaven! He's always had a least a mustache.

Beth told Diana the other day, "With Dad not have his mustache, it's like I don't even know him anymore." :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Kid in an Adult World

Beth will be 26 in a couple of months. Twenty six. When I was 26 I had already been married for 5 years and had 2 kids. Beth is 26 and is in love with Nick Jonas. I mean love love. There is a huge poster hanging above her bed. When she watches their TV show, she can be heard sobbing (shoulder shaking, snot blowing, sobbing) because Nick kissed a girl on the show.

Beth wears a size 5 shoe. Size 5 is that magical size that can be both adult and child. It is so hard to buy an adult looking shoe in that size. Beth doesn't want princess shoes, she wants adult shoes.

Beth loves to write and color and draw. She wants to color flowers and write names. Don't give her a Sponge Bob color book. That's for kids. She wants lined paper. Notebooks preferably. And all the markers you can carry.

Beth is 26 and she knows it. She knows she is an adult. Old enough to make her own decisions. Only, she won't make them. I found her this morning - 6 AM - asleep on the floor in her livingroom. She was sitting up with her forehead resting on the couch. I don't know how long she had been asleep like that. It definitely didn't look comfortable! But she's an adult and she thinks I can't tell her when to go to bed. She'll sleep when she wants, where she wants.

Every day she walks to the corner store by our house. She tries to sneak out, sometimes going out the back door. Ever so quietly so I don't hear. She walks to the store for her daily dose of marshmellows and soda. I've tried talking to her, encouraging her to buy some milk or granola bars instead. Some days she'll listen. But she's an adult and she knows it!

She likes to shop by herself. We go to the mall and once inside the door she'll tell me, "I have my cell phone" and away she goes. She loves going shopping with me, but she hates me shopping with her. Usually I make her at least stay in the same store as me but she'll go to a different department. After a few minutes she'll call me to ask where I am.

She has so many child like qualities, as expected. But she's wanting to navigate this world alone and that scares me! Just because she's an adult now. She's almost 26 you know.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photo Shoot

The girls went to Juanita Park for their photo shoot. 
I loved all of them! It was hard to choose which pictures to post. :)
Thank you girls! You all look beautiful!

(Aunt Diana was right next to the bench, just out of sight.
In case you were thinking they left her alone on that bench.) :]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pray for Kristen's family

I was planning to post photo shoot pictures today but I can't stop thinking about Kristen's family. Kristen truly is an angel now. Please keep her family in your prayers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photo Shoot

I asked Sharaya if she'd be willing to take some new pictures for the blog. So, this past Friday the girls went out on a photo shoot. The pictures turned out so great!

I'll post them soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Had A Meeting.... Sort of

Beth's Job coach, her director at work and I all had a meeting this morning. The job coach and I walked into Beth's job at the same time. We were greeted by a supervisor. "I'm sorry L is not able to be here today. We will have to reschedule."


No phone call. No email. No text.

I took time off work to be there. The job coach ran from one meeting to another.

Oh well. What can ya do??

While walking to our cars, Beth's Job coach 'J' told me that she has secured a meeting for Beth with a supervisor at our local Safeway!! In a few weeks, Beth will have an interview (not the same as you or I would have, but an interview none the less) to become a bagger! As Beth told her sister once, "That's my dream job!!"

The meeting turned out pretty great after all!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fitting In

We all want to fit in. We want our abilities to shine, our laughter to spill forth and our words to be eloquent. For some, it may come naturally, others find it more of a struggle. But for a child with a disability, it can seem almost impossible.

For many, their laughter may be hindered, their words distorted and their abilities trapped in a mind that refuses to cooperate. And I've spent a lot of time trying to get Beth to fit in to a world that just doesn't understand. A world that has never walked in her shoes. I have days when I'm ashamed of myself.

It's hard for me to admit this to you, but sometimes I get really embarrassed when Beth acts silly in public. She'll flap her arms with excitement or dance as she sings a song. She's been known to talk to her imaginary friend as we walk through the mall. I don't want her to draw attention to herself. I don't want people to stare more than they already do.

It was okay for her sisters to act silly. They were just being kids. But with Beth, I tend to blame her inappropriate behavior on her disability. People would be staring so I'd stop her and tell her that her behavior wasn't right. As she's gotten older, she picks out her own clothes and often wears the same thing two days in a row. I (used to) make her change. It caused so many fights and so many tears! Let alone causing the entire family to wait as she moved at a snails pace, prolonging the painful act of obedience.

I let society decide if my daughters behavior was right or wrong. I let my fear of what people might think, determine how I interacted with my child. I would be embarrassed by her actions, then feel ashamed that I felt embarrassed!

Am I the only one who has experienced this?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

This is our dog Buddy. He's a 10 year old black lab.
Labs love the water.
I think I see him smiling in the final picture!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Parade Pictures

We had such a great time at the parade today! There were classic cars and drill teams. Motorcycles and horses. Beth was so excited and nervous at the same time. The original plan was for All Aboard to have a float, but the trailer they were going to use, was cancelled at the last minute. But they all did great! Beth played a small drum the entire way. (She's in the red and white striped shirt.) We got a spot right at the end of the street so we could see everything coming right at us, then watch as they turned the corner. We yelled at Beth, but she didn't see us until after they had turned and were headed down the street. So was SO happy to see us! Big smile! Then she flipped her hair back like a super model and kept on marchin'!!

We went to Wendy's for lunch, then drove down to Seattle to take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island. A beautiful drive. Stopped for some yogurt while we enjoyed a music festival. Then back on the ferry for the ride home to Edmonds. Such a great day.

(I appologize for some of the pics being blurry. My little camera has a dial between close up and horizon, that can easily be changed without knowing it.)

This is Beth doing her Titanic impression. She does it every time we ride the ferry!

I hope you had an awesome and safe 4th!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Ho Hum Saturday

Not too much to blog about today. We did some yard work. The weather was nice today! Finally! Beth cleaned up down stairs; she even vacuumed! Carried that huge vacuum down and all the way back up those stairs! I helped put away a few things, then took the old TV, computer and printer out to the garage. We're getting closer to having her livingroom set up. Now we're talking about how to rearrange her furniture. She said she doesn't know where she wants the couch and chairs, "I think 'bout it."

Tomorrow she'll be in a parade! It's in Everett, a town about 20 minutes from here. The kids all have to be there early so Chuck will take her up while Diana and I stay and teach our Sunday school class. Then we'll come up for the start of the parade. Beth is SO excited! She bought a new red and white shirt and has her flag ready for waving!