Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lesson.... Learned!

Both girls slept in this morning. It's Sunday and we usually leave for church between 8:00 and 8:30. This morning, neither Beth or Diana were awake so we left them a note and Chuck and I headed to church. Remember my post about not waking Beth up anymore? This morning was the first time she didn't get up on time. So we did what I've been threatening to do. We left her. And Diana. Just walked out.

All morning I was thinking of them. Trying to imagine them waking up in a panic, Diana hollaring at Beth to hurry up, then grabbing the keys and they get into her car to drive to church. I wondered what it was like when they first realized we were gone, would they be shocked? Would Beth be upset?

I tried to focus on the service, on the praise and worship, but I kept thinkin' about the girls. Would they be mad? Will they sleep all morning and not wake up until after we got home? Praise and worship! Praise and worship! How is their morning going? I know I have to let go and allow them to learn this lesson, but it's hard!

First service ends and we go downstairs to prepare for our Sunday school class. There's Beth! A smile on her face and an Italian Soda in her hand!

"Hi Mom. I walked. Diana is still asleep. I got my Italian Soda."

Wow. Really? You walked? (We live about a mile from church.) Wow Beth. Excellent. Okay then.

Get home to find Diana has gone out with friends. Everything is fine.

Our adult children found themselves in a situation and they acted like.... adults.

Alrighty then.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Methimazole and Messy Meetings

Beth's doctors appointment confirmed her over active thyroid. She has been on Methimazole for a few weeks but I haven't seen a huge change. She was awake at 2:00 this morning, in the kitchen getting something to drink. Although, I will admit she does get up in the mornings now. Makes my life much easier, thank you Beth!

We had her annual vocational meeting last Wednesday. She is with Washington Vocational Services and once a year they meet with their clients to talk about work and to see if changes need to be made. Beth has been working at a group home for a few years now and Jennifer, her Job Coach feels it is time for something new.

We talked about working at a 'real' job. You know, Safeway, Bed, Bath and Beyond, some places that people have heard of. Now when Beth tells people she works at Smightwright, they always ask, "Where?" Then she repeats it and looks to me to explain that it is a group home not far from us and she does their laundry. I think she wants to just say something like, "I work at Safeway" and have everyone know exactly what she is talking about!

This is Beth signing all the paperwork.

_X__ Yes my parents can read my paperwork.
_X__ Yes WVS can talk to my parents when they call.
_X__ Yes I will follow WVS rules while I am at work.
_X__ Yes I received a copy of this form.

This is Jennifer, Beth's job coach (on the left) and her assistant Kathy. The meeting went fairly well until Jennifer asked Beth if she was doing a good job. "Beth, am I an okay job coach? Do you like me" "Yea."

"And what about Kathy. Do you like her too?"

Beth hesitated and shook her head no.

After a few seconds of awkward silence, we talked about why she didn't like her. Kathy is there to watch Beth and to make sure she is doing her job. Well, Beth has been doing this job for a few years. She knows how to do it and she does it well. She does not like people telling her what to do. Especially when she already knows how to do it! So... now Kathy will just check in with Beth, then let Beth do her job. They were both happy with that arrangement. (This wasn't Kathy's idea, she was asked to supervise Beth and has been doing what she's been asked.)

I was so proud of Beth for talking it though with us. She spoke up and helped explain why she didn't like what Kathy was doing. I know she likes Kathy, she talks about her a lot at home. She tells me things they talked about at work, Kathy has given her flowers, I know Beth likes her. It was so great to hear Beth tell us what the problem was! Woo hoo!

Hopefully Beth will have a new job in the near future! (She interviewed at Safeway a while back but they weren't hiring.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tarzan's Mom and I Have a Lot in Common

The Disney version of Tarzan came out in 1999. Beth was 14. In our house we sing the songs of almost all the Disney movies, we quote the lines. Because of Beth, Disney is big at our house.

When Tarzan came out, I immediately fell in love with the song You'll be in my Heart. It seems to describe how I feel about Beth, what our relationship is like. Even now, all these years later, I find myself singing it throughout the day.

"You'll Be In My Heart"

Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand hold it tight

I will protect you
from all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry

For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm

This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry

'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

Why can't they understand
the way we feel
They just don't trust
what they can't explain

I know we're different but,
deep inside us
We're not that different at all

 Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know
We need each other,
to have, to hold
They'll see in time
I know

When destiny calls you
You must be strong
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on

They'll see in time
I know
We'll show them together

Oh, you'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be in my heart, always

I love that girl more than she will ever know.

Monday, October 25, 2010

3 For 3!!

Beth has been doing so well! Three times in a row she has gotten out of bed when her alarm went off. Three times she has gotten dressed, brushed her teeth and been upstairs ready to go!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And the Silver Medal Goes To....!!

Elizabeth Anderson of the Mukilteo Pin Busters!!

She bowled today for 2 and a half hours! They've been practicing for a few months and I realized yesterday she isn't
l-e-a-r-n-i-n-g what she's been taught. I told her that she just swings and throws the ball down the lane, but bowling is more than that. She needs to throw the ball in a straight line to knock down the most pins. I told her that she doesn't listen and just keeps doing the same thing over and over. Today, I noticed her focusing on her thumb, trying to keep it straight and she did so much better!

We're so proud of her!

(Sorry for the blurry pictures. Diana brought her digital SLR but the battery was dead. I used Beth's new camera, but obviously we don't have the settings right.)

We think she was texting Sharaya, but we didn't know she knew how to text!

This was one of the 4 strikes she got today!

Receiving her silver medal.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

He Didn't Have a Clue

I was just reading over at The Bates Motel about Ds myths. I have also been thinking about this very subject. And it's about hair too! Go figure! :)

When Beth was born we asked as many questions as we could think of. We wanted to know everything, 'Would she walk? Talk?' And especially, 'What would Beth look like when she grew up?' We didn't remember seeing many adults with Down Syndrome. As a baby, she looked like a baby, but what would she look like when she got older?

This is what my hair looked like when I got pregnant with Beth.

So, naturally (at least we thought so) we asked about Beth's hair. Would it be curly? Straight? And you know what the doctor told us? It still makes me laugh.... he said it would never be long. My hair was exceptionally long and kids with Ds don't have long hair. I remember feeling a tiny bit disappointed, but we didn't really dwell on it.

This is what Beth's hair looked like when she was 7. Definitely long. She loved wearing it long!

Her hair has always been straight. Like some of the comments on The Bates Motel, we can curl it and braid it, but within just a couple of hours, it's back to it's straight, silky self.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It Has to End Today

Beth missed her bus again today.

Her alarm went off, she got out of bed, turned it off and went back to sleep. I went down to her room at 9:15 and she was still asleep. I took off her covers and turned on the light. Told her she had to get up or she'd miss her bus. Went down again at 9:30... still asleep. This time I shook her and reminded her just how much she loves karaoke and art and how she'd miss seeing all her friends. She had to get up now!

At 9:45 her bus was due to arrive and she was still asleep. So, I called DART and told them not to come. I went back down and turned off her light. She sat straight up, threw the covers off and started getting dressed. I told her it was too late, she had missed her bus so she could just go back to sleep.

Five minutes later she was upstairs, completely ready to go. I told her again that it was too late. Sorry Beth, but there's nothing I could do!

This is my life. Day after day. Week after week, I go downstairs and try to get Beth out of bed. For work, for church. And to be honest I'm tired of doing it.

So this afternoon we had a talk. I explained that she is an adult now. She kind of has her own apartment. She goes to work. She gets a paycheck and has her own debt card. She does a lot of things that adults do. But she still won't get out of bed in the morning. I told her that she has an alarm clock, just like other adults. MY mom doesn't come wake me up in the morning. I don't go to Sharaya's house and wake her up. Because we are adults. Now our alarms wake us up.

I told her that today was the last day I was going to wake her up. Starting tomorrow, if she doesn't wake up when her alarm tells her to wake up, then she will miss her bus. And if she misses her bus, she doesn't go to work. And she doesn't get paid. And she doesn't get to go shopping.

She's an adult now and this is the way it is for adults.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crisis Averted!

Beth just came running into the office... straight from the shower. :)

"Mom! You dinin't get my bullets!" She always grabs the extra church bulletins after service to write on during the week. But we weren't in service yesterday, not at our church anyway.

In the Protestant tradition, we dedicate our children, rather than baptizing them. (Then when they are old enough to ask Christ into their heart, they make a personal decision to be water baptized.) So yesterday, Allison Lucy was dedicated to the Lord. Ryan and Sharaya stood before the congregation and pledged to raise Allison in the love of the Lord, seeking Him in all decisions. Beth wasn't looking forward to Allisons, until I showed her pictures of her own dedication and then she got excited! (I don't have those pictures tonight. You have to remember, I'm so old my pictures are all in albums and boxes. I have to find them, then scan them, then edit them, then post them. I'm exhausted just thinkin' about it!)

So Beth came running out, remembering that she didn't get her bulletins yesterday! She has so many routines and rituals that send her into a panic if they aren't followed. But I was able to calm her down because I picked up her bulletins today.

Whew!! Another crisis averted! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What about Hannah? And Ella? And Sheridan? And Whitney?

I have read the story of Ike Ditzenberger, the football player with Down Syndrome who scored a touch down at last weeks game. He plays at Snohomish High School, not far from where I live. It's been in all the local papers, on the news. It's definitely a 'good news story'.

I usually get teary eyed when I hear of these stories. But not this time. I read the entire article in the Seattle Times:
Ike%20Ditzenberger%20scores%20on%20the%20field%20and%20off. (Sorry, I couldn't get it to come out right.)

One paragraph caught my attention. 'Coach Mark Perry's classroom at Snohomish is across the hall from the classroom for the special needs students. He (the coach) sees them every day. He talks with them, teases them, hugs them, high-fives them, loves them." Ike is also on the wrestling team, which Perry coaches. The article goes on for another 6 columns, talking about how Ike has made a huge impact on the school, brings smiles to peoples faces and is teaching the students about compassion.

My question is, what about the other students in that special needs classroom? Are any of the other teachers or students making an effort to 'talk with them, hug them and love them'? Are any of the other kids being invited to join cheer, the yearbook staff or drama club? I'm sure the para-educators could tell the other teachers which student is creative and good with a camera. Which student likes to debate and who is the class leader.

What's being done about the other kids in Ikes class?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

This is my 10 month old granddaughter Allison.
She's a character! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not Quite What Any of Us Were Expecting

Sunday, October 10, 2010. We all woke up and went to church. (Chuck was sick - sore throat, coughing, stuffy nose, achy feeling, so he stayed home.) We asked Beth where she wanted to go for lunch. McDonalds, of course! :)

Later that afternoon, we gathered around to watch Beth open her presents. Chuck and I had gotten her a nice digital camera, a camera card and batteries, plus a gift card to one of her favorite stores, Bartells. There were a few balloons and a Happy Birthday streamer! There was cake and ice cream... it looked like lots of fun! But Beth just didn't seem very excited. Maybe she was getting sick too?

You can tell by the look on her face that something is wrong. Usually she's so excited on her birthday. After she blew out her candle, we asked her if everything was okay. She picked up her cupcake, grabbed her gifts and said, "I wanted a DVD."

Happy Birthday Beth. Sigh.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's 10/10/10!!

Happy Birthday Beth!

On Wednesday, October 6, (Sharaya's birthday) we went to the Rainforest Cafe. A cool restaurant with a family of gorillas, a herd of elephants, huge fish tanks. Every 30 minutes there is thunder and lightening and the animals all squak and bellow. They brought Beth and Sharaya a volcano cake and sang Happy Birthday to them. It's a very fun restaurant!

They attacked that cake!

We came back to the house for presents and more cake and ice cream.

Today is Beth's birthday which brought more presents and cupcakes!
I'll post those pictures soon!
Happy 10/10/10!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Maybe I should tell you why

Maybe I should tell you why 10/10/10 is so important to me.

When I was pregnant with Beth, I believe the Lord kept putting the number 10 on my heart. All of the sudden, I would be thinking about the 10th. I would go to the calendar... blank. "Chuck! Is there anything happening on the 10th?!" No, not that he knew of.

A few weeks would go by and I would be thinking about the number 10 again. I'd ask my mom and sisters if they had anything planned for the 10th. Nope. Nothing.

When we went to the doctor to find out our due date, he told us September 9th. Awe, September 9th! Then I gasped! Our baby is gonna to be born on September 10th! I just know it! That's what the Lord has been trying to tell me! Woo hoo!

Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I woke up on September 11, still pregnant. The doctor later changed the due date to September 23rd.

So when Beth was born on the 10th day of the 10th month at exactly 10:00 PM, I knew the Lord had given me an Ebenezer Stone. A moment in time when I could go back and remember that He was with me. As He was knitting Beth in my womb, He gave me a tiny hint of what was happening. Reminded me that He was walking with us. He knew.... and it would be okay.

So 10/10/10 is bringing with it a time of reflection. And I'm remembering all the moments God has been with us. And I'm counting down to this amazing moment in time!!!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweety Bear!!

That's what we called Sharaya when she was a toddler.

It was 24 years ago today I gave birth to her. Throughout the entire pregnancy we wondered if she would have Down Syndrome. How could we not? I think it was a natural concern given our circumstances. We denied any testing because, really, it wouldn't have made any difference. We were going to keep her no matter what. I was also wondering how I could love her when I had already given so much to Beth. Could I really love another baby as much as I loved Beth? Then I held her.

I instantly fell head over heels in love!! She was absolutely gorgeous! So small and helpless. Then I felt guilty for thinking I could never love her. Oh, the many emotions of a new mom. :)

Growing up she was so calm, cool and collected. Someone once told her that they were never sure if she was happy or sad or hurt or angry because she was always even tempered. As a toddler she went by Raya. When she started school, she changed it to Shara. (Share - uh.) Some family and friends still call her that! Entering high school, she went by Sharaya (Shuh - ray -  uh) and she still does today.

The Lord wired her with all the right tools to be Beth's sister. He knew exactly what Beth would need, and dropped each personality trait into her.

She has brought so much joy to our lives. She can find humor in any situation and usually keeps us laughing til our sides hurt. She has such a sweet and gentle spirit. I've noticed it even more now that she's a mom. I love watching her with Allison. Allison is a blessed girl to have such an awesome mom!

Happy, happy birthday Sharaya!