Friday, July 29, 2011

Precious Moments

Beth went out to check the mail today and the front yard was bathed in sunshine. She got about half way through the yard and stopped. (I was watching from the dining room window.) She then spread out her arms, looked up to the sky and slowly spun around a few times. Just soakin' in the sun!!

On Sunday we had all 5 kids in our classroom. We started Special Connections in February 2010 and that has only happened one other time that I remember. We all went out to the playground to enjoy the warm sunny weather. On our way back to the classroom, each teacher latched on to a child and 'H' grabbed Beth's hand. (H is 17 and has a seizure disorder. She doesn't speak but says so much with her eyes!) Now Beth will only hold your hand when she's in the mood to hold your hand so the fact that she let H hold her hand was a miracle in itself. But then... Beth took H's hand and wrapped it around her arm and together they walked into the classroom!

It's moments like these that remind me why I chose this journey!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beth Opening Netflix 7/27/11 at

Did you catch her peace sign at the beginning? :)

This is my second attempt at a video! (It will rotate when you click Play.) Thank you to Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes for recommending One True Media. It's a little daunting if you've never done it before; I didn't find any Help buttons but if you're not afraid to click on things, you'll be okay. :) The actual video was over a minute long but I had to clip it to 30 seconds.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First Attempt -- Failed

I've really been trying to get a video on here. So you can see and hear Beth 'in real time'. I've taken a couple of great videos but haven't been able to upload them. I looked through my camera instructions: "What if you can't play back movies on a computer?" Their answer? "Install the program".

So tonight I installed the program. Nothing.

I called Diana in to help me. She clicked here and there then said the program isn't fully compatible with our computer. I could get it on the blog, but it would be sideways, or upside down or something. I guess I wasn't supposed to turn the camera while I was recording. Well, I haven't given up hope! I'll keep trying.

Root Beer Floats

Every Tuesday night our church has a prayer meeting. About 300 - 400 people gather each week and a few weeks ago, our pastor decided to have root beer floats afterward! They were delicious! We met outside under the breezway, an area where you can drive through and drop people off. The weather was nice that night! (Beth is on the bottom right, wearing a black, hooded sweater.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frozen Yogurt Anyone?

Chuck emailed me at work last week and asked if I wanted to eat dinner down at the beach. We could get some sandwiches from Subway, take them down to the beach, then stop on the way home for some frozen yogurt. I LOVE it when he asks questions like that!

It was cold and breezy, of course. I think we're the only place in the nation that isn't melting in a heat wave. Nope, good 'ol Seattle is wet and cold. We sure are living up to our reputation this year!

It was fun! I kept taking pictures of Beth and Diana but Diana wasn't happy with them so she took some herself. The Facebook Pose, she calls it.

Yea, maybe Diana's did turn out better.



It finally got too cold to be at the beach so we went for frozen yogurt. Makes sense, doesn't it?! :) This new yogurt place just opened up a few weeks ago and it is amazing! We always go to The Yogurt Mill when we're in San Diego and now we have our own shop right here at home!

It's a cute little place with fun decor and lots of places to sit. You help yourself to 10 different flavors; many of them change from week to week. Although I've noticed the Chocolate and the Peanut Butter have been there every time we've gone. SO good! Then you choose your toppings, everything from fresh fruit to gummy bears, chocolate chips and even cut up waffles! Haven't tried that yet. Not sure I will.





I realized after we got home that I never took a picture of the yogurt! Sorry 'bout that! Trust me though, it was delicious!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Honorary Professor

Anyone else been through enough of these that you feel qualified to teach it??

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Tough Choice

We had a meeting last week with Beth's job coaches. We meet once a year to talk about her jobs, what's working and what's not working. For the first time in 3 years Beth is unemployed so we made a list of places she would like to work.

The Mall Food Court
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Fred Meyer

We listed her strengths and weaknesses, what environments she works best in and places that wouldn't be a good fit. It was a really good meeting and I'm happy with the enthusiasm her coaches have in finding her a new job. They are meeting Beth this Thursday at Fred Meyer to walk through the different departments, meet the workers and see if there is one area that might be a good fit for her.

She is learning a hard lesson though because we went to Fred Meyer before the meeting and she wanted to buy a CD player. Unfortunately, she isn't working right now and has no real spending money. She went to the music department while Sharaya and I went to the toy section. A few minutes later Beth showed up with a Fred Meyer bag in her hand. I told her she wouldn't be able to go bowling this week. She also likes to buy a muffin and juice on Sunday mornings before church. She wouldn't be able to buy that either. She stood in the middle of Freddies and thought about it for a while. She finally decided to return the CD player. It wasn't easy! Her job coaches praised her on making such a tough choice. I'm also using this to teach her how important it is to do your job well. We might not like it when our bosses tell us what to do, but if you don't have a job, you don't have money to buy things. I'm hoping this will be a lesson she remembers for a long time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If I Could Go Back 20 Years....

If I could say anything to my younger self about what life would be like when Beth was an adult, it would be to slow down. Learn that habit now, while she's young.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week my biggest issue is the speed at which Beth lives. No one ever talked to me about this. Although I didn't know anyone who had an adult child with Down Syndrome, it would have been nice to know.

She walks slower than I do.

She speaks slower.

She brushes her teeth at a slower pace.

She takes longer to respond during a conversation.

She moves slower when playing cards.

She gets dressed slowly.

In Beth's life, the word 'hurry' doesn't exist. At least it doesn't seem to. If I could say anything to my younger self it would be, "Slow down. Slow down e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. If you want to be a part of Beth's world, if you want to relate to her on her level, slow it down."

This morning I was trying to clasp a bracelet I wanted to wear to work. Chuck was gone, Diana was still asleep and Beth was up and getting ready for bowling. I know her fine motor skills aren't the best but I figured she could do it if I was patient and showed her how to do it first. When I went down stairs she was sitting on her bed getting ready to clean her glasses. I asked her if she'd help me with my bracelet. (I knew she couldn't see the tiny clasp without her glasses. I figured she'd wipe them quickly and stand up to help me.) She started cleaning one side of one lens.

And I waited.

Then she started cleaning the other side of that lens.

I looked at the clock.

And I waited.

She started cleaning one side of the other....

And I gave up. walked out of the room, no, more like stormed out of the room. Told her I was sorry, I didn't have time to wait and I grabbed my purse and ran out the door. Driving to work I fought back tears and told myself it wasn't her fault. She didn't do anything 'wrong'. If anyone was in the wrong, it was me. I just stormed out and didn't explain why. I have such a hard time slowing down my entire world to be a part of hers. But I desperately want to be a part of her life!

I guess, if I'm honest what I really want is for her to adjust to fit better in mine. Speed up just a little. Go a little faster! Is that too much to ask?

Most of the time when Beth and I hang out, I go at her pace and we have a blast. It's just that my world doesn't go at that pace. I have to live in both worlds. Try to blend them and find a happy medium. Some days it's so easy - and fun! - to hang out in her world. To slow down and just relax.

Yea, if I could say one thing to my younger, hipper, cooler self, it would be to slow down now. Learn to get up earlier, leave the house with more time to spare, walk a little slower. It'll mean so much when Beth grows up. And that'll happen before you know it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sneaky Stroll

Beth loves to walk to the corner store near our house. It's about two blocks away and she has to cross a busy street but she's been doing it for so long, I know she knows how to do it, when to cross and how to be safe. And besides, I just don't watch. :)

However, there is an interesting thing about her walks to the store.

I was watching her from our yard, taking pictures with my zoom lens when she spotted me and stopped walking.

I 'hid' behind the tree until she started walking again!


On the move again I took one more picture before going into the house.

She won't come or go through the front door!
Into the back yard by way of the chain link fence....

Then in the back door! That little sneak!
I startled her by taking her picture, can you tell? :)

She uses the front door when DART is here to pick her up or when we're going somewhere as a family. But when she wants to walk to the store, it's out the back door, through the gate and away she goes! I think she gets this crazy behavior from her father's side.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seven Seconds

Seven Seconds can be an eternity when you're with someone and no one's talking. But I'm learning that I have to wait 7 seconds for Beth to begin talking.

In the last year or so, we've learned that Beth can't keep up with normal conversation. (This may not apply to every adult who has Down Syndrome, but it does for Beth.) When there are 3 or 4 of us around the ktichen table and we're talking and laughing, Beth is left out. It takes her longer to process what's been said, so she comments on things we were talking about 10 minutes ago. It's taught our family, no it's teaching us - we're still in the process - to slow down and allow her a chance to join in the conversation.

Beth goes bowling every Tuesday. I work on Tuesdays so when she gets home she calls me.

"Mom? I'm back."
"Great Beth. Did you have a good time?"

1 mississippi.
2 mississippi.
3 missi...

I'm trying to wait 7 seconds so she can initiate the conversation. Seven seconds is a looong time! But 8 out of 10 times, she will begin talking! She'll ask me something or talk about a friend at bowling. It's been hard, but so worth it!!


While my dad and sisters were here, we took them down to the Edmonds Beach. The weather was perfect and we walked along the pier, sat on the benches and watched the sun begin to set.



L-R My sis Debbie, Beth, Chuck, my Dad John, Diana, my sis Kathy

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fun Photo.... Fourth!

We hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July!

(Sharaya, Diana, Beth - 1993)

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Certainly Didn't Expect It

Okay, my family is telling me it's time to update the blog. I know it's been a while. There has been so much happen in the last couple of weeks. Good things, but a lot of them.

The thing that started it all was me turning 50. I was at work when my dad walked into the office! My dad!! Drove up from San Diego to surprise me! Oh my gosh it was SO good to see him!!

I get home from work and all the blinds are closed. I asked why and Sharaya said it was to keep the house cooler. Yea, uh huh. I knew Chuck had invited over a few friends so I figured there were some I didn't know about and he wanted to keep it a secret. We're all standing around in the kitchen when there's a knock at the door. Everyone looks at me. I took that to mean they wanted me to answer it. My perception sometimes is astonishing! :)

I open the door and all I see is a large bunch of balloons. How fun! I see legs behind it but don't know who it is. Then they lowered the balloons. 



My two sisters, Kathy and Debbie also drove up from San Diego to surprise me! I was stunned! I've missed them so much and to think they would go though all that just for me, it was amazing. Chuck planned a great evening! He and everyone there made me feel very special.




It's a night I will remember forever!