Saturday, December 27, 2014

Twenty Four Years Ago Today

It was 24 years ago today I had my third and final C-section. Our beautiful baby girl was born, in the midst of a major snow storm she arrived right on time! Hasn't been on time since, but hey, what can ya do, right?! (Love you Diana!)

Part way through my pregnancy we had to switch insurances which meant we had to change doctors and hospitals. Instead of traveling 10 minutes to appointments, it now took us 30 minutes. And to top it off, Seattle had a major snow and ice storm the week she was born.
My dad flew up from San Diego to be here for her birth and Chuck had to go back and forth to the airport in the snow to get him. It was a crazy week!
But we had our baby girl. She slept through the night, even in the hospital. She was such a good baby, ate well, adjusted to life at home and just fit right in with the family.
She was our strong-willed child; was very determined and confident. She's grown up to be a focused young woman who, once she figures out what she wants, will stop at nothing to get it! She's very disciplined and works hard to reach her goals.

She loves fashion and traveling and adventure!

She also loves her niece! She's such a good aunt, exposing Allie to new adventures almost every time she's with her!

We love you Diana and hope you have an amazing birthday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Here!!

It's time to celebrate the birth of our Lord!
We hope you all have a very blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Forgotten

Beth LOVES gift cards. For her birthday, for Christmas, that's all she asks for. Gift cards to every store you can imagine.

It drives her sisters crazy, "No Beth, we wanna buy you a real gift. Something you can hold and really use."

"I want gift cards."


Personally, I like buying gift cards. It's a lot easier, you don't have to face the crowds, it's quick. Now, if someone asks for certain gifts, I don't mind shopping but if all you want is gift cards, I'm okay with that! Maybe it's my age. :)

Plus, then Beth and I can plan a day or two of shopping.

(I wrote that a few days ago and had completely forgotten about it. And to be honest, I don't know where I was going with it.)

My mind lately, I think I'm losing it. You might think I'm kidding, but I'm really not.

Lately I'm forgetting so many things; making stupid mistakes. Like tonight, Beth needed some cash for the week so her and I ran up to Bartells. She was gonna buy some markers and I picked up a couple more stocking stuffers. We head up to the cashier and I pull out my wallet to get her card and it wasn't there. I checked my front pockets but it wasn't there. Checked my back pocket, nope. We set our purses down on a counter and went through each compartment but her card wasn't anywhere!

I ended up paying for hers, got some cash for her and we'll just transfer the money through the bank. We get home and are pulling all her stuff out of the bag and I reach into my back pockets to grab my card when... I pull her card from my other pocket! What?!? I guess I just never checked THAT pocket while we were in the store. Aarrgg.

I told a friend last week that I'd call her on Wednesday. Never did. Just completely forgot.

I forgot to send a gift with Beth last night to give to her job coach.

I've been buying Christmas gifts and realized yesterday that more than one of them is wrong!! Completely the wrong thing. Ugh. I now have to go back out and exchange them. I am thankful though that I realized it before Christmas. :)

I forgot to get out some critical Christmas decorations. Okay, so they aren't really critical, but they're important photo albums that we look forward to all year! Just pulled 'em out today and only because I happened to see them while I was looking in that cupboard for something else!

This is so frustrating. I'm having to write everything down, my computer at work is covered in sticky notes! Without them, I don't know what I'd do.

I've tried playing Tetris and different games to try and improve my memory and the speed at which I think. I'm not that old so I'm nervous to go to the doctor to see if maybe... well, I don't even want to go there.

So before it gets much later, I'm going to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I either do it today, or next week!! :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

What a Pair!

For a while Allie didn't really want anything to do with Beth. Beth would come up to give her a hug and Allie would push her away. Beth would put her hand on her shoulder and Allie would pull away and say, "Stop Beth."

I would often see her just watching Beth, as we'd play board games or at dinner, Allie would just watch her. I talked to her once about Beth and Down Syndrome and how Beth can do things, it just takes her longer. I told her how the Down Syndrome happened before Beth was born and that it wasn't her fault, it wasn't anything she did wrong, it was just the way God made her.

You may have seen my last post of Allie's 5th birthday party. She's 5 already!! And... she's warming up to Beth. She'll run up to her now, "Bethy!" and give her a big hug. Granted, she does that with everyone but now she's including Beth. I'm so glad. For both of them. I'm glad Allie is seeing Beth as someone she can hang out with and I'm glad Beth is able to experience that love you feel when someone greets you like that!

They were playing with Allie's flash cards the other day. Allie would hold it up and Beth would read it to her. They worked on letter sounds and reading. It's been fun to watch them together!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Didn't Even Think About Beth's Reaction

Hey! Remember me? I thought it was time to post another update.

Chuck is still looking for a full time job. The difficult part is trying to find one that pays around the same that he was making at his former job. He is even making more on unemployment than many jobs he's applied for. We keep praying and trusting the Lord.

Special Connections is growing and changing. We'll be moving into a different room after the first of the year. It's much bigger than our current room, plus it's close to the bathrooms and the elevator. One of our students has a difficult time walking so being close to the elevator will help. Plus, I'll be starting a group  for kids and young adults with special needs on Tuesday evenings during our prayer meetings. The parents will be able to drop their kids off in our class and attend the meetings each week. I'm a little nervous about all the changes, but also excited about everything that the Lord wants to do for people in our congregation who have special needs.

A family member was recently arrested and is now in jail. They regret their part in the situation and seem very repentant. There are kids involved and they're now in foster care. It's hard living so far away while the family goes through this.

Allison turned 5 last week. Sharaya threw an amazing party for her this weekend. We got there early to help set up and I was so impressed with everything Sharaya did for this party. Allie and her friends made crowns, had pillow fights and had a big surprise from a special visitor! Sharaya really outdid herself!


Sharaya painted this specifically for the party!


I was so focused on Allison, I didn't even THINK about watching Beth as Aurora walked in! Near the end of the party, Beth came up to me and excitedly said, "I have her movie!" So we asked Aurora if she would take a picture with Beth and she was happy to oblige. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Taking a Back Seat

Blogging seems to be taking a back seat to life these days. And after reading some of your blogging posts, it seems I'm not alone.

I think so many moms are now posting on Facebook, asking questions, sharing pics and stories of their day to day activities, blogging just doesn't seem as necessary. I don't post too often, but I like to read about what others are doing. I'm getting annoyed with all the videos though, I want to hear about your lives, your kids. But I can't complain because I don't post about my life or my kids! :)

So, that's why there hasn't been much activity on here lately.

Chuck still hasn't found a job. He's had a few promising interviews and now we're just waiting to hear back. Waiting can be the hardest part.

Beth is getting over a cold. It seems she always gets one this time of year, when the weather changes for real and her nose gets cold and dry. She's better today though and has gone to work, the first time she's been out of the house in 4 days.

Sharaya and Diana just went to see The Hunger Games - Mocking Jay. They both loved it! This is the first Hunger Games movie Diana hasn't seen at the premier in London. She was so disappointed she didn't get to go this time!

Sharaya and Allie went to Disney On Ice last night and had a great time. Allison sure loves her Disney! Of course, so does Sharaya. I still remember her reaction when she got her first Jasmine Barbie all those years ago!

I'm gearing up for our huge Thanksgiving outreach next week. Our church puts on a dinner for the community and we serve approx. 1400 people in three separate seatings. It's free of charge and we serve the homeless, on duty police officers, single people without family in the area, anyone who wants to come and have dinner is welcome. They sit at round tables and are served by a table host who fills their drinks, offers seconds and prays with people if they need it. I lead the Condiment team. We provide the dinner rolls, pickles, olives, cranberry sauce... then after the program is over, we wheel out huge carts of slices of pumpkin pie, complete with whipped cream!

It's an exhausting day, but oh so worth it. A lot of planning and preparation goes into it and that's what I've been busy doing lately. Between work, and laundry and dishes... :)

I think about you all so often and hope things are going well for you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Bluff

Chuck was gone over the weekend and Allie ended up spending the night with me on Friday. On Saturday, Diana, Allie and I went to The Bluff. A place not too far from our house, over looking Puget Sound.

We parked at the end of the street and walked down the small path that opened up to the Bluff. There was a young couple sitting on the edge with their feet dangling over the cliff.

Another group of guys showed up and it looked like maybe they were taking their Senior pictures for the yearbook.

The weather was cold, the sky was clear and it was just beautiful.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"They Remind Me of Me"

Our Sunday school class was really full this passed weekend, we had 6 students and 4 teachers! We had one 5 year old and the rest were 12, 15, 20, 21 and 30.

We had a teachers meeting last night and one of the things we talked about was possibly needing to split the class into two, younger and older. There are 2 other preschool / Kindergarten aged kids plus a 5th grade boy (I'm SO thankful they all didn't show up on Sunday!) so separating the students would give us two relatively good sized groups.

One of the teachers asked what Beth thought about having such a diverse group each week. I'd never thought to ask her so this morning I did. She was eating her bowl of Cheerios and I asked her if she liked having the different age groups in our class. She said no, that she only liked having the little kids. When I asked her why she didn't want the older kids in our class, her response surprised me. She didn't hesitate in her answer, "They remind me of me."

I'll admit I was a little stunned. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind and then Chuck asked from the living room, "Beth do you like the little kids better because you feel more like a teacher with them?"


"And with the older kids, you feel like you're just a part of the class?"


At that point her bus arrives so I wasn't able to ask her any more, but I've been thinking about this all day. They remind me of me. I wonder if it's like watching yourself in a mirror as you go about your day, seeing everything you struggle with played out right before your eyes? Like when you watch yourself in a video and see all your inadequacies?

Do any of the other kids feel like this? What can we do to change it?? I've got to find a way to help them see themselves the way God sees them, amazing, caring, beautiful people with gifts and talents that He wants to use to bless others.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What a Weekend!

Diana's dog Sugar had a gran mal seizure last weekend. She's a 12 year old West Highland Terrier and she's never had a seizure before. Diana had gone out with friends so Sugar came to our room and was sleeping on our bed. It was 2:30 in the morning and man, was I scared! Freaked me out to wake up to that! After a visit to the vet, we learned that her platelets were high, possibly resulting in blood clots that may have caused the seizure. She's home and has been improving daily.

Chuck got word that he didn't get the one job he was hoping for. It's been a month now since he left Centurylink, a month since they closed his department. After 19 years he's now looking for a new job. He had applied for a management position at C-link but learned over the weekend that he didn't get it. So, back to the drawing board. He's on unemployment and taking classes at the Work Source office to help meet the unemployment requirements. So far, headed into month 2, all our bills are paid and we're doing okay. We're trusting the Lord, He's our provider and we know He'll be faithful to meet our needs.

Beth had her Special Olympics bowling tournament last Sunday and she won a Silver Medal! I forget each year, about the hundreds of people that pack that bowling alley. It's complete chaos... until the games begin! The 'kids' have so much fun and the families are all there cheering them on. It really is a fun event!

(Thanks for taking the picture, Sharaya!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Hard to Recognize it Anymore

Diana and I were at the mall a while back and we saw a mom with a stroller and the little girl inside looked like she had Down Syndrome. The moment we saw her, we both looked at each other with huge smiles and got so excited!

Course, we felt like we had to be cool around the mom, we didn't want to seem creepy. We were in a store, so we went around a few displays and came back to them again. She was with 2 other women and they were on a mission, you could tell. They were shopping for something specific and kept talking and looking at things, anxious to find what they were looking for.

It's so exciting to meet someone who has that little something extra! Diana and I kept trying to find a way to introduce ourselves without being overwhelming and then I got a little nervous. Her daughter was maybe 2 years old, maybe mom wasn't thrilled to have a baby with Ds? Maybe she was in that stage of anger or denial? How could we approach her, when mom maybe didn't even want to talk about it? I really wanted to be sensitive to her situation.

We decided to just leave the store cause we felt like we were being stalkers. There was another store Diana needed to go to and after being there a few minutes we turned around and wouldn't you know it, there was the mom again! Diana and I looked at each other, KNOWING we had to say something, but what? What should we say??

As she walked by, I smiled at her little girl, she smiled back at me (mom was so focused she didn't even see me) and I wondered, 'Wait a second, does she have Down Syndrome?' Her face was SO familiar, I began to wonder. How do you say, "I have a daughter with Ds too!" when this little girl actually might not have Ds.

I tried to focus on her eyes, 'Were her eyes almond shaped? Was that really the face of a little girl who has Ds?' I started to get so nervous, I wasn't sure anymore! And then they left the store.

We wandered down the mall in the direction we thought they had gone but never saw them again. I truly wonder if she really did have Ds. That face has become such a familiar part of our lives that it's hard for me to recognize it anymore.

It's no longer the face of Down Syndrome. It's the face of Beth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Birthday Pictures

Beth's birthday was on Friday, October 10th, but the big celebration was on Sunday.

Beth's boss gave her the 10th off, so we asked her what she wanted to do. "Bowling!" Of course, we should have known. Sharaya and Diana had to work, but Chuck, Beth, me and Allie all went bowling. It was at the same bowling alley where she plays on a league during the week and they greeted her by name when we got to the counter! Considering there are 150 bowlers on the league, we thought it was kinda cool that they knew her personally.

Usually on the kids birthdays they get to choose the menu. We started this when they were kids and even though they're all adults now, the tradition continues. Considering this was the big 3-0 we decided to go out to eat and a couple months ago she said she wanted to go to Olive Garden.

Really?? We rarely go to Olive Garden. We figured she had heard it from one of her friends and since she was 30 now, a real adult well, okay! We can go there. Then as her birthday got closer she changed her mind to Red Robin. We asked her a few times just to make sure and she definitely wanted Red Robin.

We invited a couple of friends from church who Beth has been texted and becoming close with and were so glad they could both make it!  After we left the restaurant we headed home and she opened a couple more gifts too big to bring to the restaurant. I finally finished her scrapbook from when she was in school (I don't know what took me so long!) and Diana bought her a huge karaoke machine! It shows the words on the tv screen, has a place to plug in her microphone, and a camera so she can watch herself!

What a weekend she had! I think Beth is thrilled to be 30, although she's using that phrase again...

"I'm an adult and I can do what I want."

Uh oh.







Friday, October 10, 2014

The Day She's Been Looking Forward to All Year

I've been sitting here a long time trying to figure out what to write. I've been thinking about all the things that have happened since Beth was born.

Should I write about her birth? She was an emergency C-section, our first child. I was only 23, didn't drink or smoke and at the time, went against all the statistics that proved most babies with Ds were born when mom was much older. They told us she might not live past her teens. My doctor secretly dropped the visiting hour rules and our family came and went all hours of the day. When he saw how much Beth was held and was the focus of every visit, he ordered the rules be reinstated. He just wanted to make sure she would be loved.

Should I write about what she was like growing up? Beth was healthy, with no heart issues and only an occasional bout of upper respiratory issues. We didn't have blogs, or the Buddy Walk or Down Syndrome Awareness month... no one knew she existed except her family and friends. She was just another kid in the neighborhood jumping on the trampoline, waving sparklers on the 4th of July, playing on the slip 'n' slide we made in the front yard.

Should I write about where we are 30 years later? That she graduated from high school, got a job, does her laundry, takes out the trash, enjoys art and music. Just everyday stuff like the rest of us.

Or should I write about where we go from here? Now they say she may live into her 50's, but who knows where science and technology will be 20 years from now and how long her life will be extended at that point? Is she at the peak of her life? If the timeline is correct, Beth is middle aged. We're beginning to watch for all that entails.

Or maybe I should just post pictures and let them tell the story. :)

My mom





Happy 30th birthday Beth!
It's a journey we didn't expect, but we're so thankful we get to travel it with you!