Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's Hard To Be Patient

I babysat Allie last weekend and we had so much fun! We built a fort in the living room and she played with our LED light. We kicked the ball around the backyard, she hung out with Beth for a while and they drew pictures and watched a little TV. I'm SO tired when she goes home, but man, I sure love having her come play!


On Monday Beth and I went to Home Depot so she could buy a kitchen cabinet to put her stuff in. She's got her microwave, plus she buys her own napkins, plastic ware, food. She's needed a place to put all this stuff, it's just been on a bookcase while she saved the money to buy the cupboard. She doesn't have enough yet to buy the countertop, but hopefully that will come soon. We also bought a small piece of plywood to put on the top until she gets it. The door needs a little tweak so they gave us a good discount. As the clerk was taking it to the front of the store, Beth actually squealed, "I got it!" It was cute to see her so excited. :)
All of the stuff in our classroom has been moved. It took me more than 3 hours to get it all to the new room but it's there! Now Chuck, Allie and I will go over this Saturday and get it all set up. I'm getting more excited the closer it gets! I took some pictures of our old room before I took it all down.
Okay, so actually, these walls are pretty bare. I guess I did take quite a bit off the walls, family photos, some posters. And the tree at one point was covered in leaves. I'm looking forward to having more room. I wanna buy a nice rug for the reading area, we're bringing in more adult furniture, I just have this certain vision for what this room will look like. It's hard to be patient while it evolves. :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Come, Have a Seat. Would You Like Some Tea?

I'm home alone right now and it sure is quiet in this house. Would you like some tea? I take cream and sugar. You? I prefer tea over coffee. The only time I drink coffee is when I go to the coffee stand at work which isn't very often. Chuck and Diana love Starbucks so sometimes I'll order a double white chocolate mocha. Single shot of coffee, but double the while chocolate! I don't like coffee, but I'll tolerate a little with my chocolate. :)

It's been so quiet around here without Sugar. Before, you would hear her shake when her tail would smack against the couch in a fast rhythm. Then she'd dig at her blankets until they were just right, before settling back down for another nap. Each day without her has gotten a little easier.

I'm getting ready to do my nails. I haven't painted them in months but they're starting to grow again so I thought I'd put on a little polish.

Chuck is still looking for a job. He left Centurylink almost 4 months ago and still, no positive news. He has completed some medical stuff for King County Metro (sleep study, etc.) so he may be starting some training with them next week. He's a little nervous though because the training starts on Superbowl Sunday! Aahhhh! He might miss his beloved Seahawks! Did you see the game against Green Bay? Wow.

Beth may be changing jobs soon. Well, not jobs really, but locations. The store she's at now is about 45 minutes from home. Plus it's in a notorious traffic jam. Everyone around here dreads the commute from Edmonds / Lynnwood up to Marysville. Especially on Friday nights, which is when Beth works up there. A couple weeks ago DART somehow forgot to pick her up. (Did I already tell you this?) They called me in a panic at 9:15 (she gets off work at 8:00) "We're so sorry! We're sending a driver up there now!" She didn't get home that night until almost 10:30. So her job coach is looking into finding her a job closer to home. Same pizza place, just a different location. We're praying!

Well, not too much else to tell you about right now. Have a great weekend!   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

She's Gone

It was 6 years ago that Diana asked us for a dog. We already had Buddy, our black lab, but she found a westie who needed a home. Pleeeaaassse could she have her, she'd be leaving for California in a few months and would take the dog with her, she'd only be with us a short time.

Well, the move to California fell through and Sugar has been a part of our lives ever since. Her and Buddy got along well and having one more dog didn't make that much difference.

Sugar loved the sunshine! She'd sit outside (preferring her own lawn chair, thank you) and soak up the sun. She'd find the only spot in the car, on a log at the beach, didn't matter. If there was sun, she wanted to be in it!


She loved to sit on the back of furniture. She was more like a cat than a dog, really. Diana used to always say that and it was true.

But more than the sun and furniture, she loved people the most. She was such a people 'person' always wanting to be touched. She would even jump up on the couch and reach out to just put one paw on your leg. As long as she was touching you, she was okay. But so often, she just HAD to be touching someone.
In October 2014 she had her first seizure. Diana had come home late and didn't want to wake us so left her in our room to sleep for the night. Then out of the blue, at 2:30 in the morning she had a full on, gran mal seizure. Scared me so much! She had another one later that morning so we took her to the vet and they believed it was blood clots in her brain that were causing them and told us that she would probably continue to have them. Considering she was already 12 years old, we did some blood work, a urinalysis but opted not to do surgery.
She had a few more before Christmas, then went almost a month without one seizure! Just last week I remember thinking that it had been a whole month and I was glad and a little surprised. But then, without any warning she had another one. And another. And another. Then in 3 days time, she had 6 seizures and never really recovered.
Diana made the difficult decision to have her put to sleep but knew she couldn't take her to the vet herself. She spent the day on the couch with her, loving on her and saying her goodbyes. Beth came up and was petting her for a few seconds, but then burst into tears. Chuck and I drove her to the vet today and they were so kind, to her and to us. We went into a private room where we got to say our final goodbyes, I cried and kept petting her. She could barely lift her head. The doctor came in and gently took her from me, we paid the bill, walked out to the car and I burst into tears. She's really gone.
'Sugar Babe' as we used to call her, will no longer pop her head up as we walk in the door. No more jumping off the couch to come greet us. No more begging for bananas. No more scrambling to get that one little piece of lettuce. That dog loved lettuce! 
Our hearts ache. We'll miss you Shug. You were a good girl.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In The Mean Time

Chuck and I took a walk along the waterfront today. It was chilly, but the sun was out and it made for a gorgeous day! He had some money left on his Starbucks gift card so we each bought a drink and it helped to keep our hands warm while we walked! 

Beth had a doctors appointment yesterday. I took a picture of her at the lab, thinking I would then take one at the doctor so you could see the whole process, but of course, I forgot to take one yesterday. :) The thyroid medicine still isn't strong enough so they raised the dosage and will see her again in 2 months. She also talked about putting her on diabetes medicine because she keeps gaining weight and is right on the verge of being diabetic. I'm not a big fan of taking a lot of medicine so she talked about various snacks that would help; tomatoes with cheese; celery with peanut butter; bananas with yogurt. And she said to eat these foods together because they counteract the bad and enhance the good in each food. Really? I thought eating a banana was good, but she explained how just the banana would cause the sugar to do the wrong things in our bodies but the yogurt would... oh my word. Why does nutrition have to be so hard?!?  
But, I'll start having Beth eat combinations of these foods. Anything to help her lose weight. I'm shocked at how much weight she's gained in just the last few years. I'm sure it's a combination of food choices, lack of exercise and thyroid. She's busy every day of the week except Monday, when I give her chores to do around the house. Every other day she's out and about. Last week she came home from her art class with two large candy bars in her backpack. She's 30 years old so I didn't take them out or even say anything about 'em but I know she doesn't always make the best food choices. And when she is home, she's usually sitting in front of her TV. I've tried to get her to exercise, to dance or do some stair stepping. We even took that weight loss class last year! Didn't help. She just doesn't want to do the work to lose weight. So, we'll see what the test results show in 2 months.
In the mean time, she's been wanting me to do her hair lately. Usually she just puts it up in a pony tail or a headband but lately she wants it styled. So I pull up the front and let it hang down in the back, sometimes Diana will put it in a fancy braid. It has grown SO much the last few months. It seems like suddenly it's down to the middle of her back! It's so long, people are starting to make comments about it. I took this picture this morning, before she left for art and karaoke. I think she's enjoying the attention. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Not a Creature Was Stirring... Well, They Are Now

Beth has a doctors appointment next week and I need to get her in for some lab work before then. We went yesterday but they were closed for lunch - of course - and we didn't have time to go back before she had to leave for work. We plan to try again this morning. The lab at the doctors office is closed today so we'll need to go to the hospital to do it.

Sharaya dropped Allie off at about 6:45 this morning and 2 hours later she's still asleep on the couch. I probably have about another hour before she wakes up. Then we'll have some breakfast before starting our day. Diana was asking me last night what my plans were and I think we'll just hang out here at home. Sharaya and Allie have been so busy lately, some days going to 4 and 5 different places each day. Maybe we'll toss a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic. Or pull out the paper and stamps and do some crafts.

This afternoon is the BIG game! Seahawks vs Panthers and we are pumped! Seattle is all decked out in blue and green and I even made blue and green jello to have during the game! I intermix it with whipped cream, we love it!

Well Chuck is now awake and I think I hear a little one stirring on the couch.

Til next time -


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More Different Than Alike

More Alike Than Different has been a rallying cry of some parents who have kids with special needs and I'm not against that statement. When it comes to hopes and dreams and a desire to be needed, that statement is very true. Everyone is alike in that area. But this post is about the things we can see.

This is about a mom who, for the last 10 years has watched her adult daughter try to function in this world, along side other adults who don't have special needs. Every day her differences stand out like a sore thumb. And it hurts.

Beth was in the kitchen this morning putting her breakfast dishes in the sink and she coughed. Just a little cough, more like clearing her throat really. But then she said, under her breath but definitely loud enough for anyone in the room to hear, "You okay? Say yea." Then she headed into the bathroom.

I was at work yesterday and got a text from her saying she had put her calendar on the prize table. On her bowling league they have a prize table where the bowlers can bring gifts or gently used items to give away as prizes when someone gets a Turkey (three strikes in a row.) I gently told her that no one will want her 2014 calendar and they'll just have to throw it away. "Oh."

When she comes upstairs and needs to ask us something, she'll stand in the hallway, partially hidden behind the wall. We'll ask her to come out to the living room and talk to us but she just wants to stay hidden. 

We're in the car, talking about a road trip we'd love to take, the route we'd take, places we'd see along the way and Beth will say something like, "Mine was chocolate." We all stop. Chocolate?? "What Beth?" "The cupcake at bowling." "Oh, your cupcake was chocolate?" "Yep!" Then we all sit there in silence for a few seconds. Sometimes we'll continue with her train of thought and ask her more questions about bowling and what happened that day, or we continue on with our original conversation. And I often feel guilty when we just continue on with ours cause I know she can't keep up mentally but it's hard to always be at her level.

I used to beat myself up over the fact that she only speaks in 4-5 word sentences. Why didn't I fight harder to keep her in speech classes after high school? Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I do that? I tend to blame myself for the way she is.

But I'm realizing that she's that way because she has Down Syndrome. Ds causes the brain to function slower than normal. (Whatever normal is!) It's no ones fault. It just is. But it's hard to see how different she is. And it seems the differences become more extreme as she gets older. As a kid, she ran and played and jumped on the trampoline with the best of 'em. But as a 30 year old? Her speech, her thought process, her physical limitations just seem so far apart from her peers. The kids she grew up with are married, they're taking their own kids to the doctor, they're upgrading their phone plans. Beth just lives at a different level.

When it comes to the stuff we can see, Beth is absolutely more different than alike.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Fremont Troll

We've lived in Seattle for 26 years and had never been to the Fremont Troll! The troll was built in 1990 when the Fremont Arts Council held a contest for people to create a sculpture to be placed under the Aurora Bridge. It was made out of rebar, chicken wire and cement.

Our younger girls have been to the troll. We've read about the troll and seen it on TV but never been there ourselves. So on Monday Chuck, Beth and I went to see the troll.

He's 18 feet tall and yes, that's a real VW bug under it's paw. Claw? I'm not sure what it's called! (The bug was red when it was first placed there!) It really was fun to climb all over it, see all the people that kept coming by to look at it and take pictures of it.

We were only there for a few minutes cause there's not a whole lot to do there. But I'm so glad we finally went to see it! Even Beth was excited and didn't mind climbing all over so I could get a good shot. And now we can finally say we've seen the Fremont Troll.