Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spread the Word to End the Word...

A great video for 'End the R-Word Day'

Arizona - Pictures

Click Here to see our pictures from Arizona.
Enjoy! -- but be forewarned that there are A LOT pictures =)

Monday, March 30, 2009

It Finally Happened...

Well, it took almost a year, but I knew it would eventually happen. Today at the grocery store was the first time a stranger could tell Anna had Ds just by looking at her, and said something. I am sure there are others who could tell, but just never said anything. I am not upset by it, I was just kind of surprised when it happened.

The young lady checking us out started talking to me about Anna. Her neighbor, and best friend, from childhood had Ds. She said that she had always wanted to go to school so she could work with kids with Down syndrome, but personal and family issues prevented her from going to school like she wanted.

Today, she works as a cashier at ShopRite. And her best friend, the one with Ds, works just 3 checkout lanes down from her. They are roommates and share an apartment. =)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Arizona - Ahhhh...Vacation!

It has been a great week.

We went to the zoo and aquarium, played golf, went swimming multiple times, visited with old friends, flew kites, rode rides at the carnival, and got spoiled by grandma and grandpa.

Tomorrow we fly home. Hopefully we have enough food and entertainment packed to keep the little ones happy.

I will post some vacation pictures later next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Arizona - more fun in the sun!

Still enjoying vacation in Arizona!

Yesterday, Jonathan and I hit the links. Our lack of practice was obvious, but, then again, we played with a bunch of people who play regularly and we held our own. Regardless of score (Jonathan only beat me by 2, btw) - we had a great time. Weather was perfect!

Paige has been entertaining all of Grandma and Grandpa's friends. She has a lot to say =) Charlie is enjoying being spoiled by Grandma.

Anna is still the sweetest. She is also being spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa - and all of their friends. And she sure does take a cute picture!! (Pictures to be uploaded when we return).

Today we are headed to the park, probably do some swimming, and then after naps, we are going to visit my good friend Haley and her family.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Arizona - Day1

This week we are in Arizona visiting my parents. Woohoo! We are all very excited to be here where it is warm (hot, actually).

The fiight here yesterday was long - but not nearly as horrible as we were anticipating. Though Charlie and Paige have both flown before, this was their first flight that they actually remember. They were thrilled with watching the planes land at the airport. And during the flight, they enjoyed many movies on the laptop.

Anna was a trooper on her very first flight. She fussed a little, but after a bottle, she slept like, well, a baby.
Since being here, we have been trying to adjust to the new time zone. The kids were up early this morning, and Jonathan and I were craving Sonic at 9 am (our lunchtime).

And we made our first, of what I am sure to be many, trips to the pool.


PS --- No more pics on the blog until after we return home....takes way too long to upload and therefore, interrupts my vacation!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Miss Grumpy Pants

Well, Anna was no more thrilled with therapy today than she was on Wednesday. She worked hard for about 15 minutes before she started fussing, and then she was Miss Grumpy Pants the rest of the time. We eventually cut the session short because she was so fussy - which is very unusual for Anna, regardless of how tired she is. I hope this is not a preview of what she will be like on the plane!

Anna did do much better at holding herself in position on all fours. She was able to hold the position longer, and then push forward for a toy. She also is getting better at grabbing the pegs on the knob puzzle (working on pincer grasp).

We miss therapy next week because we will be in Arizona (yeah! Warm weather!). Our next session is April 3.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Big Boy!!

Charlie is becoming such a big boy -- I hardly recognize him! Today he had his 3rd of 4 kindergarten orientations. He barely even said good-bye to me when I dropped him off. There were two other little kids crying and clinging to their moms -- but Charlie, no way - he was three steps into the door before he remember to turn around and wave good-bye.

It seems like just yesterday he was graduating from the infant room to the toddler room in daycare!

More Therapy

Anna's therapist was unable to make it to our session last Friday, so we had a make-up session this afternoon. Anna was none too thrilled to be woken up from her nap only to be made to try and reach and scoot for things. She only gave a half-hearted effort, and a smile was certainly out of the question!

Despite being a grump, Anna did show off some of her skills -mainly her ability to blow massively wet raspberries, and bang toys together.

We will likely be adding speech therapy to Anna's regular regimen of therapy. Ms. Jeannette would like for Anna to be making more consonant sounds and babbling more, which she does not do at all right now. So, sometime next month we will probably be adding a speech therapy session.

Anna's next therapy session is Friday morning. Hopefully Anna will be a little more perky then!

Monday, March 16, 2009


So yesterday after church, we drove up to the in-laws for a traditional Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. No, we are not Irish - but Kathleen so kindly treats us each year to this yummy feast -that I am beginning to think she might have some green blood in her somewhere. The food was awesome!! Thanks, Kathleen!

But, as anyone who has ever cooked cabbage knows, the smell of cooked cabbage is not only very strong, but it also lingers. I am forced to do laundry today because every article of clothing we had on yesterday reeks of cabbage. In the words of Paige - "P-U it's You!!!"

And speaking of cabbage, I often tease that Anna is our little cabbage patch doll. If anyone has a cabbage patch doll -- I am talking one of the original ones from the 80's - you will spot the similarities. First, Anna is soft and cuddly like a baby doll. She has a tiny little nose like cabbage patch dolls do. She has an outie. And - if you turn your doll over, you will see an Xavier Roberts stamp in the exact same place Anna has a little red birthmark!
I never had a real cabbage patch doll as a child - so God sent me a live one as an adult! =)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Sweet and Silly Faces of Anna

More Signs of Spring...Bugs and Driveway Art

The weather was little warmer -- and dryer -- today, so the kids were excited to get outside. They enjoyed looking at the bugs (the worst part of warm weather in my opinion), and creating art on the driveway.


Charlie and Pooh Bear

Map to Grammy's House

Friday, March 13, 2009

Signs of Spring!!!

It is not quite Spring on the calendar -- and definitely not Spring on the thermometer -- but there is one sure sign that Spring is fast approaching....Rita's has re-opened for the season! Make mine a Strawberry Gelati!

Broken Down and Laid Up!

It has been a busy couple of days around here...

On Thursday, Jonathan was driving home from working out of town when he stopped to get gas. After filling up, he was unable to get his car restarted. Poor Audrey (the Audi) just couldn't get it going, so Jonathan was forced to call a tow truck, and have Audrey towed to a local repair shop. And there he sat...all afternoon...waiting for Audrey to come back to life.
Unfortunately, Audrey needed a part that would not be there until Friday afternoon. So, Jonathan's dad so kindly went to pick him up, and the kids and I went up to Grammy and Papa's to pick Jonathan up from their house....It was a long day!
Audrey the Audi has given it a good run...she is almost 9 years old, and has over 130K miles on her. Sadly, I think her time may be up.

And today, Maggie had surgery on her front leg to remove a growth. It was a full-blown surgery that required her being put under. She is home recouping - but looks pathetic. Poor Maggie!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friends for Anna

As I was preparing our March newsletter for MOPS , I got to thinking about friends (because it is our theme for the month). Anyway - I have been embarrassingly blessed with so many great friends throughout my life. I have friends from all over the country because we moved around so much while growing up. Friends from grade school, friends from High School, friends from college and friends from my 'grown-up' life. I have never been the coolest, or most popular, or a social butterfly by any means -- but I have always had a place to fit in, and always at least one person around who didn't care that I was such a dork. =)

My best friend, Janae, I have known since 1st grade. (She must really love me because she has seen me through a lot.) I really miss being able to see/talk to her on a regular basis - though we do keep in good contact via email. (Praise the Lord for such a great invention!!) But I still find it amazing that Janae and I have been friends for over 25 years.

And then my thoughts turned to Anna (as they usually do), and I started wondering about what kind of friends is she going to have. Will she be accepted and be friends with many 'typical' children? Will she have a 'best friend'? I obviously hope and pray that she does. She is such a sweet girl - it is hard not to love her!

I hope and pray that for Charlie and Paige, also - though I do not worry about them so much - even though I probably should!

Friends are important.

Check out these two girls -- so beautiful, so typical (though they are not)-- and obviously great friends!

Update by Lori on 3/11/09 1:45 pm

I had to include an adendum to the previous post because we just had a playdate at our house for Paige and her 'new best friend' Lily -- who she calls 'Aunt Lily'. Lily's older sister Payton is in Charlie's class, and they just moved in behind us. Lily and Paige are just days apart in age, and they will be going to school together next year.

It was really cute watching them play. Lily is a little more quiet and reserved, whereas Paige is loud and outgoing. They played ponies, and dress-up. Then they had 'Lunch Bunch'. And after lunch they played many rousing rounds of Hullabaloo (love this game!!).

Maybe Paige and Lily will be best friends? Either way - it was fun to watch Paige interact with other kids. I was proud at how well she shared and included Lily in everything. =)

Littlest Heroes - update

We have a photographer for our Littlest Heroes Project! Her name is Carrisa Marks and here is a link to her website. I am very excited!! http://www.carissadawn.com/

Fish Tales

Charlie got a fishing pole for his birthday -and he cannot wait to go fishing! He and Jonathan went to the fishing store yesterday and bought Jonathan a new fishing pole (Happy Birthday, Jonathan!) -- and so they are all set to go reel in the big one!

Charlie has been practicing his casting off the deck -- and he even found a 'pond' to fish in!

Little Girls...

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice -- That's what Little Girls are Made of.

Well -- Paige is usually showing off her 'Spicy' side -- but she does have a super-sweet side too. The other day I had Paige try on her Easter dress to see if it is the right size, and she immediately turned 'girly' -- spinning and dancing around, twirling and singing. Then she wanted to go try on all of her other dresses and dance and twirl.

She also wanted to dress up Anna, as I have a couple of matching outfits for them -- but Anna was sleeping and unable to participate in the Sugarfest.

I love little girls!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Have Teeth!

Anna's first tooth finally popped through today - with the second close behind! No pictures yet -- the teeth are on the bottom and hard to get a glimpse at because she likes to have her tongue hanging out. I will work on it, though.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Moving Backwards to Move Forwards

Every Friday morning, Anna has developmental therapy: a combo. of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Because she has Down syndrome, Anna is automatically eligible for Early Intervention services. Anna has some developmental delays, but she is steadily making progress each day.

In our session this morning, Anna's therapist, Ms. Jeanette, was excited to see Anna inching backwards. Apparently, moving backwards is a step closer to moving forwards. In the pictures, you will see Ms. Jeanette helping Anna to learn to move forwards. We will be needing to baby proof the house again in no time!

You may also notice Anna's hot pink 'hip helpers'. These are to help Anna keep her right hip from flailing out as she likes to do. She only wears them when she is on the floor playing.

Other things to note about Anna's development: She has her first tooth (bottom front) just about ready to pop through. She has mastered eating food from the spoon, and is getting better at eating solid foods that she has to 'chew' (puffs, bananas, peas, etc.). She is still not able to feed them to herself, but we are working on that -- I am praying that she will be able to feed herself her 1st birthday cake!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Littlest Heroes

I am so excited about our Little Heroes photoshoot. The Littlest Heroes Project is a way of honoring children who are facing and dealing with physical challenges -- in Anna's case, Down syndrome.
I have selected my photographer(s), and am now just waiting to hear back to see who and when he/she is available. I can't wait see how they capture Anna's (and the rest of the family's) beauty and personality.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will It Flush?

Paige, my high-spirited, curious, independent, and often mischievous middle child, has a new take on David Letterman's 'Will It Float?"
Paige has been playing 'Will It Flush?' Here is a list of some the items I have either plucked out or plunged on through over the past couple of days....

- half a roll of toilet paper (Plunge)
- My Little Pony: Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash (Plucked - Though I am willing to bet Pinkie Pie would have made it through)
- Graham Crackers (Flush -- no plunging required)
- A Sock (Plucked -- but am pretty sure it would have plunged)
- Rubber Duckies (Plucked -- and they float!)

Stay tuned for future episodes of "Will It Flush?"

What's in a Name?

Many people ask how Anna got her nickname, Anna Banana Pants. Anna Banana is a given - but where did the 'Pants' come from?

From Dora the Explorer, of course!

“A Crown for King Bobo”
Dora and Boots set out to help King Juan el Bobo find his lost crown, so they can all go to his Mami’s birthday party. The friends take a silly adventure that finds them singing to the snapping crocodiles, running past a fountain without getting splashed and saying banana pants’ to wild turkeys to make them laugh. In the end, King Bobo remembers everything and makes it to Mami’s party just in time.

So - now we call Anna anything from Anna Banana Pants, to 'The Pants' -- as in, "I will give Charlie a Paige a bath, and you've got 'The Pants'."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Places She Will Go!

This is my first ever blog. Not sure what I plan to write...but thought I would give it a try. The main reason I started this blog is to chronicle the life of Anna - my youngest daughter. She has Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21). I am hoping to spread awareness, and therefore, acceptance, of individuals with special needs.

Below is poem I wrote a couple of weeks after Anna was born. I was nursing her in the middle of the night and questioning God for the umpteenth time as to why he had chosen me to be the mother of a special needs child. Why me? Why her? God answered by reminding me that he will always be here for me -- and for her. He made her perfectly, and it was no mistake!

The Places She Will Go!

We are pleased to introduce to you
Anna Kathleen.
She surprised us three weeks early
On April 15

A good and perfect gift from
God up above,
We welcome her into our lives with
Much joy and endless love.

Fearfully and wonderfully made
By our God in heaven,
Instead of 46 chromosomes,
He gave her 47.

Known as Downs Syndrome,
Or Trisomy 21,
The blessings Anna will bring us
Have only just begun.

We share this news with you
Not out of sadness or despair,
But so you will know, and so you can pray,
And because we know you care.

Anna, though special,
Is like any little girl.
Just needing a little extra help
To make it in this world.

We are tickled pink to have Anna,
And can’t wait to watch her grow.
We will watch with amazement at
The Places She Will Go!