Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the road again.........

Tonight I'm logging in from a Quality Inn in Kennewick WA. I'm on a short 1 night trip for work. This has been my first trip since April and it is good to get out of the office. Previously I was traveling way to much. I'm so thankful that my current position has way less travel and hope it stays this way.

Todays meetings have not been overly stimulating but tomorrow I have to present a 2 hour breakout with my coworker Randi. UGH!! I have to admit I have tapped into my inner geek and not only created a couple of flow charts for this but enjoyed it.

While I love my boys to death I have to say I'm looking forward to a nights sleep in a huge bed that I don't have to share with anyone. No snoring husbands, no stinky boys that insist on kicking you, stealing the covers and ocassionally using the bed for a bathroom. It is good for mommy's mood to have a night off and a comfy bed. So on that note I'm off to bed. Night night ----- don't let the bed bugs bite.

Monday, October 27, 2008

21 Lessons Learned

I wanted to post something in honor of Down syndrome awareness month that was meaningful. This is my attempt to share my thoughts on what it is to have a child with Down syndrome. A couple weeks back I posted a list of 21 things about Riley. Well this list is 21 things that I have learned from having a child with Down syndrome.

1. Find a Dr. you can trust and stick with them. I feel a bit like our pediatricians are a part of the family. I see them on a very regular basis especially now that cold season has started with Asthma boy and his side kick wheezy.

2. Cliches not to use in a time of stress. My friend Amy and I think that we will make millions when we publish the book that started with just a list of things not to say to Mary. (cause wow was I pregnant and moody when I discovered Riley would have Down syndrome) Since Amy and run neck and neck for the coveted Drama Queen title we have a list for most crisis situations.

3. Who my friends are. I have some really amazing friends.

4. How much my mom means to me. Growing up I don't ever remember not liking my parents like most teenagers do but we have certainly grown much closer in the last several years. I don't know how I would have managed to get Riley to therapy twice a week for the last year with out my mom's help.

5. OT, PT, Cognitive therapy - and a zillion other ways to "play" with Riley to help his development. I think we should rename it all and call it Play therapy. Maybe it would seem so over whelming if I was just headed to play date a couple times a week.

6. How to fight with my insurance company and occasionally win. So I can't believe I'm actually typing this and please don't be too offended by it. Riley started weekly PT and Speech therapy on Valentines Day, he was 10 weeks old. In approximately May all of his speech therapy was denied and I mean all of it. I guess it took 3 months to figure out a reason not to pay for it. They had no issue paying for the PT but wouldn't pay for the speech because it wasn't "corrective" in nature. So I had fought with several people and this poor fool that answered the phone at Cigna this particular day got an earful. He was going on and on about how if Riley had been speaking before and then lost his speech they would be more then happy to pay for his therapy. It was when he asked me how much Riley was talking that I lost it totally. After I asked the agent if he new many 4 month old children that could talk I possibly added something like'll teach to retarded children to walk but not to talk. I was so angry all I could think of was that Riley could get all the help he needed to learn the physical side of things but we wouldn't want him to get to advanced and speak clearly. OK like I said not one of my better moments but still I did eventually get the therapy paid for.

7. Children with Down syndrome tend to have the cutest hands and feet ever. How can you not fall in love with the short chubby little things.

8. It isn't a good think to growl at everyone who tells you that those kids are so loving. This is one of the items that belong on the list that Amy and I have made. This is just one of those statements that drive me insane. I would like to think that my children would and are both loving and happy because they live in a loving home. We might be crazy but we are loving :-)

9. Don't take things for granted.

10. Notice the little accomplishments in life.
When Rex was tiny we just took it for granted that we would moved from milestone to milestone. I wish I would have paid more attention to the details.

11. Small inside jokes can take on a life of there own. I was so tired of people talking about Riley as "one of those" or "they" that I may have freaked out one evening over dinner when Justin and I had escaped on a date night and were out to dinner with Jeremy and Angie. Well, in a totally off color and yet hysterically funny way Jeremy points out to me that a family we happened passed had a child with Down syndrome, but it went more like "Hey Mary! they got one of them kids too!!!" and with that it started. We often joke with our other friends that have "one of them". I think I have everyone around me paranoid about making generalizations about Riley.

12. The bond between brothers is immediate and very strong.
I have been amazed by Rex and the instant total and complete love he has for Riley. I have no doubt that he will always be his protector. I have been worried about how having a brother with Down syndrome will affect Rex... so far I don't think he realizes that all babies aren't just like Riley. If he does he certainly doesn't let on. Rex gets so excited when Riley learns something new, he has a huge sense of pride in teaching Riley. Since I was pregnant with Riley, Rex has had a list of items he will teach Riley. He is currently about to check off "teach Riley to walk" and then I think he is moving on to riding a bike. Both of these activities are entirely more exciting than teach him to sit on the sofa which was his first item on the list after I explained that Riley wouldn't be able to walk and ride his bike for quite a while after he came home from the hospital.

13. I used to think that I was pro choice and proud of it. I have always thought I though I could personally not terminate a pregnancy it was not my place to decide what other women did. Not too terribly long ago I had a couple of encounters with people that were facing a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis and were leaning to termination. I now know that I am not pro choice. How could you possibly terminate Riley. It is personally offensive to think about.

14. I could adopt. One of my worst fears before I had children was that I wouldn't be able to conceive my own child and I would have to decide if I was able to adopt a child. I have two adopted sisters and it has not always been a bed of roses. When I hear the statistic that 90% of pregnancies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are terminated I am sick. I know that I could take any one of those children and raise them as my own.

15. Sign language- I love the signing times videos and so do both my boys. Rex has picked up a ton of signs very quickly. He is much better at it than I am. I think it is so cool though that my family and friends are trying to learn Riley's signs too.

16. 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35 Not could could it happen to me at 30 but it did and I'm by far not the youngest of my friends to have a child with Down syndrome. We have so much education to do still.

17. My house will never be clean. EVER
I'm not known for my housekeeping skills but I attempt once in while but seriously they should make a carpet that goldfish crackers and cheerios blend in with better.

18. My fear was a waste of energy.
I was so afraid of having a child with Down syndrome. If only I new then what I know now. I wasted a lot of time crying and afraid of what our life would be life and what Riley's life would be. If only I new how wonderfully normal and crazy it would be all at the same time. I wish everyone that knew they were having a child with Down syndrome could meet a child like Riley. Then they would understand.

19. Journaling is a stress reliever for me. While I love Riley to pieces he has also brought some added stress to my life. It is a challenge to keep up with his therapy schedule and Rex's soccer schedule plus any other activities going on and not feel a bit like I'm running in circles. I'm so glad I have found something to help me process it all.

20. I'm a sap. Who knew I could be that excited to see a new born baby latch on to a pacifier. Woo hoo he could suck and that means he'll be able to eat. Or be moved to tears watching a child roll over for the first time. Not only have I been so excited for every new milestone but I see and appreciate them so much more when I see other children do them.

21. I would not trade my crazy life for anything! We have our moments but I wouldn't trade my three boys for anything. I have a wonderful husband that I love dearly, and two hysterically funny boys.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Born to Play Soccer

Rex has been playing soccer for the first time this fall. His cousin Krystal and her friend Jessica are coaching and the entire team has had a blast. Saturday was the last game of the fall and we were able to capture some video. Rex tells me on a regular basis that he was "BORN TO PLAY SOCCER". It has been fun to see him get so excited over the whole thing. He has even decided to be a soccer player for Halloween. I even socred and found him a Bekham jersey at Ross this weekend. Gotta love a $10 costume.

Rex is on the Green team, but take note of the size of two of the boys on the yellow team. Rex is pretty average height for 6 year olds and those boys were HUGE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friendship Friday 1st Edition

For my first edition of Friendship Friday I have decided to share my friend Christine. She is one of the closest and dearest friends that I have and she lives what seems like a million miles away in Montana.

I first met Christine when we were both checking out Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. We were scared little 17 year olds getting ready to choose our first step to being a real grown up. COLLEGE??????? So we both arrived at what was called Taste of Rocky and hit it off instantly. It was as if we had grown up together. We sat up talking for hours and hours and had so much in common. Well months later when school starts we both end up living in the same dorm and I lived next door to her best friend from childhood. That alone is an entire other story. In the first year at Rocky we had a lot of adventures. Christine learned about how competition and jealousy can kill a friendship and I found Justin. Christine was already dating Brian, and they were already sure they would be married eventually. In December Justin enters the pictures and we have been forever a crazy foursome of friends. Brian is also a story all of his own. Not very many of my friends husbands will I have as long as conversation with as the friend I was trying to reach. Brian in an amazing guy and takes such good care of Christine and his family.

I'll fast forward this story and highlight some of the adventures we have had together. Our friendship has lasted through Christine and her tour of Montana colleges. I believe it took her 3 different schools to finally finish. We were both bridesmaids in each others weddings. With the wedding enters an entire additional family for Justin and I. Christine and Brian's families both take us in like we have always belonged. We were invited to all the big events including Christmas mass and the beloved Amestoy family Christmas Eve gift exchange and had gifts under the tree. We also spend many a 4th of July with the family and I think that might rival Christmas for importance with this family. It is a special special day of eating, drinking and friendship. I still lived in Billings when Christine and Brian's oldest son was born. He turns 9 in Feb. It is hard to believe that I have been away for that long. I am pretty sure it was a routine Dairy Queen blizzard run and American Pie that made Christine go into labor. I guess laughing until your side hurts will do that. Christine and Brian were the first of any of my friends to have a baby and wow were we all instantly in love with Austin. On more than one evening I called to see if I could come rock MY baby. That is when I learned about the stress reducing factors of cuddling a sleeping infant.

Well since we have left Billings Christine and Brian have had 3 additional children and Justin and I have had our two boys. We have made several trips each over those mountains for special occasions. The first Thanksgiving after Rex was born Christine and Brian made the trip over to be Rex's Godparents and attend the baptism. We made a similar trip a few summers back for the big 4th of July celebration and to be Mckalya's Godparents.

I think one of the moments that sticks out in my mind as showing what a wonderful friend Christine is was when we learned that Riley would have Down syndrome. When my blood work came back abnormal and Justin and I decided to have the amniocentesis it was a very crazy time in my life. I new NOTHING about Down syndrome and honestly hadn't planned to change that fact. To say I was totally and complete freaked out was an understatement. Over the years I have joked that Christine has ESP and always knows when I need her to call the most well she sure did use her ESP this time. Justin and I had told some of our closest friends here and family of course but had choose not to broadcast it across the land until we had been able to have the amnio and knew for sure what we were really dealing with. I had decided for some unknown reason not to call Christine. I think I new that I wouldn't be able to hold it together and really all she would get was to listen to me sobbing in the phone. Well almost three weeks go by and I was waiting impatiently for Justin to come home so we can go to our appointment with the genetic counselor. We had gotten the confirmation the evening before but had an appointment that morning to get the rest of the story. As I was pacing around the house trying to pretend I wasn't a wreck the phone rings and it is Christine. When she asks how everything is going and I shoot back with "are you sitting down?" As we talk and I share all of the information that I had been holding in over the last few weeks she is so wonderful. She doesn't stay all the stupid stuff about how she is sorry or that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. She simply says "Mary its going to be alright, we'll do this together". So what does she do. She goes out and buys the same book that the genetic counselor gave us she will know what I'm talking about it. She asks all kinds of questions in such a loving way. She never trys to solve it just listens and experiences it with me. She does call and hound me for pictures often but that is because it took forever to get them. She listens to all the details as I blab on and on about all the exciting things that Riley is doing and always marvels at them with me. She has never once asked me "what tricks can Riley do now". For those of you who know me well you will understand how much this means to mean. I love to show off Riley's accomplishments but please be patient I promise I'll share all the exciting things he is up to. Christine also call to tell me about what her kiddos are up to and brags about them. It hasn't become a friendship about Riley. She often asks about Rex and the entire family. She has knows from day one that while Riley is special both my boys are my world as all 4 of her kiddos are hers. She even still loves me after I told her how crazy she was for having so many. Though I can't imagine the world with out the four beautiful kiddos I also don't envy her life of 4 kids to clean up after or organize or get to soccer practise. I have enough of my own issues with the two I chance around. I think that is the beauty of our friendship. We are both very different people but we compliment each other well. I love you Christine!

The whole clan came to visit us in Spokane and we spent a fun day at Manito Park.

Getting this many kiddos to sit still is not an easy task.

Riley and I visited for a "work" trip. Christine watch Riley so I could go to work and then I added a day or two extra on to the trip. Love it!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Green and Yellow and Slimy

My house is invested with buggers again. I have a feeling this is going to be a long winter for Riley. We have barely been semi healthy for a week and the buugs are back. I feel like bleaching the house top to bottom to kill what ever is getting him.

Yesterday evening he sneezed and I had got the gift of popcorn spewn all over my face. Today he gave Christina the gift of coughing up the yellow yummies in addition to the tuna he has eaten for lunch. I'm pretty sure that was when I got the phone call. Poor lil guys just needed some cuddles from mom but still no need to gag the nanny.

Sure hope he is feeling well enough to go to school tomorrow. I hate it when he misses.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pay it forward

A week or so ago my blogging friend Kristen had an amazing story of her ability to donate breast milk that she was unable to use for her own daughter Cayman. You can read her story at The Beautiful Cayman Cindy: My Breasts Save Lives#links

She challenged all of us to pay it forward. I put a lot of thought in to this challenge. The conclusion that I came to was that when I do thing for others I tend to do them for people I know. Simple things like buying a coworker a coffee or taking a friend to lunch. Things that I don't usually think of as being life changing. I've sent a couple of Hallmark cards recently and have had multiple people tell me that I totally made their day. How fun is that, a simple card changing some one's day. So lesson one that was learned is that it really is the small things sometimes that make a different.

Realization two.....Kacey and I did pay it forward with our garage sale. We donated all of the children's clothes to Catholic Charities CAPA program. My sister in law just happens to be be the Director. The Childbirth and Parenting Alone program serves single moms that need a little extra help. They can access mental health counseling, parenting classes and a clothing bank for maternity and children's clothes just to name a few services. So, I mentioned that my sister in law is the Director, well that might have a little bit to do with why my mom volunteers in the clothing room. Today my mom let me know that she had a mom come into the clothing room that was able to use a lot of the clothing that we had donated. So even though I didn't think I was doing anything that had the potential to impact lots of strangers that I will never know I really have made a difference.

OK So here is the funny portion of this story. I was so focused on having to pay it forward to someone that I didn't know I ended up giving the girl at the coffestand a gift card at Fred Meyers. I figured that she could buy gas, food, or really anything she truly needed. So yesterday when I stopped she tells me that she has a funny story to tell me. She had gone to Fred Meyers to use the gift card and buy something fun for herself. She picked out a kart full of things and ends up spending about $100 on stuff and then proceeds to forget to use the gift card. So my attempt to make life a little less stressful ended up costing her money. OOPS! I did tell her that her job was to pay it forward to 3 people. I'll keep you posted if she shares her work.

Thanks for inspiring us Kristen!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Check up

Rex had his six year check up tonight after soccer practice. I know it will be an action packed evening because I have to leave soccer a little early to get to the clinic in time. We have the most amazing pediatrician's office. They keep regular office hours until 8pm Monday through Thurs and even open half days on Saturday. I can't even count how many urgent care visits they have saved us. 

So over all I have a very healthy six year old that weighs in at almost 59 pounds and is almost 46 inches tall. Right on track with his growth pattern.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dance Fever

Last night we had dinner with our Down Syndrome Support Group. AKA my friends Rebecca and Nathan and there adorable kiddos Elliot (4) and Elizabeth (10 months) and Kacey was also able to join us, but her husband was working. Kacey brought her kiddos the Amazing Ella Grace and her adorable big brother Hunter (4).

Elliot and Elizabeth have a dance party in the evening before bed so Elliot shared on of his favorite songs with us. All of the kids got in on the action and had a great time, and the parents all had tummy aches from laughing so hard.

Thanks to Kacey for bringing her camera we were able to get video of the dance fest. I stole this from her blog. Enjoy!!

View this montage created at One True Media
My Montage 10/19/08

Sunday, October 19, 2008

temporarily untitled

I have seen lots of other blogs that have themes on certain days of the week. Well I think that I will start my own cause that's just the way I am. So I've been thinking about what I should call my days. I'm open for some suggestions... some I was pondering are Sappy Sundays, Friendship Friday's, Wacky Wednesday (that one is just cause I hate the Wordless Wednesday when those of of you put up a picture and don't share anything with it) I want more details than that. I'm nosey I guess. So for today I'm going with a hybrid that could fit on Friendship Friday but I'm going for Sappy Sunday because today is Sunday and frankly I don't want to wait until Friday.

At different points in the last few years I have given a lot of thought to what friendships look like, all the different types of friends that I have and those that I thought I had. The last few years have had a lot of bumpy times...just to give you the high points we have had a car stolen out of my driveway, lost a sister to a possible suicide, had a child with down syndrome, and had a lengthy list of friends with crazy pregnancies. I was beginning to think that no one would have a non stressful pregnancy that ended with a healthy baby and no surprises. While none of these things by them self would make a person come to a crashing halt after a while the weight does start to add up. I think my dad says it best when he said "ya just when you think you are going to get your head above water some asshole walks by and pushes you back under". All of these are just a few of the times over the last few years that I have to examine the friendships in my life. It amazes me how many times you think someone is a really close friends and when life throws you a curve ball they run the other way. I hope I am never this friend to anyone. I have also learned that not all friends are the same. I have lots of different types of friends. It has taken me a long time to figure out how to balance my friends. I have my "special" friends and this is a term I use to refer to my friends that I have met because of Riley having Down syndrome, and I have my regular friends of which most I have through work or through different things with Rex. At first I couldn't find the balance because it was if I was living in two different worlds. What I have come to find out is that is was my friends love me for me and that includes the person I have become since Riley was born. I don't think that my entire personality has changes but I do think I have some different views of parenting and life since Riley's birth. I also think that my relationship with God has changed. This become apparent today as I sat in church and pondered my life and my friends and some of the different issues my friends and I are going through. I am trying to work on letting go of the things in my life that I have no control over and asking Jesus to help with the burden. There are somethings that I will never have answers for and I guess that is the whole point, I have to have faith that God will lead me down the path that I need to travel. God has brought me some very special friends that have made my life easier and much more fun.

OK so I have babbled a long time about my friends and so I will try to create my Friendship Friday and highlight one of my BFF's and what they mean to me. OK I'm going to bed tonight because I don't think this is going to make much more sense. More soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baby in a box

Man a live this 31 for 21 challenge is difficult some days. It is hard to always find something worth sharing. So today I'll tell a funny/scary stupid moment on myself.

Well, Kacey and I were trying to finish this garage sale that got rained out a few weeks back. We got rid of a ton of treasures aka crap and made a few bucks so over all it was a success. We were packing up and getting ready to make a run to Good Will with the leftovers and Justin was across the street loading my moms car with tables, Kacey was literally stuffing my van full and my mom walked off to help Justin. Well that left me on Riley duty and this would be the part that I didn't realize. I guess they all told me they were walking off and I spaced it as I searched for something inside the garage. This would be the point that I hear Justin bellowing my name. Well, being the typical wife I tuned him out cause I thought we was yelling at me to help load something and I figured he could wait cause I was busy with my own thing. Well come to find out he didn't need help he was yelling at me because Riley was crawling out into the street and there was a car coming. Seriously I think all of us the adults had heart attacks. How is it possible that the only person that can't walk is the one that is fast enough to make it to the street with no one noticing. I think Justin realized why we had put Riley in the Rubbermaid box earlier in the day. It isn't like we put the lid on and we gave him toys. Geezsh!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Songs that will melt your heart!

My blogging friend Kristen sent me this link that someone had shared with her.

Check out this video: Brittanys Song

I knew I recognized the singer and had heard him sing about his daughter before. Well I found the song I had heard. As you can seen his daughter has grown into a beautiful young lady. I also found an interesting interview he did about his daughter.

Thanks for sharing Kristen!

Check out this video: Sometimes Miracles Hide

Check out this video: Brittanys Song

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Preparing for arrival of Catagory 5 Hurricane Riley

Well as many friends have had fun pointing out if Riley is going to be walking soon, I'd better prepare for a hurricane like I've never seen before. So, while I was at the store this evening I bought some supplies: the new Advanced Secret, (ya know the kind for women that think they sweat to more that normal), Oreos and new shoes for Riley. I figure the Oreos will make up for anything that the deodorant doesn't take care of.

Riley wants to be up walking around.......well that is right up until I want to take pictures. So here is what we could get of Riley showing off his new walking skills.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Light a Candle

Today, October 15, is the National Day of Remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss. In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, it has been suggested that grieving parents and family members light a candle at 7 p.m. in their respective time zones to create a wave of light around the world in memory of babies lost to pregnancy and infant loss. Would you join me in this today?

I'm lighting my candle for my good friend Jamie and all the other moms out there with an aching heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Velcro no match for Hurricane Riley

Well it was a good idea but not only can Riley take the toys off after I Velcro them down to the table but he also thinks that the table is a chair. Riley had free reign of the living room this morning while I helped Rex get ready for school. As I was tucking Rex's shirt in I look over to see Riley using the stool to climb up on his new table. So, naturally I move the stool away since I can't be right there with him. Well, that slows him down for all of about 2 seconds. Rex and I then watch him immediately move back to the table and contemplate how he will get up on it. He then throws his legs up and manages to climb right up. The table is no match for Riley. While it is great to watch his problem solving skills I just wish he a little bit of an idea of safety, or listened when I told him to stay down.

Christina also helped him show off his new skilz when I arrived home from work. She has been helping Riley practise his walking. He now can walk across the room holding on to one hand. He is sooo close to walking. I sure hope I can keep up with him once he is totally independent.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Play time

This evening I thought I would take a quick video of Rex and Riley playing at the new table that I fashioned. I had this wonderful idea that if I Velcro Riley's toys down they do at school it would help him from throwing them as much. Well the idea is good in theory but you must have to use industrial strength Velcro. At least it slows him down a little. Plus the table and stool are the perfect height for him to practise. He also needs motivation to play standing up and this will help with that as well. I need to dig out the Little people farm that Rex had and get it up on the table so we can work on our pretend play with the farm animals too. Anyway, while I was taking the video of Riley, Rex decided that I need to film him too because he wanted to introduce himself and talk about Riley. Notice the change in blog name too, I guess I wasn't including him enough.

Note the handsome new shirt that Riley is wearing... he arrived home from Christina's wearing it. She was so sweet she came and picked up Riley this morning because Justin and I are both fighting this nasty cold. When she arrived this morning she had a new winter coat that she had found on sale this weekend and this evening he arrives home in a new shirt. How unbelievably sweet she is.

PS On a totally different subject I had the nicest woman approach me and the boys after church yesterday. She came up and introduced herself and her son who happens to have Down syndrome. It was so sweet. She wasn't all crazy and weird she simply said it is an amazing journey. How well stated is that. She also mentioned that her son also had been diagnosed with diabetes at 10 months. Colby then turns to me and says - "well that's been half the battle". I was so pleased to hear him speak so clearly and have a sense of humor. He smiled at me as they walked about as if to say - Hey is all going to be fine.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy 90th Birthday Gramma Elsie

I have been working on my first photo montage. Could there be a better reason to share than Riley's Great Gramma's 90th birthday.

Elsie I hope you enjoy the pictures of your great Grandsons. I haven't been the greastest about sending pictures so this will catch you up on the last 2 years on any that you have missed. I promise I'll post pictures often so you won't miss any more of your little guys.

I wish we could be with you to celebrate your 90th. What an wonderful reason to celebrate. I can only imagine all you have seen and experienced over the last 90 years. I only hope I am as fiesty as you are when I'm 90.

Love you!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

21 Things About Riley

Get It Down; 31 for 21

Yes, I'll admit I'm a copy cat. Here is my list of 21 things about Riley. Rex is going to help me write it.

1. He has an amazing big brother named Rex!

2. He was born on Nov. 30th 2006 - 4 weeks early - (ask Justin why he will never mop the floor again - no my water didn't break)

3. Riley spent two week in the NICU where big brother and family visited every day. He was kept company by the baseball bear that Rex picked out for him.

4. He babbles and talks all the time and rarely is quiet. Except when he says his cousin Cheyenne's name is a whisper Chey Chey.

5. His favorite snack is gold fish crackers. Complete with the sign and blither blither sound that fish make.

6. Rex tells me that Riley's next favorite food is raisin.

7. Riley loves to wrestle with Rex. They make Grampa very nervous when they do this routine. They roll around and flip and flop but Riley always pops up. It is amazing.

8. Riley's only tv show he is interested in is Signing Times. He loves the music.

9. Riley loves most music. Right now his favorite song is Isty Bisty Spider. He has great hand motions - but you have to sing quickly to keep up with the signs.

10. He loves to "help" me on the computer.

11. Riley can sense when we leave the gate to the kitchen open. He usually goes straight to the basement door when he sneaks in. If not he stops to play with his Leapfrog animal noise maker barn door thingy. Occasionally he sneaks over to unroll the garbage bags in the bottom door.

12. He can also hear us the moment the bathroom door cracks open. He loves to take baths so he is obsessed with getting in there. Thankfully he usually goes past the toilet and moves on to the tub when he sneaks in. If you shut the door before he makes it over he folds himself in half and trys to look under the door. Then you see his fingers wiggling under the door. It is a little like having a cat.

13. Riley has a smile that will melt your heart. There are several versions of it but our fav is the squishy face.

14. Rex can always make him laugh and smile. The current favorite tactic is to flip him upside down and shake him and Riley giggles and giggles and giggles.

15. Riley was born with two syntactical fingers. He had them separated this last May at Shriner's here in Spokane.

16. Riley thinks that Da Da's bald head is a bongo drum. He gets a nice slapping sound from it. Sometimes he also likes to lick the bald head. YUCK

17. He had a great tickle spot under his chin.

18. Riley laughs on command most days. When you ask him if he is a funny boy he laughs.

19. Riley is a wonderful sleeper. He usually is good for 12 hours a night an a minimum of a 2 hour nap. This is cut back dramatically from the 2-3 naps a day he would take.

20. Riley doesn't walk quite yet but he does crawl everywhere and tries to climb most everything. There are some good things about having those short legs.

21. Hurricane Riley leaves a path of destruction behind him where he goes. I can only imagine what a category 4 Hurricane Riley looks like when he starts walking. Good thing he is so stinkin cute. It saves him each and every day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Riley Giggles

This is not an unusual site in our house. Rex loves to make Riley laugh and this is one sure fire way to do it. Yes, I know it is side ways. I'm still learning about how to take videos with our camera.

Clown Car

Well a few weeks ago we bought Justin a small little car for bombing around town. It is a older Nissan Sentra that gets over 30 miles to the gallon. Much better than the old Jeep he has been driving. So if you know of anyone that needs a 93 Jeep Wagoneer for the winter give us a call. We can make you a terrific deal. Anyway, I ended up driving his new little car to work this morning. And when I say little I mean it. I am fairly tall, not huge, but tall enough that people assume I have long legs. I so do not!!! So I am driving this tiny little car with the seat pushed way up so I can reach all the pedals and look ridiculous. It is like having my very own clown car. Ask Justin to sign the jingle for you cause he will :-) Well as if I don't look silly enough driving this thing I proceed to kill it twice in the drive though at Starbucks. Yes, it is a stick and I am completely out of practise driving a stick. The coffee took pity on my a put stopper things in the lids so I would lose any coffee on the way to the office with my lurchy stick shift driving.

This entire morning drive reminded me of a my very first trip to Spokane in a stick shift. My dad insisted that I learn to drive a stick before anything else. It worked out well because the car I ended up having to drive was a stick. I did alright with it but not actually growing up in Spokane I was super scared of driving in traffic. Makes me giggle thinking about it now because there isn't really traffic in Spokane compared to large cities but when you grow up in a town of 500 having another car on the road is traffic. So I con my cousin into going with me on my first trip to Spokane.... some how I could make her do anything. Well we headed downtown and the trip was fine until we got off the freeway. The darn stop lights were the death of me. I was at about my second light and I proceed to kill the car and then can't start it. I must have killed it about a dozen times. There is something difficult about holding the clutch in when your leg is shaking so intensely. It took me an entire cycle at the light with people honking at me to make it through. Talk about traumatic for a 16 year old. It has been good for some laughs over the years but I nearly killed Aimee and I that night. Thankfully there was someone looking out for us. Ah Good times!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hopefully this video of the boys playing will come through. Riley is laughing hystericallly playing with big brother Rex.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Addendum to yesterday's post

I've been thinking about this all day and it is driving me crazy. I bragged a lot about my nanny Christina, which I do adore. What has been bothering me though is that I have somehow implied that I had less than wonderful childcare in the past. It has actually been the opposite. Over the years I have had two of my closest friends watching the boys at different times. Both Jamie and Angie have taken care of my kiddos like their own. They love on them and care for them wonderfully. I can't even tell you how many fun things Rex has been able to take part in because either Jamie or Angie was willing to take him a long to join in. He was taken to swimming lessons with Angie's kiddos a couple of summers ago, to dinosaur class and countless trips to the park. I have some amazing friends that have always been there for me. I'm not sure what I would have done over the years with out them. I owe them tons and tons for being great friends but it always continues to amaze me that I can call last minute begging for a favor and they both will always take my kiddos. Plus all of our kids have become great friends.

The part of my day that is less stressful with Christina is that she comes to my home. This is the first time we have paid for in home childcare. It saves the kids and myself almost an hour in the car before work allows them to stay in bed that much longer. Since I am not a morning person in the slightest this is the greatest thing ever. I think Rex would agree, since we haven't a screaming fit over putting socks on in months and months.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Everyone should have one!

Get It Down; 31 for 21

OK so this afternoon Christina calls and I can't answer my cell because I'm leading a short training via conference call. Thankfully I had a short break while someone else was talking and was able to text her and let her know that she needs to call Justin. Quickly my phone starts ringing again and it is Justin, then my office phones starts and then my cell phone again.

So I'm officially panicked. The call finally gets over and I get a hold of Justin. Christina was concerned because Riley had gone down for a nap about 9am and it was currently 1:15pm. She had tried to wake him up and he just was so tired he wouldn't budge. Justin had her get him up and he almost fell back asleep while she changed his diaper. He also started holding his breath. This is the bigger concern to me because of his history with wheezing and trouble breathing. One more episode and he is on matinence meds. He'll get an inhaler just like his big brother. Well he was totally pale and limp and lethargic. Justin made a call to the pediatrician's office and I was too impatient to wait at the office to find out what was going on. By the time I made it home Riley had started perking up. Christina, Justin and I were watching him eat a little bit and he started to smile. I commented that he had us all just where he wanted us and Riley busts out with the evil little giggle. Nothing like making sure everyone has their full attention on you.

The nurse finally called back and wanted us to bring Riley in this evening. Thankfully our pediatrian's office is open until 8 for regular appointments so we made another trip to the Dr after Rex's soccer practise. Riley was a slug all afternoon and during practise. We get to the Dr.'s office and Riley perks up and is all smiles. I am so fustrated with Riley and this stupid cold that doesn't seem to go away. I swear the boogs and coughing stop just as we get to the Dr.'s office.

To the good part of this day. As I rushed home I threw open the door to find the Christina had cleaned the house. Talk about a load off. I have felt like poo the last few days. I think Riley finally shared his cold with me. My house hadn't recovered from this weekend and still looked like a bomb went off in it. One the best things we have done to help take the stress off is to hire Christina to take care of the kids. She is like a little angle that arrives at my house each morning. It was a win win for all of us. The kids love her. I think Rex has his first crush and Riley loves anyone that feeds him and gives him cuddles. Plus she takes a ton of stress out of my life and I have a new friend. I've joked that she is my very own Mary Poppins, but I'm serious if you have to work you should get yourself a Christina to love on your kids while you are gone.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Win a pair of shoes for your kiddo

I stumbled upon this fun blog about Prince Vince. Today you can win a pair of shoes. Check it out. Plus Vince is a doll with T21.

OK Some has to show me to make this link work. I clicked the link button and added the url and it just links me back to my own page. What happened?

Crazy Red Head

Me and the boys. Now I remember why I don't have any pics of all us.

I don't think I want a kiss mama

I tried to take a few pictures to show off the new hair. It is way darker and there is a lot of red. It is amazing how much the blonde highlights that used to be there soaked up the red. All in all I like it. I'm super impressed for a 6 dollar box of color and my friend Randi in a pair of rubber gloves.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I choose to be a child of God!

I had a beautiful morning with Rex this morning. We are all exhausted from the garage sale but today was Rex's first morning of Sunday school so we got up and rolling even when I'd sure rather be in bed. The plan was to take Rex to Sunday school and then go back home and pick up Riley and then when Rex was down with class we would go to church. Yes, just the three of us. Justin is not much of a church goer. Well when I checked in on Riley, Justin told me he was all stuffy and had more boogs every where when he got up so he should probably stay home. It is amazing how much more you get out of church when you aren't having a wrestling match with Hurricane Riley.

I guess I should back this story up a bit and explain that while I grew up in a Catholic house and went to church every Sunday I have I guess, always taken my faith for granted. I have never not believed in God but I have had my ups and downs. When I discovered prenatally that Riley would have Down syndrome I was very angry at God. At first it was anger at how he could do this to us, to me. What did I do that was so bad that I would have a child that would be different and at that time we didn't know what Riley's health would be like. Well Riley is almost two and I am no longer angry but I do have my moments of questioning why. It is no longer about me but why does God allow his children to suffer. Why does Riley have to work harder to do what other take for granted, why is my friend Paula's child deaf, why has little Elliot had to face three open heart surgeries before his third birthday. It is only very recently that I have made my way back to weekly mass.

Justin and I have made the decision for Rex to attend the Catholic elementary school that is block from our house for multiple reason but as the catholic in the family I have to live up to my decision to raise the kids in the church. So in an attempt to make my family part of this church community we have been going to mass, and now starting Sunday school. I want Rex to have a good foundation on which to build his faith and love of Jesus.

So back to my story about church this morning. Father shared a couple of very strong points during his homily. I'm sure I won't say it just right but what I took away from it was that while we all have the option to be a child of God it is up to us to make the decision if we are willing to not only say yes to our Father but also follow up our words with actions. There were lots of things this morning that really stood out to me but the light bulb moment for me was when he was discussing prayer. We must have an active prayer life and talk to God. You can't have a relationship with anyone that you don't talk to, and talk to them even when you aren't having an emergency. That really struck me as something that I do. I tend to be good a praying for people that are struggling, when someone is ill or has lost a loved one. I am not as good at praying and talking to God when life is good. I guess it has been a take take relationship on my part. So when I prayed for a healthy baby and then was told that my baby would have Down syndrome I was mad that I didn't get my way. What I have been slowly learning is that I may not have have the child that I thought I would but I have a lot more. I have a beautiful family, a husband that loves me, two amazing boys that make me laugh every single day, I have friends that hold me up when I stumble.

I think that as Rex and I sat in church this morning I realized that my boys have taught me more about my relationship with God than I knew they could. Tonight I pray that God will continue to bring me peace and quiet in my heart so that I can continue to see his work in my life. Please give me the ability to see what my boys are teaching me and share it with other in my life by the way I live my life.

For all who read this please keep me and my family in your prayers that we will continue to grow in our relationship with God. One of my biggest hopes is that others will be able to see my love of God through my actions and not my words.

I've never been one to talk much about my faith but something is pulling me to have a stronger relationship with God. When I started writing and blogging I have discovered that I can write about my thoughts a lot better than I talk about them. Maybe this will be one way I can grow in my faith.

My husband has been wondering what I am over hear typing away at. It amazes him that I have so much to say that I'll type and type. It is amazing how theraputic this has become. I hope I don't bore anyone that reads this to death.


Ella and Riley had a moment of affection this afternoon and we actually caught it on film. Note the closed mouth kiss from both sides. (very rare for Riley but maybe Ella can teach him) The kids are so cute together. They sometimes are quite intrigued with each other and at other times they bring each other to tears. I guess it is like any other boy girl relationship :-) Riley is intrigued with Ella's hair when she has it in pig tails. He likes to grab it and almost pet it. At least he doesn't yank on it. It is the cutest thing when they sit next to each other at circle time at school and he reaches over to pet her hair as if to say oh so soft, or is he saying what is this stuff and why don't I have it on top of my head. Ella has been doing so much better with Riley and his loud voice. She has started patting his shoulder during circle time and doesn't cry at the site of him. They kids spent a lot of time together this weekend with the garage sale and they did really well most of the time. It wasn't until late this afternoon that Ella started to cry when she was forced to be to close to Riley. At one point she when he was crawling towards her she actually put her hand out and says STOP. It was very funny and sad all at the same time. I wonder what their friendship will be like as they grow up. I hope they find a true friend in each other. It will be nice to know that they will have someone facing similar issues to lean on.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Garage Sale Day 2

Garage sales in the rain are even worse than regular garage sales. We were troopers though and made it out this morning. Kacey arrived at the house with Krispy Cremes in hand this morning - life doesn't get to much better. We then tried to figure out how to strategically place tarps to get the best wind and rain protection. I was totally shocked at how much we did sell during the periods when the sun did come out. We sold enought that it all fit in the garage by the end of the day.

We did add some entertainment to the afternoon when my friend Randi joined us and the hair coloring started. At some point during the day Kacey, Leyna and Christina all convinced me that I should be a red head. Peer pressure is bad!!! Well after a call to Randi she stopped and picked up a new box of color and I went for it. Surprisingly enough I really like the color. I was even brave or stupid enough to let the girls trim up the back of my hair. I'm trying to grow it back out and I was sportin a mini mullet. So between Randi and Kacey they took about an inch off and it looks and feels a ton better. I'll have to share some pictures but I used up all the batteries taking pictures of the kiddos.

Garage Sale Day 1

What was I thinking. Well my mom, my nanny Christina and Kacey and I decided to have a garage sale this weekend. Seriously what were we thinking. To add to the fun my sister in law who works for Catholic Charities decides that she unload all of the storage units from the old daycare on my front lawn. Everyone has been around and helping but some how Kacey and my husband and I were lugging around a lot of other people stuff this evening as we packed up for the day. I know it is for a charity but I may have to charge my sister in law a handling fee. Or at least give her a lot of grief.

Wish me luck on surviving tomorrow. My friend Randi is coming over to dye my hair. I figured that a garage sale wasn't a enough fun for one weekend. Tune in tomorrow for pictures of that little adventure

Day 2 31 for 21

OK So it is only day 2 of this 31 for 21 challenge and I already almost to forgot to post.

Riley and I had a great day together. The sitter was sick so I decided to stay home. Riley and I were able to spend the morning playing and chatting. We watch a couple of Signing Times episodes that I had dvr'd. He loves when the lady sings and is starting to try to imitate a few of the signs. It is fun to watch. Then we took a lovely long nap before starting to gather more stuff up for the garage sale. This evening we made a trip to take Rex to soccer practise. Riley loves to go because he gets to see his little friend Rylie. She is little cutie that is somewhat taken with Riley. So boy Riley and girl Rylie get to "play" twice a week while their big brothers play soccer. After soccer we had a Dr.'s appointment scheduled. I should have cancelled it but I figured with all the buggers and yummy goodness we have had this week while still on antibiotics we should still get it checked out. I love that my pediatricians office stays open until 8 mon-thurs. It is wonderful to be able to take him in the evening and not have to go to an urgent care. While we were there she check out Rex too since he has a bit of the same cold and has been coughing a lot. I hate that it is barely fall and we are already starting our regular Dr. trips. Between Riley's chronic sinus infections and Rex sinus infections and asthma it feels like we live at the Dr office during the winter. I guess I shouldn't complain because it could be SO much worse but it is a bit overwhelming at times. I am very grateful that Rex is getting old enough that he is starting to be able to participate in his health care. He can manage his inhaler by himself now and is starting to be able to identify when he is having troubles breathing. So for tonight I am thankful that the boys are mostly healthy and continue to make me laugh every single day.

Why Why Why

I guess I have had a bunch of pent of blogging issues that I just didn't know needed to come out. I had a long conversation with my forever friend Paula. We have known each other since kindergarten and now are both faced with special needs kiddos and all of the adventure that comes with raising them. Our kids have very different issues, Kailie is hearing impaired (it was caused by a virus that I can never remember the letters for the acronym) and Riley has Down syndrome. I have always felt this special connection with Paula and I and our kids. I went to visit Paula in the hospital when she had Kailie and she took me into the NICU to see the baby. That day neither of us new how our life was going to change. Later that same day the genetics clinic called to tell me that they had the results of the amnio and that Riley has Down syndrome. In one day two families changed for a life time. It seems that Paula and I cycle with with our ups and downs in similar cycles. We sometimes go months with out talking and then out of the blue we will call and the other is in a mood as well. So, after talking with Paula tonight about her little girl and all of the appointments and specialists and the rest of the fun it just brings me back to the question that haunts me. WHY Why God do any of our children have to go through this. When I finally feel like I have come to peace with it all something I read or hear about another child struggling just makes me crazy all over again. It doesn't even have to be incredibly serious but it just pains me to see Paula and her family struggle to make all the appointments, adjust schedules, juggle Dr.'s and then still feel the guilt that they aren't doing everything they need to for their daughter. Why, what are we learning from all of this. I can totally relate to what Paula is feeling. We juggle schedules and appointments and do everything to make sure that Riley has the right toys, and play time and there are days that it still doesn't' feel like enough. What does it all mean?? What is God trying to teach me and my family. Rex is an innocent six year old. What could he possibly have to be taught from having a brother with Down Syndrome. Was there no other way to learn these lessons?? These are just some of the questions I wonder about. I am not really sure if I need an answer but I pray often for peace and quiet in my heart. It seems as if I would be such a better mom if I could focus on today and the future and not be drug down with the why.

Hurricane Riley Strikes Again

I should start by describing my morning.....or maybe week. Justin and I have had a very busy week between the kids, soccer practise, cleaning and getting ready for the garage sale and well just life in general, and yes it is only Wednesday and I'm ready for a long nap. Any way this morning was fairly typical as I rush around trying to get ready for work and deal with the boys. My best mornings are when Riley sleeps in and lets me shower before he wakes but that wasn't the case. So after cleaning enough of the snot off of his face so he can breath a little while he eats I load him up in the highchair get Rex some cereal and turn the cartoons on. I jump in the shower and my goal as with each morning is to be dressed before Christina (Riley's nanny/supper nanny/Mary Poppins) arrives. Well this morning I make a point to shave because it is abnormally warm here in Spokane right now and I didn't want to wear long pants and shoes and socks. So, as all women know that takes a little extra time in the shower to accomplish if you don't want to have scars for life. I should also add that my happy/crazy pills do not seem to be keeping up with my life or my PMS these days. I came to this realization this morning as I'm wanting to kill my husband over leaving a sink full of dishes and leaving me to take care of them and take the garbage out so that Christina doesn't have to spend a day in a stinky house looking at my sink full of dishes. After all they are just dishes not grounds for divorce. Justin has also lost his wallet again, he does this daily and it is my job to run around a find it since he left for work without it so he wouldn't be late. Its OK if I'm late but he has to be on time. I have given up the hunt and as Rex and I are finally rushing out the door to school Justin calls to see if I have found it and has a suggestion as to where I should look I proceed to not take the right street to Rex's school and well honestly forget he is in the back seat of the van and drive clear down the hill instead of taking him to school. This may be one reason that cell phones while driving are now against the law in Washington. Well I finally get Rex deposited at school and make it to the office by way of the coffee stand and get clear into the office before I realize I don't have my laptop. Thankfully I didn't actually leave it at home like I did on Monday I just left it in the car. Seriously I think I'm losing my mind.

So to the point of the story. Christina called a few minutes ago to give me an update on Riley just in case I found strange things in this poop later. She starts by telling me that he had been quite so she thought he was actually sleeping in his crib. Well, she went into get him up and get him dressed for school and discovers that he has destroyed the mobile that hangs over his crib. I had to laugh in relief because I thought the story was going to end with something like well he took his diaper off and rubbed his poop all over. How scary that I was relieved to hear he might have eaten plastic. I figure as long as there was no choking it still sounds better than cleaning poop off of my walls or Riley's crib. This would be why you shouldn't ever leave a mobile over the crib once the kiddos can reach it. Even if they have never paid attention to it before. I think he is just recently been able to reach it while standing up in his crib. YIKES!!! I am so excited that Riley is learning new skills every day but if he would learn appropriate behavior at the same time I would love it even more. Maybe if he would at least acknowledge me when I talk to him and say no instead of just looking at me at cracking a smile. I'm trying really hard not to let him get away with things because he has Down syndrome but it is seriously hard not to bust up laughing when he tilts his head to the side and give you the squishy face smile. The photos below are of crazy smiley faces of Riley and a little bit of the boys wrestling. Did I mention in a house with my three boys and there seems to always be a little bit of wrestling, sword fighting or some sort of other stinky boy activity going on. I am so OUT NUMBERED!

And so it begins........

OK I have finally decided to enter in to the blogging world and give up trying to use myspace. I love to read my friend Kacey's blog and thought this would be a great way to keep my family and friends up to date on the boys and what is going on at the Kibbe house.

My son Riley will be two on November 30th and his cute little toes are what brought Kacey and the Amazing Ella Grace into my life. Riley has Down Syndrome and has the cutest little funny shaped toes. At the time my friend Angie was watching Riley for me while I was at work and she had taken the kids to play at the little toys at the mall. Well, Kacey and had taken Hunter and Ella to play as well and ended up sitting close enough to Angie to see Riley toes. At first she couldn't tell for sure if Riley had Down syndrome and didn't want to say anything just in case. She evidently was looking closely enough that Angie was weirded out that someone was staring at Riley. So when Kacey spotted the toes she knew and as the story goes she "picked" up Riley at the mall. So she and Angie started chatting and right away Angie knew that I would get along great with Kacey. As soon as she could Angie call me to tell me she met a mom with "one of those kids" (that's a whole other un pc story). I put it all together and figured out that I new about Kacey from a mass email one of the moms from Riley's school had sent out. Well thankfully she had her blog address listed so I could go scope out this women that used a pick up lines about my sons toes. Well the rest of the story is history.....or I guess the present since Kacey and I are getting to learn a lot about having a child with Down Syndrome and doing it together. Our beautiful kiddos go to the same school and even ended up in the same toddler group. So I owe to all to Riley's beautiful little toes that I have found a wonderful friend for myself, my children and my husband. (It just so happens that our older kiddos get along as well as our hubbies)

So to all that read our crazy story please know that this story is one that is meant to be a place for me to put my feelings down and sort them out. I never plan to intentionally offend but who knows what pour out in a random weak moment.
So with that here are kisses from Riley.

starting it over

I was having huge issues with my blog so since I had just started it I created another one. With some help from Kacey and some effort on my part I was able to create the new blog and repost the few posts I had on the original. So I lost a couple of comments but not a ton. I was much better than fighting with the formatting.