Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31 - 31 for 21 Day 31

Sunday October 31st 2010 completes my 3rd 31 for 21 challenge.  I'm enjoying a little quite time as Rex is off to a Halloween party and Riley is napping and I thought I'd get my last post of the month up before the craziness of costumes and tricker treating begins.

In my mind this online journal gives me a chance to share a typical family that has had our minds and hearts opened by a little boy with an extra chromosome. We didn't ask for a child with Down syndrome nor did we choose it we simply asked God for the gift of a child and HE knew best what we needed. Little did we know that we needed Riley to complete our family. 

This has been a good month.  I've tried hard to make my posts meaningful and to document our life in a realistic way. I hope I have succeeded in showing how some days our life has everything to do with Down syndrome, but most days it has nothing to do with our life.  During this month each year I have pondered how simple it is for us to reduce Down syndrome to the confinements of a month.  While I "struggle" to post each night I remember that Riley will have Down syndrome each and every day.  He doesn't get to share it only during a special month or when it works for him.  Each and every day he wears Down syndrome on his face.  I am thankful for each and every person that looks past his almond eyes and sees Riley for the spunky little mischievously wonderful boy that he is.  He is special not because he has Down syndrome but because there is something special that shines when he smiles.  Something in those eyes that screams joy and love all wrapped up in a sly little boy. 

This morning in church Riley was quick and slid under the pew in front of me before I could stop him.  The two older couples were quick to smile at him and welcomed Riley to sit with them.  I'm always a bit taken back when Riley so naturally makes himself part of another family sitting near us that we don't know.  He just smiles at them and somehow draws them in as if it was as natural as can be that he is suddenly part of their family.  I've given up trying to slow him down and really wonder at times if this isn't how we all should be.  Really if we were all as quick as Riley to smile and cuddle up next to the stranger sitting in front of us we wouldn't be strangers for long.  This morning after mass as I was apologizing for Riley crawling under the pew the women stops me and says "oh don't be sorry it was great.  I miss my own granddaughter and I enjoyed him sitting with us".  Once again Riley shared a little love and sunshine. 

I am sure that Justin and I will continue to learn ton as we travel this road with Rex and Riley.  I hope that we are able to impart some wisdom on them with out pushing our own insecurities onto them.  Rex and Riley have amazing gifts to share with the world.  I will continue to do my part to share our family and what we know about Down syndrome in hopes that others will continue to see Riley for who he is and not for who they fear he may be. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sneaky lil pumpkins 31 for 21 Day 30

Better late than never.  We snuck in the pumpkin carving this afternoon and we all had a lot of fun.  Riley likes pumpkin guts.  Rex got the markers so Riley could color on his while Rex drew the face on his.  Riley pumpkin was a bit of an experiment.  I had seen a really cool idea in a magazine where you drilled holes and then Christmas lights in the holes and had a great lit up pumpkin.  Well it turns out the same concept works if you just drill a lot of holes and light a candle too.  I even tried to be all Martha Steward like and roast the pumpkin seeds.  They turned out really good and Riley and I have a lot of seeds to enjoy.  I found a memory card on sale so I out foxed the hider and have pictures to share.  Of course as I type this Rex found the memory card hidden in the chair..  oh well now we can take lots more pictures!

Hard at work


Stoppin to sample the seeds

Sloppy kisses


Power tools with Dad

Riley's turn

Rex had too much fun with the drill...  pumpkin sprays when you drill holes

Rex and Riley Halloween 2010

Three little pumpkins!

Friday, October 29, 2010

31 for 21 Day 29

I only have two more days of this 31 for 21 challenge and I'm not feeling inspired.  I have lots of random thoughts but no really complete thoughts running through my mind.  Its been a rough week and its finally Friday.  I am ready to take my glass of wine and veg in front of the TV.    I'm hoping a good night's sleep and waking up knowing I get to spend the entire day with the boys will help shake this funk I'm in. 

I was hoping to share a video of Riley but since it seems that he has hidden my photo card there won't be new pictures until I find the magical place he stashed it.  I've checked the usual spots and not had success. I sure hope he out grows this need to hid things soon.  Tonight when I got home from work he decided it would be fun to hide himself in the fireplace.  In the 6 years we have lived here it has never had a fire in it but apparently we don't dust there either...  YUCK

Becca and Amy since I'm pretty sure you are the only people that read daily and leave comments I'll wish you two good night.  Take care of you and thank you for being dear friends.  The rest of you will get a shout out too...  just as soon as you delurk and leave a comment or two.  Love ya all!

PS...    Plain Gramma will be making a guest appearance before the 31 for 21 Challenge is over

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Remembering 31 for 21 Day 28

Halloween 2009 was a success!  I'm looking forward to another great year. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IEP 31 for 21 Day 27

We had Riley's IEP meeting today.  Wow what a difference a year makes.  Last year I was in a panic.  I didn't really know what to expect and I hadn't heard great things about the process.  I felt a bit like I walked in prepared for a fight.  This year was completely different.  I feel really good about our placement.  I love his teachers and I'm confident in his therapists.  I have the extra confidence of having a year of private therapy under our belt as well.    Plus Riley is simply doing amazing. 

When we arrive for the IEP meeting we were told that his teach wouldn't be there as planned. The poor women had been getting sick but had come to school anyway.  She had an afternoon dentist appointment and proceeded to get sick in the dentist's chair.  YUCK!  I think that earns her an excused absence. 

The teacher not being there was really the only bump in the road.  The goals all seemed appropriate and challenging but not crazy.  I think the therapists all are very aware of how capable Riley is and expect high performance from him.  I am one lucky mom to have such a great set up. 

The IEP process is intimidating and I've read so many blogs and talked to moms who have not had a very successful time at having the school meet the needs of their children.  It is really sad to me that schools don't all just do what is best and most appropriate for the child.  I wonder how different things will be when we move from preschool to kindergarten.  For now I'm enjoying my rose colored glasses. 

Don't be scared mom

I can adjust to anything...I like to fly by the seat of my pants

My big brother will always be there to show me the way

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Foot Print 31 for 21 Day 26

I went on search of a great story to share this evening and found this beautiful story.  I'm not sure of its original source and I'm going to believe its true because I needed an warm fuzzy story today.  Today I gathered with my entire family once again to say good bye to a loved one.  We celebrated the life of my Aunt Doris.  It was a beautiful service and we shared good memories.   My heart broke as I watched my Uncle Jim kiss his wife of 60 years goodbye.    With all of the illness and loss in my family the last few months I have thought a lot about the footprint I'm leaving in this world.  I want to live a life where those around me can see my faith in God and not only during the good times, where my love for my family is clearly visible and my friends know how much they bring to my life.  I promise to work on these things each day. 

 Reading the story below is just one more reminder of important things in life. 

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with the relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and paused. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them. One girl with Down  syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for 10 minutes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Smiles 31 for 21 Day 25

Instead of listing out all the icky that has been going on and all the reasons that I'm exhausted and would rather be in bed than trying to write something inspired I'm going to share with you a few videos of Riley that I like to watch when I need a smile.  The pure joy that he shares with us daily is guaranteed to make you smile too.  So when I need a good reminder of why we keep the busy schedule we do or just simply need a good giggle I pull these up and I'm sure to smile.  I hope they make you smile too!

I haven't watched this a while but it certainly made me smile tonight.  Riley's 4th birthday is coming up in a little over a month so I'm going to have to update this.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lessons Learned 31 for 21 Day 24

 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. Well this list is 21 things that I have learned from having a child with Down syndrome.   I posted this list two years ago during my first 31 for 21 challenge.  I thought I would link to this and created an updated list from 2010.  As I read through this list I really feel like it is as accurate and meaningful as it was 2 years ago. 

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 wouldn't 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. 

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 fingers and toes.

8. It isn't a good thing 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 move 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 only 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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Big Brother Rex 31 for 21 Day 23

While this 31 for 21 challenge is in honor of Down syndrome awareness and often this blog focuses on Riley today we are going to change things up a bit.  Today we are going to focus on the Big Brother Rex part of the family.  In honor of Rex being an amazing big brother to a boy with an extra 21st chromosome.  I've never done a list of 21 things that Rex loves before.  Hope you enjoy!

  1.   Rex is my first born and made his entrance into the world two weeks early.  I had been having bad back pain all evening and had no clue that I was in labor until I had the big splash as I headed into a store. 
  2. Rex has always been super shy.  I can't even count how many play dates and birthday parties he sat with me and the grown ups because he was too nervous to go play. 
  3. Rex is really getting braver as he grows.  It is fun to watch him gain confidence in everything he does.
  4. Rex has been struggling with his asthma again.  I thought he was on the road to outgrowing it but the last 6 months has show me that it actually becoming more and more of an issue especially during sports. 
  5. Rex has a great sense of humour.  Too often its potty humor but still he is typically good for a laugh.
  6. Rex is loving the second grade and is doing really well.  He is coming into his own with his reading and really loves math.
  7. Rex would rather be kicking, throwing or catching any type of a ball than doing school stuff. 
  8. Rex is super coordinated when it comes to sports and is really fun to watch him put all the pieces of a game together.  He is getting to be a good little soccer play. 
  9. Rex loves to play goalie in soccer and catcher in baseball.  I wonder if he'll like linebacker when he tries football?
  10. Rex is a sensitive little man.  Last year we saw just how sensitive he is when he thought a friend didn't like the birthday gift he picked out for him and we had full blown tears.
  11. Rex is the greatest big brother to Riley.  He is very patient with him and lets Riley join in on most any game or activity. 
  12. Rex loves to ride his bike.  He learned to ride with out training wheels after a lot of hesitation and instantly started trying to pop wheelies.
  13. Our extended family has had a lot of loss in the last few months.  At one point when we were discussing my cousin going to live with Jesus Rex pumped his fist in the air like he had hit a home run and says how lucky Doug is that he gets to go live with Jesus. 
  14.  Rex loves music.  He and Justin play name that tune a lot.  Rex loves to try to play with me because he thinks its hysterical that I never know the name of a song or who sings it. 
  15. Rex thinks its wonderful that he is one of the bigger kids in his group.  He is weighing in just over 80 pounds and is 4'2.
  16. Rex loves to go to the shoe store.  He is loves to see how much his feet have grown.  I wish he wasn't in such a  hurry to be big. 
  17. Rex has always been a story teller.  An all time favorite is one where he told us that there were itty bitty monsters pulling at his hair while he slept. 
  18. Rex loves pizza.  His favorite is peperoni with black olives. 
  19. Rex is a daddy's boy.  He adores Justin and will do almost anything if Justin likes it.
  20. Rex is in his 2nd year of Cub scouts and is in the Wolf den.  He loves the time he gets to spend with Justin working on his scout projects.
  21. Rex is an amazing little man and it is fun to watch him grow.  He amazes me daily with ability to love and accept everyone around him. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

A friendship that shares everything - Christine's story - 31 for 21 day 22

As Mary was starting this year’s 31 for 21 challenge we had joked about me doing a “guest blog” spot at some point during the month. Then she did the post that took us back to two of her favorite posts from when she started this blog. One of those posts was from her first (and to this point) only Friendship Friday edition. The friend she talked about in that post is my sister, Christine. We thought it would be interesting to do the guest blog spot, but have me interview Christine to get her point of view on their friendship and that period when Mary and Justin learned of Riley’s diagnosis.

A friendship that shares everything...

Christine and Mary met at Rocky Mountain College, as Mary noted in the Friendship Friday edition. Christine recalls how crazy it was how instantaneously they hit it off and how thrilled she was to later find Mary in the same dorm. Looking back, for the short period of time they really had together – in the grand scheme of things – before Mary and Justin moved to Spokane, it really is spectacular, the bond that was forged in that time.

Christine remembers participating in a walk at Rocky and she and Mary came in “dead last” simply because while they were walking, they were doing a great deal of talking. Their friendship became one where they told each other everything – and that’s just not something that happens everyday.

The Call

It had been quite some time since Christine had talked to Mary and she happened to call her the day Mary and Justin were going to the genetic counselor (following the confirmation the day before). Christine says she knew instantly that something was wrong, “I immediately thought they had lost the baby.” Because that’s where her thoughts went to right away, she remembers feeling relieved that it was Down syndrome – though she was scared for them. Mary remembers the support Christine provided in that conversation, while Christine simply says, “She talked…And I just listened.”

During that phone call, Mary told Christine of the book their doctor had given them, which she went out and bought so she could begin learning more as well. However…“The book was scary!” Eventually she had to stop reading “the scary parts,” because she couldn’t see worrying over things that might never be a part of Riley’s reality. Prayer was a constant factor throughout the remainder of this pregnancy – though prayer is a big part of Christine’s life in general.

Being Apart

Christine remembers how much she did not want Mary and Justin to go when they moved to Spokane, but believes their location is a great blessing. To her, their being in Spokane with the Guilds’ School and the other resources is a great gift, not to mention the familial support they have there. She also loves hearing about the friends Mary and Justin have made through Riley. It’s wonderful to Christine that Mary has people in her life who can genuinely relate to her family’s experiences. That's not to say it isn't frustrating when things like the Buddy Walk come up and it's impossible to be there. 

When asked about her ability to not say the wrong thing, so to speak, she shares that it’s important to her that she does more listening than talking, as people so often speak before they think.

All These Kids

We talked a little bit about “the guilt factor,” and Christine had this to say about it: “Yeah, you know, of course I’ve thought about it…I mean four kids, all healthy…What are the odds of these things? How does this happen?”

Although, you have to look to the positive, once Riley was born there was so much to be thankful for. With all the horror stories and possibilities the book had filled their minds with, to have this boy, this beautiful boy who did not have a slew of health issues…It’s a blessing. To have Mary and Justin do the amniocentesis when even in their minds they thought it was pointless…It’s a blessing. To have a brother who was so clearly meant to be Riley’s big brother extraordinaire…It’s a blessing. To move to Spokane with a school built entirely around the concept of helping children with developmental disabilities…It’s a blessing. To have familial support that is so unshakeable…It’s a blessing. There are so many things to be thankful for.  

When asked if she has ever specifically addressed Riley’s disability with her children, Christine notes she didn’t make a big deal out of it mostly because she didn’t think it was something her kids would really notice and she was following Mary and Justin’s lead with Rex. They were aware that there had been concerns for Riley’s health through their prayers for him, but outside of that, Christine has always said to them, “It might take him longer to get there, but he will be able to do everything you can.” She loves the Down syndrome Creed.

What does this friendship mean to you?

After a brief pause to formulate her words, this is what Christine has to say that sums up her friendship with Mary beautifully.
By being friends with Mary; she helped make me the person I am today. She brought me out of my shell...I might not still be the most outgoing person, but she brought backbone into my life. Looking at me, she went on to say, you might not see the difference, but part of who I am today, belongs to her.
For me, there was something about Mary and Justin that, I think, for all of us it was as if they had always been in our lives. Perhaps it was the confidence my sister developed in herself through this friendship that made us love them or maybe it was just whatever “it” was that first time they met somehow filtered out to the rest of us. Whatever “it” is, we’re glad to have you in the family Kibbes.
Christine with her family
Enter shameless plug, here: 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Riley's list- 31 for 21 Day 21

Since its the 21st day of the 31 for 21 Challenge it seems like a perfect day for the list of 21 things we love about Riley.  You have find my previous lists here and here.  Once again Rex will be helping me with this list. 

1.  Riley has the most amazing laugh.  His giggle melts my heart daily. 

2.  Riley loves to shoot hoops with his big brother.

3.  Riley loves to eat.  His favorite thing to eat is is cheese. String, cottage, yellow, white he loves them all.

4.  Riley loves to draw...  and not on paper. 

5.  Riley likes to pray with us at dinner time.  He is getting pretty good at the sign of the cross.

6.  Riley loves to wear Rex's Halloween mask...  creepy Lil scary guy running around the house.

7.  Riley is doing great at school.  He loves to ride the bus to school.   Miss Mamy (Amy) Miss Jana, Miss Michelle and Miss Alice are some of his favorite people. 

8.  Riley loves to wrestle with Rex. 

9. Riley has a sense about when people really need a hug or a smile.  He seems drawn to those people who could really use some love.

10.  Riley loves his new babysitter Kristi.  He sings a funny little song about Timmy the Turtle with her that cracks me up.

11.  Riley loves to hide things.  I currently can't find the card reader thingy for the computer that has my memory card for the camera in it.  I know he put it somewhere safe. 

12.  Riley loves to hide himself.  He will crawl in the smallest space available to play and loves to hide under the sofa cushions. 

13.  Riley loves books.  He loves it the most when Rex reads to him. 

14.  Riley loves animals.  He loves the real kind and books with animal pictures.

15.  Riley loves the chickens at Gramma and Grampas house.  He cockadoodle doos at the roster. 

16.  Riley is super curious.  He has an amazing attention span when he is checking  things out.  When he is in a new place he likes to check everything out. 

17.  Riley is a huge Elmo, aka Melmo, fan.  He will sing a long and enjoys his friend big bird too!

18.  Riley can tell you the letters in his name.  Although he prefers if he doesn't think you can hear him.

19.  Riley can spot the gold arches a mile away.  Those darn french fries...

20.  Riley loves to sleep in Rex's bed.  Some days he wants to take his nap there too.

21.  Riley amazes us daily with how smart he is.  I wish he didn't always have to test us and his boundaries to demonstrate his skills. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Notebook 31 for 21 Day 20

If you've read this blog for a while you know that I love Riley's special ed preschool teacher.  Each day we send a note book back and forth in Riley's backpack and she gives us a short update on how the day has gone.  I highlighted some of these messages while I was trying to decide which preschool to select last spring.  You can find that post here.  I love the notebook!

Yesterday the notebook came home and it reported:

Holy Catfish Batman!  Riley was ON today!  He raised his hand and volunteered that the month was October during calendar.  He read names of two of his friends during circle and he Clearly said every letter in his name.  He also called Alice by name and thanked her for changing his diaper :-)

OK first I had to laugh at Holy Catfish Batman.  I love that she is so excited for Riley.  Then we have to celebrate Riley.  I know he does well at school and he works really hard to complete the tasks asked of him.  To raise his hand by himself and answer a question about what month it is is HUGE.  That is a ton of processing in a very short amount of time to come with an answer on demand in a group setting.  Then you add in that he is recognizing his friends names as well as his own during circle is very impressive.  He has been telling us the letters in his name for a while now but only if he didn't really think anyone was listening.  It was like he was keep a secret from us so we wouldn't expect too much from him. 

My mom is pretty sure that if he is thanking Alice for changing his diaper then he is ready to not have a diaper.  I'm sure he is too...  but I'm not.  That is a lot of work making sure a little person gets to the potty all the time.  I need to make the time and just dive in but I've been hesitating.  His teacher is pushing it as well for a self care goal at his upcoming IEP meeting.  All things point in this direction except me wanting to deal with dirty pants and being forced to take him to the potty every time he decides it would be fun to tell me that he has to go and who really is silly enough to doubt a potty training toddler's need to make it to the potty fast.  More to come on this topic I'm sure. 

Riley's IEP meeting is next week.  I think I will always have some anxiety about these type of meetings but I'm also excited for it.  I want to see what the next round of goals will bring.  Its always interesting to me to see what the next steps in the progression of his development are.  For example I know that I want him to talk but there is a process to speech therapy.  Which sounds should be developing in which order and so on.  I find it super intriguing.  Some days I wonder if I shouldn't go back to school for special education or speech therapy.  I think it would be fun change of pace...  and then the thought of school shakes me back to reality. 

Riley with his teacher Miss Michelle  Spring 2010

Riley during school with his buddies Spring 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bringing Sexy Back! 31 for 21 Day 19

Rex and Riley are busy!  There is just no other way to describe our schedule.  

Riley goes to preschool 4 days a week.  Twice a week he goes to two different preschools as well as private speech and occupational therapy. Rex is playing soccer with practice twice a week and games on Saturdays as well as belonging to the Cub Scouts.   He is also working on his Sacramental prep classes so he can complete his first reconciliation, first communion and confirmation this spring.   Rex decided to join the children's choir at church that thankfully practises on Sunday mornings between the masses so it doesn't conflict with anything else. 

There is a lot of coordination of schedules and shuffling of kids from there to there that goes on to get every where we need to go including work most days.  This evening for example I had to make it home from work in time for Justin and Rex to get ready and leave for Cub Scouts.  This was the first scout meeting that Justin and Rex were all dressed up in their uniforms at the same time so of course I forced  asked them nicely to let me take their picture.

There was a time in my life when I wouldn't have thought that a grown man all dressed up in a boyscout uniform was anything but creepy.  OK Sometimes still creepy but tonight creepy wasn't the adjective I would pick.  Tonight sexy wins the adjective of choice.  Who wouldn't find a dad willing to volunteer to lead his son's Wolf Den completely attractive.  Justin is an amazing dad.  

OK Mom's time to play along.  What do the men in your life do that you find completely attractive that you wouldn't have ever imagined that someday it would make you week in the knees. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Purple Thunder 31 for 21 Day 18

Rex has been know to tell me that he was born to play soccer.  This is his third year playing and he seems to be really enjoying it.  I love that he is learning about being part of a team, good sportsmanship and getting a ton of exercise. His basic skill level has improved so much each and every season.  They play both fall and spring and its fun to see the difference each time we start up again.  The boys are growing so much that the strength and coordination seems to increase overnight.  Rex seems to have a good understanding of the game and is really putting all the pieces together.  We couldn't ask for a better coach than we have this year.  It is a dad of one of the boys that Rex has played with all three years.  He is the perfect combination of enthusiasm and competitiveness.  Coach's main goal is for the kids to have a ton of fun but they are so busy having fun they don't even realize how much he has taught them about the fundamentals of the game.  They run hard at practise and love every minute of it.  The boys are learning about teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.  It has been a great experience for Rex and all of his team mates. 

All of the ways Rex is learning and growing keeps us motivated to take him to practise twice week.  The Saturday games are fun.  The excitment in the boys faces is priceless.  The last two weeks Rex has scored goals and he is so proud  he can hardly contain himself.  One boy this week scored three goals and I don't think he had scored yet this season so it was extra exciting.  The boys all get excited for each other too.  The high fives are big! You can watch the confindence grow each week with all of the boys.  It is amazing to watch!

The only flaw Rex can find it all of this is that his team got purple jersies.  I don't think its the shirts so much as the socks that put him over the edge.   Rex was less than impressed with the color but hasn't complained too much since the first sigh. 

Moving in...  I think we heard a story about this kids elbows on the car ride home

Making his move

The Purple Thunder team huddle

Last minute advise from Coach Dan

Rex's biggest fan wasn't so excited about the first cold weather of the season.

Uncle Trent and Trent Jr. cheering Rex on

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How I came to be Riley's mom 31 for 21 Day 17

I have always loved this story by Erma Bombeck.  Of course I had never seen it nor would I have appreciated it before Riley but that's beside the point.  I can't quite picture God up there picking babies to give to families but if he is I'd like to think that this is a good description.  I sure knew I hadn't been picked because I was so pure of heart. 

  After Riley was born it took me a long time not to be bitter and angry and then I realized that while he might not have singled me out for this duty God would be there to help me if I invited him to be part of our lives.  I try.  I try on a daily basis to remember not only to ask for help but to celebrate in all that we have been given.  To celebrate every accomplishment that the boys make no matter how little.  Riley addition to our family has taught us to enjoy the little moments along the way...  we already new how to party it up for the big stuff.

God Chooses A Mom for A Disabled Child
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew.

"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecelia.

"Rudledge, Carrie; twins; patron saint.... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and Independence. She'll have to teach the child to live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less then perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.
"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see --- ignorance, cruelty, prejudice --- and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Visitors 21 for 31 Day 16

Justin's brother and family are visiting.  We made a quick trip to the pumkin patch.  Apparently the kids didn't all stand next to each other at the any point during the day.  We have nice pumkins already to be carved up. 

CeCe and Riley

Cecelia Rose and her pumpkin

Trent jr.

Ri and his bear