Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our five kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 : What do you remember?




You Remember 70% of 2008



You were paying attention during 2008.

And you remember what happened really well.



You'll be able to talk about 2008 for years to come...

Even when most people have forgotten what went down.

Monday, December 29, 2008

10, 9, 8, 7

That is me counting backward from 10 in an attempt to NOT explode!!! Our old printer wasn't compatible with the new MAC, so I bought a new wireless printer. WHY does it have to be so complicated to get this stuff hooked up? And WHY doesn't MAC have 24 hour support services? WHY WHY WHY??? Ok, other than that, so far I'm loving my mac. Really...loving it. I'm still trying to figure out some of the basics, but I'm getting there. Now, to get this printer connected to my wireless network!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Contacting us

We have recently purchased a new computer, and are going from PC to a MAC, and are having trouble transferring our email address book to the new computer. This isn't much of a problem to us, except where our dog people are concerned. I know several of our readers are owners of our puppies, or are interested in our puppies. I also know there's a good chance I've missed recent emails from you. If you've recently tried to contact us, and not heard back, you know that's not typical for us! If you have tried to reach us, please try again at info@dandldoodles.com ! THANKS!

Movie Review: "Marley and Me"

When we found out this movie was coming out, Dean and I decided we'd go see it as a family on Christmas day. As it turned out, Angela went to her dad's for the day. I'd just like to say, "BLESSINGS sometimes come in disguises!"

If you've never read the book, read it! The movie follows the book very closely. I read the book when it first came out about 4 or 5 years ago, and the last 2 or 3 chapters must be read with a box of tissues. Dean then took the book with him to read on a flight to Arizona. When he got to about chapter 5 he put the book away...for good. "Why would I want to torture myself?" he asked?

The day before we saw the movie, we started hearing the rave reviews, AND the comments that this was advertised as a family movie AND IT'S NOT! It is VERY emotionally heavy, and you will spend the last 15-20 minutes in tears. If you've recently had to put a dog to sleep, I would NOT recommend seeing the movie, or you'll find yourself reliving it. Instead, wait till it comes out on DVD in a few months, and you might be ready. I did see several families with young kids (7-12 years old) in the theater, and after the movie I saw those same kids leaving the theater sobbing. I think it's too heavy for most kids that age.

With all that, I HIGHLY recommend the movie. For those who are thinking about getting their first dog, and wondering if they're ready, this movie will give you a good idea as to how much work a dog really needs, and what happens when you wait till your dogs is an adult to do any training. LOL It will show you all the really bad things that puppies and untrained adult dogs can do to your home. But, it will also show you the love that dogs feel for their people, no matter how naughty they are. It will show you the support people get from their dogs when they don't even realize it. It will show you the bond between a dog and his boy (or girl, as the case may be.)

And in the end, it will show you the heartache that comes with pet ownership. Watching made me want to go home and give all my dogs away so I never have to deal with "that" part of dog ownership again. It also made me want to go home and hug my dogs, and love on them even more than we already do.

So, go see the movie, but instead of bringing your kids, bring a box of tissues!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

If you see "Marley and Me"

If will make you want to come home and spend some cuddle time with your dogs. I'll do a full review of the movie tomorrow, after I've stopped wiping away the tears!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why Men Shouldn't take messages

This one, sent by my brother Jeff, had me laughing out loud. Why men shouldn't take messages:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I know you won't believe me...but



LOOK WHAT I MADE!!! I know I always say I hate cooking, and I NEVER bake, but those who know me well will remember a time when I was in high school, and I made these all the time. Some will even remember just 10 years ago when I was making yeast breads all the time. But, regardless....don't you wish you could smell the internet? And wouldn't taste be even better??? Now, what do you think? Should I just smear them directly on my hips?

Updated to add: Well, the truth comes out. I SUCK at cooking! These were the most horrible things I've ever tasted. And...to make matters worse..I gave them to my neighbors too! The rolls themselves could have been used to build the retaining wall in our back yard. And the glaze? Yeah, the mortar to hold the wall together! It's going to be months before I can look my neighbors in the eyes again. Sadly, this is the way my cooking and baking always comes out. These LOOKED good, so I figured I'd finally beat fate! Instead, the rolls beat me.

The Mom Song

I know I posted this sometime last year, but its too good not to share this newer version! ENJOY!


The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Monday, December 22, 2008



Please click on the Donate button on Dasha's blog to help!
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No no no! This can't be happening to another family! A couple years ago, the Newbolds only daughter, Chloe, (who had Down Syndome) lost her battle with leukemia. While still recovering from the loss of their daughter, her parents were led to help others with DS who were not so fortunate, and decided to adopt a child from Reece's Rainbow. A child with Down Syndrome. A child who was at risk of "aging out" and being moved to an institution. As it turned out, they decided to adopt TWO!

They went through the long, arduous process that is known as the adoption process, and finally traveled to Ukraine to meet their children. With Ukraine adoptions this is often a two-trip process, and theirs would be a "two for one" type of adoption, saving them THOUSANDS of dollars, and a child's life. Sadly, when they got to little Dasha they discovered that she'd not been available long enough, and would have to wait several months before bringing her home, but they DID bring John Paul home with them!

The months past, and as they bonded with John Paul, they longed for their daughter who they'd held, and loved, but could not bring home. All the while scraping together the necessary funds for Dasha's adoption and travel to get her.

They are now in Ukraine, and had a bombshell dropped upon them. Please read their story here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What can we do?

Thanks to my blog-friend for posting this. Please watch this video in it's entirety. Please don't turn away from it because you're "not in the mood for it." or because "it's too heavy." or "too hard to watch. Little Jane, shown in the video, doesn't get to choose not to go about her day because it's too difficult to watch.



So, what can we do to make a difference? What can my family do? What can your family do? Can you adopt? Can you pledge a financial contribution? Can you find one thing your family can do to help? I'm going to try....are you?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sorry, more time warp stuff

Ok, now this one cracks me up? Please tell me I wasn't the only one creeped out by the sleestacks, and that your heart beat just a little faster when, every day, Alice found them! Or what about when they messed with the weather rocks? And what was the little furry kid's name? Paco or something like that? Yeah, I wanted to find a little furry creature like that.

One of my favorites

This show was one of my favorites! Do you think our kids would watch this low-budget stuff today? Ok, I'm off to find Sleestacks now.

Another Blast from the Past

Wow, do these videos bring back memories or what? And Kathy...I think the Crofts spent a lot of time imbibing, or something along those lines. ;-)

Angela visits with THE REAL Santa

First of all, I have to explain the haircut. When I told they stylist, "I don't want it past the chin." I should have been more specific. I meant I don't want it SHORTER than her chin. She thought I meant "I don't want it longer than her chin." UGH! Now she looks like a boy again. Oh well, it'll grow back. Anyway, here's Angela meeting THE REAL Santa. He and I met while doing the play. This guy is amazing, and...I kid you not...jingles when he walk, even when he's not wearing the red suit!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reposting: Who Made The Rule?

A friend of mine posted about this today on her blog, and so I'm going to RE-Post mine with notes now that I've been using the system for several months, read, enjoy, and think about how you hate the system you currently have. LOL

..........................

Who made the rule that says, "All clothing, after being washed and dried, must be folded and put away into drawers and closets." I've never seen that rule in writing, but I want to know where it came from!

I happen to hate this rule, because...frankly...I suck at getting any of this done! At one time I had 5 kids in the house and I was FAR more organized about laundry then than I am now. But even then, there would often be a mountain in the laundry room!

So here I am, with only 3 of us to do laundry for, and I can't keep up. This is silly though, because I'm no longer working outside the home, so clearly it's a priorty thing. I just hate laundry, the same way I hate cooking and I suck at that too. The laundry that DOES get clean rarely makes it back upstairs to bedrooms, closets and dressers. Instead it stays in baskets in the laundry room, and every morning we each go dig in there for socks, underwear, and whatever else we need. Occasionally I have a caffiene date with myself and get a ton of it done AND folded and put away! But...sadly...this is rare.

A couple weeks ago I asked my husband to do something for me. I told him about the silly rule and how it doesn't have to be this way. There really is no such rule and so no reason to live by it. I wanted a set of shelves in the laundry room. Well, really I wanted several sets...one for each person, then some for that oddball laundry like linens and towels. I drew it all out, and after making many promises to fold everything as it comes out of the dryer, he built them for me. The laundry room is now just one giant dresser! When the clothes come out of the dryer, I simply fold, turn around, and place on the appropriate person's shelf. All the clothes in the house are in ONE ROOM, and I can EASILY see when Dean or the kids is getting low on clean underwear and socks! ;-)

Dean is actually loving these shelves, since it's right next to "his" bathroom. Every morning he goes to the laundry room...I mean family closet...picks out his clothes that are easy to see and find, then heads to the shower.

This is also helpful for Angela, who is really wanting nothing to do with Mom picking out her clothes each day anymore. So I bought her this really cool daily clothing stacker thing from Lillian Vernon.



So, I'm removing the dressers from her room, because A) her room is crowded and b) she doesn't need them anymore. On Sundays we pull her clothes for the week from the laundry room, and put them in her are in her daily stacker which hangs in her closet, and she has happily been getting up each morning, pulling out her clothes for that day, and putting them on! And...tricky mom that I am...when the clothes don't match the forcast for the next day, I sneak in there before she gets up and switch 'em! LOL

Maybe tomorrow I'll take some pictures of my laundry room. Now it needs paint and flooring.....sigh.....
....................................................

So we've now been using this system for several months. A friend of mine tried to duplicate it but found out the hard way you have to do the shelves the right way. First, do NOT use shelves like these:


The reason these shelves are bad is because they're too wide, so the stacks of clothes will fall over, and end up being just as much a mess as the mountains on the floor were. You'll quickly find that you hate these shelves. Instead, have your handy dandy husband build you shelves using melamine. Build towers that are no more than 14 inches wide. (just wide enough for folded clothing, and it will keep your stacks nice and neat. For little kids clothes it will hold two stacks, while still keeping them neat) Attach the shelves to the walls. You can leave a space between shelves to have hanging areas if you wish. (If I get my new camera for Christmas I promise to take a picture of what we did. It works REALLY well!)

Decide how much space each person needs. We have only 3 people in our house, Dean, Angela, and myself so our space is easy. ALL of our clothes (not just seasonal) are on these shelves, so we need a fair amount of space for each person. Each person needs 2 sets of shelves that have 5 levels, 14 inches wide x 24 inches high. Kid's shelves can be a bit more narrow, around 8-12 inches.

So, each person has 2 sets of shelves right next to each other. On the bottom (on the cement) of each I have decorative baskets. One holds socks, the other underwear. (I don't fold underwear. LOL And Angela's is "underwear/swimming suits" ) The other shelves are organized to t-shirts, sweat shirts/sweaters, long sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, pj's  On the top shelf, which is harder for me to reach, I have stuff that isn't worn very often.

There is one set of shelves for just towels and a wider set for bedding.

I'm still waiting for Dean to build me one more set of shelves. These will be wider, and will hold bedding.
...............................
Another update:
another friend of mine has also converted to this system. Her laundry room is barely big enough for her washer and dryer, but her dining room? Yeah, well the table has never been used for anything other than a laundry folding table, and they NEVER eat in there! So her husband built the shelves they needed for each family member, plus a hanging area, and they now have a family closet. EVERYONE in the house is much happier! And, mom is often folding clothes while her home-schooled kids are at that very table...the one that used to be full of laundry...working on lessons right there with her guidance. PERFECT!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday

Do you remember these guys?

Feel'in it Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! This week felt really long, and really short, all at the same time. Monday came and went in a stressful way that I already posted about. Tuesday was ok. Got Dudley groomed, which was an all-day affair. Wednesday Tyler came over to celebrate his birthday. (and I paid him 5 bucks to dig our tree out of the storage room. Now if only I could pay someone to decorate it. LOL) Thursday I got most of my Christmas shopping done, with just a couple odds and ends of things left, and then a performance last night.

And yet, I'm feeling like a looser. I'm not getting enough stuff done in the house, and I don't even have a good excuse for it. I have a stack of paperwork for Angela's waiver that needs tending to, laundry to collect out of bedrooms, and an office that still isn't clean. (although it's because I have no clue what to do with the stuff in here! )

Today my plans are to get myself in the shower, run to the store and get snacks/drinks for Angela and drop them off at her school. Come back and switch a load of laundry around, then get Angela's waiver papers done. THEN I will allow myself to take a nap, because I'm going to need one in order to make it through tonight's performance and the cast party afterward.

I think I'm so tired lately because of the play. Ok, I KNOW that's what it is. Most plays run 12-14 performances, and this one...when we're finally done...will be double that! We have two performances tomorrow, two on Sunday, then next week we have Weds, Thurs, Fri, double Sat, double Sun. then we're DONE! Never again will I do a play with such a long run. It's really fun DOING it, but it screws up everything else in life. I don't know how the rest of the cast manages to work full-time jobs AND do this play.

I promise, once this show is done, no more depressing posts! LOL Ok, I'm off to the shower so I can get my list done, and get that nap I was talking about.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Shelley and her family. Her kids will be the lucky recipients of a personalized video from Santa. On Saturday morning Angela and I will deliver a VERY special letter to Santa, and we'll get to see his reindeer too! All of that will be caught on video and sent to Shelley's kids for Christmas.

I know that all things happen for a reason, and today I know that Shelley's kids were meant to get a video from Santa! I can't wait to send it to them! I got to meet with Santa tonight, and tell him a little about the kids he'll be talking to on the video. He's very excited!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Totally Tuesday

Today was a MUCH better day for Angela! She woke up on her own, and came out to the kitchen where I was making breakfast. She wrapped her arms around me in a big sleepy hug and "Good morning. I yuff you mom." That just about makes up for all the rotten mornings!

She ate breakfast, got dressed, teeth and hair brushed, and was out the door in 25 minutes, smiling all the way! That's how her mornings USUALLY go!

According to the note I got in her planner, school was great as well, and she got to feed Bert the Iguana his crickets. (eeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww) After school she was invited to her friend Adam's house to play.

When Adam's mom brought her home, Adam was very sad she wasn't going swimming with him. He came to my door with big crocodile tears, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around him. Angela adores Adam, and when he left she said, "I'm sad Adam has tears. I love Adam."

She was a little disappointed tonight though. The reason we didn't go swimming is because it's Tyler's birthday and he was supposed to be coming over for cake. Unfortunately he was a bit inconsiderate and forgets how much his sister DEPENDS on everyone following through, and he ended up going to work instead. (his choice, he wasn't required to go.) I made him PROMISE he'd be here tomorrow night! Of course, it messed up our plans for today AND tomorrow, but Angela really wants to see her brother, and I'm busy with the play the rest of the week. Oh well, such is life.

I did get Dudley groomed today! I usually do most of our grooming myself, but lately, being really busy with with the play, I've gotten WAY behind and Dudley was an embarrassing mess. I know he didn't feel very good about the himself either. Even his beard smelled, making Dean and I unwilling to pet him very long. I feel horrible that I let him get to this condition! Well, a few weeks ago I made a new friend who is a groomer, so we're trading grooming services for training services. She's showing me some things that I needed to learn as far as grooming goes, and I'm helping her with one of her dogs that has developed some annoying habits they're not sure how to deal with. And, most importantly, Dudley came home clean, matt-free, and happy!

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a local college, as I explore my options for going back to school. You know, at 41 years old I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. LOL Right now I'm looking at the Sonography Technician program. (AKA Ultrasound tech) with my focus on maternal fetal sonography. This does need some prayer though! The program I'm trying to get into is highly competitive! They'll be looking at my previous GPA's. High school's is hopefully obsolete, because 25 years ago I was a different person, and graduated at the bottom of my class. But, three years later when I went to interpreter training I had a GPA of 3.9! Also, since I never took that ACT's, I'll have to take an entrance exam, and only the top 20 scores (plus qualifying GPA) will get into the program. UGH! The reading and writing I'll be fine with, it's the math portion of the test that will do me in. Tomorrow I'll take a practice test, then I have to take the real one by March 15th. By April 1st I'll find out if I've been accepted for the Sept. 2009 start date, and can begin the process of applying for financial aid.

So, what do you want to be when YOU grow up????

Monday, December 08, 2008

Well happy *&%$ Monday!

Ok, I got Angela to school. She was one hour late, but she was clean and smiling by the time we got there. That's a good thing, right? I question weather it's a good idea for anyone at school to give her a hard time about being late. That would be giving her attention for the attention seeking behavior, which would greatly increase the possibility of a repeat performance.

Then again, NOT saying something is probably the most difficult thing for me to do! It's really hard not to get frustrated and mad at the kid when you're watching the bus pull away and she's still standing naked in the bathroom. I just wish I knew how to better handle this. Clearly I'm doing SOMETHING wrong, but WHAT?? Somebody just tell me WHAT I'm doing wrong!

We have a behavior specialist that started coming just before Thanksgiving. Today will be her 3rd or 4th visit. She's here for an hour and a half and has been PLAYING with Angela. Now, I do have to say the "playing" has been choreographed in such a way that the specialist can see where Angela's limits are, what might set her off, etc. Also, there IS a "get aquainted" period before she just starts pushing Angela's buttons all over the place. But...you know... there is A LOT of money going out the door for someone to come "play" with my kid. AND, after this morning, I don't want to watch them "play" anymore. I want someone to give me the scripts to say to Angela when there is a behavior explosion (because that's what they are, explosions) or when there is a flat out refusal to cooperate, like this morning. I mean, Angela is very much like a 5-7 year old, and she's DOING stuff that a child that age would WANT to say or do, but doesn't because they would get into trouble. But, Angela does it anyway because she WANTS that attention, or just doesn't have the impulse control to NOT do those things. (Yeah, you might have to make a graph for that statement to make any sense at all.) But no matter what the reason is, I need help with it.

It's going to be a long day

How do I know it's going to be a long day? Because Angela's bus left 10 minutes ago, only Angela wasn't on it. No, instead she's standing in the bathroom, screaming swear words at me because I told her she can't go to school until she's taken a bath.

She came home from her dad's last night, and although I know she had a bath while she was there, she REEKS of cigarette smoke and urine. It's awful, and it's disgusting. Never mind the fact that she has asthma and nobody is supposed to be smoking around her. She hates baths and showers, only we don't know why. She used to love them, then one day someone flipped a switch and we couldn't get her in there any more. I'm thinking she fell in the shower at her dad's or something. Who knows. It's been like this for well over a year and I'm just plain tired of the battle. I don't understand why it has to be so difficult. Why is this her biggest problem area? And so, this morning, we're in a battle of the wills, because if I cave and let her go to school without the bath, I'll never get her in the bath before school again.

As she always does, she came home from her dad's exhausted. Her hearing aids were in her backpack because he said, "I don't know how to put them on." You gotta be kidding me? She's been wearing hearing aids since she was 11 months old. It takes about a fraction of one second to pop each aid in her ear. Seriously, there is nothing to it.

She always comes home from her dad's swearing constantly. Clearly he shows no restraint in his language when she's there, and this drives me crazy. What drives me even MORE crazy is that I can't do ANYTHING about it. Not one, tiny thing. I've tried going through court, saying this is abuse of a child who is not cognitively able to sort out the "bad words" from the appropriate words at school, which ends up getting her into trouble because HE is an idiot and can't control his mouth around her. He doesn't care about her. He only cares about weather or not his family thinks he's being a good dad or not. It's all in the appearance, ya know? Dean is her "dad". Dean would do anything for her. Her father would do anything for her, as long as it didn't interfere with his plans.

And so, this morning is just one of many when she comes home from a weekend visit with her father, where I know I'm going to have to deal with the fall-out for several days. Thankfully the behavior specialist comes today. I sure hope they do more than just PLAY today! I need to know what to do with the behavioral problems!

Angela is now naked in the bathroom, so at least that's progress. Still not in the water though. School started one minute ago.

Friday, December 05, 2008

True or False?


In October we bred our dog Zurri. Let me rephrase that...we TRIED to breed Zurri. First, we found out the stud we've had lined up for a year was sterile. $300 to find out a dog that isn't ours doesn't have what it takes.

Then we had to scramble to find a new stud within 24 hours. (this is difficult when you're looking for certain criteria, like has the dog gotten their hip/elbow/heart/thyroid certifications?) The new stud arrived to our house extremely overweight, and was too fat to do the job! UGH! We ended up having to do an artificial insemination instead. Another $300.

Then on what would have been day 30, we did an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, only to find NO PUPPIES! Cost? $100

Because this was AI, and sometimes timing is fluky, we repeated the ultrasound the following week. Still no puppies, but we weren't charged for the U/S.

Now, try telling the dog, who clearly wants to be a mother, that she's not pregnant! She's going through a false pregnancy. And yet, in the back of my mind I think "she could be hiding ONE in there!" She's gained 6 pounds, her nipples have changed, and she's lost her tuck. I know breeders who've had this happen, so I know it's possible. Well, it's possible to have all these changes and NO puppy, and it's possible to have all these changes, yet see none on ultrasound, and still have one puppy. While one puppy would pay for all our breeding costs listed above, a singleton puppy is never what a breeder wants. Granted, we have a good stable pack here so the puppy would get the teaching it needs, but a singleton misses something in puppy development that the breeder has to bend over backwards to replicate.

Well, my dog who isn't supposed to be pregnant keeps getting herself stuck under the back deck, trying to make herself a den. This behavior is normally seen at this stage of a pregnancy when the mother is trying to find a safe place to deposit puppies. They're not always smart about this though, and find weird places. Wouldn't the warm "den" we have for her in the house be more desireable than outside under the deck when it's 10 degrees outside?

Anyway, this morning she was REALLY stuck. It's a big deck, so she was about 15 feet away from the opening and couldn't get turned around. I thought I was going to have to start pulling boards off to get her out. Finally I went and got a hot dog (this dog will do ANYTHING for hot dogs!) and went to the hole where she had gone in. The noise from under the deck sounded like she was remodeling under there! Finally she managed to get out, snarfed down her hot dog, then tried to go under again. GAH! I caught her just in the nick of time. We'll have to watch her close. The vet said she's had some dogs with a false pregnancy go as far as starting early labor before their body realizes it's useless. I sure hope we won't have THAT going on! Then again...one puppy would pay for the money we have into this breeding. And one puppy is easier in some ways than the litters of 13 that we've had in the past.

If the breeding stuck, her due date is December 11th (give or take a couple of days) so I guess we'll just keep watching her!

Theater Ghosts

Did you know that all old theaters have ghosts? No, really, it's true! Last night the ghost at the Main Street Stage in Anoka was up to no good! There were all kinds of weird things happening during the performance last night. Props falling. Piano key's being plunked when there was no piano around. WEIRD stuff!

Just before intermission I take Roman out to pee. When we come back in we come down a flight of stairs into the shop (where all the sets are built) This shop leads into the backstage area, and all sounds from the shop feed right out the audience.

So, we're coming back in, walking down the steps with Roman ahead of me. On the very last step SOMETHING tripped me. It wasn't my long skirt. It wasn't Roman. It was more like someone stuck their foot out in front of me. I went flying forward, landing against a huge table saw, which made a big noise as it scraped on the floor a couple inches before running into a cabinet. THANKFULLY Roman had been a little slow outside, and Act 1 was over and the houselights were up. That means the audience was noisy so they wouldn't have been able to hear the noise from backstage. Anyway, several cast members came running from the green room to see who fell, or what the big noise was. I wasn't hurt or anything, it was just weird.

Now, this doesn't seem like a big deal, I know. It was just that incident combined with the 10 other things that happened during the show that were weird! I don't think any of it was noticeable to the audience, but it sure was to us cast members!

Including tonight we have 7 performances done, and 15 performances left. I'm already tired. LOL

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't forget the contest!

I had a different post here, but deleted it. Please, don't forget the contest!

THIS is what I'm trying to help prevent for little Masha! THIS is a very real possibility for any child with DS in an Eastern European orphanage. THIS is their reality, people.

20 years ago




On this morning 20 years ago....

On the evening of December 2nd, 1988, the day before my due date with baby #2, I just KNEW that if we didn't get a Christmas tree that night, it would never happen. My husband Kevin and I loaded 15 month old Noah into the car, and drove to a nearby tree lot. It was super cold that night, and snowing heavily, but we got our tree. When we got home, Kevin insisted we let the tree stand overnight before decorating it, then promptly fell asleep on the couch.

I got Noah fed, and put to bed, and sat on the couch myself. Somewhere deep inside my being a switch was flipped, and it's called "nesting". LOL I headed up to the attic and brought down all the Christmas boxes. Up and down the stairs I went, lugging my heavy belly. I think I made 5 or 6 trips, all while Kevin lay sleeping on the couch.

On my big belly I crawled under the tree and screwed the tree stand screws into the trunk, and even got it straight! Then I decorated the tree, and within a couple hours got the entire house decorated, all while my little family slept.

Finally I was done, so I packed up the excess and lugged the boxes back up the attic. At 1:00 in the morning, when I finally sat down on the couch to admire my work, it occurred to me that I had a slight back-ache. I woke Kevin up to come to bed, and soon fell sound asleep myself.

December 3rd, 1988, 4:30 AM. I woke up with a start and sat straight up in bed. Oh MAN did my back hurt! Wow...ok...that's not really my back. THAT would be a contraction. Hmm...wow...that was pretty strong. I looked over to Kevin's spot. Wow, he's already gone to work! I didn't even hear him leave. I layed back down, and there it was again. That was awfully quick, and...umm...strong! I got up and went to the bathroom, but had to stop on the stairs for another contraction. They were about 2 minutes apart!

I called Kevin at work. Fortunately it was just a few miles away. "You need to come home, it's time to go!"

"What? I just walked in the door!" (it was probably the door slam as he walked out the door that woke me up just a few mintues before. LOL)

"Doesn't matter. Come home."

By the time Kevin got home I was dressed, and was just getting little Noah out of his crib. I think watching us would have been like watching one of those movies where one person is moving in slow motion and the rest of the world has been sped up double time. As I struggled to just tie my shoe, Kevin raced around me bringing stuff to the car. During that time we realized we'd never made arrangments for someone to watch Noah! Kevin called his mom who lived just a few minutes away. He put Noah into the car, and I waddled my way to the door, only to find....HE'D LEFT!!! I couldn't believe he left without me!

I called my mom. "Mom! He left without me! Can you believe it?" I stood in the doorway talking to my mom and watched for him to come back, having 3 contractions that I couldn't talk through.

Kevin came squealing into the driveway, got me into the car, and we were on our way. The hospital was only about 6 miles from home, but on city streets with lots of stop lights. It felt like as soon as I'd have on contraction another would start. When I had Noah, my water had broken at home, so I was waiting for it to happen in the car this time. It never did though!

When we got to the hospital they stuck a monitor on me, and my contractions were still at 2 minutes, but I was only 1 cm dialated! WHAT?? You gott be kidding me! I have an awful lot of work ahead of me yet! The doctor left my room saying, "When the contractions change, call the nurse."

I had 2 more contactions and I called the nurse back in to check me again. "We just checked you, you're fine." After some pestering she agreed to check me. I was at 5 cm's! Wow! The doctor came back in and broke my water. "When you feel the urge to push, call the nurse and we'll check you again."

I had one contraction and called the nurse back in. "I WANTED to push with that one, please check me again." Well, that nurse got cranky with me and refused to check me. We were still agruing about it when the next contraction hit. As she watched the monitor, and watched me, I started yelling "Oh my god! I'm going to PUSH!!!" as I GLARED at her. She checked me after that contractiong, "Oh my god, you're at 10! How did you get to TEN????"

She called the doctor in "Stat", and he came running just as another contraction hit me. He gave me the go ahead to push and out came Tyler's big head! I'd been at the hospital for only 1/2 hour, and here he was!

Tyler Ray was born weighing 8 lbs 8 0z, and 22 inches long. He had sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Tyler came out screaming....and proceded to scream for the next 3 years.

Tyler's life has held many surprises over the years, all of which have tought me things I never thought I'd need to know.

Happy birthday Tyler Ray!

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's a Raffle!

Well, it's kind of like a raffle anyway. LOL

Like many families I know right now, my friends Randy and Sheila Green over at The Sunflower Chronicles are in the process of adopting another little girl with DS through Reece's Rainbow. Last winter they brought home Lera, and are ready to make the trip again to bring Masha home!

For those who are new to my site, please go read at Reece's Rainbow about adopting children with special needs from Eastern European countries. For most of these children, their 4th birthday is often a death sentence. When they turn 4, they leave the baby homes and are sent to an institution where they are no longer considered adoptable. Many die within the first year due to sickness, malnutrition and/or dehydration. Those who live face a life like this one! But Masha is one lucky girl! She has a family waiting for her! But these adoptions, for these children who's lives depend on it, are very expensive. Since I'd love to save every child, but am in no position to adopt, I'd like to help in whatever way I can. A few weeks ago, I found a way!

You see, I met THE REAL Santa Claus! Really...I met him! No joking people, this guy even jingles when he walks! Not only did I meet him, but I am working with him several times over the next few weeks! Santa loves our kids too, and has agreed to help me with my very special project!

Imagine your child getting a personalized VIDEO from Santa!

On December 13th, I (along with my video camera) will be taking ONE very special letter to Santa. He will read it out loud, and maybe even answer a question or two. His REAL reindeer will be there too! Oh, to be the child who gets to see the REAL Santa, reading THEIR letter...right there on their TV! Wouldn't that be exciting????

So, here's your chance to win this for your child. All you have to do is donate $5 to the ChipIn widget located at the bottom of this post, AND LEAVE A COMMENT at the bottom of this blog, then prepare a short letter for Santa from your child. On December 12th, I'll have Angela pull a name from among those who donated. I'll ask you to email me that special letter, along with a couple personal details about your child that will be included in Santa's message. (if you have more than one child, all your children's names will be included so nobody is left out!) The video will be made on Saturday, December 13th, and will be prepared for your viewing pleasure. A DVD will be rush shipped to your address before Christmas!

This contest ends December 11th. Only 11 days folks, so spread the word, and lets help bring Masha home!!!