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!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Puppies!

PUPPIES!

If you're not on my facebook, but are interested in the ongoing puppy saga around here, we have puppies delivering as I type! There are some cool pictures on my pregnancy tracker page on my dogs site.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

About Spiritual Attacks

If you haven't been there already, you might want to go have a read on my adoption blog. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

issues

Angela likes to say "Mom, you're having "issues" here!" while using air quotes when she says the word issues. ROFL

Today's issue revolves around my car and the fact that the engine blew and I now need a new one. Like, a whole new engine. This is because next week we need to be writing out $5,000 worth of adoption related checks. It's a timing thing, or a Murphy's law thing, or ....or...or something. What it is, it's a bad thing, almost made worse by the fact I predicted it's coming two weeks ago when I made a comment to Dean. "We better not do X, because about the time we do that something horrid will happen, like a car dies or something, and God forbid we have to replace a car right now!"

See? I always know when things like this are right around the corner.

Tonight we borrowed Dean's parent's van so I'm not without a wheels tomorrow. I'm not sure yet what we're doing for Friday, but whatever it is, I can't be without a car. We haven't made a decision yet what we're doing about OUR car.  We're sleeping on it tonight, and will make some decisions in the morning.

Insert big fat sigh here. It's been a long day, with nothing getting done that should have.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dog Blog

Are you tired of the dog blogging around here? We're kind of wrapped up in the dogs at the moment! LOL Go read my latest post on my Pregnancy tracker (once you get there scroll down to the latest posts) and put in your vote for the various items. Sorry, no prizes will be awarded. Only the satisfaction of knowing you were right. ;-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zero!

Angela and Zero, having a little heart to heart on the couch. Zero is my stepson's dog. He's a riot, and loves to come to play at Doggie Disneyland!

sleeping arrangements

It's that time in our house again, when sleeping arrangements get rearranged. The last time we did this, I was sleeping on the couch in the basement.

We have puppies due sometime between Thursday and September 1st. The new sleeping arrangements have to do with getting the first-time dog mom used to her "nest" so she doesn't get the wild idea to have her puppies somewhere else, like our bed!

There is a little piece of magic about dog births (called whelping, for those of you new to this) and that is the expected event can usually be predicted within 24 hours by monitoring the dog's temperature twice a day for several days prior to day 58 of the pregnancy. There is a sudden rise, then a drop to 98*, at which time you know labor will start within 24 hours. How nice is that?

Our dog Rubee never read that book, however. With each litter she had, I took her temperature morning and night, hoping to find a pattern to her temperature rhythms, but there were none to be found. Finally, on her very last litter, there was that magic drop! Sure enough, she went into labor 12 hour later. I knew we were in trouble when just a few hours later she hadn't produced a puppy yet, and I knew by xray the previous week there were 10 in there. As soon as office hours rolled around I loaded her up into the car and got her to the vet, where we ended up doing an emergency c-section. It turned out to be a situation our very experienced vet had only seen twice in his entire 30 year career. I laughed...he doesn't know our family very well!

Anyway, when it was Zurri's turn, she wasn't really a "basement" type of girl like Rubee was. Rubee LOVED the cave-like feel of the basement. Zurri...mmm...not so much. She is more of a princess diva type. (she is a standard poodle, after all!) So for her we moved the whelping box to the living room where she could keep tabs on everyone! Zurri, diva that she is,  was more than willing to sleep in the special nest I made just for her. I still slept out on the couch to be near her but Zurri could have cared less I was there; she just loved her fancy bed. Funny...Zurri never followed that temperature rule either, and she never went into labor on her own. That's because she only had one puppy in there, so her hormone levels weren't high enough to cause her to go into labor. She ended up with a c-section too, and we came home with one VERY FAT, singleton puppy.

And now it's Bella's turn. Guess what? Bella is not so impressed with the special nest made just for her. She would rather be under our bed (aka storage space for shoes and out of season clothes) or other cavey  place. She might be a basement kind of girl, but I'm not feeling like a basement kind of person myself right now. We just don't spend a lot of time down there these days. Dogs usually like to be where it's kind of quiet and cave-like, away from the hustle and bustle of the household, but I also know Bella doesn't like to be too far away from me, and I'm just not in the basement very much!

So the whelping box was set up in the living room. The last two nights I tried sleeping on the couch next to the whelping box (you can kind of see the couch in the background) but that wasn't good enough for Bella. I woke up with her laying next to me on the couch. NOT gonna work! So here is where Bella AND I are sleeping now, in hopes that I can get her used to this new spot before her babies arrive.


Notice the airbed strategically placed so she can't just leave without me knowing? LOL 



She looks pretty comfortable to me! 

The other dogs are all messed up now though. Roman doesn't like to be far from my side. He normally sleeps in a soft crate by my side of the bed, so now he's in one next to my airbed. As I type, Dudley, who usually sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed, is sleeping with his head on my airbed, looking at me like, "So...umm....when do we go to bed for real?"

Rubee and Zurri are totally loyal to Dean and are in the bedroom with him. Oh wait, Zurri is in there because she has taken my place in the bed. There's a name for dogs like her!



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Can you help a school?

My friend Charissa's daughter attended a private christian preschool for children with special needs in Tulsa, Oklahoma called The Little Light House. Although it is a private school, it runs entirely on on donations, and the parents pay nothing to send their children there. It costs a lot of money to run a special needs preschool!

So I did some looking into this school. This is not just any school people! It was voted Oklahoma's #1 charity for 2010! It is considered a model program within a six state region! This school not only NEEDS $500,000, it DESERVES $500,000! Why do I say that specific number?

Well, every year Kohls runs a contest called Kohls Cares, where they donate $500,000 to 20 schools. The Little Light House is *very close* to the top 20 right now, but they need more votes! Would you take the time to vote? I know the voting power of my readers, because two years ago you voted me to the top 3 of contest to win a $100K blogging contract in less than 6 weeks when the contest had been running more than a year! So I know you can do this for the The Little Light House!

To vote, follow this link. (You do have to have a Facebook account to vote) When you get there, type in The Little Light House (make sure the words are separated, as there is another school with a similar name.) The location of the school is Tulsa, Oklahoma.

You can vote FIVE TIMES. Please use all your votes, then beg all your friends to vote, just like I'm begging you here! K???? Love you guys!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shot of the day

To save you from being incredibly bored with my shots for the day, I decided to just post my FAVORITE of the day. (considering the day isn't over, I might have to repeat this post, later. LOL)

But I have been determined to master photographing those darned humming birds before the leave for the season!

So here are TWO of my favorites of them for today:

Keeping an eye on me before visiting the feeder. 50 feet away, 25 feet up in the tree...all 3 inches of him.


Leaving the feeder. Shutter speed 1250, exposure 5.6




Interview Monday


On Monday evening Angela has her interview with the Minnesota Special Olympics committee person who will decide if she can compete in the World Games in Athens.

Guess what? THE MOM is not allowed to participate in this interview. Nope. Not one bit. Breathe in....breathe out...repeat.

She originally going to come to the house but I changed that and decided to have them meet at a Applebees. Angela will be shine brighter being out in the community. I will be out in my car posting on facebook.

Last night when I asked Angela what going to the Olymics, and Greece meant to her, she said, "I be on that TV show, and go far away...without you and Dean. YES!" (as in "score!")

Also on Monday morning she'll be meeting with a swimming instructor from Courage Center who specializes in working with people who've had brain injuries (Angela has had strokes) to see if he can help with her range of motion on her left side, particularly with her arm on her backstroke. Monday will be a busy day for her....and me since I'm the one with the drivers license! LOL

Spread the Word to End the Word(S)

Most of use who have kids who have cognitive impairments are familiar with the "Spread the word to End the Word" campaign. If you're new to this blog, you let me quickly insert a short-but-sweet old post of mine here:
.........................
Most who know me also know that if they use the "R word" around me, or any derivative of it, I'll probably say something about it. I may, or may not, be nice about it, depending upon my mood at that particular moment. Some people I know, even family members, think it's silly for me to be irritated about it. "It's just a word...a figure of speech, I don't mean anything by it." I even had one family member call her own son that, while Angela and I stood right there. Still...they think I'm overreacting.

No..I'm not. When you use that word, you're using my child as an insult. You're saying to be like her is a bad thing. That whomever you're calling a "r-d" surely would never want to be like Angela, or any other person who carries a MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS of mental retardation. That, my friends, is some incredibly insensitive thinking.

You wouldn't call people a "n-word", or a "fa**ot", or any other socially unacceptable slang term because you know they're wrong. They are words that can get you fired from a job, or sued for racial verbal harassment. Yet the "r-word" lives on. It's sickening.

Imagine my child walking through school. She will never hear one of her classmates call their friend of color a "ni**er, and in her extremely racially diverse school she'll never hear someone call a friend from the middle east a "towel head", but it is EXTREMELY common for her to hear someone walk by and refer to each other as "re*ard".

Why is this ok? Why is it ok for you to model it for your children and why is ok for your kids to do it at school? Why is it ok to have what my daughter is labeled by medical professionals be the butt of a joke every day of her life.

You may say, "Oh get over it. Grow a thicker skin." But if you're one of the people who use that word, what will you do the first time you hold your own new baby with Down Syndrome? Or your new grandchild, niece or nephew? Or you meet your boyfriends brother with Down Syndrome. Will you still use it anyway, regardless of how hurtful it is? Will you tell your own child "Grow a thicker skin child! You're going to be hearing this your whole life!!!!"

My child doesn't need to grow a thicker skin. She's been through more in her short 14 years than most adults will go through in a lifetime. What she needs is for people to be as respectful of her as they are of those of color or different religions. After all, the only difference between her and you is one tiny chromosome.

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

Which brings me to the purpose of my reposts. In my previous post titled "Faces" I posted a bunch of silly pictures of Angela, and what a "goof" she is, only in the ORIGINAL wording I had said, "What a "twit" she is. Then my good friend Tamara made a comment about it. TWICE (on my Facebook and a blog comment.) Since it was my good friend Tamara, AND she commented TWICE about it, I thought...hmmm....I should check this out. Now HERE, the word "twit" has always been used as "silly" or "goofy", but given Tamara's response, I looked it up. 


Ummm....wow...ENLIGHTENMENT. I guess the British definition, according to  Dictionary.com says:



n
informal chiefly (Brit) a foolish or stupid person; idiot

English

–nounInformal.


an insignificant or bothersome person.

Miriam Webster has listed:
2 : a silly annoying person
I think up here "in the north country" I have only ever heard it used in the Miriam Webster sort of way. As a silly person. But now that it's in my head in the British, or "Across the Pond" definition, it will forever bother me! So, another word gone from my vocabulary. 

So, if that's so easy for me, why is it so difficult for others who find out their word usage is offensive? I have a very good friend who, several times in our last few conversations has used the R word. It grates on my nerves every time and she knows it. It slips from her mouth far too easily for it to be a rare occurrence. That means her kids hear it modeled all the time too. It makes me not want to talk to her anymore. People get defensive and say I shouldn't be so sensitive about it. Wait a minute...I bet this person, I KNOW this person can walk into church and not swear for the couple hour she's there! She can monitor her language that well, so why can't she filter when she talks to me, or is around me? My child, my family, just isn't that important, which speaks volumes about our relationship. 



Faces

You can tell I'm out of school now, because I've had time to play with my camera! That means less wordy blogs, and more pictures. When you get bored with pictures and want more words, holler, k?

Anyway, Angela's good friend Jasmine had her 15th birthday party last night. How is that my daughter's friends are so old? Oh yeah, Angela keeps reminding me that on her next birthday SHE will be 15. (insert shuddering mom image here!) She got dressed for the party, but wanted me to take her picture before we left. She's such a poser! First, all I could get was this:


Those of you who know Angela, or who have been reading here long enough to get an idea of what a *goof she is, know this is very much NOT her! So I just stood there not talking. I knew within about 30 seconds she would get bored and start acting like herself. 

Do I know my kid or what?





*Previously I had said, "What a "twit" she is. And my good friend Tamara made a comment about it. Since it was my good friend Tamara, AND she commented TWICE about it, I thought...hmmm....now HERE, the word "twit" has always been used as "silly" or "goofy", but given Tamara's response, I looked it up. Ummm....wow...ENLIGHTENMENT, which calls for another blog post!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Neglect in Missouri

I know an institution in Eastern Europe that might have a bed available for this woman who calls herself a mother. The child authorities found had Down syndrome. The report didn't give the conditions of the other children she has, so I'm assuming they were fine. If you have the stomach for it, you can read the article here. 

What are your plans for the day?

No really, talk to me. I want to hear what other people do when they're not working, going to school, cleaning up dog poop, doing laundry, avoiding cooking, chasing after a kid who is talking to invisible people or gathering adoption documents.

Today I'm gathering or filling out adoption related documents. That means I'm also either writing out checks for copies of them, or handing over cash for them to get notarized. When that's done I'm going to set up the whelping box for Bella so she knows where to deposit her puppies when it's time.

Oh, and I'm gonna copy/paste this post on my adoption blog. 

So, what are you doing today?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On my day off

Every day for the past month, I've either been in class, or at the tutors, or driving to one or the other! Today was my first day off in quite some time. So what did I do with my time off? Lets see....

My friend Lynda came over for coffee! She brought her little guy Ricky to play with Angela, and we talked adoptions, and kids, and school related stuff!

Then I had a nice couple of ladies come over who are interested in a puppy. I'm always willing to discuss dogs, and Bella and Roman are always willing to be the center of attention, so that was fun!

But no matter what I was doing all morning, I noticed that about every 5-10 minutes, the humming birds were at the feeder. We have two pairs of them nesting somewhere in the yard.





I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to catch them. The feeder is about 20 feet from the kitchen window, so I took the screen off the window and waited. I didn't have to wait long though! Over the course of the day I had the opportunity to catch them several times, and learn about shutter speed and how it relates to exposure! Yeah, thats a lot like math and we know how good I am at THAT! ...NOT! Anyway, here are the pictures I was able to catch today. I'm hoping to try again tomorrow, now that the humming birds are on to me and are just teasing me at the feeder!



















I know this one is hard to see, but this is a hard shot to get, especially from my kitchen window BY ACCIDENT!!!!! He's not super clear, and he's at least 50 feet away, but here's the 3 inch humming bird, perched in a tree!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Special Olympics Update

Well, the pool has been narrowed just a tiny bit, no pun intended, of course! All the athletes work really hard for this, so it's sad when anyone gets eliminated.

An email went out today saying that 45 athletes submitted applications, but there are only eight openings, so if you have been chosen to attend the World Games before, you will not be able to this time around.

This gives everyone a chance at what is often a once in a life-time opportunity.

So Angela is still in the running! She will meet with a representative from our state Special Olympics office sometime between now at September 1st for an interview.

The 2011 Special Olympics in Athens Greece is a HUGE opportunity, and we're very excited that Angela for Angela! Needless to say, we have already ramped up her training!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Beautiful Bella

Smile Bella!



Ok, let's try it again! This time try to open your eyes, k?



Yes, Bella, I saw the squirrel. Now, this time can you look at ME?

 What's that Bella? You want to show me your "good side?" Ok, I'm game, lets see it!



You're right Bella, that's much better! I wish I looked so good 17 days before my due date!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shhhh Don't wake Dudley!

Kind of pitiful, isn't it? Dudley couldn't find any of his stuffies! Not his Barney, not his monkey, not even the Elvis cat. (That's because his mean dog mom threw all those stinky things in the washer!) So he settled for a nap with Dean's old shoe.


Now, for you large-breed dog lovers out there, take a closer look at what Dudley is laying on. It it's a therapeutic dog mattress, which costs hundreds of dollars in pet supply catalogs. But I am NOT about to spend hundreds of dollars for those things! Not when all they are is crib mattresses!!!! HA! 

Instead, I go to the thrift store and buy them used for anywhere from $5-$10. They're vinyl covered, so they wipe clean and are easily sanitized, and they can stand up to all kinds of abuse. Most thrift stores, like Savers, have lots of them so you can pick through and find one that is like new! 

Now, there are different support levels to crib mattresses. I find my dogs like the squishier ones, and will totally ignore the "firm" ones. 

When I have a litter of puppies? THEY don't care one bit, and will climb all over anything! Now, I really don't NEED to give my puppies a mattress, but they really do like to climb on stuff, which is good for them, and they do end up sleeping on it. Also, I have found that for the puppies, the softer mattresses are more likely to be chewed up, but the firm mattresses are apparently not quite as tempting until they're a little older. So I buy the softer ones for the big dogs, and the the firm ones for the puppies. Even so, no matter what I get them, a litter of puppies will destroy a mattress by the time they go home at 8-9 weeks, but for $5 who cares, right? 

Here's another hint. When you buy your used crib mattress (aka high priced therapeutic dog bed) buy a used crib sheet to use for dog bedding too! Your dog will thank you for it, and your friends will think you've gone crazy and spent hundreds of dollars on your dogs and are now spoiling them. ;-) 

Thursday, August 12, 2010