Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six 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!"

Sunday, June 30, 2013


In 1993 my family moved to a tiny town in the heart of Minnesota farm country. I loved it there. I loved that tiny town. Our first house there was a huge, 100 year old, 3500 sq ft 3 story with 6 bedrooms and a "parlor". I love the house. Not past tense, but present tense because I still love it. Although it needed a lot of work, the house held so much.

I loved that the first few years we were there, mail was not delivered door to door. Instead everyone "in town" would walk to the post office to get their mail. It is where everyone went to get the daily news (or gossip. LOL) I loved that one block away was my best friend Joanie, and across the street from her the town pool were my boys learned to swim.

The town water tower was just above our house. I'll never forget when the new tower went up, and as the company painted it they left out an "r" in Prairie. I caught a picture of it before they were able to repaint it. I loved that just outside of town lived my sister and her family. We often got all the kids together for a game of softball at the ballpark, or sledding parties during the winter.

The only thing the house was lacking was acreage. Although it was on a very large corner lot, I wanted to be out in the country.

In 2000 we sold the house (and the new owners promptly did all the things we'd wanted to do!) and bought a small, 10 acre hobby farm just outside of town. The house was ok, the property was ok, but it is the house where my already weak marriage fell apart. The house itself doesn't bring great memories. What does hold great memories is the space the boys had to just be boys. Riding dirt bikes, learning to drive a car, my chickens and large garden, the neighbors I was very close to. We still lived very close to my friends and family, and the grocery store was just a few minutes away. I loved being out in the country, away from everything and yet it was all still so close. I loved it so much, probably because I grew up in a similar environment. I still missed that big old house in town.

By March of 2002, my marriage had finally disintegrated to the point of no return and the kids and I had moved into an apartment in a neighboring town. Then to another town even further away in the school district I was working for. In August of 2003 I met Dean, and in 2004 we moved 70 miles away to join Dean.

We have a beautiful home here. Dean and I have worked hard to make it the way we like it, and still have things we want to do to the house. We live in a secluded area which is just how we like it. Most of Dean's family live within a few miles of us and we get together often. I adore Dean's family and they have welcomed all of the kids with open arms.

But I'm missing some things.  I'm missing walking to the post office or taking a stroll to the grocery store just for a gallon of milk. I miss evening strolls on those quiet streets. I'm missing the hardware store, and the bank where the kids would walk to get a free ice-cream cone during Dairy days. I'm missing the school where all my kids walked to, even when we were frozen under three feet of snow. (but if it was really bad I'd drive them.) I miss the town festival and the excitement it held for the kids as they watched the carnival roll into town. I miss the little town pool and playground. I'm missing my good friends. I'm missing having my family nearby.

I miss...I miss a lot of things about that town.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

MN Special Olympics Summer Games 2013

Last weekend was the Minnesota Special Olympics Summer Games. As always our kids had a blast! The weather was beautiful most of the time, though a little on the hot side. I'm not complaining though! Summer took FAR too long to get here and I'm loving it.

Our games are spread over the course of 3 days, with more than 7,000 athletes participating in track and  field events, gymnastics and tennis. Angela, Axel and Asher participate in the track and field events. This is Abel's year to watch, get used to being in crowds, and see what all this hullabaloo is about. If he's ready, he'll start participating next year.

Our first event was Axel's softball throw. We had to wait awhile for Axel to get there from the staging area. We were waiting in the full sun without any breeze at all. It was HOT! Abel was not happy. With me or the sun, I'm not sure which. Probably both!

Angela was hot even with her cooling vest on. (the black vest she's wearing is full of ice packs.) She really needed one on her head. 

Here he comes!

These two hooligans were having a discussion. 
Abel: "Asher, I bet we can move this thing."
Asher: "Hmmm"

Abel: "See? Like this!"

C'mon! You do it!

Meanwhile on the awards podium.....
Axel gets the silver!

Next we had Asher's tennis ball throw, but there are no pictures. Dean was back at the team tent keeping the other kids cool and I was 1:1 with Asher, so no pics. 

The next day was much cooler. Only we really had to rush! She had her MRI at 6:30 that morning and had to be ready for her event at 10:30. Of course she had to choose this day to react to the contrast dye! "Angela, we don't have time. Hurry up." LOL

Two hours later, here is Angela lined up for the 100 meter run. 

And they're off!

 Angela takes the bronze!

Angela Spring and her good friend Carly Sprung. 

We barely had enough time to get her staged for the 50 Meter run.

Crossing the finish line

Angela and Carly, waiting for awards. 

Angela took 4th place. 

Am I the only one who's kid does the Macarena on the awards podium?

Later in the day was Angela's standing long jump. Dean was responsible for taking these pictures because I had the other kids back at the tent. Of course, he cut her feet out of the picture so I have no idea how far she jumped. LOL He tried though, so I'll give him credit for trying.

But she must have done ok, because she took the silver! LOL

That night there was a dinner and dance with live music, and a BMX show. Unfortunately some very severe weather was moving in so everything got cut short. We made it back to our van just as the first drops hit. We drove home to tree limbs falling all around us!

Saturday, the last day of the Summer Games, it was time for Axel and Asher's running events. But first, it was imperative to spend time in the Healthy Athletes Village! There are so many fun things to do in the Healthy Athletes Village, and lots of free stuff. There are many specialists who volunteer their time to come out and give the athletes a screening. Pediatric Ophthalmologists testing vision, Pediatric Audiologists doing hearing screenings, Podiatrists fitting athletes with orthotics, etc. They also make referrals to other specialist if they see something that needs to be looked at further. They also had healthy lifestyle activities the athletes could try out. 

We did some Hula hooping. Dean got in on the action. He can still do it, I can't. LOL

This was Angela's favorite: the Zumba tent. Angela LOVED doing Zumba! I might have to get her into a class at the Y or something. 

I bet you won't be surprised to find out she ended up on the stage with the Zumba instructor. She is all about being on stage. 

Enough of Zumba, lets get onto the events! Here's Axel running his 100 meter run. Notice the wave? Also notice everyone else is long gone? LOL  Yeah, who cares about the "race" part? Surely everyone is yelling and cheering for him. And they WERE!!!! 

And he takes the silver. WAY TO GO AXEL!

He is so very proud of his metal! He deserves to be. Think of where he was just a few years ago!

Little Asher. He is READY!!!! 

He's telling them to hurry up and say GO already!

Asher wins the Gold! Do you know what this picture means? Think of where this child was just 19 months ago. Sitting in an institution in Serbia. Disconnected from the world. Nobody to love him. Alone. He was completely alone. 

And now he is so thrilled to have this big gold dangly thing around his neck. His world is perfect now.

Axel's turn for the 50 meter run. Hi DAD!!!!

Another gold medal for our delegation!

Look at the smile on his face!!!! I know there is someone very special reading this, so happy to see this smile. So happy to see the opportunities Axel has here. He's one very special young man. 

Abel was ready to go back to the hula hoops. He can make anything spin for the longest time!

Angela learned the art of the hula hoop transfer.

Asher LOVED running around with the hoops, dragging them behind him. He quickly picked out a favorite, I think based on the sound it made as it dragged on the ground. 

Axel tried the transfer but wasn't really thrill with it.

And then there was a minor hoop accident. 

And this brings to close another year of track and field for our kids. Two nights a week of practices have come to an end. Next year we'll have four athletes competing. I can't wait!!!!