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, August 31, 2014

These Eyes

These eyes


What did they see?

In their life before a family, I don't doubt they saw terrible things.


These eyes



Did they fear that one person who came to him each day?

Did he look on in hunger as the food was taken away?


These eyes


Did they wonder where the people went?

Did they worry for the child who cried next to him?


These eyes


What do they know? 

What memories do they hold?


Sometimes I am thankful they cannot tell me. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Henna Tattoo Crown

Dean and I went to the Minnesota State Fair tonight. A great date night that he and I look forward to every year. We got a bit sidetracked by the henna tattoo both. I've been wanting to do a henna crown for awhile now. This is my last chance since my hair is starting to grow back. I love it! The henna work was done by Shana at Redfox Henna











Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Bucket List

I think Dean and I need a bucket list for next summer to make up for the things we didn't do with the kids this summer.

Normally I do one fun outing during the week with the kids. A trip to the zoo or some community event. Then on the weekend we do one family outing. This summer? This was "The Summer that Mommy Laid on the Couch."

We did exactly four fun things. No wonder my kids want to go back to school so bad. Its not just about keeping kids busy (though that is a lot of it) it is also about showing the world to our new kids.

Do you know Audrey doesn't remember me with hair? I  show her pictures of me with hair and she doesn't know who it is. That makes me sad. She'll get over it, I know, and so will I. At the moment it makes me a little bit sad.

So, I'm off to work on the bucket list for next summer. Some weekend road trips. Some local attractions that all kids should see. Living, that's what we'll be doing. Living.


Scars

I've been quiet lately. I have all kinds of things to say, I just don't know how to say them or where to start. I'm at a loss for words.

On September 12th I'll be having a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I wish there were a way to know what the end result will be. There is no way to predict how I will heal. Breast cancer stays with you. Forever.

Please watch this video. Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon. Breast cancer is about survival. It is also about the 39,620 men and women per year in the US who don't survive. ( http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics ) If breast cancer stayed in the breast people wouldn't be dying from it.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On the Path

I didn't see it coming.
I was blissfully unaware,
living my life
as if it wasn't possible.

There was no warning.
That unexpected turn in our path
causing me to lose myself
as I tripped on the unknowns.

It is hard to fall gracefully,
all willy nilly and out of control,
trying to right oneself
while looking eternity in the eye.

The battle to regain composure
hands at the ready
to grab hold
of anything that looks stable.

Finally steady
Brushing off the dust
a cleansing breath
standing tall and continuing on.







Saturday, August 09, 2014

Asher's love of water

The first day I met Asher he was given a "bath" in the sink of his room in the institution. Its kind of like a farm sink at counter height. You can kind of see it here in this picture of Abel in the same institution. (At 10 years old Abel was still in diapers and this is the diaper changing station. A couple weeks home and he was out of diapers. )


When the children in Asher's group were given a "bath" they were made to stand in the sink while they were hosed off with the sprayer. I watched him desperately try to put his hands in the water only to have them swatted away, as if he was a naughty little boy for touching the water. My heart broke for him. He just wanted to touch the water. I had no idea how badly. 

For many adoptive parents getting custody of their child is synonymous with the "first bath". It means an opportunity to get rid of the institutional stench that emanates from the child's every pore. (It actually takes weeks to get rid of that smell.) For some newly adopted children this first bath is an extremely traumatic experience. Not only are they in a new environment , but they may have never experienced sitting in water before.  This is Asher's first bath. No trauma, but a big smile about half way through. So happy he can touch the water! (I would not normally post bath videos. You only see his back in this one, except for a few seconds. Originally this video was made so his dad at home could share in the first bath experience.) 

From that first bath until today Asher has been obsessed with water. I don't know if the word "obsessed" even comes close to describing his fascination. In the summer, if its nice outside I need only to turn the hose to a trickle and it will keep him busy for hours.  Sometimes with the hose he will put it right to his ear, letting that ice cold water shoot into his ear. 





















Back in Time

I was having trouble uploading videos to youtube tonight. While I was waiting for things to process I was looking at some old videos of Angela. This is one of my favorites. She was 11 at the time. I love listening to her little voice.




Saturday, August 02, 2014

A Little bit of Audrey

Audrey has been home 4 1/2 months now. Last week we put up a small pool. Yesterday she was scared to death of it. Today she watched Asher and Abel splash around and decided she wanted in!


Audrey LOVES music and will do almost anything if you put it to music. She is imitating more and more. It is so fun to see her coming out of her shell! Her understanding of English is increasing daily. She follows directions really well. Sometimes one of the boys don't understand a direction so she will do it for them! Please excuse my annoying singing in this video! (the boys in the pool to the side make it look really deep. Its only waist deep on them. They LOVE it!)




Friday, August 01, 2014

Life in the Garden

I found Angela and Dudley laying on the floor.


Me: Angela, what are you doing?

Angela: Resisting arrest!

We may have trouble on hour hands in the future.
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Some of the kids are done with summer school, some are half way done and others are just starting, This is because I don't have enough trouble remembering the daily schedule from one day to the next. 

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Axel was walking to the bus stop last week. 

Dean: "Bye Axel! Have a great day! Love you buddy!"

Axel: "Bye Dad. Peace out!"
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My friend Mary brought over a lego table her kids had outgrown. Axel is in heaven. He builds everything as symmetrical as he possible can.


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When Abel is done with therapy, if he didn't have any problems, he gets to spin a plate. Not an activity everyone would choose, but its his favorite activity and that's what's important! He is a master plate spinner. Lot of kids at the therapy center are trying to figure out what's so neat about this plate spinning thing and are now trying to compete with him. Here's a really short video. He hadn't quite yet gotten "into" it. In other words, I could still talk to him. Another minute and he is 100% engrossed and the plate spins for several seconds at a time. If you're familiar with the sport of Curling, he brushes the table similar to the way curlers brush the ice with their brooms. 

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My son Tyler has been helping us a lot this summer. I don't know what we would have done without him! He loves to do Audrey's hair. It is almost long enough to get into one ponytail. 

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Asher is spending his summer playing with or in water.