Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wow - our life changed a lot yesterday!

As of yesterday, we have a "live-in nanny"!!

It all happened so quickly.... I had been thinking for a while about finding someone to help out after school - preferably from say 2:00 to 8:00. This was so the person could do a little light housework, help out with homework and the kids and the dinner rush and then help out during the bedtime routine. So, yeah, where do find someone like that? Nowhere... that's where.

Backtrack a bit... Tom's parents were in Austria, visiting family and friends. They were visiting a friend who had a daughter who had been studying in Toronto (early childhood education, by the way) and not enjoying it at all. She wanted to quit that but still wanted to stay in Canada for the year. So she needed a job - where and what kind of job would she get? She didn't want to stay in Toronto and she did have some relatives elsewhere. Did Tom's parents' know of anyone who would hire her? No.. unfortunately they didn't.

Fast forward to the drive home from the airport where Tom and his parents connect and Tom mentions that we're looking for someone to help with the kids after school and hmm... it sounds like a good match, doesn't it? We need someone to help with kids at odd hours; she needs a job and a place to live.

And about 1.5 weeks later, we have a live-in nanny. At first Kurtis wasn't too thrilled about having her here as it meant giving up his bedroom. However, once he saw the bedroom he would be getting (the VERY unused exercise room), he seemed much happier. Ryan has fallen in love with her already.... at dinner the other day, he insisted that she sit beside him.

So, we're getting to know each other still, but so far so good. She is a lovely girl and I think it will work out OK.

Thank you Lord for answering this prayer so quickly and so perfectly!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

As promised... some pictures

I'm having trouble with my photo editor so I can't upload pictures. Therefore, I am stealing pictures from my friends so you can see a bit of our weekend...

The walk

The whole gang back at Jan and Jeff's house. I stole this picture from Tara Marie's flickr site..hence the sepia tone.

The next few pictures are stolen from Kei.

Some of the gals.
Back row: Lisa, Nicole and Marley, Jan and Nash, Tara Marie
Front row: Beth, Stephanie, Annette, Kei with Stephanie's Katie, Rhonda with Tara's Emma Sage and Beth's Patrick is hanging with Seeger.

Kurtis and Kei's Sarah lead the Dash with Nash team:

Kei's William and Ryan shake hands:

Lisa's Jamie with a solemn Ryan and Emma Sage in the foreground:

Tara Marie and I:

I got my photo editing software to work...the last few pics are mine....believe it or not.

Me with Tara's Emma Sage and Nicole's Tarenne...the girls were being silly and just not cooperating with those smiles!

Kurtis on a watusi (don't know if that is spelled correctly, in any event, it was one cool animal! Ryan was too afraid to go on):

Ryan and Daddy on the walk... it was a long walk for a boy with little legs

Me with Ryan, and Dawn with Jack

Beth and I:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Think of me first as a person"

(Again, shamlessly stolen from another blog, Emma Sage's - who I had the pleasure of seeing last weekend.)


You look at me with pity,
concern or indifference,
for I am a retarded child.
But you only see the outside of me.
If I could express myself,
I would tell you what I am inside.

I am very much like you.
I feel pain and hunger.
I cannot ask politelyfor a glass of water,
but I knowthe parched dry feeling of thirst,
I itch when mosquitoes bite mea
nd run when I see a bee.
I feel cozy drinking cocoa in the kitchen
when a snowstorm blusters outside.

I had a heaviness insidew
hen I left my mother
to board the minibus for school.
My eyes darted back and forth,
seeking escape,but knowing there was none.
When my sister takes me to the
playground and children call me names,
she cries and takes me home.
Then I feel warm and dizzy,
and it is hard for me to breathe.
Mother's eyes are wet; she holds me
and tells me a story, and
I forget the children's jeers.
When I dress myself and Mother
pats my head, saying, "Good job,
Jim!" I feel...big. As big as Greg,
who goes to second grade.
I am a child -in age now, and in ability always.
I find the touch of soft toys
and snuggly dogs comforting.
I love the toys of childhood -a kite, a balloon, a wagon to pull.
I like to let go at the top of a slide
and after dizzy seconds find myself at
the bottom.
I like sleds on soft snow,
the wetness of rain on my forehead.

Though it is comfortable to be babied,
I am less dependent
when people treat me as a big boy.
I don't want their sympathy;
I want their respect for what I can do.
I am slow, and many things
you take for granted are hard for me.
I can hardly understand
what "tomorrow" means.
It took me months to learn
to pedal the tall blue tricycle,
but I was so proud when at last
both feet pedaled in the same
direction and the wheels went forward.
How happy I waswhen I turned on the right faucet
to get a drink of water.
I didn't want to ever turn it off.
If I can learn at my own pace and still
be accepted, I can fit into a world
where slowness is suspect.

Think of me first as a person,
who hurts and loves and feels joy.
And know I am a child to encourage
and direct.
Smile, and say hello
-even that is enough.

- Rita Dranginis

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wow - what a weekend

This past weekend, we travelled to Indiana to visit with my on-line friends from the Down syndrome community. These are the same friends we visited in late February. However, this time there were a lot more and I got to meet a few "new" people. I was so thrilled to meet Rhonda, Stephanie and her daughter Katie, Beth and her son Patrick and many others. I'll be posting some more pictures and writing more about it over the next few days, but here's a bit about what happened.
It was so amazing to connect again with people I've met before and soooo wonderful to meet people I've only known on-line for 6.5 years. It's really hard to explain to people outside of this type of environment, but it's not like meeting someone for the first time. You've shared the ups and downs, challenges and achievements of raising a child with Down syndrome. You've shared incredible highs and cried tears with them. So, this weekend was a real treat for me and I feel so rejuvenated now. I was worried about the long drive and how I would feel, but I think I was blessed with energy and feeling good throughout the whole weekend (drive back included).
The weekend included the Indiana Buddy Walk on Saturday, a get-together on Saturday afternoon/evening with the whole internet gang (and it was a large gang - wait until you see the picture tomorrow) that included a bounce'around (the best toy in the world according to my boys) and a hayride with a visit to a farm that had some very interesting animals! So, for now, here are 2 pictures (it was taking a LONG time for me to find, edit and save the other pictures, so like I mentioned before, that'll have to wait until tomorow).
Ryan just can't resist a dog

Ryan, Nicole and William

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's a bird.... it's a plane... it's....it's...

Toothless Superman!

Ryan has already lost his two bottom teeth. Then he lost one of his top teeth a few weeks ago. The Tooth Fairy realized that Ryan probably would have no use for money, so she brought him a Dora the Explorer book - how thoughtful! We discovered, yesterday in the bath, that the other top tooth was gone too. We don't know where the tooth actually went, but apparently the Tooth Fairy is very understandable and will leave something under the pillow if you leave a note explaining the situation.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here are some of regular Superman:

Little update

Sorry for being a neglectful blogger lately. Honestly, not too much has happened. The kids haven't said anything particularly cute. I haven't had any huge insights into the Down syndrome world; it is Down syndrome awareness month in the U.S. but I'll save my DS postings until the Canadian awareness week.

I haven't been feeling great. I was battling a cold that seemed to be making the rounds. I think it was dragging me down as far as fatigue goes and I was coughing a bit. But I seemed to have successfully battled it without actually getting it! We were also tinkering with the pain medication I'm on and it left me a bit out of sorts and just not exactly excited about blogging. I'm feeling much better over the past 4 days so you just may see more posts from me!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Now that's spirit

For those of who who've talked to me "in real life" about this - just skip this post. I know I'm getting a bit nauseating about how proud I am of Kurtis. Even Kurtis was getting annoyed with me telling him how proud of him I was! tee hee


Kurtis joined the cross country running team at his school about a month ago. There are no try-outs or cuts - everyone who wants to run can. I had encouraged him to join - thinking it was the track and field team. With Kurtis's height, I'm thinking he may be good at the jumps. When it turned out to be the cross country team, I told him he didn't have to stick with it if he didn't enjoy it as it wasn't what we thought he had signed up for. But I thought he might like it as he does like to run - playing tag is one of his favourite things to do!

And right from the beginning he surprised me. The very first day of running was hard for him....but he kept going (either walking or running) and forced himself to run more because as he told me.."our coach said that if we run more now, it'll be easier to run next time. So I forced myself to run, Mom, even when I got a cramp in my side".

On the first race, they took off after the "rabbit".... and I mean they flew. They were running so fast I knew Kurtis (and many others) would hit the wall. Well, he didn't hit the wall badly, but he did slow down significantly and ended up middle of the pack. But, I was so proud of him for even doing this activity and for finishing the race without walking. Considering how fast he had started out, I expected him to be walking to the end. Again, his determination amazed me... "Mom, I wasn't going to walk, no matter how tired I was and I was very tired".

The last race was this past Thursday. And it was hot outside. I felt sorry for all those kids having to run in that heat. I was eagerly watching Kurtis start the race in the middle of sooooo many grade 3 boys! I went quickly to the finish line and waited for Kurtis. They started coming in. The superfast boy won again - he has won all 3 races and was running as fast as when he started out. Some more boys... then the boys from Kurtis's school came in. Hmmm.. Kurtis should be done by now.... he's usually in the middle of the pack, so where is he? Finally I see him approach the line. But something is wrong. He is very upset. After he crosses the finish line and I can talk to him, he is very upset and between tears and huge breaths, he tells me he fell - twice! He shows me his bleeding and scratched up knee, hand and arm. Finally after he calms down he says "but at least I didn't finish last Mom!". Yup - you're right there! And thanks for the laugh kid! In fact, he still actually did quite good. And I think the wounds (emotional and physical) have healed.

As I said before, I was so proud of Kurtis for joining the cross country team. I think a big part of it is because it's something I never did - or rather never could do! When I watch all these little children run and run, I really am in awe!