Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some Sadie Funnies!


Kiersten was babysitting... and I got into permanent marker!


I'm not looking!!


Sadie in Grandma's new dog Stella's cage... Sadie loves to share- especially when you share with her!



Mission Impossible- Kiersten's b-day girls before TPing


My Kiersten... Happy 14th Birthday

So, it's a few days after her birthday and I am just getting to writing this. Partly because we were busy with birthday and things; but, mostly because I thought it would take too much out of me emotionally. Raising Kiersten has been easy and hard. She is my first, the one I experiment on and the one I make most of my mistakes on.

It took us 2 years to get pregnant with Kiersten. I was so ready to be a mom and to bring a little one into this world. Her pregnancy was difficult. I was very sick and put on bedrest for such a long time. It was worth it though... On May 7th, 1994- after 36 hours labor, 8 days late, and only 12 hours and one minute before Mother's day- Kiersten Paige Teague made her arrival. Her birth was amazing. I have never felt that close to my Heavenly Father. I felt as if he handed her to me personally.

She was an easy baby, toddler and child. Just recently I have spent many nights awake thinking of the trials and obstacles she faces. Kiersten is not the ordinary teenager. You know, the one who is mouthy, boy crazy, always on the phone and wants everything they own to have a "name" on it. Infact, she doesn't answer the phone, could care less what kind of clothes she owns, gets along great with boys- but has never mention anyone as "cute" and is one of the most polite children you will ever meet. She even got an award last year from her teacher who said, "in all the 18 years I have taught... I have never met a more polite and kind person as Kiersten." He even thought she was a joke- because she went up to him everyday and said thank you- not the buttkissing thank you we find abundant in the teenage world- a real thank you.

Anyway, Kiersten is extremely bright (really- this is not a mom talking, I'm serious!!) and just as shy. It has been torture to see her go through her JR high years alone in a crowd. I often have to go to Scott for advice on raising her- she is sooooo different than me. She is on the dance team- even a captain, but doesn't feel like anyone knows her. She has a few really good friends; but, I try to tell her how hard it is to be a friend to someone who doesn't give back. She is loyal, nice, kind, and funny- but she will never call anyone, go up to them or just "hang out" unless someone else starts it.

She is like the butterfly in the "Parable of the Butterfly". She is struggling and working with all her might to break out of her cocoon. It is hard to watch her struggle- but I know, she will always be a good mom, good wife and good friend. That the rest of her life is not about JR high and being out-going... it's about doing good, growing and being faithful. But, she is good. She is kind. She is smart. She is beautiful. And she is faithful. Happy Birthday Kiersten. I love you forever, I like you foralways... Forever and Always my baby you'll be!

I'm going get me back- and a get Wii too!!!

So, I've decided it's about 5 weeks until Sadie's 4th birthday and I'm tired of stressing, grieving and using her as an excuse not to take care of myself! I've made a commitment to myself to spend the next 5 weeks focusing on finding me- emotionally, physically and spiritually. So, I started with going to the gym today for 1 hour on the eliptica machine. I burned over 500 calories... awesome! I'm going to write a positive thing about myself everyday and read an church article or scriptures. Here's some extra incentive... Scott agreed that if I exercise for 30 calendar days (excluding Sundays) we can get a Wii. Yeah!!!!!!

EMOTIONAL HEALTH - So here's my positive thing- My most valued role is mother. I live and breathe for my kids. I care sooo much about their welfare that I screw up. I get high strung and stressed... WAIT THIS IS SUPPOSE TO BE POSITIVE... I love my kids so much I would do anything for them.

PHYSICAL HEALTH - gym 1 hour- over 500 calories!!

SPIRITUAL HEALTH - When Life Is Getting You Down
By Val D. MacMurray, Ph.D.

"The idea that all stress is bad and should be avoided is only one of the myths of stress. Another myth goes to the other extreme: “Stress is unavoidable, so why try?” The truth is really somewhere in between. The most intelligent way of managing stress is to take a look at your life and plan to reduce or eliminate unnecessary stress. "

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Inclusion vs Special Day Classes

Today Frank Buckley, the Chief Executive Officer of the Down Syndrome Educational Trust and Sue Buckley’s son came to our monthly meeting for our learning program at the Down Sydrome Association of Orange County. He was there because they are starting a new program (or corporation) in the United States that will help bring some of the teaching methods here. It is really quite interesting- things like training aides (because you don't have to have any formal training in most areas), the see and learn program, etc. He told us they are going to hold a conference here in 2009 with Sue Buckley and specialist from around the world.

So, here's the interesting fact he shared with us about inclusion. He said that the number of kids with ds included in the United Kingdom is 80%. Guess how many kids are included in the US???? Only 7%!! Wow, what a difference. No wonder so many districts have such a hard time with inclusion. Although it is the law, or our right, to include first- it is a realitively new thing and they don't have that much experience with it. I know this is a touchy subject for some- so let me say right now.... I respect anyone's decision either way. You know your kid the best and you know what kind of class setting is best for them. I would like to have Sadie included- but that will be determined by her and her needs. Right now we are in a SDC for preschool and I couldn't be happier with the program or the teacher!

But, they did a study on kids who were from two different areas- one that offered SDC's (in a separate school) and one that offered inclusion. So the study didn't have variables like that kids that are a little more high functioning, etc. that typically fight for inclusion. He said that the kids who were included were 2-3 grades adhead of the SDC classes. Once again... no judgements- just interesting. He did say one thing, since we have the option- what would it hurt to try inclusion? It is easier to start with inclusion and change to SDC. If you start with SDC it is like swimming upstream. It is like changing their whole world and teaching environment.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sew, wish me luck- part two!

It's not going so well. I've tried to take in the pants five times- and each time the legs are skinny and the butt is- well, a balloon! I even had my friend Ruthann come and help. It's just not going to work.

So, on to plan B. We went and got some more pants that only need to be taken in a little. I will have to find a new vest (because we changed the color scheme from browns to black)- but I will go back to Goodwill tomorrow! I'll let you know how plan B goes- wish me luck again. I'm not sure I'm up to a Plan C.

*** Also, we got our new grass yesterday. It is sooooo beautiful. Can't wait to get that bug guy over and start planting in the planter. We have to plant the vegetables soon... they are ready! ***

Ancient Chinese Writing- how much do you know about it???

Madison came home on Thursday and told me she had a research project due on Monday. What??? Are you kidding me??? When I asked her why hadn't she told me earlier, she responded, "We've been working on it in class- it's no big deal!" No Big Deal?? Ok, so I didn't even ask her what her topic was until Friday- because I was a little to upset to deal with it any sooner. Ancient Chinese writing. Oh, that should be easy (hear my tone of voice??) Well, yesterday I told her to take everything out and start working on it.

I've always had to walk the kids through their projects- they are smart enough to do it on their own- maybe not that motivated or sure of themselves. Well, you know what?? She has taken so many good notes. Nothing plagiarized. Just a lot of good notes. She is ready to start typing up her paper and she has had little help from me. I still expect to help her for about three hours tonight after rehearsal; but, wow- she really has become a self motivated, hard working and responsible student.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Parable of the Butterfly

We used this poem for a lesson once about individual worth. It hit me hard because it was about the time of Sadie's transition into public school at the age of three. I spent the first three years of her life doing hands on therapy and trying to save her life. At three I was asked to surrender my role at co-therapist and trust the school system to know, love and teach my child 3 1/2 hours a day. This poem gave me a little understanding and faith in God's will.

Parable of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

I asked for Strength.....And God gave me Difficulties
to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom.....And God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity.....And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage.....And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love.....And God gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favors.....And God gave me Opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted ....And everything I needed!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Madison... The Pre-Teen!

Madison turned 12 one month ago and she is full speed ahead into teenagehood! She can roll her eyes so fast if you blink you may miss it. She does a lot of "huffing"- and when she is called on it she just says, "Whatever" and walks away. She will be the end of me... I know it! She spends way too much time in front of the mirror, on the computer, on the phone, changing her clothes and asking for the newest phone, a laptop or a digital camera.

But today, as she was running one of Kiersten's birthday invitations up to a friends door... I noticed something. Something that was there all along but is hard to see when you are trying to teach her that the kid doesn't get the last word, or that as a family we should be our own cheerleaders.

You know what? Madison is absolutely beautiful. She has beautiful hair, a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes and a cute figure. From the outside she is someone other's admire. As I was looking at her bounce and float to the car I saw something else. I saw her beautiful laugh, her beautiful smile, her beautiful sense of humor, her acts of kindness, her desire to be good, her intelligence, her hardworking attitude, her faithfulness, her love for others and her good nature. I saw a daughter of God. Someone our Heavenly Father loves and cheers for. Someone who isn't perfect, but is good!

I am thankful for those 2 minutes I could watch Madison run up to that door. Because in those two minutes I was blessed to be reminded of who Madison is. I am going to try to keep this memory close to my heart.... because I am sure the teenager will appear again.

Sew, wish me luck!

One of my motto's is... "If I can't staple, tape or glue it- I don't do it!" I always thought I would learn to sew when my kids were older. When I was pregnant with Kiersten my friend Melanie taught me to sew a complicated dress- but I had morning sickness and now everytime I see a sewing machine I get a little sick! I never thought my kids would get too old that they wouldn't want me to sew them those cute sundresses. The only use they have for my sewing skills- or lack of them- would be Halloween costumes or the occasional mend or button replacement. Well, my kids are getting a little old for me tape or staple their Halloween costumes.

So... I'm in trouble- I have to alter Kiersten's "Step in Time" costume (the chimney sweep number from Mary Poppins- but better!). I thought, their just chimney sweeps, how hard can this be? Well, I got a pair of women's size 6 slacks from Goodwill that have pleats and a bubble butt. Kiersten is a size 0/1 with not much of a butt and a lack of confidence in my altering ability. Right this moment she is seam ripping our first attempt!

I wish my mommy was here to help- wish me luck!!