Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm a Mom of a High Schooler!!!!!

I'm trying not to freak as we get Kiersten ready for her first day of High School tomorrow! I have a four year old... how can I possibly have a high schooler also??? This summer has been great for her. We started out spending time with our friends in Utah only to rush back and get ready for Trek. They spent 3 days, in period clothes, pulling a handcart and living the life of a pioneer. Within a week after coming home from trek Kiersten packed up to go to EFY (Especially For Youth) a church sponsored week long conference for boys and girls 14-18 years old. EFY was life changing for Kiersten. Not only were they fed spiritually, they met a lot of new friends and they were taught how to safety and correctly interact with boys. The boys escorted them to every activity, joined in on Morning devotionals, and danced with them at two dances. Immediately after returning from EFY I got Kiersten unlimited texting (this for a girl who has had her phone for two years and has only used it a dozen times - to call me). She hasn't stopped texting since. I know she is keeping in touch with a few boys from EFY. She has gone to the last three youth dances and spent the last week at girl's camp. I am amazed at how much she has grown this summer. So, she has a new dew, unlimited texting and her dancin' shoes on... I think my baby is ready for High School. But don't let her new found social skills fool you- she is still totally academic. She will be taking all honors class, Spanish, Seminary and Alg. 2 Trig. Yikes!!! Wish me luck :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The "R" Word

I found this post on and asked if I could post it here. Love, love, love it!


We are moms of young children with developmental disabilities. We are your neighbors, your friends. We see you at baseball games, shopping, church, and the movies. When we think of our children, we use words like “beautiful” and “adorable.”

But often we hear words that hurt, words like the R-word, “retarded.”

People often use the R-word casually to insult and denigrate another person. Because the word is used in those ways, it’s easy to understand why as mothers we are hurt and concerned when we hear it. Over the years we have wondered about (and dreaded) the day when our children would come home after hearing and understanding the insinuation behind someone's use of the R-word.

The casual use of the word is so common that a week doesn't go by that we don't hear it. Every day we are reminded that our children are becoming more aware of their differences and so too are their peers. That day we've dreaded is fast approaching.

When famous movie stars, celebrities our children already know and love, take a hurtful word and tie a funny punch line around it, we need to worry about the fallout. That’s why we’re asking you today to think about the R-word, and the impact it has on the people around you, including our children. And we’d like you to consider a new R-word, RESPECT.

On behalf of our children, we thank you for reading, and for your thoughtfulness

Written By: Nancy Reader copied off of

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Something I've been thinking about for awhile

I've been thinking a lot of an experience I had just after the birth of Sadie. Three of my friends came to visit me in the hospital. They all sat at the end of my bed admiring Sadie and looking forward to the births of two of their children in the following few weeks. I felt the time was right and I just blurted out, "She has Down Syndrome". What happened next has been one of the best lessons I have ever experienced.

My friend Kay, who had 3 children and was expecting her 4 in the next two weeks and who grew up with two deaf parents, exclaimed, "Oh, she's so cute... doesn't she have the cutiest toes? It looks like she is giving us a peace sign, " (because of the big gap). She just kept talking and talking about everything... I wondered if she had even heard the news I had just given her.

My friend Alison, who was expecting her first child the next month, sat there with a with a deer caught in headlights look. I don't think she said another word and I was sure she was lost in thoughts of, "if Kari didn't know she was going to have a kid with ds... what about ME?"

And then there was my sweet little friend Ayumi she sat there with tears in her eyes, got up and hugged me and started asking questions about what was next and about her health.

Everyone had a different reaction. I believe those reactions were all born from different experiences they had in life. Each had different upringings and and different personalities. All three were there in the room with me at the same time hearing the same things; but, each of them heard it differently. Kay lived around disabled people all her life. She knew that things would be just fine. She was there to celebrate a new life. Alison was newly married, expecting her first child. They were perfect and nothing seriously life altering had ever happened to her. Ayumi, she grew up in Japan. She grew up in a society where people with disabilities are hidden, killed or shipped away.

I learned that day that I could never control how others reacted. I needed to look beyond their reaction and wonder... why do they think that way? Now today, when we are out and about, I often see how people react to Sadie. Sometimes they turn their heads. Sometimes they look at me with pity. But most of the time, they smile. They see how happy we are. They see the joy and love Sadie brings to our family.

I can't control how others feel. The only thing I can control is my own thoughts and emotions. I can however, hope that maybe as we fully accept and rejoice in our litte ones others will see their beauty and worth. And if not- it won't change how I feel one bit!!!