Saturday, September 27, 2008

Joe & Emma ride on!
Right after the Buddy Walk we drove to CHUM for horseback riding.

Buddy Walk 2008

Kierin helping Joe to look at the camera

Emma, Krista & Joe listening to speeches.

Joe, Krista, Emma & Amy

Today was our annual Buddy Walk in downtown Lansing. It was a perfect day for the walk. Emma & Joe loved the moon walk and blow-up giant slide, as well as the fire trucks, race car, bubble station, and drums. Krista walked with us this year.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Night

Emma & Joe's sitter Krista (from last year) came over for dinner tonight. She has graduated from MSU and is now living at home during her teaching intern year in Special Education. Lucky for us, she comes back to MSU every Friday for a class. Tonight she joined us for dinner and tomorrow she will walk with us in the annual Buddy walk. Emma & Joe adore Krista.

At the end of a busy week

And here is what I am thinking about after running around all week, balancing personal and professional responsibilities, and now preparing for a lovely weekend of dinners outside, a soccer game, the annual Buddy Walk, hippotherapy, and spending the last warm weekend of the fall with my family.

"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth."

-Raymond Carver

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We're with the band

We had a surprise visit from three members of the East Lansing Marching Band. For a small donation they played for us at our door. What a great way to end dinner!


Thanks to Where There's a Will blog for thinking of me! Her son Will is close to Joe's age and is also taking swimming this fall.

I am now required to mention Mammadawg as the creator of this award. I just visited her blog for the first time. The award has been given to more than 500 bloggers. Check it out at the Kick A$$ blogger headquarters. As part of the award I am happy to pass it on to 5 more of my favorite bloggers. I giving the award to:

1. Michelle at the Sneathen Family blog: Michelle is a neighbor and friend who writes about life with two boys, one who happens to be on the spectrum. She just began blogging this fall.

2. My sister-in-law Jen who also recently began blogging. Visit her HERE and check out her list of 32 things to do before she turns 33.

3. My other sister-in-law who took over the family blog. She writes about raising 1 boy, waiting for another to arrive and keeping Blue off of the couch. Their family blog inspried me to start my own a few years ago. Click HERE to see cousin Paul trying on Joe's old Halloween costumes. I think the monkey costume suits these cousins well.

4. Liliana's father who chronicles Liliana's life at Lilienna!!! I love reading about her and watching her grow through the great photos and videos.

5. Michele at Elliot's Expeditions. Michele always has up-to-date news about T21 and thoughful posts about parenting her terrific children.

Congratulations all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Vicki Forman's aka "Special Needs Mama" final essay, saying goodbye to her beloved son Evan. Click HERE to read her beautiful essay.

This I Believe

Driving home, listening to NPR Chris heard the lead up for "This I Believe." It went something like this, "with the Palin nomination there has been more media coverage of Down Syndrome. Today an essay from a college professor who submitted an essay a while back about raising a child with Down Syndrome....." Could it be? Nope. RATS!!! Close! But no cigar. To read ANOTHER profs essay on raising a child with Down Syndrome click HERE. To re-read my essay, click the link in the right hand column.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Raspberry Picking

We went raspberry picking this morning at Rowe's Pumpkin Farm in Mason. It was a gloomy morning but we still had fun finding the perfect fruit. Joe was our official taste tester.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Swim Class

Joe had his first swim class with the Adaptive Phys Ed. course at MSU. He participated in this program last year and loved it. Each semester Joe is teamed with a student in the course who acts as his coach in the pool. This semester Joe is swimming with Ryan.

Ryan & Joe

After swim class we walked across the street and watched the MSU marching band practice for the game on Saturday.

Big Zoo Lesson

Meerkats (the subjects of intense scientific observation)

Writing down observations of Meerkats (Emma 2nd to left)

Writing down ideas about the Species Preservation Plan at the zoo.

Making treats for the birds at the zoo (corn, pineapple, & cheerios)

Today I went with Emma's third grade class for their 4th day of the Big Zoo Lesson at Potter Park Zoo. Emma worked with her group observing Meerkats, writing about their behavior, habitat, and personalities and then compared them to 5 other zoo animals. The whole class heard a long lecture on the Species Survival Plan and then had a chance to make treats for some of the zoo birds.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Emma reading a Katie Kazoo book to Joe.
Joe will turn anything into a cell phone.
Here he is calling Tutu on Emma's new alarm clock.

We are in week #3 of school for Emma & Joe. So far I think that Joe's school is going well. Joe's school (Red Cedar) is one block over from the MSU campus and about a 5 minute drive from my office. On Friday I had an hour in between meetings so I stopped by for an unannounced visit. I was delighted to see Joe sitting at a table with his pal Tri (who is 6 yrs) working on writing. The classroom was calm, organized and the kids seemed very happy. It was raining so recess was held inside. Joe first went on the computer (with the assistance of a parapro) and then moved on to some legos for the rest of the playtime. I was glad to learn that he is talking a lot during school because he is tired when he comes home at 4 PM and is not as chatty as usual. We are still working on potty training. This week he is wearing underwear inside his pull-ups. Next week we are going back to just underwear. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Emma began her Big Zoo Lesson week. All week her class will be learning at Potter Park Zoo. Her animal is the Meerkat. Today they had an orientation to the zoo and spent some time observing their animals and writing their findings in their notebooks. Emma is working with a team of 4 other children and a parent volunteer. I will join the group on Thursday.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Hippotherapy

Emma trotting

Emma riding T-zer (Amy keeping her distance from the horse)

Joe showing Emma hoe to stand in the saddle.

Emma decided to try horseback riding today. She loved it! As long as she enjoys it we will have both of them on a horse while Joe has his hippotherapy. This is the first sport that they have done together (besides playing outside). It is so much easier when they can take the same lessons at the same place at the same time.

Friday Night Movie

Joe and Emma watch a movie together on Friday nights. Last night it was an old favorite, "The Lion King."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Marble Open House

Emma & Jelimo at the ice cream social

Regina, Emma & Ms. Iafrate (the student teacher)

Last night we attended that Marble School Open House and Ice Cream Social. Emma gave us a tour of her third grade classroom and then we headed outside for treats!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

October is National Down Syndrome Month

In honor of national Down Syndrome month Parenting.Com is posting photos of kids with Down Syndrome. There are now 4 photo albums. I have sent in Joe's photo but I haven't heard back yet. Hopefully he will be in one of the photo albums soon. To view the photos click HERE.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Joe riding CJ and being helped by Heather

Joe works with all of those "toys" (shape sorters, balls, cloths pins, grippers) while he rides

Joe was back in the saddle again after taking the summer off from hippotherapy. This fall he will ride at the same time as his pal Tim. Emma saw Tim's big sister Elisabeth riding and she has decided she will give it a try next Saturday.

Apple Picking

The Macintosh are in season this week at Clearwater apple orchard. Annie Sung came with us this morning to pick a few crisp apples.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dinner & a Show

Emma performs a song & dance after dinner

Joe is entertained

More Photos From Joe's First Day

Joe's classroom (Roderick looking at the camera)

Joe coloring a birthday cake with Ms. "M."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

CBS Evening News Tonight

This just in from the National Down Syndrome Society:

A producer with CBS Evening News began discussions in February 2008 with leaders in the Down syndrome community regarding a story on prenatal testing and Down syndrome. We are pleased to inform you that this story will air on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric on Wednesday, September 3, 2008. At this time, we do not know the exact times for each region, nor if the story will air during the early evening or late evening news. Please check with your local CBS affiliate and/or plan for both news times.
THANK YOU to Amy Allison, from the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, who led the entire segment and worked tirelessly with producers at CBS to make the story happen.
CBS spent a significant amount of time researching this story to provide viewers accurate insights into the experiences of couples receiving a prenatal diagnosis. CBS focused on several aspects for the piece including:
Interviewing two prenatally diagnosed couples who live in Omaha and New Jersey . Filming two new parent group meetings attended by the couples in their respected cities. Filming a visit with one of the couples at their OB/GYN appointment. Filming a Changing Lives presentation at a hospital in Kansas City . Interviewing a 16-year-old self-advocate who sat on the panel at the Changing Lives presentation . Interviewing Amy Allison, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, with regard to how parents find local and national groups and supports that are available prenatally. Interviewing Senators Kennedy & Brownback with regard to the Prenatally Diagnosed Awareness Act. Interviewing Dr. Driscoll with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with regard to the ACOG recommendations
CBS filmed approximately ten hours of interviews which will be pared down to a 3 to 4 minute story during the newscast. We have not previewed the piece, but believe it will be an informative story which will bring much needed attention to the Down syndrome community and the experiences couples encounter upon receiving a prenatal diagnosis.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy Day

The first day of school.

5 years ago Joe was recovering from open-heart surgery, today he got on the bus and went to kindergarten!

There he goes!

Roderick helped Joe put his mirror in his locker.

Emma & her 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Daley

Monday, September 01, 2008

Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

Swinging and eating popsicles on the last official evening of summer