Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emma's turn!

Today's blog post comes straight from Emma. The request went something like this:

"Mom? Emma? Pictures? Computer?"
"You want to take some pictures and have me put them on the computer?"
"Do you want me to put them on my blog?"

So here you go, our walk to school, as photographed by Emma.

Emma's friend Alicia lives here - they're in kindergarten together. You can just barely see Alicia in the window; I think she's home sick today.

"Emma, don't just take pictures of the sidewalk." (For the record, I deleted a LOT of sidewalk pictures!) "No, Mom, feet!"

Here are Emma's friend Stephen and his mom, walking to school

Mrs. E - crossing guard and kindergarten aide extraordinaire!

Our neighbor's dog, Ranger. Emma got to practice saying "May I take a picture?"

Classmates Colby and Allyson

Allyson's dog

This made our walk to school a lot of fun. Anybody have suggestions for Emma's next photo blog?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lament for a dead laptop...

You know how you're always hearing that you should back up the data on your computer. Apparently, they aren't kidding. My less-than-six-months-old laptop went kaput on Thursday, leaving me with a dead hard drive and no way to access anything. I used it mainly for my PC (rhymes with Scampered Jeff) business, and actually had backed that info up about a week before, but my email is gone, my documents, a number of templates I'd developed, and...

My notes from the conference this week. All 15 typed pages of them. I'm just sick about this. I still have the compendium, with all the information speakers provided, so I will be spending time reading through all of that, hoping to jog my memory about those important off-the-cuff statements that I think are the most important thing of all.

I'll start this process as soon as I'm over this cold from hell. Hopefully I'll be able to do the information justice even without my notes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh my!

I've been given an award!

I've just returned from the Pacific Northwest Institute on Special Education and the Law. By sheer coincidence, I met Kim (Frog's mom - whose blog I read.) She nominated me for a Brilliante Weblog Award! Thanks, Kim! I had so much fun meeting you, and can't wait to get Frog and Emma together.

Now its time to share! Here are the rules for this award: -

1. The winner can (and should, really) put the logo on his/her blog
2. The winner must link to the person from whom they received their award.
3. The winner must nominate at least 7 other blogs for an award.
4. The winner must place links to those blogs on their own blog.
5. The winner must leave a message on the blogs of the people they’ve nominated.

Here are my picks:

Tara Marie at EmmaSage

Christie at Brady's Bunch

Nicole at All 4 My Gals

Jan at Mauzy's Musings

Rhonda at What-evah

Kei at Unlimited

Laura at Now I'm a Mom

All of these moms and I share something very special - a child with Down syndrome. I've been fortunate enough to meet some of them (and hopefully will someday spend time with ALL of them. They all mean so very much to me, and I hope you enjoy their blogs as much as I do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to tell that school has started...

Germs, germs, germs!

Yesterday afternoon, Emma and I went grocery shopping. Halfway through our trip, she had an accident. In her pants. The kind of accident that leaves you with very little doubt that your child has a stomach virus. Of course, I had nothing to clean her up with, so we just left quickly, made it home, and I got her cleaned up and into a pullup. Half an hour later, it happened again. The third time, she made it to the toilet, but this morning, not so much luck. I think I'll probably be spending today up to my eyeballs in poo. I'm kind of used to it, though. Poo and I go waaaaaaay back - did I mention we have a kitten with chronic diarrhea?

Monday, September 8, 2008

I hate politics.

Seriously. I've come to hate the whole process, and the way entire groups of people become completely unhinged. Towns, cities, states and our country somehow lose what limited civility they have left, and turn into snarling, vitriolic shadows of their former selves. It doesn't matter if the election is for the local school board or president, the process as it exists results in ugliness.

Today, it invaded my safest of safe places. My happy place on the internet, a private little corner of the web where just a few other moms and I go to help each other through the hard days and cheer for each other when things are going great. The political process crept its nasty little fingers in among my friends, and they briefly turned into people I didn't recognize. I was pretty bummed.

I'm not apolitical. I have a great interest in the results of this year's presidential election, have chosen the candidate I will vote for, and I am naturally appalled at the possibility of the other candidate ending up in the White House. I educate myself on the issues. I frequently want to tell people to pull their heads out of whatever crevice they've stuck them in, because the choices they're making politically are not what this country needs.

But I don't.

I don't tell people they're wrong, I don't try to educate them, and I certainly don't try to push my political beliefs on them. Does this make me a wuss? Does it mean I'm not committed to my beliefs, or my causes? Absolutely not. I don't do this when it comes to religion, either. Nothing pisses me off faster than somebody telling me I'm going to hell because I don't believe that Christ died on the cross so I could be forgiven for my sins. Unless it's somebody telling me that my pro-choice, pro-gay rights, socialist leanings are the reason this country is going to hell in a handbasket. Bullshit.

My ideals and beliefs are MINE. I have come to them over many, many years of searching. I have had incredible conversations with people whose thoughts were the polar opposite of mine, and come away with my own beliefs strengthened. I read, and I listen, and I try to learn even when I don't agree.

Your ideals and beliefs are YOURS. Your religion is none of my damn business, and neither are your political leanings. If I want to know, I will ask you - politely and respectfully. I have no doubt that your life experiences and what you have learned have led you to your belief system. I respect you enough to believe that if you are truly concerned about the issues, you will educate yourself on them before you choose a political candidate. But if you come down on the other side from me, that doesn't mean you're wrong. It simply means your vision is very different from mine. We disagree, big freaking deal. Adults do it all the time. Unfortunately, not so many of them are skilled at doing it respectfully.

I think the internet has played a big part in this lack of respect. Not only does it allow people to comment anonymously, it removes the some of the most important parts of true communication. We've lost facial expressions and tone of voice. We've lost the ability to control ourselves because another human being is standing before us. Unless we find a way to get that back into these interactions, the whole political process will just get nastier and nastier.

I don't think I want to be here for that. I'm going to go find a rock to hide under until November. Somebody come drag me out when it's all over.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My baby's a star!

Parenting magazine is featuring photos of babies with Down syndrome in support of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month (which is in October). They chose a baby picture of Emma! Check it out here, and while you're there browse through the other galleries of beautiful babies with a little extra something in the chromosome department.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First day of school

Wednesday was Emma's first day of her second year of kindergarten. We decided at the end of last year that a repeat would be the best...I mean most appropriate...choice for school this year. We wanted her to have more of a chance to develop her speech and social skills, and to hopefully develop some peer relationships. Her class last year was wonderful, and all the kids accepted Emma as Emma, but most of them treated her as a baby sister. They did things for her, they spoke for her, and they coddled her. This year, Emma is the BGOC - the Big Girl on Campus. Her teacher (same one as last year) called me at home last night to tell me what an amazing first day Emma had. She had Emma help with all of the first day things, and Emma showed all the other kids how to do calendar, what to do with backpacks, the routine for getting ready for recess, everything. It is so empowering for Emma to be the one who knows what to do, while the other kids are still struggling to adapt. She has to work so hard to achieve so many things, and to see her mentoring the other kids makes me happy beyond words. I have great hopes for this year.

I was a little worried about what her classmates from last year would think about Emma repeating kindergarten, but I should have known better. At the school's open house barbecue, we saw her buddies Kanon and Caleb, who asked if Emma was going to be in Mrs. M's class with them this year. When I told them she would have Mrs. Y again, they both yelled, "No fair! We want Mrs. Y again! How come she gets to do that?" Nothing like a couple of new first-graders to put things in perspective.

Here's a picture of my girl yesterday. She was so ready to go, she couldn't stop dancing.

Offense Taken

Monday, September 1, 2008

Magic Marker Monday


Emma has been very serious about her artwork lately. She's been drawing elaborate pictures on her Magnadoodle, and I have to rush for the camera to get a picture before she erases it. The best part is when she tells me all about the picture - it's so incredible that she's gone from speaking her own private language to using words the rest of us can understand. She told me this one was a picture of her on stage in her tutu, with her friends from dance class and the lights. It's a pretty darn good representation of her dance recital!


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