Sunday, September 30, 2007

Check out our Etsy Store

The temptation to do "Betsy's Etsys" was great, but my sister and I are doing this together, so we played on our maiden name. We've got very little listed, but we've got lots made and ready to go on!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Absolute Love

For anyone who ever thinks, even for a moment, that no one can love your child as much as you do, click here. I think God's most amazing gifts are born on the 21st chromosome.

Yep, Its My Birthday!

Today I am One!!! We celebrated my birthday with my girlfriend, Millie, at the baseball fields yesterday. We ran and ran and ran! I got a really fun pull-toy, some treats, and new doggie toothpaste - yummmm!

Aren't I adorable?!?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What a Busy Week I've Had!

I really believe that we have to take life in bits and pieces. I have a very hyper personality, and its very hard for me not to make lists - lists of things to do, lists of things I don't want to do, list of things I don't want to forget, etc.

Its very overwhelming - I know we lead a much busier and crazy life than my parents did when they were raising kids.

I get very easily frustrated by the meaningless stuff that takes up so much of my life...the mundane chores that come with motherhood, and the things that, no matter how many times you do them, they still come back at you - laundry, cleaning, etc.

Today, I did something I rarely ever do. I handed a project that I had planned to do for a very, very special little girl back to her Mom, telling her I was so sorry, I had just bitten off more than I could chew. It was so precious to me that I couldn't do a "good enough" job at it - it had to be precise and perfect, and I just could not find the time to do it.

I feel beyond horrible about it.

My sister and I have opened a store at called "Bean Stocks." Our maiden name is Bean, and we thought the play on the word Stalks (for card stock, etc) was cute. We haven't gotten it set up yet, but we are both very creative (my sister has been instrumental in opening a very successful art gallery, and has won many awards for her New England nature photography). It will have lots of homemade cards on it, and some other crafts as well.

I'm tossing around another idea about teaching some classes as well, that I will post about another time.

This week, Paige had school pictures taken. We know the photographer personally, and he is so sweet. He took a ton of pictures of Paige, all with smiles and laughs, but the vast majority of them had her hands in the picture as well. He was so bummed that he told Paige's aide he was coming back the next day to try again. So, more than 50 pictures later, I'm told I will LOVE the one he got when it comes back. We'll see!!

I didn't have the heart to tell him that I adore Paige's hands, and would actually prefer they be in the photograph - they are very precise to me, and it wouldn't be Paige without them there!

I totally sympathize with him - I've spent many hours in Sears, breaking a full sweat as I tried to get two kids to look at the camera at the same time, to smile, to sit up straight, to put your dress down, etc.

Two weeks ago, Wayne brought me home a laptop of my very own, and said, "There, now get that book written." I've spent many hours doing just that! I'm well on my way, and am very surprised at the emotional toll its taking on me to relive some of the more difficult moments of my life over again.

I suspect it will be one of those books that start of being about one thing and end up being about quite another.

And today, we had a birthday party for Kirby!!! Check back in the morning for pictures and a complete story!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My sister, my friend

As much as I hate the idea of moving Laura and Pat any further down on my blog, the writer in me is just too much to squelch. To say that Laura made my week is an understatement!


Dakotah came bounding through the door after school yesterday, already talking before she even got in the house, as she is everyday.

Someone on her bus had a copy of the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records. She blurts out, "The oldest person to ever live with Down syndrome was 64!!!" She is nearly in tears - saying that's too young to die, that she doesn't want Paige to die that early, etc.

I know that this statistic is wrong, as there is a gentleman at our local Community Living group who is in his mid-70's with Down syndrome. He has been quite healthy until just the last month or two.

I try to explain to her that each decade, the average life span for a person with T21 gets the 50's the average age was just 9 or 10 years old...ten years later, it was 20-30, when Paige was born, I was told 40-50. Now, I think that it is expected that generally people with T21 who have good health care are reaching about the same life span as everyone else.

Its strange how this would have caught her so off guard. Just the thought of Paige's mortality in 50 years takes her breath away.

It reminds me of an ER episode where an old lady is dying and her daughter with T21 is also very ill. The old woman does not want to take aggressive measures to save her daughter's life, as there was no one to care for her after she had died.

I remember attending a conference once where there was much conversation about care for a person with T21 as his or her parents aged. One gentleman that was sitting beside me told me this story that has always stuck with me.

He told me that as he was growing up, his parents were always very, very conscious of making sure he didn't feel burdened by having a brother with T21. They never expected anything extra from him, and made arrangements for his brother's care after their death.

He had gone on to marry and have two kids of his own. His parents had died perhaps 7 or 8 years prior to this conference.

After their deaths, he not only took his brother into his home, he brought two of his brother's friends with T21 to live with him as well.

He said, "You know, my parents always worried about my brother being a burden to me. What they never thought about is that I WANT him with me - I want to have breakfast with him every morning, and drive him into work, and play ball with him, and talk about hockey with him."

He had created a wonderful family that included a wife, two very young daughters, and three grown men with T21. And he wouldn't have had it any other way.

In our family, we make no apologies for Paige having T21. Nor do we apologize for any health issues she has had. I have never felt guilty when one of my children needed more attention than the other, as I want them both to know that I love them dearly, and our family will always do whatever we can to meet the needs of one another.

I am amazed at the love my children have for each other. Both of them are very affectionate toward the other, both of them adore one another. Paige is as in tune with Dakotah's needs as Dakotah is with Paige's.

Last night, they had a blast in the bathroom because Paige kept turning the light off on Dakotah, and Dakotah would pretend to grumble about it, which would send Paige into a fit of the giggles.

Just two sisters, no chromosome scoreboard needed.

That's what family is all about.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Laura Q - I love you!!

For those of you born under a ROCK, this is Pat Monahan of Train. He just released his first solo album.

As you can see Pat is GORGEOUS. Although I had a little fun earlier today talking about what good friends they are, and how Laura has performed on stage with Pat, the real truth is, she's just a really big fan who was lucky enough to be pulled up on stage during one of his performances.

Thanks to her quick thinking, she was able to snap a few pictures on her camera phone, and we have all had lots of fun ooohing and awwwing and being totally jealous of her.

The best thing of all about Laura meeting Pat today is this:

Wait for it....


Almost here......

Worth the scroll....


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Victory is Mine!

Betsy - 1
Mouse - 0
It was kind of a hollow victory - I'm not much of a killer.
Sorry, was either you or me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Diary of a Wannabe Mouse Killer

Day 1

You're there. I tried to ignore you, but you have left telltale signs that tell me you are real. Tiny little black pieces of rice in my cupboard above my stove. I've never had a mouse before.

You have chewed a tiny hole less than the size of a dime in the gyprock, searching for food. But you chose the wrong can't go up or down from here, and there is nothing to eat. Still, you chew on the edge of a plastic container and nibble the paper label off the bottle of garlic powder.

I'll play. I'm not a cruel person. I tape the hole up with duct tape - the all purpose fixer upper. Sorry buddy, game over, you can't get back ito my house.

Day 8

You are back. You have chewed through my indestructible duct tape, and have come out to play again.

Ha - now we get serious, buddy.

With nothing to actually catch you with, I decide to try a flat glue strip that we bought to catch flies in our back room with. Baiting it with a piece of strong cheese, I put the strip in the cupboard and wait. I'll get you, my pretty.

Day 9

Nervously, I open the cabinet, suspecting that you have arrived for a nibble of my cheese, and found yourself stuck to my fly strip, perhaps still alive, but struggling.

What I find is the cheese has been eaten, there is gray fur on my fly strip but you, you are nowhere to be found. on, babydoll. Today, you go back to your other little mousey friends, bald on one side of your body. They'll snicker at you - and you'll snicker back, having traded a bit of your fur for a nice piece of fresh cheese.

Day 10

Today is the day. I've now purchased an actual glue trap for you. I hope you enjoyed your feast last night - as it was your Last Supper.

This time, I push everything aside and place the glue trap on the middle of the shelf like the Holy Grail. C'mere little one...

Day 11

You are taunting me. Somehow, you have eaten the cheese again, gotten stuck in the glue trap, left a whole pile of mice poop in the glue, yet escaped.

Did your little incident with the fly sticky make you infallable? Were you able to escape by rubbing the hairless portion of your body through the glue until you wiggle away?

Oh, and by the way - chewing the shelf paper - nice touch. I would have been really impressed if you had chewed the word "haha" in it.

Day 12

Or, should I say, the day the music died. Today is IT. I tried to play nice. I tried to get rid of you without making you look like a fool to your community. Surely, no self-respecting mouse in today's world will fall for the good old-fashioned mouse trap??

Or will you? Maybe you've developed a false sense of security as you have arrived for your Thanksgiving feast for the last three nights. Perhaps you have heard Dakotah plead for the life of the "cute little mouse who didn't hurt anyone." Perhaps you believe my next move is something humane - like a no-kill trap.

Wrong. Snap. Snap that you think you have me figured out. And bigger, literally snap to you -as in snap, you're dead.

Now, I have cleared the entire shelf off. Nothing remains except the trap. Set with your favorite meal of late - a piece of cheese. All you have to do is go for it...and are mine, faster than you can react, you are caught.

Day 13

You little son of a bitch. How did you set that trap off, eat the cheese, and then leave, all in one piece?

Wayne is now convinced you are something more sinister. A squirrel perhaps. A squirrel that can squeeze himself through a hole smaller than a dime. Yeah, maybe even an elephant, or a donkey, or some other gray animal.

Me, I'm convinced you are watching me. Waiting. Laughing. Probably video-taping me as I plot against you.

Its not over yet. Not by a long shot.

Life Lessons

By now, most of you who keep up on the latest "Down syndrome news" have heard the story of the Italian woman who found out that one of the twins she was carrying had Down syndrome. Desperate to terminate the "defective" baby and keep the one that was right, she begged her doctor to kill the unborn child with T21, and to keep the unborn "perfect" child in tact.

Had this procedure gone off without a hitch, we would have never heard the story. She would have gone on to give birth to her perfect child - remembering the child with T21 only as an unfortunately incident that happened to her.

But...the rest of the story unfolded.

After the abortion, the doctors notified her that, tragically, they had aborted the child without Down syndrome.

Tragically, a chromosomally normal child had been killed.

Tragically, a wanted child was dead.

Tragically, the mother must now undergo the procedure again in order to abort the unwanted child.

And now we read that she is considering lawsuits against the doctors who performed this procedure - having robbed her of her perfect baby.

How absurd that the tragedy is not that two unborn babies have now been killed. Two babies were ripped from their mother's uterus, at her own her own desire to give birth only to a child she deemed perfect.

Dave Hingsburger writes about the perfect tomato on his blog.

I try very hard in my life to learn lessons from stories such as this. I try to see how God has worked in these matters.

Obviously, it is difficult to see God's hand in the workings of the separate abortions of two equally important, and equally perfect unborn children.

But...He has given us free will. And this woman, by her own hand, by her own free will, chose to initiate these abortions - both of them.

Our Lord does not make mistakes, and perhaps He called the first child to Him as a wake up call to that mother to listen - to trust in Him - to find humility and compassion and hope in the birth of a child with Down syndrome.

Perhaps His intention was for her to stop fearing and start believing - to just put it in His hands and trust Him.

They say that He whispers to us, and if we are busy screaming, we cannot possibly hear Him. Maybe He gave her many, many opportunities to listen - before the first abortion, before the second abortion...yet, she continued to scream and drown Him out.

And now...before another child is conceived, she needs to listen.

And the world needs to listen - to hear this story, and realize that the tragedy lies in anyone's ability to perceive perfection from a karyotype. The tragedy is that we are so full of ourselves that we believe we can control our perfect world by eliminating people who are not deemed worthy to even live.

Hitler did it, and we were appalled. We should be no less appalled every time it is done as the result of a chromosomal analysis.

Ironically, two babies died. And the one who brought the biggest message to the world was the "wrong" one.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Its the first day of school!!

It's back to school today!

Both of the girls were very happy to be starting school this morning, and everyone was up and moving without complaint. Its a warm sunny day, and they both looked so cute going off to in her long braids, and one in hair that took two hours to straighten last night.

Paige is starting 4th grade today - and she was very happy when talk of school started last night. She has missed her friends a lot, and we have actually had to hide the yearbook from last year, as she keeps finding pictures of her friend, Brooke, in it, and then crying because she misses her.

This morning she was very excited, and seemed to have that expression of "FINALLY!! I thought you people forgot to send me to school for all of these days!!"

She has been a bit shy lately in public, so it will take her a while to warm up, but by this afternoon, she will be happily working back into her routine again.

And because I am a really geeky mom, I was so excited last week to buy Paige her first little bras - just the ones that look like half t-shirts, but I was like, "ooooooh, look Dakotah, these are sooooooo cute!!!" I got one that is pink striped, and one that is green striped (like Steve's shirt!).

Dakotah was less than enchanted by them, as she has (literally) grown into grown-up bras quite quickly. Paige is just, just starting tiny little buds of boobies, and I am finding the idea of "growing her big girl boobies" so bittersweet - she is growing up, that girl! She isn't wearing the bras just yet, but they are hanging on her bedroom door - probably until well past the New Year before they are truly needed.

And Dakotah - well, today is her first day of high school. She is taking it all in stride, and is quite excited for it. Luckily, she has finally seemed to shake mono - she was three full months with it, and I don't wish that experience on any teenager.

I was very sentimental yesterday, and said to her, "you are ready to start a new adventure that you cannot even begin to imagine just yet." In four years, she will grow and change so, so much, from a young teen to an almost-adult, ready to go out in the world. It will go by so quickly.

And during that time, she will be faced with so many choices to make - she will be confronted with all kinds of issues, partying, boyfriends, having her heart broken, driving, etc.

I hope we have given her a good base to make the right choices, and that she can still find solace in this ol' mom of hers when the world gets too big for her.

She had her friend, Ryan, over yesterday to "hang out" (teen slang for "someone to do nothing with"). Ryan played baseball with us this summer, and we are very good friends with his family. He just happens to have a little sister with T21 too, and she is THE cutest little girl in the whole world. (o.k., well maybe tied for first place with a few others!)

Ryan is such a sweet kid - polite, friendly, helpful - just an all around nice boy. He is going to the same high school as Dakotah this year - the first time they have been in school together.

When I was taking him home, I was saying the same thing to him that I had said to Dakotah - and I told them both to remember the conversation in 4 years at their graduation.

They both kind of rolled their eyes at each other, and said, "we aren't going to change that much."

We'll see. It'll be wonderful to watch...