Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Lizzy Story

My Dear Little Sister,
You know everyone in the family teases you for taking SO long in telling a simple story. They've become "Lizzy Stories" whether or not it's you telling the story or someone else equally long-winded. I love that you watch the blog and thanks for making sure that the links in the Headline post worked. Thanks too for giving me your own headlines or theme song for your life. You make me die laughing when you hold entire conversations with yourself on vm. I love talking with you everyday on the phone and I felt compelled to share you with the world. Who would believe me about your "Lizzy Stories" without proof?
Love ya,
your big sis

video

If My Life Were a Headline

or tag or blurb it might read:

"Don't Call Us, We'll Call You"
(Sophie had her 1st and last appointment with a vision therapist who was SO impressed with her that she said she didn't see a need for services. Her follow up appointment with opthomology yielded similar results. "She looks great and she's so cute. I can't wait to see her grow up. Come back in 3-4 months." We love being unimpressive in this way.)
or
"Professor Eats Head of Student"
(Just 2 weeks after the start of the summer session - where during introductions Mark talks about his daughter with DS and challenges the students to stop using the *r word -in class a student describes American policies as *r. Mark ate his head)
or
"It's Too Hot to Be This Fat"
(self explanatory, or as Amy recently said, its time to have the Come to Jesus talk with myself about losing weight, or move to Siberia)
or
"Messy Kitchen Perplexes Man"
(muttering overheard, "You know what we really need around here? MORE boxes of half eaten Cheez-its."
or
"Are Your Hands Tan or Just Dirty?"
(little boy needs a bath)
or
"Woman Speaks in Code, Confuses Family"
(As in; Sophie who has DS and receives EI is scheduled to have PT on Monday, DT Wednesday and just had OT. These appts. were just after her 6 month IFSP in which we added ST. At 6 months of age she had an EEG and follow up EKG. I need a pint of Guinness ASAP but let's keep it on the DL, OK? I often feel a little like this)

If your life were a headline, what would it be?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Email from IA

I got this email today from a friend that I've known for 18 years. Check out the link below for some serious photos of the tornado damage. In the shots we can clearly see the rubble that used to be Grandma's house directly behind the high school. In another they reference the Kwik Star which used to sit next to my aunt's house.

On Wed, May 28, 2008 at 4:49 PM, bv wrote:
Iowa Tornado
enough said...we live 3 miles from all this....we are all ok, electricity just came back on for us, but we are the lucky ones. We spent Monday helping New Hartford clean up from this.....never seen anything like it...NEVER.. take care all/ BV

These are shots from fellow powered parachuters
Here are pictures of tornado destruction of Parkersburg and Sinclair from pilots Galen Eilderts and Galen Isley: http://picasaweb.google.com/generaldcmills/ParkersburgTornado/photo#s5204893272879008178 Galen Eildert's place is about 5 miles west of Parkersburg and was untouched.

Caboose Ride


When KATY CABOOSE rambled down the train tracks,
The engines were steamers with puffing smokestacks.
She was a caboose who disliked being last
With an endless black cloud of smoke rolling past

Katy had little hope she would ever get loose
Or ever be anything but a caboose.



"From now on," Katy promised, "I shall never complain.
"I'll be a happy caboose at the end of a train."

video
"The Caboose Who Got Loose" written and illustrated by Bill Peet

Monday, May 26, 2008

Prayers for P'burg

Because a picture is worth a thousand words click here.
It's official, my grandma's old house in Parkersburg is gone along with 1/3 of the town. Video footage of the destroyed high school directly behind her old house is here.
Prayers go out to you all who have lost so much.

Strabismus Surgery & My Fashionista

Curious as to what eyes look like in the days after Strabismus surgery?

UPDATE: Thanks for stopping by to all of our visitors world-wide from strabismus websites. If you have questions, please leave your email address in comments or email me directly (click CONTACT in the menu bar). I am happy to share more details about our experiences but will not be able to tell you if this surgery is right for you or your child. I also cannot tell you if this will cure your condition. Additionally, you can search this blog for strabismus in the navbar at the top of the blog or click the strabismus label below to see other related posts and pictures.

She's doing great regardless of how it looks. Besides, it gave us a reason to buy shades.

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!


Tornado Devastation

Whoa.
Yesterday a tornado leveled 1/3 of Parkersburg, IA and killed 5 people (plus 2 in New Hartford from the same storm). I spent a lot of time there in my childhood as my aunt and grandmother lived there and my aunt still has family there. My grandma's old house looks to be gone from the aerial shots. The back yard is directly behind the high school that is no longer there. My aunt's old house is gone. Three of my aunt's family's houses are gone. One of the family's houses was destroyed just moments after the family got into the basement. It took their car too. Just east of Parkersburg the Sinclair Elevator was destroyed. The town was evacuated because a very large anhydrous ammonia storage tank was destroyed.
Prayers are needed. Its scary. Its horrible. KWWL covers it HERE.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

At Home with Down Syndrome - Ban the *r Word


If you love me and my family, please take a few minutes of your day and read this article. Please. CLICK HERE
If you really love me you will go out and buy Jennifer Graf Groneberg's new book "Road Map to Holland." I was planning on doing a post about this book. I've read it multiple times already and it is mostly yellow from highlighting all of the parts that mean something to me. After reading the article above, I'm not sure I need to do a review myself.

Lastly, even if you can't do any of the above requests, please make your best effort to ban the "*r" word from your vocabulary for Sophie and for all people with Down syndrome. In our culture it is commonplace to put down others by calling them retarded (the *r word). People joke all the time about something or someone being so *r, or riding a 'short bus', or referring to people as "Corky" (the character played by Chris Burke on the TV series 'Life Goes On' and who also plays Taylor on 'Touched by an Angel' who was our Grand Marshall at the Buddy Walk in 07). I'd like to challenge everyone we know to ban the *r word from your vocabulary when used in this way and to challenge others when you hear it used. Beyond being an immature put down, it is hurtful and cruel and we can all do better. Let's do better for Sophia to take on this simple challenge.

Sugar Bear Teaches Middle Schoolers Important Lesson


We call Sophia Sugar Bear. Always have. M's cousin, who is in middle school, recently did a project for Health Class with "sugar babies." The kids did this for 3 days, during school. So opening lockers, getting day care for gym class, etc. was an interesting learning experience for them. She wanted to make her baby special, and I think she did. Hope it was a good experience and you didn't get spit up on!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Avenue of the Saints

1. Sophia's biopsy for Hirschprung's disease was negative!
(her new diet with more fruit, Yo Baby yogurt, and no bananas is working wonders!)
2. Sophia had surgery on her eyes today. (both eyes - tear duct probe, left eye - Strabismus muscle surgery) We are finally at home, resting.

We spent the weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in the Amana Colonies (Middle Amana) Iowa in celebration of M's little brother's graduation from the University of Iowa. After no internet access for days, and a huge change of plans, Sophie and I drove from IA City to St. Louis on Sunday by ourselves {on the Avenue of the Saints} and stayed overnight in the Parkview Hotel. As her surgery was in the morning we set our alarm and woke up in the middle of the night for a sweet potato picnic (as she was not allowed to eat after 1:30 AM). This morning RK and Braska Bear met us at St. Louis Children's Hospital and spent the day being our cheerleaders/gopher/chauffeur. They are staying with us for a few days, so its turned into a slumber party! We are blessed with wonderful friends. According to the docs the surgery went well. We won't know for 3 months if the Strabismus surgery was a success and we return in a week or so for a follow up appointment.
video

That Toddlin Town

Thursday we drove to Chicago for the BEST date night ever. We stayed at the Marriot Renaissance which was just across the street from the Chicago Theatre where M and I had tickets to see Eddie Izzard. It was a swank joint, the nicest place we've been as a family. It had a little something for everyone. M's mom joined us on the trip as our sitter. We all enjoyed a dip in the 4th floor pool (Sophie's first swim & she loved it), tangerine smoothies, & very nice digs on the 13th floor, plus it overlooked the El. The window in our room was huge and Alexander spent much of his time standing in it with his forehead pressed to the glass looking down on the trains. We were so close to the theatre that M and I didn't leave our room until 10 minutes before showtime. Eddie was amazing, of course.
We wrapped the night up near by at the Emerald Loop.
Best date night ever!
video

Thursday, May 15, 2008

EDDIE!


1 sitter (check) (thanks to M's mom!)
1 hotel room (check)
2 tickets (check, check)
We've waited a LONG time to see our favorite comedian
and tonight is the night!
If you are unfamiliar with the man, the myth, the legend,
check out youtube or click the pic above to go to his website.
Brilliant!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


MEN AT WORK
1ST DUCK BATH IN BIG TUB

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day!


Original Mother's Day Proclamation 1870 (post Civil War)
Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
"Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Meet Me in St. Louis Part 2

video
St. Louis Children's Hospital is really an amazing place. From the time you walk in the doors you are greeted with smiles. The security guard asks if he can help you find your way. Everyone is patient and they all seem to really care about the children and their families. Everywhere you look there are things to help take your mind off of the reason for your visit. On the outside of the building, there is a giant metal down spout shaped like an elephant's head whose trunk whisks the rain water away. The awning is a blue butterfly. Inside there are fish tanks, a magical ball machine, and colorful paintings on the walls, all done with the utmost attention to detail. A child's voice announces each floor in the elevators. Alexander's favorite place is the 2nd floor hallway where large model train tracks are hoisted around the perimeter of the ceiling encased in plexi glass. He's spent quite a bit of time there already chasing the 3 sets of trains that chug above his head.

On our first visit to Children's we saw 3 doctors and one therapist. Our time was spent in colorful office spaces and waiting rooms. The HD biopsy, however was a little different. For this visit Sophie was admitted and was fitted with a wrist band. We all needed name badges (Sophie's Mom, Sophie's Dad, Sophie's Brother). I expected to be taken into an office like the others we had been in. As Nurse Charlie escorted us, my heart stopped as a very, very premature baby was wheeled by in an incubator. My breath actually caught in my throat and I found myself choking up. I hadn't expected to see anything like that. I think I actually stopped walking for a second. Charlie gently touched my shoulder and whispered, "There but for the grace of God. Ok Mom, take a big breath in...now let it out. You've been there before haven't you?" Now Sophie wasn't that small when she was born, but she was in an incubator, naked, hooked up to tubes and beeping machines that look like fish finders.

To get to our room we passed by a busy nurses station (just like in our NICU) and saw lots of other children in beds with tubes and parents with worried looks and beeping fish finders (just like our NICU). I was surprised to feel so off kilter. It was a relief to get into our room and shut the door.

Nurse Charlie was lovely. She took her time explaining the procedure. She asked if we had any questions and let Sophie and I examine the instrument that they would be using to do the HD biopsy.

It looks complicated and scary, but only the silver part is inserted. The syringe-like part gets pulled back to create the suction and the trigger is pulled snipping off a small piece of tissue that has been sucked into the side of the silver part (hence the name, rectal suction biopsy).

Sophie's doctor was Australian and had a lovely accent and bedside manner. He took 3 samples and was done in a matter of moments. As the tissue is taken from an area that doesn't have pain receptors, Sophie barley fussed at all. We'll get the results in 7-10 days.

That night for dinner we visited Blueberry Hill in the Loop. M was in heaven as they had his favorite childhood pinball game "the Twilight Zone" AND Fat Tire on tap.
Alexander made lollipops out of cheddar cheese balls and then started eating the rest of his dinner with a toothpick.

On the way back to the car we popped into Vintage Vinyl Records and stepped back in time. M and I met in college while working for an independent record store. We both thought these stores had gone the way of the dinosaur and were so happy to find this place. As we perused the CDs encased in plastic shucks (those darn things broke many a fingernail back in the day) and records (as in actual vinyl - the only real way to listen to music) we were near giddy. The clerks with scenester clothes and bored expressions made me smile. There was even a live "performance" of local rap artist Ruka Puff promoting a mixed tape of St. Louis rappers. It was quite loud and the kids looked confused as to why we would be there. We figured a few minutes wouldn't do any real hearing damage. The best part was when M discovered a cash of Blowfly CDs. It wasn't just that they had at least 10 copies that cracked us up, but that they were filed next to Kids Corner CDs. {For those who are unaware, Blowfly's bio reads, "Before there was Kool Keith, Old Dirty Bastard or 2 Live Crew - before there was hip hop, for that matter - there was Blowfly, performing X-rated songs with a funky groove." I can't even list titles of his songs here. Goggle him, you'll see.} Only an independent store like this and the one we worked at stock this type of... art?

Alexander got a special treat as we came upon an old trolley car nearby which promptly became his favorite. M has decided that it would be amazing to get a job at Wash U just so he could shop at Vintage and stop by Blueberry Hill for the beer and games.

Then today was Sophie's pre-op appointment with opthomology.

Marlo retested her eyes and its true, her left eye is turning in a bit more than during our last visit (I thought so and should have trusted my Momologist instincts). But, she got even better measurements this time and we will proceed with Strabismus surgery on her left eye and nasal lacrimal tear duct surgery on both eyes on May 19th.

All things considered, it was not a bad trip.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Random Information

Tomorrow is Sophie's biopsy for Hirschprung's disease at St. Louis Children's Hospital. We're staying the night as she has her pre-surgery appointment for Strabismus and tear duct surgeries (scheduled for 5/19) with the opthomologist on Friday. Prayers welcomed, updates forthcoming.

The credit union finally reimbursed us the funds that were "withdrawn" in London. Bout time.

Today Sophie had her 1/month Developmental Therapy with Judy. We both agreed that she is a smart cookie. So is Judy. Plus, she has great toys.

According to my dear friend Amy, it's Wordless Wednesday, but rules are meant to be broken. That said, this dorky pic is a shot out to my BFF Darcy - Queen of the self portrait.

(post dental cleaning cell phone self portrait)

Curious Buddies

Hands down the greatest kid's show is Jack's Big Music Show from Spiffy Pictures. Everybody knows that. (read more from Wiki) A few years ago we discovered this gem on Noggin (which is WELL worth the extra cable charge) and fell happily in love with Mel, Jack and Mary. M mentioned the show in class back when he was teaching at UW without knowing that one of his students was a cousin of the creators. Not long after we received posters in the mail from Spiffy, including an autographed shot of Mel that are now properly framed and hung in Alexander's bedroom.

click the photo for more

We were smitten and were even more thrilled to learn that there were other characters to fall in love with.

Enter the Curious Buddies.

There are a series of DVDs featuring Cat, Dog, Bear, and Pig. Like Jack, this series is a cut above the rest in featuring music that even parents will enjoy. It's not just the music that's worth talking about, it's the cast of children that are featured. Kids of all races, ages, sizes AND abilities are shown playing, laughing, dancing, building with blocks, and having fun. What a beautiful example of inclusion. There are no shots of the "token kid" in a wheelchair, or kid with glasses, or Down syndrome. There are just kids...playing...together. This is just another reason why we love the creators of Spiffy Pictures. They GET IT. David and Adam Rudman, & Todd Hannert - THANK YOU! Thank you for (seemingly) effortlessly showing the world that kids of all abilities are beautiful and have value. Thank you.

If you are smitten with the characters of Jack's Big Music Show and the Curious Buddies, you'll be sure to love the newest characters from Bunnytown.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Arte y pico Blog Award


I am so honored to have been tagged by RK for an award for my little blog. It has to do with "creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language." RK's just honestly one of the coolest women I've met in a very long time, even if she is moving 3 hours away from me! Since I'm brand spanking new to blogging, I'm not very familiar with this sort of thing, the terminology and I definitely don't have many blogger friends yet to pass this on to. In fact, most of the blogs that I do happen to follow all already have this award. That said, I appreciate this very much. Now that I have my very own laptop!!! (it arrived yesterday as a we-sold-the-house/tax return/Mother's Day/b-day/anniversary/Christmas present) I should have more time to get to know others in the community. In the meantime, go visit RK and her beautiful little girl's blog that she ghost writes.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rock of Ages

Sophie was in the NICU when I first noticed it. When she smiles she looks like my grandmother. (and she did smile as a newborn regardless of what the doctors might say and despite recovering from major surgery done on the day she was born)

My beautiful daughter has a blanket made of the palest pink satin, the same color and material of the prom dress that my Grandma Pat made for me. Grandma Pat's talents for sewing are legendary. She made all her girls' dresses including my Aunt Vicky's wedding gown. Mine was the last dress she made before her rheumatoid arthritis got to be too much. Her hands hurt even then, but she never once hesitated when I asked her to make me this dress.

I had a specific idea of what I wanted. To me it was the dress of a fairy tale princess and it had to be made with the palest pink satin. When I was very young girl I got to pick the paint color of the bedroom that my 2 younger sisters and I shared and this was the color I chose. It will always be the color that reminds me of fairy tales, princesses, innocence and childhood.

We could not find a dress pattern that fit the image I had in my mind, but that didn't slow Grandma Pat down. Together at the fabric store we selected the satin and lace. We discussed the shape of the sweetheart neckline, the peek-a-boo bows on the bottom that revealed the white and pink lace beneath and the bow on the back. We had many "fittings" in Grandma's kitchen until she got it just right. I remember Grandpa Merlin watching it all and teasing Grandma for once having a waist like mine. I laugh now at the idea that I thought I was fat back then. Oh how quickly time changes everything.

Prom was in the spring but by Christmas I hadn't yet thought of a good gift to thank her. I decided to buy her an evergreen wreath to hang on the front door. At the time I thought it was too small of a gesture compared to the amazing gift she had given me. It wasn't just the dress and that in it I really did feel like a princess, but it was the time we had spent together as she crafted it from nothing. However, the wreath became one of my most treasured traditions. Each year since then I have sent her a Christmas wreath to show her my love and thanks.

Grandma Pat went Home on May 5, 2006.

While I was growing up the family would get together at Grandma and Grandpa's, everyone would bring a bucket of KFC, and we'd all fight over the mashed potatoes and Grandma's cherry bars. We played cards in the kitchen/dining room. Usually we played 31 and you were lucky if you won the pot (not amounting to more than a few dollars as we usually played with nickels).

Those gatherings always centered around the kitchen/dining room and it is there that I remember her the most. She loved watching the birds in the back yard and had stained glass ornaments on the sliding glass door, including one of a bright red Cardinal. This spring we have had our own Cardinal that visits our back yard. He stops by once in a while and let me get a picture from our deck. When I see him I always think of Grandma Pat. I wonder if she sent him to let me know she looks in on us from time to time.

My Grandma Pat had a special love for babies and enjoyed holding all of her many grand and great grand children. When Alexander was still a little one and we were in town, we would stop by and she would hold him for a few moments before the pain got to be too bad.
I miss her. I miss her knowing smile. I miss listening to her hum. I miss seeing her give Grandpa "the look" when he knew he was in trouble, and he often was. She never had to say anything more than a stern "Grand-Pa!" to get her message across. Shortly after she passed I came across the Dolly Parton & Ricky Van Shelton song Rockin Years. I remember Grandma Pat perking up whenever this song played on the radio as she hummed along, keeping the beat with her hands. Though she never said so, it was clear that this song struck a chord in her. To me, it seemed the perfect theme song for a love as great as theirs.

"I'll do everything thing I can to make you proud to be my man, and I'll fulfill all your fantasies, I guess we're promisin a lot, but for now its all we've got, and I'll stand by you through our rockin years. Rockin chairs, rockin babies, rock-a-bye, rock of ages. Side-by-side we'll be together always. And if you hold me tight when you love me, that's all I'll ask of you, and I'll stand by you through our rockin years."

Pale pink satin, the deep red feathers of a Cardinal, a deck of cards, countless old Country songs, sending Grandpa a wreath at Christmas and my daughter's smile are just a few of the things that promise to keep Grandma close by.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

You can never go home again

Usually that saying is about returning to the home that you grew up in, your childhood bedroom, the fort in the backyard. You look around and it doesn't look quite like you remember. In your mind the fake Christmas tree of your youth was huge, but after a visit home, it just looks small.

That's how it was for us when we went back to Madison to sell our house. I brought the camera with plans to take lots of pictures. Since we moved away 9 months ago we've had many of the rooms painted, a new roof installed, new kitchen counters put in. Little and big changes to help move this thing along. I was so excited to see the changes.

The moment we arrived I knew a shift had happened. Pulling into the drive the way I had a million times no longer felt like coming home. I looked at the house that stood silent, no longer welcoming us in. I thought back to the day we bought it, back when it was just me and M and 2 cats. We rushed over before the chaos of the move to celebrate with a bottle of wine and had a carpet picnic in the dining room. As I nursed Sophie on the same floor (now covered with new carpet) I remembered. This was our first house. Our children were born here. We became a family here.

We had our fill of cheese curds from State Street Brats, Dorowat from Buraka, mac-n-cheese pizza from Ian's (don't knock it till you try it). We payed homage to the yellow diesel engine and stocked up on Wollersheim wine at Woodmans. We stayed overnight in a charming suite at Memorial Union overlooking Lake Mendota and the terrace where we had spent so much time enjoying WI's finest beers, Babcock ice cream and free live music.
After the closing we went back to the house (this time parking on the street) to retrieve St. Joe from the front yard and say goodbye to the best neighbors we might ever have. As we drove away I wondered when exactly the shift took place, when Madison ceased being Home. It wasn't when we moved our things, that I know for sure. Home isn't just about where you put your stuff, I suppose. Its the feeling that you get when you pull in the driveway and know you belong there.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Links-n-Things

FAVORITE WEBSITES & ORGANIZATIONS:

Downsyn a resource for those who love someone with Down syndrome.
Reece's Rainbow a charity which promotes the international adoption and rescue of children with Down syndrome.
ROOF Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund Provides high-quality education for children in and from Russian orphanages. Aims to eradicate prejudices against them by integrating them into society. Enables them to care for themselves.
The Cutest Blog on the Block was created by moms Becky and Ashley and is on a mission to empower bloggers with the tools they need to personalize their blogs to reflect their unique personalities. Lots of free designs.

Blogroll

Banana Migraine
Braska
Bring Kellsey Home
Brigette
Cathy's Crew
Dan Drinker
Expecting Evangeline
Faulkner Family
Gavin
Hailey Bean
Jaxson
Jessica Green
Just RK
Larkin's Place
Life with Bubba, Chicky, & Nika
Life with My Special Ks
Mark
Narrow Ridge
Opposite Kids
Pinwheels
Pocket Lint
Quinn's Crusaders
Random Thinking
Sarah
Terri
The Flege Farm
Wonder Babes

Photos


This page is so far out of date. I give up.




Date Night: Cell Phone Self Portrait
Another Date Night Shot

About


JRS

This blog is dedicated to my loving family and serves as; a journal, baby book, family record, a way to connect with the world outside my doors and to keep up with loved ones, and is cheap therapy at times. It is not one-size-fits-all as posts are about a whole variety of topics. Not every post will appeal to you, but I hope you stick around. Leave a comment in the posts if you are so moved. I enjoy reading them.

I AM a wife, mother of 3, Momologist, and many other things. My son is an active young man with an amazing vocabulary and imagination. He absolutely loves trains and ships. My first daughter (middle child) is a hilarious and smart little girl who brings us all laughter and joy. She has Down syndrome and has become my teacher. My second daughter is a beautiful bundle of joy who thinks she's a big girl and wants to do everything that her older siblings do. The Hubs is a political science professor and the love of my life. Don't let his work fool you as he is anything but stuffy. He's brilliant, kind, funny, and a kid at heart.

I proudly served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA for over two years in my life before marriage and kids. The first year was in the Waterloo, IA school district (my hometown) and later in Washington D.C. Both programs worked in mentoring and literacy programs in K-12 schools.

One of my great passions has been working with families who have been effected by domestic violence. Beginning in high school I volunteered with a child abuse prevention organization and continued doing so through college. Just before our first daughter was born I worked for 5+ years at a domestic violence shelter.

I currently work part-time with a non-profit organization.  We assist families who have children receiving special education services and have an IEP.  Our mission is to promote inclusion by helping families who are having difficulties as well as training our future teachers. I dabble in wine tasting and dream of being a better photographer. Although I have my motorcycle license, I ride a white scooter with chrome and wear a sparkly pink helmet, which I love!  I am passionate about advocating and educating people about our disability community to change hearts and minds.

I consider myself truly blessed.

Home

Antwerp Train Station Flash Mob

VIDEOS

The following is an archive of videos embedded in this blog. Links that are royal blue are embedded videos from outside sources. The rest are my own. Most of my videos are a combination of still picture montages and actual video clips. Clicking the brief description will take you to the original post where you can view the video. Perhaps one day I'll categorize them, but for now, chronological order will have to do (listed most recent to oldest).
*note, this archive is woefully out of date.

Storm, Cedar Falls and Waterloo, IA, July 2009, local tv coverage
Storm, Cedar Falls and Waterloo, IA, July 2009, my montage
Austin's baseball game
Visit to IA Youth Pavilion
Gov. Quinn press conference, local tv coverage
Gov. Quinn press conference, my photo montage
Sophie Standing
Sophie says 'Thank you'
Helena's 1st bath
Evan Almighty movie clip, An Opportunity
Momsrising.org Mother of the Year
Spread the Word event
Spring break trains
Spring break 2009
Sophie's baptism
Poyners visit, Spring break 2009
"R" word campaign, Special Olympics PSA
Obama on Leno, Special Olympics comment
Sophie Takes Her 1st Assisted Steps!I'll Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie, music videoJohn C. McGinley on Bonnie Hunt for 3.31.09
Time Lapse Photography (messy living room)
Unusual Suspect (Daily Show, Obama = anti-Christ/Hitler)
Sophie is Cruisin'
Soeren Palumbo Fremd High School Speech, the "R" Word
Angels Among Us
Name that Movie (dedicated to Facebook)
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Rosa Sat
Inauguration Day
Sophie and Daddy, Giggles
Alexander's 4th Birthday
Sophie Coughing
Sophie's Therapies, December 2008
New Year's Eve, 2008
Christmas Morn 2008
Oh Christmas Tree
Developmental Playgroup, Sophie Says 'dot dot'
Lunch with Santa on the Train
Family Fun at the North Pole
Crazy Christmas Lights
Dancing in the Kitchen
"Home for the Holidays"
Alexander Rebuffs Santa
Family Portraits, November 2008
Developmental Playgroup Ball Pit, November 2008
Election Results
Election Day, Voting 2008
Hoops and Yoyo, Panic Button
Grandma Mary Surprise Party, October 2008
Natalie Merchant, Wonder
Violence Against Women Act
Palin on SNL
Sophie's O Ball
Alexander Washes His New Car
Buddy Walk, October 2008
Fall Festival
Developmental Playgroup Ball Pit, September 2008
Sophie and Alexander, 1st Kisses
ESPN E:60, Sacred Acre, Parkersburg Tornado
Sophie's Therapies, September 2008
Tina on SNL as Palin
Labor Day Weekend, 2008
Downsyn Peoria Meet Up, September 2008
The Daily Show, The 'V' Vote
Dateline Story, Serbian Mental Institutions
Jib Jab, Disco Dancing
The ARC PSA, Respect
Sophie's Therapies, August 2008
Alexander Reads "Green Eggs and Ham"
Special Olympics PSA, Don't Call Me Retarded
Sophie's 1st Taste of Independence in Pool
Protest, Part 2
Local Coverage, Tropic Blunder Protest
"R"evolution
Hi Heaviness
Lizzy's Birthday, Beatles
Sophie Plays Peek-a-Boo
Mt. Zubba Bubba
Waterloo Visit, July 2008
Sophie's Therapies, July 2008
Campaigning, Jib Jab
Parkersburg Tornado
Sophie's 1st Birthday
Sophie Plays "So Big"
Sophie's Birth Story
Drive in theater
Sophie Learns to Clap
Alexander's 1st Year
Cedar Rapids, IA Flood
Car Accident
Waterloo, IA Flood
Rainy Day
Angry Boy & Scary Baby Growling
West Wing, Roo Canow
A Lizzy Story
Caboose Ride
Strabismus Surgery
Chicago, Date Night
Ball Machine at St. Louis Children's Hospital
Wallace and Gromit, Arson
Easter 2008