Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Miracle

If you're a member of the Ds community, you are probably aware of this story. For those who are not, let me have the joy of sharing this amazing family with you.

Eight days ago, while her father was on a mission trip to Africa, eleven year old Lydia had a conversation with her mother. She had learned of a little girl named Darya in a foreign land, living in an orphanage and who happens to have Down syndrome. She was told by others who had been to her orphanage that this little girl was never spoken to, never held.

Lydia is one sibling in a family of 5 kids; 2 siblings are adopted, 2 have Ds (one biological 1 adopted). Lydia asked her mom if she would adopt Darya if she (at 11 years old) were able to raise the funds necessary for this international adoption, a whopping $20,000, before Thanksgiving. Her mom agreed. After all, $20,000 is a lot of money for an eleven year old to raise and she only had 8 days to raise it. That's right. I said 8 days.

With donations from 300 individuals, Lydia has raised $26,550 in 8 days, which means that not only will Darya be coming home, but every penny over the $20,000 goal will be going to another family, also adopting a child internationally, who happens to have Ds, through the amazing Reece's Rainbow organization.

Do you believe in miracles? I know I do. Read more about their story and watch them on the news HERE.

Monday, November 23, 2009

That Was Absurd, Let's Eat Dead Bird

I have a fondness for vintage photos of women used as modern art, particularly when used in a smart a$$ way. This is my business card holder (now neglected in a desk).

Erin Smith art decorates my sidebar on this blog. (2 pieces, "Everything's been fabulous since I realized my life is just like a Norman Rockwell's painting," introduces you to my blog and "I'm sorry I just please need you to shut up for one minute" is just before the archives)
However, my hands-down favorite artist is Anne Taintor. I picked up this bag in Madison.

These are some of her magnets.

However, the point of all this is not to show you some images that I love (that's a bonus). We are fast approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. For many, this means travel and spending time with family. While there are many joys to be had, there is also a serious amount of stress and drama involved for a good percentage of us. It is in honor of the not-so-fun parts of the holidays that I bring you the following.
This is an Anne Taintor napkin.

This is the 2009 Anne Taintor calendar image for November.

and finally, here's a clip from a movie that I love and consider a must watch during this Thanksgiving holiday.
So, here's to you an yours as you travel or stay put, and as you experience the highs and lows that the holidays bring. Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Festival of Trees

Did you see us? Sophie and I were honored to be a part of the Larkin's Place at the Y tree display at the Junior League's Festival of Trees this weekend. We went today and Alexander had a nice conversation with Santa. It went much better than last year.
Poor Soph had rubbed her scab off of her nose in church and was a bloody mess. I really should have bought her those reindeer antlers on a head band.

Here's a look at the tree for Larkin's Place. This 'tree,' made of brightly colored pillows and items of different textures, was designed to be a sensory delight. Can you see who's in the photo to the left of the tree? Why, it's our good friend Larkin, Sophie, Mark Johnson, me, and new friends.

Here's the original image

This is the really cool poster with the line, Can you picture yourself here? Some of the people are yellowed out for effect. Can you guess which one is Soph?

That's right. Sophie was photographed with the great paralympian Jean Driscoll. (PLEASE read more about Jean HERE).

It was a great way to kick off the holiday season. Here's one last photo taken at the Y.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fall Family Fun

There's nothing like jumping in a pile of leaves (despite allergies, fear of bugs and a general dislike of being covered in rotting plant life, taken last week? 2 weeks ago? I forget. As always you can click the images to enlarge them.)

Turkey Hand Sugar Cookies (no children were injured in the making of these cookies, but copious amounts of sugar was consumed)

This is often how I find my crew, sleeping off a hard day's play.
For more free family fun, I suggest calling the Nestle Crunch Hotline at 1-800-295-0051. When you are asked if you want to continue in English or Spanish, just wait for about 10 seconds. For even more fun press 4. (my favorite in option 4 is #7)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rudolph Impersonation

Sophie took a header off of our front porch. She had been pushing her little shopping cart and didn't stop when she got to the stairs. I didn't get to her in time and I watched her flip head over feet down 3 concrete stairs and onto her shopping cart. Together we sat on the driveway and cried. This is a momma's guilt that I'll never let go. My first thought was of AAI. She's not yet been x-rayed (they recommend this at 3 years old). If she has it, a simple childhood spill could result in very bad consequences. In any case, she recovered much more quickly than I did and is now sporting a gnarly scab that covers a good portion of her nose and bruises on her forehead and in between her eyes. I've joked that I should buy her one of those head bands with reindeer antlers and she could be Rudolph. Mark was not amused. Hey, ya got to find the silver lining some where. And yes, that is a very snot encrusted nose as well as we're all still friggin sick (except Mark, knock on wood).
p.s. Mark got some very exciting news on the job search front today! Very.Exciting.News!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You Know You're My Saving Grace

It's one of those songs that I instantly liked. I love Beyoncé. I loved the melody. I loved it when they used it in a mash up in Glee. We even use it as a cool down in my Turbo Kick class. Then, without noticing it happening, I started paying attention to the lyrics and it hit me. This is a song about romantic love, but I'm claiming it for me and Soph.

As a mother to a little girl with special needs, I went through a very dark period of grief when her Ds diagnosis came to us prenatally. During a run-of-the-mill 20 week ultrasound, we were told we were having a girl and 10 minutes later that she had a serious disability and a life threatening blockage in her intestines. There was a 30% chance that she wouldn't survive to be born.

I struggled with my acceptance and began my journey into the world of parenting a child with special needs long before we ever held our daughter. Together we've come such a long way and there is no one, except her daddy, who is as proud and as fierce of a protector of her as I am. She's not only teaching me, but she's teaching others about the value of all children and she's blowing us all away while she's doing it. Truth be told, she is my hero. She is my angel. She is my saving grace and even when she's acting out as any child in the terrible twos will, baby I can feel her halo.

As I made dinner tonight, my girl and I danced it out in the kitchen. I am so very thankful for the honor to be her mom.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Posters

I have the post-Halloween blues. I'm in no hurry to take the rest of my decorations down and I've burned through Alexander's candy. 2 of the 3 of my mums are no longer with us. Helena has begun a late/all-night scream fest (we're going on a week now), though she is not sick nor are any teeth coming in that we can see or feel. My Google Reader won't stay under 150 unread posts. Ba Humbug!

So, as I'm stuck in a recliner for much of the day and night, unable to do my chores that require moving about or making any bit of noise, I've decided to play with photo editing. This is something that I can do in the dark with little disturbance to my tiny boss.

On Halloween night we had a Respite sitter come over at 11 pm and we were ready to head out by 11:43. I put on my Marilyn Monroe costume that I first wore in Madison 6 years ago (as in before having 3 children, The dress is a vintage silk blend gown that I got in Madtown. It has been a motivator for me to lose weight (and now that it's over, I need a new motivator!) It suffered water damage when our basement flooded recently and it fell off the hanger. Fortunately, I found a cleaner who was willing to give it a go. They did a pretty darn good job.

Mark wore his authentic Soviet military uniform and overcoat that he purchased in East Berlin in 1993. Except for his new combat boots, it's the real deal and he was a hit down town. Some people got it confused with a Nazi uniform. A couple of even spoke to him in German, which is funny, because he also speaks German as well. I heard him say in German a few times, no this is a Soviet uniform. He also got a few comments referencing the After the Fire song Der Kommissar('s in town, whoa oh, don't turn around, whoa-oh). Oh, and at least 2 Colonel Klink comments. A creative suggestion was that we were the fashion police. It was a good time, but we really missed living in Madison as they know how to do justice to this holiday.

So here goes. I will post the original photo or poster that inspired me (or that I blatantly stole from) and then my final versions. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself, even if I don't really know what I'm doing with the editing.

(ORIGINAL) Quintessential Marilyn

(MY VERSION) Inspired by the shot above and many others, really

Although Mark and I have been to Moscow (and the Kremlin-right there in fact) non of our pictures were quite what I wanted. I found this one on the internet.
(ORIGINAL) Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin, Moscow


Again, we've been here as well, but didn't have quite what I wanted. Random person with chef's hat found on the internet.
(ORIGINAL) St. Basil's in Red Square, Moscow


(ORIGINAL) Real LIFE magazine cover of Marilyn


(ORIGINAL) Propaganda poster, Stalin in Soviet uniform. Says, "Cadre Decides Everything." The message is something to the effect of 'it is all the people who are involved in making decisions,' not just Stalin, for the benefit of the good citizens of the USSR.

(MY VERSION) Mark in Soviet uniform and coat looking quite striking I must say.

VP Nixon giving a speech at the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1959 while Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev looks on.

(MY VERSION) Check out the crowd of bystanders, just for fun.

(ORIGINAL) another classic Marilyn poster (I couldn't find her signature in a large enough size to copy it exactly)
(my version)
Well, there you have it. Hope you got as much of a kick out of this as I did!