Sunday, July 31, 2011

This N That...

It's 8:45am and my entire family is sleeping. That's pretty rare, so I am sitting here in my living room enjoying the quiet. Yesterday was a good day... most of the kids played with the kids next door while I took Kennedy to sign up for dance at her new dance studio. It was National Dance Day so she even got to dance with a bunch of kids which was fun. :) I planned on signing her up for Hip Hop since she really likes dancing to a beat, but after looking at the schedule, I ended up signing her up for a combo Jazz and Lyrical class. She really enjoyed the Ballet that she was doing before, but was not so fond of the Tap dancing part, so I think she'll like this better. She's so excited to get started. She wanted to go back today! HA! I believe classes start the middle of August.

After dance sign ups, we went to Costco where Kennedy discovered the world of samples. And then we had to stop at every. single. one. She even tried to get me to let her sample the coffee! LOL She liked almost everything she ate except for some fish they were sampling. She tried to hand that back to the lady after one bite and said, "No thanks, I'm good." HA! Mommy ate that instead ;). We did manage to get some shopping in, thank goodness, so when we got home the other kids had food to eat too!

Today we are going to a picnic for our new Down Syndrome Association. We always loved going to the ones in Middle Tennessee, so I look forward to meeting new families and having some fun today! We also registered for our first Buddy Walk here. We probably won't make t-shirts or anything this year since it's literally right around the corner, but if you want to check out our team page, here it is! The walk is in Manitou Springs which is a beautiful town close by, so I'm excited to see the spot they picked and meet even more families then!

This week coming up, I have a meeting for new parents for our school district, hopefully we'll get Kennedy's IEP scheduled, and Kassidy has testing for middle school and she has to meet with her counselor to pick her classes. She's very anxious to get her schedule! She wants to take Spanish this semester. Heaven knows daddy will have to be the one to help her there. I know some basic conversational Spanish but when you get into conjugating verbs, forget about it! I knew I should have paid closer attention to my Spanish teacher in high school. *ahem*


Anyway, I guess I should end here... I now have 3 children awake: Kennedy is telling me about her dream about Hello Kitty and that Hello Kitty was a big girl like her. Keeghan is saying he didn't have any dreams because his eyes were opened all night long (hmm...) and Kassidy is sulking because I wouldn't let her kick Keeghan out of "her" chair even though he was there first. I'm beginning to strongly dislike that chair!

I hope you all have a great Sunday! I will try to be back tonight with pictures from the picnic. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Knick Knacks

So I have this awesome stone wall in my living room. I love it. I really do. The only thing is, I've been having trouble figuring out what to put in all of these spaces!
 
Even a few of the things I already have in there I feel like don't look right in there. I don't know.

However, see that bottom right section down there? Well, I guess I have that one filled... sometimes at least... 
Apparently it makes a good play place for certain small children... at least until she grows another inch or so!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Q&A #202

Would love to hear more about Kellsey's specific goals for the year! My little Julian just had his one year evaluation...lots of goals (mostly relating to getting to stand/walk, eating skills, early language skills, you know the drill) 
I will definitely post more about those after her IEP meeting :). I imagine there will be lots of speech goals and lots of "getting ready for Kindergarten!" goals. :)


About the north pole... make sure to get PLENTY of rest the day before, especially if you will be pushing any of the kids in a stroller.. the place is almost all uphill. There is a ton of climbing, just like the zoo! Actually, since it's mostly all IN the mountains there will be a lot of uphill at most places. I reccomend Manitou Springs, it's gorgeous! Enjoy Colorado! 
We have been to Manitou Springs and love it there! Such a cute little town! Thanks for the tip about the North Pole! We have heard about the zoo having lots of hills. I'm kind of regretting selling our double stroller now. Keeghan NEVER wanted to sit in it anymore, but I bet with lots of hills he and/or Kennedy will tire out quickly! 


Just wondering, whats your bus phobia about?? 
I don't like the fact that they don't have seat belts (which Kellsey's bus would), there have been too many stories of bullying on buses (which I wouldn't have to worry about on Kellsey's bus because they're all preschoolers going to the special ed preschool), and the bus driver who drove in our neighborhood in TN drove like a crazy person, so I am trying to get over that. It took everything in me just to let Kass and Kam go on the bus for field trips and that was with me or Frank either in the car behind the bus or on the bus with them AND lots of teachers ON the bus with them! Kellsey is still little and the fact that she can't TELL me what happens on the bus is an issue for me, too. Call me paranoid, they just freak me out. If at ALL possible, we'll avoid the bus this year, and next year for sure we'll be back to no buses! 


Shouldn't Kennedy be in 2nd grade if she is 7? What was the point of doing homeschool 1st grade last year if she just has to do it all over again? 
We didn't do 1st grade last year. We  redid Kindergarten last year which is what she needed. She's right where she should be. 


its your little intro to 5 kids all in school. haha, how does one with 5 kids have them all off not BUGGING mom at once? wow! 
Well, it's usually Keeghan who is talking my ear off constantly and he was at the store with dad! LOL Other than that, as long as Kass and Kam aren't bickering *ahem*, and no one is hungry, the kids are all pretty good! :)


LOVE LOVE LOVE The Monkeys! :)
Did you paint the monkeys and trees/vines on the wall or did you get big stickers?...The color is great! :) 

They are wall decals, we found them on etsy. Those ones were GREAT quality, the ones on the other side (the no more monkeys jumping on the bed) were not so great. We had a hard time getting them to stick right. Wait till you see Kellsey's! I'm excited about hers... if it ever gets here!


Love it! Wow! I am enamored at the fact you can paint any wall, etc. in your rental. When we've rented it has to stay the exact way they left it which is white.  
Well, the only reason we got to paint Kennedy and Keeghan's rooms (and their bathroom eventually) is because the last renters painted them funky colors without permission. They were supposed to paint them back to white before we moved in and they never did. We are not allowed to paint Kassidy, Kameron, Kellsey's or our bedroom or any of the other bathrooms or the living room or anything. The other kids' bedrooms are white, which is fine. We're making it work. The living room and kitchen is a cream(ish) color which is also fine. Our master bathroom has one random green wall... which is strange... but whatever! LOL Better green than hot pink I guess! :) The people who lived here before were very... odd. 


Televisions in every bedroom? With all those toys, I'd think they wouldn't need a TV. Why do you have one in each room? 
Obviously you didn't look closely enough at Kassidy's room. She doesn't have a TV. Neither does Kameron. Or Kellsey. They DO have a TV in the little shared rec area right outside their 3 bedrooms though. Frank and I don't have a TV in our room either, for that matter. We've had that Mickey Mouse TV and Princess TV for years, they used to be Kass and Kam's but they didn't want them anymore. Lots of kids have tvs in their rooms, I don't see a problem here other than the fact that you are looking for one. 


That is adorable! Have you seen the stuffed animal storage called THE ZOO? Look it up online (maybe search stuffed animal storage THE ZOO). I have a friend that got it for her little guys room and it is adorable...or maybe they built something based on this. I am not sure of the cost :).
Ohhh!!! I love that!!! I may like that better than my idea! Somehow I can picture Keeghan trying to climb into that thing! LOL! I wonder if Frank could build one similar? Hmmm! Thank you! Now my wheels are turning! haha 


Wow!! I think a toy hammock would be pretty cool for the monkeys but I know whatever you pick will be awesome!
I have a proposition for you, come to the UK, I'll pay you to decorate my house and you can pick up Kellsey's furniture whilst you are here? (Just kidding! But seriously, I am in awe of your decorating skills!) 

Kath, are you talking about a pet net that screws into the wall? We had those in our last house, and I kind of wanted those for this house (we seriously have like 4 boxes of stuffed animals in the garage still because we have nowhere to put them!) and my thought was to put them lower so the kids could just get the toys out and put them back as they needed them... Keeghan would NOT be happy if his monkeys were out of reach, but Frank says that if the animals are put in and out constantly the screws are eventually going to tear big holes in the walls, and we don't want that. And knowing Keeghan (and Kennedy and Kellsey for that matter) they'd probably try to sit in it! HA! As for coming to the UK, I'll be right over! ;) It would probably be faster than waiting for this thing to get here already! 


Where do you get the cute bedding for your kids? I am looking for some for my kids who are 13,12 and 11. 
I got it from Beyond Bedding. They have super cute stuff and all coordinating! I love the quality, too! They have crib bedding, toddler bedding, children's bedding, teen bedding and even grown up bed sets! Next time I have to buy bedding for me and Frank, I'm looking there first. The only thing that I didn't buy was the sheets... they were REALLY expensive and they were just solid colored sheets. I'm sure they were really nice, but I bought sheets that matched the kids bedding at Target for less than half the price. Also, if you buy the window valances, be careful! Keeghan's valance was too short for his window, so you may want to measure first. For some reason, Kassidy and Kennedy's valances were almost twice as long as the boy's... weird! Anyway, there's my review on their bed sets! 


I love it... Love the monkeys. I had one when I was a kid.. He's name was Casey... He'd be outside and when he wanted in he'd kick the door.. 
You had a real monkey?! Like a real real monkey?! Keeghan would LOVE that! Me, not so much, but I'm pretty sure that would be Keeghan's dream pet! LOL 


what about kassidy's room?! 
But... I DID do Kassidy's room! :) I did a virtual tour at the end of her Q&A... which I guess some of you would have missed if you can't get video to load, huh? OK I'll post pics of hers too. :)


That's awesome! The word "pirates" in "It's a pirate's life for me" should have an apostrophe, though. :) 
Oh my goodness, I know!! It's been driving me nuts! haha Frank said he wouldn't have even noticed. Grammar snobs unite!! :o)


I love his room (and Caleb is going to love it when I show it to him and will be begging us to redo his room like this). Where did you get the wall art above his bed? 
I got it right here off ETSY. If you go on there and search for pirate wall decals, you will find TONS!! 


Recently you did a post on the kids. Did you remember you had these pics of Kellsey? Anyways, I am rereading your adoption journal. I move in 2 days and plan on contacting you with some adoption stuff once I am situated. No, I can't adopt but I have some ideas that God is placing on me so will need someone to roll them off of. Let me know if this is ok please. 
Yep, I did remember. :) Those were taken just a few months before we met her. I guess I don't consider those to be "baby" pictures of her which is what I was posting on that series of posts of the other kids. I only went up to 6 months old on them and then I posted Kellsey's 1 year and 2 year old (approximately) pictures of her which are the only "baby" pictures of her that I have. She was almost 3 there, and then of course from 3 years on I have lots of pics of her :). When we went to the SDA (state department of adoptions in Ukraine) they had a newborn picture of her. She was maybe 1 week old? It was adorable! I wanted that picture SO badly but they wouldn't let us have it. It's sitting in a file somewhere, probably never to be looked at again. So sad. And yes, feel free to contact me any time. 

Kameron's Bedroom and Bathroom!!

Here are pictures of Kameron's bedroom and bathroom... I think you'll catch onto the theme rather quickly! ;) He too still needs a bookshelf which I'll get to eventually. All the kids need them in their rooms still! *sigh* One day!

Enter at your own risk...

His bed and some of his toys...

His tots, his clothes hamper, and pirates!

More pirates... and clothes... and toys!

 Wall Hangings

His Bed... or as he calls it, "The Black Pearl"

Above his bed...

His headboard

 This is his bathroom... there's really no theme here yet. He hasn't decided if he wants pirates here too or something else. It's pretty small, just a shower, toilet...

And sink of course! It's really perfect for him.
Technically this is supposed to be Kellsey's bathroom too (it's right outside both their rooms) but since she's not potty trained she doesn't use it yet and I bathe her up in Kennedy and Keeghan's bathroom, so for now it's just Kameron's. Hopefully someday she'll be using it to potty! :)

Hopefully I will be able to show you Kellsey's room soon! Just waiting for the mail to get here!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keeghan's Room and Bathroom!

Here are pictures of Keeghan's room, finally! We just got the last part of his room the other night and finally got it up. I still need something better to hold all his monkeys, and I have a really cute idea for that, so you might get updated pictures of this room once I find what I'm looking for... I also need to get a valance for his window. I have one that matches his bedding, but it's too short, so we're going to have to get creative. GRR! His books aren't in here yet either because he needs a bookshelf, so really, I guess his room isn't totally complete, but you get the idea!!

Originally the back wall where the window is was painted  a pale pink. Just that one wall. The rest were white. SO strange! So my mom and I picked out a yellow to match the yellow in his bedding and I think it looks really cute, now!

Keeghan's bed...

No more monkeys...

All his toys are in that corner... except his pile of monkeys which are in a bucket on the other side of his bed right now. That little monkey tower on his wall by the window is a growth chart. :)

This is his shelf by his bed for his clock, cup(s) and all his favorite things :).


This is the wall opposite his bed. I LOVE the way this turned out!

The last wall is his closet and door which is a huge mirror. See his temporary monkey bucket? LOL


It's a room fit for a monkey! ;)

AND here is Keeghan's monkey bathroom, which is actually right outside Kennedy and Keeghan's room. This is actually their shared bathroom, so thankfully Kennedy was ok with the monkey theme! :) This bathroom is brought to you courtesy of Grandma! 


Yes... this one random wall IS pink. It's the same pink as the one random wall that was in Keeghan's room! I don't get it! Eventually, this will be repainted palm tree green. We just haven't found the time yet!


Are you tired of monkeys yet?! :o) Up next, Kameron's room... we're still waiting on ONE missing piece for Kellsey's room. Apparently it's being shipped from the UK and therefore it's taking forever! It's like the whole focal point of her room though, so we kind of have to have it before I can show you pictures! :) Hopefully it will be worth the wait! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Right Now...

Right now...

Keeghan is at the store with Frank...

Kellsey is playing with toys in her room... 


Kameron is sitting on the front porch listening to music...

And Kassidy and Kennedy are hanging out watching videos on Kass' computer... 

The lazy days of Summer are coming to an end, but for now, we're going to soak up every last minute! 

Q&A #201

First, for those of you who have been praying for Carlene, here's a note that was left in a comment from her new family!! Please go over and visit their blog and follow Carlene's journey home to the US! 
Renee and friends. Thank you all for loving Carlene for so long. Words cannot express how excited we are to be bringing her into our family. We are working hard to get her home as soon as possible. Our blog address is www.operationorphannomore.blogspot.com . I am so glad to know that so many people are praying her home. 


so how many ducks did Keegan get?? 
Two small ones... he picked an all green one and a firefighter one (big shock there, right?! LOL). Kameron got three even smaller pirate ducks, Kassidy chose a larger duck that looks like a soccer ball and Kellsey chose a larger duck that looks like a baby. Kennedy spotted Hello Kitty stuff that they had there (which was totally random) and chose a Hello Kitty lunch box instead of a duck which actually was fine with me because it matches her backpack and will be put to good use should she ever want to carry her lunch to school. 


Great pictures! I especially like the one of Kellsey concentrating on kicking the ball! Will you have Kennedy and Kellsey participate in Special Olympics? How young can they start soccer in Special Olympics?
At this point, no. I don't think Kellsey is ready yet and Kennedy is more interested in dance. I believe that Special Olympics starts at 6 or 8. 


Marissa's bunny? I can't see your answer. 
OOPS!! Sorry about that! I had left that one blank because I had intended to research it, and then forgot! I have actually only heard of this i-Pad scandal in passing, and this is the first time I've heard of Marissa's Bunny. I did know that a couple of my friends were waiting on i-Pads for their children with Ds, but I didn't know the circumstances surrounding it. I don't really know enough about the organization or the contest to really have an opinion, but I DO know that my friends never did get the iPads they were promised. I also know that my friend Heather (who is one of those people who did not get her promised iPad) has started a new campaign to help parents get iPads if needed. She and a few of her friends started Mission: iPossible and they are trying to bring something good out of a crappy situation. Go check it out. :) 


You've already got Thanksgiving planned out, lol? Well, hopefully you get to see your dad there and maybe George Washington too ;). Okay, George Washington is a bit of a stretch.
Yep! Driving to CA to spend it with my grandmother and extended family there. That's been the plan since we knew we were moving here to CO. :o)


I was doing some medical surfing online and saw that the Colorado Children's Hospital is ranked #5 in the country in pediatric GI! Perhaps GI will be able to redeem its reputation around here ;) 
This comment made me smile! I really, really, really hope we get a GREAT GI doctor here!! Really!! And if we do, I promise I will post about it and sing his/her praises, because I know there are great ones out there... somewhere... over the rainbow... hopefully at Denver Children's?! :o)


You haven't found a spot for Keeghan yet? So if you find a preschool for Keeghan what will you do with all of them in school? 
Nope... the plan was for him to go to the same preschool as Kellsey, in the school district's preschool. The Special Needs preschool here is fully inclusive, which I love, but the waiting list for typical peers is a mile long. The lady in the registration office practically laughed at me last month when I said I wanted to enroll him. HA! I guess that's good though because that means that Kellsey will be surrounded by lots of typical peers! :) It's not so good for Keeghan though. Now I need to find him a mother's day out or something and hopefully all the hours will coincide... Kellsey will only be going 1/2 days and if Keeghan goes 1/2 days I may need to figure out how to be in two places at once. We'll figure it out. I do need to get on the ball though and start looking. If here is anything like Clarksville, he may be on a waiting list for awhile! I'm not sure what I'll do if they're all in school at once... probably something boring like clean house... or blog... or sleep! ;)


Have you done Kennedy's IEP yet? How'd that go? I'm guessing well since she's enrolled ;). 
Not yet. She's enrolled in school and they're supposed to be calling me soon for her IEP meeting. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! But the principal and teachers have been off for their summer break, so it's understandable. I THINK they said it would probably be the first week of August. Obviously I can't just drop her off the first day blindly like I can with Kass and Kam. She kind of needs a plan in place. I'm sure I'll post about her IEP meeting when it's all done. Maybe. ;)


Okay so I know you are no stranger to running the kids and picking them up from school, but will you be bring Kass to school everyday now?
My plan is still to drive them all... however, once we see what everyone's schedule is, we'll see how possible that is. I can only be in so many places at once, after all. ;o) I might just have to try to get over my school bus phobia sooner rather than later. *sigh*


Sorry if you've already mentioned before but, does Kellsey have a condition that prevents her from sweating? 
Yes, she has not ever sweat a drop since she's been home with us. My guess is that she has never sweat ever since birth, but I can't say that for sure of course. Some kids with Down syndrome have a condition called Anhidrosis which literally means the lack of sweating. She's been on the waiting list to see dermatology at Vanderbilt since the first Summer she was home (2010) to be officially diagnosed with this and we still
haven't received a call. I am hoping we can get in faster here.

Sounds like you guys are getting all settled in. I love that feeling after all the chaos of moving. How are you liking the neighborhood?

We love it here! We have friendly neighbors, lots of kids in the neighborhood and mountain views from our front porch! :) So beautiful!! I look forward to meeting more people around here at some point, it seems to be quiet for the most part, which is probably a good thing! 


As for poor Kellsey- I have the same issues, actually, and I was always told not to drink much water when you're overheated. It's too hard on your kidneys to process when you can't sweat it out. Ice cubes, popsicles, and wet washrags work wonders. I also had a spray bottle that I could just spray off with when we were out- works wonders! 
Thanks for the tip on the water! Unfortunately because of her aspiration issues, we can't do ice cubes or popsicles, but someone else mentioned the wet rags, and the spray bottle is a great idea! I have a few in my bathroom that I use for the kids hair, so I'm going to stick one in my car so it's always with us. :) Thanks!


Would this have effected your family had you stayed in Tennessee?? Saw it and thought of your family!
Actually no... Memphis is about 4 hours from where we were... but holy cow! I read that with my jaw on the floor! I hope they come to an agreement before school starts!!! 


We will be in Denver for one of Claire's appts on Weds and I'm still deciding if I'm going to try and brave the crowds at Ikea or not.... 
Ohhhh do it!!! It will be so worth it! I'm hoping they'll have great opening day deals and stuff! We'll be there!!! 


I LOVE that canvas, and I'm getting ready to move into my own place, I'd love to have one (or a few) made. I liked their page but, how do I get the 50% off? Is there a code or something we enter when we purchase? 
OK once you like their page, on the left side under their profile picture they have a bunch of links to their wall, photos, info, discussions, etc. The very bottom link says "50% off + free shipping" and if you click on that it will take you to a page with a big picture that says "click to claim your discount". I THINK you have to be ready to order right then though, so don't click until you're ready! Be sure you know what picture you're going to use and stuff. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll email my contact there and ask. I don't want to click it to find out because I want to use it eventually too! haha They also have another contest going on right now on their FB page where you can upload a picture and the picture with the most "likes" gets a free 16x20 canvas! That's HUGE! The one I got was an 8x16 so it would be much bigger! Be sure to enter that and let me know if you do so I can go like it! :)


Okay, so I have to know what is the obsession with riding in the front seat of the car, lol? Natalie loves that she gets to do that too. She's trying to kick me out of the front seat into the back actually. 
LOL I don't know! I think it has to do with being the oldest and feeling grown and getting to do something first! I definitely wouldn't be letting her kick me to the back though! haha She only gets to sit in the front when Frank or I are not in the car for some reason! 


Make sure you tell your mom to take to you to the North Pole in CO Spgs ;) It's a fun place! 
Oh we are already planning on it! I can't wait! (Uh, for the kids of course!) ;)


Did they say that the service at the 2nd church was always that long? Maybe it was just because it was a different pastor.
We didn't ask, but it wasn't really the sermon that was long I don't think, it was hard to explain. Like I said, we want to try it again... maybe it was just the service we were there for and the fact that the pastor wasn't there. 


Hope you find a great church! Have to admit, I'm not sure I understand having a different class for children with "special needs." Hmmmmm if you take the blind man and the woman from Samaria and a few others, wasn't part of the story that they go back INTO their communities? Not have a special little community for them and others like them??? 
Well, I kind of DO get it... there are some kids with special needs who simply can't be in a regular classroom for whatever reason. They might have severe sensory issues or any number of things. I know there are parents who prefer their children to be in a SN class (at church and at school) for a variety of reasons, and if having a SN class available makes it possible for parents to attend church, I think it's great. However, I also think it should be the parents' decision on whether to place their child in there or not, provided that the child is capable of learning and behaving in the regular class. I hope that made even a little bit of sense! LOL 


I have sensory issues (HFA) and I love to stare out a moving car window. And I also like my stuff with me. I think the bus would probably suite her better then you taking her because the bus is exact routine daily and SPD people thrive on routine.
On Brush therapy, I have my brush near my bed but my last few experiences were horrid and left me almost screaming. For some reason where the days before I was ok with the brush therapy my skin decided it had enough. I haven't tried it again. I did read it has good results though. 

That's very interesting! Kellsey definitely thrives on routine and doesn't like variation. Thanks for the feedback on the brush therapy. The OT did try it on her today just to see how she would do, and she seemed to tolerate it well, but it's good to know that that might not always be the case! Thank you! :)


great news!! yippie for her!! but i was just wondering...why wont you send Kameron and Kennedy in the bus? why Kellsey? wont she be scared or something?
Actually, because of Kellsey's attachment and sensory issues, she probably wouldn't be scared at all. Like the previous commentor said, she would probably love it. I am sure the issue with buses for all of my children is more mine than theirs. ;) There are a few reasons that if I absolutely HAVE to do the bus (which would only be a very last resort), I would do her: one, it would be a smaller bus and because of her size she would be in a 5 point harness which calms a few of my bus fears. Two, she would be on the bus the least about of time. They have the most direct route with the least amount of stops due to limited seating. Three, there is a smaller student/adult ratio on the bus Kellsey would be on which makes it safer. She would have a driver AND an aide to help keep all the kids safe for the ride to school. Bigger buses don't have this and kids can get out of control more easily. And four, time wise, it makes the most sense. I couldn't get Kameron and Kennedy to their bus stop (and potentially they wouldn't let Kennedy ride the same bus as Kameron which would mean TWO buses versus one going to the same school which is silly) and still get Kellsey and Keeghan to school on time. Kellsey starts first, so I could get her on her bus, then go drop Kameron and Kennedy and then drop Keeghan last (most of the programs I'm looking at for him start at 9:00). However, my ultimate goal will be no buses. I  strongly dislike them. I'm going to be making several test runs over the next week or so to see how long it takes me to get from one school to the next and talking to Kameron and Kennedy's school to see what time their doors actually open to see if I can drop them off a little early and maybe drop Kellsey off a little late (It's not an option to drop Kellsey off early, I already asked). Trust me, I am (and will continue to be) thinking this through at all angles before school starts. But thanks for your concern. ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Girly-Girl

For Kennedy's birthday, one of her friends gave her a set of play make-up which looked oh so fun but being the nice mommy that I am, I decided it would be one of the first things we would pack up for Colorado! Somehow stopping to put lipstick on her in between wrapping things in bubble wrap seemed... exhausting.

The other day we were unpacking some of our last few boxes and Kennedy discovered this treasure and she begged me to open it. On Sunday afternoon we were all laying around, hanging out, so I decided to finally open her box and I became a make-up artist. Somehow I doubt that Mary Kay will be hiring me any time soon, but she thought she looked amazing! ;)

Here are some pictures of my girl striking a pose...










At least no one can say she is camera shy! haha

Monday, July 25, 2011

Church Hunting

One of the hard parts about moving is finding a new church. We loved our church in Tennessee and miss it a lot! Finding one like it here is going to be pretty much impossible, still, there are a ton of churches here in Colorado Springs, so we are on the hunt to find the right one for us.

Last week we went to church with our new next door neighbors, who are great by the way! This church was a super mega church. Our church in Tennessee had about 2,000 members (and is quickly growing) - this church had about 10,000. Seriously. It was a little overwhelming! However, the music was amazing, the pastor was funny and the kids all loved their classes. I think Kameron was a little enamored with the foosball table ;), he also loved the fact that you can earn "bucks" for attendance, bringing your Bible, memorizing verses and other stuff and then you can spend these "bucks" at their store there for cool prizes. Kassidy loved the middle school environment and Kennedy talked about a song she sang called "God Loves Me." Keeghan talked over and over about his Bible story, but lamented about the fact that there was no snack there like at our church in TN! HA! Kellsey didn't say anything of course, but when I asked if she had fun she nodded yes REALLY hard! ;)

The only thing that threw me off at this church was that after I dropped the kids off, we were stopped and introduced to the special needs director there and told about their program at the 9:00 service (we were at the 11:00 service) and asked if our girls might be more "comfortable" in the special needs class. After talking to them for a few minutes I could tell they were worried that Kennedy and Kellsey might not "fit in" and be a disruption to their classrooms. I assured them that both girls are very well behaved and were the only kids with special needs in their classes at our old church and could hold their own just fine. I suggested they go meet the girls before trying to separate them and told them how important it was to me that they stay with their typical peers. I went on to say that the only accommodation that Kennedy would need is someone to walk her to the bathroom about half way through church and they were surprised to learn she was potty trained. *sigh* Anyway, I asked again that they just go meet the girls and see how they do and I would talk to the teachers after class and see how they felt.

Needless to say, when I went to pick Kellsey up (who I put in the 2/3 year old class because that's where she is developmentally) the teacher said she did great! She listened well, sat still during story time and colored a beautiful picture. No worries from her. Kennedy's teacher, in the 1st grade class, also said she did great, though she and another little girl did bump heads on accident. But she also participated, sang the songs, answered questions and she had no problems with her and would be glad to have Kennedy in her class. Imagine that. While I am glad they have a special needs program available for those who need it, I do hope that they realize that sometimes inclusion is a good thing! ;)

Yesterday we went to a different church we've heard about. This church was much smaller... (like maybe 300 people?) they said their attendance is down over the Summer. Their music is also great and they did a lot of the same songs that our church from TN does, so that was really nice. :) The people there were really welcoming and didn't bat an eye about the girls. We got them checked into their classes where Keeghan was thrilled to find that he would get a snack! ;) Kassidy said that she likes this church a little better. I think she had a lot of fun and even brought home an invitation for a girls youth group sleepover this weekend that she really wants to go to. Kameron is kind of undecided. He likes parts of both churches, he said. The little 3 seemed happy in both places, but the snack may have put this church over the top for Keeghan! HA! The head preacher at this church was on vacation, so we'd like to try it again sometime when he's back. The only drawback to this service for me is that it was really, really long, and when you go to an 11:00 service, it kind of shoots your whole day.

We have one more church on our list to try this coming Sunday and then I think we're going to try to pick from the 3 and stick with it for awhile. We could visit a new church every Sunday for 6 months and still not hit them all and I want to plant our roots and get plugged in somewhere. Gotta love church hunting! :)

Kassidy's Q&A in Text

OK sorry for those of you who either couldn't hear or couldn't access the video. I shot this video with my phone. Kameron's was done with our flip mino and I have NO idea where that is right now! SO here are her answers typed out, and this isn't word for word, because I'm not typing out either one of our million "ums" or our back and forth dialogue, but you'll get the idea. :o)

Is your mom a good cook? (Insert stunned silence here) Like when she has to mix a bunch of ingredients together or when she has Schwans? (Funny, funny girl!)
What's your favorite subject in school? Math!
Is your mom funny? Sometimes
Do you like being the oldest? Yes because I get to do things first like sit in the front seat of the car!
What's your favorite thing to do? It's a tie between soccer and swimming
what is your favorite color? Red!
who is your favorite sibling? lol :o) (Me: Think hard about this one, you're not supposed to have a favorite, you should say, they're ALL my favorite! or something like that!) Her: Depends on the time of day and what's going on. ;)
if you could describe yourself in one word what would it be? Awesome!
where do you like to shop at? Claires!
Do you like your name? If not, what would you want your name to be?
Yes, I like my name. I don't want a different name. 

Who is your best friend in school and why? Mckenna because we've been best friends since Kindergarten
How do u feel about havin 2 sisters with DS?
It's fun! Lot's of TV reporters! 

What are your thoughts on Justin Bieber? :) OK I can't type her response here, but she spit at my phone! LOL 
What's your favorite music these days? Jonas Brothers, Jason Mraz, Moi and everybody but Justin Bieber ;).
If you could go on vacation anywhere, real or imaginary, where would you go and who would you take with you? The North Pole and I would take my parents, my siblings and my grandma

What's your dream job that you'd like to have when you get to be a grown up? I either want to work on computers, work with animals or work with kids. 
What is your favorite food? Ribs!
What is your favorite thing about school? Math! (Me: Really?! It doesn't have to be your favorite subject, just your favorite THING about school.) Her: Oh... OK... Lunch! (Much better!) :)

If you could let the world know what it like to have two siblings with Down Syndrome, what woud you say? Can you rephrase the question? OK if someone was about to have a little brother or sister with Down syndrome, what would you tell them life would be like? Like, how would life change? Do you think it's harder or different having siblings with Ds versus having siblings without? No... not really. They're pretty easy and less talkative! 
How do you feel about the Army? Why? I don't really... know.
How do you feel about your dad being away for so long? I think when I was little I didn't really get it and didn't really care. And how do you feel now? It's hard sometimes. 
What are the most important things in your life? My family and all my best friends
If you could choose a dream to come true, what woud it be? I wish that Keeghan wasn't so talkative!

what is your favourite thing about kennedy? She's funny
what is your favourite thing about kameron? He's imaginative... 
would you cut your beautiful hair?
No!
what is your favourite dessert? Culver's Ice Cream
whai is your favourite ice cream flavor? Mint!

Who's your BOYFRIEND, Kassidy??? Umm that doesn't really apply anymore... because we moved.
If you and your mom spent the day together having just a girls day out, what would you choose for the two of you to do? We could go shopping or go see the new Monte Carlo movie
Whats one special thing in your life that you have done that would like to do again? Our Make-A-Wish Trip

how awesome does it make you feel that kellsey has chosen you as her personal superhero? :) It makes me feel special!
What do you like most about each of your siblings? (Already answered Kennedy and Kameron above) Keeghan: You never get bored around him! Kellsey: She's very quiet
Would you like to be homeschooled too? 
No!
What's your favourite sport? Soccer
If you could have any pet which would you choose? Another guinea pig
What is your favorite movie? The new X-Men
How about your favorite book/author? The Love Comes Softly Series
Which do you like better California or Tennessee? I only remember snippets of CA... but I like CO better than TN because CO is so pretty!
Which season do you like best? Spring! It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it's just right. 

What Holiday do you like the most? Christmas!
What is the grossest thing that you have ever eaten? an onion
How many kids do you want to have when you grow up and get married?
 More than four
What is your favorite thing to do with your mom? Go shopping
Where is your favorite place to go on vacation? I don't know
What is one word you would use to describe each of your brothers and sisters? Kameron: Annoying; Kennedy: Sweet; Keeghan: Loud; Kellsey: Quiet
What is your favorite thing to do with your Grandma? Ride in the car... we do that a lot
What is one thing that your Grandma does that you wish she wouldn't do? Conference calls
What is one thing that your MOM does that you wish she wouldn't do? I don't really know

If you could travel to 3 places anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? Eurasia because I think it would be interesting; South America because it seems like there's lots of touristy places there. I don't know where else.
When did you first notice that Kennedy was different? When you told me...
How did you feel when you were told Kennedy has ds? Confused...
Do you ever feel angry at your dad for leaving you and going overseas? No... 

Please look around the room you are in. I want you to pick the first three things you see, and tell me why you are thankful for them. My two guinea pigs because they are cuddly fur balls and they make me happy and my sleep number bed because I don't have back pain anymore. 
Who is Your Hero...why? (you can have more than one ;) I don't really have a hero
and what are you the most thankful for? My family

What is your favourite game on your iPod? Angry Birds
What are your favourite songs? Anything by Jonas Brothers or Jason Mras
Do you wish you had a blog like your Mommy's? Not really, it seems like a lot of work to blog every day! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Q&A #200 - Kassidy Style!

It's finally time! Kassidy's long awaited Question and Answer session! I'm not sure who's been waiting longer for this... some of you or her! LOL For those of you who haven't been around all that long, for my 100th Q&A, Kameron took the reigns and answered your questions in this totally hilarious video, and now it's Kassidy's turn. I hope you can hear her answers ok... some of them are kind of quiet. If you can't hear her, let me know and I'll do a text version of the video. I'm so bummed the sound is so bad.

I guess for my 300th Q&A it will be Kennedy or Keeghan's turn. We'll see. Since it takes me almost 2 years to do 100 Q&A's we'll see where we are in life by then. ;) Anyway, enjoy Kass' Q&A... and if you stick around to the end you'll get a virtual tour of her bedroom, too! :o)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Well...

My plan was to post Kassidy's Q&A video today, but my computer is apparently out of disk space and cannot hold even ONE more thing. Seriously?! So please excuse me while I get some pictures burned to DVD and off my hard drive and try to get this video uploaded. It's not as easy as it sounds with this old dinosaur of a computer! GRRR!


Stay tuned...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Office and a Product Review!

Welcome to our office/homework room! Frank and I got this room organized the other night and I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out! I think it will be a great spot for Kameron and Kennedy to do their homework after school and for me to work with the kids on projects. It also holds all our office stuff that we have. It's so nice not to have it scattered all over the house!
This room is directly to the right when you walk in our front door... I like that we can close it off for privacy (or, you know... if it gets messy! HA!).

Kameron's desk as well as our bins full of papers and stuff... 

Kennedy and Keeghan's desks

On the wall in the corner is an interactive map of the U.S. 
Keeghan can tell you all kinds of interesting facts about Colorado... like the fact that it's the only place that has ever turned down hosting the Olympics! LOL 
Above that is a picture holder thing I bought for Kennedy years ago... it holds (24) 4x6 pictures, but I decided to use it for her spelling words this year. I'll put 3x5 cards in each slot with one word on each. :)
Next to that is my ever useful white board and bulletin board. It helps keep me organized! Above that is our nifty "Moon in my Room" which lights up and shows all the phases of the moon in about 15 minutes. The kids love it. On the floor is my homeschool bucket, and even though I'm not homeschooling anymore, we will still be using a lot of the stuff in there to reinforce what Kennedy is learning at school... and all her Headsprout stuff is in there, too! :) Gotta keep that handy!

Our calendar and weather map... the doors to the left go out to the hallway and the doors to the right are the closet. 

Our closet has all the kids' board games, extra computer stuff and papers from school that I am keeping for sentimental reasons :)

We have this empty space above our closet... I'm not quite sure WHAT to do with it! Hmm... 

And back to Kameron's desk! The drawers have his art stuff and lots of supplies necessary for him to do homework. I still need to get him a chair. Have I mentioned that Ikea opens on Wednesday?! I can't wait!!

Did you notice this awesome canvas above the desk in the first picture? Well, about a week ago, the people from Easy Canvas Prints contacted me and asked me if I would like to review one of their products in exchange for a free canvas! I said, "SURE!" So, I got to choose a picture and order a canvas and yesterday I got this in the mail! I just love this picture of my special Ks! :) I really need to get a picture of them in front of our new house, but this is a great memory to have and this canvas is awesome! I was so pleased with how thick it was and it really looked like the picture was painted right on the canvas! Their prices are really reasonable, too and you can make it as small or large as you'd like to fit any area of your home. I think it makes a great addition to our office. The kids all thought it was really cool! 

If you would like a canvas of your own, this site is super easy to use and order from, but FIRST, be sure to go "like" their Facebook page and you will get 50% off your order and free shipping!! That's an amazing deal! Be sure to let me know if you have one made, I would love to see yours! The possibilities are endless! :)

Thanks, Easy Canvas Prints, for making our office that much better! :)

Up next, Kassidy's room which is finally done, along with her Q&A! :o)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rain...

So it rains here. Every day. Only for 20-30 minutes, and it's usually accompanied by thunder and lightening, and sometimes by strong wind. Once it hailed. Hard. Crazy weather! The good part is that it cools the weather off considerably when all is said and done, and it takes care of watering our lawn and flowers. :)

We went on a walk today to Kassidy, Kameron and Kennedy's schools. They are less than a mile away. I tried to tell Kassidy she could walk to school, or ride her bike, but apparently she might die from the long distance. Seriously. There was some mention of it being up hill both ways and having to walk barefoot. Backwards. In the snow. ;) Spoiled kids. Other than that, they were excited to see their schools, at least from the outside, and it prompted me to get on the ball and start buying school supplies. ;)

It was probably mid to high 80's today during our walk and by the time we got home, we were all sweaty from walking and being out under the sun... Kellsey, who rode in her stroller, was beat red, but there was not a drop of sweat on her. I decided to take her temp just to see what her 45 minutes in the sun did to her, and she was 101.5. It's just crazy. After some ice cold water and an hour or so in the a/c, she was back to normal. I can't even imagine what her temp was at the Signing Time! show the other day, poor kid!

Frank and I got our office/school room all organized last night. It looks really nice. My thought is, that once school starts, Kameron and Kennedy will do their homework in there. Kassidy's desk is in her room. I have lots of my homeschool stuff up in there as well so I can use it to reinforce whatever Kennedy is learning at school as well. Pictures coming soon, promise.

Anyway, that's about all that's going on here... Frank is outside putting together a bench/table/swing on our porch, and all 3 little kids are napping, which never happens! We should walk a mile more often! Kameron is playing in his room and Kass is sitting here next to me, typing away on her laptop. It's mother/daughter bonding time! ;) I should use this time to record her Q&A... Maybe I will. :)

Bye for now my friends!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Working Hard!

We are still here! We have been busy getting stuff done, trying to get organized and getting things like our car insurance and stuff transferred over to Colorado. It's a process! We have been working hard on Kameron and Keeghan's room this afternoon after our mailman dropped off some stuff we've been waiting for... they're almost done... just waiting on a couple more things. It's starting to look really cool in both their rooms though :). We're still waiting for stuff for Kassidy and Kellsey's rooms as well. We are going to tackle hanging pictures throughout the house tonight after the kids go to bed and maybe start in on the office. It's a jungle in there!

Frank reports to Ft. Carson on Friday and begins his week of inprocessing which sounds like a bunch of boring days of filling out forms. I'm sure he will make time to explore post and all that fun stuff, too. After that, he will start working full time again.

As for me, I have to start thinking about back to school shopping. :( I'm not ready! I love having my kids home with me and we're not ready to get back to early mornings and homework and early bedtimes and all that goes with it. We get about 10 days longer here though than if we were in Tennessee... of course we'll pay for that come May! Kassidy, Kameron, and Kennedy will start school on August 15th and Kellsey starts the end of August sometime... I want to say the 26th, but I'm not sure about that. We have her eligibility meeting for the special ed preschool on Tuesday and I'll get more details then.

Anyway, that's about it! I am off to fix a quick dinner for my munchkins and then we're going to watch a movie before bed. I just wanted to check in and let you know we're all alive and well! I'll try to take and post new pictures, soon.

Upcoming Workshops for Parents of Kid with Ds!

If you live in Middle Tennessee and have a child with Down syndrome age 3 to 5, check out this awesome set of seminars coming up in Nashville to prepare you (and your child) for Kindergarten! Please take advantage of this amazing opportunity to become educated about the process and give your child the best start possible on their educational path!! 

Smart Start - Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Session 1 - Wednesday, September 28, 6pm
One of the best gifts you can give your child is a great foundation before going off to kindergarten. DSAMT invites you to attend our newest program Smart Start, a series of sessions which will help you better understand what successful students with Down syndrome have in common.

This series of 4 workshops will help you send your child with Down syndrome off to the first day of kindergarten with excitement, instead of anxiety. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn about local resources, and to meet other parents whose children are also preparing to enter kindergarten. This program is especially for parents of children ages 3-5 who have Down syndrome.

Session 1: Student Readiness
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6pm-8pm
  •  Potty training
  •  High expectations
  •  Insistence on compliance
  •  Following rules and directions
  •  Jobs around the house
  •  Handling schedule changes
Session 2: Parent / School Relations
Wednesday, January 25, 6pm-8pm
  •  Communicating effectively
  •  Common mistakes
  •  Addressing concerns
  •  Paraprofessionals
  •  What teachers need to know
Session 3: Placements & IEPs
Wednesday, March 28, 6pm-8pm
  •  State assessments
  •  IQ testing
  •  Inclusion, mainstreaming and self-contained classrooms
  •  Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
  •  Creating IEP goals
Session 4: Fostering Friendships
Wednesday, May 23, 6pm-8pm
  •  Social skills for success
  •  Creating social opportunities
  •  Successful play dates
  •  Extra-curricular and community activities
  •  Peer presentations

All sessions will be held at the DSAMT offices inside Westminster Presbyterian Church. Dinner and childcare will be provided for those who register in advance for sessions. Registration for childcare is required no later than one week prior to sessions, and childcare space is limited. For registration forms and more information about the Smart Start program, contact DSAMT at 615.386.9002 or emaildsamt@bellsouth.net.