We are back!! Have ya missed me? Well... if you're my friend on Facebook, I know you haven't because you all went on vacation with us! ;) But for everyone else, I kind of just faded away for a bit. I actually took my computer with me because I had some PTA stuff and 5th grade graduation stuff that I wanted to be working on, but I never even turned it on... which is probably a good thing. (Remind me of that when I'm up late for the next 2 weeks getting everything done!) ;) Then I had a post scheduled by a guest blogger and realized today that it never posted... so I guess I'll post that later. Oops!
We had a fabulous time in Las Vegas!! We had no schedule, took detours we weren't planning on, didn't know what we were doing for the day until we got up that morning, and just... relaxed. Don't get me wrong, we had fun and I am TIRED! haha But it's a different kind of tired... it's a "I had a great time with my family who I love so much that I don't even mind doing the 10 loads of laundry we created while we were gone" kind of tired. :)
I, of course, have a bunch of pictures. There are some on Facebook but those are only the ones I took with my phone and I really DID take my real camera this time so I'll post all the pictures here over the next few days and tell you about all our adventures.
On our way to Vegas we decided to take the Southern route to avoid snow in Utah... This was good planning, trust me! So as we hit New Mexico, something rang in my memory. Ohhhh yeah. Tim's Place is here!! (If you don't know about Tim's Place, be sure to go read! I'll wait!) I looked it up online and saw that they didn't serve dinner and so we would miss it. So, we talked and decided that since we were all pretty tired and already way ahead of schedule anyway, that we would spend the night in Santa Fe (the hotel there was... um... not pretty. *sigh*) and so we got to hit up Tim's Place in Albuquerque for breakfast. :)
We got to Tim's Place around 8:30 and the waitress noticed Kennedy (and my camera) almost right away. She asked if we would like to meet Tim and we said, "Uhhh YES!" So Tim came out to say hello, saw Kennedy and got a huge smile on his face. He decided to sit and chat with us. We had lots of questions for him, of course... it's not every day you get to eat breakfast with the owner of a restaurant. Tim leads a pretty exciting life! He's been to a lot of fun places like the Bahamas (which he said he would take us to someday... I plan on holding him to that! haha) and he has a girlfriend who he plans on marrying someday. He said we can come to the wedding but he'll probably have to rent out a football stadium because so many people will be coming. I believe that!
He kept telling Kennedy that she was awesome and amazing and that she can do anything she wants to do... to which she replied, "I know." :) They talked about Facebook and friends and dance and hot chocolate and coffee and their favorite foods. They talked about school, and Kennedy told him she wants to work at Claire's... or own a flower shop (which was news to me! LOL).
Kennedy and Tim
Talking about life...
It was a great morning for all of us. Kassidy, Kameron and Keeghan thought Tim was awesome and they had a great time hanging out with him... It was great for them to see that individuals with Down syndrome really can do anything they set their mind to. I have told them for years, but it's different seeing it in action. Tim is an amazing role model for all kids - with and without Ds. :)
One last picture...
And a goodbye hug :)
We look forward to seeing Tim this Summer at the NDSC convention in Denver! I know it will be awesome! :)
Today we remember James Mattioli as his parents should be celebrating his 7th birthday. Instead, I'm sure this is one of the hardest days of their lives since December 14th when James died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
James is remembered for his love of being outside... he was all boy and loved baseball, basketball, swimming, and playing on his iPad. Most of all his loved his big sister Anna who was helping James learn to read. When James wasn't outside, he enjoyed cuddling on the couch with his mom Cindy, or doing yard work with his dad Mark... but mostly, James loved to eat!! His parents joked that he was always asking for food and was even born 4 weeks early because he was hungry!!
It seemed that James, like most kids, was always in a hurry to grow up... he wanted to be old enough to do more, be better, eat more, be more... and like the pastor said said at his funeral, every day is now just that for James... full of 3 point shots, perfect dives, home runs and no more training wheels. I'm sure James is having the birthday of a lifetime.
Please remember Mark, Cindy and Anna today as we celebrate James' life.
Happy 7th Birthday, James! We will never forget...
Right about now, this video is being shown to Kameron, Kennedy and Keeghan's entire school in honor of World Down Syndrome Day (which is tomorrow, but there's no school tomorrow). Take the time to watch it with them... you might learn some things about Down syndrome and friendship that you never knew before. :)
Kennedy's last competition for the season went out with a bang! She brought home high golds and first place for her solo and her group dance and won overalls for both! She also got 2nd overall for photogenic! She was very excited!! She still has one more convention next month and then we're done with competition season for the year... kind of hard to believe it's over. :( Here are a few shots of her in action during her solo yesterday!
Tomorrow Kennedy has to give an oral report about Helen Keller to her class... she had to pick a character, dress up like him or her, and then present it in class. I admit, I was a little nervous about this. Her teacher helped us find a good book that she would enjoy. She gave Kennedy a few choices and Kennedy picked Helen Keller. She has worked hard reading her book and we talked a lot about Annie Sullivan and that Helen helped lots of people with disabilities. I hope that her report goes well tomorrow... she says I can't come watch. ;) Here is a video of her practicing today. I hope you can hear her... it's a little quiet...
Thanks Kassidy for helping her track so she didn't get lost!
By the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! Hope you all enjoyed some yummy corned beef and cabbage today!!
It's been busy busy in the Garcia household! But when isn't it?? ;)
Last week Keeghan had a field trip to the fire and police departments. He was so excited he could barely sleep the night before! ;) Unfortunately, parents weren't allowed to go on this field trip so I couldn't go, but his teacher did send me a picture!
My child in the back of a cop car... every parent's dream! LOL
We did get to go meet them for lunch at Chic-Fil-A, which was fun and just slightly chaotic!! ;) I think that was his last field trip of the year. Kameron has one coming up soon and I threw my name in the hat to chaperone but you have to be "chosen". We'll see if I get lucky. ;)
It was also my birthday last week. I turned 29. Again. ;) We went out to dinner and it was really nice. I love spending time with my family!!
Kassidy started soccer practice last week and is excited to get back together with her team and her coach and get ready for the new season. Thankfully the weather appears to be warming up... but every time I wash my van it seems to snow, so who knows! ;) I think her first game is the end of March. :)
We've gone to a few birthday parties for friends... one where Kennedy got to be a fashion model on Project Runway (or something like that!) ;)
She won the award for "Best Diva" ... but of course! ;)
And speaking of Diva! Check out Kennedy's new head shot! This was taken by my friend Carmen and will be used at her upcoming dance competitions and pageants. I love it!
Last night we found out that Kameron got into the middle school that he SO badly wants to go to next year! I'm SO excited for him!! This could be a good stepping stone for him if he wants a career in media or theater or anything fine arts related. This school has so much to offer and I know he's going to have so much fun there. I asked him if I could go to school with him next year but he said I'd have to find some magical youth pill first. What?! I don't look a day over... well... anyway. I'm excited to hear about his year and be there for all his performances!!
This morning was our elementary school's annual "Family Breakfast" which means that we had to be at school super early. *bleh* We skipped it last year... Have I mentioned that we are NOT morning people?! But this year Kameron got to serve breakfast since he's on Student Council so we bought tickets and went to eat. It was fun visiting with friends and Kennedy filled up on eggs while Keeghan filled up on bacon! HA!! Frank couldn't go unfortunately because he has "Mandatory FUN Day" at work. Yep. He HAS to go have fun. HA! I'm sure it'll be a BLAST! Or not. :/
The kids have tomorrow off school... I'm not really sure why... but I'll take it! We'll be gearing up for another competition weekend which is here in town thank goodness. Kennedy performs at 7:00 in the morning on Saturday which will be interesting. I keep joking that I'm going to give her coffee for breakfast, but you know what they say, behind every joke is a half truth. Don't judge me! (Don't worry, I don't think she'd really drink coffee... caffeine pills anyone?!... I'm KIDDING!)
Next week we have dentist appointments for Kass and Kenn on different days, a school-wide presentation for World Down Syndrome Day, Parent Teacher Conferences to end the quarter and then more days off school to start Spring Break! Woohoo! We also have 2 college students coming over to talk to us about inclusion in the school system and what works and what *ahem* doesn't. So that should be fun! On the 24th we take off for a much needed vacation where I will take my REAL camera and take LOTS of pictures... but I mostly plan on sleeping and laying by the pool while the kids swim... and then do a whole lot of NOTHING! Yep, that sounds great! :)
OH and before I go, Kassidy would be sad if I didn't say...
From one non-math geek to all of you out there. ;)
I've seen A LOT of PSAs about ending the R word. Don't know what the R word is?? Good! ;) But I bet most of you do. This video may be one of the best I've seen yet. I cried almost all the way through. It's almost 10 minutes long but please take the time to watch... even if you already "get it". It's really, really good!
You can take the Pledge to and Spread the Word to End the Word... Right here.
Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.
I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here."
It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"
"My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.
"Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."
"Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked. "Yes," I answered. "How old are you Denny?"
"How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.
"You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by."
I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone's attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.
Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him.
I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God's Garden; however, "Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God.
She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"
Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."
She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, "God bless you!" and then I had tears in my eyes.
May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don't turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.
From an old dandelion! Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Today is Dylan Hockley's birthday. He would have been 7 years old. He is celebrating that birthday in heaven while his friends and family are left here to remember him and miss him. Dylan was one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. He holds a special place in my heart because Dylan had Autism and reports say he died in the arms of his 1-1 aide, Anne Murphy. I pray that he felt loved and protected in the last moments of his life.
Dylan is best known for his mischievous laugh and his love of trampolines and all things chocolate. Like most kids with Autism, Dylan thrived on routine. He loved the warm sand on the beach, riding roller coasters over and over, and he loved lightning even though he was scared of thunder. People all over the country are wearing purple to remember him today.
Dylan's parents, Ian and Nicole, along with his brother Jake have formed a memorial fund in Dylan's name to benefit other children with Autism and other special needs. You can learn more about that on their facebook page or Dylan Hockley.com.
Happy 7th Birthday, Dylan! We will never forget...
This morning, Frank came in to give me a kiss goodbye and let me know he was going to work. I kept my eyes closed tightly and puckered my lips for a kiss. My alarm had gone off a few times already and I had quickly hit the snooze button for a few more minutes of sleep. I didn't have to get up quite yet. As Frank walked out of the room, I heard Kameron talking to him in hushed tones. That wasn't unusual... Kameron is my early bird. He's often up before the sun, rattling around in his room, trying hard not to wake everyone else up. But something started nagging at my mind...
It's Thursday.... Something is happening today.
Suddenly it hit me and my eyes flew open to look at my clock just as Kameron walked into my room. At the same time we said, "Student council meeting today!"
Every other week Kameron has a student council meeting an hour before school. Until today it's always worked out that Frank has been home to take him and I haven't had to worry about it. I knew I'd have to take him today but it slipped my mind. I jumped out of bed and got into morning mode. I woke Keeghan up and promised him that if he moved quickly we'd run through a drive thru and grab some pancakes for breakfast.
I carried Kennedy from her bed to the bathroom. She whined at me. "Mama! It's NOT time yet!" She is her mother's daughter. "I know, baby," I said, "But we have to go early today. How about we go get pancakes?" She pried open her eyes that were still shut tightly and peeked at me... "Can we go IN?" She asked. She loves to go inside restaurants. Welllllll.... I told her we would have to see.
We got everyone dressed, hair mostly combed and teeth brushed and buckled in the car in less than 30 minutes. I kissed Kassidy goodbye who walked out the door to head to her school at the same time we did and we made it to school in time to drop Kameron off for his meeting. Success!
With an hour to kill, I debated whether or not we could go in and eat somewhere or if we should stick to a drive thru. I decided that if they were a few minutes late to school, it wouldn't really matter, so we took a chance and went to Denny's.
Over chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa, we discussed the really important things happening in our world... like "What kind of sea creature IS Plankton and does he really own a hamburger place under the sea?" We did dot-to-dot on the menu while Kennedy tried to convince me to put whipped cream in my coffee... which I didn't do. ;)
We finished up and cleaned the chocolate and syrup off our hands and faces just in time to get on our way to school. We pulled into the car circle just as the first bell rang and the kids jumped out and ran off to class after they blew me a kiss... I came home and googled Plankton.
Just in case you were wondering, he does NOT really have a hamburger joint on the bottom of the ocean.
Is this a problem with adoptions in the U.S. or is it just international adoptions? I have a friend from college, single, who felt that adopting a child from Russia was the only way she'd ever have children. Not sure what all the medical issues are but a married couple would have had more than their hands full let alone a single parent! Not sure if she'll ever be able to live on her own or not. That's actually a very good question!! RAD is actually VERY prominent in our US Foster Care system as well. Reactive Attachment Disorder is caused by neglect basically. When a baby or young child is left laying in his crib most of the day and is not held, loved, and taught that basic bonding that babies get (usually from their mothers), it can turn into RAD. These kids learn that even when they cry, no one comes to help them, so eventually they just don't cry anymore. They learn to go without food, they are ok with laying in wet or soiled diapers, and many have a constant change of caregivers... here in the US that can be due to bouncing from foster home to foster home. They get so used to rejection that they expect it. Then when a family comes in and tries to love that child, tries to BOND with that child, tries to be their parent, the child rebels in whatever ways they can. They thrive on negative attention, they "mommy-shop", they steal, lie, hoard food, become violent and destructive. Sadly it's far more common than people realize and families are shamed into thinking they just don't love enough and that it's THEIR fault their child is this way... there's not enough awareness or help out there for families who are suffering... and it sucks. If you or someone you know is looking to do foster care or adopt, I recommend checking out this book... it will help prepare you... just in case you don't have the "picture perfect adoption". This Means War: Equipping Christian Families for Foster Care or Adoption
So glad you posted this. The thing that strikes me is that so many families adopt because they are "called" to do so. So if they are followers of Jesus and do as the Bible instructs, why is there so much judgement among those who have had the "happily ever after"? Shouldn't THEY be the ones offering love and support BECAUSE of their supposed love for Christ? I know you aren't saying it is like that with everyone but it seems that the adoption community should really be pulling together to support those who are struggling so much. Step up, Christians!!! I absolutely agree! It should be that way!!! Sadly, the families who speak up ARE chastised, especially by some (not all) in the adoption community. Some have even gone so far as to say that families who disrupt are the reason countries like Russia are shutting down their adoption programs to families in the US, which is a bunch of crap. The reason Russia is shutting down their program is because it's a cruel political move that truly has nothing to do with the kids. However, if it DID have to do with the kids, it would be more about the families who snapped and killed their kids than it would the families who disrupted. Seriously, if those families who were pushed to their breaking point had had the support and were able to make the choice to disrupt when they knew they couldn't do it anymore, I bet all those kids would be alive. Instead, there is family after family ruined forever because a child is dead, one or both parents are in jail, and any siblings in the home have their lives forever changed. The whole thing is just devastating. so how is little Kellsey doing today? What can be done to reverse the effects in home, if anything? What can we do for HER? She is ok... it's been a rough road for her. There are lots of theories and controversial therapies when it comes to RAD. However, therapists who KNOW how to deal with RAD are few and far in between. Sometimes kids with RAD can learn to cope in a family setting... other times, that never happens. Each kid with RAD is different (of course) and needs different things and living situations to help them cope with life. We're working hard on figuring out what that looks like for Kellsey. You can be praying for her that she will let people in and she will let down the wall that she's built around her, and you can be praying for all the hands and heart working for and with her to give her the best life possible. This is a random question for you, but have you read the book, "The Boy from Baby House 10?" I read the whole thing this weekend, and all I can say is wow. What a unique perspective it offers on Russian orphanages. It is amazing that any child could come out of there and not be harmed in some way! I have! I also saw a documentary they did on it on Dateline or 20/20 or some show like that. It was really good and really shed light on a lot of the problems in orphanages in other countries. Sadly, the majority of kids DO come out harmed in one way or another. :( Okay, I missed this milk man thing, but I'm wondering is the box insulated so on hot days it doesn't spoil the milk? I would be so afraid I'd forget about it. Wouldn't be too big of a deal in the winter, but the rest of the year, especially the summer might not work out so well. Ummm... they might be a LITTLE insulated but not much. They drop the milk off like at 5am though and we get it out at 6am when we get up. If we're not going to be home, we can leave a note in the box saying, "SKIP" and they don't leave any. :) It definitely cannot sit out there in the box for hours though, it would go bad.
Where did you get her pretty headband? I see girls wearing it everywhere but I've never seen it sold anywhere! I'm pretty sure it's from Claire's since that is where we buy almost all her stuff. Have I mentioned she's obsessed with that store?! LOL
When Kennedy had her ambulance ride the other day, the paramedics gave her a stuffed bear. Chances are, he came from the kids' school as we do an Operation Bear Hug every year and deliver them to the children's hospital here.
Anyway, I recognized this bear immediately. When Kassidy and Kameron were little we watched thousands of hours of this particular bear... do you recognize him?!
(This picture is from today obviously, not from the hospital lol)
Yep, that's Bear in the Big Blue House.
This bear stayed with Kennedy the whole time we were in the hospital. He "held" her arm while she got blood drawn, he had "blood drawn" himself by doctor Kennedy when she was feeling better, and Kennedy named him "Sparkly". I tried to tell her the story of Bear in the Big Blue House and all his friends but she insisted that, no... he is SPARKLY! Ok then. :)
Yesterday, Kennedy carried Sparkly around and introduced him to all her other toys and I finally decided that she needed to REALLY meet Bear... uhh... Sparkly. So we got on YouTube last night and found some full episodes of Bear in the Big Blue House.
Kennedy was amazed! "LOOK Sparkly, it's YOU!" She said. Frank, Kassidy, Kameron and I sang along to all the songs which totally amused Kennedy because we may or may not have sounded a little bit crazy. ;)
It's kind of surreal to see Bear Sparkly back in our house again as I thought we were done with preschool cartoons, but I guess a little reminiscing (and some crazy singing) is good every once in awhile. :)
Kennedy's blood sugars have been completely normal today! YAY! We met with her pediatrician this afternoon and he said that he doesn't feel like this is diabetes (yet anyway) but we do need to get her hypoglycemia under control before it turns into diabetes. He said that he wants her growth hormones checked and he said it could be a storage problem where she's not storing enough glucagon (sp?) therefore making her blood sugar tank. He also said that it could be when her blood sugar goes high, her body is producing too much insulin therefore making her numbers fall quickly and way too low. It's hard to say without further testing... and like he said, he's just a pediatrician.
SO he's putting in a referral for the diabetes center in Denver. I've heard good things about it so I'm hopeful that they will be able to help us. In the meantime, he said to put her on a low carb, high protein diet and see if that helps. I will admit, the girl is a carb addict! Thankfully she's NOT a picky eater so it shouldn't be too hard.
I'm feeling more hopeful today than I did yesterday... I will definitely be happy if they can figure out her hypoglycemia... it's been a long time coming!!
Here's a picture of Kennedy and Keeghan this morning before they went to Dr. Suess Day at school. :)