Sunday, July 21, 2013

NDSC Convention

I have been busy busy the last few days!! Every year the National Down Syndrome Congress has a convention somewhere in the United States. I first went in 2005 when Kennedy was just over a year old and they held the convention in Anaheim, California. I was able to stay with my grandparents and I was anxious to go attend sessions and soak up all the information I could. It was fabulous and overwhelming and amazing and I cried lots of happy tears as I stalked watched teens and adults with Down syndrome wandering around doing... well... normal things! haha Kennedy was just a baby and had no idea what was going on, but it was an experience I will never forget.

The next year it was in Atlanta and I was excited to go again. This year I was a little more pulled together, I had a lot more friends in the Down syndrome community from all over the country and I was SO excited to get there and meet friends! Frank was deployed so my mom and I took Kass, Kam and Kennedy to Atlanta for the convention. Instead of attending sessions, I took lots of merchandise from my online store and went as an exhibitor. My friends Christina and Courtney helped me out at my table and we had LOTS of fun!

We missed the next several years... chemo, spine fusion surgery, Ukraine, moving! I watched the pictures roll in on Facebook every year from Boston, St. Louis, San Antonio and Sacramento and longed for the day we could go again. THEN it happened. Last year they announced the convention would be in DENVER! WOOHOO!!! LOL I think we could manage that drive! ;)

We've been counting down to this weekend for MONTHS and were so excited to see old friends and make new friends. Kennedy had a BLAST this year being older and ready to make friends. She loved meeting new people and of course seeing friends she already knows. We didn't sign up for sessions this year because I really just wanted to socialize and hang out. I did get the opportunity to be on a parent panel for Natalie Hale's session... if you've never heard of her and you have a child with Down syndrome, go check out her website! She has lots of great resources for teaching reading to children with Down syndrome and she has written several books!

Here are lots of pictures... some from my camera, some from other people's cameras and some from Kennedy's camera. That girl takes more pictures than I do!!! :) Sadly, I missed lots of friends. I was SO busy talking that I wasn't taking pictures. Fail. It was a GREAT weekend and we still have my friend Nicki and her daughter Ashlyn here so there's still more fun to be had. ;)

Next year... Indianapolis. Can we get there? Maybe. Kennedy made so many friends this year, it would be awesome to go see everyone again and foster those friendships for her that I've been building with the parents for so many years. We'll see where life takes us!

 Kennedy with (I'm pretty sure) all the Wisconsin crew

 Kennedy took this picture of Chrystal, Dez and Melea... Kenn and Melea had fun looking at the pictures and taking them over and over and over! ;) 

Mom and Kennedy at Sam's #3 waiting for lunch... we did A LOT of waiting at restaurants! haha

 Kennedy's picture of some of the California "Sisterhood" :)

Beautiful Lila... Kennedy style

Kennedy, Natalie and Jamie... next year they need to bring their girls!! :) 

 Our friend Adrienne couldn't make it to the convention so our friend Amy made a bunch of "Flat Adriennes" for us to carry around and take pictures with so she could feel like she was there... hence the head on the stick hehehe. It was actually really fun. We had a "hard to find" list and everything! LOL 
Shylo, me, Linda, Amy and Maggie at the dance... with creepy eyes! ;) 

 "Flat Adrienne" had to hang out with the kiddos too! ;) 

 Kennedy and Carrie Bergeron (And Flat Adrienne)... Carrie was on the hard to find list and only thought we were slightly crazy for asking her to take a picture with a head on a stick! haha She was a good sport!

 Kenn and Amy 

 Kenn and Kim... Kim kept Kennedy company while I was on the parent panel. Thank you, Kim! 

 Beth, Joanne, Linda, Me, Kennedy, Lila and Lexi :) 

 Lexi, Linda, Lila & Kennedy with Emma (Ethan Saylor's sister) 

Kennedy and Ashlyn

 The parent panel... Gail Ford, Nina Fuller and me (and of course Flat Adrienne! haha) Honored to be included with these women! :) 

 Kennedy and Ella... divas!!!

Me and my Keeghan... the boys came up Saturday afternoon to hang out... they got bored quickly! LOL 

 So serious. HA!

Melea again... via Kennedy ;) 

 Kennedy's picture of Natalie! hahahaha

 Nina, me and Kennedy at lunch :) 

 Kennedy and Lila, ready to party!

 Love these girls!

 Of course they brought Adrienne along! 

Posing on the red carpet before the dance ;) 

 Kennedy with Jamie Foxx's sister DeOndra

 Goofy boy!

 Her dream come true... a life size Claire's bag... if only it were full! haha

 Kenn and Karli... these girls had so much fun together! :) 

 Oh I wish I could remember this sweet girl's name! We ran into her all weekend and she was so fun!!! I'm hoping we cross paths again someday!
Update: Her name is Faith! Thank you, Amy! :) 

 Kennedy and Kayla... these two had so much fun!!! I am thinking they could do some serious damage at a mall together!! haha! 

Whew... this morning... Flat Adrienne got some Barbie friends... Diane and Suzanne... You can't ever say the moms don't have fun at the conferences too! ;) 
Linda, Joanne, Carmen and me

So much fun... so little sleep! hahaha If anyone else has pictures, please tag me!!! :) Thanks for a fun weekend NDSC!!!!


Monica Crumley said...

We had an amazing time. Bummed I didn't get to meet you, but I'm happy to see you met some of my Sisterhood Sisters. :-)

Lynn said...

I'm thinkin' Seattle would be a great place to have it soon!
Our only true hope is in the Lord!
Romans 15:4, 13 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (13) Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
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Anne B. said...

Looks like tons of fun!! I vote the conference come to Providence, RI after Indianapolis. We have a beautiful convention center and the Special K's could stay with us!!! Glad it was such a success!! (((HUGS)))!!!

AngelWalker said...

I went back through the pics to see how many times Kennedy changed her clothes. I'm guessing it was more than once a day! DIVA. LOL.

Becca said...

I had a really great time, too - so glad to meet you and Kennedy after so many years of following you! :-)