Monday, October 31, 2011

short and sweet

(here are the promised pictures...however I have a very unhappy Carter on my hands, so the comments are brief.)


Once upon a time,
There was a ladybug
and a pumpkin.
There was no love lost between the ladybug and pumpkin.
but they somehow manage to coexist
especially when candy is involved.
(and the mommy and daddy of the ladybug and pumpkin will NOT be eating the evening's gatherings while the innocent children sleep...no they will not.)

the end

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eve of the End

Well, here it is. The Eve of the last day of Down syndrome month...which coincidentally means the eve of the last day of my blog promise to blog every day to raise awareness for Down syndrome.

I know there were a few doubters out there who whispered behind computer screens and smart phones as you read my promise that NO WAY would I be able to complete this.

But I did.

And I think what we've all learned here is - I have a lot to say (apparently) because I managed to fill up 31 days of blogging (I know there's still tomorrow, but we all know I'm just going to post pics of the Halloween costumes) with idle chatter, important information, a ton of pictures paired with the always snarky remarks, and one post full of lies from yours truly's overactive imagination (hehe).

I've been thinking a lot lately about challenging ourselves and pushing ourselves to that next level of achievement. I've mentioned it more than once that I've been doing a 5k training program (I think I'm running a 5k on Thanksgiving Day...insert gasp of disbelief) And I've also mentioned that I am NOT athletic at all, but that I was inspired by Addison to work hard at something new and reap the bigger reward of accomplishment than perhaps of something that comes easily to me.

Today the plan required me to warmup 5 min, repeat 3 times cool down 5 min. As I left the house, I was freaking out about having to run 7 minutes straight. Laugh if you must, but if you're laughing right now, surely you're never done the run ten paces-collapse on the sidewalk- limp home-never move from the couch again routine.

Anyway, after I returned home from the run, I waited for Aaron to ask me if I successfully was able to finish. Finally when he didn't ask I prompted him

"Aren't you going to ask me if I did it?"

He didn't even look up from his computer.

"I know you did."

"How?"

"I know you wouldn't have come home unless you had finished today's assignment"

He has never given me a higher compliment....(and he managed to refrain from using the word stubborn) Love that guy.

I guess in some way I'm using this as a test in perseverance to use towards getting my book published. Like- if I can push myself enough to successfully run my first 5k, then surely I can push myself enough to get my book on the shelves instead of giving up and packing it in a dusty box in the basement because it was too hard. (btw, thank you to those who wrote nice things about my writing in that last post. It really meant a lot!)

I'm feeling inspired. Something about new motherhood leaves me exhausted and weary- but inspired as every day I watch new life grow, explore and greet each new day with coos and smiles. (which for the record- it's nice that I have a monthly journal to look back on  because the month of October is a sleepless blur to me now...did it actually happen?)

Addison truly makes me want to work harder every day. It's amazing to watch her stand and then fall- over and over again-every time with a smile, every time with a determined tilt to her cute little head. That little girl is going to walk...and run...and probably run 5ks of her own someday. Because she works hard...and succeeds...over and over again..

I want to be more like Addison. She rocks the pants off of the talents and abilities that she has been given instead of settling for "easy"..what's the fun in that?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

a run I'll never forget

I went for a run the other night.

Faithfully keeping up with my 5k training program, the only problem so far is figure out when to run. I sometimes run with Carter in the jogging stroller while the PCA is watching Addison, but I like to make that my last resort. Learning to run is hard. Add in a stroller with a very chunky baby in a hilly neighborhood and it's almost impossible.

Therefore, the other day I waited until Aaron was home so that I could run solo. The only problem was, by the time he got home, it was dark. very dark.

So dark that if I held my hand in front of my face and wiggled my fingers, I couldn't even see the motion.

Add to that- our front light is burnt out and our front yard is over an acre. I stood at the front door looking out at the darkness, questioning my resolve to not miss a day of training. (all of a sudden, stroller running wasn't looking so bad)

"Are there snakes in our front yard?" I asked Aaron, picturing myself accidentally stepping on a snake that angrily rose up and wrapped itself around my throat while injecting me with poison.

"Oh, yes, but it's way too cold for snakes now."

Phew. I took my first step out.

"I would be more concerned about skunks if I were you."

"WHAT?" Skunks? That's it. I can't go running in the dark.

As I retreated back into our house like the city girl sissy that I am, Aaron retracted the statement, claiming he was of course kidding. But I could tell that he had been serious.

At his suggestion, I added a super sexy looking headlamp to my running ensemble. It made me feel slightly better that I could maybe see some of the path in front of me. (also, I was glad that it was so dark so that no one would be able to see me wearing this thing on my head)

I took off for my 5 minute of warm up walking...down the front yard...across the street...into the neighborhood where I usually run. Why oh why was it so dark? Would it kill the state to put in a few more street lights?

There was one street light for every ten houses, and almost every house was completely dark. My nerves were on edge. Sure, I had made it down the front yard without getting sprayed by a skunk, but here I was alone outside in almost complete darkness vividly remembering every episode of Criminal Minds that I had ever watched.

The headlamp was doing little to ease my fears.

I started running, slowly at first, warming up my legs to the concept of relentlessly pounding my feet into the pavement. Every shadow became alive and every noise magnified itself tenfold.

But I pressed on. Even when I ran through a spiderweb that I hadn't seen, stopped to momentarily to do the "Get-this-thing-off-me!" dance...I kept running, completely ignoring the creepy crawly itch that now covered every inch of my body.

"I can do this. I can do this. I can do this."

I wasn't even thinking about the hard work of running. I was too busy imagining the dark twisted goings on in the torture chambers set up in the basement of the dark houses. I ran especially fast past the driveways that had large vans. Who cares that they were mini vans designed to transport children. In my mind they were for the sole purpose of kidnapping.

Kidnapping those runners stupid enough to run past their house in the dark.

I ran and I ran, the heavy breathing only 50% due to the physical exertion.

As I rounded a corner, I saw a dark shadow at the end of the block. Standing still, waiting for me.

Fear clouded my throat and I struggled to breathe. Who was that? Why were they just waiting there for me? Bad idea, bad idea, bad idea.

The dark lump slowly began to move toward me and I wondered if I should run the other direction.

"Don't be silly"- I told myself. "It's surely nothing."

It wasn't until they were passing me that I saw the dark lump transform into an innocent looking walker with a dog who stopped frequently to sniff and explore the sidewalk.

Phew. Bullet dodged.

"Stop jumping at shadows." I told myself sternly. "You're a grown woman taking a short run in a good neighborhood in one of the safest states in the nation."

Pacified from my pep talk, I kept running. I was about halfway through the scheduled routine.

After a near heart attack due to an exceptionally large mailbox that cast a bigger than life shadow over the sidewalk and a strange yelling that turned out to be a lady calling out to her dog that I couldn't see until they were almost right on top of me, I was starting to calm myself and get into a good running groove.

Big sigh. Breathing returned to normal. I was doing it. I decided to add this to my resume: Conquered running in the dark.

I then ran past a couple strolling through the neighborhood. How nice. Aaron and I should take more walks together. I amused myself for several minutes thinking of the different stroller/front pack variations that we could use for family walks.

As I continued to run, I reflected on the sweet couple holding hands, out for an evening stroll.

Rounding the next corner, I thought I saw them again. It was hard to tell because when you pass someone so close on the sidewalk, it's the song and dance of when-do-I-look-up-and-say-hi-that-will-time-with-the-exact-moment-that-they-look-up-and-say-hi so then you mostly end up looking away so it's not awkward.

Now I was wishing I had looked more closely. Was that the same couple? Weren't they walking the other direction? Oh well, they must have turned around.

It was when I saw them a third time in a completely different part of the neighborhood that I started to panic just a little. How had I passed them three times? They were strolling, I was running- we were headed opposite directions. odd.

The fourth time I passed them, I forced myself to slow down and take a good look- something was not right here.

They were both dressed completely in black and they refused to look me in the eye even though I was staring quite pointedly at them the entire time that they were in my line of sight. Their skin had a weird yellowish tint which I couldn't decide if it was from the weird street lighting or perhaps a reflection from my headlamp.

Instead of walking deliberately, they were shuffling. Slowly and painfully.

I could hear their footsteps echoing throughout the silent neighborhood.

shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle

Looking around, I saw no one else. Just me and the weird couple. Even the few houses that perhaps had lights on before had now joined the party of darkness. The entire street was a ghost town, the only sound was the eerie shuffling of the couple that I could no longer see- somewhere out in the ink black night.

My panic in an instant ballooned to a full blown panic attack. I immediately turned around and started running back towards home. I could see my heavy breaths forming clouds in the cold night air. My shoes crushed many leaves under them as I ran for my life and sanity as I was convinced that "conquering running in the dark" was the last thing that I would ever do.

I couldn't even hear the satisfying crunch of the fall leaves underfoot. All I could hear was

shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle

Every time I convinced myself that I merely imagining this because of the fear I had of the dark. And then without fail I would pass them again.

and again.

and again.

It was like they were following my run around the neighborhood of death, yet they never spoke or looked at me. What was going on here?

Each time they passed me, they seemed to get closer and closer to me on the sidewalk. Their yellowish skin glowed and their black clothing tickled my arm as I ran swiftly by.

They looked oddly familiar. Did I know them? Who were they and how did they keep passing me? Why did I keep seeing them?

It was when I was passing them for what seemed like the tenth time that I realized who they were.

They were the couple that had gone missing two months ago. Their picture had been all over the news at the time and their faces hard to forget. Disappeared without a trace- nobody knew why or how.

Creepy.

I wasn't sure what to do. Should I call someone? Was I imagining this? Why didn't they say anything even after they had seen me so many times? And yet, feeling a strange calm, I knew what I needed to do.

The next time I saw them, I was prepared.

I stopped running, panting and seeing my life flash before my eyes.

"Who are you?" I bravely called out, flashing my headlamp their direction and my phone poised to dial 911.

At first there was no answer.

They got closer and closer. My heart was beating faster than it ever had before, stars were flashing before my eyes, weird tones were ringing in my ears. I could taste the fear.

"WHO ARE YOU?" I desperately screamed out, hoping someone would take good care of my children after I was gone.

The shuffling continued, closer and closer until the freaky couple was standing directly in front of me. Their long bodies draped in black were now blocking my path of escape.

Shaking like a leaf, I saw them slowly lift their heads and for the first time look directly at me.

I gasped. Their eyes glowed an unearthly red.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to run. But I couldn't.

Paralyzed, I stood and watched them raise their arms toward me as if lunging in slow motion for my throat.

This. couldn't. be. happening.

Taunt faces stretched into smiles of evil and one final shuffle was taken to close the distance between us.

As the yellow tinged skeletal hands reached up to mercilessly end my life, I closed my eyes and whispered

"happy halloween"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Christmas Card picture...failure yet again.

This morning was our ONLY morning all week to not have a PCA arriving at 8:30 and a therapist at 9:00 (except Wed where we went to a doctor's appointment instead...so fun.)

I was excited for a morning alone with my two kiddos. I decided to attempt TAKE TWO at operation Christmas card picture. Surely I could get one decent shot....(Remember TAKE ONE?)

Turns out, no. But out of the goodness of my heart, I have decided to share the outtakes from today's photo shoot with you. Strangely enough, Miss Addison decided to be a little extremely uncooperative. I would get them lined up in a cute pose and not 5 seconds later...well, the next picture speaks for itself. (Don't worry...Carter was NOT HARMED during these pictures...although not for lack of trying from Addison)

Picture #1: OK, cute. Addison could we get one where you're not doing the splits...and maybe smiling?
5 seconds later
Picture #2: Addison, we're just going to set your brother on your belly...lie still and smile!
5 seconds later...OK I admit that one was probably asking too much
Picture #3: Addison, hold your baby on your lap. Big sisters sweetly hold their brothers.
5 seconds later...
Quick pause to admire this handsome boy...why oh why don't you like him, Addison?
Picture #4: Isolate Addison in the box so she can't try to hurt Carter.
5 seconds later...yes, that is Carter's leg under her arm...
Picture #5: Distract Addison with a book
5 seconds later...apparently she wanted the couch to herself
maybe I could just photoshop them closer together?
Picture #6: Isolate Carter in the black box so that Addison can't hurt him.
Genius! OK, Addison, look at Mommy!
5 seconds later...so close. so very, very close...
Then, I then turned my back for a minute and found that Addison had taken some liberties on setting up the next picture by herself.

What????

I then decided that I could perhaps turn this around....

Wouldn't you just love to see that Christmas card in YOUR mailbox?

I'm NEVER going to get a good shot of the two of them. I'm beginning to think Photoshop is my only option.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Pink Walker

One of the major delays that Addison has had to deal with is learning how to walk. Because of low muscle tone, extreme flexibility and her very rough start to life with major health concerns, she has had to work VERY hard to accomplish simple milestones that a normal child wouldn't even think twice about doing.

It took her a long time to be able to pull up to stand...and then forever yet again before she was able to take simple cruising steps. She started to do that Memorial weekend (which, for the record when I said I wanted that to be a goal for her this fall, her team laughed at me saying that was a bit unrealistic because of her extra hurdles to overcome)

All summer she has been cruising around- holding on for dear life to furniture. She WOULD NOT stand for even a second independently, and she WOULD NOT take steps with her pink baby stroller. It is very light and moves forward very quickly and she couldn't keep up with it.

Her PT has worked with her faithfully...we have encouraged (and bribed) all to no avail. The harder you try to get Addison to do something...the more she refuses (even if she is capable)

The other day in therapy, Odette (her PT) was trying to get Addison to use her walker (yet again). After an hour and a half of refusing, while Odette was writing her note Addison snuck up behind her and just stood up to the pink walker and walked it almost halfway across the room....very calmly and deliberately with the air of "oh, I've always been able to do this...just chose not to."

Since then (Tuesday) I've been seeing a lot more of this:
and her independent standing has come unbelievably far even just in the last two weeks:
She is now SO CLOSE to taking independent steps..but then again, she's been close since Memorial Day, so who knows how much longer it's going to take her to get there! I am so proud of all of her progress. She has worked unbelievably hard to be able to accomplish these skills. YEAH ADDISON!!!!

The thing that I can't figure out is....
what changed her mind from extreme hatred to acceptance of her pink walker?

I guess we'll never know.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

doctor's appointment/pre-registration

Today Carter and Addison had a joint Pediatrician appointment- Carter's 8 week checkup and Addison's pre-surgery physical. Thinking ahead, I had "booked" Addison's PCA to come with us so that we could handle the kids one on one in the tiny doctor's office that didn't provide room for a double stroller.

I'm going to claim mommy brain for the fact that I thought the appointment was at 3pm when it was actually at 10am. oops. We did make it to the appointment, but alas, no PCA to help with Addison.

Seeing how Addison's beautiful pink umbrella stroller was dirty and Carter was sound asleep in his carseat, I chose to carry her over one hip and him in the carseat. I was a bit frazzled upon arrival as I had torn the house apart looking for the physical paperwork that I had been sent in the mail. I remembered putting it someplace safe so that I would remember to take it to today's appointment. After leaving the house in shambles...I found the paperwork...in the car.

Anyway, after losing my cell phone in the waiting room, having Carter vomit all over me while Addison was diving head first off of the bench in the room, watching Addison tear yards of paper off of the examining bench while the Pediatrician jumped to save the equipment that he had stored on top of the bench, juggling two roly poly babies whining for attention (Addison weighed in at 20 pounds...Carter at 13), soothing Carter after his shots, changing two diapers as they both decided that this was the time for blowouts...

I was not in a good mood as I drove home. My cell phone (which had been waiting for me at the receptionists desk) rang with the hospital's number...it was a nurse anesthesiologist that was filling out paperwork about Addison's upcoming eye surgery. She told me that she had about a half hour of questions to ask me about Addison. Groan. Seriously, you would think that with as much history as Addison has with the hospital, they would have everything on file. Anyway, now juggling the phone, carrying a falling asleep Addison on one hip and a snoring Carter in his infant seat, we barely made it in the house while I continued the interview.

As I answered more and more questions, I got more and more irritated. Sometimes it seemed like the nurse calling didn't even listen to what she was saying.  I got both kids down for naps while on the phone and then sat at my computer to type out some of the more unbelievable questions. I put in parenthesis what I really wanted to say.

I like short, sweet pre-registration calls. What I endured today (30 minutes of useless questions) really set me on edge...but can you really blame me?

(there were many more questions...I just picked out my favorites...that's why it seems a bit scattered)

Have you been exposed to bed bugs in the last 30 days?
no

------------------------
Does the patient regularly consume alcohol?
um no. (are there many 20 month old alcoholics?)

Drugs?
no. (yeah, caught her smoking a joint in her crib the other day...)

---------------------------------
Does the patient have any siblings?
yes, a brother

Younger or older?
younger. He's seven weeks old.

Wow, you're pregnant again?
What? no. He's seven weeks old.

Wait you already had him? How long ago?
seven weeks ago. (do we need to get a translator over here?)

---------------------------------------------
So it sound like she's doing pretty well with her Trisomy 31 thing, huh?
horrified silence (are you sure you're an actual nurse?)

--------------------------------------------------
This next set of questions is regarding the parents and parent's parents. Your parents and the father's parents. The mother's parents and the husband's? husband's parents. So the parent's of the parents. Your parents and your husband's parents.
ok. (So to be clear- just my parents, right?)
-------------------------------------------------
So, it says here that she had a g-tube surgically placed when she was 3 weeks old.
That's correct.

At the time was she bottle fed or breast fed?
Um, she was g-tube fed.

Oh, right.

--------------------------------------------
We recommend that you bring the patient to the facility a week ahead of time to familiarize her with where her surgery is going to be taking place.
(Um, she's a 20 month old who can't see an arm lengths away, and she's coming in for EYE surgery. Pretty sure that would be a useless trip.)

----------------------------------------------
what color was she when she was born?
(what does this have to do with anything?)

-------------------------------------------------
Have you been exposed to bedbugs since the last time I asked you?
(are you serious right now?)

She kept going off script and asking stuff about Addison's Down syndrome. I guess I can see why she was curious, but still. And then she said "bummer I won't be there the day of her surgery...she sounds like a ball of fun."

Thank goodness I don't have to worry about her being in charge of my baby during surgery...

(and dear Carter and Addison...feel free to take a nice, long nap today.....)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Questions answered

These questions were posted or emailed last week. I am just now getting to the point where I could answer all of them...hope these responses are sufficient!

1. Do you get any special insurance because Addison has DS? Does your state support you financially? Do you have to pay for all the special therapy Addison gets?

Vermont provides a Katie Beckett Medicaid for children with special health needs like Addison. It doesn't require you to fall under a certain income bracket. It just helps cover all of those extra expenses that regular insurance don't cover. Between two insurances, all of Addison's surgeries and such have been 100% covered for us. I believe they also pay for her therapy. Early Intervention organizes her team of therapists, but they bill it to the KB Medicaid (because regular insurance wouldn't pay for it) We have 4 therapists come every week to our house (for separate appointments) and we don't have to pay for any of their services. I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing this is for us.

2. I am wondering how you fit in all the therapy and keep your life balanced. Also you had mentioned music therapy - I was wondering what you do and what advice you have for someone who does not have much of a musical background. It sounds like it would be beneficial for both my kids!

First of all- staying balanced. Honestly, the only way I can keep up with her appointments and still feed Carter (who ALWAYS seems to be hungry) is with the help of my PCA. She comes 4-5 mornings a week from 8:30-11:00 and I have all of the therapies scheduled during that time slot. That way, I don't have to attend every therapy session- or I can duck in and out as Carter needs me. I try to attend each session fully every other week, but on the off weeks, I run errands or take Carter out in the jogging stroller for a run. It's the only way I've been able to stay sane.

Second- the music therapy. Honestly I keep it very simple right now for Addison (even if you're not musically trained, you could still do this). I find that she needs repetition. LOTS of it. So, I chose a book that includes 10 songs all which feature important skills- counting to 10, naming body parts, the ABCs, the days of the week, etc. It's called Take-Along Learning Songs and it comes with a sing along CD. We sing through this book EVERY NIGHT right before she goes to bed. Sometimes we tap or clap along to the beat, sometimes we dance along, sometimes we break out her drum and let her play along, we ALWAYS sing along, and we learn different signs to go with the songs. Basically, she loves, loves loves this music time and the familiarity she is now getting with each song. She will carry the book around with her and look through the pages for hours and dance- even when the music isn't playing. She associates music with the book. Even though she's not counting to 10 or able to say her ABCs yet- I know this repetition will make a huge difference on her future learning. (We've been doing this now for about two months. She has started to do quite a bit of singing on her own...as well as accurately tap out the beat.) As she grows older, I'm sure I'll expand into more therapy like activities, but this seems to be working for her right now.

3. I wondered if you could answer a question about having a baby after having a baby with Ds. I have always wondered if it would heal me, to have another baby - assuming that baby was typical of course. Did you find it a healing experience?

This is very interestingly worded- "a healing experience". As odd as that might sound, I totally get it and my answer  depends on whether your baby with Down syndrome is your first baby or not. I think this makes a difference in the need for "healing". Of course I can only speak from one side of that, so maybe I'm wrong (feel free to correct me if you're on the other side of this). But Addison was my first baby and I definitely felt like I needed to be healed. In no way was having her a normal first time mom/baby experience. Everything went wrong, and as soon as I finished pushing out Addison, I knew that I wanted another baby right away. The whole experience left me craving normal. Don't get me wrong- I love Addison and I'll always treasure those first few months of her life, but I also felt like something wouldn't be whole in me until I got a chance to do this all again- without the grief and fear. Now that I have had a very normal baby experience, I would say that I do feel healed. I feel very content with my two children and feel no immediate need to have another baby like I did after Addison was born.

4.  How different was Carters pregnancy? Did you worry about tests? Did you skip straight to the amnio or did you not even take the amnio?

I can't even tell you how different the two pregnancies were. I didn't have any prenatal testing done for Carter. I said that if something of concern showed up on an ultrasound, I would then consider an amnio. I didn't want things like "1 in 70 chance" floating around. I wanted to simply enjoy being pregnant instead of being caught up in the throes of pregnancy horror. I never regretted my choice for either pregnancy. My first pregnancy I wanted to KNOW. My second pregnancy, I didn't want to know. I wanted peace and happiness. I knew that I would love my baby no matter what, so I focused on the positives and simply centered my attention on normal pregnancy woes instead of constant panic and fear.

5. So how is your book coming?

Ah yes, my book. The day I went into labor with Carter, I drove to the post office and dropped a copy of my manuscript into the mail to my agent. The post office said "have a nice delivery" which I found ironic. I emailed my agent and said that I was having my baby and wouldn't be able to work on my book for about 6-8 weeks but wanted to make sure that she had it so that she could get started on her edit of it. Basically, she is just now getting to the point of working on it and I am just now getting to the point where I could do something with her corrections. I am VERY anxious to get the ball rolling on my book, but am just surviving one day at a time right now, so it's probably best that my "break" is still continuing. My book is still very much on track to getting published. Just taking a very necessary break (which hopefully will be ending in the next week or two)

6. What is your secret to looking so young? Did you find the fountain of youth?

Well, I survive on a carefully regimented diet of coffee, chocolate and greek yogurt. I stay awake all night with an infant and just started training to run a 5K during all my free time. I do a million loads of laundry a day and chase after a very curious toddler who manages to get in trouble with every breath she takes. I watch too much Hulu while I'm pumping and feeding Carter- I write and take pictures almost obsessively- and I love to cook yummy food that my toddler refuses to eat. If the fountain of youth includes stress, exhaustion and a constantly stiff neck- then yes, I imbibe quite frequently. So glad I could share my secret...hope it works for you as well as it apparently does for me.

OK, fine- no one asked the last question...just looking for a channel to fuel my inner snarky self...

Monday, October 24, 2011

peanut butter

 you can't fake talent like this.

(Dear Carter, perhaps if you would actually sleep tonight, Mommy could put together a more coherent post....I hear she has several posts pending that she still hasn't been able to finish....because of YOU....love, Addison)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Award/Proposal

Recently, I was graciously given the
by my wonderful friend Erika over at Chambanachik. I have really loved following her blog these past months. Writing with a military perspective, she is an excellent writer, a wonderful mom and wife, and a sweet encouraging blog friend. So thank you, Erika for passing along the award to me!

Part of the rules for accepting this award is that I'm supposed to list 7 things about me. Well, frankly, you all know way too much about me as it is, so I've decided to take a slightly different approach.

First of all, I'm passing the award on to my friend Jenny at Our Little Chilli Tribe. Why? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Jenny's little boy Russell is a few months older than Addison and we have gone through the journey of mothering a child with Down syndrome together this past year and a half. She has been an amazing encouragement to me (if you check back at my old blog posts, you will find a comment from her on almost EVERY ONE with positive, reaffirming words from one mom's heart to another).

She has faithfully kept up with the October blog challenge, and she has oh so many more kids than I do (so I should really stop complaining) She has done an excellent job of raising awareness for Down syndrome and is a dedicated advocate for her son Russell. I so admire her. And that is why I am passing the award on to her. Every word that she types is deeply honest and real. The world needs more bloggers like her!

Checkout some of her 31 for 21 posts.

And back to how I'm taking a slightly different approach with my list of 7 things? Well, I'll let Addison take over from here.

(she has a slight crush on Russell..but can you really blame her?)

Dear World,

Here are 7 reasons why I should marry Russell. (Don't look so surprised...people with Down syndrome get married all of the time)

1. I know how to rock cowboy boots (Russell lives on a ranch, and of course will need a woman who can wear stylish cowboy boots at all times)
 (just call me the Pioneer Woman)


2. I am an excellent cook. (Surely Russell will be very hungry after long hours out herding the cattle...that's what they do on a ranch, right?)
 made with love by Addison
 "What? Everyone samples while they cook."
3. I'm great at doing laundry
 "Hey, my nickname is Chubbs, NOT Cinderella!"
4. I have mad horsewoman skills (as proven by my amazing couch dismount technique)


5. I've been told that I have a great personality. (thanks, mom)

 "Why does Russell have to live SO FAR away?"
6. I look great in white.
 "I'm assuming for the actual wedding day I'll be working with a larger dress budget....right mom?"

7. I know how to write the perfect proposal.
 and to sum up? I totally should marry Russell...I just gave you 7 rock solid reasons why...

love,
Addison

p.s. backoff Lilybird...he's MINE
p.s.s if you notice the lovely new kitchen set, there will be another post all about it coming up soon!

the future mr. and mrs.???

Updated: