Friday, December 31, 2010


Goal reached!  Henry has $1,000.00 in his grant fund!

Thank you to all those who helped.  I'll be keeping my eye on Henry and will let you know if his forever family finds him.

I'll also post the grand total of the Angel Tree donations when I find out.  There are so many kids with huge grants!  Now all they need is a family.

Could it be you?

May 2011 be a year where record numbers of families step out in faith, and provide homes for these precious souls.

Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.
–Cadet Maxim

Hope you all have a blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Play Date

Ben had his first play date yesterday!  My new friend Amy brought her two boys over so the Mom's could chat and the boys could play.  While I didn't take any pictures, we had a great time!

It is such a blessing to have a friend who is an experienced Mom of 3 boys with DS.  Yep, you read that right, 3!  Amy has one biological son with DS and she adopted 2 very special boys from Russia.

Amy has a beautiful family and a huge heart for orphans with Down syndrome, you can check out her blog here.

Thanks again Amy!  I look forward to many more play dates.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A most important post.... read and consider over coffee this morning,  here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I wish I knew who he was calling...

....and what they are talking about.

cause it sure sounded like an interesting conversation. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TKD Testing

The girls both tested this past week for their next level Tae Kwon Do belt.  They were promoted to 4th geup.  Tests are always fun to go watch.  We see them in class doing their thing week after week, but on test night, with their nervous energy going, they really shine.  I'm always amazed by how hard they work, how much they have to remember and how far they have come.

Congratulations on your accomplishment girls!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Change of Plans

I was contacted by Catholic communications company called The Maximus Group located in Atlanta, Georgia, to help promote a new movie.

Change of Plans is the latest offering from Family Movie Night, presented by Walmart and P&G. It's the story of Sally and Jason Danville, a young couple with plenty of love, talent, and career opportunities - and no responsibilities. When Sally's childhood friend dies and entrusts her with four children, Sally and Jason begin a journey that changes the focus of their lives and expands their definition of family. Three of these four children have become siblings through international adoption, and the movie offers a challenging, heart-warming insight into the joys and struggles of building a family from a group of strangers.

:30 Change of Plans from > on Vimeo.

It looks really cute, and Brooke White from American Idol is in it!  Love her!

Change of Plans airs on Saturday, January 8 on Fox.  

Let me know if you get a chance to watch it, tell me what you think! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Helping Henry...:)

My sister, Jen has a wonderful post today about last minute gift ideas.  Go check it out!

One of the ideas she posted is a very cute lego rosary.  

**If you purchase a rosary between now and December 31st, and mention Henry, Mark will donate $5 toward Henry's fund!**

Henry's fund is now at $215, let's see if we can make that $1,000 goal!

Home Schooling Your Child With Down syndrome, a Resource List

While I am just beginning to research this topic more in depth, and am by no means an expert, I wanted to share some resources I'm exploring.  I'm hoping it helps to organize my thoughts, so much to think about.


MommyLife (Good Montessori based resources, and tips) 


Riverbend Down Syndrome Association (A great all around resource, but especially loved the section on HS)

Communicating Partners  (Not necessarily a HS site, but great info on being your childs' first, and most influential teacher)

Many of the popular HS curriculum sources have adapted materials for children with special needs.  Seton (which I've heard great things about!  Has resources for children who need special services) 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wrapping Up Our Week - 12/10/2010

No pictures this week, I guess we've been busy!

Busy and productive, I should say.  We've gone completely back to basics as far as school goes, and it has made all the difference.  We stripped away all the extra, "busy" work that was clogging up our day. 

 We have for some time, been following the Robinson Curriculum (RC), but adding in a few extras out of worry that it wasn't enough on it's own.  

My sister, Jen,  is considering making some curriculum changes at her house, and asking questions about RC.   Nothing like questions and research to rekindle a flame!  Discussing things with her, has helped me to remember why I loved this curriculum to begin with.   By adding in the extras along the way, based on my own insecurities, I have watered down my childrens' education. 

Simplifying their day, actually allows them a more in depth study of the basics.  It also allows them to self-teach, a skill that builds confidence, independence, and a true, lasting understanding of their subject.  I'm not spoon feeding them the information, they are taking responsibility for their own education, with my supervision and leadership, of course.   

So, what does an RC day look like in our home?

The girls begin their day with 1 lesson of Saxon math, this includes reading/referencing the daily lesson, then working all the problems in the lesson practice.  They also correct their own work, keeping track of their accuracy rate for the day.  We are going to start graphing this, in hopes of continuous improvement of focus.  Typically they are getting 2-3 problems wrong the first time through.  Not bad out of 30 problems.  Usually they are careless mistakes.  

We discuss their results.  What went well, what was difficult, etc.  It's fun to see them invested in and excited about their work.

After math, they move on to writing or reading.  They are just beginning to move through the RC reading list.  I love this list, but the books are tough. It's mostly, out of print, oldies, but goodies.  No twaddle here!  It's been a little hard for them to get into, because they are just more difficult to read than they are used to.  Proof positive that the educational standards have dropped considerably in this country.  

Reading consists of  a chapter or two a day, and memorizing vocabulary words from a pre-determined list for each book.   

The goal for writing is an essay a day.  We are not there yet.  This week the girls did some creative writing, then IEW'd a paragraph from their current reading.  We are still working on getting a good structured paragraph before they are let loose on essay's.  

The end result was a more productive, more calm week.  The girls spent more time on less work, and felt more challenged.  

With Owen, who is 6, we have been concentrating solely on reading, handwriting, and math basics.  Skip counting, memorizing math facts, reading skills, and copy work,  fill his time right now.  This is all in preparation for his first RC year.   I'm not sure if he will be ready in the fall for that or not, we will see.

So, what is Ben up too?

Exploring, babbling, and eating fill his day.  He continues to do really well. 

 The spitting up has improved tremendously!  I'm not sure if this is a result of his metabolism being regulated by correcting his thyroid issue, or because we have removed gluten from his diet.  We did both at about the same time, so who knows.  Whatever the reason, we are loving the results.  

We also had our first post-placement visit with our social worker this week.

Also re-kindled this week, knitting!  The girls picked up their needles again, and have been obsessed ever since.   Fun!  And something we all love. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a "dirty Jobs" kind of day

The kids have really been into watching "Dirty Jobs" lately.  I admit to getting sucked in occasionally.  Thank you Netflix for wii.  I'm thinking of contacting the show.  (Not really, just one of my many crazy thoughts you are being subjected to).  Has Mike ever been a Mom for a day?   I know he's been a pig farmer, a pigeon pooper scooper, and even a high rise widow washer.  But somehow I don't think those compare to what the average Mom sees in a day.   I'd love to see him cleaning up spit up, wiping the runny nose of a reluctant victim, cleaning up after a messy pureed toddler meal, and changing a very p**py diaper on a little one with very busy hands, if you catch my drift, and all in the same 30 minute time period.  Oh, and with at least 2 other children yelling for his attention all the while.  Many Mom's I know have way more than that to contend with!

{Yes, he's very cute and smart.  It's a talent to be so messy and make us laugh at the same time!}

So, ladies, what is your messiest story?  Come on, I need some amo for promoting the show idea!  Let them see that we have the best, dirtiest job ever!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Such An Honor

Barbara Curtis, who blogs over at MommyLife, featured our family on her last post , on the last day of National Adoption Month.

Such a nice post, by a very nice lady.  Thanks Barbara!

Barbara is the Mother of 12 children, including 4 with Down syndrome.  After the birth of their son Jonny(DS), they went on to adopt 3 boys who had all been blessed with Down syndrome.

She is an amazing Mom, with tons of great advice for Mommy's of all children.  Visit her today!