Friday, December 19, 2014

We Will Never Forget Our Russian Orphans: Happy Birthday Natasha.

We are fast approaching the two year anniversary of a day I do not want remember but cannot forget. 
On Dec 26th 2013 Putin closed Russia to Americans adopting. With a stroke of his pen he broke hearts, shattered families, took hope away from orphans, and to many Russian orphans handed over a death sentence.

One of my friends Katrina Morriss can never forget that day either. Her daughter Natasha is one of those countless orphans now stuck in Russia. Here in America she has a family who desperately longs for her. The future is unknown, unsettling and scary. 

Katrina has never rested since Putin wrote into  law the dismal future of all Russian orphans. She has fought for awareness and to keep the children of Russia in the spotlight. She refuses to let them slip into the  darkness where they will be forgotten by everyone. Out of sight out of mind works for Putin but not for Katrina!

Below is a plea from Katrina. I can only ask that if you are reading this you please think about the beauties that had families, met their families and were anticipating their lives in America. And then because of one selfish, cold hearted leader, lost their dreams. Think about the moms and dads that held their sons and daughters promising to be back soon, only to be locked out forever. Please like Katrina's Facebook page. And for the love of all, remember the children. They are still there, families are still fighting for them. Please don't let them be forgotten.

Katrina's Plea:
In honor of Natasha's 9th birthday and the 2 year anniversary of the adoption ban please join together with us to get 10,000 likes on the Parents United for RussianOrphans FB page by the end of the year.
Our goal is for people around the world to come together to help the children stuck in Russian orphanages by providing information and supporting groups that help the children have better lives. We are begging the Russian government to bring about change for the better and continue to ask them to work with our government to allow the remaining pipeline children to come home. If this is not possible, we pray the children will speedily find loving homes in Russia and that the government will provide the necessary support system for them.
Natasha was only 6 years old when a loving family met her and agreed to adopt her. She has spent an extra 2 1/2 years in an orphanage because of the adoption ban and most likely will spend the rest of her life without ever knowing the love of a family if changes are not made.


The link to our blog(Katrina Morriss) and this beautifully written article by Russianjournalist and volunteer for Downside Up Julia Kolesnickenko . that has links to our documentary that will be shown in Russia on December 13th.
The link to the documentary FB page.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness, Day 11: Sometimes The Facts Are Not Enough

I thought about posting some facts about Down syndrome , but you can google them in a second and have them all sorted out on the computer screen for you.

Facts and stats about health issues and life expectancy, delays and characteristics. 

But you may have a hard time finding some other facts. Facts that aren't as widely known as the medical facts and all that other stuff that scares the crap out of people. I don't think it's fair that when you are expecting a  child with Ds that you instantly feel fear and if you don't people think you are crazy. I was beyond scared for the last five months of my pregnancy. It was all unnecessary. I wish I had known some fun facts then. 

Not all the facts are scary. 

 Down syndrome Fun Facts :

1. You are having a baby! Surprise! It's still a beautiful baby you are carrying!!!! 

2. This baby will cry, and keep you up at night!!! YAY!

3. This little one will grab your heart so tight you will physically feel it in your chest!  

4. You will laugh like you have never laughed before. 

5. You are about to become a better person. You won't even know it's happening.

6. Your strength now rivals Wonder Woman's, in fact you could easily kick her ass (if you had too) 

7. You will find yourself uttering one liners that have never been  heard  by other human beings before, such as.. "Emmie do not kiss the gerbils butt!"

8. Nothing will ever phase you again. No longer will you gasp at children who are ill behaved in public. You now walk by smugly, knowing your kid could top that kids tantrum with one leg tied behind her back .

9.  Popsicle's will be an acceptable food for breakfast because you know you will NEVER leave the house if she doesn't get one!

10. A piece of heaven has been offered to you. Take it! Love and enjoy this gift every day of your life!! Not everyone is given a gift this precious. This child will open your eyes , and show you things hidden from the rest of the word. I kid you not!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Day 4,5,6 and 7: Tony, Tony Tony!!!

Holy Cow! What a week! So busy! Not a spare second to sit and write! I've got a minute now so I will catch up. 

How about a story about Em and her new school?

She is in all day Kindergarten. Fully included. 

She is ruling the roost and having a freaking ball. She is testing the waters of a new school, new kids and new teachers. She is not using her best behavior like in her old school. They are practicing "nice hands" with her. Apparently she is taking swings at her new little classmates and her teachers..

And knowing Em she's doing with a giggle and a twinkle in her eye. 

When she's not hitting , she can be found throwing things and running like the wind around the classroom. 

With my blessing she now has a designated "time out " spot. 

Gotta love her!!

She also has a special friend named Tony.

You know the saying opposites attract? Well, apparently free spirits can become bosom buddies also. 

She calls his name constantly and if you ask her if she likes Tony, she literally gushes and gets all silly.

She is smitten!!!! 

She has to sit near him in school and they are using him to motivate her to be good! HA! 

Yesterday her teachers were very concerned because Em would not eat. Not at snack , not at lunch and not at the second snack time. She wouldn't play outside and she was very clingy. She also wanted to sit with the weighted blanket and just tap her fingers on it. Poor Em they thought, she must be getting sick.


Could this have something to do with the fact that Tony left school early?????

Yeah, she was sick alright! LOVE SICK!

Ate like a horse when she got home and played all night. And of course talked about TONY!

Her first crush! 

As I type this she is looking through her school papers , talking up a storm. And of course the only words I can understand are Ooooh, Tony! 

Well, at least we have mastered the "T" sound !


Friday, October 3, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness Month , Day 3: Persistence

Calling today a cheat day. I've been running like a nut since this morning, so putting something original together right now is not humanly possible for me or my tired brain. 

I love looking back on older posts. So, this is one of my favorites. It makes me smile and yes, cry just a bit. But not sad tears. Do you have a sunflower in your life?  

From October 21st 2010


Persistent. That just about sums up what this sunflower is. It's October 21st, well past blooming time.Sunflower season is over. The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping and the garden is readying itself for a long winters nap. But this sunflower bloomed today. Stuck it's pretty face into the sun for the very first time. The epitome of a late bloomer. You see this sunflower had a tough beginning. It started out in the usual way, as a tiny seed, gently planted into the earth in early spring. It was tended to and watered, and in time it became a tiny shoot, with tiny little leaves. Well, it met up with a wayward lawn mower and it all but disappeared.  I feared it was gone. But everyday I checked on it, I knew it's roots were still embedded in the earth, and in time it grew again. Still early enough in the summer, it would have plenty of time to grow tall.  Then some nasty bugs ate all the leaves and my sunflower disappeared again. I feared the worst, but once again it proved me wrong and started to grow. Just a little slower and smaller this time. It was already halfway through the summer, but still enough warm days left I thought, for it to grow tall and strong.  One more attack of bugs took it from my sight. It was late summer now and even if it came back again I feared the cold would put an absolute end to my sunflower. But, again it persevered and started to grow. This time I felt bad for my sunflower. All this effort to grow and stand tall, so many times starting over and over again, just to be frozen by the dropping temps. Why does it bother? Why doesn't it just give up? 
I guess because, that's all it knows. Maybe this sunflower longs to feel the sun on it's petals even if it's just for a day. Because even a life that doesn't seem worth it is very well worth it if it's yours. Maybe it's not the quantity of days but the quality. Maybe it just enjoys a good challenge!    

Regardless of the reason, my summer sunflower is here and blooming right next to the fall mums. Her stem is crooked and her flower is small but her face is in the sun. And I think my sunflower is beautiful, just as she is.

I think I'll call my sunflower Emilia...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Down syndrome Awareness Month Day 2 : Our Hearts Are Full

A diagnosis of Down syndrome may initially cause you to spin wildly out of control. But when the dust settles remember these words


It's all good except if you're a gerbil and travel in a ball. Then you might have a problem

Throw the fears out the door and lock that sucker up tight. 

Your life is going to get better, your heart,bigger, your voice, louder.

There will be days when you are frazzled, exhausted and need to give yourself a time out. ( kinda sounds like a day in the life of a mom , doesn't it?)

But !

EVERYDAY will be a blessing.

EVERYDAY will leave you with a full heart.


EVERYDAY will have you wondering what you did without this Dumpling, who just turned your upside down world into absolute perfection!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October Already??? You Know What That Means.. Down Syndrome Awareness Month Begins!

Okay,okay I've been MIA for months!!! Summer came and went and I seriously did not write one post. This old blog needs a dusting off! October is here, so time for some fall cleaning! I'll be posting as much as I possibly can to spread  Down syndrome Awareness this month.  

I guess today is as good a day as any to fill you in on what Miss E has been up to  for the last three months. 
After preschool graduation in June she basically just hung out with me all summer. She enjoyed her time in her little pool. And just running wild.

And we learned that Em is one hell of a strawberry picker! She can pick and eat her weight!

I, on the other hand lamented all summer over the looming dark cloud called Kindergarten. I had mounting anxiety. Mostly about the school. It was not my favorite. 

ANYHOO... fast forward to present day and I will be the first to scream .. "I was wrong"!!!!!!!!!

She is having a blast , I love her teacher and her teachers aid is 
Emmie is taking her place as the bad girl in town by hitting all her friends ( we are making progress).

And she even as a special friend named Tony. When Em hears his name she freaking glows and gets all silly. I kid you not. 

I met Tony this morning and I immediately understood my girls weak knees. He is adorable! Big brown eyes and lashes that hit his eyebrows. And that smile!!!!  Simply irresistible!

So all is well with Kindergarten. Whew!

First day photo!

Keep checking back! If not for the writing abilities of the resident blogger, than for the sole reason of seeing some Emmie for the month of October! And maybe learning a bit about Down syndrome so you too can be an advocate!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Firecracker Turns 15!

July 4th 1999, I was having contractions that felt like firecrackers going off inside me. I was confident that our second child would be a 4th of July baby. But Miss Sophia had a different idea. She wasn't about to share her birthday , she wanted her own day. So two days later on the 6th she made her debut. 

She was full of vim and vigor from the moment I held her and has been ever since.

She is unpredictable and at times exasperating.  She has the ability to drive you to the edge of insanity and then leave you hanging there...  

But, she can also make you laugh til you think your stomach will burst. Her sense of humor is definitely a gift from God.

She is a classic beauty and I find myself staring at her, simply in awe of her face. Her heart is good. And she is brilliant.

You are growing into an amazing young woman, Sophie.

Enjoy the ride you are on. Don't take things too seriously. Treat every experience whether it be good or bad as a chance to learn something and to grow stronger and wiser, (remember , your name means wisdom)

Your life is an empty canvas! Use every color in the rainbow to paint your future!!!!  

And above all, remember that you are loved more than you can EVER imagine!

Love you more, 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sometimes Being Sad is Okay.

It's "our" last day of preschool..

Today is going to suck... just sayin.

I've been trying to make the best of today. Counting our blessings and what not. But you know what? Today is just going to be sad. I am happy for the amazing three years Em had with her beyond amazing team at Drum Rock, but my heart hurts to think today will be the last time she interacts with them. The last time I drop her off and see Libby's beautiful smile waiting to take Em inside. The last time Ms. Lisa will have Em in her class and the last time I will sit in line as #25 waiting to pick up Em, and the last time she is with all her friends . 

I've decided to just be sad today.   

I don't have the energy to suck it up.

Sometimes being sad is okay.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time To Say Thanks..

Alarm buzzing at the crack of dawn.
Day beginning , coffee brewing.
Kids still sleeping, that won't due, too much happening.
It's Culmination Day!
Costumes, pointe shoes, Sophia your Character shoes!!!!!
Seriously no toothpaste? Dads up he can run!
Nothing for lunches, they have a long day, pick up something on the way.
Leaving late, mom is stressed, kids are fine, no concept of time.
Warm up class has begun, two ballerinas just five minutes late.

Back on the road to the bakery I go.
Strawberry cheesecake for a dear old dad.
Back at home, not looking too good.
Vacuum and dust let the gerbil out.
Bathroom is clean laundry is switched.
Baby is bathed and mama is too!
All before noon...  

First show is over, wonder how my girls did.
A short rest for them then show number two.
Tickets are bought, and flowers to buy. 
Will tonight ever come!

Sharing his day, he mows the lawn.
Never complaining, he carries on.
Our joys are his, he cares for us first.
He seems to go unnoticed. His just gets thing done 
I'll be the first to admit.
That sometimes we forget all that he did.

 I know it's not easy, taking care of us all.
At times we're demanding and not fun at all.
But today is your day, so I say to you.
Happy Father's Day, Peter.
Thank you, for all that you do.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My 1000th Post! A Full Moon, Friday The 13th, And My Baby Graduated Preschool!

WHAT A  DAY!!!! I've been out here in Blog Land for just over five years now. I love it! This blog is my heart. I write about my family , my passions, and my sunshine. I've made friends that I may never meet in person but have joined souls with. I love you and I love your children... you all know who you are.

I laughed with you and cried with you and vented with you.

So, how befitting that my 1000th post would fall on today. One of the biggest days of my five years here!

Emilia Faith has graduated from Preschool! 

She wore her cap (her way) tassel in the middle. She wore her prettiest dress. And brand new sandals.

She sang all the songs and danced along.  

After there was Italian ice!

This is her warning look. She has absolutely no intentions on sharing her treat.

And if you get too close , she will go for the throat! (Sigh) Yeah we're working on that choke hold.

She received her diploma from the best teacher EVER! 

And we are so thankful for Anastasia. The best friend EVER!  

Tonight we will eat cake. This was definitely a cake worthy accomplishment!

Love you all who continue to follow my blog and love my girl. So glad I have you all to share this with. You understand how huge this day is! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Can You Do TBT On A Blog?

I don't know if it's a "bloggy" thing or not. But this is Andrew exactly 5 years ago. My last preschool graduate. 

How cute is he!

Tomorrow is Miss Em's turn! And yes, this is will be a cake eating celebration.

We just went out an bought her new sandals to wear tomorrow. She was so bad in the store we out in about 3 minutes flat. She does not enjoy shopping. That was the fastest shoe purchase in history!!

When Busy Gets The Best Of You

This time of year brings with it the sweet sounds of summer, the longing for the beach, the smell of the grill, and anxiety and stress that can kill a horse!

I long for quiet days in my garden. I enjoy pulling weeds and getting dirty, washing my feet with the hose and cooling off with a cold iced tea. I love nights on the deck watching the sun set and listening to the birds settling in for the night.

But for the next two weeks that won't be happening. We all have our times where we are too busy to even think straight and this is mine. 

Right now I have a pain on the side of my head caused by the Miss Teen RI Pageant. On the other side of my head is an extreme throbbing brought on by endless hours of rehearsals my girls are going through for their ballet culmination. 

Driving and cleaning and cooking and filling out forms that can't be filled out because we don't have the proper things needed, fund raising and deadlines and costumes and toe tape and don't forget the freaking false eyelashes! Exams and projects and field trips, teacher gifts!!! 

My front lawn is knee high and the back is covered in clover. I cringe when I pull up to my house because this is not how it should look. But unless we mow the lawn at midnight it will have to wait a few more days.

I love the summer and the slower pace, but the hoops we need to jump through to get to that blessed time may kill me this year.

Busy has overwhelmed me and I feel inadequate and  hostile! My mood is ... Sybil like. Let's just say you never know which personality will come shining through. 

I am feeling the need to take a time out. I'm beyond deep breathing, or simple relaxation tricks to help me. I think I need to pull out the big guns. 

Fingers crossed I don't go postal before June 20th because on  June 21st you will find me happy and content, knee deep in my garden. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Bittersweet Accomplishment

For the past five years I've been plugging away at this blog in the efforts to relay a message. 

A message of hope to anyone who may stumble upon us and be drifting in the same boat we were in when we found out Em would be born with Down syndrome. 

A message of encouragement. You and your family will be okay.

A message of  Community. You are not alone. There are more of us out here who went through the same feelings and emotions that you are going through. Reach out to us! 

I've shared all of Emilia's accomplishments here. Everything from sitting up, to walking, to her first words.

Today I share one that seemed so far away when she was born I thought it would never get here. 

On Friday my "baby" will be graduating  preschool. In the blink of an eye it's over. A huge part of her life is ending and  another adventure with Em is on the horizon... KINDERGARTEN!

My girl did it! And did it well!

She learned to count, and definitely knows the letter "E" . She can sing and climb and paint and read me stories. She can draw. She has made friends and touched the lives of everyone she has come in contact with at her AMAZING school. No one there will ever forget who Emmie was, and we will never forget them. They loved her like she was theirs and for that I am eternally thankful. 

Tears are flowing now as I type this and on Friday I'll be an ugly mess,but my heart is bursting for my girl! 

How I wish the world could see our kids for what they are, and what they bring with them. They are treasures and miracles. Many words describe my Em, but burden is not and never will be one of them.

She is the joy we didn't realize was missing from our lives.

Be back on Friday with pictures of the Emmie's graduation!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Foot Photo Bomb

No idea how that foot is Emmie's but it is. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So How Did That Spring Clean Up Go? And What Else Are We Up To?

A quick and to the point spring cleaning update. 

The yard is clean...

 the squirrel is still floating belly up in the pool!

And some more little creatures have decided to we're safe to live with. We have a turtle dove family set up shop in my window box. 

 So cute! Except this is my sons bedroom window and soon the temp in his room will reach about 685 degrees. This is the window that the AC goes in. So my feathered friends may have to relocate so my son has a chance of making it through the summer heat. 

We celebrated Easter and my mom's 80th birthday!!

 That awesome family photo where no one (except Bella) is paying any attention to the guy taking the picture.

The Mother Daughter brunch held each each by St Peter School was a beautiful day as usual. One of our favorites.

There was a Prom! Olivia's Junior Prom! 

 What a gorgeous bunch of fabulous girls they are!!

Emilia has been enjoying the outdoors. After being cooped up all winter this wild fairy is ready to run and jump and chase, and demolish whatever she can . She is adorable but for some reason whenever I see her, "I came in like a wreaking ball" starts playing in my head.

 I admit I did not ask the important questions, like where the handcuffs came from or why my baby girl was in them. Sometimes it best not knowing.

Mother's day was lovely. My kids and husband really put some effort into making my day special. And the cat is out of the bag...   I think they love me!

So there you have it. If you have been intrigued by the squirrel in the pool story, stay tuned. I'd like to have the pool ready to go this weekend.. Squirrel removal 101, should be good for a laugh or two.