Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lovin' My Birthday Celebrations!!!

for those of you who don't know me in real life, i am like a small child when it comes to my birthday.....and anyone else's birthday too!   i believe in celebrating long and hard!!!   celebrating as much as i can!   why not???   who cares that i am a year's inevitable!  everyone else ages each year as well....

i turned 46 on monday, although i still feel like i'm about 22 for some reason....  anyway, since we were all together on saturday, we (i) decided that it would be my "pretend" birthday, because tim would not be here for my "real" birthday!   so we spent the entire day together as a family!   first we got to see forrest get his belt promotion to purple best, which was a fun time!  then we headed out for some lunch and shopping!

we went out to the beach area and ate at "reggae j's island grill" at pier park.   we ate on the porch area, it was such a beautiful day, with a view of the gulf!   i had one of my favorites, coconut shrimp, and they were delicious!   it was a terrific meal!   the guys then took me to "jake's at the beach" so i could get a new "life is good" t-shirt.   if you don't have one....they are THE SOFTEST T-SHIRTS EVER!!!   we also sampled a little fudge at a candy shop and just wondered a bit!  

then we went down and walked on the beach for a few minutes!   there was hardly anyone out there, but it was such a beautiful day!   about 70 degrees and breezy....NICE!!!    to wrap up our fun time, we stopped at "david's sno balls" for my velvet stuffed sno ball!!!  yummalicious!!!  

anyway, we continued shopping the day away instead of opting for a late nap, and i accomplished almost everything on my list!   it was a lot of fun, and we concluded the day with pizza!   no cooking or cleaning for me.....well maybe a little!  lol!   a great day all the way around!

not that that finished the celebration.....on monday, april and clayton took wyatt and i to brunch at ihop!  it was delicious!!!   i had the holiday pancakes meal with pumpkin praline pancakes....oh my!!!!   DELISH!!!   my parents took the boys and i to outback for supper, and although my steak was not the best, it was still a great dinner!    and the boys gave me new charms for my bracelet! 

and today i received a beautiful red Christmas cactus from my friend, wyatt's ot, stacy for my birthday..... it just keeps going!  my in-town girlfriends took me out to lunch today too!  it was yummy and we laughed A LOT!!!   

so this "kid at heart" had a lovely birthday week of celebration!   hope you enjoy your birthday as much as i enjoyed mine!  blessings......

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kids With Down Syndrome Like Santa Too! More Alike than Different!

wow....where do i start?  i cannot believe that it has been almost a month since i last posted!  that terrific thanksgiving adventure really took it out of me!  lol!   it was a wonderful time visiting with family and friends!   but 9 days is a LONG time to travel!  we were received most graciously in 4 different homes as we travelled through 5 different states, driving almost 1900 miles!  whew!   it was a totally terrific adventure!  

so here we are, in the midst of Christmas preparations.....and getting ready for my birthday!   i'm like a little kid when it comes to birthdays!   i LOVE birthdays and celebrating them!   i will be 46 on the 19th of december.....and proud of every year!!!  

 i have lots of catching up to from our trip and all.....but thought i'd share some cute Christmas pics of wyatt with santa at our recent early intervention Christmas party!  i have never seen a child more enamored with santa than wyatt was!   on our trip he saw santas from alabama to texas...and loved them all!  no fear there (yet)!!!    the santa at the party was super terrific with him.....most graciously did not mind wyatt hanging out at his feet most of the afternoon!    enjoy!  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful for Friendship!

today i am thankful for friendship!

what a great day to be thankful for friends!    today i get to see shirley, who i haven't seen since spring!  and on monday i get to see susan, who i haven't seen since may!  two of my very best friends!  
unfortunately living in a military community, my best friends always seem to leave me..... i blame the government....why not?  ;)

i have had so many besties through the years!  i would be remiss not to make a list.....kym, april, christy, tina, missy, amy, julie, irene, melinda, renee', christine, cheryse, debbie, anita, christina, michelle, lisa, ann......the list goes on and on and on!   forgive me if i left you out!

i LOVE my girlfriends!   they are the best!  they are the people who understand you....who support and encourage you!  they pray for you!   they laugh with you and cry with you!   they are special gifts from God!   if you do not have really good girlfriends like the ones i am need to find some!  life is so much better when shared with friends.....

and i have been blessed beyond measure with so many girlfriends throughout the years.....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for My Van!

short and sweet!  today i am thankful for my van!  it may not be the coolest, newest, most loaded, etc, but it has taken me on many adventures in the 5+ years we have had it!  today it took me to see ethan in pensacola (yay) and then to madisonville, louisiana, where i am spending the night in cassie's pool cabana, even though she is not home!  she's such a sweetie....and you should see the "spread" she left for us!  

tomorrow my van will take us to see one of my best friends, shirley and her family, in bossier city, louisiana!   i can't wait!  it's been TOO long since we have seen each other!   on monday my van will take us to fort worth, texas, to see one of my other best friends, susan and her family, as well as susan's extended family!   they moved to texas back in may and i miss her bunches!  

my van took us to the mountains of north carolina to see another of my best friends, kym and her family, back in the spring!  it took us to see my childhood best friend, amy and her family, just a few weeks ago!   it takes me all over the state for conferences and appointments related to Down syndrome too!   again, i get to see lots of my internet besties as well because of my old van! 

not to forget ALL THE DRIVING i do in a week just around town..... my van has LOTS of miles on it!  it's taken us from texas to washington, d.c. and up into tennessee....and all the states in between!   i just needed this reminder of how very blessed we are to have reliable transportation.  i'm afraid that i take it for granted all too often....   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for U-Pick Orange Groves!

i just finished some of the fun packing/getting ready for a big trip stuff and was so thirsty!    i had finished off my sweet tea this afternoon, and it's too late for a soda (kind of) i thought of the oranges in the bottom of the fridge....  so i hand squeezed two of them for a glass of fresh (and refreshing) orange juice! 

so what does that have to do with u-pick orange groves?  as we drove home from tampa a few weeks ago, we noticed "u-pick" orange grove signs along the interstate, and decided to stop!   it was wyatt and tim's first time picking oranges; my mom and i have taken ethan and forrest orange picking a few times on our many trips to walt disney world together!  

it was a beautiful day in the orange grove, and we had the grove all to ourselves!  we were able to pick delicious naval oranges, tangerines and grapefruit!   we made some wonderful memories that day....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful for Therapists!

today i am thankful for therapists.....i am actually thankful for them every day!   i had planned to blog about each one during october, Down syndrome awareness month, but didn't get that done!  from day 1, i knew that these ladies were going to play an important role in our lives...but i had no idea how great a role they would play!  

these ladies (and one young man) have become my friends!  they encourage me in my daily parenting of wyatt.  they teach me how to work with him from a developmental viewpoint.  they teach me from their many years of experience, and i am so blessed to benefit from that experience!  they remind me of things that i don't think of developmentally.   it's just a whole different life! 

so over the next few days i will introduce you to each one, and tell you what we are doing in therapy these days!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful for Little Boy Cowboy Boots....

yep you read that right!  today i am thankful for little boy cowboy boots!  i have had cowboy boots sitting in wyatt's room to accent his cowboy themed room, and today wyatt noticed the smallest pair.....and then i realized that they might fit him now!   these are boots that were originally ethan's (18) and then forrest (10) wore them....

i quickly ripped off the footie part of wyatt's pajamas, put a pair of socks on him, and wrangled him into the boots..... i was so scared that i had let him outgrow them....  but they fit!  perfectly!    and so he roamed the house in his diaper, while i sang "these boots were made for walking....", snapping our fingers all the way!   so cute!

so today i am thankful for the memories that these cowboy boots evoke.... of ethan dressing up like "woody" and other cowboys throughout the years..... of forrest strutting around as a rough and tough cowboy.....  and now wyatt can wear them!    sweet memories.....   we are so blessed!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful for Technology....

today i am thankful for technology!

cell phones that keep us in touch with our loved ones who are far away.....especially a son in college!

facebook that has opened up a whole world of friends who i would have never met any other way!  friends who have become best friends, yet we have never met face to face.....we share that "little something extra" in common....our kiddos have Down syndrome.   we laugh together, cry together, and encourage each other!   

facebook that helps me stay in touch with "in real life" friends and family who live far away....  such a wonderful thing to know about each other's day to day life even when we haven't seen each other in years!   it has helped me reconnect with some of my best friends from years gone by as well!

email that helps us communicate, receive and pay bills, send photographs and documents.... many conveniences that we never had before!  as i was talking to ethan this weekend, he mentioned that he often emails his professors if he has a question and usually receives a quick response....WOW!   that is awesome!   back in the "old days".....well, i guess we had to go to the professor's office if we had questions!   and today ethan needs some papers that are here, 100 miles from where he is, and we will scan them and email them to him tonight to save a trip home!  

i know that there is a downside to all our modern technological advances..... but we must monitor technology for ourselves as well as our children to be safe!    we must accept the responsibility for appropriate use!   we must be ever vigilent that we not abuse technology.....for, in the words of peter parker (aka spiderman), "with great power, comes great responsibility"!!!  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful for Royal Ambassador Leaders! Men Willing to Lead Our Boys!

today is the annual "royal ambassador" races!  royal ambassadors is the southern baptist missions organization for boys in grades 1-5.  men from our church give up their wednesday nights to work with our boys week after week as they teach them about missions around the world, memorize Scripture, help them with service projects, take them camping.....the list goes on and on!   it is similar to boy scouts in many ways.  for many boys these days, r.a. leaders may be the only positive male figure in their lives!  i am thankful for many different men who have faithfully served in this capacity as both ethan and forrest have grown up in this program! 

the boys are at the church this afternoon racing the pinewood derby cars that they have been working on for the past several weeks!   i hate that i am not there, but wyatt needed his nap and would not hold out!  the boys take the wooden cars and sand them, paint them, and put decals on them to decorate them as they like!   they really enjoy putting their own personalities into their cars!    they even have test runs with the cars to see how "fast" they are running!   i am sure that there is a lot of excitement up there right now! 

this is forrest's last year in r.a.'s, as he will transition into the youth program when he goes into 6th grade.   but we are so thankful that year after year men volunteer their time and talents to lead our boys to serve and love God with their whole hearts!   we are blessed! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful for the Generosity of Others....

today our local Down syndrome organization, acton up with downs, was blessed with the opportunity to have a fun day riding amusement park rides at our local shopping area, pier park.   next weekend, our local marine park, gulf world, will also bless our families with free admission for our kiddos, and a discounted rate for family members!   too bad we will be traveling for thanksgiving and have to miss that fun day! 

for years, panama city beach was home to the miracle strip amusement park.  it closed it's gates in 2004, and recently 6 of the original rides from the amusement park have been restored and placed at pier park for kiddos to enjoy while their parents shop, eat, and enjoy our beautiful beaches!   the owners of miracle strip @ pier park contacted our group and offered complimentary unlimited all day passes for each child/adult with Down syndrome as well as a companion/parent for today!   we had a lot of fun, even after i, ever the graceful one, tripped and fell off the carousel.....  embarrassing!!!   and painful.....hope i can walk tomorrow!   but i digress.....

the boys and i were able to join friends on this beautiful fall day and have fun riding rides!  wyatt particularly enjoyed the "balloon race" and the ferris wheel, as well as sitting on the seat of the carousel.  he does not care for the horses on any carousel for some reason....  the ferris wheel was a bit scary for this mama as i held on to our little man pretty tightly!  but what a beautiful view of the gulf of mexico from the top!  forrest enjoyed EVERYTHING!!!   particularly the spinning rides....not this mama!   

so today i am very thankful for the generosity of these folks, who are two icons of tourism for panama city beach, to graciously entertain our families!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful For Those Who Serve Our Country....and Their Families!

today is veteran's day, and it is our family's tradition to go downtown for our local veteran's day parade.  it's the least we can do to recognize those who have served our country through the years; those who have made great sacrifices to guarantee the freedoms that we all too often take for granted!   
i am so glad that ethan was here for my dad's birthday party last night, and that we could continue our tradition of going to the parade today!    after a yummy breakfast at the golden corral buffet, we headed downtown to settle in for the parade.  there were lots of people there, which i am always glad to see.   i like that families take the time to honor those who have served!  

living in a military community (tyndall air force base and naval support activity panama city are both located here), we have had many very good friends who are in the military!   as a matter of fact, most of my very best friends for many years are married to men in the military!   unfortunately, that also means that most of my very best friends have LEFT ME through the years!!!!   but i am thankful for the sacrifices that their families make for the freedoms of us all!    we are so blessed.....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful to Share....

if you have ever seen any pictures here from inside our family room, you have surely seen the multitude of toys that wyatt has been blessed with!   it often looks like a small toy store in our house!   we have been blessed by friends who have shared their toys with us, particularly toys that have a developmental application!   i saved many of our older boys' toys that have come in handy for wyatt, and when it's birthday or Christmas time, family and friends often ask what he "needs....."   and often there is a toy that we have been "eyeing" developmentally that they are more than happy to get for wyatt!   i don't remember being so specific in toy shopping with our older boys, maybe i was, but i do know that when i look at a toy now, i am thinking "what will that help wyatt accomplish developmentally?"!!!!   

as we are preparing to move to pensacola next year, we are starting to get our home ready to put on the market.  and so the cleaning out has begun!   especially with the toys!   today i was able to take a load of toys that filled the back of my van over to one of the new babies in our Down syndrome community.  she is about 6 months old, such a good age to start responding to toys, and i am so glad that we were able to share with her family.  i hope i didn't overwhelm her mama..... i don't think i did, she seemed very happy and appreciative of what we were able to share with them!   

we are so blessed......

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Even More Silly....Thankful for SONIC Drinks!!!!

yep it's you know that my "secret" vice is SONIC DRINKS!!!   i am thankful for sonic cherry lime coke to be exact!    and today i REALLY needed one!!!!   the good thing is their large drinks are .99 before 11 am, and then there's always "happy hour 1/2 price drinks" from 2-4 pm every day!!!    our family LOVES SONIC DRINKS!!!   we will drive around the block waiting for the clock to hit 2 to save those few bucks!   lol!!! 

so today was a little stressful as i am preparing for the dinner party for my dad's 80th birthday tomorrow night!   add to the 2 therapies, a field trip to the park, and i am one tired mama!!!!    so this morning i treated myself to that deliciously yummy (yummilicious) drink.....cherry lime coke!   oh, you haven't tried simply must!   the combination of the sweet cherry flavor with the tangy lime slices....mmm, mmm!!!!  

and did i mention that the way to my heart is through a sonic drink....just kidding, but my hubby does know how to bring a smile to my face when he walks in the door with "my drink!"   especially when it's a surprise!     and what about their ICE????    oh my!!!!!!!!!    one of my bff's introduced me to the fact that you can BUY THEIR ICE BAGGED for parties and stuff!   fun! 

so if you've gotten this far, you'll know that this is a very silly post......but i needed a little lighthearted post tonight!   and if you haven't tried it....i HIGHLY recommend a cherry lime coke!!!  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful for Hair Color!!!!

today i am very thankful for HAIR COLOR!!!   i know this might sound like a "shallow" thing to be thankful for, but,'s sometimes the "little things" that mean so much!   i have only been highlighting my hair for a few years....mainly because i have always been TOO CHEAP to do it!   (remember, i tell the truth!)   

anyway....remember that we went to legoland a couple of weekends ago?   well, i had one of those "you've got to be kidding me" moments.....   forrest (10) and i were competing in the "junior fire academy" attraction in which we had to power our firetruck (by pumping mechanism) all the way down the track to the "burning building," jump out and pump enough water to put out the "fire," then jump back in our firetruck and propel ourselves back to the finish line!  whew, i am tired just remembering how hard we worked!   anyway, i am a little competitive, and so i gave it my all....and we won!   (beating MEN too, by the way).   so throughout the duration of this attraction, the legoland ride attendant is commentating what is happening on a loudspeaker for all to hear.....  and as we cruise to victory, he says "truck #5 is the winner.....woo hoo.....and i think it's all because of the GRANDMA (ME!!!!!!!)"     WHAT ON EARTH?????   since when do i look like the grandma to a 10 year old boy....   i looked at him and said "MOM!!!"    i only wish that i had gotten wyatt (2) and said "HE'S MINE TOO!!!!"

so that was when i made up my mind that it was time for new highlights!  as soon as possible!!!!    and today was the day!  yay for haircolor!!!    i think it looks pretty good!!!!   thinking it's time to contact legoland about the "pain and suffering" their insensitive employee has caused me.......

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful for Sloppy Toddler Boy Kisses......

a perfect example....SWEET!!!!

today mom, wyatt and i were shopping, and she asked wyatt for a kiss, so wyatt gave her one of his sloppy, open mouth, more like a lick kisses!   very cute and sweet!   and WET!!!!   she said "i can't wait for you to learn to kiss the right way...." and i laughed and agreed with her..... those kisses are pretty wet!   but then i remembered that before we know it, he will stop giving those sloppy toddler boy kisses!  

maybe this is where he learned
 how to give sloppy kisses!

before we know it, we'll be lucky to get a quick "peck on the cheek" as he is off to do something else!   and then we'll be lucky to get a quick hug goodnight!   but maybe this is just one of the little blessings that his "little something extra" will give us..... a little bit longer with his sloppy toddler kisses......