Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another One Died Alone

This past week, the adoption world and Down syndrome community were shaken to its core.  Another little one died.  Alone.


This little girl was loved,
Even if she never felt those caressing arms of a parent around her tiny body.
Even if no one sang her to sleep.
Even if she spent most of her days in bed.
Even if no one ever celebrated her birthday with her.  Marking off each passing year that she lived in horrible conditions.

Yes, Stacy was loved by so many in our on-line community.  I heard the cries through the internet.  I could hear the desperation and sorrow as my friend told me the news about the little girl she one day wanted to adopt and welcome into the fold of her family.  Stacy.  Not long ago, we all rejoiced when we heard she had a family coming for her.  A family!  She was loved even if she did not know it.  My heart goes out to her family.  The family who had been plowing through mountains of paperwork, spending copious amounts of money, and exposing their heart so that they could rescue Stacy.  Their daughter.

Yet, in the end, Stacey died alone in that crib.  I wonder if she knew how many loved her.

Let us not forget.
Let us not stop advocating for these children.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Part 2: Head Injuries and Seizures After a Fall

This is Part 2 to a two part series.  Part 1: When things go bonk, call an ambulance covers Ellie's accident

Now that I (and Ellie) have recovered from the initial shock of last week's head injury, blue spell, and grand mal seizure, I am finally able to sit down and actually write a more informative post about head bonks, post-fall seizures, c-spine precautions and atlantoaxial instability [AAI], and about remembering to list Down syndrome as a medical diagnosis.

Head bonks happen.  Children fall off changing tables.  They fall down stairs.  They climb over baby gates.  They scale walls. . . oh wait, is that just Ellie?  Anyway, falls happen.  It is a part of being a child. A right of passage into toddlerhood. Wipe away the mama guilt and the feelings of inadequacy.  It happens.  We cannot hover over our children with outreached arms 24/7.  It is not humanly possible.  Plus, there is that ever-so fine line of allowing your child to explore.  To gain independence.  Besides, that is what bubble wrap is for.

So we have established that kids fall.  The question is, when do you go to the pediatrician or even the ER?  If I took Ellie to the ER every time she bonked her head, we would be there every single day.  Literally.  I am not exaggerating.  Those who have met my spunky Ellie know that I am not kidding.

Signs your child needs to be seen by a health care provider after a fall:

  • Loses consciousness
  • Stops breathing
  • Unequal pupils-the dark centers of the eyes should be equal size and get smaller when light is shined into the eyes.  
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Vomits more than once
  • Lethargy, difficultly arousing
  • Blunt trauma / open wound /profuse bleeding that does not stop
  • Difficulty walking or unequal movement of limbs
  • Bleeding or clear fluid draining from the ears
  • Slurred speech

Please note that the above signs may not occur immediately after the fall.  You want to watch your child closely for the first 24 hours.  If your child is due for a nap or it is close to bedtime, be sure to check on her frequently for the first few hours to make sure she is breathing okay, no color changes, and is arousable.  

If she is unconscious, try not to move her in case her neck suffered an injury.  With vomiting and/or seizing, carefully place her on her side, but try to keep her neck stable (yeah, I know, it is easier said than done.  With Ellie, I did not do such a great job on the stabilizing).  With seizing, do NOT attempt to place anything into the her mouth.

If an object is lodged into your child's head (scary, I know!), do NOT remove it. Yes, yes, I know you want to remove it and if your child is conscious, I am sure that she is trying to remove it as well.  Keep your cool and leave it in because removing it yourself may cause further damage.

Finally, when in doubt, trust that mama gut of yours and call the pedi.  If your child seems off to you or things just do not seem right, it takes just seconds to contact the pediatrician and ask to speak with the nurse as she can guide you.  

Which happened first?  Seizure vs. Fall

For Ellie, it was quite obvious.  She fell.  She screamed for a minute.  Then she had a tonic clonic/grand mal seizure--full body rhythmically jerking  (this is the same type of seizure Ellie had during a high fever).  However, in some cases the kiddo seizes and it is the seizure that caused the fall.  Occasionally, it is difficult to answer the question of which came first because the seizure appears to happen immediately upon hitting the floor or because the fall is not observed.

Then there are those tricky absence seizures. The child appears to be staring into space.  There may be mild twitching of the mouth or lip smacking.  The eyes may shift.   Additionally, atonic seizures produce an sudden loss of muscle tone.  The child just falls to the ground or her head suddenly drops.  Unless you are familiar with these types of seizures, they are hard to detect.  Nonetheless, a child may be hanging out on the monkey bars and seems to be paused in mid air and then falls.  Is she planning her next move or is she having a seizure?

Many times, children who endure many falls accompanied with seizing are evaluated for a seizure disorder.  Tests such as EEGs and CT/MRI scans may assist in diagnosing seizures and there are several medications that can help control seizures.

Above, I mentioned three types of seizures-grand mal, atonic, and absence.  There are several types of seizures and more information can be found HERE.

Why it is important to list Down syndrome as a medical condition and in the past-medical-history:

You have heard me say it again and again "My daughter is not Down syndrome.  She is a child who happens to have Down syndrome".  That still holds true, however, the fact remains that Down syndrome is a major part of her genetic make-up and there are several physiologic traits that my daughter possesses as a result of her designer genes.  The main ones being low muscle tone, loose ligaments, and small airways.  For some children, their list may include holes in the heart, hypothyroidism, or a history of heart surgery. These are important to know if your child is injured.  Moreover, if your child is ill (as in heading to the ER for something other than a fall), mentioning that your child has Ds helps the doctor zoom in on certain illnesses such as heart issues/infections, thyroid issues, diabetes, Hirsprung's disease, and leukemia.

Surprisingly, many health care providers may not even recognize that your child rocking an extra chromosome.  At 7 months old, I took Ellie to the ER for anaphylaxis.  She was hanging out with a hole in her heart, serious reflux, and, well, anayphylaxis.  The triage nurse did not realize Ellie had Down syndrome.  She just brushed past the medical history and said "no health issues" and proceeded to tell me that she is fine.  Meanwhile, my daughter's lip and throat were closing.  Being the mama bear that I am/was, I shoved Ellie's medical binder at her and said "she needs to be seen now!  she does have complex medical issues and this cannot wait".  The doctor got it, BUT the receptionist and then the nurse--the first two people you must get past to see the doc did not recognize Ds.

The same held true for our most recent ER trip.  The EMS had no idea.  It was up to me, as her mother, to state that Ellie had Ds and that as such she also has low muscle tone and needs C-spine precautions.  They assumed that my daughter was "a baby" because she is small when in reality she is 3.5 years-old!  C-spine precautions didn't cross their minds. Screaming and then later half-passed out, it can be difficult for someone unfamiliar with Ellie / or your kiddo to detect the facial features associate with Ds.

C-spine precautions after a fall and atlantoaxial instability in Down syndrome:

For me this is a big one because the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their health care guidelines for the child with Down syndrome.  In this new update, routine X-rays to screen for AAI are no longer recommended.  This means that your child could be walking around with AAI and then have a serious fall.  Add that to the low muscle tone and the loose ligaments and joints (see about section about why it is important to list Down syndrome in the past-medical history)and your child could have a neck injury (ie. join dislocation) to go with her head injury.

Photo courtesy of:

This was actually the most interesting part of our EMS interaction.  Apparently, when the child is very young or very little, EMS uses a car seat to help stabilize the neck [C-Spine Precautions].   The car seat is strapped to the stretcher--the stretcher's belts are threaded through the car seat the same way you would install it in a care.  The neck brace is applied to the child and then the child is strapped into the car seat.  Foam padding and tape are further used to stabilize the head/neck.  In the picture above, Ellie is indeed sitting in her car seat. The EMS said that the added benefit to this method is that the scared child is in a familiar seat.  I will be honest with you.  Ellie was pretty out of it so I doubt she really cared about being in her own, familiar car seat, but I do understand what EMS was getting at!

*Disclaimer: this post does not substitute any medical information or advice provided by your child's pediatrician or other health care provider.  This post is a compilation of my education and experience as a peds nurse practitioner as well as my experience as being a mother.  A mother to a very active little girl who happens to have Down syndrome.  All medical questions and concerns should be directed to your child's health care provider.*-- A.T.

Resources for Parents:

"Head Injury ER Patient/Caregiver Packet." Loyola University Health Services

"Head Injury and Seizures". Epilepsy Foundation.

"Keeping Your Cool When Kids Bump Heads"

Kids Health Parent First-Aid on Falls

"Seizures". Boston Children's Hospital

The Epilepsy Foundation

"Cervical Spine; C-spine; spine precautions". London Health Sciences Centre

"Atlantoaxial Instability".

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When things go bonk, call the ambulance: post trauma seizure

Actually, make that a loud THWACK!

Followed by screaming.  Which is good.  Probably not too injured.

Followed by sudden stiffening, back arching, choking, and turning a lovely shade of eggplant.

Add in a massive grand mal seizure.  That lasted for an eternity 30 seconds.

Er, not so good.  Possible brain injury?  A brain bleed?  spinal injury?

That is exactly what happened this past Thursday (yes, Valentine's Day) afternoon.  I would like to tell you that it all happened in slow motion, but it didn't.  It was fast.  Very fast.  Miss Leslie and I were in the kitchen with Ellie getting ready to begin our ABA therapy session.  Ellie was being her usual self.  Climbing.  She always climbs.  She is surefooted.  The climb wasn't the problem.  The climb didn't cause the fall.  What caused the fall was Ellie thinking that she could dive off the side of her booster chair and not get hurt.  She still thinks that she is invincible.  Or that she is made of rubber and will bounce.

This is the evil, horrible chair that she fell from (estimated that she fell 4 feet).

Oh  why did we have to have a taller than average kitchen table and chair set?

Miss Leslie and I watched in horror as she turned to the side and started to lean precariously over the edge of the booster seat.  Almost as though she wanted to look under the chair.  Or dive into a swimming pool.  I was right there.  Right in front of her.  I knew it was going to happen and I was not fast enough.  I wasn't able to stop it.  I wasn't able to protect her.

Toddlers are top heavy.  She catapulted off the side of the booster and somersaulted.  The Bear did a flip alright.  It was not graceful and her landing sucked.  Big time.  She fell about 4 feet and hit the back portion of her head and lower back on a very hard Brazilian Walnut floor (this is a 0.5 inch floor of solid wood so it was hard).  She immediately cried which is usually a good sign.

The thing is, Bear has fallen before.  All kids fall.  Usually, Ellie doesn't really cry.  She just gets pissed off that I am holding her and thus preventing her from re-climbing whatever dangerous thing she was scaling be it the cabinets, bookshelf, or the wall even.  This was different.

She screamed and screamed.  I was cradling here.  Holding her.  I knew it was big fall, but I didn't think it was that big.  I wasn't worried.  I figured she would bounce back.  Until, she suddenly arched back and started making choking noises.  Gasping.

She turned blue and started to rhythmically jerk.  Her full body.  She was arched back so I couldn't see her eyes.  I look at Leslie with shock.

Shocked Mama Bear: "Is she?"

Shocked Miss Leslie: "yes. yes she is.".

I lay my daughter onto the floor and try to stabilize her spine.  My heart is beating so fast that I am certain it will explode.  Leslie is on the phone with 911.  They are asking for my address.  I stared blankly at her.  I said something.  I think I gave the correct street address, but I also think I gave my old zip code.  The one in Philly.  There is a reason that they do not let healthcare providers treat family members.  All reason goes out the window.

I was getting pissed off---can't they trace the call?  Can't they find us?  My baby is injured.  Seriously injured.  Pissed off and panicked, I was obsessively checking my little girl's pupils.  Perfect, they were perfect.  She had resumed screaming.  That's a good sign.  Right?  Right?!?!?!

Andrew!  I needed to let Andrew know!  Except, the one time my hubby forgets his cell phone was that day.  On the freaking kitchen table.  I frantically text his work buddy:

Andrew now. ellie fall seize 911 ambulance.

Thanks goodness, TC was working at home.  Thank goodness, TC found my hubby.  Thank goodness, TC and hubby understood my shorthand.  Andrew was headed home.

While waiting an exceedingly long time for the ambulance that was just literally around the corner from us, Ellie waved.  Yes, she waved to the ambulance.  Whew!  It was going to be okay.

Then I opened my mouth and started speaking medical jargon.  Let me tell you how much that throws off EMS.  More on that later.  They asked me for her carseat.  I bewilderly thought "oh crap, they they they expect me to drive her to the hospital.  They are leaving us?!?!"  I suppose my panic showed because they calmly explained that they needed to the carseat to help place her in C-spine precautions.  I just gaped.

Confused & Dazed Mama Bear: Carseat.  Yes yes, the carseat.  Very good.  

Freakishly Calm EMS: Mam, the carseat?

Lost.  I was completely lost.  I couldn't figure out where the carseat was.  Or how to even tell Leslie to get to it.  I just mutely handed my keys to Leslie and muttered something about garage and car.

After finally getting The Chunky Chicken into the ambulance, my husband shows up.  Yeah, that is how slow EMS is folks.

EMS had to get a little inventive with the C-spine stabilization

The entire ride to the ER was nerve wracking.  Ellie was all bundled into the stretcher and the pulse ox will not pick up her oxygen sats or her heart rate.  I finally reapplied the pulse ox myself and bingo, baby girl was satting just fine at 96% yet her heart rate was high.  She had a flat affect.  Just staring.  She was silent. Gone were her screams.  I longed to hear those screams.

She started having absence seizures.

I was holding her tiny hand so tight it was turning purple.  I was calling out "Ellie, it is mama" and waving my hand in front of her face.  She just stared with the left side of her lips twitching upward.

Then, she would be back with us and wave to the cars she could see out the ambulance back window.  She continued to have these absence seizures the entire ride there, but when she would come out of these episodes, she would say her name is "E" and wave to the cars.  Pupils looked great.  She was breathing.  She was moving her arms and legs.  Yet, she wasn't herself.

Visions of her eyes rolling back, or a blown pupil, or having to perform CPR danced through my head.  Why hadn't that EMS guy put an IV in her arm?  Why is he just sitting there? I wished I wasn't a healthcare provider.  I wish I never worked that stint in a PICU.  I know too much and I jump to worst case scenario.  Thankfully, my worries came to naught.

Bear's case was considered non-urgent because she was breathing, awake, and not bleeding (these are good things!.  We waited over an hour for the doc to even come in.  Another hour to get the CT scan of her head and neck.  Two more hours to get the results.  Thirty more minutes after we were told we were going home to get the discharge paperwork.

During that time, in the beginning,  Ellie continued to have a few more episodes in which she would have eyes shifting to the left coupled with lip smacking or the left side of her mouth twitching.  They grew further and further apart until she had none the last 2 hours.  The ER doc was adamant at first that she must have an underlying seizure disorder until I mentioned she had a clean EEG performed by Dr. G a few months ago after a febrile seizure/meningitis scare.  He finally conceded that these absence seizures were probably related to the fall given that they decreased and then stopped all together.  Yet he did advice that we watch her closely.

The ER doc unstrapped the C-spine collar and asks Ellie to walk.  The stinker turns right around and climbs the chair and then the stretcher.  Andrew and I were told that she is fast.  All I knew was that my Bear, who just aged me 20 years, was fine.  She was just fine.

This is the end of Part 1.  Part 2 will cover the following:

Post Traumatic seizure: Which came first?  The seizure of the fall?

How do you know when to proceed to the ER after a head bonk?

C-Spine: Down syndrome and AAI

Why it is important to include Down Syndrome in your list of past medical history.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Glamour's 10 Times You're Just Right: "When you get on your soapbox anytime someone says, 'That's retarded'."

Glamour magazine has always seemed a little fluffy to me, but I do like the make-up tips and the glossy pages showing off the latest fashions trends, even if I would never wear the clothes depicted.  After all, I am a t-shirt, jeans, cowgirl boots kind of girl.

Upon reading the March 2013 issue of Glamour, I found this article on page 306:

While I believe some of the top 10 are a bit ridiculous, #3 screamed out to me.  Finally! Something that I could actually identify with.

Frequent readers know that my soapbox is, in fact, the use of the r-word.

"omg, I am so retarded"

"what a retard"

"That is so retarded".

Phrases that I still continue to hear nearly every day.  In my presence.  In passing.  Phrases while are not directed at my 3 year-old still sting.

Every time I hear the word retarded, I picture my Ellie and a piece of me cries out each time.  A little bit of my heart twists.  I have written about celebrities and politicians using the r-word to create a joke.  To generate a laugh.  All at the expense of those with special needs and their families who love them.  As you know, I could go on and on.  I could give you pages of different words instead of retard. Words that are much more appropriate.  I could tell you how offensive and derogatory the word is.  How it is similar to saying nigger or fag.  Instead, I will just say, thank you.   Thank you, Glamour, because I am just right, damn it, when I do get on my soapbox about the use of the r-word.

Previous Posts about the R-word:

Anne Coulters Tweet- a Recap of Nigger, Fag, and Retard

Wayne Brade & Jim Roddey, Shame on You

March 7: A Day to End the Word

R-Word 'Rant

Stop Disability Slurs! The Change Up

Retarded.  (a compelling video)

Ugly Retarded Baby Girl search term

Taking A Stand

Retards. A Letter Template

The R-word, The Descendants, and George Clooney


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day from Ellie

Ellie Bellie Bear here.   I was informed that there would be candy if I sat for these pictures.

Well, I sat like a good little Bearity Bear wearing a tutu nonetheless and now I want my M&Ms.

Look!  I didn't even cry.  I even tried so smile in one of them.

looks like mama went all Photoshop on me.

What is this?  A cat!  A cat invaded MY photo shoot?  Shoo shoo, Amelie!  I am the star of this show.

What is that you say?  There is a Tama Kitty in the window behind me?  In every shot you say?  Humph!

I have no idea what this heart thing is.  I should throw it.  Let the wind carry it away from me.

So. . . about that candy.  I prefer the red and oranges ones.

Oh yeah and Happy Valentine's Day to whoever this Valentine's person is.

-The Bear


Monday, February 11, 2013

Kinetic Art, Michael, and the Kindness of Others

I signed onto Facebook at the end of last month and I saw it.  Beautiful splashes of color combined in such a way that it spoke to me.  It was beautiful and I had to have it.

Skinny Dragon.

Skinny Dragon by Michael Wasserman

For many months, I have long coveted Michael's art creations.  Marveling at his strategic use of color and talent to use scraps of paper to create a 3-D picture.  His ability to turn something abstract into an underwater escape or his interpretation of Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon".  You see, Michael is an artist.  A successful artist.  That I know of, every piece of artwork that he has placed up for auction with Kinetic Art has sold.

I had never bid on a painting before.  Bidding is a dangerous activity for me.  I get nervous.  What if someone outbids me?  Do I keep going?  Do I just wash my hands of it?  Or do I keep going until I have bid more money than I have?  I am competitive like that.

Yet, that beige painting with fish and a dragon tugged on my heart strings.

You see, Michael could make himself rich off of his paintings.  Instead, he generously and selflessly gives back to the community.  He places his art on his facebook page Kinetic Art with the rule that the winning bid must donate the money to the nonprofit organization of their choice.  The organization must serve those, adults and/or children, with intellectual disabilities.  People like him.  People like my daughter Ellie.  People like my beloved Aunt Peg.  Michael wants to give back and he wants to make sure that those with disabilities continue to receive the assistance that they need.

Back to Skinny Dragon.  I had grand plans you see.  I wanted to honor my Aunt Peggy who passed just before Christmas.  If I held the winning bid, the funds would go to the St. Louis ARC.  The St. Louis ARC was so good to Aunt Peggy.  She lived in Rainbow Village, a group home for those with intellectual disabilities.  Peggy loved her home and those who worked there loved her.  When Peg moved into assisted living and into hospice, the workers from Rainbow Village continued to visit her.  They brought CDs so that she could continue to rock out to John Denver.  One of them even brought her guitar because she loved live music.  When Peggy passed, they were devastated.  They made sure that nearly all of the Rainbow Village residents attended her funeral.

I watched this auction of 4 amazingly, breathtaking paintings take place on Michael's Kinetic Art Facebook page.  I watched as the bids climbed higher and higher.  So high that I knew that Skinny Dragon would not be ours.  I entered my last bid.  The max that we could offer.  The last bid for Peggy. Certain that we would not win.  Michael's artwork is that awesome.  I knew it would go for a much higher price and that was okay.  Remember, the funds would be put to good use.  To a deserving charity.

Anna Theurer $xx. This is the highest I can go, Michael. It is my favorite painting of yours (and you know how much I LOVE your art) and the funds would go to the St. Louis ARC. The ARC was so good to my Aunt Peggy.

Something happened.  Something amazing.  Something that reminded me of the innate goodness of others.

The big contender withdrew his bid from the Skinny Dragon.  He walked away so that Peggy would be honored.  He conceded.  With tears streaming down my face, I watched as others commented on the Facebook auction that they too would follow in this young man's footsteps and not bid.  All of those people honored Peggy.

This past week, I received my letter from the St. Louis ARC acknowledging my donation in honor of Peggy and in tribute to Michael.   It may not be the largest donation they have ever received, but I do hope that it does make a difference in providing services to those with special needs.

A few days ago, a large, padded envelope was delivered to my mailbox.  As I carefully tore open the envelope and peeled back the bright-colored tissue paper, there was Skinny Dragon staring up at me.  A painting to remind me of Aunt Peggy, Michael, and those kind strangers from the auction.  Tears welled up in my eyes, threatening to spill over onto this beautiful work of art.

Because for me, this painting is a symbol.  A symbol that all of us, no matter our disABILITY, can give back to the community.  That every single person has a unique gift.  A unique talent.  The ability to contribute to society and make a difference.  A symbol that people are innately good and kind.

Thank you.  Thank you so much, Michael, Mary, and those who participated in the auction (you know who you are).  

I am saving up for the next Facebook auction, which coincidentally starts Feb. 12th.  Be sure to stop on by Michael's FB page and marvel at his amazing artwork and perhaps think about entering a bidding war!

Michael was featured on the National Down Syndrome Society's My Great Story Campaign and was featured in the Times Square Buddy Walk Video in 2010


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Finger Play: Ellie and The Wheels on the Bus

Imitation.  Finger Play.  Songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus serve more than just a means to entertain a young child.  They help increase attention span.  They help hone in on those fine motor skills.  They help with speech and communication.  They help with socialization.

This is a video of Ellie rocking out to Pete The Cat's version of Wheels on the Bus.  To some, this video may not look all that exciting, however, to me, it is amazing.  My daughter, the rockstar.  Her awesomeness captured briefly on my iPhone.

For starters, Ellie is sitting, sort of.  Let me repeat that.  My hyperactive, spider monkey is s-i-t-t-i-n-g!

Typically, I sit (okay, attempt to sit) with Ellie and go through the hand motions with her--round and round, up and down, wah-wah-wah, shhh-shhh-shh, honking the horn, swish swish swish.

In the beginning, I helped her make these movements by hand-over-hand.  Eventually, I would remove my hands and encourage her to imitate my hand movements on her own.  Yet, in this video, my little girl is going through the motions UNPROMPTED.  Yes, she is doing this of her own accord.  This is HUGE!!!!  Her "up and down" has been Ellie-fied so that she is using her body instead of her hands.  During her "up and down", you also notice the she "checks in with me".  This is a big developmental milestone.  You can see where she thought the next movement was the horn rather than the driver's move on back.  You can see where she is rather late in mimicking the mommies on the bus going shhh-shhh-shh, but she does it!  Finally, you can hear her vocalizing.  Yes, making sounds with her mouth.  My non-verbal darling belting out "WAH!" and whispering "ssshhhhh" and at the end cheering with all she's got.

In case the video does not work, here is the youtube link.

Other YouTube videos that Ellie enjoys:

Pete The Cat's- I Love My White Shoes
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?-song
Phonic Learning Song 3


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How I got here: from combat shoes to cowgirl boots

Once upon a time I was born here:

Huh, you don't know where here is?  It is kind of hard to tell with all that muddy Mississippi River water.   krlr, you should know!  Hint: the year was 1993 and sandbags were involved.  A lot of sandbags.  How about now?

Photo courtesy of wikipedia
St. Louis, Missouri

Where I lived with my adorable baby brother

I was looking pretty cute, but I am rather certain my brother had some serious gas when this pic was taken.  Oops, did I just type that for all the world to see?  Scratch that!  Check out that totally stylish rainbow turtleneck I was wearing!  

Moving on! I dressed like this when not primly and properly clad in my little Catholic School Girl uniform:

My poor parents.

These combat boots were steel-toed and red because even a goth girl needs a splash of color:

Sadly these are not my babies, but something similar.  My babies no longer fit me (thank you past pregnancy).
I used to set off the airport metal detector back in the day were you could wear shoes during airport screening.

Then I went off to college here:

Guess where I was?  Let's go Fighting Quakers (guess which college)?  Yeah, I didn't know either until I already donned my red and blue.  Let's go Flyers! Let's go Eagles!  Let's go get a cheese steak!

Where I studied nursing (wearing all white of course, including my ever-so fashionable squeaky white, lace-up shoes) and dressed like this when not in the hospital clinicals:

Do you notice a theme?
This time I added facial piercings and a few tattoos
No, you do not get to see my tattoos.

Eventually, I wondered off to here:

This one is difficult.  Portland, Oregon

And dressed like this:

And worked night shift in a PICU and became involved with the under ground heavy metal band scene.  I made a great roady, especially after I changed out of my Hello Kitty and Teddy Bear scrubs!  

Evilness in the form of a not-so-nice-ex stalked me and I ended back on the East coast to escape his evil clutches in:

The Armpit of America

courtesy of :

Oh wait, I mean New Jersey.  Camden County to be exact.  I dare you to look up the crime statistics.  Again, my poor poor parents.  Where I studied more nursing, worked at CHOP (goodness, what a horrible acronym for a pedi hospital!) and dressed as a respectable adult and lost the eyebrow ring:

BONDAGE PANTS!  Oh I miss these bad boys.  Comfy, but not practical at all.  The zippers got caught on everything! (I have a story involving my wicked bondage pants the PATCO subway turn still.  Let's just say it is imperative to be careful with all of those "suspenders" and zippers)

Then this joyful event occurred:

Gorgeous, right?  Tall, blonde, blue eyed AND she is nice.
It was at their wedding that I met my hot and sexy Drew.

There is a soap opera here but to make it a long story short--Canadian-Texan boy meets Jersey girl at St. Louis wedding.  Texan boy thinks Jersey girl is hot (humor me here).  Texan boy says only 4 sentences to "shy" girl.  One year later, girl visits friend in Texas and reunites with boy.  Girl pursues boy, ignoring all possible signs of "he's just not that into you".  Now boy will not leave girl alone. Boy gleefully stalks girl by visiting her in Philly/Jersey every few weeks.  Girl moves to . . . 

You would never guess where I live from this pic.  It was a fluke.  I was fooled!  I actually live in the desert.  As I write this it is 70 degrees. . . in February.  

Which led to a honking, large, double cab, crew max Tundra which was both designed and made in the great Country state of Texas because bigger is indeed better.  Who on earth owns a dinky little sedan or compact car out here?  You can't see a thing between all these trucks!

I promptly traded in my little compact Corolla for this monster truck.
Do you know how hard it was to climb into this bad boy with a wedding dress (and flip flops) on???

Serving BBQ at my wedding because ribs, brisket, and creamed corn are so romantic, clean, traditional, tasty!  

Eventually this she rocketed into our lives--our born and made in Texas baby where BBQ "sause" is mother's milk and ribs serve as teething rings.

After six years of living here, I now have these (and good extra 25 pounds thanks to the delicious Mexican food and BBQ food, and driving everywhere [did you know they have parking lots here?], oh and growing a baby back in 2009):

Of course I had to get red. . . with little metal studs.

There you have it.  I has taken me 32 years, but I am fully Texi-fied, ya'all!

Besides, all that eye liner would have melted off and I would have cook to death in those combat boots and bondage pants!

Looks like Bear needs her own boots.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy February-Fun Photo Flashback

My Baby!  Bear was only 5 months old-Feb 2010
(That's my mama in the pic ;-)

Little Miss Sassy!  Her personality was shining through in full force--Feb. 2011
(yeah, those glasses/tiara/heart headband stayed on for 5 seconds)

Still spunky! (yes, she is bare foot and wearing short sleeves.  This is Texas.)--Feb. 2012

Hmmm, I do wonder if Bear will stay still long enough for photos this year?

Happy February!


A mask for kids with Down syndrome

Do you hear crickets?  Yes, we are here!  We are alive!  We are safe and healthy!  We haven't been inside a restaurant or store since m...