Monday, October 27, 2014

It's the Great Pumpkin, Ellie Bear

Every year, we have typically gone to a pumpkin patch complete with pumpkin painting, corn mazes, and hayrides.  This year, we had great plans to go with Ellie's buddy Jack to the Barton Hills Farm on Columbus Day.  Our plans changed.  Instead of going to the pumpkin patch, we spend Ellie's day off school doing the most excited, fun-filled thing ever--getting blood work and an abdominal ultrasound.  Don't worry, everything turned out okay.  We thought that she might have had a bile duct blockage, but everything looks good!

We decided to make it up to Ellie by going to the local nursery just a few blocks away from us.  They tend to have a nice selection of pumpkins.  When we got to Red Barn, there was no parking.  For blocks.  There was a line to get into the nursery.  As it turns out, we managed to go on their Fall Festival day.  It was crowded.  Note: Andrew and I don't do crowds.  It is our "old" age showing.

Ellie was enthralled with the pumpkins.  So much so that she didn't see the bouncy house. . . with the rather large line.  She wanted to climb into the pumpkin displays and filled her enter bag with pumpkins.

She liked the large pumpkins, but it was the Ellie-sized ones that she really wanted.  I managed to corral her and keep her pumpkin numbers down to four. 

As with our year tradition, we sat outside and painted out pumpkins.  I held one back for later this week to put stickers on it. 

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ellie Bear Fashion Series

Ellie is quite the fashionista.  She has her own sense of style and she rocks it.  Lately, I have had several requests to create a blog post series using my Daily Ellie Bear School Photos that I post on my personal Facebook wall and The Chronicle of Ellie Bellie Bear Facebook page.  So here you all go! I apologize as most of these photos are a bit blurry because Ellie is running and I am using my camera phone.

Yes, she is that excited for school.
Bottom left: that would be Pete The Cat wearing a white headband.

Much to Ellie's disappointment, Elsa did not accompany her on the school bus.
Check out girlfriend's red cowgirl boots!

Oh child.  Ellie was all dressed up for her school picture.  Matching clothes.  Matching hair bows (no headbands!).  Combed hair.  Clean face.  I go to pick her up early from school for therapy and she saunters out with . . . her winter hat!  Something tells me she snuck it into her backpack before hopping on the bus. The good news is: the hat matches her outfit.

A bit about the weather.  We had a few freakish days where it was actually cool in the morning.  Think 50s.  For native Austinites, 50s = freezing.  Whimps!  This is where the long-sleeves and coat come in.  The short sleeves and skirts are because it is usually heating up into the mid-80s/90's.  The winter hat has absolutely nothing to do with the weather as this is just a part of Ellie's style.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Guest Blogger: Faces of Ds

I would like to welcome my dear friend and guest blogger from The Hailey Herald, Michelle!

I love showcasing the beautiful people that play such a large role in our lives.  There were so many that I couldn't possibly overload everyone with that much beauty in one post.  I decided to separate it between local friends and non-local.  I originally was going to call the second group cyber friends, but that's not true.  I have met many of them in real life and a couple of them are friends from my high school.  I am so lucky to know the families of these wonderful individuals.

Abby & Bailey

Abby - 365 Days of Abby

Avery - Life with My Girls

Ben & Faith



Calvin - Ailts Family



Cora - Our Cora Bean

Ellie - My Stubborn Little Miss

Ellie - The Chronicles of Ellie Bellie Bear





Kamdyn - Life is Beautiful



Lexi & Lila

Lily - A Perfect Lily





Moxie - A Little Moxie

Ollie - The House that Jade Built






This post originally appeared on October 16, 2014 on The Hailey Herald . A special thank you to Michelle for writing this blog post and to all of the parents who shared these lovely pictures of their beautiful children.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Many Faces of Down Syndrome

I am really excited about this blog post.  Several parents came together to make this happen and I am so appreciative of them.  All people are unique, wonderful individuals that shouldn't and cannot be defined by their disabilities.  I'll let the children tell the story:

Clara Grace loves to dance.  This girl has some serous moves!
She enjoys playing with her twin sister.

Avery loves going to school, playing softball, and riding a horse!

Owen is a 5 year-old boy who is a sports nut and will watch just about anything with a ball or a puck. He loves his Philadelphia Phillies very much and likes playing basketball with his dad at the YMCA. He enjoys books and is learning sight words. He's a big fan of Qdoba cheese quesadillas and chips too!

Hannah loves dancing, swimming, and gymnastics. 
Not to mention movies--here she is as Merida!

Hailey is the youngest of three.  She loves stealing her big brothers' iPods and the remote control.  She is totally in love with Doc McStuffins, jewelry, chocolate, baby dolls, and Frozen.  She doesn't like asparagus, her brothers' soccer games, or her Dad singing her Doc McStuffins' songs.  She is doing great with her new glasses and loves preschool.  Hailey has made our family complete!

Autumn is a loving, funny, energetic, stubborn, and hot tempered self-proclaimed princess that loves her sisters and French fries. She creates chaos along with fun and love and our family is so blessed to have her! Dinneen and Bonnie, her sisters, absolutely adore her. We just would not be complete without her.

Hannah is a 7 year-old little girl who loves to play outside 
and ride her scooter.

Wyatt loves to run. That is why Miracle League baseball is so fun for Wyatt! He has a blast running to 1st base! He also loves ice cream and enjoys it every night after supper whenever else he can talk someone into getting it for him!

Lily is a sassy first grader who loves school...especially all of her friends there.  Oh...and recess!  At home she loves all things "Frozen" and "Sophia the First".  Lily knows her way around an iPad better than the rest of her family!!  OK...really it's just her Daddy, but he doesn't even know how to turn it on!  Lily LOVES clothes and shoes.  Sound like any other first grade girls you know?!?  Probably!  We don't let Down syndrome dictate our lives.  As a matter of fact, our lives are pretty darn typical...and totally AWESOME.

Claire is a typical almost 5 year-old. She loves Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, playing with her kittens, and her sister, when they're not fighting, of course! She loves preschool and going to church.

When I found out for certain at 22 1/2 weeks pregnant that Brooke had Down Syndrome I was scared to death.  The doctor advised us to terminate and I’m ashamed to say that Eric and I very nearly made that decision.  We already had a 6, 4, and 2 year old and the thought of raising a child with special needs that most definitely needed open heart surgery was more than we thought we could handle.  Only by the grace of God was I directed away from the idea of termination and Brooke was born in January of 2010.  Today Brooke is a spunky, sassy, gorgeous little girl who is loved by not just her siblings and whole family, but most people she comes in contact with.  Brooke is in a VPK class with 15 other typical children who are ridiculously sweet with her and also very protective.  Watching them together makes my heart melt.  Do we have challenges with Brooke? Sure we do…potty training is a struggle, we’re working on speech, and honestly, sometimes I’m nervous for her future and how she’ll be as an adult, but don’t we worry for all of our children?  At the end of the day, Brooke is my daughter and I love her…and that’s all that matters.

Alex is a 21 year old high school graduate living her dream of attending college....six states away from her mother. She has always set goals for herself including participating in the World Special Olympic Games that were held in South Korea in 2013. Alex does not believe in barriers.

Book: From Grief to Celebration, by Margaret (Gary) Bender
*Gary's book is amazing! I highly recommend it.

Our beautiful, red-headed Jenni is a twin!  She enjoys playing with her big brother, Ian.  Jenni loves playing with her baby dolls.  

Ian will be 5 this up-coming January.  He loves sports, cars, animals, and his big brother, Bryson.  He is a fearless kid who loves people and helping others.  Ian would survive happily on a diet of ice cream, popcorn, and tortilla chips if we let him!  He has a few dislikes: other people who stare at him.

Kamdyn loves French fries, Frozen(especially the music), dancing, and her iPad. She enjoys watching Curious George, Henry Hugglemonster, and Sofia the First. She is full of personality, but she is really shy around people that are not family. She is one of 5 siblings, and she loves her family, and we adore her.

Jarrett is 4.5 years-old and LOVES Mickey Mouse!  He also enjoys swinging, sliding, and climbing.  He has a sweet tooth a mile wide and pretty much loves all sweets.  He goes to school and a ball!  Jarrett enjoys horseback riding and looks forward to it every week!

E-V is a beautiful 6 year-old who is in the 1st grade.  She enjoys going to McDonald's to order a cheeseburger, fries, and sprite.  Her favorite shows include Backyardigans and Angelina Ballerina.  E-V love spending time with her friends as well as dancing and listening to music. 

Ruby is a sassy 5 year-old.  She love playing at every park we drive by.  She collects rocks in her pockets and loves to pick flowers and give them as gifts to whoever is around.  Her favorite shoes at Daniel Tiger, Curious George, and Caillou.  Her favorite friend and partner in crime is her little brother, Grady.  Ruby is a sweet and determined little girl who loves to share her smile with everyone she meets.

Benji is 4 years-old. He loves to read books, play soccer with his siblings, and watch Boz! Benji gives the best hugs and is a joy to our family!!

Cora is a wonderful big sister whose smile lights up a room.  
We love her so very much!

Levi loves tortilla chips, playing with his cat, playing hide-n-seek, and climbing to the top bunk. He doesn't like when iPad time ends. Levi loves preschool & his teacher says he is the best listener in the class!

Mary is a student and artist. She enjoys reading. With Mary, 
there are endless possibilities!

Evie is a 6 month- old who loves cereal. She is currently 
trying to master sitting up!

LP loves music, playing in the dirt, and anything with bacon. Lately, he has also discovered the joys of dancing to the Frozen soundtrack after his two big sisters have dressed him up.

Elise will be 12 years-old in just a few weeks!  She enjoys singing and watching movies.  Elise also loves Elsa from the movie Frozen and her puppy, Willow.

*After I had Ellie, this was one of the very first blogs I read about a child with Downsyndrome!

Ian is charming, funny, caring, and full of adventure. He is a little brother, a son, and grandson and he makes us each fall in love with him everyday. Ian loves to play, swim, read books, and his speciality is singing and dancing.

Ellis is a mischievous and spunky 5 year-old.  She enjoys playing with blocks, flashcards, and Barbies as well as coloring.  No piece of paper is safe in our house!  Ellie is ever the fashionista; combining various headbands and bows together and wearing her black boots with every single outfit.  She loves to get into trouble by scaling walls and climbing cabinets.  She loves Sofia the First, The Wiggles, and Mickey Mouse.  She keeps us fully entertained with her antics.
Blog: The Chronicles of Ellie Bellie Bear

In loving memory of Margaret "Peggy" Bruns, my Aunt.

Peggy had a wicked sense of humor that could send us all into tears.  She loved the St. Louis Cardinal's bowling, swimming, and John Denver.  More than anything, she is missed.  A bright, shining light in the Heavens.  

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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...