July 28, 2010

Cooking with Nan IV

Here's Chef Hannah, making her first ever meatballs!  

She is a "pastatarian", so good meatballs are a nice accessory for her vermicelli.   Unfortunately, when my computer died, I lost my favorite meatball recipe, so this new recipe was an experiment.    I'm not going to post the recipe because:

1.  It's downstairs and I am not.
2.  It's an okay recipe, but not the best.
3.  I'm leaving for Jordan in less than 2 hours and I probably should streamline this post!

I'm doubtful that I'll be able to post anything while I'm away, so not to worry if I'm radio-silent for the next couple of weeks!  I'm sure I'll have stories to tell when I return!

July 20, 2010

Kristen is free from cancer

Please stop by Kristen's blog and lift up her family as they grieve Kristen's passing.

She is Our Angel.

July 19, 2010

Shane and Wyatt

Have you ever looked at Down Syndrome Blogs on Facebook? That's where I met Eric Waksmunski. He is a new dad to twin boys. The boys were premature, and are fraternal--what are the odds of both of them having Down syndrome?

Shane and Wyatt have been through a lot--struggling with digestion and feeding problems, surgeries, growing.  Their parents have been doing their own growing.  They have quickly learned to be advocates for their sons.  And now they have opened their lives to a local Pennsylvania newspaper.  You can follow along with the series of articles by clicking on the Down Syndrome box at the Times News.  Brian Skotko is consulting to the series as well!

You can also follow and support them on Facebook at "Shane and Wyatt's Journey with Down Syndrome"

July 16, 2010

Right on Target

This evening Hannah and I had a date to go to our local Down Syndrome Association meeting.   The menfolk had other plans, so Hannah and I decided to go run some errands at Target before we headed into town for the meeting.

We had a short shopping list--just a few "unmentionables" for a growing and developing girl, and I wanted to look at the iPod Nanos.  Kate suggested that I bring music/ear buds to keep myself occupied on long bus rides in Jordan.  I also have a total of 29 hours of layovers on this trip and I'm not bringing my laptop.   I'm not an ear bud person in general.   I use them when I work out, but they bother me.    I have been fussing around with James' old iPod Shuffle, but I don't think it has enough space to keep me occupied with podcasts and entertainment for my layovers and incidentals (I could listen to This American Life forever).  I need to make a decision.

Anyhow, I wanted to look at what my options were, just in case I decided to splurge.

We picked up the items on our list (plus a bunch of other irresistible items that happen to jump into our cart while browsing--it happens to everyone at Target, yes?).   Then we walked over to Electronics.   Hannah asked, "What are electronics?"   So I as we walked that direction I explained what they were.   She wanted to stop and see the art aisle and the toy section.   Nope, no time for that.  We'd miss dinner at the meeting if we stopped to play.   So on we went.

I have gradually been giving Hannah more freedom in stores.  I can be in a different aisle while she's picking up something we need from our list.   Or I can be two aisles away while she's looking at the Color Wonder sets. I can leave her in the checkout line while I scramble to pick up the bread I forgot on the grocery list.  If I'm not back in time for our turn, she will start to load the groceries on the conveyor belt.  She is capable enough to rank some independence while shopping.  

So there I was in the iPod aisle, and Hannah in the adjacent Wii game aisle.    I heard her say something, and I replied that I was in the next row.  She didn't reply.  So I finished up my browsing and went to see what she had found.   But she wasn't there.

I looked around the area a bit, but didn't see her.   I asked the teen-aged Electronics worker if he had seen her.  Nope.

I wasn't all that worried.  I wandered around, thinking that she had probably illicitly migrated across the aisle to the DVDs.   Teen-aged worker asked if I wanted to page her.  Not quite yet.  After I walked down to the empty art aisle, I had him page her.  "Attention Target Guests, will Hannah L. please come to Electronics."

I wasn't so sure she'd know how to find her way back to the Electronics department, but I thought I'd give her a shot at it.  I didn't know if she'd even listen to the PA.

After another couple of minutes I told him I was going to go the front end, and he should keep her there if she showed up.  Total time missing=12 minutes.

I was halfway to the cash registers when I heard,   "Attention Target Guests, will Beth L. please come to the front end."

It made me smile.  

My girl did it.

She did exactly what I taught her to do--even without ever practicing.

Of course, I wasn't happy that she didn't listen and wandered away.   But I was really proud that she made the decision to go to the front end and tell a cashier that "I can't find my Mom."    She could speak clearly enough that she could tell them my first and last name.  She was composed.  And she was waiting for me.  She had solved the problem.  She perfectly hit the target.

The first thing I did was hug her and tell her what a good job she did. She started to melt down a little, after being so brave.  So I saved the other part of the lecture until we were out the door.

I have always told my young children that if they had a problem they should always ask a Mom.  If they can't find a store worker, they should find a Mom, and ask them to help.  I also teach them that adults do not ask children to help them.  Children do not help random adults.  I don't go over these rules frequently; I want my children to be safe, but I don't want them to be afraid.  I want them to be confident, and have enough knowledge to make good decisions.

Today was a good experience.  I didn't freak out (go me!), and Hannah didn't freak out (go Nan!).  It worked out. Yes, I was imagining having to look through every security video they had, but I knew that, really, she was going to solve the problem she created.   And I'm so proud of her.

July 12, 2010

The Drought is Ending

Yep, my friends, I'm back. Again. Once again I offer apologies for leaving you in the lurch. I am glad you are patient (at least, most of you are!).  Summer has taken over my sensibilities and my schedule.  All is well here in Richmond, VA.  This evening we are having a much needed thunderstorm.  It's quite parched here.  My good friend Grace has started to call her garden a Darwin garden--only the fittest are surviving.  My garden is similar, though I believe that the Japanese beetles are reigning victorious over my basil and raspberries.

In the past weeks we've had cousins visiting.  Can you believe this cuteness?

We've also had a little glitz in our lives...
James celebrated his birthday in style with a fancy schmancy dinner out with wonderful friends!  Look at that personalized license plate....they were only slightly off with his age.

Hannah had her first backyard tent sleepover last week!  The girls had a great time "camping".  Hannah's hit the blueberry farm twice so far, the local state park (they have a nice waterpark/ sprayground!), the lake, the neighborhood pool, a cooking class with the teens of our local Ds group (technically Hannah would be in middle school, so that's why she gets to tag along), and is attempting to grow out her bangs (a long and torturous process for me to witness).

Care for some stomach-intestine pancakes?  Hannah thought this was very funny!

My computer crashed two weeks ago, so I am limping along without all my tried and true comforting address books, bookmarks and photo albums.  I like my new ASUS that Chris chose for me (Yay!  A battery that lasts more than 12 minutes!), but it's going to take me a while to get everything set up.

Time isn't on my side--I'm leaving for Jordan in two weeks!  That is crazy!  I am really looking forward to it--I want to see what adventure Kate has been living.  I'm just starting to make my packing lists...procrastination is one of my best talents!


Kate has been having a good summer.  School is out, so she had a stint as a camp counselor in a "resort" town on the Red Sea.  All the other counselors were from the Peace Corps, so she had lots of "American" time.   She was able to attend the Embassy's 4th of July party--dressed American style!

I can't wait to see her!

I am arranging Hannah's schedule when I'm gone. There shouldn't be much shuffling around. Chris is working at a local hospital, but will be taking off some days to hold down the fort here. Hannah has some playdates arranged as well.  One of the weeks I'm gone Hannah will be staying with the Saundersgang (who are now in Orlando at the NDSS conference--envious!).  She'll have a great time!