Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from the Cutest Witch in Town!

Pin It

from the

who turns out to be a real girly girl:

But don't try to put the matching hat on!

She loves to put on a hat fight!

So it was time for some distraction:

in the form of a coupon binder...

So finally, a picture of the witch wearing her hat...
or what is left of her hat.

Happy Halloween!

And this marks the last day of the "31-for-21" challenge!
I did it :) I blogged every day this month to raise awareness for Down syndrome!
A big thank you to my faithful readers!

Pin It

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Two random conversations

Pin It

A couple weeks ago I had two conversations, one day apart.

Both of them different, but both very encouraging for me regarding the future of our little girl.

The first one was in the grocery store. I was in the checkout line behind a lady who had a little boy in the seat of her shopping cart. 
It took me about 2 seconds to realize he had Down syndrome. So I had decided to pick that line. 
Our cashier was slow, so I started a conversation. It turned out she was the grandma, and it was fun to talk to her. 
I noticed how she spoke Spanish to the little boy, so I wondered if he was bilingual. And sure enough, her daughter is from Costa Rica and she speaks both English and Spanish with him, and he understands both! 

Our oldest two daughters are bilingual (English and Dutch), so it has been our plan to teach our youngest two languages, too. 
Three even if you count sign language. I have learned that there are different opinions on that subject, 
but I have found examples of people with Down syndrome who speak 2 or even more languages. 
One thing we know for sure, if we don't try it, she for sure won't be bilingual.
So it was good for me to hear from someone else who is doing the same thing!

The day after that I was in the library with my 3 girls.
I noticed a girl, about 12 years old, sitting at a table with a girl in her early twenties. 
They were playing an educational card game. The younger girl had Down syndrome. 
I was kind of curious, but didn't want to interrupt them. So we picked our books, and the girls wanted to play at the computers, so I let them. Then I saw a third girl running over to the table. She was about the same age as the younger girl, and she hugged her. She did some small talk, and then I heard her say something like: "What you said today to X wasn't so nice, I think you hurt her feelings. I think it's better when you don't do that again." I was pleasantly surprised by the way she handled this situation, and how she kindly tried to teach her what was right and what wasn't. 

By that time I was really curious how all these girls knew each other, so I just couldn't help myself and casually walked past and let my little girl wave at them. That always seems to break the ice, and we started talking. It turned out that the older girl was hired to work with the girl with Down syndrome after school to teach her whatever she needed extra help with. I had kind of figured that out just watching them. The younger girl was a in the same school as the girl with Down syndrome, and she knew her. 

To me it was really heartwarming to realize this was a schoolmate, who was really nice and caring. 
Sometimes I can't help but wonder what the future holds for our little one, and witnessing this was just what I needed.

"31-for-21" Challenge - Day 30

Pin It

Monday, October 29, 2012

Laundry Schedule - Funny quote on canvas

Pin It

When I saw this quote somewhere online,
I knew it belonged in my laundry room.

It sounded SO familiar.

With 5 laundry producing people in our household,
doing laundry is one of these never-ending tasks.

It would maybe be better if I could just finish the job in one day,
but somehow, that never happens.

I really live up to this quote.

(I also line dry a lot of stuff, which then hangs in the laundry room,
and that sort of turns it into an extra closet where I go to get clean clothes, 
often till the next time when I need space to hang stuff to dry...
But how do you put that in the quote? :)  )

Initially, I created the following canvas:

I just painted the canvas,
cut the text out of Vinyl, using my Sihouette Cameo,
and put the letters on there.

I used non-permanent vinyl,
and that was no good idea.

In the damp environment of our utility room,
the letters started to come off after a while.

Since I wasn't too thrilled with the sign the way it was, anyway,
I decided to give it another try.

I peeled the letters off, and cut the text out of contact paper this time.

I put the letters on there, and then painted all over it with grey paint.

After the grey paint had dried,
I stamped some swirls on it with red and aqua paint.

And then I pealed off the contact paper letters,
to reveal the text again.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the process.
This was one of these spur of the moment crafts,
 that I decided to do late at night when the kids were in bed.


I am still blogging daily this month to raise awareness for Down syndrome.
Want to know why? Click the tab "Down syndrome resources" on the top of this page.

"31-for-21" challenge - Day 29

Shared at Sugar Bee Crafts.

Pin It

Friday, October 26, 2012

If you just found out your baby has Down syndrome...

Pin It

Since I have noticed people coming to this blog looking for answers to questions about Down syndrome, 
I thought I would write some things that could be helpful during this stressful time. 
I know this won't apply for the majority of the readers of my blog, 
but maybe someone out there could feel a little better after reading this some day...

I'm not claiming to know everything about Down syndrome, and I know that not every situation is the same, 
but there are a few things I wish we would have known on that day we learned that the baby we were expecting had Down syndrome. 

Our daughter - six months 

So if I could go back to the days right after our unborn baby girl was diagnosed with Down syndrome, 
and tell myself a few things, it would be this:

Don't feel quilty that you're sad!
Whether you received the diagnosis before or after the birth of your baby, it is only natural to be sad. You had certain dreams and expectations, and you are worried that you have to adjust your expectations. You may feel like you suffered a loss; like you're mourning the loss of the baby you thought or hoped you would have. Mourning takes time, but it will get better!!!

Be careful where you get your information
Don't do random searches online to educate yourself! Don't get books from the library that are more than 5 years old. Things don't stay the same, and there is a lot of outdated information.
Therapies are continually improving, and Early Intervention programs can help your child to reach their fullest potential. In the last 30 (!) years, the life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has gone up from 25 to 60!
If you want to start your online search somewhere, is objective and useful.

Find local resources
There is a lot of help available for families with children with Down syndrome.
On this page you can find a lot of North American Down syndrome organizations, while this page has links to organizations worldwide.

Talk to other families with children with Down syndrome
The most important moment for me during my pregnancy that changed my outlook on the diagnosis of our baby girl, was the moment that someone let me hold a newborn with Down syndrome. That was SO comforting, realizing I was just holding a baby, and realizing it was not as different as I had thought.
Also, watching other families interact with their little ones with Ds, showed me that they were all 'normal' families, enjoying life like anyone else. When we went to our first playgroup for toddlers with Down syndrome I expected a bunch of sad people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Also, it was really good for us to get to know people to whom we could ask practical questions. Everyone has been extremely helpful so far!

You're having a baby, not a diagnosis
Don't forget that you're having a baby. Just like any other baby, he or she will need food, diapers, and most of all, love. Try to think of your baby as a baby, and not as a diagnosis.
And, although your baby will most likely have some features that are common to kids with Down syndrome, like the almond shaped eyes, he or she also has your genes, and may show family resemblance.

8 months old

Quite a few people who have someone with Down syndrome in their family go on to adopt a child with Down syndrome
Did you know that there are a lot of people that adopt children with Down syndrome? In fact: there are even waiting lists for such adoptions. And even more important: there are quite a few families who already have a child with Down syndrome, and decide to adopt a child with Down syndrome. If it is really hard to have a child with Down syndrome, why would you adopt another child with Down syndrome?
I personally ADORE the following blog: Confessions of the chromosomally enhanced 
The writer of the blog is a mom of two little girls. Her older sister has Down syndrome. She and her husband decided to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome. Simply the fact that someone with first hand experience with Down syndrome CHOOSES to have a child with Down syndrome herself, is SO encouraging. 

Our life stayed 'normal' -whatever that is
I thought that our lives would change forever. And not in a good way. Well, guess what? Our life is still quite similar to what it used to be. There are no things we haven't done because our child has Down syndrome. Sure, we didn't do things with her that we wouldn't do with any other newborn, but other than that? 
The biggest change is a good one! We have our third daughter, who we adore, just like her big sisters. We have met some great people during this journey. Granted, she does have therapy and some extra doctors visits, but she is SO worth it :)

11 months old

Pin It

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reece's Rainbow

Pin It

Angels on their way...

Pin It

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

May I introduce you to

Pin It











These little cuties have a couple things in common:

They all have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, also called Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome.

And, they are all desperately waiting for a family that will love them.
That's right: these kids all don't have parents to love them.
They were born in countries where children with Down syndrome are not worth much,
and often 'given away' to orphanages at birth.

I can barely look at these pictures, because these faces remind me so much of our own little girl.

And there are many, many more children in the same situation!

Fortunately, there is some hope for these children:

There are families out there who want to welcome them in their hearts and homes!

But, these international adoptions are very expensive.

To help families who want to adopt an orphan with Down syndrome or other special needs,
Reece's Rainbow collects money for individual orphans. That money goes into a grant for a specific child, and can be used by parents who commit to adopting that child to help cover the costs for the adoption. That way, families who would not able to adopt simply because they could never afford that, are enabled to adopt! 

So, if you would want to help, there are different ways:

I have met a family who has adopted a little boy with Down syndrome,
and just recently met a mom who is waiting for her little girl with Down syndrome to come to the USA. These people are amazing!

And they're not the only ones...

This family and also this family went on to adopt a girl with Down syndrome, after they had a daughter with Down syndrome. This family has been waiting for a long time for their little boy Davis to come home. Davis has Down syndrome, and he will have a big brother with Down syndrome, too, in his new family. And there are many more families like it.

In closing, I would just like to quote the mission statement of Reece's Rainbow:

"The mission of Reece's Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children."

(All pictures used in this post are Copyright © Reece's Rainbow)

"31-for-21" Challenge - Day 24

Pin It

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More alike than different - part 3

Pin It

Have you ever tried to take some cute pictures of a little model who somehow turns into an escape artist?

Or one that gets suddenly distracted and refuses to look at the camera?

Well, I tried... and see what we got:

Mom, what are we doing?

Hmmm, what's that thing?

Oh, there is another one!

Let's check it out!

That's funny! So you think putting me away further from that thing is going to help?!

I'll just turn around...

...and go right back!

Ha! Now you put me on my tummy to keep me where I am at...

Did you forget I can roll?

Just give me a moment...

...and I am out of here!

At this point I just gave up...

Yes, they really are more alike than different!
This is the third day where I write about something that shows why my little girl who has Down syndrome reminds me so much of her two older sisters, who don't have Ds.

I just love to see her personality, and even though she is pretty stubborn when she has her own ideas, we like to see what all she can do. 

"31-for-21" Challenge - Day 23
Blogging every day this month to raise awareness for Down syndrome.

Pin It