Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Waaaaay off track now!

Posting went out the window this past week! My mother was in town, as previously mentioned, and there were a few days where I didn't even turn the computer on. We had a wonderful visit, and hopefully will be seeing each other again in June when Meredith gets married!
So, how to get back on track? 
I was so encouraged this afternoon. My three oldest sons had their last soccer game of the season. One of the other team's family has a darling little girl who has Down Syndrome. She's nine now..... I haven't seen her in at least two years. She was talking a mile a minute, clear as a bell, absolutely adorable! I got to speak briefly to her mother and found out that she wasn't talking at the age of three either! She said it was a couple of years later and then she just got going! She also babbled non-stop, just like Samuel does now. I'm praying the same for Samuel, in his own time! He seems to always have so much to say to us, just in his own language! And if he gets a chance to get in front of a mirror for any length of time he has looooong, loud conversations with himself. 
Time to get to bed...... lots to do tomorrow.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Well, so much for not missing another day. I had car problems late last night, and didn't even think about doing this. 
I got to spend some one-on-one alone time with my favorite three-year-old today. Most of the family was at the livestock auction this afternoon, including six-year-old Braedan (thanks, Shelbi) so it was just Samuel and I. He's really good company. Until he passed out. Then it was just me for a little bit. Confession time........ I LIKED it! I've always been a need my own space from time to time kind of person. And my own space can be hard to find in a large family. Hence staying up too late at night, then being miserable in the morning. But it was just me (and about 100 chores that needed to be done) and I could walk without bumping into or tripping over someone, or have someone ask me questions when my head is stuck in my washing machine (I have a front loader and often have to lean in and get the last bits of laundry out), or shoes to be tied or someone else's agenda that needs to come first. Of course, I was glad when everyone got home (Okay, okay, I could have used another hour or so!). And now they're mostly in bed and I'm finishing some odds and ends. 
My mother is flying in tomorrow night! I am so excited for her visit. Hoping the youngest are on their best behavior, of course. And very curious to see what she thinks about Sam. That's another thing that I handle differently because of Sam's ds - I watch people's reactions to him much more closely. I don't think I mind when they notice delays, or the "down's" facial characteristics, and so on. What I mind is when they seem to feel sorry for me. There is NOTHING here to feel sorry about........ in fact..... everyone else should feel a little let down that they don't have the cutie pie that I do! But we share.... as long as we get him back!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dirty Laundry

No, seriously, I've got a boatload of dirty laundry, the sort it out, haul it to the washing machine in the basement, load it up and get the machine going, switch it over, take it out, fold it..... and then, ideally, put it away type. And some of it's pretty gross. The kids washed sheep today, then got them to the fairgrounds, did all the maintenance type stuff and had their show. It rained most of the day, so there's mud, sweat, grease from the lambs, and stuff that looks like mud, but, well, I'm pretty sure isn't! Most of the older ones do their own laundry, I just try to oversee the boys on these types of loads, and consolidate some of them. 
I spent the day here with just the two younger boys. Samuel had therapy this morning. He really is beginning to use more word approximations and doing it deliberately. He also colored for a bit, and I realize I'm not having him do some of the typical toddler things. Not because I don't think he can, but because I've been too lazy! So if I want Samuel to succeed at things which may be a little harder for him..... what kind of example am I setting? What kinds of opportunities am I allowing him? To be honest, today I had projects I wanted to work on by myself, and with no older children to occupy him... I let him and Braedan plop down in front of the television for most of the day. Not quite mother of the year material! Even this post is lame tonight. I am aware of this. I will attempt to do better on all counts tomorrow. But I have posted, I have folded laundry, I am ready to throw another load in, there are all kinds of plans in my head for tomorrow - hopefully there will be bodies to help me accomplish those!
Good night.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

After a few days of beautiful, sunny autumn weather, we're back to rain again. With accompanying thunder and lightning.

Tomorrow is an abbreviated version of our postponed fair. The boys have 4H lambs to clean, haul down, weigh in, and then show. It's not been one of our better years for raising lambs. So we're making a few adjustments as we get ready to breed for last year's flock. A new Suffolk ram was purchased, as our old one passed away a few weeks ago. It would be time for new stock anyway, to keep from too much inbreeding. So we got one with good lines, who has already produced quality offspring. We also raise Katahdin sheep, a hair breed that doesn't require shearing. Yesterday, that ram was found in the pen with the ewes. He was moved out quickly, we don't want him breeding with the Suffolk ewes. We're looking to produce a certain quality of animal, not a cross breed. And we don't want to keep animals that aren't producing well. The breeding is done with the purpose of having a certain outcome.... a "normal" outcome, if you will.

It seems to me that that's what a lot of people would like to do nowadays. Not breed quality sheep (!) but do everything they can to have quality or "normal" offspring. Please understand, I ate reasonably healthy during all my pregnancies, saw my doctor, even managed my gestational diabetes on several pregnancies. I, of course, wanted to have healthy babies. No one wants to have a child who has a painful or life threatening condition. But I'm talking about people who want to make sure that they don't end up with a child who has a problem, who is different, who is, well, like Samuel. So there's been a lot of focus on non-invasive testing to determine if a child has that extra 21st chromosome. I don't think it's terrible to want to know, I just have concerns about WHY a lot of people want to know. Being aware of Down Syndrome in utero would help parents and doctors look for some of the attending physical problems the baby could have, and prepare them to deal with them when the baby is born. If only that were always the case. I look at the beautiful boy that I have, who is more "normal" than not (which in my family is really something!), and can't imagine why he shouldn't have
been born.

Fearfully and WONDERFULLY made!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sitting Here Staring at the Computer and trying to come up with something.....

light and quick. I have a draft on Truth that I started but put away for later because it needs more thought and prayer, and I have to get off of this machine and get some work done!
Well, how about some of the things I wonder about?

Will Samuel ever start using real words, ones that other people can understand?
Will I baby him too much as he gets older, letting him get away with things because, well, you know...?
Will he ever live independently?
What about college?
How far can he go?
Do I focus so much on him that I sometimes neglect the others?
What do other people think about Samuel?
What will they think about him when the little boy "cute" wears off?
Does he get enough to eat? (he can be picky)
Should he be sent to preschool? (none of the others were, I'm not comfortable sending my young children to spend a good portion of the day with someone else)
Will he rebel as a teen?
What does he understand about our prayer time? (he fold his hand, whispers soft s sound, then says Ma Ma, Ma Ma for amen)

These are just a few of the questions. But then, I guess we have questions about all of our children. And we don't need all the answers. God knows. We just have to trust and obey.

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.
    • Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
      To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
  2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
    But His smile quickly drives it away;
    Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
    Can abide while we trust and obey.
  3. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
    But our toil He doth richly repay;
    Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
    But is blessed if we trust and obey.
  4. But we never can prove the delights of His love
    Until all on the altar we lay;
    For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
    Are for them who will trust and obey.
  5. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
    Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
    What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
    Never fear, only trust and obey.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haiku and other rhymes - or not

My tongue seems to be tied tonight. I've got so many things on my mind and on my to-do list that I can't seem to focus. So I let it wander and remembered some poetry I wrote two years ago on a beautiful autumn day with some other homeschool friends, one of which is about my sweet boy. So.... I thought I'd make my online poetic debut and offer these up, hopefully clearing one thing off my mind and then will be in better focus tomorrow.
So..... ahem........

some haiku, Japanese poetry consisting of three lines with 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

Large leaf tumbling down 
Red and gold shout season's change
I need a sweater

Rebel Eats
Doughnut in the fire
A hot dog rests beside it
When good food goes bad

Marshmallow, cracker
Chocolate and a good fire
Do you want some more?

round-cheeked sweet baby
with an extra chromosome
Scrumptious Sam I Am

Well, this is about as much as I have tonight. I'm going to try to get to bed before two. Sam went to bed pretty late and was doing some little coughing, gaggy thing that makes me think I'll be sitting up checking on him. Funny, for as normally  as I try to think I treat him, that extra chromosome is always lurking in the back of my mind, influencing my thoughts, my actions, my fears. Read any literature about people with Down Syndrome and it won't be long before a list of "possibilities" pops up. Heart problems, hearing and vision problems, digestive difficulties, and worse. Samuel has been blessed with such excellent health so far. I keep waiting, unconsciously usually, for something to happen. I read about it on other blogs, families whose children have had serious health issues. It could be us someday. Hmmm, someday, maybe I need to reread yesterday's post. And be watchful, but still choose joy.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.      1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, October 10, 2011

THIS is the day that the Lord hath made

I don't have tomorrow yet, and may not.
Yesterday can only be lived over in my memory.
The Lord has given me this day only, and He will provide everything I need to live it the way He desires. And I never do take enough of what He has to offer. Actually, I never could take enough. Enough love, enough patience, enough gentleness, enough strength, enough wisdom. It's all there for me to ask for, and I do ask, well, sort of. I usually want thin
gs to be on my own terms, and that generally means I want things to change to suit me, not to see change in me that will glorify God. And so I think about how things MIGHT be tomorrow, if I'm in a better mood (or if maybe the people around me are easier to get along with!) or if I could just have done something differently yesterday. You know, that 20/20 hindsight vision! Sometimes I ask God why He didn't help me not to mess up after I already have. And when I drop my pride, and humbly seek His wisdom, I can see how I ignored what He would have had me do, the opportunity I didn't take (often the opportunity of being silent instead of opening my mouth!) even though He was there, ready to lead me. If only I'd have been humble enough to follow. And yet He keeps on loving me. Steadfast love. Unfailing love. It's all there.

And yet I always feel that I want something more. What more is there than God?

What is it that I could ask for that would be better than the slightest gift He offers?

So, what does this have to do with Down Syndrome? Nothing, really. Just what's on my heart. But it does make me think of Sam. He has no hesitation coming to me for things that he wants, in full expectation that I'll give it to him. (although that perception is gradually changing as the little guy is wanting things he should have and hearing the word "No" much more frequently!) But if he wants a drink, he heads over to me and signs "milk," looking up at me with every confidence that I will head to the refrigerator and pour him some. And I usually will. And when he wants up he marches over with both arms outstretched, not doubting that I - or his daddy, or pretty much any sibling in the room - are going to scoop him up and enjoy that huge hug he gives. You can see it in his face when he looks at us. He is confident that we all love

him to pieces. What does the Lord see when I finally choose to turn my face toward Him? Is it a confidence that my Father loves me, and that that love does not depend on what I've done, but merely the fact that I am His? His Word tells me that He loves me. And He has never failed me. And He never will.

His gifts are uncountable. Sam is one of them! But there are so m

any others. And I need to remember them.

He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29

For the LORD God is a sun and
shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding Proverbs 2:6

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

The Doodlebug and Dayton carving pumpkins!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Okay, I missed yesterday. I went to bed early with a headache. Tonight I actually turned off the computer and then remembered and turned it back on to post.
Maybe I need to post and think about time management and list making!
A normal Sunday here. Church in the am, then lunch, some light housework, then out in the garden. Picked probably the last of my peppers. Some to freeze and some for pepper jelly. Samuel loves peppers. And most other raw veggies. I was making salad for lunch, and heard some crunching behind me and turned to see him with a whole cucumber (pickling size) in his hand.... well, not a whole cucumber, he had taken a few bites out of it!!
He helped Meredith and Dayton carve pumpkins tonight! She took some photos I'll try posting tomorrow.
Now, off to bed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 7

Okay, still keeping at this! I almost forgot tonight.

I'm still waiting until late and then posting something quick. So tonight I'm going to try and post a few ideas for upcoming posts and see if that's a help.

Obedience - am I easier on Samuel than I was on the other children?

Be Thou My Vision - actually a post I started on some time ago and have a different slant on now.

Scheduling and constancy - I am very, very weak in this area and I think Samuel needs me to be better.

Peace - during turbulent times, not just during the quiet.

21 Things about Sam - maybe I'll save that for the 21st of October!

Samuel's birth story - no, we didn't know.

Samuel's "position" in our family - especially with his siblings.

So, there are some ideas. If any of you have anything else you'd like to see, let me know.

And now, it's time for bed.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, oh Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

Good night.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Mama's coming!!!

I'm so excited! I spoke to my mother today and she is planning a visit in less than two weeks! It's been a while since we've got to see each other. And she's not yet actually met Samuel. I'm really looking forward to getting to spend some time together. We should still have some lovely fall foliage to show off, and hopefully a little of the area culture! Now, to get the house a little more put together and get a little ahead on school so that we can relax and enjoy her visit.

Now that the weather is turning cooler (although we are expecting higher temps over the weekend and into the next week) I'm trying to figure how to get Samuel to keep his clothes on. He really prefers to run around in next to nothing! Although he's starting to get into the dress up deal like some of his older brothers! I'm making him some pieces for Christmas - a cape, a crown (after all, he KNOWS he's king!), and some other pieces. I ordered him his first Veggie DVD today! It's fun to see him following in his brother's steps! He definitely loves Legos!

Tomorrow is therapy. Hopefully he'll be in a cooperative mood. Usually he is. And right now I need to get him to bed so that he's up bright and early and in a good mood!

Good night.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Not much ........ just some random Hammy.... I mean Sammy shots!!!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I've got to stop waiting till late at night to post!!

It's 10:40 p.m. and Samuel just dropped off to sleep. I let him have an overlong nap today.... need to stop doing that! He still seems to need one, but an abbreviated version!

Tomorrow, we're supposed to experience something we've had very little of lately - a sunny day! I already have my first couple of loads of laundry sorted, ready to wash and hang out on the line. Hopefully some of the mud will start drying up, too.

I'm hoping to start implement regular table time with Sam during our school hours tomorrow. Just 15 minutes or so of daily, regular work with him. He does fairly well during his therapy times, but that's once a week right now. I'm ready to try more preschool work with him and require more out of him. He's growing up so quickly! Hopefully, he'll be ready for phonics and that may help with his speech.

I'm just about ready to join Sam and get to sleep.
Good night.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick late night post

Okey dokey.... this will obviously be just a token post to get one in
for the day.
But I do have a photo! Sam was in the paper today and here it is:

And here's the link to the article it accompanied:

So there...... a quick post, BUT a cute photo. And the realization that I need to do something with my hair!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


It was wet. It was muddy. It was chilly. It was a blast!!!! And there are NO photos!!!! My camera, as previously mentioned, is missing the memory card, and Miss M -usually very reliable in the camera department - forgot hers, but we had a great time. And I need to check to Times Leader paper tomorrow, because a photographer got a shot of Sam and me (no makeup, undone, damp hair - me, not Sam!) and took our names and said to check the paper! We were Team Sam-I-Am, and are considering becoming Team Pork Chop for next year. (M's favorite name for Samuel) There were 6 of my children, a girlfriend, and four family friends with us, giggling in the wet. Sam led us on with cries of "ready, set, GOOOOOO", well, the "set, GOOOOOO" part at least, we're still working on the ready.
It's really....... I'm not sure what word I'm looking for...... maybe comforting? exciting? to be around so many other families who have been blessed with a loved one with DS. Guess what? I have to say that we all looked pretty normal! And fairly happy! I know that we in particular have been very blessed in the fact that Sam has been SO healthy thus far, and his development in many areas has been generally average (except for speech.......... still working very hard on that. But he has always been able to get his point across!!!!) But I saw so many smiling faces today, lots of loving, accepting. Maybe the diagnosis of down syndrome to new parents should be offered by families who are already walking that road. There's so much more to someone than a chromosomal (is that a word?!) diagnosis. Samuel is not a "down syndrome child." He is a mischievous three-year-old, with a FANTASTIC smile, a wicked chuckle, more determination than a lot of people I know, a curiosity that keeps me constantly on the watch, a sympathetic spirit who will pat your shoulder and snuggle with a downcast sibling, a book lover, an absolute charmer, a complete ham, he's already a Lego fan, a music lover (his favorite go-to-sleep tune is Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing), and so much more than what little information we were given at his birth. I remember his pediatrician agreeing with our choice to circumcise Samuel and telling us that it was a good idea because he "would always be, you know, like a little baby," and would be able to take care of an uncircumcised little self. Fine motor skills have never been an issue with this little guy. We're working on the potty training, and it's ME not Samuel who's been dragging our feet. Sam usually has one speed: FULL speed!!! He excites me, he makes me laugh, he stuns me with some of what he comes up with..... very much like the other 10 children. And, very much like the other 10 children, he is his own person. With the extra cute chromosome! Fearfully and wonderfully made!! And, I WILL get some photos up..... hopefully tomorrow or so!!

And before I go, Sam knows a sweet little girl named Amber who had to cut short a visit with her grandparents because of health issues. She could use some prayers!! I'm so grateful for a God who hears!!

I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Psalm 116:1

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 to 21

It's October again......Down Syndrome Awareness Month.... so I'm committing to posting 31 times for Trisomy 21 (aka Down Syndrome). The 1st of October, and my first (admittedly VERY brief) post for the month. My memory card is missing from my camera, so I'm not posting any photos of my sweet Samuel; I have company coming over tomorrow and my house is still not ready; and we need to also get ready for the Buddy Walk in Wilkes-Barre tomorrow afternoon..... so..... I'm here and gone very quickly. Hopefully I will get my act together and post more impressively and informatively as the month goes on!
Have a good night all!!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't Blink

Tomorrow afternoon Samuel will have an evaluation by a new teacher. This is all a part of his transition from the "birth to three" group to the "three to five" age group. While I'm still trying to figure out how in the world he got to be almost three already, what really has me thinking about how quickly time flies is that the teacher who will be here tomorrow worked with Nathan starting when HE was three!!! almost 15 years ago! Now, how in the world did THAT happen?

Where did all these little ones go? And to think that there are five who are not even pictured here. I confess, I miss little girls and hair bows! But I am so thankful for the pile of boys we have. And that pile of boys has, I confess, wore me out today! So, this is short, but I am tired and off to bed, or something. So... goodnight.

PS to a certain married daughter - granddaughters would be real nice!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dusting off this old thing and starting again....

Okay, it's really been a while. But I'm still here, and I think it's time to get this thing going again!
I guess one of the things that have made me put off blogging again the question "do I catch up, or just start in the middle of where I am now?" I'm opting for a mixture of both, I guess - mainly life as it is now, with catching up mixed in now and then.
One of the things I'm in the middle of right now is attempting to rid my house (and my life, I guess) of the things that I don't really need. I'm admitting right from the start that the word "need" is not necessarily literal! But we just have soooooo much stuff! And since we are at that in between school year season, now seems to be a good time to dig in. It will be interesting to see what I'm actually willing to part with when push comes to shove! I know that clearing the excess from our home will go a long way to promoting a peaceful atmosphere.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." William Morris "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo do Vinci

And finally,

So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

I guess I might say "whatever you have." If I'm not using it in a way that glorifies Him, I don't need it. And just letting things sit around doesn't usually glorify Him.

On the note of catching up, in the months since I've posted, my father passed away. I'm only beginning to process this. I will be writing about him more as time goes on. I guess for now I can say that his passing has me thinking about what is really important in this life. Maybe that's why I want to get rid of some of what's not so important, so I can focus on the good stuff.
I love you, Dad.