Buddy Walk!

I intended to have lots of fun photos of our first Buddy Walk to share. It turned out, however, that taking the camera out to shoot photos would have risked water damage. So much for that perfect weather we expected… (Friday and Sunday were 65 and sunny, for the record.)

So the only photos from the day are the cell phone variety and… damp. Which is an accurate representation of the event.

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We did have a few stretches of slightly drier and warmer weather. The event was celebrity-themed, so each person with Down syndrome got a chance to walk a little red carpet, which was surprisingly touching. The walk itself is a short parade around one end of Nashville’s Centennial Park. Cheerleaders were stationed along the path, and we enjoyed seeing the signs with pictures of so many adorable kiddos.

After the walk, we bravely soldiered through a soggy, chilled picnic lunch as temperatures dropped further. (I was the chicken. After scarfing enough food to stave off starvation, I rushed my unjacketed and half-numb self and the baby to the Jeep, where we waited in relative warmth for the real troopers to get everything packed up.) As soon as we got home, we started a fire in the fireplace and made ourselves some hot chocolate.

Even with the less-than-hospitable weather, we had a lot of fun. I want to say a special thank you to my sweet friend Rebecca, her husband Kirk and their brave kids, who hung in through the wet and chill to show their support. We’re already looking forward to next year, when we can put into use some of the fun ideas we got from other families who know how to do a Buddy Walk right.

And I want to say another thank you to every person who donated. Your contributions have gone to a truly deserving organization that does so much for people with Down syndrome in this community. Because of you, Lina’s first Buddy Walk was a definite success.

Goal Met!

Thanks to some very generous people, we have met our Buddy Walk fundraising goal! The walk is tomorrow, and we have raised $1,240 for the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed. Your donation matters to us and to all the families who benefit.

So tomorrow we experience our first Buddy Walk. The weather should be gorgeous, and we are excited. If you would like to join us, there is still time to register online, or you may register at the event tomorrow. (I believe there may be a charge for day-of registration?) And of course, there is still time for donations for anyone who wants to contribute.

Again, thank you to those of you who supported our first fundraising effort for the DSAMT. It means a great deal to us. Looking forward to sharing pictures of the big day!

Snapshots of Corin

Corin spends a lot of time playing with matchbox cars, trains, custom-designed Lego airplanes, Little People buses, bulldozers and monster trucks. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll tell you, “A monster truck driver.” He’s a transportation kind of kid. But lately, he’s also taken to climbing atop the ottoman in the living room and proclaiming loudly, “The God of heaven loves you because he is God. Amen?” He will continue repeating, “Amen?” until he gets a response. Then he’ll move on to a new, similar proclamation, with a new demand for an amen from the congregation. It cracks me up. Lina thinks it’s magnificent.

Jon and I were trying last night to teach Corin about jokes. We were not terribly successful, mostly because neither of us knows many jokes or is very good at telling the two we do know.

Me: Here, Corin, let’s learn a knock-knock joke. Knock, knock. Now you say, “Who’s there?”

Corin: Who’s there? Knock, knock.

Me: No, I say knock, knock. Just say, “Who’s there?”

Corin: Who’s there?

Me: Banana. Knock, knock.

Jon: *Shaking his head* You forgot, “Banana who?”

Me: Oh, right. Let’s try again.

I will spare you the rest of our tortured path to “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” By that point, Corin was understandably lost. He attempted the joke a couple times today and managed to get surprisingly close, considering the mangled teaching process. We tried looking up some jokes online, but the humor clearly flew over his head. When we came to the one about the skunk in the courtroom (“Odor in the court”), Corin just wanted to know whether it was a real skunk. Apparently, jokes are a bit advanced for 3 1/2. Or 34, in my case.

One of the challenges to being a full-time parent is that I don’t get regular performance reviews. No one sits me down and says, “You did a great job this quarter meeting the goals we’d laid out. You went above and beyond on these major projects. Here are your strengths, and here are some areas to work on. You’re a great asset, and we couldn’t do this without you. Oh, and here’s a raise to show you how much we appreciate your hard work.”

To be fair, my husband tells me often what a great wife and mother I am and how much he appreciates what I do for our family. But there are definitely times when it feels like a rather lonely and exhausting slog, with no real goal posts to measure my accomplishments. The laundry is never really finished; no matter how many meals I make, those kids always get hungry again; and nothing ever stays clean for more than a couple hours.

Which makes moments like this one yesterday truly priceless. Corin and I took a trip to Home Depot for some DIY and fall landscaping supplies while daddy stayed home with Lina. As we walked past fragrant stacks of lumber and homeless front doors, he suddenly burst out with, “Mommy? I’m glad you’re my mommy.”

And there it was. The best performance review I’ve ever gotten, in one sentence. No raise necessary.

I smiled and said, “And I’m so, so glad you’re my little boy.” He squeezed my leg hard, and I headed for the pansies and mums, absolutely certain this is the best job there is.


That sweet face – 1 year


Eline at one year:
(Okay, she’s actually almost 13 months, but I’ll be posting these less often now, so it’s close enough!)

  • Gets on all fours and scoots herself forward in an almost-crawl.
  • Can pull to standing in some situations.
  • Enjoys a great variety of babble, seems to say “mama” and “dada” with intent, and listens carefully to anyone who talks to her. We’re working on encouraging imitative vocalization, but we’re not there yet.
  • Loves, loves, loves to eat a huge range of real food. She greatly prefers to feed herself and has less patience for spoon feeding, although she is happy with it for favored foods, like spaghetti or beans. She also loves bread with peanut butter or hummus, cheese, bananas, Cheerios, bits of casseroles or veggie meats, potato, butternut squash and sweet potato. She will also eat most green veggies, although the other foods on her tray are likely to disappear first.
  • Bottles are still a struggle, but she is eating enough calories that her need for liquids has decreased and we have just dropped the last night feeding. She currently takes around 3-5 oz. of formula just before meals and then around 6 oz. at a 9:30 p.m. dream feeding. We have met with a feeding therapist a couple times to help us get started on transitioning to a cup, which is going to take time and practice. The goal is to have her proficient enough to drop the bottle by 18 months.
  • Still takes two naps – shorter in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon – and sleeps 7 – 7:30 p.m. to around 6:30 a.m.
  • Is back to happily tolerating anyone who wants to hold and play with her. She loves to interact and will happily snuggle, but she’s also on the move and wants to explore. She does not sit still unless she is sleeping!
  • Has four teeth – top and bottom front – and a molar half in on the top right. She seems to be working on one or two others.
  • Weighed just under 19 pounds at her one-year doctor’s visit and is wearing a combination of 9 month and 12 month clothes and size 2 shoes.
  • Is scheduled to get a bone-anchored hearing aid next week. Also saw the ophthalmologist recently, who said she is slightly nearsighted and has some astigmatism but does not currently need glasses. (Whew!)
  • Tested at 12 months for fine motor skills and just a slight delay (around 10 months) for visual motor skills at her occupational therapy evaluation. We will be starting therapy twice a month to support continued progress.
  • Has a real thing with pulling hair.
  • Adores Corin and laughs more easily all the time. Loves to be read to. Loves music.

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Wear your Team Lina pride!

The Buddy Walk is fast approaching, and Team Lina T-shirts are now available to anyone who wants them, whether you’ll be walking with us at the event or not. If you do plan to walk with us, order SOON to get them in time!

Adult Ts in snazzy orange

Kid Ts

Toddler Ts

Infant Ts

We’re still raising funds for the big event. We are 42% to our goal of $1,200, with 10 days to go. Many thanks to the very generous souls who have donated so far! Click here if you would like to donate or register to join us at the walk.

Confirmed: The outdoors is still great

Fall means our family develops a serious itch to get outdoors. Our busy schedule makes it difficult to find free weekends to head for the hills, but we committed to it this last weekend. A crazy week meant we left Saturday morning rather than Friday afternoon. (Actually, by the time we returned to the house twice for various forgotten items, it was Saturday afternoon.) Weather forced a longer drive to get ahead of the rain. But we were determined, and so we did, in fact, go camping.

We started with a hike at Rock Island State Park. Corin is a fantastic hiker, and sleepy Lina seemed to enjoy the ride. The views were lovely.










Camping at the state park was completely full, thanks to closed federal and Corps of Engineers parks, but we ended up finding a nearby private campground  (Horseshoe Bend Marina and Campgrounds) with plenty of room.







Corin absolutely loved the entire experience, except, as it turned out, the actual sleeping in the tent. His wailing in the middle of the night about wanting to go to home woke the baby who had previously been sleeping nicely, and it was all downhill from there. I loathe camping in those wee hours, but somehow, it all seems worthwhile again by the time Jon is making pancakes and veggie sausage links on the camp stove. We ate like kings, got packed up just in time for the rain, and enjoyed a truly beautiful drive home.

We made a vow: We won’t wait so long to do it again. These are the memories we want our kids to have in abundance. However busy we get, this is stuff that matters.