Monday, October 17, 2011

Belated Buddy Blogging

It was a beautiful Saturday in October when we gathered together with friends and family to celebrate Down syndrome.

And I love that so many people gather to celebrate that extra chromosome with us. Our team was 20 members strong. And we Whos were all decked out in our red Lexi Lou's Whos gear.

We wear red shirts, and of course, our Seuss-style hats, modeled here by my favorite Who Number Two.

Over 175 teams raised over $150,000 for Down Syndrome Indiana. Amazing.

But before we walk, let's warm up with a little yoga:

Jason and Alexis warmed up with some squats while discussing their walking strategies.
I would have loved to have heard this conversation:

And the walk begins. We walked about 2.5 miles around the canal in downtown Indianapolis.
They had dyed the canal pink for breast cancer awareness. (Did you know that October is also Down syndrome awareness month? It's why we always walk in October.) I'm all for pink. It's a fantastic color. And I fully support pink ribbons and breast cancer research. But I'll admit that I don't know that pink is the best color for the canal. But that's okay.

Almost half of our walkers were, well, shorties.
Our littlest walkers:

We are so grateful to our team. And not only to our team of walkers, but to all who donated money to our team. We raised over $4000 (with a special thanks to Joe Ewing and Jill Kattau for all their fundraising efforts!), placing us in the top 10 of all the teams. And a heartfelt thank you to those who were with us in spirit.
We Whos thank you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mission complete.

I was up in Elkhart over the weekend and had the opportunity to speak at a Christian Women's Conference about our journey with Alexis: learning of her Down syndrome, the pregnancy and birth, her surgery and hospital stay for duodenal atreasia, and then her heart surgery. And finally, how Down syndrome is such a small part of who Alexis is. She is perfectly Alexis.

It was about a year and a half ago that I was approached to speak by my former high school English lit teacher. I adore this woman. She terrified me as a teacher for the first month. And then I loved her. Still do. She has this faith in me that I thought only a mother had in her own child. How blessed am I to have not only a mother with this kind of faith in me (and a dad and a grandma...) but also a woman like her.

My speech went well I think. I'd practiced until I was blue in the face and could recite the thing backwards. I felt comfortable, much more comfortable than I have at other times in front of an audience. And the feedback was great. And when I was done, I brought out Alexis and she was, without question, the star of the show.

My mom was there with me and sang in a trio. This woman has musical talent oozing out of her pores. My grandmother is an incredible pianist. My mom is an incredible pianist and can sing like nobodys business. Oh, to have an ear like they do. I can carry a tune, and plunk out a rousing rendition of Chopsticks, but unfortunately, my musical talent ends there.
And I was so excited to learn that my high school BFF was coming to the conference! We were great friends in high school, attended church together, roomed together in college, and our parents are great friends. She was there with her mom and daughter and I loved seeing her and catching up.
Did I mention that I love having a little girl to dress up? Girlfriend was rockin' the boots.
And nothing melts me like having any of my kids planting a big sloppy wet one on my cheek.
Don't know what it was we were talking about here, but it must have been serious.
There were two other speakers at the conference with me. Reverend Vickie Van Nevel (center) and Magistrate Deborah Domine are incredible women and I was blessed to meet them and spend some time in their company.
It was an incredible weekend. After last week's Buddy Walk (which I will blog about soon) and this weekend's conference, I feel I can finally sit back and take a breath.
I love this face.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Blake.

No one can make me laugh like Blake can. No one.

(I have since taken him to get his glasses adjusted, thankyouverymuch.)

Thank goodness my friend Annette was there to capture these pics for me on camera. The school raised enough money for their fundraiser that the students got to slime the principal. Blake's name got drawn from a hat to get to be one of the kids to dump that nasty stuff on the principal.

They realized after all the other kids had slimed Mr. L, that Blake still hadn't. He couldn't imagine that he was really allowed to do such a thing. So Blake got him. And got him good.

And then Mr. L asked Blake for a high-five. Blake respectfully declined.
I did laundry that night. The pictures make it look like he didn't miss. The look of his jeans and shoes when he got home proved otherwise.

Blake often lives in his own little world. A world filled with all things lego. But I'm not sure what all is going on in that brain of his. He came home from school the other day with a hole in his shirt. Right at the nipple. He forgot he wasn't supposed to cut his shirt with his scissors. (How this kid has never given himself a haircut is beyond me.)

Last night my neighbor/friend called me to say her kids were cracking up, telling her about how Blake was singing a Kid's Bop song on the bus, butchering the lyrics, annoying some kids, getting other kids to sing along, until finally the bus driver told him to stop singing because everyone was tired of hearing that song. (As a side note, he does sing it often. So often that we will occasionally hear Alexis singing it. No joke.)

This same neighbor called a few weeks ago. She was laughing so hard that I almost couldn't understand her. She said that when Blake walked into her newly painted kitchen, he suddenly stopped, his mouth dropped open, and finally said, "your kitchen is the same color as Luke Skywalker's pants!" There is no better compliment where paint colors are concerned.

I still tell the story of asking Blake how his fish died. "I petted it and it's fin fell off and it died." At least he's honest.

And I still play this little video of him all the time when I need a good laugh.

I adore this kid of mine.