Monday, October 24, 2011

A Voice (plus the Giveaway Winners)

Much of my time lately has been consumed with thoughts of Eslea and the kind of future she is facing.

This week I have been reminded that I must not read comments on certain articles that relate to Down syndrome. I have to remind myself that people are fueled by things such as hate and ignorance.

It seems that the need to ensure our community of designer gene HUMAN BEINGS have a voice is becoming greater. Thanks to technology, we have a way to share that voice world wide. I am so thankful to those that choose to do so through outlets such as blogging, tweeting, and utilizing facebook.

That's the number of bloggers we had link up to participate in Hoppin' for 21 blog hop.
We had over 7000 views between all the different sites in just one day. The blog with the most views from the hop was Our Cora Bean with 88 hits in one day. The smallest number of views for any one blog was twenty. Twenty! That is still a wonderfully high number. So people, I do not know how many visitors left comments on your site but I do know they were visiting.

That is amazing to me considering the short amount of time we had to get the hop information out to everyone. Some of those bloggers were not from special needs blogs. How wonderful is that?
Because as much as I love to read and met other members of our very special club, we can not possibly change the world unless those outside of our community take an interest also.

We need to grow. We need to spread as far as we can and to whomever we can reach.

March 21, 2012 is World Down Syndrome Day. I hope you will all join us on that day for another awareness hop.
That is, of course, unless....
anyone would be interested in a monthly hop?
What if we have a Hoppin' for 21 blog hop on the 21st of every month?
That's twelve chances a year for us meet more members of our club.
Twelve chances a year to reach outside our community and share with others.
We will also have a hop on World Down Syndrome Day in addition to our monthly hops, but I will do something extra special for that hop. A hop extravaganza if you will.
So, who's up for a monthly hop?

Now onto the Giveaway winners!
Thank you to the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia for donating the $10 Target giftcard for the Hoppin' for 21 Facebook Event. The randomly chosen winner of that gift card is Penny Putman.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Hoppin' for 21 blog hop! I think it was a great success and I hope you do too. I could not get to everyone in two days so I am still visiting. I hope you are too. You can scroll down to view the list of blogs again.

A special thanks to the DSA of South Georgia, again, for donating a $10 Walmart giftgard for the blog hop giveaway.
The randomly selected winner of that card goes to linked blogger #66: Ramblings and Reflections.

The final giveaway is the super cute Lily Bloom bag donated by Ross Department Store. It  goes to linked blogger #9: My Stubborn Little Miss.

Congratulations to both bloggers. Please email me your details to and those will be in the mail heading your way soon.

Here are the blog links again for those who are still hoppin' around....I know I am.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hop On...

Yes. I have extended the blog hop for one more day.
Why? Why not?
I have read so many new blogs.
Some in our Down syndrome circle and many not.
I will be visiting new families and sites for days to come.

Today is the last day though so link up to get in on the giveaways.
The linky will be available for viewing after,
 so take time to visit more blogs if you will.
Go HERE for the Hoppin' for 21 "rules".

Now, hop on...

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's a Blog Hop:Hoppin' for 21

Today is Blog Hop day!
Visit as many blogs as you can and share this information with others.
For complete "rules" (and I use that term loosely), go here...
Hoppin' for 21 Blog Hop

Grab the button to share with others...

You can also join the facebook status event.
Find out how by going here...
Hoppin' for 21

If this is a success (and I know it will be),
plan to have another hop on 3/21/12-
World Down Syndrome Day

The giveaway winners of the hop and facebook events will be announced on Sunday.

If you would like to join the hop, just scroll down and link up!
ALL bloggers are welcome!
Now, let's get hoppin'!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Hoppin' for 21

I'm promoting a blog hop on Wordless Wednesday.
You can read my post from yesterday to find out WHY the hop for
Down Syndrome this Friday is so friggin' important!

So please, please share
with your friends!
We would love to have you join
the HOP too!

Here's the button...

Just scroll down to enter the Hoppin' for 21 linky...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Share the Love & Prenatal Testing for Down Syndrome

Friday is the blog hop for Down Syndrome Awareness!
Please share this button on your site through Friday so that others will join!
The more people we can reach the better chance
our kiddos have for a more tolerant future.

Now more then ever we need to promote awareness.
Well just read this...
Safer Down Syndrome Test Hits Market Monday

A quote from the article...
"a genetic condition marked by mental retardation
and early death that affects one in 691 babies."

The number of people out there that are misinformed and
ignorant about Down syndrome is
FAR GREATER then the number of those like us.

How will you make a difference?
What can you do to help prenatally diagnosed mothers?
How can we stop the elimination of an entire population of human beings?

We spread the word people.
You spread the word.

The blog hop is this Friday.
Please sign up and let's try to reach as many non-down syndrome related blogs
and viewers as we possibly can!
Just scroll down to enter the hop....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Join the Blog Hop: Hoppin' for 21 on 10/21

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month!
We want to support all those that rock that extra chromosome with a blog hop on the 21st!
Hoppin' for 21 is hosted by Crazy Beautiful Love, The Bates Motel, and Carrie with Children.
Interested? Just read the hop "rules" and scroll down to enter!

Hoppin' for 21 "rules":
1. You need to be a blog owner. The blog does not have to be a special needs blog. You only need a desire to promote awareness for Down syndrome. (Scroll down to see how those that do not blog can participate too!)
2. Link your blog up below. You can begin linking up immediately. You must be linked below to be eligible for the giveaways! (see below)
3. On the day of the hop (10/21), visit as many blog hop participants as you possibly can!
4. Leave a comment letting that site know you found them from the Hop and you appreciate them supporting awareness of Down syndrome.
5. (Optional) If you see a site you like, become a follower! Make sure you let them know you are a new follower and they just might follow you back.
6. (Optional) Mention somewhere in a post on the 21st that you are supporting Down Syndrome Awareness month by participating in the hop. I will provide a thumbnail for those that want to share it with others!
7. (Optional) Drop by each site of those hosting the hop and say HI! Let them know you appreciate them hosting!
8. (Optional) Help us promote the hop! Mention it in posts, on facebook, twitter and provide a link back to the hop link page. The more people that participate, the more people become aware of the beautiful designer gene world of Down Syndrome.

Every participant (excluding the hosts) will be entered in a random selection giveaway. Right now we have two prizes and I hoping for one more donation. You only need to participate and follow the "rules" to be eligible.
1. $10 Walmart Giftcard   
3. (Facebook giveaway)

So, you don't blog huh? That's okay! You can help spread awareness too!
An event has been set up on Facebook for those wanting to participate. Just go here to see how.... Hoppin' for 21 on Facebook. Those who take part in the Facebook event will be entered into their very own giveaway for a $10 Target Giftcard. The basic idea is that you join the facebook event and follow the event "rules". The rules involve you posting a status on 10/21 stating that you are participating in the Hoppin' for 21 event to support Down Syndrome awareness and provide a link back to the Hoppin' for 21 on Facebook event page. That's it. Simple. Plus, don't forget you do not have to be a blog owner to read blog posts and leave comments!

Questions about the hop? Send them to and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

So, now that you've read all the details, are you ready to Hop, Hop, Hop for T21?!
Well, let's go!
Just scroll down to the bottom of the thumbnails, enter your site information and you're ready!
The Hop starts at 12:00am on Friday October 21st and ends at midnight!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog Hop and Giveaways

Start signing up for the blog hop now!
On Oct 21st we will be Hoppin' for 21 to promote Down Syndrome Awareness!
One of the giveaways:

Just scroll down to enter...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Post: Meet The Smiths (Day 14)

A few nights ago I posted about a beautiful little almond eyed girl by the name of Renee. Tonight her parents are posting as my guests. They are not bloggers but I wanted them to have an opportunity to share about their experiences with a T21 rockin' toddler.
If you ever meet these guys in person, you can tell in an instant when their eyes fall upon Renee that they are desperately in love with her. They are proud of her; you can see it in every thing they do. She is their only child and so like all new parents, they are experiencing for the first time the unexpected joys of parenthood while also wading new waters with Down syndrome.

And now, without further adieu...Meet the Smiths.

In the words of Emily (aka mommy).....
A perfect representative of Down Syndrome means:  Beautiful, sweet, determined, loving, inquisitive, intelligent, teacher, shy, chatty, excited, strong, able, and just plain perfect the way she Renee!
I was scared for her future after we were told over the phone when she arrived at the NICU in Albany, GA that she might have Down Syndrome.  What does this mean for my Renee, the child that I loved even before she was conceived?  My husband and I tried for 3 years with many miscarriages, fertility treatment, and finally surgery to conceive our little girl.  After a pregnancy filled with preterm labor, partial bed rest, and a footling breach presentation, Renee was born exactly at 38 weeks.  She had problems breathing and possible "seizure like activity".  She was transported to Albany while I was still in my c-section medicated fog.  I had to stay at the hospital for 3 days without my little girl.  My husband Todge, stepped up to the plate daily as he came to see me and then drove the 1 1/2 hours to see Renee and then came back to my hospital room to show me the pictures of the day and to provide me with updates on her health.  I was left sitting in my room surrounded by my friends just lost in my thoughts and research.  Everything that you are told is so negative...she will have delays in development, she may have eating problems, etc.  I mourned the loss of the child that I thought that I was having and fell in love with Renee (she is way better than the child I thought that I would have).  This past 14 months have been a challenge filled with Renee's 12 days in the NICU, Todge's deployment to Iraq, Renee's 5 hospitalizations with reoccurring pneumonia,  changing doctors, specialist in Jacksonville, FL (120 miles away), breathing treatments 24/7 for 4 months straight, changing from daycare to a great friends home because of Renee's health, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and Georgia Pines for hearing impaired families, all while working full time as a United States Air Force Paralegal.  Through it all I had the continued love and support from my husband, our families, and our friends.  Todge and I are Renee's biggest advocates and will do whatever it takes for her to have the best opportunities in life!  I would do it all over again in a heart long as I have Renee in my life, I am a better woman and fulfilled mother!    

In the words of Todge (aka daddy)...
I was a little worried at first that having a child with DS; that it would end up being an almost insurmountable obstacle. I said to myself, how can you take care of this special little girl? You don't even have an typical child that you have taken care of and have not even had a decent track record with house plants or fish. But after the first time I looked into those piercing icy blue eyes, my mind was set at ease. Don't get me wrong, I still most likely can’t keep a house plant alive, but my baby girl Renee, she has blessed my life in ways I never thought possible. It is still a challenge being a new father but I don't really fear or worry about it anymore. I revel in the fact that I have a loving, healthy, rambunctious little girl. God has blessed Emily and I with Renee.  I would not change it for the world.

Make sure to come back tomorrow everyone where the linky should be up and running. I'm over the moon excited about a blog hop on the 21st to show support for all the designer gene beauties in the Miss Renee.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Many Shots Does it Take....? (Day 13)

Day 13: How many shots does it take...?

How many shots does it take to get one decent group picture from our Buddy Walk?

Well...let's get an expert on board and see...

Hmmm, One...

Uh Two...

Ahhh Three...

Uh Four...

Um Five..

Aaaa Six...

Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner. Six!
Six shots is how long it took to get just one decent group shot.

Now, for those playing along... candy to the person who can find Juicey in the last picture. (Juicey is the boy who walked away in shots 2&3.)

Ah. Good times.

Don't forget about the blog hop on the 21st! I should have the linky ready tomorrow or Saturday for you to start hooking up to! Whoo hoo.
I will be thinking about those of  you heading out to your own Buddy Walk this weekend.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Quick Thanks! (Day 12)

Thank you to Moody AFB's 820th Combat Operation Squadron Booster Club!
They raised almost $140 for the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia.

This is such a big deal as we are in the need of informational materials and other supplies for parents in our area with newly diagnosed designer gene babies.
This money will go a long way and we are so very grateful.
Thanks to Arlene Christmas that headed the fundraising.

Why would they do that for us you ask? Well, beside the fact that it's a great cause and all our kiddos are stinkin' cute....
they did it in honor of Renee.

Renee is the daughter of Emily and Todge Smith. They are one of the seven original families that formed our DS group. Unfortunately, the family will be leaving us soon as they have been reassigned to Nebraska.
(Every time I say or write that a little high-pitched voice in my head goes..."Nebraska?!?")

Want to learn more about beautiful Renee and her parents?
Come back on Friday where Emily will have a guest post on my blog.
I should also have the Blog Hop linky up and ready to go!

Again, Thank you so very much to the 820th Combat Operation Squadron Booster Club. Every bit of money raised for our DS group helps to promote diversity and awareness for all people!!


I'll be back tomorrow as I continue on this 31 for 21 campaign.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reality of Life (Day 11)

Day 11: Reality of Life

For the most part, I love life. I love my life. But would I say that I'm a "glass is half-full kind of girl"? Most days, no. That's the truth. Honest to goodness. I actually find myself confused by those that profess to be the other kind of person. Glass is half-full and all that. It makes me wonder the true sincerity of it all. Is it that they live their life in blissful ignorance only focusing on the surface? Or is it perhaps that someone has yet to poke a hole in their magic cup that somehow always stays on that half-full line?
Now, before you start to label me as "negative" or "cynical" let's clarify that I am also not a "glass is half-empty" gal either. I truly believe that there are silver linings. That things do work out in the end. My family even tells me often that I'm an optimist...gasp!
Maybe I am. But lately I have just found some blogs I can not read anymore because if their life really is THAT great...I must be doing something wrong.
My life is blessed. I am blessed. I am damn lucky to have a beautiful bouncing one year old not only overcome her open heart surgery but come out the other end thriving.
This week I reminded that there are those of us that are not that lucky. Those that have a beautiful baby undergo heart surgery, make it through recovery and only to have that precious baby pass away weeks later from pneumonia. A baby that was the same age as Eslea when she underwent her surgery. How does a parent recover from that? Ever?
I would be so confused and guilty. I would be questioning if somehow those weeks of black thoughts that plagued my mind somehow came to light.
Was I being given what I had asked for?
How can a parent not think that?
Those of us in the T21 community undergo so many similar thoughts in the beginning soon after that initial diagnosis. Thoughts we keep buried only to remember when forced. Not because we still have them but because we are ashamed. Those thoughts are now so far from reality and so not a reflection of any current ideas....well, if they could be removed forever by taking some kind of pill or undergo some therapy...we would do it. In a heart beat.
I just want us all to remember how friggin' blessed we are today. We get to hold our beautiful designer gene babies and plant a kiss on them tonight before we put them to bed.
I want to remember tonight that it could have just as easily been Eslea. Nine months ago as she underwent her own open heart surgery...she could have been the one to not make it.

So tonight I will tell Eslea again what a blessing she is to our family.
I will hold her just one minute longer.
I will smell her sweet baby breathe for one extra heart beat.
I will rock her cradled body in my arms.
I will acknowledge how wonderful it is that her designer genes allow her stay tiny just a wee bit longer so that cradling with mama can be assured for many months years to come.

Enjoy your precious ones tonight my friends like there is no tomorrow!

Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop

Monday, October 10, 2011

Buddy Walk 2011

Day 10: Buddy Walk 2011

Saturday started as any other in this house with mama gettting very little sleep since I was awaken several times to my one year old crying out for milk and love and attention. Exhausted is how I felt and any activity that would occupy my day did not seem appealing.
That was until  I remembered that it was Buddy Walk day!
The first of what I hope will be many, many more for this family. A day to celebrate that extra chromosome our sweet Eslea was blessed to carry. Knowing what was to come even made the hour and half drive to get to the Walk totally worth it.
Many friendly faces participated from our local Down Syndrome group, seven familes to be exact. That made almost forty walkers total. Each of us grateful for the opportunity to show off the loving support of our group and most importantly our beautiful kids.

There were so many of us to gather together in one spot and yet somehow we managed to start that walk. Of course, it was only after the very tempting distractions of booths filled with things like games, dancing and even massages.

Eventually, we did start the walk although the very back of the pack become our favorite place to stay. It would be just like our group to be easily distracted by the local cop giving out "badges".

But once we began the walk of that scenic mile, we made sure to enjoy the surroundings and each other....while also taking time to thank those that were there to support our kids.

Many of our kids started strong during the walk but seemed to tire quickly.While there were others that saved their strength so they could finish strong. A few even managed to accomplish personal triumphs that deserved our cheers and applause as we were overcome with pride for our chromosome rockin' family members.

By the end, the energy was slowing down and walkers were looking for a place to sit...or even ways to hitch a ride to avoid any more walking at all.

The end result? Tired and grumpy kiddos. Smiling and happy parents. All of us grateful to again show off our beautiful families and enjoy our fellowship time with each other.

Looking forward to reading about the Buddy Walk in your area.
I know this is one mama who is already planning for next year's event!
Happy Walkin' everyone.