Archive for August, 2006

It’s all so real now

August 24, 2006

Well, today was the first day of school. The traditional “staff day” where everyone comes back, gets no work done, and talks about their summer vacay. Staying at home seems much more real now. I”m less terrified about money and more terrified about getting back into the workforce, which is ridiculus, because that’s at least a year away! I think after labor day this will all seem more real.
I look at the calendar and the weeks stretch out in front of me. I am going to try and pick up a few tutoring gigs, and I have at least one person who wants to pay me to scrapbook some stuff, which is cool. My life is already in a rhythm….but it’s a weird place to be in. So many things scare me, which is very unlike me…being fearful…I”m not a fearful person…but lots scares me lately. More babies, no job, one income, Ben, Ben, Ben. For some reason I was able to put all of this on hold all summer long.
Just trying to live without fear.

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August 21, 2006

A picture from Ben’s birthday, courtesy of Grandpa Corliss.

**** EDIT **** After reading the first comment, I realized how incredibly funny it would be to have a caption contest for this picture. click on the link to see an example.

Check out the Big Boy Ben:

here I am!

Happy birthday dear Ben…

August 20, 2006

Our fundraising is going so well! We have raised a great amount of money for Down Syndrome awareness. Thank you, also, to our first business sponsor! Aladdin Printing in Union Lake made a donation to our walk this week!

This weekend we had a “six” birthday party for Ben, since on monday he is six months old! All hail the Ben. 🙂 Saturday we had some friends and family over for a small party for Ben…he had a good time, but had to take a nap in the middle of the festivities, because it was a little overwhelming for him. All those people, all that humidity…poor little guy just had a small meltdown and had to have a little lie-down. After that, though, he was ready to party on. The weather sort of worked out…of course any time we have a party outdoors it decides to rain. 🙂 But with tables in the garage, everything was fine. I”ll have pictures later this week of the birthday boy. 🙂

In addition to all the birthday excitement, Cereal is going so well that we had sweet potatoes for the first time this weekend! Ben is not sure about the sweet potatoes…really not sure. The texture is the same, but the taste is all new to him. We’re working on it. He has a low yam-tolerance right now…but we’re working on that. Maybe we’ll try squash next, because everyone likes squash. 🙂

In the meantime, we have other pictures. This past week Ben got a new toy, a Bumbo chair. These are the greatest things ever! Since Ben is all about holding his head up, he loves to sit up and look around. He picks his head up on a regular basis now. His torso, however, is still pretty noodle-like. Sitting in this chair supports him all around, and he is able to sit up like a big boy.

see the big boy chair

time for a haircut.jpg

August 18, 2006

Any of you who like to share photos online, have you checked out Flickr? I am currently loving this website. Just a little unpaid commercial announcement. Of course, I’m probably like, the last person on the planet to use it…..but anyway.

We should do a poll. How many people think Ben should have a haircut? I am of two minds…..I love it when parents let their baby boys go without a hair cut. But it gets so nappy after Ben’s naps…

like in this picture

August 15, 2006

Without a digital camera (which we are getting soon….but we don’t have yet) I have been reduced to using the film camera…which is fine, except I forgot what it’s like to have to wait for a roll of film to be developed…you have to use up the whole thing, then take it to the store and actually ask for it to be developed….we’re having pictures dumped onto CD. The good news is that I just got a CD back, so over the next couple of days we’ll have lots of new pictures. 🙂 I’m going to portion them out so that we don’t have a picture drought.

finally some new pictures

Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end

August 14, 2006

I don’t know the best way to do this, but I guess if there is any time to do it, now is it.

I know that a lot of you students out there check the journal regularly, and so although this has been a possibility for months, and a reality for weeks, I have avoided posting until now. I have decided to take a leave of absence from work for the next school year. Before anyone gets all in a tizzy (either because you are excited, or less than excited), please know that this was, indeed, a very heart-wrenching decision to make. On one hand, I LOVE what I do at work. I really really do feel as if I make a difference each and every day, and I LOVE my students to pieces. For a long time Scott and I were looking for someone to come in and do in home care for Ben, so that I could return to work, because even though he is doing well, he still isn’t quite yet a candidate for Day Care in any sense. After a while, we didn’t get any leads, and we continued to put out feelers everywhere. Then one day I realized I just wasn’t looking that hard. I realized that my heart is at home with Ben, and even though I always thought I wasn’t the stay at home mom “type”, I realized that there is no other place I wanted to be. I think with a regular kid, I would be able to do my job well and be a mom well, but with Ben I cannot. And so I choose to do one job well, knowing that I am a lucky lucky woman to have a workplace that will allow me to take this time and come back when I am ready.

So what does a leave of absence mean? It means that for the next year, I am formally not employed by the school district at all. It also means, however, that when I decide to come back, I will have a job. Key words being A job…it may not, and most likely will not, be MY job, but I will have a place and I will be able to do what I love, which is teach. With luck, I will be back at Mott, but we will just have to wait and see what awaits me.

If I have learned anything from the past year, it is this: what is happening is exactly what is supposed to be happening. Some people call this divine intervention, some people say it is God’s will, some people think it is fate. I toy with each of these ideas and find that it doesn’t exactly fit where I am right now, but I do believe that all of them mean the same thing when you get right down to it: what is happening is exactly what is supposed to be happening. I have definitely had moments when I was pregnant when I thought “why me? How will I handle this? I can’t do this!!!!” But, as cheesy as it sounds, it is true that when I met Ben I knew it would be okay. I also had moments of “how will we LIVE if I stay home?!” but as it turns out, we will live, we will be fine, and we will be happy because we know that we are doing what is right for Ben….the light of my life and Scott’s. Every decision I make, as it looms on the horizon, scares me because I am a worrier…I worry about EVERYTHING…I have always been like this, and it is part of what makes me who I am: dedicated, organized, type-A, anal retentive, whatever you want to term it. But I am learning through this experience that decisions are easy when you do what you think is right. When I make the decisions, finally….when we decided to have Ben and go through with the pregnancy, when we decided to bring him home not knowing what would happen, when I allowed myself to realize that I wanted to stay home and that it would be okay because it was right, my worry dissapeared.

I will miss Mott. I moved my stuff out of my room today and it was very very bittersweet. When I look at the arc of my life, such as it is (I’m not THAT old, anyway)…I see how much time I have and how little time I may have for this moment. So you see, what is happening is exactly what is supposed to be happening.

Much more later as the journal takes a new turn in the life of Ben.

As they say on NPR, I welcome your comments. 🙂

WHOOO HOOOOO!!!!!

August 11, 2006

WE DID IT!

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to Parents of Children with Down Syndrome and the 2006 Buddy Walk campaign via our website. Many of you are also interested in walking with us, which is even better. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, it will really make a big difference in the lives of familes living with Down Syndrome.

We made our fundraising goal of $500.00, but somehow, since we’re Randalls, that just isn’t good enough for us.

We have set a new goal of $1,000.00 to meet before september 16. I think we can make this. We raised $500.00 in just two weeks, can we do it again? It would be great to meet the new goal (by raising another five hundred dollars) in the next two weeks. I think we can do it! Visit our fundraising page at http://www.firstgiving.com/benrandall for more details.

THANK YOU AGAIN!

Solid food, ahoy!

August 7, 2006

Just playing around with the journal layout a little, folks. No need to panic. I figure since Ben is a bona fide little boy (well, pretty soon, anyway) I wanted something that is a more “fun little kid” and less “sweet baby”. Yes, yes…he is still a sweet baby…but you know….

A quick note before the news of Ben’s life….we are doing so well on our fundraising goal for the buddy walk!!! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. You don’t have to donate a lot! Ten dollars? Five dollars? If you want to help raise awareness and support families who have children with Down Syndrome, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/benrandall to support us on September 16. We have a new goal! Originally we thought “wouldn’t it be great if we could raise five hundred dollars?” That was a week ago and we’re halfway there! August 16 is a week before the walk. We want to meet our goal by the sixteenth and EXCEED our goal by 100% by the time the buddy walk comes around. I think we can raise $1,000….do you? If you want to walk with us, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/pcds and click “get started”. You want to join an existing team..Ben’s Bunch. This will put you on our team…registration is only $10.00, and that goes to the same worthy cause. Come join us, and help us help kids like Ben. 🙂

The heat last week was miserable, wasn’t it? We spent a lot of time indoors. I think that this summer has been the most indoor time I’ve ever had during a summer. We do get out, we go to the mall or to target if nothing else, just to get some walking in…but it is hard to take him out even to look at the garden when the heat and humidity are so high. Pretty soon this too shall pass.

Also last week, Mr. Ben started solid food! That’s right, we now eat a bowl of cereal every day for lunch (in addition to the formula, of course). I videotaped the first feeding, and took pictures at the second. I wondered if he would have issues learning to eat solids, I had heard that this can be a challenge for some kids with Downs, due to decreased muscle tone. Ben, however, had no problems at all. He is taking to this cereal thing like a duck to water. We’ll do another week of this before increasing the cereal feedings to twice a day, and maybe adding some veggies here and there. I have been excited about making Ben’s baby food. I figure, why shouldn’t he eat what we eat…within reason of course. So this weekend I made his first baby food, I bought some peaches and ran them through the cuisinart and froze the result. I’ll defrost them and see how they turn out before making more. Ben won’t be ready for fruit for a few weeks yet, but I”ll have some ready when he is! I plan on making as much of his food as I can, but not killing myself over it. Mostly it will be more economical.

cereal pictures and more

A request of our gentle readers

August 3, 2006

Hi Everyone,

The entry today will be slightly different. I’m writing to tell you about the Buddy Walk. On September 16, Scott, Ben and I, along with my sister Karen will be participating in the Buddy Walk here in Oakland County. The Buddy Walk is a national fundraising event for Down Syndrome awareness, with walks held all over the country each year. Families and friends of people with Down Syndrome raise money to support awareness and help families who have children with Down Syndrome. Our local Downs support group, Parents of Children with Down Syndrome (PCDS) will be hosting the area walk. Over the past year, this group has been amazingly helpful to us…they provided support and resources to Scott and I from the moment we contacted them, way back in October of last year. We met several families before Ben was even born, and they were warm and welcoming. They made Down Syndrome a lot less scary for us after Ben was diagnosed.

You may be thinking “why am I still reading this blatant funder pitch on this nice, warm, fuzzy website?” Let me tell you why. Everywhere we go, we run into people who know us through our website. We meet people who love Ben. I want you to know that Ben’s disabilities, though they are many, are such a small part of who he is. We are talking about a kid who decided that six days of life were not nearly enough to do what he wanted. In the past year, I’ve discovered that a lot of people with Down Syndrome are like this: they and their families are no longer content with accepting life as it once was for people with disabilities. They are determined to live life to it’s fullest potential, and challenge themselves every day. People with Down Syndrome were frequently institutionalized, seperated from their familes, or not allowed to realize thier full potential up until as recently as twenty or thirty years ago. Now that has all changed. People living with Down Syndrome live the lives we do. They go to school, they live longer, they get driver’s licenses, many live on their own and hold jobs, and they even get married. Parents like Scott and I need all the support we can get to face the challenges ahead. Groups like PCDS help us do that.

Our team has set a fundraising goal for the walk, and I am wondering if you would be interested in contributing to this goal. A secure site has been set up on the internet just for our team at http://www.firstgiving.com/benrandall. If you could just take a minute to look at the site, we would really appreciate it. You can give over the internet (as I said, the site is secure) or you can contribute money directly to our family, if you are more comfortable with that, by emailing myself or Scott. If you leave your email in the comments section, I will leave it screened (it won’t appear for everyone to see) and I will email you personally with more details. The money will go directly to support programs for families like ours, and kids like Ben.

If you would like to walk with us, you can also join our team! Go to http://www.firstgiving.com/pcds and click “get started”. You want to click on the link to join a team, and our team name is Ben’s Bunch. We would love to have a huge team of walkers for Mr. Ben. After the walk there is a picnic and games, and it should be a fun fun day.

Thank you for looking, thank you for donating, and we hope you decide to join us!

A few notes from our weekend

August 1, 2006

Things I have learned about being a Mom: Installment number 2,345. When your infant is fussy in the car, he’s not teething, he’s tired and you need to get a grip, leave him alone, and let him fall asleep. 🙂 The ride up to the UP was an excersize in patience and parenting skills. Ben was fussy the whole way. We did think he was teeting, but alas, no teeth yet.
We had a great time in Escabanana….the wedding was beautiful (*tear*) and just a whole lot of fun. It never broke ninety the whole weekend (haha..suckers)….but it was still pretty sticky, and Mr. Ben was having none of that. He spent a lot of time in a diaper and nothing else, or in a diaper and air conditioning at the hotel. We did try the swimming thing again, and he enjoyed it this time….almost. 🙂
Now the summer officially slows down, no more trips. Being indoors in the air is nice, but I think it’s going to drive me a little stir crazy. Ben and I may need to get out for a walk at the mall or somewhere today, or I’m liable to commit Hari Kari.

We’re starting Cereal today. Wish me luck. I will, of course, have pictures.

pictures from the weekend