everything is possible... the impossible just takes a little longer

slow and steady wins the race

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Sam!

Today is Sam's 6th birthday!!!  I can hardly believe that 6 years ago this tiny 2lb 5oz, 14 inch miracle came into our lives.  Check out Sam's montage in the sidebar of my blog to see just how far he has come in these past 6 years.  Slow and steady wins the race!  We are all so proud and happy for you little man... you make us all want to be better.  You are Amazing.  

In about an hour I am going to take balloons into Sam's class at school for his birthday treat.  Sam is still g-tube fed and I can see cupcakes becoming projectiles... fun as that might be to have a food fight on your birthday at school... I will bring in balloons (which Sam loves).  Sam has been working on his colors too and I am beyond proud to say that Sam can discern between Red, Yellow, Orange and Black (by pointing) and gets it correct nearly every time.  So those will be the balloon color choices for today (I won't be getting black ones).  

So please join us in wishing Sam a very Happy Birthday... cha cha cha!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Please hurry Santa don't be late

waiting for Santa.... Zero Dollars

 one-on-one time with the big guy....... zero dollars


Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday fun!

The Collins family has been ELFED...
 click here to see for yourself!
And then go ELF-yourself!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

so many reasons to be thankful

Happy Thankgiving!  Today is more than just a day to put ourselves into a self-induced Tryptophan coma and watch football... while those are worthy pursuits, today also has another very special meaning for our family.  We have so many things to be thankful for, but Today, Thanksgiving Day, marks 5 years that Sam has been seizure free! 

Whooo Hoooo.... Now stand up and do the happy dance!!! 

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember the actual numerical day that year, but I do know that it was Thanksgiving day so we mark the occasion on what ever day Thanksgiving falls on.  So among many, many other things we are so very thankful for Sam's continued seizure-free status.  

Years ago we got the devastating news that Sam had Infantile Spasms, a rare and severe and life threatening form of epilepsy.  I believe that although his prematurity and extra chromosome have largely impacted his development... it was the Infantile Spasms that robbed him the most. So today we are thankful for another year without seizures...for one less battle that Sam has to fight, for one less medication that he has to take and for all the progress that he has made despite all the land minds that he has stumbled upon.  Truly Amazing!  WTG Sam!

****and OMG did  you notice that Sam is wearing his glasses!!! Don't mind that I cropped the arm splints out of the picture that keep him from ripping them off his face and twisting them into a rumpled ball of titanium, no don't mind that.... just focus on the positive.... HE IS WEARING HIS GLASSES AND SMILING!****


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrew

Today is Andrew's 7th birthday!!!!  He was so very excited to wake up and find the ground covered with snow.  He put on his favorite tye-dye tee shirts and got ready for school quickly so he could play in the snow.  He is out there right now with Pat making snow balls and waiting for the school bus.  I cannot believe that he is actually 7 years old.... such a little man.  We are so very proud of him.  He celebrated his birthday with friends last weekend at an indoor pool and had a wonderful time.  Next weekend over Thanksgiving break we will celebrate both Andrew and Sam's birthdays with family.  Well I think his day is off to a good start!  He already put in his birthday dinner request... what else... pizza hut!  

We all love you so much Andrew... have a wonderful day!!!!

7 years

6 years
5 years
 4 years

 3 years 
2 years
8 months
3 months


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just one of those days

Today has just been one of those days.  I have a splitting headache and between my coughing jags... Sam and Sean have learned some new tricks! (oh joy).  For starters... they have thrown every shoe they could find down the basement stairs, Sam learned how to dispense water from the fridge door and do you think he used any type of container to catch the water... NO!   Sean has ripped several pages out of the phone book. Sam is now able to climb over all the of the safety gates rendering them not so "safe"...Sean climbs on everything and he is also very very close to following Sam up and over the gates... stupid gates.  The 2 smallest monsters have been at each other all day... neither happy with what they have and will do anything in their power to get what the other one has.  Sean looks like he has been through a bar brawl and I am pretty positive that it will be impossible to get a Christmas picture of the boys without any bruises, rug burns or scratch marks on their faces.  Everybody got flu shots and then some on Tuesday and you can tell exactly how tall each of my children are by the distinct snot lines across my clothes.  I am hoarse from repeating "keep your hands to your self" for the zillionth time today.  So basically everyone feels like crap today and is taking it out on everyone else.  And now someone smells really, really bad... and if I can smell it I know it is bad because I have been congested and unable to smell anything for the past 3 days.  Andrew is completely un-phased and is happily building something in his bedroom.  I now need to find out who is stinky before we have a 2319 (AKA visual confirmation of diaper contents outside of the diaper)  

**** correction.... evidently there was one shoe that was not tossed down the stairs and it just came into contact with Sean's head.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween pics!!!

OMG... How could I forget to post Halloween pics???  
Well here they are... better late than never.  It was very very warm for this time of year (I think nearly 70 degrees) and so all the little goblins were out in droves.  I actually had to run out for more candy after Things 1-7 raided our candy bowl.  I didn't get any good pics but we turned our garage in to a big mouth.  We cut teeth out and placed them so it looked like you were walking through a mouth in order to get the candy.  Our decorations were small potatoes compared to our neighbors.  They went all out with a grave yard and spook house.  We also brought out the fire pit, made tons of chili and hung out in the drive way eating chili and drinking beer with neighbors and friends until the wee hours.  
Good times.

I went as a Fashion Disaster (think Mimi from the Drew Carey Show)
I do have to say that I loved the obnoxious pink wig... 
it might be showing up from time to time just for fun.

Sam the Skeleton

Little Lion


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


enough said!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Creature Feature

Well it has been awhile since our last Creature Feature.  Andrew is still quit the lego-maniac and is always building.  We have put a baby gate up in front of his bedroom door so that he can work to his heart's content without being disturbed by his brothers.  Sam and Sean don't yet appreciate the fine art of lego creature construction.  Sam would rather throw the pieces in every directions and Sean grabs whatever he can gets his hands on and either puts it into his mouth or runs off with it.  I think Andrew likes this little bit of privacy ... or perhaps protection... so that he can build something to completion before his brothers destroy it.  As always... these projects are well thought out and each part has a purpose (ie flame thrower, wings, rocket launchers, flotation devices and the like).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kickin' For A Cause

Saturday was  the second annual Kickin' For A Cause Kickball Tournament (a Special Olympics fundraiser). Although we had some new people this year, most of the people on the team are veterans from last year's team.  Originally I had tried to put together a kids team too but that sort of fizzled out so the kids played on our team.... this I think actually gave us an advantage since last year we got our butts kicked by a bunch of 11 year olds (they even taunted us and called us names!). This year all the teams were really fun and were good sports about letting the kids play. Sam even rounded the bases (with Pat's help) a few times and played a little in left field.  Our team YOUNG AT HEART took 4th place and we won the "chicken dance" team spirit contest!  I think everyone really had a great time and I am sure I won't have to twist too many arms to get them to all come back and play again.  

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This is Andrew's First Grade school picture.  This is classic Andrew... the raised eye brows...the "I'm smiling so hard it hurts" smile... that's my boy.  Although I briefly considered having him do re-takes, I quickly decided that I really like this picture because it really does capture who Andrew is right now.  A 6 year old little boys with tons of personality! Andrew told me that he likes this shot and does not want re-takes because he thinks it looks like he is about to fall out of the picture.

Andrew age 6
Ms. Mitchell's First Grade Class 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Apple Pickin'

The boys had no school today (Friday) due to a teacher inservice and at about 9:00 am I knew that I had to come up with a game plan and quick.  Well the garage door was broke and the repair man was due to arrive between 11am and 1pm (another story for another time) ... anyway after he left I loaded the boys up in the van and we headed out to Apple Holler.  The had a great time picking, and throwing I might add, apples.  They also got to feed goats and play on some of the other attractions.  Besides the delicious apples... they have a small bakery that was beckoning us from the moment we got out of the car.  I bought a dozen homemade apple cider donuts... they alone were worth the trip.   Notice... the yummy donuts didn't last long enough to me to take pictures of them. 

yummy golden delicious

lil' apple thief

 Sam actually threw more apple than he picked but after awhile he got the hang of it.

Andrew is my apple pickin' pro.  He inspected each apple for worms, bruises and other imperfections before putting them in our bag.  And at this very spot... Andrew later informed me, is where he left his sunglasses.   And there they will stay!

How cute is this... Andrew made this bag before we left to carry all his apple in.  I love this bag.

Sam's favorite part was the corn pit.  It is like a huge sand box but it is filled with corn.  The boys were absolutely filthy afterwards but the had a great time. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

gonna open a can of whoop-ass

Seriously... this is a real drink and they also have BIG CAN of Whoop Ass too...LOL  It is made by Jones Soda  and I actually tasted it before but have not seen it in years.  Besides providing you with a fruity kick in your step it also "revitalizes attitude and restores faith in mankind"... It says so right on the can (so it must be true...right??? otherwise that would be false advertising and very un-American) 

In light of the upcoming election... I think I might just have to open a can of whoop-ass while watching the debates and perhaps another when going to the polls.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Holy Chernobyl Zucchini Batman!

So when your Mom gives you zucchini...

... make zucchini bread!
***note... a zucchini this size yields enough to make 12 loaves***

So my Mom and Step-Dad have a community garden with some of my other relatives in Michigan.  I don't know what kind of fertilizer they are using but they are growing these Chernobyl size zucchini.  So what do you do with monster zucchini???? You make A LOT of zucchini bread.  I have a few recipes that I really like... but as in all my baking I substitute apple sauce for the oil.  It cuts the fat significantly and at the rate my boys devour it... I feel better giving it to them.  This is Apple Zucchini Bread... Yummy!

Another product of the family garden has been carrots, carrots and more carrots!  Sean LOVES these carrots.  They are almost too pretty to eat... NOT... they are so yummy we have been eating them right out of the jar.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Candy is dandy... but liquor is quicker!

So we packed up the kids on a rainy Saturday to head up to the Jelly Belly Factory just over the Wisconsin boarder.  It is just a short drive and I needed to pick up some tasty treats to fill a gift basket I am putting together for a raffle item for the quickly approaching Buddy Walk.  So while we were there we thought we would take the kids on the "train ride" tour of the Jelly Belly Factory.  OK... there should have been a disclaimer on the ride.  


That being said... my advice is to just buy your candy and get the hell out.  We left with enough jelly beans to rot our teeth and the teeth of perhaps the next several family generations.... after which Andrew informs us... "I don't like jelly beans...just candy corns".  Well thank heaven for that because we got candy corns too!  While we were waiting for the "not really a fun train ride" tour, we checked out the tasting booth where you can sample the jelly bell flavors.  Patrick actually tried bogger, black pepper and rotten egg.  He said the rotten egg was the worst.  My question was... who is the poor soul that has to decide whether or not the taste is authentic? With flavors like bogger, vomit, ear wax, baby wipes and the like... I would think that getting a job as a "taste tester" at the Jelly Belly factory would not be as fun of a job as one might assume.  I wonder if they get hazard pay?  

Anyway... I got all the jelly beans that I needed and we headed back home. The basket (containing hand painted martini glasses, drink flavored jelly bellies, and party favors) is done. I am running around today picking up a few more donations and finishing up all the tags and labels for the silent auction and raffles... then Sam has a doctors appointment and Andrew has a Cub Scout meeting.  I am planning dinner for about 9:30pm...LOL. 


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting Ready for the Buddy Walk

So besides all my mommy and domestic duties, I have been painting wine glasses and martini glasses like crazy to donate to the silent auction and raffles for our local Buddy Walk.   So far I have 5 sets of 6 wine glasses and 2 sets of 6 martini glasses... with a few more to go.  Can you say HOLY WINE GLASSES BATMAN?  We have a ton a of great prizes this year... 

The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. As many of you know Patrick is the president of our local Down syndrome parent support group The DDC (Down syndrome Development Council) and I am also on the board.  Our Buddy Walk is September 21st at Lambs Farm in Libertyville from 12:00-5:00.  It is a fun family event with games, music, inflatables, silent auction, raffles, performances by persons with Down syndrome, food, petting zoo and so much more.  It is free and open to the public so if you are in the area... please stop by and meet a few thousand (we expect 1000-2000 this year) other people who love someone with Down syndrome too.  For more info you can check out the DDC's website at www.theddc.org .  In the mean time I am busy getting things done for our big event... so if you don't hear from me for a bit... you will know what we are doing.  


*The Buddy Walk was established by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.

*The Buddy Walk has three primary goals:
1.  To promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome;
2.  To raise funds locally and nationally for education, research and advocacy programs; and
3. To enhance the position of the Down syndrome community, enabling us to positively influence local and national policy and practice.

*The Buddy Walk has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to more than 260 in 2006 across the country and around the world.

*At least 250,000 people are expected to participate in more than 275 Buddy Walks this year.

*Since 1995, more than 1,750,000 people have participated in the Buddy Walk program. Last year alone, the Buddy Walk raised more than $6.5 million to benefit local programs and services, as well as national education, research and advocacy initiatives.

*The Buddy Walk program is supported at the national level by the National Down Syndrome Society. Local Buddy Walks are organized by NDSS Affiliates, parent support groups, schools, and other interested organizations and individuals.  Most Buddy Walks take place from September through November to recognize Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.

*John C. McGinley, who plays Dr. Perry Cox in the hit NBC show "Scrubs," is the 2007 National Buddy Walk Spokesman. Mr. McGinley is both an accomplished actor and the proud father of Max who has Down syndrome.

Anyone who wants to support acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome can participate in the Buddy Walk.  To find a local Buddy Walk in your community, visit the "Find a Walk" section of http://www.buddywalk.org. 

Summer fun

So we pulled out the slip-n-slide and watered the lawn at the same time... dual purpose water usage counts as a "green practice" ... right!  Either way ... everyone had fun and the lawn looks better too.


Spreading Awareness

Watch CBS Videos Online

Monday, September 8, 2008


Once again we donned our best tye-dye shirts and headed out for the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus Michigan.  3 days of camping, and the best darn folk music around.  Cajun music, Irish music, Bluegrass, Zydeco music, African Drumming, Dancing, clogging, fiddles, banjos and tye-dye OH MY!  I have been going to Wheatland with my parents since I was a kid but now it is so much fun to take my boys... they love the music and spending time with all our family that also goes every year. 

The weather turned out great!  I have been to Wheatland in the rain, in the blistering heat and even in the snow... Yes, we over packed but besides your tye-dye apparel, you must bring clothes for every type of weather.  

The kids spent a lot of time on "kids hill" and after they crashed, dirty and exhausted, some of us hit the dance pavilion were things were hoppin' until 2:00am.  Several thousand people (I think around 16,000 this year) show up annually for this amazing event... think Woodstock with hillbillies... to camp, eat, dance and play their fiddles.  Andrew has expressed some interest in the past about learning to play the fiddle (yes, the fiddle is the same as a violin... the difference is how you play it... and perhaps from which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you reside)... so this year to spark his interest a bit more he got a CAN-jo (a one string banjo made from a tin can, a long neck of wood and one string) and he has already composed a song entitled "The Lost and Found Dinosaur".  And to think maybe a few years down the road he could be jammin' out on his fiddle on the main stage... oh a mama can dream... lol.  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

OH MY...

Now how do you child-proof this???


Monday, August 25, 2008

Sam's first day of Kindergarten!!!

Today is Sam's first day of Kindergarten.  He still attends school at Laremont, which is a special school that is better able to provide him with the assistance he needs.  Sam is soooo excited.  After I got him dressed I told him that he looked soooo handsome and he just beamed.  Sam loves school.  I get to go and meet his teacher today and see his new room.  We have high expectations for Sam this year... as I assume he also has for himself.  He loves his new found independence that comes from being able to walk at bit more.  He is starting to follow directions a bit more and is learning to keep his hands to himself and wait his turn.  I think this will be a good year for Sam... oh the places he will go.  More later... the bus comes at about 8:05.


UPDATE.... can you believe it... we were waiting, waiting, waiting for the bus to come and no bus in site.  I just got off the phone with the bus driver and Sam's first day of school is tomorrow.  Don't you just love typos!  She said that yes, I was correct and she thought today was Sam's first day too but over the weekend received a call that he would be starting on Tuesday...not Monday.  I am so glad that they bothered to call me and let me know that.  Well Sam is all ready to go... I will be taking him to meet his teacher today (hope they haven't changed that too) and we will start all over tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

post-op update...

Everything went as planned and the surgeons were even finished up early.  Sam only needed one ear tube replaced but the ENT did clean out alot of wax and mucus from his ear canal and from behind the ear drum but everything looks great.  We have high hopes that he will pass his next hearing test.  Then on to the hydrocele.  This surgery took a bit longer due to excess scar tissue (Sam has had several abdominal surgeries and this is the second time this surgeon will be going in the exact same spot) but there were no complications.  The doctor's trademark heart shaped gauze covers the incision site... obvious a sign that he closed Sam up with a little extra TLC.  It always makes me feel good when docs do a little something extra like that... I know they care.  Sam's tummy and testicle are a bit swollen and bruised (as is expected) but he does not appear to be in any pain.  Then the dentist/oral surgeon stepped up to the plate.  Sam had 5 teeth removed... the tooth fairy will be busy tonight!  Sam also had a Frenectomy.  The Freneum is the bit of skin between the top front teeth that connects the upper lip to the gums.  Well Sam's was really short... really really short... so the doc snipped it allowing more freedom of movement to the upper lip.  To finish things up he got a really good cleaning and his back teeth sealed.  Sam did really well and we were home by 2:00 today.  He is moving around well but still seems a bit tired.   I am exhausted... and I can only pray that everyone is ready to go to bed early!  Thanx for all our prayers and well wishes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Update on Sam...

Well as most of you know, Sam is having surgery bright and early tomorrow morning.  Due to the construction we will be leaving the house around 5:30am... that will give me about 2 hours to drive the normally 35 minute route to the hospital.  He will undergo 3 procedures done by 3 different surgeons.  He will be having wax build up removed from his ears (boy there is a lot in there) and ear tubes replaced.  Then he will have his hydrocele repaired...again.  A Hydrocele is when there is too much fluid around the testicle...it is not painful but very enlarged.  In most cases there is a less than 1% chance of a hydrocele re-communicating (coming back) after surgery... so wouldn't you know it... Sam's came back... of course.  Finally he will be having some dental work.  He will have x-rays to determine just how many extractions he will need... on initial exam the dentist is guessing 4-6, then he will have a really good cleaning and his back teeth sealed.  All three procedures should take about 3 hours (not including pre-op and post-op recovery) and we hope to be home by dinner.  Typically Sam does really well recovering from surgery and I pray that this time is no different.  He starts school on Monday and I hope that he will be in attendance on the first day.  So if you could, say a little prayer for Sam.  

And... his foot seems to be healing nicely and he is walking on it again.... yay!

On another note...
I often times struggle with finding rewards for Sam.  Being that he is 100% g-tube fed, a McDonald's Happy Meal, M&Ms or other tasty treat that would please most children is lost on  Sam.  There are things he likes... like taking baths or going to the pool, but those things are not immediate rewards and although he likes them he does not understand the cause and effect... If I behave well in the store we will go to the pool... If I don't we will just go home.  So I try to find things that please Sam that give him an immediate reward and satisfaction for behavior  that I want him to continue, such as hugging, kissing, high 5's and so on.   Well I think I found something even better....  So I walk into the kitchen today and Sam is sitting in the middle of the floor with a rubber stamp.  He obviously plucked it from somewhere.  Well there he was stamping his hand and arm (no ink) and then throwing his arms out and saying "TA-DA"  as only Sam can.  At school they stamp the kids hands for doing well in gym class and I never realized how much this meant to him.  So he continued to stamp himself and then he put the stamp back on the table.  After seeing this I think I am going to start carrying a little stamp with me and stamp Sam's hand when he does a good job (keeping his hands to himself, taking turns, not throwing his toys etc) because it is clear that he associates the hand stamp with a job well done.  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Sean!

OMG... my baby is 1 year old!!! (August 17th) I can hardly believe it.  He is an absolute delight and a very good baby indeed.  He is happy and bright and loves blueberries.  He has a mess of blonde curls at the nape of his neck that will NOT be cut off any time soon.  At his 1 year well visit he has proved to be my largest child yet... he is 31 1/4 inches tall (90%) and 22.8 pounds (50%).  He says "Hi" and "that" and signs "all done".  He knows how to call the cat and how to get his way. He knows that the quickest way to get the bath tub all to himself is to stand up and pee in the water...dirty baby.  He as been walking since about 10 months and that is now his main mode of getting around...he is getting faster and will be running very soon.  He gives the best wet slobbery kisses and has a quick laugh and easy going personality. So happy birthday my little man!  

I don't know why we even bothered with gifts... he had more fun pushing and flipping around this jumbo pack of toilet paper... (note to self... the kids don't want new shinny toys... they want the TV remote, the cell phone, boxes and toilet paper)

a young Jedi in training

started out the morning with a good breakfast

He got this strange little rocking horse creature from Grandma and Papa Moore.  It sings an odd version of Twinkle Twinkle little star but Sean loves it.  

Sean was not that excited about his first cake.  We had to sort of feed it to him first.  He smeared it around pretty good but was more interested in the blueberries instead!  This is about as messy as he got and he only got this messy because he was digging for blueberries... he spit most of the cake out.

After a long day of birthday festivities he was pooped out!  
hugs and kisses big boy.