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

slow and steady wins the race

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things

1. Life Source calls me daily... several times a day actually, asking me to donate.

2. I am a wealth of useless knowledge... the mommies at play group don't care that I can recite the periodic table or all the presidents in order.

3. Death by Algebra is a real fear.

4. My children are amazing and they make me a better person.

5. I was the Homecoming Queen in high school (seriously).

6. I have cookies and milk nearly every night before going to bed.

7. Before I had children my husband and I watched our nephew and nieces for the evening. It was baptism by fire... snot, vomit, bed wetting, poop. I cried all the way home and told Patrick that I could never have children. LOL. I now have 3 boys, one with special needs, and at this point there is not much that would phase me.

8. eight, eight, I forget what eight was for.... I loved the Violent Femmes in concert.

9. I don't like chocolate.

10. Other careers I considered... psychology, architecture, medical illustration. Reason for not pursuing those careers and focusing on fine art ... see #3. 

11. I have one tattoo and am seriously considering getting another.

12. I am fascinated by Curling (the sport of). Don't ask me why. I have never seen it in real life but I found my self up at 3:00am watching it on the Olympics.

13. My right leg about 2 inches longer than my left.

14. I am ambidextrous. Yes, really.

15. I married the brother of my best friend from high school (luv ya Tam).

16. I have been asked more than once if I was a doctor, nurse or in the medical field... that's what happens when you have a medically fragile child and out of necessity you must earn an "honorary" medical degree to take care of their basic daily needs. 

17. I am really good at assessing spacial relationships and therefore I am a really good packer ... it's a gift really. 

18. I am tongue-tied.

19. People tell me that they actually enjoy reading my yearly Christmas letter and anxiously await its delivery. I get several request from people wanting me to confirm that they are on "the list" to receive a holiday greeting. A little known fact... writing scares the hell out of me! I take a big gulp and write. I am glad people find it entertaining but the process requires me to re-live painful memories of creative writing 101.

20. I am an optimist, who married a pessimistic-skeptic. Where I am a "glass half full" sort of person, he is a "who the hell touched my glass" sort of person. I guess we even each other out!

21. I had a track scholarship in college (soccer scholarship too but that was a joke) but volleyball was always my favorite sport. 

22. We are members of the 2% Club. I know first hand the contraception is NOT 100% effective.

23. I am actually wondering how interesting anyone will find my 25 Random things list... but I have been tagged enough times that I felt obligated to share.

24. My children can hit octaves that only dogs can hear. Impressive to say the least. They also have a knack for finding the acoustic sweet spot in Church, the van or other places where they can make the most of their transmissions really count!

25. Euchre and Chess are two of my favorite games.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

PInewood Derby

The Sub-Tank

Andrew participated in the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.  Each Tiger Scout's car raced in 3 races throughout the day.  Andrew's car, a half submarine half tank creation won a trophy for Most Original Design. He came up with the design himself and helped with most of the sanding and such.  He placed 3rd in 2 races and 2nd in the third race.  

That's my plan and I'm stickin' to it!

Well my project is now off and running.  I have 5 ponchos underway and just a few knots away from being finished.  I have several more yards of fleece...therefore more ponchos to cut out.  I will be donating the ponchos to the Children's Hospital at Lutheran General...in hopes that they find their way to a little girl undergoing long term treatment.  The ponchos go easily over their heads and won't interfere with IV's, monitors or other tubes.  I have been inspired by the all the children I know who are battling cancer and everyday I thank God that Sam has not had to fight this battle. I guess he thought Sam had enough on his plate for now, but the realization is that we will always be watchful and grateful for every cancer free day.  Leukemia is very common in kids with Down syndrome.  My hopes are that these ponchos will not only be warm but stylish and perhaps bring a smile to a child's face... and at very least cover up what those awful hospital gowns do not.  

Sam has follow ups with his pulmonologist every 2 months (not to mention all the other specialty follow ups) so we will be going to the hospital anyway.  I plan to deliver some at each trip.  Andrew has Religious Ed. on Wednesday nights and it since it is too far to come all the way home, unload the crew only to load them back up again 20 minutes later to go pick Andrew back up... I sit in the parking lot, pop a DVD into the player in the van and I tie knots.  If I make a minimum of 1 per week that will give me at least 8 ponchos each trip.  Maybe more, maybe less but that is my basic goal.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama must have had the faster car...

This morning I got up and turned on the TV to take in some of the news on this historic day.  As I was getting the boys ready and I mentioned to Andrew that today was a very important day... the day that Barack Obama becomes President.  And our conversation when like this...

Andrew:  Well, I guess Obama won.

me:  Of course he won honey... today is the day he is sworn in as President of the United States.

Andrew: I'm glad that he beat McCain... Obama must have had the faster car.

me: Faster car?

Andrew: Ya MOM!  The Presidential RACE! (duh) Obama beat McCain to the White House so he gets to be President today!  

OMG I about wet my pants.  Out of the mouths of babes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sean's First Haircut

Today Sean is 17 months (on the 17th too!) and today he also got his first haircut.  The pictures are in reverse order... the first pic was taken right after his bath tonight and I think that it is pretty obvious that his hair is going to be curly.  I thought for sure all the curls would be cut out never to be seen again.  Well... it looks like they are here to stay!  Sean was really good and sat very still... while driving his police car of course.  

Sean's new haircut!
all done!
the new little man dooo
a quick pose before the big curls get cut off
the first cut (I got to keep this lock)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Uppercase Living

Well, I took a leap and entered the world of direct sales.  I recently became an Independent Demonstrator for Uppercase Living.  Uppercase Living offers decorative vinyl lettering to transform your home, office or where ever.  The pics are a few "crafts" that I made using UL lettering... it is easy, simple and affordable.  I still have lots to learn but I am kind of excited.  

Interested??? Check out my website for more information.  View the catalog, create your own custom text creations and get some great ideas about how you an express yourself with Uppercase Living.  

Want to host a party and get lots of FREE stuff, 1/2 off stuff and a fabulous hostess gift made by me??? See something that you just can't live without???  Want to become an independent demonstrator yourself???  Want to know about monthly incentives and other special offers???? contact me today!... you know where to find me.  

a bit of a wake up call...

I have come to a realization... I indeed am getting older.  This is not a sad or "oh woe is me" moment but a moment to ponder all the same.  We got a Wii for Christmas and a Wii Fit.  I am very excited.  However I recently did the Wii Fit diagnostic only to realize that I am actually 39!!! My actual 36 self was not as excited after finding that out!  Anyway I have been slowly realizing that my child, my child with special needs, my child who requires lifting and assistance with almost everything, my child who is a new walker and who now weighs about 50 pounds... (50 pounds of dead weight) is becoming a physical challenge for me at an alarming rate.  Now I would like to think of my self as fairly fit and strong but I can see that in a very near future I may not be as strong and as fit as my physically challenged child may need me to be.  I mentioned to my husband that I need to kick up my workout routine.  Not that I intend on going crazy and entering a Ms. Universe body building competition anytime soon but I need to get my body stronger in order to keep myself and my child safe.  God forbid I rupture a disk in my back lifting Sam, or I slip while lifting his wheelchair out of the van, or fall while carrying him because I am so off balance ... or even worse yet... I drop him.  I realize now that as my child begins to "out grow" me that it is my responsibility to stay one step ahead of him.  So bring it on Wii Fit!!! And if I am lucky... not only will I have fabulous arm and abs come summer but I will have an easier time managing Sam until he is able to do more for himself.  Once again Sam has risen to the occasion and has forced me to take a good long look at myself and has encouraged me and given me the strength to become a better person.  And then Andrew (my honest Abe) will keep me on track as he points out all the diet commercials and all the ways that I can get into better shape and with the very best intentions he will brutally point out all my flaws (Pat is not spared from his "observations" either). So with the help of my boys... how can I fail?  


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

before and after



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Picture and "the letter"

Every year I write a Christmas letter to recap the past year.  Our list has grown over the years and most of you who read this blog probably received one... but if not,  below is our "the letter" and the boys pic with Santa.  Sean does not like the big guy one bit but even so he managed to make it onto the "nice" list along with his big brothers.  And just for the record... YES, I spelled Christmas wrong on the pictures that I ordered from shutterfly (I swear.. that must be right up there with breaking the leg lamp)... and just for the record... I had Pat proof it for me.  We make such a good team...LOL

Merry Christmas from the Collins Family! 
We hope this holiday greeting finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the gifts of the season. We have been insanely busy this year and obviously much too busy to catch the typo on the Christmas picture (go ahead and look). Sean appears to be pretty upset about it. 2008, will forever be known as the year Mommy spelled Christmas wrong (yea, memories). In order to keep this letter within my self imposed 2-page limit, I have composed a little ditty for you inspired by the 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS to touch on some of the highlights.

On the first day of chaos my family brings to me…
1 Bluegrass Music Festival 
2 broken bones ~3camping trips ~ 4 Y chromosomes 
Five thousand and three diapers (seriously) 
6 letterboxes found ~ 7 lessons learned ~ 8 near mishaps ~ 9 inches grown 10 (x2) kickball champions ~ 11 date nights ~ 12 thousand batteries!

Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear. ‘Tis the season so go ahead and belt out a carol or two. People expect to hear a few off-key joyous sounds this time of year however, if you happen to be spreading Christmas cheer with Patrick, please note that he makes up his own lyrics right there on the spot. If you are self-conscious about your cheer-spreading abilities or, based on previous cheer-spreading trials, know that your cheer may not be well received… I offer you two options to ease your anxiety this holiday season. 1. Position yourself next to a seasoned cheer-spreader who perhaps may have had some professional cheer-spreader training and lip-sync the words along with them. To add a special touch to your cheer-spreading-tom-foolery, over exaggerate your facial expressions and add lots of arm gestures. 2. Enjoy some mulled wine or spiked eggnog before commencing in any cheer-spreading activities. A wee bit of holiday spirits could also be offered to those within ear shot, perhaps enticing them to sing along with you. This not only takes the emphasis off you but would also allow you to secretly audition cheer-spreaders… then default to option 1. 

Andrew, now 7, started first grade and has adjusted well to a full day of school. He is still very active in soccer and goalie remains his favorite position. Dinosaurs, Legos, building things, going to the library, fishing, Cub Scouts and his SAVE-A-WORM project continue to make his list of favorite things. He is a wonderful big brother and a huge help to me around the house…and earning an allowance doesn’t hurt either. Andrew has been attending Religious Education classes on his path to First Communion and Confirmation to the Catholic Church. Obviously, he has been paying attention and righting wrongs where necessary. While driving in the car one day Andrew overheard me swear as a driver cut us off…I immediately apologized. His response was completely serious and priceless… “Mom, don’t say sorry to me… say sorry to God... and Jesus… and Santa.” From the mouths of babes! Everyday I am grateful for his stubbornness and his ability to get under my skin and make me take a closer look at myself. For his overflowing compassion for others, his pure sense of right and wrong and how clearly he defines the evils of the world. His smile. His questions…his persistent, never-ending, sometimes impossible questions. His fascination with the mundane things that are invisible to most and the freshness of his young soul. Andrew has a true gift of kindness and is generous with his love and talents. 

Sam, now 6, has had an exciting year. In big news… drum roll please… HE IS WALKING! It is a clumsy, awkward, Frankenstein sort of walk but it is indeed walking! He is becoming more stable on a variety of terrains and I think he is even trying to run. Indeed, Everything is possible…the Impossible just takes a little longer. Sam still has some major global delays and developmentally he falls roughly into the 18-24 month range (or at least that is where some chart says he is…blahhh). That being said, Sam is still progressing and he has worked really, really hard to be this delayed!!!(a little joke) We are so proud of how far he has come and excited about how far he can go…Yes, slow and steady really does win the race! We choose to focus on the tremendous amount of work it takes Sam to achieve things that we all take for granted rather than where he actually lands on some chart. If he were only given credit for effort rather than whether or not he can stack blocks or jump on one foot… he would be operating off the charts! Sam is progressing and thriving and we can’t see what he will do next! We could all learn a thing or two about hard work, tenacity, determination and pride from this little boy who marches to the beat of his own drum (yes, he can actually march now!!!) Sam continues to amaze us and we marvel at his abilities. 

Sean is truly a gift of joy. Have you ever meet one of those people that are just happy all the time? Well, Sean is one of those people. He is an absolute delight, his giggles are contagious and his kisses are as sweet as honey. Sean turned a year in August and he has yet to get his first hair cut. He has the most precious golden curls and I can’t bring myself to cut them. He is sweet and easy going but I have determined that, just like his older brothers, Sean has also inherited the naughty gene from his father. He started walking at 10 months and now he runs and climbs on everything! He is amazingly tolerant of Sam’s “tough love” and will happily accept a head-butt or an incredibly tight squeeze when a gentle peck or loving embrace was intended but missed its mark. He has climbing in his blood and we are also suspicious that he has orangutan DNA. He has also reminded us that indeed, sharp things, the remote, loose-lid sippy cups and black permanent markers are very dangerous in the wrong tiny hands (oh how soon we forget). Sean is such a ray of light and helps us all to see that life really is quite simple… eat, play, sleep and above all else… love everything you do.

Patrick was one of the assistant coaches on Andrew’s soccer team this fall and will resume his coaching duties in the spring… Go Sharks! When he retires from the police department he has a promising second career as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. He has taken apart and McGyver-ed back to life some of Sam’s most beloved toys more times than should be scientifically possible. Sam is hard on the toys he loves the most and Pat has become a “toy-whisperer” of sorts… to Sam’s great pleasure. He is still the President of our local Down syndrome parent support group, The DDC. Yes, with all these other activities he still finds time to put in 18-hour days in the detective bureau… Good thing he doesn’t need much sleep and thankfully, we have actual pictures of him to show the kids. I fear if he actually left work after working only 8 hours there might be some catastrophic break down or butterfly effect that just might throw the planet off its axis. So, Honey, we all want to thank you for your selflessness and bravery and for the sacrifices you make EVERYDAY to preserve the human race as we know it. Thanx, for taking one for the team. 

RaeAnn . “Oh Lord, please grant me the patience to deal with all my blessings”. Some days require a little more divine assistance than others. If you are looking for an up-to-date account of our crazy life, ramblings of a soccer mom who has lost her mind, words of wisdom from the mouths of babes, half-@$$ed parenting tips and lots of pictures of the boys, check out my blog at www.blessedandluckyarewe.blogspot.com and see just how Blessed and Lucky we truly are. Yes, I have joined the ranks of moms who blog and became a Facebook stalker. It is a fabulous waste of time and very entertaining to say the least. Patrick does not appreciate my new-found love of blogging, but he is at work anyway and probably won’t even have time to read this letter so what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Amidst my crazy life, I have realized that although not the most realistic aspiration, my secret desire is to try to live more like a Zen monk… and with that in mind my one word resolution for 2009 will be: SIMPLIFY. I will strive to live simply and make an honest effort to rid my life of many of the unnecessary and unessential things in order to make room for what truly is essential... a lofty goal indeed. 

As 2008 comes to and end, we pause to take stock of the positives in our lives. The unease over the economic situation, the energy crisis, responsibility to Green-Our-Routine, the war, political change, the kids not wanting to get ready for school on cold mornings, the piles of unfolded laundry… these concerns are ever present, always lingering, but now is the time to rejoice and celebrate all that is good and hopeful in our lives. I would hope that you allow yourselves to take some time out of your busy schedules to enjoy the gifts of the season with loved ones and let the true holiday spirit swallow you up whole. It is not that our concerns don’t warrant our attention, in fact perhaps they do now more than ever, but now is the season to take a brief hiatus from our worries and devote just a moment to view our own situation with new eyes. I think that if we look closely enough we may realize that indeed we have been given so much! So in the light of the New Year, I pray that we will be able to rise to the challenge and set a good example for our children. I hope that in this time of so much uncertainty that we can seize the opportunity to teach them life lessons that they may otherwise take for granted. What a poignant time to discover the magic of the season and that Christmas comes from your heart and not from a store. How better a time to show our thankfulness for the food on our plates and warm coats that we wear? And with everyone facing difficult times ahead, think about all the opportunities to teach our children about spreading kindness and compassion to others? 

As we wrap up this year’s Christmas novella, we want to share with you our wish for the new year: May we all have enough warmth in our hearts, enough food for thought and enough shelter to weather any storm. My friends, we thank you for all your love and support and we send you good cheer and well wishes for the upcoming New Year. Merry Christmas and God Bless you all.

Patrick, RaeAnn, Andrew, Sam & Sean

Crafty Christmas

Please bear with me... I am still catching up from the holidays.  I just couldn't go without sharing these gifts that the boys made this year for some very special therapists and teachers... I think they made 10 total.  I painted the outline of a snowman on clear glass Christmas balls with glass paint.  Then the boys painted the rest.  I made personalized boxes for each one.  Included was a picture of the boys painting the Christmas ball.  I hope that all who got one loved them as much as the boys loved making them.   

Then things got really crazy... I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to go ahead and make more Christmas gifts.  So I made fleece ponchos and purses for my nieces.  I also made them for several friends, neighbors and I have orders for a few more.  A few other friends used the pattern as well... best $5.00 I think I ever spent.  I even made one for my self... they really are cute.  I will admit that when I first opened the pattern I cried.  Easy... NOT!  I don't sew and this was and easy no-sew pattern so I thought the most difficult part would be tying all the knots...NOT!  I finally figured it out and was even able to resize it to fit several different sizes all the way down to an American Girl doll size.  

Well now I have some extra fleece and I was struck with a wonderful idea... I am going to make a bunch up and donate them to a local Children's Hospital (you know I have my faves).  I was thinking particularly of the little girls undergoing chemo or other long term treatments that keep them in the hospital for periods of time.  Having some long stints with Sam... I know how awful those hospital gowns are but you can't really put your kids in real clothes because the docs and nurses need access to ports, IVs, sensors and such.  Well these ponchos just slip over the head and are open all the way around...easy access, easy on, easy off and they are warm and soft and pretty.  So that is one of my many projects this year.  So if you hear about any good fleece sales let me know. 

My Holiday Wishes

Andrew had to write down 3 Holiday Wishes at school.  I was so touched by his responses.  He makes me so proud to me his mom.

#1 I wish people had a mom and dad

#2 I wish people had love

#3 I wish people had a home

Monday, January 5, 2009

we are all alive and well

Never fear... we have survived the Holidays, a family barf fest, family in general, driving in an ice storm, several long hours in the van, a new business venture and 10 days later we are back home and trying to get back into our routine!  Things have been crazy and wonderful and crazy... I have so much to catch up on but until the baby stops running with scissors... I will have to get back to you later...