Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009


Time for a little product endorsement. Caden is a runner. He makes a break for doors, elevators and the like so I was very worried about taking him to various attractions in Baltimore on a busy weekend. And combine that with some mild hearing loss that makes it difficult for him to hear mommy yelling "Stop!" and we have a perfect storm. It would be way too easy for him to slip through the crowd and escape. So I tattooed our phone numbers on him. Well, actually it was a temporary Tottoo. It stayed on for 2 days before it started to peel and gave me some security that if he was lost, someone could then call my cell phone and reunite us quickly. There are other versions out there and other forms of ID for children but I was very happy with this particular product. Okay, product endorsement over. They should at least give me a discount on my next order, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Baltimore

Here you can see our little rockstar in action:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baltimore Adventure

It's no accident that Caden knows the sign for "explore." This kids loves an adventure. The Tank and I recently took him for a long weekend trip to Baltimore and he had sooooo much fun. He was running from animal to animal at the Maryland Zoo, had to be dragged crying from the Port Discovery Children's Museum and still didn't get enough of the National Aquarium after two visits. As soon as Caden was dressed each morning, he hopped in his stroller and signed "outside". He didn't even want breakfast. And it was such a treat to see him discovering new things and see the absolute joy, wonder and amazement expressed on his face. We all had a fantastic trip. Our biggest moment of drama was when Caden pitched a toy into the harbor. The Tank was proud of our son's throwing arm but Caden was beside himself watching his stuffed animal drift away in the water.
The weekend was such a joy that I can hardly wait till our next getaway.

What a joy of a weekend. I can't wait for our next family adventure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Soeren spreading the word to end the word

This young man is such a powerful presenter, inspired by his love for his sister. Soeren Palumbo is a student at Notre Dame and because of his incredible message has had the opportunity to travel the world reaching out to others. Such an inspiration.

Watch him here asking an audience to stop using the r-word and to choose love instead.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vote for Brad!

I've previously mentioned an amazing individual and self-advocate by the name of Brad Hennefer in this blog and he's back in the spotlight again. From a National Down Syndrome Congress email I received:

Self advocate Brad Hennefer, founder of the Golf for Life Foundation, (and a very popular speaker and exhibitor at our convention) has been chosen as one of 90 finalists in People Magazine and Major League Baseball's "All-Stars Among Us" national contest.

Vote For Brad!

The individuals nominated are people who have gone "above and beyond" in service to their communities. Each major league team is represented by three finalists.

To vote for Brad, go to and click on the Philadelphia Phillies logo. (We know--this can be difficult if you're not a Phillies fan. But it's for a great cause!) Then click on Brad's picture.

If Brad wins the Phillies vote, he'll win a trip to the MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14th, and will be recognized there. If he's the top vote getter among all teams, Brad will be featured in an upcoming issue of People Magazine!

You can vote for Brad until June 24th--and you can vote as many times as you want every day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dr. Awesome does Broadway

Speaking of Dr. Awesome in my previous post reminded me of the Broadway show Rent.

I saw the traveling version of Rent on a Sunday when I was 19 weeks pregnant. Three days prior, we had had the eventful ultrasound that showed various markers for a genetic abnormality as well as hydrocephalus. Though the Tank and I had previously declined an amniocentesis, after speaking to Dr. Awesome about the ultrasound results we marched right back into the radiology department. I was scheduled to work that afternoon and knew I couldn't make it now that I had this unplanned procedure yet to complete. I called into my boss but a coworker answered the phone instead. I apologized for not giving more notice that I couldn't work and expressed concern that they might not find a replacement in time. Because this was supposed to be "the" ultrasound where the baby's sex would be revealed, I had excitedly told everyone about today's visit in advance. My coworker didn't need much more information to realize that something had gone wrong with my doctor's visit.

"Is the baby okay?" she quietly asked. I had managed to hold myself together throughout the conversation but suddenly burst into tears. "No!" I sobbed, "No! He's not okay!" Then I hung up on her and crumpled onto the Tank.

Because the results were likely to take a week or two, we were in a torturous limbo after the amnio. What were we dealing with? What would we do about it if something was wrong? I could feel my little guy kicking strongly and couldn't believe that there could possibly be something abnormal with him. I clung to the two pictures we had been given at the ultrasound. As we watched our baby moving around on the screen that day, he appeared to be punching the placenta. One of these images had captured that moment with his little fist raised high. I felt that he was telling me he was a fighter and I needed to be a fighter too.

I spent the weekend trying not to let my mind wander. We didn't have any definitive diagnosis so I knew my worries were wasted. I asked everyone to please go on with regular routines. My parents were supposed to drive up from Virginia to see Rent with me and the Tank. They considered canceling but I refused to let that happen. I needed to stay busy, I needed to be around family and besides, we already had tickets.

As we sat down in our velvet-covered balcony seats, I opened the program. There on the first page was Dr. Awesome. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and asked the Tank to check his program. Yep, Dr. Awesome was there too. At the time, our hospital had a marketing campaign highlighting its various departments. Each print ad featured a large picture of either a patient or staff member from that department. Apparently Dr. Awesome was representing Obstetrics-Gyncecology in this latest version of the promotion. I was speechless. What are the odds and what did it mean?

"He's telling us that everything will be okay", the Tank offered. I looked down at the smiling visage of Dr. Awesome and had to agree that yes, no matter what the amnio results revealed, the good doctor knew everything would be alright. It was beyond comforting and for the first time since the ultrasound, I put my worries aside to enjoy the show, occasionally sneaking a peek inside the program for reinforcement.

A few days later, I had a scheduled appointment with Dr. Awesome. The amnio results still weren't in yet but being of "advanced maternal age" I had more frequent prenatal check-ups. I brought the program with me and couldn't wait to share it. I told the story to Dr. Awesome about opening the program only to see his picture on the first page and how we had decided he was protectively watching over us. He laughed and said that some of his residents had also attended the performance but they had a different reaction. They opened the program and said "He is always watching us. We can't get away from him!"

I still can't hear a song from Rent without envisioning Caden's perfect little courageous fist raised in the womb. And I still have that program. Our interpretation of the hosptial ad was spot-on: everything was alright.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Balloon Chasers 5k

We completed our second 5k race as a family at a Children's Miracle Network celebration. Of course Caden finished ahead of me and The Tank while enjoying his fully catered ride complete with snacks, drinks and toys. Between his 45 pounds and the weight of the loaded-up stroller, I have to think there aren't too many more of these in our future.