Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Holiday Miracle!

It seems that each year around this time Abbi gives me a new present for which to be thankful. Her first Thanksgiving she started clapping her hands. Last year around this time she began to walk. This year she gave me the best one yet!
As you may remember from my last post I was praying for her to look at me and say mama. Well yesterday I got my prayer of 2 and 1/2 years answered. When I came home yesterday she met me at the door and said "MAMA" and hasn't stopped saying it since! I only imagined in my wildest dreams what it would feel like to be called mama since she was born. There has been a new bond form between us that I can't explain. It's like she has always been my daughter but now it feels more real b/c she realizes that I'm her mom.
I have been getting her to say it as much as possible since yesterday so she won't forget!!! I just love to hear her say it! My heart soars each time she does.

More good news today from her kidney doctor. Her tests so far are okay. We don't have to go back for a few months. She even peed in the potty to give the urine sample. The doctor was impressed! So was I!!

Today I am thankful for my family's health and our jobs. It seems that so many people are losing both lately. God has been so good to us and I don't ever want to focus on what others may consider negative things such as Abbi having Down syndrome. She is healthy!! She is normal! Both of which I prayed for while carrying her. God has answered my prayers each and every day that I get to be with her is a day to be thankful! I have learned so much since she was born. I can't wait to see what else she will teach me about life!

A lady in Sam's Club came up to us last week and looked at Abbi and said "you're one of God's angels aren't you little one" . At first I wasn't sure what she meant, but the more I think about it the more I begin to realize that she just might be right about our kids with Down syndrome. Abbi is my little piece of heaven on earth! God has lent her to me to teach me about how life should be lived. Thank you Lord for my Valentine from heaven as our pastor called her since she was born on Valentine's day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We went to Nashville this past weekend for Abbi's oral motor therapy evaluation. at the beginning of the eval the therapist showed her my picture and asked "who is this?" Well what comes out of her mouth but "mama"!!!!! I was so excited I nearly cried. Ofcourse now she won't repeat it. Oh well it is a start!

Maybe that will be my Christmas gift this year!

I visited the Special Ed Inclusive Headstart today. It seems like a good program, but I am honestly looking for something that is more structured. Maybe I am just too picky. It is hard to be a teacher and put your child in the care of another teacher b/c you can pick out so many things that need to be changed. We'll see what happens. Her IEP meeting isn't until January and we don't have to make a decision about preschool for several months after that. I am just praying for direction!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What's Your Name??

Today when I came home from school, Mom said ask her what her name is... So I said what's your name little girl and to my amazement she signed the letter "a" and said ahhh. Mom has been working with her for weeks now. She has always looked and known when you said her name but now knowing to sign "a" is great!! Now if she will only say "mama". What a great Christmas present that would be!

Here is Abbi as a ladybug last Halloween.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Party!

Mom took Abbi to a Halloween party at a friend's house today. Mom said the minute Abbi got there that her friend Karlee was right up in her face saying "Hi Abbi! Say Hi to me Abbi! and just insistent that Abbi talk to her. It was very cute. I wish Abbi could be around Karlee more often maybe she would learn to talk!! She did well. No biting at all. I was a little worried since church last week. We also had Halloween pics made yesterday. I will post them next week. I have a few to post today. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A weekend for Mommy & Daddy!

Junior and I got to spend the weekend in our primitive cabin on the mountain. Mom & Dad kept Abbi. It was great to get away for a while even if it was only a mile from our house! Abbi did well. Mom and Dad took her to church today and she put on a real show so we were told. Mom said she did all the motions to I'm in the Lord's Army and when she put her hands in the air, Mom said everyone laughed. I wish I could have been there to see it. On another note she bit another little girl on the arm. She goes up to hug them and ends up giving them a little more than a hug! I know it is b/c she is teething. She chews and knaws on everything! She doesn't seem to bite b/c she's mad. Any suggestions from anyone out there about how to help her understand that this is not the way to make friends!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy to See Mommy!

Today, I came home from a very tiring day at school. My students had really tested my patience today. I walked in the door at Mom's and Abbi practically ran over to me and hugged me. She was so happy to see me!! This is the first time since she was born 2 1/2 years ago that I felt like she missed me. I almost cried. I guess this is what it's like to feel loved by your child. Oh, I know that Abbi loves me and knows that I'm her mom, but most of the time she honestly doesn't seem to care whether or not I'm in the room or not. That is unless it's time to eat.

Maybe one day soon she will say Mama!! Oh what a happy day that will be! It would be better than anything else that I can imagine. Better than college graduation or winning a large sum of money.

That sweet little face just melted my heart today! I am so glad that God gave her to me to love.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Abbi at Buddy Walk 2007

Music Therapy

Today, we had our first session of music therapy. I was hoping Abbi would love it b/c she responds so well to music and she absolutely love Kindermusic. Alas she was tired and not in the least bit ready to sing and make merry! She cried and wouldn't do what Miss Nancy wanted her to do. Hopefully next week will be better. I have read such great things about this type of therapy and a friend of mine recommended it to me.

Our Buddy Walk is this Sat. I look so forward to this every year. Our FRIENDS group works so hard for several months putting this together. I can't wait to see all the smiling faces and see old friends. I will post with pics this weekend.

Right now I am so exhausted with doing my 18 days of bus duty at school. Being at school by 7am every morning is wearing all of us out. By the time, I get in class with my kindergarteners it feels like it's 3pm already. But I put on a big smile and we start the day with a song b/c I know their parents would love to be spending the day with them but they have to send them to me. So for a few hours each day I stand in their place and provide as much love as I can for my 13 little chickadees. I tie shoes, teach the ABC's and the 123's, as well as help teach them how to be friends. I love my job, but all day long Abbi crosses my mind and I hope that when she starts school one day she will love being there as much as I do. I have the sweetest group of kids this year. Their little faces are always full of fun and mischief. I never get tired of hearing "Mrs. B can you help me make this letter?" or "Mrs. B. can I do this or that?".

I really miss so much with Abbi by working, but my mom does such a great job with her that it's hard to feel bad about it. Thank God for Nana & Pop Pop!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My BAD!!

Tonight after eating supper my sister and I took Abbi upstairs to play in her play area. We are sitting there playing and her husband comes in downstairs and yells for us to get downstairs b/c someone is shooting at the house!

We proceeded to quickly make our way downstairs. Once down there I let my Sis keep Abbi in a safe place and went out on the backporch to see what was going on with my brother-in-law. And YES bullets were hitting right in my backyard. Right where Abbi's swing is on the porch. Someone was on the hill next to our house shooting down. So I got in the car and drove down the road to see if I could find out who it was. There were two teenage boys up there shooting a 22 rifle.

When I spoke with them I explained that they needed to be shooting towards the mountains and not toward my house. One of the boys responded with "MY BAD"!!!! What exactly does this mean? Is it slang for "I'm sorry" or just coping an attitude with me. I proceeded to tell him that my little girl was in that house and the next time he decides to shoot, it had better be towards the mountain and not my house. He acted as though he didn't understand what I was so upset about.

What is wrong with teenagers today. Now I know they are not all that bad, but honestly!!! Can you believe he actually didn't get the importance of not shooting towards a house with people in it!! So now I am wondering should I have said anything at all b/c it seems my words had no impact. Hopefully the next time he shoots a gun he will be more careful but probably not. It is things like this that make me wonder if we shouldn't have stricter gun laws. My husband is an avid hunter, but teens today are mostly not responsible enough to have a gun in their possession!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Colors All Around

So I was letting Abbi play in her ball pit the other night and I notice she is holding the balls and doing "signs". Mom has been working with her for several weeks to learn her colors. I was so tired from my day with my kindergarteners that it took my brain a while to realize she was picking them up and "signing" their color. How excited was I!!! Well I called everyone! Mom kept telling me that she knew her colors but you know how Grandma's like to think their little darlings are just the smartest. She was right! So now we are working on matching the color word to the colors. We'll see how this goes. It is the "whole word" approach advocated by most of the research that I have read.

Today my kindergarten class went on a field trip to local Corn Maze. We had a blast! It is so much fun to see them get excited. My favorite student from CDC who has Down syndrome got to go with us. He did such a great job. What an improvement from last year. He participated in every activity except going thru the maze. By then he was just worn out! I was so proud of him. His mom got to come too but honestly she didn't have to really do much at all for him. It warmed my heart to see some of my "mother hens" little girls help Jordan know what to do. I really hope that I can do what is best for him this year. He has come so far and I want him to have every opportunity to show how smart he is.

On another note Abbi's transition meeting is scheduled for Oct. 6th. Be much in prayer for us if you will. You would think that b/c I am a teacher that I would not be nervous, but it is like a double edge sword when you work in the school system.

So tomorrow begins the final two weeks before the Buddy Walk. Can't wait it is the highlight of my year!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Final IFSP

We had Abbi's final IFSP yesterday. In a few short months we will be on the slippery slope of IEP's. Sometimes I feel as if the transition from Early Intervention to the Public School System is a very traumatic one. Families go from such a positive environment to one of uncertainity. It feels as if the wind is being sucked out of your sails for a while. It really shouldn't feel this way. There is no reason that teachers and parents can't work together to truly do what is best for a child. How do we make it happen as educators? I have asked myself this question since Abbi turned two. I still don't have an answer, but I have to believe that one is out there. As a kindergarten teacher, I am committed to making my classroom an inviting one for all types of learners. I can only hope that when my Abbi starts school she will encounter teachers who will want to make the same accomodations for her.

So during the IFSP I realized that Abbi had made 6 months or more gains in every area except speech. I keep asking myself when will she say MAMA! She says ball, bye,hi, block, and duck nearly perfect. It seems to me that she should say MAMA easily, yet she will not say it. Or atleast not say it in reference to me. Oh the little stinker can say MAMA when we are doing her oral motor therapy but when I ask her who I am she just looks at me and signs "MAMA". Well I can wait.

Now if I can only make her smile and laugh as much as Elmo does. Seriously the kid is addicted to Elmo. You should see her little face when he comes on TV. I am honestly thinking of getting an ELMO suit!! :-)))))

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Tonight when we got home,I decided to spend time doing puzzles with Abbi. I hadn't done one with her in a while and expected her to need a lot of help as usual. We have several Melissa & Doug puzzles with the pictures printed behind the puzzle pieces so she matches them up.

I laid all of the puzzle pieces out in the floor and to my surprise she began to pick them up and match them one by one all by herself! I actually sat there and watched her pick up each piece look intensely at it and then scan each part of the puzzle to decide where it should go. I could actually see her "thinking". It was amazing. Each time she matched a piece she would look up at me and say "YEAHHH" and clap her hands. Abbi loves praise and thinks everyone should clap for her each time she does something. I think it is very cute and doesn't everyone want praise when they do something well???

She has also begun to say "no" when she doesn't want to do something. But she usually complies anyway. Most times I can't resist those cute little cheeks on her chubby little face. I am so proud of her!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Well, I haven't posted lately b/c school has started again. So far this year I have 13 kids in my classroom. Their first full day is Friday. Abbi has adjusted well to getting up early each morning for the trip to Nana & Pop's. Although some mornings she still rolls over and cuddles her little bunny. The nice thing is that she is going to bed early each night so I have a few moments to unwind from the day. I got a call from out TEIS lady the other day about Abbi's first transition meeting. I can't believe she will be 3 so soon. I am not ready for this!! You would think since I am a teacher that I would be but I am not. I have so many dreams and goals for her and I get very afraid when I think about her starting school. She is my little Abba Dabba.
Nana has adjusted well too ,and they are back on their old schedule of Kindermusik and therapy sessions. Mom also does her "lessons" each day where they work on colors, shapes, oral motor therapy, and o.t. stuff. What would I do w/out Nana!! There is simply no way that I would have the time or energy when I get home to do all this. Abbi doesn't have the energy either at that time of day we are both "all done" as she would "sign". It is nice to get to come home and play w/her. I am doubly blessed!!! Thank you Nana!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is this the 21st Century or the Dark Ages??

Dear Friend,

I invite you to be a fan of dignity and join me in a campaign to stop the use of the “R-word.” This week, the film "Tropic Thunder" opens in movie theaters across the nation. While intended to be a satire on Hollywood actors and producers, the film has a scene which is offensive and demeans people with intellectual disabilities.

I am asking you to help me in this campaign by boycotting the film "Tropic Thunder." If we can hurt the ticket sales of this film, we will have made a statement to Hollywood that we will not stand for this type of content that is hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities.

Be a fan of Dignity, don’t say the R-word. Visit www.R-word.org.

Ford, Sabrina, & Abbi

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Poo Poo in the Potty!

We are still working on potty training. Today I noticed that Abbi had the "poo poo" face so I took her to the potty. After I convinced her to sit down, she went "poo poo" in the potty. We clapped and made a great deal over it. I thought it would be a good idea to show her what she did so she would begin to understand. I turned her around and pointed to the poo and told her what a great job she did. Before I knew it she was reaching for it. Luckily I grabbed her hand before she got to it. Shew.... glad I got there first. That would have been a mess. My thing now is what do I do when we are out and have to use a public restroom. She is so small that she almost falls in. Not to mention touching the public toilet is a little more than I care to think about. I have thought of getting child potty seat covers. Anyone reading my blog have any suggestions..........

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Eye Doctor

Since school starts back next week, I thought today would be a good time to get a new pair of reading glasses. Well it was an interesting visit to say the least. This very young doctor did my examination. Apparently I am older that I realize b/c he informed me that I needed bifocals!! I informed him that I did not need bifocals and would just take a pair of reading glasses. Thank you very much. He went ahead and gave me the prescription for glasses to see far away too. So now I have two prescriptions. One for near and one for far!

So during my exam I happened to mention that I took my daughter to see Dr. Carlsen for her eyes b/c she had Down syndrome. He proceeded to tell me about his experience in Alabama working with children with Downs and how happy they always were. Well after the day I had had with Abbi and her whining, I decided to let him know that DS kids are just like any other kid. I said" Well I'd like to know where my happy DS kid is b/c mine has whined all day........." This put a funny look on his face and he said something to the effect of I'm Sorry and changed the topic of conversation. A small triumph for me. I finally let one person know that DS kids are just like other kids and they aren't all happy all the time. Believe me when it's time for Sesame Street I told him my daughter is just like any other 2 year old. If you get in front of Elmo, it's melt down time........

So he helped me pick out my glasess and sent me on my way. I am sure he was glad to get me out of there....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scared for the First Time!

Tonight I saw Abbi get scared for the first time. It was actually one of her IFSP goals to be "scared" of something unfamiliar. Usually she isn't scared of anything. Tonight at the end of her Elmo video there was a puppet with wild orange hair against a black screen that was singing a song. I looked up from the computer to see her running toward me with open arms and the biggest "poochy" lip I had ever seen. She climbed up in my lap and buried her head in my chest. Then she would look back at the TV to see if it was gone. I was quite amazed as I had never seen her scared before. I was actually happy in a small way because that meant she had developed a new emotion! I guess other parents don't feel this way when their child shows they are scared, but for me it was a cause for celebration. Yeah for normal emotions!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back from the Keys!

Well we made it back! Although there was a short while where I wasn't sure we were both going to make it back. Junior almost had a heat stroke we think. It happened while we were snorkeling. Gladly now he seems to be feeling better. We loved the Keys and plan to return someday. There were several things that we wanted to do but didn't have time to do. Two days is just not enough time!

Abbi was very glad we were home! She just hugged us! It was very sweet to be missed finally. Before we would go away and it was as if she never even knew we were gone. Tonight she just wanted to play ball and even went and got the playdough out. She has never done that before. I am teaching her how to use a little rolling pin to roll it out. We had only worked on it once but when I gave her the pin tonight she knew exactly what to do! We also worked on the computer. The Sesame Street website is great! She loves the Elmo Keyboard game and the peek-a-boo one also.

Two weeks until school is back in session. I hope to make the most of each day that we have left!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Playing !

We are enjoying our last few weeks of Summer Break. It won't be long before we have to go back to work. Here are a few pics of Abbi playing. She just loves to be outside. There are days that I wonder will I ever be able to let her just go out and play without worrying if she'll understand what is dangerous and what is not. We are still working on going up and down steps. Her little legs are so short that she has to use someone or something for support. SHe tries very hard though and doesn't give up. She is really into saying "bye" and "ball" right now. These are the only two words she can say that anyone can understand. Now when she watches Sesame Street and they say "bye", she looks at the TV and waves and says "bye" too. It is very cute. However, she also says "bye" when she doesn't want to be somewhere or do something. This can get very interesting at times.

We are off to Key West tomorrow for a final summer fling just my husband and I. I will post pics when I get back.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Passed!!

I got my results today from my 6 Hour Essay test to get my Administrative Endorsement. I passed!!!! I was so excited that I jumped all around the house. Abbi got excited too and started clapping for me. I am so glad that the test and my ED.S. are over and done. Hopefully this next school year, I will be able to focus on more fun things.

Right now I am trying to begin using some of the techniques that I learned in Boston with Abbi. It seems that she may be ready to begin learning to match pictures with words. According to the research presented once she has a vocabulary of 50 - 100 words (identifying pictures with sign or speech) then we can move onto words. Hopefully I will get it all together and begin soon. She has really tried to start saying more sounds. Yesterday I told her to say please when she wanted a cookie and she signed "cookie" and said "eese" while signing "please".

She is still pottying, but she doesn't understand how to tell us she needs to go yet. Hopefully we will figure that out soon. I am just glad that she wants to pee in the potty. Apparently while I was gone to Boston she "pooped" in the potty, but hasn't done that since I came back. Maybe soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back from Boston!

Just got back from Boston today. Amy and I had a great time. The conference was amazing and we still had some time to do a little sight seeing. Boston is a great city but I think our DS crowd made it even better!!

I learned so much at the conference to help me fine tune Abbi's therapy. Especially speech! It was also very helpful to know that I am on the right track with what we are doing so far.

Will try and post some pic later. I am exhausted right now and Abbi needs some extra attention since I have been gone for 4 days.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Potty Time!!

Well I didn't want to post this until I was sure it was going to last but, Abbi started peeing in the potty on Sat. July 5th. It was amazing. I had been sitting her on the potty for a couple of weeks before bath time and she had never gone, but on Sat. night I sat her on and she peed. She was so proud of herself. You could see it on her face. So I thought well, maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful thing or I am just really lucky.

Well I believe it is the beginning of somethings amazing. We have her on a potty schedule and if she has to go when you take her she will sit on the potty and pee. If not she will refuse to sit on the potty and say no. She does the "potty" sign so she knows what it is. I am not sure when she will actually start asking to go or be ready to poo poo in the potty, but I am ready to wait for her to be ready. I have let her do this in her own time and I can wait for the other.

We are so proud of her considering she isn't even 2 1/2 yet and has Downs. We figure that is very good. My goal is to be completely trained by her third birthday. Maybe we will reach it maybe not, but I always like to set goals.

Needless to say we have been watching the Elmo Potty Time Video about once a day. She just loves Elmo and I believe she would do anything he said, so hopefully it will translate into potty training.

I leave for Boston tomorrow for the NDSC Down Syndrome Conference. I can hardly wait to get there and learn as much as I can to help Abbi and others DS kids and adults.

It may be Monday before I can post again.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

I am done!!

Today I finished my Education Specialist Degree. We had our last class. This past year has been hard but today made it all worthwhile. Now I can get a raise and focus more on Abbi & Junior in the upcoming year. I cannot explain how excited I am to finally be done. There were times in the past year that I felt like quitting. I am so glad that I had the good Lord above to give me grace and my family and friends to support me.

Now if I can just get my doctorate degree then I will finally be done!! :-) Of course I will take small break, but that is definately a goal that I have.

Junior is very ready for me to be completely done with school, but I know that he will support me if and when I decide to go back. I really want to be Dr. Baker. Time will tell. Right now I am just glad to be done with this one.........

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Today is our nation's birthday and I have spent it cleaning windows!! Well I did take some time out to have a picnic with my wonderful family. Abbi ofcourse loved all the attention she gets from all her aunts. It is wonderful to have such a big family. It gives me a break. She got to eat strawberry and her favorite,hamburgers, but honestly the kid loves just about anything. She never knows when she is full and wants "cookie" or "fish" all the time. She is just cute when she "signs" it that we almost can't resist. We usually end up giving in.

She has also recently learned what a potato chip is thanks to Nana. It's okay really, I knew she would eventually. She is growing up so fast. Last 4th of July she couldn't walk and this year she is walking and talking. We are so very proud of her.

Her "sign" vocabulary is up to about 40 words now. She seems to drop the sign or use the sign with the word when she learns to say the word. I have to confess that I haven't worked on her "lessons" as Mom calls them very much this summer. I just want to have fun with her.

Next week, I am going to the National Down Syndrome Congress National Convention in Boston, MA. I can hardly wait. I hope to learn a great deal while there to bring back to our FRIENDS group here in TN.

Junior is working very hard on our cabin and 100 acres to try and get it ready so we can begin staying in it some this summer. He bought a new "toy" yesterday. An air compressor and nail gun. He has nailed almost everything down.......... :-) Boys and their toys. It really did make the job of putting the wood on the ceiling easier though.

Well that's all for now. I will post more when I get back from Boston.

Friday, June 27, 2008

We're Back!

We just got back from Myrtle Beach today. It was great to get away as a family. It was Abbi's first trip to the beach. She just loved the ocean or just water in general. She was not afraid of the waves at all and practically ran everyday into the ocean when we got there.
The funny thing is that we had bad luck with electronics from day one of our trip. I dumped my digital camera in the ocean when Abbi fell after a small wave knocked her face first into the ocean and then later that same day my laptop got a bug and completely died. So I had to go purchase a CVS one time use digital camera.

Once we get some pics developed I will post.

Abbi is asleep downstairs as I write this. I know she is glad to be home. She kept saying "bye bye" on the way home and signing "all done".

On Monday we go to visit the Child Study Center for possibly putting Abbi there a few days a week this fall. I feel she could really benefit by being around other kids. So wish us luck.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Spring!

Sweet Baby Girl!

Abbi & Pop at Dollywood

Summer is Here!

We have had record heat the past few days. Hot Hot Hot! My friend Marci and I took Abbi to Dollywood yesterday, but I left my camera in the car!! Oh well. We had fun but roasted in the heat. Abbi discovered that water is fun. She played quite a while in the new part of the park where the water squirts out of a little wall. She would just stand in front of the water and let it squirt down the back of her diaper and just laugh. It was the cutest ever.

Abbi was ready to go home by the end of the day. When we got in the car she signed "all done" and said bye bye and just grinned like a possum. She is so much like her daddy. Loves to be at home!

Next week we are going to Splash Country with our friends and then on to Myrtle Beach the week of the 22nd. Can't wait for her to see the ocean!! Everytime she sees water she does the sign for "bath". I just know that when she sees the ocean she will sign "bath" like it's the biggest bath she has ever seen.

Today I took my exam to become certified to be an administrator. I must be totally crazy sometimes. A six hour essay exam has left me completely brain dead.

Happy Father's Day to all you great dads out there!! Especially my dad and my wonderful husband who is such a great dad to our little Abba Dabba!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Glad that summer is here!

Haven't posted in a long time. Teaching kindergarten and gettting my Ed.S. degree was a little more than I should have taken on right now. All is well now though. School is out and I will finish my degree on July 5th.

Abbi is doing great. She can say 11 words and knows about 40 signs. We are so proud of her. She has a little cold right now.

All for now, we are packing for camping in Pigeon Forge this week. Will post pics when I figure out how.

Our Family

Our Family

Abbi & Daddy

Abbi & Daddy
Summer 2006