Wednesday, May 14, 2014


One of my biggest fears for Ella, from the very beginning, was that she wouldn't have friends. I remember when we first moved here to Spokane, when Ella was 1 1/2 years old, watching 2 little girls in the apartment complex playing together, giggling and jumping rope. It broke my heart. Would Ella ever know what that felt like? Would other kids accept her for who she is or would they turn away from her because she is "different?"  Luckily Ella has had some good little friends in preschool, but they kind of out grew her.  The kids in her kindergarten class were really nice to Ella but she didn't have anyone that seemed particularly close to her. This year we moved onto 1st grade, (in our district Kindergarten is it's own school,) elementary school. It was a very scary time for me. We had to do some negotiating (to put it nicely) to get an acceptable, to me, amount of gen ed time.  But with time in the general education classroom comes the big fears, how the kids will treat her and how the parents of the "typical" kids will feel about a child with Down syndrome being in class with their kid.  We have been so incredibly happy with the way this school year has gone! Ella spends 50% of her time in the gen ed class and 50% of her time in the Extended Resource room. Both of her teachers are fabulous!!  The kids in the gen ed room have been amazing with Ella! The gen ed teacher does a wonderful job at having a classroom that truly is inclusive, and I think she has done a great job of fostering friendships.

I went into the school yesterday to pick up Hunter and Ella. On Tuesdays Ella is dismissed from music and her gen ed teacher comes to pick up the kids and always stops to tell me how Ella's day went.  She told me that Cayce (a little girl in Ella's class) brought Ella a necklace and a picture and how sweet it was when she gave it to Ella.  The bell rang and out came Ella, she ran up to me and excitedly showed me her necklace. It's a Best Friend necklace, the kind where one person has the "Best" half and the other has the "Friends" half.  It was all I could do to not break down and cry right there at the front door of the school.  Seriously melt my heart!!!  I'm not sure how to say what this represents to me.  I'm sure a lot of people will think it's silly that I am so excited about a necklace. But it's not just about the necklace. It's about my child having a real connection with another child.  It's about another little girl thinking about my Ella outside of the classroom. It's about another parent allowing her child to have a friendship with a little girl with Down syndrome.  It's about the pure love and excitement that shows on Ella's face when she wears  her necklace and talks about her FRIEND Cayce!!

I posted this picture of Ella wearing her necklace and holding her picture yesterday on Facebook. The mom of the other little girl found me through a mutual friend.  She sent me a private message....

I just wanted you to know what a blessing it has been to watch this little friendship Cayce ADORES Ella .

To which I wrote her back expressing my feelings, and she responded with...

I am so thankful for Ella ! Cayce has really taken to her and she tells her sister all about her .

Oh and her gen ed teacher left this comment...

Their interaction the other morning will definitely be one of the highlights of my teaching career! I love both those girls and have no doubt this is just the beginning of a lifetime of sincere and quality friendships for Ella.

I am one happy mama.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!!

Today is World Down Syndrome Day!!! I went into Ella's 1st grade class and read a story about Down syndrome and Ella handed out yellow and blue cake pops to all the kids. The kids asked great questions! At the end Ella's teacher handed Ella a folder full of cards that her classmates made for her. Reading through them brought tears to my eyes! THIS is inclusion working!!!

 You are one of my best friends. You are awesome

You are fun and you are a good friend and you are nice you are my hero you are the nicest friend

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sledding Day!!!

We took the kids sledding today! It was a blast! Ella really surprised me at how well she did, she must have walked up the hill 50 times!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Big Haircut

Ella has been fighting me when I brush her hair lately. To her credit her hair has been ridiculously tangled. I think the cause of it was her "leash" that goes from her hearing aids and clips on the collar of her shirt. We decided it was time to cut her hair.

Getting her hair washed for the first time at a salon.
She was feeling pretty big : )
The first big cut

There was a whole lot of hair on the ground!  Sadly it was not long enough for us to donate to Locks of Love
Then Ella requested to go under the dryer
She was quite pleased with herself!
All styled up....which it never will be again because I do not own, nor know how to use a curling iron.
Beautiful girl!!!

I am happy to report that Ella LOVES her haircut (so do I) and it is super easy to brush!!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 for 21: Happy Halloween!!!!!!

Happy Halloween!!!! We had a GREAT day! The kids were both so much fun this year!  Their school didn't do parties but did fun activities throughout the day, and they wore their costumes to school.

Ella was "Oreo" (Ariel!)
Hunter was a very handsome military man. "Delta Force" to be exact.

Princess wave and a salute!

Yikes...Hunter what is that thing next to you????
Oh, it's your father.

When Hunter came in and took off his camo shirt I was shocked at just how much it reminded me of Chris. This is what Chris looked like for much of our marriage, when he would come home from work and take off his camo shirt, black t shirt and camo pants. Crazy.
The kids telling eachother about their day. So sweet.

Man I love these two.
Guitar practice! He has memorized Ode to Joy and can play it without the sheet music in front of him!

Nana came over and brought presents!!!!
These little flashlights were a huge hit with both!

We had Jack O Lantern pizzas and then got ready to go trick or treating.

Wait!!!  Where did Hunter go? I can't see him!!!!
Ella was NOT a fan of Chris' suit.
moving closer
I will stand beside Bubba!!!

She finally warmed up to Daddy!  I have to say that Ella did 500% better trick or treating than she ever has. She did not try to go into anyone's house and she never once complained that she was tired!  Every 30 seconds or so she would say " I love trick or treating!"