Archive for May 2014

Paint-Your-Own-Piece... with Mrs. Jones and Pals

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Today was the day! My friends and I signed up for a paint-your-own-piece Chalk Paint® class at Me and Mrs. Jones. And what a day it was!

First off, you walk in, and you immediately feel like you have just arrived at a party, and you are the guest of honor! 

From the fun banners hanging on the walls, to Stephanie's incredibly warm welcome, you can't help but feel like today is going to be a wonderful day!
Then you feast your eyes on all of the nooks and crannies with treasures in every corner.

Then on to the painting room, where you immediately feel your inner Monet coming out with all of the painting tools waiting for you, inviting you to roll up your sleeves, and paint your heart out!

It was time to begin our painting adventure!

Sally brought this charming painting stool that was made for her years ago by a very dear person in her life. 
I brought two accent tables that have taken some pretty hard hits over the years with all of our moves.
 Malia brought this amazing frame and easel.
And Stacy brought this really cool metal hall entry table.
Stacy is ready to go! 
I put my first coat of paint on my accent table. Stephanie recommended starting from the bottom. 
 Stacy chose a vibrant blue.

Stephanie showed us all how to bring back the guilding that is already on Malia's frame, by simply waxing it, and doing very little touch ups of guilding.
 It is an art piece all on its own and the waxing unearthed it's original beauty. Here it is partly done.
Sally stenciling her butterflies on the painting stool. 
 The end results...

I did not get a photo of Malia's easel and frame when they were done. :( They were amazing! 

And I got as far as finishing the stenciling on my tables and did the waxing at home. 

I used the dark wax to give it more depth. I just love these little accent tables now! 

Next up.... Milk paint!! Who is in? 
Thank you Stephanie, and everyone at Me and Mrs. Jones for the gift of a wonderful day of painting, learning, and enjoying beautiful friendships! This one is for the memory books!

Disney Is on to Something...


I was so excited  to have an opportunity to speak with a group of girls who are part of the American Heritage Girls Club. I had not heard of this organization before, but my friend is a troop leader, and she asked me to come and share with them what it is like to be a parent of a child with special needs. (Or as I left the message with these girls, a parent of a child who is differently abled.)

These girls were amazing, and so open to learning about Down syndrome and about ME. By the end of the presentation, many of them asked me if they could play with her at the park. My answer... um, absolutely! They were so sweet!

The girls, about 40 or 50 of them, ranged in age from kindergarten to high school. So I was trying to reach them all, each at their  own level.  Let me tell you, I was impressed with every single one of them, and what they learned about Down syndrome tonight, and for that matter, people of all abilities.

They asked very thoughtful questions, and truly wanted to learn about MaryEllen, and our journey. What a wonderful group of girls.

I enjoyed teaching them about Down syndrome, about MaryEllen, and about our journey.

One of my favorite things to share with those who are learning about Down syndrome is this: How ironic is it that Disney Princesses have almond shaped eyes, just like people who have Down syndrome. This fun fact is always a place where people pause, and have to think about what I just said.

It is a great way for kids to appreciate that differences are a part of our life, even if we don't notice it every day.

My first realization of this was on baby plate I had from when ME was a baby. Every character on the setting had beautiful almond shaped eyes. I had never noticed this until after she was born. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, Disney used a feature that is typical for a person with Down syndrome, to make their princesses more beautiful."

I gotta say, I love ME's eyes, and most of what I love about them is directly related to the almond shape! They are so expressive, and gorgeous.

Disney, you know elegant when you see it.

I love being able to tell those I speak to that my daughter's eyes are so amazing that the creators at Disney have a habit of using that radiant shape!

I will let you be the judge.

Three out of 4 have almond shaped eyes. Disney knows beautiful!

My princess and her beautiful almond shaped eyes. 
Thank you, Kelley, for inviting me to share our journey with your sweet troop. What a wonderful evening. The girls were amazing, and I am very glad I got to share with them the beauty of every life.


Walking for MS Awareness-- Today...

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Today, our family will be walking 3 miles in honor of everyone who lives daily with Multiple Sclerosis.

Our dear family friend, Eileen, was diagnosed with MS two years ago, and is participating in the Chicago Lakefront MS Walk today at 11:00 am.

Chicago is a little far for us to walk with her, so in her honor, and in honor of all of those who live with the affects of MS daily, we will put our walking shoes on, and get our three miles in around our neighborhood.

We hope you will join us where ever you are at.

If you would like to find an MS walk near you, you can go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Walk for a cure! We are!

Thank you Siri!

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Like all things ME, it took time for her to find her voice. We waited patiently. Last year we wondered if she would ever have a conversation. We wanted to believe, but it was so hard to know, since we were not seeing it emerge. She is having conversations all over the place now. Even with Siri. Love this video so much! Love this girl! So sweet. 

ME: Mom, Nick, car. Right now. 
Siri: Sorry, I'm not able to help you right now. Please try me again in a little while. 
ME: Mom, Nick, car. Right now. 
Siri: Something's amiss. Can you check back with me in a little while? 
ME: Oh, sure. 

What will you do now?

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The number one question I get asked lately is, "What will you do now that are not a part of the daily happenings of the IDSC?"

Simply said, for now, I plan to enjoy the little things.

The IDSC is in very good hands which is truly a dream come true. It makes my heart so happy.

---And I am happy to be able to do the many things I have not been able to do for a very long time.

I am enjoying going to bed early with a good book.

And rising early to a cup of hot cider.

It feels so good!

I love mornings. I always have.

It is truly my favorite time of the day.

Every day promises a fresh chance at a new start.
I enjoy sitting on my couch with a cup of hot cider, and watching the day wake up!

I enjoy the silence.

 I love nothing more than witnessing the sun rise up each morning! Beaming through the trees.
 I actually have the time to do that, and that is a wonderful thing!
During the busiest years of the IDSC, I would think about having a cup of hot cider on an early morning at this sweet little table. Unfortunately, that thought came and went over the years. Now, I am reserving a table for two, for ME and me, each morning. Ahhh.... SO excited. I just have to get her to be an early riser with me... lol--- I think for now, I will let her sleep in, and take advantage of these quiet mornings to do some of the things I have not been able to do for a while.  
Like paint....
I love this table, but it needed some freshening up.
Annie Sloan and I are becoming very good friends these days. I love the way this paint covers the wood. It is so clean and fresh. 
Now for my big decision of the day--- Should I paint the drawers, or leave them as an accent? Suggestions welcomed.
I will be sure to post a photo of the finished product. I already love my "new" table. I have a feeling Annie and I will be spending many early morning hours together, watching the sun rise!

In fact, I am taking a class with my friends to learn more techniques. Stacy and Malia we are going to have so much fun!

I have not taken a class in years.

Oh the little things in life...

And of course, I plan to blog about it. lol It will be fun to share my new creations with all of you.

So welcome to my new routine. I am very grateful for all who are continuing the wonderful work of the IDSC. My heart is full knowing a good thing was started, and more amazingly good stuff will be on its way by this incredible team. All while I find my way back to my regularly scheduled life!

With much gratitude for everyone.