Archive for March 2015

ME's Signature Label Steamers Jam Available in Memphis!

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Don't you love when you do something, and it rolls into something bigger?

For those who  follow me, you know that I handed out a case of Steamer's Jam in 3 ounce jars for World Down Syndrome Day! 47 jars actually, because our family saved one for ourselves! And yes, it was YUMMY! We put it on cream cheese and crackers! Yummyyy!!

It was such a big hit that I ordered another case!

Only this time, my friends will not let me hand it out, instead they have insisted on buying it from me!

So we decided to offer this to others who might be interested in a jar or two of jam!

Steamer's sells their 3 ounce jars of jam for $3 a jar plus shipping.

We will sell our signature MaryEllen WDSD Raspberry Jalapeño to you for a flat $3.

We hope we sell so many that we need to order more cases!

Steamer's is hard at work right now getting this made and sent to us! They estimate it will be here in 3 weeks.

If you are interested in a jar of jam, you can pre order it from me by contacting me via email or phone:

Some have asked if they could have it put in a basket, with crackers and a bottle of wine. Absolutely. ME and I would love to create a basket for you! Contact me for more information on that!

Steamer's has other flavors, but for now we will just be selling ME's WDSD Raspberry Jalapeño signature label jam.

We will not be making a profit off of this. We are paying $3 each plus shipping. As I said above, we will charge only $3, and save you on the shipping.

We will only be selling these locally at the flat $3 price.

If you live outside of the Memphis area, we can find out what it would cost to ship it to you! We will work to get the lowest rate possible. Then you can let us know if you want to proceed.

If you are local pick up  for your jar of jam will be at:
The UPS Store in Germantown
2095 Exeter Rd Suite 80-227
Germantown, TN 38138

If you would like to order from Steamer's directly for other flavors or with your own signature label, you can contact Jenni at Steamer's by calling (303) 423-8172 or email her at

Or you can click below on ME's signature label below which will take you directly to their site!

We would love to sell more flavors going forward, if it seems like people would like them. Our goal is to continue to get the word out there about Steamers and keep these wonderful folks at Steamers working! We hope you will share this with others, who might be interested in a jar, so that we can meet both of those goals!

Remember, these are  in 3 ounce jars, however, if it looks like people would like larger jars, we would be happy to sell the 9 ounce jars if we get enough pre orders.

To learn more about Steamers and why I love them so much check out these incredible videos!

We can't wait to bring our Steamers jam to you!

The Journey Matters-Friends in the Journey Matter Too

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So today I went to lunch with a friend of mine.

We have been friends for years.

We got to know each other the year I moved here.

Her daughter, who also happens to have Down syndrome, is one year older than ME.

Nearly all of my kids are many more years older than her oldest child. 

So we are learning from each other. 

We are sort of kindred souls.

Both of us very passionate.

Both of us wanting the world to know how amazing each of our girls are. 

Simply said, we have been through a lot together. 

Today, we got to talk about our journeys. 

And eat. 

And laugh. 

And embrace our journey's.

She is an action person. She will move mountains locally, and quite possibly globally. 

I am a writer. I will share my journey through words. Locally and quite possibly globally. 

We are doing the same thing. Today, I realized that. I think we both realized that. 

My words matter, and her actions matter. 

I enjoyed the lunch immensely. I am grateful for this friend. I always have been.

I am grateful we got to just enjoy our friendship. 

Yep, friends matter too.

My Experience With Eloping...

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This Sunday, March 22, at 2:00 PM ET, I will be speaking on the subject of eloping.

No, I am not going to be telling the world that I eloped with my husband. Although that is one form of the use of the word, it is not the form I am referring to.

(Full disclosure, we did not elope.  Though, that sounds very romantic.)

No, that is not the eloping I will be speaking about. There is yet another use of the word, usually used by those who have a loved one with a cognitive disability.

There it is, right up there, number 4. The one that makes me cringe when I think about it.

That is the one I will be speaking about on Sunday, March 22, at 2:00 PM ET.

Truth be told, I really wish I was not speaking about this. I really wish this was not a part of our lives.

I am speaking about it, because I have experience in this area.

I would rather not have had that experience.

But I do, so I want to help others who might learn from all we have been through.

My daughter, ME, was (I hate to say was, because just when I do,  Murphy's law makes me say "is".) an eloper, runner, wanderer. In spite of Murphy, I am going with was, because she has shown us so much hope that we are not in the "is" camp anymore! Our last elopement, little or big, was a year ago. So we all feel pretty confident. But always on alert.

We realized pretty early on that this was going to be part of our journey.

We had many little episodes where we had to run after her because she was seeking sensory input.

However, we had two very BIG scares that took a few years off of my life.

I will be sharing about the little episodes and the big scares.

I will also be sharing how we dealt with this as a family, and resources that helped us cope.

Most of all, I will be assuring you, this is not because of anything you did, or did not do, to prevent your child from being an eloper.

Not everyone in the Down syndrome community understands this issue, because not every person with Down syndrome elopes. With that, I hope this conference session helps you understand you are not alone.

The 321 eConference is offered online starting on Saturday, March 21, World Down Syndrome Day. Because it is online, you can attend from anywhere you are in the world. How cool is that!

If you are interested in learning more about this session, click here.

To register for this online conference please click on the logo below.

Why Barbies Matter- ME Turns 10!

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If you are interested in sending a Barbie for MaryEllen's Birthday Barbie Party 4 St. Jude here is the information. 

ME will be delivering the Barbies to St. Jude when we have enough to take over there. However, you can send the Barbie to the Germantown, TN, UPS Store in the Exeter Village Shopping Center. Thermon is ready to get as many as we can send to deliver them to the kids at St. Jude's.

Here is the address: 
ME's Barbie Party 4 St. Jude
Attention: Diane Grover 
2095 Exeter Rd Suite 80-227
Germantown, TN 38138

(***If you are local, Thurmon, the owner of this UPS Store in the Exeter Village Shopping Center, said is happy to accept drop offs!)

To learn more about how this came to be read my original post:

We have thought long and hard about how we are going to celebrate ME's 10th birthday. It has been an amazing year, and let's face it, 10 is a great year to celebrate.

We decided it would be a Barbie theme.

If you know ME, you know how much she loves Barbie!

Last week, my dear friend, Eileen MacDonald, sent ME a Barbie in the mail.

To say ME was excited is an understatement.

She screamed like Elvis had entered the room!

I was trying to video tape the screaming, but we were all giggling and smiling so much, and enjoying her reaction, that I could not get the video to work on my phone. Even ME was laughing between the screams.

So when everything calmed down, we video taped a thank you to her sweet friend, Eileen.

And I posted this video to Facebook.

My friend Stephonie Brown commented on the post, and said, "Diane, does she love any Barbies? I have been looking for someone to gift to! I have ones we have received as gifts. And my daughter does not play with them."

Of course, I wrote back right away!

"Oh, how fun! Yes, this would be awesome, thank you!!!  We will give the extras to St. Jude! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"

Then we thought about it. We were already working on a Barbie themed party to celebrate ME on March 17, St Patty's Day!

What if we asked our friends and family to send us a Barbie and we will bring it to St. Jude's!

And if we get too many for St. Jude's, we will bring them to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

And if we still have to many, we will find every child in Memphis who is in need of a Barbie!

We will collect them for the whole year she is 10!

You see, Barbie matters to ME (MaryEllen). 

In my early years as a mom, I was not always a huge Barbie fan.  I loved them when I was little. But when I became a mother, I read the articles that shared why she was not a good role model for our daughters. So part of me wondered, is there truth to  any of that? 

So, as a mom, I was not a non-fan. I was just not a big fan.

Until ME.

ME fell in love the first time she was given a Barbie. I mean IN LOVE!

Barbie attended many doctors appointments with us. And brought ME a lot of peace. 

She learned to swim with a Barbie in her hand. I'd like everyone to try that one. Yep, Barbie right by her side. Later, after she was a strong swimmer, and she just wanted to swim, Barbie sat on the side of the pool watching, cheering her on. 

When she wanted good laughs, Barbie was never far. She has enjoyed playing with her Barbies. We have enjoyed watching her play. 

And I am going to be honest, she loves these ladies so much! As her mother, I am grateful! Everyone needs a best girlfriend. ME for sure has one, actually more than one, but still, who is counting?! lol Also, more honesty, it is so good to see a little girl enjoy being a little girl. 

So you see, Barbie has mattered in our house. 

As ME got bigger, she did not need Barbie for the little things any more. She was a big girl now, but she still loves to play with her Barbies. 

Although, recently, in her transition to her new school, Barbie attended a few days with her, as she got acquainted with her new surroundings. So Barbie still has the power to inspire ME.

So now we are asking the world to help us. Help us, help others who might need a little smile, or a little inspiration, or a little someone watching them as they do something really brave.

On behalf of ME's 10th birthday, we hope you will consider sending her a Barbie. She will be delivering these Barbies to St. Jude's. And as I said, if St. Jude's gets enough, we will go to the next place where a little girl has a need to find a reason to smile!

If you would like to gift one please send your Barbie to: 2095 Exeter Rd. Suite 80-227 Germantown, TN 38138 (If you are local, this is the UPS Store in the Exeter Village Shopping Center. Thermon says you can drop them off there, and he will add them to the pile!)

**Some have asked, what about the boys? We plan to dedicate all of ME's 11th birthday gifts to the boys. In the mean time, if you would like to send something to ME to donate for her birthday this year, for a boy, we are suggesting a super hero action figure.

**** ME will be ten for a whole year. We will not have a cut off date for those who want to send a Barbie for us to share. Send in all year long, we will deliver them all year long!

***** We will be announcing the farthest location that Barbie travels from! So share, share, share! Thank you!

Can I Let You In On A Little Secret?

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I am super excited to share that

Is coming to Memphis!

This event will benefit 

Check back here
for an announcement of 
all of the dates, 
and details...
Memphis is Changing the Face of Beauty in 2015! 

Why Jobs Matter -This World Down Syndrome Day and Every Day!

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As you know, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day! There are a lot of campaigns going on, and as I said in a previous post, we will be doing a few things that day as a family! 

But we will also join the Down syndrome community in this celebration by rockin' our socks!

In fact this year, a small group of my friends and I will be swapping socks with each other! 

We are sending them  to each other from a few places across the United States! ME's and mine came from my friend, Mary, who lives in Colorado! Are they cute or what!

But we wanted to do more than rock our socks!

We will also participate in the Random Act of Kindness campaign, but with a twist!

We wanted our act of kindness to be meaningful to people with Down syndrome in a more significant way. 

We want to show our support to adults who have a developmental disability who are employed! 

We want to highlight how important jobs are to those who have a I/DD!

We chose to do it this way, because quite simply... jobs matter!

And Steamers Coffeehouse knows that!

During the month of March, I will be highlighting businesses that are committed to employing adults who have I/DD.

Starting with Steamers Coffeehouse

We are very proud of Steamers Coffeehouse for their commitment to employing individuals who have I/DD!

So this World Down Syndrome Day, the Grover family will be handing out 47 jars of Steamers Raspberry Jalapeño jam, cream cheese, and crackers in honor of all of Steamers' employees!! 

So, Aaron, Alexa, Amy, Betsy, Cassie, Chris, Crysta, Darol, David, Denise, Elsa, Emily, Jill, Jennifer, Jessica, Karen, Kira, Luke, Nate "Dogg", Qiana, Penny, Robert, Meri, Nicole, Sara, Sharvetta, Sonya, Stephanie, Nick "Tiger", and Tina, here's to you!

You are amazing and awesome!

Thank you for helping us spread the love this World Down Syndrome Day!

* I plan to share other businesses that are employing people who have an I/DD all of March leading up to WDSD! If you know of a business that is employing people with I/DD please email me their website or Facebook Page to diane@dianegrover.ME

** Also, if you are interested in being in the remake of this video, please send a photo to me at diane@dianegrover.ME! Click here to read why I am doing this little project! 

Why Celebrations Matter

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This year has been an amazing year for my family and me. I  am very grateful for all of the people who are now part of the IDSC, and the great work they are doing, which has enabled me to take a deep breath and regain a bit of my life back.

I sort of consider March 21, 2014, as the anniversary of the day I stepped away from my active working role at the IDSC, and into my role as the Founder of the IDSC. 

This March 21, 2015, I will be celebrating that anniversary. 

When ever you let go, and move on, from anything, there is a period of adjustment. 

This was no different. 

I spent a lot of months learning how to live a simple life again. 

Painting furniture, taking photography classes, connecting to old friends, visiting with my extended family, traveling, reading, and just plain old, uninterrupted, relaxing. 

It had been a long time since I was really able to do any of that. 

The day ME was born, was technically the day I started advocating. I went from her birth straight into the fire of advocacy when the good folks at my husband's job said they wanted to dedicate a golf tournament in ME's honor. The GSDSS was born, and it did not stop there. What I saw when I was forming the GSDSS rolled into what I wrote about, which then became the IDSC. 

So this year, I spent a lot of time being a mom to a beautiful girl who has Down syndrome, and for the first time in her 9 years of life, I was not part of an organization that was advocating for all people with Down syndrome. 

It was truly wonderful!

Initially, I did not know where to go, or what to do, with my new found time. 

But in time, I began to love every moment of my new life! 

So this March 21, I am celebrating my one year anniversary!

I have a lot of things planned to celebrate that day. Mostly privately, with just my little family. 

But one of the things that I thought it would be fun to do to celebrate with those who have followed me, is to re create this video I created years ago.

A lot of people still tell me they wished they could have held up a sign to tell the world what they would tell themselves. So why not do this again?  In a small version. 

This time, I too will have a sign. I actually did not get to add my own sign, because there was simply not enough room, and I had to fit everyone else in. I kept mine out, because their voices mattered, and I wanted them to know that, and not leave anyone out. 

But this time, I would like to get my voice in there too. 

I want to think hard and long on what my sign will say. 

This time, I actually have the time to think of my message. 

And that is a beautiful thing! 

*If you are interested in adding your photo to this project, send it my way at