Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Pity Parties

Just the other day I met a new friend at a park with our babies and she asked me with frown on her face and a sad tone "Will he ever walk or run?" I told her OF COURSE! And he will probably play soccer, play t-ball or be on the swim team. Of course!

Sometimes people (myself included at times) want to focus on all the things Joaquin is not doing right now. Some people still feel pity for Joaquin. I think this is the hardest part of having a child with DS, when people feel pity or sorrow for Joaquin. So, I thought it was time to switch the focus a little bit. It's time to stop thinking about all the things he isn't doing or can't do right now.

Things Joaquin IS doing and CAN do right now...

move anywhere he wants to go and FAST
put himself in and out of the sitting position
crawl on hands and knees
pull to stand
play peek a boo
say mama, papa, nana, all done, bye ("buhh"), dog ("duhh"), grandpa ("gahpah"), ball ("bahh"), agua
eat at the kitchen table with the family
drink from a straw cup
wave bye bye and hello
sign "more" and "all done"
play ball
play on the drums, piano and maracas
smile, socialize, make eye contact and FLIRT!
get shy
gnaw on his teething biscuits
escape out the front door
get into cupboards he's not supposed to
put things in and out of containers
purposely put his feet in his mouth and grin when you say jokingly "Don't eat your toes!!"
rip his brother's favorite books
throw a small fit when you say NO
pull his lower lip up and frown when his brother takes something away from him
give kisses on command (watch the tongue!!)
push his brother away when he's had enough
laugh and giggle when you tickle him
splash and play with water
have 1/2 hour conversations with us in the morning
beg to get into the shower or bath whenever someone is in it
wrestle with his brothers
follow the dog
sleep through the night
cry when he is sad
screech with joy when he is happy

I'd say he is doing just fine...thriving actually!

Monday, July 27, 2009

HOT Stuff

Sacramento is HOT in the summer!

It was 104 degrees today. We've been spending a lot of time in the pool or at spray parks.

This is how Joaquin is looking these days. It's either this outfit or a diaper. Too hot for anything else!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Homemade Teething Biscuits

Vegan (Wheat Free) Teething Biscuits

1 cup fruit juice
1 cup flour (any type)
1 cup rice baby cereal
3 TB oil (any type)

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Roll out on a floured board and cut into shapes. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes at 350 F (175 C). These biscuits can be frozen for storage and your baby might even enjoy sucking on a partially defrosted one. The cooling on the gums will feel wonderful.

I plan on making these this weekend! I'm so excited. I've been searching and searching for a teething biscuit or cookie that meets the dietary needs of Joaquin. I've been to our local co-op, Whole Foods, our regular grocery store and I haven't been able to find anything that fits. This recipe is perfect. I plan on using a gluten free flour, not sure which one yet. I'll let you know how they turn out and whether or not the little man likes it. He's got four molars coming in at the same time. It's time to find something other than his fingers to chew on!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Safari

We went on a safari the weekend of the 4th of July in Santa Rosa called Safari West. We rode on a jeep in an open wildlife preserve and got to see the animals up close and personal.

The boys loved it. Especially when one giraffe decided to come and check us out when we were on top of the jeep. He was literally a foot away from Diego's face. It was so cool!

By the end of the 3 hour tour, Joaquin was getting sleepy but once again proved to be an awesome travel companion. He was awake for the whole event and never once complained. It was a great family trip. Next time, we'll have to go and stay the night. How cool would that be?

Wordless Wednesday (4th of July 2009)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Joaquin continues to eat more and more variety and textures of foods. His absolute FAVORITE snack is nori. Yes.....indeed. He loves dried seaweed.

We break it up into little pieces and he readily opens his mouth and let's it quickly dissolve. It's a great way to get a "green" vegetable in him. As a matter of fact, it's Diego and Mateo's snack of choice as well.

Another fun snack we've discovered is fruit leather. All natural, organic, 100% dried fruit strips that I break into small pieces and Joaquin gobbles it up. He still continues to eat brown rice puffs as well so now we have a nice variety of easy to travel with snacks that don't spoil or require any special handling. These snacks and his straw sippy cup full of water are all we need and we are ready to go!

Joaquin is still officially vegan and I'm still breastfeeding a couple times a day. He has never had dairy, soy, meat, wheat, banana, nightshades, citrus or corn. He eats a variety of fruit (apples, berries, mangos, peaches, pears, plums) and vegetables (peas, spinach, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, turnips, broccoli, beets) and he eats flax meal, brown rice, teff, coconut/olive/grapeseed oils, lentils, beans (kidney, black, pinto) and oats. He is thriving, healthy, has tons of energy and has a really gorgeous glow to his skin!

The only supplements we use currently are B-12 once a week, occasionally some probiotics and when I feel like it a multivitamin.

I highly recommend trying the seaweed. It might become your little one's favorite new snack!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gifts 2

It's here! And ready for pre-sale at Woodbine House and Amazon.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this. I cannot wait to read it cover to cover. We are contributing authors in the book so we are especially excited to see it in print.

Gifts, the first book, was a life saving book for me in the early days of receiving Joaquin's diagnosis. I truly believe that reading Gifts helped move me quickly out of the grieving process and into complete joy and anticipation. We honestly feel that Joaquin is a GIFT and the book certainly was a gift as well.

To be able to give back to other families now in Gifts 2 is an honor. We are so proud of Kathryn Soper's work in collecting the stories and publishing these amazing books...these amazing GIFTS.

Don't you just love the cover photo?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Do You Think?

I just want to get this one off my chest because it's come up quite a bit for me and it's my own personal battle or struggle, if you will. I wonder what other people think about this.

Here is the scenario. We parents all love to talk about the future of our children with our friends and their kids. Often we parents love to talk, joke, or imagine our son/daughter either dating, marrying, or going to the prom with our friend's son/daughter. This is very typical, fun and harmless talk.

Now here's my dilemma. When it comes to Joaquin, I find myself holding back from making these types of comments for fear of alarming the other parent in some way. Would it freak my friends out? Now, Joaquin is already betrothed to many adorable sweethearts in the "little something extra" club (wink, wink!!) but I have never made a comment to a friend if their child happens to be "typical." I know Joaquin is loved and accepted by my friends but for some reason I'm afraid to even approach this particular subject. In fact, I steer clear of this kind of talk when it comes to Joaquin. If it's Diego or Mateo, it's a totally different story.

Is this wrong? Is this being too cautious? Is this a silly thing to be thinking about? Am I being prejudiced? Am I limiting my child in some way? I don't know. If we are all about acceptance, then I shouldn't be worried about making these very innocent and fun comments about Joaquin with whoever pops into my head. Is it realistic to think that he will date or marry someone "typical"? I don't know...probably not. Is it possible he will go to a prom with someone "typical"? Probably. I think about the movie Mr. Blue Sky where a "typical" young man falls in love and marries a young woman with Down syndrome. I thought the movie was charming but unrealistic. I love the idea of it but somehow I just don't see it happening. Has it happened before? Am I way off base?

I wonder...

Anyone else feel like this sometimes?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Joey (a.k.a. Jo Jo) is getting big! Here is an adorable photo my friend Jennifer Ferrara took a few days ago at the park. We love taking care of Joey during the week and it's so much fun watching him grow and develop. He is SO strong and determined and he is such a sweet baby boy.

Mateo...An Old Soul

I heard the sweetest words from our little four year old Mateo the other day. It was one of THOSE days. A day when lots of thing went wrong. Stroller smashed into my car (no babies in it...thank goodness!), purse rolled off the top of the stroller into a filthy, murky, wet ditch (as a result of the stroller smashing into my car), stroller gets quickly relocated only to roll through some old...yikes!!!...vomit (or so it looked like). BLECH!!!! I'm quietly dealing with all of this while trying to unload Mateo, Joaquin and Joey out of the minivan in order to get to a Speech Therapy appointment on time in Midtown. I usually have it down to a science but this particular day was a circus act.

Then, in the quietest of voices and from behind me, Mateo is standing on the sidewalk apparently watching all of this unfold and understanding my desperation he says to me....

"Mom, I wish I was a grown up, so I could help you."

My heart immediately melted into a puddle on the cement. My sweet, soulful, gentle Teo. I immediately hugged him and told him how those words were the kindest words I had ever heard him say.

I love you Mateo, my sweet old soul.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Other Backyard

Thank goodness for the park down the street from our house. It's like our other backyard these days. Here is Joaquin playing with Mateo in the "tube" at East Lawn Park. Gotta love those smiles!

Friday, July 3, 2009


Last Saturday, I completed the Inaugural Rock N Roll Marathon in Seattle! It originally was planned to be a family vacation but in the interest of saving money we decided that I would take Joaquin (since I'm still nursing him) and go with my girlfriends.

We drove the minivan straight through from Sacramento to Seattle in a record 13 hours through the night. Joaquin was a champion passenger as were my friend Mary Ellen's two girls, Malia and Annalise. Mary Ellen, Michelle (my good friend and running partner) and I took turns driving and stopped 2 or 3 times for gas and snacks and the kids slept right through it all.

We stayed at Mary Ellen's sister's house in North Seattle and were welcomed warmly by the family which included little Kaylin and Anika. Joaquin was surrounded by the girls all weekend.

The day before the race, Michelle and I toured Seattle. It is one of my favorite cities and it was a gorgeous sunny day. We went to Pike Place Market and the "Original" Starbuck's coffee house. Joaquin was thrilled with the sights and sounds of the busy city.

Race day was perfect as well. I felt prepared and ready for the run. Within the first 7 miles of the course, I saw two bald eagles on Lake Washington Boulevard. Amazing! At mile 20, Mary Ellen and Joaquin were waiting for me but I never saw them or heard them...I must have really been in the "zone". I feel terrible that I didn't see their smiling faces and I know it wasn't easy for them to get there either. Joaquin spent the rest of the day with Mary Ellen and her sister Suzie at the Seattle Children's Museum as I raced my way to Qwest Stadium for the finish of the 26.2 mile run. It was a perfect day and a perfect run for me.

The following day we packed up the minivan and headed home to Sacramento. It took us much longer going home after a stop in Portland for lunch and Ashland for dinner. But once again, our kids proved to be much better passengers then us adults and were absolute angels the whole way home.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with good friends, good food and great accomplishments!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


One of Joaquin's most favorite things to do lately is give kisses...sweet, wet kisses. For the past few weeks, he has really been pouring out the love.

Here are a few photos at the park this week where all he wanted to do was kiss on baby Joey. It's adorable! Even Mateo wanted in on the action.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Fiscal Year

I got the dreaded call today from Joaquin and Joey's physical therapist. All therapies are cancelled today since she has not received authorization yet from the Regional Center for the new fiscal year which starts today July 1st. Our PT feels she will get the authorization and not to worry just yet but I can't help but be concerned. These boys needs their therapies.

I will be sending my letter to the State of California today. This is not good.