Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest posting today....

Come check out my post at Light Refreshments Served today ( . They asked me to write about my experience with the Deaf culture. Long before I was the lady who knew all about adoption, trans-racial families and Down Syndrome, I was the lady that knew sign language. Not just any signed language, I knew BRITISH Sign Language. A language that is TOTALLY different than American Sign Language and is pretty much useless if you don't live in the UK. I served a mission for my church in the UK learning and using British Sign Language. In our church you don't choose where you go, you just sign up (missions are optional; girls go when they are 21 and boys fo when they are 19). You often don't know much about where you are going beyond the fact that it will be an adventure and you are willing to do your best. For more information about what missions are, you can go to

I shared a few mission experiences, but there were MANY more that I couldn't share in the short amount of space that I had over there. Here are some more things that I DIDN'T share:

--how the sign for "very" is quite similar to the sign equivalent of the "F" word. More than one missionary thought they were saying that they were "very, very" something or another and really were saying that they were "f*@&ing f*@*#ing" something. Poor missionaries, but unintentional swearing is almost ALWAYS funny.
--one time we thought that we had a really solid baptism. We had taught the lessons to a deaf gentleman (and it had taken him over a year to decide to get baptised). He was so happy on his baptism day, he bought us a statue of the Virgin Mary (not something that we worship in our dogma) and told us how happy he was to be a "Catholic Mormon". Something clearly hadn't quite sunk in somewhere along the way.

--the sign for "baptised" looks very similar to the sign for "bury". We usually got a quick "NO" when we asked people if they wanted to be baptised. They thought we were asking if they wanted to be buried on a certain date. Frankly, I would say no to that too. People must have thought we were c-r-a-z-y.
--On the same vein, when I lived in East London, we would knock doors and ask people if they knew anyone who was Deaf. More than once we were sent to a house where someone had recently died (and once during the actual wake!!!). Then we realized that the East London accent has folks usually drooping the "th" sound for an "f" or 'v" sound. So, they thought were asking for someone who was DEATH. Apparently in East London they don't bother much with grammar either (because that clearly makes no sense either). I am surprised we didn't get more than strange looks.

--I met my husband while we were both missionaries. We didn't date each other out there (missionaries don't date while serving..well, they aren't SUPPOSED to....). We got reacquainted when we got home, but now I have to forever tell people that is how we met and then explain that missionaries really don't date, but that we met later, etc, etc, etc.

--I still use BSL to this day (that us why at the beginning of this post I said it is ALMOST useless if you don't live in the UK). There is a family in Palo Alto that moved to the US from England and they are deaf. When I see them in Walmart (always in Walmart) they sign with me in BSL. I am getting rustier and rustier as time goes by, but if I want to brush up, I can just head for Walmart and at some point I will see them. Weird, but true.

--I never taught my kids sign. Even with all the baby sign craze ("It's Signing Time with Alex and Leah" anyone? anyone?), I just didn't do it. I guess I was too lazy. The irony? The whole family needs to learn sign now b/c we will use it with Gracie. Kids with Down Syndrome have a harder time learning to talk and often ASL is a good bridge for them. So it is a matter of getting the big kids (and husband) up to speed so we can talk with her as she learns to talk.

Writing that post got me thinking about mission stories. I have a few more I can pull out of my hat, but I am going to go clean out Lauren's room. It is time for the Last Resort again in our house...... dum, dum, dum.......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Monday to you too......

This is our new 8 year old. I love how all the pictures after 2nd grade have awesome snaggle tooth smiles. We took some pictures on the day of Lauren's baptism. She wanted to do a "model" shoot, so we have lots of pictures that SHE loves, but not exactly the kind that we put on the mantle. I can't wait to show them to her when she is about....16.
We had our first autumn meal today. Baked potato soup and homemade bread (don't get too excited, I still stink at bread, this was the box mix..but it worked!) On Monday's Lu comes to the grocery store with me and helps me to do the weekly shopping. She gets to decide what we have for dinner and helps me make it and usually the dessert. She made pumpkin pie tonight. Everyone hated it. Strike pumpkin pie from the Thanksgiving table for the next 25 years (that just leaves more room for pecan...).

I have been listening to the soundtrack of Rent these days. How did I miss this the first time around? I am not embarrassed to say that I LOVE show tunes. Hand me a soundtrack and I will learn it, sing it and teach it to my children (Lu had the entire Chicago soundtrack memorized by age 2). So, the summer of '08 is the summer of Rent. I think that the fall will be ..... hmmm.... Into the Woods........ my kids love that one...

Friday, September 12, 2008

What I did(n't) do this Summer

Sweet, sweet Friday.

A few days ago the weather turned (it will turn back in a few weeks. It is a trick that autumn likes to play on us, but she usually waits until we have put all the summer clothes away). We have been having really hot, heavy weather here and a few days ago we woke up to that cold smell in the air. You know how sometimes 65 degrees in the spring will have warm undertones and the promise of warm weather to come? In the fall, it is the same 65 degrees but it feels like there is a snap in the air and everything just feels more pumpkin-y.

Every week has been busier than the rest. I keep waiting for things to settle down, but they don't seem to, so I am changing my mindset to just think that this is the way it will be. I guess that is OK. I am keeping iTunes in business with all the podcasts and books on tape that I buy. I am spending so much time in the car, I actually have a pillow and blanket in there so I can catch a snooze while the kids are in various meetings. Buying a minivan was the best money spent EVER. We were able to switch a few of the girls appointments around. I used to have to drive home during rush hour after attending a class with Norah. It took me 60-90 minutes to travel a grand total of 16 miles. Now I have that class in the morning. I can't say enough about how wonderful the caseworkers, teachers and Early Development staff have been. The are bending over backwards to accommodate us because we have the two kids in the program. I have seen them do it for other people too. What a blessing this center is to us.

I have had some interesting comments, conversations and requests from some readers. This made me so happy--because it means I still have readers! Hurrah for comments and readers! Several people have asked what I feel about Sara Palin (I was even interviewed for the newspaper--but I didn't get put in the article b/c I don't think that I was the kind of mother he was looking for. Note to newspaper reports, Mormon does NOT equal evangelical. We are similar in many ways, but not quite the same...). I have a post about that. I also had an interesting experience that helped me come to a more healthy place about Miss Grace. I had a reader contact me. This reader and I have a LOT in common. We each have three kids (one bio and two adopted, black kids--one of whom has some development issues). She found out that she was having another bio child and early tests came back showing a higher than normal possibility of Down Syndrome. She contacted me to ask me some questions and in the process of emailing her, I was able to figure out some things that have crept up on me. I don't mean to do this as a tease, but I just wanted to get this down so I don't forget.

Right now I must go and do battle with my house. I decided to skip taking Jacob to preschool today (45 minute drive there, both the girls hanging out in the park with me for three hours on a blustery day, no thanks). I have laundry and dishes to do, fridges to clean, closets to straighten, beds to make, hair to do (mine and Norah's), children to spend time with, etc, etc, etc. I have a feeling that I will only get one or two things on the list accomplished. That's OK. It is nice to have a down day around here.

Hope you all have a great Friday. I will leave you with a piece of homework I found in Lauren's backpack today.

What I did this Summer (this is word for word--spelling intact)

This summer I went swiming and spent a day at my fierd Cameron he's so nice he has a 1st grade brother and a 3 year old brother named Ryly and 1 year old sister named kaly and I never got to go to the beach.

I like to read.

Hmmm. Glad you had so much fun with Cam, Lauren. I guess all that time/energy/money we spent visiting Utah, going to museums, playing with friends, attending fun parties, throwing fun parties, getting baptized, going to the Giants games, playing tennis, summer camp,etc, etc could have all been saved. I guess if we had just PROMISED to do all those things and then NOT done them, the last part of her first paragraph could have been longer. I am going to keep this and wrap her wedding present in it. :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ah ha!

I managed to capture on film the moment that Ace realized her toes and feet were ATTACHED to her body.

This is our latest and still greatest party trick. As far as Lu is concerned, if having Down Syndrome means being able to do this, she is IN!

Her name is Norah, but you can call her Dobby

I uploaded pictures the other day and I found this series of photos. I did not take them.

Someone in my house likes to clean the fridge,

and wash the eggs (????),

and take pictures of herself doing it (so she can get the credit, I suppose).

OR, just one more reason why our nanny Maria is worth her weight in gold. SHE forces the children to work (apparently) while I am away.
I have yours boxed up and ready to ship.

Why we love IKEA

Ice Cream and free babysitting...

Yes please.