Monday, October 31, 2011

31 for 21 - Happy Halloween!

Well, this is it!  I have managed to do 31 for 21 & even a couple of extra blogposts for good measure!  I'm going to leave you with some Halloween pictures from our house. I will be doing a couple of extra Halloween posts, including one of K's costume later. 

Our whole family always joins in when we carve the pumpkin, but my middle 2 girls did were excited to do most of the other decorating this year. 

Pretty scary eh?

31for 21 - Trick or Treat Overload!

This photo was taken a few days ago after K's Halloween party at preschool.  Her classes went trick or treating at 4 places............& no that wasn't a typo.  This is the loot she hauled in from 4 stops!  We live a very small & obviously very generous community.  Oh, & I forgot to include the stuffed animal that she got at one stop!

Tonight we will go Trick or Treating at the neighbors.  We will be going to about a dozen houses.  You won't believe how much junk my kids will haul home.  Many of the neighbors will only get a handfull of kids.  I think part of the reason that they are generous is because they are able to be with so few Trick or Treaters, but I also think that it has become a bit of a competition!  Who gives out the most candy, or who makes the best popcorn balls.  Don't get me wrong, I really love our little community, I just think they are killing the kids with kindness! It's nice to see the kid get a little spoiled, but again, check out the loot above from just 4 stops!  I hate to admit it, but  although K will get to have some treats, most of her candy is going to quietly disappear as it has for the last 4 years - yes, she was given this much candy when trick or treating as a baby!

I do have to mention one neighbor though, who buys fruit juice & even bought Halloween board books for K when she was little.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 for 21 - Are You Abbott's Family?

I couldn't let the month of October & the 31 for 21 Down syndrome awareness campaign pass without mentioning Reece's Rainbow.

Each year, one of our family traditions is to buy a new ornament for our Christmas tree that commemorates something special to us for that year.  Last year for Christmas, we made a donation towards Abbott's fund & in return received an ornament with his picture on it.  Abbot was born in the same year & month as K & when scanning the pictures last year, his eyes just seemed to reach out to me. An ornament with his picture hung on our tree, & although we packed the Christmas decorations away, I can't stop thinking about this little guy. Since then, I often think of Abbott & check on Reece's Rainbow, hoping his picture will move to the My Family Found Me page & he won't spend another year as an orphan. Although his ornament made a wonderful addition to our tree, I somehow believed we would have to find a new child to sponsor this year.   Sadly, I will be donating again this year when the Angel Tree Program starts in November, & await another ornament with Abbott's picture on it.

 If you think you may be Abbott's family, please click here to learn more about him:  Abbott

To learn more about Reece's Rainbow & all of the other precious children awaiting their forever families,  click here.

I realize that most of  you reading this will not be able to adopt, but there are lots of other ways to help out.  Here is a link to learn more:  Reece's Rainbow Ways to Help  Page

Reece's Rainbow is now facilitating adoptions for Canadian families too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 for 21 - "W is for Wabbit"

I know its supposed to be 31 for 21, but I have completed my next 2 posts & want to do a Halloween post on Monday, so I'm going to add an extra.  35 or so for 21 is OK right?  This is a neat story so I really want to share it. You would think that I'd have run out of things to  talk about already:)!

Although K's speech is quite good for her age, we do have a lot of things to work on.  For example, she is starting to be able to say her R's, but still has quite a bit of trouble. It does lead to some funny situations sometimes. Tonight, Kassie asked me to play an alphabet game that she enjoys.   When we came to the letter W, she said "W  -  Wabbit"  I told her "No,  R - Rabbit".  Of course she insisted that W was for Wabbit & carried on through the alphabet. 

Although she was wrong about the spelling, it really showed that she is comprehending how to figure out the first letter of a word, because I'm sure none of us played this game using the word "Wabbit" or wrote "Wabbit" as a sight word.  She was able to sound the word out in her head & come up with what she thought was the first letter.


Congratulation to the winner of the Little Reader Semester 1 Giveaway!

I would like to thank BrillKids again for the wonderful opportunity to review their program & host this giveaway.  Here is a link to my review of the BrillKids Little Reader program. 

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the draw.  We thought it was only fitting that K choose the winner.  Here is a video of her drawing the winning entry:

Congratulations Angela!  I hope your son enjoys this program every bit as much as my daughter does. Please email me at & I will send you the details on how to download Little Reader Semester 1.

Thanks again to everyone who entered & spread the word!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21 - Pumpkins, & Spiders - Halloween Fine & Oral Motor Excercises



Here are K's latest 2 crafts from preschool.I thought she did a 
great job placing all of the  features in the correct locations.  


This is a fun activity that K's preschool teacher had the kids do on Wednesday.  They each took a few spiders & blew them across the table with the straws.  What a wonderful & fun oral motor activity!  The preschool is a social program - academics are not intentionally part of the program, however, K's teacher is awesome at finding neat activities which incorporate new skills. 

31 for 21 - It's The Last Day to Enter the Little Reader Semester 1 Free Giveaway!

In case you missed it, I did a review of the Little Reader Program & have been given a copy of the BrillKids Little Reader Semester 1 to give away. 

My review is here:   Little Reader Review

You can enter my draw here:  BrillKid's Little Reader Semester 1 Giveaway

Entries will be accepted until midnight tonight.

Good Luck everyone

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 for 21 - A work in progress......................

Today we went to the funeral of an elderly neighbor.  It was a lovely celebration of life with a wonderful slide show showing his life story in pictures.  Our older daughters were all in school, but we took K along.................An hour long service sitting on a church bench can be a recipe for disaster, but I'm proud to say that she behaved wonderfully!  For over half the service (including the slide show) she just sat watching & listening.   She read books for the 2nd half, but did so in such a quiet whisper that she did not disturb anyone.

Then at the volleyball game later, she also sat for the full first game & most of the 2nd without complaint.  Eventually she did get bored & go play with some of the other kids who were coloring in the corner, but she sat for longer than she has at a game before.

WOW!  This is a skill that is really coming.

Of course, she is still a mischievous 4 year old, so I will share another story which explains why this is a work in progress.

At swimming lesson on Monday, really listened well & stayed with the group the almost whole time.  She is a good little swimmer, so paying attention the whole time really the most challenging part of the lesson for her.   I was very proud of K for listening so well, because there was only one incident when she decided to wander away.  The reason she got in trouble from her mom after wasn't so much the running away, but the fact that at one point when her instructor caught up with her, she took off running once again & yelled back "Ha Ha!!!!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 for 21: Inspiration From a Stranger

Last night as I was standing in the checkout with my 14 year old, I had a wonderful encounter with a someone I have never met before.  I started to write that she was a stranger, but even though we only chatted for a minute or 2, she is not a stranger.

This lady had MS & just this spring, her doctors told her she would not be able to walk again & had even ordered her a wheel chair.  Both my daughter & I could hardly believe she had such a diagnosis.  Even as she walked away, we could see no trace of the troubles that had plagues her this spring.  Standing in front of me was a testimony to what strong will & determination can do.

She also told me the story of her daughter. Although it was a sad story, I also found it incredibly inspiring..  This little girl obviously had inherited a good measure of her mother's determination because when she was born, the doctor's said she would not live 72 hours, yet they enjoyed spending the next 7 wonderful years with her.

It was a very brief encounter, but lasting inspiration. 

This is just another reason that I don't accept any negative prognosis that I am given.  No doctor or specialist can factor in what the human spirit can achieve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Don't you wish you could do this?

In case you can't tell from the picture, her feet are up on the step that 
she has the ipad sitting on.................yes, she is flexible!

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 for 21 - Can you guess what kind of book we're reading this week?

These are some of the words K has been learning this week.  In anticipation of Halloween, we are reading a cute book about 5 little ghosts who keep getting in trouble at school.  It is a pretty simple book, but although we often challenge K with her reading, I think sometimes,  it is good to have her read books that are simple& fun to help build her confidence.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 for 21 - Creative Thinking!

K is getting much more creative & thoughtful when she is trying to get her own way.

A couple of days ago, while getting the kids ready for school, I noticed that K was no longer sitting at the table for breakfast - she often sleeps about 1/2 hour later & therefore eats after the older girls are all done. I went looking for her & found her in the bathroom............she had shut the door so I couldn't see & was quietly eating the organic bunny crackers that I had packed for her snack at preschool.

A couple of weeks ago, I taught K to use the computer mouse, so she now turns on Little Reader whenever she has a chance. Tonight, I needed to send an email, so I told her that when it was over, it was my turn. Twice when I wasn't paying attention, she put it on again. Finally, I said it was my turn to have the computer now. K is getting much better at thinking of how to get her own way & tonight,she turned to me, gave me a hug & very sweetly said "You need to go right to bed"

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 for 21 - Hoppin' for 21 Blog Hop

There is a blog hop happening for Down Syndrome Awareness month. Full details are on Crazy Beautiful Love

31 for 21 - Reading Comprehension

 These neat little cards from Discovery Toys are another  50 cent rummage sale bargain!  

They have short phrases & many of them are actions.  Most of them are really easy for K to read. Although we were very careful to avoid testing when K was young, we are much more relaxed about it now as she willingly reads out loud to us all the time.  I often read that kids with Down syndrome learn sight words, but that their comprehension lags behind their reading level.  I have always thought that k understood basically everything she reads, from simple words to more complex sentences. I purposely never taught her any of the words on these cards & have only had her read them to me.  They are a simple way for me to understand K's comprehension of what she is reading & I am very happy with how she is doing at this.  It is really confirming my thoughts that she is understanding what she reads.

K thinks it is quite a fun game to act out these cards:)!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 for 21 - Monkey Bars

We have done upper body excercises with K since she was little.  By 1 year of age, she could grasp my thumbs in her hand & hold her body up for about 10 or 15 seconds. We have had a bar in the doorway for her to pull herself up with since that time & more recently a bar to swing from in the pantry, although, recently, we haven't encourage K to use it as often. We have been planning to make a brachiation ladder, but recently, I was given an older set of monkey bars, so I thought we would use them for the summer & plan to make the brachiation ladder in the fall, to be used next winter.  The fun part of having 4 girls, is that we don't  have to worry about the colors they choose:

PICTURE to FOLLOW - tonight, I accidentally bumped the little gadget that gives us wifi off of the desk & down the stairs. So, until my husband is able to take a look at it, the only internet I have is on my phone which does not allow me to upload pictures. I'll post a pic of our colorful monkey bars when I can:)

The brachitation ladder will be much more useful because it can be adjusted to your child's height. Here is an example of the sort of brachiation ladder we plan to build. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 for 21 - Random Stories From School Today

Things I overheard in the school hallway today:

"K is the smartest little kid I know!"

K is so smart that she is going to graduate in grade  9!

When I picked K up from school at lunch today, there was a little fighting going on at the playground.......... & she was right in the middle of it!  It sounded kind of like this: "I want to play with K.""  No, it's my turn to play with her. ""No, I want to play with her, she's my friend!"  I sat back watching & giggling until finally a  little girl stepped in & said, "Let K decide what she wants to do!"

Later, during my older girl's volleyball game, I was helping in the concession & K wanted a treat.  She started to grab a bag of chips off of the table.  I told her "no, this is like a store, & you need money to pay for things.  A couple of minutes later, as she wandered around the concession, waiting for me, she spied the cash box.  She found a couple of 10 dollar bills & happily brought them to me expecting to get to buy her chips........time for another life lesson!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 for 21 - Check out these blogs

Tonight is Awards Night at school for my oldest 3 daughters. It is always a wonderful evening  Each child in our small school is honored for several of their accomplishments during the past year.  Some are measured goals, like the track & field record one of my daughter's was recognized for breaking the year before, while some are things like being the most compassionate, friendly or helpful student.  It is always a wonderful evening with lots of home baking & visiting afterwards. Our kids also have their class pictures this afternoon & thanks to a broken down water system which likely won't be fixed until later today, & a brand new washing machine that was broken down the week before, it looks like I'll be heading to the laundry mat to wash the clothes they will need.  Therefore, since I have very little time today, I'm sending you to read a couple of blogs that I have been honored to be featured on during the 31 for 21 challenge.  The links are to the posts about my blog, but make sure you check out the other posts too!

Four Blessings of Mine 


No Time to Be Bored

Make sure you check out the free printable quote on No Time to Be Bored which was inspired by K!

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 for 21 - More Swimming Lessons

Today, my youngest 2 daughters started swimming lessons.  They each passed a level this summer & I wanted to get them back in the pool again fairly soon.  My older daughters seemed to regress a little in their swimming ability during the winter at this age & I am trying to prevent that.

K is very comfortable in the water & had no trouble jumping in or putting her head under the water.  She was a little unsure about floating on her back, so we'll have to work on that.

I admit that I was a little nervous at the start.  Although I didn't mention that K has Down syndrome when I registered her, it is a small community, so everyone knew.  I don't know if this really makes sense, but I feel like sometimes she has to behave even better than the other kids because she has DS.  She made me very proud & really did well during the class, doing all of the activities when she was told.  At one point she did wander a little farther away than the others during an activity, but returned when asked & continued to do well in the rest of the class.   She was really good right until the end of the class when all of the kids were supposed to get off of the water slide & head back to their parents.  Of course, K had to show off  her independent side!  She came 3/4 of the way back to me, turned, looked at that big, empty, inviting, pool & jumped back in!

Afterwards, I had a chat with the swim instructor.  She was pleased with how well K was doing, but then made a comment about "them" not learning as quickly.  First of all,  our kids are not "them".  My child is a unique person, as is every other kids with Down syndrome.   This is one of my pet peeves.  It also really bugs me when people decide that kids with DS can't learn as well when they don't even know them.  Of course, I had to start a discussion about her comment.  Then to prove my point, I had K read some of the various signs around the pool like "No Running". The instructor called a couple of others over to listen.  They asked questions about her age, how she could read at such an early age, etc.  That's my little advocate!  I hope they think twice before judging people by their looks again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 for 21 - Another Sleep Study...........

K had an overnight pulse oximetry test last week.  As far as sleep studies go, this one was pretty easy - she only had to have the pulse ox monitor taped to her toe, unlike her previous level 2 studies which required over 30 different wires all over her body.

When he ordered this study, her ENT said not to do the study if she was sick - just to cancel & reschedule.  I normally don't worry too much about colds, but I  tried to be a little more careful about not exposing her to any germs & was even more careful about washing hands than usual in the 2 weeks before.  I was so happy when we arrived in the city for her sleep study & she was not sick at all.  About 1/2 an hour before bedtime, I thought K sounded a little congested, but by then it was a little too late to back out, especially on a suspicion of a cold, so I went ahead anyways. She did not sleep well that night & especially in the early evening, sounded congested.  I watched the monitor for half the night, I think & she had a few definite periods of apnea.  Sure enough, the next morning, in the bath, copious amounts of discharge came out of her nose & she has since developed a cold.  GREAT!!!!

I realize sleep apnea is a very important problem & can cause a lot of problems, but so can a general anaesthetic as noted in this study by the Mayo Clinic.  However I am worried that we will have to make these decisions with a sleep study that was affected by the congestion caused by her cold.

I won't hear the results for at least a couple of weeks, but I'll update when I know more. 

If your child has to have a sleep study soon, here is a link to my post on Surviving a Sleep Study

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 for 21 - Moms With Apps

As you probably know, we love our iPad! Here is a link to a great site that has a "free app Friday". They list apps which are either free or on sale:  Moms With Apps

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 for 21 - Everyday reasons that teaching K to read has been helpful

This was supposed to automatically post yesterday, but something went wrong, so it's a day late, but that allowed me to add the cookie story to the end of this post:)

I have only wonderful things to say about teaching my dd to read. Even at just 4 years of age, it is already opening up doors for her. People often recognize that she has Ds & usually have a preconceived notion of what it is like & often judge her before they get to know her. When they find out that she has been reading books since she was 3.5, it shatters a lot of stereotypes & allows them to learn that she is a unique individual & get to know her for who she really is.

At this point I don't think my dd even realizes that it is unusual for kids her age to read, but once she gets to school & sees other kids just learning to read I'm sure it will be a great boost to her confidence. Even if she ends up being behind in some areas such as gross motor, she will have one area that she really excels beyond the other kids. I think it will be great for her self confidence.

Another great thing about being able to read it helps her understand things. For example, at the pool, she can read the sign saying "pool closed" . It sure saves me a lot of fights when she can read the rules or herself.

Early reading has also helped her be more independent. She can read a simple kids menu & choose her own meal & make other decisions by herself.

I think I could go on & on about the positives of early reading, but I guess I should have a negatives list too. For a little while, K insisted that she was a boy like Daddy.  Being able to read at a young age allowed her to choose the "appropriate" bathroom.  It wasn't too big of a deal the day she entered the wrong bathroom when we were at a neighbor's wedding surrounded by friends, but the day she was one step ahead of her sister at a large department store was a little scary.  Thank you Mr. Security Guard!

This morning at the Tim Horton's donut place, K read the sign saying chocolate chip cookie & chose that for a treat.  The cashier said that the sign was in the wrong place & that they were sold out of that type of cookie.  K insisted that she could have one because it was written on the sign.  I had just managed to talk her into oatmeal raisin when they announced that the latest batch of chocolate chips cookies were done, so she got her way after all!  They funny thing is that I am always telling her that it must be so if it is written on the sign - that sure backfired today!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 for 21 - Glasses

K has worn glasses for astigmatism & nearsightedness, since she was 9 months old.  She also has nystagmus, although it seems to be getting better as she gets older.

The first day that K wore her glasses, it was really neat to see her looking around intently.  It was obvious, even at 9 months, that she could tell the difference with them on. 

Because every child is different, you may need to experiment a little, but here are some things that helped with  getting K to wear her glasses. 

 I found that she would not tolerate any sort of strap or band to hold her glasses on.  She also did not do well with cable temples. It seemed like if there was anything extra attached to her glasses, it would be just one more reason for her to rip them off. They were also more likely to catch on things with the straps, & of course if they caught on anything she would rip them off. This may work for some babies but if your little one is like mine than keep this in mind. K did much better with  no strap.

The other thing that made a huge difference was an accurate prescription.  Her first opthomologist was very conservative & would not give her a strong enough prescription.  Her new opthomologist strengthened her prescription quite a bit & from that day on she has been great about wearing them.

If your child is old enough to put their own glasses on, let them. Sometimes giving them ownership over putting them on can help.

I'm going to add my friend Laura's suggestion her too:  Her gorgeous little girl got glasses recently & she mentioned that she was going to get a cheap pair of glasses for her husband & herself to wear too.  It would also work great to do this with sibling too.  You could just get a dollar store pair of sunglasses & pop the lenses out.  Most of our family wears glasses anyways, but if yours doesn't, I think this is a great idea.

In hindsight, I also should have been more insistent with K on what she must do with her glasses if she takes them off.  I was so focused on "You need to wear your glasses".  Now that she wears them so well, if she does take them off, I am not expecting it & may not notice right away.  We have lost her glasses for a few days sometimes lately because we don't know where to look, & she can't always remember where they are.  One time, she put them in a little compartment on a toy dog kennel!  Luckily, our 8 year old found them because I would never have looked there!  We have been working on  having her put them on the table or a counter & are getting quite successful now.

Make sure you have your child's glasses adjusted as often as necessary.  The better they fit, the more comfortable they will be (& even less painful) & the more likely it is that they will be worn.  When she was little, if K's glasses did  not fit well, she would rip them off & throw them.  And those little straps that are supposed to keep them on?  They helped her glasses stay on about .02 seconds longer than without a strap.  Not only were they not effective, but they irritated her more so she tried to pull them off more often.

Pick a brand that fits.  We have had great luck with Specs4Us

This is the newest pair of Specs4Us that we ordered for K.

I have heard some people say that they had good luck with Miraflex, but I've never tried them. I've been hearing good things about Tomato Active glasses lately too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 for 21 - My Baby is Growing Up................

K is my youngest, & most likely my last baby, so sometimes little realizations that she is growing up & becoming independent are a little more bittersweet for me.  Before I had kids, I was not very comfortable with babies, even during my first pregnancy, my husband was surprised at how awkward I was when holding a neighbor's newborn. That all changed the instant my oldest daughter was born.  Holding her, & in time, my next 3 baby girls, felt like the most natural thing that I had ever done.  I am firm in my belief that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do right now & I am grateful for that. I'm getting off track though...........I notice that K's taste in entertainment is really changing lately.  She used to love Signing Time & at one point, thanks to Signing Time, knew several hundred signs.  I have rented a couple of the videos from a local library lately, & she is not at all interested.  She prefers to watch Super Why, various real life animal shows or movies, & even cartoons like Scooby Doo like her big sisters.  Her taste in music is changing too, & while she sometimes listens to kids songs, if she has control of my iPhone or the iPad, she almost always chooses the modern country & rock music that her sisters enjoy.  I am finding that my emotions are  very torn.  On one hand, we work so hard to help K become independant, but then she makes choices like this that show me she is growing up & the fact that my youngest is already so much her own person makes it a hard for me to know that I need to start to let go even in the small amounts that are appropriate at age 4.

I love you baby girl!

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 for 21 - Happy Thanksgiving! 21 things that I am thankful for..................

Many of my American readers & friends are probably wondering why I am posting this today!  Here in Canada, it is Thanksgiving already this weekend, so.............

Happy Thanksgiving!

I thought I would celebrate today by posting a list of 21 things that I am thankful for.

1. My family has to be first on this list.  We celebrated with 18 family members this weekend!  Some of them drove from as far as 10 hours away to share the weekend with us.  I have been very blessed to have a wonderful family.

2. The wonderful feast we had this weekend including our home grown fresh veggies, wild mountain blueberry pie & my brother's free range "Happy Meat" organic turkey.

3. I am thankful that we live in a safe place.

4. This has been the most beautiful fall that I can remember.  Usually my garden is done by the 2nd week of September at the absolute latest - I still have some baby lettuce out there right now!

5. I am so thankful for each of my 4 daughters & the unique talents & abilities each of them has. 

6. We live on a farm & I am very thankful for the wonderful experiences & lessons that go along with rural life.

7.  My children go to a very tiny school creating a unique & wonderful contribution to their upbringing. 

8. I have so much respect for my daughter's teachers, staff & wonderful principal.

9.  I am grateful for a group of moms who helped me hire a teacher & start a preschool so that our kids can go to preschool in our community just like their older siblings.

10. I am so glad that thanks to the internet, I found a wealth of information including neurodevelopmental therapy.

11.  Although my stubborn nature probably annoys people sometimes ( read "my husband & kid"s).  It allows me to be determined enough to get things done & not accept any one's limitations of myself or my kids & although it is sometimes annoying to me, I am glad that my daughter`s have all seemed to inherit it.

12.  I am thankful for the awesome moms (& a few dads )that Down syndrome has led me to develop friendships with.

13.  This was a beautiful October day so we enjoyed a wonderful campfire with the kids.

14. I am thankful for a bountiful garden this year.

15. I am grateful for the now non existent, Childbrain forum which first led me to believe that I did not have to accept the stereotypical limitations that are often associated with Down syndrome.

16. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband & the fact that he  agrees with & supports doing an ND program with K.

17.  I live in a wonderful community that will move mountains when we feel it is necessary to do so.

19. I am so grateful to K for teaching me that we must not judge people by any preconceived notions.

20. I am thankful today as I often am for this amazing journey that K has led us on for the last 4 years & that she is showing me what an amazing kid she is.

21. I am grateful for the 31 for 21 challenge which is making me be more committed & consistent with my blog & to all of you for reading.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 for 21 - Math With Tomatoes?

Math can be done just about anywhere!  I've been frantically trying to get my garden harvested as well as a few organizational projects before I commit 100% to K's new program.  In the mean time, I'm trying to fit learning activities in whenever I can.  Today we did "tomato math".  As we picked tomatoes, we counted & sorted, we talked about colors.  Of course we talked about planting seed & how everything grew & how it is now fall, so we are now harvesting it because it is done growing & winter is coming soon. 

K did great with this until the backyard swing set called to her.........

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 for 21 - K's Favorite Song - and a Thankyou to Steve Jobs

Remember my comment in my last post on K's favorite song?  Here it is again - on her sister's iPod that is playing one of her sisters favorites until K gets hold of it.  I love how she is able to scroll through all the different screens & then all of the songs until she finds the right one.  If you listen very carefully, you can just barely her K say "ha ha" just before she turns around.  Then (she talks very quickly here) she says "It's mine - hee hee!"  Good thing she ran off quickly before her sister caught up to her!

The song that K is choosing in this video is the same song that we heard about 50,000 times on a long family road trip - our rafting holiday that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.  Literally, every 2nd song was this one!  Since a couple of weeks have gone by, it is now only about every 6th song..........

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 for 21 - 21 Random Things About K

I thought I would do a list of 21 random facts about K. Here is my list:

1. K's current favorite song is "Country Girl Shake it for Me". Is that even appropriate for a 4 yr old? Sometimes I think she's 14, not 4!

2. Her 2nd favorite song is "Happy Birthday". When she she's singing, she always helps blow out the candles & if there is no birthday party? She blows out imaginary ones.

3. She has a big shiner right now. She ran giggling towards our bed the other morning, planning to jump on it & slipped.

4. K is very cautious around people she doesn't know.  

5. She is not afraid of any animals, no matter how large

6. K always manages to make people laugh. At the cardiologist the other day, she had the whole waiting room & nurses laughing as she cheered "WOOHOO" as we left.

7. Which leads me to this awesome news - during her checkup on Thursday we were told K's heart problems will NOT need surgery.

8. She is a cuddler, especially with Daddy

9. A couple of weeks ago we had K's reading ability tested. She is reading at a grade 2 level.

10. K considers Snappea Crisps & Annie's Organic bunny crackers to be food groups - not just snacks.

11. K enjoys skiing in the winter.

12. Swimming & jumping on the trampoline are her summer favorites.

13. K has never enjoyed coloring & printing until about a month ago. Now she asks to do these things often.

14. K is the youngest, but bossiest member if our household. The funny thing is that her sisters usually listen :p

15. K & all of her big sisters look like their Dad.

16. She has her Mom's good taste in food though - her favorite treat is chocolate.

17. K loves the iPad - she can do anything on it. She considers the only iPhone in the house to be hers.

18. K's favorite footwear are her pink cowgirl boots that she picked out by herself.

19. She has worn glasses since she was 9 months old.

20. The other day, a stranger commented on how innocent & angelic kids with DS are. My 3 older girls couldn't control their laughter - K does like to get into things!

21. K is the most curious child that I know.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 for 21 - More bargains!

I love educational toys - perhaps to the point of being a little bit addicted! lol  I don't like the price tags though, so these are today's 2nd hand bargains.  I spent $1.00 total.  I probably didn't really need 2 of them, but the price was right, & they are both a little different & variety is a good thing - right?  Remember that I said that I have an addiction?



K loved making this rocket ship.  Afterwards, we sang Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, We're Going to the Moon, with the expected toss in the air after we counted down of course!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 for 21 - BrillKids Little Reader Semester 1 Giveaway!

I am very excited to be able to give away the  BrillKids Little Reader semester 1.  This is a wonderful program - check out  yesterday's blog  for details about the program.

All entries for this giveaway must be received before midnight on Friday, October 28 2011. 

Here are details on how to enter the giveaway.

1  Follow Down Syndrome Up Up Up & Away

2.Leave a comment on my blog telling me that you are following my blog & a short note about how you think the Little Reader semester one will benefit your child.

If you have fulfilled the above requirements, you may also enter in the following ways - make sure you leave a new comment for each entry:

1. Blog about this giveaway
2. Post it on FaceBook
3. Spread the Word on Twitter
4. Join the BrillKids Forum
5. Like BrillKids on Facebook

The winner will be announce on Saturday October 29 2011.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 for 21 - BrillKids Little Reader Program Review & Giveaway

I have been asked by BrillKids to review their Little Reader program.  Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while already knows that I love this program!

Of course K loves it too!

Little Reader is a computer based program which is intended for kids from around 3 to 6 months & up Little Reader Basic starts at $149. This program allows a parent to customize a play list of words & images to suit the needs or interests of their child. We have been using this program with their print function to make wonderful, clear, concise flashcards as well as by using the computer program since a little after K's first birthday. With this program you are able to flash the words quickly. Before we found out about BrillKids, we were fast flashing anyways, so it is nice to carry on with that as we have had so much success with it. Words & pictures are flashed on the screen & the word is spoken at the same time. You can choose between available pictures or add your own.  Fonts can be changed or set to display randomly.  You can even record your own voice if you wish. Little Reader has a set curriculum, or you can choose between thousands of files that are available. We are now using Little Reader as a computer program as it is intended, but in the past, I printed out & laminated many files to make wonderful, high quality flashcards.

 This is a picture of K reading a small selection of her Little Reader flashcards that we used when she was about 2 years old.

We are currently working on stories, various science, geography & other subjects, while doing several sets of phonics/word families each week as well.  The focus on phonics is really paying off as I am noticing that K is finding it easier & easier to decode new words. I am so impressed with the versatility of this program!

Besides teaching our daughter to read, we have noticed a number of other wonderful benefits as well!

We have found Little Reader to be excellent for working on speech. Because a word is spoken each time a picture of word is flashed, K also speaks the word.  Recently, we have been recording more of our own words. I have been having K do this herself & she loves to hear herself speaking on the computer!  The more I am able to get my daughter talking, the better! This is in addition to the proven benefits of teaching sight words to help strong visual learners like K learn to speak. 

Although I got the Little Reader program for K, her eight year old sister, KJ is also benefiting from it.  She is not using it for reading practice as she has been reading chapter books for quite a while now, but  this summer, KJ expressed interest in learning a little french.  For the past month or so, she has been using little reader too.  The wonderful thing is that, although I do speak the limited amount of french that I learned in high school, I do not speak with the accent of a native speaker & the wonderful french files I found at BrillKids are really helping me to teach her.  We are both very excited about her progress so far!

I have even used Little Reader for my oldest two daughters on occasion!  They are avid, actually advanced readers for their ages, but I have occasionally found some files, often science related that were relevant to what they were doing in school.  We have viewed them on the computer as well as printed them off to take to school for everyone to enjoy.

 I could talk all day about this program!   The biggest benefit to me is again, the versatility.  This is the only program that has been able to keep up with K as she progressed from learning a few words, to last night, being able to pick up a 3rd grade reader that KJ brought home & read it with ease. I can happily credit BrillKids credit for a huge part of my daughter's reading success.

Click on this link for lots of information, links & details on how to sign up for the Little Reader free 14 day trial: Little Reader

BrillKids has a wonderful forum: BrillKids Forum 

BrillKids also has a blog which you can find here:  BrillKids Blog

This review was written in exchange for a free copy of Little Reader's first semester, which all of you, my fabulous readers can enter in a draw to win! I was not paid for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review.  This is my honest, unbiased opinion on this product.

If you are interested in entering the draw to win a free copy of Brillkids Little Reader program, stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post for details  on how to enter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 for 21 - The T shirt says it all:)!

That's my girl!  In a house with 4 daughters, that line could keep her out of trouble for a while!

Sorry for all of the quick posts lately.  I have been so swamped!  I'm sure I will have some quick posts like this one during the 31 for 21 challenge, but I am hoping to finish a number of longer posts that I have been working on too.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 for 21 - Just Crawling Along..........

This summer, we changed K's program up a bit some days to try to make it more interesting.  We did some activities outside for example.  In this picture, the girls are creeping to the sand box - if I remember correctly, they are being bears.