Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So Big



Last week he learned "So Big". We were ecstatic. For months we've been saying in a high pitched sing songy way, "How big is Joseph?" He would wait for us to say, "so big" while flinging our arms high above our heads. He'd smile, but would refuse to lift his arms. Then last week I queried the famous question and he responded with a smile and arms lifted high above his head. We couldn't get enough of it last week and still this week it's the cutest thing around.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The rain was welcome on Friday. It's been so dry this week; everytime a truck drove by the dust would just roll over the house and across the marsh. Once the rain stopped we had a few feathered friends stop by. We love watching the birds; it seems everytime we stop to watch them we learn something new.

Baltimore Oriole (male)

House Finch

Goldfinch - munching on dandelion seeds, I never knew

Friday, May 21, 2010

We're Making Progress

Little J has always been a great eater. We haven't had the struggles with eating baby food or table food common to other children with Down syndrome. Why? I don't know. I did stand my ground with the doctors and nurses when they were encouraging me to bottle feed him instead of breastfeeding. It wasn't easy, but I had experience nursing four other babies and I knew I could do it. I also knew that Little J could do it, it would just take longer to coordinate all the muscles needed for nursing successfully. His heart condition didn't help matters either, but we continued on and he learned. He grew slowly, but that's not uncommon in children with Down syndrome and heart conditions. I think nursing worked his facial and tongue muscles more than if he was bottle fed in turn helping him transition to table foods easier. Also breastmilk is always changing which may help the baby accept new tastes. I cannot forget to mention that I like to eat and maybe he just got that gene from me. Other possibilities for not encountering any major feeding issues may be the shape of his mouth, size of his tongue, and curve of his upper palate. It's so easy to take for granted the mechanics of the mouth, but after having a child with Down syndrome nothing is taken for granted. One small change in the shape or size of the mouth can bring a myriad of feeding/eating issues.

Now that he's 21 months it's time to strongly encourage the use of utensils. I've been giving him a spoon ever since he started sitting at the table with us. Often times he just threw it on the floor, but lately he's actually been holding the spoon. I thought giving him sticky foods would make it easier to get food to his mouth on the spoon. Things like pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. work well for this. The idea is that he'll dip the spoon in the bowl and then put the spoon to his mouth. When he tastes the yummy yogurt he'll continue dipping the spoon into the bowl and putting it to his mouth. In theory this should work. In reality this it what happens.

I say we're making progress because at least he's holding the spoon. Anyone think I have a lefty? He's doing more and more with his left hand - important things like eating, thumb sucking, page turning, hammering, scribbling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday Recipe Review

It's time again to review another recipe from my church cookbook.

Cherry Brunch Bars
1 c. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 can cherry pie filling

Cream first 2 ingredients. Add eggs; beat well. Add vanilla. Sift dry ingredients; mix well into batter. Put 2/3 into bottom of greased 9x13-inch pan. Spread cherry filling; drop remaining batter over cherries. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. When slightly cool, drip with powdered sugar icing.

Score: 3.1 (how do I score these?)

This was very yummy. Even better the second day. It needed to bake almost an hour and I didn't drip with icing. Buttery and moist. I'd like to try it with blueberry pie filling.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Week Update

Life has been very busy the last two weeks. And then to top it off three of us got sick on Saturday and haven't felt well until today. I finally am well enough to not be sequestered to my room where my Internet service is shotty. I am happily sitting at the dining room table blogging away with wild activity all around me and I'm ok with it. Yesterday I would not have been ok with it, nor would Amber or Sam. Anyway, here's a short update of the fun we had before sickness took hold. We met for another St. Francis Nature Club gathering and collected crayfish...again. The topic was birds, but with the high winds birding was pretty unproductive. But the crayfish never fail us.
We picked up our 45 baby chicks. Come 4th of July they'll be ready for the grill.
We celebrated Amber's First Holy Communion. She looked like an angel wearing the family dress. So far two cousins and a sister wore the same dress.

Little J had his first real playground experience. I think he liked it.

And we had another installment of St. Francis Nature Club. And again the crayfish made the day worth it. Today's Nature Club was cancelled due to the inclement weather. Lot's of rain here. But tomorrow should bring sun in the afternoon and we all long for it.

Wednesday Recipe Review

Caramel Pecan Dream Bars
Base: 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/3 c. soft butter
1 egg

Filling: 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. Bits O'Brickle baking chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter and egg. Mix at highest speed until crumbly. Press into prepared pan. In small bowl, beat milk, egg and vanilla until blended. Stir in pecans and Bits. Pour over base in pan; spread to cover. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until light golden brown. Center may appear loose but will set upon cooling. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting. Makes 36 bars.

Score: 2.3

I really liked the filling, but not the cakey crust. Warren really liked these.