weebly statistics
Home About Links Contacts Show Show

Raffle Winners!

by McKenna on September 28, 2008
category: Down syndrome,Inspiration,Special needs,Travel,Uncategorized

img_4082a.jpg Congratulations!  Over sixty of you bought a whole lot of raffle tickets and I’m so happy that we were able to help the Balsis family in this way!!  They are now home from their first trip to Russia and have met a little girl who has Down syndrome and will be bringing her home very soon.  Addison Veronika is the cutest thing ever!  She is going to be two years old next month.  While our raffle is closed, they still have a lot of expenses coming their way with another trip to Russia and the costs of finalizing their adoption.  If you would like to follow the Balsis family and/or financially support their adoption, you can do so by visiting their adoption blog: Dreaming on an Angel.

Before I announce the lucky ducky winners of our fantastic prizes, I want to send a big THANK YOU to the sponsors and co-hosts of this raffle!  I am blown away by the generosity of others and grateful for your support for this special family’s adoption journey.  Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts!

Now onto the big announcement!  All winners have been notified by email as well.  Congratulations!!

  • Shay K.- Serena and Lily Rory Crib Set
  • Amelia S. -  Dear Johnnies Robe and Gown Set
  • Vanessa B. – UPPAbaby G-Lite Stroller
  • Judith D. – UPPAbaby G-Lite Stroller
  • Amy A. – Born to Love Pink Argyle Visor Beanie
  • Shylo U. – Bella Tunno Circus Spots Chalk Placemat
  • Claudine E. – JessiJeanJewelry Blue Swirl Glass Pendent
  • Julie O. – Ellie Bellie Kids Lavender/Lime Tutu
  • Kim D. – SlickSugar Guitar Tee
  • Williams Violet – Cuddlebee Brown Dot Bib and Burp set
  • Robert B. – JP Lizzy Sprout Tote
  • Cheri P.  – BabyRock Apparel Sorry Boys tee
  • Brian R. – Baby K’tan Camo Baby Carrier
  • Michael G. – Made By Angie Primary Dots Wipes Case
  • Kristie B. – Itzy Ritzy Bitzy Blanket in Black Damask andBlack Minky Dot
  • Shylo U. – Paperluxe Studio Set of 24 Notecards
  • Aimee B. – BabyRock Apparel Heart and Crossbones Shoes
  • Breanna P. – Born To Love Tan Visor Beanie
  • Sherry F. – Baby Rock Apparel Sweetheart Onesie
  • Jessica S. – Wet happened? Carnival Bloom Wetbag
  • Natalia D. -  Baby Rock Apparel Preschool Tee
  • Amy A. – Clairebella Candy Stripe Blue Moses Basket
  • Jenna P. – Mia Moda Ciello Stroller
  • Brigitte V. – Bella Tunno Sweet Tooth Play Smock
  • Debbie B. – Born To Love Pink Visor Beanie
  • Sherry H.  – Cuddlebee Fun Dot Bib and Burp Set
  • Naomi S. – Baby Rock Apparel Angelic Onesie
  • Kara S. – Ellie Bellie Kids Mocha Messenger Bag
  • Carmen M.  – Little Showoffs Myself Tee
  • Colleen B. – Little Showoffs Rock Star Newborn Onesie
  • Craig G. – Ribbies Hair Clippies
  • Jodi R. – Sarabear Havana Diaper Caddy
  • Sherry F. – Mairzey Dotes Dotty Bird Bib and Burp Set
  • Jennifer S. – Pink Axel Peace Beanie
  • Jeanette W. – Pink Axel Peace Beanie
  • Kari B. – Georgie Tees Let’s Get Smashed Onesie

Help Bring an Orphan Home!

by McKenna on September 8, 2008
category: Down syndrome,Promotion Codes,Special needs


The Mom Crowd is honored to be hosting a very exciting raffle!  One of our sponsors, Bethany from The Polkadot Platypus, is in the process of adopting a little girl from Russia who has Down syndrome.  Bethany and her husband will be traveling to meet their daughter within the next couple of weeks and will hopefully bring her home soon after that.  As most know, adoptions are very expensive.  We are hoping that this raffle will help raise funds to help with their substantial adoption costs.

As a way to thank you for your support of this great cause, we have over $2,000 worth of prizes to give away {see the slideshow below}.  Each raffle ticket purchased will enter you into a drawing for all of the wonderful prizes pictured below.   Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and the more raffle tickets you purchase, the more chances you will have to win these great prizes! We will be closing this raffle on Saturday, September 27th at midnight EST and will be announcing the winners on Monday, September 29th, 2008.

You can follow the Balsis’ adoption journey by visiting their blog: www.dreamingonanangel.blogspot.com

Don’t miss out on your chance to win one of these great prizes!

*There are two ways to purchase raffle tickets …

1. Electronically – Click on the “buy now” button below. {Note: When using Paypal, make sure the correct dollar amount for the number of raffle tickets you wish to purchase is displayed. You will need to click “Update Total” for the proper amount to be shown. Remember, each raffle ticket is $5.00.}  Winners will be contacted by their email addresses shown in Paypal.

2.  Snail mail – Checks, money order or cash may be mailed to the address below. Please include a note with your email address so that we can contact you if you win.

Payment must be received before the raffle ends on September 24th to be entered into the drawing for the raffle. Please make your check or money order out to “Balsis Family Adoption Fund”.

Balsis Family Adoption Fund
Raffle Tickets
PO Box 61
Washington, Virginia 22747

We would like to thank the following folks for co-hosting this raffle:

Also, thank you so much to the following companies for their generous donations:

I’m back from Boston!

by McKenna on July 15, 2008
category: Down syndrome,Special needs,Travel

This past week, our whole family attended the National Down Syndrome Congress’ (NDSC) annual conference. This is the third year I have gone. This year’s convention was held in Boston, Massachusetts. I can’t say enough great things about visiting Boston. The Boston area is so rich in American history! The kids did so well on the trip. My fears were Connor on the plane, Connor going to sleep at night, and Darah becoming overstimulated. Connor LOVED flying and went to bed like a champ. We didn’t have to put his crib in the bathroom like I thought we would, and we even got to keep the television on while he slept right through it! Darah did have one really horrific day and didn’t do so well on the plane trip home, but all in all, she did 100 times better than I expected! On a scale of 1-10, Connor got a “10″ and Darah got a “6.5″ after all was said and done. That’s not too bad!

The NDSC put on a great conference and I came home with a lot of information. I attended a workshop about gross motor skills post walking led by Pat Winders. Pat is a physical therapist who has done so much research on children with Down syndrome and how their gross motor skills develop. Another workshop I attended was all about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Dr. Sally Shott is an ENT physician from Cincinnati who specializes in children with Down syndrome. She spoke about treatment options and other related issues to OSA. I am excited to share all the information I have learned on OSA, but that will be saved for another post! This is just a glimmer of the education I received while I was in Boston, and I’m anxiously awaiting for the audio of the workshops I wasn’t able to attend.

Another cool thing that happened in Boston was meeting again and talking with Denise from eReadingPro, which is one of The Mom Crowd’s sponsors and the reason Darah is doing so well with her reading. It was great talking with her one-on-one and meeting her other half. We left the day she had her workshop, or I so would have been there! She’s a ton of fun!  Actually, I spent most of my time with another one of our sponsors, Bethany, from The Polkadot Platypus!  In the picture above, she is the second from the left.  She’s my twin!

The very best part of my trip was meeting up with old friends and making new friends! I have made a lot of online friends through an online forum for parents of children with Down syndrome. This group has been the most amazing family and has given me so much support and encouragement. I have formed some of my closest friendships from this online group and it’s been great to reunite with these friends in person! I was able to meet some people in real life for the first time. It was so great to see these pictures and personalities come to life! Darah’s extra chromosome and the internet has connected me with a very special family!

If you have a child with Down syndrome, I strongly encourage you to attend one of these national conferences. You will walk away with a wealth of information and will have made new life-long friends. Here’s some points to consider:

  • Book your hotel early! We had to stay at a hotel across the street because the conference hotel fills up fast!
  • Check with your local group to see if they provide scholarships or grants for families attending the conference. Some groups will pay a grant in exchange for you writing up an article for their newsletter on what you learned. Other groups will send their top volunteers to the conference! That is how I paid for my first two conferences! President Bush’s stimulus check paid for a chunk of this year’s conference!
  • Make it a family vacation! There are grandparent workshops, a whole separate conference for individuals with Down syndrome and a separate conference for siblings of individuals with Down syndrome.
  • If you are not able to attend, think about purchasing the c.d. from the conference and listening to the workshops!

2009′s conference will be in Sacramento, California from July 31-August 2. I’m booking my hotel as soon as they post the information!

Have you ever met any online friends IRL (in real life)? What was that like? Did you attend this year’s conference? What did you think?

Surviving the NICU

by McKenna on June 17, 2008
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Children’s Health,Special needs

copy-of-8-11-_6.jpg Sometimes babies need a little extra medical attention when they are born and need to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There are many reasons why a newborn would need to visit the NICU. The NICU can be an uncomfortable, scary, intimidating environment. I have spent 15 days in the NICU and many days in various hospital rooms. Some simple things like making sure every nurse in the hospital had our cell phone numbers, posting pictures of our family on my daughter’s bassinet, bringing in the mobile from her empty crib at home, and calling dibs on the next open comfy recliner made our stay more comfortable. There are many other things you can do to make your NICU stay less intimidating and more comfortable.

Create your own privacy

  • NICU’s are typically the least private areas of the hospital. While being in a “fishbowl,” it’s important to create some privacy for you and your baby while you’re visiting. Most hospitals will provide screens that you can arrange around your child’s bassinet during breastfeeding or bonding time. Take advantage of those screens!

Kangaroo Care

  • Kangaroo Care is a special type of bonding with your newborn. It’s basically just skin to skin holding by undressing your newborn and unbuttoning the front of your shirt. This is great for any newborn, but it’s especially important for babies who aren’t able to go home right after their births. Moms AND Dads can do Kangaroo Care. The benefits of Kangaroo Care can be found here.

This is YOUR baby, not the hospital’s

  • When Darah was in the NICU, I felt like the hospital owned her. I wasn’t very proactive in her care because I felt like I would mess everything up. I wish I would have been stronger about voicing my concerns or insisting that I do her basic care when I was present. If you want to give your baby his or her bath or next feeding, then tell your nurse. Do not be late for these appointments because your nurse has other patients they need to attend to and most NICU’s operate in a very structured manner.

Learn the “rules”

  • There is usually a limit on number of visitors, age of visitors, and who is allowed to hold the baby. Visitors (and parents) who are sick are to stay away and everyone must go through a hand-washing ritual with surgical scrub brushes.
  • If you have a friend whose child is in the NICU, make sure you are following the rules. It made me frustrated when I had to remind people to wash their hands. If you’re a smoker, make sure you put a clean shirt on that you haven’t smoked in before visiting. Second hand smoke is the last thing any newborn needs, especially one with medical issues.

Go Home!

  • Spending every minute of your day by your baby’s bassinet will deplete you of the energy you need when your baby comes home from the hospital. If you live far from your child’s hospital, look for the closest Ronald McDonald House and bunk there at night. I stayed at the RMH of Dallas for 6 weeks during one of Darah’s hospital stays, and was able to rest, eat (food they provided!), and meet other families so I was not so lonely.

Take care of YOU!

  • You just had a baby and you need to recover (physically and emotionally)! Do not overdo it. If you’re having a hard time emotionally, ask your doctor for a support group of other moms in the NICU or suggestions on coping emotionally. Be watchful for signs of postpartum depression. Make sure you eat and are getting breaks from the hospital.

Most important: Ask questions!!!

  • If you don’t understand something, keep asking for answers! If you are not comfortable with something, insist that you receive a better explanation. While these nurses and doctors probably do know more about your child’s health, this is YOUR child and you are an important player in their medical team. Keep a journal of your child’s medical information. Include feeding schedules, weight, medications, procedures, and any new diagnosis in this journal. Darah almost received a very wrong dosage of heart medication, but because my husband and I were aware of her medications, we interrupted what could have been catastrophic! After you leave the NICU, you will have a new title: Momologist, which is just as more important than any other “ologist” (pumonologist, cardiologist, hematologist, oncologist, neurologist, etc..) who takes care of you child!

Check out these informative sites:
Neonatal Nursery

When Your Child’s in the NICU

What has been your experience in the NICU? What helped make your stay more pleasant?

Homeschooling Your Preschooler with Special Needs

by McKenna on April 23, 2008
category: 3 – 5 years (preschooler),Down syndrome,Special needs

My husband and I recently had an unfortunate incident at Darah’s preschool. It’s a long story (and not the reason I’m writing this), but basically we decided we weren’t comfortable with having her go back to the same school. When we pulled Darah out of school, my husband and I started really pondering what was best for Darah and her educational needs. An unfortunate experience gave us a great opportunity to reevaluate the decisions we were making and make sure we weren’t just going with the flow, but that we were truly doing the best thing for our daughter. First of all, it must be reminded that Darah is not even four years old yet. We’re not talking about making a decision on what college or high school she attends, we’re talking about preschool. Through a ton of research and even more prayer, we decided that teaching her at home was the best thing for her. Everybody gets that cringe when they hear the word “homeschool.” This decision goes completely against what’s being preached in the special needs circles, because it is the opposite of inclusion. Darah is trying out another preschool two mornings a week for three hours each morning, but I am just waiting to see how it goes before I commit to that for next year. She will not be attending full time next year, unless I do a complete flip-flop.

I am not saying that this decision is the best decision for every other child. I am saying that this decision has been the best thing for Darah for right now. It is a hard decision because even though I feel like I’m doing the right thing, everyone has an opinion or a story about how homeschooling ruins children and even though I am confident that I know Darah and her needs better than anyone else, I don’t like feeling judged by other people.

During my quest to find the perfect decision for Darah’s education, I became quite intimate with google. I’m a concrete person, so I was looking for concrete answers. Unfortunately, it took some serious digging to find the amazing resources that are out there! I wanted to find an all-encompassing curriculum that told me exactly what to do on each day. The more I started digging, the more I learned that I was actually already doing a lot of the things I needed to be doing with Darah. I am already doing the See-and-Learn reading program that I raved to all of you about in this article. I also was already working on numbers, shapes, and colors with Darah. I was also already “teaching” her in our normal, everyday activities. When her toe comes out of her sandal, I teach her that her toe is “OUT” and needs to go back “IN!” When we outside, I show her the difference between her “LITTLE” toy car and the “BIG” car that drives by. When I give her a bath, we name all of her body parts and count her way-too-cute toes. These are all foundational concepts that are usually taught to preschoolers. I know that Darah is learning by living and I do not take that type of learning for granted because it is the main way all kids learn-through experiences. However, I am the type of person who needs a little more direction. I am goal driven and a list maker and need to know that these are priority numbers one, two and three. I want to feel like I know what I’m doing even if we’re very laid back in our approach to learning. I found some amazing resources that I would like to share with you if you are considering to teach your child at home. My philosophy is every parent is “homeschooling” their child in some fashion. Even if they are sending their child to traditional school, they are still working on homework after school, answering the million and one “why” questions, and teaching their children through everyday experiences. (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »


Blog Ads: