Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I Learned While on Vacation… and miscellaneous outtakes.

  • A double stroller will not win in a fight against the Stupid Transport Vehicles Inside the Airport.
  • The Stupid Transport Vehicles Inside the Airport are SLOW.


  • You really can grow tired of Chipotle salads and chips. Go figure.
  • Swimsuits do NOT dry in humidity. Even days later.  (Okay, so I knew this, but it never ceases to amaze me…)DSC_1205
  • Even if she’s exhausted, Addy will not sleep while away.
  • I can live being up every 45 minutes for a week straight.


  • Addy’s cry can be heard through the walls of a hotel room. In the middle of the night. When we had an adjoining room with friends (sorry Magan and Damian!) I’m not sure which was worse- knowing they could hear her, or wondering who on earth was on the other side…
  • Piper is a very sound sleeper.



  • Frozen yogurt for lunch is completely acceptable to Piper.
  • You canNOT pack enough Gerber puffs.  Ever.
  • Sending hubby out for a Gerber puff run is smart.  Sending hubby out on a Gerber puff run when it’s about to rain is not such a good idea.  Sending hubby out on a Gerber puff run when it’s pouring, to a store that’s a mile away, may be cause for divorce.


  • Always, and I do mean always, check the time that public transportation starts in the morning, if you’re using it to get to the airport.  Also, this is good to check before 10pm the night before your 6:30am flight.
  • A double stroller can fit in the front seat of a cab.  If your driver is willing to be a little cozy with the front tire.


NDSC- The Convention

This year, more than three thousand people came to the convention.  It was truly awesome to see so many families, from so many parts of the nation, with one very big thing in common.  There were lots of little restaurants down the hill from the hotel, so no matter where you went, there were always a few families around to chat with. 

We went to some seminars about math readiness, hand writing help, research initiatives currently underway at the National Institutes of Health, a class all about memory in Down syndrome, Film Festivals…  So much information!  It was a great year for us to go with Piper starting school this fall (although, admittedly, I think that any time to go is probably perfect!)

It was SO much fun to see some of our blogging friends, too.  I was so excited to meet Maggie for the first time (even if she was brilliant in her leaving the kids behind endeavor…)  And Addy had tons of fun playing with Colin’s little sis, Kailey, in the back of the big convention hall.  And so, so many more.  It’s such an awesome thing to finally meet the people who you feel like you know, but you’ve never met.  DSC_1105

If you have the chance to go to NDSC sometime, you really oughtta.  Speaking of which, do you know where it is next year?

Yup- here in DENVER!  I really think y’all need to come join us.  I’ll resort to begging- I’m not proud.  July 19-21 in Downtown Denver- mark your calendar!  Pleeeease???

NDSC- Day on the Mall

We spent one afternoon and the next morning exploring the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum.  I figured those would be the two places Piper would enjoy (planes and dinosaurs?  Yes, please!), and would be most likely to play the walk-around-nicely-and-look-at-things game.

After we walked through the kid-friendly part of the Air and Space Museum, we got something to eat for dinner and let the girls play on the Mall for a little bit.  They are re-sodding, and “beautifying” the grounds, so it wasn’t the most picturesque version I’ve seen, but they still enjoyed just getting to RUN.


The next day, we left early to hit the Natural History Museum.  We got off the Metro and decided to walk over to the Washington Monument.







After we had our fun, we walked back up the Mall toward the Natural History Museum.  It doesn’t seem very far, but it got hot fast that day, and the humidity, again, was treacherous for us live-in-the-dessert folks.  So it really just made my day when we reached the FAR side of the museum (which is huge, by the way) and realized that the handicapped entrance, where we could actually get the stroller in to the museum, was back down the far side, down the block, and on the back of the building.  Fantastic.

Once we got back into the air conditioner, things started looking up.  Literally.


…at this guy.DSC_1282

Piper was amazed.DSC_1279


She insisted on getting a stuffed dinosaur to take home.  It’s a triceratops.  She has lovingly named her “rhino-dino”, which I felt was pretty apropos.

After the museum was our last ride on the subway- Piper was much less concerned this time, and was actually enjoying watching for our train at each transfer.  And she showed off her mad “choochoo train dance” skills to anyone who cared to watch.  Addy was more than willing to engage in playful banter with our fellow passengers.  Flirt.  But she was so tired she could hardly keep her eyes open.  So it is possible.DSC_1316


NDSC- Hotel room fun

There’s something so fun about staying in a hotel.  The girls caught on to the “fun” really quick.

They LOVED to wrestle on the bed.  And Addy had a ball “bounce bounce bounce”-ing on the bed.  She apparently missed the memo about not giving me any more heart attacks.  It was rather cute, admittedly, but was significantly less cute when, at 5am, she insisted on joining me in bed, only to “bounce bounce bounce.”  I believe my exact words were “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE???  NO BOUNCING- IT’S STILL TIME TO SLEEP!”

I don’t remember whether or not it worked.






Other than that, they are used to getting up in the morning, sitting down, and eating breakfast. They freely (and loudly) express their disdain if it takes longer than, say, two minutes to be fed. Obviously, getting dressed, leaving, and finding something to eat in the morning was not going to be an option. Thankfully we had a refrigerator in the room, so we bought some milk, cereal and fruit, and let the girls eat while we got ready in the morning.

On the bed.

Watching television.

It was vacation, after all.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

NDSC- Trip to the Zoo

Since we were so close to the National Zoo, we took several jaunts up there and didn’t feel like we had to spend a lot of time at once.  The first day we went up, it was horribly hot (as in 104, I think) and we kind of thought we were going to die.  That trip was relatively short.

But other than that, Piper was more than thrilled to see all of the animals.  Her favorites seemed to be the otters (yes, the otters.  I have no idea.), the elephants (well, duh), and some of the big birds.DSC_1149DSC_1151


I’m not sure that Addy really knew what to think about it, but she DID enjoy getting to walk as fast as she wanted, as far as she wanted.  I was impressed more than once by her stamina- I think she made it half way around the zoo before I decided that she was done.DSC_1496DSC_1498






NDSC- Day on the Hill


We got to town early so that we could participate in the Day on the Hill.  About four hundred advocates from around the nation came to speak with our senators and representatives asking for their support on three bills that affect the disability community.  The ABLE Act, Keeping Students Safe Act, and the Trisomy 21 Research Centers of Excellence Act are all vying for support on Capital Hill.  We were split into groups to tackle our own representatives, so we got to run around the offices with other families from Colorado.  Since we were there, these bills have gotten dozens of new co-sponsors- how cool is that???

Our day that day started rather early (we had to be on the bus at 7am- it was rather fun to get two kids fed, dressed, and out by 6:45… when we hadn’t quite settled into the two hour time difference), but it was totally worth it.  We got to sit on the floor of the House of Representatives, while Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Representative Pete Sessions (both of whom have children with Down syndrome) came and talked to us.

Piper celebrated with a somersault on the floor.  I’m fairly certain that’s never been done before.  Someone remarked that maybe it would do our lawmakers some good to follow her lead…

We had quite a bit of time to kill between two of our meetings, so we spent it in the foyer of one of the Senate office buildings with other families who were waiting for their appointments.  Talk about a whole lot of cute at one time.  I’m sure the “regulars” in the building were wondering what, exactly, we were all doing there.  Which is exactly what the NDSC was hoping for.


We waited.  A lot.  It was good for the girls to get their sillies out before being asked to sit nicely in a small conference room.  So I did a lot of toddler wrangling (I wish that was an olympic sport…)  But I LOVE this picture of Addy- doesn’t it look like she knows exactly what she’s doing?  Like she’s on her way to a very important meeting.DSC_1408

After our last meeting, we went to find our bus back to the hotel.  It. was. HOT.  We are definitely not acclimated to the humidity- not to mention humidity plus 94 degrees.  You can see how red Piper was getting, just from the heat.  Thank goodness for double stroller- the girls got to enjoy some serious sister time while Luke and I enjoyed some not-running-everywhere time. ndsc

I’m so glad that we did this part of the convention- it was a seriously cool experience!DSC_1436


Phew! I can’t believe this summer is coming to a close- and we’re already DONE with our trip to Washington, DC!

We had a BLAST. The girls did better than I feared they might on the flights (thank heavens), and despite the fact that we got all kinds of funny looks from the people in Chipotle when we fed our small toddlers at 9pm that night, we got to the hotel with very few issues. No lost bags, no screaming kids, no missed flights (which was, by the way, rather close- we had a half hour from the time our plane touched down to the time the other flight took off- one a different concourse…) I’ll call it a success!DSC_1347

We spent several extra days out there, which gave us a chance to do some sight seeing, and do things a bit slower so the girls would enjoy it.  The hotel we stayed in was just a few blocks away from the zoo, so we went there several times.  We spent some time in the pool, went to the mall and walked through a few museums and visited some of the monuments.  The girls got their first bus, plane, and subway experiences, staying up way past their bedtime night after night experiences, eating ice cream at random times of the day experiences…  Pretty much everything that makes vacation vacation.

The hotel grounds were beautiful.  And huge (16 acres)!  So excuse this little photo interlude…





DSC_1347 (2)







I find ourselves very fortunate that neither girl knows their phone number- I know that both would have come home with the phone numbers of several new boyfriends.  They were both quite smitten with several young fellas.P1170464

Can’t wait to share the rest of our trip!