Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Making History

Very cool article highlighting 8 people with Down syndrome who have made history in the last few years.

Don't let anyone tell you that your goals are impossible!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We Are Gonna Be Famous!!!!

Well not exactly "we", just the kids....and not exactly "famous", but pretty damn close!

This photo that I submitted the for the 2012 National Down Syndrome Society Times Square Video has been selected to be part of this year's video!

The 2013 NDSS Times Square Video will play in the heart of New York City on the big Sony screen in Times Square on September 21st.  The video presentation will kick off the NYC Buddy Walk which will take place in Central Park.

We are so honored and excited to have our picture help promote acceptance and inclusion for all people (and families) touched by Down syndrome.

EVEN BETTER....Clay and I are planning to go to New York to watch the video in person!

We can't wait to join Nickie, Morgan, and thousands of others in New York City's 2013 Buddy Walk.

You can watch the 2012 video here -

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rain Dance!

Finally some rain!!!  

Normally, I make fun of Luke when he talks about the weather in a "wannabe farmer" kinda way but even I have been hoping for some rain!  

Our poor, beautiful Pear trees we planted up and down our driveway are looking VERY sad this year. We have even lost a few already ;(

Wyatt & Hazel helped me celebrate the rain this morning with a little rain dancing....and jumping!

The many adventures of the Janke family

This week we explored a few new places around town, which was super fun.  We went to Lauritzen Gardens and climbed up the 1 million stairs to see the old Union Pacific train cars.  Neither Luke nor I had ever been up there so it was fun to see them close up.  They are so BIG!

Next, we headed to the Durham Museum.  Another first for the whole family.  It was actually really cool and I could have spent along time there.  Having the kiddos in tow, that didn't happen but we did get to climb through a few old train cars, see Sue the T-Rex dinosaur, and dig for fossils in the kid zone.

The weather this weekend was out of this world.  A little strange for July!?!?!, but I am trying to see the bright side of it.  

We spent the evening exploring out on the ranger.  We went down to the river, walked around the pond, and picked some fruit from our fruit trees.  The cool weather and breeze made our adventures virtually BUG FREE!!!! - which was amazing!!!

AND it didn't stop there!  

We got a little country and went to the Washington County Fair in Arlington.  The kids liked seeing the animals and I enjoyed a Frito Pie and some homemade ice cream :)

Chris and the girls came and hung out with us on Sunday evening and we soaked up some more of the wonderful outdoors.

2014 Down Syndrome Calendar

The kids had their pictures taken for the 2014 calendar last week.  Hopefully, Russ at ReGal Photography was able to work his magic with the pictures he had to work with!

Last year, they did family shots; this year they just did kids.  Hazel had a dress on and refused to keep her legs closed, Clay has discovered how to make facial expressions (hopefully I will be able to capture and share some of them soon!) and was making some pretty crazy ones, and Wyatt decided since they were all sitting on the floor - wrestling was a great idea.  We were there for about 20 minutes and I was exhausted when we left!  I can't wait to see how they turned out, though.

If you would like to buy a 2014 calendar featuring a picture of the Janke kids along with other adorable kids from our group, you can order them online this year.  The proceeds benefit our local Down syndrome group.  I will be picking them up and delivering or sending them after they come in.

Thank you in advance!

Here are a few pictures from last year's calendar photo shoot -

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A trip "Home"

I took the kids to Sioux City for a few days to celebrate my dad's birthday.

We had so much fun playing with grandma & papa and exploring nearby parks.  I got my normal dose of amazing Sioux City food - Coney Island hot dogs....twice...and sunshine donuts.

I still call my parent's house in Sioux City "home".  To me this is where I grew up, where my family is, where so many memories are stored.  Obviously I love the house that Luke and I have created together for our family, but as long as my parent's have this house it will always have a special place in my heart.

There is something so special about watching your parents love on your children.  

Slide races
Wyatt & Hazel exploring grandma & papa's backyard
Yay!  So excited to be with gma & gpa!
Wyatt picked out this "rusty" flower for papa's yard all by himself.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fun, Family Weekend!

It was SO nice to not have ANYTHING on our calendar for the weekend!  

This seems to be a rare occurrence lately and I am sure will only continue to get worse as the kids get older and involved in more activities.

Luke went to work for a few hours on Saturday morning and took Wyatt & Hazel with him - bless his heart!

Clay and I laid around in our jammies for a while and then went out to soak up some summer sun!

Playing some b-ball in our jammies 
My sweet boy seems so grown up in this picture!

Of course, Wyatt and Hazel were dying to join us when they got home.

Wyatt's progress since he started swimming lessons at Little Waves is just amazing.  He use to be scared for water to even splash his face; now he keeps his head IN the water more than out!

Wy practicing under water head stands.  Goof ball.

On Sunday, we woke up early and headed to the Safari Park.  We love this place.  You get really cool, close up, encounters with the animals and the kids love taking turns "driving" and hanging out of the sunroof.

We ended our wonderful weekend with bath time (even for Hazel's baby doll) and some snuggles on the couch.

I love weekends like this.  Spent together, with enough quiet time to stop and think about how blessed we are.  

All the worries of a stressful work week, or chaos of running around to a million therapies, doctor appointments, and swimming lessons are erased.

This man, these kids, are my life - and I am a pretty damn lucky girl.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Exciting & Controversial New Medical Breakthrough for Down Syndrome

Here are a few articles on the latest medical breakthrough in the Down syndrome world -

New Genetic Therapy Provides Breakthrough for Down Syndrome

Read the articles....but basically a petri dish containing skin cells from a man with Down syndrome led researchers at the University of Massachusetts to this exciting new discovery.

They were able to use one gene to "shut off" Down syndrome, or the extra copy of the 21st chromosome, that can lead to medical issues and cognitive delays.

Crazy, right!?

Part of me is so excited!  Research for Down syndrome has definitely been lacking in the past and deserves it's time in the limelight.  A "cure" for early on-set Alzheimer's, thyroid issues and cognitive delays, just to name a few, seems like a no-brainer.  Why would I not eliminate these issues from Clay's future?

If my child was diagnosed with cancer, chemo and radiation would never be questioned to "cure" them of future pain and complications.  Physical, occupational, speech, and feeding therapy are now apart of our everyday lives in an attempt to better Clay's future.  Is cell therapy really any different?  I don't know the answer to this but am anxious to find out.

As much as I don't usually get caught up in the ethical issues of Down syndrome, this one does have my mind racing with uncertainties.  Would it change Clay?  Who he is?  Does that extra 21st chromosome play a key role in his identity?

I guess we will just have to wait and see where this new science takes us - him - Down syndrome.

Would I change who Clay is?  Absolutely not.  But would I encourage cell therapy to provide a healthy, happy - easier - life for my little man.  Absolutely.

"Before you accuse, criticize, and abuse - walk a mile in my shoes" (....Clay's shoes) - Joe South

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Livin' Part 2

I take a lot of pictures.  I do.

Sonic shakes!
Zoo tours from our tour guide, Wyatt
The shirt says it all!
"I look like mommy!" 
Road trip with my best girl!
Celebrating the Baz twins to-be

....and 30th birthdays
Beach babes
Fun with friends

Yummy smoothies
I am practicing my braiding skills!
Clay's day with the girls!

"What's for dinner, ma!?"
My ONE fireworks picture 
Lightning bugs
Aksarben Farmer's Market
Hazel shaking it at Zumba in the park
Pedal boat ride with my loves!
Daddy loves the snuggles!
Us Senior Open
Summer fun with friends
Kiddie car wash
Our little monsters on at our movie date 
This really happened.  There are no words.
Clay keeping up with the big kids
I wish I could bottle up these moments and keep them in my heart forever!
Pretty girls accessorize in their sleep