Category Archives: Family

Happy Thanksgiving!

The sangria was delicious, and the turkey John drove to Ruskin to get was even better.  Farm fresh is the way to go.  Now for the family photos.  First up is the one where we promised Dylan if he smiled nice…

…then he could do this in the next picture…

Buddy Walk 2012

For the eleventh time, it was a great Buddy Walk!  The last I checked, Manasota BUDS raised nearly $70,000.  And as for Ella, she was surrrounded by adoring friends and family.  Her little brother, Dylan, is surely hoarse tonight after the countless chants of Ella Bella Buddies, Ella Bella Buddies

 

{this moment} Ella

Ella Bella Buddies 2012 from Stacy Q on Vimeo.

Brave Ella

World Down Syndrome Day ~ Orginally posted March 21, 2011

I just opened this email from Manasota BUDS:

3-21-11 marks the 6th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day and each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

Manasota BUDS encourages members to share stories of their loved ones on the BUDS Facebook page and Google discussion group.

The milestones, accomplishments, and great moments from the past year.

No problem; the timing couldn’t be better. I spent yesterday with the most wonderful, sweet, funny, joyful little girl I know…who also happens to have Down syndrome. The last part I add only to help the voice grow louder. It is certainly not what defines my niece, Ella. To me, her adoring aunt, Down syndrome has become an adjective among many others to describe her. Daring is another one that fits. I’m amazed she rides horses; that’s something I can’t do without a disability. She rides roller coasters with her arms stretched straight to the sky. And she braved choppy waters yesterday in a boat about the size of a garbage can. She was nervous at first…

…but was over it in about 30 seconds!

Not once did she say, “I don’t want to do this,” or “I’m scared,” and trust me, she would have! Another adjective to describe Ella is assertive. She simply doesn’t back down from things – school, riding bikes, or in this case, the boat. Down syndrome will not hamper Ella from achieving in her life. She’s just like anyone else. She has feelings, opinions and goals. I consider myself extremely lucky to be along for the ride.

Celebrating Ella Beachside

World Down Syndrome Day 2012 ~ Originally posted March 21, 2012

Because today is the 21st day of the 3rd month, it is World Down Syndrome Day. Some clever person came up with this idea and day to represent the 3 copies of chromosome 21; also known as trisomy 21, it is the chromosomal condition that causes Down syndrome.

Lucky for our family, we have reason to celebrate today. You know her from this blog; she is the current Bashaw Elementary Student-of-the-Month; and she’s never forgiven Luke for chewing off Woody’s hand. She’s Ella!

We spent the evening on Lido Beach eating cupcakes, drinking sangria, chasing birds, learning to skim board, looking for the green flash in the sunset, and celebrating Ella. She’s well worth it. And instead of pointing out something that makes her different because she has Down syndrome, I’d rather point out something that makes her just like every other kid – partly to emphasize that she is no different and shouldn’t be treated as such but also because I’m her aunt and it was just plain cute. My brother Bobby did the same thing at her age. In fact, I can’t remember one picture of him not hovering the classic bunny ears over someone’s head. Little brothers are always good targets, so Doodlebop Dylan was the bunny tonight.

And here we are trying to light the candles…

LOL for trying so hard. The candles lit, but the wind kept beating Dylan to his repeated plea of, “Mommy, can I blow out the candles?” Not tonight, Doodlebop, not tonight.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! If you’d like to get involved or donate, visit www.manasotabuds.org.

Ella’s Last Birthday

Ella’s Boating Birthday ~ Originally posted May 19, 2012

It’s been two days of non-stop tourism for me – the Ringling Museum yesterday and rental boating today. I’m relaxed, happy and sunburned. I may as well be from Ohio. It’s awesome. I’d say it was back to work tomorrow but covering the Sarasota Dirty Duo seems more like a continuation of the impromptu stay-cation than actual work.

Today’s outing was all about Ella. Monday is her birthday, so Ubermommy rented a pontoon boat and we celebrated Florida-style – on the water. It was also a day about critters. We didn’t spot any dolphin or manatee, but we found a sand dollar, spider crabs and snails living in conch shells. The sand dollar was a fluke, but crabs and snails littered the sand bar where we docked. You couldn’t walk three feet without seeing one or the other.

John found the sand dollar after jumping in the water to save the metal Madeline bucket pictured above. In writing, it sounds silly; but in person, that bucket carries 17 years of family memories. It was bought for Mary, the oldest of my sister’s children, and today was holding critters for Dylan, the youngest of my sister’s children. A lot has happened in between, and thanks to John going overboard, we have one more story to drop in…Remember the time Uncle John jumped off the boat to save the Madeline bucket and came up with a sand dollar? Good memories were made today. Thanks, Ella!

If you’re looking for a good boat rental, Captain Larry will take care of you.

The Best of Ella Week

Hello! I had a lovely summer vacation, but now that it’s October, it’s clearly over.  Although in Florida, we’re only about two weeks into Fall.  September is is still ridiculously hot, and I’ve only just started to venture back out into the garden. 

So this week while my newly planted seeds are sprouting, I’ll be reposting some old blog posts—partly to ease back into regular blogging after quite the hiatus, but mostly because the Buddy Walk is this weekend.  It’s my favorite part of October.  I get to spend the day with family and friends, all while supporting an incredible local resource: Manasota BUDS (Bringing Up Down Syndrome).

My niece, Ella, is the reason I’m involved with Manasota BUDS and have never missed a Buddy Walk. She’s amazing, and she’s my buddy. So for the next week, I’m reposting The Best of Ella. Enjoy getting to know her.

For more information on Saturday’s Buddy Walk at Hunsader Farms, visit www.manasotabuds.org.  

An Etiquette Lesson for Lukey ~ Originally posted July 17, 2011

We added to our menagerie this weekend and welcomed Ella and Woody for a sleepover…but of course, not without incident. Just when it seems Lukey is becoming one of us, he goes all four-legged on me and gnaws off one of Woody’s fingers.

What an animal, right? Poor Woody has seen better days…but that is part of his appeal. Woody has a story to tell. He’s a world traveler and a trusted friend. Now he has one more adventure under his belt after grappeling with a dog ten times his size. Still, tell that to Ella…

Lukey learned his lesson, but the incident happened about three or four hours into a 24-hour visit. Every time I thought we had put it behind us, Ella would say, “I need to tell my mom that Luke bit off Woody’s finger.” And I’m not exaggerating on this. She said it on the way out of the Straz Center after seeing Mamma Mia. Uh-oh. But Mom took it well, and Woody never lost his smile.

Unexpected and unwelcomed amputation or not, we loved having them…especially during meals.

The sky was falling with french fries; even Oreo tried to get in on the action.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

My family in New York will be feasting on over 12 dozen wings tonight in celebration of my grandmother’s 90th birthday and my uncle’s 61st birthday.  Of course, a much grander celebration is to follow this summer.  Ninety years is quite an achievement, and her guest list keeps ticking up.  There may actually be two parties at this point to accommodate everyone.

But if Queen Elizabeth can celebrate her birthday twice, why can’t my grandmother?  She may not have millions of loyal subjects, but she does have five children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren with a sixth on the way.  She’s raised a strong brood of men and women, and we’ll all be thanking her throughout the year.

To kick off the celebration, the family is headed to a pub in Danbury, Connecticut that offers one free wing for every year you’ve been alive.  That’s 151 wings between my grandmother and uncle to get them started!  Wish I could be there, but sadly I can only send virtual hugs and kisses and use my imagination…

I borrowed these photos from chicken wing eating contests.  The total birthday wings brings them almost half way to the world record…although my grandmother alone would have to slide them down in under 15 minutes.  The winner of the Wing Bowl XX, Takeru Kobayasi, ate 337 wings in a half-hour!  Get out your headbands, it’s going to be hot tonight.  Happy birthday!

 

World Down Syndrome Day 2012

Because today is the 21st day of the 3rd month, it is World Down Syndrome Day.  Some clever person came up with this idea and day to represent the 3 copies of chromosome 21; also known as trisomy 21, it is the chromosomal condition that causes Down syndrome.

Lucky for our family, we have reason to celebrate today.  You know her from this blog; she is the current Bashaw Elementary Student-of-the-Month; and she’s never forgiven Luke for chewing off Woody’s hand.  She’s Ella!

We spent the evening on Lido Beach eating cupcakes, drinking sangria, chasing birds, learning to skim board, looking for the green flash in the sunset, and celebrating Ella.  She’s well worth it.  And instead of pointing out something that makes her different because she has Down syndrome, I’d rather point out something that makes her just like every other kid – partly to emphasize that she is no different and shouldn’t be treated as such but also because I’m her aunt and it was just plain cute.  My brother Bobby did the same thing at her age.  In fact, I can’t remember one picture of him not hovering the classic bunny ears over someone’s head.  Little brothers are always good targets, so Doodlebop Dylan was the bunny tonight.

And here we are trying to light the candles…

LOL for trying so hard.  The candles lit, but the wind kept beating Dylan to his repeated plea of, “Mommy, can I blow out the candles?”  Not tonight, Doodlebop, not tonight.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!  If you’d like to get involved or donate, visit www.manasotabuds.org.

{this week} Busy

Although John and Luke cuddling is adorable, it’s time to add a new blog post.  On really busy weeks, that sounds easier than it is.  Every time I get down to blogging or gardening this week, I’m interrupted…TGIF.  In five minutes or less, this is what you missed…

Ella won Student of the Month and got to eat lunch with her principal.

Doodlebop came for a visit. We planted morning glories and nasturtiums. No blogging about it because when he left, the three of us all took naps!

The amaryllis have started to resurface.

And here's the stupid snake that keeps running me out of my own garden!