Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hard words

As some of you may know, there was a movie released by Dreamworks entitled Tropic Thunder recently that uses the word "retard" over and over again. A young man who is 26 years old with Down Syndrome wrote an editorial response to the movie in the Richmond times Dispatch. It is amazing that he could so eloquently put to words how that movie has affected him. I have (hopefully) provided a link to his article!

I talked with my friend, Lynn tonight who has precious 6 year-old Caroline with Down Syndrome. We both feel that this article that is so well written by this young man, will forever change us. He speaks of the loneliness that accompanies having a disability. One of the things that Lynn and I have often spoken about since we met three years age is that Caroline and David will have such a fun, full life. Lynn and I are very involved with our babies and frankly we will make sure that they will have an awesome life. Until this young man spoke through his article it never occurred to either Lynn or myself that Caroline or David could experience loneliness or feel the discrimination that is still unfortunately part of our society.

When Lynn and I talked by phone tonight about it, I told her that I so wanted to post this article on the blog, but I couldn't find the words to talk about it. His words will forever be in my head as David continues to grow and thrive. Quite bluntly, I guess Lynn and I both fell for the happy and jolly stereotype that often accompanies people with DS. To hear this young man speak of the opposite is really hard to read.

I know that God has an awesome plan for both Caroline and David, and that they are here by no accident. Both of these precious redheads have taught me more about life, empathy, true love, and joy than I could EVER learn elsewhere. They are a true litmus test for someone's character. I feel honored to have them in my life, but it is still hard to read the words of a young man that has lived a life with a disability.

Read the article for yourself (hopefully if I provided you the link!) and see how you feel about it. As a Mom of a precious one with Down Syndrome it was a tough read, but also a challenge for me and you to help this society to be more accepting and less discriminatory of people with any type of disability. I feel that God has placed these precious ones in our midst to teach us what life is truly meant to be like. Just like Jesus does not disciminate in His love for us, we should never hold back love and acceptanace from others.

Why I love my job

I love teaching preschool. Often it is exhausting but oh so satisfying. I came home today with paint on my elbow and sweater:) Today it is pouring the rain here and we were unable to go outside to play on the playground. Instead, I took the children and my colorful parachute down stairs to the fellowship hall to play.

On our way back to the class, one of the sweet children asked me where these certain steps led to. I was already tying another little girl's shoe when I tried to answer that the stairs go to the balcony of the church. I launched into an appropriate answer about what a balcony is used for at church. After I tied the little girl's shoe, we started on back to the class. I then overhead one little boy say "I don't know what she was talking about about that balcomany (his words not my misspelling)-I bet they just keep a bunch of church junk up there!!!" I love being humbled by my students:) Have a great day!:)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Little boy thrills

Saturday night we took the boys and GG and Pops to Blacksburg for the Hokie Kids Club autograph session with the football players. What fun Kyle had! He was given a poster for all the players to sign and of course I had my camera ready! We goofed with David and took him to see the Hokie Bird first, which scared him so much it took him a while to warm up to meet the players! Anyway it was such a fun night for the boys and I was impressed with how chatty and personable the players were. One even told Kyle to keep eating his vegetables!

Kyle signs up for peanut football league this Monday night, so it was a fun way for him to get excited about playing football. Here are some pictures from the night!

Kyle with Sean Glennon. He was very nice with all the kids.

Here are both boys with Tyrod Taylor. His line was so long, but he was very patient and kind with the boys. He grabbed David up to sit on his lap.

David showing his muscles with Will Alvarez! What a cute picture of David:)

Both boys with Macho Harris. His line was super long, but he had a great personality with the kids. David got such a kick out of saying his name-Macho! Overall it was such a fun night, and I truly think my Dad enjoyed it as much as the kids!! Go Hokies!

I do have to give my La Tech and UVA graduate husband some props. It was technically his birthday celebration night and we ended up at a Hokie event! Mike is not a huge Hokie fan, but he went along with it since the boys had such a fun time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Calm Mornings

What a difference a day makes! This morning Kyle was ready to head to 1st grade with a smile on his face. I feel so relieved that the nervousness is gone and now he is ready to have a great year!

He made me laugh so hard on the way to school. David was not being as cooperative as he should have been about getting into his car seat to leave. I was fussing at David and Kyle spoke up and said "Mom don't get too mad at him, he really is a good kid!" What a hilarious way to start the day:)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We made it!

We made it through the first day, but there were definately some tears and drama. I am so proud of Kyle, though, because his sweet teacher is injured and was not able to be at school today. He had a substitute that he didn't expect. I cannot believe how well he did. I checked on him later in the day, and his classroom aide told me he cried for about 10 minutes and was fine once all his supplies were found! (I think there was a little incident where a pink pencil box was in his desk instead of the blue one we purchased!)

I have been up since 4:55 a.m. this morning just preparing myself for the drama. Kyle and I prayed so hard last night together about today, but he did go to bed crying. He is so attached to me. Thankfully we made it through the day and he seems okay about going back tomorrow:) It is such a relief to have the first day behind us-now if his sweet teacher can just get better!

David cracked me up because he was so excited to see the buses pull in, give teachers hugs, and overall just greet everyone in the building. We walked him to class, but he never even turned around to say goodbye. It made me a little sad, but I was so proud of my big boy! I got to go to lunch with a group of friends, which was such a treat-there was no food that needed to be cut up, and I got to leisurely chat with friends without being interrupted ONCE!

This look says it all:) He so wanted to be a big boy, but this was taken moments before we walked out the door and he was struggling!

My sweet David never looked back! He took his teacher's hand and walked right on in:)

My gorgeous gifts from above. I cannot believe they are four and six and that both boys are in school fulltime now. Where has the time gone? I just pray they will always be this close and sweet together:)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gatherings with friends

One of the wonderful things about living in a small town is the sense of community. This past weekend we had two back to school gatherings as a way for the kids to reconnect with friends and make new friends. Several moms went together and we hosted a skating party for all rising first graders at Kyle's school. We even bought Kyle some new roller blades for the occassion! Kyle got to meet three new friends that will be in his class with him-the party was a success! Here is Kyle trying out the new roller blades:)

Also, this past weekend my friend, Lynn hosted a little back to school gathering for David and Tommy's preschool friends. All the preschoolers that were there will be in my preschool class this year. When we got to Tommy's house for the party, Tommy greeted us in full policeman attire over his bathing suit! It was so hilarious and I just had to post the picture! I believe my grandfather back in 1981 had the same sunglasses!! I love him!

The other picture is of David and Will sharing some pizza on Lynn's deck! Betweeen all the back to school parties and the late hours we are keeping over the Olympics, I am exhausted. Hopefully all these back to school gatherings with friends will help the boys make a smooth transition tomorrow for school!

Monday, August 18, 2008


We just got the news from David's pediatrician, Rachel, that David's neck scans looked completely normal and he is cleared for all activities!! What a total relief that David's activities will not have to be limited and he will not need the back surgery that one of our friends here with DS had to have. God is good:)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rap music and new beginnings

This was our last weekend of "freedom" as the boys go back to school this Wednesday. This weekend we were out and about getting all the last minute things needed, including "stuff" to have on hand for packing lunches. I truly feel there is a special place in heaven for Moms that pack lunches day after day-I will probably only make it a week or two before I wake up one morning with nothing on hand to pack! Anyway, I had this feeling today that I couldn't quite understand. After my children's behavior this past week, I should be tap dancing about sending them off, but I realized that I am actually nervous.

It is always such a trust of faith to send these precious ones out on the first day. I am thrilled that both boys have a great teacher this year, but being the control freak that I am, it panics me that they will not be under my thumb for a good portion of the day. It is such a lesson of faith.

Last year, when Kyle cried the first three weeks of kindergarten (yes, that was approximately 15 mornings of drama that I never want to repeat!) I would often try to console him by reminding him that even when Mommy and Daddy weren't right with him, God was always there with him. Once again we are on the cusp of the separation again and Kyle and I both need to be reminded that God is always there. We will see what the day will be like Wednesday-will Kyle strut into school with the swagger of a veteran, or once again be clinging to me and begging me to sit in the corner all day?

Being a Mommy is so hard as you try to strike a balance between being in control and their need for freedom to grow. Kyle is really into rap music right now (I will try to sneak a picture or video of him jamming because it is totally hilarious!) Anway, I just want run as fast as we can back to the Wiggles CD's and Thomas the Train, but I know that this is reality now. I can embrace it and listen along with him to check for bad words or I can pitch a fit! I am choosing to go along with it, despite my inner being screaming for the madness to stop! But as a parent, I am trying to let Kyle experiment with some new ideas with his taste in music. Change is always so hard, but once again it is a reminder to place our trust and faith in the One that orchestrates it all. One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11 that says "For I know the plans I have for you..They are plans for good to give you a hope and a future. What reassuring words those are for this control freak mommy during this time of the year when so much of my boys' lives are different and changing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Life with David

I have been thinking a lot this week about life with David. That comment from that grandmother really has made me stop and think about David's disability. Is our life with David really different from other's? I am pleased to say that yes! Life with David is tremendously and fabulously different, but not necessarily due to his disability but due to the little wonder that David is. David is certainly a challenge due to his determined spirit, but one of my favorite parts about David is his love for all people. It makes me so thrilled that David loves freely without holding back anything for anyone. He is equally excited to see his best buds as he is to see a stranger at Target. Thankfully David does not hold grudges against people that do not appreciate his uniqueness-I wonder if he ever will.

I just had to share these pictures of David this from this week. He has been in swimming lessons with his friend, Ally. David also got to play putt-putt golf with the neighborhood kids for the first time this week. I had no idea how putt-putt golf would go, but often the times that I doubt David is when he rises to the occasion and amazes and entertains me!

On the 18th hole, the ball goes down the hole to never return signaling the end of the game. As you can see from this picture, David cherished his ball and was not thrilled that it was gone forever! Not even bribes for ice cream could end this meltdown!!:)

David learning to swim on his noodle! Swimming is so great for his weak tummy muscles and thankfully Kyle's swimming Coach, Mrs. Meg was available to help David.

David looking very similar to Tiger Woods in this picture-all he needs is Tiger's signature red golf shirt and black pants!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shopping with my boys

The title of this entry would make most people run for the hills! Why, you ask, would I take my boys shopping by myself? We went on a quest for school supplies and stuff for my preschool room. Overall the day went well, but I am exhausted and somehow the boys are still full of energy-perhaps it doesn't take as much energy to whine as it does to chase David around the sporting goods store!

Anyway, at the sporting goods store, I had finally corralled David while I could pay for Kyle's new "hoodie." (I am still confused over the name change-weren't they just called hooded sweatshirts a year or two ago?) Anyway, as I was paying for a grossly overpriced Under Armor "hoodie" this tiny little woman approached me and commented on David's beautiful red hair.

Frankly, people stop me all the time about David's hair, so I briefly looked up to respond to her while still trying to write a check and corralling wild man. I then saw tears in her eyes and she asked me if he had Down Syndrome. I responded with a smile and confirmed that he does. She then went on with this story that her daughter in SC has recently had a baby with DS. She just cried to me and said "what will my daughter do with her?"

It was such a tough moment for me because I wanted to say "excuse me-what do you mean by that?" I know David at that moment was not acting like the poster child for a well-behaved little boy, but give me a break. Thankfully God stopped that train of thought and reminded me that this moment could go a long way with this family. Yes I was tired, grumpy, and just wanted to get out of that store with Kyle's new "hoodie," both boys, and my sanity, but this moment was not all about me.

But thankfully God took over and His grace, not my grumpiness, poured from my mouth. I touched that grieving grandmother's arm and looked her in the face and reminded her that her daughter will raise her just like any other child with firm limits, tons of patience, and a love from the depths of her soul. There was so much I wanted to share with this lady about all the joys and triumphs that we have experienced the last four years with David, but this sweet grandmother wasn't ready for my story yet. She needed to hop on the interstate and drive to SC to help her daughter start writing their own story with their sweet newborn.

We will never know why we were chosen for this special walk in this world, but Mike and I have always felt that we were specifically chosen for David by God. Hopefully soon, this sweet family in SC will see the honor that has been bestowed on them by our Creator that He deemed them worthy of raising an angel straight from heaven who just happens to have an extra chromosome!

Speaking of David, tomorrow we have to take him for a neck scan to check and see if he is able to take part in gymnastics this fall. Pray for us, Mike specifically, as he will get the job of holding David down so they can get the xrays. I will let you know how it goes. If you hear a child screaming "no way no" you will know it is David on the xray table! "No way no" is his loud and clear objection to anything he doesn't want to do these days!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


One of the wonderful joys of summer is spending time with family that do not live in your town. Recently the boys and I met my Mom and my three year old nephew, Clayton at the pool. It was so fun to see the boys together. Clayton has a hilarious personality and sometime during the day I told him not to do something (can't remember what) and he responded by saying "but I are going to do it" with his sweet smile! Frankly I let him do what he wanted to do because how can you argue with "I are!"
Here are some pictures from our pool day. Both Mike and I have brothers-his brother has three boys in Louisiana and my brother has two sons here in Virginia. Nope, there are no ruffles and lace in this bunch. It is sports, Under Armor obsessions (my boys), and tons of energy for this family.

Clayton was so cute at pool break! He stretched out on his towel to "lay out in the sun!" My kids were just looking for the oatmeal creme pies and dodging the sunscreen spray!:)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

sweet friends

This has been such a sweet summer for my boys. Suddenly we have a neighborhood full of children for the boys to play with. Kyle is always thrilled to have someone to run around with and play sports with, but David has truly loved having friends so close by. Last night we went to a Tball party and here is a sweet picture of David with one of his favorite girls from the neighborhood, Kelsey. I just love the expressions on their faces! Also, here is a picture of Kyle with his neighborhood buddy, Tanner.

Growing up Mike and I were both blessed to have a neighborhood full of kids to play with and we are thankful that our kids will have the same for this season in their life. Neighborhood friends have made the summer much sweeter and fuller due to spontaneous playdates and adventures. I have yet to hear those obnoxious words that make every mother cringe-"I'm bored!" Enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sweet Victories

Hello! I am so bummed that this post will not have a picture to attach because my camera is having issues, but hopefully I can post one later. Anyway, after months of discussing, begging, and thinking about it, Kyle decided last night that he was ready to take the training wheels off of his bike! This issue has been such a sensitive one to Kyle because he so wanted to take the wheels off, but was petrified! What prompted the sudden decision was no less than seeing the girls next door (who are a year younger mind you) flying around on their bikes training-wheel free!

Mike grabbed the tool box and set the wheels free! What transpired next was nothing short of a life lesson for us all! Kyle clung on to the handle bars as Mike ran beside him through the yard. The first few attempts were not smooth, pretty, or even close! But, after many laps around the yard, encouragement from David and I, soon he was flying free. The look of pride and joy on his face is not something I will forget anytime soon.

What stands out about this hour in our family's life was watching Mike huff and puff around the yard with Kyle. His patience with him was astounding, as I was frankly no help since I was messing with the camera, screaming words of encouragement, and trying to keep David out of Kyle's path. Mike really had no idea what he was doing, but nonetheless, Kyle came away from it proud as a peacock with the knowledge that his Daddy was cheering him on the whole way! Often as parents we do not have a guide book or instruction manual, but often when we run beside our child huffing and puffing and cheering them on in their pursuits that is when we truly help our child succeed. I know I am often guilty of trying to "control" certain situations for both of my boys, but God used this example to remind me to run alongside my child cheering my guts out and allowing them to lead the way.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Welcome to the Robinson family blog! The intention of this blog is to keep friends and family both near and far updated on the happenings in our family. Summer has been full of swimming and sun. I am so sad that the lazy days of summer are winding down, but I am excited for another year of teaching preschool. Kyle will be in 1st grade and David will be in an inclusive Prek class this year. I will be sad to give my boys up on the first day of school (August 20th) but Kyle is so excited that 1st grade does not take a nap:) Mike has worked hard this summer getting the school system ready for another year and he did teach a class for UVA. Enjoy the last magical days of summer!

This picture was taken at Claytor Lake during July. David was really excited to fish for the first time-even though his casting is still dangerous to those on the dock around him:) He wants to do anything that Kyle is doing!