John Michael at Empire Mine National State Park in Grass Valley, CA, the day after Christmas.
Gold was all the rage in this part of California from the late 1840's until the early 1900's. One of the mine shafts we saw was 8,000 ft long and went deep underground. That's 1 1/2 miles! Of course, we only went about 30 feet down. We learned all about different gold-mining techniques and that some mules spent their lives underground pulling mining cars.
Greta, Anna, John Michael and Nicolas on the porch of the mine's Clubhouse.
John Michael enjoying the crisp air on the grounds of the mine.
This past Monday, we took a day trip to San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in
Golden Gate Park. John Michael enjoyed the living rooftop view, looking out toward the tower of the de Young Museum currently hosting the King Tut exhibit.
John Michael was thoroughly fascinated by the giant, 2-story fish aquarium.
I've made the same mistake before Too many malls, too many stores December traffic, Christmas rush It breaks me till I push and shove
Children are crying while mothers are trying To photograph Santa and sleigh The shopping and buying and standing forever in line What can I say?
I need a silent night, a holy night To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here To end this crazy day with a silent night
December comes then disappears
Faster and faster every year Did my own mother keep this pace Or was the world a different place?
Where people stayed home wishing for snow Watching three channels on their TV Look at us now rushing around Trying to buy Christmas peace
I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here To end this crazy day with a silent night
What was it like back there in Bethlehem With peace on earth, good will toward men?
Every shepherd's out in the field
Keeping watch over their clock by night And the glory of the Lord shone around them And they were so afraid
And the angels said fear not for behold I bring you good news of a great joy that shall be for all people For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace
I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here To end this crazy day with a silent night To end this crazy day with a silent night
It's been a while since I've posted an update on John Michael's abilities.
There's so much to write, but I'll condense it into the biggies.
John Michael has had an explosion in gross motor skills, like walking... FAST and not falling too much anymore. He can use a step stool to climb up on the rocking chair to rock, or reach the bathroom sink to throw stuff in, or to climb over our big bath tub and get in.
His receptive language is expanding to the point where he'll follow a simple direction to bring something (like his poopy diaper) to the kitchen from his bedroom. He still doesn't listen to the word, "No," but distraction works most of the time.
His language skills are increasing. He is learning new signs rapidly and freely using the ones he already knows. He's pointing and making choices (like milk vs. juice or spaghetti vs. soup). He's making many beginning sounds when prompted and makes lots of animal sounds on his own. Baa, nay nay, oi oi (for pig), hoo hoo (owl), grrr for tiger, and a hilarious blast of air with his juicy lips for elephant, while raising his arm up high for the trunk. His rooster sound is unrepeatable by any other human, unless their trachea is also "floppy". It's hilarious! If I could, I'd take him to San Francisco on a street corner to put on his "show". He'd have everyone in stitches and maybe we'd earn enough to make it a viable side job :-)
Cognitively, he's right at about 23 to 24 months, according to the Denver test, which is fantastic. I'm loving this new boost in learning. While he was learning to walk, his language skills slowed way down and he was pretty quiet for a while. He's mastered walking quite well and I guess his brain is now ready for the next challenges.
He continues to give hugs and kisses freely and often unprompted. Says Mama and Dada when he sees us. Recognizes family members in pictures, points to familiar objects in books, says "Oma" and "Opa" for my parents and Doug's mom, and is learning to make the Sign of the Cross for prayers at mealtime and to fold his hands. It's precious. I can't get enough of this little guy.
I can use my fork to eat cubed liverwurst sandwiches. YUM!
(Yes, my mom knows what it's made from -- she's German!)
And look how neatly I can bring the fork to my mouth. I love to eat all textures, except green food.
I can spot a green bean a mile away and spit it out even if it's buried in other food.
I love to pretend I'm swinging on bars at Greta's gymnastics studio.
Big sis, Greta, after her Holiday Show this morning.
The whole family LOVED this film. It's not blockbuster quality, but it's very good quality for an independent film.
It features two brothers, a 15 year old boy, Jeremy, who has Down syndrome, and 6 year old, Jarrett, who no longer believes in Santa Claus. The boys recently lost their mother and are dealing with it in their own way. But when Jeremy learns of Jarrett's disbelief in Santa Claus, he goes on a mission to take his little brother to the North Pole to find Santa and prove he's real. The driving scene in the trailer had me in stitches. There are many sweet moments between the brothers and Jeremy is an awesome role model for Jarrett.
There are two subplots, featuring the story of The Child King which the boys' mother used to read to them. It is acted out in between scenes throughout the film. The other subplot is the dad trying to find his sons who seem to have run away and taken the SUV with them.
The adventure these two find themselves on, with very little money, and the people they encounter along the way, both good and slimy, make for an enjoyable adventure.
The best part is how they positively portrayed a teenager with Down syndrome. Jeremy is smart, clever, strong, a caring big brother, responsible, and best of all, stands up for himiself when someone calls him "stupid." I love that he doesn't just "take it" and walk away. He remains strong and I love his character.
I believe the film is only available through the website, but it was so worth it. I will share the film with my local friends, which makes the $20 spent worth it.
I hope you get a chance to see it... then let me know what you think!
Please forgive me for my extreme neglect. I've let an entire week go by without a post of substance. And it's been even longer since I've posted something more than a few photos. I have a big post in my head and that's part of the problem -- getting it on "paper" or at least finding the time to sit down and type. I know you know how busy our family life is right now. If you need a reminder, these photos will remind you of how John Michael keeps us busy throughout the week. I promise to do better.
(PS: If you follow us on Facebook, I apologize for the repeat in photos...)
And so it goes... another morning in the Crumley household with John Michael exploring his world.
It just had to be a brand new box of Panda Puffs!
"What? Did I do something wrong? Why can't I eat the Panda Puffs?
Dog hair stuck to the cereal doesn't really bother me too much."
"Look, Mama, I'm a big helper. I'll put some back in for you. Will that help?"
We tried something new this year... "Lifestyle" photography for our family photos. I think Penny Sylvia did a great job of capturing our family at the California State Capitol gardens in Sacramento. Here are just a few of my faves... (there were too many to post!)
I've been married for 20 years to my wonderful husband, Doug. I'm a Catholic SAHM to 5 children. Our 4th child, John Michael, was born in November 2007, and has opened us up to the amazing world of Down syndrome. We are grateful to God for the blessings He's given us and the journey He's put us on. When I'm not spending time with my family, I sing with RSVP, an amazing vocal group, educate on Down syndrome, have my own health and wellness business, and blog about our life.