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Watch what you say; you never know who maybe listening.

Awhile back I forward on a wonderful post by a another mother of a precious little girl named, Rowenna. The blog talked about not referring to children with the diagnosis of Down Syndrome as “Downs Child” or “Down Child” or any other way where the diagnosis is the child and not something the child has.

Simply put, you wouldn’t call a child with chicken pox “Chicken Pox Kid”, an over weight woman as “Obese Woman” or a boy with cerebral palsy “CP boy”. These diagnosis don’t make the individual. The individual HAS the diagnosis.

That being said, after posting this particular blog, I received a comment from a friend of mine from Mabel’s Labels who mentioned a situation she was in where a mom of a child with Down Syndrome was head counting her kids and said “now, where’s my little downsy? oh, there he is”… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?

My friend commented that she was very taken back. She has experience with autism and made the comment that she has never heard anyone use the “hey, where’s my little autistic” phrase.

My biggest frustration with having a child with Down Syndrome is society’s genuine ignorance to these individuals, their capabilities and inturn how to change these perceptions. To have a parent call her child that in a public forum makes me sick to my stomach.

Person first. Diagnosis last. It’s not complicated; just common everyday respect.

This past weekend I had the privilege of meeting another family of a child with Down Syndrome while out celebrating Canada Day in true Club 21 style at the Goderich Canada Day Parade.
Please understand, this family is very supportive and excepting of their child and his diagnosis but still some family members are using inappropriate language. Referring to having “one of those kids” or “Downs kids” etc.
I have two big problems when I find myself in these situations. First, I get so hung up on the language they are using that I can’t hear the actual conversation. Even though I know they are trying to support our kids, their choice of words is so insulting and segregating that it negates all that they are trying to say. Second, I don’t know how to begin to correct their error without insulting them because again I realize in this case there is no ill intent. Give me a blog to vent on, fine. Let me rant on twitter, great. But put me face to face in a situation that’s supposed to be fun and positive and I clam up.

Teaching “People First Language” is great and very important but how do you have that conversation in a face to face situation without insulting the uneducated speaker?

And for all those parents who should know better, I challenge you to choose your words carefully. You never know who may be listening.

How do I pick? …HostelBookers #7 Supershots Challenge

Leave it to a friend to remind you to take some time to reminisce as well as get you back on track with something that is important in your life yet you always put off for another day.

Last night I received a tweet from @tweepwife (www.lifecache.ca) challenging me to search through the thousands of photography files that have built up on my hard drive and participate in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.

What I found through the search was that I love my photos and sharing with others should be something that I dedicate more of my time to. What I also determined was narrowing the choices to only seven was hard!

So I limited my choices to those taken in past the 18 months and this is what I’ve decided to share as I walk down memory lane….

1. A photo that… Takes my breath away

This photo is a moment I captured when my father-in-laws barn burnt down. It takes my breath away for a few reasons. First the colours & composition just worked. It showed the viewer exactly the intensity that those of us present felt at that moment. You can feel the heat, power and allure that a fire of this magnitude creates. The living body a fire becomes is breath taking and every time I see this picture, I am reminded of that fact.

2. A photo that… makes me laugh or smile

The moments I cherish most as a parent are those I see the true love and devotion my kids have for one another. When they give each other a hug of support or take the time to sit and read together. Or, as in this photo, when they take each others hands and together run into the world full of hope, love and excitement. Catching these moments on film are few and far between but when I do, it allows me to relive that feeling of pride as I sit back and smile in reflection.

3. A photo that… makes me dream

What makes me dream isn’t the actual photo but the subject it highlights. For those of you who know my family, one of our goals is to change the way the world sees my daughter. To change the preconceived notions surrounding Down Syndrome and all individuals our society deems “less” in some way. Everyday I see the beautiful smile, bright eyes and determination in the face of my ladybug and I remind myself that together will meet all of her challenges head on. We will build her up and make all her dreams come true. We will strip away the labels and show society that she and all of her friends have something to share with this world. That is our dream.

4. A photo that… makes me think

To appreciate the true magnitude of this image, click to enlarge

Our family had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC last year. During our tour of the area we showed our children many monuments and buildings of significance. My son found the Korean War Monument most preeminent but for me Arlington Cemetery gave me the greatest pause. The vastidity was overwhelming and I spent much time thinking of the individuals & families who suffer as a result of the hatred within our world.

5. A photo that… makes my mouth water

Last summer we visited Nashville for a conference about Social Media & Agriculture hosted by AgChat. Before we departed this lovely city we took some time to visit the local farmers market. The colours, the smells, the freshness of the produce touched every sense as we walked through the stalls. This is just one of the numerous images from that day that, as farmers, we felt showcased the value of agriculture as well as tempted ones taste buds to reach out and grab a bite!

6. A photo that… tells a story

This is a photo that I’ve shared online before but that captures a very precious story for our family. My husband was raised on a dairy farm. He spent his whole life around cows and as a family we had hope to raise our children the same way. Unfortunately, that dream will not come to fruition as the dairy portion of his family’s farm was retired last July. Prior to that our kids spent many hours in the barn helping with chores and acting as the “Welcoming Committee” to new arrivals. Having this moment with our girls and a brand new “steaming” calf captured on film is priceless and is a token for them to remember being a part of their family’s history.

And finally my last pic for this challenge.
7. A photo that… I am most proud of (My National Geographic shot)

First, I need to clarify… I don’t necessarily believe this is the photo “I’m most proud of” but I could see it in a National Geographic spread. I wanted to include this image in this challenge because it’s different than the others I’ve shared and, in my opinion, the movement, colour and composition are bang on. I was thrilled with this shot and wished at the time I had a magazine to share it with. This photo was taken on our Floridian vacation in one of the perfectly lit Sea World Aquariums. Jellyfish always seem to draw me in with their fluid movements and gracefulness and this picture captures that for me. I find these exotic creatures fill me a calmness few other things in this hectic world can and I’m grateful to have this photo to remind me of that feeling.

As I bring this post to a close I would like to thank @tweepwife for getting me back to my blog and my photography. This challenge reminded me that I have passions of my own and I need to take the time to embrace them again. To fill my soul so that I may fill others.

And now, I spread this challenge to others. – I have choosen seven bloggers (instead of the requested five) to give it their best shots in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots:

My choosen Agriculture reps include…
@JPlovesCOTTON from http://janiceperson.com
@kmrivard from http://kellymrivard.com
@AR_ranchhand from http://agricultureproud.com

My choosen Down Syndrome reps include…
@CarrieWChildren from http://www.carriewithchildren.com/about-carrie-with-children
@DownSideUp from http://www.downssideup.com/

And two extras who I would like to represent Huron County with the brightest lights…
@sarahnadian from http://atransparentlife.com/
Melissa Wormington (who’s not on twitter but who’s blog should be seen by many!) from http://melissawormington.blogspot.ca

Go to it girls and guy! Show the world what you’ve shot!

Jen

New Glasses!

Summer Fun!

Canada Day Parade!

Yesterday I was thrilled to be apart of the first ever Club 21 Canada Day Parade Float!

With the help of a tractor & wagon from one of our farm families, some strategically placed Canadian flags and a few not so subtle Down Syndrome Awareness signs, we loaded up some of our kids and families and joined the festivities as we made our way around the Square in Goderich for the annual Canada Day Parade!

The float was a great success and more importantly, we all had a fantastic time!

Our Canada Day Float

A Bear and a Ladybug waving to the crowd.

Our message to the crowd... "don't DIS my ABILITY!"

and "more ALIKE than DIFFERENT"

Brought to you by Club 21 - Huron County!

HAPPY CANADA DAY from Club 21 – Huron County!

Happy Canada Day!

Proud Canadians!

From my family to yours, Happy Canada Day Weekend. We hope you’re enjoying the sun.

Twitter helps me help the Easter Bunny.

Easter.

Another holiday that has been turned into a candy saturated day. Another holiday that I find myself scrambling to avoid the sugar. I refuse to allow my children to eat candy by the truck load and I won’t accept the toys they don’t need, use or want.

This year, since we’d already been to a Easter Egg hunt where too much sugar was acquired (candy that will no doubt still be here by the time Hallowe’en rolls around), I decided I will not add to this insanity. But what could I do?! I can’t let the Easter Bunny forget them. I wanted EB to do something but I didn’t want him to feel pressured or think I was demanding any extra effort on his part, so I did a little research and came up with some helpful suggestions from some twitter friends and a few creative websites. I DM’d him some ideas I thought just might work and this is what the Easter Bunny came up with for our family…

On Saturday night we swirled some eggs with cousin Cassie and hoped the Easter Bunny would be impressed with our awe-inspiring egg painting skills!

Eggs

And Sunday morning we found this…

Empty Baskets

Empty baskets with a single note attached…

An explanation.

All that was needed to do was follow the clues on a Bunny Styled Scavenger Hunt and Easter would be saved!

Everybody ready?

Ready!

Charge!

A tree that was dressed up for the season.

A cookie for each of our family of five and a clue were found at a tree that had been dressed up for the holiday!

Then off to another tree in our yard where the bird feeder was found to have strange food tucked inside. (And yes, it’s chocolate but surprisingly our son gave his away to his cousin who came for a visit later this morning.)

Strange food for the birds!

Another clue!

Looking for a “bright door where a treat from a guide would be found”.

Girl Guide cookies for Daddy!

These cookies were for Daddy because he was disappointed no Girl Guide came to our house selling cookies this year.

Special Delivery

A ‘delivery’ was left in a ‘normal’ sort of place but alas, it was another gift for daddy. Then off to the ‘ride that Sadie loves best’ (her slide) to find a spring gift to get Mommy’s Garden started.

Spring gift for mom.

The  next clue set us farther from the house to Daddy’s workshop in the barn.

You look that way...

The search at the barn took a little more effort but Daddy finally found our “Hot off the press” collection.

Books for our bookworms!

Then around to the back to find the ‘animal that likes our grass long’ to look for a gift to help the summer along.

Around to the back!

After finding three new ball gloves (that I don’t have pics of) sitting on our John Deere lawn mower, we were set back to the house to look for an envelope in a window.

Found it!

With a little help from Daddy, Sadie found this gift. It was a gift card for dinner at one of our favourite places to eat.

Next we were set into the house to were the ‘whales like to stay’ (bath toy drawer) to find a surprise that we could use on Monday.

Matinee Tickets to see "Rio".

Tickets to go see a movie!

Then back on the hunt we were sent to the basement to look for some more family entertainment. They found a bag full of stuff to make tie dye shirts. One for Daddy, one for Mommy and Peanut, Ladybug and Bear! (again no pic)

Our final clue took us back upstairs to the place where we found our first note from EB and there where our empty baskets had been sitting were three pails o’dirt with one easter treat! (My peanut tells me that the Easter Bunny’s magic allows such tricks.)

Pail O'Dirt

Thank you to the Easter Bunny for all his hard work. We had a morning full of fun & excitement and our afternoon was saved with no sugar caused tantrums. Both Mommy & Daddy are grateful for it all!

Happy Easter Everyone.

An explaination with an introduction…

I’ve been asked a couple times, why “a bear, a ladybug & a peanut…?!?!” ?

Well, let me explain with an introduction…

 

 

A bear

 

A ladybug….

and a peanut…

 

 

…add in farmer Wayne and my hairy beast of a dog, Shakespeare, and our family is complete.

My world. My life.