Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can you help me?

First- a bit of an introduction in case you don't know me......My name is Tracy McCain, and I have a 3 year old daughter with Down Syndrome, Karis. My husband is a full time minister, and we live in a very rural area of Arizona, a small town called Morenci.  Now you know me!

Most of you that would read this are my friends and family, and know that Karis has, and continues to go without many services and therapies that she is eligible for, and would benefit from, because there are no providers in our area.  Our only option would be to take weekly or monthly trips to Tucson which is 3 hours away, or Phoenix which is 4.5 hours away for services/therapy, and we just cannot afford to make these trips. Karis just turned 3 in April and has aged out of all her current services, and school is out for the summer.  Therefore, Karis is now entering a 3-4 month span with no services or therapy at all.  This scares me.  I can and will do all that I can to help Karis, and I have recently learned about a device that is helping special needs children around the world grow and learn in ways they never have before!  It is the #1 assistive educational technology in the world right now for the nonverbal, cognitively delayed, etc.  You've heard of it, it's the iPad!!  The iPad is revolutionizing the special needs world with hundreds of apps that help with speech, fine motor skills, basic concepts, life skills, the list goes on and on.  And, even though they are expensive, the iPad costs a fraction of what the outdated technology costs that people struggled for years to provide for their children.   The problem is, they are expensive, and I can't afford one.  I know there are many organizations out there that could help me, and I have contacted many of them.  Most of them are telling me that, due to the overwhelming demand, they are not giving out iPads anymore because they have to save money for other projects.  Others have told me that they would help anyone that completed the proper paperwork, but the line is very long.  I also know I could ask local charities for help.  The problem with all of these things is that they take time, lots of time, and Karis doesn't have time to waste.  The gap between her and her typical peers gets wider every day, and again, she has nothing to help her this summer.  
I know that God has a plan for her, and that placing us in a remote area with few resources was not an over site on God's part.  I also cannot just pick and move. This is where God wants our family, and we are very blessed here.  This device could make such a difference in her development.  And, as she grows, all I have to do to continue to challenge her is buy new apps!

I am humbly requesting that you, my friends, my family, and fellow advocates for children with special needs, help us buy an iPad2 for our daughter.  I need about $700 for the device, a kid friendly case, tax, and shipping.  Our family's contribution is that we will buy the apps ourselves.  Below is a place where you can "chip in."  It's a safe and secure device that will drop money into our paypal account.  

Do I have 70 friends who would give $10 dollars, or 35 friends who could give $20, so we can give her the help she needs quickly?  Just a small contribution can help make this bright little girl shine even brighter.  
Thanks everyone, I love you all!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Karis' 3rd Birthday and 1st day of Preschool!

Hi all!  I know many of you have been praying for Karis as she started preschool and are waiting to hear how the day went.  Well, here's the scoop.  We layed Karis down for an early nap because preschool goes on right across her normal nap time.  That didn't go too well.  She fought it for so long that she only got about 30 minutes of sleep before we had to wake her up to get ready to go.  She didn't want to get up, of course.

We went got to speech therapy at 1:00, and I stay with her for that.  She did very well there, but didn't want to get off of my lap. She learned some new sounds, and really responded well to what the therapist wanted her to do.  Karis was going to have to be a part of group therapy, which I really didn't think would benefit her at all.  But, I didn't say anything, I know there are many students, and one therapist.  Plus, every preschooler who needs speech therapy would like to have that spot right before class starts, and that's when a small group of them were meeting.  But....Great News!!!!......The speech therapist rearranged the schedule so that the 1:00-1:30 time slot is for Karis only, 1 on 1 therapy!!!  YAY!   She said nonverbal children get the priority (which Karis isn't nonverbal, but whatever, I get the point, she has the greatest need).  We ended speech therapy a few minutes early so we could go to preschool before everyone else and get situated.  The preschool classroom, is just the next room over.

So, we went into the preschool class, and Karis wanted the first seat she saw to be her seat. It was Keaton's seat when he was in that class (Does she remember that? Hmmmm...)  It was a little bit of a fight getting her to sit in her assigned seat.  They seated her right next to Malaya which made me very happy.  Malaya is my best friend Misti's daughter, that I babysit 5 days a month, so Karis knows her well, and loves her.  We got her little butterfly with her name on it, and took it over to the attendance chart to put it in the "Karis" spot.  When we sat back down at the table she said "bible"  (haha! preacher's kid!!).  So I took her over to the books, and she picked one out, and took it to her seat.  She "read" it out loud for a minute then wanted to put it back, so we did so, and got some table toys.  By this time Malaya was there, but Karis barely noticed.  One of the teachers sat down to show her how to use the toy she had selected, and I slowly faded out the door, in tears of course.

I might not have cried, but Ms Kathy asked me if I was going to be ok, and that was it!  Haha!  I'm such a crybaby.  It was embarrassing because people expect crying mothers on the first day of school, in August.  When you cry in April, you attract a lot of attention.  You can tell by the look on their faces, that they don't understand why in the world you are starting your child in preschool on April 18th.  I'm too emotional to explain the whole Down Syndrome-aged out of early intervention-therapies transferred to the public school thing.

Anyway, nearly two hours pass........I'm not there........Hmmm, what's going on......It must be ok!  Then at 3:20, 10 minutes before I would have picked her up anyway, they were calling us to come get her.  She did well the first hour, and then it started to go south.  She liked centers, painting, and seat work etc.  But, she was totally uninterested in snack, and when they went out to play, she just wanted them to hold her.  By 3:20 it was total melt down.  She was so tired, not enough nap.  So, she goes again today, and we are just going to do speech, then the first hour of preschool.  We'll let her warm up a bit, and maybe increase her time.  This is all a good trial run for next year.

After all that, it was time for another short nap, and then, PARTY TIME!  Don't forget, this was Karis' third birthday after all.  We had a great time with great friends at the park.  It was sooo windy, but we had fun anyway!  We played on the playground, ate dinner, had cake and presents, and plenty of laughs,  I appreciate or church friends so much for coming out, and bringing their kids on a Monday night to celebrate our little peach's special day.    You know she had fun, because she was a grubby mess!  Happy Birthday Karis!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Because Words Hurt.....

Let's face it, my blog doesn't have a big audience.  My most read post ever was about Halloween, and I figure that's because a pastor's wife's view point on Halloween could be controversial.  Most of the people who read my blog are my friends, family, and church members, and that's ok with me!  If you are reading this, chances are you know me, and care about me, and my family.  I know that my blog will not have a world wide influence, but I hope that I can, through my writing, effect the hearts and lives of those I know and love.

Today what I am writing about is an issue very near and dear to my heart.  Ending the r-word (retard, or retarded). If you've known me long, you've heard me talk about this before.  But sometimes we need a reminder, because I still hear those I love say it.

Here's the deal.  I personally, have no problem with medical use, or governmental use of the word retardation or mentally retarded.  They use it in a clinical sense, and it means delayed or slowed.  I don't care about all that.  What I cannot stand is when people use the word retard as slang, or as an insult.  "I had a retard moment."  "Dude, you're a retard."  "That's so retarded."  Those words are like nails on a chalkboard.  You see, when you say these things, you are essentially saying.  "I had a Karis moment."  Dude, you're acting like Karis."  "That's so Karis."  I know, you would never say anything like that, but when you use the r-word, that is what a person with an intellectual disablity, or someone who loves them, hears.  You are taking what makes my daughter all that she is, which is wonderful, and using it to call someone or something stupid, bad, less than perfect, dumb, horrible, not worthy.  And, she is certainly not any of those things.  

Many people disagree with me about this and say that parents of people with Down Syndrome, are being over sensitive.  But if you say, "that's so retarded," I can guarantee that you are not saying, "that's as wonderful as ice cream!"  No, what you are saying is, "that's as bad as a person with Down Syndrome" (or any intellectual disability).  It's a derogatory word that's origin is an unflattering comparison to someone with a disability.  The argument that the use of the r-word is NOT offensive, intentionally or not, to people with disabilities, is like saying that you could call someone with an impolite mother an S-O-B, and expect that person not to be offended by the term.  The r-word is offensive.

I know none of you, being my friends and family would ever call Karis a *r-word*.  So please, would you try to remove that word from your language all together?  I'll love you for it!  And, if you feel so inclined, join me in the crusade to end the word.  Let people know, when they use the word, that that's not very nice, pick a different word.  I'd love you for that too!  

If you go to  you can make the pledge!  Or, if you would like, leave me a comment here with your pledge!  I usually get about 40-50 reads per blog post.  Can I get 50 people to say "I promise!"?  Holla back now!   

Created by God to be exactly what she is, perfect....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reflections on a busy week . . .

Hi all!  Busy, busy busy, that's what we've been around here.  Mostly I've been busy making cakes, and doing stuff with and for the kids, dentists, doctors, school projects.  I haven't had a lot to do that I really hate to do.  I mean, no one likes dishes and laundry, but they are a daily part of life.  This week was super busy, but I really enjoyed it!  A thought occurred to me this week, I was happy being busy!  Normally I hate being super busy, it  makes me huffy, and short tempered.  I really like being home with my family.  But I realized that this week was just the right amount of busy, and full of things that I enjoy doing.
I've been thinking about busyness.  There are times when I have way to much to do, that I get irritable and grouchy.  Then there are weeks that I have nothing to do, and after a few days I feel depression start to set in.  I am starting to wonder if boredom and depression are look alike cousins.
I started to think about God's plan for busyness vs. rest.  God has layed out a perfect plan for us.  He worked for 6 days, and rested for one, and he loved what he was doing.  God didn't sit around and watch TV, and play on Facebook for four days, then finally get around to creating something, and then go back to the couch.  God worked, and he rested.  He had just the right amount of busy.
I've been thinking about this ratio of rest vs busyness.  We need to find the right ratio.  I really think that we need to busy enough that really look forward to, and enjoy our rest.  When I think about it, I can name a dozen or more stay at home moms I know that are struggling with depression.  I'm a stay at home mom, so don't think I am against being home, I'm not.  But I think there are many of us who have the ratio wrong.  We have too much rest, and that leads to depression, or maybe just boredom, his look alike cousin.  Facebook, TV, dishes and laundry aren't enough to keep our minds and bodies active.  It's too much rest.  We need to do more.  We need interaction with others.  We need to do something we enjoy.  Maybe what we need is to be busier. 
I'm not saying that all of us Stay at Home Moms need to go out and get a job.  No, we have chosen to stay home for a reason.  But maybe what we do need is to get out into the community, volunteer, do something for others.  I can guarantee you that if you are looking for something to fill a little of your time and keep you active, nothing will fulfill you more, than doing something to benefit someone else.  Maybe you need a hobby, something that you can't wait to get the housework done so that you can get to it.   Most of the happiest Stay at Home Moms I know keep busy making something with their hands, or volunteering in the community.
You know yourself best.  Are you busy enough?  Or do you have the rest vs busyness ratio off.  If you are pretty busy, is it with way too much that you don't enjoy?  Do you need to dedicate more time to doing things that fulfill you?

Just something that's been rolling around in my head?  Any thoughts?  Do share!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just bragging on my girl...

Hi all!
I thought I would drop you all a quick update on how Karis' development is coming along!  First of all, she has been going pee pee in the potty for 6 days now!  We are just putting her in a t-shirt and pull up during the day, and she still pees in her pull-up a little bit.  However, she is going in the potty 5-6 times a day.  Yay!  
Speech-  As many of you know we stopped teaching Karis anymore sign language, so she is holding steady at about 45 signs.  It was keeping her from trying to speak, and I think the strategy worked.  I keep a running list of her words, and I don't remember when I last updated it, but whenever that was, her vocabulary has more than doubled since then.  Here's the current list
all done
bye bye
Chili- our dog
bubba-what we call Keaton
love you
----that's the old list, here are the additions
all gone
Booboo-Memaw or Momo, her grandmas
moo- like a cow
bzzzz-like a bee
baaa-like a sheep
ya-as in yes
Beautiful- buebue
elbow- Behbow

That's 32 things!!!  I'm so proud of her.  She hasn't had speech therapy since May, and she is still doing well. Smarty pants!
I'll add update this list if she says anything in the next few days that I forgot to add.

That's all for now! Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Funnies . . .

know I've slacking with the blogging lately. I haven't been in the mood! Haha! I did want to say hi to you all though and give you a good laugh today. A good buddy reminded me today how much I love Brian Regan, so I thought I would post another great clip of his comedy. Come on, you owe yourself a 5 minute laugh!

Here's another laugh.  I just posted this to my husband's blog by mistake!  He was logged in, and I didn't bother to look at whose account I was on!  Oh well, I deleted it. Haha, just the kind of thing I would do, right?!
Have a great weekend everyone!
love to you all


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Struggle . . . . . .

I was thinking today about a couple that I knew from college, the Pittmans. I didn't know them well, but I know who they are. The wife, Jessica is undergoing major brain surgery today. Click here if you want to know more about that. I have been checking the updates and tearfully praying for them. I can't imagine what they are going through, the fear, pain, and uncertainty.

Whenever I hear of someone I know having a major struggle like this, my first emotion is shock, and then certain thoughts always fill my mind. How can this be happening? How are they dealing with this? Why did this happen to them? How can someone get through something like this? What an incredibly difficult, and scary situation. And I pray.

The older I get, the more I see my friends, family, acquaintances, and friends of friends dealing with the hardest parts of life, and it seems like I hear a new tragic story everyday. It made me realize one thing. Everyone has "a thing." I don't really know what to call it, a struggle maybe. It's that thing that changes your life forever and really, shapes who you are from then on.
My college roommate lost her brother to cancer before she was 30.
My best friend from college now has Lupus.
Another acquaintance from college lost her husband in a car accident about a year after graduation.
A high school friend of mine recently lost his newborn daughter.
A couple I know is dealing with devastating marital issues.

A divorce, an illness, a child born disabled, a rebellious child, families that don't get along, the devastating loss of a loved one. All of these things make us secretly think to ourselves, "I'm so glad it's not me." But most of us have our own struggle even if it's one that no one sees like addiction or chronic depression, and we deal with it in our own way, with God's help.  Everyone has a struggle.  Well, I suppose there are a few that sail through life unscathed, but not many.  As difficult and devastating as these things are, the sun will still rise tomorrow, and God leads us through.  God is faithful.  Unfortunately, having one such struggle doesn't exempt us of another one. It reminds me of the song "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen."  Remember this song?  Although I don't agree with all of the "wisdom" here, there is one part that always comes to my mind when struggle has found someone I know.

Don't worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Many of you know how true that statement is. Painfully true. There is no point in worrying.  The Bible makes that same point time and time again.  

I guess I don't have much of a point today.  I just had Jessica Pittman on my mind and it turned into a blog.  Please pray for her.  What ever struggle you have been handed in life, trust the Lord.

Matthew Chapter 625 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life...........27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?.............30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 "So don't worry about these things,....................32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.