Buddy Walk 2009

Sunday was a day of celebration. Our family along with over 1000 others celebrated with friends and family members who have been touched by an angel with Down Syndrome. During the month of October National Down Syndrome Awareness Month PADS {Parent Advocates for Down Syndrome} host the annual Buddy Walk. During this event we all join together, raise money and walk in honor of a child and/or adult with DS. Thus far the PADS members have raised over $85,000. Their goal is to raise $100,000 by October 31st. So if you have some lunch money to spare next week please visit www.parentadvocatesdownsyndrome.com and help this organization to reach their goal. Money raised this year will benefit the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB Hospital.

We too are a part of this group. Scott has served as VP of PADS this year and did a great job in coordinating a very successfull 2009 Buddy Walk. This year was actually the highest attendance ever! Congratulations Dada! We are so proud of you for putting your heart and soul into making this year a success!

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The Great Pumpkin Patch

We braved the cold today and headed out the the Pumpkin Patch in Clanton, AL. We played on the pumpkins, in the sunflower field and took a hay ride to the pumpkin patch. We scoured the patch until we found the "perfect" pumpkin. I actually bought Edie and I pumpkin hats from etsy just for this occasion. {i'm a goob i know} Of course Edie was not into wearing her hat even though she looked so cute in it. I think it was because she was tired and VERY cold. We have realized after today that Edie is not a fan of cold weather especially when there is wind involved. She is more of a suggeler which is also fine with us. Just not when we are trying for a photo shoot!

This cold snap did prompt us to go on a shopping spree too! We had not really realized until this morning that Edie does not have a warm coat. She has many jackets, sweaters and blankets - but no coat. So this evening she and I went to town and purchased her a precious green wool coat, a fleece bubble sleeveless jacket and a pair of pants lined with fleece. She is sure to be warm next time!!

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Friends Big and Small

Last weekend we had over some of our good friends to watch the game. Well - the dads watched and the moms and babies played. We had a good time. Edie loved playing with Audrey, Maxwell, Andrew, Carter and Rossy. It was chaotic with all of the kiddos but for me it was great! It makes me want to add two or three more to the Shunnarah household. Chaotic yes - but so rewarding! I love the cahos!! And I love all of our friends and their babies.

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aha Moment

A friend posted a comment to Edie's blog that I wanted to share. Take a moment to look at this site and vote for this aha moment. As Jack mentioned the top vote will be an aha moment TV commercial next year. The more awareness of Down Syndrome the more understanding the world will become.
Jack said...
Thanks for sharing Edie's story. You seem to have a wonderful family.As this is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, thought I’d pass along an easy way to help raise awareness: check out this short video --
http://www.ahamoment.com/vote/barry -- about the aha moment of father of a child with Down Syndrome who learned what you can do with challenges. If you like his story, click to vote for him, as the top vote getter's in the contest will be aha moment TV commercials next year. More media exposure around Down Syndrome awareness would be a very good thing, so spread the word if you can. First round ends Oct 15, so get your vote in soon!Thanks,jack@ahamoment.com
October 14, 2009 6:42 PM


Do You Have 9 Minutes to Spare?

If so see this {i copied from a friends blog - hope you don't mind sandy}. This is a very informative video teaching us all how those with Down Syndrome are more alike, than different. If you are like me you may sometimes find yourself thinking that most teenagers and adults with Down Syndrome may never drive a car, go to college, get a job, live unassisted, etc., etc. After all, it is what society has taught us. I even sometimes catch myself thinking "What if Edie never {blank}" then I quickly remember "look what she has already accomplished at just 21 months!" and so what if she doesn't drive a car one day. I will drive her! She is truly amazing just as all those with Down Syndrome are Amazing. See so for yourself.

In Honor of National Down Syndrome Awarness Month and Edie Shunnarah

What a more perfect time to kick off our fundraising for the "2nd Annual Ladybug Fundraiser" honoring Edie and Benefiting The Bell Center for Early Intervention than October. This month is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we want to make you AWARE that Down Syndrome is a blessing! Our lives have truly been blessed by Edie. She has given us so much more than we could ever give to her. Our lives are so much fuller, richer and meaningful because of Edie. She has shown us how to embrace and love life and appreciate all that we have.
Because of Edie we have also been introduced to some wonderful families and individuals. Some of these individuals you will find at The Bell Center for Early Intervention in Homewood, AL. These ladies have cared for our family as if we were a part of their own. They have actually become a part of our family and we feel honored to know them. Last year, due to much love from family and friends our "2009 Team Ladybug"raised over $10,000 for TBC during the Mercedes Marathon event. This year we are raising the challenge to $18,000! Please take some time to read "Our Story" and what TBC means to us. Please also consider making a charitable contribution to our wonderful cause and take part in supporting these beautiful children. Also pass along this blog or the http://www.edieshunnarah.firstgiving.com/edieshunnarah to anyone you know who would like to give a gift as well. We love and appreciate you so much!!

"Our Story"

The baby room was complete. All of her tiny little clothes were laundered and our bags were packed, with her coming home dress folded next to mine. The car seat was secure, our camera batteries were charged. We were prepared. We were ready and on January 14th, 2008 God blessed our family with Edith Gabrielle Shunnarah.

She was beautiful. She had all ten fingers, all ten toes and a little something extra. “Edie” was born carrying an extra chromosome. In clinical terms she was born with Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome. Scott and I thought we were so prepared, so ready, but we never expected this. We were not ready to care for a baby with Special Needs. We knew nothing about Down Syndrome, how to care for a child with this diagnoses, what the future would hold for us, for our {brand new} baby girl. All I could ask was – “God why us? Why me? Why our little girl? – She does not deserve this life you have chosen for her"

We were introduced to The Bell Center by every random nurse and doctor who entered our room. With so many recommendations we knew this was our next step. We made the call and met with Ms. Betty Bell five days after Edie was born. It was tough entering the facility for the first time. We were a bit uncomfortable as we sat in the car trying to catch our breath and dry our tears. Neither Scott nor I had ever been exposed to this world and yet we were now a part of it. We were not ready and we had no idea what to expect. We were immediately put to ease once we spoke with Ms. Betty. She knew so much more about us than we did ourselves. She knew our thoughts, concerns, feelings, and she knew our daughter was worth every ounce of love the would had to give. She advised us to go home and enjoy our baby, love our baby and five weeks later Edie attended her first class.

Since this first class Edie has gone from learning to hold tiny rattles to walking while being assisted and everything in between. Scott and I have gone from “clueless” to very well informed and very well supported. We have so much love and respect for Ms. Betty, the therapist and volunteers who serve at The Bell Center. And to show our gratitude we started “The Ladybug Fundraiser in honor of Edie Shunnarah” in 2008 raising over ten thousand dollars for The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs.

We can easily say our life was turned upside down on January 14th, 2008 and it was turned upside down for all of the right reasons. We could not have asked for a more wonderfully special child than our Edie. She has taught us more about life and what truly matters than you would ever know. We were not prepared nor were we ready but God was. He was ready to bless us with one of his greatest gifts of all. And we are so glad that he chose this life for us.


Teething and Tantrums

Poor Edie..........Last week Edie developed a stomach bug which gave her many dirty diapers, a lack of appetite and I am sure stomach pains. On top of this we are pretty sure she is teething. She is visibly getting her right incisor tooth but we think she may also be getting in some larger teeth in the back. She is constantly sticking her thumb towards the back of her mouth and chewing on it. I have tried teething toys, teething biscuits as well as frozen washcloths. She does not seem to like anything as well as she likes her thumb. However what she does LOVE are the teething tablets. Are they really just sugar pills, placebos as some say? Or do they really do something? Whatever it is Edie loves it! I have been giving her 3 before bed and the other night she signed "more". She has only wanted crackers for the past 4 days but she wanted "more" teething tablets!

We think at this point Edie is over her bug - but the crying seems to persist. Almost everything over the weekend upset her. We have never seen her cry so much. In fact, because she hardly ever cries, when she does it sends Scott and I into panic/stress mode. We just do not know how to handle it. We hate not being able to soothe and seeing her so upset. I am sure some has to do with still feeling a little puny but we are beginning to wonder if she is pulling one over on us.

She got a little too accustomed to eating just Gold Fish and Ritz crackers during her stomach bug. We made her pancakes, waffles, oatmeal (twice), toast, pb&j, fish sticks, chopped meat, veggies, chicken noodle soup,muffin tops - all of her favorites and she still wanted nothing but crackers! So what did we do? We gave our baby crackers and still this morning all she wanted was crackers. Luckily Gigi was able to get her to eat creamed potatoes and meatballs today so maybe things will begin to get back to normal. We hope so anyway. I miss her little potbelly!!