Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

Card making for others : Downstown

Posted on: by Kate
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Our friends invited us to a really fun party this past holiday break!  We got together and made cards for the folks at Downstown and also an assisted living facility for the elderly in our area.

Our kids were especially excited to make cards and treats for the folks at Downstown.  Downstown is a small non profit in San Diego County that provides homes and resources to adults with Downs Syndrome and other mental challenges.  We have several friends with children that have Downs Syndrome, and our kids love them!  One of our favorite families in the world we met while in the NICU with Little Miss C were there adopting their son who has Downs.  Our little one had tested negative for Down Syndrome while in birth mama’s belly, and honestly, it was not something we thought we were open to before she was born.  A doctor on our team looked at her almond shaped eyes, her heart condition, and took into consideration that birth mama was in an age bracket that made her carry a little more likelihood of Downs Syndrome and they told us they were testing her again, and that we needed to be open to a different diagnosis than before if we were planning on going forward with our adoption.

Honestly, that moment was a blessing.  We were open to so many special needs, but there were a few we just didn’t think we were capable of, Downs Syndrome being one of them.  There wasn’t a moment of hesitation when the doctor told us that she believed that first diagnosis might be wrong.  That little bitty baby was ours, no matter the challenges, we loved her, and God would give us what we needed to rise above our fears of not being enough for her.  Well, two days later, along with several other negative tests, our doctor confirmed the first test was correct.  Such a blessing to have our hearts opened up a wee bit wider in that moment.  C won’t have those challenges, but it gave us the opportunity to know how we really feel, and who knows who may join our family in the future!

In the meantime, it was fun to do something to brighten someone else’s day during the middle of our Christmas Holiday.  All the friends brought a special homemade dessert (I made my famous and easy peasy chocolate & peanut butter fudge – recipe coming!), and all the kids made two Happy New Year cards each to distribute to our new friends.  So easy, and so fun!

Later a couple of us went to Downstown to deliver the cards.  J also has been really enjoying her off brand loom bracelet making kit and decided to bring a bracelet for every resident at Downstown, including the caretaker.  My little boy got VERY quiet on the ride over.  “Mommy, I don’t know any grown ups with Downs Syndrome, only babies.  I don’t know what to say to them but I will be too shy maybe…”  “It’s OK buddy, just be nice, you are good at that, I bet they are nice too.”

They had all kinds of questions, it was a really nice conversation on the way over.  I didn’t take any pictures while we were there, we are brand new friends so hopefully next time we can take a picture or two.  I will tell you this, our new friends at Downstown were tickled with their cards and gifts.

A couple fun moments…

  • My son was wearing a LEGOLAND shirt (it’s kinda his favorite), and our new friend Ginny got super excited!  “I went to LEGOLAND with my sister and my nephew!  It is so fun there! Have you been there? I ate a hot dog but their food is so expensive!”  Well that broke the ice for my son!  LEGOLAND and food?  Those are his two favorite things to talk about!  So S is already asking when he gets to visit Ginny again!
  • My daughter distributed a loom bracelet to all the residents.  Everyone oohed & awwed and said “thank you” and she felt all happy inside.  It got really heartwarming when Ms. Natty who LOVES bracelets (she was wearing several even before we showed up) and is also deaf came over and was signing her “Thanks” and hugging.  She signed to us and kept pointing at all her pretty bracelets and J said to me “I have two extras, can I give them to her?” “Of course kiddo.” I said.  She pulled her two extra bracelets out of her Hello Kitty purse and held them out with the biggest smile.  Natty pulled her hands to her chest and jumped up and down, then signed “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”.  She squeezed J tight, put her new pretty bracelets on and admired them.  She looked at J again.  I said “Sign ‘you are welcome’ babe.”, she did and that made Natty even more excited!  I don’t think I have ever seen J so proud.  She makes her family and her teachers happy all the time, but I think she kinda ‘got’ charity that day.  She made someone she didn’t even know very happy by sharing something simple.  It was a really nice memory for all of us!

If you are looking for something to help others in your community, see if there is a Downstown Inc in your city (or something like it)!  They often love to have volunteers come to bring a meal, play a game, donate something on their wish list, or just hang out for a bit!  It is a great family activity! We plan on volunteering more in our community this year – what are some of your favorite volunteer activities?

*names were changed just for kicks*

Until Next Time ~ Kate
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