My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's becoming Party Central

We're getting ready for a party!!!

But it's not for New Year's eve.

Here's a hint...we have scarlet and gray M & M's. Can you guess what it's for?

We have a football helmet cookie cutter with scarlet and gray jimmies.

Maybe this will help:) Gotta go now. I'm needed in the kitchen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

It was a Very Good Day...

Do you see what is in my hand?

Hurray for Christmas! More soon...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Wishes

...from our family to yours...

photo by our favorite Naples, Florida photographer Peggy Farren. Please do not copy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

D & D to the Rescue

This is not good. I'm on my little brother's laptop because... Dad is on mine.

"OMG!! What's a girl gonna do without her laptap??!!?

Not to worry, I have Dad and Dell working on the problem.

" I didn't do anything....really...I didn't. I was just trying to track the location of Santa."

Phew, I see the Dell logo. That means there is hope. Good thing Dell is open on Christmas Eve. I wonder if Santa ever has technical difficulties?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Miles than Santa's Sleigh

While we are driving down the road my mom starts taking pictures of the dash board in the car. When I asked her what she was doing she said, "Sarah, my car is about to have more miles than Santa's sleigh." I thought that was funny. But not as funny as the noise in this video, no not the music...

...Can you guess what it is? haaaaa that is me with the hiccups...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Honesty...a Birthday Message

No legacy is so rich as honesty
- William Shakespeare

This picture was taken this summer when we were in Florida. There is something beautiful about being at the ocean and watching the sunset. It is so peaceful. Tonight at dinner we were all talking about peace, honesty and wisdom.

Today is my Dad's birthday. He is 49. He said he is hopefully getting wiser as he is getting older and something he wants us to know is it is never a good idea to lie. There is an old Yiddish proverb that says, A half truth is a whole lie. Sometimes it might seem like a lie is helping, but in the end it will catch up to you.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
- Thomas Jefferson

That was a good message. Happy Birthday Dad.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Cheer from an Unlikely Source

Check this out. It was garbage day. I once reported that I like to bring in the empty cans.

Now what is that hanging from my garbage can? I look down the street and every house has the same thing hanging from their cans.

Upon closer inspection, it is an envelope hanging from a piece of white yarn that has been carefully placed around the wheel. Inside is a Christmas card.

It is from our trashman, Allen. Think about that. The man who picks up our garbage...our stinky, junky garbage...has taken the time to write Happy Holidays! That is so nice. He could be like Mr. Scrooge but instead he is wishing us Merry Christmas. I think I want to meet Allen. I want to wish him Happy New Year. That means I am going to have to get up really early though, because he comes around 7:15 AM.
Since we are on the subject of garbage, you have to go over to my bloggy friend Hannah's site. She has a cute story today too. We have a lot in common, like our big brothers are both home from college right now:)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Did someone say PARTY?!!?!

I have been sick now for three days and I had a really rough night. Then around noon today, my mom reminded me that my very good friend Lisa was having a PARTY. Now how could I miss that. So I got up and picked an outfit just for Christmas and I got dressed. Lisa was so surprised to see me because she saw my picture on this blog yesterday so she knew I was sick with an asthma episode. But my mom said, "Have bucket and breathing machine, will travel."

I was really happy to be with Lisa at her apartment.

See took me downstairs to introduce me to her friends from work. You might remember that Lisa is a medical social worker at Akron Children's Hospital. While I was down there I got a yummy Brownie.

When I came back upstairs, I ran into Kim. She is Lisa's mom. Then I sat down to eat my brownie and had one big ole asthma attack. My mom hopped into gear, but then she realized that we were amongst alot of medical professionals. Lisa told her not to worry that downstairs there was a surgeon, an EMT, a Resident doc, and a nurse. Cool.

But guess who came to my aide and sat right next to me to help? My best friend Stacy. I did not even know she was home from college yet. Did I ever tell you that Lisa and Stacy are sisters? I am so lucky they were my neighbors. Thanks Mrs. B. for having such great daughters.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here we Go Again

The temperature dropped into the 20's on Tuesday and by Wednesday I was spiraling into an asthma episode. Same old December story.

I spent three days in bed with a fever. Then last night I could not catch my breath until I started coughing. That's a good thing. It helps break up that asthma mucus.

At 1:30 this morning I called for my mom to bring the camera. I wanted proof that my coughing was being productive. No need for a trip to the hospital just yet:)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sarah's First Quilt

A message from Joyce: This world of blogging just continues to amaze me. On Tuesday, I wrote about a letter I had written to Santa to win a stack of fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop. My original thought process in telling you about it was for others who quilt to go write a letter too because this is a good contest to enter.

Then yesterday evening as I read a comment from Christy, one of Sarah's nurses at the Cleveland Clinic, I was over come with emotion. I had no idea she was following our blog. She wrote about remembering the quilt and clothes I had made for Sarah, and I was touched. Then she asked about the quilt. Did I still have the little quilt?

Truthfully, I have not seen it for quite some time. I checked in the linen closet. Then Sarah's closet, then her one drawer that we have kept some memento type of things. No quilt. Then I remembered where I have the dress stored that she wore in the photo we had taken the night before surgery. No quilt.

A few hours later it hit me. I ran down to my sewing room, moved a few boxes and dug to the back of the cupboard. There was the plastic bag from the hospital. And inside was the tiny little heart quilt... I pulled it out of the bag a pool of tears came out of nowhere. The memories of walking in and seeing her tiny body on that huge bed in the cardiothoracic ICU, connected by so many tubes and wires to so many machines, came flooding back like it was yesterday.

I remember the night the doctors told us that Sarah's complications were going to require her to be in the intensive care unit much longer than they originally thought. I also remember thinking that she can't be laying there in a diaper for Valentine's Day. My precious baby girl needed a special outfit for her first Valentine's Day, yet there was no possible way we would ever be able to get a dress on her. And that is when I got the idea of the quilt.

Stored in the bag with the quilt was the baby doll I had made to look like Sarah. Sarah's big brother TJ, he had just turned two when this all took place. When it became apparent her medical complications were going to require her stay to be a lengthy one, I knew we had to take him to see her. So I bought him a doctors kit and brought home some extra supplies to make one of Sarah's dolls look just like her as a way of preparing him for what to expect.

Today, almost twenty years later as I placed that little quilt on the baby doll, I am reminded of the medical miracles that permit our children to live. Just as this little quilt was lovingly stitched by my hands, there was a surgeon and a well trained team of professionals who lovingly worked to save our baby girl's life. I feel more grateful for that today, than I did in 1990. What a tremendous holiday gift that is. And to think it took a Santa contest, for fabric no less, to remind me of the true miracles of the season.
And speaking of miracles, all afternoon I have been following Elijah's blog. So far the reports are good. He made it out of his open heart surgery today. Please join me in saying a little prayer for his continued recovery.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do You Fat Quarter?

A message from Joyce: If you do, you know what I'm talking about. If not, that sorta sounds insulting doesn't it? Well I have gotten back to quilting with a vengeance. I even have Sarah involved now. I just love, love, love the honey buns, jelly rolls, layer cakes and turnovers from Moda. Sarah and I definitely have some favorite designers. Don't worry, we will be showing off our work soon.

Back to the fat quarter. I have found an awesome website to order high quality quilting fabric and it is indeed called the Fat Quarter Shop. I recently wrote about it on my other blog.

But here is why I am telling you about them today. They have an awesome contest going on their blog. You can pick anything from their website and write a letter to Santa telling him about it and you might win the item you wish for. If you click HERE you can read my letter to Santa.

P.S. A fat quarter is simply a way of cutting fabric. Instead of cutting a quarter yard 9 x45, it is cut 18 x 23 which gives a quilter a nicer chunk of fabric to work with:)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Baby Changes Everything

Today was the Christmas program at my Grandma & Grandpa's church in Canton. It was called A Baby Changes Everything. My Grandpa is still singing in the choir. It was very nice. They had a real baby Jesus. He was so cute. He yawned once then slept through most of it.

Afterwards we took our annual photo in the church lobby.

This year, Julie came with us. It's nice having another girl around.

Then we went to Applebee's. My brothers ordered wings. I do not like the hot sauce but I love the celery.

I decided to try something cheeseburgers. They were yummy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Behaviors of Manipulative People

A Note from Joyce: If you subscribe to Yahoo, this might of have jumped out at you today like it did me. I thought it was worth sharing.

Behaviors of Manipulative People

Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance, on Wed Dec 2, 2009 9:40am PST

Many of us like to think the best of people. We like to think that they shoot straight and are forthright in their intentions. We also like to believe that they will ask for what they want and not resort to crazy tactics to get it. Unfortunately, however, there are times when we come across those who will do whatever it takes to get what they want…including manipulation. Being manipulated never feels good, but the worst part of manipulation is that often, we don’t even realize that it is happening. Here are a few ways to know if someone is trying to manipulate you:
Buttering You Up: To get their way, manipulators will often make you feel good so that they can then ask you to do something that they want. The person may first compliment you or tell you what a wonderful job you did on something. Making you feel good will, in their mind, make it difficult for you to say no…after all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them or give them reason to think you didn’t deserve the compliment in the first place. What you can do: Return the compliments and the niceties before saying no.
Guilt: This doesn’t only pertain to Catholic and Jewish Mothers; guilt trips have been a successful manipulation tactic for centuries. The saddest part of this strategy is that the victims of this tactic succumb to the manipulators’ demands because they feel they HAVE to, not because they WANT to. In personal relationships, this sets up a co-dependency that is extremely unhealthy. What you can do: Ask the individual if they want you to do something because you have to or because you want to. If they say they want you to want to do it, tell them that you don’t and that they are trying to force you into something you don’t feel comfortable with.
Broken Record: Probably the most obvious of formats is the broken record tactic. If a person asks you enough or pushes their agenda enough…constantly repeating the question or request over and over again…in slightly different ways, the victim will inevitably give in and give them what they want. Oye! What you can do: Ask the individual what they don’t understand about the word “no.” Tell them that asking you over and over again isn’t going to change anything and that they are inappropriately over-stepping boundaries.
Selective Memory: This one gets me the most. You swear you have a conversation about a plan and everyone is on the same page, and then one day, the manipulator pretends to remember the conversation completely differently, if at all. What you can do: Record your conversations…seriously! Okay, maybe not. At least have a witness that you can count on to back you up if the person pulls this shenanigan. Call them out on the fact that they conveniently change the game to fit their needs.
Bullying: If a person doesn’t get their way, they make you out to look or feel like the bad guy…like you are the wrong one. What you can do: Be firm and tell them that their bullying tactics are inappropriate and unacceptable.

Keep your eyes open for these behaviors and continue to stand your ground to ensure that you aren’t a victim of manipulation. Have you seen any other types of manipulative behavior?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Miss Independent

A report from mom: Since the beginning of the school year, Sarah's bus has been picking her up at 11:10 to take her to the job training program she is in. This late time certainly allows for a leisurely morning, although it has meant that I have been missing all early morning meetings I should attend.

For many years, I have been on the Pupil Services Advisory Committee for our school district. Pupil Services oversees all activities related to students on IEP's. My attendance is reflected in the minutes reported to the School Board, therefore I do not like to miss.

So I decided to try something new. I left Sarah alone at home and at 10:00 I dismissed myself from the meeting and called her on her cell phone to get up. At the close of the meeting at 10:20 I called again to remind her to get dressed. I then rushed home to help with one of the few things she cannot do on her own, brushing her teeth.

When I rounded the corner to our stair case, I heard a familiar noise..

...the electric toothbrush!!! I grabbed the camera. When I walked into the bathroom there was Sarah fully dressed (including an added sweatshirt she picked on her own due to the frigid temperatures), brushing her teeth with her right hand and holding a wash cloth under her chin with her left hand just like I do.

I think I've been duped. When I said, "Girlfriend, look at you!!!" She just smiled with a big cheesy grin as if to say "gotcha." I'm on to her now. I think I'm going to have to find more reasons to be out of the house in the morning now. Next we will work on getting her out to the bus by herself. I think we are very close to being Miss Independent.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank You to the Volunteers

Tonight was the annual thank you banquet for all the volunteers who help at the horse barn with the therapeutic riding program at Camp Cheerful.

We have been working on thank you treats for them. I had to put them in a big box because we needed 125 bags. It was sorta heavy.

I hope they like them. The volunteers work very hard so I wanted to be sure to thank them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Free Tickets to the Browns vs. Steelers

I have been known to attend a Cleveland Browns game in December...

...but not when it is going to be 10 degrees outside. I'll end up in the hospital for sure. So...

If anyone wants four free tickets to the Browns vs Steelers tomorrow night in Cleveland just let me know. My mom will bring the tickets to you during the day. The seats are in the third row of section 508.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stranded in an Ice Storm

Last night I had music therapy with Bonnie. We have to drive for about forty five minutes to get there. It was raining when I went in. While we were singing in the basement of the church we meet in, it started to sleet. Everything was covered in ice when we came out.

Do you see the lights at the bottom of the hill? That is a firetruck blocking the hill we need to get up to get to the freeway to get home. My mom and I sat in a parking lot for about a half hour. The truck was still there. So my mom said she had an idea.

We were sitting in this parking lot. So she backed the car up and drove to the front door.

She said, "Sarah go in and ask the lady at the front desk if they have a room we can sleep in tonight." So I did. She said "Yes," so my mom parked the car.

Wow it is pretty nice in here. Look at this really big Christmas tree. Oh and there is a warm fire. After we went to our room to drop our coats off, we went into CK's Steak House for dinner.

I started with a fancy glass of milk.

My mom said she would like a glass of wine since she wouldn't be driving anymore tonight. It was purple and it matched her shirt. How do you like this picture? I took it.

While we were waiting for our dinner I was showing my mom how I set the table at the nursing home when I am working.

Oh how cute. Look at the little flower butters.

I asked my mom if we could play tic-tac-toe while we were waiting. I won both games. We were having so much fun. There was violin music coming from the speakers in the restaurant so I was pretending I was playing a violin. That's when we really got to laughing. Even the two waitresses came over and we were all having a good time together. We were the only customers in there.

After dinner we went for a walk. I found this tree...

...and this HUGE gingerbread house. It is bigger than me.

Inside are two cute little bears having a tea party. I decided it was time to go back to the room. I think they might have my favorite channel on the TV.

I have my own big comfy bed. And sure enough my favorite channel...

...DISNEY!!!! My mom even watched it with me.

This morning I woke up bright and early because I have to get home to catch the bus for work. Do you notice anything familiar in this picture? Haahaa, I am wearing the same shirt I had on yesterday because we didn't have any pajamas with us.

Look at this. Today the hill is all clear. It doesn't even look that steep. But last night there were two cars in the ditch and one stuck in the middle of the hill and one that rolled back and hit the car in front of us. That's when my mom pulled into that parking lot with the red car and turned around. I think that was a good idea plus we had so much fun!!!