Monday, February 14, 2022

20 Things About You at Age 20


  1. The continued pandemic restrictions have continued to mess with your plans of global travel.  But maybe more time to research where to go and refine your lists isn't such a bad thing.  
  2. One interesting development is that Uncle Jim figured out how to apply for Italian/EU dual citizenship via Great-Grandma Enea's naturalization papers.  It's a pretty involved process but it looks like it is going to work.  How cool would it be to be able to live and work in Europe someday?  I would love that to happen for you.
  3. You opted not to return to UB.  That frustrates Dad, which in turn frustrates you.  But I have every confidence that you will figure it all out and you will be fine.
  4. You are going out with friends again and doing more things out of the house.  Being vaccinated and boosted helped everyone feel better about doing things again while still being safe.
  5. Finally getting your license also helped!  You are a confident driver (but maybe a little heavy on the gas like your mom!) and you can back into the garage like a pro.
  6. You really want to take Paul out for a snack or ice cream now that you can drive.  You offer to go to the store or run errands.
  7. You are still a gamer.  Digital & Analog. Weekly D&D nights with your cousins are still happening & another night with friends.  You are often coding and making your own games.  You will meet a friend at Panera with your chess board or he will bring one of his games.  
  8. You have a part-time job with Lakeshore School Supplies, delivering and putting together furniture and other items for local schools.  You got promoted to supervisor!  It slows down in the winter so you are looking for other work at the moment to pick up the slack.  You did go and help Uncle Mike with his setup of the building that will eventually become his sandwich shop.  And you figured out what was wrong with his snowblower and fixed that for him.
  9. Speaking of summer jobs, you are thinking of applying for summer work in Hoonah.  They're going to have 90+ cruise ships stopping there this summer so the community is getting ramped up for action again after the pandemic downturn.  It would be neat for you to go back there to live again as an adult.  Our local friends would also appreciate your help.
  10. You do a lot around the house without being asked. During a recent snow day you took charge of keeping the driveway clear so Dad didn't have to and you also went and introduced yourself to the new neighbor and helped him clear his driveway.  We are grateful for your help!
  11. Like Dad you don't seem to feel the cold when outdoors but you love wearing the microwave heating pad around the house.  Dad gave us some more for Christmas so we don't have to share!
  12. We continue to love watching GBBO together!  I love how you give everyone a funny nickname until we've gotten far enough into the season to remember their names.  We always discuss if a bake is worth trying ourselves or not.  You are a willing taste tester!
  13. You are still an inventive cook and this year you have explored spices and flavor combinations. You made soup the other day that had us all starving after smelling it on the stove all day. Fake chicken nuggets are still your go-to snack, but French fries also get made a lot.  For dinners you love fajitas, red curry Thai chicken and yellow rice.. A turkey sub with every veggie on offer is also a popular choice.
  14. Your hair is quite long now, which straightens out your curls.  To me it looks like a gorgeous lion's mane!  
  15. You are often humming or singing when you think no one can see or hear.  (but Moms see & hear everything and we have the pictures and recordings to prove it!).  
  16. You like listening to ASMR videos while you work.
  17. You still love a hoodie and a leather jacket. 
  18. You still love art and anime and all kinds of creative endeavors.  You were super happy that the Ghibli Chalkfest came back to the North Park.  (There's a Ghibli theme park opening in Japan this year...)
  19. You pay attention and give really thoughtful gifts.
  20. You are always aware of what time it is on school days and are at the door to greet your brother as soon as he gets off the bus.  You always stop what you are doing and hang out on the couch with him for awhile.  Until he tells you to get lost LOL  You always know what he is trying to tell you.

  1. You love being back to in-person school with your friends.  Your teacher calls you "the Mayor of North" and reports that a walk through the hall is all fist bumps and high fives.  
  2. You also go to the Harkness Center for half the day.  You are finally settling in there and letting the teachers see your personality now.
  3. Your most recent district internship was with Spot Coffee and you *loved* it.  Especially using the dish sanitizer.  Your Harkness internship was cleaning at one of Russell's hotels and you didn't love that so much.  Next up: BJ's and a grocery store.  I think you will like both of those.
  4. You have been great at mask wearing this whole time.  We had to recently switch things up because the cotton ones we had just weren't fitting your face all of a sudden.  But we found some fun KN95s that work great. We were super relieved when you were able to get vaccinated and you got boosted as soon as you were eligible.  So far no scares, quarantines or other close calls. 
  5. In other health news, your thyroid is still good & your cholesterol has come down also.
  6. Special Olympics bowling is happening, as is Unified Bowling with school.  You love having your own ball and shoes.  You often break 100.  You love bowling with your friends and teammates.  
  7. You are looking forward to Unified Basketball starting up in the spring too.
  8. Adaptive Swim just started up again and you were SO happy to get back in the water!
  9. Your teacher started a Unified Club after school once a month just so you can all do some social things and that has been a lot of fun.
  10. Your recital piece for dance this year is going to be Pirates and all the guys are very excited about that.  And even better, Miss Robin said there will be a sword fight!
  11. Your brother asks you every day if you want to go out for ice cream or a hot dog.  Right now you keep saying no because you don't believe it is legal for him to drive by himself.  LOL 
  12. You came home from school the other day with a huge container of pickles that Mrs. T. made just for you.  You were thrilled!  I love that they all take care of you and know you so well.  Those are still your favorite snack, along with craisins and meat sticks.
  13. You got a bunch of new shirts recently and already have a few favorites that you reach for as soon as they are out of the wash, a teal Henley and an orange one.  And you love showing your school spirit with your North shirts.  And of course the hat of the day.
  14. Orange still seems to be your favorite color.
  15. You don't let a day go by without listening to Celine Dion and Cher.  We have long conversations about how pretty Cher's hair is and all of Celine's sparkly show outfits.  You would love to see either of them in concert.  Which might involve a trip to Vegas... 
  16. We just found out that you can go to two respite weekends at Cradle Beach this year and that is very exciting.  The notice is on the refrigerator and you remind me every day that you can go twice.  We hope you will also be able to go for a week in the summer with Kiwanis.
  17. If you know I'm going to the grocery store, you start giving me a list of things to get.  Meatloaf is always at the top of the list!
  18. You love planning what we are getting for take-out on the weekends.  
  19. You are probably more attached to your iPads than is good for you.  We have to refocus your attention at meal times and bedtime, especially on the weekends when you have a lot of free time.  
  20. I always get a hug when you're passing through on your way to get a snack or switch iPads. You and Dad will hang out on the couch in the morning and get a few extra winks in while waiting for the bus to arrive.  But Mark gets the lion's share of hugs and you always look for him first.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

19 Things About You at Age 19

In some ways 19 is hitting me as more significant than 18 did.  Maybe because it's a number that is firmly settled into adulthood.  Maybe it's because with these beards you certainly *look* more adult. Maybe it's just that this year has been extra emotional in so many ways.  Maybe it's just cause I'm your mom!  I love you both and I am so proud of you!  Happy birthday!

  1. This pandemic year wasn't the Gap Year of worldwide travel that you envisioned and it has been hard being stuck at home - not to mention stuck at home with all of us! - but you've made the best of it.
  2. You were up late a lot of nights in the beginning just because it was the only time the rest of us weren't around.  We eventually figured out ways to give each other space, though we do still get on each other's nerves sometimes.
  3. You got to spend a few days with G. over the summer after a lot of careful planning and because the infection rates had gone down, which you were very grateful for.
  4. You are in your 2nd semester at UB.  You had one on-campus class your first semester & you enjoyed being there even though it wasn't the busy environment it usually is.  Online isn't your preferred learning method but again, you are making the best of it.
  5. You took Italian last semester and continued with it this semester.  We joke a bit about all the recent news stories about buying property in Italy, but you do think it would be neat to live & work in Europe or other places around the world.
  6. You would like to work for awhile before deciding on the rest of college, but again, pandemic year has made that more difficult.  
  7. At least one night a week you play D&D with your cousins, sometimes other games. You're keeping in touch with your school friends via gaming too.
  8. You also regularly check in with another cousin who is away from home at college to make sure he's doing ok and if he needs anything.
  9. There was a lot of Great British Bake Off watching this year.  We attempted to bake some of the things but you much prefer your role as taste tester.
  10. One of my dearest long-held dreams has finally come true!  You are old enough to watch Highlander with me. We watch a few episodes a week.  Naturally, you make fun of all the 80s & 90s fashion & the music and then make fun of me when I try to explain it all and tell you how great it was!  You also guessed a key plot point that doesn't happen until well into Season 2 in the very first episode.
  11. When you went with Dad to vote in the Presidential election, they couldn't find your information right away due to being a new voter and with everything being different than usual with the pandemic.  It took awhile and you did get to cast your vote, but you kept your cool throughout and were very patient.  There were some adults who didn't do that, so thank you for setting a good example.
  12. I will often get up in the morning to find that you've unloaded the dishwasher or done some other little jobs around the house after we've gone to bed.  Thanks!
  13. You quickly gave up the idea of growing your beard as long as possible during the pandemic.  But you are growing out your hair.  Itisthisclose to being long enough for a ponytail.  
  14. A relative recently gave us a picture of your grandfather when he was in his early 20s.  I've always thought you looked like him but man, this picture is amazing.  I will have to take your picture holding it and see what other people think about the resemblance.
  15. Hoodies are your daily fashion choice.  And you love a leather jacket.
  16. You will often get up in the early early morning just to give your brother a hug before he gets on the bus for school.
  17. You have a great eye for color.  I always ask your opinion if I can't decide on colors for a project and you often suggest something I hadn't thought of that ends up being perfect.
  18. We've always had good conversations around the dinner table, but I love the evolution of them into more grownup subjects and hearing your opinions and thoughts on whatever is going on in the world.
  19. Your favorite thing to cook might be ramen.  None of that instant stuff, you get the noodles and chop up the veg and add the egg and the whole thing.  You like just making up recipes and seeing what works

  1. This pandemic year wasn't quite what you were expecting, but you've stayed happy throughout.
  2. Remote schooling ended up being great for us.  I know a lot of people are still struggling, so I know how lucky we are. Your teachers are awesome and they all worked really hard to keep everybody engaged and moving forward.  You did need someone to sit with you but that was more to keep you on task than to help you with the work (except math).  You were able to share your screen and do presentations all on your own.  Maybe because we have always had to be more hands-on with help and learning since you were born, we don't see this as anything out of the ordinary other than that you were home more than usual.
  3. No internships this year so you got to "work from home" like the rest of the world!  Your teachers made lots of "training videos" on tasks like how to run the washing machine, how to fold laundry, and all the kinds of life skills you need, as well as things that can translate to a job at some point.  
  4. We also did a lot of cooking for your culinary life skills class.  You made pot pie, pizza, lasagna and we even canned pickles!  You loved watching Mrs. Fitz's cooking show each week!
  5. You also had seeds/plants to take care of and you were diligent about watering every day without any reminders from us.
  6. You are back at school in-person every day and while wearing a mask all day is hard, you are doing a great job with it and you really enjoy being back with everyone in person.
  7. You have had to have two Covid tests - just randomly selected, not because of any scares, thank goodness! - and you did great, no complaints.  Ditto with getting a flu shot.  Now that NY has expanded its eligibility for the Covid vaccine you may be able to get vaccinated soon.  As more information becomes known about the effects of the virus on people with Down syndrome, it will be a big relief for us when you can be. 
  8. You've really really missed Special Olympics, both swim team and bowling team and all your teammates.  We are making sure you get enough exercise in other ways but it's not the same.
  9. Dance has continued and even when it was on Zoom you were happy to join in and get moving and hear your favorite songs and see your friends.  
  10. Unified bowling will start up with school in a few weeks with very strict rules in place and no mixing of teams/schools.   I know you will be so happy to bowl again!
  11. I think you are going to need a second hat rack soon.
  12. Like your brother, you are planning your next vacation when travel is allowed.
  13. Also like your brother, you are pretty much always planning your next take-out meal.
  14. You don't love it when I cut your hair but even you will admit that I am getting better at it!  Blow drying your hair after a wash gives you a fit of the giggles!
  15. There's nothing you love more than getting up before everybody else on a Saturday morning, making your own breakfast and getting settled in with your iPad knowing the rest of the weekend is all yours.
  16. Your latest crushes are Selena Gomez and Cher.  You told me the other night that you felt sick (very obviously faking it) and when I asked what would make you feel better, you said "a kiss from a Princess."  LOL!
  17. Your favorite long-sleeved shirts are a maroon one you stole from Dad and a red one with a snowman on it.  Your favorite short-sleeved ones are anything with a cartoon or Disney character on it.  You will always choose the Snoopy pajamas.
  18. Now that it's colder weather you will often layer a headband under your hat of the day.  You do not allow it to cover your ears however which seems beside the point, but it's working for you.  You are actually wearing gloves now too and can get them on by yourself.
  19. You eat big salads that Dad makes almost every day, sometimes even before the pasta or main part of the meal.  You always tell us how good everything tastes and thank you for the meal.