Friday, May 11, 2007

Rachel and Lucy Coleman

It's no surprise that I love Signing Time! In any conversation with me, I usually find a way to talk about it. Not just because of the great things William has been able to accomplish since we began watching it with him years ago (like signing, reading, spelling), but also because of what Signing Time has helped me to accomplish. I have volunteered to go on Outreach Events with them... in the past year I was in Austin TX, Fargo ND, Harrisburg PA, Sarasota FL, Albuquerque NM, and New York City. I've been part of a testimonial video, and am one of the moderators on the Signing Time forum. I am always sharing our personal story and the story of how Signing Time was created, with anyone who listen. What began as a way to 'give back' what we've received from Signing Time, to thank Rachel and her family, has developed into friendship.

I remember sitting there after watching how William responded to seeing the first Signing Time video (which we had learned about from a friend on a Down syndrome messageboard) and being amazed at how he begain interacting and signing after that. One day I thought how great it would be to meet Rachel in person to thank her. A couple years later, I got to do just that after Robert & I entered an essay contest and won! Rachel and crew(and by crew I mean her and Emilie's families, plus their awesome PR person Renee) came to our town and stayed with us.
So for anyone wondering how I got involved with Signing Time and how I got to be friends with Rachel, that's how it started.

Whenever I see an opportunity to help promote Rachel or Signing Time, I grab it. Recently, I saw an essay opportunity for Rachel. I sent her the link, and joked that 'as if she didn't have enough to do already...'. She sent me an email the other day... She won!!! She blogged about it, and you can read her essay there and on the Mothering Heights website . If it moved you as much as it did me, make sure to leave a comment.
What did Rachel win? 1) A caffeine basket from Starbucks 2) A summer reading collection from Hatchette Books 3) A pair of rainbow sandals from Hobie's of Laguna Beach 4) A Mother's Day Tiara from and 5) Publication in The Laguna Beach Independent, May 11, 2007 and on the home page of
Way to go Rachel!!! Congratulations, it's a beautiful essay.

The title of this entry is Rachel and Lucy Coleman. I've talked about Rachel. Now on to Lucy. Lucy is an adorable almost 7-year-old. She has gotten 100% on her spelling tests for the past several months (I lost count of how many weeks Rachel!). She's bright, bubbly, and witty. She ends up on the news from time to time, including their local news last night! put a video up on their site (you may need to download their player for this, but it is so worth it!) It's about Lucy and her new swing at school. Rachel blogged about it in January. If you can, please watch the video on You get to hear Lucy talk about it and she has THE cutest voice.

Happy Mother's Day Rachel!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mariko's College Graduation

Friday Robert & I went over to Boston to attend the different graduation ceremonies and receptions for Mariko. To say we are proud of her is an understatement. She is an amazing, intelligent, beautiful, down-to-earth, and witty young woman. We were thrilled to be able to go and talk with some of her professors, classmates, and mentors.

Receiving the certificate for completion of the requirements for her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience. Mariko with the Husky mascot
Me, Husky, and Mariko
Robert, Me, and Mariko
Mariko was the recipient of the 2007 Alex Skavenski Award for Excellence in Behavioral Neuroscience. Getting a hug from her mentor, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Northeastern University, Jim Stellar. Mariko has worked in his lab since she was a Freshman.
Saturday's graduation ceremony.

Jim Stellar announces that the awesome graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences have completed their requirements for graduation.

The view from our seats. Thank goodness for a good zoom lens!
Mariko on here way to get her diploma. The one that says "Summa Cum Laude". Yeah, she rocks!

That's my girl!
Mariko, me, and her big brother Jim
Jim's wife Steph, Mariko & Jim

Mariko & me
Mariko & Robert
Robert, Mariko & me

Robert, me, Mariko, Steph & Jim
Steph, Jim & Mariko
Dawn, Mariko & JessicaMariko & Jessica
Mariko & Jessica set out to take on the world

Lunch on Sunday
Robert and 2 of his favorite girls

Jim & Steph

Mariko & Robert
Checking to make sure Jim has Mariko's home number in his phone.
Goodbye hugs before we head home after a fabulous weekend.

We love you Mariko!

Visiting Palo Alto

At the end of April, Mariko and I went to Stanford Medical School's Review Weekend. Someone ordered some beautiful weather for our visit.

Mariko by the frog fountain at the Stanford Shopping Center

One of the Med school buildings
The Chapel at Stanford~
These are some of the incoming med school students

After meeting online on a T21 board more than 5 years ago, I finally got to meet Andi and Riley in real life!

Andi's Emily checking out the duck

Mariko & Emily

Mariko talked me into getting a pedicure with her. It was fantastic!
Mariko & me at the airport for our plane home.

I think I'll have to get used to visiting her out there for the next 4 years. Hmmm, nice weather, great shopping, meeting friends... sounds like a plan to me. The best part, though, will be seeing how happy it makes Mariko!