First, thank you all for your response regarding our potty-training methodology. I’ll be writing up a detailed synopsis of our imperfect but triumphant experience to share with you all, as requested. In the meantime, keep up the pressure if you’re in the throes of potty training. This is absolutely a case of dogged and systematic perseverance.
It’s been a long Summer and a way too short Summer all at once. In an effort to analyze and maximize my happiness I find I’m most grateful for the past; I’m enjoying the present; And I’m looking forward to the future.
 Happy to have spent my birthday weekend at the beach, camping with my children and my friends. I’m grateful for the good weather. For the good company of friends and family. For the rest and relaxation. And, though I would really have liked my husband to be there, he was sick AND had to work so he stayed home to take care of the pets and hold down the proverbial fort. Even that was a bit of a Godsend. Because otherwise I’d have had to fret about how to get it all done and, ultimately, ask my Mom to help out AGAIN. But, I didn’t have to thanks to the Sarge’s untimely illness and unfortunate work schedule. All in all — for me — a very relaxing way to turn 48! Thanks to Tammy and to Sarge for making it so!
 I’m so thankful for my Mom. For all the times SHE ASKS ME what she can do to help me… before I ever get the chance to ask her. (OK, maybe it’s that obvious — like it’s written in screaming font on my forehead — that I need help, huh?) But, Mom is always there to lend a hand when it’s needed.
 I’m thankful that my Old Soul has the wonderful and intelligent brain she has… I really am unbelievably grateful for this. She’s an amazing child and I love her and her deep-thinking brain… But if anyone knows how to instill a sense of confidence in those brains to match her ability (especially in Math), please comment me the answer and help save my sanity.
I used to wonder if I hated Math because I wasn’t good at it or if I wasn’t good at it because I hated it. Turns out, I was good at it before I hated it and so was my daughter. In fact, we’re both still pretty good at Math. So where does the hate come in? For my Old Soul, right before the self-prescribed failure…. Somewhere in between 2 hours of tears, hyperventilation, refusal to even try and the complete shut down that occurs every single night. That said… I’m also incredibly grateful that my friend, Eileen, gave me the name of a wonderful counselor dedicated to helping children and their families overcome just such problems… and he takes our insurance!
 I’m grateful that my boys are doing so well in their new school… our local public kindergarten center! I’m thankful and amazed that their teachers are quickly recognizing their ability and altering their educational program according to their “typical” needs (instead of focusing on their “special” needs). Their “split” schedule allows them 1:1 time for academic training using Discreet Trial Training — an ABA methodology that specifically addresses the needs of people who have trouble with rehearsal and the ability to commit information into short- then long-term memory (often the case for people with Down syndrome as well as autism). In my district, this training is only available in the “special needs” class (though the law states services cannot dictate placement). The boys get their related services during their time in the “special needs” class and the rest of their day is spent in the “general education” class with a 2:1 aide assisting my 2 little angels only to the extent that they need help (which, I can say proudly, isn’t as often as the teachers first thought). On paper, it’s a 3 hour split schedule allowing 3 hours in each class setting. But, as it turns out, their gen ed teacher and classmates have embraced the boys and the team has recognized that their ABILITIES far outweigh their disabilities. So they’ve altered their schedule such that they spend more time with their gen-ed class and less in the “special” class. They are NOT being pigeon-holed by their “special needs” in the public school system, as I feared might happen and had prepared myself to fight. Honestly, I am cautiously very optimistic! It appears that they are being recognized for their skills and abilities and their educational program is being customized to maximize these abilities and minimize their disabilities. How cool is that?
 I’m thankful for the ability to forgive. It lightens my emotional load and immediately frees me from the burden of holding a grudge. I’m just not the grudge type! And I think/hope it makes me a better and happier person. I’m far from perfect at it as the thoughts of injustice creep back in here and there… but I’m practicing every day and it gets easier the more I do it. Forgiving has been an amazing gift to myself. (Try it, you’ll like it.)