Sunday, October 25, 2009

Introducing.......Team Riley!!

It is official. We officially have put together Team Riley with what I believe to three of the TOP trainers in the area! All of them came VERY highly recommended by numerous Dog trainers. Team Riley consists of Trisha Jennings Golden Retriever Breeder, Mary Lou Cook from All is Pawsible Service Dog School, Cindy Bruckart from Puppy Playhouse , and Denise Mullinex of BEHAVE

Trisha is the breeder of our dog. :) Mary Lou is obviously the Service Dog Trainer, Cindy will be providing puppy training, obedience, back up, local support etc, and Denise has signed on to be our tracking and scenting trainer. We will be attending Public and Private lessons with Cindy and Private only with Denise. We will be working with them for at least the next two years. I am sure we will get to know eachother well!

Check out their websites if you are looking for training for your dog! Excellent!!

Here is a clip of Denise on KATU AM Northwest

P.S. Check out Trisha at Sunset Goldens of Oregon's website if you are looking for a Golden Retriever pup! She has up and coming litters due in Dec.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michael's Place -Horse Stables

Recently we met the parents of a remarkable young man name Michael. Marvin and Cash Stucki invited us out for a private tour of the facilities at Michael's Place-a place where people with developmental disabilities and special needs can celebrate life and the health benefits of working and caring for horses. Michael was also born with Down Syndrome. This place is exquisite! By far the cleanest stable I have ever seen. Spotless grounds. And an awesome place! They let our kids take the horses out in the buggies! Our kids loved it. They let Riley explore and being parents of a son with Down Syndrome....they understood us. It was such a fun experience for us! To see what the Stucki's have done for people with Developmental Disabilities is remarkable! Thanks for letting us have a behind the scenes tour Marvin and Cash! To check out Michael's Place please visit www.

Wow! I went MIA.....Busy, Busy October......

Vacation October 2009

I have to apologize, October has been nuts for our family. Many new and exciting things happening. I am going to try my best to recap the month. :) Warning.......PICTURE HEAVY!We attended the Buddy Walk again this year. We had the opportunity of setting up a table there and spreading the word about Service Dogs to the Down Syndrome Population for the Portland/Salem area. Again a great Buddy Walk. Team Riley grew this year! We had Trisha Jennings and family of Sunset Goldens of Oregon there with Butter to support us, The Breck and Sara Meyer family also attended with their 8 children who all love Riley dearly. Also ran into Jenny and Tarik who stayed with us! Highlight of this trip was the fact that Riley got his face painted. You all have NO idea what that meant. Riley is highly sensitive. He hates his hair, face, etc touched, messed with. He would scream if you would try and get his face painted. Riley calmly sat for about 40 minutes with Crystal Meyer and watched as other children got their faces painted by Blossom the Clown. Finally it was his turn. He got up, sat in the Blossom's chair and got his face painted into a puppy! Blossom was calm, and very gentle with him. I could see that she "understood" him. The fear was in his eyes. She brought herself to his level and worked through it with him. When he needed a break she would break. It brought tears to my eyes. This is a HUGE break through! I was so proud of him. And he was proud too. :) Blossom won't ever know it but she played a huge part in therapy for him. Thank you!
We also started the month going to the NHS play "The Butler Did it Again" it was FABULOUS! We were invited backstage to meet all of the actors! They greeted Riley and our other children and loved him! They played with him, autographed a picture for him, let him be silly, hugged him, it was incredible. These kids seriously went out of their way to make this an incredible experience for our family. Riley had never been to a play, or movie, or anything of the sort. Sitting still and quiet is difficult. Duh. But...he sat through this entire play. Laughed when others laughed, clapped when he was supposed to clap etc. We LOVED IT! Thanks so much to all of you for giving us this opportunity! A portion of the proceeds will benefit Riley. INCREDIBLE!
Riley participated in his Mabel Rush Elementary Lion Walk! He loved it! We joined him and walked with him. He loved Maru the Lion and kept pushing his brother around the track in the stroller. Riley made it a 3/4 of a mile and starting slowing down.....finally at the last bend before the mile mark his decided he was going to sit in the double stroller and hitch a ride to the finish line! :) Silly guy. He knows what he is doing! It was a fun day!
Riley is having a great time at school this year. He loves his teachers, bus drivers, and fellow students.Seriously...he LOVES it! Runs to the bus every morning and jumps in his seat and loves to go. He even stays in his seat without a lock and drumroll please.....keeps his freaking shoes on! This is HUGE. I went and "spied" on him at school a couple of weeks ago. He was getting breakfast like a big boy at the cafeteria with his helpers! It was so cute! Good thing he didn't see me though! It would have been OVER. When I show up at school no matter what time it is, he thinks it's time to go!
Riley proved at the play that he could manage a movie. So.....he went and saw Where the Wild Things Are with Morgan and the kids! He loved it and sat again through the whole thing. :) I'm sure this will be the first of many movies for Riley!
Today I heard the door bell ring. I went to the door to find my neighbor down the street standing at the front door, with Riley. I gasped, my heart sank and instantly felt anxious. I feel so guilty. When Riley goes missing I always know. I ALWAYS know. This time, I didn't. I had no idea. I thought he was still watching Sesame Street in my bedroom while I was doing dishes. We are still trying to figure out if the door wasn't latched or if he scaled a fence. My dear neighbor down the street found him in her backyard knocking on her back door. :( Feeling pretty bad tonight about this.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TEAM RILEY - Buddy Walk
Buddy Walk®
The Buddy Walk® was established by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.
WVDSA has sponsored a Buddy Walk® since 2002 at the beautiful Riverfront Park in Salem. We enjoy the views of the Willamette River and all the park has to offer including Salem’s Riverfront Carousel and the adjacent play area. We host information booths about our group, Down syndrome awareness, and the NDSS. There are games and activities for children, self-advocate speakers, and the walk around Riverfront Park. Lunch is served to all attending….it’s one of the highlights of the year for our group!
Saturday, September 26, 2009Buddy Walk at Riverfront Park in Salem, Oregon
Registration at the park will start at 10:00am; we encourage online registration to expedite the process. There is a $5.00 per person fee ($20.00 maximum per family).
Some additional information regarding the Buddy Walk®:
The Buddy Walk® has three primary goals:
To promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome;
To raise funds locally and nationally for education, research and advocacy programs; and
To enhance the position of the Down syndrome community, enabling us to positively influence local and national policy and practice.
The Buddy Walk® has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to more than 275 in 2008 across the country and around the world.
At least 250,000 people are expected to participate in more than 275 Buddy Walks® this year.
Since 1995, more than 2,000,000 people have participated in the Buddy Walk® program.
Last year alone, the Buddy Walk® raised more than $10.5 million to benefit local programs and services, as well as national education, research and advocacy initiatives.
The Buddy Walk® program is supported at the national level by the National Down Syndrome Society. Local Buddy Walks® are organized by NDSS Affiliates, parent support groups, schools, and other interested organizations and individuals.
Most Buddy Walks® take place from September through November to recognize Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.
John C. McGinley, who plays Dr. Perry Cox in the hit NBC show "Scrubs," is the 2009 National Buddy Walk® Spokesman. Mr. McGinley is both an accomplished actor and the proud father of Max who has Down syndrome.
Anyone who wants to support acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome can participate in the Buddy Walk®.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Angels watching over him.....

Riley had a great start to Kindergarten! Thanks to his great teachers and to his buddy Cheryl Plaster (previous pre-school teacher) for helping transition him to his new school. The first two days were pretty flawless! He came home happy and even got on the bus without a fight! :) Then on Monday morning we received a phone call from the school stating that Riley had gone missing, the school had gone in lock down, 911 was called and that Riley was found at Newberg High School. This news was devastating. The distance between Mabel Rush and NHS is considerable. He is 5 and doesn't speak. The news was too much to take.

Riley had left the playground during recess and nobody witnessed it. *(Not surprising, I'm telling you ...he is Houdini. ) He went across a field, under a fence, through another field and through the football stadium to the High School. The PE teacher found him and called 911.

It was a terrifying day for all involved. I talked to one teacher who stated this was the scariest things she has ever had to encounter. A non-verbal child missing. She had tears pouring as she told me this. I just kept repeating....." Believe me, I live this nightmare everyday. "

I completely feel for the teachers who lost track of him. I have been there. Many, many times. Although I am WAYYY more in tune to Riley's needs and reactions then they would be. I'm his mom though.

There is a new Protocol coming into place. A sort of recess confinement to one area, walkie talkies etc.
I do want to say that we are so thankful for everybody involved. Mabel Rush, Newberg High School, and Newberg/Dundee Police Department. Riley arrived home safe yesterday. I have been told and have thought many times.....That Riley has angels watching over him. Often he will look up into the sky or at a far away wall, out a window, and smile and his eyes light up. He will talk away as if he is talking to somebody. Carry on a conversation only he understands. I promise you. It was confirmed to me yesterday that he has angels (fast ones at that) watching over him. One for sure being my dear friend Lynelle. I can feel her sweet spirit as I type. Tonight I will pray to the heavens and thank her for taking such great care of my child, for hovering and keeping him safe time and time again. It is truly a miracle that he is safe and alive today. Although the unfortunate circumstances of her untimely death, I feel she definatley has a divine purpose. And I always tell people, it's as if she has never left. I still feel her all the time. Her purpose is to take Riley under her wings and keep him safe. I can't thank her enough. She is doing an impeccable job.

Through the tears,
Riley's Mommy

Monday, September 7, 2009

How do you put a price on that?

Many years ago a dear, dear friend of mine started a Dalmation Collection with her oldest daughter. My friend Lynelle was the most loving, kind, helpful mother you could ever ask for. She loved her children, her husband and animals. I always strived to be more like her. She never spoke bad about other people, always smiled, and had such a soft spot in her heart for everything. Her daughter Crystal collected everything Dalmation you could ever think of. Plastic figures, glass, wind chimes, pictures, soap dispensers, puzzles, everything. I remember when they started the collection. Crystal was just a young child. She loved spending time with her mom. They were very close. As were the other 4 children. Lynelle did everything for her children. Her family ALWAYS came first. The collection was something special that was shared only between Crystal and her mom.

Many years passed and we celebrated her birthday in style up at Flying M Ranch. We danced away the night and had so much fun celebrating her birthday in April! She deserved it! A fun night to celebrate HER and only HER! Breck did an amazing job getting it all set up in her honor! There was even a band there that played her favorite songs! I will never forget. :)

Two months later I received a phone call in the wee hours of the morning from her cell phone. I answered quickly as to find out of something was the matter since it was early. It wasn't Lynelle. It was her husband Breck informing me that she had fallen asleep and died on the couch in the night. Without going into too much detail world fell apart. The children were alone. These children that I loved so much did not have their mom anymore. It was almost to much to bear. I spent countless hours with the family, during the service, viewings, etc. These kids loved our family and we loved them. It far surpasses the most devastating thing that has ever happened to anybody I know. A loving, family torn apart by an undiagnosed Congenital Heart Defect. Interesting that Riley had just conquered heart surgery a year earlier and his little life was spared. Stupid CHD's.
Many , many years have passed and this little tiny girl Crytal has turned into an adult. She has a keen interest in Riley and has spent hours and hours with out little boy. When she was in high school she did her senior project on children with Down Syndrome. She loves him unconditionally and everybody in her small town already know all about Riley and most have never met him! She talks about him all the time. And she has a soft spot for children with Down Syndrome.

While getting ready for our recent fundraising yard sale, Crystal mentioned that she would get some things together to sell at the sale. To bring in money for Riley's Service Dog. She brought her ARBA Tattoo kit, knick knacks, piggy banks, you know...just a lot of stuff. Then sitting in a big tub was her Dalmation Collection. She said that it had been sitting in the shed since there was not place to display it and that she would like to donate it for Riley's Sale.

During the sale, Lynelle's sister Laurie arrived. I hadn't seen her since Lynelle's service 4 years ago. We started talking, tears flooded my eyes as I still have a hard time when I talk about it. Laurie shed some tears and we shared some laughs about our beloved Lynelle. We talked some more. We were very quiet. Just Laurie, Maxine and I. She asked if that was Crystal's dalmations collection. That there were things in there that she had bought for her. I told her that it was and that there were things that I had purchased for her too.

About 15 minutes later a woman who was shopping with a baby girl asleep on her shoulder walked up to me. I had never met this woman before but we had briefly chatted when she had arrived at our sale. She proceeded to tell me that she would like to purchase every Dalmation item that was at the sale. ANYTHING Dalmation. A little shocked I helped her gather the huge bin full since her arms were full with her sweet baby. There was tons of stuff. We walked up to the cashier and she softly stated that she would like to give us $100 and that she would like me to give the Dalmation collection back to the young girl who lost her mom. That she had overheard our conversation and she couldn't believe the selflessness of this girl named Crystal. Who gave her PRICELESS collection to help a little boy. She must have overheard me saying that this was one of her last links to her mom. What an incredible random act of kindness.

The next day as we were sitting around the table during the sale eating our lunch Laurie showed up again. (Crystal's Aunt and the woman I was talking to the previous day about her sister that we missed so much) It was a perfect opportunity. I started retelling the story and told Crystal that a woman came and bought her entire collection. She had a happy, yet distressed look about her. I then told her about the $100 dollars and that I have the entire collection set aside for her. The whole room went quiet. Tears again formed. We cried. Crystal cried. Crystal doesn't cry! She is a tough cookie. This girl is so special to me. Not only her but her brother Matthew, and sisters Ashley, Kaitlyn and Kelsie. I don't know if they have any idea just how much they mean to me. Possibly it is that last link to their mom who I love and miss? I just know that I would do anything and everything for these children. I have taken them under my wings and call them mine.

And to the woman in the red car with the precious baby girl on your shoulder. I wish I knew who you were to thank you. I was in such shock that I missed when you left. Should you read this blog....please let me know. You are such an inspiration.

With a full, happy heart.


Time for an update!

Between fundraising and school starting things have been hectic. We had a family member pass away last week tragically, leaving time sparse.

School starts tomorrow for the kids! Thursday for Riley. We are so excited to have him in Kindergarten. A little scary since he was so "safe" in Sherry and Cheryl's classroom at the EI Preschool. We will see how Thursday goes for him. Cheryl from his preschool has arranged to join him at his new school to transition him into class! This means so much to us. She truly his an angel to our little boy. It will be so fun to have three kiddos at the same school this year! Time flies......
We have had an overwhelming response to Service Dog for Riley. It is unbelievable. Donations coming from people we don't even know, cities we have never heard of, etc. Some have addresses some don't. I am not sure how we will ever personally thank everybody. I don't think it is even possible. I do have to tell you all though. We had an anonymous donation come in last week. I do know it is from a local person though. We actually had three that day. One for $20. One for $5. And one for $5,000. I am absolutely NOT Kidding you. We were shocked. My husband and I just sat there shaking and teary eyed. In disbelief. To the person who did this for our young son. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is just unbelievable. True selflessness. I am unsure how to thank you besides a thank you card to your P.O. box. Please know that we are so very grateful. You are awesome.
As I mentioned earlier, things have been hectic. With school starting, memorial services, yard sale clean up. And believe me....the clean up has been horrendous. We were so completely exhausted that we are just now feeling like we are done with the aftermath of the sale. We still have some tables to return and a few tarps etc. Then we will be complete. What a success it was though. It was definitely worth it. I just had NO idea that it would be to this extent!

We won't be getting our puppy until after the New Year now. It is only a few weeks later than we originally hoped but I thought I would let you all know! We will continue on being patient! Can't wait for the day though.
All is Pawsible came out the other night to finish our registration into their school. Three service dogs in tow and the kids went crazy! They loved it! Two standard Poodles and one Golden Retriever. Riley was all over them. It was really hard since we are trying to teach him to respect a working SD. He thinks it is playtime where one of the dogs was in vest and working. It will be so nice when he gets him own dog. :)

We are still awaiting news of the next fundraiser. Will update the website when we find out. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A HUGE Success!

Riley wanted to try to be the Coyote!
Coyots Joe's Sign

The massive amount of STUFF. This was on the last day too! :)

The highlight of the entire sale for Riley. Teacher Cheryl came to see him! He squealed in delight as he spotted her across the yard! She stayed and ate lunch with him. She is definatley and angel to him. We love her dearly. I doubt she would ever know how much she has done for us.

Driving down 99W! Tiffany and friend

Cheryl and Riley
We love this woman.

Abby's Pizza sign!

Matthew as the Coyote and Kaitlyn as the Chicken! :)

It rained. Twice. Hard. Maxine being the crazy lady we love! She later graduated to a huge, horrible, floral, plastic hat! :) Gotta love her!

Coyote Joe hard at Work!

Well here I am, over a week later blogging away. What a week it has been. We spent every day since last Sunday outside from early in the morning until 1 am (at least) outside. Sorting, arranging, tossing, pricing, thousands and thousands of things. At last our sale was ready to start! It covered our entire front yard and driveway (which is not small) and was overflowing into the street. By friday....we were beat. I could not believe that our sale had not even started.

Friday was a complete success, then onto Saturday, and Sunday. We sold and sold and sold. We had some people coming up and driving by just handing donations. We had people buying Team Riley Jam for $10 a jar. Or buying a Hershey Kiss for $20! It was a humbling experience. I am still in shock over it.

There is no way we could have done it without the help of some very dear people. If I forget somebody I will apologize now. We are still trying to recoup! :) I will try my best to remember everybody who played a part in this.

Linda and Pat Sattler

Trisha Jennings and Butter

Mrs. Sandy Sattler

B, R and M Sattler for loaning their precious Mommy time and Daddy's truck
Tiffany and Angel Olea and family
Xan and Shelbee Sattler
Rachael and Greg McKinley
Sarah Moore and Family
Maxine and Bill Mullholland
Reed and Keri Prince
Crystal, Matthew, Ashley, and Kaitlyn Meyer

Sara and Breck Meyer
Tiffany , Dawn and Brittany Lenard
The Sweat family

The Wilcox Family
The Wong Family
The Peebles Family
Terry Williamson
The Methven Family
Robyn Peterson
The Hall family

The Rice Family
J. McCormick and Family
Pat Smith

Tim and Laura Feighery
Merriley Smith
Shelley Harding
The Kim Family

West Coast Bank
Sunshine Cleaners
Abby's Pizza
Newberg Fire Department
Chehalem Park and Recreation District
Newberg Hardware
Newberg Merchants
Lazer Quick
French Twist Salon
Fred Meyer Bakery
Coyote Joe's
The Newberg Graphic
Marc Willcuts

my dear husband and children for bearing with us, eating at strange times, late bedtimes, and dealing with pure craziness for a week.
And all of the neighbors, friends,strangers and family who donated, spread the word, dealt with nightmare traffic on our street or came to our sale! We could not have done it without you!


We will never forget this experience. Not only because it was so time consuming and such hard work to pull off. But the lessons we learned, the tears we have cried, the pure exhaustion, the laughs, the sleepless nights, and the new friends. What an emotional experience. We are so very blessed.

I have a couple of stories that I would like to share from this experience. Heartwarming, tear jerking stories. I will NEVER forget. I will share them next time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sorting, sorting, and more sorting

We have literally spend every minute of every day since Saturday outside sorting through piles and piles of donated items! Thank you to everybody who has donated! There is some awesome stuff out there! This is the kind of garage sale that I wish I could find! :) Seriously...if you have children and need BRAND NEW NEVER WORN or ONLY WORN ONE TIME clothing. Come to this sale. It is crazy! :)

Not only do I want to recognize who have played such huge roles in this but this is my way of keeping track! So......

Thank you to Sara Moore and family for donating an entire car load of great things, baby girl things etc to our sale and for your support.

Deanna Rice and family for the mountain of things they brought over in their truck. The teens and children will surely find something they like in there!

And to Rachael and Greg McKinley for the spotless, flawless, brand new looking truckload of toys, clothing, baby gear, etc that they brought over. There is some cute, cute, stuff in here folks. So...if you have a 3T boy I would HIGHLY recommend coming to look through these items.

Also thanks to Greg McKinley for "taking on" the banner project. I had a banner professionally made with no way to hang it. And if we put grommets in it it would not look very nice flapping in the wind etc....SO.....

Greg says that he will "figure something out". Figure something out is JUST what he did! This think looks like it is professionally done. Something a realtor would place! Check it out. It is on 99W right by the entrance to our house by Fred Meyer! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! It is perfect and I love the arrow too! Good thinking!

We found people to wear the Coyote Joe's Costume that Marc Willcuts is letting us borrow! Thank you to Tiffany Lenard and the boys from the Chehalem House for taking on this project!

We got a cash box thanks to Linda Sattler. :)

Our newest list of needs includes:

-More bags - we can use as many as we can get

-People to help Thursday day/evening/night pricing, and setting out etc. We will literally be out there all day and night. If you have some time please stop by!

-Another clothing rack. I have been told that Sunshine cleaners has one they have graciously allowed people in the community to borrow. Anybody want to hit them up and see if we could borrow it?

I think that is all for now! Thank you and SEE YOU AT THE SALE!