Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

I am so thrilled, I have a dishwasher, YEAH!!!!! My brother put it in this past week-end, I can't begin to tell you how it has already made my life a little easier. Instead of doing the dishes right after dinner tonight I went outside and pushed the kids on the swings, how sweet was that? It is such a wonderful feeling not being tied to the kitchen sink anymore! I have a load going as I am writing this and so I am being reminded what a god send it is.

Robbie is graduating from Kindergarten tomorrow right after the all school mass. His class will walk in with their big brothers/sisters (the 7th graders), and sit in the front rows. He is getting excited and a bit nervous, I think he is having second thoughts about leaving and going on to first grade. I told him it was time for bed and he told me he wasn't going. I then told him if he didn't go he wouldn't go to school tomorrow and therefore couldn't graduate and become a first grader. He told me that was fine by him! He did eventually go to bed, after he asked me to sit with him in the cafeteria after graduation, his teacher is having a little celebration for them after.

I have some exciting news....Helen can pump when she is swinging!!!!! We were all so thrilled, the neighbors probably thought we were going crazy. We were yelling and clapping and giving high fives. It is such an awesome feeling when she accomplishes something we have been working on with her for awhile. She was so proud of herself, she had a huge smile on her face. Now she can swing until her little hearts content!

Sherry mentioned our dad in her blog yesterday, I can't believe it has been so long ago that he passed away. I can't help to think that my kids will be thinking the same thing when they get older. We went and put flowers on his grave yesterday and planted flowers at Peter's, I am hoping for rain. Not so much for my dad's, his flowers are fake, but for Peter's, the cemetery is an hour away and with gas prices the way they are, OUCH! I don't want anyone to think my mom is cheap, she always had live flowers on my dad's grave every single year. Recently, with the West Nile Virus, the cemetery will throw the flowers away in order to reduce the risk of mosquitoes breeding there. I remember one year we went to collect the pot but had waited too long so the cemetery took it and threw it in the dump. I know this because my mom drove to the dump, got out of the car because they had a chain to block any traffic, and walked the rest of the way, only to find it smashed. She was not a happy camper!!! She doesn't want a repeat performance of that day. Although they are fake, they still look nice, and that's all that matters.

Today was a good day.
Until next time-
Take Care,

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day.

It's a Monday, one of my two "blogging days" of the week.

I've tried a few times to write a post for today. I've sat in front of the empty template for too, too long and come up blank. I can't write about a business or clothing issue today. That seems like too much blah, blah, blah today. Instead I keep thinking about how Memorial Day during a war feels so much more somber than during peace time. I keep thinking about those soldiers and their families - throughout our entire history - who have "laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom" as Lincoln put it to Mrs. Bixby. The deep sadness of it, the immediacy and prevalence of it these days. For me, this year is one to really live the idea of Memorial Day and honor those who have served and sacrificed.

I am also distracted by a different kind of memorial activity. I keep thinking about my father. My father - our father: mine and Susie's and Rick's and John's - died 38 years ago today. He was a field engineer, driving home from a business trip. He fell asleep at the wheel and his van ran off the road into a telephone pole. He died relatively quickly - before they got him to the hospital. He was so far away from home and so young - 38 years old.

Today, this blogging Monday, I'll leave everyone to their own Memorial Day thoughts.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Chicago Fabric and Trim Show and Inspiration

There's an organization in Chicago called the Apparel Industry Board Inc. (AIBI). It is an agency of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development. Their mission is to promote the sewn products industry in Chicago. Among other programs, they sponsor an 8-week "Business of Fashion" seminar series each fall, semi-annual fabric/trim shows, a mentoring program, and fashion events. I attended the seminar series and found it to be a valuable educational experience.

The Spring AIBI-sponsored Fabric/Trim Show was Monday and Tuesday of this week, at the Appparel Mart in Chicago - next to the Merchandise Mart. I attended on Tuesday. The show was a modest size - nowhere near the extravaganza textile shows regularly held in Los Angeles and New York. But, for me and this new and humble initiative of mine it was the perfect size. It felt accessible, welcoming - not the least bit overwhelming.

There were some great denim sources for our jeans, and twill sources for our chinos. I was so pleased to find that I can source these fabrics in a stretch version - that is 3% spandex, 97% cotton. Fabric with a bit of stretch, or give, is perfect for our kids.

I was inspired, too, by the wonderful Spring and Summer weight fabrics in the most adorable (for youngsters) and really cool (for older-sters!) designs. As I looked at those fabrics I could see them, in my mind's eye, as finished capri pants for girls - that actually finish at capri length, instead of pant length!, camp shirts for boys, sundresses, shorts, coordinating pieces. The clothes frolicked with abandon in my imagination. Because we're tiny, with limited resources, we won't be able to bring all of those dancing, frolicking clothes into reality. But, we'll make some of them - at least in small volumes.

That's where some more feedback from you guys would be great. I know that many of you welcome the summer season because shorts and short sleeves and sleeveless tops are kind "one length fits all" clothes. In fact, I originally expected to make no summer clothes. But it seems as if there may be a small segment of need afterall. What do you guys think? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

I'm determined to file a trademark application for the company name next week. So, be sure to visit next Friday when I will publish (and explain!) the name of this venture/adventure and post our artmark - the piece of art that represents our trademark, logo, company name and motto all in one.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend! Happy Summer!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I had a good time at the fundraiser on Saturday, I couldn't believe the turn out, it was terrible. We had a 50/50 raffle, the prize was $65.00, how sad is that? I did have a good time with the people who were there. Our reunion is in August, the day before my birthday, I am going to celebrate and get a room at the hotel where it's taking place. Last year my birthday was spent in the hospital holding vigil next to Peter's bedside. I am at the beginning of a difficult summer, I think I mentioned that last time. I keep thinking about where we were last year, Mayo Clinic. We had met with the specialist and went through many tests and were staying the night to meet with the doctor in the morning to get the results of all the tests. We had also found out Peter had steroid induced diabetes and his blood sugar level was in the 500's. The doctor wanted to get him started on insulin injections right away but he said no, he wanted to try medication first. I remember it was a beautiful night and we took a walk around the downtown area where our hotel was located, which wasn't too far from the clinic. We ended up in the memorial park across from the building we had been in earlier, it was very nice. It was also the day I had Indian food for the first time, WOW, was that HOT!!! Peter loved Indian food, he usually got it when he was working that is why I had never had it, I'm glad we went there. I miss him very, very deeply.

I am hosting another party at my house on Sunday, it is Noah's second birthday plus it's Memorial Day week-end. I remember last year Peter's sister said to me how difficult it must be for him to wonder if he would be around for his son's second birthday, here we are and he isn't. Noah is getting so big, he is really starting to talk, some of it you can understand and some you can't. I love it when he says, "Tank Tou Mom!" (thank you mom) he sounds so cute.

Helen's sinus infection is back, it never really cleared up, so she is back on antibiotics and doing well. Her blood work came back for the Celiac, it was higher than it was the last time we were there, that's not good. I told him how her diet has changed and didn't understand why the numbers would be going in the wrong direction. The doctor said she must have eaten wheat very close to the blood test for that to have happened. Tomorrow she is in her class play "Stone Soup", I can't wait to see it. I don't know about all of you but this is definitely a busy time for us, there is something always going on. Not to mention the cleaning, laundry, cutting the grass, and watering the flowers I have to do. Katie is graduating from preschool tomorrow, she is very excited. Robbie isn't happy with the thought of Katie and him both being kindergartners at the same time. He wanted to know how many days after Katie did he graduate from Kindergarten and become a first grader! I told him exactly a week, he was not very pleased!

Don't forget about our measurement party on June 3rd, I hope to see you there.

Today was hard.
Until next time-
Take Care,

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Monday, May 21, 2007

The Last Measurements Post (for a while!)

A quick note: Earlier today I had trouble adding diagrams to this posting. Now that they're included, they're too faint and small and arrggh! I'm going to leave them in the document and have them serve as a general idea. I will happily send you the electronic document with these diagrams in a much more legible form - and nearer to the measurement descriptions that they illustrate. Thanks for your understanding.

Anyway - after having written two entries about measurements last week, it just seems rights to publish the “Measurements Worksheet” that other parents have graciously completed. This is the data we need to understand how your children’s bodies change as they age and grow. It’s the foundation for developing pattern grade rules. I can send a hard copy of this (along with a lavender tape measure!) to anyone who is willing to complete it. Just call or email me. 847.401.5832 or SherryRoberson@earthlink.net.

At first glance, this seems like a lot of complicated measurements. But, it’s not. It really is pretty straightforward and once you’ve completed the first couple of measurements you are well on your way. In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can complete the worksheet once you’ve started. Please note that each description number corresponds to a number on a diagram so that you can see where and how some of the more unusual measurements, like “armscye” and “cervical height” are to be taken. And, I’ve defined unfamiliar terms like “armscye!”

Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who compile this data and send it to me! This information is vitally important and profoundly appreciated! These measurements are fundamental to developing and producing clothes that fit your child properly. This initiative cannot proceed without body measurement details. So, again, thank you – deeply and sincerely – for your help.

Body Measurement Guidelines

* Take measurements over light underwear or pull-up.
* Take measurements on the right side unless there is a reason (e.g. a cast) that prevents accurate measurement. In that case, take the measurement on the left side and note that next to the entry.
* Record the measurements to the nearest 1/16-inch.
* When taking measurements, hold the measuring tape snugly on the skin’s surface. The tape measure should not be pulled tight or allowed to sag.

Body Measurement Definitions

* Crown – Top of head
* Cervical – The base of the neck. This point is the vertebra that protrudes when the head is bent forward. Note, however, that cervical measurements are taken with the head in a straight, upright position. This is a reference point for several measurements, so it’s best to find that point before you begin to take measurements.
* Waist – The lower edge of the lower floating rib, located at the side of the body directly below the center of the armpit.
* Hip – The outer bony prominence of the upper end of the thighbone.
* Armscye – Corresponds to the armhole opening in a garment
* Acromion - The outer end of the scapula, extending over the shoulder joint and forming the highest point of the shoulder, to which the collarbone is attached.


Child’s name (if you’re comfortable sharing that)
Height (inches)
Weight (pounds)

If your child is young, is s/he wearing a pull-up while these measurements are being taken? That may seem like an odd question, but clothes must be designed to accommodate the additional volume of a pull-up if the child routinely wears one.

1. Neck Base (Figure 1) Measure around the neck touching the cervical at the back and the upper borders of the collarbone at the front.

2. Chest (Figure 1) Measure around the body, under the arms and across the nipples being sure to include the lower portion of the shoulder blades.

3. Upper Arm (Figure 1) Measure the circumference of the arm midway between the outer edge of the shoulder and the elbow.

4. Waist (Figure 1) Measure around the body at waist height. The waist is at the point of the lower floating rib.

5. Elbow (Figure 1) Measure the circumference of the elbow while the arm is straight.

6. Hip (Figure 1) Measure around the body at hip height. The hip is the outer bony prominence of the upper end of the thighbone.

7. Thigh (Figure 1) Measure around the upper part of the leg, close to the crotch.

8. Vertical Trunk (Figure 2) Measure from a point on the shoulder, midway between the neck and the normal armhole line, around the bottom of the crotch and back to that original, beginning point on the shoulder. This measurement will be the biggest number of all measurement values because it covers a lot of area.

9. Armscye (Figure 2) This is the measurement that corresponds to the armhole opening of a garment. Measure from a point at the armhole edge of the shoulder around through the mid-point of the underarm, and back to the point of origin.

10. Neck to Front Waist (Figure 2) Measure from the front of the neck base to the front of the waist.

11. Shoulder Length (Figure 3) Measure from the base of the neck, at the shoulder, to the armscye point of the shoulder.

12. Across Shoulder (Figure 3) Measure across the back from the widest point of one shoulder to the widest point of the other.

13. Scye Depth (Figure 3) Measure along the spine from the cervical to an imaginary line connecting the mid-underarm points.

14. Arm Length (Figure 2) With the elbow bent, measure from the top of the shoulder along the outside of the arm to the protruding wrist bone at the back of the hand.

15. Head and Neck Length (Figure 3) With the head erect, measure the distance from the crown to the cervical.

16. Cervical to Wrist (Figure 3) With the elbow bent, measure from the cervical by way of the top of the shoulder and along the outside surface of the arm, around the elbow to the protruding wrist bone at the back of the hand.

17. Cervical Height (Figure 4) Measure the distance from the cervical to the soles of the feet.

18. Cervical to Back Waist (Figure 4) Measure along the spine from the cervical to the waist.
19. Cervical to Knee (Figure 4) Measure the distance from the cervical to the knee.

20. Waist Height (Figure 4) Measure the distance from the waist to the soles of the feet.

21. Hip Height (Figure 4) Measure the distance from the hip to the soles of the feet.

22. Crotch Height (Figure 5) Measure the distance from the mid-point of the crotch to the soles of the feet.

23. Knee Height (Figure 5) Measure the distance from the knee to the soles of the feet.

24. Ankle Height (Figure 5) Measure the distance from the ankle to the soles of the feet.

25. Waist to Knee (Figure 5) Measure the distance from the waist to the knee.

26. Crotch Length (Figure 5) Measure the distance from the waist level at the center front through the crotch to the waist level at the center back.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

More About Measurements – And A Party!



Pizza, pop, cake, and game tokens.
Only a few minutes with each child and parent required.
It will be fast and easy!

DATE: Sunday, June 3, 2007
TIME: 3:00 to 4:30 pm (you can come any time during that period)
WHERE: Chuck E Cheese, 1512 Nations Drive, Gurnee, IL
DIRECTIONS: 847.249.1120 or www.chuckecheese.com/cgi-bin/mqinterconnect

Contact Sherry with questions, ideas, or to RSVP.
sherryroberson@earthlink.net or 847.401.5832


Earlier this week I wrote about how measurements are used in the development of clothing. I discussed anthropometric data and the fact that extensive data exist for the general population, but not for people with Down syndrome. That’s what I’ll write about today. I was fascinated and captivated when I learned, during my research, of the existence of NHANES. I thought you might find it interesting as well.

We are all well familiar with news stories that discuss the health trends of the United States population – the rising obesity rates in the U.S., the fact that eating breakfast may protects kids against cavities, the increased use of vitamins and dietary supplements. But not many of us are familiar with the source of that information, or even that so much information could come from just one source. That source is NHANES, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the U.S. government, whose origins date back over 50 years.

The NHANES survey is conducted by the National Center of Health Statistics, under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services. It began as the result of The National Health Survey Act of 1956, with the intention of providing current statistical data on the amount, distribution, and effects of illness and disability in the U.S. Originally conducted on a periodic basis, and without the nutrition element of the program, the program is now a continuous survey. The specific testing battery is updated every two years based on current issues. Since inception the survey has collected data on over 130,000 people.

NHANES data has resulted in positive change in the U.S. For instance, early NHANES data indicated dangerously high blood levels of lead among Americans. In response, EPA mandated the phase out of consumer products that contained lead – most notably gasoline and paints. By the 1990’s only 4% of Americans had elevated blood lead levels. Cholesterol is another example. Due to cholesterol data collected via NHANES, the resultant understanding of the health effects of high cholesterol, medical advances, and changes in diet and life style, the number of Americans high cholesterol has decreased more than 13% in 40 years. Improved pre-natal health, a commitment to reduction of childhood obesity, there are many examples of the good outcomes of NHANES.

These days the survey examines approximately 5,000 Americans annually. The participants are randomly selected from 15 counties throughout the nation. The age of NHANES participants ranges from infancy -mere months old - to very senior elders - there is no upper age limit. Some populations, like those at risk for malnutrition or members of steadily-increasing populations, are oversampled. Oversampling means that those populations are tested in greater numbers than their proportion in the overall population.

The exam and patient interview, about 3 to 4 hours in duration, is conducted in a “mobile examination center.” That consists of four large trailers outfitted with all of the test equipment and medical professionals required to perform a large battery of tests. Four methods of evaluation are used: a physical exam, a dental exam, specimen collection and a personal interview.

An exhaustive array of tests and evaluations performed. The physical examination alone includes x-rays, audiometry, electrocardiography, bone densitometry, allergy testing, spirometry, and - most important for our purposes - body measurements. These measurements, nearly 20 in all, are the anthropometric data we’ve discussed.

Among other purposes, the anthropometric data are used to develop growth charts for boys and girls from birth to age 20 years. The charts are available to the public on the on the CDC/NHANES site. I had hoped that, given the practice of oversampling particular populations, there might be data specific to children with Down syndrome. No such luck. There are, however, growth charts for children with Down syndrome available on the National Down Syndrome Society web site. I haven't been able to find out who compiles the data, and how they source the data; I'm just glad the charts exist. There are three types of charts available: height, weight, and head circumference. The height and weight charts were very helpful to me in confirming the anecdotal evidence of a difference between children with and without Down syndrome. However, the data are not adequate to develop clothes that will properly fit children with Down syndrome.

That’s why we need body measurement data from you. If you're not nearby, I can send you a self-measuring kit with a tape measure, form, and instructions. (My contact information is in the party announcement at the start of this post.) Together we can create a database of anthropometric data for children with Down syndrome. If we can develop that database I will share it for research purposes because NHANES is evidence that such research and information can have positive impact.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Squish, Squish

I hope all of you mothers had a wonderful day on Sunday, I did. After my siblings came over and we all cooked brunch, my mom, my kids, and I went to the nursery to buy flowers for my yard. I think it's going to look nice, even without my bushes being planted yet, that's another story! To be honest with you I was dreading the day and wished I could go to bed on Saturday and not wake up until Monday. I am at the point now where looking back to a year ago the memories are filled with Peter having the brain tumor and all we did to fight it. Up until now looking back was filled with nice memories where everyone was healthy and happy, so I feel I have reached another milestone, I really can't explain the feeling.

We had some more excitement here last night, so much that my mom was ready to walk out the door because she said her heart couldn't take it. I had a mandatory meeting last night at the boy's school that would take about an hour. I didn't think there would be any problems, especially since the boys were here, they are good about alerting me to naughty behavior. I didn't take my cell phone which was my fault, I should have taken it and put it on vibrate, I wasn't thinking. I leave the meeting and I am a block away from the school when I notice my neighbors in their truck about to cross the street. He rolls down his window and tells me I have trouble at home, my mind starts racing, what could have possibly happened? I was hoping I wouldn't go home to paramedics parked out front, I was quite frantic and couldn't get home quick enough. When I pulled into the garage no little person opened the door to the house to welcome me, that's usually what they do, so I got even more worried. I opened the door to my mom using her stern voice and a whole bunch of commotion. I counted heads, six, no one was injured or missing, good sign, I still couldn't figure out what the problem was. I walk towards the bathroom, squish, squish, I try the door, locked. I went and got a screwdriver and opened the door, the toilet had overflowed, water was everywhere. My mom was so upset because nobody would come clean on who did it, all fingers pointed at Helen. That made my mom even more mad to place the blame on her because according to her Helen was in the living room the whole time. My mom told me she was going home, I told her she couldn't until the doctor gave the okay, she told me she didn't care her heart couldn't take it. She thinks only the bad stuff happens when she is here alone with the kids, I had to point out a ton of things the kids have done with me. I also pointed out to her their ages, how they were just being kids, and these things happen when you have so many of them! I finally got everyone calmed down, and started to clean up the mess. I have a fan going to dry the carpet, and a ton of laundry to do. I also found out what happened by "interrogating" everyone I could get an answer from. Helen and Noah were playing in the bathroom and put a lot of toilet paper in the toilet, this is not the first time. Teddy went in to use the bathroom and saw all the paper in the toilet but still flushed, you all know what happens next. As to the bathroom door getting locked, that too was Helen and Noah playing with the doorknob, again, something that has happened before. It is a habit for Teddy to close the door behind him. Since being potty trained there has always been someone smaller than him to go and play in the bathroom, so I would put door handle locks on the door. I remind him constantly that he doesn't need to do that anymore because Noah is usually pretty good about staying out of there, unless Helen's around! Mystery solved! My mom has recovered and I have finally learned, the hard way, she can't be left alone with the kids, only when they are sleeping!

This Saturday I am going to a fundraiser for my High School reunion, I'm looking forward to it, I need a night out! I will let you know how that goes.

Until next time-
Take Care,

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Why Body Measurements Are Necessary

As I’ve thought through this issue and how to discuss it, I get a little bit overwhelmed in terms of where to start and how to put it all in order. It seems simple enough, but really there’s more there than meets the eye. And, I think it’s interesting to know that there are steps most people don’t know about or think about in the process of getting the perfect finished garment to you. This entry will you a quick overview of those too.

So, rather than drag you into an overwhelmed place too, or lose your interest – and you - along the way, I’ll divide this issue up into a couple of postings. I’m going to try my best to post each Monday and Friday. Susie will post on Wednesday. So, this week both of my entries will be about measurements. Here goes!

We can intuitively understand why it’s necessary to have measurements of people in order to create clothes that fit them. If you have a general understanding of two processes in the development and manufacture of clothing, you can better see how important it is for us to have measurements of your children, specifically. Those processes are pattern making and pattern grading.

Once an apparel item is designed, a pattern is created by an industrial pattern maker. From that pattern, a sample of the garment is produced. Then, the item is “fitted” on the fit model. A fit model is a person on whom garments are test fitted. S/he represents the average target customer. So, once the sample garment fits the fit model, and some modifications may be necessary to create the proper fit, that size pattern is ready for production. However if additional sizes will be produced, patterns must be made for each size. The process of enlarging or decreasing the original, base pattern to fit other sizes in your range is called pattern grading.
Pattern grading is a relatively straightforward process, completed on the basis of grading rules. What’s less straightforward is developing the “grade rules”. The grade rules define in what increments the base pattern must be modified to create the pattern for the new size. The grade rules are based on measurement charts. It’s studying, charting, and reviewing the measurements that allows us to understand how our children’s bodies change as they grow and age. And, from this knowledge and data the grade rules are developed.

The shape of the human body changes as it ages. One example that's easy for us to envision is head size. The head size of an infant is larger, in proportion to the rest of the body, than that of an adult. A couple other examples come readily to mind as well: baby fat melting away with time, chest development during adolescence. We humans don’t as much “grow” as we “morph” over time. The shapes of our bodies change during the stages of life – infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood. Human growth from infancy through adulthood is simply not linear. So, while a pattern can be graded within a developmental range, such as toddlers or adolescents, grading cannot be done across ranges. For a different range, a new pattern must be developed.

The study of human body measurements and proportions is called “anthropometry.” Thanks to decades of studies, by government, universities, apparel manufacturers – often in conjunction – we have extensive databases of anthropometric data on standard populations of children and adults. These historic data, as well as newly developed data, are the basis for the sizing systems and grading rules of many apparel manufacturers. Unfortunately, no such extensive anthropometric data exist for people with Down syndrome. That’s our challenge. We can't develop grade rules for sizes without the data that tell us - precisely - how the body of children with Down syndrome changes over time. We can guess, based on anthropometric data of children who do not have Down syndrome. But, a guess is not good enough. If the clothes are to fit, the data must be gathered and followed.

Next posting I’ll talk about the data – what’s out there, how it was gathered and by whom, what’s missing, how we can develop a database ourselves by measuring our kids. See you Friday!

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

We received most of Helen's test results back, the Celiac one is the one we are waiting on. Her Endocrinologist said her thyroid looks good and she doesn't have to go back for a check up until six months but blood work in three. The Pediatrician said her white blood count went up but is still on the low end. Helen has been battling a sinus infection so that could be the culprit, or it could be that Helen's low count is normal for her. When we go for the thyroid blood work we will also get another CBC and go from there. I am hoping for good news from the Gastro doctor, I'm hoping the numbers show that Helen's gluten free diet is working. I did inform the doctor that Helen is not completely gluten free, not for lack of trying, Helen sometimes finds food the other kids have left behind. He understands how difficult it must be and how expensive it would be to have everyone in the family gluten free.

Teddy made his first communion yesterday, he didn't like the wine and kept playing with his tongue. He looked very handsome and grown up in his tie, he wore Peter's cross under his shirt. It was a very nice mass and we had a beautiful day, it did get a little chilly in the evening. I had a cook-out in honor of him, the food was delicious and the company wonderful. When serving the cake I told Helen she couldn't have any because it made her tummy hurt and asked her what I could get for her. She grunted at me and left the room, mad of course. I went outside to check on the other kids and clean up half eaten cake. I came across a plate that had, almost, a full piece of cake, so I asked if the person it belonged to was done. My nephew on Peter's side said he was still eating it, so I left it out there. About twenty minutes later Helen came into the kitchen and asked me something, when I bent down to hear her better I noticed the cake crumbs around her mouth. I gasped and asked her if she ate cake, with a look of guilt she stared at me and didn't say a word. When I went outside after everyone had left to clean up and put toys away, laying in the grass by the side of the slide was cake smooshed into the grass. The plate and fork were a few feet away, probably blown there by the wind that had picked up. I had to chuckle to myself when I pictured Helen finding gold sitting on the table and taking it to her favorite place outside in order to enjoy it without being caught. Thank goodness she did okay during the night and it didn't keep her or me awake.

Until next time-
Take Care,

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Questions, Questions

A while ago I developed, and distributed through support groups, a set of questions for parents. Having answers to these questions will allow me to better understand the range and depth of issues that you face in finding clothes for your kids and whether I can provide solutions at acceptable price points. I have appreciated,and enjoyed reading, every response. Each gives me a view of the parent and the child and makes me feel that I know them a bit. That makes me even more motivated to create clothes that fit the child and makes them feel good.

I need as much feedback as possible and would love for you to contact me with your thoughts too. Your feedback is invaluable in the development of this clothing line. I’ve listed the questions below. Please provide as much or as little information as you’d like – of course, the more the better from my perspective! Because the more I understand your child’s clothing needs the better I can address them. Also, please feel free to contact me directly. My email address is sherryroberson@earthlink.net. My phone number is 847-401-5832.

Clothes Factors

Do you have any challenges finding clothes for your child? If yes, please list and describe the issue(s).

How old was your child when you first encountered clothing fit issues?

Are the challenges/issues that you face related to age or development phase?
If yes, what issues are specific to what ages?

How old was your child when he/she stopped wearing a daytime diaper/pull-up? This is important for me to understand from the perspective of designing pants that are cut fully enough to accommodate the presence of the diaper for younger children.

With what types of clothing do you have fit, comfort, or any other issues? Please describe the issue/s (e.g. “Pants that fit the waist are too long in the legs.”) The following list is provided to trigger your memory.

 Pullover shirt, short sleeve
 Pullover shirt, long sleeve
 Pants
 Shorts
 Buttoned shirt/blouse short sleeve
 Buttoned shirt/blouse, long sleeve
 Skirt
 Dress
 Pajamas
 Coat/Jacket

How do you currently address the issues that you find in clothing (e.g. alter the clothes yourself, pay for alterations, roll up cuffs and sleeves, buy husky or plus size clothes, etc.)?

Do you find this (or these) solution(s) adequate? If not, why not?

What features would your child’s ideal clothing include (e.g. Velcro® closures, double thickness knees, elastic waistbands, zipper fly, no fly, fabric with stretch, etc.)

Do you currently have a favorite brand or brands of clothing? If yes, which are they and why are they your favorite(s)?

How would you describe the style of clothes you prefer for your child?

Please rank the importance of the following aspects of clothing for your child. (1 = most important, 10 = least important)

 Price
 Fit
 Comfort
 Durability
 Style
 Made in the United States
 Ease of Care/Laundering
 Fabric Content
 Brand Name
 Environmentally Friendly

What other factors influence your clothing purchase decisions?

Market Factors

Approximately how much do you spend, in a one-year period, on clothing for your child?

Please estimate how many articles of clothing you purchase for your child in a one-year period.

What is the range of prices you pay for each type of clothing, as follows.

 Pullover shirt, short sleeve
 Pullover shirt, long sleeve
 Pants
 Jeans
 Shorts
 Buttoned shirt/blouse short sleeve
 Buttoned shirt/blouse, long sleeve
 Skirt
 Dress
 Pajamas
 Coat/jacket

Please estimate which three articles of clothes do you buy most often for your child, and list them below in the order purchase frequency (i.e. 1 = most frequent, 2 = second most frequent, 3 = third most frequent)

Does your child have a favorite article of clothing? If so, what is it and why do you think it is his/her favorite?

Please estimate how many (if any) pieces of clothing your child receives from others such as grandparents, other family, friends during a one year period.

Where do you currently buy clothes for your child? Please list the top 3 sources.

How many children are in your household in total?

On a 5 point scale, with 5 being most likely and 1 being least likely, how likely would you be to buy clothing designed and produced specifically for the Down Syndrome body type if it were available and did fit your child?

Additional comments, thoughts, suggestions, or advice? I appreciate all feedback, positive or negative. Thanks.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Quiet Week

We had a quiet week, it's about time! The kids and I enjoyed the week-end I finally got my garage cleaned out. I couldn't believe the kids were in the garage with me playing instead of outside in the yard, kids can be so goofy. Helen and Noah are definitely my outdoors kids, I can't get them inside. My other four could care less, they spent just as much time outside as inside. When Noah had to take a nap poor Helen had no one to play with, all the kids were inside, so she came in. I have hired a professional to design and plant in the front of my house. He will do the landscaping, I will do the flowers, with help. What was I thinking? I don't know horticulture well enough to decide which bushes would look and do best in that area. I would have probably picked something that needed shade, and it doesn't have enough. I want it to look nice, it is the most important part of landscaping. I still plan on having my friend help me with the rest of the yard, it is a huge project!! The woman who owned the house before me was just like me, not into gardening, so there are a lot of rocks around my house.

This week I am getting ready for a cook-out on Sunday for Teddy's first communion, he is getting nervous. Tomorrow his class is going to be making the host for the occasion. I invited the usual people, yes, even my friends. I have heard from one already, they can't make it, the other one I still haven't heard from and don't expect to. I have a lot of running around to do, I'm hoping to get that done at the beginning of the week and clean the house at the end of the week.

Helen had a check up appointment with the gastro doctor, he will see her once a year from now on. We don't really know yet how she is doing until the blood work comes back. She also had blood work for the pediatrician, she is looking at Helen's white blood count, it was low last time checked. The Endocrinologist also wanted blood work done to check her thyroid since she changed the dose a month ago, she wants to make sure Helen is on the right dose, let's hope. If she needs to change the dose again then we will be back for more blood work in a month. I was very proud of Helen today when we went to the lab for blood work. She hopped up on the chair and put the arm rest in front of her, as if to say, "Mom, stay back, I can do this by myself!" She did awesome!!! When she was getting her pajamas on tonight she pointed out the spot where they poked her and told me to look. She had the biggest smile on her face, she was very proud of herself.

Until next time-
Take Care,

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