Sean and I are blessed to have 3 wonderful kids.  Parenting is the hardest job ever.  Most of us when we think about having kids we only think of the baby.  We do not think about “tweens” frustrations or adolescence rebellion.

Our oldest will be off to college this fall and our youngest moved out of elementary and will start middle school in the fall as well.  Dev our middle will stay in high school, starting her junior year…  So we’ve been parents for a little while and yet have a long way to go.

Open Heart, Open Mind

Growing up…

So when Dev gave me this poem/note last night it helps to keep your strength up.

Never Gonna Stop Me Now
by Devon Adelman

When I was little I always wanted
To be a zookeeper.
But as I grew older I wanted
To be a writer so I can express
My feelings and to show them the real me.

I always had my parents by my side
they taught me To stand on my own
to believe
I love my parents with all of my heart
Because they have been there for me
Whenever I feel sad they always cheer me up
When I have problems they help me
Also when I feel afraid of something they taught me how to be brave
Everyday I feel like I belong in this world
I’m not alone but it’s a long road ahead
My parents were always there for me
Now I’m an 11th grader
It makes my mother and father have tears to see me grow into a beautiful woman that dreams big
I am special for who I am ,
I am  famous for who I am
This is something new that I dream about
My whole life is to write stories and poems because that’s what I love doing

I had a song for my parents that I wanted to sing for them it’s called ” you raise me up ” by Westlife.  It means so much to me, because you raised me up with a big heart, that shows that you cared about me.  Without you beside me I wouldn’t be here that’s how much I love my parents with a big heart .

Parenting is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Being Dev’s mom has so many rewards, being reminded of them is wonderful!


Devon’s Vietnam

Here are Dev’s thoughts about Vietnam in her own words.  I did add a few punctuation marks this time and lead her a bit with the ideas, but the rest is all Dev!  She had to do a power point for school too :-)

Hi I’m Devon. I would like to share my story about my experience in schools in a different country.

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City.  We taught in Can Tho and explored the cities in red :-)

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City. We taught in Can Tho and explored the cities in red :-)

Well, my family went on a educational trip to Vietnam.  It was our first time going.  While we were there we went to a University to teach English.  It was fun and inspirational. I was at the university for the first day with my mom, sister and brother.  My dad was teaching medical stuff.  My mom and I went into several classes to teach “conversational English”  Mainly we asked and answered questions, getting the students to speak English.

My Dad and brother taught this class.  I with I had a picture of the class I taught :-(

My Dad and brother taught this class. I wish had a picture of the class I taught :-(

This is my sister teaching English.  I do not have a picture of me teaching :-(

This is my sister teaching English. I do not have a picture of me teaching :-(

The next several days my mother and I went to a school for kids and teens with Down syndrome.  They showed us different stuff they did to teach them.  My mom talked about me and my education to teachers and students with their moms. They also gave us a tour of the school it was really helpful to see. The students gave us special gifts that they made by hand.  They sew things to sell and carve key chain charms.  There is only one school for the whole area.

Items sewn by the students are sold

Items sewn by the students are sold

The students carve charms out of coconut

The students carve charms out of coconut







After lots of play and relays we were able to get a photo ;-)

After lots of play and relays we were able to get a photo ;-)

The last day I was back at the university with Nana.  When the last class came in I was pulled out of that classroom with Nana,  into a another classroom! t  That’s when I taught a whole class english all by myself.   It was so much fun!

Conversational English at it's best!  Over dinner :-)

Conversational English at it’s best! Over dinner :-)

The next week we spent learning about Vietnam and having fun with my grandparents, yup, they went with us :-)

War sites were actually a small part of our wonderful trip to Vietnam.  Dev's grandfather had been here in 1974.

War sites were actually a small part of our wonderful trip to Vietnam. Dev’s grandfather had been here in 1974.

I hope we get to do that again!


Win an Ipad!

Real life "Sam"

Real life “Sam and John”

Raise Expectations is running a contest to win a new iPad!


apple iPad


The contest will start Monday March 4th and end April 17th 2013.

Enter the contest by sending  in your answer to the question:

“How did Sam describe her dad after trying out his new bike in their driveway on his birthday?” from the book Sam’s Top Secret Journal, book 1- We Spy.

Get yours today!

Get yours today!


Send your answer in by responding here in the comments, email to or message me on RaiseExpectations Facebook page,   Don’t give away the answer on the main page, but message me :-)

All correct answers will be entered into the drawing.  To win you must come from a household that has at least one child under the age of 16 or a household with a person who has a developmental disability.  All answers must include contact information in the event they win the contest.  We reserve the right to independently verify the household information is within the guidelines of the contest already stipulated. We will be awarding one Ipad (500$ value!) to a contestant who will be randomly drawn.

Get your copy of Sam’s Top Secret Journal by clicking on this link:  Sam’s Top Secret Journal. Sam’s Top Secret Journal can also be downloaded on Kindle, borrowed from the Seattle public library or purchased from any independent bookstore!

Join us in celebrating National Disabilities Awareness Month!

And International Down Syndrome Day 3-21!





Here are 2 of Dev’s recent posts on the Science class she is taking now.  I do not change or add the ever need punctuation, it is straight from her Ipad:

I loved how my ecology teacher assigned me to be a leader of my group and to be a  teacher to third graders for ecology it’s been really fun learning about ecology and gardening I love how we go to the greenhouse and make wizard of oz display garden was really fun also to clean up is the important part of ecology we get to sweep its like doing chores at the house but in a fun way I,m really enjoying ecology I love being a leader and to help with others when they need it give them space today we got to make hanging baskets witch is really fun a another group of students took over because we had to go early to lunch so on Friday we get to finish the hanging baskets . I hope you enjoyed this . 

The Wizard of Oz display from NHHS Ecology class

The Wizard of Oz display from NHHS Ecology class



Well I don’t want to change my future and all of that because I love  to write stories but  I really want to be outside and to plant  Gardens  because I think that being outside is important in life and to have a greenhouse when I,m older so I can take care of plants and sell them I really really want to be outside more because I want to plant a garden this is why my favorite subject in high school right now is ecology thats all I can think of is ecology and how it’s important to have ecology in life that’s how I want this so badly is to be outside planting a garden that’s how I feel inside that’s the light inside my heart is about caring about the environment and taking care of plants I don’t want to hurt you but this is how I really feel about myself this is all true I kept this inside of a while and this is the truth I,m really sorry that I hurt your feelings this is the truth about me .   

I think I need to get some plants ready for her to put in the ground this year!!  She did a science fair project a few years ago and had a great time:

science project 8th grade

science project 8th grade

Science fair 8th grade

Science fair 8th grade

The result

The result


Memories of September 11, 2001

In Dev’s History class they were discussing 9/11 events. I love that Dev brings school stuff home. So, we shuffled through some pictures and talked about what she remembered. I think she has more memories of us talking about it, as she had just turned 5 when it happened.

We were in Florida at the time, Sean was in the Air Force, serving the last year of his 4 year commitment for his academic scholarship. It was a normal morning; I had dropped Dev off at pre-school and was walking her older sister into her first grade room when the secretary’s office had a group of parents gathered around….

It was a very small town, it’s only purpose really to support the Air Force base. Everyone knew things would change quickly. With in 2 weeks we were saying our good-byes to Dad as he deployed to “undisclosed” areas. So the girls and I moved into that weird mind set of “wait and see” Our Air Force friends were amazing and supportive. The girls have some good memories of parties and sleep overs. For Christmas that year we chose to visit Sean’s family (he was still deployed) in New York. We took the train to the city, saw the remains and a few sights. It was very moving.

Family in NYC Christmas in NYC after 9/11/01

Then in the spring Sean came home, YEAH!

Welcome home

Welcome Home Dad, spring 2002

Some how it is all very unreal, more like a story I’ve heard than a story I get to tell.

Here is Dev’s journal entry last night after we looked through pictures.

Dev’s Journal about September 11. Written on 9/12/12


I hope and pray for peace daily.  Deep respect to all that serve for our safety.