I shouldn't be telling you about this. I mean, I should be telling you, but not when I should be working on planning it instead!
But, I need a break. And, I really wouldn't mind a little photo stroll down memory lane. So, if you're feeling in the "strolling" mood, then join me!
The Buddy Walk was something we heard about within the first year after Rylee was born. A walk for Down syndrome awareness. Sounds like fun!
So, in October of 2004, we joined other families at our local mall for the walk. (My parents were out of town, but Jeremy's mom was able to come join us at the walk!) Rylee was almost 1 year old, and we had a great time! Somehow, I managed to take *gasp* very few pictures at this walk. The only thing that makes sense to me is that I must have been talking incessantly in order to not have at least 50 pictures from the day. Or maybe I wasn't that fanatic about taking pictures back then. *another gasp* I can't even fathom such a thought.
In October 2005, I was a bit more prepared. Since I knew they didn't have t-shirt sizes small enough for Rylee last year, I assumed the same would be true for this year. So, I got out the 'ole squeeze paint and managed to make her a shirt! How stinkin' cute is she??!!
Again, way too much talking and not enough picture-taking! (We did have a few more family members join us at the walk, so apparently someone snapped a picture of Rylee and me. As for pictures of everyone else... well, I must have been talking!)
It was after the walk in 2005 that I began to get more involved with our local Down syndrome association, called New Directions. (The Buddy Walk is the annual fundraiser for New Directions.) And, surprise, surprise... it was only a few short months before I was a Board Member. (Jeremy says I can't be involved with anything without being involved. And he's right.)
In October of 2006, Rylee and I (and Carter in my tummy) went to the walk together. Jeremy had to work, so Rylee and I swung by work for him to get a quick picture of the two of us.
Then, Rylee and I spent the rest of the day talking with friends (and not taking pictures) and walking with friends (and not taking pictures) and having fun with friends (and not taking pictures.) I know. Can you even imagine? I, for one, am horrified.
October 2007 rolls around... and this year, I helped a little in the walk planning. My mom and aunt were able to join us, and it was fun having Carter experience his 1st Buddy Walk at the age of 6 months!
In October 2008, I decided to get more involved in the planning. Happy to have outgrown the mall, we moved the walk outdoors to a local park, and enjoyed planning lots of outdoor fun!
Here we are, at the start of the walk... (I'm in the navy shirt on the left, holding Carter, Jeremy is in the maroon shirt toward the middle, holding Rylee, and Jordyn was walking and talking with friends she'd invited to come somewhere else in the pack!)
This year, we had HUGE support! Many family and friends came out to be "Rylee's Buddies!" Because I knew I would be busy most of the event helping as a staff member, a friend of ours took pictures during the event, and more moments were captured! (Now that's more like it!)
Here are most of "Rylee's Buddies."
The committee really worked hard, and it all paid off... we more than doubled attendance from the previous year, and profit? Well, it wasn't even comparable.
So 2008 was really a break-through year, not only for New Directions, our local association, but for our family. Now, the Buddy Walk is a huge part of our lives. If I mention to the kids at supper-time that they will get some special "Dad" time that night, they immediately ask if I have a Buddy Walk "mee-ing" (meeting). My family is very supportive of all of the time I put in to planning, and help out where they can.
And now to 2009? I am Co-Director of the Buddy Walk this year, and it's been a very busy 6 months getting ready for the event! It's count-down time now... 12 days to go! We're excited to have more than 30 family and friends currently on the list as "Rylee's Buddies" this year, and visualize a spectacular day, filled with sunshine and family and food and friends and Down syndrome awareness and celebration!
(And now for the salespitch and recruitment speech...)
If you live in the area and want to come enjoy a fun family event for a great cause, here are the details:
New Directions • Down Syndrome Association's
9th Annual Buddy Walk!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sertoma Park • 49th and Oxbow • Sioux Falls, SD
10 am - 1 pm
(Registration 10 am • Walk 11 am)
Registration: $15 a family*
* The funds raised support New Direction's efforts
to offer services that support and enhance
the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome
and their families.
In addition to the walk, Phil Baker will be providing
children's musical entertainment,
and Dance Gallery's Adaptive Dance students will be putting on a show!
Snow White and Cagey from the Sioux Falls Canaries
will join us as well!
There will be balloon hats, crafts, food and FUN!
And if you want to join the list of "Rylee's Buddies," let me know!
We'd LOVE it!
One can never have too many buddies...