Saturday, September 29, 2007


I know you have read about Katrina's involvement with PALS and Camp PALS in the past.......this amazing group of young people have been a huge part of her teenage years......a defining facet of her life. It truly amazes me and humbles me at the spirit that these young people have and their determination to make the world a better place, especially for people with Down syndrome.

Mark your Calanders.....go to this link [Turning the World Upside Down] and download the registration and come to Princeton University on Saturday, November 17, 2007.

Emma Sage will be you better be too!!!!

Princeton University’s Class of 2010 will be sponsoring the first-ever Princeton Down Syndrome Awareness Convention. The event will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2007 from about 10 AM-8 PM. The convention will host exhibitors, speakers and workshops throughout the afternoon for all of the parents. Meanwhile, over 100 Princeton University volunteers will pair up with all of the children and young adults with Down Syndrome. Together, they will spend the day at an Indoor Carnival held on campus complete with games, prizes, food and performances from many Princeton student groups.

This event is a great opportunity for parents to come and learn about the newest developments and issues going on in the Down Syndrome Community. This is a family event - siblings are encouraged to come to the carnival as well. Brunch and Dinner will be provided for all attendees. Finally, to end the event, we will (hopefully) be screening the Camp PALS Documentary.

Please go to and download a registration form ASAP. The registration deadline is October 17. Also, if you have any suggestions as far as speakers or exhibitors, please let me know!

Friday, September 14, 2007

annikaleigh's Most Interesting Photos on Flickriver

If you click on the link in this post, it brings you to a collection of my Most Interesting photographs on Come see my precious joy's....and the passion I have for capturing their lives on film.....and showing the world, the 'Normalcy of Difference'.

Plus, I love seeing the pictures on an all black backdrop!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Remembering September 11, 2001

Six years ago..........September 11, 2001

Six years ago.............our world shook. It wasn't because of a natural disaster, like the Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, but it was a far worse disaster ~ because it was created by human hatred

Life for our family is good [we are truly blessed] and the morning of September 11, 2001 found us in our typical daily routine.........up early, breakfast, drive the children to school and then Emma Sage and I would come home to a quite morning.

Rick was in Montreal, Canada, for school [we had been up to see him a week earlier and spent a glorious vacation touring Montreal, driving home Labor Day weekend.........because of the terror attacks Rick was not able to return home to us for days.]

I dropped Katrina and Greta off at Woodglen and then drove down the valley to drop Otto off at school at Valley View. On the way to Valley View I noticed a plane flying very low..........lower than I have ever seen a commercial flight on the flight pattern we see from our area heading to Newark Airport. I notice planes all the time because of Ricks career in aviation. I shrugged it off as maybe I was just off my bearings that morning.

It was truly a glorious September day,,,,,,,,,,,,,the sky was bright blue, the air was dry and warm, the landscape was draped in light that just made it look like a Rembrandt painting.

Emma Sage and I got home and went inside to hear the phone ringing. I answered the phone and it was my sister Patti, telling me to turn on the news as a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I had a brief moment of fear..............I had worked for years in the area and at one point in my life, had dinner at least once a week at Windows of the World,,,,,,,,,,,,,and then another sinking fear, I was supposed to be at a financial conference put on by Risk/Waters magazine this morning, but I had turned the job down because I just couldn't leave Emma Sage.

I watched the TV,,,,,talking with Patti on the phone. I said to her that I couldn't believe a small plane could have done such damage. I started to cry...........holding Emma Sage in my arms, pacing back and forth, kissing her sweet head and talking with Patti.........
and then BAMM!!!!

In horror my sister and I [on the phone with each other] watched the second plane crash into the second tower. I knew as I watched the plane that it was a big commercial plane and at that exact moment I knew this was a calculated attack.

Patti and I were both crying,,,,,trying to come to terms with what we just saw. All along I clutched this precious child of mine to my chest. Not wanting to let go of her, afraid of what was going on.

This was familiar territory to me..........buildings that were an important part of my life. I watched these buildings being built,,,,,my father driving us to the city from time to time to marvel at the progress of the towers going up,up,up,,,up. A fellow skydiver friend of mine jumped off the Trade Center. I dined at Windows of the World weekly for a few years, I traveled through the towers everyday to the American Express tower in the Financial Trade Center and the building I worked in for Merrill Lynch was the last building to fall on that fateful day. As I watched the TV screen, I was paralyzed by fear and overcome by a sadness that was, to this day, so utterly profound.

I tried to call Rick and was finally able to get through to him in Canada to let him know what was happening in the states.

I then I felt so alone. Watching the horror unfold............talking to my sister and crying, and holding my precious little girl.

As time has moved forward, I realize that there is a reason for everything [sometimes many reasons] and I know that Emma Sage is a blessing in multiple ways..........but one incredible feeling I will never release is the feeling that I have knowing that her extra chromosome [her Down syndrome] is a major reason I was not at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Her birth made Rick and I realize that my being home with the children [but especially this child],,,,giving up much in the way of income,,,,meant that she would have only family to care for work with her,,,to help her develop to her fullest potential, and it kept me home on that fateful Tuesday in September.

Today I remember a dear friend, David E. Rivers, Editor of Risk/Waters Magazine. You were truly an amazing man, editor, writer, friend, husband and father. David, you are missed dearly and will never be forgotten.

Monday, September 10, 2007

102+ Fever.....My sweet child is sick

102 baby is sick

Emma Sage has been running a 102+ fever all day........I've given her two baths to cool her down, trying desperately to get fluids into her as she cries and says her stomach hurts too much.

I feel helpless. Daddy is away.....big sister Nini is away......Greta is at field hockey, all of her comfort people are gone. Mommy has been trying to keep cold compresses on her.

I hope this breaks soon.....before it breaks my heart!

Emma Sage turned to me at one point and weakly said "I feel like I'm dying"
The joy of sisterhood

“Well, it seems to me that the best relationships - the ones that last - are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is ... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.” ~ Gillian Anderson

Especially if that friendship starts off in the form or 'Sisterhood'

Emma Sage has not wanted to leave Greta's side since she dropped her big sister Katrina off to college. I think she is afraid Greta is going to go away too.........

Sunday, September 09, 2007

aPrecious child of mine

Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots, of angels. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow