It’s Buddy Walk Season!

UTAH, NEW YORK, WISCONSIN, OHIO, & VIRGINIA I’m coming your way! (scroll down to register for these upcoming events)

Here it comes! I am staring down the barrel of September and October and you know what THAT means… It’s Down Syndrome Buddy Walk Season!!! Yes, it’s time to celebrate and fundraise and meet and sing and sign with the many families who love someone with Down syndrome. Around here, my kids just say “good-bye” to their Mama every weekend. I wish there were more weekends in September and October so that I could actually accommodate all of the requests I receive each year. (Note to Buddy Walk Organizers, we are ALREADY getting requests for 2012)

At each event this year I have created a “Team Signing Time!” for our fans who may not necessarily know anyone who has Down syndrome, but who would still love to participate and see a Signing Time event in their area. If you are coming to a Buddy Walk for a Signing Time performance, PLEASE register for The Walk and participate, I guarantee it will be an experience you will never get over. One Buddy Walk organizer told me that their registrations went up 20% the year they had me perform, that’s good news for everyone! So yes, you are welcome to attend and participate, plus I’ll have tattoos and stickers for Team Signing Time and we’ll take a Team Photo together.

Here are the Buddy Walks and Awareness Walks were you can find me this year:
Sept 10, 2011
UDSF – Utah Down Syndrome Foundation Buddy Walk
West Riverfront Park
South Jordan, Utah
8:30am Buddy Walk Registration
10:30am Performance by Rachel Coleman
11:30am Buddy Walk
Click HERE to join for Team Signing Time! in Utah
*Be sure to say “Hi!” to Leah and Lucy at this event!

September 24, 2011
National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk

Great Hill in Central Park, NYC
Registration and activities begin at 11:00am
Walk begins at 12:20pm
Click HERE to join Team Signing Time! in New York City
*Look for Aaron, Rachel, Leah, Lucy AND Laura at this event!

Fox Cities Wisconsin Down Syndrome Awareness Walk and Pre-Walk Activities
September 30, 2011

PreWalk Event (I’m speaking and sharing my family’s story… bring kleenex)
Perry Hall, UW Fox Valley, Menasha
Time: Doors Open at 6:30pm
Presentation Begin at 7:00pm

October 1, 2011
2nd Annual Fox Cities Wisconsin Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin
Riverside Park, Neenah
Click HERE to join Team Signing Time! in Fox Cities Wisconsin

October 2, 2012
Greater Toledo Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk

12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Rocket Hall, University of Toledo
Click HERE to join Team Signing Time! Toledo
*Toledo’s Buddy Walk site is back up! REGISTER NOW!

October 15, 2011
Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia Buddy Walk
Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, VA
8:00am – 2:00pm
Click HERE to join Team Signing Time! NoVA

A few things you may not know… We have been donating products to Buddy Walks since 2003. My very first Buddy Walk appearance and performance was for the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia Buddy Walk in 2006. Two weeks later I performed for the Manasota Buds in Bradenton, Florida.

Last year Signing Time partnered with The National Down Syndrome Society. We donated over $9,000 worth of Signing Time DVDs and products to Down Syndrome Buddy Walks across the country in 2010 by offering a free Signing Time Gift Set to every Buddy Walk that was officially registered with NDSS. This year, we are doing it again! Every Buddy Walk that is registered with NDSS can get one free DVD gift set (just pay shipping). The set includes Leah’s Farm, The Zoo Train, and The Great Outdoors, as well as the accompanying music CD to use in their raffles, silent auctions, or to give to a family in need of communication. It’s one per Buddy Walk, and all they pay is shipping. Have your Buddy Walk organizer visit www.signingtimefoundation.org/buddywalk by October 31st.

DVD Gift Set for each Buddy Walk

So, while you are all taping fall leaves to your front windows and carving pumpkins… I’ll be taping orange and blue electric tape around my fingers because around here THAT is the first sign of fall.

2010 NYC Team Signing Time


2010 Massachusetts Team Signing Time

Babies, Buddy Walks and Blogs

It’s that time of year again… the time of year when my siblings and friends have a ton of babies all within weeks of each other! I know. Weird! It’s also the time of year called “fall” and that means I am galavanting around the country with colors on my fingers and singing and signing with some of our most devout Signing Time Fans… because it’s ALSO the time of year for Down syndrome awareness walks!

WAIT!!! — remember what happened last time everyone I knew was going into labor and I was performing at Buddy Walks?

I remember.
It was 2008.

It started with Baby Asher then came Baby Ryan and even Baby Carter came along too! (But he was born in Georgia… SO far away from me)

The grande finale was Rachel & Natalie’s Excellent Adventure in the midst of all of that I went to Oklahoma, Oregon, and Denver… and then… then Leah’s hat caught on fire.

Oops!

Well, that was 2008.
…And this is 2010

My sister Sarah had Baby Oslo

weeks later my sister-in-law Danielly had Baby Zoey.

A week later my sister-in-law Katie had Baby Brody. (They are in Las Vegas, so I don’t have a photo of Lucy holding him… YET.)

And for the GRAND FINALE… my sister Emilie, yes THE Emilie, had a baby girl on September 20th!!! (a little girl who is yet to be named, but big deal, they didn’t name Alex for three weeks and he turned out all right)

I’m happy to report that Baby Girl Brown attended her first Signing Time Owner’s Meeting yesterday. I held her while Emilie and I held the meeting with others via Skype. Being the boss is boss!

I was able to be at all of the births I was scheduled to be at… and likewise I was not at the births I was not expected to be at… that’s how birth should be.

In the meantime… here is my Down Syndrome Walk schedule :) I already performed in Salt Lake City… and New York City… you were either there or you missed them. Either way you can see photos of the SLC event on my Facebook Fan Page and you can see NYC photos there as well. This weekend I head to Fox Cities, Wisconsin and the following week I will be in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

We have created Team Signing Time for each of the events this year so all of you Signing Time Families can hang out, get freebies and walk together.

Utah Down Syndrome Foundation Buddy Walk
When: Saturday, September 18 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: West Valley Cultural Celebration Center, located at 1355 West 3100 South just off Redwood Road
You weren’t here, but we were!

Rachel Hopkins and Leah

If you weren’t there, then you missed THIS magical moment:

Caterpillar Dreams - Lucy

The National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk in New York
Team Signing Time NEW YORK
When: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Rachel will perform at The Great Hill, Central Park, New York City

Team Signing Time NYC

You also missed this magical moment…

Darth Vader's Angels

Wisconsin Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
Team Signing Time WISCONSIN
I will be giving a keynote address on Friday, October 1 at 6:30pm at Elks Lodge No. 337
(1103 W College Ave, Appleton, WI)
I will be performing at The Awareness Walk on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 1:45pm at Riverside Park, Neenah, Wisconsin

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress Buddy Walk
Team Signing Time MASSACHUSETTS
Where: Buddy Walk at in Wakefield, MA at Lake Quannapowitt
When: Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Making Wishes Come True – Part 2

It was early Tuesday morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed.  Truthfully, it wasn’t even that early.  I had already gotten up and tag teamed with Aaron to get the girls out the door and off to school and then I had returned to bed and had no desire to get out.  See, I have meetings on Tuesdays and though I have been tempted to show up in my pajamas before, I never have actually done it.  No, I usually give in and shower, get dressed, pull my hair back in a ponytail and show up 10 minutes late with an honest excuse like, “Sorry I’m late!  I couldn’t get out of bed.”  Who would say that?  No, I usually call it “getting stuck in traffic” or “running into unexpected construction” and here’s a tip, no one can argue with, “The bus was late.  Very late.”   

On this particular Tuesday, I pulled my laptop out from underneath my bed and “took on the day.”  That means I hit “Send/Receive” – my inbox began filling up.  It fills UP, because I sort my email with the newest ones at the top.  I try to deal with each email systematically and then on completion, I file it away to keep my inbox clean, which I don’t and it isn’t.

Amidst the meeting reminders and Baby Signing Time post-production epistles marked “Urgent!!!!” one email subject caught my eye, it read, “Subject: Rhett’s Wish & Star Party.”  I only know of one Rhett, and he is an almost 2 year-old boy here in Utah who has Down syndrome.  I had been peeking in on Rhett’s blog for over a year.  I started checking in on him, when I had heard about this little boy who had a near fatal, accidental, painkiller overdose in the hospital.  I opened this email to see what it held.  It had a message from someone who expressed a wish to remain anonymous.  So, the edited version is this:

**********************************************************************************************************

Hi,

Just incase you don’t already know, i wanted to let you know about Rhett’s wish.  I heard Rhett wished for a big screen TV and Signing Time DVD’s to watch on the big screen.  Anyway, his wish was granted, and now it is time for Rhett to hang his star with all of the others.  He will be having his star party on this Tuesday at 7 PM at Make-A-Wish.  Rhett’s blog is: www.rhettsjourney.blogspot.com

Rhett is a really fun little boy to talk to, if you haven’t met him yet, I am sure you will love him at first site.  Rhett will be back in the hospital later this week, unless it was postponed.

Thanks, for all you do, our family has benefited from Signing Time as so many others have also. 

 ********************************************************************************************************

I jumped out of bed.  If there was going to be a Signing Time related wish today in Salt Lake City, I was going to be there.  I showered, and put on my “Rachel” make-up and did my “Rachel” hair, checked my closet for a set of Signing Time “Rachel” clothes.  Then, I checked Leah’s closet.  I had my ST! outfit, Leah did not.  I was pretty sure Alex didn’t have one at home.  I called Marcus, “Hey I don’t know what you are doing today, but I need a set of purple for Leah and a set of orange for Alex before 5PM tonight.”

I then scoured Rhett’s Blog and found plenty of details about making the wish and having the wish granted, but no mention of what the wish was or if it included Signing Time. I called the Utah Make A Wish Foundation and wondered if they would even tell me anything or would some sort of confidentiality law like HIPA apply?

When I called, I told them that I had heard there was a Signing Time related wish planned that evening and I said, “I am Rachel Coleman from Signing Time, and I would be happy to support you in any way possible.”  Eventually we had a plan…

And with that, I will let Rhett’s incredible parents share the rest of the story.

The day after Rhett’s wish is granted, Rhett’s mom shares OH.MY.GOSH

Rhett’s dad shares the following day on the post STILL GLOWING

Rhett’s mom put together the following video slide show, Rhett’s Wish.  (Grab a tissue!)

And then mommy comes back a week later with this post, simply entitled, “WOW!”

After meeting Rhett and signing with him, I was very impressed with his signing vocabulary.  I let his family know that their little boy is “on my list!”  He is a great signer and he signed everything that I asked him, on cue!  We enjoyed spending time with this remarkable family and it was a thrill for all of us to be a part of such a special celebration!