Setsubun…it is part of the Lunar New Year celebration in Japan…we have friends that are from Japan and let us celebrate the holiday with them…it was AMAZING! as with many new year traditions the customs preformed are to assure good luck for the coming year while chasing away the bad luck of last year… We threw roasted soy beans while saying “oni wa so to, fu ku wa uchi”, translated to “get out demons, come in happiness”… We threw the beans out the front door, around the house and at Doug and Chad wearing a oni, demon, demon masks. Max and Maddie joined in on wearing the masks and threw the beans at the demons and repeating the saying…we also participated in another tradition by eating a special sushi roll while facing in the lucky direction based on the year…It is said that to truly get the “luck” a person has to eat the whole roll without saying a word…so none of us said a word…WOW what a year will do for a person…the depression is gone…the unnecessary worry and sadness has all but disappeared…so last night I could use my wishes of good luck for others and it felt good…I also love exploring new cultures…I see Down Syndrome as a new culture…a new experience that I need to adapt to…a couple of years ago when my Dad and I traveled to Japan to see my Brother…it was scary…the language barrier, the food barrier, how there is people everywhere and they do not look like me…I even made a horrible comment to my brother that they all look alike…he said no they don’t! he said they are beautiful and stop stereo typing…just watch them and you will see…in the couple weeks I was there…I saw the beauty in the people…I saw how they very much look different from each other…and I was completely wrong…just like when we found out Maddie was going to have an extra chromosome…I said they all look alike…referring to people with Down Syndrome…WELL WE KNOW THAT IS NOT TRUE!!...Maddie truly looks just like Max and a member of our family…last night we sat on zabutons (pillows) around a small table and enjoyed friends, food, and a bright New Year!