The Hard Part – Asking for Help

This was hard for me to do. But, here it is. xoxo

Thomas has a severe overbite, and needs orthodontic treatment to help correct it.

The overbite not only effects his inability to have lip closure, it affects how he chews food, and contributes to his negative body image. This is a huge investment, but necessary for Thomas’s overall dental, medical, and psychological well being.

Thomas’s treatment involves installing a herbst appliance to his lower jaw; which will remain for about a year. Three months after the herbst appliance is installed, upper braces are affixed. When the herbst appliance is removed, lower braces are affixed. After about a year, the braces will be removed, and he’ll wear a retainer for a while, finishing with wearing a retainer while sleeping. The entire process will be about two years.

The total cost of the treatment is about $7,900.00. The down payment for the treatment is nearly $2,000, with monthly payments thereafter for 32 months. The down payment is the reason for this fundraiser. On the optimistic side, I think I can handle the monthly payments. It may be a struggle at times, but absolutely worth it for Thomas.

More about us: We are a family of three, and we call ourselves Team TLC. T for Thomas, L for Lillian (Thomas’s older sibling), and C for Camilla. I’ve single parented Thomas and Lillian since Thomas was 1 year old. Lillian has a disability by way of a chromosome deletion, called 18p-.

Thomas has just recently been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and autism; along with having a high IQ. We have already been addressing one of these issues, and will make our way through getting Thomas the help he needs. He currently attends an online school, and has a 4.0 average.

If you would like to support us by purchasing any of our books, they are all on Amazon.

And if you would like to learn more about our family you can go here,, or have a look around my website and blog.

You can donate through Gofundme (below) or PayPal at or Venmo @CamillaDowns …

One Year Supply of Popcorn Overflowing Onto the Floor

September 13 2021

I won a popcorn maker and a one year supply of popcorn. Yay me! Thank you to Natural Grocers. Love shopping there, and they have great giveaways.

September 18 2021

I like this much more than I thought I would. It even melts vegan butter while it’s popping! Wish I had taken a photo of the first time I used it. I stepped away to get Thomas so he could see it in action. Came back to popcorn overflowing onto the floor. 🤣😂🤣 I used a lot less kernels this time.

Throwback Post: Celebration Between Where We Are and Where We Are Going


August 31 2012:

This is where Team TLC is headed in just a few minutes …. Going to celebrate with our new school …. BBQ, ice cream, Bluegrass band … They are celebrating 10 orbits around the sun for High Desert Montessori School … 2002-2012 …. so HAPPY we are now a part of the community too!! YeeeeHaaawwww!

“Observe your children and learn from them” Dr. Maria Montessori …. 10 year anniversary celebration at High Desert Montessori School. YEP!!


August 31 2009:

Parent tip: When you’re lovely 7 year old asks every 2 minutes “where are we” when traveling and you are in the same city you were in the last 20 times they asked, try this: “We are in between where we were & where we’re going”. It worked fantastic with Lillian this weekend – it slowed down the recurrence of the “where are we” question!! I was pretty proud of myself!

Birthday Celebrations for Lillian’s 20th Birthday

September 14 2021

We started the celebration this morning with opening gifts. Happy 20th Birthday to Lillian Darnell!!!! An iPad and case from me, The Romano Duo, Grandpa Robert, and herself (it was a team effort), a great new shower curtain and sparkly curtain rings from The Romano Duo, a photo book with 2016 photos (in the mail, on the way here) scissors, and a rainbow crystal from me, and a card from Thomas.

Join us and help Lillian celebrate her 20th birthday! I remember having dinner with the Miller family at the Colorado C18 Conference. Matt said that Team TLC would make a great reality TV show, or something like that. Proof of that right near the beginning of Lillian’s live birthday event, via Thomas and an event he was supposed to be attending.

After the gifts, it was pool time! Happy 20th birthday Lillian Darnell!

After pool time, it was back to our place for cupcakes and cheesecake. 🎉❤️😋😋😋❤️🎉 Always lots of photos of blowing out the candles as it wasn’t until 2012 (I think) that Lillian was able to blow out candles.

We ended the Lillian Darnell 20th birthday celebrations with favorite fries to go along with dinner, a drive for a favorite dessert, and then a night time walk.

Thought I’d share something tangible to show the importance of the research that the Chromosome 18 Research Society performs. Lillian is one of those pink bars in the first image. We don’t just get general information having to do with Lillian’s deletion, we get specific information because of the research performed, and the families who have donated blood to be studied, completed questionnaires, and the sharing of information.

Lillian likes to have a birthday fundraiser for our beloved C18 every year. If you feel moved to help further the research they perform, here’s a link to the fundraiser … … Thank you! The facebook birthday fundraiser is over, but you can always donate directly to Chromosome 18, making the donation in Lillian’s name. Go here for that …

I can also send an email to someone at the Research Society with this question, and receive an answer back within 24 to 48 hours (usually faster) … “I’m watching the Gene Dosage Map #1 Youtube video on the website. I’m trying to find the exact molecular coordinates for Lillian’s deletion. Was that something that was determined as being a part of the study?” Pretty amazing, huh? I’m headed to bed now. I’m tired!

September 15 2021

Only one day late! 2016 was a really fun year, and I’m way behind on doing something with the photos. Turned out great!

Link to see the entire photo book …

Ornamental Grasses with Berry Bushes and Clear Skies

August 31 2021

Grateful I went for a walk yesterday morning, as it looks to be a no go today (due to the air quality). It was all about ornamental grasses and berry bushes.

September 9 2021

Look at that beautiful sky! It is such a blessing to finally have clear skies and fresh air after weeks of smoke. I love you Mother Nature. You are simply THE BEST!

Throwback Post: Thomas and Camilla August 2013 Date Day


August 31 2013:

Date day with Thomas!!! First stop … FOOD … YUM!

Second stop on the Camilla n Thomas date day! Was just going to return books but Mr. T wanted this to be stop number 2! Okay with me! I love this place!

Next stop on the Camilla n Thomas date day … Window shopping. He loves looking at Legos! He asks, “What’s this?” …. That’s a pay phone honey. “What’s it for?”

Lion in a Cat Body Followed by The Colony

September 9 2021

Just back from volunteering at the Humane Society. Check out the face of the first cat. I just could not stop looking at her, and thinking that is a freakin’ lion in a cats body! It felt like she wanted to rip our heads off! 😂🤣😂 To be fair, she has reason to look stern, as she is just there temporarily as part of the fire evacuations. (Editing to add: She is NOT available for adoption. She is just there temporarily due to fire evacuations.)

Thomas and I both wanted to bring home the cat in the last three photos. He was a sweetheart, just having arrived yesterday. He won’t be there long.

September 9 2021

Thomas loves this little theater, and was excited to see a play after not having been for well over a year.

First Day of School for Thomas With a Mindful Book

September 7 2021

Thomas’s first day of school photo. 🤣🤣😂 He started on September 1st. He’s also still taking piano lessons, and making great progress. Go Thomas!! xoxo (He’s about halfway through 10th grade).

September 9 2021

Checking the library accounts to see what’s due, and saw that Thomas has this book on hold. I don’t know why this brought the tears flowing. I just kept thinking after 10+ years of me deep diving into mindfulness and meditation, openly sharing with Thomas and Lillian (and with Thomas mocking/arguing with me about some of it), he’s researching it on his own. My heart is overflowing.