Saturday, October 26, 2013

Step Up for Down Syndrome

It was a beautifully sunny day here on Saturday.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Step Up for Down Syndrome.

We are thankful to the friends and family that came out and walked with us and for those who donated to our team.

Dariya thought this and the food was the best part of the day!

Thankfully they had pony rides again as that is ALL Alayna has talked about this week!

My sweet boy!

Jace is wondering how the Cannon crew commandeered his wagon train

♥ Alayna and her Ms. Juanita ♥

The adorable Heigele crew!

Taylor and Alayna stretching before the walk

In the middle of the walk we lost Juanita, someone was heartbroken

Courtney and Whitney - They don't make them any prettier!

Sister secrets

Nearing the finish line with Grandma and Pop Pop

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The journey is always better with friends

While we were in Ukraine we were able to meet Jilll and Pat Birschbach from Wisconsin and spend some time with them.  I continue to follow their blog as they are such a great family and now they are on their third RR adoption!

Last year right around the time I was diagnosed with cancer, Jill posted on her blog asking prayers for one of her prayer group friends, Rochelle Rosenthal who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Rochelle and I connected through our caringbridge accounts then email and phone.

Over the past year the Rosenthal family, especially Rochelle have been a huge uplifting blessing from God to me.  I count her as my best cancer blessing.

So a few weeks ago when she called to say that their trip to DC was going to be canceled for last week with the shutdown and she wondered if they could come visit us I jumped up and down with excitement.

This past weekend was a flurry of activities, conversation and fun.  The more we talked the more we had in common.  It truly got to be funny.

The kids didn't take too long to warm up to each other.  Aidan was begging for them to stay longer when they had to leave on Sunday.  He had a blast with his new friends.  The girls were glued to either Klara, Jocelyn or Rochelle all weekend.  ( I bet they are sleeping off Dariya right now LOL)

Oh my what fun we had but time just wouldn't stand still!

Thanks Rosenthal family for blessing us with your visit.  We can't wait to meet your new daughter (they are also adopting a girl from RR)

The door is always open and I promise there won't be so many red lights next time.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happy 5th birthday, Alayna!

I can't believe the time has already come 
You are five, now let's have some fun.

A party with your family you will make
with a special Sid the Science kid birthday cake.

You are beautiful, smart, sassy and sweet
silly, funny, and can dance on the beat.

Our lives are much fuller with you
one of your jokes, or a laugh makes the day able to get through.

From the "hump day" advert you recite by heart
you have a way to make us laugh right from the start.

As I reflect on the years you have grown up until now
all I can say is you continue to amaze!

Alayna, we pray that God will continue to guide your life
making sure you don't have much strife.

Don't let the world or anyone hold you back
keep your eye on Jesus and he will guide your track.

May you know how much we love and adore
you are wished well this fifth birthday now go out and soar!

Happy birthday, Alayna Faith

We couldn't love you more xoxo

Mommy, Daddy, Aidan and Dariya

Here are a few pics from the party...
A doll as big as me! (Almost) 

My favorite....Uncle Ed
A cute outfit from Grandma & PopPop
Posing with my ice cream set

The grand finale....blowing out the candles on my Sid cake which I loved!

Friday, October 4, 2013

We did it! A successful dentist visit.

Today was the girl's dental check up.

They have been in to have their teeth cleaned 4 times.

Our dentist isn't a pediatric dentist but, he is awesome and has other patients with down syndrome so knows that you have to make the patient totally comfortable with the visits before you can ever try a cleaning.

Two years ago on Dariya's first visit (fall after she came home) she screamed like someone was trying to kill her just at the idea of being in the dental chair.  I have to be honest, at that moment I never thought she would allow a total stranger to look into her mouth.

It took me 11 months to work her into using a power toothbrush and I am so glad that I persisted in this. Her teeth were pretty stained from the tea and non brushing that happened at the orphanage.

Thankfully today both girls had glowing reports.  Very clean teeth, no cavities and Dariya's staining is even gone!  YAHOO!

Alayna let them use the power polisher while Dariya stayed with the safe toothbrush.  Both girls made me proud in getting in the chair by themselves, laying back and holding their mouths open.
I am thankful to my mom for tagging along as back up.

We did it!  Proud of you big girls and I know they were proud of themselves!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Enough therapy?

When Alayna was born we learned about a fabulous infant development center locally that specializes in therapies for kids.  This center has had thousands of kids with down syndrome over the years.

Luckily, they had an opening and when she was about 3 months old our therapy journey began.

While I was so very thankful to have such a great facility and staff at our fingertips, it seemed so wrong to have to take my baby to "therapy."  I understood the need for therapies to not only work with Alayna, helping her learn new skills and train her body to do things the proper way but also to show me what I could be doing with her at home to help her development.  However, it still felt so different from my parenting experience with Aidan.

After a few months my brain got wrapped around the idea of weekly therapy and I began to truly enjoy this time watching her physical therapist and teacher and learning from them.

I then learned about another opportunity in our area where therapists come to your home at no cost to us. However, me being the "more therapy isn't always a good thing" girl I declined for the moment.

When Alayna was older and up moving around more we decided it was a good time to add an extra therapist. We added a great occupational for a few months and then Alayna began having a speech explosion so we changed the OT to a fabulous speech therapist.

We remained at this infant development center and had our in home ST until Alayna turned 3 then she (and Dariya) transitioned to the school district's preschool program.  They both receive ST, PT & OT each week at school and are making huge strides in all categories.

Last spring I began reading about therapeutic listening.  With the girls going to kindergarten next fall we wanted to give them the best opportunity to hone their skills so decided this was something we wanted to try especially with Dariya but also Alayna.

We found an OT that specializes in therapeutic listening and began the program in June.  The girls are really enjoying this OT session each week.  We decided to continue this OT during the school year and in September added an extra speech session with a therapist in the same place.

Over the years I have learned that therapy of some sort is probably always going to be in our schedule. While I don't think piling session after session is going to produce bigger outcomes I do think there are seasons when an extra therapy might be needed in the girl's lives.  For example, we would love to add a hippotherapy but, have enough therapy in our schedule now and that can wait.

I guess I write this all to say don't just do therapy because someone told you it would be good for your child or that it is free or whatever the reason.  Examine your own child and see where their strengths and weaknesses are and go from there.

What is your opinion on therapy?