Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween weekend in pictures

We have had so much Halloween fun we had to stretch it out for the whole weekend. On Friday, Alayna's toddler class dressed up. It was funny to watch them check each other out. There were dragons, butterflies, winnie the pooh, of course and even an adorable peacock.

Aidan had his class party and parade that day too. After a sugary good time at school he went straight to my sister's work party that evening. Needless to say my little Obi Wan was one tired boy that evening.

On Saturday, we went to our church's Fall festival. The kids had a great time. Aidan loved the treat walk, hayrack ride and the pumpkin launch.

Alayna loved the monster toss.

We carved our pumpkins on Saturday night and both kids had fun cleaning out all the seeds.

I love how the kids are intently watching Jason do the carving! I can almost hear them giving him specific directions on how to make it look just right LOL!

Finally, Halloween night and after several dress rehearsals, my little goblins were prepared to take on the neighborhood for some trick or treating.

Aidan lost his loose tooth (with a little help from me, it has been hanging on for weeks!) just in time to indulge in some sugary snacks.

A ton of candy and a fun time was had by all...Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Take 5 minutes and sit quietly and reflect on all the blessings in your life.
~Catherine Pulsifer

~Jason bid for a permanent route (up until now he has been a cover driver, covering for other drivers who were on vacation, so his end times always varied) and started that route this week. It is a great route for him, closest to home in his area and no late pick ups so he is able to be home around 5ish each day which is such a huge blessing to me and the kids.

~My quality time day with Aidan last Friday was awesome and something that we both needed. We are going to make this a regular attraction at our home.

~My sweet boy and his fantastic smile (that is minus another tooth this week). He had his end of the year soccer pizza party and earned this medal, which as you can tell he was SUPER proud of.

~Alayna figured out how to make her bicycle go forward by alternating her feet. It was fun to sit back and watch her go.

~Alayna's IFSP review was this week, it went well. Based on tests the SLP gave her she didn't qualify for speech services due to her large sign vocabulary, which was definitely a positive for us. She still qualifies based on her verbal skills not being commensurate with her signing skills so we will continue with all her services as they are now.

Hope you take a few minutes to reflect on your blessings, feel free to share one or two...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Individual Quality time...

Aidan was out of school on Thursday and Friday due to parent teacher conferences. As Jason was on vacation this week too it allowed us to split up and have quality time alone with each one of the kids.

On Thursday, I took Alayna to her individual therapies and had some mommy time with just her.

Aidan had requested to volunteer at one of the local homeless shelters, so he and Jason got up and headed out after breakfast to serve.

They had a great time, they cleaned out a donation closet and organized the supplies that were donated. They were able to go out and have lunch together and later that evening they still had the energy to have yet another fun kickball game with the neighborhood kids.

On Friday, it was my turn for time with Aidan. Jason took Alayna to her toddler class while Aidan and I made a quick stop at the library for new books then off to Union Station and Science City for a day of fun.

It is an amazing hands on science museum.

We nearly opened and closed the place and were both exhausted when we got home. It was a great day!

I know that both the kids as well as us enjoyed their personal time alone with each of us. We will definitely have to do that more often.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

A grateful heart is one that finds the countless blessings of God
in the seemingly mundane everyday life.

~Jason being on vacation this week. Even though we didn't go out of town on a vacation, just having him home to spend time with us is a huge blessing to me and the kids.

~Aidan being off school Thursday and Friday (parent conferences), more family time!

~Jason & Aidan are serving at one of the local homeless shelters today while Alayna & I go to her PT, OT & ST, not because we suggested it but, because Aidan knew he was out of school and asked if we could go and serve.

~Neighborhood kickball games in our front yard that last until way after dark. I think the dads were having more fun than the kids =)

~Took my van in knowing the random squealing brake sound probably meant time for an expensive brake job, thankfully though the brakes are great and we just needed a $30 oil change. YEAH!

~The great preschool option for Alayna that we visited on Monday!

God continues to bless us and for that we are truly grateful. It's your turn...what are you thankful for this week?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time for preschool? (weekend pics & surgery date)

If you know me you know that I am not a procrastinator. However, I know Alayna just turned 2, don't panic and think I have totally gone off the deep end (at least not yet).

As Jason is on vacation this week and probably won't have another vacation until late spring or early summer we thought we would go visit the preschool through our local school district so that we can begin to figure out what placement we think is best for Alayna for next year.

The school Alayna attends now has a preschool program but, after visiting our local school preschool we are strongly leaning towards it. It was fantastic, it is housed in a brand new elementary building that opened in August which is minutes away from our home which doesn't hurt either.

One of the early childhood special educators that we met has a 21 year old son with ds. She immediately spotted Alayna and called dibs on her to be in her class for next year!

Alayna would attend this school for the next 3 years. At 3 & 4 she would go three days a week in the mornings then when she turns 5 she would be in the preK class everyday in the afternoons.

We are really thankful her birthday is in October so she will be a little older in her class giving her a little extra time to prepare for kindergarten.

After our preschool visit I was able to slip over and surprise a handsome 7 year old for his lunchtime, as he eats at 12:30 (prime nap time for Alayna) I haven't made it over to eat with him this year. He was really excited I came to see him.

On Saturday, I went to a retreat for our church. Jason and the kids went to a pumpkin patch and had a great day. Here are a few pictures from their day.
While we were touring the preschool Alayna's nurse called to say that her tonsil, adenoid and ear tube surgery is November 29th! We are on a call list in case someone else cancels, we are hoping to get it done earlier so that we aren't around the hospital in prime sickness season.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

To be happy, do not add to your possessions,
but subtract from your desires.

Thankfuls this week....
~We are so very thankful for 2 wonderful years with Alayna. I was so anxious a few weeks before her birthday as my last "baby" is turning 2 but, when the day came it was fabulous to celebrate her life.
~Alayna's ENT is wonderful!!! She squeezed us in today after our Bible study to see her instead of waiting until Friday to see her PA.

She agreed that Alayna's tonsils are huge (not due to any infection she just has monster tonsils)and need to come out. While she is in there she will also take out her adenoids and put in ear tubes. Alayna hasn't had any ear infections but has had some fluid in her ears since April. We are probably going to be scheduled the 2nd week of November for an overnight stay.

~Nice weather, crunchy leaves and cool nights.

~Enjoying having my 7 year old niece, Grace here each day before and after school. She is a sweetheart.

~My guest blogger, Jason who did a fabulous post (sorry I should have warned you all to get out the tissues). If you haven't read his post about Alayna's birth check it out here.

Hope your week is going well, what are you thankful for?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Alayna's birthday weekend

I think Alayna has decided that every weekend should be a birthday weekend.

Friday, her toddler class celebrated she & LC turning 2 with banana split sundaes complements of LC's family and party hats complements of their awesome teacher, Miss Ann.

On Saturday, we celebrated Alayna turning 2 with our family over for cake and ice cream. As you can tell Alayna was eating up the attention!

Aidan, Grace & Rayne helped Alayna open and play with all her new things.

Aidan made Alayna's sprinkle cake and a sweet little heart shaped cupcake!

It was a great weekend celebrating our terrific 2 year old! We love you Alayna Faith!

At her 2 year checkup this morning she weighed in at 22 pounds, 2 oz and is 30 1/2 inches tall. She didn't even shed a tear when she got her flu shot, although she thought about it.

We are going to the ENT on Friday morning for a surgery consult to have her tonsils taken out as they are huge (not due to any illness they are always big). She will probably have adenoids out too and possibly tubes put in.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Alayna : Looking back from Dad's eyes...

Written by Alayna's dad, Jason

When Alayna was born I was in shock, angry and very frightened about what the future would hold for her and for us. I knew nothing about down syndrome. I didn't feel prepared for a child with special needs at all. I didn't want to make that call to our families to tell them about her diagnosis, when I finally did make the call I didn't know what to say. My immediate thoughts were to protect her from the world.

During our stay in the hospital (Alayna was in the NICU for 17 days) I was fortunate enough to meet Justin & Courtney Heigele who were adopting a baby girl, LC who was born the day after Alayna and also had down syndrome.

Looking back I can see that God placed these people in our lives to help me with the initial shock and fear. Knowing that this couple searched to adopt a baby with down syndrome helped me to overcome a lot of the anger and fear. Hearing their story made me start to focus on the positives, we had a beautiful baby girl.

I returned to work a week after Alayna was born but, I was still unsure of what the future would hold. I prayed to God that first day back to work for peace, reassurance and His help to be the best dad I could be to my little girl. That week I continued to pray and while on my route I turned onto a street to make a delivery, a man on the sidewalk put his hand up to wave at me. I realized that this man didn't have down syndrome but had special needs. In that moment I knew God was telling me it was going to be ok.

As we celebrate Alayna's second birthday, I no longer worry about the future but focus on each day as it comes. My daughter is loving, caring, happy, funny, sweet, and cuddly. She is everything I imagined my little girl would be and so much more. I have great hopes and dreams for Alayna just like I do for Aidan and Liam.

Every morning it is a joy to see her smiling face and giggly self before I go to work. She is always ready to greet me at the door when I come home in the evenings with a hug and a "Hi dad", it truly melts my heart.

Happy 2nd Birthday Alayna.

I love you,

If you haven't read Rochelle's post on Alayna's birth click here to do so.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.
It's a way to live.
~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

~I am very grateful God prepared me for the week by teaching me that even in the bumps along life's path I need to be grateful. I posted this in my Thankful Thursday post last Thursday and literally that day we had some bumps on our road. I am grateful for all the moments I have in life, even when some of them seem stressful I can use them to grow closer to God.

~Friends who email, call, visit and hold us up in prayer.

~Both kids love music, Aidan is continuing to excel at piano and loving learning it while Alayna is adding more words to songs by the day.

~I am grateful for a wonderful blogging community that is raising down syndrome awareness daily.

~I am thankful for my sweet hubby. Last Saturday he drove us to St Louis and back (8 hours) to spend an evening celebrating the wedding of my dearest college pal. For him it was a little like a class reunion where you knew absolutely NO ONE! He does all this without ever complaining. I love you Jason, you are one in a million.

~Finally, I am thankful this week for my mother, who kept the kids Saturday afternoon and night so that we could go to St Louis.

And now without further ado, the music makers themselves...
Hope your week hasn't had too many bumps, but even if it has I hope you have turned them into ways to be grateful.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Potty training 101: progress

This summer we introduced Alayna to potty training and she took to it very well. (Click here to read how we started).

After a few months of slowly adding potty time into our schedule she has made great progress.

  • She is signing potty each time we put her on the toilet.

  • She is signing potty each time before she is ready to make a bm (we always hurry and get her on the potty, yeah for not having to change poopy diapers!)
  • She is recognizing that she can control her bowels (not that she always does sometimes she signs potty when she is peeing in her diaper but, she has the awareness.
  • She is beginning to sign potty before needing to pee. For example, after toddler class last week we were putting our swimsuits on to go into the pool and she had a dry diaper she then signed potty and peed in the potty. Again, after church yesterday she signed potty and I took her to the toilet, she had a dry diaper and completed the job on the potty.

We will continue to add potty time into Alayna's daily routine. Our next steps are including the self help portion of helping pull up her pants and wash and dry her hands afterwards trying to practice the whole routine.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Are you working with your toddler on potty training? How is it going?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Down Syndrome awareness

As October is Down Syndrome awareness month, I thought I would share some information with you that might help you or someone you know better understand down syndrome.

For us, down syndrome is just one small part of who Alayna is, it in no way defines her. She is a typical almost 2 year old girl that loves her big brother, giggles lots, is very social, enjoys books, loves music, loves ice cream, gets excited when we say we are going to the park, gives great hugs and kisses...the list could go on and on. As you can see she is more alike every other kid than different and that is what we focus on.

Some of our blogging buddies are blogging daily this month to bring awareness to ds. As it takes me WAY too long complete just one post I am not going to take on this great challenge but, look forward to reading all the great posts from our friends. Take a moment to visit our buddies blogs this month and learn a little more about the Ups of down syndrome.

Did you know...

Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition with an incidence of 1 in every 733 births. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome.

There are currently over 400,000 individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States.

There are approximately 5,000 babies born with Down syndrome each year in the United States.

It is one of the leading clinical causes of cognitive delay in the world - it is not related to race, nationality, religion or socio-economic status.

With appropriate support, individuals with Down syndrome can lead fulfilling lives and be contributing members of society.

Thanks for loving our Alayna and all our other buddies around the world that sport that extra chromosome!