Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Life holds so many simple blessings, each day bringing its own individual wonder.
~John McLeod

As we end 2010, we are truly thankful for all the blessings God has given us this year.

~We always have enough!! Our enough is so much more than 95% of the world. We are truly thankful for God's provision.

~A surprise, paid day off with Jason, especially after working so many late nights it was a true joy to have him home on Wednesday. Aidan seriously screamed with excitement when I told him Jason had called to say he had the day off.

~All church Sabbath - On Sunday our church held an all church sabbath and we thoroughly enjoyed the day by hanging out in our jammies and playing games all day.

~Family fun - Finger Painting, ooze making, Alayna being silly & pretending to sleep in her baby doll carrier, raspberries given by a sweet 2 year old and the belly giggles that follow, not having anywhere we have to be, board game marathons & daddy bringing Alayna's outdoor toys inside for the winter (who says you can't play at the park when it's cold outside?)!

~Operation underpants continues to be a big success.

~Our good health. As a cancer survivor, I don't take health for granted. I am thankful for each day that I get to spend with my family. I know that when we are dealing with a cold or fever there are so many out there that are fighting cancer or other diseases. We pray for those that are battling illness.

~We are truly thankful that several kids from Reece's Rainbow have found their forever families this Christmas season. However, there are still many more kids listed. Please consider a tax deductible donation and continue to pray for these children.

We hope you have a moment to reflect on your 2010 blessings (share a few please!)
We pray that you have a safe and happy New Year.
We look forward to sharing more thankfuls with you next year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Potty training 101: Operation Underpants

Alayna continues to make super progress in potty training. If you want to read about how we started click here.

She has been doing really well letting us know when she has to use the toilet and is staying dry, even in diapers during the day (most of the time). So, I decided the few weeks off school during Christmas break would be a great time to test out her readiness to step into big girl panties.

She was super excited to put on underwear and sport them around. Her big brother was just as excited and was broadcasting the news to anyone who would listen! Really, he helped pick out her new undies and was telling the cashier at Target all about his sister being such a big girl. He was even excited for her when he found out that she is potty training a few months earlier than he did!

The first day I kept her in undies only a few hours. Each day I added a little more time until she is wearing big girls all day (besides nap time but, she is usually dry in her diaper after naps now too). She has only had 2 accidents.

I learned quickly the first couple days that she did NOT want to be put on the toilet every hour just to see if she needed to go. That was making her frustrated. So I backed off and have let her tell me when she needs to go. The only "scheduled" times are first thing in the morning, before and after nap and before bed.

I wasn't brave enough on Christmas Eve or day while we were traveling to church and other people's homes to not use a diaper. But, she again surprised me by signing potty when she needed to go both days and did not wet in her diaper.

We know there will be accidents and that nighttime training will come later as with all kids but, we are super proud of our big girl and the progress she continues to make.

Slow and steady wins the race, we introduced the potty about 6 months ago and are thankful that she took to it so well. Hopefully within a couple months our diaper bill will be greatly reduced.

We are working on her pulling up her pants and helping out with washing her hands (she is so little she can't reach the faucet yet though).

Are you working on potty training with your toddler? Any tips or tricks that you can share?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas picture review for the grandparents

We had a wonderful Christmas. We were even blessed with Jason finishing early enough on Christmas Eve that he made it to church with us! After church we went to Elise's for dinner and present opening with Grace & Rayne, as we don't see them on Christmas day.

On Christmas morning Aidan actually slept in until 7:30 (which is unheard of). Then we lit our candle and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, put baby Jesus in the nativity scene, and then commenced to making a mess with unwrapping presents.

Aidan was thrilled with his Star Wars stuff and games. Alayna loved her finger paints, doll stuff and big drum.

Just a short respite before more playing with all their stuff.

And Alayna's all time favorite Christmas
present this year......
the empty boxes!

We had lunch at Uncle Ed & Aunt Jane's then we all went out and visited Great Grandma.

Finally, we ended the day with a game afternoon (just in case you are wondering...Kelli & I won pictionary.) Alayna was having so much fun she skipped her nap and fell asleep in the car on the way home at 5:30 and didn't wake up until 7:30 Sunday morning.

It was a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

from our home
to yours.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Happy Birthday Jesus, you are the reason we celebrate Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
Author unknown

~(From Alayna) That we will finally be able to OPEN these presents under the tree! She has been bothering one of Aidan's presents for weeks now, just that one! (Grandma it's the round one, go figure!)

~A first try at big girl panties for Alayna on Wednesday resulted in no accidents! She was in them for 3 1/2 hours until bedtime! WOO HOO! We are going to try a few hours a day.
~Last of the busy weeks for Jason, next week we can have daddy home in the evenings.

~Big brothers who play hide and seek over and over again with their 2 year old sister just because she asks him too. It has been so fun to have Aidan home all day!

~Lunch picnics on the living room floor with my two favorite kids.

~Tubes really do work..more words as of lately night, night (sounds like light, light), spider (pider), bubbles!

We hope your week has been blessed and that you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! Please share a blessing from your week or your favorite Christmas tradition that your family has.

Here's a little finger play that Alayna's speech therapist taught her last week.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick Trip on the Santa train

Sunday afternoon was a fun, family adventure visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and all the elves on the KC Southern Holiday express at Union Station.

The train was filled with holiday decorations from ceiling to floor. Alayna was in awe (as were we all).

The elves gave the kids coloring books, toys and loads of candy.
When we were finished we stayed around to see the model trains exhibit, the Polar Express is one of our favorites.

One last stop in front of the giant tree in the rotunda.

This was a nice way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lily is giving away an I PAD!

Our friends over at A perfect Lily have upped the ante. This week they gave away an I Pod to people who donated to Olga (and God answered big with generous people who gave over $11,000). Now this week Lily's family is raising the bar and offering an I PAD to one lucky commenter who donates either to Olga or Kareen or both.

Both these little girls have down syndrome just like Alayna, but because they have down syndrome they are in an orphanage in Eastern Europe awaiting their forever family through Reece's Rainbow.

When January comes and you are taking down your holiday decorations and deciding what to do with all those new toys your kids acquired these two sweethearts will turn 5 and be shuffled off to a mental institution to spend the rest of their lives UNLESS we pray and give and tell our friends about this.

I look at Alayna everyday and it breaks my heart that there is even one single child that would be locked away forever just because they have down syndrome.

I ask you to give up a few fancy coffees, or even a present or two this holiday season and give the gift of a life to these children.

International adoption costs around $25,000 so for these girls to have half their money raised makes it easier for a family to step in and fund their adoption.

God calls each of us to support orphans and Reece's Rainbow is a great Christian organization to accomplish that mission.

So what are you waiting for? Hurry over to Lily's and enter to win a new I Pad!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

This week I am thankful for...

~Alayna's great follow up check up with the ENT. Even though her hearing test in August was normal we can tell with the tubes she is hearing even better. She is using more language & many more words and sounds.

~We swapped cable companies and are going to save $600 this year (ooo how many orphans can we help with that?)

~Alayna & I were able to go back to BSF after being gone the past two weeks (one for her surgery recovery and one for my recovery from pink eye!) Thankful to be back in our normal routine.

~A warm home on these cold nights & a meal that is good enough, nothing ever fancy but, really how many people out there go without?

~Two very silly but, always entertaining kids and a sweet husband. Alayna's newest game is to pretend to sleep, she even has a cute little breathy "snore" that goes along with it. The other day I opened her car door and went to get her out and she was pretending to sleep, when I said, "oh no Alayna's asleep" she popped her eyes open and giggled heartily!

~That I finally figured out how to make our HD video on our new DSLR camera small enough to post on the blog. Here is Alayna being silly with Aunt Elise.

I am blessed.

How about you? What blessings were given to you this week?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Their light will always shine

Today at 7pm we lit a candle to join the Worldwide Candle lighting ceremony in remembrance for all the children who have died.

We especially remember Kristen Kirton , Carly, Sienna, Hannah, and their families.

As we lit our candle that Kristen's sweet mother, Polly sent us we prayed for this fantastic family and all the other families that are grieving the loss of their child.

We remember them~ their lights are still shining!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In the holiday spirit

Aidan's piano teacher, Ms. Nancy asked for volunteers to play accompaniment with Christmas carollers at the MLM Christmas store. Aidan has been super excited about this opportunity to go out in the community and serve, using his new piano skills.

Last year, we stocked shelves in the MLM food pantry to get ready for the 1200 families they serve so being the "entertainment" this year was a giant treat for him.

The kids did a great job playing, singing and having a little fun.

Alayna wasn't about to be left out and found her home right on top of the grand piano just perfect! She also added a little shaker beat to the songs too!

Just in case you aren't in the Christmas mood yet here is a little jingle bells for you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless he has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty. ~Peter Marshall

~I am extremely grateful for God answering my prayers for providing Maria with a forever family. Thankful for all the people who have stepped up especially Stephanie and Patti to raise money for Olga to find her forever family!

~Alayna's recovery went SO smoothly. Seriously, she was happily eating goldfish 4 (ok, maybe 3 days) after surgery. She didn't complain at all, she just would tire out more quickly and she had a couple nights where her sleep was restless but, overall she breezed through with flying colors.

~The past few weeks have been stressful for Aidan, with Jason working longer hours for the Christmas rush, Alayna's surgery and me not being home. I am thankful that he has continued to do well at school and praying that he continues.

~Thankful for a new DSLR camera. Our old point and shoot that we bought when Aidan was born died last week. Now to figure out how to use it...

~Thankful for Alayna's continued progress. She is standing more and walking more with her sure steps, she is using more sounds and words and is addicted to books even more than goldfish (seriously I love it but, where do you draw the line and make her go play with toys. LOL), she has a great sense of humor and finally she is doing great with using the potty.

Your turn...what are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Pod touch giveaway at Lilys

Do you need or want an Ipod touch for Christmas? Do you have a heart to save orphans? Do you love doing kind things? Do you need another tax deduction this year?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions hurry over to Lily's blog and enter to win your very own brand new Ipod touch and help sweet Olga.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

She has a forever family!

My heart skipped a beat or two today when I went online to check at Reece's Rainbow (International Down Syndrome Adoption website).

My sweet Maria, that I have been praying for over the past year has found her forever family. I couldn't be happier for this sweet girl who has been in my heart ever since I saw her face. I can't wait to follow her family's journey as they go to pick her up.

Maybe one day God will put it on our hearts that we are to adopt a child but, until then we will continue to do as God directs us to do in James 1:27 support others who are called to adopt and to pray fervently for them.

There are over 147 million orphans in the world. This Christmas I told Jason the only gift I wanted was to sponsor this sweet child so that someone could afford to bring her home! I urge you to forgo a couple Starbucks, skip that night out to dinner this season (or whatever your vice may be) and support an orphan.

Click here to donate to the Reece's Rainbow Angel tree OR,

One of my dear friends, Jenny & Cameron Wallace are in the final process of adopting a 15 month old little girl from Ethiopia, to add to their 3 biological children. Jenny was one of the special educators on my staff when I was an Asst Principal. This family is one of the best Christian families I have ever had the pleasure of being friends with. I urge you to hop over to their blog and donate via their donate link. They have been saving aluminum cans, selling t shirts and coffee to afford to add sweet Joleigh to their family.
Every penny you donate will forever change a life!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.” —Melody Beattie

So many things to be thankful are just a few of mine this week.

~I am very grateful that Alayna came through surgery so well and continues to make great progress at recovery without much pain. She definitely wears out quicker and wants to snuggle more but overall her recovery is going well. She is eating and drinking ok. The hardest part is trying to convince her that goldfish and cheerios are NOT on the soft diet. I gave in and soaked her cheerios until they were semi soft and she happily ate two bowls this morning. Praying that her recovery continues this well!

~Everyone who prayed for Alayna this week. We truly felt surrounded by love, peace and God's presence.

~Friends that, without being asked, offered to have Aidan spend the night with them on Sunday night so we didn't have to get him up at 5am and find some place for him to go before school. They also took care of our dogs, came to visit us in the hospital, brought Jason home from the hospital so we didn't have to drive 2 cars and finished our Christmas shopping for us and delivered it to our house. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

~Friends and family that stopped by or called "just because" bearing meals and/or gifts for Alayna that were unnecessary but, greatly appreciated.

What are you thankful for this week?