Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We are finally back online

After a week and a half of no internet we are happy to be back online.  Although I must admit the fasting from blogging, FB, email etc was kind of nice.  It gave us plenty of time to spend together as a family.   

Life is chugging along well. 
The girls are doing well at the school district preschool.  Dariya only acted like “Taz” one time during last Friday’s class.   They did a theme on dinosaurs and Alayna immediately showed me her teeth and growled (which is her sign for dinosaur) when I picked her up.

They also started preschool at IDC on Tuesday.  Alayna LOVES her teacher Ms. Ann, whom she has had since she was a wee one and was super excited to see all her friends at big kid school. 
 I know we are blessed beyond measure to have two great schools and such caring, Christian teachers helping our girls soar.
Dariya's teacher, Ms. Janie commented that "she has a lot of energy"  Haha.  I guess she kept them on the go.   She did well also and separated from me with no hesitation and was really happy to see me when I returned.

The girls also had their first dentist appointments which went really well.  Their dentist looked at their teeth and did some fun stuff like counting their teeth and showing them what all the instruments do.  Dariya was cracking up at the water spray in her mouth and the “mister slurpy” suction straw.  Overall, they both have good looking teeth with no signs of cavities.    This is a relief because Dariya’s teeth were pretty stained when we were in Ukraine, I am assuming from all the juice they allowed her.  Her breath also always had a vinegar scent but, since we have been home and she loves brushing all that is gone.
Aidan is doing great in 3rd grade.  He continues to be a book worm.  Everywhere we go he has a book with him.  He started the Harry Potter series and is fascinated.  He is also excited to start piano back next week too.

Here are some pictures of what we have been up to while we were offline. 

We have several fabulous nature centers within minutes of our house.  Saturday morning was overcast and cool so we took the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors.   We nearly had the whole place to ourselves.  We arrived just in time for the caretaker to be taking the birds of prey and the owls out on walks and to their enclosures. 
He was super knowledgeable about the birds and taught us tons about these animals.

Dariya catches her first ride (sit) on the bike with Uncle Ed

We scored a sand/water table for $2 at a garage sale and the kids LOVE it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dariya's new glasses

Thanks to everyone who commented and shared information with us about glasses for Dariya.  We found a great pair for her from Specs4US, which is a company that specifically makes frames for people with down syndrome.  The nose piece is down further so they fit well on her flat nasal bridge.

We have already been to have them adjusted twice since last Thursday.  Hahaha.  The sweet lady that Jason delivers to at Wal-Mart put a different kind of nose piece on for us, the continuous kind.  It seems to work much better.   She also showed us another frame that works perfectly for Dariya’s lack of nose bridge for only $50 (Nick Kids Jr for all you ds mamas that might need the info).  I know where the next pair of glasses will be coming from…
I think I need to invent a GPS for toddler glasses though.  She seems to be good at wearing them for a while then takes them off and sets them down.  They are immediately camouflaged into my carpet.  Ugh!
So without further ado...  Here is her new look!  What do you think?

Ok, just kidding these are the rock star sunglasses they got for having their eyes dilated.  Scroll down to see her real new look!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cardiology update

We have no home internet and won't until next Tuesday so sorry for the lack of updates or checking in on others' blogs. I am going crosseyed trying to read emails on my phone.

Dariya was a trooper at her cardiology appointment. They were ontime which made things go much smoother. She had an EKG and an echocardiogram.

She laid still and was happy as a clam during the testing. I am sure the cheerios helped.

Her doctor, Dr. Kaine has been to Ukraine numerous times to help train doctors over there and had a group of Ukrainian doctors come here to learn. How cool is that? He worked in Donesk.

Dr. Kaine looked at all her tests and said Dariya does have a tiny Patent foramen ovale (pfo). This is the opening that is present in everyone in utereo which usually closes very soon after birth however, 15% of the populations never closes. This is not causing her any problems nor will it probably ever need repair. If repair were needed they would do a simple catheter procedure later in life. We come back in two years to make sure all is still ticking away well.

Thanks for all the prayers.

In other news, Dariya's glasses should be in by the end of the week, sorry you will have to wait for next week so I can upload pics.

Dariya is also jumping on the potty bandwagon. She is signing and saying "papa" when she needs to go consistently. She has gone several days in a row with dry/clean pants at waking times. Yahoo one happy mama here(have you seen the price of diapers?)

Take care and more from our house next week!

Friday, August 19, 2011

First day of preschool for the girls

Today the girls started attending the school district's preschool.  They officially won't be enrolled until October when Alayna turns 3 but the girls will go on Mondays and Fridays for evaluation purposes and to get accustomed to the environment.   The will still attend the Lee Ann Britain center for preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have their individual OT, ST, & PT on Wednesdays until October. 

Both preschools they will be attending are developmental preschool that have peer models.  Meaning at least half the class is "typical, no special needs".  This is awesome for the girls because it will prepare them for kindergarten in a few years in which there will probably be no one else in their school with ds.
I knew Alayna would have no problem heading off without me.  Just like Aidan they both are independent and not clingy when it comes to mom leaving them.  Dariya on the other hand is another story.   She has been going to the preschool room during church service as has done very well but, is very clingy when I drop her off.

I debated keeping her home a bit longer to continue with the great bonding that we have worked on until now.  But, at 3 1/2 we also thought she needs to be in the routine and involved with peers her own age that she can learn from.  So off to school we go...

Of course you have to have a good night's sleep before school so big brother made sure they were read to, rocked and ready for bed on time.

Then you have to wait as mommy takes about a million pictures trying to get that perfect one (and never succeeding).
Showing off their backpacks.  Alayna loves her, Dariya was not too sure about the turtle shell hanging out on her back and was thrilled when I took it off.
Big brother always gets them to look at the camera!
You say a little prayer....

And a BIG Amen (notice Alayna's disapproval)!

Then if you are blessed like us you head off to a wonderful preschool with amazing teachers and paras!  We ♥ you Ms. Juanita.
Alayna did very well today, although she was very quiet.  Prayerfully she will open up and use her great communication skills once she knows the staff and kids better.  Dariya started off ok at drop off, no tears (except from Mommy) but, she quickly turned into the Tasmanian devil for a little while and showed her stubborn side that we haven't seen since our first visit with her in Ukraine.  I am sure the stress of the new environment, lack of vision and mommy not staying freaked her out a bit. 

I left the girls in good hands and came home and prayed as I cleaned the house the whole 2 1/2 hours they were there.  Thanks to those who joined me in prayer!  Upon pick up Juanita said they both had really good days.  Dariya did get agitated when they put the snack up (surprise, surprise) but overall she did well and was signing along with them while they read Brown Bear, Brown Bear. 

I look forward to next week when Dariya's glasses come in and then we can see how much she will keep them on truly blossom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where oh where can I find a bridge?

For Dariya's nose that is! 

Please excuse the chapped face, this was a couple weeks ago when she had a sinus infection but, it shows her lack of bridge oh so well!
Bless her cute, little, non existent bridge of a turned up nose.  We are having a crazy time trying to find glasses for her.  And with her vision so poor (seriously she can't see beyond her arm's length) we need to get them quick.    Just for fun we happened into the Target optical to see if we could get anything at any of the discount vision places, ha ha ha no way!  Glasses even fit on Alayna's sweet little nose but, not Dariyas.

So after many suggestions via our ophthalmologist, other ds mamas and calling around town to talk to the pediatric vision specialists.  I THINK we have a frame that might work on her.  Problem is our great insurance (and I do mean great, it truly is outstanding except in this case) isn't taken at ANY of the places that carry these specialty frames.  UGH!    So with vision insurance that covers frames and lenses for everyone in our family every year we can't use it.   Drat!  

So please don't worry when you hear the blood curdling screams of sticker shock when I hand over our payment.

In happier news, Dariya had her evaluation and conference for the infant development center where she will start preschool and therapies next week.  They were super impressed with her mad OT/PT skills and she even showed off a few words for her speech therapist.  Go Dariya go. 

We know once we have her seeing well she will blossom even faster!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First day of school for Aidan & opthamology update on the girls

Aidan began 3rd grade today.  He was up at 6:15 to be sure that he wouldn't miss the bus (at 8:30)!  Oh yes, he is a worrier.  Thankfully he was excited about the day this morning and couldn't wait to get to school to see all his friends and to experience life as a 3rd grader.
The best part of his day was recess even though it was raining and they had to play inside. 

The girls and I had his usual, first day back to school chocolate chip cookies prepared when he arrived home.
After we got Aidan off to school, the girls and I headed to the opthamologist for our 9:15am appointments.  They both did very well even with the 3½ hour length of the appointment. 
They both had their eyes dilated then we waited, and waited and waited.  Seriously, the whole waiting room was empty and the check in girl was going to lunch.  I asked if she would make sure they hadn't forgotten about us.  Thankfully they hadn't and we only had to wait another 30 mintues!  Fortunately, I came prepared with our iPad and goldfish (would have packed a lunch had I known).  Elmo singing the ABC's is Alayna's favorite thing right now.

Alayna's eyes still have a slight astigmatism and she has a slight nystagmus however, her vision is in the normal range so check up in a year for her.

However, I knew that Dariya had glasses in Ukraine (even though she never wore them) but, what I was unprepared for is how bad her vision really is!  Oh my goodness the poor girl's eyes are worse than mine (which my uncorrected vision is really poor). Bless her I felt so bad that she has been functioning without glasses this whole time.  Now we are trying to find frames that will fit her non-existant sweet little bridge of her nose.  

We have a name of a type of glasses (Erin's world) that are specifically made for kids with ds but, so far nobody in town that carries them is covered by our insurance.  Go figure!  Will keep trying and hopefully she will be seeing 20/20 in no time!  Any ds mamas out there that have any other good frames to try let us know please.

Dariya also has an astigmatism in one eye and that one eye isn't working as hard as the other.  We will try the glasses first but if it doesn't self correct she will need some patching.

Dariya will go back in 2 months for a follow up with her new glasses.  Prayerful she will gladly wear them.

Next appointment August 24th: Cardiology for Dariya to access her heart status!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to school for everyone

Last night we had back to school night for our big 3rd grader.  Aidan was totally nervous super excited to meet his teacher.  Once he stepped into Ms. Hale's room though and she had popcorn on the desk for all the kids he knew she was going to be his favorite teacher ever!  Popcorn is his all time favorite snack!    He seriously was so nervous that when she said, "Bye Aidan, nice to meet you, see you on Monday"  he didn't know what to say.  Oh dear, does my boy worry or what.

Today after thinking about the evening he is really excited to start on Monday and looking forward to 3rd grade.  But, he still keeps reminding me that I won't know what to do without him around here.    (You know besides duck whispering he is a pretty good toddler whisperer!)

Today I had the pleasure of welcoming Alayna and Dariya's preschool teacher, Ms. Juanita and the Early childhood facilitator, Mandy to our home to begin the paperwork process to get the girls ready to transition from their current placement at the LeeAnn Britain center to the school district's preschool in October. 

Last year when we went to visit the school districts preschool we were blessed with meeting Mandy and Juanita and knew our daughter(s) would be in great hands.  Then we learned that Juanita has a 22 year old son who also sports that extra chromosome. 
How cool is God that he placed this sweet lady in just the right place that she will be our girls' early childhood special educator?  Amazing, we are truly thankful for the blessing of awesome teachers.
The girls will begin the school district's preschool on Monday and Fridays so that the staff can begin the process of testing and evaluating the girls so we can have their IEP's (Individualized Education Plans) ready to go by the time Alayna turns 3 in October when they will transition completely over to the school district and go Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Can't believe all my babies are growing up....time goes SO fast.  Tomorrow Dariya will be home with us one month already! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Few words Wednesday: A day at the Farmstead

As the weather dropped out of the 100's into the 80's and it is Aidan's last week of summer vacation (insert sigh) we thought we would take in the local children's farmstead

We had taken Dariya to PetsMart the other day and she was NOT at all excited about being there or seeing the animals so I wasn't sure what to expect at the farmstead.  

She surprised me and loved the place.  She was signing chicken, fish, duck and cow after seeing them!  YAHOO!

One lady came up and asked how old the girls were and when I told her she complemented them on how well behaved they were. (obviously she didn't see the toilet paper unrolling contest that the two of them shared yesterday LOL)

Aidan showing the girls how to saddle up in the dairy barn.

Aidan was the duck whisperer and the girls were loving them coming so close as Aidan fed them

But, the best thing we saw at the Farmstead was our favorite UPS guy.  Jason (that is hubby and daddy for those of you who are new to our blog) just happened to be on this route today and called to tell us and meet us before we headed home for lunch and naps.

*** Please excuse cell phone pics as I was too lazy to take my good camera along!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dariya's dedication day

A beautiful evening on the lake with a slight break in the heat gave us the perfect setting for Dariya's dedication.  We were joined by church members, my brother, sister in law and two neices.
We were thrilled that one month after Gotcha day we are able to dedicate Dariya's life and ours to helping her follow Jesus and prayerfully one day she will make that leap of faith to be baptized. 

When Aidan was 5 years old he refused to go to this service unless he could be baptized, so by choice has made his leap of faith to walk with God.

Two years ago at this same service we dedicated our sweet Alayna.

 Notice the dress Alayna is wearing.  It was a 2/3 T top.  Yes, I knew it was a top but it was such a cute dress on her and was perfect for the beach that I bought it.

Little did we know that 2 years later we would be welcoming her big sister into our family and into the body of Christ so we were thrilled to have Dariya wear the same top.

Aidan is saying, "Can I go swim now?"

After the service the kids could swim and play on the beach.  Dariya enjoyed getting her toes dipped in the sand
Dariya has already learned to pray before every meal, during church services and folds her hands and prays at bedtime (with a long oratory, trust me) then signs AMEN!

It is the sweetest thing to watch this girl who a few weeks ago had never heard anything about Jesus already starting to listen to Bible stories intently and understanding the word pray.  

I still get choked up every time I think about God choosing her and placing her in our family.

We are thankful to all our family and friends who came out tonight to share in this beautiful event and look forward to watching Dariya grow in faith over the years.

*thanks Aunt Jane for taking pics and video xoxoxo

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wonder twin powers...


If I  only had a dollar for every time we have already been asked if they are twins (even when I don't have them dressed alike).   Jason found these cute dresses in Ukraine and had to get them for the girls. 

I am not sure what I am so busy at doing but, it seems at the end of the day I have just kept even with life.  Obviously, keeping up with the blog isn't happening either.

The girls are learning so much from one another and from Aidan.  Alayna is learning to be more independent, self help skills and sharing not only her things but her family (and doing quite well at it) and Dariya is learning to enjoy books, new signs and words daily (she is over 30 signs and 10 spoken words), and be a part of a family.  They compliment each other perfectly and truly enjoy being together.  I am still amazed at the perfect way God brought us together!  
Oral hygiene is always important especially on dentist visit day! The girls watched Aidan and I get our teeth cleaned and did really well, they go for first dentist visits at the end of the month.
I know I am outnumbered. Thankfully after they helped themselves to a chip picnic on the floor they put the empty bag back in the pantry, I guess in hopes that I didn't notice.  Note to self:  Do not leave pantry unlocked when going to rescue stupid dog who yet again got trapped in the playhouse in 110° weather.
We have a preschool intake conference Friday morning for the girls.  They will start preschool at the end of August at the infant development center where Alayna has gone since she was 3 months old.  In October, when Alayna turns 3 we will transition both girls to the school district's preschool.  Alayna is so ready for preschool.  She is communicating verbally well, singing words to lots of songs, knows her colors, the ABC's and most of the sounds, and can count to ten. 

Before we brought Dariya home I was worried about her starting preschool so soon, but I think she is totally ready too.  Even though she doesn't have all the "school skills" that Alayna has right now she is a quick learner, enjoys learning and will soar by leaps and bounds. 
We scored a great double stroller on Craigslist for a few dollars!  YAHOO for bargains and big brothers!

Love Alayna striking her best Marilyn Monroe pose....seriously where did this cute girl come from?
Hope you have a great weekend, Dariya is getting dedicated at church at our beach side service on Sunday night!  YAHOO!  Hoping she will be over her cold that has her face all red, irritated and snot covered (if so I will post pictures and video =)