Monday, January 30, 2012

Down Syndrome Conference

Over the weekend Jason and I were able to attend the DSG's annual conference.  It was AMAZING.

We were totally blown away by the two keynote speakers, both self advocates and both doing some awesome stuff.   One living on her own, drives, has a full time job for the past 11 years WITH benefits and represents not only herself and her family but the down syndrome community very well.  The other, another amazing young adult, is a Special Olympic medalist 4 times over.  He swam with Team USA this summer in Athens and shared his trip with us.  These two reminded us to dream big for our girls.

I learned loads about how to improve working memory and some new strategies to teach the girls reading.

The best part is that you can have access to all these tools too for FREE, oh I love free, educational stuff.    Go HERE to visit the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County and check out the Learning program.  They have literacy and math ideas.

They have sight word readers you can download and print for FREE, math ideas and other daily learning ideas.  You only have to register and all their materials are open for your use.  They also have online communities to help you if you so desire.

Jason learned about how to include language into your play routines and better uses of technology, like our iPad to improve the girls skills.

A huge thank you to our DSG for putting on such an awesome conference.  Another huge thanks to my sister who stayed home with all the kids so that Jason and I could attend.  Not sure who had a more enjoyable day us or the kids, everyone was happy as a clam when we arrived home. =)

Friday, January 27, 2012

We ♥ antibiotics

It is amazing how good you feel after a couple days worth of antibiotics and everyone in the house sleeping through the night (especially after a week of someone being up for hours)!

The girls were happy to be back to school today.

Thankfully, Dariya's face is clearing up nicely from her rash.

Jason and I are off to our DSG conference tomorrow all day.  

Can't wait for the 3 hour reading workshop and meeting up with some of our buddies we don't see too often.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Yep, you read that title correctly strep to the 3rd power.

All us girls have it!  Oh the joys of sharing  ;)

Plus, we are sure Dariya (and probably Alayna) have sinus infections as well.

Snot crusted and NOT happy with it!
Today, Dariya  is covered from head to toe in rash but the one on her face made me concerned that she had hand, foot and mouth too.  But, thankfully they are just strep rash.  Her poor little skin under her nose is raw from all the drainage so hopefully when these antibiotics kick in that will all be cleared up and we will be happy, healthy girls soon.

Off to nap, again...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Super Dariya

Who can don their super power cape in seconds and dust the plant stand in a single bound?

Or wipe down the table in a millisecond?

Why it's Super Dariya....our sweet Cinderella!

Who can run a fever and be snot crusted?  

Not so Super Dariya.

Praying our little dumpling's cold stays a cold and nothing more!

She wasn't too happy to find out she has to miss school today.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The parenting gig

Who said parenting is easy? 

I am grateful that after 6 months of Dariya being home that I haven't had to write this post sooner.  However, this week was incredibly hard.
Just because I am cute doesn't mean I don't have an attitude some days...
The girls have been at each other nearly every minute of the day.  ALL.WEEK. LONG!   They BOTH have been irritable, hitting, biting, taking toys from one another, and the list could go on.  Ms. Juanita even called to say that Dariya hit Alayna at school. 

Until this week Dariya had hardly ever laid a finger on Alayna.
Dariya bit Alayna on the tummy 
Now I can understand getting irritated at each other once in a while or one day but, I have spent much of the week putting the girls in the naughty chair (which for our girls is highly effective).

For example, Dariya was in the naughty chair and once I brought her out she went to apologize to Alayna and Alayna slapped her in the face. 

Seriously?  What the heck is going on?

Dariya hasn't been sleeping at nap time and is getting more and more grumpy and hasn't been eating (ok something is up when Dariya doesn't eat!)  But, no signs of illness.  I have checked her ears a hundred times to see if I am missing something.  But, as of yet nothing.

Then I stopped dead in my tracks and was reminded of  a reading from 1 Thessalonians that we talked about in Bible study where it says can't we all just get along and lift each other up?

I realized I was trying to go at this alone.  Humbled again.  I sat in prayer and asked God to forgive me for my pride, to give me peace, to give us peace, to help me be the mom he is wanting me to be and to lift each of my children up.

Guess what? I woke up the next day and the girls were back to their normal sweetness.  I am not kidding you.  They played together all morning without so much as a grumble, no fighting, no hitting, no taking toys, no naughty chair.  It was so peaceful.  It was a joy to see them crawling under the table to sing songs and play nicely with one another again.

Don't think for a minute that I didn't stop and praise our Father in heaven for providing me with such an amazing respite and answer to my prayers.  I so needed it.

This parenting gig isn't easy but, it is so worth it.

Happy weekend to you all!

 Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pretty princesses

Oh no!  Did you hear?  Alayna can't find her hands and is really sad!

Sad, sad, sad.    I can't go out like this!  Darn you short arms!!!

Only kidding they were just hiding!  
No stopping these pretty princesses!

Special thanks to Leslie for making us so beautiful!  
Love, Alayna & Dariya

Friday, January 13, 2012

Half a year...

Dariya has been home with us for 6 months today. 

She continues to love, learn, grow and develop well.  

If you have followed our journey you know how well she has melted into our family and into our hearts. 
Friday night fun with dad!
Don't get me wrong there are moments that aren't so easy but, I wouldn't trade my life or my wonderful family for anything.

I am blessed.

New things lately are calling me "Mommy" instead of mama (however she still sometimes refers to Jason as such but it is improving). 

She calls herself Dariya, can correctly verbally label everyone in our family even the dogs and point to them,  she is using lots of signs but adding spoken words by the minute,
can sort by colors, beginning to learn shapes and correctly identifying them by name,
starting to add letters when we sing the Alphabet song,
her favorite game is playing "Where's Dariya as she hides behind my back" when I find her she laughs hysterically, can dress herself,
and it never gets old to hear her say, "Boo" when she pops her head out of her shirt every time she gets dressed.

The list could go on and on...

Oh, how we love you Dariya, thankful you are home.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Joy, joy, joy

In 2011 - $1.75 MILLION in grants were dispersed to RR families and 196 children came home forever with the help of Reece's Rainbow and you!
As we celebrate Dariya being home 6 months this week we thank you for all your support of us in bringing her home and thank you for helping all these other children find their families too.

Special thanks to Sarah White for the numerous hours it took her to put this fabulous collage together!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shoe shopping isn't for everyone

The girls both needed some new shoes so we headed out to Stride Rite this morning in hopes of making a quick purchase and moving on to some Saturday family fun.  Unfortunately, we didn't make it past step one.

Total mommy failure today.  

Dariya does not like her feet being messed with AT.ALL and I know this.  I didn't think before going out about how stressful this would be for her.  I forget that she hasn't been with us forever and that some new things (even though it is few and far between these days) still are hard for her to handle.

The clerk measured both girl's feet and Dariya's stress level started to rise.  Without thinking I then tried shoes on Alayna first and walked down the aisle with Alayna and Dariya lost it.  She completely went berserk!  We saw her Tasmanian devil come out like we hadn't seen since she first arrived home.  Within minutes she was having a major.melt.down, crying uncontrollably.

The store clerk disappeared, never really to be seen again.  Aidan asked if he could go outside and Jason was getting frustrated.  Oh, we were making quite a scene.

I should have known that Dariya would have done much better had I measured her foot and not let someone she doesn't know do it.  Why didn't I think?

Thankfully, we pulled it together long enough to stop crying, get a couple pairs of shoes and get the heck out of dodge.

We still had to buy Dariya a new pair of shoes for church so we tried another shop.    Being the parents who try to learn from their mistakes (at least the ones we JUST made) we decided the split and conquer technique was needed.

I went into the store and scoped out the shoes I wanted Dariya to try on while Jason entertained the troops with signing time in the van.  I politely explained to this clerk that I was ok to run on my own without any help.
Those college years selling Naturalizers comes in handy every now and then.

I went and got Dariya out of the car and just she and I went in and found her a perfect pair of black mary janes.  No fussing, no fighting, no melt downs.

Now if I was only so well prepared all the time.

Sorry baby girl, you just fit in so darn well 99.9% of the time we forget that your life hasn't been the same as what Aidan and Alayna are used to.    We forget that we can't just forge ahead with our own plans all the time.

Thanks for making us slow down and think.

We will do better next time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The break is OVER?

As Aidan journeys back to school today and the girls tomorrow and all the Christmas decorations packed away for another year I have to say that I am a little sad for the long break to be over.

We have completely enjoyed our time off together, have completed lots of crafts, had several play dates and played lots of games.   Aidan even said he would rather stay home from school until Monday because he has had such a good time.  =)

However, all three kids are excited to see their friends at school again.  Alayna has been looking at her classmates and teacher's pictures all week longingly as we keep counting down the days until she sees them again.

So what did we do with our three weeks off school?

We painted a little...

Even if it was on ourselves....

We had lots of extra jammie time and extra snuggle time.

We made pottery,  well ok if truth be known we spent HOURS creating pottery only to have one mother (who shall remain nameless) put her thumbnail through the side of Aidan's creation.  Oops...we gave up and will try again another day.  Thankful for my son being so forgiving!

We did lots of puzzles and fine motor activities to keep the girls in practice for school.
We love this new Melissa & Doug puzzle as it really works out those fingers
We played with our doll house and new toys

And some of us couldn't STOP playing with our old toys...she is seriously addicted to this ball popper which Alayna had stopped playing with long before Dariya arrived.  Thankful we didn't garage sale it.

I am one happy and blessed mama!  Hope your holidays were as blessed.