Monday, May 28, 2012

So how'd it go?

As the boys have been in England since May 18th, the single most asked question has been, "how is it going?"
The girls overall have done fantastically.  It has actually been a good bonding experience for us.  Alayna usually opts for daddy whenever he is home and Dariya is a total mama's girl so this was good for the two girls to have share one parent.

We had lots of fun visiting the zoo...Dariya enjoyed visiting EVERY.SINGLE zoo bathroom she could find.  We celebrate that she made it through the day with a dry pull up!   I cut her off her potty breaks when she leaned in and licked the toilet seat.  Really, who does that? (I see a new IEP goal Juanita LOL)
We had a lunch play date with some fantastically sweet friends who welcomed the Cannon chaos over even though the girls were tired and hungry, just shy of total grumpiness.

 We played in the sprinkler!  I have one who loves to get wet even if the water is cold

 and one who would play in standing water all day but attach the hose to a sprinkler and you can't convince her to run through it.  This is as close as she got folks.
We had a great time attending church.  Very thankful to friends who helped me wrangle these two during the service.  Sometimes they are like chasing cats!

And just so you don't think our lives are all roses and happiness.  
Here is a middle of the week surprise for me.  
One morning both girls had to use the toilet so Dariya went upstairs (still had her night diaper on) she didn't make it to the toilet before she pooped but then scooted down the stairs to leave this lovely snail trail.  As I scooped her off to the shower I come back downstairs to find Alayna mopping the floor with the toilet brush that she had been dipping in the toilet that she had just used.  
Oh yes, we have our fun days too.

But, I wouldn't trade these two for anything in the world.
We are thankful that our boys will be home tonight!

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial weekend.
As we celebrate our boys homecoming we remember those who aren't coming home, who gave their lives for us. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who needs comments?

After weeks of one or two comments I figured something was up with our blog (or all our bloggy friends had disappeared off the face of the Earth).  Then a couple sweet friends FB'd me and let me know that they couldn't comment anymore.  

A HUGE thanks to our sweet friend, Becca over at the Bates Motel helped me figure out what the problem was and now it is fixed so feel free to leave us a comment and while you are at it jump over to Becca's blog and check out her absolutely amazing and beautiful daughter, Sammi!   

If you don't already follow Becca you will want to as she is a great blogger.  Her hubby is English too and with her beautiful daughter to boot who can go wrong?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field day in pictures & video!

Bouncing fun
Sweet sisterly hugs
Love her sweet smile

Coloring with our buddies

Huddle time!

Through the hoop!

Ring toss, or rather ring place! (Alayna - left, Dariya -right)

She gets her silliness from her father!

Parachute fun

Lovin' Ms. Juanita!

Love their cute little class!

Ending the day with a Popsicle!

And when you have played that hard at field day there is nothing left but  to sleep!

Friday, May 18, 2012

As the school year closes

This is the last week of school for our kids.  We are so blessed with great schools, teachers and therapists.  All three kids have done extremely well this year and learned so much that it has been hard to keep up with them or document their rapid growth and progress.
The girls will have 5 weeks of extended school year this summer, 3 mornings a week in their same preschool setting.  In the fall they will remain in the same preschool setting (we will review Dariya at semester and see if she is ready to move up to the prek).  Aidan will enter the 4th grade in the fall (did I just say 4th grade?)

Here are a few things that each child has accomplished this year.
"I'm cute I know, 47 chromosomes do that to you"  
Alayna- While Alayna continues not to use all her language skills at school she is slowly coming out of her shell and talking more there.  At home she uses sentences and carries on conversations routinely.  She knows her ABC's (name and sound), colors, shapes, can count to 20, can use one to one correspondence up to 5 (maybe a bit more),  knows her first and last name, can spell her first name, knows her age, knows her parents first names, knows the days of the week, can dress and undress herself with minimal or no help (minus socks and shoes), knows emotions, can walk up and down stairs using a rail, sight reading many words and short stories, enjoys coloring, just began stepping up a 5 inch step without holding on
Things we continue to work on:  Riding a tricycle, jumping, climbing steps and curbs with no support, fine motor skills, speech and language skills

Dariya - Dariya continues to amaze us at how fast she is picking up language.  We knew she was a smart cookie and could count in Russian and knew things like her body parts but, we assumed that it would take her a while to master those skills in English.
Dariya knows ABC's (name and most sounds), can count to 10, knows her colors, knows her first name, can dress/undress herself with no support (besides putting on shoes and socks), she is speaking (at home) more than signing, can use two words to make a phrase (trying to get her to do this more often), knows her body parts, loves books (this is huge, in Ukraine she had no idea how to open a book or what it was for), starting to make circular shapes when scribbling, enjoys playing with her family, can walk up/down stairs using rail, starting to step up small steps without assistance, she is adding more sounds to her word approximations making them more understandable, she is stopping when I say stop on walks or when at a park (this is HUGE as she loves to walk and walk without fear of traffic or getting lost!!!) that rocking with mommy before naps and bed (and most mornings when she gets up) is pretty awesome!
things we are continuing to work on: riding a tricycle, steps/stairs without assistance, jumping, playing with peers (not just side by side playing), fine motor skills needed for writing, speech and language skills

Aidan-  His academic skills continue to soar, he is an avid voracious reader, his nightstand holds 5 books (including his Bible) that he is reading at this time, he scored in the exemplary level on all his standardized tests, he continues to excel in piano and amazes me with his great ear, he loves riding his bike, riding his scooter, climbing trees and playing with friends,  he loves his sisters but like any 9 year old they preschoolers can be a bit annoying now and then.  He is excited to be flying to England with Jason this afternoon to visit our family there until Memorial day.  What a way to end 3rd grade!

Please say a prayer for my boys that they have safe travels, wonderful bonding and  family time while in England.  Feel free to throw one or fifty in for the girls and I.  I have a feeling that Alayna is going to be one grumpy girl when she figures out daddy is gone for that long:(!

The girls both can maneuver stairs but haven't been able to step up and down without holding on to the rail or someone's hand until just recently.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

How will you celebrate Mother's Day?

This is my first Mother's Day as a mom to 3  fabulous kids!

I am thrilled beyond words to have Dariya home with us but, I also have a twinge in my heart for her birth family that I know loves her and misses her.  I also can't help but to think of all the other orphans that we met just 10 months ago when we were in Ukraine, their little faces still etched in my memory every time I close my eyes.  Their little voices will forever ring in my ears, "I want my own mama and papa."

We are blessed to have a fabulous relationship with Dariya's birth dad and we know that if Ukraine had services for people with down syndrome Dariya would more than likely never have been taken to the orphanage or placed for adoption.

Her story is a little different than most orphans because even though she was placed at the baby house she wasn't "abandoned" at her diagnosis nor in the years after it.  She was loved and visited and cared for daily by one of her parents or her paternal grandparents or paternal great-grandmother.

I know this is the reason she has so easily bonded and fit into our family. Without a doubt, she knew the love of her birth family which has allowed her to easily accept our love and return it.

As I researched a little on Mother's Day, I was devastated to find out that consumers spend $16.3 BILLION on treating their mothers to a special day.

Now, I am in no way saying that my mother (nor yours) doesn't deserve a huge celebration  for putting up with raising all of us.

But, this massive amount of money goes against my Christ following, motherly instincts when I know that there is an estimated 163 MILLION orphans, alone in this world, no mother to call their own, no one to comfort them when they are sick, no one to tuck them in at night, no one to care for them or hold their hand as they die.

What if instead of Mother's day flowers or brunches people honored their mothers by donating to an orphan ministry like Reece's Rainbow or Amazima or Global Orphan Project?

What would that look like?

I honestly have no idea but the concept of  $16.3 Billion towards helping orphans find their forever families sure sounds better to me than some well intended flowers that will only wilt in a few days.
I will spend the weekend being very grateful for the blessing of my children and for the blessing of my own mother.

I pray that you will honor and celebrate your mother and somehow help orphans all at the same time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A little water fun

Saturday was sunny and hot which means always a good time for water play. 
I am not sure I can wrangle both girls at the swimming pool this summer (Dariya has no fear and likes to wander), so the sprinkler might be our new best friend.

As soon as Alayna woke up from her nap she said, "go swimming".  She loved playing in the sprinkler even though it was a little cold.  But, when Aidan came up with the idea to put the sprinkler under the trampoline you would have thought she won a million dollars.  She was all laughs and giggles!

This rocks!

Dariya only had a 45 minute nap so wasn't really into playing in the water (although she loves bath and swimming).  But, doesn't she look adorable in her bikini?
 Aidan and Alayna even tried to coax her into the water with a few rounds of ring around the rosie.  No such luck.
I love watching our kids have fun together. The simple blessings!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bring on the sprinkle cake

 If you know my sweet husband, you know the one thing he ALWAYS asks for on his birthday is a Pillsbury Funfetti cake (or sprinkle cake as we all it).  Nothing homemade, nothing spectacular, just a plain old sprinkle cake out of the box and he is a happy man.  Of course, we couldn't let him down!

This year I am thankful to have another little pair of hands to mix the ingredients and help me taste the batter (yep we still do that, please don't tell me that it is a health hazard! LOL)  Alayna absolutely loved being the sprinkle fairy and topping the cake off with sprinkily prettiness!  Dariya had fun mixing and tasting and Aidan made sure the final product was fit for a king.

It has been a wonderful journey watching you grow closer to our Lord over the years.
You are a fabulous father and I am blessed to call you my spouse.
You have a servant's heart and a deep love to help others.
You are quick to forget my weaknesses and you encourage my strengths.
May this year bring you closer in your continued walk with Christ.
May he bless you and our family and seal us on His path forever.

Happy birthday, 
We love you no end!