Friday, June 29, 2012

I made a friend revisited

We did it!  
I made it to the pool with all three kids by myself several times now.

Please don't start patting me on the back just yet!

Does it still count if Dariya ended up in the parking lot once while we were checking in?
Good grief!   Bad parenting 101 right here folks!

Thankful to Aidan for being my extra set of eyes, hands and ears to keep these two wrangled and safe!  Dariya has NO FEAR and Alayna was cautious at first but much more daring now.  I am in trouble.

If you have been following us for a while you have read my posts on Dariya's sweet friend "A".  If you need a refresher click here.   Thankfully this little girl has a huge heart and a love for our girls.  Every time her mom mentions a play date "A" starts talking about Dariya, even though they haven't been at the same preschool now for 9 months.

With the weather in the 100's this week we decided to opt for a play date at the pool.  It truly melts my heart to see this little girl thrilled to meet up with Dariya and Alayna.  I pray that she will remain a friend to them for life and that there will be many more sweet friends like her in their future.  

You know friends don't count chromosomes!

Thanks "A" and Angel for a great day at the pool.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anniversary of court: The Lord is willing

Before Alayna was born Jason and I had never really talked about adoption.  If we had it was only to recognize someone else doing it certainly not to discuss jumping into it ourselves.

Heaven forbid, I mean you have to be one of those crunchy granola people to adopt right?  And I am anything but, granola.  I mean I used disposable diapers on my kids for goodness sake.

Once we learned  about Reece's Rainbow and discovered the secrets behind institutionalization of orphans with down syndrome in other countries our eyes and hearts were forever opened and our lives were changed.

However, we still never thought WE would be adopting.  Don't get me wrong we weren't anti adoption advocates but, rather simple folks who thought the orphan problem was someone else's problem.

We financially supported others and prayed for families but, never thought God would call us to the plate.

Until the day that He did.

From that moment He changed Jason's heart I knew our lives would never be the same if we didn't have Dariya.

We completed all the paperwork, jumped through all the international adoption hoops and traveled over 6,100 miles to meet and fall in love with our girl.  Thankfully God moved mountains, pushed our Interpol clearances through, provided us with a sweet Ukrainian friend for life, provided another judge (who was adoption friendly) gave us a court date two weeks after our SDA appointment and continues to bless our relationship with Dariya's birth father.

One year ago today Jason and I stood in a hot courtroom in Cherkasy, Ukraine in front of a judge to petition for Dariya to be ours forever.  As we pleaded our case I could feel God giving us the words to answer all the questions.  Lord knows my brain was empty and I couldn't think of the right words to say to save my life.

Dariya's middle name means the Lord is God, He is willing.

We aren't fabulous people, we aren't the most patient people in the world, we aren't amazing rocks of faith in action, we are just simple folks who heard a whisper and quieted ourselves long enough to hear it a little louder and when we listened we heard it clearly and obeyed.   Because our Lord is God and He is willing.

It wasn't about us, it isn't so we can boast, it was about a little girl who needed a family and God chose us to be that family.  
You see it is
 God who places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:5-6

We are blessed and thankful for God entrusting us with this sweet little girl.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We have a swimmer

I have to admit I haven't dared take the kids to the pool by myself yet.   With both Dariya and Alayna on the move it is super hard to keep an eye on both of them at the same time.  My fear is I take my eye off one for a millisecond and she will be floating face down in the pool.  Not a chance I want to take.

Our sweet friend, Amy invited us to their pool and we jumped at the chance to get wet with some extra hands and eyes to watch the girls.

I quickly learned that my little blondies are fair weather swimmers.  The water is still pretty cold.  Aidan swam for a while and Alayna decided she would rather sit by the side of the pool and sunbathe than risk getting cold.  

On the other hand, there is my Ukrainian princess who until last summer had never had the chance to get in a pool.  She LOVES it, cold or not this little girl is going swimming.  She surprised us all by taking off and not looking back.
Go Dariya go, I think we have a fish on our hands.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Love at first hug revisited!

This was my post from one year ago today, the day we met Dariya, love at first hug.   From the moment her sweet little cherubic face entered the director's office I was completely smitten. She had me at Здравствуйте! (Hello).

This year has been such a wonderful experience for our family and we are truly blessed to have this little princess with us.

I promise not to blog every little memory from our adoption journey in the next 5 weeks.   If you didn't follow us last summer and are interested in them I labeled our time in Ukraine as "Bringing Dariya home".

For us we have never felt closer to God than when we were on this journey so it is a great time of remembrance, reflection and thankfulness for us.  I pray that through our journey other orphans have been helped and rescued.

If you didn't catch the video of us meeting her for the first time here it is.  She looks like such a baby.  Wow, has our big girl grown up this year.  Just watching this brings the flood of emotions from our time in Ukraine all gushing back.  We ♥ you Dariya!

In more news around here:
Aidan did fantastic with getting his teeth pulled on Tuesday! He actually had 3 baby teeth out instead of just the two.  He was a rock star for the whole thing.
The girls both had their neck xrays completed on Monday (thanks for the back up Grandma) to rule out AAI (excessive movement of the neck bones) and both have no signs of atlantoaxial instability.  They are now free to participate in Special Olympics or other sports without concern of neck injury.  YAHOO!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fishing tale

Aidan and I spent a couple days fishing last week while the girls were in preschool.  It has been a long time since he and I had numerous hours alone together and we both loved and cherished it.

Unfortunately, neither one of us is brave enough to put a worm on the hook (I do crickets, other bait and fish but NOT worms!  Don't even get me started on having to touch one to dissect it in biology class) so we used spinner bait and didn't catch a thing.  But, we had a blast.

Daddy to the rescue... he took Aidan and his buddy, Avery fishing on Sunday afternoon and within an hour they had caught 9 fish.  The boys were giddy as anything each time they reeled in their 1/4 ounce catch of the day.  We had to drag them away from the lake a little after 6pm because the girls were getting hungry and Dariya is a big grump when she is hungry.

Even though none of the fish were keepers that didn't stop us from having fun and enjoying the sunny day.

I think this was the "big" one of the day

I  can see many happy fishing trips with these two in the future

Fishing is a spectator sport right?
The girls decided taking off their shoes was way more exciting.

We kept them long enough for the boys to gloat a little and the girls to enjoy the splashing fish then  released them.

Prayers appreciated for Aidan on Tuesday morning he is having a couple baby teeth pulled that aren't wanting to come out and the orthodontist just can't work around them any longer.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy Golden Anniversary

Happy 50th anniversary to my parents.  

Looking forward to celebrating with you today!  
They graciously gave up their 49th anniversary to stay at home (for 5 weeks) with Aidan & Alayna so that we could be 5,400 miles away in Ukraine meeting with the State Department of Adoptions, receiving our referral to visit Dariya.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'll take will it flush for $400, Alex...

All kids go though the same developmental stages and we know Dariya was a bit behind not because of her down syndrome but rather because of living in an orphanage.
Thankfully, since being home she has soared and has blown us away this year with how fast she has picked everything up.  But, we can honestly say behaviorally that Dariya is enjoying the terrible 2's stage a little too much.

As of the last couple weeks, she has decided that anything and everything is a good target to attempt to flush.  We have lost a pair of socks, several books (they didn't go down but rather were too soaked to survive), many rolls of toilet paper,  numerous clothing articles have been rescued and she had my cell phone just inches from chucking it in when I caught her.  Thankfully, she knows stop and is obeying it and handed it over before any damage was done.

Then of course, there is potty training.  She is doing fabulously well and is keeping dry most days with gentle reminders to use the toilet.  However, she has decided that no peeing in your pull up or diaper means during nap time too so every day for a week I have found her wiggled out of her diaper (3 or 4 times sometimes) WITH duct tape around it and has peed in the bed, even when she has just gone before nap.  Ugh!

Oh and let's not forget the other morning when she was completely ready for preschool and went down to the kitchen and pulled Aidan's left over bowl of a bit of cereal and milk over on top of herself covering herself from head to toe with delicious cinnamon toast crunch and milk!  If it wasn't 3 minutes before the bus was to arrive and I didn't look like one of those cartoon characters about to blow their top I would have taken a picture.

She loves playing with Aidan and Alayna but, is still in that mainly side by side playing that toddlers do.  She doesn't engage with others yet, especially friends at school but, we are working on that.

Today marks the one year anniversary of when we began our journey to Ukraine to pick up Dariya.  Traveling nearly 24 hours with a stop in DC, Munich and finally arriving in Kiev.  I still am humbled that God chose us to be her parents.  She is such a sweet girl and fits in perfectly here with just enough added chaos to make life exciting.

We love you Dariya and celebrate how far you have come in just a year.  Now could you walk away from the toilet and move onto the next stage already?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Carnival time

Our local DSG (Down Syndrome Guild) is fabulous and puts on many events for families and individuals with down syndrome each year.  They kick summer off each year with a carnival at one of our local parks.  The girls almost napped through the whole thing but, we woke them up in time to catch the last hour.  Although in retrospect, neither one woke up to enjoy it enough to warrant the wake up call.  However, we enjoyed catching up with families we don't see often enough and big brother had fun and made sure the girls had a few smiles and giggles.

Alayna stood and watched all the kids do the bounce maze for a long while and Aidan finally convinced her to go.  

They made it about 3 steps and she laid down on him.  LOL  But, as always our persistent and patient boy coaxed his littlest sister through the whole maze with success.

 Finished at last!

Our sweet little Ukrainian princess skipped the whole bounce house experience and went for the pink lemonade, again and again and again!  Can you say like?
Aidan showed the girls how to play the games.
 And trust me my two cuties know how to work their magic and win each game.

Shopping for carnival toys is the best (unless you are the mother who ends up with your pockets full of said junk  precious treasures.)
Beautiful afternoon in the sun and a fun start to our summer.
Thanks DSG!