Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas photo dump

Christmas is always a wonderful time as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

 Christmas 2013 did not disappoint for our family.

Christmas Eve we are joined at church by my brother and sister and their families then we come back to our house and eat and open presents.

Before Christmas Eve service
All the cousins

Her favorite Uncle Ed!

Aunt Elise did not disappoint with matching sit and spins!
Christmas morning after we sang happy birthday to Jesus the packages just couldn't wait any longer.  Let the opening begin!

Dariya was thrilled with opening gifts this year and had so much fun.

Bubble bath, nail polish and lip gloss...girlie girl


For the popcorn addict in the family

Real smiles!  YAY!

Angel tree dollars make a perfect stocking stuffer!

Daddy was pleased!

Best gift ever! 

Note to self...take family picture BEFORE chaos occurs!

We are truly blessed beyond measure.  We hope your Christmas was wonderful.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Aidan's first band concert - for the grandparents ;)

Aidan has been playing saxophone since September.   I was impressed by their Christmas concert.  How much they have learned in such a short time.  Can't wait until the end of the year concert!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fine motor success, caught on video

One of Alayna's weaknesses has always been fine motor skills.  Another reason we added an outside school OT each week.

I have tried and tried to get her to do more things to work her tiny little fingers.  We do puzzles, theraputty, sort small items, dry erase boards, use scissors, color etc.  Anything to get her to use her fingers.

She has never been much into stringing things, even the big chunky blocks (which she can easily do).  So months ago I bought a package of small minuscule beads at the dollar store (love that place for thera-play items!)  I thought Dariya would love stringing these beads onto a pipe cleaner as her fine motor skills are crazy good. However, these little beads proved to be too much for her.  She could do them but, after 3 or 4 was done as it was pretty difficult.  Alayna couldn't even begin to do them without hand over hand assistance.  So I put these beads away for another time.

Lately Alayna has decided that she likes coloring inside the lines.  Don't misunderstand we still get the scribble some but, she knows the difference and is able to stay INSIDE the lines.  That is big.

She also loves writing on her dry erase board (thank you Target  2 for a dollar aisle).  She will practice her letters and writing her name over and over.  Then she draws pictures and tells us all about what she has drawn like she is doing show and tell.

As it had been a while and I have seen some real progress in fine motor skills from Alayna I thought I would try the beads again just to see how far we have come.  To my surprise Dariya still could do them and gave up after 4 (boring!) But, Alayna wanted to do it and was busily stringing tiny beads when I had to grab the camera and document it!

Yay Alayna you have come so far!  Super proud of you.

Thanks to Jana and Suzy, Alayna's awesome OT's who work hard to help her master these skills

Don't mind me saying it the 18th on the video, it was early and I didn't know it was really the 19th!  LOL

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas came early

Shadow (on the right) and Aidan both have been so sad since we had to put Champ (our 11 year old dachshund) down last month.

Aidan and I were out running errands a week ago and he talked me into going to the SPCA. Of course we fell in love with Tully (on left).  He is a super sweet 2 1/2 year old schnauzer mix.  He loves being around people.

I sent a message to Jason with a pic of Tully and Aidan and he called and said come home!

As the week went by Aidan kept talking about Tully and leaving us emails and messages with Tully's picture attached.  He made his Christmas list and it had a Toby Mac CD, some starter track pants and Tully.

Shadow over the last few weeks has taken to sleeping much of the day, we think he was grieving still.

Saturday our church blessed us with a respite afternoon for all kids with special needs (and their sibs if they wanted) however, my sister took Aidan to the movies.  While the kids were having fun we took on Christmas shopping and I wanted Jason to at least meet Tully.

Well you know what happened next....the boy got his Christmas wish.

Aidan was in shock when he got home and Tully was actually here.  Needless to say, both dogs and all kids are happy as can be.

Thanks SPCA for working with us!  Rescue dogs are the best!

Monday, December 2, 2013

New glasses...finally!

At the end of October the girls had their yearly ophthalmology appointment.  Both were given new prescriptions for glasses and we headed out to the optical places that are covered under our insurance to get new glasses.

Dariya's first pair of glasses were from Specs 4 Us. However, after she tossed those into the lake during family pictures we opted to try a regular pair of glasses.  Unfortunately, her bridge is so flat that the glasses kept sliding down her nose.  So this year I was determined to go back to Specs 4 Us to get both  girls glasses.

Sounds easy right?

Wrong!  In the whole metro area of optical places that take our insurance we found one that wouldn't even come near the girls, some that wouldn't order the frames for us even though they could do it on a customer approval and would be out no money, one place bent over backwards to order the frames in for us, try them on the girls and size them up only to figure out they don't take our insurance.   The lady there felt so bad for giving us the wrong information she personally contacted other opticians that were on our insurance and gave them the information on how they could order the frames (she had done ALL the work) and help us all to no avail.

It took us over 2 weeks and contacting Maria Dellapina, the creator of Specs 4 Us to have her help us find an optical shop that takes our insurance and would work with us to order what we wanted.  Maria went out of her way to contact a place here locally and explain how they could order the glasses and not be out any money.   Honestly, if she wouldn't have called they weren't going to order them.

It was a hassle that I hope we won't have to redo next year as we now have hopefully streamlined the process with the optician we used and they were delightful to work with once all was said and done.

But, I think the final outcome is beautiful!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy National Adoption Month!

In celebration of National Adoption month my sweet friend, Elizabeth asked me to answer some questions about international adoption for her blog.

Here is the post, go check it out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Few Word Wednesday: Rest in Peace, Champ!

Aidan with his puppy!

August 2002 - November 20, 2013

We love and will miss you, Champ!  

10 years later. so much love!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Family game night

We love family time.

One of our favorite evenings is family game night.  Aidan has always loved playing games and now the girls are excited about joining in the fun too.

Aidan taught the girls how to play Twister the other night and they were hooked immediately.

Jason and I learned quickly that we aren't as limber as we once used to be.  I, of course, grabbed the camera as then I didn't have to contort my body one more time!

Nights like this are the best.

The giggles and memories are priceless.

Looking forward to more family game nights.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A little ear candy for you

Aidan has been playing piano for a couple years and truly loves it.  He started playing saxophone this year too.  Here is a little clip that his piano teacher took of him playing Sonata in C!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween fun in pictures

In case you thought my hubby was normal!  

Carving pumpkins ended up being an all male job this year!

She spotted Jason and I at the Pre K parade

Enjoying Halloween snacks after the parade 

Aidan's Halloween parade

Thankful to the Queen who allowed one of her guards
the night off to watch over my princesses!

Trick or treating is always more fun with cousins.
We had a great Halloween.  We had trunk or treat at our church ton the 30th, although I didn't take any pictures the kids loved it and lots of canned foods were donated to the local food bank because of it.

The girls loved trick or treating.  Dariya gave in after an hour but Alayna wanted to go back out with the big kids, we had to talk her into staying home....she was asleep about 10 minutes later. ;)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Step Up for Down Syndrome

It was a beautifully sunny day here on Saturday.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Step Up for Down Syndrome.

We are thankful to the friends and family that came out and walked with us and for those who donated to our team.

Dariya thought this and the food was the best part of the day!

Thankfully they had pony rides again as that is ALL Alayna has talked about this week!

My sweet boy!

Jace is wondering how the Cannon crew commandeered his wagon train

♥ Alayna and her Ms. Juanita ♥

The adorable Heigele crew!

Taylor and Alayna stretching before the walk

In the middle of the walk we lost Juanita, someone was heartbroken

Courtney and Whitney - They don't make them any prettier!

Sister secrets

Nearing the finish line with Grandma and Pop Pop

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The journey is always better with friends

While we were in Ukraine we were able to meet Jilll and Pat Birschbach from Wisconsin and spend some time with them.  I continue to follow their blog as they are such a great family and now they are on their third RR adoption!

Last year right around the time I was diagnosed with cancer, Jill posted on her blog asking prayers for one of her prayer group friends, Rochelle Rosenthal who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Rochelle and I connected through our caringbridge accounts then email and phone.

Over the past year the Rosenthal family, especially Rochelle have been a huge uplifting blessing from God to me.  I count her as my best cancer blessing.

So a few weeks ago when she called to say that their trip to DC was going to be canceled for last week with the shutdown and she wondered if they could come visit us I jumped up and down with excitement.

This past weekend was a flurry of activities, conversation and fun.  The more we talked the more we had in common.  It truly got to be funny.

The kids didn't take too long to warm up to each other.  Aidan was begging for them to stay longer when they had to leave on Sunday.  He had a blast with his new friends.  The girls were glued to either Klara, Jocelyn or Rochelle all weekend.  ( I bet they are sleeping off Dariya right now LOL)

Oh my what fun we had but time just wouldn't stand still!

Thanks Rosenthal family for blessing us with your visit.  We can't wait to meet your new daughter (they are also adopting a girl from RR)

The door is always open and I promise there won't be so many red lights next time.