Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eating through books, video to prove it

Two things I really wanted to teach my kids was a love for Jesus and a love for reading/great reading skills.

If you know Aidan you know that he is a voracious reader.  Reading through series after series many grade levels ahead in no time.  In fact, his night stand is littered with 8 books as I type that he is reading right now.  Seriously how does this kid do it?

When I was home preschooling him I tried everything to get him to be an early reader.  I thought for sure he would be reading well before he went to kindergarten.  He had all the basics and love for books, he knew his alphabet and kindergarten skills by the time he was 3 but he truly didn't take off reading until he was in school.

His sisters on the other hand have been working their way to catch up to him as fast as they can.  Both girls have been working hard this past year to learn how to read.  They have improved their sight word vocabularies enough to be able to read most pre primer type books.

Both girls love books and enjoying reading them to us.  I love having reading time and watching all of the kids park themselves on the couch with a good book.

Both girls were super excited when we went to the library over the weekend and picked out new books.  We found one early reader that they both could read and they were BEYOND excited!  Alayna wanted to take the book to my parents house to read it to them, so that is just what we did!

The below video is Alayna reading a Rigby level 5 reader (which is their equivalent to a kindergarten or early 1st grade reader).  Not bad for a 4 year old.

Here is Dariya reading one of her Learning Program books.  Not bad for a girl that spent her first 3 1/2 years in an orphanage and didn't know how to open a book when we met her!

I know great reading skills will help my kids be more successful not only in school but also in life.

I pray that all of them continue in their love of reading and that the girls reading soars like Aidan's has over the years.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.

People all over the world are celebrating the wonderful lives that we have been blessed with in our loved one with down syndrome.

It is a day of advocacy,

a day of celebration,

a day to honor those who have three 21st chromosomes.

We are doubly blessed here as having Alayna opened our eyes to the plight of orphans with down syndrome around the globe.  Thankfully God blessed us with bringing Dariya into our family.

These two girls bring so much joy to our family.  They are capable, independent, funny, able to learn, and full of love.

Today we celebrate our girls and all our friends that share that extra chromosome.

We hope you will join us by advocating about down syndrome.  Share your story of how someone with ds has touched your life.

If you are in the mood for dinner out tonight eat at Ruby Tuesdays as they are donating 20% to the local down syndrome association. Click the link and print the flier and give it to your server tonight!

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indiscriminate affection, a plea for help

When we brought Dariya home in July 2011 I asked people to avoid picking her up and loving on her until she was well adjusted to our family due to indiscriminate affection.

Indiscriminate affection is a term used to describe the behavior of children willing to love anyone.  This is seen in many children that come home from orphanages especially older children as Dariya was.

They have to use their cuteness and ability to hug and love on a caregiver to get some support.  Thankfully Dariya was in a good orphanage, although we never saw any of the caregivers hug her except when we took her away on gotcha day.

Dariya has transitioned very well to our family.  If you have been following us a while you already know that. Our friends were so helpful and respectful in not giving her extra affection so that she could bond with our family.  We believe she has bonded well and understands family.

However, as of the last month or so we have seen a huge rise in her indiscriminate affections, mainly hugging although she went up to another preschooler at church and asked for a kiss this past week.  At her class Valentines party she hugged every parent in the room (all strangers to us), at the library for story time she accosted two different moms (strangers) trying to hug them, at the rec center last week she asked a man (total stranger) to pick her up, and last Saturday at our Learning Program reading class she was hugging and asking everyone even the volunteers (strangers) to pick her up.  Of course, all these people strangers included were more than happy to oblige her and thought she was the best thing since sliced bread.

Our concern is that as a 5 year old this behavior might be cute but as she gets older this behavior will truly be frowned on not only by her classmates but also society.

We aren't sure what has caused this outburst of affection with her.  I am wondering if she is picking up more and more on my diagnosis.  But, whatever the reason is behind it we believe that she has to be stopped and that is where we are asking for your help...

We are asking if you see this sweet, adorable, ever so huggable girl that you help us reinforce that "HUGS are only for family".  Please do not pick her up or give her hugs or kisses. You may give high fives or fist bump, or shake her hand.
As we aren't with her in every situation and sometimes can't stop her before she has already hugged someone please don't be offended if we stop her from hugging you and reinforce our mantra that hugs are for family only.

It truly takes a village to raise a child and we appreciate your help in this journey!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our first invite

The girls were invited to their first birthday party this weekend by one their preschool classmates.  They invited the whole class so we knew it would be a great environment as the kids are familiar with the girls.

The party was at a rec center and they had all kinds of gymnastic equipment for the kids to play on.  Both girls dug their heels in and didn't want to participate when they saw the kids stretching and running backwards.

Thankfully, they warmed up quickly (within a couple minutes) and were out doing somersaults and crawling through tunnels with all their peers.  One of the workers was awesome with the girls and tried to include them in everything.

Alayna was such a cheerleader, she posed herself on top of one of the tumbling mats and was cheering each of her classmates on as they climbed over.  Both girls even jumped on the trampoline and jumped into the foam pit, which was super hard to climb out of.

Surprisingly, Dariya was the clingy one and didn't want to get too far away from me.  One little girl (not from their class) made a mean remark about Dariya, "She is creeping me out!" and ran away from her.

Seriously what 5 year old says that?  Usually I always have words to say when something like this comes up but, today I didn't think fast enough. I should have told her that Dariya is a little girl just like her and she has feelings too and that wasn't very nice.

As bad luck would have it as all the kids made their way to the table for cupcakes and ice cream the last two seats were at the end of the table so Alayna sat on one side and Dariya sat on the other side, right next to the girl that made this comment.  

This little girl started to cry and her mother came over and said to me, "oh she is upset that she can't sit next to the birthday girl".  Then the mother said look you can make a new friend and pointed at Dariya.  The little girl turned her back on Dariya and said, "No".   Unfortunately, the mother didn't take this moment to help her daughter be kind.   I know that there will always be people like this.

I won't lie and say my heart didn't sink a bit with this girl's and mother's behavior and I was so thankful that Dariya wasn't paying any bit of attention to it.  If this girl had done this to Alayna she would have been crushed.

Overall, the girls had a fabulous time at the party.  We take the small bumps in the road as just that and move on.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The pirate look is in

The girls had their check up with the ophthalmologist Tuesday morning.  Dariya's glasses are working well and her eyes look really good.

However, Alayna's left eye has amblyopia (lazy eye) it turns in slightly especially when she is tired, even with her glasses.  The doctor originally tried the glasses hoping that would solve the problem.

The doctor admitted that her amblyopia isn't too bad but she didn't want to ignore it and have it get worse. We will patch her right eye for 5-6 hours daily in hopes that her brain will get her left eye working up to full strength.  We will follow up in May with the ophthalmologist.  Praying that the patching works quickly!

We are hoping that this takes care of the issue and that she doesn't need any further correcting like surgery.

Thankfully when I showed her a patch she immediately related it to a little girl that goes to our church who uses patches.  When the time came for me to put a patch on she was all ready and prepared then after about 5 minutes she wanted it taken off.  However, she was easily distracted and left it alone and went off to school and came home happily wearing the patch.  I intended to take it off right when she arrived home but she didn't seem bothered by it and didn't ask about it so I left it on for another hour then took it off.

Once off she wanted it back on.  Funny girl.  I am guessing she got some extra attention at school today from it and loved the attention.

Hope each day goes as smoothly.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Brace free and proud

After 16 months of a palate expander and top braces Aidan was thrilled to get them off this week.  He immediately dove into the bubble gum and was giddy with delight!  

He will get a full set of braces when all his permanent teeth come in but, until then we will celebrate life without braces.  

Lookin' good buddy!