Thursday, September 26, 2013

Liebster award

My sweet friend, Patti over at a Perfect Lily  nominated us for a Liebster award.


You have never heard of this prestigious award?  Well, me neither until Patti tagged me.

It is a little blog "share the love" award.  Apparently liebster means dearest in German.  

You are given the award and have to answer the givers questions in a blog post, nominate others and give them some questions etc.

So here goes it...

1. What is the last great book you read?

 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  She is one hysterical sold out for Christ mama that I love to read.

2. Who would you most love to meet from Blog land?

Stephanie, Emmie & family from Our Daily Smiles you know when you have a true connection to someone that you have never even met?  Well that is Steph! Also, we would love to meet Sammi, Becca and Steve from the Bates Motel.  They are fabulous folks although I totally think our hubbies would get lost in a pub for way too long together and we might never see them again.  I am hoping Becca would rub off on my girls and they would come out with her fashion sense.

3. What is your favorite go to recipe for company?

 I love making shish kebabs and bacon wrapped green beans.  Both look and taste amazing with not much effort from me ;)    However, baking is what I really love to do as I am a total eat dessert first kinda girl!

4.  What is your favorite blog post that you have written?

I think my favorite post was Alayna's birth story that I wrote for her first birthday.  It is linked in the top tabs if you haven't read it.

5.  How many blogs do you read a week? Name a few....

It depends on the week and the chaos that is going on around here.  I try to keep current on all my blogs, thankfully everyone doesn't blog at the same time or every day.  I love reading Jen Hatmaker, Pudge and Biggie, Confessions of the Chromosomally Enhanced,  Micah Six Eight, Angel Eyes, Our Daily Smiles, The Bates Motel and the list could go on.

6.  What do you hope people take away from your blog?

I started this blog when Alayna was born so our family, whom mostly live faraway could keep up with her health etc.  However, it morphed pretty quickly into just a family blog about our lives and not focusing on down syndrome.  I guess I want people to take away that we are just an ordinary family trying to follow where God leads us.  I hope that every once in a while a post resonates with people and they learn something from me.

7.  What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

A better question would be what is NOT your favorite ice cream flavor (mint chocolate chip or plain chocolate).  I LOVE ice cream especially anything with chocolate, fudge, carmel etc mixed in with vanilla ice cream.

8. If  today was your last day alive, what five things would you do?

Take my kids on a fun day adventure of their choice (probably to that kids museum they love with the millions of screaming kids running around investigating science stuff like they are Sid the Science Kid), hug and kiss my kids as much as possible, have a real date with my hubs, donate everything I could to orphans in Ukraine, have a long lunch with my sister.

9.  What bugs you about other peoples blogs?

Trolls or people who leave nasty messages just because their opinion doesn't mesh with the author.

10. Do you actually read my blog or skim for the pictures?

Oh, Patti you know I read your blog and love how much you make me think and ponder topics.

And now we gladly hand this prestigious award over to:
Our Daily Smiles
The Bates Motel

Here are your questions girls:

1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  What is your passion that you want your readers to get out of your blogging?
3.  What are some of your favorite blogs to read?
4.  What is your favorite singer/band? why?
5.  If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be and why?
6.  What is the best decision you ever made?
7.  What is something you wish everyone knew about you?
8.  If you won the lottery what would you do with the money?
9.  What are your hobbies?
10. What drives you?

Monday, September 16, 2013


I have had lots of emails and in person questions about supplements I give the girls based on my last post about curcumin and Alayna's speech burst.

First and foremost, I want to be proactive with the girls but, don't want to have them on loads of supplements.  I am not a more is always better kinda girl ;)  

We have seen huge language and memory improvements in each of our girls on the supplements that they take.  We haven't seen any negative side effects.

If you have done any research on down syndrome and Alzheimer's you know that researchers and scientists have located several genes on chromosome 21 that are involved in the aging process which contribute to the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  It is this unique property of chromosome 21 which makes this a specific concern for people with Down syndrome, and not for all individuals with other forms of intellectual disability. (NDSS).

After much research I decided that gingko would be a great addition to the girls diet. Web MD states "Ginkgo seems to improve blood circulation, which might help the brain, eyes, ears, and legs function better. It may slow down Alzheimer’s disease by interfering with changes in the brain that interfere with thinking."

Changing Minds Foundations has a good article about gingko here.

Andi Durkin has compiled lots of information and research here.

I have had both girls on gingko (which I buy from Puritan's Pride online) for a long time.  I started Alayna before we brought Dariya home and I started Dariya as soon as she came home from Ukraine in 2011.  In both girls I saw a huge jump in language after they began taking gingko.  They take 3 mg per pound of body weight 3 times daily, as the half life for ginkgo is only 4-6 hours.  For example, Dariya weighs around 43 pounds, so 43*3=129 so she takes 120 mg of gingko 3 times daily.  The ones I buy are in capsule form and the girls both take them whole with applesauce or yogurt.  I wouldn't suggest opening the capsule as it tastes really bad.

This summer we added curcumin.  We started with 500 mg a day and have slowly increased that amount to 1500 mg a day.  I buy this also from Puritan's Pride. After much research I found that Meriva helps the curcumin cross the blood brain barrier easily just like the longvida brand that is made by Nutrivene (specific vitamins for people with ds) but the one I buy is WAY  less expensive.  Again, these are rather large capsules but both our girls swallow them with applesauce or yogurt.

From Teresa Cody's blog 
"I finally had a chance to research curcumin and I am delightfully surprised. It has some properties similar to "prozac but it has even more. One research study I found looked at curcumin using what is called an 'unpredictable stress model'. It is when the researchers stess the mice in randam, unpredictable ways. They have found this to be the most stressful. If stress is consistent and/or predictable, it is not as hard on the body or brain.
Curcumin did increase neurogenesis by increasing serotonin and BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). But it did something more that I think may be the biggest help to Down syndrome.
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant, but that is not the most intriguing part of the research. Lots of herbs and vitamins are anti-inflammatory or have antioxidant properties.
The most intriguing part is the idea that curcumin is structurally capable of binding to amyloid plaques and breaking up the aggregation of them. Curcumin literally sticks itself to the junk (amyloid plaque) and breaks up the group of them stuck together.
This group of junk clogs up the brain and stops it from working.
Down syndrome has a triplicate copy of the APP gene. Amyloid precursor protein gene. This is the gene associated with Alzheimer's disease. In Alzheimer's disease, brain researchers find the brains full of plaques and tangles. The plaques are called amyloid plaques.
Now, the big drawback I see to curcumin is getting it into the brain. It doesn't cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) easily.
I think curcumin is a fantastic addition for the health of the Down syndrome brain (and probably everyone would benefit)."

The girls also take a green source multivitamin daily, coconut oil on their toast and fish oil in their yogurt to round out our supplements.

Again, there are many supplements out there and there are people on both sides of the supplement fence.  If you are interested in supplements for you or your child do your research, read about all the positive and negatives of them before you give them.  Also, keep track of what you add to your child's diet so that you can see if it made a difference or if they had a negative reaction to it.

If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask! Is your child on supplements?  If so, what and what positives have you seen from them?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Just 7 words

Alayna has had lots of language from an early age. At home she speaks clearly and often but other places  she picks and chooses to use it or to remain quiet.

You could say she got the gene for stubbornness.

To my knowledge she still isn't talking that much at school.

When school began we increased the girls dose of curcumin and are defintely seeing a language explosion from both girls.

Yesterday as I was cleaning up the breakfast table I heard a sweet little voice calling from the living room. "Mommy, will you come play with me?"

Even though I know Alayna is totally capable of using this kind of sentence structure to request something this particular sentence took me off guard. My little girl was for the first time ever formally requesting me to come play with her.

It was such a happy moment for me.  I even had tears in my eyes when I told Jason about it at lunch.

The dishes would have to wait, my girl was using great language to beckon me.  After we played a while we practiced her using this sentence to ask her school friends to play.  I hope it works.

Having children with special needs makes us appreciate every tiny milestone.

We celebrate them all.

Way to go, Alayna!