Friday, December 30, 2011

Seven Snippets Fridays, #1

--- 1 ---

I love this blog, and most especially the friends I've made through it.  However, I haven't made the time taken the time to keep up with it like I really want to.  So, in an attempt to be a better blogger, I'm going to try some new things.  I'm not sure that adding features, like this post, will help, but a for a procrastinator like me a deadline is always a good thing!  I'm also going to try the 365 project this year.  A picture a day posted on my new blog.  I may be getting in over my head....

--- 2 ---

If you are part of the Down syndrome/adoption community on Facebook, you've probably seen this video of Mia's story posted many times.  If you haven't seen it yet, please watch it.  This is a segment that ABC World News did on Mia's adoption from the Ukraine.

Hidden Angels: American Families Saving Children With Down Syndrome - ABC News

This link includes the video and the more in depth article.

--- 3 ---

The end of the year always means 'best of' lists, and the highlight of these lists for me are the best books lists.  I'm not going to point you to the publishing world's best of list, but rather a blogger who has never let me down.  When I need any kind of book recommendation, especially audio, I look to Sandy.

The Best of 2011 - Books
The Best of 2011 - Audiobooks

--- 4 ---
Last Christmas...

--- 5 ---

Claire had a repeat swallow study and hearing test a few weeks ago that I neglected to blog about.  The Ped at the Ds Clinic wanted another swallow study as he thought she still might be aspirating, even though, as I understood, we were cleared for thin liquids with the study about 6 months prior.  They couldn't get her to drink very much (always the story for our swallow studies), but they didn't see any aspiration or penetration, so we are cleared again for thin liquids.

Claire also had another booth hearing test done, as she wasn't responding to some frequencies last time.  Maybe she just had a cold, because everything checked out perfectly with this test.

That means all of her two year appointments are finished except for her well checkup and her thyroid and iron blood work.
--- 6 ---

My pregnancy is just flying by.   30 weeks tomorrow.  Once again I love being pregnant, but this time around has been such a different experience.  I know a good chunk of that is the lack of complications, some of it is also 'been there, done that'.  (There's a whole blog post in me on this subject...)  We have our 3D ultrasound later today and I can't wait to see our little one again.

--- 7 ---

I hope that this new Friday feature will mean that I'm actually posting here at least twice a week.  A big thank you to Andi for hosting (the link to her awesome blog is below).  If you don't know Andi, definitely stop by for a visit.  One of my favorites is her Kelle Hampton post.

For more Seven Snippets, visit Bringing the Sunshine!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I was afraid that Christmas morning was going to be too rushed.  We had breakfast, presents, church, and cooking to get in before we left the house at noon.

It worked out perfectly though.  Everything got done, and we had some time just to relax and play a bit too.

When Claire headed into the living room she made a beeline for her new chair, just like I knew she would.

After rocking a few minutes she was ready for presents.

This year opening presents went much smoother.  The wrapping paper stayed out of her mouth, and she would hand off each scrap of paper from the present without being asked.

One of my goals with presents this year was to find things that she needed to be standing to play with.  While she can use this tower while sitting, I hope it's easier while standing.

Just being silly...

And the aftermath

When we finished at our house, we packed up and headed to my sisters.  My brother and his family was in town from California.  It was the first time they'd been home in two years.  The house was filled with people and lots of good food.

But Claire only had eyes for her newest cousin.

From there we headed to Darren's parents.  More food, family and a few games of cards.

Darren's mom talked us into letting Claire stay with her for a few extra days, so little miss will finally be home again tonight.

Except for undecorating, another wonderful Christmas is behind us.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very blessed Christmas, from our home to yours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blue Santa

On Saturday we took Claire to see Blue Santa.  I knew this event was sponsored by the police department, but was unsure if anything else was different about this Santa.  Turns out, he was in a blue suit.

Claire wasn't terribly thrilled with Santa.  Though I'm sure it wouldn't have mattered if he'd been in a red suit...

The visit started with tears and a desperate hug around dad's neck.

It ended with her sitting on Santa's lap, but she was never thrilled about the situation.

Actually, looking at these pictures, Santa doesn't look all that thrilled either.  Must have been an off day for everybody!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Yesterday Danila turned six.

Nobody celebrated her birthday.  Nobody gave her gifts, or even stopped to give her a hug.

The reason nobody celebrated this sweet girl's special day is because she has Down syndrome, and because she was born in Eastern Europe.  A place where people with disabilities are written off, discarded, hidden away, orphaned.

Danila has been waiting for a family for far too long.  And unfortunately there are many things working against her being adopted.

First is her age.  Six.  Hardly old, but old enough that some people won't want to take a chance on her.  Maybe she'll have too many orphanage behaviors, maybe she won't bond with her new family, maybe she'll be too delayed.

Sure, it's possible.  But it's also possible that she is wishing day in and day out for a family.  For someone to love her.  To celebrate with her.  To wipe away her tears when she cries. She deserves a family.

The other thing working against Danila is money.

International adoption is expensive in the best situation, and Danila's region is far from ideal.  Her region requires 4 trips and costs on average $40,000.

$40,000 to save one little girl.

Even if a family is willing and financially able to care for her when she gets home, not many people have $40,000 sitting around.

Danila has over $12,500 in her grant fund.  A huge grant, but still a long way from her $40,000 ransom.

Please help me celebrate Danila's birthday.

My friend Julia is holding a giveaway for children who have been passed over too long, and Danila is among them.  Please click here....look at these faces.  Donate a minimum of $5 to 2 or more children and you will be entered into a giveaway with over $600 in prizes.  If you donate $35 or more, you will also get an ornament with Danila's picture on it.

But that's not all.  My friend Patti is also holding a Pure Love giveaway (click here).  When you donate on Julia's blog, you also get an entry into Patti's giveaway, with over $1000 in prizes.

$5 doesn't seem like much, but trust me, it all adds up.  The Angel Tree is Reece's Rainbow biggest fundraiser, and this is the last year Danila will get to be a part of it.  Please help her grant fund grow, as this is her best chance at finding a family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Girl or Boy?

Since we aren't finding out the sex of this baby I constantly have people ask me what I think we are having.

Let me preface this by saying I was SURE Claire was a boy.  To the point that I was buying boy clothes for her.  And we all can see how well my mother's intuition worked!

This time around I honestly don't have a feeling one way or the other.

For fun I decided to see what some of the gender predictors say we are having.

The Chinese chart says we're having a girl.  (This one was right with Claire, and with my sister's new baby)

The baby gender predictor says it's a boy. (Based on parent's birthdays and month of conception)

The Old Wives Tale predictor goes so far as to say we have a 71% chance of having a girl.  (This one asks 15 questions about how high or low the baby is, if you are craving sweets or not, and the baby's heart rate.)

This ----->If you suffer from acre during pregnancy, you will have a girl... is another vote for girl.  But no morning sickness means boy. (I didn't have morning sickness with Claire either though).

And lastly, for my mom, since she says the baby's heartbeat never is always over 140 which means girl.  

Either way, I know Claire will be a great big sister!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mess Free Toddler Breakfast

Pretty much impossible, right?  Unfortunately (for both Claire and I), that has to be my goal in the morning, or else I'd never make it to work.

We've been working with utensils for a while now, and Claire is pretty good with the fork.  She needs a little help getting a bite loaded sometimes, and a little redirection when she gets carried away stabbing a bite, but she has no problem getting the fork to her mouth.

The spoon still needs some work however, and I take the blame for that.

I've said before, I'm not a big fan of messes and I still haven't gotten any better, so Claire's spoon practice has always been fairly controlled.  Claire has started protesting all my control, and REFUSES help now.  We had almost an hour long meltdown the other night after Darren tried to help her with a spoon full of applesauce.  :(

Luckily for me, oatmeal sticks to the spoon pretty well, and so far she hasn't needed a bath before I go to work!

Little miss is also sporting a wanna be black eye.  It's mostly a scratch, but there's a little bit of a line that looks like she bumped it too.  It happened at school, but whatever it was didn't cause tears, so nobody is quite sure what happened.  Oh well, the first of many I'm sure!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ultrasound and Echo

On Friday we had a busy day of appointments for baby.  We didn't do the 20 week anatomy scan with our OB as we knew we wanted a more detailed ultrasound.  We also waited until 22 weeks so that we could check out baby's heart at the same time.

I had very mixed feelings going into the appointments.  I wasn't really nervous that the doctors would find anything.  With Claire, I always had a feeling that something was going on with her, and I've never felt that with this baby.  But at the same time, I'm not really sure what to do with a typical baby.  Sounds crazy right?  Everybody worries about having a baby with Down syndrome, as I did with Claire, and now a typical baby freaks me out a bit.

We started out with the ultrasound.  This was the same group of perinatologists that we saw with Claire, and I've always liked and felt comfortable with them.  The tech got caught up on our history, asked how Claire was and commended us on continuing with our pregnancy.  She said most people wouldn't have done that.  I responded that most people would have missed out then, as Claire is awesome.  I always wonder how people take these comments.  If they think that I'm just saying that because she's my kid and I have to, or if they can tell that I really mean it.

We gave our usual warning that we don't want to know sex of the baby and then got started.  This tech moved a little faster through the measurements than some of the others we've had.  Maybe she had more practice, or maybe it was that everything was measuring where it should be and she didn't double check herself as much as they did with Claire. She spent a lot of time on baby's heart, but said it looked structurally sound.  When all was said and done, baby is growing perfectly.  S/he is a few days a head of schedule and estimated at 1 lb 2 oz.

When the doctor came in (not the one I'd scheduled with, she was called out) he started out by mentioning that he noticed we declined screenings.  He went on to offer the new MaterniT21 test.  I declined again.  We are not concerned about Ds, and with no markers on the ultrasound we are even less concerned now.  He took a quick look at baby, mostly the heart again, and said that everything was good.

We go back at 32 weeks for a follow up ultrasound as I'm hoping for a VBAC, and none of the hospitals in our area do them.  They will make sure there's no reason I can't do one, and then we'll figure out when Claire and I have to move up closer to the hospital.  None of the doctors are comfortable with us being 2 hours away.

Since the ultrasound looked perfect the echo was a bit anticlimactic.  I really like the echo tech as this office, even though we don't see her often.  She's done both of our fetal echos and a couple of other echos for Claire.  The echo took about an hour and we chatted through the whole thing.  There wasn't the scared silences like our last fetal echo.

After the echo was done with met with Claire's cardiologist for literally five minutes.  He said the structure of the heart, all of the vessels and the squeeze of the heart are all perfect.  There is no need for us to come back, not even after the baby is born, unless I get nervous.  We aren't planning on any follow up echos for baby, but will be requesting a pulse ox test for him in the hospital.  It's such a quick, painless way to rule out congenital heart defects that it will be done.

So, all is well with baby!  I am a bit sad that I won't have all the ultrasound pictures with this baby that I did with Claire, but at the same time, it's awfully nice not to have to fit more appointments into our full schedule.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Things Halloween

Last year we skipped carving pumpkins.  Claire was little enough that she had no interest in them, and I don't enjoy the carving enough to want to clean up the mess.

This year was different.

Claire LOVED playing in the pumpkins.  She dug right in and couldn't get enough of transferring the pumpkin pulp to the bowl.  Towards the end, when the inside of the pumpkin needed to be scraped out, Darren would try to help and would be immediately be pushed aside.

Claire was the cutest little Nemo last night, but she wasn't as much of a fan of the costume as we were.  She HATES anything on her head, so the hood didn't last long.

Instead of trick or treating we went to church for the Fall Carnival.  Claire loved all the kids in costume, the bouncy house and slide.  We let her bounce a little on the edge of the sumo pit.  The bounce houses were a little too busy for her, but she had a great time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Patch

I love fall in Colorado.

The skies are bright blue, and the weather is warm enough (usually) to play outside without too many bulky layers getting in the way.

This weekend was perfect fall weather, and a great day for the pumpkin patch.

When we took Claire last year, she was fairly unimpressed by everything.  The animals didn't catch her interest and getting pumpkins was just an opportunity for us to make her sit in the dirt.

She still wasn't all that interested in the pumpkins this time either, but she loved the lambs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

21 months and 19 weeks

Things have been busy in our world, but not blogging exciting, just plain busy.

Me: I'm at work four days a week now.  I miss my extra time at home with Claire, but I'm grateful that I had 21 months of only working three days a week.  It also means that my one day off during the week is packed with EI appointments, phone calls, shopping and anything else that comes up.  I'm adjusting to the new schedule, though I do feel more hurried and scattered, if that's even possible.  Claire doesn't mind the change at all.  She LOVES going to school/daycare, and can't get enough of her friends and the teachers.

I am just finishing up with a Hanen class too.  The class focuses on communication, not speech exactly, but teaches you how to interact with your child in a way that encourages them to take turns and have "conversations".  The program teaches you how to modify daily routines and play times to give your child more opportunities to communicate.  It's been a great class, and I'm glad I took it, but it's held two hours from home, on a weeknight.  Yet another long day!  I have one more class left and I'm bummed that it's over, but can't wait to have that evening at home again.

Claire:  Little miss is just doing wonderfully.  We are still celebrating her first steps, and we've been practicing whenever we have the chance.  She's taken a few more steps, but nothing quite as spectacular as in that PT appointment.  **Edited to add:  Last night I set her in the middle of the floor again and quite a few times she would walk between Darren and I with 3-4 steps!  :)

We are at a break in Claire's extra appointments, and that is very welcome.  I have a hearing re-screen set up for December, but otherwise nothing until her 2 year old (!!!) appointments in January.  We are busy enough with her weekly EI appointments and monthly private therapy that I don't have the energy for much else these days.

Claire's signing vocabulary continues to grow.  She has over 35 signs that she uses on her own, with quite a few more that she will mimic.  Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet the school district's teacher for the deaf and hearing impaired children.  I asked her about sign language resources in our area (there aren't any) and she offered herself!  She loved Claire, and was so excited to see her signing.  We are in the process of getting our IFSP modified, but then this gal will meet with us once and month just to teach us new signs.  We already have plans to go to the park and the grocery store to practice signing.  I am so excited for this opportunity!!

Clairey just cracks me up.  She is such a hoot and the things she comes up with never cease to amaze me.  Her newest "trick" is to ask for milk.  We walk to the kitchen, open the fridge and she immediately goes for the cheese, yogurt, or whatever else looks  good to grab.  Apparently I need to teach her some more food signs.  :)

New Baby:  First of all, this baby doesn't have a nickname yet.  Claire's was Pip and we called her that all the time.  Nothing has really stuck this time around.

We declined the 2nd trimester blood work, and instead have a full days worth of appointments set up in a couple of weeks.  We will have a very through level two ultrasound (with the same doctor we saw with Claire) and a fetal echo (with Claire's cardio).  We know both of these doctors well, and feel very comfortable with this decision.

One of the biggest perks to being pregnant again is feeling the baby move so much earlier.  This little one's wiggles became noticeable around 15 weeks, and Darren was able to feel him/her (see why we need a nickname!) last week.

I've been feeling great, except the muscle cramps that showed up last week.  I know a lot of it is all the time sitting.  Between my desk job and all our travel time in the car, I just get stiff.  I've been getting up and moving, consuming bananas and drinking lots of water, but if anyone else has other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Last night I realized I'm almost half done being pregnant and we haven't even thought about names.  Since we won't find out the sex, we need to have at least one boy and one girl name.  Darren still likes our boy name from Claire.  I was undecided on it when she arrived, and for that reason was glad she was a girl. Since we had a really time agreeing with Claire, this is something we need to start thinking about!

And to finish things off, a kiss from Claire.  :)

(Please ignore the beer can in her lap.  Darren decided if she was going to rummage in the fridge every time it opened she might as well carry his beer to the living room.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Yesterday was a crazy, busy, hectic day, but it was the most amazing of days too.

I've been trying to schedule as many of Claire's out of town appointments on the same day as possible.  These days include a lot of travel time, and it makes sense to have a full day.  Yesterday was filled with four appointments, five hours of drive time and one very exhausted and sore mama when we finally got home.

One of our monthly appointments is PT.  Our PT, Pat Winders, is amazing.  To say Claire is resistant to PT is an understatement.  If you can get her to try an activity three times, that is success.  Pat is always coming up with new ways to keep Claire happy and engaged.  Some days are better than others.

Yesterday was great.

One of the bigger gym rooms was open and Pat thought a change of scenery might help.  We played on the slide, climbed on the foam steps and had a great time without Claire realizing we were even working.  Between all that playing, we set Claire up to take independent steps.  This has been the focus of our PT sessions for at least the last four months.

Claire stood, with Pat kneeling behind her for support, and she walked to an exercise ball propped against a mirror.

These weren't the lunging, did her feet move before her hands touched type of "steps" we've been getting for a while.  These were actual, not touching anything, countable steps!!

I needed a day like that.  I've been so overwhelmed with work, appointments and pregnancy hormones that tears have come easily lately, and they haven't been happy tears.

As Pat and I were talking she mentioned that Claire's standing balance was so much better,and she wondered if we'd be able to stand her in the middle of the room and have her walk to us.  Not really expecting her to do it, I stood Claire in the middle of the floor and she took four steps to me.  Now those tears were happy tears!

Usually PT ends with Pat and I talking, and with Claire staying as far away from Pat as she can possibly get.  Pat makes Claire work hard, and it's rare that she leaves a session happy.  Yesterday's session felt different to me, and apparently it did to Claire too.  For the first time ever at the end of a session, she crawled over to Pat and gave her a big hug.  I thought Pat was going to cry a few happy tears too.  :)

I hope this is the breakthrough Claire needed.  Physically, she'd have been able to walk months ago.  This has not been a strength issue.  She just hasn't wanted to walk.  Now, I don't think anything can stop her.


Just a few pictures from our time at the park last week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing the Night Away

Last weekend we went to Kansas for a wedding.  Most of Darren's extended family is there, and we hadn't been back since I was very pregnant with Claire.  This was finally Claire's chance to meet the aunts, uncles, cousins and Darren's Grandma.

She was a trooper through the drive (I think the new car seat really helped!), and did well with all the unfamiliar faces.  She warmed up to the aunts pretty quickly, but the uncles were another story.  I don't think any of them got more than a high 5 all weekend.

The highlight of the weekend for Claire?  The reception.  Missy has always loved music.  It's doesn't matter whether its a catchy commercial or the song from Monday Night Football.  Her arms come out and the dancing wiggle starts.  That night she danced to everything from Elvis to Lady Gaga. Clairey just wanted to be moving, so we danced!

The day after the wedding we stopped by Grandma's farm to check the cows and get a 4 generation picture before heading home.

We had a great time, and it was nice to get away from home for a little while!