Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Awesome Fundraiser to Bless Many Families!

I LOVE these products! 

Sevenly is doing a fundraiser again this year for Reece's Rainbow, but this year the proceeds are benefitting families who are waiting to travel to bring their child home! 

That includes us! I haven't said much, but with the new regulations, we are no longer fully funded (we will be needing around $1,500 or more in addition to what we have already raised). But so many other families are far short of what they need to bring their child/children home!

 All the proceeds from this fundraiser will be divided equally between all of the families! Check it out and order some T-Shirts - $7 from each item purchased will go to these families  - these are the "almost home" families/children, and we are only one of many families in this category!

These hats are hand knit by women in Uganda

Over $3,000 has already been raised for these families already!  This campaign only lasts a week (I think it started today, but I am not sure).  
These are made in Costa Rica providing jobs there! 

Please consider purchasing something, and please share on your social networking (blog, FB, twitter, Google+) and help these families bring their children home!!!

This event ends January 6, so don't wait to order!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Esther is Growing Up!

Here's a quick update on things Esther is learning to do!

At camp last summer she found a broken bad-mitten racket and was playing it like a guitar for all she was worth.  Recently we found an adorable little tune-able toddler guitar and she loves it!

She has begun to be dry some mornings, so we began to get her on the potty seat and she has had success most mornings!  She loves the routine, and she gets so excited when she has success!  She has even begun to tell me when she is "stinky"!  This is HUGE!

We are also seeing progress in her cognitive development through the Can Do therapy program I am doing with her.  She now knows the names of nearly all the photo cards that I use with her, and just this week she was able to see two cards, and then find their matches after I took the cards away!  She is also able to repeat back to me some of the sounds for letters!  She LOVES working with these cards and gets so excited when she gets it right.  I'm so glad we were able to begin this program with her.  She doesn't like some of the physical things, but she loves all the attention!

She is talking a lot, but we can't always understand what she is saying.  I love it when we finally understand a word that she's been saying for a while.  Once we have context, then we can totally understand what she is saying, but many times, without context, we just can't figure it out.  Once we know it, sometimes is seems silly that we didn't understand it!

Esther LOVES going to the beach.  We had a little scare earlier this summer when she decided to follow the big kids and got in deeper that she was prepared for and her floaty swimsuit kept her afloat, but she got her head under the water longer than she likes and I was afraid she was going to lose her love of the beach, but our day at the beach and couple weeks ago proved that she is still 100% a fish.  She was the first one in and the last one out!

I re-arranged the girls' bedroom this week.  Esther was SO excited about the change.  I had taken her top blanket to be washed, so it was missing for a couple of days. When I brought it back she acted like it was her long lost friend!

 Her excitement over everyday things is so captivating!  I'm sure her birthday this year (in just a couple of weeks now) will be a most over-the-top exciting day for her!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Esther "Can Do" Therapy

Esther LOVES to help Carese...
far more than Carese likes to be helped, though!
Summer has arrived, and with it some beautiful weather!  In the past few months, we were given a swing set which is getting a lot of use now, and we got a steal of a deal on a swimming pool (ours died of old age last year) as well.  The kids haven't been in the pool much in the last two weeks due to cool/rainy weather, but that all changed this week!

Esther enjoyed our first "Lake Day"
Summer also means "Lake Days."  We have some sweet friends who live on the lake, and they invite us over almost every week for some beach time.  We all enjoy this special treat!  Last Friday was our first "Lake Day" and we all had so much fun.  Esther spent almost the entire time in the water, and enjoyed every minute of the day.  Carese kept me busy, and it took a while for her to get used to wearing a life jacket, but Esther had no problems with the "life jacket all the time" rule at all!

Last winter we heard about a neurodevelopmental program that a dear friend of mine had discovered, which had made a huge difference in her child - leaping 18 months in development in just 4 months.  The second 4 months did not show this great leap of developmental progress, but there were other extenuating factors.  But she had continued to progress more rapidly with this program than with any of the other therapies that they had tried.

Esther learning her alphabet while getting her hair combed,
after getting dressed and getting her glasses on.
While we are doing therapy with Esther we have Mozart
playing on our stereo for brain stimulation.
We researched the "Can Do" program, and found out that they would even be at our Christian Heritage Homeschool Convention!  Even though it was difficult to come up with the up front costs, we decided that it was the best time to start this program for Esther, as during the summer months I have less on my plate (homeschooling break) and it would be good to start this program before Esther's new sister come homes (her adoption should be finalized next winter).

Esther had her first evaluation at the beginning of May, and at that time I was also taught everything I needed to know to implement the program that they custom designed for Esther.  We will be sending in updates every two weeks and later every month.  We will have her re-evaluated every 4 months (that is how often they are in our area).  Can Do services 8 states (WA, ID, CA, ND/MN, MI, OH and NY) and families drive a long way to use their services.  Thankfully, we only have to drive about 1 hour away!

Here are some photos of Esther's therapy!

Esther leaning animal sounds while getting deep pressure massage
to her hand/arms/feet/legs.
Jessica is doing the massage in this photo.

Our therapy checklist for the week, and her daily meds/supplements
most of which go into her yogurt.
The penny bank and pennies is for fine motor skills
- she has to pick up the pennies and put them into the bank!
That is Daniel's job - to help Esther with this therapy.
You can also see "bite tubes" in a baggy.
The bite tubes are part of her mouth stimulation and for
strengthening her jaw for better speech later.

Esther gets a vibration massage to her hands a feet while she eats her yogurt
this helps develop her brain/body connection to help her overcome
her high pain tolerance and prepare her for potty training.
Here Rachel is working with Esther

Esther's memory cards.  She is learning the names of the items on the cards
both to say them and to point them out on command.
She can only do one at a time, but we are working to help her be able
to point to two in a row and then three, and then four.
You can see Carese is also at the table "playing" therapy.

These are photo cards that I made.  There is the word for the item in the photo on the back
We show her the word, and then the photo, and then the word again
She loves these cards and is saying more words now, as well as
pointing to the object in the photos!

Dayton is helping Esther learn her numbers.
All the children (except Carese) help Esther with different parts of her therapy
as each child is able - it's their "school" for the summer!

This is Carese - she stole this sucker/sponge that we use for mouth stimulation with Ether
She loves these (she's been teeting)
We use this with Esther,one is dipped in very warm water and swished around in Esther's moujt
The other one is put in very cold water and we alternate between the two.
Esther has many other therapies, but I'll save those for another post!

If you want to check into this program, check out their website - Can Do
They are a christian company who focus on teaching parents to work with their children at home to enable their children to reach their greatest potential - it's for children with any disabilities, even ADHD, dyslexia and Autism!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ahem...and now for public release!

A video to tell our story - our journey to adoption

Feel free to share this as I think this could be a tool used to get the word out that these children need homes and families to love them!

Here are the blogs of the families represent in our journey:


Prolife means more than just preventing abortion, it means promoting all life, even those who are abandoned or rejected at birth!  Not all are called to adopt, but anyone can support an adoptive family or advocate for these children who are hidden away from the world and left to die.

And don't forget - we have 31 days left to build up our funds to make the most of our matching grant!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Esther has New Glasses

We took her to a new eye doctor recently.  The new doctor found that Esther's eyes needed much stronger correction.  Not only that, but that Esther needs to where her glasses as much as possible or she might have her eyes get weaker!

So we have two sets of new glasses, and we have rigged up a way to keep them from being lost. To help prevent them getting broken, we paid a little extra and got titanium based frames, called "flexi-frames".  So far, so good.  She's had her glasses for nearly a month and they only thing she has broken is some of the soft plastic on the nose piece!  She has also only lost them a few times, but not for long and it was not always her fault (the fault lies with the person who takes them off ;).

She likes wearing them - I think they are far more helpful that her last prescription!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

You'd Better Not Watch This

or it might make you want to have a child with Down Syndrome in your family!

If God has blessed your family with a love one with Down Syndrome, then Praise God!  If He hasn't....yet...maybe it's time to see if you can adopt one!

Reece's Rainbow can help!  Check out their "Children with Sizable Grants" page!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Esther's Tonsilectomy

 Esther underwent surgery on January 7 for having her tonsils and adenoids removed.  She had this done at Children's Hospital in Seattle.  It went amazingly well.  I'm so glad we did have it done there as she did struggle a lot with post-surgery pain.  They were amazing there.

We arrived a little early, but they said that the surgery team was ahead of schedule, so we didn't wait long.  Esther got to look at the fish tanks (her favorite thing to do at Children's), and play on the Wii with her daddy for a few minutes and then we were called back to the prep room.

In the prep room, we talked with them about her allergy to polyester (all the gowns there were polyester), and we decided it was best for her to just wear the shirt she had on through the surgery.  We were fine with that as it was not a new shirt and her comfort was more important than that!

She was actually all excited about everything.  You see, for the past few months we have rarely taken her anywhere in order to keep her healthy for this surgery.  So not only was she "out and about" but she also had mommy and daddy all to herself.

She was loving it!  She loves meeting new people too - she waves her little wave and says "hi" to each new person who came into her room.  She liked getting a bracelet to wear and playing on mommy's new "tablet."

 It had been decided that I would accompany her to the OR, but the "gown" they brought was pants, and I was wearing a skirt.  We decided to have daddy bring her back instead.  She thought it was all just a lot of fun - she had no idea what was in store for her, poor girl!

Here is Esther in a big bed with mommy to comfort her after the surgery.  She was very quiet and groggy at first.  She liked to just snuggle with mommy and watch a movie.

After a little while the nurse removed the IV as Esther had already drank some juice.  They also gave her some ibuprofen   As the morphine began to go away, we noticed that Esther's eyes were all red, and tears were streaming down her cheeks.  We consulted with the nurse and we determined that this was her reaction to pain, so we added Tylenol   That didn't help either so we ended up having to give her Oxycontin in order to get the pain under control.

It was so sad to see her laying there, no complaining but having tears rolling down her cheeks from the pain.  Such a sweet, sweet little girl!

The first day and night were basically keeping her pain to a minimum and trying to get her to drink.  At first it went well, but the next morning it was a little difficult to get her to drink or eat, so we tried a Popsicle   When Esther was little, she had problems with aspiration due to swallowing difficulties, so she was never given a Popsicle   So this was something very new to her and she really didn't want anything to do with it!

I ended up putting it in a cup.  After a while, I started scrapping off the Popsicle and feeding it to her by spoon, like a slushy.  That worked!

It was just a couple of hours and she was feeling much better and wanted out of bed.  She wanted to leave now.   She even ran out of our room once and I had to chase her down!  We got the go ahead to be discharge, so Daryl took her to the play room for play until the discharge paperwork was done.

She did great on the drive home,sleeping for quite a bit of the ride.

She was thrilled to be home and was very playful for a little while, but she over did it and was very ready to lay low for the rest of the day/evening watching movies!

The first week was tough.  She really needed all the pain meds and developed some really junky breathing.  I used essential oils, both topically and diffused in the room, to help c\open her airways and boost her immunity.  I also was giving her an herbal remedy for immunity enhancement called "Immune Boost 2" that I had ordered from T-Tapp.  We also did breathing treatments for a few days as I did not want her to get pneumonia again!

By day 10 she began to be her old self.  Grabbing her coat and asking to go outside, grabbing an apron and asking to help with dishes and grabbing hands to lead her "helpers" to show them what she wanted to do.  It is so nice to have our old Esther back.. Or should I say "new and improved" Esther back.  She has more energy and zest.  This is good and bad!  Great for Esther, but now we have to be on our toes more to keep her out of trouble!

 I'm so glad we went ahead with this.  You can hear that her breathing is unrestricted.  She sleeping really well at night.  I don't have to diffuse oils at night in her room in order to have her sleep through the night anymore (that gets expensive!).

And best of all - she gets to go out and about again!  We haven't taken her anywhere yet, but tomorrow we are all going to church for the second time since the beginning of September!  I am looking forward to filling an entire pew once again!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Esther's 4th Christmas Season, Plus Surgery on Monday

Esther had a wonderful Christmas season.  She loved all the fun activities.  She was, however, getting very tired of not going places.  We've been keeping her home to try to prevent her from getting sick.  And so far it's worked!  She loves to go places, so this was a hardship for her.  She would see someone getting ready to go, and she'd get her coat and boots on and get so excited, but end up crying when she was not taken with.  Poor Esther.

So here are some photo highlights of her enjoying the season:

Esther loves to help fill my vitamin organizer.  Elizabeth helped out this time!

Esther frosted one cookie and then went to eating all the chocolate chips!

Esther and Carese opening gifts!

Esther got lots of help opening her gifts!

Esther loves to play in the snow - we even had a white Christmas this year!

Esther loves to pretend to shoot guns, so this gift was a hit
- only problem was that she loved to aim at her daddy, and she had good aim!

She loves the snow, did I tell you that?

Monday we head down to Seattle Children's Hospital for Esther to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.  Please pray that everything will go well and that she'll be home again quickly.