Thursday, June 23, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Way back on June 6, Miss Clara Rose became a three year old.  It's hard to believe how quickly the years slip by.  Read on - pictures are at the end.

Throughout this past year Clara has become a proficient walker.  Wearing hip helpers throughout the summer months helped to develop and good gait by forcing Clara to lift her feet and bend her knees rather than shuffling her feet and/or waddling.  She wants to run to keep up with Owen and the other big kids, but can't quite get beyond a fast walk yet.  Keeping up with the fast walking Clara can be challenging - I am not sure we are ready for running Clara yet.  Santa brought Clara a mini-trampoline this year and she so desperately wants to jump, but can't quite get her feet off the ground.

Clara has become quite the climber, getting into and out of her booster seat on her own, climbing onto and off of furniture, and even managing to scurry up the steep play set ladder in the back yard.  One day, I walked into the kitchen to find Clara sitting on top of the table.  She has also become a proficient stair climber, going up and down stairs safely with little or no assistance.

Clara has made it her mission to make sure that all doors and drawers are closed at all times.  When she sees and open door or drawer, she will drop whatever it is that she is doing so that she can rectify the open door/drawer situation.  Now that she is tall enough to reach the regular utensil drawer, she declared that she will no longer use toddler utensils and insists on using grown-up forks and spoons.

We reduced the frequency of physical and occupational therapies and focused on speech therapy.  As a results Clara's vocabulary (including spoken words and signs) has increased significantly this year.  As with most kids this age, "no" is certainly Clara's favorite word and she uses it emphatically.  Want, mine, stop and all done are also some of Clara's favorite words.  She is beginning to be able to communicate her wants or needs to us, although those instances are limited to communicating her choice from a list of options (e.g., Do you want eggs, cereal, or toast to eat for breakfast?).  She loves Signing Time and requests (verbally and with signs) that we put an episode on anytime we go near the TV.

Clara has become increasing interactive with her baby dolls - pretending to feed them, trying to put a diaper on them, talking with them, and taking them for walks in a stroller.  Okay, so she has colored on a couple with crayons too, but just to make them pretty.  To be fair, Clara has also colored her own face with crayon mimicking lipstick application.

Clara's love of all books continued during her third year.  She will happily leaf through books for hours even if they have no pictures.  At church, Clara loves to page through the hymnal and bible, an activity that generally keeps her occupied for most of the worship service.

Thanks to our good friends Lynn and Diana, Clara attended her first year of Sunday school and this summer will attend her first vacation bible school.  We are eternally grateful that our congregation sees Clara Rose and not just her extra chromosome.  We are also thankful for our Pastor who recognizes the readiness of children to participate in Holy Communion. Ellen and I are fortunate to be at the rail to witness the passion with which Clara takes Communion.

Thanks to Nana and Papa, Clara made her first trip to Disney World this year.  As you will see below, she loved the characters she was familiar with from Disney TV.  She was curious about the princesses but a little hesitant to interact with them one-on-one.  Cinderella was clearly her favorite princess though.  After the first day, Clara decided she was done walking and we were glad to have the guest assistance pass that allowed us to use her stroller as a wheel chair.

Happy Birthday to Me!

The awesome cake created by our friends and The Ribbon Box

Opening presents with Owen standing by to help if needed.

Playing in the fountain at Downtown Disney.

I think Pooh was worried that Clara was going to share her lunch with him.  Piglet stopped by later to help Clara eat her green beans

Meeting Mickey at the Tusker House restaurant in Animal Kingdom.

Playing the drums at Animal Kingdom.

Checking out the view from our balcony at Kidani Village.

This was the only picture I got with both Owen and Clara looking at the camera.

Clara wearing Nana's hat while waiting at Soarin.  If you think she looks tired, check out the next picture.

Clara passed out with Nana shortly after leaving Soarin.

Clara had her first haircut at the Magic Kingdom.  As you can see, she was not thrilled with the process.

Fist Haircut Mickey Ears!

Being cute and showing off the new hairdo.

Almost every day at Disney ended with Owen and Clara passed out in the stroller.  We were extremely happy that we rented this City Elite double jogging stroller from Kingdom Strollers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Morning

Happy Easter!!!

Bright and early this morning (6:40 am) Owen comes in our room yelling that we had to get up right now, I told him 10 more minutes. He insisted we had to get up right now (mind you Monday -Friday we are usually trying to get him out of bed at this time). Surprisingly enough, it was not the Easter Bunny he was so interested in, he wanted to make sure we got up and ready for church so we could get to the youth breakfast that was being served at 8am!!! So up we got before 7 am, Owen went into Clara's room and started looking at her clothes to pick something out for her to wear, I told him I had a nice Easter dress for her to wear. When I got it out to show it to him, his question was "Why Doesn't it has Easter eggs on it?" Owen readily got dressed (a rare event) while I got myself and Clara dressed and Rob got ready, then on down the stairs we went, Owen was not really interested in the Easter baskets and the stuff in them but wanted to look for the Easter eggs that had been hidden. Mind you these were not plastic eggs filled with goodies, but real eggs that Clara and Owen had colored on Saturday. To me, this was an odd morning....1. Owen insisting we all get up, 2. Owen readily getting dressed and ready to go, 3. He was not motivated by presents, but by food (he is not the best eater), although it may not have been food, but fellowship.

No matter what the reason, we had a good morning, got up and ready, did our little egg hunt, then headed to church in time for some breakfast.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Clara's color is green...

The other week I was running around getting vehicles to and from the mechanic and came home to the following picture.

Apparently Clara decided Green was her color. Thankfully it was not a sharpie although it did initially leave a slight green tinge around her mouth:)

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I follow a number of bloggs of families who are in the process of adopting a child with DS internationally or who have already adopted, and of course check out Reece's Rainbow wishing Rob and I were in a position to adopt at this time, but for now I will just have to be satisfied with helping others adopt. On to the Victory. I was so excited to read yesterday morning that Clark and Angie Hook were approved to be Evan's mom and dad by the same judge that denied little Kiril his family just weeks before!!! Now praying that the Davis' apeal to the Supreme Court of Moscow will be successful and Kiril will be granted his right to a family who loves him very much and the Davis' will be allowed to bring their son home.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brother and Sister

I just love these pictures

Clara watching bubby play a leapster gam while she eats her favorite thing ........grapes!

So bubby, watch ya doing and why did you move from the couch to the trampoline?

Oh, look momy is taking a picture!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kindergarten Registration for Owen!!

Wow, it is hard to beleive Owen is actually 5 years old and will be going to kindergarten next year. We finally made the decision that He will just attend the regular kindergarten at the public school district. The thing I hate about this is there schedule, instead of the typical half a day everyday, they do an alternating all day program with one group going Tuesday and Friday and everyother Wednesday and thr other group going Monday and Thursday and everyother Wednesday. Yesterday Rob and I took Owen to the Kindergarten registration, it started about 30 minutes late due to technical difficulties which was a bit annoying since we both needed to get to work but life goes on. They had a breif presentation and actually made a good case for their crazy kindergarten schedule (being that the kids get significantly more time in the classroom which I was really surprised at the amount of increase). While Rob and I were learning about Kindergarten Owen got to do a short vocabulary test which of course he excelled at (yep, Owe is too smary for his own good). When we got to the nurses station we got to talk with Josie who I was really glad to see...why you ask...she has a 13 year old daughter with Down Syndrome who currently attends the local middlr school. I had met her breifly the summer that Clara was born but had not seen or talked to her since.

Owen is very excited about kindergarten and they even already gave him "homework". They had bins to give to the kids with different school tools and a calender that goes from April through August with an activity for the kids to do each day. As soon was we got home yesterday Owen wanted to do his homework!!! After dinner I finally got everything out and read over it and got out the little writing book they put together and told him to write his first and last name , a pretty simple task since he does it every day at pre-school. Once he did that he asked what else he needed to do, he was very disappointed when I told him that was his homework for the day. Tonight, again he wanted to do his homework as soon as we got home, todays task was a bit harder, he had to find the letter Q in a newspaper or magazine.

And just for kicks here are some pictures of the big boy himself with his new cousin Abby who was born just before Christmas.

Yep, he likes to be a bit of a ham

While we have newer pictures (including those from his birthday party, aparently they have not been uploaded onto the computer yet.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Black eye, strep and up coming IEP meeting

Hello all, well 2 Thursdays ago little miss Clara Rose was practicing her stair climbing skills at the sitters and fell (potentially with the help of her buddy Chase, although he said he did not help her, but his mom is suspicious). Anyways, she fell just right that she hit her eye (well, right under her eye) on the bottom of the spindle (that is the hypothesis for where she hit). As soon as Beth (our day care provider and Chase's mom) got to her she knew it was going to become a nice black eye, which is has been. Later that morning while at play group with Grandma Lynn she also managed to hit her cheek on the corner of a table, thankfully that did not leave much of a mark or else people would really have been wondering what happened. On Sunday evening, she started with a fever, the first thing that came to my mind was strep as she also was not interested in eating (not even applesauce or yogurt which are 2 of her favorite things). So off to the doctor we went Monday morning (after I called Beth to see if her daughter Katelyn had strep since usually she gets it then Clara may or may not get it, Katelyn however was feeling fine). As soon as we were called back to the exam room at the doctors the nurse went ahead and swabbed her throat and by the time he was finished getting all her states, the strep test was positive. I have to tell you this, when Brian (the nurse) went to get the cuff out to check her blood pressure she immediately held her arm out in front of her (with a big smile on her face) so he could put in on, just like a pro :) It was very cute. Once the doctor came in she asked about her nice shiner which was clearly not what I was there for but what ever. I stayed home with the kids on Monday and Grandma Lynn was able to come over and watch the kids on Tuesday so that we could make sure Clara was not contagious before sending her and Owen to Beth's on Wednesday. Thankfully, no one else has gotten strep...just the head cold that Clara started with at the same time!!!

Now, onto the up coming IEP meeting. On Tuesday we have are first meeting regarding Clara going to pre-school next school year and to start the IEP process. I think I am a bit at an advantage compared to some parents starting this process, not because I have any background in special ed or anything (because I do not) but because here in Union County Ohio the Union County DD runs their own pre-school for kids with special needs. It is a great program and Owen has been going there as a peer model this year and went there last year as well. Why do I feel this is an advantage, well, I do not have to start to deal with a school district and what they want to do or think is easiest for them. The staff at Harold Lewis is all about the kids and making sure the students get the best start possible in school. However, I am still leery of starting this whole process, I think it is impart because my baby girl will be starting school and in part because I know this is just the beginning of IEP's and everything that goes with it. I have already laid done 1 ground rule, I refuse to sign the IEP without having sufficient time (I have told them 1 week) to review it and do some of my own research to make sure I agree with what they are saying or wanting to do or to make changes. I have told this to our current service coordinator (Erin) who will be involved in the IEP process and transferring Clara from the early intervention program to the pre-school program. Although I do not really feel I will need that extra time while Clara is at Harold Lewis, I have decided that I am going to set it as a standard operating preceder when it comes to the IEP. If anyone has additional ideas or tips on IEP's I would love to hear them (or I guess in reality read them :))

Friday, February 18, 2011

Help Bring Yana Home

For the past several months I have followed a number a blogs of families who were in the process of adopting a child with Down Syndrome or had recently completed such adoption. One of the blogs I have followed is for the adoption of Yana , a beautiful little girl in Eastern Europe ( Her family has really struggled to to gather money to pay for her adoption. They have multiple fundraisers going on including Puzzle Pieces, Coffee Sales, T-shirts. They have also had garage sales, and raffles for different items such as Pampered Chef items and book, but still are in need of $13,000 to complete the adoption. They are finally getting close to traveling (the process has been a bit longer than many others due to the region/country where Yana is at). To help in this effort another family is offering several items in a drawing including a brand new Xbox 360 Kinect. Please go to Lisa's Blog (Living in the Light) and simply make a donation to Yana's adoption and leave a comment (this is your entry). Yana deserves to be home with her family, and the other kids with special needs in her region are depending on her adoption to be successfully completed so that they may have the oppertunity at finding a forever family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Almost Five..Correction, he is Five

I started this entry the beginning of this past week and never had time to finish it. so now need to change what a started and finish it. :)

It is hard to believe that my little boy turned five on Friday. It seems like it was just yesterday that he was born. Now he is writing and wanting to learn to read, he knows his numbers, letters and colors, is a great big brother to Clara Rose (most of the time) keeping an eye on her when I ask him too, and always proud of her accomplishments. While he is a great lovable and friendly kiddo, he has his moments just like any other kid. One thing that concerns me is his temper and his inpatients. He wants to be able to do something right the first time and when he can't he gets mad. My thoughts are, this is where Clara comes in at. She has such determination and when he starts getting so frustrated I remind him how Clara has had to work to learn to walk (and now to jump) and how she never got mad or frustrated about it. This seems to make him think twice about getting mad when he cannot do something right the first time and pushes him to keep trying. Makes me wonder how much more Clara Rose is going to influence Owen's life compared to a typical sibling. I have an older brother and while I know he influenced me (I took on an attitude of if my brother could do it I could do it too), and although I know my brother is proud of my accomplishments I do not feel I really influenced his life much. I believe for Owen this will be different, while Clara will hopefully have the attitude of "if Owen can do it I can too", Owen will also learn about determination and practice makes perfect from Clara Rose.

Owen at Birth 5 years ago

Owen being a Super Model for Family pictures just a few weeks ago

Where did all the time go? When did he get so big?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Update...a long time coming

Hi all, this is Ellen, Owen and Clara's mom and I am hijacking the blog.  While I hope Rob will stop by and put in his 2 cents somewhat regularly, I suspect you will hear much more from me and I hope to keep the blog a little more up to date.

Tubes and Tear Ducts:  Tubes are doing great, one tear duct is completely cleared now, the other one (the worst one to begin with) clogged back up in a about a week.  Honestly, we have not talked to the eye doctor about this.  Not a big concern right now.  At the time the tear ducts were probed, she indicated they could put a stint in to help keep it open if the initial procedure did not work. 

Christmas: Christmas was great, although took a little encouragement to get Clara to open her presents.  Santa brought her a small trampoline which now sets prominently in out living room and which Owen jumps on more that Clara.  Clara is still working on jumping, it is a slow process but she is getting there.  Owen got his favorites....race cars, race track, trains, train track.

January flew by and I cannot believe it is already February and Owen is almost five (birthday is the 11th).  We did get some great family pictures taken by a friend of mine here in central Ohio who just started her own photography business.  She has a traveling studio and came out to the house to take the pictures which was great!!  We will be starting the IEP process for Clara either last week of February or the first week of March.  We also need to decide what we are going to do about Kindergarten next year for Owen (Pay for all-day every-day or send him to the regular all-day alternating day program).  Decisions Decisions.  Since I know I love seeing pictures of the kids on the blogs I have been following here are a few from our recent family photo shoot.