Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

So we went to my parents’ house on the lake this weekend for the holiday weekend. We had a super time. Both girls LOVE swimming in the lake. They both willingly put on their floaties every time! So excited for summer now. The girls learned how to shoot their bow and Noah did amazing shooting his. We went to a neighborhood archery range and they had a “surprise” target for Noah. When he pulled back to shoot the Elk or whatever animal it was, it began to slowly move! Noah took a deep breath and tracked it and then made a kill shot that first passed through a narrow space between two trees before it hit the target. It was A-MAZING! Sadly I have no footage of this event. Grandpa was so proud! We ate a ton and played a ton and were able to visit Red Ridge UMC, my parents’ church. Red Ridge did so much for us during our adoption we couldn’t wait to introduce Yaya to them and to show them how much Eden and Noah had grown as well. We celebrated our Family Day on Saturday the 25th. It was the one year anniversary of us all being together as a family! Here are some pictures!


My favorite picture of the weekend is the one below. Eden had just popped a pink balloon…only you can’t see the balloon because the camera caught the arrow right after it popped the balloon but before it stuck into the target!!!!


When we got home we had a package waiting for us. It was from our friend Ella! Her mommy made the girls dresses to match one that Ella had! A picture of Ella in her dress was included in the package. The girls had to immediately put their new dresses on! So cute! Thanks Ella! (and Julie)


P.S. The reason Yaya is not smiling is because she is chewing gum!!!! What??!!!?? Eric did it. I think she later swallowed it but we call it PROGRESS!!!! We thank the Lord for the little miracles around here! All in all we are so thankful for the life we have. We are so blessed. And on this day we are thankful for the men and women who grant us the freedoms we so enjoy here in the United States. Thank you to all our military services and for the sacrifices you make and have made for our family. Blessings to the families of our service members as well, you are so often forgotten. Blessings friends!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Feeding Therapy Update

Here is my feeding therapy…

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But this isn’t what I’m really posting about. I’m posting about sweet Yaya. Here is a little of what we do around here nowadays…


What you see above is food play therapy. I cut up certain foods, put out some dipping sauces (Ranch and Chocolate syrup are  featured here) and I usually put out  colored paper. We paint with the food and dipping sauces and occasionally lick our “paintbrushes.” Sometimes we hold our food between our teeth or alternate putting it on either side of our mouth. Then we do more licking. We have gone so far as to bite off the end of a pretzel, green pepper and apple, but we mostly do licking. The plastic bowls are “pahtooey” bowls if we want to spit stuff out of our mouth that scares us or if we are done with a food and want to move on to a different one. The wipes are there for obvious reasons. Sometimes I have small bowls of milk and we get straws and try to blow Cheerios or Cocoa puffs around the bowl. I hope that one day she will suck up the milk…but that is a really hard concept for her to grasp. Sometimes we have pretzels that we dip in a sauce and then pick up cheerios' or puffs with them. We occasionally will kiss foods goodbye or blow on them if they seem scary.  And by now you all are thinking that I am out of my mind. It feels that way. But wait there is more! Yaya’s food aversion was described to me this way. Something solid in her mouth triggers her fight, flight or freeze reflex. Did you hear that…it is our most primal, basic response to fear…and I mean terrorizing fear. It is mind boggling to think Yaya has that kind of feeling toward eating! Plus, it doesn’t help that her gag reflex is off the chart. Now, I was once a skeptic like many of you probably are right now until last week when she accidentally bit off the end of a green pepper. Terror shot across her face, her eyes became as big as saucers and she frantically signed “Pain, pain, pain, pain!! My immediate response was to grab the pahtooey bowl and tell her that it would not hurt her, that I would not giver her something that would hurt her or cause her pain to play with. I told her she could spit it out if she wanted but that it won’t hurt her. She eased visibly and then tentatively started chewing but looking to me for encouragement. Which I totally gave her 100 fold! I was so proud of her and I cried, “You did it!” and she echoed, “I hid id!” (still working on speech) At any rate the fear is real and it is unbelievable. Moving on to meal time!


Well, she is making progress but it is not without cost to us…it actually is more time consuming and annoying to make her food rather than quick and easy. We have to grind or mince up food to put in baby food for the purpose of adding texture. You see the white food grinder on the left. We actually just graduated from using that this week. Now we mince/dice all the food we want to add. We are working on bigger texture and things that may require a chew or two in order for her to swallow it comfortably. All of it can be easily swallowed by us without chewing but for her it is new to have semi-solid objects with shape and form in her mouth. She is doing great and canned fruits and veggies are our friends.  Soon we will cut back on the baby food to gradually remove it altogether and simply lightly mash or dice up whatever food we are eating. We will likely be doing that for awhile. She won’t move on to “normal” eating for quite some time. Well, we don’t think she will at this point but she always exceeds our expectations. If we could get her off baby food that would be such a huge victory for her. To be able to eat regular food, but simply have it cut up would be awesome. We aren’t sure what her chewing capabilities are because no one knows how her teeth line up or have been able to really look at her little under-developed teeth. They look more like chips of teeth rather than fully formed teeth; kinda reminds me of a shark. Eventually we will get her to a dentist, likely this year, and they can give us better insight as to how hard it will be for her to chew something like steak or chicken.

Our other major victory happened recently…


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a toothbrush in her face!!! It only took us 11.5 months to get her to let us brush her teeth. Nice, eh? Pick you battles people! Pick your battles! Even the IAC doctor told us this about teeth brushing for Yaya. We had bigger fish to fry this past year. But she now LOVES for US to brush her teeth. She likes playing with it but I can, no joke, brush those little shark teeth till they are gleaming white and she loves it! Whew! Progress is progress even if it is slow! We celebrate the little victories!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bear Scout Badge Earned

Well all my scouting friends will know what this means…Noah is now a Webelos I. This means he finished all the requirements for his Bear Scout badge. It is the last in the 4 true “cub scout” ranks. Then you get to  Webolos I & II. Which is sorta intermediary between cub scouts and actual boy scouts, but they are still in the cub scout pack. Anyway, it is a cool thing to see him advance in the ranks. They all got their new green/gold/red plaid neckerchiefs and they will have new khaki shirts next year. They were given their new neckerchiefs by a Webelos I’s that just advanced to Webelos II’s that is why there is a boy in a khaki shirt behind Noah with his hands on his shoulders. It’s a pack thing…

We are so proud of Noah. We look forward to next year!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Year Ago Today Looked So Different


Noah captured our first glimpse of our newest little girl…then came the hand off.

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Yaya and I were talking about this today and she said she was, “Angry, scared and sad.” How many adults are this open and in touch with their feelings?! P.S. She told me this before I showed her photos of the day. Now she giggles when she sees herself in the pictures pitching a fit. She also is quick to point out all the characters… “Mama! Daddy! Noah! Yaya!” Here is where we are a year later…


I had elaborate plans to blog about all the awesome things that have happened. But to be honest I just kinda want the pictures to speak instead of me. I’ll post something profound and touchy feely at a later date. I just got to cuddle her and talk more about the day we met and how things are now and what we are doing the rest of this week…and it was so normal. She snuggled, laughed, babbled and happily fell asleep holding my finger as I sang to her. That’s gold my friends…gold. Blessings dear ones!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

Such a great day! I am so blessed with the family and friends that I have. We woke up late today…8:04 a.m.! Unheard of! Eric made chocolate chip pancakes and bacon while I raced into the shower. I was finishing getting ready when Eden opened the bathroom door to tell me she had a Mother’s Day gift for me. Noah popped his head around the corner to say he too had a gift for me. I had to close my eyes and they led me to the playroom where they had their gifts on the table. Eden had made a canvas rose fist print piece of art for me and Noah had a mason jar with Russian hot tea mix in it. He hand made the card. Then I walked into the dining room to set down our drinks for breakfast and on the table was a bouquet of flowers and a hydrangea was in it…my favorite! And there was a Milkyway dark candy bar and a funny card from Eric.


Then we some how managed to get everyone dressed and in the car for church. We decided to go to our old home church, St. Peter’s Anglican Church and celebrate this day with the church family we hold so dear! It was wonderful to be there and to be loved on. It was such a gift and a blessing. I have been smiling the whole day. I haven’t seen many of these people in almost  a year! It was so great to show off our family and let the people who invested in Yaya’s life see the transformation that has happened in her life. All of our children were fawned over and it was wonderful, simply wonderful. We all needed a little TLC. We were one of the last families to leave….as usual and we got home and I got a couple pictures made with me and the kiddos!


We made some lunch. We played around a bit in the afternoon. We Skyped my parents who are in the Florida Keys right now. And then Yaya decided she was going to sit on her potty and wear big girl underwear! Then 30 minutes later…she used her potty for real! Talk about a Mother’s Day gift! You know you are a Mom when you are elated over “pee pee in the potty” as a Mother’s Day gift.

Monkey see. Monkey do. This is where Big Sister Eden really shines! Yaya wants to be just like Eden. They are sitting side by side in the bathroom. I figured it was inappropriate to put the full picture out on the web so the legs are enough. I didn’t realize how skinny Eden looks next to Yaya, I swear I’m feeding her!

Then I went to youth group for my last time at St. Peter’s. It was a lovely evening. We met at the Homewood park and played Frisbee and then went and got popsicles and ended up eating at the Purple Onion.  It was so nice and I came home to a cleaned up kitchen and two little girls getting ready for bed. I got to sing Eden to sleep and I got to talk to my BFF, Cathy. Now I’m quickly blogging and then I’m hitting the bed. It was a great day! Noah  and Eden were not really about having their picture taken, but Yaya loves a camera!