slide show

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pre-Speech Therapy

Did you know that playing with straws in the bathtub is actually speech therapy?  Who knew?!?  We had Sunshine's post-palate repair/cleft clinic appointment on Monday and I spent some time with the team's speech pathologist.  It's still a little too early after the palate repair for speech therapy, but she did give me a few tricks to get Sunshine on her way.

She said the most important thing to work on right now is re-directing her air flow.  She has learned to use her nose to blow air for everything (which is why the "m" sound in "mama" is so easy for her).  She blows bubbles with her nose (hehe), cools her food off with her nose ... anything you would blow air for with your mouth, she does with her nose.  It's totally adorable and a common cleft issue, but now that Sunshine's palate is repaired, we need to correct it!

One of the fun ways she suggested to start working on this skill is by blowing air through a straw in the bathtub to make bubbles in the water.  She even suggested holding her nose if necessary to block the air and force it to go through her mouth - that worked like a charm and even Sunshine was trying to hold her nose.  Especially when making it a family affair and getting older brother involved, well she was all over it!  The speech pathologist said that anything we can do to get her used to the feeling of air going through her mouth is good ... even if it's not perfect at first, this is the first step to making words.

Sunshine is really enjoying this therapy "game" ... although I need to keep reminding her to not bite the straw, she is getting better at blowing air through the straw on her own without my help.  And she's actually making bubbles in the water, which just tickles her to pieces!  It's only been 2 days so far, so I am excited to see how much progress she's made in the next few weeks.  There is still air escaping out of her nose when I'm not holding it closed, but she's already picked up on this game so much, I'm convinced that it won't be long before she's doing it perfectly.

Although Sunshine has a large ASL vocabulary, her verbal vocabulary is almost non-existent.  She can make her points known in many situations, but certainly not all.  And of course this easily leads to frustration for her (and us!), especially because she can understand everything we say to her and knows what she wants to communicate back.  I can't imagine what it must feel like to know what you want to say but not be able to do it.  It will be such a wonderful progression to hear her using verbal language in the future!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Homeschool Room!

What a labor of love this Homeschool Room was!  I am seriously tickled with the results and just love how happy and cheery it is.  This also functions as our Playroom, so I needed lots of storage, (although many of the bigger toys found new homes around the house).  I know that we do not "need" this room to do homeschool.  But I also know myself.  And I know that if we do not have a separate place to get away from the house and get our homeschool on, that I won't be as diligent.  I justified the cost because overall, we are saving a lot of money by not private-schooling our kids this year.  Not including a few things (seriously, just a few) that we already had, this Homeschool Room makeover was about $850.

We already had the train table (which is so multi-functional, I just had to keep it in here) and the shelves for the games.  We also had some of the plastic drawers.  Aside from the fabric for the valances, just about everything came from Ikea, in case you couldn't tell :-)  And speaking of the valances, I have to brag a little because I am sooo not a sewer ... so if I can make these, anyone can!

At the desk area, you can see the Timeline on the wall - it was quite the project, but totally worth it.

This kiddie-sized green table and stools are for Sunshine and oh man, she loves having furniture that's her size!  She also really loves the little book shelf/bench under the window - my mom is going to make a nice coordinating cushion for that too.

We are using a Workbox Organizing System this year ... I like the simplicity, so I'm hoping it works for us.  The drawers in the middle of the desks are the kids' workboxes, I got them on sale at Michael's for about $60 total.

Our game shelf was already here.  It's wonderful to keep all of the little pieces to games out of little hands, but still easily accessible.

My intention will eventually be to cork board the wall above the chalkboard paint.  I painted the chalkboard a couple years ago and just couldn't bring myself to paint over it, so I kept it and am sure we'll use it a lot.  The only thing that's really missing in this room (as I can tell so far) is an area to display art work.  I used to have strings running along the walls at the ceiling with artwork covering the entire room, but it's a little too much with everything else in the room now.  I am also sure that other things will come up that will require tweaking in the room, but we have a good place to start now!

I'm planning on officially starting school next week, although we have been unofficially working on some subjects for the last several weeks.  Oh this is so exciting!!

If you are interested, here is some information about the room:
Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Parakeet, $70 for 2 gallons
Valance Fabric & Trim: JoAnn's, $50
Cubbies: Ikea Expedit Shelving Units Here and Here, $320 total
Desks: Ikea Micke Desks, $100 total
Red Chairs: Ikea Herman Chairs, $30 total
Workboxes: Rolling Storage Carts, $60 total (this is not the exact one, but a similar one I found online)
Green Table & Stools: Ikea Mammut Table & Stools, $80 total
Red Pillows: Ikea Granat Cushions, $12 total
Green Cubby Bins: Ikea Trofast Storage Boxes, $12 total
Large Red Bins: Ikea Lekman Boxes, $40
White Bins: Ikea Scubb Boxes, $15
Smaller Red Bins: Target, $1 each (in the dollar section)
Smaller Green Bins: Target ClosetMaid Fabric Drawers, $13 total
Train Table: Melissa & Doug Train Table, $95 (we already had this)
Game Shelves: Ikea Lack Wall Shelves, ~$30 total (we already these too)

(Come find me on Facebook!  And if you have been blessed by my blog, would you mind taking just a few seconds of your time and click on the 2 links below?  You don't need to do anything except click each button once (you can click once a day!).  Each click is a "vote" that allows my blog to be seen by other homeschool and adoptive families so I can help them too!  Thank you so much for blessing me with your help, may God bless your day!)

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

When summer boredom strikes ...

It makes perfect sense to set up a kid-powered yard sale in the upstairs hallway, complete with payment in old shrinky dinks.  Yes, makes perfect sense to me.

If I haven't written it recently, gosh I love these kids.  I love their imagination and how well (mostly) they play together.  What a blessing they are to me!  Just a few more days of letting their imaginations run completely wild before we begin the new journey of homeschooling!  We're roughly starting right after Labor Day ... I have a couple posts coming up about curriculums and our new Homeschool Room!

(If you have been blessed by my blog, would you mind taking just a few seconds of your time and clicking on the 2 links below?  You don't need to do anything except click each button once (you can click once a day!).  Each click is a "vote" that allows my blog to be seen by other adoptive families so I can help them too!  Thank you so much for your time!)

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Special Baby Shower

What a special day ... being able to celebrate a special little guy coming home to his forever family, to the arms that having been so longing to hold him ... oh I cannot wait to experience that actual day with Melissa, Ryan and their family (which I will actually get to do because I'm photographing their homecoming!).  But in the meantime, we helped them prepare for his homecoming with an adorably Chinese-themed baby shower, complete with yummy Chinese food and Chinese-themed baby shower games.  Not only that, I also got to meet up with some of my most favorite adoptive mama girlfriends ... oh how I love this bunch!  Kelly, Angie, Renee and Melissa, I am so very thankful for the blessings of YOU!

PS - I know the blog has been awful quiet ... I promise lots of posts will be forthcoming.  I have been so terribly busy with work and preparing for homeschool and well ... LIFE ... that the blog has taken a bit of a backseat.  I'll be back soon though, lots to update about!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just call me crazy ...

I recently realized that I forgot to tell my bloggy friends about the new hat I will be wearing in just a few short weeks ... homeschool mama.  Yup, call me insane or absolutely nutty.  But we're doing it and I am so. stinkin. excited. about it.  I know it's going to add more work to my already full life, but I'm diving in full force and cannot wait to see what the school year will bring.  More information to come about why we chose this route for our family.  And for those interested about what we'll be doing, I'm using a Classical Approach and we've joined a local Classical Conversations community, woot woot!  Lots more info to come in the future about our curriculums and you can check out many of the fun school ideas that I've pinned over on my Pinterest board ... what an addiction *THAT* is.  Sheesh.

For now, my precious girl with (most) of her homeschool books.  So looking forward to spending lots of time with this love!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Created for Care 2013

I'm going ... are you?

If you haven't had the awesome opportunity to be restored as an adoptive mama (or any kind of mama!) at one of these retreats, please, please, please seriously consider it!  I went this past time in March and will be at the January retreat in 2013.  I'll have a table set up this year for Red Thread Sessions also, come on out and visit me!  The pricing is so incredibly reasonable and most of the mamas share rooms to cut down on costs.  There are so many awesome breakout sessions, we spend much time worshipping Our Lord and just being around other sister in Christ who are in the same boat ... well there's nothing more restorative than that.

Registration begins at 12:01 on Wednesday morning.  Please pray about it!

Friday, August 3, 2012


I often use many different adjectives to describe my 2-year-old daughter.  After her most recent palate repair surgery a few weeks ago, the top adjectives have been strong, brave, courageous, graceful and pretty darn amazing.  I have also called her loving, affectionate, beautiful, smart, clever, happy, funny, silly, spunky and feisty.  She is one of the coolest kids I know and I love that I am blessed enough to be her mama.  She is also one of the most strong-willed little girls I have ever met, which can make parenting challenging on some days.  She has been this way since we brought her home from China in June 2011 and that part of her personality has just always been there.  She has a need to control as many situations she can and will fight hard to get her way, even if the situation is inconsequential.

I know many other adoptive parents that have reported similar behavior about their adopted children, so I truly thought this kind of behavior was the status quo.  After all that our children have been forced to endure, being strong-willed made sense to me because it helped them cope and survive so many situations that we cannot fathom.  So although this behavior made for some interesting parenting days, I “got it” and didn’t think much else about it.

After I returned from a short-term Mission Trip last month, the strong-willed behavior seemed to kick into high gear and has continued through her palate repair surgery.  Her reaction to both of these major events makes complete sense in so many ways, but again ... the behavior has been difficult to parent and leaves me exhausted on some days.

So I started heavily reflecting about this behavior and pulled out the book, “The Connected Child” by Karyn Purvis.  I had read it long before we brought Sunshine home but it just seemed like a good time to give myself a refresher read ... I was happy to pick up any tidbit of advice that could help my daughter.  What an eye opener to read it a second time around after my daughter has been home for a year!  When I read it the first time, of course all of the information made complete sense but it was just theory at the time.  Reading it this time was a different experience because I could relate to the behaviors discussed in the book.

It seems that my “strong-willed” and sometimes defiant baby girl is still going through some adjustments.  Reading about this hurt my heart.  I naively thought that after being home for a year, these adjustments and transitions would have been finished, but I was wrong.  She is still adjusting to life and the major changes that we have recently thrown at her certainly don’t make that any easier!  Perhaps her strong-willed nature isn’t all “strong-willed” ... maybe she’s just trying to tell us that she still doesn’t feel completely safe and that she needs help in coping with all of the adjustments she’s been forced to make.  Maybe her need to control situations isn’t defiance, but simply her way of telling us that the situation scares her.  I do think that Sunshine will always be “strong-willed” to some degree, I truly do.  I think that she’s gotten as far as she has because of it and I am so proud of her.

But I have also begun to see this behavior with more discerning eyes.  It’s difficult to pick apart her reaction to a situation, because I don’t always know whether it’s typical 2-year-old behavior versus adoption-related.  But I’m learning to see what’s going on her little head instead of just pulling the “strong-willed” card all the time.  She’s not a typical 2-year-old and shouldn’t be treated that way.  It’s easy to forget because she’s been home for a year.  Figuring out the best way for me to handle a situation has proven to be more difficult than I thought, but it’s a challenge that I am committed to getting right, no matter how many mistakes I make along the way.  As her mama, it is my job to give her what she needs, even if it’s not always what makes sense in my head.

(Come find me on Facebook!  And if you have been blessed by my blog, would you mind taking just a few seconds of your time and click on the 2 links below?  You don't need to do anything except click each button once (you can click once a day!).  Each click is a "vote" that allows my blog to be seen by other homeschool and adoptive families so I can help them too!  Thank you so much for blessing me with your help, may God bless your day!)

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory