June 09, 2014

{Update on Kalia}

Today I’m linking up with Kelly’s Korner to blog about special needs.

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Kalia has hypoplasia of the corpus callosum. It’s a very co mplex disorder but basically she’s missing (or in her case, it’s there but just mis-formed) the corpus callosum, which is a band of fibers that connects the two hemispheres of the brain & allows them to work together. Symptoms vary GREATLY from having no issues to loss of speech, hyptotonia, cognitive disabilities, developmental delays, etc.

Kalia’s main issues are her lack of speech & language. She is 6 years old & cannot talk at all. She does make some sounds, and attempts to sign, but because of fine motor delays signing is hard for her as well. (She also has global developmental delays, poor motor coordination, hypotonia, etc., but the lack of speech & language is the biggest obstacle for her).

She does continue to grow & learn and for this we are thankful. She had a great year at school and there are very noticeable changes between the first & last days. Her teachers are pleased with her progress. In some ways she’s right on track with her peers in learning and in others she’s WAY behind. She attends regular school and is in both the mainstream & special ed classes.

She is very rigid with schedules (don’t deviate from them without LOTS of prior warning) but has gotten much better throughout the year. She participates in all activities, most without any issues. She has learned to use a computer & mouse with amazing results (she can log onto her favorite internet sites & navigate them with no outside help). Her physical/gross motor skills are improving tremendously. She can kick a ball, balance on one leg, jump, catch & throw (still has issues with these, but they’re improving).  Check out this this post where she’s participating in & LOVING Field Day!

I’m so proud of her & how hard she works. It’s hard to watch  her work so much harder than typically developing children for things that should come natural. And of course the mommy guilt…am I doing all I can? I don’t think that will ever go away.

May 29, 2014

{May Fun}

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Playing in mud puddles

 

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Final band concert of the year

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My beautiful girl getting ready to head out somewhere fun

 

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A little backyard get-together with friends

 

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Fun with water guns & bugs

May 26, 2014

{Memorial Day Air Show}

It’s been a few years (4 to be exact) since we attended the Air Show. Not sure why…as we really enjoy it.

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It was really nice this year, weather wise. They were calling for rain Sunday afternoon, but it never happened. We did get a few clouds & some nice, cool breezes late afternoon so that helped with the heat. It was hot, but not as bad as past years.

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I really enjoy the air show…and the honoring of our fallen heroes.

Oh…that reminds me…the amount of people that don’t understand the difference between Memorial Day & Veterans Day is astounding.

Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) is a federal holiday for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces. (That part about dying while serving in the armed forces is important.)

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11.
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

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Anywho…we all had a great time. Caiden loved checking out the planes…especially the mechanics of them.

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They both did great…minimal whining about it being hot (I bought yummy shaved ice which helped with the heat)…and enjoyed the planes flying overhead. The Canadian SnowBirds Team did a phenomenal job!

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Hopefully it won’t be another 4 years before we see another one.

May 18, 2014

{2 Months}

2 MONTHS

Another fantastic month!

Little Man is learning & growing so fast! He’s really becoming part of a family. He’s feeling more comfortable and fitting in so well. I really am impressed with how well he’s doing.

The good:
* Caiden is still a great sleeper, but we’re having more issues with him falling asleep now. I think he hears everyone else still up & he doesn’t want to lay down & sleep…keeps coming out. Once we get him to lay still, he’s out. Goes to bed around 8:30 or 9 (for the summer) and sleeps until around 6:30.
* He is still a very picky eater, which I’m not used to at all! He loves meat (except hamburger), but now doesn’t care for noodles (with sauce, like spaghetti or mac & cheese) or potatoes (which he used to LOVE). He doesn’t care for sauces or condiments. Still loves bread, milk, bananas, yogurt and pretty much anything sweet.
* He is happy, active & loves to be outside. He now understands that we leave in the mornings, but we come back. He helps me get my things ready to go in the morning, tells me bye & love you, reminds everyone that I’m going to work but baba is staying home (mama work, baba home). He comes & gives me hugs & a big smile every evening.
* He talks all the time! Beginning to put 2 words together (mama work, Kalia school, sit down, love you, good boy, etc.) He has started speech therapy, though I think he’s doing great (better to get him help now than try to later if an issue arose). He still gets Emilee & Amanda mixed up when calling them. If I say “where’s Amanda” he’ll point to the correct one. But if he’s calling for one of them to come here or talking about them he sometimes mixes them up.
* Attachment is SO MUCH BETTER! He has pretty good eye contact (still working on it), and does not run & asked to be picked up by total strangers. He doesn’t yet have normal boundaries, but it’s better.

Areas of concern:
* Listening is a big issue right now. Most of this is age related I believe, but he pretends to not hear you most of the time. Not good when you’re trying to keep him from getting hurt or something.
* Tantrums/frustrations are becoming more frequent. Again, more of an age thing and we’re working through it. Most of the time it’s food-related which is connected to his time in the orphanage.

New this month:
* Family bbq for Mother’s Day with my side of the family. He had so much fun playing with all his cousins, and most of my family was able to meet him for the first time.
* Celebrated his first holiday – Easter. Wasn’t sure what to think of the silly egg hunting tradition, but did enjoy the candy he found inside.
* His first play in a mud puddle, first bonfire (with s’mores!), first school activities (band concert, Kindergarten graduation), etc…. So many firsts!

All-in-all he’s continuing to do so well. He amazes me with his smarts & his personality. He is the most loving little boy, but he is ALL BOY! This boy wakes up running & doesn’t stop until he goes to bed. Always playing, running, giggling, etc. He definitely wears me out but oh how I love this boy!

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May 16, 2014

{Field Day}

Today was Field Day for Kalia.

This girl has struggled the past couple weeks. Not sure what the deal is….too tired…ready for less work & more fun…I’m sure some of it is still adjusting to Caiden being home.

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But everything was great today. She was able to be outside the whole time (her favorite place) and everything was structured, but didn’t require her to sit still & stare at the chalkboard/papers/iPad. She could be free.

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And just look at her smile! She participated in everything…without nary a whimper or whine. That smile was plastered on her face the entire morning!

This is the happy girl I fell in love with in China! Even our guide called her “Happy Girl” because she seriously smiled & giggled from about the 2nd day we had her. Things changed a bit once we got home (anxiety, frustration with not being able to talk, not sure….) but she’s definitely not always happy now. So when we get days like today, we celebrate!

May 13, 2014

{Mother’s Day}

Being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever had….and my greatest joy!

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I am so very blessed to be a mother to 4 beautiful children. Children who can drive me absolutely crazy…then 2 minutes later have me cracking up or amazed by them.

These kids have taught me so much about unconditional love…patience (which I still fail miserably at)…perseverance…

Two of them have experienced more in their lifetime than anyone should have to experience…and still they smile & laugh & keep me on my toes.

Two of them teach me daily about trust and letting go as they spread their wings & prepare to fly away from the cozy little nest I’ve made for them.

All of them love me despite my shortcomings…despite the fact that I screw up on a daily basis…

and for that…I am blessed!

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One of the requirements for Mother’s Day is pictures. That’s all I ask for. No gifts are necessary. Just an acknowledgement that it’s Mother’s Day and some pictures of me with my loves.

So they humor me :)

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This year they blessed me not only with their presence and pictures, but also with a homemade dinner of fajitas & margaritas, a shopping trip and some candy. It was a beautiful day!

May 06, 2014

{Warmer Weather Has Arrived}

Yes…it was in the 40’s last week and we were wearing heavy jackets…

But this week we’re in the 80’s/low 90’s! Gotta love the midwest!

To beat the heat & pass the time this weekend, we broke out the water table.

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Caiden had a great time playing…

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and an even better time when Kalia taught him to just climb in!

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Gonna have to get the pool set up soon if it’s going to stay this warm!