Monday, April 30, 2012

1st/4th Birthday!

It's my angel's birthday! She is four years old today! 

I can't believe she is 4 already. She is still so tiny, but she has spunk! She makes up for her small size with her will to survive, her vivacity, with her spirit and curiosity, with her ability to learn, with her love and acceptance.

Today is so momentous for us and Sofie. It is her first ever birthday surrounded by love and a family. She spent three birthdays in a orphanage where they made a cake she may or may not have gotten to eat, got presents that were never really hers. Last year we had a cake for her and sent our love flying to her across the ocean. It was hard. I ached for her.

This year, I feel fulfilled. My angel is safe in my arms. With the help of friends and family I think we gave Sofie the most perfect first family birthday here in Canada. A HUGE thanks goes out to Sofie's Music Together teacher who made an exception and led a short music class. Music class is Sofie's most favorite thing in the world. It was perfect. Sofie was so excited to have Miss K. in her house! All the kids and their prospective parents seemed to have fun too!

The "Hello" song!

Miss Kendra is very animated... Sofie LOVES it!

Tickle time!!!

Fireworks song! 

Sofie was having so much fun.

We had dinner, presents then cake. The house was a little crowded but I think we made do. Sofie did really well. She was happy and engaged the whole time... until about 6:30pm but it was almost her bedtime and she'd been really stimulated for 2.5hrs. I was so proud of her! She is so amazing.

Livi and Sofie started with opening the presents!

Then all the other came to help!... and Sofie played with the wrapping paper.

Cake time! My sister made the music cake!

Happy Birthday Angel. We love you!

And for a short little Birthday photoshoot!

Good morning Birthday Girl!

Frick, I love her :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pee Hills Pt. 2

More on those life changing pee hills I mentioned in my last post.

Photoshopped because not enough room for the writing ... but you get the idea.

Just to make our life a little more interesting, right in the middle of our two days of house buying and selling we had our biggest "pee hill". We found out we are pregnant.

Yup. Unexpectedly, blessedly, terrifyingly pregnant.

We had no idea. We were actively trying not to get pregnant. We weren't even sure we wanted to be pregnant again. We knew we wanted another child, we just didn't know how we wanted that child to come to us. Adopting from the foster system had been swimming around in our heads. I guess it was decided for us!

Although this has been quite the shock and I was having a hard few days with the idea, I am taking comfort in the fact that this really does feel meant to be and God-lead. Sunday we made an accepted offer and listed our house. Monday we found out we were pregnant and Tuesday we sold our house. I'm sure Jon would not have made an offer on the house if he knew we were pregnant.

The only reason we found out on the Monday was because I was sick with a sinus infection and went to the clinic for some antibiotics. I knew I was one day late and I hadn't had any of the usual pre-menstrual spotting but I figured it was because of the stress and excitement of finding and buying a new house. I thought I'd just be extra responsible and get a quick test before the doctor put me on antibiotics, just to be safe.

As I walked in to the exam room I saw "PT poss" on the paper the nurse had hung on the door. It didn't register with me at all. I remember thinking that was a weird short hand to say I wasn't pregnant. I was in a bit of denial I think. Then BAM. The nurse says "yes, your pregnant". I started hyperventilating and the nurse stared at me terrified she done something wrong. She thought I was expecting a yes and that I was a bright, fast yes on the test. I reassured her that it was a good thing but that I just wasn't expecting it.

My head was swimming. I just sat in the room for a few minutes mumbling "holy shit" over and over.

While waiting for my meds I grabbed a Congrats card for the Daddy to be. I quickly wrote a silly note about  Jon getting to be snipped sooner than we thought. He actually took a full 60 seconds to register the card was talking about him. We are both shocked and still processing it but we are getting excited now.

So, knowing my conception date, I'm 7 weeks pregnant. I was only on day 4 of my cycle when I got pregnant! I still had my period that morning. I ovulated two weeks early. We had been using this rhythm method with "capping" it for birth control for 6 years. I am very regular... or at least was... and we thought we had this whole birth control thing in the bag. Apparently, your body changes as you get closer to 30 though! Oops. I'm  only 5 weeks pregnant based on my last period but I know when we conceived. Not sure if we are going to do a dating ultrasound or not. I doubt it. Either way I figure I'm due around Christmas.

I still have mixed feelings. Of course I am so excited to be blessed to bring new life in to this world again. I can't wait to feel baby kick inside me and see who he or she grows to become, but I feel guilty. So many children have already been born and need a family. This world is so over populated already. And then there is Sofie. She still needs me.  She still needs to be carried, sleeps in the crib, fights me and tantrums. How is a new baby going to affect her still present need to be constantly reassured. She is not ready to share me yet.

I'm scared too for the health of this baby. Because the possibility of being pregnant was so far out of my mind, I was not watching what I ate, drank or did. We made a retaining wall this month and I moved big heavy allan blocks. I had sashimi twice around 5.5 weeks pregnant. I wasn't on a prenatal vitamin until this week. I even had a Bailey's paralyzer almost every night for about 2 weeks in there. If you know anything about how I mix drinks you know I don't cheap out on the alcohol. It is out of my control now and I need to let go. God knows what He is doing. I'm trying to trust Him to keep my baby safe.

I've cried tears of anger and confusion, fear and resentment but I think that is all ending now. Joy and excitement are creeping in and I'm looking forward to hearing this ones heart beat in the next few weeks. I'm feeling like we are where we are supposed to be in God's hopes for us even though I don't understand it. This baby is meant to be here and he is going to be something amazing in my life.

I am so blessed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pee Hills Pt. 1

You know that feeling you get when you drive really fast over a hill while sitting at the back of a van or bus? Or when you crest the top of a hill on a roller coaster and start going down? My family always called them "pee hills" because we feel like we have to pee... in a good way.

This last week and a half has been filled with "pee hills". Life changing pee hills.

The end of the week before, I couldn't sleep one night and happened upon I found a house in our neighborhood advertising a walk out 3 bedroom suite and 4 bedrooms up. Seemingly perfect. So we went and looked at it. It wasn't quite as perfect as we thought so we decided to check out other homes in the area that had the potential to be perfect.

On Thursday, we found it. Our home. All of us agreed. It is a brand new home with a two bedroom walk out suite. Three bedrooms up with an open concept living area and a fourth bedroom downstairs for the front door.  We will build a third bedroom in half of the garage with a second bathroom for the suit as soon as possible for Mom and the ladies. We are giving up a huge yard but we kind of figured that would have to be sacrificed.

It has been all too easy. You might say God-lead even. The seller accepted our first offer on Sunday night and we listed our house at the same time. Tuesday we had our first and only showing and then sold our house! The buyer gave us the price we hoped for on the first bid! This was almost too easy. I keep expecting something to go horribly wrong. We are still waiting on subject removal at the end of this week for our home and then the one we are buying next week. With the way things have been falling in to place, I'm hoping everything continues as smoothly. As long as every thing goes through, moving day is June 5.

I'll post some pictures once the subjects are removed.

Stay tuned for part 2...

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I'm fighting a cold. My throat hurts. My arms feel week and shaky. My nose is dripping and making me cough incessantly. It is the weekend so I've been taking it easy and really trying to get better before another busy week starts. My life does NOT allow for time to be sick. On top of being a mom and my children always wanting something from me, we have an average of 2 appointments each day Monday to Thursday! How did my life get this busy?

Monday, I'm starting a new job! I was hired privately to work on some goals and life skills with a little girl with Aspergers. It will be the first time I'm working out of the home in over a year. I hope it works out because it will help a bit with the finances and I think I will have fun. It is only two 2 hour days a week. Pretty perfect to fit in to my schedule. My mom will help out with childcare but if anyone knows of a really amazing teenager in my area let me know!

In other exciting news... We bought a house! It isn't a done deal by any means. It is subject to us selling our home, so PLEASE pray that happens quickly. We didn't have any immediate plans too move and don't necessarily have to right now but I just happened upon MLS one night when I couldn't sleep. I found some homes that potentially met our "must haves" and we decided to check them out. Our must have list includes four bedrooms for us and a three bedroom above ground suite for my mom with little to no stairs. I needed a play area in the house for the girls and a bit of a yard in a safe neighborhood, preferably not a busy street. So, the home we made the offer on is brand spanking new house in an older but well kept neighborhood. The yard is MUCH smaller than our current one but that is typical for yards these days. There is a park right around the corner. It doesn't have a third bedroom in the suite but we can easily put one in ourselves. I guess we'll see if it works out!

Send me healing thoughts. On top of working a few hours on Monday and Tuesday, Livi has preschool and dance, Sofie has Speech/OT class and music plus a pediatrician appointment and Support meeting. I have a Transition fair, a volunteer meeting, a quick dentist appointment to get my crown finished and then we have the weekend with swim lessons, Sofie's Active Start, Family Pictures with Jon's family and end Sunday with Sofie's birthday party! I'm tired just thinking about it. I need to get rid of this heavy chest and cough and I think I can make it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

8 Months Home!

I was too busy yesterday and missed getting this post up! I was pretty busy today too so it might be a little short.

Sofie has been home for 8 months now! Yay! We are so blessed. Like SERIOUSLY blessed. Man we love her. The girls are getting along better. There is much less hair pulling and fighting over toys. Sofie seems to have replaced some of her previous unwanted behavior with pushing and the word "No". It is a whined "No" actually. I'm so tired of hearing it. Helping her learn to talk seems to be back firing...

Other than the word no we are loving hearing her talk. She has been saying more words this month. She is starting to say animal sounds and even said "boobies" and "Sess" for her Auntie Sessa. We got to celebrate our first World Down Syndrome Day with our angel. We had our first trip to Children's Hospital and got some wonderful news about Sofie's heart. We watched Sofie enjoy not understand her first Easter! She didn't get the whole egg thing but enjoyed the chocolate! She started her first swim lessons. Parent and Tot, but is still warming up to them. I got to see her kick her first ball too! She is so awesome.

The really exciting news this month is how much weight she has gained and how much she has grown! She is up over 26 lbs and 34 inches! That is a pound this month and an entire inch/2.5 cm! The doctors were getting slightly concerned about her lack of growth. She's only grown about 1.5 cm up until this month. Now a whole 2.5 cm in a month! No wonder her leggings seemed tighter. Since no one has any real experience with such prolonged malnutrition they weren't really sure if the lack of growth was caused by something more permanent or if her bones were just taking a little longer to accept the nutrition and start growing. I'm so glad her bones are growing now! She is going to be in a size 3 before I'm ready for it! I'll add a picture of  my chunky monkey as soon as I get one uploaded!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Sofie's first Easter was pretty awesome...
As you can see from this amazing picture! 
After church, in their Sunday best, I asked them to smile :) You'd think I had just said I ate all their chocolate.

Good Friday we had my family Easter dinner. My sister always insists on a hunt for our Purdy's bags. 
Sofie got Marmee to help. 

Saturday my sister came over to help tie die some eggs!

Maggy had fun :)

Sofie was staring at us like we were crazy. She didn't get it. 
Actually, I don't either. Why do we color eggs. Bunny's don't lay eggs? What's the connection?

Checking out the awesomeness!

Thanks to Pinterest I decided to introduce planting eggs...

....that grow in to lollipops!

The girls woke up and followed the trail of eggs the Easter bunny dropped when he was hopping around the house so fast...

It led them to their baskets!

Mommy asked the Easter bunny for towels for the girls. 
the ones we have were getting awefully thin, so I figured it was a great none chocolate present! 
Jon thought it was weird but I convinced him with the fact that it filled their basket with less chocolate and I would have eventually bought new towels anyway!

Happy Easter everyone! Spring is here! Jesus is Alive! Life is good!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In The Clear!

When we chose to adopt a child with Down Syndrome we were prepared, as much as we could be, for any and all medical issues that came with her. We were open to any other medical or behavioral issues as long as the main diagnosis was Down Syndrome. When we brought Sofie home we were armed with a priority list of what we needed to tackle and check out to give her the best start possible.

With Down Syndrome there are some fairly common medical concerns that may need to be checked on. These include checking or screening the thyroid, hearing, eye sight, possible GI disorders, neck-spine stability, heart defects or disease, dental, airways, nutrition, orthopedic disorders, OT needs, Speech therapy needs and Physiotherapy needs. There are a few other more common "ailments" but they are not generally screened for, like seizures or autism. You have it with symptoms or you don't. 

Within the first few days we had Sofie in Canada, we took her too see a highly recommended pediatrician. He was wonderful. At that point, we didn't have a Care Card for her but we needed to make sure she was not in any immediate need of medical intervention. Our main concern was her undernourishment and nutritional needs at that point, as well as to getting her under a doctor's care. The doctor was wonderful and checked her out thoroughly. He did not see any immediate concerns other than getting her to put on some weight. We were instructed to give her any thing and everything she would eat and once her Care Card came through we would pursue the rest of it.

Once her card came, the medical appointments started. There was a month there where we had two or three appointments for her each week. It was crazy! She did wonderfully though and we all survived and kept it straight some how. I had to develop a system within a binder to keep it all straight and to bring with me to each doctor appointment, since they frequently ask about the other's reports. 

I think we have finally seen all the right doctors in order to address any unknown medical concerns, to get any baseline data needed and to confirm that the information we got from Bulgaria was correct or not. I'm am very proud, relieved and blessed to announce that Sofie is one healthy monkey!

Here is a break down:

Thyroid - I need to get her results on paper but no news is good news! She has a healthy normal thyroid!

Gastro-intestinal issues - Blood tests were done to confirm she doesn't have celiac and she has no symptoms, such as reflux, to suggest any other GI issues. No known obstructions or abnormalities either. She does have constipation frequently but that is most likely due to her diet and the fact that she doesn't drink enough. Since addressing her liquid intake it has been getting better. 

Dental - We had a relatively short visit with the dentist to try and get her used to it and address any immediate concerns. From the short peak she did take in to Sofie's mouth, there doesn't appear to be any major problems. She didn't see any cavities. There is some crowding, due to Sofie's small jaw, but nothing of concern at this point. We hope to get a full cleaning in her in May without sedation. Not sure how that's going to work. 

Air way - I pushed to see an ENT in order to address her possible sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is almost impossible to diagnose at this age and also difficult to treat. There is no major concern here but we are going to see a specialist to discuss possibly taking out her tonsils and adenoids, which may help. I doubt they are going to recommend it though.

Hearing - We had two hearing appointments because the first one was inconclusive. The second appointment suggested some slight hearing loss but not enough to give a hearing aid for. I was unconvinced at these findings because of how inconclusive they were the first time. We will monitor it in the coming months and years. 

Eyes - Sofie has some far farsightedness but again, not enough to warrant glasses at this time. The doctor even thought she might grow out of it. Her right eye turns in because of it, which we had originally thought was due to strabismus. But, no strabismus here! Her right eye also leaks a little. This has lessened since we've had here though and the doctor thinks she might also grow out of this as her passage ways grow bigger. If it still leaks in a year or two we might do a duct probe to open it. 

Neck stability - We did the x-ray to check and it is totally normal. It isn't conclusive but unless we start seeing symptoms of issues we should be in the clear. 

Heart - We were told from the orphanage that Sofie had a foramen ovale that didn't close a birth as it should have, but did close before her first birthday. We were told she was left with an abnormal murmur. After a successful visit to Children's Hospital, we got the awesome news that Sofie's heart is totally normal! Not even a murmur. No follow up is needed until she is 60! Woohoo!

Orthopedics - Her physio has suggested that Sofie get orthotics because of her flat feet and turning in heel. Her pediatrician doesn't love orthotics and prefers Pedro shoes. Since we have orthotics covered we are going to got with those. We are going to wait until the summer, just before school, when she is going to be wearing her shoes the most and get the most use out of them before she grows out of them. We'll look in to the Pedro shoes but the only place you can get them is Ontario. 

Nutrition - Although Sofie is getting really good nutrition now and we get extra in her with a daily pediasure, we don't know what all the effects of 3.5 years of malnourishment will have. She is gaining weight, not fast enough and she isn't growing as fast as we'd like either. She is on a very high calorie diet but still has days where she doesn't want to eat much. Her drinking has gotten much better but still needs to be more consistent. The doctor isn't concerned about her lack of growing "yet". He thinks there is just a lag and nutritional catch up is needed in her bones. I hope that's it because I don't know what the next step would be. We are closely monitoring it with a dietitian too. 

Therapy - We hooked up with the local Child Development Center in order to start Sofie with the therapy's that she needs. She is in a 6 week OT group to help her and us with her fine and gross motor skills. It also tackles some speech therapy. Speech is my priority right now. We also see a physio every other month or so to track her progress and give me more tips. We are meeting her in the pool this week. While I don't feel like Sofie is getting enough intervention through the CDC we can't afford to go privately at this point and don't have any huge concerns to warrant it either. 

Any concerns that we have for Sofie are all very minor. Just in need of some orthotics, some fattening up, and maybe some glasses one day! I'm pretty sure we couldn't have been more blessed in the health department with Sofie.

Actually, I feel a little guilty too. I know of so many families with children who have major health concerns and require a lot of interventions, both with and without DS. We were open to and expecting health issues. We were prepared for monthly trips to Children's hospital and daily therapy. We expected heart monitoring, surgery and corrective splints. Why did we, who were more prepared and aware of what could come than most birth parents, get so blessed with a perfectly healthy child when so many other parents struggle? I know it is kind of weird that I feel this way, but it is there. I'm just so amazed how perfect Sofie is and I'm thankful for how truly blessed we are. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


It is no secret that one of my favorite things to do with my girls is bake. We don't do it very often because baking usually means making something that is filled with far to much sugar and butter than is advised for anyone on any given day. Since it is Easter next week I had to make the traditional Mennonite Easter bread called Paska. I am very modest in saying that I make pretty much the best paska ever. Plus, my family has cream cheese spread that we put on it that is to die for!

Friday afternoon Livi and I tackled the big task and made a double batch. Since it was too big to all fit in my mixer we had to mix it all together by hand. Sofie was awake by this point and LOVED getting her little hands in there.

Such joy and determination!

Rising! I love this 'rising bowl'. My grandma has used it for as long as I can remember. 30 years of paska, grandma buns and zwiebach has risen in this bowl and now it is mine :)

I forgot to take some pictures of the finished product, but I assure you it is delicious! Happy Palm Sunday!

I'll give you just a quick of our week here too...

Monday we headed in to our first appointment to Children's Hospital for a heart check on Sofie. We were not expecting any complications, we just wanted to check that the info we got from Bulgaria was correct. We were told she had a foramen ovale that didn't close at birth but closed before her first birthday which resulted in a small heart murmur. Sofie did awesome the entire exhausting day. I was worried she was going to need sedation for her ECHO but she did amazing! And for her ECG she was perfect too! We got there early and they got us in right away. After all three appointments we were out of there before the last appointment was even scheduled!

The super good news is that Sofie's heart is completely normal. "Normal, normal, normal." was how the specialist put it. There is no need for follow up until she is 60 years old and there is not even the abnormal murmur we thought! Yay!

Tuesday Livi had preschool and I another doctor appointment with our GP just for some paperwork to be filled out. Then I stopped in for a visit with a friend until the kids nap time.

Wednesday was dance for Livi, then Sofie's first OT Early Communicators group. There are ten kids in the group and I think 8 of them all have DS. Pretty much the cutest group of kids in the world :) They work on sounds and speech and gross motor skills. They even get homework. Hopefully it will help Sofie progress even more in her speech, which is the top priority for us at the moment.

It was really good for me to see Sofie in that setting and see other kids with DS her age. I haven't really connected with other mom's who are at her level. I know you aren't supposed to compare kids, particularly kids with special needs, but I have to say it was really nice being in a group where Sofie was not the exception. They were all the same. I didn't feel self-conscious about any of Sofie's behavior at all. (I don't generally but every once in a while it happens in front of judging mother's eyes.)

Thursday had Livi's preschool again and I had a nurse come to do a physical to up my life insurance a bit.

Friday was a day of rest and a day for making paska! I think this was the day when, instead of sleeping, Livi decided to brush her hair with a round brush. 9pm at night and I'm trying to get it out of her hair...

Thankfully no scissors were needed!

Saturday was busy. The girls had their first swimming lesson classes. Livi did awesome in her Preschool 1 class and Sofie didn't do so well in her Parent and Tot class. Sofie does great in the kid pools and walks around like a pro, but she didn't like being held by me and being where she couldn't touch.

Today, Sunday, we babysat two more kids. We had four kids three and under! Thank God Jon was home to help. I don't know how my mom did it with four under four years old!

We are hoping for a quieter week ahead and a fabulous first Easter for Sofie next weekend!