Friday, September 30, 2011

POTD #30 - Class Pet

Though I'm sure Kameron would definitely say he's the class pet, that's not what I'm talking about here. ;o) Kam's class has a pet - a hamster - named Bulls Eye. At the beginning of the year, his teacher sent home an email asking for people to volunteer to keep Bulls Eye on the weekends. Kameron was of course very excited about this!

Today was finally his day and this sweet little guy came home with him.

I have to admit, I'm a little surprised by Bulls Eye... everyone has told me that hamsters bite and don't really make good pets, but this little guy is sweet as can be. We've had fun holding him and watching him run around in his ball. He also climbs up the side of his cage, to the top of his water bottle and jumps off! It's pretty funny! Kameron wants to introduce him to the guinea pigs, but I'm not so sure that's a good idea... LOL Poor Karson will think we've added another member of the family and might try to run away! ;o)

I know all the kids are going to enjoy our little house guest this weekend... and Monday I'll be happy for him to go back to being the class pet... I refuse to let animals outnumber kids around here! ;o)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

POTD #29 - Field Trip

Today Kennedy's class went on a field trip to the Garden of the Gods. We've been there before, but this time we had a little bit of a different adventure because we went to the visitors center first where we learned about the plants and animals that live in the Garden and then we got a guided tour through a little bit of the Garden talking about the different plants and looking for the animals we talked about. We didn't see any of them except for a couple birds, but it was still fun to look! :) After the tour we all stopped at one of the picnic areas and had a picnic and let the kids run around a bit and then we headed back to the school. It was a little cooler today (and very windy) compared to what it has been, but it was still a fun day and I think Kennedy had a good time! :) Here are a few pictures from our day...

Listening to the guide talk about the stinky skunk bush... it DID stink! Yuck! 

He gave the kids these things off a bush and they started moving and trying to plant themselves... pretty cool! 

Kennedy trying to smell a tree (there's a picture and phrase I never thought I'd have on here! haha). 
The bark smelled like vanilla!  

The three land forms in the Garden of the Gods... Mountains (Pike's Peak), Prairies and something else in the  middle that I can't remember. Obviously I would fail this part if it were on a test. LOL It's something to do with a hill though... 

 NO clue what these silly girls are doing! They were having fun though! :)

The girls playing a hand game. 
(I said patty cake earlier and was severely scolded by a certain 7 year old. Apparently it's just "a game". *ahem*)

I took a bunch more but they were class pictures and stuff like that so I'll end here. I hope you enjoyed! :) I love going on field trips with the kids! Next week I get to go with Kameron's class to Pike's Peak! YAY!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

POTD #28 - Guess Who's Coming...

for a visit...

In just TEN days!!! :o)

Come on... guess!!

Update on Church

So we have finally settled on a church here in Colorado Springs... and let me tell you, it wasn't easy. We've been here almost 3 months now and have been to, I think, 6 different churches. Some of you may not agree with us, and you can feel free to disagree respectfully, but Frank and I really feel like the kids are the important ones when it comes to church right now. We feel like we can be fed just about anywhere. While we will always be growing in our Christian walk, we get it. The only thing that we both really wanted from a church was small groups so we could get plugged in and connected at a deeper level with other believers. That is important to both of us.

However, now is the time for our kids to grow in their walk with Christ. Kassidy is a believer. She has accepted Christ into her heart and has been baptized. Now is the time for her to grow in her own walk and personal relationship with Christ. Kameron has been asking a lot of questions the last year or so. He's a very literal thinker and needs to come to this decision on his own, in his own time. The little three need somewhere where they can hear the basics, learn the stories, sing the songs and have some fun. So while we were church hunting, we focused mostly on the kids/youth programs... and let me tell you, Kass and Kam are picky! ;) They each wanted different things from their kids program, and while Frank and I miss our church in TN greatly, they miss their program from church there even more. We all have a hard time with change! For the younger three we looked for a place where the girls would be accepted and included, where they would be safe, and where Kennedy and Keeghan could come out and tell us a little about what they learned in class.

So here are some things that Kassidy and Kameron look for in a church (some spiritual and some totally NOT spiritual):

  • Casual dress (no dresses! Shorts and flip flops, please!)
  • Great music! (We want to sing about God... with a beat!)
  • Stories that we can apply to our life NOW. (Yes, we want to learn about Moses, but tell me what that has to do with being in middle school and how I can use it at school and in my daily life!)
  • Let's play fun games! (If they have a moral behind them, that's cool, but I want to laugh!)
  • Let's get together outside of church! (We want to form lasting friendships outside of Sunday mornings... let's hang out!)
  • Let us know you're praying for us. (Our parents tell us they're praying for us all the time, it's nice to hear it from our pastor, too, especially if we're struggling with something. Let us know it's safe to come to you with our problems and that you'll pray for us if we need it.)
  • Let's party!!! (Make church FUN!!! We'll want to come back over and over the more fun it is... the louder the better!)
  • Let's really read the Bible. (The stories are great, but I want to REALLY read the Bible and learn to understand it. Teach me what it all means and how to use it and apply it daily to my life. I want to be able to pick it up and use it anywhere. Not just in church on Sundays.)
And so Sunday afternoon we finally sat down as a family and decided to pick a church where we all would be happy, where we all feel like we would be fed spiritually, and commit and get plugged in. I'm excited that we're finally to this point, and so are the kids. They are looking forward to making friends and I had a long talk yesterday with one of the directors of the children's ministry about Kennedy and Kellsey and their specific needs and they are excited to have them in their program. They even have a small group specifically for parents of kids with special needs... and they have respite nights several times a year where they will take all the kids for four hours and Frank and I can go out on a date! We'll get to do this once before he deploys, so I'm excited about that! Thanks to those of you, especially those of you from Grace, who have been praying for us as we've hunted for a new church. While they will never be GCC, we are happy to have a new place to plug in, connect and watch our family grow.

On that note, my mom sent me this video this morning and it is TOO funny! If you have EVER left your children in church childcare, you have to watch!! :) I promise I have never ignored their number when it's popped up on the screen (much). ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Q&A #214

Wow! Kass hasn't lost all her teeth yet? My adult teeth were all in by 5th grade! 
No... is that strange?! LOL I honestly don't remember when I lost my last baby tooth. Her dentist never said anything so I guess I never questioned it. There are 20 baby teeth that fall out, right? She lost her first one when she was 5 so I just figured she was on track... I feel like she or Kameron is ALWAYS losing a teeth or three! haha Like I said, I think she's lost 13... and Kameron's lost 11... and he's 2 years younger so maybe she IS behind! Hmmm... I'll ask their new dentist when we go. 

Narcotics for a fracture?? I've never heard of painkillers being used on a fracture(except maybe tylenol) unless the bone broke through the skin, especially considering she didn't break it completely. And who told you she can't go to school on the medicine? I've known quite a few kids who have gone to school on narcotics... 
Well she's just on Motrin now, but yes they gave her Lortab (Loratab?! I can never remember which one it is!). She used it the first couple days. The ER doc said she can't go to school on it though because she wouldn't be able to fully concentrate. (??) I guess it does make her a little sleepy. She also can't drive or drink alcohol. *snicker* I have no clue, this is our first broken bone experience, so I'm just going on what they tell me. 

Oh, Renee,,,where in the world did this person get that you are FORCING Keeghan to play soccer? Maybe, outside the picture range, you were standing with a big stick threatening him??!!LOL
Awww man! No one was supposed to see that!! *snicker*

Wow. Renee. What a lot for you to take in all at once.
Does it get hot in the summers where you are?

It can... from what little we know about the summers here. Thankfully, we're out of the humidity of TN... she was more miserable there. But she's had a hard time here, too, when we've been out for functions like our Buddy Walk, going to see Rachel Coleman, or even just playing in the back yard. Unfortunately, she doesn't handle extreme cold very well either, so we'll see what the winter brings. Hopefully Denver will be able to give us some good tips. 

I wonder, as did Tammy, if you have heard of the chewy too? I sure hope the doc in Denver can get you more educated. Oh...the computer searches are ALWAYS grim. Be it grim, it sounds kind of scary. That being said, I'm so thankful that Kellsey has you and your family to walk her through this...I shudder to think of her being left in the orphanage. 
Yes, we bought a couple for her when she was in the midst of her finger sucking but she had no interest in them... we've tried pacifiers, anything we could think of as a substitute. The hard part is, we can stop her when she's awake and we see her just by saying, "Kellsey stop _____" whatever habit she is doing... but when she's in bed all bets are off. Throw in sleep apnea on top of it and it's a bad mix. Her poor lips. :( My mom suggested maybe a mouth guard to keep her teeth from biting, so I'm going to ask about that. 

 It is always better to HAVE an official diagnosis than to not, though, in my opinion. At least you know what it is and can get the answers you so desperately need, and maybe you'll even find another family or ten in the same situation who can relate and give you some advice, too.
Most definitely! It was almost like different light bulbs went on throughout our day as Frank and I discussed it and read up on it as we said, "So this explains when THIS happened!" or "This is why she does THIS!" Now we can move forward and help her instead of sitting in this state of confusion wondering what the heck is going on and not knowing how to help her with anything!

Sorry to hear about this diagnosis but I'm glad you have found some answers. Without knowing what all her symptoms are, I was just wondering if this could explain what has sounded like autistic traits that she has shown or is that another story? 
Some, I think yes. Others possibly not. I don't know. I have SO many more questions to ask when we get to Denver, but I definitely think it explains some of her behaviors for sure. I'm STILL not completely sold that she has autism, but I'm not convinced that she doesn't. As her new ped said, "She's a very complex little girl." And then we walked out of his office with 10 referrals. LOL At least he's proactive! The coming months will answer a lot of questions, I hope. 

One question I had was do you think the aspiration problems are linked to this as well?
I actually have no idea. I haven't read anything related to upper GI issues, only lower GI (constipation), but I did read that sometimes people with CIPA get g-tubes which has been recommended for Kellsey due to her aspiration and eating issues, so I'll definitely be asking if there's a connection. 

Just curious, is this the same disease where the kids can easily burn themselves because they don't feel the pain of the burn? I think I saw a documentary once on tv about that.
Yes, I think so. Someone else mentioned that documentary as well. I know she can't feel hot foods, but I'm not so sure about hot water.... 

 Your information about CIPA did make me remember that post you put about finding Kellsey on her floor in the mornings. Did you ever buy that bed rail you mentioned? This just made me think that if she did fall out and get hurt, she wouldn't cry and you might not know about any injuries she has! I know there are many pieces of her puzzle that this diagnosis will help you put together.
No, but that's one of the things we discussed this weekend as well. That is most likely why she never has cried when she's fallen out of bed. (Thankfully it's only been a couple times!) It's definitely on our list of things to buy to keep her safe. I hate to go back to a toddler bed or a crib, and at this point I really don't think that's necessary. We're trying so hard to make her feel like a "big girl" and I feel like that would definitely be 2 steps back. We have to find that balance... independence but not at the expense of safety. 

How funny! Jason is my absolute favorite artist and I am dragging my patient husband tonight to see him in concert! I can't wait and my daughters all think that is so funny. Your kids look adorable in the hats. 
Awww I'm so jealous!!!! We want to see him in concert so badly, but he's not coming here any time soon. Frank jokes that he will probably come while he's deployed... that's the way it usually works! Have a GREAT time at the concert! I am sure it will be fabulous!!!

Oh no, she's making a duckface! Hopefully you're not heading for this: But cute haircut! 
Doh!! LOL I hope not either... and I have to admit, I giggled a little at that site. She really was just being silly though and goofing around. I guess it's a "cool" thing to do! hahaha

Beautiful photos. Was that the other loose tooth or was it one that wasn't loose?
I never knew soccer was such a full on sport! 

Thankfully yes, it was loose... but not really loose enough to come out yet! I could barely wiggle it as of Friday night. Oh well... Keeghan was just helping her catch up to her classmates! ;) I never knew soccer was so violent either! haha Frank told Kass that she may as well get in there and give it her all now, she's already been smacked in the face by a ball and broke her arm, what else could happen?! ha! 

Such a pretty girl! I think purple's her color. And her hair is so long!
Just curious, does she still have any symptoms of alopecia? 

You know, the one spot that we were having a problem with has grown back in and I haven't seen any other bald spots (trust me, I check often!). I am very careful not to tie her hair up often... usually only for ballet or on really hot days... so I don't add extra stress to her scalp. I'm very thankful that it hasn't become a huge issue. Interestingly, with Kellsey's hair, the sides of her hair never have grown out which is why I keep it short... her hair dresser in TN said it could be genetics or poor nutrition from the orphanage, but the dermatologist looked at her hair as one of the determining factors for CIPA and said it is one of the signs. Who knew?! (Sorry, random tangent there! But it was just one more answer!) 

Absolutely adorable!!! She looks more like Kassidy each day! So how is Keeghan's head??? Glad the tooth didn't stick in it! Your tooth fairy is going to go broke with all the activity there! (((BIG HUGS)))! 
Thankfully Keeghan's head survived! He didn't even cry! Can't say the same for Kennedy! That blood curdling scream of pain coming from your child from an unknown room in your house is enough to give you a heart attack! It makes it even worse when she comes down with blood everywhere! UGH! Thankfully it was just a baby tooth! LOL They better not jump on the bed again for a long time!

If I still lived in Memphis I would so come meet you and your family.. I think I liked the pepper with the little butterfly on it.. 
But... we're in Colorado... :o)

Sidenote: I can see what you were talking about with little Kellsey's lips right now.. I wonder what can be done to get her to stop doing that at night! It looks painful, even though she isn't aware of that. Yikes. 
I don't know... I'm hoping they will have some suggestions in Denver. I cringe when I have to clean her up in the morning. I know it doesn't hurt her, she just sits there, but it makes me hurt for her! They actually look a lot better than they did a week or so ago. I just can't get her to stop chewing on them. :(

Nice e's Kennedy! Yay! 
I'm glad you noticed!! :) She does them right side up 100% of the time now (which only makes me a little sad lol) and she spells her name correctly all by herself now, too! She used to get her letters out of order, but now I just say, "Write your name" and she does! :) 

Monday, September 26, 2011

POTD #26 - Our Chili's Night

We just got back from Chili's... we almost didn't think we were going to go because Kassidy isn't feeling so hot, but she decided she wanted to go after all. We went early to avoid the crowds, and it worked perfectly... early dinner, immediate seating, lots of peppers to color, great food! :o) Thanks to whoever recommended the Margarita Chicken, I tried it tonight and you were right! It was delicious!!!

Here are some pictures of all of us coloring and then our final product of our peppers...

On the way out we bought some pretty cool slap bracelets which Kellsey got a kick out of. I guess she's meant to be an 80's kid! haha And then we headed home. I am hoping to get to bed early tonight, I am beat! We'll see how that works out! ;) I hope that those of you who made it to Chili's had a great meal, too!!

Pictures Please!! :o)

I put a call out on Facebook about 2 weeks ago (maybe less) but I thought I would put it out here, too. As most of you probably know, October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Kennedy's school is going to let me put up a poster board in the lobby showing off our beautiful kids and all the things they CAN do! It's a great opportunity to bring awareness, and with Kennedy being the only child with Ds in her school, I don't want to let the chance pass me by!

SO what I need from you all, if you have a child with Down syndrome, is a picture of your child... doing... whatever it is he/she does best! Sports... homework... cooking... cleaning... playing on the playground... riding bikes... playing with friends... just being cute, whatever!! Here is a link to the poster I did for World Down Syndrome Day in 2006 so you can get an idea of what I'm looking for.

I have a great start already, but I'd love to get a wider variety and really bring awareness that our kids ARE more alike than different!! You can email photos to me at . Thanks!!! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

POTD #25 - Do You Know What Tomorrow Is?!

Tomorrow is the annual Chili's day to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital for childhood cancer research! YAY!!! We will be heading there for dinner to show our support, help raise money and of course color some peppers! Frank even said he's bringing his own crayons this year. He doesn't like to share. ;o)

Thank you to everyone who has created a virtual pepper for Kennedy so far! Here they all are... I can't decide which one is my favorite. They're all so great!

So, how many of you are going to Chili's tomorrow? What's your favorite thing to order there? I usually order their chicken tacos, but I'm open to suggestions this year! Give me an idea of something new to try!! Oh and if you live in Colorado Springs and would like to join us for dinner tomorrow, send me a message and we'll make plans!!! We'd love to dine with you for this great cause!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

POTD #24 - No More Monkeys...

Q: What happens when a naughty little monkey named Keeghan and a naughty little monkey named Kennedy jump on the bed together, even though they know better? 

A: One monkey's head bumps into another monkey's face... and the result is... 

Who needs two front teeth anyway, right?! *sigh*

Since we were already outside, Kennedy decided she wanted me to take some pictures of her... here's my pretty girl... being... posey! (Is that a word?)

We spent the rest of our day on the soccer fields where Keeghan did SO much better this week! His whole team is so funny and I'm enjoying getting to know them and all their parents. Kassidy played hard in her game, as did all the other girls! They are all exhausted tonight, I'm sure. One girl on her team her hurt ankle pretty badly, so we're hoping it's not broken... that would be a BAD record for the team - 2 broken bones 2 weeks in a row. It was such a beautiful day, sunny with a nice cool breeze, and warm enough to wear shorts! I actually got a bit of a sunburn, but I'm going to enjoy this weather as long as it would like to stick around... hopefully for a long, long time! ;) Hope you all had a great Saturday!