Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Foto Friday

(And yes, Jodi, I know Photo is spelled incorrectly but this is called "alliteration".)

Anyway,  I found Nadia 'napping' like this today and thought it was too hilarious to pass up.

Care to come up with a caption for any or all of these pictures?  I'd love to read them!!!
Hope you all have a terrific weekend!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Day Encouragement

All week long I thought Father’s Day wouldn’t ‘bother’ me because I’m rarely up in PA to celebrate this occasion. However, yesterday that feeling of loss started to come over me and this morning it hit me full force. No card to send. No phone call to make. I felt that pit in my stomach as I woke up feeling obligated to face this day.

Instead of today being a day to celebrate, it was a reminder of how much I am missing having my father in my life and in the life of my children.  Thankfully the older ones have solidified memories of time spent with Grandpop but oh how my heart aches for this little one who had just one short year with him.

And boy did he love this little girl.

It had been awhile since he had to play "Hop on Pop" with his own children and even with the grandchildren, as the youngest before Nadia is now 6.  He was still willing to give Nadia "all of Grandpop" like the others got.

Yes, this little one got a glimpse into what it was like to have a Grandpop even if just for a short while.

  God knew this was going to be a difficult day for me and my sisters, so just as God would have it, my devotion for today, from the book Jesus Lives  by Sarah Young was a huge encouragement to me.  It made me think about others who are having a difficult time today. Perhaps your father has also passed away suddenly or after a long illness.  Perhaps he is still alive but no longer a part of your life.  God will meet you where your pain is and so I hope that the following devotional will minister to you the way it has to me and my sisters today. 

I can fit everything into My majestic plan for good, including the things you wish were different. How you long to see that all-embracing pattern, even though you can’t begin to imagine it—and wouldn’t understand it even if I showed you.

Your current situation feels like a gigantic mistake to you—something you should have been able to prevent. I urge you not to indulge in obsessing about what you could have done differently, for that is an exercise in unreality: The past cannot be different from what has actually occurred. I want to help you make a new beginning instead, starting right where you are.

NOW is the only place to begin anew: It’s the unique intersection of time and space you currently inhabit, and it’s the space-time location where I intend for you to live. Some things—many things—may be beyond you, but you are capable of living joyfully in the present. After all, you are communicating with Me, your Savior and Lord, this very moment. You can also handle the next moment as it comes—and the next.

What you find most difficult to accept is the way the future looks to you: basing your predictions on current circumstances. But the future is one of those secret things beyond your domain. Release it to Me, the rightful Owner. Refuse to worry about the future, and you will find your resources for today quite sufficient. Remember that I am part of those resources, and nothing is impossible with Me!"

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28 AMP

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

My sister took this picture at Nadia's Dedication last October.  I always thought it looked like a picture of my parents looking heavenward.  .
I know my Dad has a different view right now but for those of us here on earth it is still a difficult day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nadia's 1yr. Anniversary--Gotcha Baby!!!

I'm at a loss for words as I reflect upon last year at this time.  So instead, I decided to create a video to commemorate this special day in the life of our family...the day we added Nadia Irina Ferguson to our family through the miracle of adoption.

This Is Home!

We love you Nadia and we can't imagine our lives without you in it!  We're thankful that one year ago God allowed us a glimpse into how He adopts us into His family through opening our hearts to bring you into ours.  What a miracle to behold!  We will never forget that day or the journey to bring you home!!!

P.S. The actual date is tomorrow but I couldn't wait!  Last year on this day, Thursday, Nadia became officially ours. Come to think of it, if I'm going by Ukrainian time, it already is June 17th!  There, now I feel better about posting this a little 'early'. :)

P.P.S. If you want to watch this video full screen you can click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WHG6nw-33Q

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homeschooling a Child with Ds

My wonderful friend Adeye  is doing a series on her blog answering people's questions about raising children with Ds.  One of the questions pertained to homeschooling and since her girls with Ds, Hailee and Harper, are younger, she asked me to field that particular question.  She has posted my reply on her blog but I wanted to put it here as well in case there were any follow-up questions you might want to post in my comment section for me to answer.

 I don't pretend to have all the answers and some days I wonder if I know anything at all about schooling a special needs child, BUT, I do have quite a few years under my belt with which to glean from.  So, here you go: 
When Josi entered the school system at age 3, we were fortunate to have a developmental preschool placement at a church that was made up of the special needs school kids and typically developing children as well. This was a wonderful situation for Josi since she’s very social and loves being around people. She received all of her therapies in this setting for 2yrs. and made great progress socially and developmentally.

When it came time to transition to kindergarten at our neighborhood public school, we just assumed she’d flourish like she had the past 2 years. I was currently homeschooling our older son but we didn’t feel like God was leading us to homeschool Josi at this point.

Not much turned out the way we had hoped that year and by the time our year-end IEP meeting took place, we knew that God was giving CLEAR signs that Josi needed to be homeschooled. She had various behavior issues that year (like pushing and hitting) and overall didn’t seem to be learning and thriving like she had in preschool. I kidded with my husband that now that she’s at home at least I’ll know who and why she’s hitting and pushing (who: her 2 brothers, why: because they can be pests). hahaha I never was given satisfactory explanations for any of the academic or social situations the teachers wrote home about. Needless to say it was a frustrating kindergarten year, but even so I was very nervous to bring her home for school.

Josi has been homeschooled for the past 8yrs. and here’s where I wish I could give you a nice concise list of curriculum choices that are guaranteed to bring success in your child with Ds. The good news is there is a TON of stuff out there for our uniquely developing kids. The bad news is there’s a lot of trial and error until you find what works for your child—because just like on the ‘typically developing’ spectrum...the Ds spectrum of abilities is wide and varied.

In the beginning I kind of picked up where they left off in kindergarten with sight words, basic math skills (we used Barbies, counting bears, etc. to make it fun), simple handwriting tasks, etc. It was nice spending less than 2hrs. a day on school rather than sending her off at 9am and not seeing her until almost 4pm each day. She learned a whole lot by watching her brothers and playing and sitting with me while I read books aloud.

Josi’s strengths are in Reading, writing and spelling. Part of this is how God gifted her but I also attribute it to the fact that I’ve read with her since the day she was born like I’ve done with our other children. To this day I still read aloud to my 14 and 11 yr. old sons and Josi is right there listening as well. I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of reading A LOT—even if you think they’re not listening...they’re getting something I assure you!

Since she tends to like to use workbooks for these subjects we’ve used the following curriculums fairly consistently with success:
1. Spelling Workout

2. Spectrum Reading

3. Explode the Code

4. A Reason for Handwriting

We also get books from the Library that are high-interest to Josi. She still loves “Franklin” books. The difference now is that she’s reading them to me instead of the other way around.

Math is a whole different ball of wax. Somewhere on that extra 21st chromosome there’s got to be a math gene but so far we haven’t found it. OK, it’s not that bad, but it amazes me that a child who can remember EVERYBODY’s birthday in our entire extended family and most of my friends and their kids, still cannot remember math facts beyond the “doubles”, “zeros”, and “plus ones”. I’ve used most of the curriculums out there including Horizon, Saxon, Spectrum, Montessori Math, Primary Mathematics, and a few others I can’t recall. We experienced some success in each of these texts but when it came time to move on to harder concepts I’d start over with another company. We are currently using Spectrum Math which is a good fit for now.

I used to really stress out over not being able to move past the 2nd grade in Math texts but then I realized (through much prayer and seeking advice from others) that my goal for Josi is to make sure she can use math in such a way to be as independent as possible. So, I figured that if she knew how to use a calculator and had a grasp on money concepts then she was good to go. A few years back I started having her just count money (which is also a great way to learn to count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s). Of course when I pull out the money bucket she groans and says, “I hate money!”. To which I almost always reply by singing that song about money, money, money making the world go round the world go round. She sighs and starts counting. Next year I plan to set up a “store” and have her shop and pay for items around the house. Then we’ll eventually move on to some real life shopping experiences.

No school situation is completely perfect but we have found that the homeschooling setting is just right for Josi and perhaps eventually for Nadia (our adopted daughter with Ds-3yrs. old). We make sure she has plenty of opportunities for her social needs to be met through gymnastics, dance classes, Girl Scouts, homeschool co-ops, playdates, etc. Do I sometimes look longingly as the bus pulls away from our corner toward the local elementary school? Sure...especially during Math...but I know this is where God has called us to educate Josi for now, and so He provides me with the patience and creativity I need to be her teacher.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Will my Mommy ever post again? 

 I guess first she needs to close out our homeschool year, entertain out-of-town guests, clean out the school room to turn it back into our dining room, make my one-year anniversary video she's been talking about doing for over a month now, take us to the pool because it's already in the 90's, schedule my therapies for the summer as well as attend my IEP meetings to figure out what next school year will look like, catch up on projects she's put off the entire school year, and keep the four of us busy now that school is finished.

 I'm still not sure what the big deal is, though. 

I can certainly find time in each day with my lightning fast hands to eat dog food, take the contents out of drawers and cabinets, pull the cushions off of the couches, play with my toys, read books, go for stroller rides, take naps, eat my meals and take a bath.  I'm quite sure I could find time to blog in between those activities. 

I guess the whole 'being younger' thing gives me the energy advantage because I'm sure it has nothing to do with chasing me around all day.