Monday, January 24, 2011

Still talking...

Incorruptible-Why the Devil Uses abortion to Eliminate Down Syndrome

An excerpt from a must read article:

"I know what you are thinking. You need a sign. What better one could I give but to make this little one whole and new? I could do it, but I will not. I am the Lord and not a conjurer. I gave this mite a gift I denied to all of you—eternal innocence. To you she looks imperfect—but to me she is flawless, like the bud that dies unopened or the fledgling that falls from the nest to be devoured by ants. She will never offend me, as all of you have done. She will never pervert or destroy the work of my Father's hands. She is necessary to you. She will evoke the kindness that will keep you human. Her infirmity will prompt you to gratitude for your own good fortune... More! She will remind you every day that I am who I am, that my ways are not yours, and that the smallest dust mite whirled in the darkest spaces does not fall out of my hand... I have chosen you. You have not chosen me. This little one is my sign to you. Treasure her!"

Read the rest here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week - 1/14/2011

The 3 R's this week:


Saxon Math 5 lessons 
IEW-Story Writing
Reading: The Life of General Washington
Vocabulary work


Saxon Math 5 Lessons
IEW-Story Writing
Reading: The Life of General Washington
Vocabulary Work

Math Facts
Reading - BJU Press Grade 1
Loving Lego's these days, still lots of construction going on around here.  

Resources we used:

Auidobooks.  Love them.  Especially when purchased with an iTunes gift card we received for Christmas.

Outside it continues to snow...

Things They Said:

Marney:  "When does it end with you Mom?"  Said while discussing our crazy 2010, and the possibility of me going back to work.  I know, I know!  

"I will direct your steps Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5-6

Knitting projects:

Finally finished the socks I have been working on for 2 years.  They even fit.
Started on a second pair using a different pattern, 1 down, 1 to go.  

The girls have been busy knitting also.  They both made cute beret's using their knitting loom.  Great tool for beginners!  Madeline completed a very cute scarf, and Marney is working on making some cute knitted balls.

We had a great week.  No doctors appointments, yay!  Well apparently we had one for Wednesday (Ben's upper GI, and swallow study) but nobody bothered to call and tell us.  Only after I called on Thursday to check on scheduling, did I learn of the appointment.  So reschedule we will.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That Video I Promised

A little talking and walking.  And lot's of laughing.

Untitled from Jill Brown on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipes Worth Sharing

These are too good not to share...

Creamy Wild Rice Soup


Challah Bread or Rapunzel Bread as it's become known as in our house (from my friend Sarah, who got it from her friend)

I've been making almost all of our bread from scratch since I've been home and had the time.  I was a little rough at first, but after a little help (and great recipes) from my friends, I actually find it quite easy and even relaxing.

This Challah is a good start if you are a beginner, and if you have a bread maker, even better.

Place ingredients into machine in this order:

1 egg plus enough water to equal 1 cup plus 1 tbsp.
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 1/4 cups bread flour (I love King Arthur flours-not bleached)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar (I use honey or agave nectar)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Wash for later: 1 beaten egg yolk plus 1 tbsp water

Mix on dough cycle.  Divide into 3 pieces when finished.  Stretch to length of cookie sheet.  Braid.  Let rise for 30 -45 minutes.  Brush wash over loaf.  Bake at 375 degrees for 17-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Ben Update-9 Weeks Home

I can't believe it has only been 9 weeks since we walked off the plane, it feels like Ben has always been here.

The big news this week is that Ben has been cleared by the cardiologist!  He had his sedated ECHO on Wednesday, and passed with flying colors.  Cross one specialist off the list, hurray!

We finally saw the GI doctor on Friday.  They said there is nothing they can do about the spitting up, since he is a "happy" spitter, he just needs to grow out of it.  They do however want to run a few tests to rule out a TE fistula and do a swallow study because of the fact that he coughs with thin liquids.  We are trying to get those scheduled on the same day.  Also, he will be screened for Celiac disease the next time he needs a blood draw.  

His next appointment is with the Opthamologist at the end of the month.  I'm almost certain he will need glasses, and may have blocked tear ducts.  It should be interesting to see how they do exams on wiggly 2 year olds!

Some learning activities Ben is enjoying: While I'm not trying to encourage TV viewing, I do want to capitalize on the fact that children with DS tend to be very visual learners.  I ordered the Signing Time Down Syndrome Bundle and so far we love it.  It's been a good after dinner "digesting in the highchair" activity for Ben.

(I'm learning a lot about all the cool iphone/ipad apps for visual learners and children with special needs.  We don't have either one yet, but it's on our wish list.  I like how portable they are, great for times when we are waiting away from home.  Good blog about all these apps here.  Love the name "ipads for babies")

I am however cautioned about using technology too much, by statements like this: "Too many children are isolating themselves and maybe learning  lots of things with computers but not learning to communicate and socialize in one to one interactions."  Dr. James McDonald.   He goes no to say, "This is particularly important for  children  called Autistic and Down syndrome since they have to be carefully socialized with communicating partners who are matched and balanced and following the child's individual learning paths."

Also, he is loving these felt board activities, seeing his favorite songs acted out makes them all the more fun.    

Ben loves songs with hand motions.  Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and Patty Cake, they are life savers when he is getting fussy and needs a distraction.  They suck him in every time!

In other not so fun news, Ben is teething.  He is currently cutting his second set of three teeth!  Poor guy, one is bad enough, but three at the same time, again!  Too much.  Trying to get him to chew on something other than his fingers has been a challenge.

No pictures again today, but I'm working on uploading a video of the cutest laugh in the world. :)  

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oil Cleansing Method: Frugal Skin Care

A few months ago, after doing a little research, I started using a combination of organic olive oil and  castor oil to clean my oily, acne-prone skin.  I was skeptical at first, I had always heard never to use oil, especially if your skin was oily to begin with.  But, after trying every acne regime on the market with no success, I was willing to give it a try.   

I must say, my skin has never felt better, and rarely have a breakout.  I use a blend of 50% Castor Oil and 50% Olive oil.  Also, I add in a few drops of tea tree essential oil, which has antiseptic properties.  You may need to adjust your ratio and/or carrier oil depending on your skin.

Mary at Owlhaven posts here about this frugal skin care routine.  More info and step by step process here.    There is also this website here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home Re-Organization Project

Our house has been in need of some major re-organization.  Adding a new child to the family has made our home seem suddenly small, and our laundry seems to have quadrupled.  I'm not sure if it was because I was just too busy, or it just never seemed like Ben was actually ever going to get here, but the nesting instinct didn't kick in until recently.   Still, I needed a plan.  And a system.  I needed space.  My laundry room is tiny.  

Then one day the stars seemed to align just right.  Marney moved.  No, not out, just across the hall.

The girls now share a room (their brilliant idea one quiet afternoon), and I have some space to work with.  

I love the idea of a family closet.  After reading this post.  And my sister having success with theirs, 
I wanted to give it a try.  Now I know we are certainly not a mega family, only slightly bigger than average, but I thought if it could work for them, it might work for us.

{Marney's old room, now our family closet/laundry sorting room}

{Clothes for all 4 kids hanging and in dresser}

The family closet idea also fits with our new chore system.  Rather than assigning a bunch of random tasks, I decided to give each child an area.   Madeline's current area is laundry.  This might sound overwhelming for an 11 year old, but both girls have been doing their own laundry for about 4 years now.  This idea came from my brilliant friend Dana, her girls learned to do their own laundry at about the age of 5.  Yes, it is agonizing watching a 5 year old "fold" a basket of laundry, it takes forever, but they can do it!  And eventually they get faster!  Knowing they have to wash it, cuts down greatly on the "I just threw it in the dirty clothes pile, because I didn't feel like hanging it up" syndrome.  

Jim and I still pitch in quite often to keep things going.  Madeline's main job is keeping a mental inventory of kids clothes, and keeping them organized.  She has embraced this new role, she likes to be in charge.

Moving the clothes freed up room in the boys closet for toys that used to be in the loft area, and a dresser that I can now use as a diaper changing station.

All off season/off size clothes are all sorted, labeled, and stored away.  Better lighting in this area is on the to-do list.

Owen's new lego area.  It's been a challenge to keep them up and off the floor.

It was a big project, but well worth it, and I knew there was nothing Jim would rather do on his vacation, than help his wife.  I'm considerate like that.