Monday, July 21, 2014

4 months (a little late)

Baby Juliet is almost 6 months now, so this is a bit late, but her 4 month pictures turned out so cute I wanted to share.  I have taken similar pictures of each of the children at 4 months old and took Kaylee's when we brought her home.

For those of you that don't know, Juliet has something called Vesicouretural reflex or kidney reflux. When she was 5 weeks old, she had a very high fever.  I thought for sure she just had a cold, but our pediatrician said with a baby as young as she was we needed to take her to the ER. They did so many tests on her, poor baby. She ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days. I felt so bad, I realized she had been sick for a little while and I just didn't know it. She had been a pretty fussy baby from the time she was about 2 weeks old until she was given antibiotics in the hospital. I just thought she was going to be a hard baby. After taking the antibiotics she has been so sweet and easy and sleeps well now.

 There are 5 grades of kidney reflux, 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest or worst. She has grade 5. We were so sad to find that out, but glad it wasn't anything worse. We've been to see a urologist and he reassured us that it is treatable and that he sees many children with this condition. She has been taking antibiotics daily since she was 5 weeks old and will continue to do so until either she grows out of it or she has surgery. For her grade there is a high chance she will not grow out of it, but for right now we are just taking it one day at a time and have not really talked about surgery with her doctor yet. She also has to see the urologist every 6 months and once a year will have dye injected into her bladder to see if it has changed any.  We don't like the idea of her being on antibiotics for so long, but as our pediatrician has said it is a black and white situation. There aren't any gray areas with this condition, if she is not on antibiotics and she ends up getting a urinary tract infection she will likely have a kidney infection too and it could cause scarring and then she might lose her kidneys.  With Kidney reflux every time she urinates the urine not only comes out of the body but also shoots back up into her kidneys. The antibiotic is keeping her urine sterile so when it backs up into her kidneys it won't cause any damage.

Our sweet little goo as we affectionately call her is so happy and such a good baby. Everyone loves her and rushes to pick her up whenever she makes a noise. She does not act like she's sick and has been in good health since her stay at the hospital. We only have to monitor her temperature and be sure she takes her antibiotics daily, which she loves. She sucks it out of the syringe like a pro and we jokingly call it baby candy :)

PS- my blog is so ugly and I hate it but don't have time to relearn html to fix it, someone want to be kind enough to fix it for me or at least point me in the right direction of someone who can?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Attachment/ Indiscriminate affection

So, about a month ago I wrote this post, posted it, then Josh read it. He said I would offend certain people with it, so I took it off. Then somehow messed up my blog trying to fix it (it's still messed up). Anyway, I am reposting it now ( a little revised :)

We have had many people disagreeing or just not understanding why we do what we do with Kaylee. Here is the reason, hopefully communicated in a better way.

We adopted Kaylee three years ago, right before her second birthday. Before we even brought her home, we were told of the many issues she could have with attachment and thought "no problem, we can handle this", but had no idea how hard reality really would be. We took her to the adoption clinic when we first came home and they once again warned us of the various issues we could have and gave us a paper we could print off and hand out to friends. The paper said things like we should be the one to feed her, change her, answer all her needs, hug her, etc.

We were already noticing that she was not attached and had indiscriminate affection with anyone and everyone. She instantly loved anyone and everyone who came over including the tile man and crawled to him when he came to measure our tile. She loved the other moms at the park, and likely would have gone home with them and not even thought twice about us. She HAD to have every person who came over give her attention, if they did not she would roll around on the floor and have the hugest fit ever. The first time she did this, I thought something was wrong with her. I had no idea that was the reason she was throwing a fit. Anyone who came over, she would crawl all over their laps, hang on them, beg them to pick her up, smack them in the face, pull their glasses off, incessantly point out her bow (for over 2 years) just to get the attention she craved and needed. At church, she would have huge crocodile tears when I left the room, but not for the reason one would assume. She was not missing me, she was smart and learned that if I was not around and she cried, someone would come to her rescue.

This is not such a bad thing, if you live in an orphanage. It is a fight for survival instinct. She needs love, she needs attention. But, it is not a good thing to have when you have a family and she needed to learn to trust us. To come to US. To have us meet her needs. To know, mommy and daddy are here to stay.

So, we tried to do what we were told and what we read in books about attachment. So many people gave us such a hard time about it.  I mean like, everyone. "She's just sweet because she has Down syndrome." "Just one hug won't hurt"  "She'll learn not to go up to people when she's older "(we are still trying to break habits in her that probably never will be broken, so that is not always true) "she knows you are her mommy" etc, etc, etc.

So, we stopped. And just let her be. But then we couldn't go anywhere or have anyone over. It was just too hard to always have to watch her like a hawk and make sure she wasn't snuggling up to some stranger or climbing in someone's lap and taking their glasses off or begging for food from someone we didn't know or running off. When people came over, she did the same things. I tried not to let it bother me, hoping it would just go away on its own. But, I knew I wouldn't let any of the other kids do it, so why would I let her? We were prisoners in our own home, we wanted a somewhat normal life again.

We knew we had to do something. We knew she wasn't attached to us, no matter what others saw, we knew we were the same to her as my parents or our friends or some random stranger. For good reason. She didn't know what a mom and dad were. She didn't know we were supposed to be the ones she was to turn to. She likely had 10 moms.

So, we stopped any and all physical contact with other people. If we went somewhere, she stayed with us. If someone came over, she stayed with us. We told all of our friends to please not pick her up, hug her, kiss her, allow her to sit on their laps, let her lean against them and anything else that was connecting her physically to someone else. When we go someplace or if someone comes over, we would warn her beforehand and say "we are going in the store/ friends are coming over, you are not to go up to anyone, ask them to hold you or hug them", then we'd say " who are you supposed to hug?" At first, we'd give her the answers, now she knows them on her own. "mommy and daddy and brothers and sisters" Are we to hug strangers? No. Are we to hug friends? No. You can say hi, you can shake their hands, you can give them a fist bump, you can play. If she did not listen, then I would keep her by me. If the other person did not respect our wishes and do as we ask, then we kept her with us. She was happy, she did not feel left out. She wasn't sad. We loved her. We hugged and kissed her many times during the day.

We have been doing this for about a year. With much resistance from others. I have cried many times wondering if we are doing the right thing.

It has worked though. I would say she is mostly attached now. A huge example is today we went to the mall to play. I sat on a bench to nurse the baby while the kids played. She PLAYED!  A year ago, she would have been more interested in going up to someone or getting attention from one of the other moms. She said hi to people and she was happy, so she is not deprived of love as one person has said. She even called out to ME a few times from across the room as she was playing, she wanted to show ME something.

This does not mean that we can just forget about it and let her do as she pleases though. A few weeks ago, we noticed that she was doing much better and were going to just let her start hugging people naturally and see how it worked out. Then, someone came over and hugged and kissed on her. She then started to hug and kiss everyone she would see, so we know it is something we need to gradually work on and still have boundaries.

Really, I'm kind of sick of hearing people say she is this way because of having Down syndrome. I wouldn't allow my other kids to go and hug all over strangers, so why would I think it was ok of her? Can she not learn? Of course she can, she shows me every day how capable she is.

We hope one day she will be able to know the difference between a stranger and a friend. We hope she will be able to hug people and do it appropriately. She is not there yet.

We are trying to allow her to hug people if she asks to hug them, only if we are around. What we do not want is for people to initiate hugging from her, but to naturally let it happen if she wants to hug others.

I want so bad for her to just be treated like any other almost 5 year old would be treated. If that means ignoring her, then by all means, please ignore her. As harsh as that sounds, I would much rather that than she have special treatment from a stranger or even well meaning friend.

We DON'T know what we are doing, but we are doing what we feel is best for her. We've never done this before, we are definitely not pros at this. I know many people will not agree with us in how we raise her. As hard as that is for me and as much as I hate that, in the end we are the ones who have to answer to God for how we were as parents, not those around us.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Juliet Gabrielle

We had our baby on January 31st at 11:39 A.M. after an extremely quick labor and delivery. I was hoping for fast, but it was so fast, it took me by surprise. It was very surreal and I was almost sad it was over. Must have been hormones, as I don't especially enjoy labor :) 

 So far, things are going very easy, but Josh is also still home, so next week might be a different story.
I don't have a lot of time to write at the moment, but wanted to update with pictures for those that have asked.

These are pictures of her bedroom that she won't be using for a few months :) It sure was fun decorating it though, even if it is silly since she won't care too much about it. We did this room as cheaply as possible and used paint and fabric we already had.

A painting that I made for her room, I love how it turned out.

Malika and Justus also made some paintings for her room. It is hard to see from this picture, but Justus painted a bird and Malika painted an owl.

This is her ultrasound picture.

Some friends gave me a baby shower and this scripture was the theme of the party.

Crib rail cover that I made. I bought that owl fabric a few years ago because I loved it and just had it laying around until I decided to decorate this room.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


So many have asked lately if I'm going to update my blog with pictures, so here they are. I really have been meaning to update sooner, but here it is a year later. Oh well, better late than never. 

It was a very busy year for us last year. We have been busy remodeling our kitchen and updating our house. We found out we are expecting again, a little girl. I am actually due in about 2 weeks with her, we are all very excited and can't wait to meet her. 

Malika turned 6 this year and is working on first grade. We are homeschooling and she is doing extremely well, I think she might take after her daddy as she picks everything up so quickly and is great at math. She is such a great helper for me and a good big sister. The kids were at my parents house one night before Christmas so we could go Christmas shopping. My mom said that Malika took care of Kaylee all night and even made her a place to lay on the couch while they watched a movie and then later put her to bed. It makes me so proud that she would take care of Kaylee and love her when I'm not around. She is so so excited to have a new baby sister and can not wait to meet her.

Justus turned 4 this year. He is our little artist, from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed, he is drawing and coloring. He is really good too and can draw anything from memory. He and Malika are still best friends and do everything together. They started Awana's this year and he loves it so much. On wednesday's they go to Awana's at 6:30, but he starts getting ready about 4. He takes wearing his vest and bringing his bag very seriously. This year we have discovered that Justus is a much more allergic to nuts than we originally thought. Not only is it peanuts, but also cashews and something in hummus, we are unsure what yet. We had to call 911 once after he ate cashews, it was so scary, but I'm very grateful they knew what to do and took care of him so quickly. It seems like he is becoming even more sensitive to it since Christmas, so we have banned any nut from our house for the time being. We plan on taking him to an allergist and figuring out more what is ok and what is not. For now, he carries an Epi-pen junior and we just warn him over and over to ask before eating anything. Last week, I took him and Seth to a thrift store and they wanted some candy, so I bought some for them. Then, Justus says "good, I don't want this then" as he hands me a peanut m&m. Almost gave me a heart attack. 

Kaylee is doing well, she surprises me with how much she understands and knows. She is still not talking much, but takes so much in. The other day  I was holding her like a baby and asked if she was a baby, she shakes her head no. Then I ask if she is a big girl, she nods yes. Then I ask if she knows we are having a baby, yes. I ask where the baby is, she points to my belly. Then I ask if she is going to love the baby, yes, is she going to kiss the baby, yes, is she going to take care of the baby, yes. Then I wanted to see if she was just saying yes or if she really understood, so I asked if she would be mean to the baby, she shakes her head very hard no. That was a complete surprise to me, that she understood everything and answered correctly, not that she would be mean to the baby, she is very sweet and loving. Even though she is developmentally where Seth is, she still mothers him and tries to take care of him.

Seth is our little tornado, he goes from one room to the next destroying and getting into things. But, he is just so cute it is hard to stay angry with him. He and Kaylee are best friends, the newest thing they do is play duck duck goose. Of course, neither of them understand and just run around in a circle saying "duck, duck" over and over. Seth is our little dancer and will dance anytime he hears music. He put us through quite a scare this year, he was diagnosed with viral asthma. So, every time he gets sick, he has an asthma attack. I feel like it is pretty controlled now, but it is still so scary every time he has trouble breathing. 

Here are the pictures I'm sure you are waiting for :)...

Malika dressed and ready for her dance recital.

Strawberry picking. Kaylee was in heaven, being able to eat as many strawberries as she wanted.

Eating ice cream cones on a hot summer day. I don't know what I was thinking, must be the 4th child syndrome or something, but I gave them ice cream cones in the car from Sonic. Not good, at all. They finished what was left at home as I cleaned up.

 We enjoyed swimming in our pool last summer. Malika even learned how to swim. 

Justus and Malika on Justus' birthday 

We had a spider-man pool party for Justus' birthday. This is him with his friend. 

Seth being super cute.

Kaylee on her birthday. We decided to do 2 different birthdays for her and Justus this year. She took hers very seriously and knew it was all about her and made sure everyone else knew it was HER day. 

With her cookie cake. 

 Malika on her birthday. 

It is our yearly birthday tradition to chart their growth. Daddy is very particular and has to do it ON their birthday.

 Pictures from the beach

 And one last one of our little bugaboo. He keeps us laughing and definitely on our toes.