Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homemade Bib

Will get to Christmas pictures when I have a little more time.  :-)

Just wanted to share a little something I made.  I copied a bib that I received from a friend for Daniel.  (Thanks Lea!)  I love this bib.  It's large, absorbent and cute!  All that I want (and need) in a bib.  I finally got around to making another one - and have hopes of making more. 

I bought a cute Christmas hand towel to make into a bib.  I cut this in half.  (First is a pic of the entire towel and then a picture of half of the towel.)

Next, I cut out a small semi-circle in the top center for the neck opening.  (I can measure if anyone wants it - just let me know.)

I finished off the top edges.  I then used quilt binding (36" in length) and sewed this around the hole.  It is centered on the bib so that there are equal lengths on each side.  The lengths leftover are the ties for the bib.

Here's the bib on Eliana.  Isn't it cute?! 

She is a really messy eater (when feeding herself), so this works out great!  If anyone wants more details, I know this is not much and I'm happy to give more.  There isn't a lot though as these are pretty simple.  I think they will make great gifts too!  I know I've loved mine!



Planning for New Years Eve!

If you are looking for something fun to do on New Year's Eve, I would love to share with you what we did last year!  You can visit my post here.


This wonderfully creative idea was not mine, but was shared by various women on the Five in a Row message board.  I don't remember who the idea belonged to originally, but each person has taken it and made it their own.  Changes in what is done, times done (some do it earlier to end before midnight), etc.  Make it your own!

I'm busy planning on ours and am thinking we are going with a theme this year.  I'll write more later.  I need to make sure my one blog reader knows not to peek so that the surprise isn't spoiled.



Monday, December 29, 2008


Well, yesterday, Eliana's fever finally seemed to be getting better.  Early in the evening when I was changing her I noticed a rash on her trunk and back.  It didn't seem to bother her.  I vaguely remembered seeing this before and googled it.  I think it's what Eliana has had. 

Today her rash is worse.  It still doesn't seem to be bothering her thankfully (no itching).  She has been a little more irritable than normal, is eating poorly and isn't sleeping well.  The last 2 probably contributing to the first on the list.  She is still being a trooper about it all though.

Hopefully she will be all well soon.  Though if we have to deal with a sickness, this one has been a relatively easy one to have.  Thankfully she didn't have seizures which can be the one bad symptom.

Just an update.  Thanks for your prayers.



Sunday, December 28, 2008

December catch-up post

Just thought I'd share briefly a little of what we've been doing around here this month. 

We went to Bethlehem.  A local church (not ours) puts on a fabulous interactive "Journey to Bethlehem".  You are led through a market and to meet various people on the way - Herod, the wise men, merchants, shepherds, angels, the innkeeper - before seeing the Nativity.  The costumes and sets are amazing!  It's one of our family's favorite activities.  I don't think  you are ever to old to experience the Christmas story in such a real and fresh way.

The girls met for Keepers of the Faith and did a second class on Herbs.  You can read more about it hereRoger and some of the children went to a Christmas parade.  We attended Christopher's football awards banquet.  It was a very nice event and we enjoyed being there.

We made applesauce/cinnamon ornaments.  The children enjoyed this and we used them on the small tree.  The room smells soooo good and the tree looks beautiful.  I'll post a picture when I get it uploaded.

We also made trees out of rice krispy treats.  This was an idea of a friend, Jen, and we enjoyed it too.  We used our hands to shape trees, snowmen, balls, whatever they felt like doing.  We decorated with sprinkles - and then ate. 

We attended a St. Lucia party hosted by some dear friends.  She goes all out in decorating and attending to all of the details of making the event a beautiful and fun one for all invited.  The house was beautiful, the food was delicious and bountiful (and Swedish), and activities were fun for the children.  The adults had a great time just talking and catching up.  It's an event we look forward to each year! 

Rebecca wrapped up some of our Christmas books and put them under the tree.  The younger boys have been opening one each day or so and then enjoy listening to the story. 

Each of the children received an ornament.  I try to choose something the represents some aspect of their year or their personality.  Here is what they received this year.

Eliana - an angel that loves to dance.  That's pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Daniel - a little drummer made of candy.  He plays music and beats the drum.  Daniel loves candy and music has been an important part of his year in terms of therapy.  He loves this ornament.  We've had to convince him that it isn't a toy to be played with and needs to stay on the tree.  LOL

Isaiah - Pooh and Tigger sledding.  Isaiah loves the action of sledding and the constant movement also reminded me of my active and energetic little boy.  He loves watching it move.

Joshua - Two bears cuddled up with a book.  Joshua loves to read -and to be read to.  It's a gift that has taken him many places.

Rebecca - A handcrafted ornament with beads and wire - which reminded me of her bracelet making.  There is also a cross which reminds me of her love of Jesus.

Christopher - An ornament that says "License to Drive".  Another one that explains itself.  There is a space to place a photo and Christopher is covering the photo that came with the ornament.

More later on Christmas itself.  



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eliana has a fever

which is some of the reason I haven't posted.  Most of my computer time has been holding a fussy, sleepy (or NOT) little girl.  She started a fever on Christmas Eve and still has it.  She is playing pretty well, though much fussier than normal for her.

Her eating is also much less, so just trying to keep her hydrated.  We are giving her tylenol to help manage the fever.  So far it hasn't been *too* high - 101.4 the highest I've seen.

Will try to post Christmas news and pics when I have a bit more free time.  We've had a sweet time together and I look forward to sharing more.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I had hoped to post some pictures of some of our Christmas activities, but just haven't gotten to it yet.  Will try to do that after Christmas - along with more pictures.

I wanted to take a few moments to send greetings.  Wishing you all a day filled with joy!  Wishing you happiness, sweet memories, laughter and love.  Wishing you peace.  Wishing you hearts filled with gratitude as you remember the One who gave the most precious gift of all.

I'm humbled to think of God's gift for us.  One so undeserved.  A gift that forever gives us the opportunity to live with God in fellowship.  Wow!  We truly couldn't ask for more.

Thank you God for redeeming us, for adopting us into your family, and for loving us in spite of our sin.  Thank you Jesus for giving your life so that we too might live.

Merry Christmas!!!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eliana's birthday

We spent a simple day with our girl.  We were scheduled to have physical therapy, but it was cancelled due to her therapist not feeling well.  That was probably a nice thing for Eliana as this is the hardest of her therapies.  It also allowed us to get in a nap before the party started. 

We had some friends join us for food and fun.  Eliana was wearing a cute little apron that her Nana made with a birthday cake on it (with 2 candles).  We took this off once the eating began so that it wouldn't get ruined.  (Not the best pic of Eliana, but you can see her cute outfit.)

We decorated simply - a princess theme for the table and pink and white balloons.  We had a dinner of one of her favorite foods - really one of the only "real meals" that she eats - spaghetti!

I made a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for our birthday girl.  After I looked at pictures, I realized that it was almost identical to last year's cake!!!  I didn't write on it which may be why the lettering looks different on them. 

Eliana tried blowing out the candle.  I'm not sure if she actually did.  We thought she did until one of her brothers confessed that he had been blowing.  lol

Eliana ate a little bit of cake - but mainly she was thrilled to have a fork.  I haven't given her a fork much as she mainly feeds herself with a spoon (with help).  So, she was intrigued with this fork.  She did stick it in the cake and sometimes got it close to her mouth.  I'm not sure if she actually ate any cake, though she did have some of the frosting.

What she did enjoy was ice cream!  Eliana loves ice cream and does really well eating it.  I think that the cold of it helps her to close her mouth better.  She ate a big bowl of it.

We opened gifts.  She received some new toys, a new Baby Signing Time DVD and a rainstick (with mirrors on each end).  She also received a musical card from her aunt which delighted her.  She would open it, listen and laugh.  It was playing the song "Who Let the Dogs Out".  I was delighted to see Eliana signing "dog" after she listened to it. 

She received another musical birthday card from a dear friend which also delighted her - it was Rachel from Signing Time singing Happy Birthday.  You can view it here if you want. 

It was fun celebrating our sweet girl.  I can't believe that she is 2!




Most of my blog sidebar is recovered - and the parts that aren't, can be added.  I could never have done this on my own and have to thank some friends. 

Thank you to Renee who helped retrieve the buddy links from hsblogger.  This is a sweet gal that I just met via my blog a couple of days ago - and she volunteered to help me.  She worked me through finding and posting the list.  What a sweet new friend!

Thank you to Leanne and Abbey.  Leanne is a friend I've known for years.  We met because we used the same curriculum when our teenagers were young.  We've never met in real life as she lives across the world, but I'm thankful for her friendship via cyberworld (and would love to one day meet her).   She and her daughter helped set up and make my blog pretty - they added all the graphics and designs.  They also saved my template and thus were put things back that I had accidentally lost!  I'm so glad to have things back like they belong!  :-D

Oh, and I did copy the template so that hopefully this won't happen again!

I still need links from non- hs blogger friends.  If you comment, would you add in a link to your blog just to make it easier for me to link back to you?  Thank you!

I'll try to get back to posting more soon.  I need to put in a birthday pic or two.  :-)



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I goofed on my blog ...

and would love some help please!  I tried adding in a button to my blog a couple of days ago.  I put it in the side bar.  I have done this before and didn't think anything of doing it again.  Well, I learned a lesson. 

***You should have a recent and updated copy of your blog template saved in a separate location.  I thought I had done this, but  it was long ago and I can't find it.  It probably would have been missing a lot of things anyway.***

So, I've lost a lot of information that was in my sidebar.  Some of the things I'll be able to recreate (hopefully).  I would love some help here.

If you are one of my blog friends, could you post here or send me an email with your blog address so I can work on making a new "friends" list of blogs?  I know I can find a lot of them, but it would be so much easier if you could post and help me out - please.  :-D  Those that are on my friends list with homeschoolblogger - I can retrieve that list!  Whew!  It's all the others  that are hosted by different blog sites that will be a bit harder to get.

Thanks friends for your help.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two Years Old!


 Happy Birthday Eliana Joy!!!

I can't believe that you are 2 years old! It just doesn’t seem possible. In some ways it seems like a much longer period of time and in other ways it has flown.  The first year was difficult in a lot of ways - feeding struggles, heart failure, open-heart surgery, salmonella, feeding tubes and more.    

And yet, the joy is also overwhelming. I don’t know that I can ever convey what an incredible blessing Eliana is to our family. And not just our family – she brings joy to so many others. I watch people who are just taken with her sweet personality (and she is incredibly cute too!)

When she was born, I wondered how we would handle having a child with special needs.  Would our lives be changed in ways that I didn't like?  Would we ever find "normal" again?  I found that having a child with special needs caused me to depend more on God - the One who could help us.  It meant changing the way that we lived.  It also meant that we would be changed - our priorities, our views and our values.  I'm so very thankful for that!

Eliana is such a joy!  (What a great middle name for her!)  She is loving and forgiving - incredibly so.  We can all learn from her example.  She is curious and smart and funny.  I love her sense of humor, her independence and her love of music.  I love her giggle and her smile and her signs.  I love watching her siblings love on her and have fun with her.  I love the changes I've seen because of her. 

Thank you God for blessing our family so richly two years ago.  I didn't realize then what an amazing gift you were giving us.  I'm so glad that You knew better than we did.

Here are some photos during her first few days. 

This is her first birthday. 

This is a picture of Eliana on Sunday.  

I'll post birthday pictures as soon as I'm able to.  We are planning a low-key party - ice cream and music are sure to be on the agenda. 

Happy Birthday my beautiful Eliana.  

I love you so very much,



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adoption and Redemption

At this time of year, so many things go through our minds.  No matter where we are, I think that there are many memories associated with holidays.  There are many emotions too.  Thankfulness, joy and love and also sadness, loneliness and pain.  I am grateful that at this time of year many are looking for ways to reach out to others and make a difference.

Can I share again about the Angel Tree at Reece's Rainbow?  I think this is an amazing ministry that offers hope to children that need a family.  Children that due to their special needs may be less likely to be adopted than others. 

If you are still searching for a Christmas gift for someone, please consider sponsoring one of the beautiful children on the Angel Tree.  www.reecesrainbow.com

Since the Angel Tree started on Nov 1st of this year, 9 children have found their forever families.  There are still 98 children waiting.  There is great need and any gift is tax deductable. 

 I also wanted to share this amazing blog entry with you.  Please take a few minutes to go read it.  I think your heart will be touched.  It's the entry for today Sat 13 Dec 2008 if you happen to be reading my blog on a later date.  It's a beautiful story and a reminder of how adoption has touched all of our lives.

Reece's Rainbow Blog

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Eliana's dedication

We dedicated Eliana at our church on Sunday 15 November.  All of our children have been dedicated here - usually as infants.  Given Eliana's rocky first year, this was when she had her turn.

A couple first prayed over the children and families present.  Then each family had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their children and share a little bit.  Roger asked that I share and I happily did.

I shared that when Eliana was born with Down syndrome that it was a difficult path at first.  I know I've shared here that the book I studied when pregnant with her was James.  You know, the passage on "consider it all joy when you encounter trials".  I felt like this was a preparation for the trials that were to come.  At the time though, I didn't see clearly the end of that same chapter.  "Every good gift comes from above."  Eliana is a good gift from the One who made her perfectly - and in His image.

I shared about what a joy Eliana is to our family.  She is not what I prayed for - but is exactly what I needed.  I have grown so much in my faith through having her join our family.  I've learned more about God's grace, truth and faithfulness by walking this path with our sweet girl.  I know I still have much to learn.

I don't have a good picture of her at the dedication.  But here is a picture of her from that day.

We all then prayed and pledged to raise our children in the faith and to be a part of the church body that encourages, prays and helps all of the children grow to know more about God.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have another child to raise - another opportunity to share God's love and to grow in the experience.

Feeling very blessed,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Angel Tree

I wanted to share with you a group that I think it pretty special.  I've mentioned it before, but want to write more.  It's Reece's Rainbow.  This is a charity which promotes and facilitates the international adoption of children with Down syndrome.

Last year our family sponsored a child as Christmas gifts to some of our family.  I'm thrilled to see that this year, this little boy has found a family and hopefully will soon be home with them!

I've visited this site often and have to say that these children just tug on my heart.  I see such beauty and innocence.  I pray for these children every day - that they would be loved and that they would soon find a forever family.

You can help!  Won't you please visit this site and look at some of these precious children in the  Waiting Christmas Angels Gallery .  The cost of international adoption is high ($25,000 on average) and by sponsoring a child or a family, you can help a child be rescued and brought home to a loving family.

For some of these children, they will face living in an institution once they turn 4.  Most of them don't live past the first year.  This statistic just breaks my heart!

Won't you join us in sponsoring a child?  Maybe your heart will be turned toward doing more - and bringing one of them home.  Go ahead and look.  The faces are just precious.

I want to share one with you that has touched my heart.  This is Tonya.  Our family is praying for her and doing what we can to help her find a family.  Isn't she beautiful?!

If anyone is debating about a Christmas gift for me - this would be perfect - sponsoring one of these beautiful children.  If you sponsor one for $35 or more, you will receive an ornament (just do it before December 15th!). 

Please share this site with anyone you know.  The need is great and the children are so very precious.



Rebecca's "Coming of Age" birthday party

We celebrated Rebecca's birthday by hosting a party a few days before her special day.  Since she was turning 13, we viewed this as a time that she is "coming of age".  We had a special time with Christopher on his birthday and looked forward to having this with Rebecca too.

We invited a few close friends to join us in a time of encouragment.  Each person that wanted to, was invited to share some encouragment with Rebecca.  I loved the variety of things that were shared from memories and Bible verses, to hopes and praises.  After we shared with her, we then spent time praying over her.  It was a sweet and tender time.

I prayed that these words would be cemented in her heart.  I pray that she will always know that she is loved, treasured and precious.  I wish I had thought to record this.  It occured to me during - but not before.  Rebecca even mentioned that this would be a good thing to be able to listen to again and again.  I did pray that God would cement these truths into her heart.

 I shared some verses that I loved with her.

God said,

"You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you."

Isaiah 43:4

Always remember how very much you are loved – by family and friends, but mostly by the One who created you and reigns in heaven.

17"The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Zeph 3:17

I'm so thankful that Rebecca was able to hear from a variety of people that she is loved.  That the gifts that God has given her are recognized and valued.  She has such a tender heart and it is something that is really appreciated by those that know her. 

Afterwards, the men and boys joined us.  We then set out for some different kinds of fun - a scavenger hunt.  The children were divided into 2 teams and given a list of things to find.  They were asked to take a photo of each item and have at least one team member in each photo if possible - and not to find more than 1 thing at each place.

Here is the list of things that they were looking for on the hunt.

__ A pumpkin

__ Christmas decorations

__Picture of a turkey

__An orange vegetable (not a pumpkin)

__A diamond that is bigger than a breadbox

__A fast food restaurant menu

__A church


__A speed limit sign

__An advertisement for a sale

__Place with a lot of books

__An animal (can be real or not)

__A football (not belonging to our family)


__A person in uniform

__ A "slug bug" (VW beetle)

When they returned, the teams compared notes as to what they found - and where.  We were able to look at the pics when Roger loaded them onto the tv (via the laptop).  That was fun.

We then shared a meal together.  Rebecca helped pick the menu.

Non-alcoholic sangria

7 layer dip (There are lots of  recipes and I can't find the exact one we used.  I have it saved though if anyone wants it.)

My friend Barb's mexican casserole - YUM!

We had lemon cake and sherbet for dessert. 

Rebecca had requested that in lieu of gifts this year that money be given to a little girl named "Tonya".  Tonya is an orphan listed on the Reece's Rainbow site.  She has captured our hearts.  We pray for her - and the other children needing families daily.  We are working as a family to raise funds to help with her adoption.

We did give Rebecca a gift in addition to a donation to Reece's Rainbow.  We gave her a silver cross.  This was to signify to her where her hope lies.  I pray that it serves as a reminder to her of the One her loves her so deeply, of the One who made her and rejoices over her with singing, of the One who calls her beloved.  I'm so thankful that she is a child of the King!

We had a great day/evening celebrating Rebecca.  I wish you all could have been with us.