Thursday, July 26, 2012

{Jayden Feels The Ocean}

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Yesterday we took Jayden down to the beach to feel the ocean for the first time.  Love giving my kids firsts, and we have been so lucky to be able to do so many firsts with all our kids.  Jayden loves water, but as I said before due to the trach his exposure to water needs to be limited.  The ocean adds in more complications due to the sand.  Sand and an open air way just don't mix so we needed to be extra careful, but still give him a great time.

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Adam held Jayden tightly and we let him go at it. He loved the waves.  He loved the sand on his feet and loved watching the water wash up and back out to sea.  So amazing -- watching Jayden and daddy, just thinking back to six months ago -- Jayden is not the same little boy we first met. So very cool to watch.

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As I was walking the boardwalk I remembered back to the day when Jayden would fall asleep anywhere and at anytime.  When we first met Jayden he would literally fall asleep during the most crazy mometns -- like at the dentist getting his teeth cleaned, or in the middle of a physical exam.  His little brain would just shut down.

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Now -- Jayden is as alert as they come.  He wouldn't dare fall asleep and miss out on any excitement.  In fact his favorite activity of vacation seems to be people watching.  This kid loves to be nosey and check out what everyone else is up to.

Vacation is winding down.  We are all getting pretty tired -- but still having a great time!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

{visit to the water park}

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Yesterday we decided to take a break from the beach and head to the water park.  I have been coming to this beach since I was a child and I have never gone to this water park, which is located right on the boardwalk.  We had so much fun  -- so glad we decided to go. Totally worth the money.

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The park had a great kids sections that all three the kids loved!  Angela enjoyed all the kids slides and was her usual thrill seeking self.  Jayden also had a blast.  We let him walk around the shallow water, holding him upright and he had a blast splashing around.  I so wish I could show you more photos of Jayden's face.  I got some great shots of his amazing smile.  Just one more week and we head to court to finalize his adoption and the little blur over his face comes off forever -- can't wait!

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We left the little kids on the pool deck with Nana and Adam, Madison and I headed over to the big kids side where we enjoyed all the big water slides.  Again, it's not really my thing but I have to say it really was lots of fun.  

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We spent a few hours at the park and then went home for the little ones to sleep and Adam, Madi and I actually went back just the three of us.  So nice to spend some time with our big girl.  She is such a special little girl -- just can't believe how fast she is growing up.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{beach bums}

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Yesterday we spent our day hanging out on the beach.  To be honest I really don't like the beach.  I'm more of a walk the boardwalk type girl.  It kinda ironic that I'll be doing a triathlon at the beach in August where the swim portion is in the ocean.  Yuck.  Talk about good motivation to swim fast and get the heck out of there.  Let's hope that works.

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The kids however love the beach.  Madison is a pro in the big waves and would stay in the water all day if we let her.  Angela follows in her big sisters foot steps, she loves the crazy water.  It's pretty obvious to see in these photos how incredibly happy she is!

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Jayden did great yesterday on the beach.  He took a nice nap in the jogger while the girls played in the water.  I then took the little ones back up to the boardwalk and did some good old fashion people watching and mommie grabbed a nice cup of coffee -- because after all nothing says beach like a steaming hot cup of joe.  Right?

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Jayden really is doing great down here.  This is the most activity and excitement he has had in his whole life.  New environment, new sounds and new smells -- it's a lot to take in.  But he is doing great and is his busy self.  The sea air has actually proven to be pretty darn good for his lungs.  The salt seems to be helping to clear him out and he has been off O2 all week, which has made our nights a bit easier.

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Having a great time and heading out to the beach again today!



Monday, July 23, 2012

{good news, bad news}

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Lets start with the good news -- the Owens family is on vacation and we are ready to enjoy a week at the beach.  We arrived on Saturday and so far so good.  After packing up our gear and stopping five times during our two hour long trip to suction and other various things we finally made it here.  This year the beach is a bit tricky as Jayden really can't be on the sand for an extended period of time.  Because he uses his trach to breath, he does not use his nose and mouth to help filter out sand from his lungs and airway.  So our goal this week is to keep him safe but also let him experience the beach.  

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Yesterday the younger kids and myself spent the day walking the board walk, people watching and i'm sure providing entertainment for all the people watching us.  Jayden was is heaven -- all the sounds and the feel of the sea breeze, a very new and exciting experience for our little man.  We rented a house just a block of the beach so getting the kids to and from the beach is pretty easy.  We are excited to have a week of fun, not so much rest, but definitely a little fun.

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Now the bad news.  We lost the buyer our house and therefor the contract on our new house fell through.  We were rather surprised to hear that our septic system is a hot mess and at this point deemed unfixable.  We are now working with the township to come up with a plan but it looks like any fix would be close to thirty thousand dollars.  I could go into a whole post how this just really stinks and how unfair this situation we are in is -- but I'm not even gonna touch that.  Here is the truth -- at this point it is very easy for us to feel frustrated, but that's not gonna get us a new house and get this house sold.  So we are choosing to see the bigger picture -- overlook what we shoulda', coulda' and woulda' and choose to move on and press on for a solution, trusting that God has a pretty awesome plan for us.

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As I said in my last post, if our original offer would have gone through we would have missed out of the house we currently were in contract for.  And now I can say that we are trusting that he has something better and it's just not time.  I mentioned on Facebook last week this thought that came to my mind -- although it may feel like we are going in the wrong direction, we are certainly not lost -- just taking a detour.  We certainly have walked through our fair share of detours and being in a detour is all about making choices.  Choosing hope, choosing joy and choosing to simply believe - believe that our path has purpose.

With that said -- we are ready to have a great vacation!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

{Updates}

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It's been way to long since my last post and now I have a million things to talk about with limited time to write it all out. So here's my best try -- After camp last week the girls attended our church's extreme vacation bible school.  To say that had an amazing time would be a huge understatement.  Madison was so excited each and every night she came home, telling us about all her new friends.  She probably knows more people by name than Adam and I do.

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Our church goes above and beyond for our kids.  Angela had her own personal buddy to help her have her very own amazing time at VBS independent of mommie and daddy.  Let me tell you -- our girl is growing up.  She is holding her own and really is fully ready for four year old independence, making her own friends and making her own decisions.  She blows me away.  At one point in the night we peeked into the gym to see how she was doing.  Keep in mind that our VBS had aver 1200 kids attend -- it was loud.  I looked into the gym and see a tons of kids laughing, talking and dancing to the loud music.  I looked at Angela and she was doing just the same!  There was a little boy looking at her iPad and her buddy was helping her dance, waving her arms in the air.  Amazing.  Made me so happy to see!

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In other news, after seven days listed for sale we had a great offer made on our house, we accept and signed the agreement of sale. We had made an offer on what we thought would be the perfect house for our family but later found out it fell though.  We went back out to look at houses and after the first two we found a house that blew us away.  The price was just reduced by a huge amount and the asking price is way under the value of the house.  We loved it.  Great development and a very beautiful house. We made the offer and it was accepted!  It's amazing how God works things out.  If the offer would have went through on that first house we wouldn't have found this amazing place.  Settlement is set for August 23 and lots can happen from now until then but we are praying and really really hoping this all works out.  Lots of inspections on our current house and considering it is very old that's where things get scary.

It's amazing how much stress is dissolved by simply giving up control and letting God take over.  By fully trusting in his plans you just can't go wrong.  Gosh -- I can't imagine living life any other way. 

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At the end of this week we head out for a vacation at the beach for a week.   Once we get back it will be full steam ahead. We go to court on August 2nd to finalize Jayden's adoption and will party hard celebrating that he is officially an Owens! Madison and I will be heading out to sleep over wilderness camp, then settlement on the house and a few days later we will head out to New Jersey for my triathlon.  

Wow. 

deep breath in.

deep breath out.

Trusting God.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

{Angela Goes to Camp}

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Letting go of my desire for control and letting Angela have space and independence is one of the most difficult things for me to do as her mommie.  My biggest fear is not so much that Angela will be treated badly or that her needs will not be met, its more that I fear that she will not be challenged and pushed  and not be treated like a typical four year old.  I struggle so much when people treat Angela like a child with a disability and not like a four year old little girl.  Part of that is just my stubbornness and some of that is grief.

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Even though I didn't physically give birth to her and although we knew and choose to be her mommie and daddy despite her medical concerns, I still grieve for Angela -- for the life she would live without these issues that make things a lot more difficult for her. So needless to say sending her to camp is a very big deal -- both for her and probably more so for me!

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Our local Freedom Valley YMCA is simply amazing.  There support for individuals with disabilities is unmatched. All my kids have so many opportunities -- so many that we have yet to participate in the many programs available that could meet there extra needs.  Camp is no different.  Our YMCA offers camp Majic for children with disabilities.  This is a day camp held at the YMCA with the option of either full or half day camp.  Since this was Angela's first time we chose to stick with half day, which  has been a good choice as she is completely exhausted by the time she is done!

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The first day I stayed with Angela for about an hour and gave her one on one buddie a little training in Angela 101.  We went over seizure protocol and emergency meds as well as all the little things that make Angela unique.  I should also add that I met with the camp a few weeks back to go over all this stuff in way more details and to explain exactly what Angela needed.  After I got her out to the pool and taught the buddie how to handle Angela in the pool.  I left.

I left.  Wow.  Such a big step for me. 

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In the time after I left Angela enjoyed the pool, went inside got dressed, braces and shoes on and headed upstairs to the special needs gym where they played on all the amazing equipment.  When I came back at noon to pick Angela up she was happy but so very tired.  After camp we headed back out to the pool with Madison and Jayden and Angela fell asleep within just a few seconds and took a nice two hour nap.  

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Tuesday the camp took a field trip to the local horse riding stable.  Angela enjoyed herself but because of her vision she really didn't really actively see the horses.  Because of a little/big glitch where medical releases were never filled out Angela didn't get to ride the horse, which would have been amazing, and in fact the main reason I chose to send her this particular week of camp.  Bummer.

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The staff at the stables were amazing.  One day I would love to be able to get Angela involved with Therapeutic Riding.  After realizing Angela's issues with vision they put a helmet on her and brought over one of the big horses for her to look at.  She still really struggled with visually understanding the horse but they did let her feel the tail which she seemed to enjoy.  We programed her talker so that she was able to say "horse" and "it's beautiful", which she loved talking about and was lots of fun for other people to hear her saying.

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The only downside about camp is that it's a special needs camp.  Angela really needs active social interaction.  Most of these kids seem to be more Autistic.  They all have aids.  There really was no kid to kid interaction -- lot of adults just redirecting all the time and it can get kinda chaotic.  Angela thrives when kids play with and around her.  She really engages and shows off her social side.  When people move and play around her and not with her it gets very frustrating and overwhelming for Angela.  All the adults talking firmly in various directions is even more confusing considering her visual impairment.  Even though a typical kid environment is also chaotic, it's more an organized chaos.  All the same type voices all talking about the same kinda of stuff.  It's so different.  

Even though I don't think we will do special needs camp again, I'm glad we are here for this year.  We are so thankful to the YMCA for being able to provide our children with the support they need to live active  lives.