Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shopping Fun and some Zoya Updates

I think Daddy is in big trouble with this girl.....she had quite the day shopping! She likes shopping as much as her momma!! Uh oh!
We all have cabin fever here so this morning we decided to drive to the outlet mall. It was 40 degrees and a little sunny....just a small taste of spring....really hoping the winter storms are done with for the season!!

Zoya really enjoyed being outside and she can't wait for warmer weather either! She thoroughly enjoyed people-watching.  She never misses a bald guy and makes sure to point it out to each and every bald man who passes by pointing to the top of her head and saying "ba." She also has been saying "hiya" to everyone she passes and sometimes hitting people as they walk by (oops). Babies also rank high with our Zoya girl and she is always on the hunt for a baby to look at. As the snow was melting from the rooftops of the stores, it made it look like it was raining from the edges of the roofs and Zoya was mesmerized by the water. She pointed and said "ray" (for rain). She wanted to go in the puddles, but we'll save that for the spring when she has her puddle-jumping boots on!

Now for some updates:

Potty: Zoya seems to take two steps forward and one step backward in potty training but that is just fine with me because she is moving forward! She is in pull ups except for night time. She wears underwear for a few hours in the evenings when I can keep a close eye on her.  She knows that she is not supposed to go potty in her pull up or underwear but still has a couple accidents a day (except for today...even while shopping she was dry all day and even through her nap in the car!) At times it seems she could care less if she is wet but then other times she will sign sorry and point to her pull up, so I really think she's starting to get it. She does WAY BETTER when I put her in underwear and no pants as compared to when she is in a pull up.  But I'm still not confident enough to venture outside of the house without the pull up! She does ask to go potty often but also still needs MANY verbal prompts and reminders to use the potty. I ask her every 15 minutes or so (when shes wearing her underwear) if she is dry and she knows what that means. I will say, "remember we go pee pee in the potty not in your pants." And sometimes she will run to the potty when I say that, other times she will say "no." LOL. If she hasn't asked in a while, I tell her to go (and she ALWAYS has to take a toy into the bathroom with her). 

She has definitely figured out that signing potty will get her out of whatever she is doing...stinker. She often asks to go potty during meals, so we've started taking her right before we eat. And she ALWAYS signs potty when we are out typical. I have a new found disgust for public restrooms and am running low on my travel Clorox wipes! When Zoya is wearing underwear and is dry the whole time she gets a cookie and looks forward to that! After she goes potty she usually signs cookie..hey whatever works! I've also noticed Zoya is more likely to have an accident at home as opposed to when we are out somewhere. Strange.  We still have a lonnnnng ways to go in potty training and I really had no intentions of starting until this summer but Miss Zoya seemed interested so we're taking off...but very slowly :) Maybe by the end of summer she will be potty trained? That would be beautiful! We well see. We are nowhere near close to potty trained for poop though...the nice thing about Zoya is she only likes to poop at home in her crib...ha! So it is hard to catch her and when I do she STILL won't go on the potty!

School: Is she really old enough to talk about school????? We had Zoya's transition meeting and the plan is for her to start preschool in the fall. She turns 3 in June and I'm off work all summer so we won't have her start until the fall.  Our goals for her are social and behavioral mostly. We just want her to learn how to play and follow directions from someone other than mom and dad, make friends, and participate in group activities. Since these are our goals and Zoya learns best by observing others, we thought it was really important to choose a typical classroom as opposed to a special education classroom. That very well could all change in the future as her needs and goals change, but for now we're taking it one day at a time! She will attend a typical preschool with 3-5 year olds three days a week from 9-12. The program runs from 9-1:30 and they offered two days a week for Zoya but we really felt 9-1:30 was way too long for her and we felt in addition to fewer hours per day, she needed more frequent visits per week to keep the consistency in her schedule. If she went two days a week she'd go T/TH and then be off 4 days before going back the next week. She will do better with more frequent, shorter doses I think:) So they didn't have a problem with Zoya being picked up early or with going a third day. The best part is that she will be across the hall from my classroom! It will be great knowing she is so close. I will try not to peek in a hundred times a day...although I'm sure I'll be way too busy to do that anyways! She will get her therapies (occupational, physical, and speech) at school. That means we will be saying goodbye to the in-home therapists when she turns three. She is also going to be getting a private speech evaluation very soon and will start private speech therapy (in addition to the in home therapy) toward the end of March. I'm already losing sleep over worrying about preschool and how she will do and it is 6 months away!!! 

On a side note I'm pretty sure Ukraine gave us some incorrect information on Zoya. Lately we think she may be closer in age to SIXTEEN with her sassy attitude ;) Ha! Where does she learn this stuff? Wouldn't change her for the world!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

10 Months Home!!

2 months away from being home one year! W-O-W! If the ladies at the orphanage could only see Zoya now. They might just fall over in disbelief. I WISH they could see her now because maybe it would give them an incentive to interact more, love more, expect more, with/for the orphans with special needs. They count. They matter. More than many of those orphanage workers will ever know. A fire has been set under me with this strong desire to show the world the worth of these forgotten children....of children with down syndrome. Although, I don't think I have to try as hard as I once thought I did. Zoya proves herself every day. She is a walking testimony of faith and love and determination and the power of God.

I love sharing Zoya's story with others because when I stand back and take a look myself, it's pretty's kind of like a story...with ups and downs and all-arounds, but I'm mostly left with a feeling of amazement as each day ends with a new page being written. To look at what God rescued her from...I think I'm still trying to process that. God's love for all of His children is so amazing that he is moving mountains every day to facilitate these "rescue missions"....I see a future of an orphan revolution and have hopes that one day while we are still alive on this planet the word "orphan" will be replaced by "son" or "daughter." It is amazing to see more and more orphans finding their forever families through Reece's Rainbow. Zoya has a family.  She is a daughter...a cherished, beloved, valued, daughter just like it was always meant to be.

The wow factor of the way God is sewing together Zoya's life story will never become dull to me. It is simply so amazing that I will never fully understand the magnitude of it all...try as I might, there are inside stitches of Zoya's beautiful quilt I will never see...but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate those unseen stitches. As much as I'd like to open the quilt and look inside to see the stitches that were made before Zoya was a part of my life, opening the quilt would destroy the beauty of it. I am learning to appreciate the unknown stitches because even though some of those unseen underneath stitches may be ugly, they are necessary to craft the beautiful finished product.


You are our shining light guiding us on this beautiful journey...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Zoya's First Fat Lip :(

It was only a matter of time before this happened:

When we moved into our house over 5 years ago I knew the raised brick fireplace would give me ulcers once we had children...and so far it has lived up to its expectations.  Zoya was sitting on the fireplace (which she really isn't allowed to do but she had been being so careful about it we thought it was okay since we were a foot away). She went to stand up and put all her weight on her hand to push herself up and her hand slipped off the edge of the bricks and she caught herself with her face...OUCH. She was bleeding and crying...yay for crying from a child who used to laugh hysterically when she got hurt...but anyways....she got some hugs and kisses and popsicles out of the deal and her lip is less swollen today. We are really lucky she didn't lose any teeth!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mall Dancing and The Naked Cowboy

One of Zoya's all-time favorite things to do is go to the mall and find the stores with the loudest music and dance like a nut. Her two favorite stores are Abercr*mbie and H*llister. I don't shop there but I think she likes them because they have the loudest music out of all the stores! She can spot these stores from a mile away and yells and waves her arms like crazy! So here is my shining star making all the retired mall walkers laugh this morning!   

And just wondering if anyone else sees the resemblence here?
(Yes I actually met him but am embarassed to show can't find the picture of him and I!)

I think my naked cowgirl is way cuter!! Now she just needs a guitar!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Zoya's First Valentine's Day!

We kicked off the Valentine weekend with these:


Here is what Zoya had to say when I told her she had to wait while I took a picture of her pancakes... little Valentine.....

If you ask Shawn Zoya is going to live with us forever and her only Valentine ever will be her Daddy....melts my heart :)

This is her valentine present from her Daddy...

It is as big as her and she loves it :)

Laughing here not crying!! This is her Valentine present from Grandma and Grandpa P!

Kisses to all my blog peeps....

Reading her fan mail (this one is a card from Uncle sweet).

Grandpa and Grandma P. sent a valentine day package...she is telling me Grandpa has a mustache in the picture:)

Here is her stylish apron Grandma P. made her....and a matching one for baking times to come!

Zoya has just recently really gotten into stuffed animals and its a good thing because she got three valentine dogs for Valentine's day! One from Grandma/Grandpa B (theirs was early because they drove up Friday to babysit at last minute notice...thanks a bunch :), one from Grandma/Grandpa P., and one from Daddy each without knowing the other got her a dog! (I got her a little red monkey so I'm the odd ball out!). Here she is with her three dogs!

Okay, talk about the best Valentine gift ever.....I got home from work one day last week and Zoya was standing at the door holding this bear with the biggest smile I've ever seen. As soon as I walked in the door she ran over and handed it to me with a smile full of pride and love! It was the sweetest thing ever! Daddy had taken her to build-a-bear to make it for me while I was at work! It was so sweet to see her so proud and so excited to give it to me. I tried to set it down but she kept picking it up and handing it back to me!

Sorry this picture will NOT turn the other way LOL.

Before her nap, Zoya decided it was time for all of her new "friends" to take a nap. She put them in one by one...little doggy first....

then the medium-sized doggy (Grandma/Grandpa B.)...

and she couldn't quite get the BIG DOG into the crib! Although she did try her hardest!!!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! As Uncle Bub says, Zoya...we're pretty sure this holiday was made with you in've shown us all how to love genuinely!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bad Mommy! (Potty Update)

Zoya has been doing fairly well with going potty. We have switched mainly to pull ups except for nap and night time. Last night and tonight I tried big girl underwear and last night she stayed dry yay! She WOULD HAVE stayed dry tonight if I would have listened to her. It went like this:

Zoya signed potty and went a lot, 10 minutes later....repeat, 10 minutes later.....repeat, 5 minutes later she asks again and I say "you just went like three don't need to go AGAIN!" She asks AGAIN and I say OKAY, let's go and we go to the potty and she had peed her good mommy points there!

She has recently started asking to go potty quite a bit....before she only asked here or there and not consistently at all. I'm trying to figure out if she is making the connection and asking when she has to go (obviously she CAN do that I've learned after tonight), or if she is just asking to go because it's fun to do. This past week she seems to have to go at least once every 30 minutes and sometimes more, so I'm not sure she is emptying her bladder the whole way or why she has to go so often lately.  When we first started the pull ups she was dry for longer periods of time and could stay dry for an I don't know why she is going so frequently now. We haven't changed her fluid intake at all so that isn't a factor.  Poop is a whole other story! I think she's getting closer to pooping in the potty but we shall see! She is so proud of her big girl underwear! We even put a pair on her bear :)

My plan is to just put her in the training underwear a few hours before bed each night and not push it, just get her used to them and then when she is more consistent maybe increase her time wearing underwear. I would definitely NOT take her out of the house without that pull up!!! Not yet! Slow and steady, slow and steady!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Video Cuteness

Zoya has been quite the big little girl lately! She has almost perfected the finger shake that goes along with "no, no no!" I don't shake my finger at her, but Zoya thinks it is funny when Mya is being bad and we tell her no and shake our finger at her! So, in true Zoya fashion, she took the "no no no" up a notch and had the following conversation with me on Sunday:

Me: "Zoya, finish eating your lunch, then we are going to take a sleep"
Zoya: "No, No, No" (shaking finger at me), then signs 'play'
Me: "Ummmm I don't think so. You need to take a sleep."
Zoya: (long pause) looks right at me and says, "No."
(In case you're wondering she DID take a nap! Mom wins!)

In the video with Mya, you can see Zoya telling her "no." We were telling her to say it so we could catch that cute little finger!! But Zoya will often shake her finger at Mya and tell her no no no just like this! She is the boss of Mya, or so she thinks! The other video is Zoya's favorite game to play with Daddy...flying full speed into Mya! You can see her shaking her body when Shawn stops as if to say...."let's go daddy!" Her laugh is so contagious! This video is for Zoya's friend Izzy :) Hi Izzy!

This last video is Zoya "reading" her book I made for her. It has people Zoya knows and loves and sees often. Each page has a picture of a person (most pages are a picture of someone WITH Zoya in the picture) and at the bottom it says, "I See (name)." When we first got the book (from Shutterfly) we just worked on identifying people and looking at the cute pictures. She loves this book and asks for it often. Recently we started working on saying three words together, "I SEE MAMA," "I SEE DADA," etc. Tonight was was saying all three words together with no verbal cues from me! I still gave her lots of physical cues like opening my mouth to reminder to start with "I" and point to each word as a cue to say the next word. Obviously she isn't really reading or really even paying a whole lot of attention to the words (she does look at them at times though) but she did a super job saying three words together!  This is the very beginning stage or reading, turning pages and watching someone point to the words and vocalizing.  So although reading is way far off for Zoya I think it's pretty darn cute to watch her "read."  Even though it might be hard for people who don't know her to understand her, we know exactly what she is saying! You can hear "aaaahhhhhh ssssssssssseee and then the name.  In this video, she does a really super job with Uncle Bub's picture especially. It is really hard work for her and you can see where she gets flustered a couple times. It's almost like her brain has all the information and trying to organize it and get it from there to her lips is such hard work for her! I'm so proud of my little girl for trying so hard! Right after this video she got down and a minute later brought the book right back to me and wanted to "read" again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cookies and Milk and The Faces of Zoya!

Zoya learned how to dunk cookies in milk tonight after dinner!! She loves these gluten free cookies with her almond milk! And she thought dunking cookies was the most fun thing ever!

"Mom you've been holding out on me, this is FUUUUN!"

This was not a typical Zoya smile and it cracked us right up! It's the cheesiest grin I've ever seen, almost like a fake smile but it was 100% genuine ha!

She is getting to be a cup pro!

This is the look I get when I'm saying something Zoya doesn't want to hear...she literally throws her head back and keeps it there til I stop talking! Wonder where she learned that....seriously!

I don't even know what this one is all about...pretending to be mad at me....but then...look below....

this look came two seconds later so I knew she was faking!

Strike a pose!

"Mom I told you I'm done going potty don't ask me to go more again! I've had it!"

And...two seconds later......FAKER! So dramatic!

The drama show continues....

Zoya's new favorite big girl thing to do is get to drink out of a cup standing up! She is a cup drinking pro...but as Shawn says she is NOT a walking cup drinking pro! She does pretty good if she stays in one spot:)

"Please sir, may I have some more?"

When did she become such a big girl??

Lovin my Zoya girl....we are truly blessed to share our lives with this angel! She is so full of life and love:)

P.S. still working on those pics of her sassy attitude and dirty looks....Shawn about peed his pants laughing tonight when he saw the dirty looks for the first time tonight....I had to turn my head so she wouldn't see me laughing....stinker!