Monday, May 12, 2014

Long overdue update!!!!

It's about time for an update on all 3 of the Little Bees!! 

Zoya is less than a month away from turning SIX! She has been home just over FOUR years now! I can hardly believe it!! She's had a rocky school year and missed quite a bit of school for all of the health issues she experienced this year. She has a follow up appointment with endocrinology this week and we'll see what their thoughts are at this point with the blood sugar issues. She has still been having some high and low blood sugars. The lows are mostly in the morning if she has been very active the night before. The highs are any time she has any type of sugar, natural or not. We have her on a good nutritional program and she is FINALLY gaining weight again! Before she got sick she was 39.5 pounds and dropped to 34 pounds at her lowest. She started gaining when we figured out the blood sugar issue, but was stuck at about 37 pounds for the longest time. She has now finally broken the 40 pound mark!!!!

We made a decision to withdraw her from preschool for the last month of the year and she's been doing so awesome at home! We've been focusing on celebrating Zoya, having fun together, building her confidence, and helping her to feel like the valuable little person that she is (and doing a little school work in fun ways)! It's been really pretty awesome! She's been much happier again which does my heart good! Each night, at the suggestion of a friend, we've been asking her what her favorite part of the day was. Some of my favorites have been, "doing dishes with Mama, playing doctor with Daddy, snuggling on the couch with sister, dancing with mom and dad, etc." You see, all of her responses showcase activities where she's being loved and valued....isn't that all any child really needs? We're taking a step back and really trying to allow Zoya to experience a time in her life in which she is allowed to simply be. So far it's working out beautifully and this Mama is learning along the way!

Like most other 5-almost-6-year-old little girls, she is really into Frozen! That movie has even jousted "Marmaduke" from it's #1 request spot in Zoya's life! She's really enjoying her dance classes and just finished her second season of performances! She asks if she can go to dance every day! She loves playing with her babies and I love finding them all in random spots around the house, covered up and ready for bed. She is starting to really enjoy writing which is so awesome to see! She draws pictures on her magna doodle and tries to sound out the words and writes a few letters by them to represent the word. She loves books and reading, and she still hates math :) You can often find her listening to music on the iPod. She has been playing dress up with any and all items she can find around the house which is usually pretty humorous! She asks for "cold hot chocolate" when we do our special movie nights (which is just canned coconut milk, stevia, cocoa powder, almond milk, and ice!). Her speech is really coming along and it's great to hear her thoughts more and more! She asks several times a week for me to tell her her "Ukraine story" and lets me hold her like a baby while I tell her the story, adding tiny new details each time. She's still struggling with impulse control and some attention-seeking behaviors, and we're trying our best to help her overcome those things.  She is an amazing little helper around the house with her sisters and often anticipates their needs before they are even known to me! She is really so very intuitive and sensitive to other people's needs. We are praying for guidance to make the best decision for her educationally-speaking for next school year. She is all around an amazing, sweet, almost-6-year-old little girl who has so much love to offer this world!

Mila turned 3 in March and has been home for 2.5 years already! It seems like yesterday she was a tiny frail little infant and we didn't even know if she'd live to see 3 years old! The Lord has amazed us with all he had (and continues to have) in store for her life! She participates in dance classes as well and will be starting "real" dance classes in the fall (i.e. without Mama). The dance studio is her absolute FAVORITE place in the world. I mean seriously, if I gave her the choice between the dance studio and a room full of veggie straws, she'd still pick the dance studio ;) She loves her teacher Miss Erica! Any time we drive anywhere NEAR the dance studio, Mila starts cawing like a bird from the back seat....really what she is trying to say is, "Erica, Erica, Erica." It comes out "Caw, Caw, Caw!!" and really loud so she's sure I hear her! She gets mad if we drive past the studio if we're going somewhere else!

Mila's health has been phenomenal! She is extremely tall for her age and at the top of the typical growth charts for height and weight! She likes to stay up later than the other girls and wake up earlier! But come nap time, we can always count on her to be out like a light in 2 seconds flat! She sleeps with her lovey, Pooh Bear and still takes a binky for naps and nighttime (shhhh). She has an obsession with Pete the Cat and his books and not a day goes by where she doesn't ask for them to be read to her! We call her our nerdy professor baby because the "rewards" she likes to work for are her color/shape/number/letter flashcards!!!! She has learned all of her colors, shapes, numbers, and about half of the letters in the alphabet. She's doing outpatient physical therapy and outpatient speech therapy, both once per week. She loves speech therapy and HATES physical therapy which is exactly why I asked Shawn to start taking her to PT HAHA! He works through it with her ;) Her gross motor skills have really come along, but that continues to be the most challenging area for her! She is starting to pick up her pace of walking, and beginning to feel more comfortable on various terrains. She can now climb a 4-step ladder to the slide (when she wants to), nearly independently!  Her motor planning difficulties still make life hard for her, but we've seen promising improvements there as well! She can repeat lots of words and sounds and request familiar items/ask for familiar needs to be met. We are working on using speech more spontaneously, as well as processing receptive language! The plan we had in place was for Mila to start preschool in the fall, but we are taking a step back and reevaluating all of our educational plans for the girls. Prayers are appreciated in that area!

Mila absolutely adores and looks up to her big sister Zoya and at times we can see her trying to be a big sister for Sofia, too! She has a smile that can light up the entire room, paired with the loudest, screechiest happiest noise you'll ever hear! She's pretty happy most of the time, but sometimes when her routine is changed up with no notice she doesn't appreciate that very much ;) She is now and always has been, a mama's girl! She would prefer if her and I just sat in a chair all day and sang songs, read books, gave tickles, and hugs and kisses! She still sometimes cries when I've been gone and then return home, as if she can't process the emotions she's feeling with being so relieved and happy I'm home. It's pretty hysterical! She gives puppy dog kisses with her tongue out and I hope she never stops kissing that way! She's becoming more opinionated lately and if we are somewhere she'd rather not be, she just says, "bye bye" and waves, like okay, let's get outta here :) Her love is so refreshing!

Sofia is 2.5 years old and has been home for about 16 months now. She is extremely observant and learns just about everything she knows in a "monkey-see, monkey-do" approach, which is both good and bad! Don't ask her, however, to demonstrate any of her skills-because, well, sister is about as stubborn as they come!!!! I like to call it "persistent" and surely that skill set will come in handy later down the road, right??!! She is Zoya's little shadow and pretty much follows her around all day trying to mimic her. Those two are like magnets, but it usually doesn't end well! They know how to push each other's buttons, but they also know how to give each other the best hugs ever! Sofia also mimics Mila, mostly in the speech area. That means if Mila has a somewhat incorrect pronunciation of a word, well that's how Sofia says it too! It's pretty cute. Sofia's speech is still very limited, but no worries, that girl can get her point across other ways.....OH YES she can! She is a definite Tom-boy thus far-into getting messy, daredevil stunts, driven-by-a-motor, and just looking like a hot mess 5 minutes after I get her ready for the day! Oh and if you notice in pictures her pant legs rolled up, she suddenly can't stand to have pants covering her calves! LOL!

Sofia has been in a stage of separation-anxiety and stranger-fear for...let me think....a very long time now! She doesn't enjoy dance class, or any other social situations, unless she can have 1-1 attention and comfort from Shawn or I. We've been trying to make sure, when going to any social gatherings/situations (which pretty much means anywhere outside of our house-or even at our house with new people present), that Shawn and I are both present, or that she gets to have those experiences with one or the other of us. It's a balancing act for sure! Right now she just needs to continue building the trust with us, and learn to feel safe in new situations. It's not reasonable at this point in her emotional development, to ask her to participate in activities without being able to access our comfort the majority of the time...although we keep trying little by little! If she is able to get as much comfort as she needs from us early on in new situations, recently she's been venturing away from us, and as long as we don't move ;) she's fine! She has recently done well having a couple of sitters at the house for short periods of time, so there is hope! She has a temper like I've never known before and we continue working with her to teach her how to self-soothe and not just explode when upset....but then again she's 2. She has to do everything her own way, which is usually the hard way ;) Sensory processing disorder also greatly impacts her on a daily basis and we continue to do therapy to overcome that!

She loves doing puzzles and any activities that require her to problem-solve. She will sit and play with wooden puzzles/peg boards, etc. for an hour at a time. I love watching her thought process because she is very precise about the way she does things and she always has a very methodical way of doing things! I watched her today as she put colored shapes on colored pegs and I noticed, after she's done this correctly for months now, that she was starting out with the right colors, but then toward the end she'd put the wrong colors on. I watched and watched and figured out what she as doing! She was trying to make each tower the same height! She is so creative and definitely thinks outside the box! She loves stacking things, cleaning up around the house, and closing any and all open doors, drawer, or cupboards! If someone leaves something out of place, we can count on her to find it's home! My favorite was when she picked up Shawn's hats he left out and carried them over to the trash....sometimes I feel like that too, Sofia ;)  She is the life of the party, as long as the party happens in her comfort zone! My favorite moments with Sofia are when she allows me to hold her and rock her and sing, "you are my sunshine." I could sing it 100 times to her and she'd stay there perfectly the end of every round she looks at me with those big beautiful blue eyes and a half smile and says "mah" (more). She knows all of her colors/shapes/numbers and about half of her letters, too. She has in home speech therapy and occupational therapy (mostly focused on her sensory needs at this point). We have decided that Sofia will not start preschool in the fall, as she will newly turn 3, and emotionally she's just not ready yet!

I forgot to share this picture from February, but this is a picture of the girls at a Parent/Child dance class :) It's our happy place! Surely Miss Rachel and Miss Erica won't mind showing their face on the blog ;) 

Family update: We are in the process of some changes and trying to follow the Lord's plan. We will be moving this summer as long as we sell this house! It went on the market a few days ago and it's been tough trying to keep this place clean with 3 tiny tornadoes and also being asked to show the house with less than an hours notice! I do not wish to do that again! We aren't going anywhere far, but excited for this new beginning, if it all works out! More to come about that when plans are more finalized! We are so excited for summer after this long horrendous winter we've had here! I guess we've got bragging rights for the #1 snowiest city in the U.S. this year.....that's gotta count for something, right?

So with all that said, hopefully you can understand why I've been a little more absent than usual around this blog!

I took these pictures on Mother's Day and didn't get any pictures of me with the girls...oops! Shawn worked so I couldn't bug him to take some pictures! I'll need a do-over I guess!

Wow that was a long one! Nap time is over, here we go! Thanks for checking in even though I've not been updating regularly! We appreciate the well wishes and prayers for our family! We are so very blessed! 


  1. Sweet girls continue to blossom--even amidst the challenging times! They are beautiful as always! Thanks for the update and hoping the upcoming changes are as stress free as possible for you all!

  2. Thanks so much for your update. We have been wondering where you have been and after reading the post we all now know. You have a lovely home and I wish you the best in selling it and your new adventure. Our curiosities are now peaked as to what they are.

  3. Loved every moment of reading this update and looking at pictures of my 3 favorite "tiny tornadoes"! It's always so much fun to hear how the girls are growing and learning and loving! Prayers for your educational plans AND for the moving project!! (((BIG HUGS)))!!!

  4. Your girls are precious. Love hearing of their progress and seeing their smiling faces. ♥

  5. Hi Sarah, I love reading your blog. I am an early interventionist and particularly loved hearing your perspective about preschool. Many parents think they should automatically put their child in preschool when they might do better at home. And it looks like your home is very well equipped for your little bees! Thanks for sharing!

  6. you have 3 gorgeous girls. hope everything works out with selling the house and moving. you are truely blessed

  7. Love seeing your updates, your girls are amazing!

  8. Love, love, love your updates! Thank you for thinking of all in cyber-world.

    Best of luck with the sale & move...

    The girls are just gorgeous! Mila just blows me away with how much she has blossomed!

  9. Do you find a new school or homeschooling?
    Do you think Montessori school is good for children with trisomie 21?