Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
To Our Family and Friends,
Michael Anthony Schulz is the greatest blessing of our lives. Great blessings of this magnitude cannot come without great trials and sufferings. To take away the pain would be to take away the most magnificent joy. 2009 contained a pain that overwhelmed ours souls but through the grace of God miraculousl
We love each one of you,
Mike and Brittany Schulz
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
You can visit their CaringBridge page by clicking here.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Two and a half years ago I thought my world had shattered into pieces. As I held my baby girl all I could see was her diagnosis; Down syndrome. I did not want to have a baby with Down syndrome. I wished with everything in me that we could scratch it all and start all over again. I even wondered if God had made a mistake, because this was certainly not a part of my plan. Dreamer as I am, a child with Down syndrome did not fit in my future. Maybe if she was gone, my life would make sense again.
When Nichole was two weeks old, we thought there was a possibility of a serious liver condition that could take her life. This is it, I though, God is really going to take her because I don’t want her. Was I really that full of selfishness that it had kept me from loving my daughter?
That day I kneeled down on my living room floor. Not because I was praying, but because I was crying so hard, that I couldn’t stand. I had so many emotions inside of me; they rushed out in tears and sobs. And I did pray, raising my arms, “I choose to love her Lord. With everything that I am, with everything in me, I choose love!” And I meant every word.
That day marked the end of my self-pity.
That day marked the beginning of a life altering journey. One that we continue to travel, and one that we have embraced.
Down syndrome. Back then the words seemed so dark, so scary.
Down syndrome. The words now are full of love, unconditional love. They are wrapped in joy, peace, kindness.
The baby that I never wanted, was the baby that I always needed.
Nichole has taught me more in her lifetime that I have known in mine. Down syndrome has been a gift, a wonderful gift. She was never broken, I was. And God uses her to do His work in my life.
We have discovered shades of color that we never knew were possible. A statement that I read in Gifts and that has proven to be true as we continue to walk this road. Nichole’s life has been so rich and deep. She continues to teach me lessons that are profound in meaning. We know that the value of a life is not based on what we accomplish, but in our ability to love. All because of her.
Nichole saved the life of a once-orphan girl in Ukraine. One that is now a part of our family, and one that we call our own. Nina’s brokenness would have scared us once but now we can embrace her because of Nichole.
John 9:3 has been true in Nichole’s life as the power of God is displayed in her life.
God’s child, God’s precious child given to us.
She is not just the child I always needed. She is the child I always wanted, I just didn’t know it.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Here you can see that we are almost done with one leg.
When it was all done (it hardened up pretty quickly!) they cut through the material with the yellow plastic strip as a guide (that is what the yellow strip was for, pretty clever!)
And one leg is done. Nina looked confused as we said, "Here, want to hold your leg?"
And we worked on the second leg.
We might as well look at the camera and smile :)
And we are done! Two casted legs, and AFOs on the way! We were not able to look at options for patterns, but we said flowers or butterflies.
And, if you click on the post from last time, there is the picture of the different AFO's there are. I am not sure which kind we are getting. We talked about the pros and cons for the different styles (straps, no straps, etc) So I said whatever they think, I am new at this and trust them. So as soon as we get them (end of the month) I will surely post pictures.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
She is adjusting extremely well. She knows that we are her family and for almost everything we do she goes through our names. Like for example, "Nina eat, Ellie eat, Nichole eat, Mommy eat, Daddy eat."
Her speech is coming along so well. Actually, she is doing fantastic. There are times when she will say a sentence with perfect grammatical structure, and other times where we can only make out 3 words of what she says, but all in all, she is learning so well. If we try to say the word in Russian, she tells us, "no, no" and will say it in English. She is communicating with signs and words and most of the time we know exactly what she is talking about. She is great at repeating things and loves to sing! As a matter of fact, I think she is learning most of her speech through song and music.
She gives hugs to her sisters (sometimes) and kisses to us (when she asks for one). Ellie gives her too many hugs, and Nichole pushes her over several times a day (yes, our sweet Nichole acts like a bully when it comes to Nina) but overall they get along pretty well. It is sweet that every night they hug and kiss, and occasionally I find Nina and Nichole smiling at each other from across the room. Ellie and Nina get along very well (for as long as Ellie is not trying to hug and kiss non stop)
We think she could be potty trained, but she likes to wear diapers. Really she does, that is something she can say in English and she has said it to me a couple of times. "No, no Nina toilet, Nina diaper, okay mommy?"
Nina is afraid of being left behind, so anytime one of us puts a coat on she is ready to go, "Oh! Nina coat on! Nina go!" It doesn't matter what it is, she wants to be included.
Nina hates snow. She does not like it at all. She also hates cold. Every time we go outside she tells us it is cold, and most people that have talked to Nina and talk to her have been told, "Cold! Nina cold" or "My hands cold!"
She loves dresses but us getting used to wearing pants, and even though she was only used to wearing tights, she now wears socks and even takes them off just like her sisters! I think she feels so free!
Nina is starting to reject some of her background. She does not want Russian words, but if we call her Ninanchka (which she was called as a sweet nickname) she tells us , "No, no Ninanchka, me Nina." We were so unsure about weather to keep her name or not, we thought after 3 1/2 years we could not change her name, but I do wonder now if she would have liked that, if now it would be her new name, given to her by us, her new family. Too late for that!
I was showing Nina pictures of Ukraine and her favorite worker. She could not even remember it, it was so interesting. And she then said, "No, no pictures. Yes pictures Nina, Ellie, Nichole, Mommy, Daddy." makes us wonder all that really took place, but it also reminds us that the orphanage was a sad place to be, and the love she has now is filling her little heart and she feels loved!
So here are some pictures of her 2 month anniversary.
(Sorry, this felt like a ramble post!)
Today is Spread the Word to End the Word Day.
For our family, we do what we can to spread awareness. And you can click here to read about our thoughts on the r-word, actually, I would love it if you did take the time to read how this word affects our family.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I was sure I had seen "bees" and Andy was sure it was a wasp nest. After asking around and doing some research I was proven wrong. But, the good thing is that wasps abandon their nests during winter and they say they never come back to an old nest. Not sure about that, but either way we had to take the nest down, and if there were no wasps in there hibernating, maybe I could do the job since I had some time this afternoon. So I armed myself with bravery and I held on tight to the shovel handle. The nest feel no problem, it felt almost like old paper. No wasps in sight, and no wasps inside. Crazy!