Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

August is already here and I am scratching my head trying to figure out if July went by too fast, or if it lasted forever because a lot of things happened last month.

July had Ellie loving and enjoying summer school. She took a "Getting Ready for Kindergarten" class. For 4 weeks Ellie spent her mornings in school, and she has already decided that she will like recess and art most of all. Her teacher was really nice and said Ellie would do fantastic in school. In hindsight, we should have had Nina in summer school as well, but that post will come later, as there is much to share about what the plan for Nina will be once school starts.

One of the nice things about our new town, is that it is close enough to big cities. And cities that people like to visit (like Chicago). It has been great to see friends and family stop by because we are "on their way" to their final destinations. It was so fun to see our friends, the Otts, and spend a day with them. We love our new town and we love the people here, but we really miss our friends from Iowa . We keep praying that God brings some of them here!

Our family spent the 4th of July weekend with the Loraine family. If you have read this blog before, you know that Nina and Oksana were best friends at their orphanage. Their friendship has expanded towards our families and we now consider the Loraines dear friends ours. You know how we pray about God people bringing to come and join us here? Loraines are at the top of the list. So Larry and Erin, we are patiently waiting for you!
And in case you did not get to see the video of Nina and Oksana's reunion, here it is!

During our visit with the Loraine's, we got to see some other friends from our Down syndrome family. It was a fun, meaningful, and full week!

When we got home from St. Louis, the Wetmore clan (minus working dad) came to see us. I got to meet Thom and Tammy while we were adopting our daughter's in Ukraine. The first time we mt we were sharing our stories of how we were called to adopt children with special needs and we really had a great heart connection.
Both, Tammy and I were stuck in Ukraine for many days and we chatted as we waited. It was nice to know that we were not going crazy and that being an emotional mess in the midst of adoption, being alone in a foreign country without our husbands, was not a sign of insanity.
It was wonderful to finally meet all the Wetmore kids as they have such a special place in my heart. I did ask Tammy what were the chances she would move "back home" since she is from around this area, but I think they like their sunny Florida weather.

Next, my family came to visit and we had Ellie's early birthday celebration. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to have my mom, stepdad, and sisters see our new place. I really do wish we lived closer to family. Now that we are farther away, it makes me sad to think we might not see each other as often. Being from Mexico, I have great memories of being at my grandparents house every week, of my aunt, who I called "Mama Pata" and how close we were. I wish my girls could grow up having the same. Yet, when we lived in Iowa we created family. As we settle, God will provide family for us here as well.
The day my family left, Andy's sister and her family came to spend a couple of days with us. The time went by too fast.

In that time, the school district stepped it up and we got evaluations done for Nina and Nichole. They were evaluated by a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech pathologist, and Special Education Teacher. And remember, I have 2 kids that needed evals, so that is a lot! And I was impressed by the caliber of the school therapists.
After only a week, we had IEP meetings, and they agreed to have them at my home since it was the easiest for our family. I had written goals for both girls and it was pretty sweet how they were almost identical to goals they had written for my girls.
Oh there is so much to share about their IEP's. For now I will say that I am so excited!
Oh, and I should mention I had the drafts the day before :)
Oh, and one more thing, the Physical Therapist has a daughter with Down syndrome, now how sweet is that!     Photo credit

We ended our July going to northern Minnesota to the Stumbo family Reunion. It was wonderful to see family and it makes me sad (once again) that some only see once a year. So I tried to do some more recruiting with 2 of Andy's cousins. Surely they would love our new town!

The girls spent time playing with their cousins at the beach. One of the highlights was the See-Weed Monster. Which in a previous year scared all the children. However, this year he had candy, and the girls knew that it was only grandpa pretending. Actually, I know Ellie was pretty proud that it was her grandpa who was covered by those slimy weeds.
Now throw in between all these happenings Physical Therapy for Nina 3 times a week. A Private Speech evaluation for Nichole, private Physical therapy evaluation for Nichole, and a couple of actual therapies for her (since it is summer and I do want her to get some services until school starts), and you realize why I am scratching my head in confusion. Did all this really happen last month? Or did time stop so we could fit this all in? I will never know, but all in all, it was good!

And now you know why there were only a few posts in July.


  1. See, I think "summer" and "vacation" are oxymorons!

  2. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Did you get to meet Julianna Wetmore? She is such an incredible little girl! We live nearby, so we've met Julianna and Tami several times. We recognized them from watching the documentaries about Julianna. The entire Wetmore family is just such an incredible inspiration.

  3. Hi Ellen,

    Thank you for your story and for the link to your blog at the end of your story in "Gifts 2". Fascinating! My daughter Bernice was born the day after your daughter, Nichole, and also has Down syndrome. Here's our blog (that I really only made public last week) that has our story and other information, videos, etc. I look forward to following along with you!

    Thank you.
    Missy Smith

  4. Yes, we did meet Julianna Wetmore! Her family is incredible and I really love Tam!When I think about those hard daus in Ukraine, I think about all the texting we did as we understood each other so well. I actually considered spending Christmas with her and had looked into a train for Nina and myself only to be snowed in and "stranded" in Kiev.

  5. do you have any updates on juliana. Tami's blog site is no longer active. hope the best for both of your families.

  6. Adam, Julianna is doing great! Nothing mayor has happened with her so she is just enjoying being a sweet little girl!


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