Princess Ky Background - The cutest blog on the block

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No Room in the Inn- An Adoption Story

When I reminisce about miracles I have seen or observed, the most precious of all is the birth of a baby and how God makes families.  Some families are created by birth and some families are created through adoption.

Adoption is not second best, it is GOD's best.  God chooses the perfect baby for each mommy and daddy and the perfect mommy and daddy for each baby.

I can say this with confidence because my own little family was created through adoption.

Adoption Day -October 2006

The hospital part of our adoption story is a true nightmare. I don't share it often as I am concerned it will discourage couples from adopting.

As a brief overview, our baby was taken from us hours after birth, we were separated from our birth parents, we were accused of kidnapping our daughter, I was told by hospital staff that I was "not her mother" (this one thing about killed me), our birth mother's attorney (who was there for paperwork to be signed and who had been invited by our birth mother) was escorted out of the hospital by armed security guards.

The experience was so horrific that I have a hard time reminiscing about the first days of my daughter's life because it was so emotionally painful. What should have been one of the most cherished times of my life instead became one of the most traumatic.
Kylie's 4D Ultrasound
Throughout that terrible experience, there was one event that, while awful, made me reflect intensely on my Father God and His Son, Jesus.

When we were finally given permission to be with our new baby, the hospital told us that we would have to parent her in a waiting room as there were no hospital rooms available.  (We later learned this was a lie and another attempt by the hospital staff to sabotage our adoption experience)

We spent 4 days in a waiting room with our daughter who was low birth weight and who could not maintain her body temperature.  We had no food, no blankets, no water, no cell phone coverage, no privacy and no restroom.  The waiting room was not cleaned once while we were there and hospital staff repeatedly drew blood from our baby in that unsanitary area.

We wore the same clothes for 4 days and slept sitting up in a chair with one eye open concerned someone might try to (again) take our baby.  We had to take turns going to another part of the floor to use the restroom, wash our hands or even get water to make a bottle and had to be buzzed in and out by nurses because they wouldn't give us access badges as they do for most newborn parents.
Kylie's "Manger" in the waiting room.  Friends sent us the balloon.
On the day, we were finally able to the leave the hospital, there were no friends there to greet us or congratulate us, no balloons or pictures, but it was honestly one of the happiest days of my life!!
Kylie was so tiny, that she had to go through a "car seat test" before we could take her home (they  tested her for 30 minutes to make sure she didn't stop breathing
 in a simulated car 
We couldn't understand why the hospital staff was so against us- why they didn't want us.  We had spent so much money just to make the trip and had come a great distance full of love- wanting to share it with our new born baby.  Yet, they treated us like we were the enemy.
When we finally learned that the adoption was FINAL!!
Dan and I, while wounded emotionally, determined to be optimistic. We began to joke that our adoption was similar to the story of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph had traveled a great distance so hopeful for their future as a family.  When they arrived, they were told there was "no room in the Inn".  They lived for days without the comforts and necessities that typical people have and take for granted. And, in the end, no matter how much Jesus loved on people and met their needs, he was despised and rejected - especially by the leadership.
The waiting room was FREEZING cold!
Our story was eerily similar and yet it was a HUGE comfort to us to be blessed (yes, I said blessed) to be able to experience a tiny bit of what Mary, Joseph and Jesus experienced.  It gave us a whole different perspective and attitude toward those who were mistreating us without cause or reason.

As we sat in that waiting room with no family or friends nearby to wrap around us, we spent a lot of time talking and praying about what our heart's desire was for our precious girl who had been gifted to us through adoption.

We had no idea that in a few short months, we would learn that our daughter would experience special needs.  But, even though it was unexpected, it all makes perfect sense as a part of HIS perfect will.  He not only gifted us with precious Kylie but he gifted us with the unique skills, experiences and tools that we would need to meet her every need.  God never makes mistakes when he creates families. We may feel inadequate most of the time, but HE knows differently and guides our thoughts and actions.

I recently found this song by Rachel Aldous and it so closely mirrors the prayers and thoughts we dared to whisper heavenward for our baby girl during those few days of isolation and mistreatment.  I hope you are touched by it too

If you are interested in the background of Rachel's song (Titled Hannah's Song) click here.  Her story affects me deeply.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nutcracker Memories

I just want to share a few memories from taking Kylie to see the Nutcracker this year.

To her, she is going to a real, live performance, but really she is going to a dress rehearsal as she could never sit through the entire show.

However, we do it up all fancy.  She wears her sparkliest dress (my spell check tells me that "sparkliest" is not a word, but they clearly have never lived with a little girl!) and her sparkly shoes.  Her Doll, Halle, dresses just like her and sometimes we even don a Tiara!!

It is THAT BIG of a deal!!

We have 4 specific memories from this show some are endearing and some are downright hilarious!  I hope you enjoy them as we did!

Memory #1:

As we were exiting Hoyt Sherman Place (the venue for the Nutcracker performance), we noticed that in the lower lobby there was an American Girl Doll displayed on the table in a "Clara" dress.

 Kylie walked over to the table with her doll, Halle, and exclaimed "Clara! I want to 'troduce (introduce) you to my friend, Halle!"

 It was soooo sweet! Especially, for a little girl who experiences speech and social difficulties! 

 Such a special moment!!

Memory #2:

 After watching the dress rehearsal, we got in the car and I said to Kylie: "The Nutcracker is all done. Tell Daddy where he should take us next!"

I was thinking that Kylie would say "to Perkins!"-(her very FAVORITE restaurant). However, much to our shock and in a very serious tone, she replied "to New York City, Please!!"

 .....Ummmm....don't think so princess!! ha! ha!

Memory #3:
I have been helping Kylie memorize the Christmas Story from the Bible (Luke 2). 

 In part of the ballet, there are several little girls that come on stage dressed as angels. 

 When the first angel appeared, Kylie exclaimed "Look!! The Angel of the LORD!!"

It was so funny! We are STILL cracking up at her declaration!!

Memory #4:
While at the Nutcracker rehearsal, Miss Rachel from Ballet Des Moines, invited Kylie to go backstage. It was such an honor and we were so excited to experience a little bit of what the dancers go through in the wings.
When we arrived backstage, Kylie was intrigued by the man dressed as a woman (who also hides little dancers under his/her huge skirt)
When they realized that Kylie was so intrigued by this, the person playing the role, began to emerge toward her so she could see the costume better. Kylie made a quick exit and was out.of.there.!!

We thought that she was just overwhelmed with the organized chaos that goes into making a show!

However, when we got home, she informed us that "The lady man was coming to get her" - We loved how she called the role "Lady Man"-- Pretty perceptive!! ha!
Kylie is spellbound!
Dress Rehearsal was simply AMAZING!! Ballet Des Moines and all their dancers and staff are so incredible!!
Not only did they invite us to take Kylie to the dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker but tonight they also invited Kylie to go back stage during the rehearsal.
Not only that, they invited her ON STAGE and allowed her to walk to the center holding THE.VERY.NUTCRACKER.DOLL. used in the show and prompted her to take a bow (which to our great delight, she did).....

In her little girl life, this was as big a deal as winning the lottery!
This momma cried tears of joy that my girl got to experience such kindness and generosity when they had HUGE stress on their plates preparing for their opening night!

Ballet Des Moines has been BEYOND good to my daughter and they show her care, patience and accommodation EVERY step of the way!

The gave her an experience she will never forget and most of all they put people before things (they might have held back the Nutcracker Doll fearing she might break it) but they didn't.
As parents, we are more than thrilled, elated, impressed and in awe of what School of Classical Ballet and Dance Without Limits has done for our precious girl!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Visit with Santa

It was so sweet!  Kylie asked Santa for a "Woody Doll".  This is HUGE progress for her! She is usually TERRIFIED of Santa!! (She has no idea that we have had Woody for months and can hardly wait to give him to her so her Jessie doll has a friend!)

Kylie is dressed as an Angel/Ballerina because we saw Santa at "Festival of Trees", a benefit for Blank Children's Hospital and Kylie was scheduled to dance with Dance Without Limits later in the afternoon. Dance Without Limits is a ballet program designed for children who experience special needs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ballerina Bliss

This past Sunday was Kylie's Ballet Recital with Dance Without Limits.

 Dance Without Limits is a unique Dance Program that provides dance opportunities for children who experience special needs.  They partner with Ballet Des Moines and their experienced ballerinas to pair up helpers (older girls) with DWOL dancers (younger children).

Kylie has had 2 helpers this year: Chloe and Ellen.  They are fabulous and she loves them!! They know just how to get her to do each move and often patiently wade through Kylie's moods on any given dance day.  These girls are ANGELS!!

Dance Without Limits has really expanded Kylie's world in so many ways. She sincerely loves it.

Ballet has also been beneficial for making friends, working on balance, speech, timing, gracefulness, and so many other things that our girl needs.

At the end of every session, They do "free dance" and Kylie cracks us up as she leads her helpers in a hilarious dance.  We call it the reindeer dance because that is what it looks like!  It is so funny and her helpers are such good sports at letting Kylie take the lead.

The above is a photo of Kylie's class minus one or two other students who needed to leave a little early.

Every recital, we try to do something special for Kylie's Teachers.  This recital we decided to make hand-print tutus.  I didn't know if Kylie would go for it- having to put her hand in paint, but she did really well.

We used this leotard template and traced it onto sparkly paper.  We only used the top half as we planned to make a tutu for the bottom part.

For the tutu, we first painted Kylie's hands white and then placed them strategically on the paper to form the tutu.

Once the paint dried, we added iridescent glitter dots over the tutu to give it some sparkle

This is what it looked like "in progress" so you can see the dots (When the glue dries you only see the dots when the light hits them - they are very subtle)

Then, we just embellished with ribbon and adhesive jewels to fancy it up a bit.

The last step was giving it a "frame" and some stability with black poster board.

On the back of the board, we glued Kylie's Thank You notes.
Kylie's teachers really enjoyed her efforts.  Here she is with Miss Monika

and here she is with Miss Julianna

Dance Without Limits has become a family affair.  We all love it and receive great joy from those who graciously serve our daughter. 

Thank you so much Dance Without Limits and all the donors from Ballet Des Moines and the Community who support these little ones who experience special needs!

(Look at that smile on her face!!)
What a GIFT you give to our family!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Mother's Prayer

I love this song!!  (Click on the photo below to listen to the song)

 I think I used every kleenex in the house before it was over!  Talk about sobbing!! Wow! did this video/song ever hit home for me!!

I am posting "A Mother's Prayer" on my blog in honor of my Kylie!

If God should take me home before I have sufficiently taught you these things.  May you remember them through this post.

 I love you baby girl! The sacrifices your daddy and I make will never be enough, but rest assured... God loves you MORE and God has a PERFECT PLAN for your struggles and challenges.  You will have a beautiful life if you recognize his sovereignty and TRUST in HIM.

Readers: I hope you enjoy it too!! (click on the box below to hear the song)
P.S. If anyone knows the story behind this song, I'd love to hear it.

A Mother's Prayer 
Rachel Aldous

A Mother’s Prayer (Hannah’s Song)
Words by Rachel Aldous
Music by John Mandeville

My sweet baby on loan from above.
No better treasure could I more love.
I stand here beside your bed as I pray
I lay my hand on your head and I say:

May you grow up to serve Him
All of your days
May He lead you and guide you
In all of your ways.
May His hand bless your future with
Friendships that last
May you cherish your youth
And not grow up too fast

Verse: I stare in wonder at your tiny frame
Just to think that God knows you by name.
He knows every hair on your beautiful head.
He knows your thoughts before they are said.


May God grant you peace
In the midst of a storm
May God give you strength even
When you’re forlorn
May you answer the door when
Jesus comes knocking
May wisdom guide when
Your mouth is talking.
May discretion protect you
And keep you pure.
May you never stumble
Or fall for a lure.
May your heart remain humble
To the very end.
May uprightness and truth
Be what you defend
May the world not ensnare
Or change who you are.
May the light that’s within you
Shine like the stars
May angels surround you
Body, spirit, mind
May favor and peace be yours to find.
May rejection and pain
Never reach you.
May your spirit grow bold for what you’re called to


As you rest in God’s care I will rest too.
Knowing that Jesus is watching over you.

Hannah speaks: I love you Mommy…

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obedience: The Formula for Fall Blessings

Let's face it.  Not many people like the word "obey". 

Anytime I use that word around Kylie's therapists ("Kylie you need to obey Miss Therapist"), they quickly change the wording to "Yes, Kylie, please follow directions"

People don't like the word obey because it implies submission and so many of us have a problem with authority.  We want to be THE BOSS.

I get it, I truly do. 

(I, also, have a slight issue with authority - we creative types always do)

Even though I don't particularly LIKE the word "obey", I still use it.  I use it because Jesus used it and Jesus never did anything without a reason.

My daughter at age 6 (and on the Autism Spectrum) knows the meaning and definition of the word "obey".  We have placed it before her since she was tiny. 

Did you notice what I just wrote?  I used the phrasing "placed it before her" rather than "drilled it into her" for a reason.

You see, as a person who would rather be my own boss, I realize the importance of strategy and diplomacy.   There is a way to get our children to obey without always placing a figurative yoke around their neck and dragging them to the task at hand.

The thing is, Kids are people pleasers.  They WANT to make you happy, but they want to do it in their own time and in their own creative way.  Sometimes, this poses a problem when REAL life enters the picture.

Kids don't understand that things in the adult world happen on a schedule.  That some schedules are flexible and can change, but that other schedules absolutely cannot be changed.

Charlotte Mason, a great educator from the past, once referred to the fact that obedience needs to be a HABIT and that out of everything you can teach a child, obedience is the "single greatest pattern to be formed" (For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)

If for no other reason, our children need to know how to obey for safety reasons.  Let's say they are running toward a rolling ball that has left the playground and ventured into the parking lot. If we shout "stop!" and they don't obey, their very life could depend on it.

Many children and especially children who experience special needs have very valid reasons for not obeying.  These reasons vary from they simply don't respect the elder giving the directive to they didn't hear the directive.

If a child does not respect you enough to obey you, you might want to take a look at your personal character:

*Are you trustworthy? (or do you make promises that you don't keep?)
*Do you behave like an adult? (or do you throw loud and uncontrolled temper tantrums?)
*Do you control your emotions? (or do you use emotions in an attempt to manipulate your child?)
*Do you follow through? (When the sticker chart is full do you implement the reward? When the chore is completed, do you pay the allowance?)
*Do you practice what you preach? (or do you violate your own directives?)

These are just a few of the things that may cause your child to disrespect you.  If you are guilty in one or more area, apologize to yourself and then to your child and let them know you are going to be a better parent.  THAT will be a great first step toward reconciliation and restoration of the relationship.

Many children have issues with obedience due to auditory processing, maintaining focus, having control over their own body systems, the ability to respond quickly or on demand, hearing, attention, hyperactivity and the list goes on.

These things are very important to know and recognize in any child.

Once you know about your child's abilities and have repaired your own character, you are ready to initiate obedience training.  Obedience is a skill that needs to be modeled, taught and practiced.

No one likes to be TOLD what  to do.  But we all like to be offered choices; It gives us the illusion of being in control.

(offering choices works like magic in our own home:  "Kylie, which would you like to pick up first? the markers or the crayons?" or "Kylie, you may either pick up your toys and watch a movie afterwards or you may leave the toys out and head to bed now."  and it seriously becomes her choice.)

Modeling Obedience
The best place to model obedience is in the car.  The law of the land has posted signs that must be obeyed: speed limit signs, yield signs, stop signs, crosswalks, etc.  Your children know if you are obedient and respectful toward the law.  If you don't obey those in authority over you, why should it matter for them to obey you?

Teaching Obedience
The basic formula of obedience is
(O) + DR = Blessing 
Obedience plus doing right equals blessing

This formula is based on Ephesians 6:1-3

"Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 

"Honor your father and mother"- which is the first commandment with a promise attached to it- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth."

I recently saw this illustration that beautifully teaches the obedience/following directions concept on a child's level.

It is basically a key ring concept.  The key ring has a tag with the Ephesians 6:1-3 verses typed out on it and on the key ring is 4 laminated paper keys teaching what obedience is:

1.) Obey: Immediately
2.) Obey: Cheerfully
3.) Obey: Completely
4.) Obey: Without complaining

If a child obeys, but is grumpy about it, you simply point out that they are missing a key and suggest that they find it and use it to unlock the blessing.  These small tangible reminders help to reinforce exactly what obedience is.

This is a photo of the version I made for Kylie.

Practicing Obedience:
Obedience is comprised of Listening/Processing and Following Directions

When caregivers say to my child "Kylie you need to listen" - It drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.  Kylie has auditory processing issues. She HAS listened. The time lapse in response is due to her brain trying to process the information so she can act. 

Some children (a LOT of children) require object cues, picture cues, sign language cues, lists or other to help them understand what it is that you are asking of them.  (otherwise your directive sounds like that of Charlie Brown's teacher "wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah" - no child has a chance at following that direction)

If it is time for Kylie to pick up toys, we don't generalize and say "Kylie you need to pick up toys" instead, we use a white board and we write on it. 

1.) Pick up markers
2.) Pick up Barbies
3.) Pick up coloring books

 until everything has been picked up

Or , we will use a "First/Then" method.  "Kylie, First pick up Barbies, Then eat popsicle"

both allow her some flexibility in making the decision for herself, but both also accomplish the task needing to be completed.

It is also important to give your child the tools and scenarios to be successful.  Do not set them up for failure by keeping them up too late at night and demanding obedience when they are too tired to respond appropriately.  Don't attempt a clean up routine when lunch has been delayed by an hour.  All they can think of is how hungry they are.  They are in no mindset to be obedient.

Make sure your child's needs are met first and then work on practicing obedience together.

Easy Ways to Practice Obedience This Fall Season:
*Follow directions according to a recipe for food or for playdough.  If the recipe is not followed correctly the item does not turn out as it should.  Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Pie scented playdough

*Do an activity together that encourages following a pattern. Here is a pumpkin nailing activity that we did with Kylie.

*Play a game with 2 step directions.  Here is a Game that we play with Kylie that not only focuses on following directions, but also on counting and sensory integration.

* Work on boundaries:  We do this by creating seasonal sensory bins for Kylie to play in.  We put a large sheet under the sensory bin and the rule is that the items in the sensory bin HAVE to stay within the boundary of the sheet. If they end up on the carpet or in another room, we have to put away the sensory bin for a time.  Here is our Halloween bin, Our Icky Sticky bin, and our November/Thanksgiving bin.
Anne Sullivan (Hellen Keller's teacher) once said...
"I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Santa, Please bring me THIS!!

I am sure Kylie was wishing "Santa, Please bring me THIS!!" last night as we browsed in Pottery Barn Kids (PBK).

Pottery Barn Kids is Kylie's favorite store in the mall.  Last night, the ladies working in the store asked Kylie if she was looking for anything special.  I replied "EVERYTHING is special here!"  - we all got a good chuckle and shared a knowing grin.

In fact, my very first post on this blog was about Pottery Barn Kids.

Last night, Kylie went immediately to the jewelry boxes.  They are her very favorite items in Pottery Barn Kids. She LOVES watching the ballerinas spin to the music.

She especially loves changing out the ballerinas (every box comes with 2 of the tulle beauties).

Kylie loves things that come in sets.  She loves to line them up and change them out.  So, I asked the sales lady if you could purchase extra (or replacement) ballerinas.  She looked online and said she didn't see them available for purchase by themselves. (Bummer!! I was hoping I could order 2 or three extra to give her more to change out)

I would love for Kylie to have one of these beautiful boxes as she has been so consistent in her adoration of them for literally years.  Last night, she played with the card-stock ones, but if I ever lay down the money to buy her one, it will be a beautiful wooden one (they are expensive, but sturdy)

As you can see, Kylie made herself right at home in the little girls bedroom display (even taking off her shoes).  What I wouldn't give to be able to have a good size room for her so she could enjoy it like she enjoys the one in Pottery Barn Kids.

What was interesting about her play last night, was that she had both a pink jewelry box and a purple jewelry box that she was playing with.

There are two beds in the display and she kept going back and forth between the two.

She was trying to carry both boxes and I kept envisioning her dropping one and breaking the mirror inside, so I told her that she could only carry one.  She chose the purple one and went over to the other bed.

I followed her over (ever hovering over the boxes to ensure they didn't get broken or damaged) and asked Kylie "Is purple your favorite one?" She replied "Yes" but then I noticed that the bedding was all in purple shades (on that bed, the other bed was in pinks) so I asked Kylie "Is it your favorite because the bed is purple?" and she replied "Yes"

... so, moral of the story is that purple is not necessarily her favorite, but matching the surface that she is on, is really important. (light bulb moment!)

After about 45 minutes of watching the ballerinas, we moved on to the books and Kylie became fascinated with "Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet"

Here she is reading the Fancy Nancy book on yet another Pottery Barn Bed! 
(I think this book will go on the Santa wish list too)

Yep, I'm packing our bags.  We're just going to move in!  Pottery Barn Kids, here we come!!!