Thursday, June 18, 2009


I am ashamed that I haven't written this sooner!

The night I posted "Consider the Lilies" I was really, truly clamoring for any shred of hope I could find. I don't think I even conveyed how difficult the past few weeks had been. Jeremy read my finished post that night and gave me a hug. Then he went down to check on Elli before we went to sleep. Elli has always gone to bed with a CD playing soft music. It is usually a lullaby CD, or her "I am a Child of God" one. The previous weekend, my parents had let us borrow their CD player (Elli had broken hers-- again) and it already had a CD in it. It was church CD, and so we had been pushing play on that. I hadn't payed attention to what songs were on it. I'm assuming by now you've guessed that when Jeremy went to check on her, a certain "Consider the Lilies" was playing. (: Truly, this is a song I haven't heard for months, so putting it in our lives three times in one day really did seem a little more than ironic.

I went to bed feeling peace.

The next morning, I got Elli out of bed and fed her breakfast. Then I put her in her bath. This is where she had begun her daily screaming for the past several weeks. Lo and behold, no screams. I hardly dared move-- terrified of provoking her. Jeremy immediately said, "I'm telling you-- It's the prayers of those reading the blog." And he was right!

Fifteen minutes later, she started screaming again. But we had felt hope!! And to make a long story short-- within a couple of days, our Elli had come back. OK, not in full (she will still not label things for us), but our HAPPY Elli has come back, and that's what matters most!!! It truly has been such a miracle for us. So, I wanted to thank-you for your prayers, and for your sweet words of encouragement. I truly clung to every word. My favorite was the "Satan despises you, sweetie!" It made me ever more focused on not letting him win!! Of remembering who is really in charge here, and of His love for my daughter.

And so, while I don't have new words to add to the sidebar, I have a renewed spirit!! I am absolutely basking in the angel that is my little girl. She brings me so much joy. And while I continue to pray and yearn for miracles for her, I am learning more and more that SHE is the miracle!!! That having the privilege of her presence in our home IS THE MIRACLE!


P.S. Ok, so this is a LONG P.S. But I wanted to share that after I finished this post, I googled "Consider the Lilies" to see if I could find a picture. I came across the story of how the song was written, and thought I would share!

One day, as I was sitting at the piano in our chapel, (we didn't have a piano at home) I found my fingers wandering over the piano keys. I noticed what I was playing and repeated it so I wouldn't forget it. Once the melody had become locked into my consciousness, words began to form in my mind,

"Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow, how they grow."

I grabbed my pencil and began writing. As quickly as I could write, the words continued,

"Consider the birds in the sky,
How they fly, how they fly.

He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky.
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with His eye."

I was beginning to feel very excited! Here was a way to share this marvelous principle!
The words kept coming,

"Consider the sheep of his fold,
How they follow where he leads.
Though the path may wind across the mountains,
He knows the meadows where they feed."

I thought of how Nephi and Lehi had been led on their way through "the more fertile parts of the wilderness..." and how the seas had parted for Moses and the children of Israel. Again, the chorus re-assured me,

"He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky,
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with his eye."

I was pleased that the message had been so well delivered, and gratefully acknowledged the power that had presented this song to my mind. I was about to rise from the piano bench and go home, when I felt a kind of downward tug, and sat down at the bench again. The message came clearly into my mind, "I'm not finished yet."

I sat down and the verse began,

"Consider the sweet, tender children
Who must suffer on this earth..."

I panicked. I was afraid to tackle so large a subject. I thought, "My pen is too small to deal with a problem so great." The thought came into my mind, "You're not writing this, anyway." I then remembered someone very dear to me who once said she had a hard time understanding why God would allow little children to be abused, and I had a great desire to help her understand this subject better and be comforted. This urged me on.

So, tremulously, I continued,

The pains of all of them he carried
From the day of his birth.
He clothes the lilies of the field,
He feeds the lambs in His fold,
And he will heal those who trust him,
And make their hearts as gold."

I wept profusely. I could not contain my feelings. The love I felt was so powerful that I was overcome. (Indeed, for the rest of the day, I felt somewhat removed from this mortal sphere.)

My soul vibrated with the message I had just written, for my own suffering and weakness had been taken in hand by the Wonderful Counselor, and where once there was darkness, light by light, strand by strand, he rewove the fabric of my heart with threads of purest gold, so that my affections and sympathies have been, in a marvelous manner, enlarged and re-trained to make me more like him.

This is the way of the Master. He tells us plainly that he has given us weakness to bring us to him. When we come unto him, he teaches, counsels, and heals us, replacing evil with good, pouring himself into us, a spiritual transfusion where his light replaces our darkness. The light he has put into us works its way through everything we know and feel and draws us to yet greater light.

One day, if we continue, we will be like him, for his light will have chased every trace of darkness from us, and will have drawn into us all the light he has.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Consider the Lilies

I'm not going to mince words. I am discouraged. I am beyond discouraged. You may wonder why I haven't updated for awhile--it's been so hard to even think about putting into words how hard this all can be. I am usually a very optimistic person. I don't like to focus on how stinkin' hard it is sometimes to parent a special needs child. I am good at feeling pure, unconditional love and finding the joy in each moment. Not now. How is that for being real? (:

The last couple of months have overall NOT been good for Elli. It seemed to start when she went off track from her preschool program. She was a fussy, ornery mess for a week. We decided she must be missing school, and we couldn't wait until she went back on track. Though it's only 2 hours a day, I think she really needs the structure and attention she gets there. It's such a fabulous classroom. Well, school started back up, but after only going a few days, Elli got what I thought was just a bad cold. We kept her home (so much for being excited for school) and it seemed she was getting better until one awful night, where she screamed pretty much the entire night. By four or five in the morning I had lost patience and left her crying so I could get some sleep. Jeremy ended up getting up with her and gave her a blessing, after which she finally fell asleep. When I went to get her out of bed the next morning at 9 am, I noticed there was dried blood around her ear, and blood coming out of her nose. YIKES. I felt awful, thinking of the pain she must have been in. When I took her to the pediatrician, he couldn't even tell if her eardrum was ruptured because he couldn't see back that far through all the infection in her ear. Poor girl.

I thought that surely things would get better after being on meds, but for the most part, it hasn't. She definitely FEELS better, I can tell that. But she has almost completely stopped talking, and instead does this yelling, grunting thing about every five seconds. My ears have had enough. It's driving me crazy. You might be wondering if her ear is still bothering her... I really don't think so, but I will take her in tomorrow for a follow-up. She's hearing fine, as evidenced by her bolting out of her chair the second she hears a word that has anything to do with sugar. That's our Elli.

I think, rather, that Elli is in one of her "slumps." Her life has seemed to have a pattern since she joined our family two years ago. She will progress, then regress. She will learn something new, then it will just disappear for months. I was so hoping that we were done with this pattern, but that doesn't seem the case. This time seems even more pronounced, because she was doing so well. Now, our cheerful, talkative Elli has turned into a uncooperative, grunting (and that word doesn't do it justice) demanding little girl. I was doing ok with that until the last couple of days (admittedly, there have been some happy times with her interspersed with the trials). However, today I had just had it. After trying repeatedly (I'm talking for the thousandth time) to get her to say a word, any word, only to have her scream in my tired ears again, I felt like there was just no hope. No hope.

Interestingly enough, I came onto her website for the first time in weeks and was lifted just a little (I mean the tiniest bit) when I saw that my last post was titled "Hope." Surely if I had felt it then, I could feel it again. Right? I was so yearning for something to hold onto.

Anyway, today I went to church late (following Elli dumping a leftover bowl of cereal/milk all over her dress, being changed, then spitting out a mouthful of chewed up food on her new outift) and was not in the right spirit, if you know what I mean. The first speaker was very good, but I will admit, I listened cynically as she talked about the wonderful role we have as mothers. Then there was a special musical number. A man stood up and sang a beautiful arrangement of "Consider the Lilies." As soon as he began to sing, a peace washed over me. I felt changed. Surely, if the Lord cares about the lilies of the field, he is aware of Elli.

And me.

Because really, I have not been the most loving mother toward her lately, and I needed to know that He was aware of that and still loved me.

There is a verse in the song that is as follows:

"Consider the sweet tender children who must suffer on this earth.
The pains of all of them he carried from the day of his birth.
He clothes the lilies of the field. He feeds the lambs of his fold
and He will heal those who trust Him and make their hearts as gold."

As that verse was sung, I reached down and kissed Elli on the head and felt that love for her that I have been longing to feel, but that has been smothered due to frustration and discouragement. And for a moment, I again had hope.

I am therefore finally taking the time to write again-- to remind myself of that brief moment where I felt the love the Savior has for my sweet Elli. It was almost forgotten as I came home to more grunts and screams and defiance. In fact, I took off by myself to the cemetery to put flowers on Jake and Emmy's graves-- I couldn't handle taking Elli with me--and once again, was not feeling very loving toward her. I turned the radio on in the car to hear, you guessed it, "Consider the Lilies."

Deep, deep down I know that this will all be ok in the end, but right now I am CLINGING to the words of this song, just desperately trying to hope.

P.S. I couldn't get the song on my playlist, but I've added it to the sidebar if you would like to hear it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Ok, so I have not done as well as I intended at keeping up here-- but we have been posting on the family blog! Still, there is no excuse for not recording the EXCITING things that are happening with our Elli!!!

I must say, when Teri made this comment Jeremy and I just looked at each other like, "Wow. Really? Can she really be right?" It seemed so far off-- the day where Elizabeth would put two words together. Such a distant thing that it was hard to really even imagine. She has been copying phrases for awhile now-- even complete sentences sometimes-- but never using them on her own to communicate something to us.

Well, I am pleased and humbled and thrilled to announce that SHE HAS DONE IT!!! Our sweet lilttle Elli, who just months ago was not talking, has begun to put two words together!!! In the past few days, she has used the following phrases without being prompted:

"Go night-night!"
"Yummy, yummy oatmeal!"
"Take bath"
"Fruit snacks all gone."

It still seems a little surreal to think that she may actually learn to really talk some day!! I think that both Jeremy and I, while having hope in miracles and faith in our Father in Heaven, had in part resigned ourselves to the idea that she may never learn to communicate fully. Like having hope, while deep down thinking that it just wouldn't happen. I know that we have had many discussions over whether or not she could ever lead any kind of "normal" life. You have to understand that it took SIX MONTHS to teach her how to put food in her mouth! It took a year to get her to not be afraid of toys. It took WELL OVER A YEAR before she would consistently try to copy words we would say. When she first joined our family, at age 2 1/2, she would every once in awhile use a word, like "more" for a day or two, then stop all speech for a month or two. She had vocal tics (still does sometimes) that would drive me batty. She would have frequent tantrums and meltdowns because of lack of communication.

The Elli you would meet now is almost always HAPPY!!!! She understands A LOT! Sometimes we're not sure what or how much she understands, but compared to when she became ours, it is A LOT!!! Now, when I tuck her in and she wants a drink, I can tell her that I will get her one in a few minutes and she waits happily until I come back. It wasn't long ago that she would SCREAM if I didn't give her something RIGHT AWAY.

Elli is also letting us sing along with her much of the time (she can still be stubborn about that, but it does happen). She has a great ear for music, singing perfectly tunes that she has only been exposed to a few times. She is very deliberate when sitting at the piano-- not just banging like many kids do, but playing and then putting her ear close to the piano and really listening. She has been AMAZING in the past few months at singing the lyrics to MANY, MANY songs. She is great at memorizing. The other day, she was singing the song, "Bubble Gum." When she finished she said, "Little faster? Follow me," and proceeded to sing the song faster. Again, at the end of the song, "Little faster? Follow me," and sang as fast as she could! (: I was grinning ear to ear and asked her teacher about it. Surely enough, the CD they listen to at school asks for them to faster each time. So so cute.

Speaking of school, if you remember, the DAY AFTER I decided to set up this website, I was informed of a new preschool option for Elli. She has been going there for a few weeks now and it is FABULOUS! I cannot even tell you how pleased I am with the teachers and facility. It is perfect for her. Still two hours a day, four days a week, but now with a smaller class size and more teachers. More importantly, the head teacher has really taken charge of Elli's education. She has really, truly worked to insure that Elli's day fits her needs exactly. There is a lot of structure-- and a lot of stimulation. She does the exact same routine every day, and it is so so good for her!! The classroom has a trampoline, ball pit, and swing. It is full of toys that have music and texture. It is just, well-- perfect!! Elli's vision/mobility specialist, Eileen, has transferred to this new school with Elli and has told me that Elli is just blossoming there, and last I heard, has not had ANY TANTRUMS. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One especially cute thing-- they have been working on "quiet hands." This means that she has to take her hands from her eyes (where they so often are) and put them on her lap. They count to three and if she keeps them there, she is rewarded with an M&M. Well, Elli is very motivated by food! (: It is hilarious to watch her, as I say, "quiet hands!" She'll put her hands on her lap and then reach out almost frantically for her M&M. It is so hard for her to wait the full three seconds, but she is getting it! Soon, the time will be lengthened, and she won't always be rewarded. Eventually we hope that she will consistently do "quiet hands" even without a treat, and we can get those hands away from her poor eyes!!! The optometrist says it is a concern, because eye-pressing can push the eyeballs back into the head. This of course, isn't a concern vision-wise, but cosmetically it is, and I don't want her beautiful eyes to be pushed back!

So, are you ready for the cherry on top?

The other night, I was putting Elli's jammies on and she said, "Go night night?" I said "Yes, we are going night-night." She then surprised my by saying, "oatmeal?" I answered, "Yes, when you wake up, you will have oatmeal!" She then said, "bath?" I said "Yes, then you will take a bath." She replied, "rock-a-bye?" I told her that I would rock-a-bye her. She didn't say anything else, so I asked, "Then what?" She replied, "Bus?" I couldn't believe it. I was actually having a conversation with my little girl. It may not sound like much, but this was really my first (and only) real conversation I have had with Elli. It felt so good. She really seemed to understand what we were talking about! Again, I was filled with the hope that Elli, might indeed, rise above the struggles that have been hers and understand life.

I have always known that God could heal Elli. He could heal her completely, eyesight included. But I have not known that He will. I still do not know. He could very well keep the miracles coming beyond our wildest dreams, and she could live a life of great accomplishment-- graduating from college, marrying, and raising a family of her own-- with or without vision. Or she might level out right where she is, living dependent on us for the rest of her earthly life-- never learning how to read or talk with others or even use the bathroom on her own.

I am fine, either way.

I really, really am.

Because I know that HE knows what is best for her and for our family. I will love her the same EITHER WAY. And I know that SOMEDAY, because of HIM

my Elizabeth Mei will sing and talk and laugh and converse in full. and be FREE (one of my favorite pics EVER)
from the chains that now bind her. I know it will happen.

But I YEARN for her happiness NOW, and it sure seems like that would most likely be acheived if she were to live a "more normal" life here on earth! (: If she could one day have a conversation with anyone she chose. If she could experience the wonder and joy and adventure that comes from learning to read. If she could hold her own precious child in her arms.

And so, I hope!

And I find GREAT REASON to hope! Because this week, our Elli spoke two words together, on her own!! Because this week, our Elli at an ENTIRE bowl of oatmeal by herself WITHOUT me loading the spoon! Because this week, our Elli tried to put her jacket on by herself, and almost succeeded. Because this week, Elli giggled and laughed and sang and went entire days without crying.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Home sweet home!

Two days ago, I had one of my most exciting/sweet moments with Elli! We had been outside playing, and as we walked into the house, she got a big smile on her face and said, "Home! Home!" I don't think that word has ever sounded so sweet as it did right then to me. Whenever we walk into the house, I tell her that we're home-- but it's not something I can really have her feel and practice like I can with an object. "Home" is more of a concept-- and she had obviously gotten it! (: My heart just sang and I was just so full of joy! What amazing miracles we are seeing!

On another note, today I put Elli on the trampoline while I cooked dinner. I can see her out my window, and she was having a great time. At one point, I noticed that something seemed a little, well, off! That something was her pants and diaper! Yes, our little Elli was jumping naked and happy on the trampoline. I wish I could have taken a picture, but I'm not sure if she's too old for that... She was so cute!

Also, I just realized that today Elli hit the big 50!!! Yes, she now has FIFTY words that she can use appropriately-- I AM AMAZED! There was a time where I didn't know if we would ever see this day!! So... I am setting a new goal. We are going for 100 words by the end of April! Even as I type it, it seems unbelievable that she could do it-- and yet I know that she can do it with HIM! We have been so blessed and have seen the Lord open up so many doors for her. The first 50 words were mostly made up of words that she has had a lot of experience with, and ones that we have been practicing for months- so it will be a stretch to get 50 NEW words! Can she do it??? I'm thinking so!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Curry Connoisseur

It was mentioned that I hadn't put "pillow fight" on yesterday's list. I had thought about it and decided not to, because it was a concept-- and up until now I had only been listing actual objects that she was touching and recognizing what they were and naming them. Well, Jeremy pointed out that her knowing what a pillow fight was is even more advanced than knowing an object. So, I've decided to add it, along with other words that she uses that don't necessarily fit under the "objects she can recognize by touch." So thanks, guys, for pointing it out to me!!

Today, Elli was not really happy with her peanut butter and jam sandwich, and didn't seem interested in eating it, as displayed by throwing it on the floor. I finally said in exasperation, "Elli, what do you want?" She immediately replied, "curry!" I was shocked! Last week Jeremy brought me home some curry from a Thai restaurant, and I had given her a little for dinner. Apparently, she really liked it!! It is one thing for her to name something like "banana" because she eats those all the time. But to name something she's only had once was ever so much more exciting! (:

Sadly, I didn't have any curry for her. ):

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blind luck?

So this is kind of a weak entry, but it is a great story, and has obvious relevance to Elli. It will be fun to see Elli's life unfold and the miracles that will occur for her. Click here to read a very inspiring account:)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pillow fight!

Once in awhile, my darling kids will round up all the pillows in the house and have a "pillow fight" with Elli. This consists of them dropping pillows on top of her while she laughs uncontrollably. We haven't done it for awhile, but tonight as I was tucking Elli in, she took hold of her blanket, hit it hard across her face and started giggling. Then she did it again and called out, "pillow fight! Pillow fight!" It made me so happy that she remembered the word for something we haven't done in a long time! YAY ELLI!!! (:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Enjoying Elli

If you haven't seen the slide show of Elli at the bottom of this blog, it's worth your time to sit through it. And if you have seen it, it's worth your while to watch it again. Go down to the bottom of the page. Turn up the music a bit. Double click on the slides so you see them bigger, and just drink in Elli. It will without a doubt lift your spirits!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Families are Forever

It was a beautiful, sunny day today and so after church, we decided to drive to the cemetery. We had been going regularly after church for a long time, but hadn't been for quite awhile due to the cold/snow. When we got there, I told Elli that we were visiting Jacob and Emily. She was so cute-- she would jump on their headstone and giggle and say, over and over, "Jacob and Emily!" She is always so happy when we go there, and I feel that it is because she is somehow aware of the special connection she has with them. Indeed, if it weren't for their short lives here on earth, she and Graci would not be in our home. It is amazing how the Lord works and how He brings to pass His eternal purposes. I know that we will all be together someday, and for that knowledge I am so very grateful. I love you, dear Jake and Emmy! Thank-you for all you have done for our family, and for guiding us to China. We know we will see you again!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Up the stairs!

Tonight as I went to put Elli to bed, I realized that we didn't have any new words to add to her list. We were downstairs and so I brought her to the bottom of the stairs, put her hand out, and let her feel a couple of stairs. I was about to tell her what they were, so we could practice, but I decided to just ask her instead. I thought if she said anything, it would be "carpet," but as she felt the shape of the stairs, she said, "up the stairs!" YAY!!!!!!!! Every time we are going upstairs I tell her, "Elli, we're going up the stairs." Apparently, she has caught on! She doesn't usually feel them with her hands-- just walks straight up-- but she was still able to tell what they were by feeling them. I am continually amazed at the progress she is making. She is truly a different girl than just a couple of months ago. I am so so so very happy for her!! Watching the world open to her through language is truly miraculous. I am so grateful to a loving Father in Heaven who has been with us every step of the way.

Oh, and P.S. Les-- Yes, Utah Truffle Bars are worth every one of their 306 calories! Sometimes we split one-- and it's still an indulgence! More often, I eat the whole thing myself and won't let Jeremy get within 10 feet of it. Once in awhile, when I'm being really good, I'll break a bar into thirds and make it last over 3 days. I like to eat them slowly and let them melt away in my mouth. Can you tell I'm passionate about my Utah Truffles? Mint, to be specific. Eat one a week and you'll be happy for the rest of your life! (;

Friday, March 6, 2009

A heartfelt post

I'm exhausted, but nobody can say I didn't write today! (:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tantrums and truffles

To say Elli woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning is an understatement. The tantrums she has had in the past were angelic compared to the one she had this morning! I must say, we were quite amused!!! She woke up with a goopy nose and I'm sure she wasn't feeling well. I'm not sure what exactly set her off, but as Jeremy sat her down for breakfast she began what was craziest tantrum I have ever seen. She was screaming and crying and throwing her tray off and flailing herslelf onto the floor. Then she thrashed around in such a rage that I could barely pick her up. I finally calmed her down enough to the point where she took a bite of oatmeal. As soon as it was in her mouth, she started screaming again and threw down the spoon. She then reached in the bowl with both of her hands and began shoveling sticky oatmeal in her mouth, all the while screaming and shaking. I couldn't help but laugh!! That probably sounds horrible, but there was nothing else to do!! Jeremy even got out the video camera to start recording it! I'm toying with posting it, but I think we would be tried for child abuse. (: She was covered from head to toe in oatmeal and was still screaming and shaking while shoveling oatmeal in as fast as her hands could go. When it was gone, she was even more mad! I put her in the bathtub and washed her off, and eventually coaxed her into the rocking chair where she finally cuddled up to me and started to calm down. I have NO IDEA what made her so upset! Like I said, I'm sure she wasn't feeling well-- but that isn't really anything new-- she gets colds often and they usually don't phase her much. I am happy to say that the rest of the day went perfectly well and she was very excited to learn her new word today-- "sticky blocks." They are those blocks with the prickly sides that stick together-- and there was something about that word that she loved saying! We would go through other words, and she would keep going back and saying "sticky blocks" and smiling and finding them on the floor. So cute.

It was four years ago this week that Elli was found along the side of a road by an older gentleman. She was brought to the police station and from there to the orphanage. I cannot even say how blessed we feel that she found her way from that road into our hearts and home. Just four years ago, a mother had to say goodbye to a beautiful little girl. I cannot wait until the day where I can meet her and express my love and gratitude for the amazing gift she gave us. I love her dearly for it.

Today we finished EVERYTHING for our newest adoption! The dossier was Fed-Exed to CCAI and now we just WAIT! I am so excited to be at this point!!! It feels so good knowing that we have done our part and that he will be in our arms soon. We love you, little Chu Chu!!

And now I leave you to enjoy the finest chocolate ever created! Yes, a mint Utah truffle bar is waiting for me on my pillow. If you have not yet experienced one of these, you have not lived. I truly believe this. So as you go about your business tomorrow, stop at a Deseret Book or Seagull Tape or Walgreens or even a random gas station (most of them carry Utah truffles_ and treat yourself to absolute bliss. If you live outside of Utah, you are still in luck. You can order them online in bulk, and the only thing better than buying one for yourself is buying them in bulk to share with all your friends! (:

Good night!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Family Blog

Tonight I decided to finally post over on the family blog instead of here. I will add Elli's "word of the day" and say that she had a fabulous day. She was singing her heart out almost all day long. (:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cousin It

This "every day of March" goal of mine is all that's making me blog right now! I'm exhausted, sick (just a cold) and want to curl up in my bed! My mind is all fuzzy right now, and I can't think of anything meaningful to say. So, I'm going to write about our Elli's hair!!! You will surely get a laugh out of this picture. For some reason, Elli's hair if left undone falls right over her face. It's just the way it lays. This is the reason I almost always it in ponytails of some kind-- if I leave even some of it down, it is always getting in her mouth and eyes. I've told people that her hair really falls forward, but to prove it, Jeremy took this picture. (: This is after having combed it nicely following a bath, but not putting clippies or ponytails in-- just a nice side part. Ten minutes later, it looked like this! Gotta love it!

As far as the new word for today-- we had another trampoline moment! I was getting Elli out of the car and put her hand on her seatbelt and asked her what it was. She felt it for a second and said, "buckle!" It was so cute! I had never practiced this with her. I am constantly talking to her and telling her what I'm doing, but never know how much she is comprehending. It is SO REWARDING to have her using some words and learning that she IS GETTING SOME THINGS! She's obviously listening when I tell her, "it's time for me to buckle you!" (:(:(:(:(:(:(:

Thanks so very much for your comments. They truly mean so much to me-- every single encouraging word. Truthfully, there are many times that mothering Elli is overwhelming, to say the least. So, THANK-YOU!

Ok, the bed is really calling out-- goodnight!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A word a day...

I was just thinking, if I am blogging every day this month, a good goal would be to add one word to the sidebar each day. It may not seem like much, but at the end of March, she could have 31 new words-- AMAZING. My rule with adding words is that she has to be able to identify them by herself at least an hour after we've taught them to her. For instance, she may copy something I'm showing her, but if I show it to her later in the day and she can't identify it, it can't go on the list. Maybe trying for this will give me added incentive to really work with her-- and I do feel like she is really wanting this and able to do it now. So... I'm adding this as a goal-- I'm praying for 31 words for March!! I know it can happen through HIM. Let's watch the miracle unfold!

Enough joy in one...

I am so in love with my kids! I don't always show it, and find myself nearly every day wishing I had spoken more kindly, taken more time, listened with more interest... Still, I cannot imagine loving them more!! The other day I was down about something, and then Elli started singing at the top of her lungs, "The Star Spangled Banner." I really need to get this on video, as it would surely bring a smile to your face. (: She doesn't pronounce every word, but is very much on key. Her voice is so so unique that you cannot help but smile and even laugh. I was thinking, "you know, if I cannot find enough joy in just that to get me through this day, then I am truly crazy!" In fact, I think I can find enough joy in just one of my kids to be really happy in my life! Really, each one brings such a swelling to my heart that I cannot imagine how I have become so blessed. I am so very grateful.

Tonight we had a VERY exciting thing happen. I was walking Elli downstairs to go to bed. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, I saw her trampoline and decided to try something. I put her hand on the bouncy part and asked, "What's this?" She bounced her hand on it for a few seconds that blurted out with complete clarity, "trampoline!" This is the first time (at least that I can now think of) that she has labeled something without having ever been coached. Usually, we practice with her, and then she may or may not remember it the next day. So this was VERY exciting! What's probably more exciting is how she seems so happy when she can say a word. It's like something has turned on in her that makes her WANT to learn and WANT to succeed. She smiles so big when she can identify something by touch. I am really feeling that we are on our way to more and more communication, and that is amazing beyond words. (No pun intended).

So, come on-- are you completely impressed that I have done two days in a row? (: I'm really committed to keeping this going!


Saturday, February 28, 2009

I haven't been nearly as good as I intended to be in keeping up with this blog. This is so sad, because Elli has little miracles happening every day, and I know I need to be keeping a record of them. So, for the month of March, my goal is to post EVERY SINGLE DAY on either this site or our family website. Go ahead and remind me if I ever start to slack in this endeavor. (:

Yesterday morning when I went to get Elli out of her bedroom, she was laying down playing with a toy. When she heard me come in, she bolted up and said excitedly, "a drink, a oatmeal, a bath, a rock-a-bye!" It was so cute and so amazing. Definitely the first time she has strung words together like that. You obviously wouldn't really call it a sentence, but still! She knew the morning routine and said it in her own cute way.

Unless you really know Elli, you can't imagine how far she has come in the last few months. She seriously only had a handful of words, and she was never consistent in using them. At our last IEP, which was a couple of months ago, we went through all the words she had used and it was less than ten. She would repeat words that we said, but we're talking about words that she would use on her own and knew their meaning. It wasn't just that she wasn't talking, she also wasn't understanding very much. And, like I said, she was never consistent in using her words. You cannot imagine how wonderful it is to now be able to ask a question like, "What do you want?" and have her answer it much of the time, even if it is usually food! (:(:(:(:

One milestone we have crossed is that she will now consistently point to her body parts when asked. She has known them for awhile, but not understood to point to them. Also, we are progressing on the goal of spoon feeding herself!!!!! It's important to know that when we listed this goal, we had had zero success with this. She hated if you tried to put a spoon in her hands and would fight it tooth and nail. It was a fight I had given up on, until a few weeks ago when, miracle of miracles, she let me put the spoon in her hand and help her put it to her mouth. Now, for the last two weeks, she has eaten her entire bowl of oatmeal BY HERSELF! Ok, I guess that is a stretch. She still needs help getting the oatmeal on the spoon. But she picks the spoon up, brings it to her mouth and puts it back in the bowl all by herself. I just have to make sure that the spoon is loaded before she picks it back up again, because the concept of scooping the food is still missing. STILL!! Our girl is eating by herself! (:(:(:(: When we first adopted Elli, at age two and a half, she had no concept of putting food in her mouth. She LOVED to eat, but you had to put the food in her mouth for her. It took about six months to teach her the concept of bringing her hand to her mouth. She was that delayed. And then for over a year, if you would hand her, say, a piece of bread, she would take a bite and then throw the rest of it across the room. It wasn't that she didn't want more-- she just couldn't get the concept of taking a bite and putting the rest down where she could find it again. Now, this isn't a problem. So even though the feeding progress has been slow, it is significant and wonderful.

Well, this is all I have time for, but know that there is much more to come! Also, I have quite a few words to add to the sidebar-- YAY!!!

We love you dearly, our sweet Elli-Belly!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pray she doesn't get fat... ;)

It's really sad that I haven't been keeping up on this--  and I am determined to do better.  I just read my last post and was WOWED!  I had almost forgotten just how much Elli was screaming, and am so happy to say that she is doing SO MUCH BETTER!  It took a week or two, but now she so rarely has a screaming fit that lasts longer than a few seconds.  YAY!!!!  :) :) :)

Now when Elli starts to fuss and you ask her what she wants, she will almost always respond.  Amazing.  The downside is that 98% of the time she is asking for food.  LOL  At first, we were so grateful she was answering us at all that we tried to give her what she asked for.  We soon learned that it is impossible to keep up with her food requests.  Every few minutes she's asking, "Cake?"  "Cookie?"  "Applesauce?"  "Hamburger?"  What was a miracle (and ok, it still is) has quickly turned into constant battle over when to give in, and how much to give her.  This girl can pack it in!  I am telling you, she could seriously eat as much as any of you reading this!  She is a bottomless pit, and is going to eat us out of house and home.  So lets all pray for her to ask for some NON-FOOD things-- like reading a book, or going on a walk.  So far, the only thing she's asked for that isn't food (besides the one-time "bear hunt") is to rock-a-bye-- and she does ask for that a lot.

Last week I showed Elli a balloon, and she held it for a short minute.  Yesterday I saw another one, though a lot smaller, and wondered if she would remember what it was.  I put it in her hands and asked "What's that?"  She immediately said, "balloon!"  This was crazy amazing, because she has only labeled a handful of things ever.  So, I thought it would be cool to keep a running tab on the sidebar of things she can identify by touch and actually say the word.  My goal is to have five new things a week-- and believe me, that is a lofty goal.  :)

As always, thanks for your comments and your faith in this blog.   She is a different girl than when we started it.  We know that all things can happen through Christ!