Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tubes It Is

Today at the ENT we got the official "push" towards tubes for Anna. 

Basically he gave me two choices, 1) tubes, or 2) wait it out.  But, waiting it out could be a very long time, especially considering that children with Ds have teeny tiny ear canals to start with, and Anna seems to be extra tiny.

So, tubes it is -- ugh! Not that I am opposed to them - I am just opposed to having to put her through another procedure.  But, she does have mild hearing loss due to the fluid in her ears, so we think it is necessary. 

I am praying that these tubes will be the key to getting her started talking more.  She doesn't have any words yet, but does use a couple sounds, along with the sign, consistently.  She signs "again" and makes a "den" sound, and she signs "down" and makes a "dah" sound.  So, she gets the idea of communication - we just need to get her to hear all the sounds and hopefully start putting it all together.

I feel bad that we didn't have her ears checked sooner.  Who knows how long she has had this fluid and how much it has affected her development.  I just never thought to have them checked because I know she can hear, and she has had only one ear infection in over 2 years.  I am glad that her ST suggested having them checked just to rule out any hearing issues. (Ugh - the Mommy guilt we lay on ourselves)

Surgery date is scheduled for Friday, October 1. 


Two more days!

After a rough start yesterday, things got much better.  We had scheduled a big playdate in the park where we met lots of friends for a picnic lunch.  This seemed to 1) up their spirits, and 2) wear them out.

Charlie's best friend and best girlfriend were both there -- and he found out that they are both in his class this year.  It is going to be a great year of 1st grade for Charlie (socially anyway - he may be too distracted for much academics).

Today I tried a different tactic.  I made plans to take them to the town pool where we plan to meet a bunch of friends (still Hot! Hot! Hot! here) and gave them warnings that we would NOT be going if their behavior is not acceptable.  I have only had to remind them, oh, 50 times, so far...=\

I am taking Anna to the ENT, though, and a babysitter is coming to watch Charlie and Paige - so I am going to get a break...from the fighting at least - I will still have Judy Attitudey (my new nickname for Anna) with me.  Man - she is becoming a screamer!

Hopefully tomorrow I will get to post about our fun trip to the pool!!

Monday, August 30, 2010


That is...3 more days until Charlie starts back to school. 

It could also stand for the number of hairs I will have left on my head by then at the rate we are going.

I am praying that we are able to enjoy these last few days of summer (and summer they are -- hot! hot! hot!) instead of spending them all in timeout, or on their beds, or as I am tempted to do - locked in a cage.

Hope you all are enjoying your Monday =)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Land of Make Believe

Nope, it is not the place where all the children play nicely and have impeccable manners - but it is a real place in New Jersey!

Last weekend we went to the Land of Make Believe with some family friends: Judd and Elaine and their children Peyton and Lauren.  We had great company, great weather, and a really great time!

For those wondering, The Land of Make Believe is a cheesy little amusment park/waterpark nestled in rural NJ.  It is definitely geared toward kids under 10. There are maybe 2 rides that would be fun for anyone older than that. 
Charlie and Peyton - chasing the "robbers"

Paige and Lauren

My big kid, Jonathan, enjoyed the rides also

I didn't even attempt to put Anna on any rides after our last amusement park fiasco

No rides for Anna, but she did have a ball in the waterpark! I would put her on a slide and held her hands as she splashed down into the water. The smile and excitement on her face were priceless!  She kept signing, "Again! Again!" over and over.  (Sorry, no pics...I didn't take my camera into the waterpark with me.  Shame on me!)

I think we will definitely be using our imaginations again in the future at the Land of Make Believe -- especially since it is less than 20 minutes from our house!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Survival of the Fittest

Charlie has a little over a week before he starts back to school, and Paige just over 2 weeks.  So, right now we are in "survive each other until school starts" mode. 

Not such an easy task...especially on a rainy couple of days. 

So, instead of having a playdate today (just could not reward such poor behavior), I took the kids shopping for new sneakers for school.  I am not sure if this was more punishment for the kids, for me, or for the other patrons in the store.  I probably should have been embarrassed, but 1) my kids were not the only loud and obnoxious ones in the store, and 2) I was just not in the mood to care.

I was spared for at least part of the day yesterday because I had a babysitter watch Charlie and Paige while I took Anna for her hearing test. When I got home, they told me that Bear Bear (what they call their babysitter) was more fun than I am.  "Naturally," I said, "she is getting paid"  =)

The results of Anna's hearing screening were good and bad. Bad - she still has fluid in her ears that is affecting her hearing somewhat. Good - Despite the fluid, she hears pretty well, and once the fluid is gone, her hearing should be completely normal. So now, we just have to figure out how to get rid of that fluid (tubes?). We have an ENT follow-up appt. next Tuesday to discuss.

And what, oh what, shall we do tomorrow to entertain ourselves?  I already had to cancel tomorrow's playdate as well (just can't reward that poor behavior).  I think it is time to educate the kids on toilet bowl scrubbing.  =)

Just a Note:  I really do love my children - beyond measure.  I think we are just ready for the routine (and time apart, time with friends, etc.) of school to return so we can appreciate each other again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Every Now and Then, They Get Something Right!

New Jersey is a messed up state in a lot of ways: outrageous property taxes, corruption, out of control budget, etc. Not to mention the shows Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey that many believe are accurate representations of the people in our state. 

But, this week, the people in Trenton finally got something right! This week, Governor Christie signed legislation that will eliminate the use of the term "mentally retarded" in reference to the disabled, and will replace the term with "intellectual disability" and "developmental disability".

(Read Article Here)

Now, I guess, New Jersey has two redeeming qualities...The elimination of the R-word, and you don't have to pump your own gas! =)

(For those of you wondering, all gas stations in NJ are full-service.  This is such a great thing. In fact, I have lived in NJ long enough that I almost forgot that in other states, I have to do it myself.  Recently, on vacation in Mass., I pulled into a gas station and sat in my car a good minute or two before I remembered that I have to actually get out and fill my own car. Ha! Ha!)

Anyway, so now Miss Fancy Pants is no longer "Mentally Retarded" (at least in NJ, anyway). She is now "Intellectually Disabled" -- just like the rest of us! =)

And, no matter how you want to describe her intellectual status, "Cutie Patootie" is about the only phrase that would accurately describe her physical status.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


...No need to say more

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buddy Walk with Anna - 2010!!

Dear Friends and Family,

Another year has flown by at the Russell house, and we continue to Praise God for all the blessings he has given to us. One of the greatest blessings continues to be Anna Banana Pants.

On Saturday, October 23, we will be walking in the Northwest New Jersey Buddy Walk to show our support for Anna, and the more than 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the United States.

We are asking you to Buddy Walk with Anna to make a difference for people with Down syndrome in our community and help the National Down Syndrome Society create change nationwide.

The walk is less than a mile – so anyone can do it! Last year, the Anna’s Banana Pants team raised almost $2500 and had almost 40 people who braved the elements to walk with Anna. What a blessing it would be to exceed both of those numbers this year!

The walk should be extra exciting this year (at least for us) because Anna may actually take a few steps on her own! She has made a lot of progress over the past month, and we would love to have you there to help cheer her on.

Click on the Web site link HERE to visit our Buddy Walk page, (or click on the Buddy Walk logo in the right column), and follow the 'My Team Page' link to join our team, Anna’s Banana Pants, today! It is a fun day with lots of activities for the kids, food, and live music. And, we top it off with a gathering back at our house (more details on that as the event gets closer).

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
See you at the Northwest New Jersey Buddy Walk!

Jonathan and Lori
Charlie, Paige and Anna Banana Pants!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Step Forward!

Anna continues to make great strides in learning how to walk. It must be from all the help from Emilia's family :)

She did this about 50 times this morning...back and forth, back and forth.

And, please excuse the mess in the background, Charlie and Paige were building forts :)

Our Visit with Emilia

We started off our recent vacation the best way possible...by visiting some very special friends. We stayed overnight in Boston on our way up to Maine, so it was possible that we were able to meet up with Miss Emilia Faith and Family!

What a blessing Emilia, Stephanie and family are! They were so welcoming and loving, and we felt right at home in their house.

Emilia is even cuter in person (if that is even possible). She is quite the mover and shaker, that one.

And, what a lucky girl to have such great siblings and parents! Anna seemed quite smitten with Andrew. And it appears he was enjoying Anna as well.

Anna had a great time practicing her walking with Peter, Sophia and Stephanie. I am considering ditching our PT and hiring them :)

Thanks, again, Stephanie and Peter, for welcoming us into your home. Your family is absolutely beautiful! Hopefully we can meet up again - and hopefully next time Landon and Kelly will be able to join us!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fun in the Sun is Done (PictureFest!)

It is Monday, and I am not at the beach...that must mean that I am back at home trying to re-establish some semblance of a routine.

We had a great vacation up in Maine. We try to go there each year with Jonathan's side of the family. Each year it is much of the same, but it is always a good time. (Link to last year's post)

The weather did not disappoint us again this year, so there were many great beach days! 

Charlie and Paige had a great time jumping in the waves, building sand castles, and hunting for sea creatures.

Anna was happy as a clam in her little pool that we brought with us.  This turned out to be a great solution for Anna.  We put a little water in the pool so it would not be freezing cold like the ocean, placed it under an umbrella, and let her play till she was pruny all over!

We also made it down to the pier for some rides.  Charlie, Paige, and cousins, Eliza and Hudson, were thrilled. 

Anna...Not so much.

She was not happy with them at all!!  I guess I can look at the bright side and see this as we don't have to waste money on silly rides for Anna. =)

We even managed a round of golf in the Annual Salvation Army Golf Tournament.  Despite not having played since last year, I won the longest drive. Woot! Woot!  It was about my only contributing shot of the day...but that is beside the point =)

And now, the countdown until school begins.  Charlie has just over 3 1/2 weeks before he starts, and Paige about 4.  Still plenty of summer left!!