I thought this would be an excellent post to combine. Willow has been in our family for 7 months as of October 28th and we just attended our first Buddy walk having Willow home and it felt so so good! Lots of updates and pictures below. You don't want to miss the last picture. ;)
The Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas organizes a buddy walk in Dallas every year to raise awareness for Down Syndrome and to celebrate those rocking the extra chromosome. It is such a wonderful event for the whole family and raises money for an amazing cause. Most of you all know how joyful our Sweet Willow is, now multiply that by 1,000. There is lots of music, bounces houses and other activities/games to play. As you can see, Willow is not afraid to bust out her dance moves.
How low can ya go?? :)
So excited to be here. We saw so many familiar faces too who we have got to know over the last year.
Willow's buddy Max who is also in her class at school. Aren't they precious?
Dillon is so sweet and ran to hug us all as soon as he saw us. #dsrocks
Libby really enjoyed herself too. She has got her daddy wrapped around her finger.
Next year we plan to have our own setup, with a tent where we can cook out and have our own spot for friends and family to gather. I was just excited we were in town for this event and that I even managed to design shirts just in time. Peace Love and a Hug was the perfect saying to put on them.
Thank you all again for those who purchased a shirt! I seriously got teary eyed as I would receive messages from people who wanted to be apart of, TEAM WILLOW!
Picture of all the kiddos together. We were waiting patiently (insert sarcasm) for our food.
Our Group minus a couple people. All the support means so much to us.
Then it was time to walk!!!!
Willow can't be on your shoulders without massaging your head, patting your face, kissing your cheek, lol.
The BEST shot of the whole day!!!!!
Libby and Miley preferred the wagon. :) Love these 2 blonde beauties.
After the walk, it was time for snow cones. Willow wanted to sample some from everyones. ;) And believe me, it's hard to tell her no.
Right as we were leaving, I realized we didn't have a family picture so here we are. Both girls passed out as soon as we got in the car to drive home. #success
7 month Adoption Update
It's been 7 months.....Wow! It's crazy to think about our lives before Willow came into them. Our lives are so much fuller and richer with her in it. She brightens our day, makes us laugh and makes our hearts seriously melt. She is just the sweetest girl. She has some sass too and a little bossiness. Lol. Her expressions are pretty awesome! She probably learns some of this from her Sister Libby....;)
The way she loves and forgives people is such a life lesson I think most of us work on on a daily basis. But to Willow, it just comes naturally. It is a gift she was born with. I'm telling you that extra 21st chromosome has so much more positives then struggles. She teaches me daily what unconditional love looks like.
Recently, our story was published over at No Hands But Ours and here is the LINK if you are interested in reading more of our story.
Willow started school at the beginning of October and she is loving it. She goes Mon-Friday from 11-2. It's the perfect amount of time for her. There are only 4 kids in her class and there are 2 teachers so she gets so much one on one attention. She also receives speech therapy during school twice a week. We are so grateful for this school and the PPCD program Willow is in. This program will get her ready for Kindergarten, so in a couple years she will attend the same elementary school as her siblings. I was telling a friend the other day there will only be 1 year that all 4 of my kids will be attend the same school. LOL. Right now, I do drop offs and pickups (with my husbands help) at 3 different locations.
Here she is ready for her 1st day of school!
Here she is ready for her 1st day of school!
I have tried to give Willow veggies and she pretty much avoids them if at all possible and especially if they are cold. She is becoming a little more picky and hard to figure out during meal times. Recently, her mealtimes have become quite stressful. Sometimes she wants my help and I'm happy to help her then other times she doesn't want anyone near her food. And then the next time she is happy to share. She will get very upset, more so at dinner and I'm still trying to figure out what it is all about. I really wish she could just tell me, I want to help her. Food can be a very emotional experience for her and other times she is perfectly content. We are just trying to stay calm during those moments and help work through it with her.
So I said by the time I have the next update she would be in her own room. Well, she is not. She is still in our room in her pack and play. We do plan to transition her this month but as you can see we are not in a big hurry. She still sleeps like a champ though for nap time (when she gets them) and during the night. She sleeps from about 8pm to 7am.
As I just mentioned, eating has produced a bit of a challenge here and there. We are also working on wining less and using signs to communicate what she wants. We are encouraging her to be verbal too and that is improving.
If I let her down to walk somewhere, she would definitely bolt or at least giggle as she gets further and further away from me. Most of the time she does it to be funny. However, if we were to be playing in the front yard, she knows not to go in the street. She is one smart cookie so it is hard sometimes to gauge where our expectations should be for her.
Physically speaking, this girl knows no limits. She climbs stairs so well and does rock climbing walls. All while I hold my breathe of course but she does it. She jumps, kicks balls, and will mimic just about anything. She is improving in all areas. Some quicker than others but if Willow could say, Don't Limit Me, she totally would. She exudes such confidence and persistence while trying to achieve something. There might be some stubborn-ness and independence in there too ;) but she gives it her ALL.
Her most recent word, in the last couple of days actually is being able to say, I LOVE YOU. I think I scared her when I screamed with excitement the other day. She has said, I for awhile now and she always points to her eye. But LOVE is much harder to say, I think all the L's are. But she says it really well and clear. When she says You, it comes out more like ew. It's so darn cute. So all together it sounds like I LOE EW!
She also says, "Stop" a lot! Probably because she hears me say it a million times a day. lol.
She is extremely expressive so between the 10-15 words she has, sign language and her expressions/hand motions, it's not too hard to figure her out.
She has grown a 1 full pound and a full inch in height since she has been home. I know it looks like more but it's because her hair is getting longer and she just looks more mature.
Willow knows we are her people, her family. She is loving all the familiar faces that she sees regularly too. She may not be able to say their names but she gets excited to see her family and friends. But she will always want to go back to her mommy and daddy if we are around where she can see us. We all just love her so much and I think she is pretty fond of us too. I recently was thinking about the different places she has lived her life and how attached she probably got to them and then all of a sudden out of the blue she was moved to another place. I pray for the day, she understands that we are her FOREVER, that she will never be moved to another place again. We are just so incredibly thankful and grateful for her.
As you have probably seen, Willow now has glasses. I didn't think she could get any cuter but she did when she put those tiny purple glasses on. She mainly wears them at school. It still is a bit of a struggle for her to keep them on so I'm always afraid we may lose them. Hopefully as she gets a bit older, it might get a little easier.
Willow got tubes put in a month ago and I can definitely see an improvement in her hearing. She is trying to speak more too which is another awesome result of getting tubes. I'm just so thankful she can hear better and I'm sure she is too.
More pictures of Willow that sum up her personality just perfectly.
This grin she gives me as she tilts her head to the side just melts my heart to pieces.
She wasn't into trick or treating at DisneyWorld, all this girl wanted was popcorn. haha.
You can take the girl out of Disney, but you can't take Disney out of the girl. I have a couple posts just dedicated to our recent Disney trip coming soon.
She loves bounce houses and slides, put those 2 together and this girl is in Heaven.
At school one day, she dressed up as a little chef/baker.
She takes fishing quite seriously!
They wanted to hold hands while they ate together. #sisters #bornfromtheheart
Willow was just recently dedicated at our church on the same day our church body walked for orphans as well. It was such a special day. #oneless
Last but not least, since I'm posting this on Halloween day.
Willow's unicorn costume for tonight.
I hope you were able to make it through to the end of this post if only to see her in this costume. She was so so excited when I showed her what she looked like with it on.
Hope you all have a Spooktacular evening, Happy Halloween!