Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Unlimited Potential Forum is Going Strong!

In case you are unaware, there is a new forum dedicated to helping parents who are interested in a neurodevelopmental approach to helping their children achieve their full potential. Other topics include supplements, nutrition, early learning & any other (mostly non mainstream) therapies that parents are interested in.  The forum just got started this fall & already has almost 120 members! It is a public group & a very supportive bunch, so please feel welcome to join.
Hope to see you at the Unlimited Potential forum!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

One year ago tonight........................

One year ago tonight, I held my daughter's limp, blue, not breathing, unconscious body in my arms.  We had been performing first aid for several minutes, but it wasn't working.  Our SUV stopped in the middle of the road, so my husband could help, the hospital was still 15 minutes away & the ambulance that we were expecting when we called 911 was even further away. It was the single scariest moment of my life.  Typing this now, even a full year later is difficult, the tears are streaming.  A few minutes before, I had thought we would get to the hospital in time, but at this point I wasn't sure.

About 15 minutes earlier, we had sat down for supper.  We were in a bit of a rush, because we were heading down to the ski hill soon.  Hot dogs are a rare treat in my house, but at a grocery store in a different city a few days earlier, I had found some hot dogs that I thought were better nutritionally.  In my rush to get the kids fed & out the door, I forgot to slice K's hot dog in half length wise like I always do for my kids at that age.  She was quite hungry & very excited to get such a treat for supper, so she took a big bite & didn't chew as well as she should have.  Within moments, she was struggling to take a wheezing breath as a large chunk of hot dog blocked her airway. We tried doing the Heimlich, & because she was little we also tried doing the back blows & chest thrusts that you would do for an infant who is choking.  When we weren't successful, we quickly decided to head for the ER.  K was still able to breathe, but it was laboured & she was still wheezing. Once in the SUV, I phoned 911, which is when we were told that the only available ambulance in our tiny community at the moment, was way on the other side of town.  We had to make it to town with her still alive as the ambulance would never arrive in the few minutes it takes for a child to pass away from lack of oxygen.

Every first aid course I have ever taken (& there have been quite a few) came back to me as we desperately tried to get K breathing again. I'm sure it was only minutes, but it seemed like hours that we worked on K`s limp body to unblock her airway & get her breathing again.  Finally, I managed to dislodge the piece of hot dog & get it far up enough in K's throat, that my husband was able to put his finger in her mouth (which is actually a no no, but at this point we were desperate) & get it out. Within a very short time, K regained consciousness & her skin started to return from a terrible blackish blue colour to pink again.  By the time we reached the hospital 15 minutes later, although sleepy & not herself, she was starting to become more active & respond to questions.  The hospital monitored her for a while, then sent her home the same evening.

Although K mostly recovered quite quickly, her face looked terrible for a few days as many blood vessels broke during her ordeal.  She also had a number of bruises from us performing the Heimlich maneuver & back blows so many times.

The next evening, we cancelled all of our New Years plans & spent a quiet evening at home, just thankful that all of our family was there to enjoy it with us.

I am surprised at how hard this has been to write.  I don`t remember when I shed this many tears last.  I think how easily things could have ended differently & I am so grateful.  

If you make only one plan for the New Year, make a resolution to take a first aid course.  I pray you will never have to use the information, but it is better to have it because you never know when something like this could happen.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

K's Crawling Track Needs a New Home!

If you live in Canada, & are interested in a crawling track for your baby, K's has been sitting in my garage gathering dust for a few years now. It is time it moves on & helps another baby become mobile. If you are interested, you can see a picture of it in my post on Learning to Crawl

I am giving this away for free, but I would love to hear an update on how it works for your baby, & I would appreciate it being given to another baby with Down syndrome or special needs when you no longer needs it.

If you are interested, you can contact me at

Santa Claus came last night!

Actually, this was a gift from K's Grandma & Grandpa.  Santa didn't bring any educational toys this year, just a talking, moving baby doll, Littlest Pet Shop toys & a Barbie...............& of course, the most important thing on K's list................chocolate!

K has been really enjoying the map. It uses the pen from her LeapFrog Tag reading system.
Right now, she is mostly just exploring, but it has lots of games to challenge different levels of players, so I'm hoping that she (& her sisters) will get lots of use out of it.

While we're on the subject of geography, my older girls love the app Stack the Countries.
I was honestly very surprised that this has become a family favorite.  Even my husband plays this often.  My 14 year old loves to challenge everyone, & I'll have to admit that I don't give her much competition!  She is a whiz at knowing where every country is. Usually my older kids resist their Mom's educational activities, so this game is really a hit!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas wish for Abbott

I don't go to Reece's rainbow often.......I just can' breaks my heart to see so many beautiful little girls. & boys living in orphanages just because they happen to have an extra chromosome - just like
my K.

Last Christmas, I planned to purchase an ornament to hang on our tree to help create awareness amongst my family and friends.  As I scrolled through the faces of the many waiting children, one in particular caught my eye.  I clicked on his information page & was surprised to see that he was born in the same month & year as K was.  It was a neat coincidence, but the differences in the lives they have lived the last 4 years are in stark contrast to each other and our beautiful story and a half Christmas tree with Abbot's small ornament hanging front & center seems a little  extravagant today.

I haven't been to Reece's Rainbow in a couple of months, but for some reason, I didn't expect Abbot to be there.  I had it in my head that he would have found his forever family by now.

When the page opened, I was shocked to see that not only was Abbott still waiting for a family, but he was the 2nd child listed on the page - meaning he has the 2nd least amount of money to go towards his adoption of any child on the Angel Tree page.

 I am asking you, all of my readers to help. Please share this link to Abbott's page.  If you can donate, that is wonderful, but if you can't, please just help me spread the word about Abbott to help his family find him.  The Internet can be a powerful tool & if everyone who reads this helps spread the word through their blogs, Facebook, forums, etc., I am confident that next year Abbot can celebrate with his own family.

Next year, I don't want to have to mourn the fact that Abbott's adorable face is on my Christmas tree - I want to be able to celebrate it as he & his new family celebrate their first Christmas together.  Please share Abbott's story & help make both of our Christmas wishes come true.

........& the next year, I will have my heart broken again as another little girl or boy again wait patiently on my Christmas tree unto they too find their forever family.

Here is a link to the Angel Tree page:

Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Donation Page

Thank you everyone & have a very merry Christmas!

If You Blog (& Even if You Don't) Please Read This!

My next post will be about a little boy on Reece's Rainbow who needs his forever family.  I am asking all of my readers to please share the post so that Abbott an find his forever family & doesn't need to spend another Christmas alone.

thank you

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I can't keep up!

........................with K's computer skills! I had planned to do a post with a movie of her using the computer mouse, but before I could get it posted, she moved on to something new & exciting!

For some reason, I never thought to show her how to use a mouse until earlier this fall.  I bought a child size mouse, with only 2 buttons and for about 4 or 5 days, showed K how to use it hand over hand.  The next day, she got impatient while waiting for me to start Little Reader for her, I was just about to go help her when I realized that she had already started it!

Isn't this the cutest little computer mouse you've ever seen?
K loves Winnie the Pooh!

She is getting quite good at using the mouse, however I again, hadn't really thought ahead about teaching her to use the built in mouse on my laptop.  Again, K was ahead of me as about a month ago, I looked over and realized that although the mouse was still in my computer bag, she had managed to start Little Reader anyways!  Maneuvering the mouse with your finger isn't easy - I think my laptop is really touchy - it takes good fine motor skills even for me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Because its never too early to learn CPR...............

I volunteer at a nearby ski hill as a ski patroller. The main component of the job is to provide first aid services on the hill. The other weekend was our annual recertification for first aid as well as CPR. My husband & older 2 girls were at an event at another ski hill, so I ended up taking my younger 2 girls along.

K was quite fascinated by the CPR practice & decided to take part. She even counted as she did chest compressions & gave breaths:)

K made sure her patient was well taken care of!
I did however, draw the line at the AED. A defibrillation device in the hands of a 4 year old could get a little scary! After seeing it done once or twice, you can be certain that K would know which buttons to push & someone might get their heart jump started unnecessarily. I was very careful to explain that it is for adults only & she is not to even touch it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

I'll bet you didn't know I was multi talented! 

I learned to create balloon sculptures when my older 2 daughters were 1 and 3. I loved balloon animals when I was a little girl.  I found it fascinating to watch a balloon artist turn a simple balloon into an amazing creation, and wanted to be able to share this with my daughters.........& to be honest, I like to be a kid again sometimes.  LOL! 

It took hours of practicing over the next couple of years, & gradually, I learned to do ones like the Santa Claus pictured above & even more complex sculptures like my 5 foot high leprechauns with beards, fancy belt buckles & holding a black pot full of gold.

This latest sculpture was for an Christmas event held recently in our community and I donated it to the school after for all the kids to enjoy for a couple of weeks.

I know this isn't DS related at all, but I thought it would be fun to share a little about me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Reader Chinese

I was recently asked to review the Little Reader Chinese content.  I must start by saying, that I am not the most well equipped person to review this program.  In the area that I live in, I don't know of anyone who even speaks Chinese, so I have never really had any exposure to this language.  However, K & I are always up for a challenge, so she has been learning Chinese for the last month!

 In order to run Little Reader Chinese, you will need to own the Little Reader program. Little Reader Chinese is available in either simplified or traditional written Chinese. There are 2 semesters of content available for a total of about 12 months of learning fun.  Just like Little Reader in English, this program is fully customizable.  You can choose your content, add your own pictures, voice or add new words or pictures.  The flexibility of Little Reader is one of it's best features.  The Chinese content also goes from letters, to words right up to stories.

While I cannot comment on the language, I can comment on a number of other aspects of the program. It was kind of neat for me to experience learning a totally new language & experience Little Reader from a similar point of view to what a child would have! 

The pictures and short video clips used in the program are very clear & concise. I had no trouble at all figuring out what each word meant, & I know that K is understanding some of the words too.  It is interesting though, that while she is definitely picking up some Chinese words, as far as I can tell, she is not learning them at the same voracious rate that she is in English.  I am guessing that it is because in English, she knows the letters, their sounds, & is starting to have some understanding of phonics, word families, & even just patterns in the words.  I expect that if we kept with it, she would soon begin to learn Chinese at a quicker rate as well.  I also think that I am probably not giving her credit for learning as many words as she has, again, more because of my lack of understanding of the language.

Notice K's fingers as the word fingers is displayed?

I also really appreciate that by having a native speaker, the program teaches children the proper pronunciation of each word - something that would be almost impossible for me to teach myself.

I imagine that all of you are wondering if I will continue on with Little Reader Chinese?  Who knows what the future holds, but at this point it will not be part of our regular routine.  Perhaps with my typical kids I may have continued on.  It is a great program, but K has too many other things that she needs to concentrate on right now.  Her neurodevelopmental program takes up a fair portion of our day & between that & running after my older girls, I just don't think I can consistently devote much time to anything else.  K is able to use the Little Reader program fully independently though, so you never know how often she will choose to play the Chinese content.  I really think the benefits to a 2nd language are huge, so although I am not ready to make a firm commitment to a 2nd language at this point, I am hopeful that she will continue to enjoy this program even if it is on a less regular basis.

While I am not planning at the moment to make Little Reader Chinese a part of K's regular curriculum, I do highly recommend it to anyone who is wanting their child to learn Chinese. 

Here is a link to learn more about Little Reader Chinese.
 While you are there, make sure you join their 70,000 + members forum & join in on the wide variety of early learning discussions.

You can also keep up to date on Facebook.

This review was written in exchange for a free copy of Little Reader's Chinese content semester one.  I was not paid for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review.  This is my honest, unbiased opinion on this product.