Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chewy Tubes for Oral Stimulation, Speech, and Eating

It has been nearly a year to the date since Ellie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.  In the past year, we have tried just about every chewy tube known to mankind and I have learned many things:

1. Chewy Tubes come in various shapes, textures, diameters, and firmness.
2. Chewy Tubes help satisfy oral seeking behaviors.  There will be good mouthing days and bad mouthing days.
3. Chewy Tubes are also for those with oral aversion--start with the smallest diameter chew and work your way up.  Start smooth, then add textured bumps.
4. Chewy Tubes can help jaw gradation and therefore speech development.
5. Chewy Tubes can help in eating--with chewing and biting.

Silly Ellie! Chewing on your foot does not count as a "socially acceptable" chew. Eh, being socially acceptable is truly over-rated.  Embrace your uniqueness, show off your flexibility, and chew away!

This post is not to advertise any particular product or seller, but to rather share the various types of chewy tubes that we use with Ellie regularly.   If any maker or seller of chewy tubes would like to send us a free tube as a "thank you" for the free advertising, Ellie would graciously accept!

Many of your know that Ellie is a sensory seeker and tends to mouth (and climb) everything.  Shoes, toys, crayons (especially the red ones), playground mulch, etc. Sadly, it does occasionally impact her ability to learn and play.  She is so focused on satisfying that oral craving that she cannot remove the toy from her mouth to play with it.  Ellie cannot develop a good grasp on a crayon, marker, or chalk because she is munching on it. Here are where the chewy tubes come in.  While gnawing on a chew tube, Ellie is able to focus on her occupational therapy tasks.  She is able to color. She does not get in trouble at the gym daycare for chewing on other kids' toys/shoes/artwork. Chewy tubes satisfy Ellie's oral cravings, but they can also be used to stimulate a certain area of the mouth to help with chewing or to help with sound development.  We use the chew to massage the insides of her gums or we place it along the upper alveolar ridge behind her front teeth encourage her tongue to touch the top of her mouth (this is for forming "n" and "t" sounds).  These tubes can also be instrumental in helping children over come oral aversions.

Throughout the day, I show Ellie the stash of chews and she selects the one that she is in need of.  Many of these can be found on Amazon by searching for "chewy tube" and some can be found on many Autism websites such as National Autism Resources.  Plus, added bonus, the very last one can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot for just cents!

The P-Tube or The Grabber
P & Q Chew

The Grabber

This particular chew is solid unlike many of the other chews marketed.  Consequentially, it is the firmest.  The curved portion of the P allows for an easy grip, even among those children with delayed fine motor skills.  These tubes can be smooth or bumpy.  Ellie prefers the bumpy (we had the Grabber). The bumpy one has different types of textures on all sides.  I have not been able to find replacements online, but there are pre-flavored P-Tubes in orange and in grape.  Ellie received her orange one from her speech therapist, but sadly it is caught behind a drain at the 24-Hour Fitness Kids Club.  If you child has oral aversion, try buying the smooth P-Tube first as she may be more tolerant.  Then you can build up to the bumpy one.

The T-Tube is currently Little Bear's favorite.  We have the red one and it is by far the firmest of all of her hollow chews.  The red one is also smooth, but if your kiddo needs an extra sensory stimulation boost, the green one is knobby.  Not only do these bad boys satisfy oral seeking behaviors (or help with oral aversion) they also help jaw mobility for the development of biting and chewing. Ellie will chew on all ends of the T-Tube, but technically the long portion of the T is meant to go into the mouth.  The tube is short enough that the risk for jabbing it into the back of the throat and causing all sorts of nasty bleeding is minimal.  I do allow Ellie to run around with this particular chew unlike I do with the toothbrush or food-grade tubing. 

The Tri-Chew is also another favorite in our household.  Each side is a different diameter and its main purpose is for jaw gradation.  Essentially this chew helps promote jaw stability which in turn will add in the production of sounds.  The textured sides are supposed to, in theory, mimic chewing textures of food. This particular chewy tube has the most "give" or should I say the "chewiest" in our entire arsenal.  The shape of this tube, like the P-Tube is easy for young children and those with fine motor delays to hold independently. Another added bonus to the Tri-Chew is the decreased choking hazard.  I will allow Ellie to run around with this one in her mouth. 

We actually do not use jigglers, but rather a vibrating toothbrush.  This little vibrating bits of cuteness are quite pricey at around $28, but they do serve multiple purposes.  If you decide to purchase one of these vibrating oral stimulators, I suggest the elephant because his ears can also act as a spoon.  Or, you can be cheap like me and use a Thomas the Train (or Dora) toothbrush.  Yes, I do carry a toothbrush in the diaper bag.

Chew Necklace

This little stretchy cord come in a variety of colors and diameters and can serve as necklaces or bracelets. Their main function is to satisfy mouthing.  The necklace is actually marketed for kids who tend to chew on their clothing.  In all practicality, they are better served for older children when you do not have to worry about accidental strangulation due to overzealous use of the chewelry necklace.  Ellie does have a bracelet.  She used to have a necklace.  It is now laying abandoned in the darkened corners of the Lakeline Mall.  While Ellie does chew on the bracelet, she tends to play with it more.  She loves to stretch it as wide as possible and then let go, sending spittle everywhere and the chewelry cord flying.  Note that this is one of those where you can buy it cheaply on Amazon rather then buying the brand-name of Chewelry.  Search term: chewelry

The chew is hanging off of her shirt in this older photo.
As you can see, she is preferring to chew on the camera lens cap. 

This was Ellie's first foray into the chewy tube world.  I purchased this for two reasons: 1. it was cheap and 2. it has a little clip to attach to Ellie's clothing.  It is also my least favorite due to some reasons listed later on.  The Chew-Ease is essentially food grade tubing that has a "chewelry" cord attached to a clip.  Ellie loves the tubing and she loves the chewelry cord.  It is a great little chewy if you have a thrower which is why I purchased it in the first place.  However, I would not want Ellie to have this tube unsupervised given it shape which allows for ramming down the back of the throat or poking out an eye.  Also, the Bear would accidentally step on the tube while its dangling from the collar of her shirt when she bears crawling up stairs.  It would snap back up and whack her in the face.  It took me days to figure out where the strange pattern of bruising came from on her face.  Amazon search term: Chew-Ease

Food Grade Tubing

Yeah, I know, still the chew-ease, BUT the food grade tubing is that clear tube on the end of the blue coiled cord.
Food grade tubing is very similar to what you see with the Chew-Ease.  It is PVC tubing found at Lowes.  It is the cheapest and easiest to replace.  As with many chews, you can vary the firmness.  Typically we buy 1 foot for food grade tubing for $0.29.  See, I said cheap!   I cut it into 3 pieces.  We tend to lose these rather frequently because it is clear and there is the potential for it getting rammed down the throat.

Finally, you can flavor any of these chews to increase oral stimulation.  Slightly moisten the chew tube and roll in dry Crystal Light powder.

It is really beneficial to have a few chews of various diameters and firmness.  On any give day, Ellie may select the chewiest of all them and other days it may be the firmness.  Oral cravings vary by day and therefore having a variety of chews on hand is very beneficial. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Back around Easter time, I shared with you a photo taken by my husband.  I was in St. Louis with Ellie visiting my parents while Andrew toiled at home.  He happily informed me that he "made a dent" in our master bathroom mold problem.

Here was the picture from early April:

April 2012

Now, 1.5 months later, check out the progress!

May 29, 2012

The bathtub is clean.

To be fair, we have shopped for tile and we have the cement board in our garage.

Random Ellie photo.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sweet Innocence

She looks all sweet and innocent, right?

Not so.  Ellie has taken to stripping.  In public.  In front of children.  And for free.

Monday morning I sat at the outdoor McDonald's playscape sipping my coffee while Ellie was playing gleefully.  I love this particular playscape because Ellie can easily navigate it and she can climb to her heart's content.  Plus, I get coffee.

Ellie enjoys sitting at the very top and watching other kids go down the slide.  Happily sipping my coffee and listening to Ellie repeatedly saying "oh yeah oh yeah", a little girl comes down the swirly slide holding Ellie's clothes.  Yep, my daughter stripped off her clothing and was hanging out in her diaper.  I am relatively certain the no shirt, no shoes, no service also applies to Ellie.

This one looks innocent too.

Again, not so.  She pee-peed in the house this weekend.  Again, looks can be oh so deceiving.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Through the Eyes of a Person with an Anxiety Disorder

*I actually wrote this post well over 2 months ago and must admit that I was too scared to post it.  In fact, the past few weeks I have been toying with hitting that "publish" button.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a real mental disorder that I was diagnosed with over 10 years ago and even with all of the advertisements on TV for x,y,and z medications, there is still a huge stigma surrounding mental health issues.  Anxiety, sadly, is often passed off as no big deal or as everyone has it, but those with an actual anxiety disorder know how debilitating it can be. May is Mental Health Awareness month and AWF's big advocacy for mental health on StopDisabilitySlurs has motivated me to finally hit the "Publish" button on this post.*

It has been a while (a year already!) since I discussed my never-ending ( or so it seems) battle with depression and generalized anxiety disorder.  In addition to my own coping mechanisms,  I have been seeing a therapist for cognitive behavior therapy and medication.  My depression has mostly resolved itself and I had been doing well. Recently, I was weened off of my antidepressant and I did great.  For 1.5 weeks.  Then anxiety just mushroomed in my brain.  It became paralyzing to the extent that I could not focus on anything else.  I was sweaty and had a rapid heart rate.  I was hounding Andrew about things that seemed like such a big deal to me, but in reality were minuscule. 
I couldn’t hide it [anxiety] very well.  I tried to, but I kept hearing “are you alright?” from friends.  Of course I never told people the way I truly felt.  No one really wants to hear the truth, especially where mental health is involved.  It is still a taboo subject, unfortunately.  So instead I would use the blanket excuse of “I am just tired”.  An acceptable, all too common excuse used by many mothers. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder [GAD] is a true mental health illness.  It is not some made up disorder and it can be extremely debilitating if not treated.  It affects all aspects of one’s life.  By that, I mean GAD affects my sleep, my relationships, my ability to perform day-to-day activities, and yes, shamefully, my parenting.

Anxiety is the result of a neurotransmitter imbalance.  Serotonin is the most commonly discussed neurotransmitter, but there are also norepinephrine and dopamine. I will not go into a full fledged biochemical, neurology lecture here, but suffice to say that an anxiety disorder is in an essence a brain disorder.  The misfiring and poor reuptake of neurotransmitters can manifest itself in the form of anxiety, depression, or bipolar just to name a few. 

Anxiety is not rationale.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  Actually, the hallmark characteristic about anxiety is that it is irrational.  It is feeling of a lack of control.  No one chooses to be anxious.  Come on!  Who would want to be in full-blown panic mode 24/7?  Plus, if I could control it, I wouldn’t be anxious now would I?  I am serious in that sometimes it is the anxiety disorder that is worse than the depressive disorder.  And sometimes, they go hand-in-hand.  

To get an idea of how a simple thought snowballs into a full blown, irrational thought catastrophe read on:
I have been out of work for nearly 3 years and in about 6 months, Ellie Bear will be in the school system.  That means I might, notice I said might, be returning to work part-time.  I assume that it would be reasonable for anyone to be a bit nervous about returning to work after such a long gap in employment. 
For me, this resulted in panic.  Paralyzing, all consuming panic.  No one would hire me.  I am unhireable.  What if they do hire me?  I do not remember how to practice medicine (uh, hey, I take continuing education classes and exams every year to stay licensed so I am not completely clueless).  Oh no, I cannot remember the treatment for mollescum contagiosum! I will accidentally kill someone (mollescum contagiosum is not deadly).  Then I really won’t have a job.  I will be in jail and someone will be without their child.  That thought then leads to: What if Ellie dies?  I will not survive. So for and so on.
If I am not hired, I will not have a job.  If I wait a few more years to work, there will be an even bigger gap in employment.  See above paragraph.
What if Andrew dies (See, I said irrational)?  How will I support me and Ellie?  Ellie will need support for most of her life and Andrew will be gone.  How can I afford the car and the house payments?  My parents will probably be gone by the time Andrew passes so Ellie and I will be alone.  I can't do this! They will take Ellie away from me because I cannot support her. . . I know!  I will sell the Supra!  Where is the key to the Supra?  I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE KEY IS TO THE SUPRA AND I CANNOT SUPPORT THE FAMILY! (Yes, we own a Supra.  No you cannot steal it because 1. no keys & 2. no engine) 
Around and around it goes.  Over and over again.  Completely irrational, highly improbable thoughts, and yet it was all I could think about.  I was asking Andrew in depth questions about his life insurance (and where the key to the supra was).  
Telling a person with an anxiety disorder to “knock it off”, “snap out of it”, or “just stop thinking about it” is completely pointless and belittling.  Don’t you think we thought of that already and if we could “snap out of it” and easily redirect our thoughts we would?  So what now? After a therapy appointment and a visit to the psychiatrist, it was decided that maybe I need to restart my antidepressant (also great for anxiety due to its effect on serotonin).  Medication is so important and it is not something to be ashamed of.  Just as a diabetic needs the proper amount of insulin, a person with anxiety needs the proper amount of neurotransmitters.

How is it working for me?  I am doing better.  I am sleeping and I am able to focus on something outside my lack of employment.   Am I cured?  No, this is a lifelong battle.  I will continue my therapy appointments to fine tune my coping mechanisms and deal with flare ups as they occur.  I will continue to take medications that tend to have unfortunate side effects (ie increased hunger leading to weight gain.  Did I mention weight gain? , weight gain, sleepiness, sleeplessness).  I will do these things because I love my Ellie, I love my husband, and yes, I love myself.  
For more information on anxiety disorders, please check out these links:

National Institute of Mental Health: How to Get Help for Anxiety Disorders.

National Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapists. What is CBT

The Mayo Clinic-Generalized Anxiety Disorder

National Alliance on Mental Illness.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Meriah at With a Little Moxie who has hosted this Disability Connection Blog-Hop. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daddy's Girl and Ellie Bear Picnic

This past Friday, Ellie and I spent the afternoon with Andrew and 33 engineers all gathered around grills.  (I know, I am a bit behind on the blogging, but I have been distracted by a climbing monkey flinging vaseline).  Every year, except for last year due to a burn ban, Andrew's department BBQs and smokes enough meat to feed all of the military personal at Ft. Hood.  No lie.  There were pounds upon pounds of meat.  Yummy, beautifully marbled slabs of meat. Scrumptious, perfectly seasoned meat.

We didn't get to eat any.

Okay, that is a lie.  We shared a hamburger.  I literally would eat a bit and then shoved the burger into Andrew's face so that he could get a bite while holding an overly tired, cranky Ellie Bear on the warpath.

It was a good burger.  Plus, there were cookies.  Tasty cookies.  Ellie smeared one all over her mouth and over her face and in the dirt.

Obviously there was a pre-picnic photo shoot.

When we brought Ellie to the company picnic 2 years ago, she was a cute, CHUNKY thing who wasn't yet crawling or sitting, let alone walking.  Every passerby proclaimed "she must be Andrew's kid" because seriously, those acorn-storing cheeks of hers were clearly from the Theurer side.

Picnic 2 years ago

Hmmm, maybe Ellie's coke consumption is what makes her so hyper?

This year was a bit more adventurous and tiresome and hectic given Ellie's crazy mobility skills.  Immediately upon setting Ellie on the ground, she races for and grabs the lighter fluid.  After prying her fingers loose and giving her a stern warning, she grabs the electric cord to the stereo.  Really?  I mean, really?  Lighter fluid and plugs!  Toddlers seem to have a built in sensor for finding the most dangerous items at any location.

After equipping Ellie will a shovel and a bucket, we toted her over to the vacant sand volleyball pit. . .  where Turkey Bear promptly began digging up an ant pile.  Texas ants are nothing like those puny little black things everyone else calls ants.  They are serious ants with a serious bite.  Ellie is now sporting two bites near her bum.  Ouch!

Did I mention that we were near Lake Austin?  That means there was water.  Where there is a dangerous lake, there is a precocious toddler adamant about dipping her body toes in.  Fortunately, wading in the lake provided some priceless father-daughter bonding.

The company picnic was like setting a kid loose in a fireworks candy store and yet, it was a good family experience.  With my cell phone camera glued to my hand, I was able to document the unbreakable bond between Ellie and Andrew.  It was evident throughout the afternoon that Ellie clearly prefers her Daddy to Mama. . . and I am okay with that.


Monday, May 21, 2012

How Did She Do It?

We have only been up and about for a short period of time and already, my Little Tornado has destroyed her room, needed and received a bath, and rearranged the furniture in our kitchen (she was going for a more feng shui feeling).  All of this before I could drink a cup of coffee.  Or pee.

I woke up to the sound of wood hitting wood.  Plus, a happy-sounding exclamation from Ellie.  We all know that thuds compounded with happy toddler sounds equal trouble.

Groggy, I enter my daughter's room to see this:

I think she used that chair ottoman next to the dresser to aide her climbing adventures. Ottoman has now been removed.

Oh yes, that is Ellie in the middle dresser drawer.  Yes, she did remove all of the clothing before hand so that she may fit into the dresser drawer.  What you do not see is that she is slathered in Vaseline.  Head to toe.  Hair is matted to her skull.  She was really going for deep conditioning and skin moisturizing. What you also do not see is that the dresser drawer is filled with the items that were on top of the dresser--from the other side of the dresser that could not have possibly been reached unless Ellie was on top of the it.

Apparently, she thought that the wood needed a nice polishing. . . with Vaseline.  And Butt Paste.

My daughter is a climber.  We all know that, but I am still trying to figure out just how she ended up in that drawer.  It seems I have more child proofing to do.  Ellie Bear is clearly my daughter.

As my father would say "It's payback!"

Thankfully, my daughter is well versed in "clean up".  She did put all of her clothes back into the drawer. Plus, her hair now has an extra sheen to it.  Shampoo commercials, here we come!  Now, I just need her to move our kitchen furniture back to its original arrangement.

If any of you know how to get Vaseline off of furniture, please share!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Bs and a P: seeking comfort and security

Since Ellie Bear was a wee little bambina, her pale, pink lovie has been her security blanket.  She needs it to sleep.  Seriously, no blankie equals no sleep. She chews on it when tired, ill, or in pain.  Andrew and I used to keep it safely stowed away in her crib where she could only have it at night, but well, we got rid of the crib and since then she has full fledged access.  That and she can now reach the top dresser drawers that house the "spare" lovies.  Heaven forbid there is ever perfectly clean, fresh lovie in the house.

We currently own 4 of these blankets.  We have owned a grand total of 6 thus far, but not all at the same time as one is hanging out in some dirty, dusty corner at Lakeline Mall and another was eaten by our washing machine or the dog or is also in a dark, dusty corner of our house.  (I seriously need to do some deep housecleaning.)  Every parent knows to keep an "emergency lovie" on hand in case the precious item is in the wash or worse, lost.

Oh the things that we must do to integrate the spare lovie into the household.  The things we must do to pass it off as THE lovie.  I have a friend who has thrown the spare blanket in the mud, rubbed it in the diaper pale, and washed it multiple times so that it has the "look" and "smell" of the beloved original blankie.  Believe me, her son knows the difference otherwise.

I say all of this because I am now on a lovie mission.  I need a spare stuffed puppy and a baby doll.  The baby I can handle easily.  The stuffed puppy, not so.  It has been so loved that I cannot even read the fabric tag to see the brand.

This past week, Ellie has decided that it is imperative to carry not one but TWO blankies, her baby, and her puppy to every single room in the house.  The Bs and P have lovingly been placed into her highchair before she herself climbs into it demanding to "eat".  They have ended up in the bathtub, thankfully before I turned the water on, because I told her it was time for her bath.

Of course, The Bs and P are now leaving the confines of our house and you know what that means. . . a high risk for misplacement.  I do not let them leave the car, but toys have mysteriously vanished from the backseat before.  That and The Chunky Chicken has the tendency to just fling items at full force out of the car when I open the door.  More times than not, the said items roll far under a neighboring car unable to be retrieved.  Hence, my mission.  Google, you and I are going to be good friends.

I am not sure what brought on this need for extra security items.  Perhaps the bed transition?  I am certain that there is some psychological or developmental theory about this involving the toddler seeking independence, but needs a transitional item to feel secure during their new endeavors or some such.  To be honest, I do not really care.  Is it hurting anything?  No.  It is too cute to watch my 23 lb toddler carry around an armload of toys trying not to drop them along the way to her destination.  So The Bear needs two blankets, a puppy, and a baby to go with us to the grocery store so be it.

What sort of lovies does your child have?  What sort of drastic measures have you taken to disguise the replacement lovie as THE lovie?


Friday, May 18, 2012

Many Faces of Ellie: Fun Foto Friday

Foto.  I really hate misspelling, but I needed it to tie into the Fun and the Friday.

Sometimes you just have to have not one, but 2 blankies.

Happy Friday!

What are your weekend plans?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You're Dying Your Hair WHAT Color?

I am certain that many of you believe that the title of this post is related to the fact that I have discovered a few strands of white hair.  You would not be entirely mistaken.  This week, I did indeed find a THIRD strand of fully white hair on top of my 31 year-old head.  Oh why do these snowy hairs insist on cropping up around my face for all (and by that I mean me) to see rather than hidden in the back depths of my auburn noggin?

Do you see those white hairs?  Nope, you shouldn't for I plucked those bad boys out immediately upon discovery!

I apologize.  I am done bemoaning my aging head.  Moving on.  I am dying my hair for a completely different purpose.  What, honey?  I didn't inform you that I was dying my lovely, bouncy locks of sheer sexiness?

After great thought. . .  all of 30 seconds, I have opted to dye this precious head of hair purple.

Yes.  Purple.

For all of my high school and college buddies who thought I had grown up and moved passed my days of Manic Panic, I am being completely mature about this.

I am not, and I repeat not, having a mid-life crisis.  A little over a week ago, received what Jane has referred to as "The Cheekiest Email Ever from the Flight Platform" and it was enjoyably cheeky.  From all of my interactions with my blogging lovey Jane, this one was rather cheeky and rather enticing.  Which means I jumped into her request with both feet as fast a humanly possible.  At the risk of becoming Billy No-Mates, Jane pleaded with us to help her.  To help her raise money and raise awareness. . . by stealing readers.  Okay, that is not completely true.  Jane always has grand plans when it comes to fundraising.  Plans that involving drastic weight loss (she is doing the 50lb thing right now which equals I do not know how many stones) and then there was the chili being dumped on her head.  Fundraising has been rather difficult.  Hence the need to expand readership and add a little enticement.

Photo: Flight Platform Living

Jane had the great privilege not too long ago to witness sweet Francine's Adoption as well as visit Orphanage 50.  As many of you already know, there are several orphanages in Eastern Europe filled with unwanted children.  Children with disabilities because their parents were told by society that their kids are better off hidden away.  Not all orphanages are horrible.  In fact, those at Orphanage 50 have caring providers who want the best for their wards before they are sentenced to a horrible life in a mental institution at the age of 5 years.

Jane (2nd from right) with Albert Pavlov and staff from Happy Child Foundation
Photo: Flight Platform Living

Orphanages in general operate on limited funds with limited staff and with too many children.  In the case of Orphanage 50, there is a dire need for space.  Too many orphans and not enough room.  Imagine, a new building for little children to thrive in while they wait for their forever families.  Jane has met the people involved--Albert Pavlov of the Happy Child Foundation.  She knows that their hearts are in the right place--for the children.  Jane has pledged to raise money for her Bobby and for the construction of a building for Orphanage 50.  For information on Orphanage 50 aka the Chernigov Facility at Kalinovka, please visit here.  The Happy Child Foundation has constructed a building previously for this orphanage.  To learn more about the Happy Child Foundation, visit here.

This building was constructed by the Happy Child Foundation in Kalinovka
Photo: Flight Platform Living

I know that you are wondering what the color purple has to do with Jane, Bobby, and Orphanage 50.

The Second House That Love Built 

While a great deal of money has been raised, Jane has lost money on the fundraisers she has conducted.  Jane has reached out to several bloggers with the hopes of raising awareness among new people and perhaps, if possible raise a buck or two for Bobby and the orphanage.  To sweeten the pot and to hopefully get this current fundraiser off the ground, when $3,000 is raised, we will all dye our hair an outrageous color. . . and Jane will be posting pictures of us in all of our awesome rainbow glory.

Future site for The Second House That Love Built; Orphanage 50
Photo: Flight Platform Living

Ah ha!  So you all thought I was just going to randomly dye my hair on a whim did you?  Not until the $3,000 are raised!  You can help make this happen by spreading the word and donating if possible.  I know that I have asked you all for so much over the past few years and I know that money is tight.  Believe me, my purse strings feel the pull too.  Please know that I am forever grateful to all of you who have donated and reposted my pleas for help.  So many children are now home with their families because of your amazing generosity.  Some of the orphans are now on the My-Family-Found-Me page at Reece's Rainbow.  I firmly believe that nothing is impossible.  Please, I am asking for awareness.  For you to spread the word.  Or if you happen to have some spare change laying around in the back seat of your car or couch cushions that you would like to donate to the cause, Jane & I would be forever grateful.  All of us together can make a difference for Bobby and for those children who are living in Orphanage 50.

Photo: Flight Platform Living

Now I know that all of you will be insanely jealous of my purple hair, but do not despair.  Email me at the if you too would like to show your support and participate.  When we reach the lucky $3,000, dye your hair any color of the rainbow (or all the colors) and send me your pic.  I will have dear Jane post it on her celebratory blog post.  Plus, whenever someone comments on your glorious hair, you can spread awareness by telling them the reason behind your dye-job!

Come on!  Join in the fun!  Even Ellie "dyed" parts of her hair pink using cupcake icing.

Dye does not have to be permanent.
The Second House that Love Built Fundraiser.
Orphanage 50 aka The Chernigov Facility at Kalinovka
Happy Child Foundation--The Happy Child Foundation is a non-profit organisation which strives to improve the lives of impoverished, neglected and diseased children by harnessing donor funding, personal contacts, community resources and skilled expertise.

For all of you readers who use Photobucket, can you help me out?  They upgraded to something and since then, I have trouble getting my watermarks to show up.  I go to "edit" and then add the text "Ellie Bellie Bear" or "Anna.Theurer".  I save it and it appears on the photo.  However, when I paste the URL to Blogger, it does not appear on the photo (as you can see above).  What am I doing wrong?


A mask for kids with Down syndrome

Do you hear crickets?  Yes, we are here!  We are alive!  We are safe and healthy!  We haven't been inside a restaurant or store since m...