Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Some people are confused about all the A's in our house, and who is who. Let me go back and tell you a little about each one. It may help, or possibly confuse you more! HA!

Angela - age 16
Named for the angels of faith who kept her alive during a very difficult pregnancy. Angela, turning 17 next month, is queen of all. She is a partying kind of girl and there is always excitement when she's around! She is her own best cheerleader and is usually whooping and hollering with excitement over something. Angela is NOT a girly-girl! She has never played with dolls. Angela has no fear and will often jump into a new situation head first. She is a story teller (and there is no way to know if what she's telling you is fiction or fantasy because she is THAT good!) and a drama queen. One of her favorite things is attending summer street dances where she can stand RIGHT in front of the speakers and "shake my booty". Angela has a few medical issues, the most complicated being Cricopharyngeal Achalasia, Anhidrosis, Reactive Airway Disease and a stroke disorder that is accompanied by TIA's. She also has a hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears.

Axel - age 12
Named for my grandfather, Axel Lundgren. Axel will be 13 before we know it! Axel was adopted from Serbia in December 2010 and has been with us for 2 1/2 years. When he came he was wearing a size 5 and now he is as tall as Angela! Axel is the "strong and silent" type. He is very funny and very affectionate. He loves to brush my hair,  or anyone's hair. He is gentle and kind. He is a bit timid, often needing a lot of encouragement to try new things! Axel had AAI and subsequent spinal fusion 2 years ago on May 16th 2011. He was in a halo for three months, then three months in a neck brace. He has no other health problems.

Abel - age 10
The newest member of our family. Named for Adam and Eve's "good" son, Abel just turned 10 years old last month while were there to adopt him from Serbia. He has been with us 3 1/2 weeks. Abel is a very busy young man! He is super smart and quick to figure out how things work. (Dean and I can often be found getting Abel busy doing something out of sight so we can lock a door or put new batteries in something!) Abel loves to climb, and run, and just be ALL BOY! When we take walks he is usually kicking stones along the way. As far as we know, Abel doesn't have any serious current medical issues. I say "current" because we know he had an ASD at one time, as well as something with his mitral valve. He does have rumination syndrome that seems to be diminishing a bit. We start all his appointments this week to get all systems checked out.

Asher - age 8

Asher, from Genesis 30:13, was adopted from Serbia in December 2011. He has been with us over a year and a half and has changed SO MUCH! Asher is a total clown, with a sense of humor that never stops. He loves to climb up, in and under everything that is possible. He is constantly hopping, working to perfect the skill now that he can get both feet off the ground! Asher has AAI but so far does not need surgery. We are supposed to have a check up in June but since I haven't gotten it scheduled yet (I'm waiting to get Abel's X-rays done) I don't think it will happen until August. He does not have any other medical problems. 


Tabor Linden Schmidt said...

I'm hoping this isn't negative, apologies if it is!

Angela reads as more advanced than the boys. Is this accurate? If so, do you find it to be age related, related to care from day one, a mix of those, other things entirely?

Clearly, your boys are incredibly smart also. They've figured out how to be pretty special brothers in a very short time, and with Abel, the transformation from terrified, "feral" little boy to a curious, engaging, happy young man is so wonderful to see.

Leah S. said...

No offense taken! I think for Angela, Axel and Abel, their difference are both environmental and medically related. Angela is very "average" among her same-age peers with DS. Due to the strokes she had as an infant, Angela has a very difficult time writing, she is not able to tie shoes, button or zip. Axel, on the other hand, is able to tie his shoes, zip a jacket, write letters. I would guess that cognitively Axel and Angela are pretty close. Abel is also a very bright little guy. He knows his colors in Serbian but at this point I don't know what else he knows. He's trying VERY hard to say words, where Asher, although he's making more noises now, could really care less about this talking business. He also doesn't really care to learn anything academically related. He's very smart, with excellent problem solving skills. Each of the three boys have different institutional things to overcome.

Stephanie said...

I love all your A's, Leah. It's great to hear how each one has his/her own personality and strengths. I keep hoping to run into you when you have all 4 together some time!

Heather D said...

I LOVE hearing about Angela, Axel, Abel, and Asher! It's great to hear a bit about each of their individual personalities as well! Abel seems to fit really well into the family :) Can't wait for more updates on all of your A's :)

Colleen said...

Does Axel use sign language?

Leah S. said...

Colleen, yes, Axel uses ASL. Although he is hearing, he never developed language and really didn't use his auditory skills at all, but his visual skills were very highly developed. He started in a full ASL special ed classroom. Most of the staff and all the other students in his classroom are deaf. It's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. He is thriving there!