Giving Tuesday and Making An Impact

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world…24-hours of giving!

On this day, please consider supporting Family Hope Foundation and our Therapy Scholarship Program. What better gift can be given than Ability? Your donation this Giving Tuesday, in any amount, will be a priceless gift to families in need.

Here is a story one child we were able to help…

Like a little baby bird—skinny and cute—Aidan Wood said hello to the world. The only thing large on his tiny frame was his head, but since big brother had a good-sized noggin, no one was the wiser. It wasn’t until much later that the Wood’s discovered that Aidan’s head circumference at birth was in the hundredth percentile…for three year olds.

The baby years progressed with joyous bliss. Aidan slept great and rarely cried. He didn’t need to be held constantly, in fact, he preferred his swing. This too was an early indicator of things to come. Nearing nine months of age, the babyhood simplicity began to fade.

Delayed milestones weren’t near the forefront of the Wood’s minds until bronchitis became Aidan’s frequent, unwanted friend. An allergist surmised that he was likely aspirating on his formula, causing the respiratory distress. At the same time, she asked if his head size and disjunctive gaze had ever been discussed. Those questions led to CT scans, swallow studies, feeding therapy, thickened liquids, patching eyes, and then two eye surgeries. The Wood’s now knew they were in the elite club of being special needs parents.

Early-on services and Ken-O-Sha schooling helped Aidan move forward in his learning and development. While this season of schooling had it’s huge victories, it also came with its harsh challenges. Aidan’s behavior became more reactive and aggressive. His ability to control his bowel movements (Encopresis) caused bad episodes of soiling in his diapers. On top of that, he was still non-verbal, so he couldn’t communicate his needs.

Around age five, the Woods decided to try a different facility for Aidan’s PT and speech therapy. This is when they met their miracle worker René Manker at BRAINS. She used some of her Feldenkreis training with him in physical therapy, and his coordination and balance improved; and so did his toileting skills. However, when René left, they were worried. What would they do without her?

The following years brought more tests and evaluations. The diagnoses added up—Dysphagia and Reflux, malformation of cortical development, Strabismus (which led to the eye surgeries), Hypotonia/Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy (low or diminished muscle tone), Dysarthria (delayed or poor motor planning in the speech and articulation process), chronic constipation and Encopresis, Mood Regulation Disorder, and then at age seven came a new diagnosis—Sensory Processing Disorder, which was considered the culprit for Aidan’s up and down behaviors. Thankfully with help of occupational therapy, Aidan had more tools and coping skills.

By age ten, Aidan’s therapy services were being limited by insurance. The Woods were no longer seeing increasing results with therapies. Aidan’s behavior was growing more volatile at school and at home. Remembering how much progress they saw with René, Aidan’s mother, Amy, decided to try Google. And yes, Google proved helpful. Amy discovered Senses In Motion, a company in which René owned! Unfortunately, she noted that insurance wasn’t accepted there. She knew they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.

At this time, Amy had been volunteering for Family Hope Foundation for a couple of years at the Celebration Cinema sensory show times. She hadn’t applied for a scholarship before, but figured it was time to try. The Woods were thrilled when Aidan was awarded funds for ABM (Anat Baniel Method of Neuromovement) therapy with René. This form of therapy has been pivotal in helping Aidan with Dyspraxia. Aidan’s brain struggles to organize the information needed for his body to carry out even simple tasks. With his brain struggling to appropriate information, he finds himself oftentimes frustrated, triggering emotionally reactive behavior. But with ABM therapy, he is making strides in both conceptual and sensory processing and behavioral responses.

After one full year of ABM, Aidan has fewer meltdowns, aggressive behaviors are on the decline, his processing speed is growing, and he is able to learn easier. But most importantly, his silly personality is returning.

Through all the trials, hardships, and diagnoses, Aidan has pressed on. It hasn’t been easy for him or his family, but they have all chosen to see the glass full and not empty. They count their blessings, not misfortunes. If the Woods could be summed up in a word it would be—optimistic. It is because of this that Aidan is blooming, and his hilarious nature is shining once more.

 

Aidan is one of the amazing kids we have been able to support. Join with us in giving the Gift of Ability to more children.

http://bit.ly/GivingTuesdayFHF

 

Our Contact Information

Family Hope Foundation

7086 8th Avenue
Jenison, MI, 49428

616-729-8833

www.familyhopefoundation.org

Monday Memories: A Journey of Pictures

The mission trip in 2003 where I met, my would-become-husband, Jonathan for the first time.
Visiting a reservation in Escanaba to work with the children. They blessed me more than I ever could have blessed them.
The day I married my best friend.
Our first real Christmas tree.
Hosting our First Halloween Party
Touring England for the second time with my British sister, Joanna.
My first baby, Isabella Joy.
Experiencing Seattle, Washington with family, Connie and Christian.
Attending my first Murder Mystery Party in character.
Our first two chickens we adopted, Tiffany and Lily. The coop wasn’t finished so they lived in our downstairs bathroom for two days.
Yearly camping trips with the family in a tent!
Dressing up and trick-or-treating with my sister, Carmen, and our kiddos.
Remembering my two babies in Heaven, Shiloh and Selah, born after Isabella.
A healthy boy, Gabriel Jonathan born in 2010.
First time to Pentwater and touring Storybook Village.
My first interactive story lesson where I taught children how to use their imaginations and write a story with me.
The first performance I have done with my husband. We were Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.
The release party for my first published book, The Magic Snow Globe.

So many fond memories and many more pictures I couldn’t show today. These are simply highlights of the many blessed years God has given me so far.

Family Fun Nights

 

Nothing screams family fun like nerf guns.

In our family nerf wars, there are plenty of laughs and squeals. Those darts can really sting, and I’m an easy target. Probably need to amp up my cardio.

Each week, we strive to have at least one family fun night, but oftentimes we have more than that. With media and technology trying to replace personal contact, my husband and I strive to set up boundaries and have dedicated family time. Children need to know they matter to us. We communicate their importance by having regular time together. Oftentimes our designated family fun night is Friday. Generally, it consists of pizza, games, and a movie. Our game of choice is typically Connect4. It might seem like a simple game but trust me, we have serious tournaments. After the blood, sweat, and tears shed during Connect4, we switch gears and eat pizza. We set up a table by the couch and watch a movie, while we eat. We look for a family movie that we can all enjoy. Oftentimes, we’ll rent something online or find a release on Netflix. There’s also another great Christian movies site called, Pure Flix. They offer a wide range of good family films too.

So what about you? What do your family fun nights look like? Do they consist of games, movies, or maybe even nerf guns?

 

11 Creative Activities to Combat Summer Boredom

Parents, Grandparents, Babysitters, etc: Summer Break is Around the Corner. Kids will be looking to you to help fill their days. So before boredom hits, here’s ELEVEN creative activities/ ideas to combat a pout fest.

#1 Dress a Cat Up Like a Woman

Tigger Is Looking Quite Fashionable in His Spunky Beret and Gown

#2 Take a Flower Smelling Tour

#3 Glue Googly Eyes on Pictures of Bugs, Then Cut Them out as Paper Dolls

You Can Draw the Bugs or Print Them From a Computer

# 4 Create Prehistoric Scenes Surrounding a Pet

Henry Whiskers Never Saw This Coming

# 5 Make Potato People

#6 Catch and Play with Frogs

 

# 7 Make a Starship Out of a Box

 

#8 Visit a Farm and Pet Animals
There are several farms that you can visit for free in Michigan. A couple we like the best are: Orchard Hill Farm and Critter Barn.

 

#9 Make an Animal Home out of a Shoe Box

#10 Develop a Runway Show With Your Own Clothing Line

We Call This Line: The Wanna Be Flappers

#11 Teach a Guinea Pig to Walk on a Leash

New Year, New Idea: Be Inspired

It’s a new year. I don’t have any big resolutions, but I have one goal: Be Inspired.

In 2017, I choose to dwell on the good, hopeful things and people in this world. I want to be inspired and motivated by them. Today, I want to introduce you to someone very special to me, who continually gives me inspiration. He is my four-year-old nephew, Levi.

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Levi has a duplication syndrome that affects his mind, body and development, but that doesn’t stop him. He pushes against the boundaries of his syndrome time and time again, proving that it cannot and will not confine him. 

Learning everyday gross-motor skills and patterns have not come easy, but due to his diligent parents, physical therapists, and skilled teachers, he continues to bloom. He graduated from crawling to using a walker and now has taken unaided steps on his own! He’s climbing stairs. He’s using a fork to feed himself. He’s using his “Levi” words to tell us what he wants, and boy can he be vocal when it comes to dinnertime. He laughs, plays, and exudes joy.

Even when it physically hurts and certain things are tough, Levi is not a quitter. I desire to have that kind of gusto. I want to be strong like him. I want to be persistent like him. I want to look at the world with wide eyes of wonder, like him.

Levi inspires me, and I hope his story will inspire you as well.

Have a Happy New Year and remember to look for inspiration around you. If you look, you will find it.

Blast From the Past: My First Christmas as a Mrs.

I have always loved Christmas! Luckily, I married a man who loves it just as much as me. On our first Christmas, we hunted for the perfect tree at Doumel Tree Farms. Then we cut it down and brought it back to our tiny home in Bay City, MI. Check out these photos from eleven years ago! We looked so young.

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Opening gifts at my parents’ house. My Dad always give his own”special” presents. Usually a lot of white elephant trinkets from the dollar store. It’s a blast!

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From Bad to Worse: The Mucked Up Trench

Like all good horrors, the story must go from bad to worse.

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I believe I lost half of my body mass index just from sweating during this project.

We were tickled with delight to discover, as we dug with a shovel beside our house, that the perforated drain tile was collapsed (hence the reason our yard stays marshy around the deck. It’s simply stunning that our basement hasn’t flooded). Our excitement grew as our natural spring continued to pour out of the ground dousing the clay soil. A splendid gray paste formed that stuck to our boots and shovels like wet cement. Since the lower walls of our trench decided to crumble inward, we had to take the trencher through it again. However the wet clay in the bottom of the trench spewed upward and formed a mound. Staring at the mucked up mess, we knew there was only one solution. We cut a new big butt trench into our lawn.

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My husband’s father, overlooking the trenches, probably wishing we hadn’t called him.

Once the second trench was done, we leveled it and went to work on digging further around the collapsed portion of drain tile. We found a bit of tile at the base of the house that was still round enough, so we patched in a connector, and threaded the new tile through the trench.

Thanks to our reinforcements (my parents and my husbands’ parents), we were able to complete this project in 22 hours of backing breaking labor. If not for the help…goodness…I shudder to imagine.

 

 

In the Trenches: Another Day on the Farm

Today we tackled the big project of replacing the perforated drain tiles. Finding the old tiles and digging the trenches is no little feat, let me tell you. It’s takes a strong man, (a.k.a my husband), and a tough assistant, (a.k.a me). It also takes a big butt trencher that we rented. And with all these factors added together for success…eight hours later, the project still isn’t done.

Our land has a natural spring that runs under our house, so when we built two years ago, the builders directed the water toward the back of our property. We then dug a small pond for the water to flow into for our flock of chickens. However, the pond would be fuller if the builders hadn’t used perforated tiles. Hence, today’s project.

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We have blisters. We have sore backs. And our feet ache. But what can I say, it’s just another day on Cordero Family Farm. And it will continue again tomorrow.

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Five Easy Summer Activities with My Kiddos

It’s summer break, and we’re keeping it real. Here’s a picture overview of what we’ve done so far.

  1. Catching Frogs in Our Backyard
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  2. Visiting Boulder Ridge Park
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  3. Playing House With Our Guinea Pigs
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  4. Crafts, Crafts, Crafts

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    This is one of our many crafts that we’ve done. This is a cup sandcastle.
  5. Watering the Garden and Playing in the Sprinkler
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    The summer is still young, and we have many more memories to log. What about you? What fun things are you doing this summer?

 

Merry Christmas from the Cordero Family and Our Elf

Today is Christmas!!! Last night, our elf prepped the other animals by reading Twas the Night Before Christmas. I think they really enjoyed it.

My family wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Blessings to you all.
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