This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Olivia's first vacation

Andy and I were both raised in Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon, IL (where we were high school sweet hearts), but most of our families have long since scattered around the country. This past week the girls and I (+ my parents) flew to New England were we introduced Olivia to my side of the family. (Andy stayed home due to limited vacation time after our three week trip to China and an August cruise we'll take to celebrate his parents' 50th anniversary.)

Olivia made herself right at home and had a good time with her new cousins.

We did not coordinate our outfits, but isn't it funny how all the girls are in pink and Kyle is in blue? (I'm the one in a dark brown skirt.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Three months

It's hard to believe it's already been more than three months since we've been home from China. Olivia is an amazingly easy going, happy, loving and lovable little girl. Every day she blesses us with many, many hugs and kisses and is so polite, constantly saying "please" and "thank you." We're convinced she was well taken care of in China, but the abundance of hugs and kisses tells us that she's really happy to have a family of her own. Adopting an older child can be so rewarding!

Father's Day

Yesterday was Daddy's Father's Day! To celebrate we all went to see Shrek the Third yesterday--Olivia's first theater experience. She liked the popcorn and seemed to enjoy the show. Today they proudly presented Daddy with coffee mugs they decorated. As you can see they also enjoyed trying on the tie-dye shirts they made last week at the FCC picnic and going for a ride on Daddy's back!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Wednesday Emily and I went for haircuts and brought Olivia along for the ride. The staff got Emily all situated on a booster seat and then out came a second booster and kid cape. I explained that I was other haircut, not Olivia, because I figured her hair was still too pretty short. The lady, who was already been smitten by Olivia, looked a little embarrassed and disappointed as she assured me that she should at least trim her bangs. Fine with me! In addition to getting the hair out of her eyes, I had her square of the pointed side burns a bit. I didn't bring a camera since I hadn't planned on getting hers cut, but here are some after shots. Voila, Olivia's first (scissor) trim (vs. orphanage clipper buzz)!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sisterly love :)

For some reason, Emily decided to climb in bed with Olivia the other night and this is how they looked when I went to bed. With the way Olivia turns herself up-side-down you can see why she still needs a bed rail!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


On Saturday we went to our first event with Chicago FCC (Families with Children from China) which happened to be a picnic nearby. It was neat to see our girls interact with all the other kids who have families that look kind of like ours. Everyone had a great time riding a pony, a carousel, and a train, as well as doing arts & crafts and being entertained by a clown!

Friday, June 08, 2007

First grader

The last day of school always seems bittersweet. Emily is already talking about how much she is going to miss her teacher, but she is very excited about going to first grade next year. After school today when we went shopping she surmised that she was probably too big to fit in the front of the shopping cart with Olivia (Costco's holds two kids) because she is now a first grader ;-)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

lunch time

These pix are from Saturday when I gave the girls a backpack lunch to eat on "the climb." Emily apparently liked the idea because Sunday morning she convinced Daddy to join her up there for their early risers' breakfast :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


"Fork" is an innocent enough word unless it's pronounced just a little bit off and comes out like a certain four letter word. Yesterday Olivia took some play dishes and silverware in the car while we ran errands, and apparently dropped the fork somewhere along the way... For the rest of our ten minute drive she bemoaned the loss of that fork...only it didn't sound as innocent as it really was. She whined and complained using that four letter word dozens of times. "Fork, mom...where the fork? Fork! FOOORK! Where the fork?! Mom, FORK....!" We don't swear and I wouldn't condone it with my kids either, but I have to admit it was hard not to laugh. Not because swearing is funny, but because she was so forlorn over a fork and so innocently oblivious about a word that betrayed her. I guess we'll have to work on enunciating those Rs!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Backyard pool

Last year we put up a pool in the backyard and it did wonders for Emily's confidence in water and we're hoping it'll do the same for her sister. Olivia still screams and cries every time we rinse her hair, so I wasn't sure how she'd react. In the pool she prefers to keep her head dry, but tolerates the splashing surprisingly well. In fact, she took to it all much quicker than I expected. Here are some pix from this weekend :)

Friday, June 01, 2007


Emily came across the outfit that Olivia was handed to us in and suddenly got the urge to try it on her sister. Never mind that it's 80 degrees... Olivia willingly complied and they got the outfit on. Olivia was getting quite sweaty, but didn't seem to mind as they happily posed for pictures. You can't see all of Olivia's props here, but in between poses she kept adding to the scene. First she pulled in Emily's old pull-toy puppy (see the string?)...pose... then added a cup for it to have a drink...pose... then added a Barbie lantern as a pretend pitcher to fill the dog's glass...pose...then grabbed a baseball hat...pose and giggle. In fact both girls were very giggly and quite pleased with themselves.

Olivia's English is getting better every day. As she was getting her Gotcha Day outfit on, she very clearly asked me, "Can I have my shoe please?" I don't hear much Chinese anymore, even when she just chattering to herself, but that doesn't mean I understand everything she says though. Just like any mother of a toddler, I still do a lot of nodding, smiling, and saying, "oh really?" Which is mom speak for "I don't have a clue what you're saying."

For the pictures, I purposely had them stand in front of a door to give a height reference (Olivia is one inch shy of three feet and about 28 pounds). I guess photos are deceiving because most people are surprised by just how tiny Olivia is when they finally meet her in person. Although she is officially four, she is about the size of an average 18-24 month old. Emily, on the other hand, has recently been growing like a weed and gone are the days of being the teeniest kid in her class. It took her years to even make it to the 5th percentile on a growth chart, but now she's at least average height if not tall for her age (about 49" and 49 pounds). I can't fathom my weight matching my 63" height, but that's a whole other story!