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 :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Olivia's 15 seconds of fame

An interesting thing happened today in church. In the middle of the sermon, we were surprised to hear the pastor recount an interaction he'd had with Olivia yesterday when we ran into him at a local Chili cook-off! He didn't mention names, and it's a pretty big church so we were all anonymous for her 15 seconds of "fame," but but I felt like standing up and proudly saying "Hey, he's talking about MY kid!!" Speaking of fame here...ummm...he was using her as an example of childlike humility. Guess I need to work on that some more.

Here are a few more recently finished scrapbook pages:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Five months!

Today marks five months since we first met Olivia! On the one hand the time seems to have flown by quickly, but on the other hand, our family seems much more comfortable and established than that short time frame would suggest. She is truly one of our own and we feel blessed to have two wonderful girls.

This week I've been trying to catch on some scrapbooking. I've posted a few of the latest here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Counting and silliness

This video gives you a glimpse of Olivia's personality :) Check out her silliness as she counts. You'll also notice she's pretty observant and camera savvy!

Friday, July 20, 2007

video clips

This first clip, Tickle Time, is very short and goes with the pix taken on Sunday that were posted here .

The second one gives you a peek at Olivia at play. She is fun to watch with her expressive eyes, pantomiming gestures and vivid imagination. I captured her while she entertained herself with some tasty (pretend) dishes she'd set out for her dining pleasure. Midway through, you'll see her react to a passing truck that she assumes is the garbage truck and somehow that leads her to talk about commands for our dog, Chelsea. I'm not quite sure how that train of thought came about, but it apparently made sense to her! Then, at the end, you'll see us play the "what's your name?" game.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Singing and dancing

Andy captured some of Olivia's singing and dancing (with a little tai chi??). I'm not sure what she was singing, but I think I heard "A, B, C, D" somewhere in her high pitched ballad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chinatown Summer Fair

After church on Sunday we headed downtown to Chinatown for their Summer Fair where we all had a good time. I'm not sure if Olivia noticed that there were more people there that looked like her, but one well meaning (Chinese?) young man must have thought Olivia was lost as he asked with concern if she was with us. He seemed to have intentions of finding her "lost" family and was embarrassed when he realized she was already with her family. I suppose we do cause some confusion at times!

Though not particularly Chinese, the girls loved the petting zoo. For more of a cultural experience, we watched some fancy girls on stage dancing with drums, drank out of a coconut and had smoothies with giant, chewy tapioca balls. We also did a little shopping in the street and I was happy to stumble upon shoes for the girls that are made of the same fabric as dresses we got in China.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Daddy's girl

One would never guess that Olivia ever had misgivings about her Daddy! We are so happy that she bonded with ALL of us so quickly and that she continues to be very affectionate :) Both our girls love to cuddle and it'll be a sad day when they decide they're too old for such nonsense.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Recent pix

We enjoyed visiting my former teacher's famous, huge, and beautiful garden in Dixon while we were in town for our 20 year reunion. As we talked, I found out they are expecting a grandchild from China :)

Surprise, surprise! Olivia likes eating s'mores (and wearing them, apparently)! I thought it was funny when she unknowingly called them by name, asking, "Can I have s'more?"
Emily definitely has the gift of hospitality :) She was begging to make a birthday cake for her twin friends next door and was sooo excited tonight when I let her do it. She can hardly wait to give it to them tomorrow!

An egg. Who knew?

I underestimated the power of an egg. Bet you did, too!

Sunday morning Emily woke up on the wrong side of the bed and throughout our morning routine, we were unsuccessful in changing her mood. In a hurry to get off to church, I looked for something quick for breakfast. Trying to limit sugar and offer more protein, Andy suggested I give her one of the hard boiled eggs in the fridge. Running late, I peeled an egg for each girl and put them in sandwich bags for the road.

Once we arrived at church and were climbing out of the van, Emily said, with a little wonderment, "do I feel normal now?" Andy and I were both a little by surprise by that comment since we had both just noticed that during that ten minute drive to church her demeanor had changed dramatically for the better. At the time, we didn't put two and two together, but we were surprised and curious about her sudden change.

Heretofore we've been at a loss to explain or resolve these occasional mysterious Jekyll and Hyde episodes. As I was retelling this latest episode with a friend and wondering what snapped Emily out of it, the unusual breakfast on-the-go came to mind. We joked about the power of an egg (protein), but I had doubts any food could really react that quickly. Just in case we were on to something, I figured it wouldn't hurt to boil up some more. If nothing else, they could be a protein snack.

Fast forward to this morning. Emily woke up in a funk again. Crabby, whiny, irritable. After two hours of fussiness and unfinished chores, I was starting to get annoyed. That's when I remembered Sunday's turn around and brought out the eggs! Truthfully, I didn't expect much (or I would have tried it earlier!), but I was at a loss for what to do with my little basket case and figured I had nothing to lose. To my surprise, within ten minutes, I had my happy go lucky kid again! Just a coincidence? I'm not so sure. Now, I'm almost eager for her to be in one of those moods again just to test this remedy again! If it works a third time, it'll leave no doubt. And I'll be busy boiling more eggs! She was great the rest of the day!

I'd heard others testify about the power of protein, but hadn't yet made the personal connection--until this morning. I was so amazed and did some Googling to make sure I wasn't making too much of a leap. I'm happy to report that I don't think I'm crazy. I actually found quite a few articles that support my finding about the importance of proteins as mood stabilizers. Here's an excerpt from one:

"Brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are the frontline regulators of our moods. Some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), help calm us... And there’s an important connection between the food you eat and the neurotransmitters your brain produces. ... The protein in eggs quickly stabilizes your blood sugar and provides amino acids for your neurotransmitters."
-entire article here:

Got eggs?

I also came across many related articles that tie diet to ADD. She has not (yet?) been diagnosed as such, but we've long seen difficulties with focus and distractibility. I'd heard all about the diets/supplements before, but was skeptical it'd make much difference for all the effort involved. However, now I'm beginning to wonder. If an egg can cause such a dramatic change, I can't help but think of other possibilities. It's both daunting (to try to unravel) and exciting! And all the more reason to be hopeful :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy July 4th

After a July 4th cookout with the cousins, the girls were excited to get to canoe on our neighborhood lake. Thanks, Uncle Ed and Aunt Laurie :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reunion, reunion, reunion!

Tis the season for reunions! A few days after returning from my family gathering in New England, we packed up again for a bigger family reunion, my mom's siblings on down. Now that we're back home again, we'll have a few more days and it'll be time to pack up AGAIN this time for our 20 year high school reunion in Dixon. Although we've enjoyed ourselves, I'm kind of looking forward to some down time where we're not living out of a suit case :) Three separate trips in three weeks is about all I can handle!