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, August 27, 2007

First grade!

Thankfully, Emily didn't seem nervous at all about her first day of school this morning. I think it helped that when she went to "meet the teacher" last week, she found at least seven kids in her class that she already knew. She was looking forward to eating there and spending the whole in school, but I imagine she might be tired when she gets home this afternoon! It was bittersweet for me, letting go of the apron strings just a little bit more, but I know she's in good hands.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer is ending :(

As we transition from summer vacation to back to school, I'm behind on everything, including picture sorting and blogging. Not to mention laundry, grocery shopping, etc., etc. I still hope to get around to posting some cruise pix, but in the mean time here are some recent pix of the girls.

Emily is excited about starting first grade on Monday, but I'm feeling a little sentimental about my baby going off to school ALL day long. She's growing up and I guess I have to let her :)

Sometimes multiple posts in the same day trump each if you missed the earlier entry about our visit to the cardiologist, you can see it here.

Visit to the cardiologist

Olivia had the works with an exam, an EKG, an ultrasound and x-rays. The gist of our visit was that the doctor confirmed that Olivia's 2005 open heart surgery in China was a success :) Aside from her organs being a mirror image of the norm, everything looks good!! He suggested that we come back every year or two to make sure scar tissue from her surgery doesn't present a problem down the road, but he didn't anticipate any issues. He did however, suggest getting her a medical alert bracelet or necklace that states that her organs are reversed (situs inversus)so that she is never misdiagnosed with appendicitis (or anything else) if she has pain on her right side (since her appendix happens to be on her left side!).

The good and bad news is that we now we have medical clearance to go to the dentist. I'm not looking forward to that visit because I can see what appears to be a big cavity (brown spot) in one of her molars. That should be fixable, but not fun.

So, for anyone who's keeping track...her heart looks good, and her thyroid also ended up being fine (despite initial concerns from our pediatrician's first blood test). Another issue flagged by lab tests was anemia which may still be unresolved. After being on iron supplements, her lab results hadn't changed much which leads me to wonder if she has Thalasemia, a type of anemia not uncommon to Asians that is not caused (or cured) by iron. We'll have to keep that on our "watch" list, but I'm not too worried since it was near normal levels and she shows no signs of lethargy.

In spite of a clean bill of heart health, the cardiologist added another issue to our watch list; while looking at her X-rays, he noticed that Olivia has a slight "S" curvature of the spine. It's not evident to me and I'm not sure if it's curved enough (10+ degrees) to be considered scoliosis, but we'll have to keep an eye on it.

So, overall, she's a pretty healthy kid. We just have to take care of her teeth and follow up on anemia and possible scoliosis, none of which appear to be very serious conditions. And, I might add, a whole lot easier than dealing with the open heart surgery we initially expected when requesting a child with congenital heart disease! Although she was an orphan classified as "special needs," she, like many other so-called kids, is actually pretty healthy and doesn't really have any ongoing medical or "special" needs. But she is still special to us!

Sometimes multiple posts in the same day trump each if you missed the other post with photos you can see it here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My American dream

Today marks our fifteenth wedding anniversary. If I tack on the seven years of dating (age 16-23), we've actually been a couple for 22 years. As I reflect today, it strikes me that we've been blessed with a life that's pretty much as I once dreamed it would be. Of course we didn't anticipate the obstacles we'd encounter in growing our family, but we always knew we wanted kids. And I always knew I wanted to be at home with them. When I stop to think about it, I really am living my American dream with a great husband, two wonderful kids, a nice home, financial stability, and even a cute dog to complete the package. That's worth celebrating :)

I've attached the last two clips of the girls from our cruise. One shows Emily swimming in Bermuda and the other shows both Emily and Olivia hamming it up in an empty theater aboard the cruise ship. Andy was not feeling well and while he was trying to sleep I found an empty space where the girls could run around without getting lost or into too much trouble. You can see they love to sing and dance!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

video clips from Bermuda

We had a great time on our cruise and now we're slowly settling back in to "real" life. I have not yet sorted through all the 600+ photos, but since I only had a few video clips, it's easier to post them.

One clip shows Olivia trying to catch a bird in a park in Hamilton, Bermuda and the other shows Emily getting ready to snorkel in her cousins' gear. I have another clip I'll try to post tomorrow of the girls singing and dancing on stage.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

We're off!

Today we're hopping on an airplane and tomorrow we'll be on our way to Bermuda!! Andy's parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary and treating the whole family to a cruise!! Not a bad deal, eh? Olivia will get to meet more cousins and test her sea legs and Emily, who knows how much fun cruising can be, can't wait!! Signing out until next week...

I don't think these sunglasses will do much good on the trip though!