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, January 28, 2008

Somebody is turning five this week!

Ever since we told Olivia a week or so ago that her birthday was coming up, she's been very excited. When she talks about it, she gets giddy, talking a mile a minute about how she's now going to have a surprise party in the basement, remembering Emily's after-school gathering in December. We'd debated how much of a big deal to make of her birthday, knowing that this will likely be the first time her birthday has been acknowledged. In the end, we decided not the up the ante if she's expecting/hoping for a little basement surprise. Like her sister, she'll also have a weekend party with (mostly adult) relatives, but we decided not to set a precedent with an expensive kiddy party. Yesterday, however, she attended her first Chuck E. Cheese party and I was curious to see if her expectations had changed... Fortunately, today she is still rambling about the good 'ole basement surprise and the pink cake we're going to make together :) I caught some of her excitement in this video clip.

I'm also posting some pix of our little camp out in the basement. We recently had a four day weekend and just for fun, I asked the girls if they wanted to have a family slumber party/camp out in the basement--the girls slept in a tent while we slept on the pull-out couch. I'm always amazed by how such simple things can get them so excited. It was a hit (with them, not my back!) so we slept down there two nights in a row :) I'm also posting some pix of our little warm blooded girl who prefers to strip off the clothes I pick out in favor of a swimming suit...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Our Olympic hopefuls?

One benefit of cold weather is that the girls could enjoy their new Christmas gifts--ice skates and a little 10' ice rink! They're new to ice skating, but someday maybe you'll be able to say you knew them when... Unfortunately, they've had to take a break this week though since it's been unusually cold and we're all staying inside! Even though it's -12 degrees outside today, Olivia has stripped her warm clothes off to wear a swim suit around the house! My stocking feet feel chilly, but I can confirm that somehow her bare feet felt quite warm when I just checked. I don't know how she does that!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Someone found glitter!

...and was too excited about it to stay still for a photo!

Here you can see some video of my glitter girl saying hello to some of her RongXian friends...and telling me about some letter sounds :) Tune in next time for pictures and video of our future winter Olympians!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Florida finale

I finally got our vacation scrapbook pages printed out :) Here are some pictures from our freezing day at the Magic Kingdom, family and friends we visited in Florida, and our detour to the beach on our way back to the Tampa airport. As you can see, we had a great time! In fact, I think we're all ready to skip out on winter and head back to warmer weather. Since that's not a realistic option, we're making due here. In the next post I'll share some ways we're making the best of the cold.

(click on a page to enlarge it)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Olivia's first trip to Disney World

I've scrapbooked some more pages of our trip to Florida. This post includes one of our two days at the theme parks--I haven't gotten to the Magic Kingdom pictures yet.

We had a bit of a crisis when we first flew in and found our rented townhouse in the dark. We entered the key code and opened the door only to find other peoples' stuff in "our" place! Then we spent the next three hours trying to contact the owner and scrambling for a place to stay that night. We ended up staying in a castle the first night which the girls loved before eventually getting into our prepaid place! Turns out the owner has two townhouses beside each other and other renters let themselves into the wrong one! Once we got through to the owner who was on vacation in the mountains (no cell reception), things got straightened out and we ended up having a great time.

At MGM Studios, some of the highlights were meeting a lot of characters, watching a "High School Musical 2" performance, and playing in the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground. The Christmas lights in the evening were also pretty neat! It was in the low 80s that day so we were nice and warm. On our day at the Magic Kingdom we weren't so lucky--it was the coldest day Orlando had had in five years! And even us northerners were cold once the sun went down since we didn't bring our winter coats!

(Click page to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Olivia and Jack

As I've mentioned, while we were at Disney World, we got to spend some time with Olivia's orphanage friend and travel mate in China who now lives in Florida. We had a great time ringing in the new year with Jack's family when they spent the night with us at our rented townhouse. It was so cute to see the kids hugging each other and playing together like old times. I had so many cute pictures that I made this two-page collage for the scrapbook. I'm still working my way through the rest of the 900+ pix!

(click on each collage to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Christmas at home, then New Year's Eve with JACK in Florida!

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and I'm slowly getting back to reality and catching up. The girls enjoyed spending Christmas with their visiting relatives and had fun opening their piles of presents! Then, a few days after Christmas, as the cousins were leaving, we flew to what was supposed to be sunny Florida. The first few days were in the 80s, but it was literally freezing the day we went to Magic Kingdom!

A highlight of our trip was reuniting Olivia with her orphanage mate, Jack, and his family who we'd traveled with in China. We got to ring in the new year with them and had a great time watching the kids play together as if they'd never been apart.