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 :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Geographic May 2008: China

The May 2008 issue of National Geographic features China! I'm going to see if I can order a hard copy to serve as somewhat of a time capsule for Olivia. Hopefully it will someday help her get a glimpse of what her ever-changing homeland was like when she left it.

If you, too, are interested in China, check out some great photos, narrated slide shows and interesting articles online:

Monday, April 28, 2008


After a foreboding weather forecast, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the March for Babies walk was. Not too hot, not too cold, and no rain :) In addition to dry weather, the walk seemed to go faster this year since we ran into some families from Emily's school to walk and talk with. It turns out that Emily's not the only 25-weeker in her class! We ran into her friend Rachel F. (and twin sister, Hanna) who had a big group of supporters which included some other classmates as well as Emily's former kindergarten teacher! As we walked we found out that the twins were in the same hospital as Emily and also had Dr. Sheagren :) Small world!

So far, we've reached 92% of our $2500 fund raising goal, at $2310...just short by $190. Not too shabby :)

A BIG thank you to all who supported March of Dimes!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Thanks to 15 generous donors, we've now reached 68% of our fund raising goal for March of Dimes. $1705.00 raised is WONDERFUL, but we're still aiming for a loftier goal. Last year our total was $2300 and we hope to do even better this year.

The bottom line is we're still hoping to raise another $700.00 in the next few days...and I know it's possible because there are more than 15 people reading this ;) If you haven't already donated, please consider making a difference in the lives of babies.

Trust me, I didn't plan on having a preemie, but more than a half a million babies are born too soon every year. It doesn't have to be that way. You can do something about it. Click here to go to our March of Dimes personal page to donate online. Just think think how good you'll feel knowing that you helped saved a life :) The life you save might be another Emily. And maybe she too will get the chance to grow up to be strong and beautiful.

Here our some pix of our miracle baby all grown up and glammed up. She became a pop star this week when she went with her Brownie troop to Libby Lu at the mall!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Today is crazy hair day at preschool, so I tried to do Olivia's hair like Pippi Longstocking...or "Hippi" as she says on the video clip. She was so cute and excited that wanted to capture some of that in some pix and on video.

As cute as she is, I cringe every time I replay the video because it's a glaring reminder that we all need to work on being more respectful to each other. Olivia, like many previously institutionalized/abandoned kids, still has a strong desire/need to be in control. Her attempts are often disguised as playful banter or pretending to be the mom, teacher or any authority figure--she loves to pretend she's in charge by standing in front of us and clapping her hands to get our attention before requesting, "line up everyone...eyes up here...settle down," or "pay attention!" Even though it's cute and funny now, I am sure that allowing her to try to shush me and attempt to control us might come back to bite us later. It's tough as a parent to find that perfect balance between cutting the poor kid some slack and demanding respect (without squelching her spunky-ness). ...and knowing which battles to pick. Hey, where's the instruction manual?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's that time of year again!

In just two short weeks, we'll be walking in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies to raise awareness (and money!) to help premature babies. Emily, our miracle preemie, is now eight years old, but we will never forget how much effort went into keeping her alive that first year. Many of you recall that her future was very uncertain when she was born fifteen weeks early at only 1 lb. 9 oz. Amazingly, that tiny, tiny baby is now a thriving first grader with no health issues!

I've posted current pictures I took this today as well as a few old ones from Emily's NICU days. Her face was so fuzzy and her eyes were still sealed shut, two weeks away from opening! Her head was smaller than a tennis ball and her arms and legs were no thicker than my pinky. Hard to believe it's the same kid!

Donating and raising money for March of Dimes is our small way of giving back and helping future babies. Our goal this year is to raise $2,500.00. If you'd like to join our efforts, you can donate online by clicking here . If you'd like to walk with us, our local March for Babies will be on Sunday, April 27th at 9:00 AM at the Naperville River Walk (736 W. Jackson Ave.).

Monday, April 07, 2008


click to enlarge

Between sick kids off and on and off and on again... and spring break, I haven't done much blogging lately. In the last post Olivia had recovered from pneumonia, but Emily was sick... with Strep throat. They've both been sick again with fevers and coughs. Olivia has recovered enough to be back at preschool today now that spring break is over, but I kept Emily home since she had a fever yesterday. Hopefully they'll both be in school tomorrow. Emily has missed more school this year to illness than she ever has. Fortunately her illnesses have been fairly mild, just too frequent.
We didn't travel for spring break but Andy took three days off so we could do some local stuff. When the kids weren't sick we went to a children's museum and on a day trip to Lake Carroll. On one of the days Olivia was sick, he and Emily went golfing and then went to an indoor water park. The weather has finally started to show promise of spring and I'm more than ready to say farewell to winter.
I'm also behind on scrapbooking, so I this afternoon I put together some quick and simple pages to post here. I'm expecting Olivia's bus any minute so I've got to wrap this up. Just wanted to check in let you know we didn't fall off the face of the earth :)