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, August 26, 2008

Olivia's reaction to all day kindergarten

After school I tried to capture Olivia's reaction to her first full day of kindergarten. In the first video she didn't mention school, but was just hamming it up for the camera with silly names for herself--first Sully (from Monster's Inc.??) and then Sharla, the mom (from ???)...chattering about getting big and little. I'm not exactly sure what her point was, but it's a 29 second snapshot of her silliness :)

Then, in her second video, I was actually surprised by what she said about school.

First day of kindergarten & 2nd grade!

Yesterday Emily started second grade, but Olivia was very disappointed that she only got to go for 30 minutes. TODAY, they BOTH are in class ALL day long. It feels kind of strange to be home alone, but I've got a long To Do list that's keeping me preoccupied.

Olivia was very excited about going off to school and Emily was very intent on helping her little sister. Often times Olivia doesn't need or want all the help from her mother hen sister, but today she happily accepted it when Emily eagerly offered to help her tie her gym shoes so we could walk to school. Then, when we got out the door, I couldn't keep up with them! Last year when we walked to school, Olivia was always dawdling and as slow as molasses. Today, in her excitement, she was almost a block ahead of me!

For months now, Emily has talked about walking her little sister into class, but when we got to school, Olivia left Emily and me in the dust as she joyfully bolted for her classroom! So much for needing Emily's helping hand! Emily took off after her and neither one even turned around to say goodbye. I was surprised by their quick departure and had planned to give them a proper send off with a kiss and a reminder about our after school pick up plans, but I'm sure they'll figure it out. I thought I might be sad, but their excitement was so contagious that I couldn't help but smile. Both my babies are now in school and we'll all be okay :)
These pix were taken last Wednesday when we went to Meet the Teacher.

And these are from this morning when they BOTH left for school ALL day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chance meeting...and vacation pix part 2 of 2

In my last post I said I wanted to tell you about some people we met in Branson. It was a chance meeting that ended up with quite a surprise...

We met a really nice family of five at the resort where we were staying and then ran into them again both days we went to the the theme park, Silver Dollar City. There the we went on rides together, shared strollers and snacks, went to shows together, and ate together. Our girls enjoyed playing with their three-year old, but also enjoyed borrowing her 12 and 15-year old big sisters, especially when some rides required older chaperons! Andy also enjoyed having someone to go with him on the water rides and the hour-long cave tour while the moms and little girls did other stuff. Back at the resort, we also hung out at the pool, keeping cool together. Our girls just couldn't get enough of them and we didn't mind because we enjoyed hanging out with our new friend, too! We had a great time together and meeting them was a highlight of our vacation that our kids still talk about!

As we talked, I recognized the dad's home town in Iowa as a place in my dad's family history and, in an email after we got home, I asked if they happened to know anyone with my grandma's maiden name. I was floored when I got an email back saying yes, that was his mother's maiden name! My dad did some delving into the family tree and it turns out we're related! We're actually third cousins in two different ways, making us "double cousins," with two different sets of common great, great grandparents! What a small world! The kids got quite a kick out of the fact that their new friends are actually long lost cousins!

Below are some more vacation pix that include our new friends that ended up being our new-found cousins.

School starts tomorrow!! My next post will have back-to-school pix :)

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We really enjoyed Silver Dollar City! They offer quite a variety with kiddie and big kid rides, a spray area to keep cool, lots of live shows (Veggie Tales, magic, ice skating, singing & dancing, etc.), and also a big cave to tour. I especially like how short the lines were and how the girls could go on their favorite rides over and over again while we kept cool under a misting fan!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vacation pix, part I

My posting this summer has been feast or famine--I seem to go for long stretches with no posts and then play catch up with an avalanche of photos! That may change next week when my two little charges go off to school all day long, leaving me with plenty of time to myself. {Sniff, sniff.}

Below are some vacation pictures. We were a little hesitant that Branson was only for retired country music lovers, but we were pleasantly surprised by how many things there are to see and do for young families. I was especially impressed with how family friendly and clean ALL the entertainment is and how much of a Christian influence there is everywhere you look :). We all had a great time!

In my next post I'll share an interesting story about some people we met in Branson.

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No, Branson doesn't have a Chinatown...but I tacked on this page from before vacation. Chicago's Chinatown Summerfest :)