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 :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Best sister ever

Our girls are true sisters with sibling rivalry and all. If I scold Emily for something, Olivia is often quick to point out how good her own current behavior is. "Look, Mom," she'll say with a proud smile, "see, I'm not doing ______." And, if Olivia gets attention for an injury, suddenly Emily will insist that she has the very same affliction. Also, if Olivia fusses or cries about something, it'll often send Emily through the roof with annoyance, telling her to "stop, it, Olivia!!" But last night at dinner, Andy and I were pleasantly surprised by a different reaction.

I had dinner on the table, but I was enjoying hearing how nicely and quietly the girls were playing beauty shop in the bathroom WITHOUT getting annoyed with each other (you see, we have a big sister who sometimes likes to BE the big sister, and a little sister with a big personality who often likes to be in charge). Even after Andy came home, neither of us wanted to interrupt a good thing so we let them play a little longer.

Once they emerged and we were eating dinner, Olivia stuck a serving spoon in her mouth for the umpteenth I was all too quick to correct her. Not appreciating the scolding, she started wailing. At this point I fully expected Emily to snap at her for crying, but instead, the nurturer in her rose to the occasion and she walked over to comfort her little sister. In soft sweet tones she calmed her and then asked if she wanted to come sit by her. Andy and I were a captive audience as she then proceeded to move Olivia's plate and chair right next to hers. Once they got re-situated, Emily put her arm around her sister and Olivia reciprocated with her arm as she declared, "Emily, you're my best sister ever."

Parenting can be challenging, but I'm so glad for the little moments like this that make it all worth while and remind me how great it is to be a mom.

Andy just came home early and now we're off to school to watch the costume parade...I'll post pix of our little cheerleaders later :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wish come true

Giddy, smiling and clasping hands excitedly, Olivia just came running to announce something special to me, "I love my wish come true. I love my mom and I love my dad, and I love my Chelsea (dog), and I love my Emily. I love my family. I love my wish come true."

Wow. How sweet is that?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing Tag


I've been tagged again which means I'm supposed to list share seven things about myself and then tag seven other bloggers so they too can reveal their deep dark secrets. My first thought was to just link to my old post here where I already listed seven things about myself, but I suppose that'd be cheating. Surely I can think of seven more, right? Ummmm...hopefully.

Okay, here goes:

1. I am the middle child of five kids and married to the youngest of five kids.

2. I am not planning to have five kids. When we got married, we said we wanted 2-3 kids, so I always joked that we were going to have 2.5. If you count our dog as half a person, we're on target!

3. Andy and I have been together since we were 16--dated for seven years, and are still going strong after 16 years of marriage. This past year we've been going out for a date every Wednesday night while the girls go to Pioneer Club (kind of a cross between scouts and Sunday school).

4. Unlike Julie who tagged me, I started turning gray in my teens, way before kids :( At least my kids will have one less thing to feel guilty about.

5. My favorite TV channel is HGTV and my favorite show there is probably Designed to Sell. No, we're not planning to sell, but I love seeing what changes they can make in one week with only $2,000.

6. Waaaaay back when, I was into gymnastics and tumbling. I can still do a cartwheel, but I'm afraid back bends and back flips are a thing of the past.

7. Oprah's CFO lives across the street from us. Okay, I know that's not really about me, but I couldn't come up with #7 and thought some might find it an interesting tidbit ;)

Here are the next victims that have now been tagged. They're all adoptive moms, most from our agency, LifeLink. If you want to check out some other cute kids from China, then check out their blogs :)


Thursday, October 23, 2008

home-made "school" pictures

You can't see what Emily was looking at, but she was actually looking adoringly at her sister :)

I'm not usually in love with the results of prepaid school pictures, so yesterday after the girls posed for their year book/class pictures at school, they got to come home and pose some more! I was going for school type mug shots and kept trying to get Olivia to keep her hands away from her face, but my little model had her own ideas. In the end, I was happy with the results :)

Once I got some good individual shots I had them pose together and Emily, my little stager, had her own ideas. Instead of sitting on the step stool, she thought it'd be cute to have Olivia in it (up side down)!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Last night Emily went roller skating with Brownies and within a few minutes I heard Olivia say, "I miss Emily already! " I was surprised because her sister was only going to be gone for a few hours, not unlike she does twice every week when she goes to educational therapy. But there it was: "I miss my sister. She's my friend." How sweet is that?!

When they were reunited a few hours later, Olivia told her sister that she had missed her and Emily just beamed. The two then enjoyed a little love fest and happily went off to bed. Ahhhh. If only my angels were always so angelic :)

When I went to bed, there was a little love note from Emily on my pillow. Ahhh. Makes a mom's heart melt! I don't know if any of this lovey-doveyness had anything to do with the fact that I tucked little love notes in their lunches yesterday (for the first time), but you can bet I put some in again today :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

scrapbook pages

...just printed these out to add to the scrapbook :)

My little model

Emily is a little more self conscious and doesn't much like to have her picture taken, but Olivia is another story! In China she HATED the camera, but it didn't take long before she changed her attitude! Olivia's got a lot of dramatic flare and is not afraid to strut her stuff or pose for pictures. Here she is sporting her new, shorter "do." Her hair was getting a little long, thin and shapeless so we cut some length off to go for a bob. I think it makes her hair look thicker than it is and I like the way it frame her cute little face. Isn't she cute?!

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to take both girls' school pictures at home again. I got tired of prepaying $$$ for unflattering pictures and figured I'd have better results on my own with a homemade backdrop (sheet or blanket). I was pleased with our little photo shoot last year (I ordered prints to hand out at Walgreens for just a few bucks) that I'll attempt it again. Wish me luck. Hopefully I'll post some more cute pix tomorrow of BOTH of our girls :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

New look, new features

I was playing around with some blog gadgets tonight and thought I'd change things up a bit. Now, in the right margin you can scroll through and click on our most recent video clips.

I've also added a new BLOG FOLLOWERS gadget that's kind of neat because YOU can add your mugshot to our blog if you'd like :)

Not sure that I'm loving the black background. Let me know if it's too hard to read. I think the blog design is due for an overhaul!

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Pledge

Here's Olivia's version of The Pledge that she's learning in kindergarten. I like her version, mistakes and all :) After you see it you'll might know what I mean.

I'm still getting used to my new Mac's iVideo, and need to figure out how to improve the compressed version without making the file size too big--the original video looks so much better than this too-compressed YouTube version :(

iMovie dancing clip

Here's my first iMovie, a short video clip (32 sec.) that goes along with some of the pix I posted earlier from a recent wedding. You can see the girls--and Daddy--had fun on the dance floor!

Tonight Olivia was sharing her version of the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn't catch it on film, but I'm going to have the camera ready tomorrow in case she shares again! It was pretty cute.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I think summer is over

I think summer is over, but all is well here.  The girls seem to like school, and I've adjusted to my empty nest.  I had visions of accomplishing all sorts of things with so much time to myself.  However, the reality has been that now that I think I have all the time in the world, I've been much LESS efficient with my time.  Sad, but true.  Maybe once the newness wears off, I'll start cracking the whip to get more accomplished, but for right now, I'm kind of enjoying this new found free time!  I've gotten a little (more) lazy, but one good thing has come out of my free time.  I have been exercising every morning for the last several weeks.  Hey, at least I've made one positive change :)

Speaking of change...we recently made the switch from PCs to Macs so I'm having to relearn how I do things.  I'm going to have to learn a new program for digital scrapbooking because my program isn't Mac friendly, and I also have to figure out simple things like loading pix off the camera and uploading pix to update this blog!  If you see any new photos here, you'll know I was successful.  If not, well...then I wasn't!
Our dog, Chelsea, just turned 14 and Emily and her friend wanted to throw her a birthday party!  Chelsea still looks and acts pretty good, but her hearing is not what it once was and she now has a harder time jumping up on the furniture (not all bad).  At her check up last week the vet said she looked pretty good for a dog of her age, but unfortunately her labwork indicated that she may be in the very early stages of kidney failure.  She may still have another year or two, but he said that'll probably be what takes her.  I knew she couldn't really live forever, but I was kind of hoping she would.  I can't help wonder how many more birthday parties she'll have.  Okay, gotta go touch up my smeared makeup now. 
Olivia and her daddy were dancing up a storm at a recent wedding in Wisconsin.  Check out the socks that were once white!
(above)Olivia and her cousin, Rachel, having fun at the wedding...and (below) the girls dancing with their cousin, Katie (both daughters of my sister, Angie).
Emily has been saving money to buy another Webkinz and lucked out with a 50% off sale so she got TWO for the price of one!
In the midst of the Emily's Webkinz excitement, Olivia decided to take this picture.  Another photographer in the family!