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 :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Finally fever free...and flying...

Olivia came down with a fever on March 12 and missed a week of school. Then Emily came down with a fever and missed a week of school...finally going back Thursday. I'm so glad everyone is now well because we're on Spring Break and our plane is headed for the Caronlinas :)

We leave here in a few hours and hopefully our flight won't be delayed with the SNOW that's supposed to come!! We're flying in to Raleigh to visit Andy's sister, Diane, and then we'll drive down to Myrtle Beach for a few days. I hope the weather cooperates for us!

Gotta finish packing...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today marks TWO years!

On March 11, 2007 we arrived home from China with our new four year old daughter who fiercely called herself Tan Tan. Now, two years later, our spirited little six year old fiercely calls herself Olivia! It's been an amazing two years. Here you can see a few old photos from her first month home as well as old videos of her speaking Chinese. For contrast, I've also posted a recent one of her speaking in her new language, English. I'm still amazed at how well we've all adjusted and how perfectly she fits into our family!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dells

When Emily was little she had a nasal cannula in her nose for oxygen until she was almost three so we couldn't give her regular baths. So, by the time she had her first bath she was pretty old. And during her first bath she stood up and slipped right out of the tub and skidded across the floor on her belly! For quite a while after that she was terrified to move in the tub and would just sit with both arms out, pressing against the tub walls! But, in our infinite wisdom, we decided to take her to the Wisconsin Dells when she was two. Let's just say it was not her favorite vacation! Not only was she scared of being in even the baby pool, the acoustics really bothered her sensitive ears!

A few years ago, we put up a pool in the back yard and that really helped her learn to love swimming. And last year, she faced down her fears of water slides! So, seven years later, we decided to give the Dells another try. It was a hit!! I think Olivia only got sponge baths in the orphanage her first four years and had similar tub/pool fears, but she was really warming up to swimming, too! In Florida over Christmas break, she started putting her head under and this time she was staying under a long time "swimming!" To our surprise she even went on a bunch of water slides! We all had a great time and they can't wait to go again!

some February pages...

We're still alive and well

Ever get so far behind you don't know where to begin? Sometimes I have so many plates spinning that I just veg out (or look for old friends on Facebook!) and choose to spin none of them! As you might have noticed I haven't posted much here lately. We've been busy with life, but for the most part, no news has been good news. All is well.

We went to Wisconsin Dells at the end of February and had a great two days at an indoor water park. I hate wearing a swim suit, but I decided making memories with my family was more important than what any strangers may have thought (they were probably too concerned about themselves to notice me anyway!). We had a wonderful time! Sometimes I forget the impact that just playing with your kids can have. And beyond the playing, they love to hang all over us in the water and it just seems like close physical contact breeds emotional closeness. The girls were so sweet and we just really enjoyed having fun together. To me it wasn't about the water fun, but just about intentional focus on enjoying each other. Sometimes at home we're too distracted to really make time to put everything down to just play together. The family bonding was well worth the trip!

Since changing to the Mac and needing to learn a new way to digital scrapbook (my old familiar program only works on a Windows PC), I was getting almost a year behind in scrapbooking. I've done a whole lot of collages to try to catch up, but I'd still like to go back and fill in with some more pages that just focus on a few favorite pix on a page. I'm slowly seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, but I haven't assembled my catch-up pages in an album(s) yet because I want them to be sequential. The only problem is once I finally get all caught up, I'll be burned out and want to take a break...and get behind all over again! Ahh, such is life.

I've also been spending a lot of time reading about learning disabilities, neuro plasticity (the capacity of the brain to change), all kins of different therapies, etc. As much as I love being a mom, at times parenting can feel like an overwhelming responsibility. It's tough finding the right balance between trying to fix what's not working (academically) with acceptance. I want to convey unconditional acceptance while at the same time work on strengthening areas of weakness to make school/life easier. Emily often asks me why she has to go to therapy and do all this extra work while her friends are out playing. She also wants to know when she's going to be done with it. All the while I'm wondering the same thing. The more I learn about interventions for LDs, there more hopeful I am, but also the more overwhelmed as I try to sort out the right paths to take.

This weekend I'm headed off to a Hearts At Home conference for Christian moms. I really got a lot out of it last year and am looking forward to it. Now if only I can get the laundry done, clean the house, wrap presents for a birthday party Olivia'll be going to, pack up...

Then in a few weeks we'll be taking off for spring break--flying to North Carolina :) We still have some planning to do for that as well as find a dog/house sitter. Anyone need housing in beautiful, sunny Chicagoland over spring break??