Friday, January 11, 2013

Where does the time go?

I seem to have a recurrent theme here. Months go by without an update. The thought is always in the back of my mind though. I just don't make it a priority. Maybe I should work on that....

We have been home from China with Emma for a little over 4 months now. Overall our family is still adjusting, but things are really good. Crazy, loud, exhausting but really good. I am enjoying the feeling of knowing our family is definitely complete. I am enjoying all the kids and the stages they are at, most of the time. We have hit a few "bumps" in the road with the "bigs" and being teens. We are hoping these bumps will be learning experiences. Gavin is preparing for lacrosse to start soon, in about 6 weeks. He is running and lifting weights to "up his game" now that he is in high school and there is stronger competition. I can't wait for lacrosse to start. We love watching him play. He loves it and we enjoy watching him "love it". Sophie is busy with cheer. We are in the thick of cheer season with competitions about 2-3x month and practice 2-3x week. The "littles" love to see Sophie cheer. It is exciting to watch with the loud music and the routines. I will admit it gets stressful with my work schedule (I work most weekends). It is very difficult to take both the littles to a competition by yourself. These comps can last for hours, sometimes 6-8 hours. The littles definitely "lose it" toward the end. We take every comp weekend as it comes and muddle through our scheduling issues.

Our biggest hurdles since returning home from China have been our work schedules and the feeling of never, EVER having time to ourselves, not 1 single minute, jealousy between Lily & Emma and Emma's medical concerns. The jealousy issues are getting better with time but they still persist. Some days can be taxing. Those days I find myself feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I do see light at the end of this long tunnel though. Lily & Emma have many loving and cute moments too. These moments are increasing as time goes on. I know that those love & cute moments will prevail. The jealousy may still be lurking but I think it won't be the dominating force in their sisterly relationship. Anthony and I are going to have our first "date" night this weekend since returning home from China. It is long over due. A quiet, delicious dinner with my husband that I don't have to cook or clean up sounds sooooo good. I can't wait. Sophie is going to watch the girls for us. She offered, without prompting or asking this of her. So sweet. Thank you Sophie!! We have been ready for this but we haven't felt Emma was ready for this until now.

We have completed most of the testing needed for Emma's medical issues at this point. In April she will have more testing done to re-evaluate her Spina Bifida issues. She is on medication 2x day to help her bladder "relax". Until then, we just watch her closely for any subtle or noticeable changes in her mobility or bowel/bladder function. Her spinal cord is tethered and will need surgery to de-tether at some point when we see changes in her condition. We will see changes at some point it is just a matter of when. We question ourselves often on this. If we were to see changes (for the worse) she will need de-tethering surgery right away to prevent any more damage to the nerves that are being stretched from the tethering. The damage to the nerves will most likely be irreversible. We are on high alert for any changes daily. I feel overwhelmed some days with this responsibility. I don't want to miss anything, causing her to be less mobile or less continent from irreversible nerve damage. She is very high functioning at this point. She can walk/run independently and is potty trained during the day (wears a pull up at night). She does walk with a limp as her left foot/leg is slightly smaller than her right. Her balance/core strength is slightly less than normal. She does fall more often than others her age. She struggles with balance and strength when using her left leg alone (standing on that foot alone). She does have some difficulty with stairs. She needs to hold onto the railing with two hands to ambulate up the stairs. Even though she is potty trained during the day we still see some urgency/frequency issues. It has drastically improved since she started her medication and is manageable. Regardless of the medical issues she is truly an amazing little girl. She is funny, silly, happy, loving, stubborn, smart and SO CUTE!! We love her immensely and are so blessed to be chosen as her family. She truly is a treasure. We look at her and smile daily and feel our hearts wanting to burst from love. We truly love this little girl with all our being and are so BLESSED!

Lots has happened since my last post. We celebrated Gavin's 15th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Emma's 4th birthday. So here are the pictures....


Emma's 4th birthday. She was so excited for her party with family and friends.







Gavin's 15th birthday.

 Thanksgiving day. We also took our Christmas pictures on Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for!


 Making gingerbread houses.


A little someone got into the lip stick. I turned around and was surprised by these cute lips!

At one of Sophie's cheer competitions.

If you look at Emma's forehead you will see her "boo-boo". She fell on the fireplace. There were lots of tears and blood. Ouch!
Emma and her baby, Mei Mei, she wanted for Christmas.
Lily and her Dream Lite she asked for. As you can see she was a little excited. She also received a new bicycle but the Dream Lite was somehow more exciting.
Sophie doing what we call her "Iphone dance". She was so surprised that both she and Gavin got Iphones for Christmas. They were not expecting them at all. She was so happy she started dancing around yelling "YES, YES, YES"!!
Gavin happy with his North Face winter jacket.

         

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pictures.....

Walking the canal.

 At the playground enjoying the beautiful weather.


Twirling.....


                                                                   Carving pumpkins.....









                                                                                  Posing....


                                                                            So cute!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Time for an update!

Now that we have been home for one month we are finally settling in to our "new normal" as a family of SIX! Yikes, that number is crazy. So here we are, at the one month home mark and feeling somewhat settled. Emma is doing amazingly well. Given how her life has changed so drastically in the last month, she is mostly happy, silly, affectionate, sleeps well and eats fairly well. She would be eating great if she could have Chinese cuisine every night. We are still figuring out what American foods she will eat/not eat. She would eat about 10lbs of fresh fruit daily if we would let her. She is not a fan of cereal, pancakes, waffles, breads, pasta (this could be a problem given we eat A LOT of Italian food), most vegetables, milk, apple juice, cheese. She will tolerate chicken, steak, homemade chicken soup, eggs, rice. She loves any fruit, yogurt, ramen noodles (yes, I am embarrassed to admit that I give my child ramen noodles), chicken nuggets, corn on the cob and lollipops. Yup, lollipops. Thank goodness for the fruit in her diet. Just last night she ate about 1/2 of a cantaloupe.

Overall our transition has been smooth with only a few bumps in the road. Our biggest hurdles so far have been sibling jealousy (some days I want to pull my hair out) and medical needs/appointments for Emma. Emma is starting to have some testing done to evaluate her Spina Bifida. She is scheduled for a sedated MRI, full Urodynamics (to evaluate her bladder function), VCUG, Xrays of her left foot/leg, tons of blood work (SB and adoption labs) to be draw and SB clinic appointments. Once we get the initial testing done I am hoping the appointments will be less frequent.

I start back to work next weekend and I am not looking forward to it (sorry to my coworkers who are reading this). Not because I don't like my job, but because I don't know how I am going to fit it in to my schedule right now. I am so tired and worn now, never mind throwing in two 12 hour night shift per week. Ugh. The thought of that makes my stomach feel a little queasy. I am not sure how Emma will do while I am gone also. Attachment/bonding is a tricking thing with adoption. I have worked so hard to gain her trust and I don't want her feeling abandoned again. Sigh.......

Gavin and Sophie are doing really well with the new changes. School is in full swing and both are happy and doing great so far. School, friends, lacrosse(Gavin) and cheer(Sophie) are keeping them super busy. Emma loves her sisters and brothers and is being carted around everywhere. The poor girl has car/motion sickness and needs to be given Dramamine frequently because of all the time we spend in the car. Before we figured out it was car/motion sickness it was not pretty. She screamed, had hot sweats then proceeded to vomit everywhere in her car seat. We seem to have that under control now. Fingers crossed.

Emma's English is amazing considering she has been with us less than six weeks. She speaks in 3-4 word sentences sometimes. She probably knows about 200+ English words right now. My favorite is "I lub you". Just melts my heart. I started to list all the words the other day but the list was getting way to long. You would think that communication would be difficult for a 3.5 yo who speaks fluent Mandarin while her new family doesn't. Honestly it hasn't been an issue. We seem to get our points across just fine. I have to admit it is quite comical when she stands there with her hand on her hip, shaking her finger at you and talking/yelling in Mandarin. I just know she is being so fresh! She has been known to be sassy even with the eye roll. I think we might be in for it.

Now for the best part. Pictures......





 Lily's first day of Kindergarten. She is getting so big and grown up!




September 14th marked Lily's 3rd Forever Family Day. Hard to believe it has been 3 years since she was placed in our arms. It seems just like yesterday. She is receiving her special yearly gift in remembrance of that magical day.

 Bobbing for apples at Uncle Peter's pig roast.



Gavin and Sophie's first day of school. Gavin started high school this year. Unbelievable that I have a child in 9th grade. It just doesn't seem possible. He is doing great and loves being in high School now. Sophie is in 8th grade and continues to do well also. Hard to believe she will be in high school next year too!
   Gavin with his "date" for the Home Coming dance. So cute!