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.