Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Emma {adoption video}

Today is Emma's 2nd birthday, yea!!! I finally got my act together and I am delivering Emma's Adoption Video to her as her second birthday present. :-)

This is also a big milestone because Emma has now been with us longer then she had been with anyone else previous (aka her foster parents).  This is a milestone in adoption land, if only as a 'check' to say that everyone has made it, and to keep up the good work!!

Happy Birthday Emma Jean Chun Xiao!! You have brought so much perspective to my life & taught me so much about parenting, myself, and unconditional love.  I look forward to all of the wonderful things you will bring to our family in this next year!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Emma's History {finding posters}

Two years ago Emma's birth mother was nearing the end of her pregnancy.  I can't imagine what she was going through.  Did she know she was going to give this precious little girl up due to the 1 child policy in China? Was she expecting to keep the baby, assuming she would be born healthy? Was she hopeful to see her face, annoyed by the kicking, and swollen feet? :-)

A bit of background China a woman can get an abortion at any point during their pregnancy if they want to. It is not difficult and, from what I understand, it is free and lets just say, heavily enforced, when a woman already has another child (see an ABC article here for details).   Emma's birth mother elected not to go this route. In my humble opinion, this makes her one of the most honorable woman in china.

Instead, she most likely hid her 'illegal' pregnancy & brought this 3.5 pound precious girl, born at 32 weeks, to an international convention center with a box of formula and a quilted blanket.   Her birth mother probably hid and watched her baby girl in a box....hoping she would be found by a wealthy businessman or a security guard and the police then called.

A lot of adoptive parents think this information shouldn't be shared on a blog like this. Heck, I was one of them a few months ago. But this is the truth and it is Emma's reality. I was reminded at church this week that too often we see reality (be it a homeless man on the street, a commercial for feed the children, etc) and we 'skip' over it. We give it no energy because what can we do about it? We, essentially, ignore it.  And by ignoring it, we don't help fix the problem. We don't do our part to bring attention to the issue.

The other thing is, this reality for Emma is so much better then the alternative choice and so I am not ashamed to tell it.

Why am I thinking about this now? Partially because I am pregnant and can't imagine what this woman must have been going through.  But I also am realizing that b/c Emma's birthday and abandonment day are a day apart (or potentially the same day), and that on her birthday we will always celebrate her birth but be reminded of the loss of her birth family.  I say birth family because it is possible she has a biological brother or, more likely, a biological sister. She has a birth father, and 4 biological grandparents. Biological aunts, cousins, you get the picture.  There are ton's of people that probably knew she was born and also mourn this time of year.

As adoptive parents, it is easy to stick our head in the sand and not think or talk about the birth family. Or, perhaps, think about how sad it is but do nothing about it.  Had I not found this blog and learned about this movie, I would have been one of those parents. But I have seen this and I have heard this 18 year old's voice (it is the same girl in the movie who wrote the blog).  I have heard various versions of the same story that, essentially, say 'I wish my parents would have searched for my birth parents earlier. Before I started asking about it when I was 18.  18 years is too long to find good information. I am now doing my best but it has been 18 years and there isn't a lot to go on.'

Now don't get me wrong, I have talked to many adults adopted as children and they say they have no interest in finding their birth parents. Zero.  And I believe them.  The problem is, standing here when my child is almost two, how do I know which one my child is going to be?! And how will I answer her if she asks me 'why did you not search earlier? What could have been more important?'  Can I answer her  'it was too expensive'?  No, not really. Remember that Disney trip we took? Remember that new house we bought?

So, here I am.  We have Emma's police report from our trip to China, which is fantastic, but that is it. We have her finders name but an old phone number that doesn't work. We have nothing really to go on.  But I can't sit and do nothing. If my daughter is anything like me, she will demand information and be PISSED with any excuse I try to use.

In the above mentioned blog,  I ran across a woman who helped this girl search for her birth parents. I reached out to her over email and she is willing to go to Kunming, where Emma was born, and put up posters by Emma's finding spot. She will ask around to the security workers  if anyone remembers seeing a baby that day.  She is going next week.... 1 month before the 2 year anniversary of Emma's abandonment.

 Here is a snapshot of the flyer.... adorable, right?

If I am honest with myself, I don't really think this is going to result in much.  It is a Hail Mary kind of a search.  I would much rather get in contact with a Chinese CIA type person who could do some real PI research.  Frankly, I would rather have Jason Bourne over there looking for her birth parents.  But, alas, I don't know anyone in that field.  So this is the route we are trying for now.  In the meantime, if anyone know of a Chinese who is good in espionage, let me know.  LOL.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Funniest. Pictures. Ever.

Sweet Emma

Notice the shin guards?!

For those of you adoptive mama's, did you watch the Olympics and route for China? I found myself in that boat this Olympic games.

I also found myself getting upset with the commentators reviews of the Chinese athletes. It seemed they couldn't do anything right - if they were good at diving it was b/c they were constantly forced to practice and kept away from their families. If they were good at Swimming, it was because of drugs. When the back up mens gymnastic had a bad day, they played it over and over again (hey, the guy was a backup, give him a break!).

Anyway, we have loved watching them the past two weeks.  Both Lexie and Emma have their favorite sports - gymnastics!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Progress {a lot of progress}

We have had a huge summer!  A few recent updates (in no particular order):

  • We put our house up on the market in late June and we had 3 offers in 6 days!  We feel really lucky and are planning to close & move at the end of August.
  • We signed a contract to build a new, bigger, home just down the road from our current home. The neighborhood is full of kids, has sidewalks, a park, and is walk able to the local elementry and high school. We are going to have 5 bedrooms which will be such a blessing since both Matt and I work from home (we currently share an office, ugh!).   I feel like such a grown up (and to be honest a little over indulgent) that we are getting this big of a house but we really will use the space.  The house will be ready early February, 2013.

  • We started another adoption. We actually did this right when we got home with Emma (we knocked the HomeStudy update out with our first post placement visit). We were DTC (documents to China) in early April.  That said, the adoption is on hold b/c....

  • We are pregnant!!  I know, right?!  I feel obligated to tell you this was planned - we did an IVF cycle. Everyone says 'just relax and you will get preggo'. Well, that is horse shit.  I did, however, find a new doctor who I think is fantastic, and who was willing to work with us in a way our previous Dr's were not.  Anyway, we are due in mid Feb. We are now planning on going back to China for #4!  :-)
  • We bought a rental property.  I know, the story gets crazier and crazier.  We found a fantastic deal on a foreclosure and close on it the day before we sell our current home. I won't lie, it needs some work but Matt and I see potential. To be honest, I love taking something ugly and, on a bargain, making it beautiful.  It doesn't hurt that by hubby is amazing and can do a lot of projects himself! We plan to live in the rental, while we fix it up, until our new construction home (bullet #2) is ready.  Once we move to the big house, we will put it up for rent.

  • Last, but certainly not least, Emma got tubes yesterday.  Thank God!!  After 4 failed hearing tests, fluid in her ear at every appointment, and 6 ear infections since being home (2 that required a second round of antibiotic), they finally agreed with me that she needed tubes.  There is some rule of thumb about x number of infections in 6 mos and since she hadn't been home 6 mos, they didn't want to do it before then.  Crazy!! Anyway, she is recovering nicely, for now at least!

Emma can't swim for a week so we are trying to come up with creative activities for the girls. It is tough, we have been at the pool everyday this summer so we are going to have to start branching out to our fall and winter activities this week. :-)

So that is our progress.  Anyone else got news to share, lol?!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Emma's Dedication

Emma's dedication at church was Sunday. It was pretty awesome day.  We had tons of family and friends come to the dedication and promise to help us raise this little girl to know God.

What really struck me was the timing of it all - fathers day. The topic at church was how God is our Father and how he 'adopted' us into his family. How he loves us more then we know. How he knows every hair on our head and is proud of us at every step in our lives.

Hmm..I can imagine the feeling. :-)

Feeling really blessed this week!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dirty Little Secret

Today started off much like every weekday for the past month.  I went to Target, TJ Maxx, a swim lesson, Lexie's Preschool, and the gym.  But then something big happened.

Before I go there though, let me give you some background information.

Adoption is my dirty little secret...since returning from China, I have been going to the gym anywhere from 3-4 times a week. I never went to the gym in 2011. In fact, we didn't even join until right before we left for China. Anyway, I love this hour of the day -- it is my time to focus on keeping myself healthy and, shockingly, it is kid free.  Lexie is in school and I drop Emma off at the  'Treehouse'.  Yes. Gym daycare people.. Pick your jaw up off the floor and hold your judgement.

Anyway,  typically drop-off is heartbreaking. For my family & friends, I bet you are thinking, 'oh Emma cries and it is so hard to leave her', right? Not fact, just the opposite. It is heartbreaking because she does not cry. She just grins, go's to her favorite toy (a little tykes rocking horse) & starts rocking away.

More background here...typically when parents return to pick their child up, the front desk lady call's the child's name and the appropriate child comes running to the door.  Emma is actually just learning her name so that makes it difficult. Of course, there are like 12 Emma's so they yell 'Emma' a that further complicates things. So, in general, our Emma has not historically reacted like the other children. In fact, when we first got home, I would physically go over and sit down next to her for her to recognize me.

Anyway, today I went for my run and when I came back the front desk woman called 'Emma' like she always does. And you know what? Emma turned, grinned, and ran to me.  It. was. amazing.

People ask me a lot if they can hold Emma. They ask if she is 'willing' to go to them now that she has been home for some time.  In my opinion, this is one of the biggest misconception among the non adoption community.  The whole  'oh they just picked up their child, I won't hold her' is not b/c the kid will freak out. It is b/c the kid won't freak out.  We want the kid to freak out...that is the goal. It means they are attaching.

To that extent....I found this article today. I just wish I would have found it earlier. Perhaps it was actually in an adoption training online that I 'breezed' through in late 2010. Anyway, it basically explains that attachment happens over time for ALL children.  When Emma joined our family she joined it as a newborn - starting her attachment process from scratch.  Emma has now been with us 4 mos (in the adoption land this is called 4 mos old in 'family age').   As you can see attached, it is not until 4 mos that children begin to have a preference for specific people. So today's events were right on time! :-)

In any case, this event made my heart melt. Maybe b/c I needed it today (don't get me started on the havoc my girls brought onto my house yesterday). Maybe b/c adoptive parenting is hard work. In any case, today reminded me how much I love the unique nuances about being an adoptive parent.   Sometimes the hard work you put in is different then with your bio kids... but today reminded me that  so is the reward you get back.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Loving the water!

Lexie has been taking swim lessons with a friend of mine, Lindsay, who I swam with in high school. It is so cool to see the two of them swimming around together in the pool! 

Lindsay has an underwater camera and snapped a couple of pictures of Lexie last week - too cute!!

 Emma and I cheer Lexie on during her lesson...well, actually, I spend a lot of time chasing Emma around the pool making sure she doesn't jump right in!  Emma seems to think she can do anything her big sister can these days!! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

3 months since gotcha day!

Three months ago we met Emma Jean Chun Xiao for the first time!  It is amazing to watch  her grow and to watch her show us more and more of her personality every day. Even more amazing is to watch our love grow for this girl.   Seriously, it is such an amazing experience....something I didn't expect as part of the adoption.

Now for some recent pictures..

This is how we found Emma on Easter morning
(Matt said he left Emma on the floor in one of the 2 am night waking charades)
Lexie then woke up Emma and showed her the eggs that the easter bunny left in her room!
 We then headed downstairs -- Emma got the finding egg concept very quickly!

That is where our camera died. So no other pictures for the day, sorry!

In other news...Emma is chatting up a storm. Trying to repeat everything we say.  We realized she wanted to count the other day when she was attempting to count back at the Elmo DVD in the car (hold the judgement people, Elmo gives me 10 mins of peace to make a phone call while running errands).  Here she is...

Daddy and Emma - Counting at 18 mos
(she is wearing a fairy outfit sans wings, in case you are wondering!)
Emma and Great Grandpa Ballantyne
Adorable, right?! -)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stop the bus!!

This morning we got the call that Emma's Ultrasound came back N-O-R-M-A-L!!! Yipee!! We were so happy to hear the news that her kidneys are ok.  2 weeks ago we had no worries about those little bean shaped organs but as of last week, it was all my dear husband could think about!!  One thing off the table.

At 3:30 we headed back to U of M for our appointment with the ENT & Audiologist to read the CT Scan & ABR results.  The CT Scan also came back NORMAL!!!  This means there are no deformities in her ears (at least none that they could see on the scan).

Finally, they told us that the ABR hearing test also came back NORMAL!

What...what?!  Back the bus up...can you repeat that?

I had her tell me 5 different ways from Sunday but basically she said -- "yeah, its really good news, it seems she doesn't have sensorineural hearing loss after all. This is really rare, I have never actually seen it happen...we are really sorry but this really is good news!"

Now let me back up for some history...this ABR test actually has some history behind it.  After the diagnosis of severe to profound hearing loss a few weeks back, we asked for the ABR test but were told that it 'was not needed'. They said her hearing loss was so evident in the booth that there really wasn't a need to put Emma under anesthesia just to 'double confirm'.  At the time, I was so overwhelmed I told the audiologist 'ok, if you don't think we need the ABR, then I am good with that'.

Hearing aids were fitted and ordered at that time. I started saving for the payment of the aids (apparently the state of Michigan does not require insurance carriers to 100% cover even basic models).   Over the next few days, we started telling folks about Emma's hearing loss and were connected with one of Lexies' friends mom, who also is an audiologist in town.  This woman told Matt that we needed the ABR and that we should fight for it.  Luckily I am married to an awesome man who is on his game!  He called the audiologist the next morning and said we needed the ABR.  It took 2 weeks to schedule, but we finally got it scheduled last Wednesday, while we were on vacation.  Thank God Matt spoke with this woman and that he pushed for it!!

Anyway, today they proceeded to re-do the behavior hearing test they did a few weeks ago.  They also re-did a few other hearing tests to confirm the ABR test yesterday.  They indicated Emma's hearing loss today measured 'mild' in certain frequencies but not severe to profound like it had a few weeks back. They said mild losses don't require hearing aids.  Confused yet?!  I sure was!!

I asked which test is more accurate - the ABR/OAE or the behavior tests. No clear answer, depends on age, child, circumstances.  I asked about false positives.  I didn't get a straight answer from anyone. Reading between the lines, my take is that behavior tests may not work for our little princess. She just couldn't care less about their toys and was much more interested in playing with stickers & telling me 'DOWN!' (her way of saying, we need to get out of here mom) then responding to auditory stimuli.    I am just floored that they were considering not doing the ABR!! Had they not done it, Emma would have hearing aids today and, apparently, not need them!!

So where are we now?   We are so freaking happy and celebrating this evening. I am not certain we are out of the woods with hearing  for now but I am cautiously optimistic. I will be honest, my mothers instinct says she is alright.  This little 18 mos old girl  - who had been in the US for 2.5 mos - can say 30 words already. She will get her shoes if I ask her to. She will give me a kiss if I ask her to. If Lexie wakes up in the middle of the night crying, Emma hears it and then wakes up also (lovely, right?!).   Again... cautiously optimistic. That said, I am going to be a lot more aggressive going forward when we talk to doctors (which is saying a lot for those of you that know me!!).

For those of you that were praying for Emma - lets just say that there is some power in prayer folks!!   Thank you!!   Matt and I talked and our takeaway in all of this is that we can handle WAY more then we think we can.  We can handle hearing loss...its not the end of the world.  We can do this because we have each other and because we know we are not alone.   I am not sure if the last month was strategically placed in our life or if it was all just a big mishap.  But I am certain of this.. we have learned a lot about ourselves & grown even closer to our precious baby at the same time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cutie Pie!

Emma did amazing this morning! I was pretty nervous with the whole 'not eating after midnight' thing but, like always, she shined like a champ!!  

She had all of the nurses and doctors (especially the men) wrapped around her finger.  When I finally was allowed to go back to see her (after she had woken up),  there was a man with a guitar singing to her and 3 woman nurses cooing around her.  Seriously, she was in heaven!!

We don't know any of the results yet -- more to come as we hear from the various doctors over the next 24-36 hours. But I had to post these adorable pictures today. :-)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rosemary Beach & Emma's CT Scan, ABR, & Ultrasound

We an outstanding week in Florida! We stayed in a little neighborhood in the panhandle called Rosemary Beach. Our house was across the street from the family pool and the playground in the neighborhood - we couldn't have asked for a better location. Lexie rode her bike to the beach every day too, it was really fantastic! Initially, Emma was a little hesitant to stand in or play in the sand but after about 2 hours each day she would venture out off our lap and even into the ocean a bit!  Here are a few pictures...
Lexie & Daddy @ Beach Bonfire

 Lexie & Emma playing on the beach

Emma got so tan on this vacation. I promise I used SPF 50 - she just tans really well!!
This girl loves ice cream - one of the many cones consumed over the past week
Daddy and his girls

The best part of the week was swimming at the pool. I got these flotation devices for both the girls.  Lexie used them for the first part of the week but by the end wanted to 'practice' her swimming. Emma used them the entire time and left us free to not worry about her 100% of the time!

Back to reality!  Tomorrow is Matt's first day back to work. Emma and I have to be at U of M at 7:30 am for Emma's CT Scan, ABR (a hearing test that requires Emma to be sedated), and an ultrasound of her kidneys. She will be under anesthesia for all of this so I am praying that she does well with that.

They are doing the ultrasound because a few weeks ago our pediatrician's nurse practitioner  found something on Emma's ear called an 'ear pit' (nice that our ENT did not pick up on this BTW!). Apparently kiddos that have ear pits & hearing loss sometimes also have Kidney issues (a syndrome called BOR). So they just want to make sure her Kidneys are functioning and growing as they should.

Emma is freaking smart, cute, and fits into our family perfectly. I know that we can face anything medically that comes up with her but right now I pray that we learn tomorrow that her kidneys are alright and that her hearing loss is not progressive (not sure if/when we will find this out though).

I will post an update when we know more over the next few days. Thank you all who have sent me notes, called, invited me over, etc over the last 3 weeks. I love that our friends and family are so supportive and willing to jump right in to do what they can to help!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nashville, TN & Montgomery, AL

We have arrived in Florida!! We are staying in Rosemary Beach - a little town in the panhandle.  The house is lovely and the area is beautiful. My parents are staying with us so tonight we were able to go to dinner sans kiddos. Our first night without the kiddos since Kunming!!

I am not going to lie, the drive was a little crazy.  Two 9-10 hours/days of driving will do anyone in.  After the first day I had a stiff neck from turning around so much and giving the kiddos food.  Seriously, I was really uncomfortable.  We stopped in Nashville for the night and that rejuvenated me a bit.  The hotel was awesome and the girls loved the fountains and the ice cream!!

 Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville TN


Emma's first Ice Cream Cone - Chocolate with Peanut Butter
(what type of parents are we that we made her wait this long?!)

The second day of driving I tried to turn around less but the neck stiffness hit an all time high after hour 6.  We stopped in Montgomery, AL for lunch and to let the girls run around.

 Montgomery, AL - Riverwalk 
Note - these are Emma's PJ's as we left so early in the morning!

Expending a little exercise!

Montgomery, AL - On our way for some BBQ at lunch!

We are super excited for the week at the beach!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Girl

This week Emma has shown us her adorable sisterly love side. She is babbling up a storm and is trying to communicate that she wants to do anything Lexie can do. I think she knows something is up based on the once/day doctor appointment schedule we seem to be on &  has decided that she will show us that she is in fact fine and does not appreciate going to the doctors every day!! :-)

 Goofing around in the playroom

We are heading to FL for a week on Friday returning on April fools day. It should be a nice break from all of the appointments. Time to just relax and play without the worry about the next appointment.

Matt starts back to work that following Monday. It has been amazing to have him home for these 12 weeks. I am forever grateful to our employer for allowing such a generous policy and for Matt's teammates for taking his work while he was out.  I have decided to take 3 more months off to figure out what will be best for Emma.

We still have a lot of unknowns about what is going on. It seems that hearing loss often goes hand in hand with a variety of other symptoms and the doctors want to just be doubly sure that the hearing loss is not a result of a larger issue. Anyway, the path of figuring all of this out & starting treatment for the hearing loss includes visits to all of the following individuals/groups: 

1) ENT doctor
2) Audiologist
3) Speech Pathologist
4) Radiologist for a CT Scan
5) Ultra Sound technician @ U of M
6) Geneticist
7) Ophthalmologist 
8) Early On Speech Therapist (Early intervention in Michigan)
9) Early On Hearing Therapist
10) Pediatrician (regular visits to ensure we don't have ear infections and that she is gaining weight) 

So you can see, we are a busy household.  Thank God for University of Michigan Motts hospital and the $2 parking as long as you stay < 4 hours. :-)

Emma takes all of this like a champ by the way.  The other day Lexie got a shot at the doctors office and Emma got two.  Lexie cried like a baby. Literally, I had to carry her out of the building while she was screaming hysterically like someone just cut off her arm. She talked about it for 3 days straight and she still will mention it ('why did that doctor hurt me?'). On the other hand, Emma took both shots like a walk in the park. No crying, she just watched it happen and moved on.  

Bless her little heart, we love her to pieces. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


No easy way to start this post so here it goes....we found out on Tuesday that Emma has partial, permanent, hearing loss in both of her ears.

This came as a complete shock to Matt and I.  Yes, I was at the U of M ears/nose/throat doctor but I went with one banana at nap time thinking we were going to have a quick conversation about tubes.  5 hours, 3 tests, and an ear molding for hearing aids later, I left to drive home. My phone died by the time the banana was gone.  So when I showed up 3 hours late at dinner time, Matt knew something was wrong.

We had no indication this was coming. Emma seems to be hearing fine and her words are actually coming along great. But, apparently, partial hearing loss is like that. If we had not had her tested, we may not have known until she was 4 or 5 when her speech was delayed.

In fact...when we got home, my pediatrician actually said the hearing and eye test were not required if I did not suspect anything. I scheduled the eye appt about a month ago when a few ppl mentioned that Emma had a lazy eye (of course I didn't notice that either) and the hearing test got scheduled routinely at that time.    So while this is heartbreaking for me as a mama, I am very glad we were able to detect this early.

We are still absorbing this information and trying to understand what it means. If you know of anyone who also has a child who is hard of hearing, please pass their information along (or pass them my blog). To be brutally honest, hearing loss was not one of the needs we said we were comfortable with when we first started Emma's adoption. Emma's referral listed her hearing as 'normal'.

Some friends have asked me if I am upset with China for the missed diagnosis.  After 4 days of thinking about it, I realize I am not upset at all. God knew better then to list her file as hard of hearing.  He knew we were her parents and lined up everything to make that happen. Matt and I may think we know what we 'need' but God is the only one who really knows that.  We just have to let go and trust that things will work out!

In the meantime, Emma is just adjusting great. She says mama now and I know she means me (for those adoptive parents out there you know how amazing this feeling is)!  She also says dada, nana (banning), more,  poo poo, & bye bye.  Moreover, we have twice caught her fake crying after she 'fake' fell down  while playing with Lexie.  Smart girl. :-)

Emma in FL in early March - see full pictures of our vacation here!

Please pray for Matt and I as we figure out how to navigate these waters. Pray to give us peace with this diagnosis and to give us the guidance of what we can do to help our little miracle continue to grow & adjust.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Gift

I haven't been posting to the blog because there isn't a ton to say.   We have settled into our routine, both daily and sleep schedules, and the latter continues to be a challenge.

 Here is an example of our schedule:

5:30 - Dinner
6:30 - Baths
6:45 - 7:15 - Books & Emma to bed in her room
7:15 - 7:45 - Books & Lexie to Bedin her room
9:00 - 9:10 - Emma's 1st wake, Christy or Matt goes to soothe her
10:30 - Matt to bed
11:00 - 11:10 - Emma 2nd waking, Christy to sooth her
11:10 - Christy to bed
1:30 -2:00 am Emma 3rd waking - Matt grabs Emma from her bed and puts her on the floor next to Christys side of the bed (on a crib mattress). Christy gives Emma a bottle.
3:30 - 3:40 am - Emma's 4th wake up - Christy soothes her (without getting out of my bed, yea!)
5:45 am -  6:00 am - Emma's 5th wake up (for the day) -  Matt gets up with her
7:00 am - Christy & Lexie are up

So you can see, its not perfect but it works for us. My DH is amazing too btw. He is such a trooper and has taken the brunt of 'figuring out' this night time schedule (I am horrible with lack of sleep). I couldn't have done this with anyone else.

Anyway, we had finally 'accepted' the night time schedule and then our world was rocked last night. I am having a hard time not tearing up just writing it.


To be clear here...this is not a sleep through the night via the 'six hour' clause many books reference. I mean we put her to bed at 7 pm last night in her own bed and she didn't wake up out of her own bed until 5:45 am.  Note - there was no hint this was going to happen. No lead up to this. The example of getting up 5 times has occurred most nights since we have been home, including the night before last.

I am not sure why on 2/25/2012 it happened. I am calling it a huge gift from God.  A 'wink' from God to tell us that we can do this and things WILL get better.

Of course, Lexie was up last night from 2:30 - 3:30 but that is just par for the course of being parents of two, right?! :-)

For those of you asking for pictures, here you go!!

Emma on the ice in MN
(Matt was so excited b/c the public park near my sisters house had this awesome rink!)
Lexie using her skates from Santa!
Daddy teaching Lexie to skate
Family Picture
(Skating is hard work - hence the crying from Lexie)

Mary, Lexie, Emma, and George the next am

Playdate with our friends the Clarks
(Emma loved this box, she thought it was the best 'toy' in the house)
Lexie & Devin (Cousin) at the pool
(hint - this is what we do to get Lexie out of the house while Emma is napping in the afternoon!)

Next week we are off to Florida & Disney so should have some adorable pictures of the girls from there!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The news

Today we had some good and some bad news....

The Good News
Grandma Lilley came over to babysit Emma & Lexie this evening so we could have a few hours off to play cards with our friends. The plan was to put Emma to bed and then sneak out for a few hours while they put Lexie down.  My parents came over a little early and brought a delicious dinner,...super nice. At bedtime my mom went to rock Emma and give her a bottle.   Here is where the good news comes in....Emma went ballistic. Seriously went crazy that it wasn't mom or dad putting her to bed.  SCORE!!!  We have both been loving this little girl to pieces and it kills us when she doesn't outwardly love us back. It is so hard when she doesn't recognize us when we walk in a room or seem to care when a stranger takes her from us.  This reaction to grandma rocking her was exactly what we have been waiting for and we were both ecstatic (sorry Grandma!!)!

The Bad News
About 4 mins after my parents arrived for dinner, Lexie started to cough & throw up.  At first I thought maybe it was gag reflex but after the 3rd time she threw up, we realized this was probably the stomach flu.  The norovirus has been going around so we think she caught it from someone this past week.  We just read all about it and it seems like it is very hard to keep from spreading...especially with a 1 year old in the house who puts everything in her mouth.  I can only assume we are all in for it.  I just pray we don't get it at the same time!  Needless to say,  with all the crying and throwing up, we sent my parents home and called our friends to let them know we would not make it to cards this evening.

I will leave you on a high note with a few pictures from yesterday.  We visited Matts' Great Grandma  - Emma & Lexie's Great Great Grandma- yesterday.  The trip went really well and we were able to meet up with Great Great uncle Lon as well.

 Great Great Grandma Gay and Emma

Great Great pushing Emma in her walker! They had a blast doing this around the apt!

 Great Great Uncle Lon & Emma goofing around (Emma really had an affinity for Uncle Lon!)

 The whole crew!  
Note: Great Great Grandma Gay keeps the apt pretty darn warm.  This is why Lexie is 1/2 naked in the photos. I can't remember why she was crying though!

Great Great Grandma Gay & Lexie on a 'walk' down her hallway