Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Fun!

We had a great Christmas. I know I'm behind all my other blogging buddies in putting up Christmas pictures. But, here they are! We had a great time. Christmas Eve was quiet and low key. We did make it to our Christmas Eve service at church. Bedtime was NOT so low key and quiet. Hannah was very over excited and didn't fall asleep until after 11:00! That didn't stop her from waking me and Sadie up at 6:15 on Christmas Day though! Sadie was not ready to get up and did not want to go downstairs. Not really understanding why Hannah was jumping up and down excited and yelling "don't you want to go downstairs and see what Santa brought?? don't you..don't you??!", Sadie just kept saying "no" and rolling over. Finally, I got her up and we all headed downstairs. Once she saw what was waiting for her, Sadie perked up and had a great time. They both were thrilled with their presents. Their big gift was a set of puppets and a doorway puppet theatre to share. Later, my parents and grandfather came over for lunch and we exchanged more gifts. The girls had a blast playing with with everyone. The following morning, we headed over to Beth and Wayne's (nana and granddaddy) house where all their cousins were that day and exchanged gifts again! Hannah stayed to play with Elizabeth since we don't get to see them very often. And those girls have always had a bond that's neat to see. They are two years apart, but very much alike and they get along very well. I took Sadie home however for a nap and some quiet time with mommy. With all the excitement of the holidays, following doctor's orders to limit her activity level was about impossible anytime she was around other kids. But Christmas was good at our house. It was good to see them so excited and loving every minute. And you want to know a secret? It was so special watching Sadie in her first Christmas home. And great watching Hannah be so excited. But, it's also fun that Hannah is old enough now that we are slowing moving out of those toddlerish / preschool toys for her. Not completely..she still loves the ones she has and she still plays with her dolls and stuffed animals and princess stuff. She loved the tinkerbell play set she got from her grandfather and was thrilled with the princess leapster game she got. But, she also got some stuff that *I've* had fun with!! ha! craft kits, interesting books that I enjoy reading to her, and a game that's actually fun to play! (Honest confesssion - I'll play the preschool games, but I just don't actually enjoy Candyland). Anyway, Happy New Year!!

(Does this face not just scream "excited!" She was jumping up and down too!)

Sadie checking out her stocking stash (with piece of chocolate already in her mouth! That girl loves some candy!)

Puppet show time! We've all three had fun with this one!

Wearing gradma's glasses

The girls hanging out with papa (my grandfather)

Tinkerbell flies off on her new hippity hop!

Enjoying a ride on grandpa's shoulders

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sadie's Surgery Update

We are home and Sadie is doing well. We started our trip to Atlanta a little earlier than planned. Our dr. office called on Thursday morning to tell me that our time had changed and we needed to be at the hospital at 6:30 the next morning. You know, that's 5:30 in our time zone. That would mean leaving my house at 2:30 in the morning! yikes! So, I made some quick changes, left school early, and was able to get things together to leave that evening instead. It turned out great because I actually left my house right about Sadie's normal bedtime. She slept most of the way there. Friday morning, Sadie was in a good mood and all smiles for everyone. I love this picture of her in her hospital gown and the hat! That was actually my hat I had to wear to accompany her into the OR. But while we were waiting Sadie had some fun with it.

When it was time, I was allowed to accompany her to the OR and stay with her until she was asleep. I just sat beside her and was rubbing her arm talking to her while she breathed in the mask and fell asleep. It was so gentle, easy, and non-traumatic. Then, I was escorted out of the OR and to a post-op room to wait. Her surgery only took a little over an hour, and during that time I was able to go downstairs to fill her prescriptions. Her surgeon came to talk to me when they were finished and said she did great! He gave me some instructions and then I just had to wait until she came out of recovery. When they brought her to me a few minutes later, she was just barely awake, but not really. She would open her eyes and look at me, I'd ask her if she was ready to sit up, she'd say "no" and close her eyes again. She slept on and off like this for close to an hour. Finally, she sat up, drank some juice, and asked for her shoes. Amazing!

When we got back to the hotel room, she was very sleepy and a bit nauseous for the first couple hours. But after a good nap, we were even able to go out for a little while and get something to eat, though she didn't eat but a few bites of anything. We stopped at Family Dollar and Sadie, who NEVER begs for toys, latched on to a toy cash register and wasn't letting go. What was I suppossed to do when she chose to insist on a toy for the first time on the same day she had surgery and had both arms bandaged up? I intended to buy her one there anyway, but I was thinking of the $1-$2 toys. Nope - she picks the $10 one (that wasn't worth $10). I guess she figured I wouldn't say no to her on that day. She was right - she came back to the hotel with the cash register. :-)

Sadie slept well through the night, only waking once for pain medicine. When she woke up this morning she was hungry and anxious to go home. We ate some breakfast (yummy banana bread thanks to one of my students!!), packed up, and were home before lunchtime. We have taken it easy and relaxed today. That's the plan for a while. We return to Atlanta on the 29th for a post-op visit and to have Sadie's bandages removed. At that time, I will learn how to clean the fixator and adjust it each day. Until then, it's to be left alone. Except, her surgeon told me I needed to find something to cover the pins sticking out. He said I'd just have to get creative because they had not come up with a good solution yet. I tried a couple things at home - and this is what I came up with - sponges covered with disney princess medical tape. So far, so good. The blue bandage on her right hand (where her thumb was removed) can be taken off tomorrow night. She doesn't seem to be affected by that hand at all - she just does everything with it like she was before.

Sadie is still on some pain medicine, but there's only been a couple times she seemed to be hurting. On the way home today, she got a bit restless in the car and started whining and fussing. I asked her "does it hurt?". She said "yes". So I asked "your arm hurts?", to which she replied "NO. leg. leg hurt". Then, it was "tummy hurt". Then "ear hurt", "foot hurt", "nose hurt", and on and on. It was too funny. All of a sudden everything hurt EXCEPT the part of her body that had surgery. I think she was just ready to be home because as soon as we got home, she seemed to feel good. The biggest challenge I think is going to be following her dr. orders to limit activity level for two weeks. She's clearly feeling so much better now that we're home and has been enjoying playing with Hannah. Thanks so much for all the prayers!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prayer Request and Christmas Pictures

What a busy time we had this past weekend! Friday, Sadie and I trekked to Atlanta for her pre-op appointment. She's having surgery there on Friday. Sadie will be having her right "floppy thumb" removed and a fixator placed on her left hand / wrist that will stretch some of her muscles out before her next surgery in a couple months. Altogether we are looking at probably 3 surgeries in the next 6-12 months, but then we should be done. I'd appreciate your prayers for my sweet baby girl Friday and for her recovery after surgery. The actual surgery is outpatient, and we will be staying in Atlanta for one night before coming home Saturday morning. You can also pray for traffic conditions going into Atlanta Friday morning - yikes!

Saturday morning, we headed to my school for their annual Pancake Breakfast / visit with Santa / auction / fundraiser. Kindergarten was singing that morning which meant Hannah was singing. She was beyond excited. Hannah was great - very dramatic with her motions to the song and she sang every word. She is such a performer. Look for her on a stage near you one day!! (Hannah in white shirt / red pants)

We saw Santa there at the school. Yeah! Picture with Santa - check off the list! Now I don't have to go to the mall (although he IS my favorite, but we're going to make do with this friendly Santa this year). Sadie looked like she might cry for about 5 seconds and then glanced at Hannah. When she saw Hannah liked Santa, she decided she'd like him too! Ah - sibling peer pressure at it's best! (sorry, no pic. of the girls with Santa either right now)

This picture was suppossed to be of the two little girls. The little one in blue is Ella, Sadie's friend from her babysitter. They LOVE each other. Can't you tell from this picture? ha! They really do love each other, and at least mine loves to have her picture taken. But we had just walked through a huge crowd (100's of kindergarteners who just finished performing and their parents) and Sadie was a little freaked by it. Then we saw Ella. You know how it's kind of weird when you see someone you know from one setting in a completely different setting and it kind of makes you step back and go "wait!" (or is that just me?). I think that's what Ella and Sadie were feeling. They wouldn't even smile when we got the two big sisters to come join them. oh well.

Saturday night, I took Hannah and her friend Joy on a special "big girls" outing to see the Nutcracker. It was long, but lots of fun. They both sat on the edge of their seats for the entire two and a half hours. Well, except for intermission when they were both dancing in the hallway trying to imitate the dancers from the ballet. I hope next year Sadie can join us. This is the second year I've taken Hannah and she loves it. But Sadie was still a little young and it would have crushed Hannah to have to leave early because Sadie got restless. So - she enjoyed a fun "little kids" evening with Nana and her favorite 2 year old cousin Bill.
Here's some Christmas pictures I took last weekend with the girls before church.

*I love how Sadie is looking at Hannah for her cue on what kind of face to make! Silly Face picture!

*"okay - let's look sweet and do a good job in this one. Mom won't let us leave here you know until she gets a photo worthy of a Christmas card. Trust me, I've done this for the last two years." (just for the record, I'm not doing Christmas cards this year, at least not before Christmas. I'm aiming for a New Year's card though...it's a goal, not a promise!)

*I let Hannah take this picture, just for fun. I thought she did a good job!

There were many more pictures I intended for this post...maybe they'll get added later. Maybe. :-)

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We spent a couple days at my parents and enjoyed that. Here's the girls with their great-grandfather the day after Thanksgiving.

While we were there, we visited the mall and saw this bungee-jump thing set up. Hannah wanted to try it so I let her. And then Sadie wanted to try it, so she went too. They had a blast!

Seems like there's been so much to update on lately and now that I've actually sat down at the computer to do it, I'm having a hard time thinking what exactly to update on! But once I start writing I usually go with it, so here goes....

Sadie -
She is doing great! Talking more and more each day. She's happy and easy going for the most part. She's sleeping great. Having two children is more work than one in many ways. But I know I've had more energy these last six months than I had the first six months Hannah was home. So, in that sense it's easier. Um, possibly because Hannah didn't sleep through the night for a year. But both my girls are regularly sleeping through the night and except for a day here and there (usually when one doesn't feel well), they have been the last 6 months. Ah..they sleep through the night = I sleep through the night = we all are happier and more pleasant (at least some times!). But back to Sadie, she's simply amazing at how she's just gone with the flow with everything. Medically, she's been tougher though. I think we've seen most of the specialists at Children's Hospital. Not really, but it seems that way. Everything is good..no major problems. It's just taken a lot of time and visits to get it all sorted out that everything is good. I heard from the genetics clinic right before Thanksgiving. All Sadie's genetic testing came back normal. She does not have any syndromes or chromosone abmormalities. So, that was a relief and a praise.
I keep thinking we're going to wind up all these dr. appointments soon, but we're really not. We're just starting "phase 2"! I can't complain though because we have gotten good reports at every single one. Sadie goes back to the international adoption clinic in a couple weeks for a follow up appointment. We also have a pre-op appointment next week in Atlanta. Then, Sadie is having her first surgery in Atlanta on December 19th. It's outpatient, but we will spend one night in Atlanta just to be close to the hospital / surgeon should any issues come up. In some ways, I don't like that it's right before Christmas, her first Christmas home. But, the good thing is that it gives me two full weeks off with her afterwards before I go back to school. Oh, and the other thing about Sadie is that I spoke with the nurse who works with her nephrologist (kidney dr.) this week. I explained my slight concern about the kidney issues associated with melamine (see earlier post) in China. She assured me that if there was anything going on, they would have caught it since they did such a thourough work-up on her kidneys already. But, she also pulled up Sadie's ultrasound and lab results on the computer just to double-check for me. Everything was great. Yeah! So many things to thank God for these days!!
Hannah -
Also doing well. Still loving kindergarten. Still spunky. And sweet. And my, the conversations we've had in the car lately. After I drop Sadie off at her babysitter in the mornings, the rest of the ride to work / school is full of Hannah's questions. Lately, about God. I think I need to go to seminary and get some training just to answer her questions!! Well, actually, I think she'd stump them too. Lately we've had:

1. Why did God make sharks so that they would bite people?

2. If Jesus is in your heart, how come you can't feel his feet in your heart?
(my answer that Jesus' spirit was in your heart not his body didn't satisfy. Hannah insists that He needs feet to walk and she can't feel his feet!)
3. If Jesus is our King, why doesn't he have a throne? I thought this one was easy and said He did have a throne, in heaven. Then she came back with "don't you think He needs to leave his throne and come down here and help people?"

4. Statement instead of a question: "I will see Jesus in heaven one day. Not today, but ONE day. I'm not old enough yet. But you are old enough" (Thanks a lot!)

5. Speaking of Christmas being Jesus' birthday "How old is he? Are we going to have a birthday cake? (yes), How is Jesus going to blow the candles off his cake (all 2008 of them!!)? I told Hannah we would do just a couple candles since we couldn't put enough candles on the cake for how old Jesus was. And that I was sure Jesus wouldn't mind if we blew the candles out for him. Her answer? "No. I will just pray to Jesus. I will talk to him and tell him will you please come off your throne and come to your birthday party and blow your candles off your cake!"

I'm telling y'all - I'm mentally exhausted by 7:30 in the mornings! But I also LOVE that she's that interested and pray that she always asks the questions of faith!

If you asked Hannah what the most important thing that's happened lately for her, it would be that she got new shoes. And it was a big deal because it was her first pair of "tie shoes". See, I'm lazy when it comes to tying my kids shoes. I tie little boys' and girls' shoes all day long at work. And it's okay. I really don't mind. But by the time I come home, I am done tying shoes. That, and I'm sympathetic to my girls' teachers and how many shoes they tie each day too. So I do my part and make it one less for them. The rule in our house is you can have tie shoes when you learn to tie them. Until then, it's VELCRO all the way! Hannah's been practicing, and so when it was decided she really needed new tennis shoes, I handed her mine first and told her to tie them. When she did it successfully, I announced she could pick out "tie shoes". She is SO proud of herself, and rightly so. She worked hard! Since getting them, she can even double-tie now. Do you think when she's grown I'll look back and wish I had the memory of tying her shoes over and over when she was little?? Naa..me either. Instead I'll remember her practicing to tie shoes by herself over and over and the huge smile on her face when she got it.

Me -
I have some job things going on. Good things, not bad. But things that are keeping me busy. As if I wasn't busy already! I got my score back on the first part of my National Boards that I completed last spring. I had a good score and I can "bank" it and not have to repeat that part of the boards! Big relief!! I also received a grant from the state to complete the rest of my National Boards. So, my portfolio for that is due March 31st. I'm giving myself December off worrying too much about it. There's so much going on already with Hannah's class, my class, Sadie's surgery, church, etc. and I want to enjoy this Christmas season with my kids. But, come January, I will be spending some serious time studying and working on my portfolio entries.

Christmas -
In the midst of all the business, I'm trying to stay centered and calm and remember what this season is all about. I'm really all about simple this year. Simple and meaningful Christmas celebrations. I have some fun things planned for us, and I'm letting go of some of the normal obligation-type things that don't hold real meaning for us. I'm trying to not overschedule our holidays, but provide plenty of down time to enjoy time as a family. Putting up the tree was fun this year, and for the first time, Hannah was actually a big help. Sadie - not so much, but hey, she's 3!

I also started doing advent devotionals with the girls right before bed. My good friend Becky led a workshop on advent traditions at our church a couple weeks ago, and last year she had actually introduced me to the way her family does a Jesse tree. So, we are trying it this year. The girls each have a small paper ornament with a symbol on it to color while I do the reading / devotional. Then we talk about it briefly. Then, they hang them on our Jesse tree (which is a small 3 foot artificial tree). The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes. Usually about 5. So far it's been great. Hannah has suprised me with how well she's been able to answer some of the questions and some of her ideas about the devotional. Sadie's just happy to be coloring a picture and hanging it on the tree. But that's why I like it - because it is 3-year old appropriate and 5-year old appropriate. (And appropriate for me as well!)

Today, we went to our local Christmas parade. It was fun and I hoped to get pictures, but the camera battery died. The girls racked up on the candy with huge bags full. Hannah, because she would run grab it when they threw it. Sadie..well, she had the act down. She would smile really cute and a little shyly at everyone going by. They thought she was too little and so they would actually leave the floats and run directly to her with huge handfuls of candy for her bag. It was too funny! Later that afternoon, we hit our friend Morgan's birthday party. It was a Webkinz party, so Hannah has now been introduced to the little critters. It was cute and the girls had a blast.

Well..is that enough rambling for one night? I think so. Good night and thanks for checking in on us!