Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 Recap

Well, I haven't done as well blogging in 2012. So here's a year-in-review, mostly for myself to remember.

January 2012 

After celebrating New Year's, we celebrated the Chinese New Year a few weeks later. Good times with good friends. I even got to teach the girls' classes about Chinese New Year.

Hannah had surgery #7: this time on one of her ears.  Her ENT repaired the hole left in one eardrum.  At the moment of writing this, I can't even remember which ear it was! (And I'm not going to wake her up to check which side the scar is on at the moment).  The surgery was good / bad.  Good - recovery went well and she can now get water in that ear without causing pain. The eardrum healed nicely.  Bad - she *hated* the post-surgery ear drops with a passion (but was okay if I put them in when she went to sleep). Also, being able to get water in one ear didn't really help, because she still has a hole in the other ear and can't stand water in it.  But also, it was a gamble as to whether she was ready for that hole to be closed.  Since her tube was removed a year prior to that, the hole acted like a natural tube, preventing fluid build-up.  The hope was she was old enough / big enough for her eustachian tube to work better and when the hold was repaired, fluid would not be a problem anymore.  (She'd had tubes for 3 years prior to getting them out in Feb. 2010).  BUT, at her 1 month and 6 month follow-ups from this surgery, she again had fluid in that ear.  Thankfully, hearing has remained borderline normal and there has been no pain or ear infections from the fluid. So we're in a wait-and-see mode.  Her dr. wont' repair the other eardrum until he's sure she won't redevelop fluid in it.

Sadie had her own medical issues come up in January. We went to see her nephrologist for a check-up. It had been two years since we'd been.  It wasn't bad - most things were fine.  But I did learn that her left kidney (pelvic kidney) had not only stopped growing, but had shrunk in size. (Her dr. said it was the size of a newborn's kidney). However, her right kidney had grown better than expected and was compensating mostly well.  She did have a problem with too much acid in her blood. (Kidneys regulate so much - including how much acid is in your blood). So, she was put on a very simple medication that she takes 3 times a day to correct the acidosis. She may grow out of needing it at some point, but it's very possible she may need it for the rest of her life. It was a bit unsettling news at first (see What I know to be true ).  However, I will say that as we got in the routine of it, it just became normal life.  Sadie is doing great! In the first couple months, I saw an increase in growth and energy level, which is what was supposed to happen. She goes back to the nephrologist in a couple weeks, and I'm cautiously optimistic that he will say everything looks good.  Optimistic because there are no signs leading me to believe otherwise. She's healthy, growing, has a good appetite, has no symptoms of anything being wrong, and has a normal amount of energy. (And extra energy when it comes to talking!).  A little cautious because, well..I wasn't expecting to hear anything was wrong last year either. But regardless, this sweet, spunky girl is amazing!

February 2012

February brought this status update to my facebook page:
Got an interesting text as I left work this afternoon from next door neighbor. "neighbor wrecked into your power box". hmm. Came home to find 6 alabama power trucks and some bulldozer in my front yard. Water spraying everywhere. Neighbor said when the wreck happened smoke and "other stuff" came leaking out of box. Thankful for Alabama Power crew who not only made sure power was restored quickly, but who also made sure I had water and phone before they and who cleared out the toxic mess (i.e. dug up my yard - but it had to be done) and cleaned up best they could. Those guys worked hard! Mostly thankful no one was hurt. Hoping the rest of the weekend is less exciting..

Yeah, I think that was the one of the most exciting things that happened in Feb. And also Hannah had her first dance competition with her dance team. But I'll save that topic for another month. :)

March 2012

March was all about dance competition season! Hannah had a blast dancing with her friends. She also won her age and division  at the Alabama State Dance Campionship with her solo. So proud of her!!



One of Hannah's competitions was in Pensacola, so we enjoyed some beach time there.

Sadie enjoyed her school boosterthon, where she "ran like the wind".  Go Sadie!

Hannah and I also had a special "big kid / mom" evening planned one night. Until I dropped Sadie off at the babysitter's house. Before I left the house, Sadie had busted her head on the edge of a door. Enough that she needed stitches. Hannah was quite unhappy about this..more so than Sadie it seems from this picture.

But dinner at Johnny Rockets post-stitches made all right with the world again.  And Hannah and I are going to try again in a few weeks. (The event was a secret-keeper girls club which only happens every so often and in different locations). This time, we are putting bubble wrap around Sadie when we drop her off! :-)

April 2012

April was pretty much 3 things: Easter, soccer (Sadie), and dance (Hannah). Fun times!




May 2012

May didn't get a blog post. Apparently we were too busy living life for me to write about it.
May began with celebrating this sweet girl's 4th "Family Forever Day" with us.

Photo: Just enjoyed a stroll down memory lane with Sadie.  4 years ago today I held her for the first time wearing these exact same clothes.  (and they were way too big - now they finally fit!).  She brings so much sweetness and a whole lot of laughter to my world! Happy Family Forever Day Sadie!

Then, Hannah had a camping trip with her girl scout troop.  She had looked forward to this trip *all year* and she got sick a few days before. We went to the dr. twice and she ran a fever for about 5 days straight.  Finally, with a couple doses of antibiotics in her, she stopped running a fever about 20 hours before the trip. And yeah, I know the rule is 24 hours fever-free, but I sure did send on that camping trip. Thankful for her sweet troop leaders and our good friends who took care of her and made sure she didn't over-do it and that she got her medicines while there. She had a great time and made good memories with her sweet troop of great girls!


My FB status from May 11:
This week in review: car fixed, 2 doctor's appointments, consultation with orthodontist, 3 regular dance classes, 1 recital rehearsal, a volcano from clay (multi-day project!), 3rd grade choir field trip, 3rd grade luau, kindergarten Mother's Day Tea (which was actually the sweetest.thing.ever!), 2 IEP meetings, 5 other IEP's worked on, two little girls with rollers in their hair in the bed, 6 dance costumes packed. Tomorrow - soccer game in the morning, 3:00 dance recital (H - 2 dances, S - 2 dances), 7:00 dance recital (H - 4 dances). Sunday - you will find us in our pjs in the bed or vegging in front of the t.v!

I didn't remember much of this until I started looking at pictures.  Turns out it was *my turn* to be sick that week.But here are pictures to prove that things did happen in May. First two are of kindergarten music performance and Hannah's artwork in county art show. I think those happened the same week.


The picture just above was from Sadie's kindergarten class "Mother's Day Tea".   It was the sweetest.thing.ever!

I missed Sadie's soccer game - my mom was in town and took her. I did make it to the dance recital. Two of them. Hannah danced in both and had multiple costume changes. Sadie was in the first and had one costume change. The girls did beautiful, but I can't say it was my favorite experience of dance (simply because I wasn't feeling well). But I have the pictures to prove they were adorable.  And I love their dance studio and teachers and am so thankful my girls get the opportunity to do something they love, make great friends, and be surrounded by encouraging and supportive teachers and older dancers!  And after she sat through all Hannah's dance recitals, I was especially happy for Sadie to have her moment to "shine".


We ended the school year and it was bittersweet. Hannah ended her time at her wonderful elementary school..to embark on a new adventure at the "Intermediate School".  But first, we had summer to celebrate. And one last "May event".  Hannah celebrated her 6th Family Forever Day on May 28th.  This is her in China 6 years earlier.

Photo: Happy Family Forever day to my big girl who not only made me a mom 6 years ago but who is also the one God used to show me that He can (and will!) do far more than I can think or imagine!

June 2012 and July 2012
I did a decent job blogging the summer fun. So I won't recap all the fun. See Summer Fun, part 1 and Summer Fun, part 2
We also used the summer to catch up on dr. appointments.  Pediatrician visits for both girls, hand dr. in Atlanta for Sadie (with a new night splint), ENT and Oral surgeon for Hannah (6 month post-op visits), and had a 2nd orthodontist consultation with Hannah. I wasn't thrilled with the one we met with in May. I loved the one we met with in July. I also began the process of working with Children's Rehab Services as they will pay for some of Hannah's orthodontic needs due to her cleft palate.  I would find out that that it's a paperwork-heavy and long process to get everything approved and get the "go". But worth it for what they're saving me.

August 2012

August brough Hannah's 9th birthday party. We celebrated a few weeks early so I could plan it during the summer rather than those first busy weeks of school. She had a rock-star video party and loved it!


We had a fun day out at Hanah's cleft clinic's "Annual Family Fun Day" at Treetop Adventure.  The girls obviously like going for the fun. And I like going for the free fun. :) But Hannah also likes that it's other kids wtih clefts or facial differences.  Even though she doesn't talk about it with the kids there (they're too busy playing and cutting up and having fun), she likes knowing that it's other kids (or siblings) like her.  In fact, Hannah recently met a girl on her bus that goes to her school. She's the same age as Hannah, but they went to different elementary schools (now at the same intermediate). This little girl is the first person Hannah has met who was born with a cleft lip and palate in her daily life (as opposed to kids she might meet at cleft clinic events or adoption events but that she doesn't get together with any other time).  Anyway, Hannah and this other girl apparently started talking on the bus and Hannah came home so excited to tell me about her new friend "just like me" who had a cleft lip and palate on the same side! They had the same doctors! And they had the same surgeries, even the "one where they took bone from my hip!".


August also brought a special memory in our family..the day both girls were baptized at our church.  So thankful for these blessings!

And of course, August brought the beginning of a new school year. 4th grade (and a new school) for Hannah. 1st grade for Sadie.  Both girls are having a great year at school! We ended August with Hannah's actual birthday. Can't believe this sweet, spunky girl is 9!!


September 2012

Hannah continues with dance team.  Sadie started a tumbling class at her dance studio. The girl is persistent! She is determined to do a cartwheel. With one arm significantly shorter than the other, that is proving difficult. So, she's now working on a one-handed cartwheel.  I love her persistence!

We had photos made for picture directory at church. This was an extra one (not for directory). I love it!

Photo: I pretty much just love this photo. And for my Discovery friends, it's from the picture directory photo shoot. So sign up because you could get great photos too!

Hannah auditioned for a local prodcution of the Nutcracker. She was casted as a soldier and a candy cane and began weekly rehearsals.

Hannah campaigned for a cell phone. She lost. :)

I went to prison. :) For Kairos prison ministry. See link.  Reflections from Prison

October 2012

On October 6, I posted this status on FB:
Sadie's kind of a "take it or leave it" kid when it comes to most extracurricular activities. She likes dance. She likes soccer. But the first thing she has BEGGED me to do? Wrestling. Really? My almost 7 year old girl who weighs a whopping 39 lbs wants to wrestle? Lucky for me, the brochure she brought home for school says "4 weekly practices Nov-Feb" and we have a well-established rule that says no more than 2 weeknights committed to extracurricular activities (one-time special occasions excepted). whew!

Wresting, really? She still talks about it sometimes. We're looking into karate possibly next year. :)

October was kind of "all about Sadie month". She deserves it.
She went to the eye dr. and also got new purple glasses.  And she turned 7 years old.

Photo: Most awesome 7 year old ever! This girl inspires me and amazes me daily with her kindness, her huge heart, her resilience, and her joy!  Happy Birthday to sweet Sadie. And doesn't she look adorable in her new glasses??

She celebrated with friends at Build-a-Bear. Then we all went to the food court for cake and chips.
These two sweet girls have been her friends since they were two and three years old. Sweet girls!

On her actual birthday, we went to IHOP. (her choice). This picture below is her favorite gift..horseback riding lessons.


And..she was not disappointed when the day arrived:


Sadie also got her selected from her class as "star student" for October. Way to go! And she celebrated "hat day" as well. :)

Photo: "Hat Day" at school is always fun! And this cute little hat-wearer got "Star Student" for the month of October too. So proud. :)

Finally, we ended October with a fun Halloween evening trick-or-treating with good friends.

November 2012

We spent Veteran's Day weekend at my parents house celebrating Thanksgiving a bit early since my brother (who lives in Colorado) was there visiting. It was the perfect time of year for some leaf raking...


AND some leaf jumping!


December 2012

December began with the Christmas parade! Lots of fun for all! Both girls were in it..Hannah dancing and Sadie riding.
Photo: Joy's Dancer's featured al.com  Photo: Sweet Sadie!

The next weekend was the Nutcracker! Hannah had a blast and did a great job, as did all the kids in the performance!  Please inore the auburn shirt. It was a temporary rebellion. About a week ago, she was over it. :)


Parties. Oh my the parties! Sadie only had 2 I think - school and dance. I lost count of Hannah's. School, dance, church group, Girl Scouts, after-school care.

In the midst of all that, we headed back to Atlanta to get Sadie a new splint.  And the girls had dentist appointments. Hannah had several. And a couple orthodontist appointments.  No actual work has been started for her yet, other than removing a couple teeth. But there's been records appointments and consultations. She's not your typical "needs braces" kid. She's complicated. We go back next week for one more "consultation" and hopefully will have a plan. We hope they actually *start* in January.

Christmas was great. We enjoyed a Christmas Eve afternoon at aunt Carol's house with friends who have become family.  We worshipped with our church family at the Christmas eve service. Then we came home for a quiet dinner, Christmas movie, making cookies for Santa, leaving reindeer food out, and heading to bed.  Christmas day brought much fun and relaxation. We stayed home and enjoyed being together without a big list of "things to do".  A couple days later, we headed to my parents for "Christmas part 2".

We came home and Sadie accomplished a big goal on the last day of the year. She learned to ride her bike wtihout trainin wheels! Yeah Sadie!!

Wcelebrated New Year's Eve watching movies. And we watched the ball drop in New York. And then I sent my very tired girls to bed. They wanted to stay up until midnight. They almost made it  but in the end, we celebrated wtih the east coast and called it a night. Happy New Year! Looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings.