Tuesday, December 29, 2009

18 Month Stats

Amelia had her 18 month check-up today. The doctor proclaimed her perfectly healthy and sweet! We're certainly happy to hear that she's healthy, but we already knew that our little Amelia is a sweetie! At 18 months old, Amelia is 32 7/8 inches tall and weighs 24 pounds 13 ounces. Even though Amelia is an extremely picky eater as of late, she's clearly not struggling to put on weight or add height to her frame.

Amelia was mad at me for putting her in the scale. If her 'angry' face is this dramatic at 18 months, I can only imagine it 14 years from now!

After I started to get Amelia dressed, she began to dance around the exam room. Amelia clearly thought she was heading home immediately, but what she didn't know was that the nurse would soon arrive to administer her vaccine-hence the lack of pants. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry (very belated) Christmas!

This entry is very late in coming, so I apologize to all those who like to occasionally check in on Amelia and Graham. Everything is fine here, we've just been busy hanging out with family, catching up with old friends, and having fun with all the new "stuff" that Santa so generously delivered. Our Christmas actually began on Christmas Eve morning. We sleep at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Christmas Eve, so Santa was thoughtful enough to deliver some gifts a day early so we wouldn't have to haul them to their house just to bring them home again. The kids were amazed to wake up to a mountain of gifts. Graham knew just what to do with them, but Amelia was quite overwhelmed. Either she was just having an off-morning or she just wasn't into opening gifts that day. Thankfully, Christmas morning would go better for her!

The gifts before the kids attacked them

For the past few months, Graham told us he wanted Santa to bring him a violin. Luckily, Santa came through for him!

Amelia becoming acquainted with her new baby and stroller

The favorite gift of the morning was a toddler sized table and chairs

After opening all the gifts from Santa and Mommy and Daddy, we packed up the car and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's. We were in the middle of a blizzard so our car was PACKED full of stuff since we had no idea we'd be hanging out with them due to the weather. Because of the horrible weather, Uncle Peter's flights were canceled so it actually worked out well that he could be home to celebrate with us. We ended up having a very low key Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We did a lot of laughing and spending time together and it was just perfect!
Three babies after their bath-I have no idea why Amelia is crying!

Hot (actually luke warm)chocolate and marshmallows on Christmas morning. Yes, Amelia is drinking from a shot glass, but don't tell her!

Graham decided to climb under the table and explained to us that it was in a dog house...ummmm, ok then. What Graham does, Amelia does, so, here are two kids smashed into a 'dog house'. :)

A girl can never have too many tutu's!

Taking inventory of his Little Einstein figures. His new pressure washer is next to the Little Einstein toy.

French braids compliments of Auntie Lynn

Amelia and Graham present "The Three Billy Goats Gruff"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let it snow!

We're preparing for a Christmas blizzard around here! Last I heard, we should expect anywhere from 16-22 inches of the fluffy white stuff and I have to admit that I'm pretty excited! It actually sounds fun to be snowed in over Christmas with my family....yes, I actually enjoy spending the holidays with my family...I'm lucky! Hopefully it isn't too windy the next few days because we hope to take advantage of the fresh snow and take Amelia and Graham sledding. So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

This picture has absolutely nothing do to with snow or Christmas or anything remotely related to the holidays actually. On a whim, I attempted to get Amelia's hair into a pony tail this morning. Not two of them sticking out the side of her head, but one in the back, just like a big girl. I don't know if I should be happy or sad, but most of her hair did fit, and yes, she does look more like a big girl to me. I think we'll stick with the big bows and pig tails for the time being!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amelia knows what she wants...

We did have a fun adventure to the Children's Museum today, but when we arrived and I pulled out my camera I realized that the memory card was back home still in the computer. So, I got to enjoy our morning at the museum without a camera. It actually worked out for the best, since the museum was more crowded than I've ever seen it and chasing Amelia and Graham through the crowds required the full attention of both parents.

I will share one quick story from this afternoon though...both kids were playing together nicely and after a few minutes I realized that Amelia had disappeared. I called her and she didn't come which is quite unusual for her. I eventually found her on the floor in Graham's bedroom. Apparently, Amelia is a girl who knows what she wants because she located a diaper along with the container of wipes and positioned herself to be changed. And yes, she was correct, she did need a clean diaper!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Zoo Day

We're lucky enough to have Jeff home from work until after New Years so we're planning to fill our schedule with lots of fun activities! Many of the things I do with Amelia and Graham during the day, Jeff misses out on. He doesn't get to go to see the animal shows at the zoo with us, he doesn't get to splash in water room at the Children's Museum with us, and he doesn't get to crawl on his hands and knees through tunnels at the indoor park. This week, that will all change though. Welcome Jeff, to stay-at-home parenting!

Today, we made a visit to the zoo. Our first stop was the dolphin stadium to watch the dolphins train for the aquatic shows. Amelia was having an "I'm afraid of fish day" but Graham was thoroughly impressed with the jumping dolphins and the occasional dolphin who would leave the trainer and come splash the audience.

The zoo has a monorail that we've often watched as it slowly moves across the tracks and today because it was too cold outside to tour the grounds on foot, we jumped on for a ride. All was going well for the first half, then things changed. Since I want to be honest about how our days play out around here, I'm guessing many will find humor in what was about to happen....Amelia has this strange habit of stuffing her mouth full of food and leaving it in her cheeks. Today, her mouth was full of orange slices and it was still full when we boarded the monorail. Amelia was enjoying the ride on her Daddy's lap when she suddenly threw up. She's got an unusually light gag reflex and I guess those oranges became too much for her! I immediately began digging through the bag looking for something to wipe up both Amelia and Jeff. The only thing I had was an extra change of clothes for Graham, after all, you can't be too careful with a newly potty-trained toddler. So, in front of a train car full of people, I proceeded to wipe Amelia's face off with a pair of Thomas underpants...I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it was anything but funny. Jeff was covered, Amelia was covered, and the the enclosed car without circulation really STUNK! Hopefully, Amelia is done stuffing her mouth full of oranges! Like I said before, Welcome Jeff, to stay-at-home parenting!
Just minutes before the 'incident'...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookie Fest

Today was our annual Cookie Fest baking extravaganza. Since we were down a few family members, we only made two types of cookies instead of the usual four or five, but we still had a great day. Our two little bakers enjoyed playing with the dough and were occasionally caught with a mouthful of raw cookie goodness! Decorating the sugar cookies was an interesting experience as both Amelia and Graham demonstrated the need to refine their frosting skills. At one point, an ENTIRE bottle of chocolate sprinkles was dumped onto a Santa cookie and as quickly as the sprinkles were piled on, the entire cookie, mountain of sprinkles and all, was inhaled. Needless to say, we dealt with two very serious sugar highs and subsequent crashes this evening. It's all in fun though and thankfully, it's nothing a good night's sleep can't fix!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Superhero Kids

Both Amelia and Graham have this 'thing' for capes. They loves to take the kitchen towels, stick them into the back of their shirt collars and run around in circles pretending to fly. To be completely honest, this drives me crazy. As the kids decide they're ready to forgo the capes and flying for walking, the towels are discarded in the most random of places making it difficult for me to find them. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get them the real deal. I custom ordered two superhero capes and was just waiting for the right opportunity to present them. Being that last night was the 8th and final night of Hanukkah, I thought it was the perfect occasion. The instant the Amelia and Graham had the capes around their neck, their bodies became infused with energy. I don't know what it is about these capes, but they are certainly a hit around our house!
Graham was just starting to realize what he was holding...

Modeling the capes

And they're action shot as they take the first of many, many, many laps around the house last night!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our day downtown...

Today, we went downtown to view the holiday display (A Day in the Life of an Elf) at Macy's, visit Santa, have lunch, and we were lucky enough to have Jeff take the day off of work to join us for our adventure!

Our first stop was the 8th Floor of Macy's to see the display. This was the first time we've had to maneuver our limousine of a double stroller through such a crowd, which at times proved challenging, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

After checking out the Elves, it was time for a treat. Graham and Amelia both chose white chocolate covered snowmen cookies and Daddy opted for a gingerbread boy!

Enjoying a treat!

Writing letters to Santa is very important! This was a convenient place to do so since Santa had his very own mailbox which made for an easy delivery.
How cute are they sharing a chair?

And finally, their visit with the Big Guy. Maybe next year will go better???
Can't you just feel the love?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Girls' Night Out!

Last night Amelia and I had our very first 'Girls' Night Out' event! We (along with three of her little girlfriends and their Mommy's) attended Disney's Princesses on Ice. Being that Amelia has never watched a Disney movie in her life, I wasn't sure if the show would keep her attention or not, but we decided to give it a try. For the first hour, Amelia did a great job. The show was lively and there was enough movement on the ice that she was entertained. After intermission, it was pretty much down hill for her though. The point of no return for her was when I accidentally knocked the lollipop out of her hand and it flew onto the dirty floor. She desperately wanted it back, but there was no way she was going to put that thing back in her mouth! In Amelia's defense though, the show was a full two hours long so overall, I think she did a great job for being 17 months old!

Heading out for the evening

Amelia's friend Alex was kind enough to bring Disney Princess themed treats for the girls. Amelia LOVED the little rings!

Milk Break!

The girls during intermission-Emma, Alex, Amelia, and Maddie...not the best picture, I know, but attempting to get a picture of 4 active girls is quite the challenge!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One year ago....

Exactly one year has passed since December 12, 2008, when we saw Amelia's sweet face for the first time...

When the phone rang that day, I'll never forget the way my body froze as I realized it was our social worker's telephone number showing up on caller ID and that my heart began to race like never before. I was so overcome with emotion to learn about my daughter (MY daughter!!!) who was waiting for us on the other side of the world. Knowing I would more than likely get 'the call' during the day while Jeff was at work, I had often imagined how I would surprise him with such amazing news. Should I go out and buy pink balloons to deliver to his office? Should I make a special dinner and make him try to guess the occasion? Should I have a 'Big Brother' shirt made for Graham to wear when his Daddy arrived home for the evening? All those ideas would have been great, but the shock and excitement got the better of me so I called Jeff at work and through my tears just blurted it out-"We have a daughter!!!". So much for the elaborate plan! As shocked as I was, I think Jeff was caught even more off guard. He was actually on his way to give a presentation when he saw on caller ID that it was me and decided to take the call quickly. wasn't a quick call!

It some ways it feels like just yesterday that the phone rang with news of our holiday miracle and in other ways it feels like we've been a family of four forever. To say that we're blessed to call Amelia our daughter is an understatement. Adoption is a miracle and we've been lucky enough to experience that miracle not once, but twice. So here we are a year later and we have our sweet princess, now 17 months old, at home with us. Amelia has the most gentle demeanor, and the sweetest little high pitched voice. She gives the best hugs and kisses and it literally melted my heart that one of the first things she learned how to say was "I love You". We love you too, Amelia, and we are so thankful that we have you in our lives!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Farewell to the Bear!

We're saying good-bye to the nebulizer or 'teddy bear medicine' as it's been called around here! Amelia had her appointment at the pulmonologist today and it couldn't have gone better! I was hoping for good news, but we got GREAT news!

We started off with another chest x-ray. The previous x-rays have been taken while Amelia is sitting upright, but today they wanted it taken while she was laying down. I carried Amelia towards the x-ray machine and got ready to set her down when I noticed that there were arm and leg restraints. I immediately told the tech that I would not be restraining Amelia. The poor thing was already terrified of the cold room with giant machine so I can only imagine how she would feel with her arms and legs being held down by restraints. After some pleading, I convinced the tech that Amelia would hold still... at least that's what I was hoping for. I set her down, laid her back and kept telling her to look at me. I could tell Amelia was becoming very frightened so I started to sing 'Twinkle Twinkle' to her. She laid perfectly still while holding my gaze and the tech was able to get a perfect picture with no restraints needed! YEAH!

Then we met with the doctor who listened to her breathe and proclaimed he heard absolutely no wheezing, looked at her films with me and said they were clear, and did an oxygen saturation test and it came back at 100%. Basically, she's perfectly healthy! The doctor's thought is that her case of RSV was a particularly nasty one. None of the symptoms Amelia experienced with her RSV were abnormal for RSV, it's just that the symptoms persisted for so long which is what brought us to the pulmonologist in the first place.

We were given the go ahead to stop all breathing treatments so tonight we're packing up that teddy bear in his special back pack and it's heading to the basement for storage. Good-bye bear, we hope to never see you again!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Smiles from Amelia

Things are FINALLY starting to get back to normal around here. After a long absence, we even returned to school today so I'm thankfully starting to feel like a member of civilization once again! Amelia was a bit clingy at school today, although I fully expected that after being gone for so long. There were no tears though, so I'd call today a successful school experience.

When we got home from school, Amelia devoured her new favorite meal...pea soup. This girl won't touch a green vegetable, but she'll inhale bowl after large bowl of pea soup. She was so happy after her meal that she started to dance in her highchair to the Christmas music on the radio and I was able to snap a few cute pictures of her. Is it just me, or is she starting to look more like a toddler and less like a baby in these pictures???? Where has my baby gone?!?!?!

Tomorrow Amelia has her appoiment with the pulmonologist, so cross your fingers that things go well. The good news is that she's not coughing or wheezing today so maybe she truly did just have a nasty virus. Either way, I'm thankful we have good doctors available to help us figure this out!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

So begins another week of being housebound with the runny nosed kids. Thankfully, they're both doing MUCH better, but the runny noses are still lingering which means we still can't go back to school. It's been over a month now that one or both of the the kids have been sick and I'm very ready to start socializing with the outside world again. As friendly as they are, chatting with nurses and pediatricians don't count! I'm hoping that Amelia can return to school on Thursday but until then, we're just hanging out at home.

While I was making lunch both Amelia and Graham disappeared and things got very quiet. Imagining that they were probably up to no good, I set off to find them. I found them in Graham's room sitting in storage bins that normally hold all of Graham's train table accessories. Apparently, these red bins were magically transformed into boats because Graham was singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to Amelia. Pretty good imaginations if you ask me!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Tea

My mom hosts a Holiday Tea each year, and today was the day. In past years, I've taken Graham along, but since the event is technically 'ladies only', today Amelia accompanied me and the boys had a lazy day at home watching football. I'll take any excuse to dress Amelia up in a fancy dress and today was no exception. She actually appears to like dresses with crinoline, wearing bracelets, and hair bows! I often get questions from people wondering how I get Amelia to leave the bows in her hair and the truth is, I don't think she knows any different. From the moment Amelia was placed in my arms, a bow was placed in her hair! :) Although Amelia was a bit hesitant at times to leave my arms (the house was FULL of people) she did have a great time indulging in treats that are usually reserved for special occasions...chocolate, cookies, juice, etc...all the good stuff!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Enough is Enough!

Our Saturday morning started off differently than we would have hoped. I was planning to get out of the house and do some childless shopping with a friend while the kids had some Daddy time. Instead, Graham had an appointment with the pediatrician since he was up ALL night with a fever and coughing to the point of throwing up. From this appointment, we learned that we now have not one child with RSV, but two. Our poor kids have been to the doctor so often recently it's almost laughable. It's not a good sign when the receptionists at the clinic know me by name. This isn't surprising though because in the past 3 and a half weeks, the kids have had six doctor appointments, 4 chest x-rays, several rounds of blood work, an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, 3 rounds of antibiotics, countless breathing treatments, a strep test, 2 H1N1 tests, 2 seasonal flu tests, 2 RSV tests, and 2 H1N1 immunizations. Enough already, it's time for the kids to be healthy!!!!

On a positive note though, Amelia still seems to be making improvements. The doctor was pleased with her progress yesterday, so we're slowly starting to wean her off her drugs. On Friday we'll visit with a pediatric pulmononlogist so I'll have more details then.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

O' Christmas Tree

Because I'm tired of writing about nothing other than doctor visits and breathing treatments, I'll write about something happy we did as a family last weekend...decorate the Christmas tree! I will admit that I had an idealized vision of what it would be like to set up the tree as a family of four when in reality, it was nothing even close. The kids immediately wanted their hands on everything, didn't understand that some ornaments are breakable and others aren't, and that some candy canes are real and others are plastic. We did finally manage to get the tree up and decorated though, and both Amelia and Graham are still in awe of it even a week later. I'm not necessarily in awe of the Christmas tree, but I am in awe over my children and how much added joy they bring to even something as simple as a Christmas decorations.

Amelia's favorite ornament-she's obsessed, yes obsessed, with the puppy on it

Studying the tree in amazement

Eating the plastic candy cane
Dancing with the plastic candy cane
Now, for the Amelia update....she managed to stay fever free all day (YIPPEE!!!), was in a good mood, and even had a great day at school! Tomorrow we go to the doctor bright and early for a breathing check. Since Amelia isn't currently on an antibiotic, and when she's not on an antibiotic her symptoms seem to reappear, the pediatrician didn't want her heading into the weekend without being seen. Hopefully, we arrive home with good news!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Amelia Update...

Last night at the doctor, because of her audible wheezing and persistent fever, Amelia endured many tests. A strep test (negative), blood work (all came back normal), RSV (positive), and a chest x-ray (inconclusive). RSV is a virus that affects the lungs, and in fact most people have probably had it. It's troublesome when a child under 2 contracts this virus as they have a more difficult time fighting it off. It does eventually happen though, but like all viruses, it just has to run its' course. As far as the chest x-ray-in order to get a good picture of the lungs, the patient needs to take a deep breath in and hold it. Ummmm, that's not going to happen with a 17 month old baby who is screaming hysterically. Amelia's x-ray was taken when she was exhaling rather than inhaling which didn't give a clear picture. There may still be pneumonia present, but there may not be. I was told last night that Amelia isn't contagious anymore and that I should follow her lead as far as what she was feeling up to.

That brings us to this morning...Amelia woke up fever free and was acting like herself. We all needed to get out of the house and decided to visit Jeff at work for lunch. When we got home, and as I was getting Amelia ready for her nap I took her temperature and the poor thing had a fever again! So, I called to leave a message for the doctor. She returned my call on her day off from her cell phone and we'll touch base again tomorrow. If Amelia still has a fever and audible wheezing we'll start another round of antibiotics. If that's the case, she'll also need to be seen by a pediatric pulmonologist. I was then told that they'll probably want to do a few tests-a chest ct and some sort of scope that goes into her lungs to sample the bacteria-both of these tests would be done under sedation. I'm so worried about Amelia right now. I don't like the thought of her being sedated to undergo testing, but of course we all want to get to the bottom of this so we'll do what we have to do. Strangely enough, Miss Amelia is in a great mood and doesn't seem to be bothered by her wheezing or fever. Please keep us in your thoughts...

I also wanted to thank everyone for the kind words....I've received countless emails, voice mails, blog comments, etc. wishing Amelia well, and it's all helping to keep our spirits up, so THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Visiting the doctor, this isn't a joke!

Amelia has an appointment with the pediatrician at 7:45 tonight...keep our little princess in your thoughts. We're really hoping that Graham shared his nasty virus with her and that she doesn't have pneumonia for the 3rd, yes 3rd, time this month.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Emails from Santa!

Amelia and Graham woke up to a surprise this morning. While we slept, Santa sent me emails for each of the kids! The video emails are personalized and even have their pictures-amazing, right? :) This is one of the cutest Santa things I've seen lately, and now Graham and Amelia know that I have Santa's email address and can communicate with him any time I need to!

Amelia's message:

Graham's message:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mail Call!

Miss Amelia is one lucky girl! Today, she received yet another 'Get Well' card, this time from Auntie Catherine and Uncle Jon! Amelia loves to rip open the envelopes (actually, she loves to rip any paper to shreds) but she's unusually careful with the card inside. She studied the adorable Winnie the Pooh picture on the front for quite some time before this giant grin spread across her face. Thanks for the mail Jon and Catherine-you made Amelia's night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, and every day, we are thankful for our family. We're now scattered from one side of the world to the other, but we're thankful for you all!

Now, onto the pictures.....I'll admit that these aren't the best pictures, but with two sick kids, we did the best we could!

Amelia is modeling her new Japanese kimono style outfit. Her Grandpa and Uncle Peter decided it would be a fun adventure to fly to Tokyo for a long weekend and they were kind enough to bring back this adorable ensemble for our princess. I'm very impressed that they even got the size right!

Graham and Amelia with the wishbone standards, Graham actually won, but we didn't tell either of them that!
I really wanted a cute Thanksgiving picture of the kids, but I learned very quickly that it wasn't going to happen today. But, because I like to keep it real here, here are a few 'out takes' :)
Amelia: "Get away from me, Graham!"

Graham: "I'm going to lay on you until you're REALLY annoyed!"

"We'll stop touching each other for a cookie, but we aren't going to smile!"

Can't you just feel the sibling love pouring out of these pictures??? And yes, even on days like this, after being cooped up in the house with two sick kids, we are beyond blessed, honored, and thankful, to call ourselves Mommy and Daddy to our little miracles, Graham and Amelia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

She's Back!!! But....

We'll be back to the pediatrician this evening. This time for Graham. He's had a high fever for two days now, is so miserable that he hasn't slept for more than hour long stretches the past two nights (fun for all involved!), and is generally an unhappy little guy. What ever he has, I just hope the doctor gives him some sort of antibiotic. I'm ready to wipe out ALL germs from our house once and for all!

In happier news though, our spunky Miss Amelia has returned, and we're very thankful for that!