Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve's Eve marked our first Christmas of the weekend. We started the day off early with a family photo shoot for my mom. It had been about 5 or 6 years since my siblings and mom and Jon and I had had pictures together. It's also the first time in over three years all the family has been together! Three new members have joined the family since so it was time! We were planning this as my mom's Christmas present.

Then I took Livi to the clinic again because of her 4:30am coughing fit. We found out her mild infection that the doctor thought would go away became raging in one ear and invaded the other.

After naps we went to Jon's mom's house for a delicious and our only Christmas dinner with all the fixings! Gramma/Jon's mom makes a rice salad that is more of a desert and a favorite of everyone except Livi. Sofie had her first taste today and loved it! Her eyes got all big, she smiled and signed repeatedly for more! So cute. Sofie ate her weights worth of food and we all left the table amply stuffed. We got to open our presents then! A much loved gift card to my favorite clothing store for me and fancy leather gloves for Jon, along with some money for the family! The girls got spoiled as usual with books, clothes, a huge canister filled with play-doh, molds and tools, and play food for their kitchen set! This is perfect timing because just the same day we saw Sofie showing us her first pretend play skills using a bowl and spoon from the kitchen set! Both girls got pillow pets from their uncle Jeremy but the surprise favorite gift for Sofie was sunglasses! Her face lit up and she wasn't interested in unwrapping anything else after those!

Christmas Eve was a lazy day that we spent mostly in our pajama's. After a yummy taco dinner we headed off to church which the girls didn't do to badly at sitting through. It started off a little rough though. Then we drove around looking at the fabulous over the top Christmas houses marked on the tour route in our town. The best house had a projected Santa waving and peering through one of the windows. Livi screamed with glee and waved back! She was so excited the rest of the evening. She put out cookies and water for Santa as well as an orange for Rudolph. I didn't think she'd fall asleep very easily so I did give her a little melatonin! The best part of the evening was waking her up to the noises of Santa (Daddy) walking on the roof, saying "ho ho ho" and ringing jingle bells! When she came out of her groggy sleep and realized it was the reindeer and Santa she was hearing she was speechless. I wish had recorded her reaction. Her eyes were as wide as I had ever seen him and she screamed with delight at hearing the bells! It was priceless. Truly. We may be horrible parents for doing this though :)

Christmas morning was exciting! The girls climbed in to bed with us and waited "patiently" until we were ready to go check out the tree with them....

Livi was showing Sofie how the mix table worked!

Livi seeing her camera!

Auntie Sessa is a "special" kind of Auntie in her footsie pajama's

Little photographer in the making!

After we watched the girls open their gifts Jon and I exchanged ours. I gave him a bamboo hoodie that he asked for and he surprised me with a tattoo appointment :) I don't have a Sofie tattoo on my body yet :) We then went upstairs to my mom's place for Christmas #3! The girls, of course, got spoiled my Marmee and their Aunties and Uncle :) We enjoyed our tradition crepes breakfast together but there was some different opinions about what to have for dinner. One sister was adamant about having a turkey dinner when most of the rest didn't want to bother with cooking a full dinner and opted for pizza... so we had both! Those that wanted the turkey did the clean up :)

 Left is turkey, right is pizza.

 The dance party. Sean fell.

 Dance machine.

 Merry First Christmas Monkey!

It was really fun having everyone together. My family hasn't been all together in over 3 years! Although there are some underlining issues between some siblings from stuff that happened 3 years ago, everyone was laughing, talking, and seeming to have fun! Counseling has been our friend :) I know it did my mom's heart good to be a part of that too, finally!
Sibling Love. 

 Boxing day Livi and I ventured in to the malls. I won't do that again. I only bought two shirts because I was too overwhelmed with all the people! We went to visit my Grandma for lunch then went to a movie. We got home and took down the tree. I know it was early but I was worried it was contributing to Livi's ear infection some how. I also really wanted to get my living room and their toys back to organized order :) It was a busy day but a lovely big girls day out! Now to prepare for Mexico!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas celebrations will start on Friday so I thought I space out my posts and wish you all a 

This is the Christmas cards we sent out this year!

We are all trying to enjoy a quiet week at home re-cooperating. My cold turned in to a raging sinus infection with bronchitis to boot! I felt terrible by Tuesday so I went to the clinic first thing in the morning and got some intense meds. Both the doctor and pharmacist warned me that they were very strong. Jon worked from home on Tuesday and Wednesday to help me out with the girls. Tuesday I was pretty useless actually and he managed beautifully. Wednesday Jon was getting pretty stressed out and I was still pretty helpless. The girls were suffering from an extreme case of cabin fever. They hadn't been out of the house or gotten any exercise for three days while I've been sick. Because of this, they reached their peak of misbehaving and didn't nap. My kind brother willingly took them to the park for us! Yay for a brother home on vacation! Livi came home with coughing quite badly. She'd been sick with a cold as long as me but hers seemed to be getting slowly better. With the coughing we decided to take her to the doctors and get her checked for bronchitis too. It turns out she has a mild ear infection! The doctor thought she's at the end of it so opted against meds unless anything changes. We are a winning household! Did I mention my mom, upstairs, has bronchitis too?!

Anyway, I'm feeling slightly better already and plan to be back to normal for Christmas morning! Livi is quite excited for Santa and I can't wait to see her face this year now that she understands who Santa is. At the beginning of Advent we took the girls to visit Santa at the mall. They did alright. Livi was so excited up until she had to talk to him. Then she wouldn't even go near him, which is why she is sitting in front of him. Sofie just didn't want to sit. I'll take what I can get though...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 2 of December

Now that the weekend is over I think the busiest part of December is finally over. I made it through these past two weeks and came over the other side with only a "little" sinus cold. I feel terrible right now but looking at the coming week, I have time to take care of myself again and get better.

We ended last weekend with my taking Livi to her friends Christmas party. It was so fun. I didn't really know anyone but it was a small group and everyone was very friendly. The parents had put so much work in to making it fun for the girls. I was very impressed. They had them decorate gingerbread cookies, play musical chairs and do a gift exchange. This was Livi's first experience with a real competition and winner for musical chairs. She didn't really understand why she couldn't keep playing but handled it pretty well. I got to chat with a lot of the parents about our adoption and learn about another mom's adoption journey. I had a really good time :)

Monday was Jon's/Daddy's first day back at work. Us girls survived! I would even say it was a good day. Sofie was a little whiney as usual but we got everything done that was on the list for the day! Tuesday we had a play date that I had bought a gingerbread house for. Livi was very excited. More candy made it in to their mouths then on to the house, but that's that the candy is for in the end I guess! Wednesday was Livi's ballet, shopping, out for dinner then Livi's Gymnastics. Thursday I had made a few more casseroles and prep for Sunday before an appointment and coffee in the evening. Friday was cleaning for Sunday and final preps. I had a hair cut and Jon's mom came out with us to get a tree and help decorate! I also had a full fledged cold by this point but was hoping to kick it. Saturday I got to head out to Vancouver for a 30th Birthday Brunch of a dear friend! So glad I could celebrate with her! That evening we also had Jon's office Christmas party which was more fun than I thought it would be! This was also the first time we left both girls without Jon or I. My sister came and babysat for us. I was a little nervous how Sofie would do and if there would be any attachment backlash for us. So far she seems to be alright though!

 Making a Gingerbread house!

 Choosing the right tree!

Today was THE gathering. It was my mom's turn to host her extended family Christmas. She looked in to getting it catered but it was too close to Christmas and too short notice. Since she doesn't cook much I volunteered to cook for all 35 people. What was I thinking? It wasn't too bad. I just did casseroles and doubled up to freeze one when I cooked for my family. It turned out well I think. Timing every thing with just two stoves was a little difficult but I think it was all pretty warm. Not sure I'm going to volunteer to do that again though. It will just be pizza next time. 

Like I said in the beginning, I have a terrible cold now so I wasn't overly excited to host but I did manage and am looking forward to a week with very little to do. Livi has the same cold as I do but seems to be handling it better than me! Sofie has an in home nurses assessment for the At Home program to hopefully get some direct respite funds tomorrow and then aside from some hair cuts and family pictures on Friday morning and Jon's family Christmas Friday afternoon, the week is free! I intend to relax, let the girls watch entirely too much TV, get better and hopefully go for a few walks with our awesome new stroller once Livi and I stop coughing so much.

After nap cuddles. Sofie wasn't that impressed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

4 Months Home!

Sofie has been home now for 4 months! Where has the time gone? Our baby is not the same frail, infant sized kid that we took out of the orphanage 4.5 months ago. She is still teeny tiny, but she has some meat on her bones and a roundness to her little body! I love it! When I do "squishy's" on her after baths my fingers no longer touch so easily when I wrap my hands around her limbs and "squish" the lotion down. She ends in fits of laughter every time I do it! She is now 23 lbs. That is up about 3.5 pounds! One pound since last month. There has been a bit of up and down in her weight but she's been increasing about a pound a month. We have a follow up with her pediatrician in January so I'll hopefully get a clearer idea about what the her goal weight is and at what rate.

I think it is safe to say that the honeymoon is officially over and she is either experiencing some grief and loss of her old life or just becoming a typical moody three year old who has found her voice to be able to protest! It is most likely a combination. She throws tantrums now and whines frequently. She doesn't like being told no. When we are firm she will bring her finger up to her mouth and curl her face up in to the saddest cry you've ever seen. Her tantrums usually consist of her flopping to the ground and throwing her head and arms back. Her tantrums can happen at any time but are usually reserved for us at home when we are too busy to giver her much attention or there is little stimulation. She also frequently tantrums if I have been out or away from her for a little bit and then come home. Instead of running to me, like she does with Jon or new people, she throws herself to the floor whining. I'm trying to take this as an attachment sign. Maybe she is mad at me for leaving or feeling comfortable enough with me to communicate her dislike. She definitely only reserves this behavior for me though and I'm waiting for the day she shows me that she is excited to see me but doesn't make me feel guilty for leaving!

Sofie has continued to flourish this month and keeps showing us her new found skills and abilities. She has started to learn how to suck from a straw! This is a wonderful accomplishment. It means potential independent drinking soon! We can now give her a no-spill water bottle and have it available to her all day! Hopefully this will increase her liquid intake because currently, I think, she is probably only drinking about half the recommended liquids that she should for her weight. She has learned how to climb on the kitchen table and scare Mommy and Daddy. I see more stitches in the future! She had her first taste of Boterkoek and met Santa! She met her Uncle Sean when he came home from China. She gave Mommy and Daddy the official poop smear experience. So. Gross. Now she wears her sleep sacks backwards. She got her Care Card number finally and managed to stay healthy when everyone else in the house got the flu! Yay for having a great immune system!

I'm sure Christmas will be fun with two girls this year! I can't wait too see how the next month goes! I love my girls so much!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December So Far

December is well under way and we are already feeling the burn! I'm sure this is the busiest Christmas season we've ever had.and not just because we have two kids now. Through the month of December we have at least three commitments each weekend until Christmas!

November ended with all the leaves on our trees leaving a beautiful mess in our backyard for the girls to play in. Well, Sofie was a little unimpressed but Livi sure loved it!

My brother also came home from teaching in China for the past 16 months. Livi was excited to see him again and worked hard at writing "Uncle Sean, Welcome Home, Livi" all by herself. She actually surprised me with her perfectionism. She made an error on the first one and refused to continue. I'm a bit of a perfectionist in a lot of areas so I really shouldn't be too surprised but I hope I can help her to relax a little. 

November also brought the first advent. Jon has a rule that I'm not allowed to decorate until December 1 or first advent, which ever comes first. Livi had lots of fun helping us bake for our family decorating party! Our tree is not up yet. We will get a real one but will wait until the week before Christmas to alleviate fighting with Sofie about not touching it. Last year, we think it triggered Livi's asthma too. So, we'll try it out again this year and if the same thing happens, we'll buy a fake tree on clearance for next year :) 
She put her whole body in to pressing the boterkoek in to the plate!

We also got some pictures taken of the girls for our Christmas cards that went out this week. An ex-coworker/fellow blogger/wonderful photographer who is also very interested in adoption for their family offered us a session as a adoption present! I was very excited to use her indoor studio to take some pictures of the girls in the matching dresses I had bought before we even had Sofie home! Because I had bought these dresses early Livi is rapidly growing out of hers! I don't know if it is even going to fit her for Christmas! I needed to get the pictures early! The girls were not the most cooperative for the shoot. They were more interested in playing with the toys than sitting pretty. Sofie is not the easiest to photograph at the best of times. I think we got a few keepers and there are definitely a few that capture each of their personalities wonderfully! Thanks Louise at!

Here are a few of my favorites :)

Sofie throwing things as usual!

Love this one. 

Livi posing and Sofie trying to get her to stop touching her :)

Livi is the ever-doting sister :) I love that she caught a smile from Sofie here!

The Merry Christmas got smudged before even one picture was taken :)


Love :)

By far, my favorite. It captures their personalities perfectly. 
Livi posing trying to be the center of attention and Sofie destroying things :)

The first weekend of December was as busy as expected. Saturday, I went to the kids swap and found some onesies for Sofie. I never used them for Livi but Sofie has a habit of undressing and so far she can't get out of the onesies. Some friends we hadn't seen in a very long time came over for lunch, and that evening, Jon went to Vancouver for the night to see a friend's band play and I took the girls too the Christmas parade with my sister. I got to break in my new stroller too! It is wonderful, by the way. The girls had a lot of fun and dealt with the cold and late hour really well! They both loved the music and Livi loved seeing Santa at the end. That Sunday we went to our first family Christmas gathering too! Such a busy weekend.

The week held tons of appointments and get together's. We took the Girls to Circle of Friends, a music sing-a-long time for adults with special needs. You should have seen Sofie dancing! I think there is a video on my Facebook page. We had our last music class of the semester. Sofie will be going again next semester while Livi is in preschool! I got my crown finished. I had a parent meeting for parents of DS kids this week too, a play date for the kids and mommies! We finally got Sofie's CareCard number!!! Yay! I had called, yet again, to try and figure out how to get it and a finally an Enrollment Specialist took pity on my case, gave me her personal fax and called me the next day with Sofie's number! We had a doctor's appointment the next day and got the final round of paper work signed to send in for all her CRA tax benefits and other necessary finalities and benefits! Among all this I got the 24 hour flu and threw up for the first time in over 20 years! Not a fun night but it was over quickly :)

We also had a meeting at the fine arts school we are considering for the girls kindergarten. We loved it. Jon doesn't even want to check any other options out at this point. The principal was lovely to us and totally on board with what we want for our girls. We loved all the art and music covering the halls and classrooms. We loved the fact that Livi will be able to read music when she leaves there! We will need a second car to get them too school and that seems rather daunting at the moment but we have some time to figure that out... and pray!

This weekend is a little less crazy only because our dinner plans cancelled. Our friends were sick. It was actually a good thing they cancelled because Friday night Jon and Livi got the same flu that I had had. They were both better within 24 hours but last night was rough. Sofie has still remained healthy so today I took her to the FVDSS Christmas party. She had a lot of fun on the bouncy castle and running around! At the end of the afternoon Santa came for a visit!

Tomorrow is another Christmas party at a friend of Livi's house. Then Monday, Jon goes back to work... Not sure how I feel about that yet as next weekend is the busiest one yet! I hope the transition of Jon going back is easy on everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Look at the difference you could make in the life of a precious little child!
They'll make an incredible difference in your life too :)

Sofie three months after being home is measurably healthier in every way. 

And look at the difference one month home has made for this once 10 pound 9 year old!
You can read about her journey HERE.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


My update from this past week....

1. Livi is still very moody and emotional but for the past two or three days, I suppose you could say there has been some improvement. We have been ridiculously consistent and strict about the things that really matter. The things that don't, we've been able to let go of a bit. We had one day of taking away about 4 of her favorite toys, but she earned them back the next day and has had a slightly better attitude since.

2. We got confirmation that we get a little bit of subsidy for preschool costs. Not much. Only $25, but it will help. We still haven't received or budgeted for Sofie's Child Tax Benefits so we figured we would just not count it and it will pay for Livi's preschool. We also decided not to put her in until February. That way, she'll just get the half a year and actually be 3.5 years old. We told her she gets to go yesterday and she was SO excited! She knew about the possibility but now that she knows it's going to happen she is ecstatic. I wish I had had a camera to capture how big her eyes got! 

3. We finally bought a second double stroller! Well, we did buy a second hand one before Sofie was home and it turned out to not fit us well at all. I sold it and got my money back. So, I finally decided which one I wanted and I'm really excited for it :) Yes, this is what excites a stay at home mom, and yes I know it is a little sad. It is the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Sit n Stand. Sofie definitely needs to be strapped in and Livi walks or ride her bike most of the time but will take a ride for long hauls. We figured for for walking to preschool we should get the sit n' stand. 

4. We heard from MSP about Sofie's care card and got some very disappointing news. They want another form which they didn't ask for in the beginning and are telling me another 4-6 weeks! Argh!!! So frustrating. We got the bill for her hospital bill the other day too. We are so not accustomed to paying for our health care. One pediatrician appointment and one hospital visit is costing us almost $1000. We've been putting off  non-urgent health care appointments but if this goes on much longer we have to figure out how to pay for it. This is so frustrating. 

5. We decorated for Christmas today! Jon's rule is December 1 or Advent, whichever comes first. It was mostly fun :) Fresh baked boterkoek, egg nog, hot buttered rum, Christmas music and decorations! No tree yet. I think we'll get a real tree again and want to wait to the week before Christmas to limit the yelling "no touching!" to Sofie. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


"Thank You that she can now relax those survival skills and 
learn to look to a mama and daddy for what she needs."

This quote come from a blog that I've been following. A little girl just came home from Bulgaria. She is nine years old and only 10 pounds. You can check out the story HERE. It is heart wrenching and amazing. I can't believe this little one is still alive, let alone might actually live! 

The quote above actually made me cry this evening because I have seen Sofie relax her own survival skills. Although, she was so lucky to not have been in such dire straights as little Katie, she has her own story. We will probably never know that story completely but I know she was alone. Sofie had to go through her first three years of life an orphan. She was not touched enough. She was not stimulated to learn, communicate, or even play. She cried and no one came. She sat in wet or soiled diapers for hours and broke out in rashes on her bum. She was force fed to the point where it hurt. She wasn't allowed to put anything in her mouth for fear of spreading germs or being dirty so she had very little oral development. She never knew love.

She some how survived. God protected her until we could get to her. She tried to control her eating and tried not to eat but it was forced upon her. She was a mere 19 pounds at 3.5 years old. She hit anyone who got to close to her when they were un-welcomed. She pulled hair for attention, even if it was negative. Her eyes darted when she was afraid but made no sound from her mouth.  She had to rely on her own tiny means to get through the days in her crib alone, staring at the children through bars. She would rock, click her jaw and tap her teeth continuously just to get some stimulation. She had never been out side the gates of the orphanage. 

Sofie is discovering what love is now and learning how to be in a family. She has all but dropped her rocking. I only see it a few times a week now, instead of the hourly habit it was just a few short months ago. She only clicks her jaw a few times a day instead of a few times a minute and I don't remember the last time I saw her tapping her teeth. She is realizing she doesn't have to be in charge of her survival anymore. She is starting to trust that Mommy and Daddy get to take that responsibility off her tiny shoulders. All she has to do is be a kid. All we have to do is love her, and that is so easy to do. Literally watching her body relax over the last few months is such a gift. Seeing her smile when we come in to the room she is in is priceless. 

Honestly, all my fears of not attaching to her are gone. I'm attached. I feel like her mommy completely. I don't remember when it all exactly came. It was much more gradual than with Livi but I'd say it was pretty locked in within the first few weeks. The first few days in Bulgaria we so surreal. I was in awe of her. The first few weeks at home were hard. I was frustrated with her but wanting to be in love, holding on to the knowledge that it would get better and feeling my love ever so slowly grow. As things settled down, we figured each other out and when we figured the sleeping issues out everyone was happier and much more loving. I was sold, attached, a real Mommy again. 

Sofie is showing a lot of signs of attachment now too. She follows me around and cries if she think I'm leaving her. She smiles at us and even looks for us when we are with other people. She listens to our promptings better than too strangers. She is still very social and in-discriminant who plays with her.  Part of it is the un-attachment but we figure she also has a really social personality.  Sofie has also found her voice. I'd even say she borders on loud sometimes! We promote fun yelling contests... I think we might regret that one day. You can actually hear her laugh now! She cries loudly now too. Not in the panicked way she did in Bulgaria, but just like a typical 3 year old complaining or upset with something. She is realizing that she can cry loudly because Mommy or Daddy will always come. 

I'm thankful that Sofie is such a strong little girl was able to survive until we could get to her. I'm also thankful that she is trusting us, looking to us, loving us and feeling loved. She doesn't need to just survive anymore. She gets to flourish. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

About a week ago it seemed like a switch flipped for Livi. She is hot and cold. She can be so helpful one second and completely deadly the next. I don't know how to parent this and I'm starting to react in ways that I hate. I need to change something but I don't know what or how.

She was terrible today. I cried and I don't do that often when it comes to parenting. I've always been quite sure with the choices I have made when it comes to parenting. Livi was a really good kid and I thought I could take some of the credit for that. Then this week happened. She has been defiant as often has she has taken a breath. She mimics what we say in that sassy ten year old voice with the head nod to go with it. She yells at us and tells us she is going to do the opposite of what we have asked her too. She says she can't calm herself down or that her "story" says she has to do whatever. (She got the story thing from the cartoon Super Why where they have to zap a word to change the story and have the characters do something different. We thought it was cute at first, but now? Not so much.) Tonight, she lost the privilege of going out on a quick shopping trip with Jon and threw a huge tantrum. It even involved throwing furniture! 

I'm at my whits end. I've tried be really strict and I've tried talking everything out to a painful degree but neither have seemed to help change the behavior. I've tried giving her extra attention but doesn't seem to be enough to help. She enjoys helping me in everyday things and has been a super big with all the casseroles I made this week. She takes a lot of pride in helping us. She can be the happiest little angel be a helpful little bee and switch before I can even realize she is switching. Jekyll and Hyde. 

Like I said, today was rough. I'm hoping tomorrow is better and even if it isn't I hope that I have the strength to handle it better. Will this pass or is this what the next 20 years are going to be like. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. 

At least I'm not this mom...

Monday, November 21, 2011


I feel like I should blog but I don't have much to blog about right at this moment. This week is really busy and involves a lot of waiting for things.

1. We are still waiting for Sofie's Care Card. It was supposed to be processed by Friday but wasn't so we are still waiting. I'm going to try calling tomorrow.
2. Thursday I should be able to call and get an answer as to whether we qualify for some preschool subsidy for Livi this year. I kind of think that we won't qualify, in which case Livi won't be going to preschool until September. We decided we would save our money for when we have to put both girls in together. That is going to be a tight 10 months on our budget. We still really would like Livi in alone first but it may not work out that way.
3. We are waiting for the girls Christmas pictures that I'll use for the Christmas cards this year! They were mailed out to us today and I can't wait to see them! A fellow blogger and excellent photographer offered to give us some pictures as an adoption gift! They have a studio in their home so I thought Christmas pictures in matching dresses would be crazy adorable. You'll have to wait until at least the first advent to see them though. Check out the Chapman's photography in the mean time though...
4. Once we have Sofie's Care Card I need to kick it in to high gear with a big round of paperwork and appointments. I need a doctor to sign off on a lot of funding applications I need to send in for her and even tax credits as well. Will the paperwork ever stop?
5. We also are waiting to check out an elementary school we are interested in sending the girls too. It is an integrated arts school across town but we aren't sure how the special needs class is. I love the idea of integrated arts to foster Livi's creativity and learning outside of the box. I also love the idea for Sofie to be able to be included in the academic parts of learning through art even if she doesn't completely understand the lessons. We'll have to wait and see.
6. I'm waiting and dreading getting a crown on Wednesday.
7. We are also waiting for Christmas! Livi asks everyday if it is Christmas yet and after we say not yet she responds with "I've been waiting for Christmas for SUCH a LONG time!". December is filled with Christmas gatherings to keep her entertained. Each weekend we have at least two Christmas parties! One of those parties I am feeding my extended family. 35 people. Wish me luck!
7. I'm also waiting for Mexico! A family reunion at an all-inclusive over New Years! I've never been on that kind of a vacation and seriously can not wait!

Monday, November 14, 2011

3 Months

Sofie has been home for 3 months now! I always think that the anniversary is the 15th because we got in so late on the 14th and the 15th was our first day at home together. Really our Gotchya Day is the 4th, so I'm really late! I try to remember the day were where first home together in Canada though. It all seemed more real and completed then.

So, a three month update on Sofie...

- She is talking so much more. She says 'up' and 'Mama' the clearest and most frequent. She can also say 'Dada', 'Ney' ('No' in Bulgarian), 'Hi', 'Bye Bye', 'Hello' and 'Baby'. She mimics all of our signing really well but I can only tell that she has 'more', 'all done', 'sorry', 'thank you' and 'Mama' (which she signs more like 'Daddy') down really well.
- She is very good at getting her point across. You know when she is pleased or mad. She can throw quite the epic little tantrum but as soon as we pick her up she usually just melts.
- Just yesterday Sofie learned to push herself with her feet on her rolling ladybug toy. She is still quite cautious since she has had a few spills, she needs to remember to hold on, but she is getting it!

- We left her with my mom for a few hours for the first time on Nov 4 and she did great! (She happened to be sleeping the entire time and didn't even know we were gone!
- Received her Canadian Passport!
- She went Trick-or-Treating for the first time!
- She is still LOVING music class and music in general. She will dance to anything. It can entertain her for hours and put her to sleep each day! She even knows how to turn the stereo on and off herself.

Grooving to the beat at Music Class
She LOVES Music Class :)

- She is learning to play with toys! I didn't notice this development with Livi so much because it was so natural age related but I am loving watch it develop with Sofie. She will sit and play with farm animals and make them interact. She plays with blocks, dolls, papers and loves doing dress-up things with necklaces, hats, or basically anything you put on your head. The only thing with the hats and necklaces is that it is very interactive for her. She wants you to play it with her and do it exactly how she wants over and over and over and over again ... even though I don't always understand exactly how she wants it!
- She is developing her independence and always wants to be helpful... at least that is what I'm choosing to believe and ignoring the fact that she is just obsessed with opening and closing doors. She will close all the doors for me and it can be quite helpful, like the microwave or fridge. Sometimes she closes doors with her still inside them though and hasn't yet figured out how to open them yet, like her bedroom.

-Sofie hasn't gained any weight this month and is still sitting at 22 pounds. She may have even lost half a pound. I'm not really sure what a good weight gain should be but she is definitely still looking healthier every day. Her hair is thicker and shinier and her skin tone is so much improved. She got some really dry skin on her face and chin when the weather changed but that was taken care of with lots of lotion. But, all in all, she is pretty healthy. We have a follow up with her pediatrician in January, but he still hasn't made any referrals to specialists yet. I keep calling and don't get any where. I'm a little frustrated with that. It would be nice to know for sure that her heart murmur is really nothing.
-She had her first emergency visit and stitches due to an unfortunate altercation with her sister (see previous post).

I can't believe it has only been three months with her home. She is settling in so well! She is flourishing and I can't imagine life with out her now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Emergency Visit!

For over three years we have managed to keep the inevitable emergency room visits at bay. 3 months after having our second child home we had to succumb to it. With dinner in the oven, cookies cooling on the counter and all of us still in our pajamas (it was a pajama day), we had to rush to the emergency room on Friday

Sofie had been after a pillow on top of Livi's pillow pile, which led Livi to "jump" on top of her. Both of them when down and Sofie bit her own tongue when they hit the ground. At first I thought it was just a scratch on her chin, from her own razor nails that I hadn't got around to cutting yet. I got mad at Livi for pushing/attacking her sister. Then I saw the blood. There was so much blood. Livi got scared and I felt terrible for sending her to timeout and leaving her there crying while I had to help Sofie. I had to prioritize in this case I guess but the mother's guilt sneaked in awfully quick!

We decided we needed to get her checked out and jumped in to fast forward. We were all still in pajamas with out hair done or teeth brushed. I know it was dinner time but that's how we roll. Livi was so confused and upset. Sofie was crying and bleeding. Jon and I were running around trying to catch the blood and get everyone dressed.

We ended up having to go to the ER because it was Remembrance Day and a stat. We registered and got through triage really fast. The admin staff and nurses kept asking questions in disbelief of our adoption. At first I was really annoyed because I was still feeling really anxious about getting Sofie looked at but then it just got funny. I figured if they weren't concerned and had time to ask the questions I could probably relax. One ladies eyes actually bugged out when I told her we wanted to adopt a kid with DS and she emphatically said "You WANTED a kid with Downs?!" She thought we had adopted her and been surprised with her DS. People are so ignorant. I didn't know how to react besides laughing.

We got called in really quickly and were seen really quickly. My mom stopped by and took Livi home for dinner and bed. She freaked on me a little bit for sending her a text asking to come to the hospital with out explaining. She was driving and wouldn't stop to text me back because she HAD to get to the hospital. Oops. I did the same thing to a friend. I tried calling her to drop Livi off with her. I didn't get through. She saw my facebook status about being "at the hospital on account of the blood" and freaked out on me too :) There is a sick part of me that kind of enjoys doing that...

Not too sure about this thing on her toe.

The doctors advised a stitch and once they got it done they were glad they did. She ended up with three stitches. It took 5 hours to get her done because four doses of IV would still not knock her out! It was amazing. 3 doctors, a respiratory therapist and a nurse were all standing over her waiting for her to fall asleep. They had even tried two different meds. We had to go with Plan C... an IV. My poor baby was so doped up already but not asleep. She was pretty funny but did not enjoy the IV. It was so sad. They had to strap down her entire arm.

 Cuddles with Daddy.

 Flying high.

They finally got her to sleep and got her 3 stitches in her tongue. I was a little worried how she would do with eating. I thought the gash and stitches might set the progress she has made back a bit but she is managing really well. She still doesn't chew with her teeth and only mushes things with her tongue but we are careful of what we are giving her. The next day after the stitches we only gave her really soft mush and lots of chocolate milk laced with baby formula. By 5 pm she kept yelling at us and signing for food. She survived though and I'm hoping we managed to even keep her weight up! Her stitches don't seem to bother her too much. She was eating smaller meals at first, probably due to the irritation on her tongue but today she's been almost back to normal!

  Poor Baby :(

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quick Update

Our everyday life has been quite busy lately. I'm so tired! I think a massage would do wonders for me right about now! I'm not sure I can convince Jon of my need for it though :) 

1. My kids are crazy, adorable, loud, squishy, difficult, funny, insane, weirdos! And I mean that in the most sleep deprived, in love way I can :)

2. Sofie is starting to talk! It is rather sporadic and a little muffled but she is saying Mama and Dada, Up, Ney (Bulgarian No), Hi, Bye-Bye, Baby, and she even said Hello once! She is also learning Sign faster than we can teach her. She says more, all done, mommy, sorry, thank you, dance, food, drink, and understands even more of them!

3. Livi is talking our ears off. She literally only stops when we make tell her too and it usually doesn't last long! I love hearing all her stories and how she processes things. Her memory is outstanding. She remembers places and things that happened last year! She finds things that I've misplaced all the time. 

4. I think we have decided what we would like to do for preschool. We are going to try and put Livi in the community, play to learn school that is just around the corner from us in January. It is the easier choice. We are hoping to qualify for subsidy in September to put both girls in the Montessori preschool in September. If not, I hope we really like the school around the corner because both girls in at the same time is going to be a big chunk out of our monthly budget! Even at the cheaper preschool! Both girls will then go to kindergarten together, but in separate classes. I am still waiting to connect with the school board lady to get confirmation that I can have Sofie repeat Kindergarten. I will fight for that decision. 

5. We celebrated my grandfathers life on Wednesday. It was a really nice service. My sisters sang "Thank-you" (for giving to the Lord. I was a life that was changed). I forget who it was by. Beautiful song and so true for me, personally. I will miss my grandpa so much.

6. Friday was my sisters' 25th birthdays. We went for dinner and back to Vanessa's place for some cupcakes that I made and drinks. It was a lot of fun! It was the first time we'd left the girls since bringing Sofie home. Jon skipped the dinner to put Sofie to bed so she wouldn't realize that we weren't there. We failed to realize that this was also the first time we were leaving Livi since being gone to Bulgaria for two weeks. She had a total meltdown before Jon left. I felt so bad. She was completely settled down before he left though. Marmee, who was babysitting, let her watch the Wiggles way past her bed time :)

7. Livi has awesome morning hair....

8. Sofie had been sleeping late one afternoon so we went in to check on her. We found her laying on her quilt, naked, with her shirt, sleep sack and poopy diaper thrown out of her crib in to the middle of the floor. Awesome. 

9. We've had to do more than baby proof our house. We have Sofie proofed it. Because of things like this...

Thanks Sofie. I needed something to clean. 

10. Livi is quite the artist. She loves drawing us pictures and writing her name. These are some examples of her most recent smiley faces, with her name underneath... although she mixed up two of the letters. Jon was in the washroom and wouldn't let her in so she was waiting for him and trying to keep herself busy :)

11. Christmas is coming! I have no idea how we are going to manage a tree with Sofie around to tear it apart :) We'll figure it out though! I've already ordered the main present for Livi... we got her the kids digital camera from Fisher Price (we got a good price on Amazon). I'm pretty sure she is going to love it. My phone is filled with pictures that she takes of everyone. She also said that she wants Santa to bring her  a new flashlight. Her Princess flashlight she got last year no longer works. So basically, she is done! Now I have to figure out what to get for Sofie...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. It seemed extra busy with the two little ones though. We did get to do all the regular Halloween stuff!

Livi and Jon scooped out the guts!

Mommy and Livi did the carving.

Livi and her Princess Pumpkin!

Sunday evening Jon was involved in our Sunday church service so we went. He did a very moving history piece about how the church used to celebrate Halloween, All Saints Day, and The Day of the Dead. A memorial part was also include that was quite emotional for many people. The kids were allowed to wear their costumes to church so I got some really adorable pictures! 

Sofie was a lovely little ladybug! 
(The curse of being the second child is always getting the hand-me-downs!)

My two little bugs! I love them.

Flying little Bumble Bee!

Love bugs :)

Monday we took the girls trick-or-treating. They had SO much fun!!!! Sofie lasted about 20 minutes but LOVED every minute of it. It was a little too cold for her. She didn't make it up to any doors but loved running free all over the road. There were no cars out. Livi was a trick-or-treating monster! She stayed out for nearly an hour and a half. I kept asking if she wanted to go home but she refused. She just wanted to trick-or-treat. Only one house scared so we skipped it. She got way to much candy. I threw out some and ate too much. We had a lot of fun. She loved seeing all the costumes and is still sad she didn't get to say hello to the "Lego guy".