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".