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.