Monday, January 30, 2012


Just a quick update post...

1. Livi is entering her second week of preschool and loving it. Tomorrow they are going on a field trip to the library of the school they are next too for story time. She is pretty excited.

2. Is it normal for a three year old girl to have the emotional stability of a PMSing 14 year old girl, who is also bi-polar? She is very good at keeping us up to the moment on her ever changing moods and can articulate it very well. We have had to learn how to stifle our snickers at her "evil eyes". It is epic.

3. Sofie's appointments have started. We have heard back from and scheduled all but two of the doctor appointments we had been waiting for as well as therapy and funding appointments. This week is crazy busy... Family doctor, Dentist (for Jon), Social Worker for respite money, music class, Special O phone meeting, Speech Therapy, and beginning of next week is our first 6 month adoption check-in! Within the next three months we go to Children's at least once, try getting some of Sofie's dental work done, speak with a dietitian, get her eyes, hearing, and possible sleep apnea checked on as well as get a few x-ray's and immunizations! I'm sure more stuff will come up too. Wow, I was warned about all the appointments but this seems crazy!

4. My lifestyle change has been going really well! I just started my 3rd week which means I got to introduce carbs again! But it also meant I started working out. First time I've been intentional with my exercise in about 2 years. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Livi woke up from her nap and did the yoga part with me. It was so cute. A couple of the moves I couldn't do for long enough and I had to stop for a quick break. Livi would lay down beside me and say "This is such hard work for me too!" My three year old daughter kicked my ass at yoga but I maintain that I had better form! The really good news about these past two weeks is that I am 14 lbs lighter! Horray! I've already noticed my clothes fitting better. I measured my inches twice but they were both way off so I think I'm measuring wrong. I think I am 2-4 inches down in my waist and thighs :) Wish me luck on the exercise portion!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Today was my baby's first day of preschool! Seriously? How can she be old enough to be going to preschool?

As we were preparing her for preschool we made the mistake to use it as the motivation for doing things by herself. We said things like "you need to go pee all by yourself if you want to go to preschool." Big mistake. It worked at first but then she decided it was too much pressure and she didn't want to go to preschool. We laid off for a few weeks and tried to reassure her that if she really needed help her teacher would be there to help. That still didn't fully satisfy her though.

Last night I sat her down and talked to her about how much fun she was going to have, how much her teachers and the kids where looking forward to seeing her, and how many new toys she was going to get to play with! She had a lot of anxiety about with which resulted in an unrelated meltdown. I was worried.

Even in the morning she was still saying no until I reassured her that I would stay as long as she wanted me too. That fixed everything! Why did I not explain that better in the beginning! Oops. I guess I can't be perfect all the time. She got excited and walked happily with Jon and I hand in hand!

Marmee stayed home with Sofie while I kept my attention on Livi. Jon had to go to work right away. Livi jumped in with both feet. She hung back close to me for about 30 seconds before taking off her backpack and jacket, switching her shoes and heading off to play. I hung back while she headed straight for the play-dough that was out. She checked back to make sure I was still there a few times but only about 20-30 minutes in I asked her if I could go home and check on Sofie and she said yes! No problem! She waved goodbye from the window and that was it.

When I picked her up, she had stories to tell. She said she had so much fun and that she wanted to go to preschool "again, and again, and again and again!" Yay! I love my big girl. I can't believe she is in preschool! Where did my baby go! I'm so proud of her though. She is growing up in to such a beautiful little lady :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lifestyle Change 12.0

Confession:   I watch Dr. Phil, regularly. I record it even and take his advice to heart.

So, I think it was November or December he did a show on the P.I.N.K. Method. It is a new weight loss program. I bought it. Literally, 5 minutes after I watched the show I went online and ordered it. I NEVER do that. I'm not the biggest impulse buyer and never off of TV. 

Remember when I tried that Lifestyle change in the beginning of 2010? I had lost 15-20lbs on the gyms meal plan and working out, but then we started the adoption and my emotions ate and didn't exercise... as usual. Eventually, I gained the weight back. Well, I'm trying it again. No big family events are in the works. Nothing was planned in January 2010 either but here's hoping we have so "surprises"! ... at least for a little while. 

I started the P.I.N.K. Method on January 16 and by the morning of the 20th I had lost 9lbs... in four days. It slowed down after that, I think mainly because I was retaining water before my period :) Now, at first I figured it was all just water weight but then I looked up. Usually, you only carry about 3-5 lbs of water weight a day and the reviews on this type of quick weight loss are the best for losing actual fat. So, I'm going with it. Today, after day 7, I'm 11 lbs lighter in total. Pretty happy about that.

There are a few great things that I'm loving about this plan which a lot of others lack. 1) There are no special pills, smoothies or weird packaged food involved. It is just lean protein and a hell of a lot of veggies for the first two weeks. Then I start doing the DVD work outs and get to eat slow-carbs again. 2) It is teaching me how to portion, what to eat to keep me full, and explaining it all... and it is working! I've never actually understood the whole calorie stuff and why. I'm learning :) 3) The SUPER great thing is my family is all eating what I'm eating... with some extra sauces or carbs but basically it is the same! No cooking two meals! I have a protein, fruit smoothie each morning that Livi is loving and Jon is glad that he is having to eat more veggies too! Plus, it is getting Sofie used to eating veggies better. She can't chew them raw yet but she is doing great with all the cooked veggies. This is teaching us all how to eat better!

I start the exercise next Monday and am a little worried about it. I'm not good with that part. I need to lose weight. I need to be healthier. I need to be a better example for my kids.  So... I guess wish me luck, again. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

5 Months!

Sofie has been home for 5 months now! It seems like such a short amount of time but feels like she has been with us forever! We love her so much. She fits in perfectly! And I think we fit in pretty well in her world :)

We are all attached to her and she too us. Interesting she has attached to each of us quite differently. With Livi, I notice that she plays really well by her, much better than she does with other children. Sofie likes to play close to Livi and expects her to be close by. She goes to the toys Livi has been playing with. All common little sibling stuff. So awesome! She is pretty dependent on Livi for sleeping too. Not sure if this is a good thing but they share a room so I guess it is a natural progression of the attachment thing. With Jon, Sofie looks for rough housing. I suppose that is a typical Dad role! She is more chill with Jon too. She is calm with him... I can relate :) I'm generally more calm with him too. With me, she is needy. I love being needed by her, most of the time. She likes to be close to me and climbs all over me when we are home. When we are out she is starting to look back for me to make sure I am still around! This is huge by the way!

This past month Sofie had her first FAMILY Christmas! She was a little confused at times but went with the flow. She also had her first FAMILY vacation! We had a big family reunion in Mexico! Despite our worries that she would regress with her behaviors and eating patterns, she again blew down our expectations. Although she did revert to some of her old coping methods during travel, she progressed in other ways on the trip. She ate and drank wonderfully the whole week, enjoyed herself in the water and began saying "hi" much more consistently and clearer! Sofie started her music class again this past week. She was so excited! When she saw where we had pulled in to park she started screeching in her car seat! She did awesome her first class back. She has come such a long way and this class is such AMAZING therapy for her! She fully participated, did all the actions even though it was all new songs, moved her mouth in the shape of the words we where singing and has better rhythm than I do! Seriously. She is a dancer. You can't help but smile when you watch her. She also had her first experience in snow just a few days ago. She did not think much of it. She did not like it to much but did tolerate standing in it and watching us build a snow man.

As far as her development she continues to progress. She understands us almost completely even though she was ESL. She wasn't talking any Bulgarian words when we got her but this is still amazingly fast in my mind. She is a climber. I see broken bones in her future. She can get out of her crib despite her sleep sack. She can follow a few simple two step instructions, like "Pick that up and bring it to Mommy, gentle!" That one gets said a lot and comes after she throws something. She is throwing much less and only hits or pulls hair when she is over-tired or hungry which I try to be careful to not let her get. She is playing with things all time now and frequently even appropriately! Just this week she walked over to the toys in a waiting room, sat down and started playing with the doll house totally appropriately and by herself! No prompting! (Remember she had no idea how to play with anything besides throwing things in the beginning.)

She can say a few words now and they are coming out more often. "Up" and "Hi" are her most frequently used ones. "Mama" and "Nay, Nay" come out usually when she is more distressed over something. She can sort of say "Hello" but only with prompting. "Dada" is in her repertoire too. These last two weeks she has been making a ton of new sounds which I'm excited to see where they take us. Still waiting on a speech therapist appointment but I just learned that the health unit offers a free clinic once a month. I think I'll try to get her in there. She has about 15 solid ASL signs to communicate with and she is working on more. Jon and I should really take a class. Along side her speech development, her oral development is taking off! She has been putting things in her mouth a lot more! She pretends to be feeding herself with a cup and spoon from their kitchen set and has been eating markers!

We saw her pediatrician this past week for a follow up and to get some referrals. He said she is doing really great. We should finally be getting some referrals for a Cardiologist, Optometrist, Ears specialist (just to rule out any issues before we get in to speech therapy too much), Ped's Dentist and a dietician. She is now in the 5th percentile for weight. She is a whopping 24 pounds! Which matches her 5th percentile of height. She is just about 33 inches. She's gained over 5 lbs in the past 5 months but only grown 1.5 cm. Dr. PP was not concerned about the lack of growth "yet". He figures there is probably a lag because of so many years of malnutrition, but we are going to keep an eye on it.

Orthotics were recommended by her physiotherapist but not her Pediatrician. There is some debate as to what is causing her knock-knees. We have decided to go ahead with the orthotics, but wait to get them in the summer before she starts preschool, when she'll be wearing shoes a lot more.

I should go now since Sofie is sitting on the desk beside me using every bit of self-control she has not to touch the keyboard or screen. I've tortured her enough... time to play with my girls!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mexico - Second Half

***Days 1-4 are in the post from yesterday. Just scroll down!***
Day 5-

Today was the day we'd been telling Livi about all week! The weather was back to being really hot and sunny so we spent the morning by the pool again. After an early lunch and a rest we headed off to take the girls to swim with a dolphin! Livi was so excited! So was I!

We just did the short encounter to touch it and see a few tricks. That was more than enough for Sofie. Gramma came along and when Sofie got really freaked out they sat on the edge watching and clapping for us! We did bring Sofie back in for the photo op, even with her complaining. I think the cold water and the big fish was a little too much for her. She did pretty good though but wouldn't touch it. Livi LOVED it. She fed the dolphin two fish, pet it, and hugged it. She wouldn't let it kiss her though. She laughed her head off when they did their jumps while she was in the water! I got to swim out in to the deeper water and hold the dolphin. It was so cool. We got kissed by a sea lion after wards too! Kind of wet and slimy.

 Waiting to touch them!

A passing Sea Lion!
Swimming with the Dolphin!

I do have to put in a small plug on how bad the treatment of these animals are. I am more aware of how bad us humans are to animals thanks to my veggie mom and vegan brother! It was a very cool experience to be that close to the dolphins but it was unnatural. The dolphins had scratches and marks on their skin from being in too small pools and bumping in to things or each other. They had numerous dolphins and sea lions but I did not even see a hope of a good facility for them. They are made to preform all day. Although they are social animals, it felt wrong. I loved the experience of seeing my girls' faces but these animals are most definitely suffering.

Dinner couldn't come fast enough then off to bed! Sofie took a while to fall asleep and Livi was having a rough night. She fell and scraped her knee 4 times today. You should have seen her milking it as she hobbled over and could “barely” walk. I'm so ready for bed now. Good night!

Day 6 -

Sofie had been awake for a long time, very early in the morning. Because she can easily climb out of her playpen, and does regularly, I couldn't go to sleep until she was asleep again. This did not make for a happy mommy in the morning. As soon as Livi woke up, I got Jon to quietly take the her to breakfast and let me and Sofie sleep in. Sofie slept until almost 9am and then we had breakfast.

After breakfast we went to the beach for the last time. It was so much fun. We were there for the rest of the morning. I went body surfing! So Much Fun! I seriously loved it. I caught lots of waves and got thrown around a few times too. One wave actually felt like it slammed a rock on to my shoulder blade. I wonder if I'll get a bruise! Jon went out while I stayed with the girls and Gramma on the beach. After watching the waves die down I decided it might be fun to take Livi out there and have her try. The waves had been consistently quiet for a long time. As soon as I got out there with her though 4 huge ones came! They were well over my head! Seriously bad timing. Then they were quiet again. The damage had been done. I'm sure Livi will never go in the ocean again. Bad Mommy.

 Getting buried!

 Getting some rest in her bed.

The Goober awakes!

When we realized how late it was we rinsed off and headed for lunch, then all had much needed showers. Livi and Jon had a nap and since I figured Sofie wasn't going to sleep anyway, I strapped her in the stroller to head to watch a family game tournament that was happening. As soon as it was over and I walked around a bit Sofie fell asleep! Horray! I think I'll be trying the same thing tomorrow since she slept for an hour. I sat a made a thank-you card for Grandma and Grandpa who paid for this wonderful trip then we went to find Livi and Jon. Livi had slept for 2.5 hours today which is unheard of! It felt so good to be expecting happy kids today and not have to be dreading the evening!

The four of us hung out in our room a little before Livi and I did a little shopping before dinner. It was a Mexican Fiesta night so all the restaurants were decked out. The food tonight was the best, by far and they had Jamaican Water which Sofie and I both LOVED. I hope there wasn't alcohol in it :) She ate so much that her stomach was protruding! It isn't hard to do on her little body. We cut her off. Some Mexican dancers and mariachis came through the restaurant. Both girls were laughing and clapping. There were vendors set out in the main area to do a bit of looking around. (As well as another tour group offering cow rides and pictures on it. Cows aren't meant to ride?! The cow had a fresh cut he had gotten during transport to the resort and was obviously drugged. It made me sick. I wanted to cry. I think the treatment of animals for tourists is pretty appalling here.)


Because of their naps they went to sleep a little later but fell asleep relatively easily. Now it is my turn. Goodnight again! It was a pretty good day!

Day 7 -

The kids woke up shortly after 7am. Way too early for our liking but there was no going back to sleep for them. We went and had an early breakfast then sat at a bar overlooking the waves for a little bit. The kids were exceptionally grumpy so we decided to head back to the room for some down time. We found Monsters Inc on TV so that gave the down time Livi needed. It was in Spanish but Livi didn't seem to mind. That was the first time the TV was on all week!

We went to the pool for a little while before checking out the Iguana feeding. They put out food for the wild Iguana's that hang around so the tourists can check it out. It wasn't as exciting as it sounds. Or maybe we left before the real action started. We just watched one big guy keep a few of the smaller ones away by chasing them. One little guy got some fruit though! There were tons of Iguanas in the trees above but maybe they weren't hungry yet.

 Watching the Iguanas 


We went too our rooms after lunch, for a quick nap. At 3 pm we had a big family picture and got the one picture of all four of us together all week! Then was the anniversary party for the family. We got to come to Mexico for this reunion because it is Grandpa and Grandma's 60th wedding anniversary this year, as well as the 25th anniversary of the family business! We celebrated with some thank-you's and a gift exchange, since it is our Christmas gathering. Sofie did wonderful and slept for us for part of the party!

 The Bartel's

The Bartel's Extended!

The girls naps gave them enough energy to stay up late and attend at least part of the family dinner at one of the reserved restaurants. We had a small dinner at 6pm to hold the girls over until their second meal at 8. Livi didn't last too long in to her second meal and actually chose to go to bed instead of stay with the family... miracles never cease! Jon stayed back with Sofie, who had a late nap and was happy and rearing to go! They just returned and now Jon is putting Sofie to sleep. I should get to bed since tomorrow is going to be a long day of travel... Wish us luck!

Beautiful girls!

So cool

Going Home Again -

Our bus didn't leave until 11:30am so we had a relaxed morning. Breakfast, finished packing, then sat around the bar for one last drink!

Traveling is always stressful, particularly with kids... and Jon :) Actually Jon wasn't so bad. Neither were the kids. They did great on the plane again. They were both a lot more grumpy this time but there was an hour delay! Lisa and Tony sat with us and helped out SO much with the kids! Thanks guys! Livi was talking about how much she loved you the next morning :)

Sofie did have an epic meltdown once we were off the plane. She was extremely tired, hungry and overstimulated. She didn't want to be held through customs but because it was a chartered flight they didn't have our stroller waiting for us. She threw a fit like she did on the way home from Bulgaria. I felt terrible for her. We made it though. I found some puffs to subdue her while we were waiting for our luggage. She fell asleep pretty quickly in the car. My wonderful sister came to pick us up!

Getting Sofie to sleep once we got home at 9:30pm was another epic meltdown. Jon was successful though! We did no unpacking. I caught up with my sister's and mom instead! My mom had done some extra dishes that I had not had time to do and vaccuumed my living room! I love my mommy :) It was so nice to be in my own home and bed with the girls sleeping soundly, but it is so much colder hear!!!

Mexico - First Half

Day 1 -

We started out bright and early on the 31st at 4am to catch a 6:55am flight. Thankfully, my husband has a wonderful job with perks that allowed us to get a room at the airport Fairmont hotel for a crazy good price! We stayed there for the night so we didn't have to get the kids up any earlier than we needed to. So glad we did this by the way!

The girls did A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! It was a 5 hour flight and they were great! Livi had a few grumpy spells but no melt downs all day! Sofie even had an hour nap on the plane! Yay! I was sure she would be up the whole time. Funny what a little security and love will do for a kid :) She was ridiculously overstimulated by all the travel. I haven't seen her rock that much since the first few weeks we had her but she coped and even depended on us to help her cope a bit! She obviously felt safe enough to sleep this time! She was smiles the whole way except when we where walking through the airports and had to hold her. She didn't like that. When we got to the resort Jon stayed in the room with her to give her some down time and she was ready to go for the evening.

On the plane

On the bus

I took Livi swimming right away and I'm sure she is going to live there for the entire week. There is a kids pool right outside our room (just past the bar for Mommy!) that is about 2 feet deep and she is totally safe in it. I can hang out on the side tanning (and drinking)! There was tons of food for dinner at the buffet we went too and the kids went to bed soon after! Our room has a door separating us from Jon's mom's room which is perfect for putting the girls to sleep. We put them down and now I'm in Mom's room, with the in-between door open, typing and watching TV!

I don't think I'm going to even try to stay up until midnight so Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for being a part of our community this past year! I can't wait to see what this year brings for us and all of you!

Day 2 -

Today started nicely with everyone waking up around 8am. We went for breakfast then took the girls to the beach for what, I'm ashamed to admit, was both of their first times! (I know, a tragedy since we live on the west coast.) It was so fun to hear their delighted screams as each wave hit their feet. Sofie LOVED it and kept signing for more and more and more! Livi, of course was covered in sand as soon as we set foot on the beach. She was delighted. Her Gramma took her in to the waves a bit too. She clung on for dear life but had fun! She was wearing a life jacket, don't worry! Sofie and I sat at on the beach enjoying each wave wash up on to our legs. She squealed with delight too... after the initial “what the heck is this?”


I love these feet! 

Holding on to Daddy for "safety"

My loves. 

Having way too much fun!

We went to a bit of a family meeting/church service and then had lunch. Jon's mom has been awesome and helping us every step of the way with anything we need for the kids! I recommend travelling with a Grandma on every family vacation! Livi thoroughly enjoyed all her “Big Girl” drinks that looked a lot like adult drinks all day :) I even had to taste the difference once because they were both pink and I needed to make sure I wasn't handing her the drink with tequila in it!

After lunch Jon took Sofie for a nap and I took Livi back to the pool. She could live in the pool. I had one moment of sadness when I watched a pair of Grandpas, who happened to each have special needs sons, be really sweet with their own grandsons and Livi. I couldn't help but shed a small tear wishing Jon's dad was here to play with his two grand-babies. He would have made such an EXCELLENT Grandpa. He should have been here.

I also watched Livi try to make friends. It was so hard not to step in and help her out. There was another family with girls who were all older than her. They had each other to play with so I watched Livi follow them around and try to start a conversation a few times but get shot down. When the older girls left she did make friends with the younger girl and played for quite awhile. After they left she tried to befriend a few other kids who didn't speak English. Despite her best efforts “Hi! My name is Livi. What is your name?”, they were confused. It is hard watching your kid trying to make friends! I don't think her feelings got hurt or anything but she just didn't know what to do and she was trying so hard. I'm not entirely sure what is age appropriate here but, man! it is so difficult to be a mom sometimes!

I went back to the room to check on Jon with Sofie and have a short nap. Jon went out and hang out with Livi. I think she was in the pool for a good 3 hours. We finally made her come out when her teeth were chattering :) She was not happy about it. Jon and her had a shower and then some quiet time. Sofie woke up shortly after. I miss calculated the time though. She had a late nap and slept until after 5. We are two hours ahead here and I thought it was 3pm.

Dinner at sunset

We went for dinner overlooking the beach at sunset. Life doesn't get better than that people! Since Sofie was rearing to go, we got to got to Opa's slide show that was being held after their bed time. He likes to provide picture slide shows for each family reunion and this year was no exception. This year was pretty funny though. There was a lack of pictures the youngest daughter before she was at least 30, while there where probably over 50 pictures of the oldest son! Our wedding pictures were missing but there were numerous pictures of Livi and one of Sofie to make up for it, while numerous grand-kids were missing! It made me laugh. I was super impressed by Opa's new-found ability to use power point though! I think that makes it up there with my Grandma on Facebook!

The kids were so tired and went to sleep, nearly right away! Now I'm sipping my third pina colada in the last hour, listening to my husband's synopsis of “Bonk - The Currious Coupling of Science and Sex” by Mary Roach, waiting for a massage. Pretty sure my life is awesome.

Update- It is 10:30pm. A little imp just closed the door on us. We would have been locked out if Jon had not had a key on him. I ran in through the front door to find a very proud, naked Sofie. My kids are awesome. Sofie had got out of her playpen, taken off her clothes and come to close the door.... oh wait.... that was two times! The second time she was a ninja and did it silently with Jon in the room! Okay, bed time now.

Day 3 -

Well it was a rough night but the girls slept in. We met Lisa and Tony for breakfast then joined most of our immediate family at the beach for fun! Livi was, of course, drenched in sand the moment we stepped foot on it. My goodness that girl had fun! Gramma and I took Livi in to the waves and she had a blast being thrown around by them. She was even able to handle them herself in the really, really shallow part. I took Sofie in a little too and although she loved feeling it on her legs, that was a far as she wanted to go!


Waiting for the waves!

We went back for some showers to try and get out the bucket of sand that has laid a beach in Livi's curls. Then we met up with our immediate family and Opa and DD/Grandpa and Grandma for lunch. Each family has a day to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa and today was our day so we did our meals with them.

Enjoying her Pink Panther

The afternoon was spent pool side! The kids, of course, loved it. Sofie is getting to be a real Pro in the water! She walked around the entire kiddie pool all by herself, with Gramma close behind. She has even started to venture out in to the open middle waters where she isn't holding on to anything. A lot of the time she sits on the side with her feet splashing in the water though. Uncle Tony and Auntie Lisa came and hung out at the pool for a while as well the youngest cousin (13 years old) who Livi is loving playing with!

Playing with Gramma at the pool!


She found a seat... or a toilet.

That evening, after dinner with Opa and DD and once the girls were settled and sleeping, Mom/Gramma offered to stay in the room with the girls so Jon and I could go out on a date! We ended up walking around visiting a little and looking at some of the vendors that set up shops in the main areas in the evening at first. We found a bar overlooking the ocean and had a few drinks and a lovely chat before going for a romantic, moonlit stroll on the beach! Heaven :)

Day 4-

It was a little overcast today but still very warm and muggy. The only thing the lack of sun changed was the temperature of the pools. They weren't warmed up for us by the afternoon! We took our time with breakfast and did let Livi in the cold pool. She wasn't as eager this morning either but still had fun! Sofie went in a little but mostly just chilled on the side with us. We needed a down day.

Waking Daddy up!

Sofie has only napped once since being here and that is because I got the time mixed up and let her nap until 5:30pm the second day. Quiet times have been helping though. Vacationing with kids is not nearly as relaxing as I wish! I just want to sleep and relax but I'm always on the move. I'm loving seeing the joy on their faces though. Although Sofie's sleeping has suffered it is not terrible. We were expecting some side effects. Otherwise she is as happy as can be! Lots of laughter and playing! She is eating and drinking really well too! Livi hasn't been terrible either. She is a little bossy and has a lack of manners due to everyone just doing anything and everything for her, but that is what family who doesn't see her much is supposed to do, right!

Movie star

That evening I went out to a cousin gathering while Jon stayed in the room. It is hard to not be able to go to everything that is planned and since we are the only ones with kids people don't always think about the timings of things. Tonight worked out though. Jon wanted some alone time to read while the kids were sleeping and I got to go and drink with the cousins! It was quite epic. I witnessed what happens when you take a bunch of conservatively raised kids and let them loose at an all-inclusive in Mexico! I also got to have an inebriated yet enlightening and needed conversation with Jon's brother. I think we had to be inebriated in order to finally say what needed to be said. I'm hoping some more conversations come out of that involving more family members and maybe even some inebriated family counselling!

A Year In The Life Of...

***This was supposed to post while I was away and it didn't for some reason. So here it is now!***

This year has been a momentous one to say the least!

January started with the excitement of just having got the proposal for Sofie! Livi had started ballet and was loving gymnastics too! I had done my last shift at the group home I was working at and became a full time stay at home mom!

February marked the one year anniversary of starting the adoption process! We were still waiting for the legal referral from the MOJ and hoping it wouldn't take as long as it seemed to be. It also held Jon's 30th birthday! We celebrated in Vancouver where it snowed! A lot!

March finally brought Sofie's official legal proposal which we eagerly signed to accept adopting her! My best friend had her first baby boy who I still haven't met other than on skype. I began Lent where I gave up sugar and meat. It went really well. I also got to confirm Sofie's legal new name on World Down Syndrome Day!

April finally broke Livi of her soother habit! I was so happy :) Livi wrote her name all by herself. I was so proud. We also had an emotional 3rd birthday celebration for Sofie with out her. We had hoped to be much closer to bringing her home than we were.

May was a quieter month. We continued hoping for adoption news and enjoying Livi growing up. Jon and I also got to go on a little babymoon! A night at a fancy hotel in Vancouver, a fancy dinner, window shopping and we bought a new car!

June was a very exciting month. We got word that we could expect court this month! Livi did her first performance on stage at her ballet recital! She did so good. We got some disappointing news that the although court had happened, the judge wanted more legal papers. This might have taken 4 weeks but the scanned copies were enough! While on a wonderful family vacation we got word that the judge had granted the order! Sofie was legally our baby!

July held lots of planning and preparing for traveling to Bulgaria! We left at the end of the month!

August was filled with adventure! August 1 we met our baby. On the 4th we took her out of the orphanage! Jon and I celebrated our 7th anniversary, I had a birthday, and Livi had her 3rd birthday. We got to bring our baby home and reunite with Livi after 16 days. Our family of four was finally together. Our journey together finally started!

September was a little rough. We were all adjusting to our new family. Sofie was having DOING AMAZING but she still had a lot of changes to deal with seeing as she had never even been outside the walls of the orphanage. Livi was adjusting to having a sister who wanted to play with all her toys and too up so much of Mommy and Daddy's attention. Jon and I were figuring how to parent two kids while maintaining our sanity!

October things started settling down. We were all over the worst of the adjustments and loving each other a whole lot more! We continued learning the ropes and starting to figure out what the future was going to be looking like for appointments and school for the girls. We also said our final goodbyes to my Grandpa who passed away. It was hard to see him go but we know he is in a better, pain free place.

November held Sofie's first Emergency visit with a nasty bite to the tongue. She was a trooper through the stitches though! My baby sister's turned 25 and made me feel very old. I also bought a awesome sit n stand stroller! There was a lot of research that went in to figuring out which one would suit us so I was so excited to finally get it!!! I love it by the way.

December has been busy! We had tons of social gatherings, hosted and cooked for my extended family Christmas,  hosted my immediate family Christmas and celebrated Sofie's first Christmas with her family!!! It was beautiful and fun! Jon also went back to work after enjoying 4 months off. He only had to go back for 2 weeks though, then he got two weeks vacation for Christmas and going to Mexico!

This is posting while we are in Mexico so I will update you all on that when I get home! I'm so excited to see where this next year takes our little family but I'm sure it will be exciting! I'll keep you posted as usual!

Have a fabulous New Year!!!