Sunday, February 28, 2010

Small Victories

Most things tend to not go the way I picture them or plan them to go.  And usually I can sit back days, weeks or months later and say, "Oh, so that is why!"  God's perfect plan is that, just perfect!  In November and leading up to that time I thought that once Bella had her palate surgery, she would just take off talking ... that that was the only thing hindering her speech.  Well, it did not happen.  We have learned more about Bella medically and some things that we did not expect have been revealed.  But it is ok.  We are working through everything and we are learning right along with Bella.  There are days I think we are taking two steps back, but most days we are leaping forward.  Sometimes it is hard for me to see because I am with Bella every day.  But I have had some clarity and there have been small victories more and more every day.

Last night we were at a Chinese New Year celebration.  (More to come on that in a moment.)  Bella was playing with a toy and wanted it opened.  She looked at me and said "omen" and I could have shouted in celebration.  Bella normally will attempt to say words but only when asked to say them, but recently she has been speaking on her own and in the right circumstances.  Also the other day when it was snowing, she came running in the living room pointing outside saying, "no, mama, no" (translation:  snow, mama, snow)  She has also learned to say "no" and does so very often.  She is very opinionated, so we hear "no" a lot!  She is also saying "all done", "hi" "my-my" (for bye bye), "nana" (for dada), mama, "Ainan" (for Aidan), various animal noises, "uh-oh", "i love you", "amen" to name a few.  I want to try to track what she is saying when so I can really see how she is doing.

I also was reading through her occupational therapy goals the other day.  They were written the beginning of December.  I could not believe it, but she has accomplished all of the goals in less than three months!  We have learned that she knows a lot and is a quick learner.  Once she is shown how to do something, she tends to pick it right up.  She is dressing herself (other than her shirt).  She is putting her shoes on.  She can do puzzles and shape sorters.  She is pretend playing.  She can draw lines and circles.  These are all huge accomplishments for her!  So all of these things are small vicotories!

Like I said before, we went to a Chinese New Year celebration that was sponsored by GE, where I work.  It was fantastic!  There were booths for the kids to do activities, yummy Chinese food, and also performaces.  The kids especially liked the dragon parade, the lion dance and the acrobatic show.  Bella acted like she just loved being there.  I sometimes wonder what she remembers, what she misses, what she knows.  Once the drums started playing, she got so excited and just started jumping up and down clapping.

Here are the kids in front of the dragon before the show.

Me and Bella

My three blessings!

Dragon Parade

Dish balancing
 Lion Dance

Something else we did this weekend was to take the boys to an indoor skateboard park.  Friends of ours introduced us to this place and let me tell you, the boys had a blast!  Keenan was so excited to go.  It was like Christmas morning for him.  Now I know there is an indoor park and I won't have to worry about shoveling a path at the outdoor park anymore (see previous post for that story)! 

Keenan and Aidan at their new favorite place

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


After being home 6 months ... going through three surgeries ... we finally had Isabella's dedication this past Sunday.  Our entire immediate family came, which was awesome!  She really soaked up all of the attention and enjoyed the day.  She wore a Chinese dress that we bought while in China.  She looked adorable! 

We are truly blessed to live in a country where we can worship God freely.  I really did not get the full impact of that until we traveled to China.  One Sunday night while we were there we gathered with a few other families and praised God in a hotel room.  It was an experience we will never forget. 

We are thankful that Bella will be able to freely choose to follow the Lord.  As parents, we will guide her and help her along her journey. 

And here are some pics from the dedication.  As you can see, she really hammed it up for the entire church.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making the Best of It

We have been snowed in now for a couple of days so far this week and were snowed in a couple of days last week.  We have more snow on the ground than I can ever remember having.  The first big snow was so pretty, but now we are getting really tired of it.  Aidan has missed 6 days of school (with being called off tomorrow already) in the last 8.  So that means I have stayed home and worked from home with all 3 kids running around the house.  Challenging ... but they have been so good and I have been able to get a lot of work done amazingly.  They have wanted to stay in their jammies, watch videos, play legos and play the wii.  Believe it or not, the only request I have gotten to go out in the cold is to go to the skateboard park.  What?!  Keenan seems to think that we can dig a path through the snow so he can skateboard.  Sure ... I'll get right on that. 

Aidan even read his brother and sister a book today without being asked.  It was so precious to hear him reading while they cackled at the funny story. 

Here are some pictures from our fun this past week ...

Making cookies for Valentine's Day!

Enjoying her cookie ... look at that face!

Really, really enjoying the cookies.

Our decorator ... he loves sprinkles on cookies (they were everywhere!).

Jackson's birthday party (a friend of Aidan and Keenan's)

Bella got to go bowling for the first time - she was so funny to watch "try" to throw the ball down the lane.

Last night, this is how Bella came upstairs after playing downstairs with her brothers.  Check out her "weapon".

Aidan and Bella rockin' it out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Six Months Ago Today

I know I just posted yesterday and to post again is amazing for me, but ... believe it or not (and I am leaning towards the "not") ... we held Isabella in our arms for the first time 6 months ago today.  Thought I would share with you the first picture we saw of Bella ...

And one from the first day we held her in our arms ...

And another recent one of all of us making homemade pizza before the Superbowl ...

He love you Isabella and thank God each and every day that He has blessed us with you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It seems like forever since I have done a "what is going on in our family" post, so I thought I would since it seems like it has been snowing for days. 

On Friday, we got somewhere around 9 inches of snow.  It was probably one of the prettiest snows we have ever had.  It was like God took a snow blower to the trees and hills and made everything picture perfect.  It was absolutely beautiful!  These pictures really don't do it justice ...

We took the kids tubing and all three loved it.  It was Bella's second time going.  We had to be covered head to toe because it was very cold and the new fallen snow was flying in our faces as we raced down the lanes.  We were going so fast ... probably the fastest I have ever gone!  Bella at one point turned around in her tube to look at us to make sure we were still all behind her because our tubes got turned around while going down the hill and she became the leader.  Once she saw we were all behind her she just squealed with excitement and started bobbing up and down.

Today we woke up to more snow and probably have another 6 inches on the ground, with 1-3 more expected tonight.  No school today and I will be very surprised if they have it tomorrow.  Aidan was so sure that he was not going to have school and would have been crushed if he had to go.  Michael and I both worked from home today and the kids just had a blast running around playing, watching movies and eating.

Bella continues with speech and occupational therapy.  She is doing awesome at OT and is learning so much.  Speech has been VERY slow.  We think she will probably have to have another surgery for her soft palate later this year.  Her speech therapist is wondering if her velum (the back of her palate) is closing properly because she seems unable to get sounds out that she should like "B" and "P".  She has learned to say "No".  She says it for when she means "no" and also when she is trying to say "snow".  Snow is one of her favorite things right now.  She loves to watch it fall.

Earlier this month we celebrated my sister Alyssa's birthday at Bucca di Beppo.  We all had a great time and enjoyed lots of wonderful food, inlcuding the cupcake Alyssa got and shared with the kids.

Bella has healed up from her surgery.  The only thing that remains as a reminder are the sores around her mouth from having to have it open for so long.

We are looking forward to spring and warmer weather, but are enjoying being snowed in as well.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Third Surgery in less than 4 months

We have just gotten home with Bella.  She had her third surgery today in less than 4 months.  We thought this was a minor one and really did not get too worked up about it, but it has been a little more than we expected.  She had tubes put in her ears and also underwent some dental surgery.  The tubes weren't a problem.  The doctor said she did have a lot of fluid in both of her ears.  We are hoping and praying that this will help her hear better and help her speech.  We have been told that even though she seems like she can hear just fine, it may sound like she is under water.  So what she may think is normal, really may not be. 

She also had dental surgery.  We weren't really sure what was going on in her mouth with her teeth.  The dentist performed his surgery right after the tubes were inserted.  The dentist fixed around a dozen cavitites, placed a crown on one of her teeth, sealed others and then pulled her lone top tooth in the middle of her mouth.  He said he tried to save it, but it was just too far gone and needed to be removed to prevent disease.   The dental part was supposed to take an hour, but because things were a little worse than he expected, it took 2 and 1/2 hours.  And because her mouth is so tiny, she is once again very swollen and sore.  Not as bad as when she had her palate repair, but still worse than what we expected.  I think she is about to trade us in as parents.  She has had enough!  We think this is last surgery until sometime this summer. (hopefully)

Once again, Children's Hospital has been amazing.  Because they had to remove a tooth, they sent her home with a little tooth care package and a note for the tooth fairy that said ...

Dear Tooth Fairy,
I was at the Dentist today and had to have a tooth wiggled out because it was sick.  I was not allowed to keep it.  Please accept this note in its place (the dentist said you would).

Signed by the Dentist

Isn't that cute?  They seem to think of everything. 

She is pretty irritable right now.  Please pray she rests and heals quickly!