Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lots of Pictures

The twins very 1st annual Thanksgiving morning hike with Dad.  We were all concerned it would be too much for them.  But that was not the case.  They did great and made it the entire way!

Our Christmas Tree
After decorating the tree
Christmas Cookies! 

One Messy Face 
Two Messy Faces

and Three Messy Faces

All the stockings were hung....

Emery's very first Christmas present in America

Blake's very first Christmas present in America

Ashley at Grandma Nadine's

Nicole at Grandma Nadine's

Christmas Eve at our house - I think Nicole
was happy about her gift!

Conner's turn to open a present

Nicole's turn

Happy Cousins!

Ashley's turn

Emery's turn

My handsome son

Santa was here

Christmas morning 

What a cutie!

Santa brought a new coat for Nicole

Emery received a microwave - now she doesn't have
to play with Mommy's

Carousel at the Mall


Santa Visit

Cozy PJs

Having fun with Ashley

All dressed up

Blake singing in the school Christmas
Program.  Avery is right behind him.

Emery and Ashley enjoying the singing


A new family picture

Wow, it has been awhile since I last posted.  I guess I have been busy.  Here is a bit of our life happenings:

Blake had an angiogram and everything looks good.  His surgery is scheduled for March 20th.

I began explaining to Blake what his leg will look like after the surgery. I started by showing him pictures of small kids with prosthetics.  Then I told him that is what his leg would like after it healed from the surgery. He said it looked like his crutches!  Very true.  He seemed to handle the information well and has even explained it to others.  My next step will be explain the surgery itself and what will happen to his leg.  I found a wonderful book about a horse with a prosthetic leg (true story).   I will start with the book and proceed from there.

Blake and Emery now wear eye glasses.  It has went better than expected. Emery keeps hers on, except when she wants to cuddle.  She did bend them almost into a pretzel within the 1st hour of having them. Bruce was able to straighten them and we have not had any more bending issues!   They both look so cute in their glasses.

We have been having all kinds of health insurance issues. Frustrating, to say the least.

The twins handled the Thanksgiving holiday fairly well. We spent two nights at our cottage. Emery had a little trouble falling to sleep, but otherwise was ok.  Blake had a few behavior issues, but he had been having some beforehand, so not certain if they were related to the holiday.   For the most part, we had a nice holiday.

Nicole and Ashley joined my Black Friday shopping group for the first time this year.  I loved having them with us. We had a lot of fun.  Twelve straight hours of shopping.  I love it!

Volleyball season is normally an exciting time for us.  This fall, not so much. Our athletic dept decided to combine our two 8th grade teams and make one large team of 15 girls. Anybody who knows anything about middle school volleyball, knows that many players results in very little playing time for all girls.  It was disheartening for all of our players, especially since it was their last year playing for St. Anthony.  To top it off, since there was only one team, I chose to step down as coach rather than have two head coaches.  Different coaching philosophy's coupled with one of us (me) having a much less strong personality, necessitated the step down.  The most difficult part to swallow was the fact that by league rules, we should have had two teams and for some unknown reason, our school decided to go against the league rule, despite the opinions of parents and players.

Unfortunately, Ashley's 7th grade team suffered as well.  They had a new coach this year who believed in winning at all costs, including and not limited to, breaking league rules.  This resulted in almost 50 percent of the team spending the majority of the season on the bench.  I actually stepped out of my bubble in an attempt to possibly create some compassion in this person, only to be told that I was a bad coach if I didn't agree with her philosophy.  So nice to know this is what my daughter had to deal with to play volleyball. I wrote a complete post about this, but haven't had the courage to post it yet.  Maybe sometime.

Blake had a few socialization issues at school.  Most were due to language misunderstandings.  For example, he became very angry at some classmates because they told him no "cutting" in line.  Blake thought they were going to "cut" him.  After drawing pictures and role playing, he understood that his classmates did not want to cut him.  In the process, he also learned to not cut in line!  For the past several weeks, we have had no school issues with Blake.  He is learning and his teachers are happy with his progress.

Emery is doing well in therapy.  Her therapist is wonderful and has taught me so many things.  Emery loves going on a weekly basis and loves doing therapy with me on a daily basis.  I think Miss Emery is beginning to get a little mad when she doesn't receive attention immediately upon her request.  She not only wants our attention, she expects it!

Basketball season has started.  Nicole is not playing this year.  She is practicing for her school musical and taking a high school level English course, so she decided basketball would be too much.  Although I am going to miss going to her games, I respect her decision.  Ashley is also in the school musical this year and is playing basketball.  I am coaching her team and enjoy spending the additional time with her.  Cannot wait for our first game!

Blake wants to join our church childrens choir.  I think I will sign him up next week.  He loves to sing and has a wonderful voice.  He enjoyed singing with his class for the school Christmas program and did great learning the songs!

I am officially the parent of two teenagers!  Nicole turned 14 on Dec. 14th and Ashley turned 13 on Dec. 27th.  I love my girls and look forward to this new stage of their lives.

Our Christmas holiday season was better than expected.  I was concerned that Emery would not handle it well.  She had such a hard time adjusting to the kids going to school in the Fall, I was afraid it would be too overwhelming for her.  She actually did fine.  We had 3 Christmas parties in a 3 day period and we went up to our cottage for two days after Christmas.  She had no issues at all.  She was a little bit not herself at times, but barely noticable.  Blake, of course, had no issues.  I didn't expect him to.  He acts like he has been with us his entire life!  The twins have both been to several birthday parties since coming home, so they knew all about presents.  They had no trouble unwrapping their Christmas gifts!  I already switched out the old toys for the new ones.  Its nice to have a little variety.

Some of the toys Emery received will work well with her daily therapy.  Her therapy is centered around play and her therapist uses many toys made by Melissa & Doug.  The toys listed at the bottom of my blog all have been used for Emery in therapy.  I love them.  I use the alphabet puzzles for Blake as well.

All of the books at the bottom of my blog, I have read.  They were extremely helpful in preparing me for our adoption.  I also use them for reference when an issue arises that I feel I need help with.  The first book listed was written by my daughter Nicole.  It is a great story for preteen kids.  Nicole is very proud to have published her first book and would love to sell a few through Amazon.  It is very reasonably priced and would make a great addition to any library. 

Pictures to follow!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween and 6 Months Home

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!  The twins 1st Halloween was fun!  I think they both enjoyed everything about it.  This morning, Blake asked if today was Halloween too!  

 Nicole posing with Emery and her pumpkin
 Avery, Ashley, Emery, and Blake showing off their pumpkins
 Blake was very proud of his pumpkin
 Emery was having a great time
 My beautiful niece
 My beautiful Ashley
 Blake at his 1st grade school party
 Pin the Face on the Pumpkin
 Nicole at her school party with a friend (and Emery's feet)
 Ashley at her school party with Emery
 Aladdin and Jasmine
 Grandkids with my Mom (minus Nicole - she stayed home to pass out treats)
 Blurry - but cute!
 Another cute, blurry pic
Pumpkin Carving

And now for my 6 months home update.  The twins were home 6 months this past Sunday.  From my last post, you know that we have been having some back talk issues with Blake.  Yesterday was his 1st day at school following a long talk that we had with him.  We explained things that are inappropriate to say to his teacher, parents, and friends.  The teacher is going to let us know how he did each day.  If he gets a smiley face from his teacher, he can have a special treat when he gets home.  If he doesn't get a smiley face, he will not be able to outside to play for that day.  He understood and listened intently.  He apologized to his teacher for his behavior.  He also received a smiley face yesterday!  No issues at all.  Hoping it continues today. But, realize it may take awhile.  Other than this issue, Blake has been doing great.  He is excited to do his homework every night and loves to play outside.  His English is improving all the time.  I had him tested to get into an ELL class, and believe it or not, he didn't qualify.  I was bummed about this because I really think it would be beneficial.  His teachers at school think he is learning and progressing at a good rate, so they think he will be fine without the ELL class.  If needed, he will be able to receive speech services beginning next March.  Seems like a long time away.  We discussed whether or not to obtain private speech therapy for him.  But his skills support teacher at school believes that with all day school, and acquiring all kinds of new knowledge, he needs time to just be a little boy and play.  She feels that March is soon enough to start speech therapy, if needed.  Bruce and I both agreed that Blake does need time to be a kid.  Plus, he is receiving excellent care from the school staff.  So that is where we are with school for Blake.  

Blake recently had an MRI of his spine to make sure there are no spine issues prior to his leg surgery.  We have not received the results yet, but are hopeful all is well with his spine.  He is scheduled for an angiogram in November on his leg.  This is to determine if he has enough blood flow for his wound to heal after surgery.  Just a few steps necessary before we can schedule his leg surgery.  Still working on explaining the surgery to him.  I will share progress with that in another post.  

On to Miss Emery.  We received very positive news last week at Emery's therapy appointment.  Since Emery is progressing at a fairly rapid rate, our therapist now is certain that her developmental delays stem mainly from being institutionalized.  Or in other words, lack of stimulation and neglect.  This is good news because that means her delays are not genetic and she will continue to improve.  We are very thankful to God for this blessing.  I have always felt like she had a lot of potential, but you just never know.  We will continue to pray for her progress in all areas. 

Emery's sleeping issues seem to have been overcome.  She now falls asleep within 20 minutes of bedtime and rocks for only a couple of minutes.  She seldom goes to her rocking chair during the day anymore.  She is chattering a lot more while she plays.  She is really doing well going to various events.  No major issues after the event.  She is most always is a really good mood, very silly and bubbly.  She loves to be held and cuddled and sometimes gets a bit angry when she has to wait a minute or two!  It is so nice to see her so happy.  Still not 100 percent on potty training, but we are getting there, very slowly! 

Both kids recently had an appointment with a surgical opthamologist.  They both have to wear glasses to see if their eye conditions will improve.  They both were diagnosed with strabismus and ambliopia.  There is a 40 percent chance the glasses will correct the issues.  Otherwise, surgery will be needed.  It is going to be real fun trying to keep Emery's glasses on her!  We pick them up tomorrow, so we will see how it goes.

That's it for now.  Happy November Everyone!