Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A summer to remember...

Our summer break has almost come to an end. July started out on the mountain top and ended in the valley. We began the month by singing happy birthday to our daughters and the wonderful country we are blessed to live in.

Birthday #1 of the Weekend

Birthday #2 of the weekend...

Monkey celebrates America's birthday for the first time...
(He wasn't too keen on the fireworks!)

We ended the month by saying "Good night, nurse!" to someone who touched more lives than she ever grandmother. Gra passed away on July 30th.... just 14 days shy of her 98th birthday. To say that I miss her would be an understatement. Most of the month of July was spent by her side...trying to make her "laff" whenever she started to feel blue. Apparently I had an uncanny ability to cheer her up even when she didn't want to be. =)

As I read over the cards from those who were saddened by her loss, I find myself deeply touched-- yet saddened-- by their loss. Gra lived a very full and blessed 97 years. To a certain degree, I think it was taken for granted that she would always be with us on this Earth. I don't know how many times I heard someone say, "I've been meaning to stop by to see her." I could fill the pages of a book with the many things Gra taught me over the years, but the last lesson she left me with was to make every moment count and live with no regrets. And I am at peace knowing that I made every moment with my grandmother count and never left anything unsaid. For that, I have no regrets.

Two Madelyns and a Nana...
July 2008

Gra and her little "Brown-eyed Susie"~ July 2008

Celebrating Gra's 97th birthday on August 13th, 2008

Gra and her littlest angel...Katy.
Singing "Barney Google" across the heavens...together again.

One of Gra's favorite things to do was crochet. It was amazing what she could create with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn. How fitting, then, that just as we were saying our final goodbyes, a red thread was beginning to wind its way toward an unsuspecting family...

For the rest of the story, visit....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

10 month anniversary... riding the roller coaster

This month was like a roller coaster! June got off to a very rocky start for us. Our littlest angel would've turned four years old on June 2nd. This is the third time we've spent her birthday without her. It was, by far, the most emotional one.

I hate to admit it the many things that I took for granted with my time. I thought, 'There will always be tomorrow." Looking back, I see how foolish I was. And thankful for how much I have changed since. I savor my time with my family much more than I used to. and try my best to make every moment I have with them count because things could change in the blink of an eye. After losing Katy, I doubted myself as a parent-- if I even deserved to be one. And then God blessed me with a son. Worried about tomorrow??? No. Tomorrow will take care of itself. I'm HERE today and savoring every little one of life's moments.

My "Blessings" sending birthday wishes to their sister and her angel friends.

Also during the month of June, however, Spunky Monk grew by leaps and bounds. Here are some of June's notable firsts:

First food that he fed himself... applesauce
First time drinking clear fluids in a bottle... Wow!
First sign: "More"
First steps:June 16th!!!

Spunky can really get into his dinner!
~ The first time feeding himself~

Because of the language delays, we started using signing to help Spunky communicate. He comprehends so much more than he is able to express. How frustrating it must be! I can only imagine what I will do when I hear him say "I love you" for the first time.... better stock up on the tissues!

The personality continues to explode. He really is quite the character. He doesn't like the way that his daddy makes his dinner, so he'll take the bottle from Dad and sit it in the palm of my hand. Heaven forbid it be in a tinted bottle or have anything other than a purple ring on top because he will absolutely refuse it. He will inspect it to make sure you have it right too! I just love his little quirks.

Spunky and his trusty little sidekick "Gentle Ben"
Nothing gets past these two!

He is SO much like his big sister...

It has now been ten months since we first held our little boy...and it is still surreal. At this time last year, I was eagerly waiting for the Fed Ex stork to deliver our confirmation letter from China. I had already packed for our trip several times over and couldn't fathom the enormity of our impending adventure. Just one year later, here I am... trying to post a new entry before my sleeping giant stirs this morning. There are several things that he simply can't resist... tractors, telephones and technology! And, of course...his mommy. =)

Tractors...don't leave home without 'em!

Then: June 4th, 2008... XuZhou City SWI

One year later...

Time to go! Spunky Monkey is starting his day!!! =)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm walking...yes, indeed!

For some strange reason, I have found it very difficult to actually sit down and update my little guy's story. Maybe it's because I've become increasingly guarded of my spunky little monkey. And, then...something happened that sent me into a whirlwind of emotion.

He walked!

There were those who doubted he would walk. And to those individuals, all I can say is that our God is a mighty and gracious one. As I gaze upon that smiling little face toddling towards me, I can't help but thank God above for choosing us to be "Monkey's" family. This little boy was perfectly designed for our family long before we dreamed of adopting from China.

Just when I think that I can't fall further in love with my little boy, I am reminded that I "ain't seen nothing yet!"

Bug Hugs and Sunshine...

--Bug's Mom

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house,
Not a creature was stirring except our pet mouse.

The stockings were hanging with pictures attached.
Hoping for presents and kids to be matched.

The children were tossing and turning in bed
Listening and looking for signs of "Big Red."

When Mom finished baking, she started to wrap.
And Dad settled in for his Christmas Eve nap.

When back in the closet there rose such a clatter.
Did anyone spring to see what was the matter?

From under the still unwrapped presents I fussed.
That popcorn bowl could've left me concussed!

The bump on my head left me feeling quite sore.
I said to myself "That is it! No more!"

Just one hour later what should appear?
Two wide awake children... twas my greatest fear!

With their twisting and twirling and eyes with such gleam,
I knew in a second it wasn't a dream.

More excited than teachers on the last day of school,
The girls jumped in our bed like it was a pool!

"Wake up! There are presents! It's time to unwrap!"
But, wait... I just laid down for a nap.

"Come on! Get both have to see!"
Do you know the time? It's not even three!

"Kids, back to bed! This is simply insane!
From opening more presents, you must refrain."

With huffing and puffing and sniffling too.
They finally agreed just one gift would do.

To call their Nana, we waited til five.
We knew that she needed some time to drive.

As the wind began blowing and the raindrops did fall,
we heard Nana's knock and went straight down the hall.

So now it was time to unwrap all the gifts.
We passed them around and opened in shifts.

First was our Susie...she's such a trip!
Over "Swim to me Puppy" she truly did flip.

Then there was Maddie, wanting nothing this year.
But, alas, a familiar ringtone from the tree she did hear!

And, finally, it was the little guy's turn.
The wheels of the squishy bus he surely did burn!

It was over and done in what seemed like a flash.
Another successful Christmas day bash!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Three Month Anniversary

Boy, oh Boy! Look at me now!

It's so hard to believe that three months have passed since our little monkey was first placed in our arms. He has grown by leaps and bounds in those three months... both physically and socially. That scared little boy that would allow himself to be enveloped in your arms has blossomed into a spunky toddler that now envelops us with his hugs and kisses. Just when I think we have seen his true personality, he surprises me yet again! From the first moment I see my little boy to the moment I tuck him into bed, I can't help but thank God for choosing me for this journey. It is beyond my wildest dreams and I am so, so blessed to have this beautiful little boy in my heart, my arms, and my life forever.

Among Adam's accomplishments and experiences for November:

* He LOVES going to play with his playmates at the sitter's house.
* He gained two and a half pounds and grew one inch!
* He continues to commando crawl at lightning speed.
* Thankfully, he expanded his eating to include Stage 2 veggies, fruits, and very thick formula.
* Unfortunately, he also experienced his first bout with American germs and conquered pneumonia!
* We celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a family of six and had SO much to be thankful for this year. Adam loved his butternut squash!

Our First Thanksgiving

Next year, he'll be eating the drumstick instead of playing with it!

Susie's First Attempt at Taking our Photo... not too bad!

These two have a bond that cannot be described!
He lights up whenever he sees his big sister.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Two Month Anniversary

I can't believe that we have reached our two month mark! And so much has happened during that time! I won't bore you with all of the details; but, I know many of you have been anxiously and impatiently awaiting the new photos of our little monkey. (I've been feeling your vibes!) So... I won't prolong your waiting!!!

Sunday afternoon picnic at the lake. 10/19

The first day we got to wear our jackets!
(I think Mom is a lot more excited than the little man.)

On the way home from our post-op visit on 10/28.
I've missed this smile!

Yep...he knows he's cute!
My little pumpkin hoarding all of his pumpkins on 10/26

Our first hayride at the church's Fall Festival on 10/29

Our second hayride (10/31)
Getting ready to go trick-or-treating...
My little pumpking wouldn't leave his costume on, so I had to improvise!

Here's some of what we've been living this month...

* Adam had his first surgery on 10/6
* Mom went back to work on 10/10... regrettably.
* Dad took the rest of the month off from work... excitedly!
* We met with the craniofacial team in Hollywood... twelve specialists in two hours.
* We met with another specialist from Shands with AWESOME results!!! We had discovered that our little man had been exposed to HCV in China. The first specialist told us to expect our son to need a transplant by the time he was 25 years old. Praise God... not even one month after receiving that news... Adam's labs came back clear! Our God can certainly move mountains when we can't even move mole hills.
* We scheduled our next surgery... December 8th
* The word of the month is... MaMa!!! I just love hearing him say it!
* Adam spent his first Sunday in the nursery on 10/22...he clung onto us and didn't want us to leave!

I'll type more later, but know I should get this posted! Our fans are waiting!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our Hospital Home away from Home

Our first surgery was on October 6th at Dimaggio Children's Hospital. The surgery went very smoothly and took a little over 90 minutes. I am so thankful we have an amazing surgeon! I just can't find enough positive words to say about Dr. Stelnicki. God has truly blessed him with an awesome talent. I was so relieved that they actually gave him "sleepy juice" before the pass off to his OR nurses. He went to them with no tears and no fuss. And, that certainly kept his antsy mommy from having any tears!

We were so thankful that two of our dearest friends, Mark and Holly, braved Miami morning traffic to be with us. It was so nice to have their shoulders to lean on during those first few hours of recovery.

We ended up spending four days in PICU. We could've been home a day earlier if our little guy weren't so picky about the way he likes his formula! He was not too keen on the clear liquids at all. Then, he didn't want the formula that was pre-mixed. He had to watch me make it in front of him...and don't let it be room temperature either!

Needless to say... we'll be working on his finicky eating habits before our next surgery... December 8th!!!

Our last few minutes before getting his sleepy juice...
and the last few minutes to chew on his fingers for a LONG time!

Settling into our room (after the recovery room)

Our little Frankenstein...
ready to go home

And, for the Touched By An Angel story line...continue reading.

Neither of us were looking forward to being in the hospital setting again. Being there for four days, we met a lot of families and their children...all having their own stories. The most heartbreaking was watching a family lose their daughter just two rooms down from us. We watched the nurses lovingly create the memory box for them. We watched the family tearfully leave after saying their final goodbyes...hesitating at the door, not wanting to leave their little girl. Our family has walked both sides of that road. I remember sitting in that room, watching other families walk the halls with their children and seeing them smile or laugh, and thinking... "Do you even know what is going on around you?" Remembering that, I felt almost guilty walking past their room with our son, knowing that we would be going home with him in our arms.

What happened after the family left brought me comfort and answered some questions I'd had for two years. I'm sure her parents would find some comfort in it as well. I watched these nurses continue to care for this little girl... making sure that the lighting in the room was just right, playing her favorite music, and talking to her whenever they were in her room. That night, this little girl saved the lives of many people. While many may think..."what a waste," I have to say, "what a gift."