Monday, July 28, 2014

Apple's First Ice Cream Cone

Hey, that's just my size!

I love ice cream! I'll take a big bite.

Mmmm! Good and cold.

More, please!

You want me to hold it myself?

Wow! This is a first!

Yes, I can do this!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flying Jie Jie

We've been having some serious pool fun lately. The girls have learned to swim quite well and even do some very basic diving off the side of the pool. We've had a friend for over a year now, who is beginning to spend a lot more time with us lately, making things even more exciting and fun. You might recognize him from the fire station tour post a few posts down.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Peeking Inside

It's been a long time since I've posted anything about Jie Jie's health. She's a very healthy child, but she does have a serious and rare birth defect. Her condition has been and is treated surgically and medically. Every 6-12 months we go through a series of invasive tests and imaging scans and we've just completed them for this year. The news is mixed. The good news is that we don't need to change much for now, other than in increase her medication, watch and treat side effects and keep up with her daily therapies and treatments. She's had some issues this year managing her care and lying about it and that neglect has caused a bit of what's going on now, though not by any means all of it. The bad news is that the specialist thinks she'll be needing a big bad surgery later on. We don't know how far ahead later on is, and it's not 100% certain she'll need it, but it's highly likely, unless medical technology comes up with some new stuff.

The surgery itself is big and bad enough, but it's the fact that Jie Jie has already had several surgeries and infections in China that increases the risks due to scar tissue inside her, the way she's formed due to her special need and the fact that there just isn't much of her, that increases her risk and chances of success with this surgery.

It's also not the only surgery she'll be needing, so each surgery needs to take into consideration the other because both involve using parts from one part of her to rebuild and/or remodel the other parts.

So, I'm in that grieving phase that leaves me weak and scared and wanting to crawl into a dark hole and cry for my child. I know that I will emerge soon and find my strength again, but I wish more than anything that my poor little girl could catch one break when it comes to her special little body.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apple Has Ponytails Again

We haven't seen these since last November when the surgeon shaved them off. It's so nice to see Apple's hair finally growing in!

Family Day - 2 Years!

Sissy has been home two years now. She's doing very well. She has a strong desire to learn and help out, her reading ability and vocabulary are growing, her social skills are good, she's learned to swim and so much more! Most of all, she's learned to love and be loved. I am so proud of her and the fine young woman she is becoming!

We celebrated her Family Day with Chinese food, of course, donuts with colorful sprinkles and a family DVD night.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July

We spent the day in our pool. As you can probably tell by the few pictures of the older girls, they are pretty impatient with the camera now - typical teens and pre-teen! This is the only picture I got of all of them and they could barely stand still.

Apple liked this ring a lot. Until she slipped through it trying to lay back and float on her back. I fished her out without her so much as coughing, but she didn't want anything to do with the ring after that. I got some cute video before it happened, at least.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mommy Moment

I was emailing a friend and recalled the feelings I had the very moment I first laid eyes on Jie Jie and it felt just like yesterday. I wrote to this friend this morning:

I will never forget the day Jie Jie walked into the civil affairs office, called me mama, and walked into my arms. Actually, it's the very second I first saw her enter the doorway that is forever etched into my mind, heart and soul. It was the greatest miracle of my life! I was suddenly a mother, a new identity bestowed upon me by God. I was so filled with love for this tiny little thing and kept falling in love with her more and more every single day that I had her for weeks and months and right when I thought I couldn't love her more, I did.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Morning Surprise

Needless to say, she wasn't wearing one of my PooPockets diapers or this wouldn't have happened!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fun With Friends

At the zoo again.

A tour of the firestation.
Getting our badges (stickers).

The Jaws of Life. See the wrecked car at the end of this post to see what these exact jaws did this same day. The are quite heavy!

My girls didn't quite get this. They think it was just the regular peace sign all the Chinese kids make in pictures!

The captain thought he was getting cute revenge for when the girls did it to him, but my girls are making the same sign because that's what they do in China.

Showing the girls the pictures of the wreck below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

From February 2014

Remember THIS from November 2008? Well, Apple finally got to wear it and it will probably still fit her this winter.

My magnolia tree outside my front door is huge and bloomed for about a week then covered my front walkway in pale pink and white petals for another week.

Apple's "fairy dress" was very pretty and was perfect for spring!

1 Year Family Day Anniversay

One year ago in China.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Recovery is Going Well

Apple is recovering very well, but I think today we did a little too much by staying for all of church. She fell asleep sitting on top of the kitchen table while I was combing the surgery effluvium out of her hair!

Exactly the vein I told the anesthesiologist not to try!

Exactly the vein I told her not to try but on the other foot!

Third stick- successful IV site!
Because it's the vein I told her to use in the first place. Duh!

Cooling off carefully in the pool yesterday.

Ready for bed and happy.

Sprawling! You might notice it's a different crib and bedding.
I have two cribs now so I can have Apple in my room after
medical events and during illnesses without having to
disassemble and reassemble her crib each time. The
purple bedding even matches my own bedding.

Today after church.

Taking off the Smurf hat!

Well, the surgeons left all the ponies in - ugh!
Luckily, they left all her hair, too!

Top incision.

Right side incision.

Left side incision, excising the MRSA wound and bringing clean edges together, plus a little extra cut from the coronal incision toward the back of her head to reach the posterior end of the distractor.

Despite what it looks like, I am not pregnant!
I guess it's really time to get in shape.

29 pony tails in all!

Let's go wash that hair, Baby!
I would have posted the after, but like I said, she fell asleep!