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February 27, 2009

Josie's Cardiology Appointment

We visited Josie’s cardiologist at Devos Children’s Hospital this morning. I’m happy to report that Josie gained nearly 10 pounds since she came home last March. She’s now weighing almost 28 pounds. She also has gained a little over 3 inches in height. No wonder Mommy’s back is hurting more when I carry her around!!

Josie tolerated her EKG with only a slight bit fussing. There were no tears and no screaming. Woo hoo! Her attitude towards her heart check-ups has improved so much since we first started seeing the cardiologist.

No parent wants to hear that their child will have to undergo another heart operation in the future, but it was confirmed that she will need her pulmonary valve replaced sometime during her adolescence or early adult years. It’s not uncommon for patients with Tetralogy of Fallot to undergo this surgery later in life. Her pulmonary valve is leaky and the blood flowing into her lungs returns back into her right ventricle which is called pulmonary regurgitation. Over the years, the right valve will become weaker and will need to be replaced. Who knows what kind of medical interventions and surgery techniques will be available by the time she needs to have this operation. We continue to have faith in modern medicine and aren’t going to let this news bring us down.

For now, she is not restricted in her physical activity and she does not need any maintenance medication. Her cardiologist said that he doesn’t expect us to see any symptoms of fatigue with exercise until she reaches 8- 12 years old (if at all).

As you can see by this smile, Josie ended her doctor’s appointment with a sticker and a sucker. She doesn’t have to go back to see her cardiologist until a year from now. Life is good.

February 25, 2009

1 year Post Placement Report

Our 1 year Josie anniversary is March 16th and our post placement report is due in our agency's office before then. We're meeting with our social worker to put together the final report Thursday night. Has it really almost been a year? Wow.

One of the requirements of our final report is a picture of all four of us. We've been terrible about getting all four of us in the same shot. Usually, I'm behind the camera. Or, Chris is behind the camera. Tonight we set the camera on the tripod along with the self timer. It only took 20 attempts to get Josie to look at the camera and not at her sister, or her father, or her mother, but it's good enough.

Here's March 16, 2008

Here's February 25, 2009

Aren't the changes unbelievable? It's amazing what heart surgery and the love of a family can do (having a little extra hair doesn't hurt either).

Updates from Josie's cardiologist appointment will happen later Friday. Here's to hoping for no tears during the EKG or ultrasound!!!

February 22, 2009

Snow, Updates from the Hand Surgeon and Baby Easter Bunnies

This is a long post and I'm apologizing for the length, but I have lots to share.

The snow storm could have been worse. Honestly, the girls LOVE the snow and I should really stop complaining because we did have a great time sledding and playing in our woods after church on Sunday, but...I'm ready for spring.

Here are a few snow pictures.

Josie visited her hand surgeon this afternoon and we're happy to report that she doesn't have to go back until the end of May.

Her x-ray looks perfect. Her hand is healing nicely and he's not surprised that her thumb joint is stiff. Her hand surgeon doesn't want us to do anything differently. All in all, a great appointment. Bonus. No tears from Josie!

Her next doctor's appointment is with our cardiologist on Friday morning. She'll have an EKG and an ultrasound (the usual stuff). More updates to follow that appointment.

Because I'm determined that spring is coming early to my house (even if it doesn't look like it in West Michigan) here's my first Easter craft project for 2009. Today's craft is dedicated to my Aunt Jean and Aunt Marion. They always had on display cute little pom pom bunnies during Easter. Who doesn't remember making pom poms? I loved making pom poms for my ice skates during junior high. You could vary the color of your yarn and make Easter chicks. We just happened to have white and pink yarn on hand and decided to make bunnies.

Supplies needed:

* Cardboard
* Two circular items you can trace around
* yarn
* Scissors
* Felt
* Hot glue gun (only Mommy works with the hot glue gun) or tacky glue
* googly eyes or other embellishments

Step 1. Create two donut shaped pieces of cardboard. Using your larger of your two circular items, trace out two circles on your cardboard.

I would suggest about 2 inches). Next put a smaller circle, a little under 1 inch, in the middle of your larger circles. Now cut out the two larger circles, then cut out the inner circles.

You will now have two donut shaped rings.

Step 2. Place the rings together. The idea now is to wind the yarn around and through the rings. Cut the yarn into manageable lengths for little hands, around 6 feet at a time works pretty good. Hold one end on the outside of the ring and feed the other end through the hole, round the back and through the front again.

Repeat this, working your way around the ring until all the cardboard is covered. As you use additional lengths, you don't need to tie them together, just make sure the ends are on the outside, not in the middle.

Step 3. The next step is the trickiest in making pom poms. Once your rings are fairly full of yarn, cut the yarn around the edges (i.e. the scissor blade should eventually pass between the two pieces of cardboard as you are cutting.) You won't be able to cut it all in one go so just do a few layers at a time.

Step 4. Pass a length of yarn between the two pieces of cardboard, around all the strands of yarn, and tie it firmly together. Now you can remove the cardboard rings. Trim any lengths of yarn which are uneven to give your pom poms a tidy look.

Step 5. Repeat this process to create a 2nd pom pom. We then trimmed the size of our second pom pom to be smaller than our first pom pom. The second pom pom is going to be our bunny's head.

Step 6. Cut 2 bunny shaped ears with felt and a triangle piece for a nose.

Step 7. Cut eyes out of felt or even better, use googly eyes available at most dollar stores.

Step 9. Using a hot glue gun, assemble your bunny. Let your bunny cool down and enjoy!

Happy crafting!!

February 21, 2009

I wasn't kidding!!!

This is Josie's cookie BEFORE she got a hold of it.

This is Josie's cookie AFTER she got a hold of it.

This is Josie assisting Mommy with clean-up duty using her pretend vacuum.

Here's a very short video clip of Josie destroying her cookie.

I'm done with winter!!

We have a snow storm raging outside, but I've decided I'm officially done with winter. This picture was taken at 8am this morning. We have woods behind our house and there were several deer braving the snow storm looking for food.

All the snowmen decorations came down Friday night and I pulled out my Easter supplies. Yes. I'm aware Easter isn't until April 12th, but I'm ready for pastel colors and spring decorations.

While I was decorating, the girls decided to play "beach" and they had their Chinese umbrellas out with towels on the living room floor.

The snow is continuing to fly outside but we're enjoying a little spring indoors. Next week, Josie sees her hand surgeon on Monday and her cardiologist on Friday. It's going to be a fun week of x-rays and procedures.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Stay safe and warm.

PS. Emma and I made the cutest baby Easter bunnies with homemade yarn pom poms. I'll post instructions and pictures on Monday.

February 19, 2009

Isn’t that finger food?

Everything has become finger food to Josie. Her eating habits have gotten considerably worse. She used to be so good about using her fork and spoon. When she first came home from China she was so careful to not drop a single piece of rice. Now, every meal requires a sweep/mop and quick dip in the tub and a HUGE reminder to use her utensils.

This morning during breakfast she took her straw out of her juice box and decided to pour her juice into her cheerios and then dump her wet disgusting cereal out of the bowl onto her tray and then smear everything all around. I swear I only turned my back on her for two minutes to go pick out her clothes for daycare. I didn't take the time to photograph her, or my disgusting hardwood floor, but this was the icky mess on her tray after she left with Chris (note the puddle of juice in the corner of the tray).

Emma never did this (or at least I don’t remember this happening all that often). I was talking to a faculty member at work and she reminded me that developmentally Josie missed some very important stages while living at the orphanage. Good point. She's also been home for nearly a year and she feels safe with us now. Josie knows the food supply is practically limitless. Anyone else see a regression with their little ones self-feeding skills after they had been home for awhile?

February 17, 2009

Toys are taking over my house!!

I love creativity and I can make a mess with my craft projects like you wouldn't believe, but my come on!!!!

I can't wait until winter is finally done and the girls can spend more time outdoors. I know my sister is secretly loving this post because she thinks her house is the only one that can have a mess with legos and star war figurines.

Is it really true that West Michigan is suppose to get another snow storm over the next 2 days? Ugh. Am I the only one who has a house taken over by toys and is completely sick of winter weather?

February 15, 2009

Smartie Pants

Josie has recently she started recognizing letters from the alphabet when we've been reading books. Her daycare reports that during potty time they have an alphabet near the potties and she's one of the only toddlers that reads the letters while she attempts to do her business. Could a mother be any prouder...hee hee!

Here's a short video of Josie practicing her letters.

Here's another short video of Josie singing her version of the alphabet song. The end of the song is the best part.

And did you know that the bottom level of the dollhouse is the perfect napping place?

February 14, 2009

A perfect day...

I had the perfect Valentine's day. My day started with Miss Josie waking up at 5:45am and Chris let me stay in my own bed and he went and slept with her. I actually got to sleep in until 7am!! Josie has continued to be a very early riser (even on the weekends) and to have that extra bit of sleep was incredible.

I then made myself an amazing cup of coffee (complete with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate. Nothing like a little bit of dessert for breakfast!!

Chris cleared the driveway (that pesky snowed came back to West Michigan) and then Emma and I hit my favorite antique store. It's filled with over 40 different vendors and I ALWAYS find something.

We came away with a stash of wooden doll bead heads, decorative hankies, a spring picture, Easter vintage post cards, a miniature doll cradle and cloth strawberries.

The doll bead heads and hankies turned into these lovely ladies (while Josie was napping). Aren't they cute? Be sure to click on the picture to see all the fun details. Their bodies are made with pipe cleaners and wooden thread spools.

I'm not going to even begin to post the instructions for this craft because they were pretty involved. They were inspired by one of my favorite crafty bloggers (Sarah). Since she posted them on her blog, I've been scouring antique stores for wooden doll bead heads.

While Emma and I were crafting, Chris got some much needed alone time bowling with a colleague and then on his way home, he picked up pasta and salad from one of our favorite restaurants for dinner. We ended the evening watching a family movie.

Saturday was filled with fun, crafts and a night off from cooking. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my Valentines. I hope my readers had a day filled with a few sweet somethings!!

February 13, 2009

Heart-Shaped Pizza & Toddler Twister

Mommy gets the night off from cooking on Valentine's so we enjoyed a little heart-shaped pizza Friday night. I bought pre-made pizza crust and cut them into heart shapes with my cooking scissors. Emma helped me put them together.

Josie made a Valentine crown at daycare today and wore it during dinner.

Can you tell she had a blue ring pop? Check out those lips.

After a quick dip in the tub, Emma taught Josie how to play twister...toddler style.

Happy Valentine's Day from our family to your own!! May your weekend be full of love, laughter, and chocolate.