Monday, November 1, 2010

This One's For You, Michelle....

...because I know you are always faithfully checking for an update on how we are doing. Thanks for getting me motivated to give an update.

Let's start with school. I was SO utterly frustrated the first few weeks of school because Emma's new school is so different from the last. First off, she takes the bus, so there is no communication between us and the school on a daily basis. Before, we had the opportunity to speak to Emma's teachers before or after school when we were dropping her off or picking her up. Losing that alone makes me feel really out of the loop like I know nothing that's going on. On top of that, the communication seems to be lacking in terms of school letters, calendars, notes sent home in Emma's agenda. We got a note in Emma's agenda everyday last year, whether it be how she did that day or upcoming events that we shouldn't forget about. This year, it's the odd note here and there. The teachers explain that sometimes they get too busy to be able to put notes in all the kid's agendas. I've not known about important things like hot lunches and school acitivities. Oh! And picture day. Let's just say I was pretty shocked when Emma came home with her school pictues a couple weeks ago. I didn't even know they had been taken! Needless to say, there will be retakes.

I really felt the only time we heard anything from the school was when Emma was in trouble. She has had her fair share of trouble this year. We've seen some regression in her behaviours, which I guess is expected with the huge change of going to a new school. I won't get into details as to what kind of trouble...nothing earth shattering by any means. The teachers just like to touch base with us to see if some behaviours are typical for Emma or not. Lots of the issues are ones we dealt with a couple years ago. It's a little disappointing to be dealing with them again, however it seems like they are being dealt with a lot faster than the first time around.

So like I mentioned earlier, I was really ticked off that things at this school seemed to be worse than the other school. Finally we decided to go in and meet with Emma's main teacher to see how things were going. I must say that I really like Emma's teacher. She has been working with special needs kids for quite some time and has alot of experience in different areas. She (of course) has never dealt with a kid quite like Emma. We seem to get that from every teacher/psychologist/doctor that we meet. But she told us she really likes Emma and unlike her last school, agrees that Emma's learning delays are more than a language barrier. She agrees with us that Emma would not be able to funtion in a regular classroom, so it's nice to know someone is on our side should our failing school system decide to integrate all special needs students into regular classrooms next year.

The teacher also went over things she was working on with Emma. Again we were impressed as she is working on things totally relevant to where Emma is at, rather than trying to force "regular" schoolwork on her like the last school. I have a lot of respect for this teacher and those who work alongside with her. There are some major needs that need to be met in their classroom, and they are totally patient and caring with the kids. seems things are going well at this school, I just needed to take some initiative and find out for myself.

Emma celebrated her birthday on October 9th. She's nine years old now...can't believe it! We had a small party...seems as time goes on Emma's friends become more few and far between. Breaks my heart. Another thing the school has given Emma is an outreach worker once a week to help her develop social skills and learn to deal properly in certain situations. We're hoping this will help Emma to learn how not just to make friends, but to keep them.

We took a couple of Emma's friends and family to a 3D movie followed by supper at McDonald's. Everything went fairly well, aside from Terry dropping Emma's Hannah Montana cake on the floor before I even got to take a picture of it! Emma was disappointed because Hannah Montana was all that she asked for and she was practically doing back flips when we picked it up that day because she was so excited. Terry had to run out and get a new cake and we improvised on the Hannah Montana!

A stunned Terry after he dropped the cake:

The smear the cake left behind:

Everyone still seemed to enjoy it:

Our makeshift Hannah Montana cake:

Last but not least, I'll share some Halloween pictures. I was able to go watch Emma's costume parade at school on Friday. She was totally excited that I was there. She misses the days of my volunteering and coming to see her at school, so she was pretty stoked when I came to see her. I was so impressed that Emma picked a costume other than a princess this year. She actually asked if she could be Superman. I explained to her that Superman is a boy, but she could be Supergirl, and we were lucky enough to find a Supergirl costume at Walmart. She totally loved it, pretending to be able to fly everywhere she went.

Trick or treating was fun yesterday. It's Emma's third Halloween in Canada, and I think this year she finally gets it. She's not so scared of the freaky masks and scary house decorations as she used to be. She gets that it's just pretend. She trick or treated hardcore for about an hour, until someone put a full package of gum in her treat bag. One thing about Emma, she is TOTALLY obsessed with gum. We don't give it to her very often, but when she does get it, it's like her whole world becomes perfect! So, once that full pack of gum was in her bag, she was done. She didn't want to trick or treat anymore, she just wanted to go home so she could check out her gum. Weird kid! Even when it came time to dig into all the treats, all she wanted was a piece of gum. We actually had to convince her to eat some candy before she ate a piece of gum! LOL!

My Supergirl:

At grandpa's house:

Who's enjoying the treats more? LOL!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Day of School

Well, it's a new year in a new school...time to get back to our regular routine.

Emma was pretty pumped about starting a new school this year. It's what we've been fighting for and we're really hoping it was worth the fight. Emma will spend most of her school day in an AAP class (academic assistance program). It's a very small class of special needs kids (I think about twelve) with three teachers. Rather than have Emma sit in a regular classroom where she doesn't understand anything, this class will teach her according to her abilities and build on what she has learned so far. Then for the other part of her day, she will be integrated into a regular classroom for art, gym, music, etc.

Since this school is further away from home, Emma qualifies for free bussing. We were pretty happy about that. And since the route she is on has no bus stops near our house, she gets picked up right at the front door. On Friday I let her get on the bus and then I drove down to the school to make sure she got there ok because she seemed a little bit nervous about these changes. But when she got off the bus, she had already made friends with some kids and was ready to start her day.

I took her to her class and was quickly whisked off to meet the principal who had concerns over Emma's age. Apparently the school just discovered that Emma will be turning nine this year and is only going into grade two. They put the pressure on to have Emma put into grade three so she is with kids closer to her age. Also, there is a group of kids in her AAP class that are also in grade three, so they would be integrated into the same regular classroom, whereas there are no AAP kids in grade two.

This has been something knawing at the back of my mind for awhile. The reason Terry and I decided to keep Emma back a couple of years is that we were hoping this would give her an opportunity to catch up on things not learned when she was younger and then she could progress normally once she caught up. We have come to the realization though, that our theory is not working. Emma still is nowhere near a grade two level and we realize we can't just hold her back forever, or she will be so much bigger than all the other kids which will be especially awkward when she becomes a teenager. So we've decided to put her into grade three. She will receive the same teaching in her AAP class regardless of what grade she is in and that's all we really care about. And we're hoping having Emma in with kids a little bit older than she's used to will help her to mature a little and act a little more her age. Again, this may be wishful thinking, but we'll see how it goes. It's really hard some days to know what's best for her and I really hope that we are making the best decisions we can. All I know for sure is that physically she has really grown up over the last few months! She has grown a ton and looks way older than the grade two kids and will fit much better into grade three.

We met with one of Emma's teachers the day before she started school. It was an hour long meeting and the teacher asked some very good questions. We were able to tell her what we would like her to focus on in terms of Emma's teaching and she seemed quite supportive and understanding. The biggest disappointment, though, is that she told us the school board is re-evaluating special education this year and they are really focused on "inclusion" which means it's highly likely that Emma will end up back in a regular classroom next year. Only children with extreme disabilities will be in a separate class. It was really frustrating to hear that and Terry and I were ready to start up the fight once again, but I didn't want to start Emma's school year on the wrong foot with her teacher so we kept most of our opinions to ourselves. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

I conclude with some pics taken on Emma's first day. She is growing up WAY too fast!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Road Trippin'

Since getting a truck a few months ago, we've discovered a new love for road trips. I don't know exactly why...I've never really liked them before. Maybe it's because it's a really good, versatile family truck and we're able to bring along our bikes wherever we go? Or maybe it's because every time we fly, I dislike it more and more each time? Who knows? At any rate, we're liking it right now and have been trying to squeeze some in over the summer when we have time.

For the Heritage Day long weekend, we had no plans. However, when we woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning, Terry and I both had the itch for a road trip. I quickly jumped online to try and find us a place to stay in one of Alberta's hot spots. I came to the realization that long weekend road trips should be planned in advance. Every hotel, motel, cabin and any other accomadation you could think of was booked up in Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore and Jasper. I particularly wanted to go to Jasper, since Terry and I hadn't been there since we were married (12 years ago). So after seeing everything was booked up online, I started phoning each place one by one, hoping there would be a cancellation. I was turned down time after time until I hit one of the last listings. They had a cancellation! Without hesitation I booked it.

We quickly packed our gear and threw our bikes in the truck, stopped for slurpees (required for every road trip) and we were on our way. It was a lovely four hour drive and it was only till we were almost there that Emma started to ask, "Are we there yet?"

We were a little apprehensive about the cabin we had booked as we have done this before and ended up in places that are very similar to Ukrainian accomadations...not our idea of a good time. However, I think we ended up with much more than we even expected. The cabins were very rustic, but extremely clean. We also had separate rooms which we weren't expecting. Privacy is always nice when you have kids in tow. Emma was extremely excited about our "sleepover" accomadations and could barely sit through supper because she was eager to get back to her room and go to bed!

We had an awesome time in Jasper, shopping in the town, going up the tramway to the top of Whistler Mountain, and riding the bike trails around some beautiful lakes.

Last weekend we took a shorter road trip to the Wetaskiwin Air show, only a half hour away. Again the truck came in handy as we parked in a field, rather than paying admission to get into the show. We brought along some lawn chairs to set up in the box of the truck and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

I'm really hoping we can squeeze in one more road trip before Emma heads back to school in a few weeks. We'll have to see what happens!

Recently we celebrated "gotcha day" which is the anniversary of the three of us officially becoming a family, July 28. We didn't really go gung ho, just went our for ice cream. It's more a celebration for Terry and I, because in Emma's mind, she's been a part of our family forever. She doesn't seem to have any memories of the adoption or her life in Ukraine, probably due to her mental delays. We explained to her why we're celebrating and will continue to do so every year. Maybe one day she'll understand just how special the day is. Yesterday marked the anniversary of Emma coming into Canada. I can't believe it's been two years already!

A few weeks ago Emma was seen by the local pediatric developmental specialists. It was a LONG two hour meeting going over Emma's delays and history. Again, we've run into frustrations not knowing the answers to so many of the questions we're asked because we know so little about Emma's past, and she's not able to shed any light on the subject either. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting out of this meeting, but not much happened. They just confirmed that, yes, Emma has severe mental delays and that we've done a great job advocating for her to get her into a new school with extra help. They don't want to do much now until the fall and see how Emma adjusts to her new school situation.

Well, my fingers are getting tired...that's all for now. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Night Apart

This past week, we experienced something that we haven't experienced in the last two years...being kidless overnight. And not just one night, but TWO. For our 12th anniversary, Terry and I arranged a night out and a hotel stay at the River Cree Resort in Edmonton. Our reservation was for Monday, so we dropped Emma off at Uncle Chris and Auntie Jo's on Sunday night, with a plan to pick her up on Tuesday after we checked out of the hotel.

I made sure to phone Emma before bedtimes to say good night and each morning to say good morning to see how things were going. For each phone call I got a very excited, "HI MOMMY!" after which Emma would talk for about two minutes and then rush off the phone with a "See you later!" I figured she was having so much fun away from her boring parents that she didn't care to spend time on the phone.

After speaking with Auntie Jo on Tuesday, we all decided that Emma could spend the whole day Wednesday there as well, giving Terry and I more time to wind down after we get home. Emma was cool with that, looking forward to swimming the next day with her cousin.

However, we got a phone call early Wednesday morning from Aunty Jo. Apparently Emma missed her mommy and was ready to come home. She asked Aunty Jo to phone us and ask us to come get her. A quiet day with Terry would have been nice, but actually, mommy was really missing Emma too, so I was pretty excited to go get her. It's amazing how time away from your kids really gives you much more appreciation of them!

Let me tell you, I don't think I've ever seen Emma so excited as when she saw us show up at Auntie Jo's house. She jumped right into my arms and squeezed me so tight all the while squealing with delight. Then it was daddy's turn. And then it was my turn, then daddy's turn....then my turn again. :) I hate to say that I was really quite surprised to get this reaction! Nothing ever really seems to phase Emma, but it appears as though she REALLY missed us!

Tomorrow, unfortunately, is back to work for us. :( I told Emma of this, and she asked me if she was going back to school. I explained to her that she still has six weeks until school and that she'll be hanging out at Auntie Jo's to do LOTs of schoolwork. Emma is quite puzzled by this. She has no concept of time, so telling her she has no school for six weeks means nothing to her. She has just gotten so used to the routine of going to school when we go to work. Hopefully she'll enjoy her time with family and learn lots from her cousin, who apparently has far more patience to teach Emma than we do...thank goodness. :)

On Thursday, we wound down our vacation with a trip to Sylvan Lake, about an hour and a half away. We hadn't been there in years and I forgot what a cool place it is! We had loads of fun at the outdoor waterslides. Emma and I slid all day, while daddy spent the majority of his time sleeping in the sun. Afterwords, we enjoyed the benefits of our new truck...we were able to bring all of our bikes with us to enjoy a bike ride along the lake. It was so much fun!

Waiting to Leave:


Emma Having fun:

Ice Cream....Round 1:

Bike Riding:


Ice Cream...Round 2

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Canada!!!

Two years ago today, we were killing time in Donetsk wishing we were in Canada. We are SO incredibly blessed to live in such a wonderful country. Canada Day has so much more meaning to us now for many reasons! :):) And today we CELEBRATE!!!

Emma was really excited to go to the parade today. This was her third one, so she knows what we're talking about now when we tell her we're going to a parade. She's still a little freaked out by all the big fire engines, but all the pretty floats and free candy help her overcome that fear a little bit!

After the parade, it was off to the Leduc grain elevator. Can you believe I've lived here almost my entire life and have never been in the grain elevator? It was actually kind of neat to see. Of course, it was of no interest to Emma who doesn't even know what grain is! But the free bouncy house and horse and wagon rides were right up her alley! While the horse and wagon rounded the block, Emma excitedly waved her flag and shouted "Happy Canada Day" to all who passed by.

Tonight we'll keep Emma up way past her bedtime to check out the fireworks show. Not that it really matters. Bedtime has not been adhered to much in the last week since school is over and Terry and I are off work for a couple weeks!

On Monday we went and checked out Emma's new school. We met a few teachers and checked out her classroom, the gym and the library. Emma is VERY excited and kept saying how "awesome" everything was. (That's her new word lately!) She had lots of questions too, like Will there be a bell? Will there be recess? Where are the lockers? This school isn't quite as fancy as her last one, so she's a little bummed that she only gets a cubby hole instead of a locker. But the new playground is "awesome" so that's all that really matters, right?

Until the end of next week, we will enjoy some time off together. This last week has been awesome (ok, I guess I know where Emma picked up that word!) We've spent a lot of time just hangin' out together and playing. Once we go back to work, Terry will be driving Emma to Devon daily to hang out with her Uncle Chris, Auntie Jo and Jade. Emma will get to do lots of playing and swimming with her cousin, but also LOTS of schoolwork so she doesn't lose what she's learned over the past year! (we hope)

Emma's referral to the pediatric developmental specialist was supposed to come to fruition this month, but since we haven't heard from them yet, it looks like she won't get in now till September. Kind of a bummer, as we were hoping to have some sort of suggestions before the new school year started, but at least we know it's still coming early in the school year.

Well, that's all for now folks. To all of our Canadian followers, have a great Canada Day!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MRI and New School

You know, I just don't know where the time goes in between these posts. There are so many days where I have good intentions to sit down in front of the computer to blog, but somehow I get distracted or more important things come along. In fact, the only reason I have found time to post today is because I just got a phone call at work from the school to come pick Emma up due to a collision she had at recess with another kid. She's a little worse for wear and is resting on the couch as I update all of you on our lives.

We finally went in for Emma's MRI a couple weeks ago. It was only a six month wait, which I hear is actually pretty good for an MRI. The whole thing was quite a bit more traumatic than I thought it would be. Beforehand I explained to Emma how she would get a small needle put in her hand where the doctor would give her some medicine to make her sleep. Then they would take a picture of her brain and then she would wake up and we would go to McDonald's. Even though she didn't fully comprehend what was going to happen or why, she had a good idea of what was going to happen and was actually excited about it. She's come to enjoy going to the doctor and even shows us how tough she is for needles and blood tests. She's quite proud that she doesn't cry anymore. The last time I went in for a blood test, she was actually disappointed she wasn't getting one (weird kid!)

So, as I mentioned, she was very excited....until we got there. It was all good when we were changing her into her hospital clothes and the doctor came and explained the procedure for us. However, once it was time for Emma to jump up on a stretcher and was suddenly surrounded by three health care workers, she started to panic. They all made such a big fuss, trying to distract Emma with conversation as they tried to put in the IV. They swarmed around her, ready to pounce at the first sign of her trying to take off. It was quite frustrating to watch as Emma started crying. I knew if there was just one person there to put in the IV and they would just shut up instead of asking her a hundred questions she would have been fine. Finally they let me come in for a hug, but she couldn't be consoled. She was far too scared.

It didn't take long for the drugs to take effect. I don't know if anyone else out there has seen their kids be put out, but it's a little scary! From sitting up, crying uncontrollably to a deadening of the eyes and falling over in a matter of seconds. When she fell over, even though they were empty, her eyes were still open and she was still kicking and fighting uncontrollably. I so wanted to stay with her and make sure everything would go ok, but the nurses insisted I leave and assured me that all of Emma's flailing about was actually a sign that she was sleeping very well. Not at all comforting! I made a mad dash for the washroom so the others in the waiting room wouldn't see my tears spilling over.

The actual MRI didn't take long. It was about fifteen minutes later when they came to get me to tell me Emma was awake. I went in fully expecting to see what I see when Emma wakes up every morning...her happy smiling face. I thought she would be happy that she was all done and excited to leave. I should have known better. Like, duh, she's all drugged up! I came in to find her in a drunken stupor. She was still flailing about uncontrollably and crying non-stop. Still not able to console her, the nurses had me carry her to a private recovery area for the drugs to wear off a little. The next half hour was filled with drama and tears. But soon the drugs were wearing off and Emma asked about McDonald's....that's my girl!

Two days later we got the results. Everything was normal. Figures. Not that I was hoping we would find something wrong. Just wish we could have some clue as to why Emma is the way she is. Now we wait for our referral to a specialized developmental clinic. We're told possibly July for those tests to start. We're hoping to get something on the go before next school year so we might have some insight as to help Emma more. Or possibly qualify for even more help at school.

As far as school is concerned, we have registered Emma in a new school for next year. At this point, she qualifies for division programming. This means she will be pulled out of regular class for reading and math, which will be taught in a smaller classroom with more teachers. Last year the division class had ten kids with three teachers. They will make up a specialized program for Emma, rather than teaching her regular cirriculum. We've heard fantastic things about this program from others. Our only concern is the kids in the class who are a little more behaviourally challenged. We're hoping Emma doesn't pick up any negative behaviours.

We're also in the process of getting Emma registered in an emotional and behavioural outreach program that the school offers. Basically it's for kids who are having social issues. They meet as a group at the school with an outreach worker who teaches them about how to be a good friend and how to treat others. We're hoping this will help Emma with some of the social struggles she's been facing at school this year.

I can't believe another school year is coming to an end! Tomorrow, June 17, will be exactly two years since the day we left Canada for Ukraine. How things have changed since then...especially Emma! Here's a pic taken a couple weeks ago:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Five Senses

Everyday Emma comes home with a little note in her agenda to let us know what she's learned or special events that are coming up. Today the kids were learning about the five senses, so her agenda had a note for us to ask her about them. It went a little something like this....

"Emma, can you tell me what your five senses are?"

"Yes mommy! Touchin, hearin, seein, smellin and"......(big long pause as she's touching her tongue and thinking really hard)..........."lickin?" :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Yesterday, I felt something that I don't feel very often....rage. All over a little note sent home from Emma's teacher explaining that other kids told her that Emma was swearing at them. And we're not talking little swears. We're talking wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap swears. So, you think my rage was towards Emma? No, it was toward the teacher.

Let's just pretense this by saying that even though Emma's english is coming along well enough, it is still very difficult for her to learn words unless she's heard them over and over again. And even after learning them, learning HOW to use them is a whole new ball game. We attribute this to her delays and her memory issues. Now, I can guarantee you she's never heard those words in our house except maybe the odd occasional slip. We don't even watch movies with an "R" rating around here.

We calmly sat down with Emma after school and had a discussion around this note, and assured her there would be no consequences for her telling us the truth. (Can't get anything out of her when she's scared) She openly admitted to saying "bad words." what bad words did you say?......To this question we got a resounding "ummmmmmm." Emma is very truthful when it comes to admitting things she's done wrong, so we kept on it for a little while. After about twenty minutes or so, she was still not able to tell us the words she had said. Why not? Because she doesn't KNOW or remember them. How can a kid that doesn't know any swear words possibly be swearing at the other kids. The ONLY possible way is by them saying it to her, and her repeating it back.

How her teacher can not realize this is beyond me. She included in her note that she had a serious talk with Emma (ok, that's fine) and that there would be serious consequences if this happens again. Consequences? Consequences? Where are the consequences for the kids who are swearing at her? What are the consequences for the kids who taught Emma the phrase "I'm going to kill you"?, because I KNOW she didn't learn that one at home!

We firmly believe the "fights" that Emma is getting into are instigated by other kids as well. It is just not in her nature to be fighting or swearing. I truly believe she is doing the best to defend herself the only way she knows how. She's lived the first six years of her life having little to no guidance in behavioural or social skills, and unfortunately we aren't there with her at school to give her that guidance. What's even more unfortunate is that we've brought this up with teacher and she told us it's just too difficult to keep an eye on one kid out of two hundred and fifty others.

I was so irate yesterday I was jumping at the chance to set up a meeting with teacher to discuss these issues. Lucky for them, I couldn't get out of work on time. There might have been a few more "bad words.".............LOL! OK, those of you who really know me know that wouldn't actually happen! Although we couldn't make it in, Terry was able to phone and speak with Emma's resource teacher. She was completely blown away by what's going on and completely agrees with our assumptions. What happens next, we're not sure, but she told us she would be looking into this matter further.

This is making our decision to switch schools next year a lot easier. However, which school to put her in still remains a tough choice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We're back after a super long hiatus. I'm finding it more and more difficult to find the time to sit and spend time blogging. Or maybe it's not quite as easy as we have been home from Ukraine for almost two years now (scary) and I don't have as many cutesy first words, phrases or experiences to share like I used to.

Not that there isn't a lot going on in our lives. We seem to always be busy, and relish the days where we get to sit at home and do nothing (total opposite of when we were not parents!) We've kept Emma busy with gymnastics which she totally loves, and swimming lessons which she also loves but has a bit of a hard time learning.

Over the past few months, the reality of Emma's delays have been hitting us hard. Now that she's been here for awhile, we can clearly see that her difficulties are a result of more than just a language barrier. We feel we were a little bit "duped" by our Ukrainian facilitator who kept insisting that there was nothing wrong with Emma, despite the warnings the orphanage gave us. She assured us that even though Emma did not recognize numbers, letters, colors, etc., that she spoke very clear and concise and a little time spent on these things would surely catch her up. I find that a little hard to believe.

Don't get me wrong, there are no regrets. Terry and I have disscussed it in depth how we both knew in our hearts that Emma was for us and there is no way we could have left her there even if we knew the extent of her delays at that time. The fact remains that she will have a far better life and a far better chance here than there.

Now it's a matter of trying to find out what's causing Emma's delays, which may remain a mystery. Since being assessed by a psychologist late fall, the ball has started rolling. Genetic testing, upcoming MRI, meeting with therapist, developmental and mental specialists, psychologists,'s all a little overwhelming. Whomever Emma meets, she completely baffles. On the surface, the first impression Emma gives is an adorable, charming, engaging little girl...totally normal. However, when assessed in functionality, she just can't seem to do what's asked of her.

The hardest part for me has been seeing the struggles Emma is running into socially. She used to be the cool kid from Ukraine who didn't speak english. All the kids were intrigued by her and wanting to hang out with and help her all the time. Now that the grace period is over, I see many old friends avoiding her and she's been in some fights on the playground. Other kids mom's who used to love having Emma over on playdates have suddenly started coming up with excuses why Emma can't come over. You know, kids acting like idiots is one thing, but when you see the same stupidity in adults, it's very frustrating. Emma's teacher has taken away her recesses because of "fights." When we question Emma about these "fights" she tells us how the other kids were also kicking and hitting her. Now, who's starting these spats, we won't know for sure because we're not there to watch her, but we were irate when we found out the other kids involved in these fights have not lost their recesses. Teacher "didn't know" that other kids were involved. She was just listening to the tattle tales and not even asking Emma about it. And Emma just doesn't have the ability to jump up and defend herself.

So, the last few months have been a struggle, especially when it comes to blogging. I've debated time and again as to whether or not our personal lives should be shared with the world, but ever since starting this whole adoption process, I've found message boards and blogging buddies to be some of the best supports and advice givers out there. Perhaps someone out there is going through the same type of struggles we are and will feel better that they're not the only ones. Or perhaps they will send me a word of encouragement. Whatever the case may be, many of you have been on board since the very beginning, and I definitely don't want to paint a false picture of our lives. Everyone deals with struggles, and this is one of ours. But we deal with it day by day as best we can.

During spring break, Emma stayed at Terry's sister's place in Devon. He would wake Emma up early in the morning while I was still sleeping and drive her in on his way to work. It was really strange to me to wake up in the morning to a quiet empty house all by myself. Terry told me his last day driving out, Emma was in the back seat sniffing quite a bit. This is not all that uncommon, as Emma frequently picks up coughs and sniffles. But he told me that when they got out of the car, she had her glasses in her hand and he saw that she had been crying. When he asked her what was wrong, she told him, "I miss my mommy." That story just brings tears to my eyes. It makes me want to scoop Emma up in my arms and hug her to bits. For so long I fretted over attachment issues. Now, me and Emma, we're like two peas in a pod. I love her to pieces and am so glad she's a part of our family. What the future holds, we don't know for sure. But again, we take one day at a time, trusting in God to give us wisdom and strength to raise this beautiful little girl!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Hello family and friends. It's been awhile! And unfortunately just a quick post today, but hopefully soon I'll be posting a better family update.
Just wanted to upload a couple pictures from Emma's Easter egg hunt. We got her the bunny ears because she has a perfect set of bunny teeth. Last week she lost both teeth on each side of her two front teeth....just in time for Easter!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Off the Map....

Sorry people, that seems to be where we've dropped. Blogging through our whole vacation seemed like such a good idea, until I decided internet was costing too much. And after our cruise, our living quarters had no internet, so..... there you have it. I apologize to the family who were faithfully following the blog as our means of communication over Christmas.

Now that we've been home a few days and are getting back into routine, I'll give a quick rundown of the rest of our vacation....

After Grand Cayman, we had a stop in Jamaica. I was not looking forward to this stop a whole lot because of the bad rap that Jamaica has...everyone was trying to put the fear into us before we left. But it actually ended up being one of my favorite stops. The trick is to have an awesome tour guide to take you to the right places and give you the lowdown on how to deal with certain situations. We climbed Dunn's River Falls which was absolutely amazing and then went tubing down the White River. Both excursions were fantastic...a little scary with an eight year old who's more like a four year old who has no fear of anything. But we managed and had a great time.

Chrismas day was our last full day on the ship...a marvelous day at sea and the most beautiful day we had as well. Spent most of the day on the deck in the sun relaxing.

Boxing day was debarkation day and road trip day. Somehow, with a good ol' fashioned map (Budget was out of GPS) we managed to make it from Miami to Orlando to a little suberb where we rented a five bedroom house. Then it was go-go-go for the next three days. If ever I get to plan one of these again, it will definitely be the cruise at the end of the vacation for winding down purposes!

Day one was Aquatica - Sea World's huge waterpark. Weather was a little chilly that day, but we managed to have some fun. One bonus was NO lineups for the waterslides!

Day two was Sea World. We definitely could have used two days for this, but we managed to see most of the park and catch Shamu a couple of times. After seeing two Shamu shows, we bought a stuffed version of Shamu for Emma. Took us awhile to get her to stop calling him "Shampoo." LOL!

Day three was Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Some pretty cool stuff to see and do there, but for the $300 it cost to get in and the $200 to buy express passes to avoid two hour line-ups, I wouldn't do it again.

Day four was homecoming. Thirteen days seems to be a good length of vacation because I was READY to come home. I missed our house, our bed, our soft towels. I couldn't wait to come home and get a good night's sleep!

Well, that dream was short lived. Flights home were a nightmare! Hmm, how can I make this long story short? Here goes:

Upon arrival at Orlando airport, we find out that changes have been made to our flights and we should be at Ft. Lauderdale airport which is FOUR hours away! DOH! Someone made a huge boo-boo! So while the rest of our family checked in for their flight, I patiently sat on hold for an hour with airline reservations who told me we wouldn't be getting out of there anytime soon.

As the airline was finishing it's check-ins and we could see someone closing all the line-ups, the phone lady finally came back on and told us to run to the check-in as she had landed us three seats on the same flight our family was headed out on. YAHOO! We went through check-in ASAP and practically ran through the entire airport to board the plane, only to find out......DELAYED!

Plane was broken and had to be fixed.
Sat for hours before finally taking off.
Missed connection in Houston.
Slept at Houston Marriott.
Up at the crack of dawn to try and get a flight out of Houston.
Sat for hours.
Finally fly Houston to Calgary.
Security is CRAZY SLOW (darned Christmas bomber!)
Flight delayed.
Thank goodness that was only a half hour flight home!

So, overall we had a really good vacation. Emma had tons of fun. Up till all hours of the night and then up really early seems to suit her just fine. I was a little worried about attachment issues with all this stimulation around her plus being there with a bunch of family, but she handled it like a pro. If you would have told me last Christmas that this would be us this Christmas, I would have told you that you were crazy. There's no way we could have done this last year.

Sorry, no pics to post. For my FB friends, I've put a bunch on there. If you're not my FB friend, you'll just have to make me one if you want to see the pics! :)