Thursday, October 25, 2007

Emma Then and Now

October 24, 2007
October 24, 2005

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today is Celebrate Emma Day!!!

Celebrating Emma is not all about presents, but more about family. We did decide, however, that on each anniversary of the day we received our sweet daughter, we would present her with something of significance from China so that we could use that opportunity to celebrate her heritage as well!
(Please notice her RED shoes in the picture above!)
We bought this for her while we were in China with Sam
Silly girl

Two years ago today, this precious child, Chong Si Yue, was placed in my arms for the first time and at that moment I was changed forever. As amazing and wonderful as she was on that day, I had no idea just how amazing she could be. She delights us and brings us pure joy EVERY DAY!!! She is so funny and witty and stubborn and moody and DRAMATIC and lovable and charming and beautiful and full of grace and delightful and sweet and I could go on for days. I know we have all heard it a thousand times, but she is the perfect child for our family. She loves to dress up and LOVES flip flops. If she cannot find her flip flops, she must have on her pair of RED patten leather Mary Janes. Her giggle is contagious and her spirit is overflowing. When they first handed her to me, she came to me willingly and without reservation and our bond as mother and daughter has continued to grow each day from that point. She knew I was Mommy and I knew without a doubt that she was my little girl. Emma is everything we could have imagined and so much more. I am so thankful that we followed the lead of our Lord and put all of our fears aside and went on the journey that led us to our precious daughter. Happy Emma Day my sweetie!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Student Council!

Helping Mommy Cook
Mr. Student Council
Celebrating with My Brother

Jack was elected Student Council representative for his class this year! We are so proud of him! Ironically, our older son Coleman was elected during his 4th grade year also. The first thing Jack said when he got in the car was - "I won student council, do I get a cake like you made for Coleman when he got elected?" It's all about keeping score.... and keeping it fair! That's Jack for you! Of course, he got his cake and a party too!

Through The Eyes Of A Child

This is the coolest thing I have ever seen
No, mom, I mean it - Come look!!
The littlest things just delight Sam and it really helps to keep life in perspective. We had been home from China with Sam for several weeks before it rained (Welcome to the Drought Ridden South!). The day that it did finally rain, Sam was so excited! He kept grabbing my arm and pulling me to the window and pointing with all of his might. I am sure that he has seen rain before, but definitely not since we had been home and never with this much freedom. It just melted my heart to see his excitement over something that most people take for granted. He stayed at the window for most of the day, admiring the rain.

First Day Of School (back in Sept.)

All smiles in the Parking Lot
Sam at school and loving it!
I may have to be here, but I don't have to like it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where in the world have we been?????

It’s been a long time, I know. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it. Emma and Sam have both been battling staph infections. It started with Emma the week after we arrived home from our wonderful weekend in Kentucky. It was the Friday before Labor Day and we went to the doctor because she had an angry looking bump on her back. Having been around the block as far as kids (and all of their ailments) go, I knew something wasn’t right. He pierced the lesion with a needle (poor Emma!!) and took a culture. He told me that the MRSA staph (very resistant) was going around and they were seeing a surprising number of cases in toddlers. He gave us a Sulfa based antibiotic and told us to call over the long weekend to get the results. Everything else on Friday was fine. I took her to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate her bravery, gave her the meds and all was well. Saturday morning (after having taken 2 doses of the medicine), she woke up and looked as if her entire body had been scalded. She had streaks going down her face from her forehead, through her eyes, and down her cheeks. All of her joints were slightly swollen and red with a scalded looking rash. Her feet and hands were peeling as if she had been burned and were actually painful. She appeared to be having an adverse reaction to the medicine. I read the Patient Advisory Leaflet (for those who know me, you are saying “Of course you did”) that came with the meds and it mentioned Stevens-Johnson syndrome which is a potentially fatal skin peeling disease. We went to Urgent Care where she confirmed that she was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. She did test her for strep just to rule out a scarletina rash that can accompany strep which of course came back negative. She also showed me how to draw the infection out of the staph lesion to the surface with warm compresses and gently squeeze the infection out - we were to do this 3 times a day and then apply a prescription antibiotic cream on the area. The doctor said that the results showed that Emma did in fact have MRSA staph and the antibiotic that she could not tolerate was the best course of treatment for the strain that she has. She conferred with the Infectious Disease Center and then swapped her to an antibiotic called Cleocin, which is the children’s version of Clindamycin, an antibiotic that I was on last fall. It was horrible, and my doctor took me off of it after only a few doses. It too can have very frightening side effects. The Urgent Care pharmacy did not have any so we went to our local pharmacy who also did not have it. We finally located it at the 4th pharmacy we visited. (The first time I have been thankful that there is a pharmacy on every corner in our town). They only had half a prescription’s worth of it so we took what they had and they would order the rest of it to arrive in a few days. The pharmacist asked Russ if Emma was still in diapers to which Russ replied “Will it upset her stomach and give her diarrhea?” The older pharmacist slid his bifocals down his nose and peered over them at Russ and said, “Oh, it’ll give her diarrhea!!” Wow, something else to look forward to! The Urgent Care physician called us that night just to check on her. It was a very sweet gesture, but also concerned us about how serious this was. The next day, the other doctor on call for the weekend called us and said that they had tested the culture against antibiotics to see what it was resistant to and found that it was resistant to the Cleocin so she was swapping us to yet another antibiotic (I truly was relieved). She had talked with the other physicians and Infectious Disease again and they were prescribing a Cephalosporin antibiotic. She tolerated it beautifully and we really saw an improvement within days. She was to take the antibiotic 4 times per day which is really difficult with a toddler who goes to bed and sleeps for about 12 hours, not to mention her daily nap. We would try and stay awake to give her the last night dose but we were exhausted by that point and would sleep though and wake up at 4 a.m. too close to her 6 a.m. dose to give it to her. We were able to finish the course of treatment and then 4 days after she finished the antibiotic, the staph came back with 5 lesions this time. Of course, backing up in our story, Sam developed a staph infection as well just a few days after Emma. He tolerated the first antibiotic well and healed much more quickly than she did. But I also knew what to look for and caught his really early. Right before this happened they started Mother’s Morning Out at the church where all of my children have attended preschool. That is a sweet story. I really was concerned about sending Sam this early after coming home from China and had decided against it. I spoke with the teacher at length about our decision and how, when I signed them up in February during Registration, I had not expected it to take us until late summer to bring Sam home. She understood and said she would welcome him whenever we chose to send him. Now Miss Emma on the other hand, was set to go from day one. This year I am a Kindergarten room mom for Robbie’s class and also hold a position on our school board and I needed a few hours a week to give my attention to those roles. I am such a softy, I had already decided to take her late and pick her up a little early so she is really only there for about 2 hours on the mornings that she goes. Between the school activities and my 5 kids, I was thankful for any time I could get just to go to the grocery store by myself!! All this aside, right before our staph episode, the first day of school arrived for the divine Miss Em. We had already visited the classroom and we had been talking about singing and painting and play doh and the playground and the playroom, etc… and Emma had been talking a good game. “For me???” she would exclaim. “Yes, for you, sweetie” was my response. All of this fun can be yours if you just go to preschool. She picked out her “bee-U-ti-ful” dress and had her backpack and as Sam and I walked her in, we talked about all of the fun she would have and we got to the door of her classroom, and WAIT….Where’s Sam?? In the classroom? Smiling, giggling, having fun?? Why, yes, that is him - not wanting to leave - running up to hug me and then back to all the toys and fun with but a mere wave at his mom! I am aghast! And Emma?? How is she doing? Oh, yes, that is her, sprawled out on the floor in her bee-u-ti-ful dress screaming - seriously, SPRAWLED out on the floor in the most unladylike fashion, making a ruckus like none they had ever seen (oh yes, they politely told me that nothing surprises them, that they have seen it all, that comparatively this is mild….I did not believe a word, but it did seem to help a bit). They scoop her up and as I watch from behind the two way glass, I see her drama melting away to a tolerance of the fun. The director, who I have known for over 10 years, tells me that they will call me if they have any concerns. I say, "But what about Sam??" She says "I’ll call you, I promise, but they will be fine." I feel like I am a first time mom again sending my first baby away to preschool for the first time, but wait - I am a veteran mom of 5(!!!!) and the director is holding my hand through it all yet again. My babies are growing up. I of course worried that maybe Sam wasn’t bonding - that he didn’t care to leave me, but he had acknowledged me before he went on to play, so then of course I worried he would think I was leaving him, but he didn’t seem concerned. They will call me - they know our story and they know me. Things will be fine. I stayed close and ran a few errands and went to pick them up early. They were playing so nicely and having so much fun that I did not have the heart to stop them. I waited a little longer (still wanting to get them home and fed and napped before Robbie’s Kindergarten carpool) and picked them up. They both ran to me with big hugs and kisses with a Great First Day report from their teachers. So far so good. Then the staph strikes and we miss the next few weeks of school. However, I am happy to report that now that we are back in the routine of going to school (last week was our first full week back) everyone is doing great! They love it - Sam always runs ahead once we are in the building to get to the classroom, Emma hangs on mom for the last few steps before her big goodbye. By this time, Sam is already playing, but always runs back over for one last hug, kiss and a wave before going back to the fun. And there are ALWAYS big hugs and kissed when mommy comes back to pick them up. And I finally have some time to make doctor and hair appointments, work up at the other kids’ school, have breakfast with a friend or just go shopping. It is only a few hours a week and I miss them like CRAZY, but it is good for all of us! This week they had picture day and the school photographer even took some of them together. I can’t wait to get them back! Their teacher said that they should be precious. I never dreamed of sending Sam so soon and look how wonderful it has been. He is so very smart! Even with the speech issues relating to his cleft palate, he still tries to imitate what we say. He will even say “Go Dawgs!” and it is the sweetest thing you have ever heard. He understands just about everything we say to him and we have only been home for 2 months. He really is spooky smart! We just love him so much and cannot get enough of him. Blogging-wise, in the midst of all of this, my network card in my laptop goes out, so no internet there. We buy one of those cards you just put into the side of your computer and my laptop has a special configuration (of course it does) and the standard size won’t fit so we have to order a special one. Then our home computer starts to run slow, we get that fixed and the mouse goes out, we get a new one and then the monitor starts smoking - literally! There was smoke literally coming from the monitor along with a “zztt-zztt” sound. We got a new monitor and there is something wrong with it, so we get another new monitor - only we have to order this one. Well, finally on Friday, the new monitor and the special card for my laptop both arrive and I am back online and ready to go!!! The rest of our family is doing great! Their activities keep up going all the time. There are cub/boy scout camping trips, work days, meetings, school projects and lots of school programs lately along with homework, piano, student council,….. It is never ending, but I am so proud of them and all that they have achieved! I am including pictures of Emma during the staph episode. Even all red-faced, she is still a beauty! And Sam is so handsome!!!!!

My Poor Little Baby Girl
Never too sick to cheer on the Dawgs!
Breaks my heart
Sam says "Go Dawgs!"