Monday, April 27, 2009

"Olive Ewe"

Well, we are on the CI countdown. One week to go. Today we head to DuPont for Sophie's pre-op, and last week she saw the ENT for a last-minute, as it were, check on her tube in her right ear, to be sure it is in place and will not be an issue. We have been fortunate that, although she was full of fluid when we arrived home last year, she has not had any drainage at all, and has been amazingly hearty and healthy. Here's the best thing...she has grown 7 inches in one year!!! How amazing is that? We are constantly amazed ourselves, and we live with her every day. Last week, Shannon and I went to Sophie's school for their Spring Fling and go to see Sophie perform a story with her class. Quite impressive! There are a few pictures of Sophie at school and with her teacher and a friend.

Yesterday Matt and I took Sophie to Sesame Place for a very hot day in the sun, thanks to Variety Club, who sponsor a day for families of children with special needs. Sophie is a trooper, and loves that kind of thing. We weren't in our suits (Sophie was) so we couldn't take her on any tube rides, but she had plenty of fun in the kiddy area, and on some of the rides. We met up with a few families I work with as well as one of Sophie's classmates. It was great hanging with her, just Matt and I. It has been about 12 years since he and I stood in the lines for the Merry-go-Round!!!! What fun!

Everyone who works with, or knows, Sophie is amazed at her ability to speak. She can say words very clearly, and no one quite knows how. Her favorite, though, is saying "I Love You" and it sounds like "Olive Ewe" . The other day, Meghan taught her to say "Ooooooh, I love you", and Sophie mimics her right back. Very funny.

We are loving this warm weather and waiting for the nights to stay warm to put our new chicks out into the coop Matt built for them. We are raising free-range chickens, something Matt-the-farmer (Ne: city-boy) has always wanted to do.

The next few weeks should be very busy with the new puppy coming on Saturday, Sophie's implant on Monday, Mick returning home next Friday, and the girls finishing up school in three weeks. Yikes! No wonder I am so tired every night.

Somewhere in all of that I have to finish planting our very large garden (approximately 60' x 20') full of vegetables, herbs, and a few berry bushes. Our blueberry bush is about 19 years old, and filled with berries every year. It is truly my relaxation and therapy, working hard in the dirt after a long day, or before a long day begins....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mick

I am a day late posting this Happy Birthday greeting to Mick. He is away at college in Vermont and we were not able to see him for his birthday. Very hard for me! But we sent him a package which he opened on Saturday, and we were able to talk to him a few times yesterday. He will be home in just three weeks (Yeah!!!) so we will officially celebrate then. We miss him so much, but he is doing well at school, and loving working with the Fire and Rescue as an EMT in training.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Countdown to Cochlear Implant

With all of this hullabaloo (love that word), I forgot to post about Sophie's cochlear implant. She is set to have surgery on May 4th, which is a Monday. She will be out of school for one week, and then they will activate the CI on May 27th. We are all looking forward to seeing how she does. There is a lot of work ahead of us, including two therapy appointments a week at DuPont.
Last week she chose which CI she wanted, and of course it is bright pink! She is very excited, but does not know what is coming. Luckily, her teacher and a few of the kids in her class have CI's and her teacher is going to work a lesson around her own experience with the CI to help Sophie with her preparation for the surgery. We know Sophie well enough to prepare her, but not too soon ahead of time.

Plenty of updates ahead.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finally, LID!!!

Well, we have been waiting and waiting for our Log In Date, or LID. This is the official date that the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) has logged our file in. It begins the countdown to LOA, (Letter of Acceptance) which then brings us to TA (Travel Approval), right before we travel.
There is no formula or absolute with the wait. Some people wait a short amount of time, others wait for a while. Most people do not have to wait over a month and half to be logged in, so what do you think the chances are that our wait will be short? Oh, well, it is never about our timeline.

Good news is good news, so we will celebrate. Hoping to be able to send a package to him soon.

Looking North

One of the great things about life is the connection we make with people when we are open to the possibilities. About five or six years ago, we were raising puppies for the Seeing Eye (one of my dreams I had as kid was to work for the Seeing Eye). We had just finished training our third Seeing Eye puppy, and were not looking to train a puppy for that long of a period. One night, I was on the phone with a dear friend, Connie, who had raised more than 60 puppies for the Seeing Eye. Connie told me about a brand new program called Northstar Foundation. Northstar places puppies in homes with young children with autism, and needs puppy raisers to help with the early training of the pups. Intrigued, I emailed Patty Dobbs Gross, and inquired about her program, and tentatively suggested that perhaps we could help.

Less than one week later I received a phone call from another Seeing Eye friend. Connie had died that day. Stunned by the loss of this amazing woman, I knew that we needed to go ahead and pursue our work with Northstar, to honor Connie's memory. Since then, we have raised three Northstar puppies. Sully, Nora, and Lily are all living in their homes and helping three very special little boys. We consider these families part of our extended families, and we love to get updates and pictures of these special animals who help their kids 'find their way'.

About two weeks ago, our pediatrician's office contacted us and asked me to reach out to a family who was interested in getting a puppy for their son who has autism. I gave her Patty's information at Northstar, and decided to touch base with Patty and see how everything was going. And the rest, as they say, is history. In a few weeks we will receive an eight week old Golden pup to raise for a few months until it is ready to go to its family. Because the family lives nearby, we can visit with them, let the little boy meet and begin to bond, and then transfer homes. When Patty and I were emailing and she 'suggested' we raise this puppy for the local family. I told her I would discuss it with Matt. As I told her later: "One of these days either Matt or I would have to say 'NO"...but not today!"

If you want to find out more about Northstar, go to If you go to their 'Contact Us' page, you will see our Lily on that page! They are a non-profit foundation, and as any other foundation, need help from all of us to continue.

How cute is that pup?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Birthdays, loss and waiting

Many days since my last post. Since then, Sophie celebrated her second birthday with us! amazing how quickly time goes by. She had quite the day, in spite of the fact that my dad had a heart a few days before. Thankfully he is doing well after an emergency catheterization. Please keep him in your prayers.

We also sadly announce the loss of our dear Oliver, our 8 year old Great Dane. We rescued Oliver when he was just 14 weeks old and was being starved by his owners. Oliver gave us so many years of joy, with his Scooby-do personality and heart as big as his huge head! Oliver was diagnosed with bone cancer a few weeks ago, and we had to put him down last week. True to form I cried like a baby. I am a mess when we lose our animals. Sophie was very upset as this is the first animal we have lost since she came home. The rest of the kids have lost a few dogs and cats over the years, so they understand the finality of it all. Sophie asked us the next day to go to the vet and wake Oliver up...ugh!

The wait for Shane continues. Not sure when/if we are logged in as there is a glitch with his file (anyone who knows our luck is not at all surprised). We can just hope and pray that we will be able to get to him as quickly as possible.
Adding a few pictures to this file, some of Sophie's birthday, as well as Oliver. By the way, Sophie is loving having long hair! We have to stand on our heads to manage it as it is very curly and kinky, but it is beautiful.