Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Joy

Christmas has always been a special holiday for me but it's beauty was deepened three years ago when we received the news that Mia would be coming home in time to celebrate with us. I look back and marvel at how far we have come...how strong we are as a result. Our family is able to look at the world through different eyes and we have become better for it. My world consists of four outstanding angels and one who has changed our world forever. Thank you God for such a beautiful gift.
This is just a summary of our holiday.......

She's an old pro!!!!!

Mia did a great job while Gabriella melted down after the first one. She did not like the messiness of it all and stopped after cutting out one cookie! Nicolas and Samantha were a huge help and loved it as usual!
Mia loved everyone minute of it and it was so nice that this year the girls were old enough to "get it".

Can't you just feel her joy? It's so contagious....that laugh.....that smile.....that spirit! When cookie making was finished, we got dressed to go over grammy's for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner and presents. The excitement is too much!
The girls' third Christmas.....every year is more beautiful than the one before!
We finished our Christmas celebrations at ZiZi's house after we played with all our new toys!!!
Our holidays were bitter sweet. Dave's Godfather passed away Christmas Eve after a four and a half year battle with cancer. He was a man of great faith and had an admirable love for life. Whenever we would get together he would always remind me how he and his wife went to church everyday and prayed for Mia. During his last weeks, he told Dave of how Mia has changed people in the family for the better. I am grateful for his constant prayers and now his guardianship as he looks down on all of us.

Although there was sorrow, we had so much joy! All four kids enjoyed the family traditions of cutting and trimming a tree, making cookies, writing letters to Santa, getting together with family and so much more. Nicolas and Samantha focused on giving and not just receiving. It was so cute watching Nicolas and Samantha help the girls through everything. Work has picked up a little for Dave and everyday doesn't seem like such an uphill battle. I am thrilled to be back in a classroom and enjoy being able to hug and kiss Samantha and Nicolas throughout the day! The girls have adjusted and get to spend more time with their grandparents and dad! We ended 2011 on a great note and hope it only gets better from here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful at Three

What a whirlwind it has been. Thanksgiving began a time of friends, family, traditions and awesome celebrations! The day after enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, the girls' third birthday celebration began. Our special friends (who we consider family) drove here from the Albany area to join in wishing the girls a happy birthday. The only one missing was Dave who went hunting. We will leave it up to the girls if they want to forgive him for that!

With grammy's birthday and retirement party being the following day, it was too crazy to fit in a time to have the family over for cake so we decided to have everyone the following weekend. A breakfast birthday in December! It was like Christmas and Birthday all rolled into one. We put our Christmas tree up and then decorated the house with Dora! A little clashy but 'tis the season.

To top it all off, December 1st I started a new full time job at my kids' school. It was a blessing to be home with the girls for three years but it was definitely time for me to return to work and help ease our financial struggles. I miss the girls terribly but I love the classroom I am in and doing what I love in a school that I love! As an added bonus, I am able to see Samantha and Nicolas throughout the day and even attend school masses with them! Everyone is healthy. Life is good and amidst the chaos, my ducks are begining to return to their rows......for now anyway!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And so it goes....

So, not the best news....not the worst either. We have been monitoring Mia's growth for over a year now. Our initial concern was her very slow weight gain but that seems to be okay at the moment and the focus has shifted to her height. Mia's height has remained the same for a year! She has gained weight but not inches. After blood tests and a bone scan, the endocrinologist has concluded that she has a growth hormone deficiency. I was praying she was short due to her short parents and extremely short extended family on her mother's side (sorry family!). No such luck.

What does this mean? We will have to give her daily injections of growth hormones for the next ten years! I can't help but think this angel has had more than her share of issues and suffered more than any almost three year old should ever have to. Dave and I have decided to monitor her height for another six months to be sure the deficiency will not resolve itself.

If anyone has gone down this road or is currently on it, feel free to leave your thoughts!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is it really November? With much catching up to do, I thought I might begin with our fun Fall photos. At our annual trip to Stokoe Farms, Mia participated in the pedal cars, hamster wheel races, corn box, big slide, train ride and so much more. She enjoyed so much more this year than last and she walked almost the whole time!

No more pictures please paparazzi!

Did you see this corn box?

Gabriella wanted to be a witch so, of course, Mia did too!

Look at Nicolas and Samantha!

Still happy after the Halloween Sock Hop at St. Joseph School! You should have seen Mia dancing her feet off with all the big kids and right in front of the DJ booth!

Mia tried really hard to get all the "guts" out of her pumpkin.

Is there more in there?

The final masterpieces!

Now that I have had some fun with pictures, let me attempt to summarize the last couple of months. I must confess this delayed post was partly intentional. Not surprisingly, I needed time to adjust to preschool. The transition was a little rough for Mia but even rougher for me! Each school morning began with, "I don't want to go to school!" followed by resistance in getting dressed. After winning the clothing battle, Mia would go very reluctantly to school. The combination of letting her go and the pout on her face as I left her at school pulled on my heartstrings in ways I can never describe! Knowing Gabriella was there with her helped relieve some of my anxiety. See, Gabriella LOVES school and can't wait to get her backpack on to go! She gloats with every project/accomplishment and even makes up projects for Mia when she is out of the room receiving services (no, she is not always that nice to her sister).

At pick up, I would ask the girls how school was and what they did. Mia's response was always the same! "I screamed mom" and "we had cereal". Gabriella would inform me that they, in fact, did not have cereal for snack! It just seemed that Mia was not as engaged with the classroom activities and she definitely was not enthusiastic about school. Of course Mia was used to Daystar and all her EI therapists. Now she had to adjust to a new building, new therapists, new kids and a new teacher. For Gabriella, she had nothing to compare it to and she just loved everything new! And I imagine it is difficult to get use to a class when you are being pulled for services quite a bit.

Almost two months later, I am happy to report that Mia is more willing to go to school and has begun talking about some of her teachers, which is always a good sign. It seems she has settled into the school routine but definitely doesn't jump up to go. Thankfully, Gabriella LOVES it and encourages Mia.

I think Mia would rather be home working on her new groove for her rock debut!

With all that being said, I am still adjusting and am waiting for the day Mia "rocks out" to her school days!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Whole New World

We love waiting with Nicolas and Samantha for their bus!

We're ready!

We love going to school together!

I will take care of my sister!

Look mom and dad, we are already hard at work! Aren't you proud of me?

So the pictures don't lie. All those smiles show two little girls having a great time in their new school. There were no tears from either of them. The teacher just said that Gabriella was a bit clingy. "Clingy" is Gabriella and we anticipated full melt downs so she is adjusting just fine. Me, however..........

I am having a VERY difficult time adjusting to letting Mia go. I don't know if it is just a culmination of the past three years or anxiety over letting her go. Even Dave said it's the fear that she has left her "bubble". Daystar is SO different than school. School is like the "real" world and that is scary to me. I know everyone says she is ready and I know she is BUT I just know things aren't going to be easy for her and I want to shelter her from it. I remind myself that she is tough, tougher than me, and I believe she was born with wings!

The other piece is those girls have been my "job" for the past three years. I gave up a career for them, in particular Mia who needed so much (of course, I would not have it any other way!) but now I have to face MY reality! What do I do now? I am still substituting part time but that is not my ideal situation. Am I ready to go back teaching full time? Find something new? Etc.

Like everything, this too shall pass and my life will find it's new "normal" again and Mia will soar. Until then, I will keep lots of kleenex by my side, skip the mascara and count my blessings. These are all good problems to have. LIFE IS GOOD!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bitter Sweet

What a fantastic summer we have had with the kids! I hate that, not only is summer coming to an end, we are closing a chapter in our lives. Mia had her last therapy sessions with her occupational and physical therapists. She "graduated" from Daystar and will begin preschool next week. Gratitude does not even begin to describe our deepest emotions for these ladies who have changed Mia's life profoundly! Collectively, they have taught her things doctors told us might be impossible. Dedicated, these ladies, along with her previous speech and special education/vision therapists, put forth every effort to prove them wrong and they did. Thanks to them, Mia is walking, talking, interacting and learning more everyday.
Check Spelling
Instead of writing about my preschool anxieties and how sad our goodbyes were, I am just going to post some awesome summer pictures! With Mia's new mobility this summer and decreased therapies, she was busy having so many "first" outings/visits!

Feeding ducks at Perinton Park

.....and posing for pictures with my brother and sisters.

Big brother Nicolas guides me through the park!

A visit to the beach is never complete without ice cream....I like my first cone!

Wow! I love this bowling thing!

What's everyone looking at? Can't a girl love her chocolate?
Everyone is so proud of me! Mom and Dad are just so sad to say goodbye to my Daystar friends.

Check out these "horsies" at Lollypop Farm.

I tried to be brave at Seabreeze but only made it to the front seat of this cool car. I had to get out before my crazy sister "drove" it around the track

Definitely loved keeping cool in the pool!

Check out my new soccer skills I learned from my brother Nicolas!

I listen as Daddy gives me some tips!

Looking totally cool at Samantha's tennis.

It wouldn't be summer without a trip to the zoo!