Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visit With Plastic Surgeon

Today we had a great meeting with our plastic surgeon! She was so sweet...the first thing she did was give Anna a hug and kiss. She confirmed for us what we thought happened: a section of her lip surgery stitches did not hold on the left side from the original procedure. And that is why she has the open crater under her nose. She said that the repair of this was a minor minor surgery and could even be done by the ENT when he puts the tubes in if he is willing. So we have a call in to him. The plastic surgeon, Stacey Folk, could do it but not until September 25th, right in between the wedding and the next grandbaby. We would really rather it was done in August. Just waiting for the ENT to call me back.

On another good note she said the Chinese surgeons did an amazing job on Anna's lips and palate. Bilateral cleft lip and palate surgery is extremely complicated and she said it could not have been done better! Thanks, Shanghai Healing Home. By the way, that is Anna's picture on the video on the home page and bottom left of the four pictures at the top. They are both pre-surgery.

On a not so good note, she says the fistulas in her hard palate really can't be repaired until she has her bone graft at 8 or 9 years old. There is just no tissue to work with. So she will have difficulty with many sounds until that time. When she is 3 and 1/2 she can get a retainer that will cover the holes and allow her to make some of the sounds.

Overall, we are happy campers!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Intern Rocket Launch

On Saturday we went to the ULA Intern Rocket Launch. Every year the interns at ULA make and launch rockets out in the middle of nowhere. I can understand that they have to do it away from population centers; The big ones are thirty feet long and can be pretty dangerous. But, Pueblo!? I must admit I liked it better when it was closer in previous years. It was fun, but dusty and dirty.

We came pretty much unprepared for the heat. A nice couple loaned us their umbrellas for the girls.

We couldn't get very close to the rockets so you can barely see the first one in the background here. It was pretty exciting when this giant rocket launched. This is a launch site for all kinds of amateur rocket launchers and ULA's were by far the biggest rockets.

The shoes, the clothes and the people all needed a good scrub down when we got home!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meet Miss A

Mia has a friend named Miss A. Of course that's not her real name but I don't know if her mom wants me to put it out there. We met her through our social worker for Anna's adoption. She was born with the same bilateral cleft lip and palate as Anna. She was also in the same orphanage! Mia and Miss A have a lot of fun together and Miss A's mom has been a wealth of information regarding doctors, procedures, therapy, etc.

Sorry, not the best picture. They are two peas in a pod and both think they are fashion models!

Friday, July 27, 2012


I decided to go to the chiropractor today. I've been limping for so long with this broken toe that I've sprained my knee. So they used the muscle stimulator on it. And while lying there, I got a stomach stimulation too!

Looks like I could use some sit-ups!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's Happening

Last Sunday Dan's cousin, Brad,and his wife, Marilyn, came for lunch. They were in town visiting her family. We enjoyed spending a little time with them.

The next day, Anna got to help me make grain-free pumpkin muffins while Mia was asleep.
I had to take pictures of her first licking-the-beaters experience!

I'm not saying that my grand baby is smarter than yours...but...can she do this at two months?

Okay...how about this?

I'm just kidding. I know they are all just as smart. Um mm. My fingers are not crossed behind my back.

Today we went to the ENT's office. Anna had another hearing test which confirmed the hearing loss. He also dug some wax out of her ear so he could see her eardrum. It was awful! We had to put her in a papoose so she couldn't move her arms or legs. My, did she scream! But he could see that she had fluid behind both ears. So he advises tubes to be put in within the next three months. It is critical because she is trying to learn a new language and speak with anatomical differences. We'll see if the plastic surgeon recommends surgery that quickly as well and do them together, or if not, we can do the tubes by themselves.

And last but not least, I went on Tuesday with my friend, Sheri, to pick out all the tile, cabinets, lighting, etc. for our new house. I went with something very different than what I have now. Hope we like it! The foundation was just poured and so framing should start soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lakeside Amusement Park

I got my computer back! This was the second time I had to take it in to have the track pad fixed and it is not a very old computer. But now I can blog again!

Last Saturday we took the girls to an amusement park. We stayed on the side with the kiddie rides only. They ABSOLUTELY loved it.

Anna wanted to go on every ride. We know that because she grunted and pointed like crazy. We. Were. Shocked. Of course we only let her go on a few that we felt she would be safe on.

Mia went on every ride. She got a little scared on the roller coaster. But by the third time around she was waving at us.

Dan and Mia rode the ferris wheel. I can't go on them. They petrify me...seriously. I can't even watch people while they are riding one. I'm afraid they will fall out. I know it makes no sense. So I took the picture and then went somewhere else while they rode.

This place has definitely seen better days, but that is part of its charm.

The park was close to Bill's house so we met Bill and Wade for dinner. It was a very tiring afternoon for the littles so I put in a movie in the car on the way home. I needed them to stay awake as baths were definitely needed when we got home.

Cute little zombies children on the drive home.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Five Weeks Home

Saturday it will be five weeks home! That is really hard to believe. It will also be Joey's 27th birthday. Happy Birthday, Joe! We all love you here and are so proud of the father you are tuning out to be!

I thought I would do an update on how things are going around here.

Mia is really stepping up to the plate. She love loves loves being a big sister. At the park the other day a little girl asked her what her name was and she said, "Mia Collins. I'm a Big Sister." She is able to use self-control now and only touch Anna when Anna is comfortable with it, which is more and more often. If you know Mia's exuberant personality that was a VERY hard thing to accomplish.

Mia started swimming lessons once a week last week and loves it. She will start gymnastics in two weeks. I think that is enough for her at the moment. We fiddled around with sending her to preschool, but decided two structured activities were good for now. She sees her friend Lorelei once a week and also has friends Sophia and Logan that she gets together with. We do preschool activities every day here at the house. She knows all her colors, numbers to 12, about 10 letters and all her shapes. Most importantly she is now learning to share, take turns and wait with a sister around. She empties the trash can in the laundry room and puts the placemats on the table every day for her chores.

Anna is doing great. She is become less fearful every day. That girl loves to eat! We have finally realized that we have to just take her plate away. She will just clean everything off it, for the most part, and wait for more. She is ALWAYS the last one done at every meal. She has a very sweet personality, not moody or confrontational at all. She is even going to sleep in her crib on her own without crying. That was quite an accomplishment as they always held her before she went to sleep at the healing home. If Dan didn't travel and I didn't have a three year old who is just now going to bed really well I would have continued doing that with Anna for quite a while. But we all have to make adjustments to make our family work! She seems to be bonding just fine, looking me in the eyes and wanting me to hold her often.

We were able to get Anna in to see the plastic surgeon on July 30th as there was a cancellation. She will see the ENT on July 26th and have her developmental evaluation on August 22nd. We think speech will probably be the only issue there. She says about 10 words, only two of them clearly. She can make the m sound really well.

These days we are busy going to either the park, pool or both every day. We go the library about once a week and usually do some other activity about once a week. Overall, things are going really really well!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Should Know

I'm 5o years old, closer to 51. I should be old enough to know...

I have a degree in mathematics. I should be smart enough to know...

I have five children. I should be experienced enough to know...

I've been a foster parent. I should have the street smarts to know...

I'm a teacher. I should be trained enough to know...

that you don't keep giving the scissors back to the three year old who promises every time that she will only use them on paper. I should know better!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pasta Party

Today we went to a pasta party! Everybody had a great time. Mia and Dan helped make raviolis.

Anna did her usual walking and walking and walking. She let several people pick her up and drank a lot of lemonade!

After the ravioli was cooked it was time to eat! There was also chicken, potatoes and salad. Plenty of food for us gluten-avoiding people. Yummy!

There were lots of kids and Mia was EXHAUSTED from playing when it was time to go home.

It's great to have Italian friends!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today we went to the Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic. I packed a lot of snacks as food always helps to ease her anxiety.

Our first stop was audiology where it was confirmed that Anna does have a slight hearing loss.

Next was speech therapy where it was recommended I take Anna for an evaluation through our county's early intervention program. This is the same place I've taken all my foster children. She should qualify for in-home speech therapy until she becomes school-age.

After that it was lunch. They provided a nice lunch for us and I got to talk with some of the other families there for the day. Dan joined us for the afternoon after lunch.

Here she is all smiles. Remember, no one has actually poked or prodded her yet!

Next it was two plastic surgeons and an ENT. The surgeons agreed that the Chinese surgeons had done a great job on her soft palate and it was flexible which is really good for speech. Yea! They disagreed on when to fix the hole in her hard palate and revise her lip surgery. One thinks it should be done soon and the other thought we should wait until right before she starts school. It will be interesting to see what the final recommendation is that is sent to us. It doesn't really matter since we are going with a totally different surgeon anyway.

The ENT advised tubes in her ears for the hearing loss and these will be put it in either during the next surgery, or sooner if surgery is postponed.

The pediatric dentist gave us lots of tips on how to keep her teeth clean and what to do about the tooth in the roof of her mouth. Yes, you heard right. He says leave it alone! Apparently we don't want to interfere with any bone growth since these kids have so little already.

The oral surgeons and orthodontists (6 of them!), say she will most definitely need a bone graft around 8-10 years old where the clefts went through the gums in order to hold the permanent teeth in place. She will start orthodontia around six years old.

Overall it was great day! Learning that her palate was done well was a huge relief when it comes to speech. We will have to wait and see if it holds up and what the surgeon we are actually going to use has to say.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dress is Here!

The dress arrived today! Only two months and two weeks to go until the wedding!

It rained here a few days ago and Mia thought she better be prepared before going outside. Love the shoes.

Anna spends a good part of her day trying on different shoes. She knows where everyone's shoes are kept throughout the house.

It was the perfect day today to go stomping in some water fountains. Six months ago no one knew this new park existed and we had it all to ourselves. Now it's the most popular place around and when we left it was packed.

Little Miss Observer.

Tomorrow's Schedule

We got the schedule for Anna's clinic tomorrow:

10:15 - 12:15 Speech pathologist, audiologist, case manager

12:15 - 1:15 Lunch

1:30 - 4:00 Plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, pediatric dentist, ENT

She is going to be sooo tired by the time we get to the afternoon. I hope things are not too traumatic for her.

I'm so looking forward to getting information! It's much easier to deal with knowns than unknowns.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Matchy Matchy

As you have probably noticed, I love the matching outfits. Not sure how long I can get away with it, but it's so fun! I have fond memories of my three sisters and me wearing the same outfit in four different colors. My mom made all of our clothes which was how that was possible.

Here we are at Bill's house Saturday for a barbecue with the matchy matchy going on.

Bill and Wade moved to Denver in June. They are really happy there, but we miss seeing them all the time.

Friday we went to a 30th anniversary party and again they wore the only matching dresses they have.

Big sister Beth sent them the cutest matching shirts that say Big Sister Mia and Little Sister Annie. I only got this one shot, which doesn't hardly show the shirts at all, before Anna spilled apple juice all down the front of hers. So I'll get more pics at the next opportunity!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sent Pictures

I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately. But here are some that people have sent me.

This is a great picture of Anna and me that Michelle sent. I cropped me out and used it for Anna's profile picture. It's from the Fourth of July.

I asked Becky to send me one of her pregnant as Dar says she looks so cute. I was feeling a little sad that I couldn't see her in person. But then I realized I will see her in August, September, October, November and December! So really...I just can't complain.

And here's one of Avery off to her first birthday party. She just gets cuter and cuter every day. We get to FaceTime with her. Technology is great for that kind of stuff.

A big thank you to our friend, Greg, for photoshopping Anna into our family picture. We will get a new one at the wedding in September!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day!

It was a hazy day due to the fires, but so much cooler than last year! We decided to put them both in the wagon for the parade this year. Last year Mia tried to walk and I ended up carrying her in the 95 degree heat. Gabby, Deirdre, Greg, Michelle, Lorelei, Bill and Dawn joined us for the parade and the community barbecue after.

After the barbecue the girls went swimming for about an hour. We then headed home and relaxed the rest of the day.

Happy Birthday, America!