Thursday, July 11, 2013

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012


First an update. Mollie is doing great in school - she has a best friend, Josh, who shares with her every day. (When I asked Mollie if she shares with Josh, she said, "No!" Hmm - we're working on that!) She loves her wonderful teachers, and her school really is amazing. This is Community Helpers week in her class, so yesterday the fire truck came and let them explore the truck, and then the Blue Bell ice cream truck came and gave them all ice cream! Today, the mounted police came with their fishie (aka horse) and they all got to pet the horse. Mollie hasn't stopped talking about that since I picked her up!
At school, she regularly sees an OT, a PT, a speech therapist, and a music therapist, and is making notable improvements in all areas. I've really loved reading her music therapist's notes each week and seeing her progress: at first, she wouldn't say her name, and wouldn't participate with the other students. Now, she proudly says her name, asks for her instrument, pretends with the rest of the class, and gets a glowing report!
We met with her CP doctor this week and developed a new plan, based on the recommendation of her new PT. Mollie walks with a slight limp, due to the fact that she can't raise her toes on her right foot. Her heel cord is extremely tight, and she can't raise her foot past neutral. To compensate, and avoid tripping on her toes, she raises her right hip. There are several approaches we could take to address this problem, ranging from "do nothing" to surgery. After much debate, we've decided to try serial casting and an AFO. With serial casting, the PTs will put a cast on her, and then recast her in a slightly higher position every week for 3-6 weeks, hoping to stretch the muscle and joint enough to improve her mobility. After the casting, the hinged ankle-foot-orthotic is basically a small brace that she can wear inside her normal shoe, which will allow the ankle to flex but won't allow her toe to drag. We hope that this plan will improve her gait, allow her to expend less energy walking and running, and also help avoid future problems in her hip caused by the hip raise. Tomorrow she will get her first cast. Please keep her in your prayers. I think she'll handle it fine, and it's a walking cast, with no broken bones inside, so she should be able to remain active and mobile. But it will make life tougher for her (and us) for a few weeks, so your prayers are appreciated!
I'll close with a pic of Mollie in her fabulous hat that she made at school. She was so proud and couldn't wait to show her sisters!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Big Day

Today was Mollie's first day of 4K. I hadn't done much to prepare her, because 1) it snuck up on me; 2) she did great at "church camp" this summer so I wasn't overly concerned; and 3) I thought it would confuse her if I started talking about it too early. So, last night, after her bath, we started really talking about it. I told her she would make new friends, and play and share with them. I told her about her teachers. And I talked to her about nap time, because I figured that would be the hardest part of the day for her. She's going to an awesome school, and I know she's in great hands, but her days will be long, and she hasn't ever been away from me for more than a few hours. I just figured she would be getting tired and emotional after lunch, and napping in a room with a bunch of other kids might even bring back some memories for her.
As usual, she proved to be a tough cookie. This girl never ceases to amaze me with her willingness to go with the flow. She walked into the room this morning, put away her things, gave me and her sisters kisses, then walked off with her teacher to find something to play with. She said goodbye as we left and seemed perfectly happy. Of course I worried about her all day, trying to figure out what they were doing, and how Mollie was handling it all. At 3:00 I couldn't take it any longer, so we went to pick her up. We found her sitting in a chair in a semi-circle with the rest of the class, listening to her teacher explain the class rules. She was very excited to see us, and her teacher gave her a glowing report. "Great first day, played with friends, followed the routine, napped, very happy." Yes!!! I'm a proud mama! She said she really couldn't believe that Mollie has only been here six months, because she knows so much already. AND she said that Mollie talks a lot and they were able to understand most of what she said. I'm so happy!

And, of course I've been a bad blogger so I've missed posting so many things. I want to make sure I post about our week at the lake last week. Thanks to a silent auction and some very generous new friends, we were able to spend four nights in an amazing lake house on Lake Logan Martin last week with some of my family. We had a boat with lots of tubes to play on, a Seadoo, a pool table, and lots of comfortable chairs to relax in! Mollie had a blast and loved having more people to play with! At night she slept in a room with S&A and cousin Emily, and she did great. Her favorite things were driving the boat (especially when we were pulling Abby who liked it when we did lots of turns!), playing cards with "Saucy," and eating!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hi - Remember Me?

I haven't posted in a very long time, and I'm sorry about that. Life got complicated, and blogging seemed unauthentic. But I think I'm ready to try again.
To pick up at the last post, that night in her own room was short-lived. She cried for me around 11:15, came downstairs to her toddler bed, and didn't want to try it again. I didn't push the issue, and figured we'd try again this summer. Last week, S&A had a friend spend the night, and the 3 of them slept in Mollie's room since she has 3 beds. Mollie was very upset that they were in her room but she wasn't, so I told her she could sleep there the next night. Sarah and Abby agreed to sleep with her, and they did that successfully three nights in a row! We went out of town for a couple of days, and I worried that we'd be back to square one when we returned, but they are all sleeping happily together as I write! Progress! I told Mollie that we're getting rid of her toddler bed because it's for little girls, and she's a big girl like S&A. Now I have the rest of the summer to work on getting her comfortable in her room without her sisters, and falling asleep without me so I don't have to lay with her for 20 minutes.
Another big milestone: Mollie got glasses. She doesn't like them so it's been hard to get her to wear them, and apparently I've lost them so she already needs a new pair. But here are a couple of pics.

It's so hard to believe that she has only been home 5 months. On the one hand it seems like forever, because it's hard to remember our family without her. But on the other hand, she is definitely a lot of work, and sometimes I get frustrated because I expect her to behave better or communicate better, and I have to remind myself that's it's only been 5 months! She is doing so great, and people always comment about how much more social and secure she seems now compared to a couple of months ago. It really is amazing how far she has come. She even went to a 2-week preschool program at our church and loved it. The teacher said she did great with the other kids and was really sweet. Every day she came out smiling and told me she shared! Here's a pic of her first day.

What else?
She rode a horse (or a "fishie," as she calls it)

She had a blast at the beach

She LOVES her cousins

She enjoyed her first trip to the Birmingham zoo

She loved the 4th of July fireworks and sparklers and was never scared

She can pedal a bicycle
She can play Subway Surfers on the iPad better than anyone else in the family
She can maintain her attention span for 20-30 minutes
She saw her first movie today!
She LOVES her sisters, and they love her. They are so good with her, so patient and kind (usually) and I am so proud of all 3 of them.

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Friday, May 18, 2012


For the past week, I've been formulating a plan. Now that Mollie is sleeping well in her own bed in our room, I think it's time to start working on moving her to her own room. I thought it would need to be a long-term plan, because right now I can't even leave the room until she has fallen asleep. That usually takes 20-30 minutes.
But after her bath tonight, she pointed at me and perry and then pointed downstairs. Then she said "me bed" and pointed to her bed in her room. Really?? Could it be that easy? The timing isn't ideal for many reasons, but I decided to let her try it. Perry and I are on our iPads in the guest room, waiting to see if it works. She came out once to find me, but then wanted to go back to bed. Then she called me and asked for her kitty (like Sarah's Ginger), so I took that to her and said goodnight. I don't know if she's going to make it all night, or even if she'll be able to fall asleep, but I'm just amazed that she's even trying.
She had a good week, even though Perry was out of town all week. We met some friends at the park, and she made a friend; she played well with another little girl at the gym; and we found out that she got a full-time slot at the preschool we wanted!

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Friday, May 4, 2012


Whenever someone asks how Mollie's doing with language, I say she communicates very well and probably has about 40 words. But I wondered: is she learning? Does she have that many words? How is she doing, REALLY? We had a speech evaluation today, but I had to cancel it because Mollie has had a fever all day as a result of the three shots she received yesterday. But I decided to try to count all her words. Granted, her enunciation is still pretty rough, but she uses these words, and I can understand her!
Thank you
Hot chocolate
Ice cream
Ding dong
I want candy
Pop pop
Night night
Caillou Barney
I love you
Love you Mommy
All done
Mommy's car
Daddy's car
I want to see
Tee tee
Good (pronounced like a Southerner: "gooooooooood")
Talk to Daddy
I'm Tired
Shake shake shake
Bailey did it
My turn
Had fun

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I can think of. That's about 100 words!
What else?
She can point to most body parts. She's starting to alternate legs climbing the stairs, rather than doing one stair at a time. She great at matching games. She can pedal a tricycle. Her favorite app is Talking Tom. She loves to dance. She idolizes her sisters. Kids are drawn to her, intrigued by her, and charmed by her. Well, at least until she starts yelling because its her turn or her toy or her something! She's got it figured out - she fits right in, we love her completely, and she loves us. The angry eyebrows are (mostly) gone, replaced by laughing, mischievous eyes of joy. Blessed.

There are some great posts on my blog roll right now. Need a laugh? Try this one. A heartwarming update? Here. And if you're thinking about international adoption, this post explains why there's never been a better time.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today I read this post, and said out loud, "adopted." Mollie was looking at the post with me, and she pointed at herself and said, "adopted." Beautiful. I have two friends who are beginning the adoption process, and so many friends who are going though these first few months of adoption with us. It seems like everyday I meet someone new who is adopting, or knows someone who is. Is it becoming more common, or is it like when you're pregnant, and you notice the pregnant women more? I'm not sure...but I am beyond amazed at the power of love.
If you didn't click through to the link above, please go there now. It's a beautiful description of the courage required in the adoption journey. And also a great adoption story. These are friends of friends, I don't know them personally. But many of you probably know them.
And now a few pics of our week. It just keeps getting better!

Making brownies!

Jeepin' it! (thanks Daddy, for installing a 3rd seatbelt in the back!)

"Helping" with dinner

Mollie is a very purposeful little girl. She loves to "help" make dinner, "wash" the dishes, swiffer, clean the house, make the beds, etc. She is very busy, busy, busy! It's exhausting, but so wonderful to watch. She is also getting better about detaching from me when she has to. She tells me "bye-bye" and watches me go, and is excited when I come back, but usually doesn't cry now. This morning at the gym, she played with a friend's little girl and then watched her leave to go to kindergarten kickoff. I said she was going to school, and Mollie said, "me school," then put on her backpack. It won't be long -  she's doing great and I'm so incredibly proud of her!

And one last thing. I've never advocated for a specific child before, but when I saw this video (password quentin1) of "Quentin" on Lifeline's website, I fell in love. He has meningocele, and a quick Google search said that  "As the nervous system remains undamaged, individuals with meningocele are unlikely to suffer long-term health problems." He's so precious, and seems so happy and full of life. I hope he finds his forever family soon.


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Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Beautiful Day

I was snuggling Mollie in the bed this morning, and she said "love you Mommy." She melts my heart! She is trying so hard and has shown incredible progress in mobility, strength, behavior, and speech. Her OT says she has seen vast improvement in only 3 weeks. Today a friend at the gym was amazed at her gait, which has evidently improved dramatically since several weeks ago when this friend last saw her.

This morning our awesome gym hosted a run for us and the Richardsons (my cousins who are adopting twins). It was such a fun morning - a beautiful day, lots of friends old and new, and lots of love for these three precious children who have found their forever families. It was a great turnout and we were touched and honored.

Running was followed by lunch at the Tip Top Grill, some outdoor playtime (and reading time), and ice cream with friends. Pretty much a perfect day.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

2 Months

It's hard to believe that we've only been home with Mollie for two months. I honestly have a hard time remembering life without her. She has made so much progress and is really figuring it all out, so quickly. I'm amazed by her, and we are so blessed by her joy, her spunkiness, and her determination. She learns more every day, but one thing she knows for sure is that she is loved by us and so many others, and she has found her home.
Now that she has formed a strong bond with us, and especially with me, I'll need to start helping her detach for short periods of time. Last week I went to a friend's house to stuff Easter eggs (and drink margaritas), and left the girls with Perry. Evidently it was pretty rough for him. Mollie had a fit because I wasn't there to put her to bed, and S&A got upset because Mollie was screaming and Perry couldn't read to them. I'm not sure if I shouldn't have tried to get away for a night so soon, or if I should do it more often so it isn't such a big deal. I'm thrilled that she has such a strong attachment in such a short time, but I do think it's important for my mental health, and for Perry's attachment, that she learns to let me leave her occasionally. Not to mention the fact that I want her to go to 4K next year! So this is something we need to work on.
A few fun pics:
Friday night we went to a birthday skating party. Mollie LOVED skating and did really well. One of the kids said that they must have skating rinks in China because Mollie looked like she had skated before!

Saturday we dyed Easter eggs. All the girls love this, and then as soon as we finished, Mollie cracked open an egg and ate it! She prefers real eggs over chocolate ones.

Saturday afternoon we enjoyed time with our wonderful neighbors at the annual Easter egg hunt. I wish the trampoline pics had come out better- Mollie was a total giggle-box jumping with sweet friends!

Sunday was a wonderful Easter day.

We celebrated with our family in church, and then had everyone over for lunch. Mollie slept through most of the service, which was very unlike her, but then she was in a great mood for lunch and socializing with the family! She had a blast playing with "Yanie" and holding the babies.

Today was a hard day. We went to the dentist, and he discovered that the tooth he put a crown on at the last visit had become abscessed. So, he had to pull it. He tried to save the other one that he was working on today, but ultimately had to pull it too. So, now she has 2 fillings and 2 holes. It's a bummer, and we'll have to put in spacers once her 6-year molars come in, but it couldn't be helped. It was a traumatic experience, probably worse for Perry and me than for Mollie since she had the benefit of drugs, but she recovered nicely after a nap and seems to be pain-free now.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

So Many Firsts!

On Sunday, Mollie experienced her first (and second) Easter egg hunt. I'm sure she thinks it's a very odd holiday, but she does like all the candy (well, she gets mad when I take away the sticky stuff, but I don't want her to lose that new crown!) She loved hanging out with S&A's sweet Brownie troop and collecting eggs at Hoover's largest egg hunt!

Yesterday was a tough day for Mollie (and therefore a tough day for Mommy). But after putting her to bed and reflecting on the day, I was encouraged to realize that it was really just a normal toddler bad day, not related to adoption or bonding or anything like that. She was tired because she didn't nap Sunday and didn't sleep well Sunday night. So she was emotional, and had a hard time controlling her temper. The tantrum was long-lasting, but not violent. She is doing a much better job controlling herself, and she has even said "sorry" to me a few times when she has accidentally hurt me. Major progress.
I also saw a social "breakthrough" yesterday at S&A's dance studio. We were in the little playroom, and Mollie was building a Lego tower. A couple of toddlers came in and tried to play at the Lego table with her. Normally this would set her off, and she wouldn't share at all. But this time, she looked at me indignantly (as in, "why are these kids here trying to play with MY toys???), and I said "you need to share." She reached into the Lego bucket and began pulling out Legos and handing them to the other kids. I was so proud I almost cried! It was obvious that she still needed to be in control, and she might have punched one of those little kids if they'd tried to get Legos out of the bucket themselves, but it was definitely a milestone. She still has a long way to go with her social skills, but I'm starting to think that preschool might not be a total disaster next year!
Last night was a great sleeping night. We've been having 3 or 4 great nights every week, which is improving my spirits tremendously.
Today I took her with me to get my hair cut, and she was an angel for almost 2 hours. Perry finally rescued her and took her to Chick-fil-a, where she had another first: she climbed up to the top of the play structure and went down the slide. By herself. Perry was a proud Papa!

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