Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Ella Grace!

Whew!  It's been a busy few weeks!  I can't let a few things go without blogging, though, so please pretend like it's February 11th, our sweet girls FIRST birthday since coming home!  Birthday's around here are special, but I wanted this one to be a little bit extra special, since we've missed 4 birthdays with Ella Grace.  She enjoyed her special day, and we loved being able to celebrate with her!  We missed her 4th birthday by a week last year!

 The decorations with a little walk down memory lane of pictures from her previous birthdays while in China.
 Her AMAZING cake made by a friend who does such a great job!  I sent her a picture and she made it even better than the original cake!
Happy girl twirling in her tutu

Favorite picture of the whole day! 

She LOVED having everyone sing Happy Birthday to her... was the sweetest part of the day!

Very happy with her gluten-free cupcake!

 Cutting the cake... I made my Mom do it!  I couldn't stand the thought of cutting all of Kristy's hard work!


Pictures with both sets of Grandparents!  Brad's parents were able to come all the way from Texas to help us celebrate!

A little walk down memory lane..... we are really blessed to have over 600 pictures of Ella Grace and her life before she came home!  She went to live in an American run orphanage at about 5 months of age, so they kept wonderful records of her life for us.  This first picture is one of the very earliest pictures we have of her.... this was in July 07, when she was 5 months old.

On her first birthday.... she was very sick with her heart condition, so she was extremely tiny and frail.

Birthday #2... those cheeks were finally filling out!  She had her heart surgery shortly after her second birthday!

Ella Grace's 3rd birthday, with one of her Nanny's from the orphanage.

About 2 weeks after her 4th birthday, and her LAST day in China.  We left for home shortly after this picture was taken!

And our BIG FIVE year old girl now!  I think she's come a long way!  We are honored to be her parents!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Okay, its been forever and a day since my last post.... New Years has come and gone.....

is anyone else addicted to this game.... "Ticket to Ride"?  We can't get enough of this game around here!

Everyone made it to midnight!  Once it hit, we were quickly off to bed!  ha!

OH, and 3 days before New Years, Ella Grace had Tubes put in her ears, and her adnoids removed!!!  Everything went fine, and by the time we got home, she never complained about or had any side effects from the surgery!  And let me tell you, the girl can HEAR!!!  What a huge difference we have seen, and she is so excited!  The first night, when we came home, she got on one of her Christmas toys, that happens to play music when you sit on it.  Her eyes got big and her mouth opened wide, and she gasped as she listened to the music!  Brad and I were both sitting there with her, and it was a joy to see her HEAR things that she hadn't heard before!  She can hear me when I call her name at a normal voice level across the room, and she is already jabbering and beginning to make word sounds like never before!  It has been so exciting for her!  She is now enrolled in private speech therapy, and I'm hoping we are going to start picking up words quickly.  We just met her speech therapist for the first time last week, and she has more energy than anyone I have ever met!  I think she is going to be just the right person to get us further along in our speech progress!  We are just a tad bit over the moon excited!

Ella Grace had a scope done on Jan. 6th, and was officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  These were not words we wanted to hear, but we had already been warned by the doctor that he was pretty certain that she was going to test positive.  We are now learning how to feed her foods that are safe, and are praying that we are doing everything right, so that her numbers can come down.  She will meet with the doctor again in March/April, where they will test her blood to see how we are doing on the new diet.  I'm just praying we don't have to worry about "cross-contamination" which is alot to go into, but let me tell you, it's going to be an absolute nightmare if we have to deal with it.  It's been rather shocking to find out the foods that have "gluten" in them..... Ella can't have cottage cheese, but she can have a Coke... now does that even sound right (and don't worry, we don't give her Coke!)?  I'm finding that we just have to stick with veggies and fruits, and I'm very thankful for gluten free pasta's that are out there, since pasta is her favorite food group!  So far, things are going pretty well, it's just a new way of life/thinking for me, since I do all of the cooking, so it's been somewhat of a challenge.  We will get through this, though, and it will soon become our new normal!

Ella Grace is through with procedures for now!  WHEW!!!  Seems like we've been going non-stop for the past 3 months with dr. appointments, but things are finally slowing down!  She now has OT and Speech every Wednesday morning, and they are also fitting her with Orthotic Shoe inserts to help with some problems that she has with her feet.  We have been matched with an awesome group of therapists who are helping us SO very much.  OT is mainly working on chewing therapy, and we are already seeing some progress being made!  It's slow going, and alot of work at meal times, but we are gonna get there! 

Since this post is all about one super sweet, determined little girl, I will leave you with a little cuteness!  Proudly displaying her art work from school!