Friday, December 16, 2011

Deck the Halls with MRIs, orthopedic visits and urologist appointments.

Our hearts are bursting with joy and thankfulness this Christmas. We have been waiting for so long for our baby girl to come home to us, and finally we can celebrate this beautiful season as a family of 4. Our Mei Li will be enjoying Christmas for the very first time, this year. She has quickly learned who Santa is. I don't know if she understands the "present" thing. But, she calls Santa "Ho, ho, ho!!" Today, Anna Grace and Mei Li had their picture taken with Santa. Mei Li literally climbed down out of my arms and sprinted down the red carpet to Santa! She climbed right up on his lap and put her fingers in his snowy white beard! I got it on video. You can see it in my video feed at the top.

More importantly, Mei Li is showing all of us the true meaning of Christmas. Besides knowing that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus' birthday, she loves her family so dearly. She doesn't have an extensive list of wishes and wants for mom and dad and Santa. Instead, she talks about how much she loves her family. She will say, "My mom, my dad, my sister. . . my family". That is what means the most to her. We tend to take family for granted. . . just a given. But, for a little girl who has lived all of her 4 years in an institution without the love of a mother and father, she does "not" take the love of her family for granted. She cherishes it. . . more than any new toy or gadget. She is a breath of fresh air for all of us. And, her beautiful spirit and clear perspective is teaching us all to look at the world and all the blessings the Lord has given us with a new set of eyes.
Mei Li loves to sing and her favorite song is "Jesus Loves Me". She is precious to watch and listen to when she launches into this song. You can see the video in the feed at the top right.
Monday, Mei Li has her MRI of her total spine. She will be put under for this procedure. And the results will determine Dr. Blount's game plan for surgery for Mei Li. Also, on Dec 28th, Mei Li goes in for a test on her bladder to determine its level of funtion. We know that she is 100% continent at this point. But, with her special need, incontinence is very common. And, Dr. Blount needs to establish a baseline. I'm not sure if she will be put under anesthesia for this test, but I am guessing she will. The results of these two tests are important for determining our plan of action for Mei Li and her surgery on her spine.
Today, we took Mei Li in for a follow-up with Dr. Khoury. Her foot has been hot and swollen for several days and she has been running about 100 degree temp in the evenings the last 4 nights. Dr. Khoury did lab work on her and x-rayed her foot. It appears she has a small stress fracture on her toe. Bless her heart. Her bone density is compromised due to her lack of walking, but she needs to walk in order to build her bone density.
Even though there are so many Dr. appointments and tests, we are incredibly thankful to have our precious daughter home. And, we are thankful we have the medical team available to take care of her needs. Her future is bright, now. And, our family's future is brighter than ever because she is now a part of us. :)
Merry Christmas to you all!! I'll update when I have more news.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Caroling, Birthday Wishes and Mei Li WALKS! :)

AG and her good friend. . . ready for a night of caroling!

Mama and Mei Li come along to help support!!
Singing songs of Christmas. . .
One of the beautiful homes made a great backdrop for our group photo!
Another Gigi group shot. . .

Hot cocoa after a night of caroling puts a smile on Mei Li's sweet face! ;)
AG helps Mei Li try her hand at ping pong. :)

Our 1980's wall mirror serves as a great artist's pallet! The girls LOVE drawing on it with dry erase markers!
It's present time!!!
My birthday girl :)

Mei Li is having a BLAST at Big Sis's birthday party!

The prettiest ornaments don't hang on trees ;)
Time to blow out the candles and make a wish
Look who followed me upstairs to put Mei Li to bed!! Mei Li loved the attention. . . Guess who didn't want to go to sleep!? ;)

Getting ready for Wii Dance party!
OH YES. . . and we built foam Santa's workshops, gingerbread houses and a sleigh!
AG has some of the sweetest friends!! :)
Getting their "dance" on!

Love this shot! Dance queen! :)

Break dancin'

The worm!!
AG just hangin' around :)

Daddy surprised the girls with "Hot Nows" from Krispy Kreme for breakfast. . . served with hot cocoa :)
Closing out a swell birthday party with a tasty doughnut breakfast! :)

We have had quite an eventful week at the White house!! Anna Grace turned 9 years old this week!!! I can't believe my little AG is NOT little any more. This is her last year in single digits. :( We had a birthday party to throw together and I had a LOT to get prepared before having anyone come over to my house!! Especially, since AG requested a small sleep over. Oh my!! Since coming home from China, I have spent my time and energy taking care of Mei Li, running back and forth to Dr. appts and surgeries and check-ups, and homeschooling Anna Grace. Lots of "house-keeping" details happen "when I can get to them", but that is not often enough ;). There is only one of me, and I do all I can to address the "most important" things first. Haha!!! So, last Saturday, I spent the day trimming the bushes in the front of our house!! You can actually "SEE" the house now!! ;) And, as the week has progressed, I've gotten carpets steam-cleaned and other house-beautifying details addessed. Whew!!! Just in time for the sleepover on Friday night. I told AG it HAD to be small, this year. No more than 5 girls. Mama needed a manageable group. And, I told her to carefully choose 5 girls who will enjoy one-another's company for an entire night!! Tricky business!! ;) These girls will have to get along well for 12-15 hours. AG has lots of wonderful friends in different places. . . the theatre, from school, from horseback riding. She wasn't able to invite everyone she wanted to. So, she picked a few that knew each other well for our "pilot group". Did I mention this was our "first" sleepover??
Drum roll. . . . It went so well, that we will do more. AG had a blast and the girls had a wonderful time! Next time, we'll pull in folks we weren't able to this first go-round. Now that mama knows what she's doing ;)

In other important news. . . and I'll leave you with this. . . Mei Li got her cast removed on Wednesday and the 5" pin removed from her heel. She got her nighttime brace to wear and we are still awaiting her smaller daytime brace which we will get this coming Wednesday. The daytime brace will protect her foot and keep it positioned properly while she walks. But, an amazing moment happened yesterday. I took her brace off and asked her if she could stand. She stood right up, put her weight equally on both feet and grinned a mile across!! Then, before I could grab hold of her or instruct her on the finer points of taking her first steps. . . .she was off like a bullet!! She took off walking and she hasn't stopped since! I caught some of these first steps on video and you can see it in my video feed at the top right.
I was invited to come perform my original song, "Snowflake Lullaby" (that I wrote for Anna Grace and recorded on my album, "Dancin' on the Wind") at Local Color Cafe's Christmas Show last night. Geoff, AG and Mei Li came out to support mom. It went great! Even though their CD player wouldn't work with my accompaniment track, and I ended up doing the entire song acapella!!! Haha!!! (that's called "rollin' with it!!! ;) Everyone seemed to enjoy the song, and I have been invited to come back to perform an entire show in March!! What an honor! This was Mei Li's first music venue, and her first time to see mama perform. She was PERFECT!! She enjoyed the music all night, and was thrilled when mama got up to sing. And, during the intermission, she got up out of her seat and went from table to table greeting the guests and telling them her name is "Mei Li"!! Truth be told. . . Mei Li was a highlight of the night! She walked everywhere. . .she made friends with every person she met. . . and she wouldn't let mama or dad pick her up. So proud to be walking. . . and correctly. . . for the first time!!!
AG did her best to hold her head up during the show, but she was suffering from a bad case of "stayed up all night last night" itis. Haha!!! She had a ball at her birthday sleepover, but it left her hurting the next night when mama had to perform.
I hope you enjoy the pics and Mei Li's video!! Thanks for following along our journey!! And, I hope each of you is having a wonderful Christmas season!! I know that we surely are. Little miracles every day. . . and reminders about the true meaning of this wonderful season. :)