Updates: Gav's biopsy was rescheduled due to the awful, nasty, icky cold that charged into our home and refuses to leave... he'll have it done on the 13th of January. I'm hoping for good results, either the same or less eosinophils. Grace's ultrasound came back normal (Thank God!) and she's adjusting well to her SMO (foot brace). She's walking everywhere now, it's her only mode of transportation now- so exciting!! Gavin is starting to cruise- I'm sure walking won't be far behind.
Christmas was far too good to our family, we really are quite spoiled. The kids got a water play table, a pirate ship, Papa and Grandma and they are in LOVE! The Gonce family spent Christmas dinner with us, and it was awesome to watch the 4 kids play together- a beautiful day to spend outside, filled with giggles and splashing!
Grace checks the backdoor every day to make sure her boat remains in the backyard. She begs to play in it daily, irregardless of the weather. Poor girl got terrible goosebumps trying to play the other day- then bundled in a nice warm towel and got comfy and cuddly- mommy's favorite time!
We've survived a mini heart procedure (stent and 2 balloonings) and approach 2011 with hope for a quiet heart year. We've survived Gavin's crazy allergies, and also approach 2011 with hope for a diet that fits our growing boy. We continue to have all of life's blessings and love- our family being the greatest gifts.
Our family letter for 2010:
Season’s Greetings, all! Hopefully this letter finds you in good health, and happy hearts! We’ve had a busy 2010 and 2011 is sure to bring even more excitement and joy.
We kicked off 2010 with a visit to Wisconsin, blessed to spend time with family over the New Year. Grace experienced snow for the first time, and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. All of us enjoyed spending time with family, especially meeting our 3 nephews: Hunter, Cranden and Spencer. Upon leaving Wisconsin, we received a call from the adoption agency about a prospective placement. Again, blessings shine upon us, and within a week, we welcomed our son, Gavin, to our family. Gavin was born January 17th, weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces. It was such a change for us to bring our child home from the hospital right away! Grace welcomed her little brother with welcome arms, and I know she’ll never be able to imagine her life without him.
February found us busy at home- nesting, and preparing Gavin’s room. We literally had less than a week to prepare for his arrival, so we spent many weekends at home enjoying our new family.
March was a busy month for our family. Felix visited Connecticut on business for 3 weeks, leaving me alone with 2 children for the first (not last) time. Wow, had I been taking his help for granted!! Thankfully, I had plenty of help from family and friends! My dad and step-mom came for a visit from Wisconsin, along with my aunt and cousins from California. Together, we saw 3 spring training games (Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland A’s). Pam (Mimi) moved back from Michigan, and has continued to save my sanity as a live-in help, physically and mentally!
In April, we decided to sell our small home, as we were officially busting at the seams! Luckily, we have great friends, and we were able to move into a larger home at the end of the month. The month was a blur, with Pam making an emergency flight back to Michigan at the unexpected passing of her father. We’ve spent the past few months reliving his amazing life, and remembering the good times.
May was a blur, as spring often is. In addition to spring cleaning, we experienced spring moving- a new phenomenon, especially with 2 children! I vowed never to move again, without a moving crew- what a job! Gavin’s adoption day was officially celebrated on Cinco de Mayo. We were surrounded by friends and family at the courthouse, and then after during a celebratory breakfast. It was a wonderful relief! Grace continued to amaze us, as she went from 100% oral aversion, to eating baby food- literally overnight! Worried it was a fluke, we continued to feed her daily, often every hour or so. I’m happy to report that Grace is still eating, making more progress daily. On Mother’s Day, I received the best present EVER- Grace finally learned how to return a kiss! Of course, I’ve been smothering her with them every day since! Felix found himself being sent to Denver on business with a one-day’s notice. Making the best of his business trip, the kids and I traveled with him to Colorado. The kids and I then rented a car and made the 8 hour drive to Felix’s parent’s home in Cody, Wyoming. Mid-way I was blessed to visit family in Casper, Wyoming, enjoying laughter and pizza and a great night’s sleep, before making the rest of the drive. We spent 2 full weeks in Wyoming. The kids enjoyed their grandparents, great grandmother, great uncle, aunt, uncle and cousin as well as Yellowstone National Park. What a great visit!
In June, I became an officially ordained minister and officiated my first wedding ceremony- my mother and step-father’s! It was a beautiful, intimate affair celebrated in our backyard with friends and family. Grace learned to officially crawl in June, as well, but preferred her usual mode of transportation- the “butt-scoot”. Grace would literally sit on her bottom, scooting everywhere she needed to go, often quicker than I could walk!
July came and went, with one of the hottest summers I can remember here in Phoenix. To escape the heat, we took a family day-trip to Sedona. The 10 degree difference was AMAZING! We spent all day just enjoying the break. Felix and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on July 14th- hard to believe it’s been that long! To celebrate, we took the kids on a 3 day staycation at a local resort. We spent all 3 days submerged in the pool- so fun! We learned that Gavin loved to swim and kick, in fact, he loved the water so much he would often fall asleep in his floaty for a mid-swim nap! After that trip, Felix and I decided we needed a vacation from our vacation, so we splurged on 2 nights at another resort for just us. Very, very relaxing!
August and September went by far too quickly- with not much “autumn” here in the valley. Luckily (for the kids and me!), Felix was sent on another 2 week business trip to Denver, so the kids and I visited Wisconsin and enjoyed the fall splendor! Felix was able to join us at the end of his trip, and we all enjoyed the visit with family. Felix and I were able to sneak away for a day, and I enjoyed playing tour guide. We spent the day touring the lakefront of Lake Michigan, even having lunch with a good friend at the American Club in Kohler. When we returned back to the heat of the desert, we played catch-up on our daily lives. The kids both had numerous doctor visits- including Gavin getting ear tubes, and Grace having a stent placed in her left pulmonary artery. Luckily, kids are super resilient, and they recovered quickly and seamlessly! We spent the remainder of the summer mostly indoors, while Pam and I worked on building a miniature kitchen set for the kids. Great idea- they love it!!
October was still warm, but we could see the change in seasons on the horizon. Gavin had some allergy testing done, and we were able to get some answers about his health. We’re still working on figuring out his perfect “food” combination, but I’m confident we’re making the appropriate strides towards our goal. Halloween was an exciting day for our family! We all dressed as a clan of pirates, went to a neighborhood block party, and then trick-or-treated into the night. Gavin was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, and fell asleep immediately once we got home. Grace decided she wanted to be a “big kid” and would walk, yes walk, to the houses! This was a first for us- such an exciting time! She proceeded to hoard her candy bars when we got home, eating a full-sized Baby Ruth bar!
The holiday months kicked off early with November coming so quickly! Felix and I were gifted tickets to Elton John, and made a great date-night out of the event. We planned a pre-Thanksgiving mini-trip to Disneyland, meeting good friends for 3 fun-filled days! We enjoyed the memories made with my niece and my god-children.
Everyday finds our family blessed beyond words. Our lives have changed significantly over the past few years, and with the holiday season upon us, we can’t help but be thankful to God for where we are now. Grace continues to grow stronger and stronger, tipping the scales at a whopping 20+ pounds! She’s walking more every day, and growing up way too quickly, having turned 2 on December 1st! Gavin is turning into a little man, right before our eyes. He’s crawling EVERYWHERE, babbling up a storm, and trying to outgrow his sister at a whopping 19+ pounds! Their laughter fills our home, and for that, we are eternally blessed.
Happy Holidays to Each and Every One of you!