Sunday, June 30, 2013

2013 in pictures ~ june

Phebe : June in pictures

cell phone sweetie
father's day
team cute
sister feeding sister
first pigtails

Saturday, June 29, 2013

her first piggy tails!


We reached another milestone around here today. Phebe's first piggy-tails!

Do you remember that sweet little bald head (with the shaved hair) that we first met in Changsha?!

Well, it's been nine months since that moment. And now, just look at her, she's sweet as a button with those cute little piggy-tails. I'm sure you can tell by the picture, but she was absolutely glowing with pride - like the cat that got the cream. To be honest, she's been asking me for piggy-tails for a while now, since she watches me put Lilah's hair in piggy-tails all the time. So I was happy to finally be able to fulfill her request.

Oh, and did you know, hair grows faster in the summer than winter? I read that in one of the 'Weird but True' National Geographic books I bought Lilah!

piggy-tails! piggy-tails! piggy-tails! her first piggy-tails!

As I mentioned, she's like the cat that got the cream!
All antics are purely her own.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

the naps have ended!

Up until recently, when Lilah went to Kindergarten, 1-3:30pm, Phebe used to sleep during that time, about 2 hours. She would conk out within seconds. She loved her nap. And I kinda loved it too - read: washing, blogging, cleaning, tidying, ironing! I got a lot of stuff done when she was asleep! But since surgery, I noticed, (she still loves her naps) but she would take so much longer falling asleep at night... she would lie and play with her Tigger for an hour or more before falling asleep.

So, I decided maybe we should stop the naps. Most days. Some days she just needs a little mid-day sleep. But for the most part, she is not snoozing during the day. Although it's taken a bit of time to figure it all out, we seem to have a handle on it now. And it's especially great now, with school being out for summer ~ Lilah's last day is tomorrow!

We have much to do and see this summer, Phebe's first summer in Canada. In fact, we've been doing plenty already, here's some of the ways I've been keeping her entertained over the past week or so, during the 2.5 hours Lilah's at school.

sunshine & bubbles

blowing bubbles (with tanned-flip-flop-lines feet!)


artist at work! artist at work! artist at work! artist at work! artist at work! artist at work!

painting - one of her favourite things to do


cutting out!

cutting - another thing she could literally spend hours doing



puzzles - she loves her puzzles


imaginary play

imaginary play - the restaurant - notice Tigger's booster seat (the sink!)


singing in the rain!

the science and technology museum - we have yearly passes here - the girls both love it


And sooooooooooo much more.
What can I say, we have much fun together!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

a sister bond

team cute!

"Because I have a sister, I'll always have a friend"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'jump in puddles'

a splashing time!

make mudpies
jump in puddles
climb trees
lie in the grass
dream big
build a fort
run barefoot
pretend to fly
play in the rain
reach for the stars
tread gently
sleep soundly

a splashing time! a splashing time! a splashing time! a splashing time! a splashing time! a splashing time! a splashing time!

[ the flickr set is here ]

Monday, June 24, 2013

our first trip to the splash pad, this summer!

cool down at the splash pad! cool down at the splash pad! cool down at the splash pad! cool down at the splash pad!

Wow, it's been a sticky hot few days around here... and it looks like we have a week of it ahead of us!
We desperately needed a bit of a cool down today!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

some pictures from the past week


I go through phases of being in a funk with my big camera. I prefer not to carry it around so much.
Sometimes it's the little moments that I want to remember!

These pictures were taken with my purse camera.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"hello, how'r you?"

What is it about phones? Little kids, big kids, adults, almost everyone is engrossed with the phone. I on the other hand, don't even own a cell phone and I'm pretty sure I could live without a house phone too, if it came to the bit. In fact, the answering machine seems to do most of the work, when it comes to answering the phone around here! I always say, if it's important they'll leave a message!

Funny that. And yet, our little Phebe, she's never off the phone - her pretend phone that is! She calls it her iphone and she orders 'nom-nom', she chats with her 'friends' and you'll hear her in a very distinct voice say: "Hello! How'r you?" and then she continues with a long list of 'I wants'... "I want puzzle, I want soccer ball, I want play, I want yoghurt, I want flowers, I want noodles...!" The chatter is never ending.

She is just so darn cute!

on the phone

Sunday, June 16, 2013

baba to two girls, this year!

Two of his greatest blessings, call him Baba! And he could not be more proud.

We love you SO much Baba Boy.
Happy Baba's Day!

Father's Day - 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

her heart surgeons

Our little Phebe has always had plenty of energy, so I was wondering if/how we would notice a difference, post surgery.

Well, I am actually starting to notice some changes in Phebe already. She has more stamina now... for example, climbing the stairs used to be a bit of a labour for her, she would puff her way to the top at a relatively slow pace, however now she can climb them without nearly the puff it used to take her and at a much faster pace too. Also, on a hot day when we would get into the car, she used to sweat a lot, like it literally ran down the side of her face, however on Sunday past, after church, we got into the hot car and I noticed she just had tiny little beads of sweat, pretty much like the rest of us had before the A/C kicked in! And of course, the vibration that we used to feel when holding her, it's now gone, I imagine she's really appreciating her quieter little engine!

Yesterday we had a follow-up appointment with Phebe's cardiovascular surgeons, to make sure everything is progressing as expected. She had a chest x-ray and some bloodwork done. And indeed she is doing wonderful! In fact, she is back up to her pre-surgery weight, not that she lost much weight, thankfully... but still! And her incisions are healing at an incredible pace. The surgeons basically told us she can do whatever she wants now and not to be holding her back! Of course, there is still the 4 weeks left for her sternum to heal... and no lifting her underarm, but yeah, we can deal with that. So that's us done with the surgeons.

Our next visit will be in four weeks with her Cardiologist, Dr. Wong. He has been following us closely this past couple of weeks, while we were in hospital. He would pop in for 'social visits', as he called them and he was also in the operating theatre, when Phebe was having her surgery.

I am so in awe of this team. Really, I'm so grateful for each of them. And the compassion these surgeons have shown our family, it's just so obvious how much they love their jobs and the children. Yesterday, Dr Maharajh - the Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, who performed the intricate part of Phebe's heart surgery, kissed the top of her little head. Melt my heart. ♥

We're so thankful for Dr. Maharajh and Dr. Shanmugam and their incredible God given skills. These two amazing men fixed our little Phebe's heart.
Don't they have such a quiet strength about them? They are so warm and caring. Such kind men.

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013 in pictures ~ may

Phebe : May in pictures

heart surgery
pa's girls
swinging at wakefield
sisterly love
photo booth
mother's day
pretend fishing at pink lake

Thursday, June 6, 2013

one week ago today...

This day last week is already such a distant memory.
However, there are so many emotions wrapped up in this day, I doubt very much that I'll ever forget it.

Today I asked Phebe if her heart felt better and she replied: "I like it heart fixed!".

Phebe - Heart Surgery

Love this girl of mine, I wish I had half the courage she has.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

sidewalk chalking

It's only 6 days post surgery and I'm already having a hard time trying to come up with low key activities for my little patient... i.e. things that are not dangerous or could lead to possible falls... running, jumping, etc! You have no idea how many times I use the phrases, "Be careful Phebe!" and "Slow down Phebe!"

Phebe had more than enough energy prior to surgery, she had me on my toes! And even though she is not up to 100% yet, due to her chest/sternum/pain, she is definitely back at where she was prior to surgery! Have I mentioned how difficult it is to lift and carry a child after heart surgery? Especially when you can't pick them up under the arms (for 6 weeks!)... this includes getting on and off the toilet, into and out of the car seat, into and out of the shopping trolley, in and out of the bath, in and out of the crib, in and out of her chair for breakfast/lunch/supper, up and down the stairs... and the list goes on and on. Yep, my back is getting weaker by the minute, because she basically has to sit her bum on my hand before I can lift her up!

Anyway, today I decided a nice little low key chalking activity would be perfect, while I was doing a bit of gardening. Did someone say low key? I doubt Phebe even knows the meaning of those words! Can you even believe this is 6 days post surgery? Unbelievable! And yes, she was totally licking the chalk off her fingers, just what the doctor ordered... not!

sidewalk chalking sidewalk chalking sidewalk chalking sidewalk chalking sidewalk chalking

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

a successful surgery!

You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13&14

Phebe - Open Heart Surgery

Firstly, let me just say... Praise the Lord! Our prayers were answered in a BIG way, to God be the glory.

Phebe had her surgery on Thursday 30th May and was discharged on Monday 3rd June - 4 days post-surgery! In fact, she took her first cautious steps just 24 hours after surgery on Friday 31st May - where she walked to the toilet for a pee - she was having none of this diaper stuff! Her progress was nothing short of a miracle. I have to admit though, she got a lot of her tubes/wires/lines/catheter taken out just before she took those 8 steps back and forth to the toilet and we knew she was in a lot of pain while they were being removed... she was exhausted and promptly fell asleep! By Friday evening she was given the go ahead to be taken from the intensive care unit to the surgical ward.

On Saturday the doctor's came around, they were amazed with her progress and said she was in a position that she could almost have went home, but because she was just 48 hours post-open-heart-surgery they just didn't feel right about sending her home so soon! She walked to the playroom and thoroughly enjoyed her time there, she spent a good part of the day out of bed, she wanted to sit on the seat, she wanted her noodles... basically, there was no stopping her!

By Sunday she was marching around the ward, chatting and showing off her new pajamas to the nurses, she was even trying to CLIMB! I was amazed with her progress.

On Monday all her monitors were turned off and she had her final ECHO, x-ray and bloodwork... I say final, but in fact this ECHO is her new baseline, her new normal, with her fixed heart! We also gave her a little bath, which she loved. We were later discharged, 4 days post-surgery!

God is so amazingly good.

Phebe had so many friends and family praying for her, we couldn't have gone through this without them, we are so thankful for each of those prayers. The incredible surgeons and team that looked after us during our stay at CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) are nothing short of amazing. I am just going to put the names down here, so some day when she's older, Phebe will know all those who loved on her and made this possible, especially those surgeons and their incredible God given skills. We are so blessed that they are part of Phebe's story: Dr. Maharajh & Dr. Shanmugam - the two surgeons that completed the surgery. Jocelyn & Andrea - the surgical nurse and social worker that kept us calm and updated prior to and during surgery. George & Marissa - the two nurses in the PICU unit that were with us during those first two days of recovery. And then there were many other nurses during our remaining days in the surgical ward (5 East, Room 3): Dianne, Rebecca, Shannon and Eleanor.

Now a little background... the 5mm hole they went in to fix actually turned out to be a 10mm hole and there is still a small leakage now, after surgery. We knew this was a possibility, because of the stitching around the patch. This leakage is very minor, at this stage it is considered a heart murmur, however there is still a high chance of probability that it will fix itself over the next few weeks. The scar tissue that forms around the stitches (that were used to sew the gore-tex patch on the hole) may close over where the leakage is. Also, this is definitely not a reason to go back in and fix it again, the only difference this slight murmur will have on her life is when she visits the dentist, she will need to take an antibiotic prior to the visit.

We are so relieved this surgery is behind us and we can't help but praise our little girl, for her courage and bravery. We were told when they woke her up after surgery, she was a little hysterical, asking for us... so they sedated her to calm her down. When we were finally able to see her, she could hardly keep her eyes open from the sedation, but you could tell how glad she was to see us. She would come in and out of reality, touching us, holding our fingers, appreciating us running our fingers through her hair. It was so special. This whole experience has created a very special unique bond between us all. She trusted us every step of the way, she leaned on us and I know she clung to our love and care even more than ever.

Here are some pictures (taken with my little point & shoot camera) to document her time in hosptial:


Thursday 30th May : Pre-Surgery

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Thursday 30th May : Post-Surgery

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Friday 31st May : Day 1 Post-Surgery
Stomach tube out, electrical wires out, neck line out. catheter out and her first cautious steps to the toilet.
She was discharged from the PICU and taken up to the surgical ward, later that evening.

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Saturday 1st June : Day 2 Post-Surgery
She loved being reunited with her sister, that's when we saw her first grin of happiness.
We even made it to the playroom today. And she got to eat her favourite comfort food, Mr. Noodles!

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Sunday 2nd June : Day 3 Post-Surgery
There was no stopping our little fighter, she even went as far as attempting to climb today!
She also marched around the ward, chatting with the nurses and showing off her new pajamas.

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Monday 3rd June : Day 4 Post-Surgery
She got her final ultrasound, bloodwork and x-ray and we were ready for home.
Not before a bath and a final goodbye to Dr. Shanmugam, who she adored. He teased her a lot about Tigger & Foxy, which she loved!

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery

Thank you so much for all your prayers and love, it is humbling how many of you have reached out to us in the past week.

[ the flickr set is here ]