In February we went to California for a SoftBones conference. It's hard not to love San Diego, and we had blast meeting more friends and families with HPP. These trips are especially meaningful for Evie, as she meets more kids with HPP just like her. We hit a rainy weekend but found a sunny day for Sea World.
On May 6th, Aliannah was officially adopted into our family! We had a day full of celebration with her and family and it was such a happy day for all of us. It was bizarre to sit in the same courtroom that we had sat in so many times facing the unknown, this time celebrating the peace and addition God has given us!
On May 19th, we celebrated Lyla's 7th Birthday and nearing the end of our first year of homeschooling. She finished 1st grade with gusto, and we are both really enjoying this concept of doing school together! You can find us doing school at home, Starbucks, in the car, at the pool, in a waiting room, all over town. I am learning right along with her, which is an added bonus (; I am so proud of her hard work and the nice girl she is becoming!
In July we celebrated Ali's 3rd birthday. It's hard to believe we met her just after she had turned 1! Those two years have flown by. We had a fun day at the zoo celebrating her first official birthday with us and the sweetness that she has brought to our home! This girl loves to eat, so we had a day full of cake, cake and more cake!
At the end of August we took a family trip to NYC. It was a first for most of us!! The sights were amazing and we had another chance to share about Evie's HPP and her treatment. I'm pretty sure it was the hottest weekend NYC had seen in a while, but we are used to Nebraska summers so we enjoyed every minute of it! Lady Liberty was the highlight of the trip, and we also enjoyed Time Square, the Subway, the Double Decker busses, Dylan's Candy Bar, and all things tourist (:
Near the end of September, John went on his first medical missions trip to Romania. He spent 10 days there, doing surgery, exploring the countryside and experiencing medicine in another country. He came home with lots of new ideas and an itch to travel. We survived 10 days without daddy, but heard from him most of the days he was gone (: I am so proud of him for raising money to serve others!
A few days after John came home Evie and I took off for San Diego! I had the opportunity to speak at the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference again, and share our family's journey of participating in a clinical trial. Traveling just the two of us was a blast, we stayed a few extra days to paddle board, spend a day with Uncle Rob (my cousin) and soak up some rays!
To end our year of travels I went to Washington DC, ALONE, to participate in another meeting about clinical trials. I had a really hard time walking away from John and the girls, but was amazed at how much I could read in an airplane without being interrupted (: I spent two days with another mom who also shared her daughter's story to a group of amazing medical professionals with a passion to improve pediatric medicine. The experience was incredible, but I really missed being home. We'll see how much traveling we take on next year (:
Apart from birthdays, travels and school, the girls are all doing swim lessons, and Lyla and Evie both did their first swim meets. It was a big milestone for them!
Evie has been really healthy apart from a few seizures here and there which are much less scary now that she's 5 and so much bigger. We are truly blessed to be the parents of these three amazing kiddos and I am going to soak up every minute. These are such wonderful years of parenting, watching the kids discover new things as they grow up and see the talents and desires God has given each of them is just so fun. Evie is doing a High-5 preschool program this year, and was the Angel in the Christmas program. She got to stand in the front of the stage while the rest of the class sang "Go tell it on the mountain" and joined her. My heart just about exploded, thanking God for how He has sustained her and how much joy she brings to our family.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Love from the Elsaessers (: