The Darling Girls

The Darling Girls

Friday, December 9, 2016


Jamie is now a senior at San Diego State University.  Wow, that was fast!  

She will graduate this May with a degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Child and Family Development. She has worked very hard, both in school and in rowing, and finally this year has had to drop rowing. While I know she was sad to stop rowing and being part of that team, she has taken up Ultimate Frisbee, a club sport at SDSU, and is loving it.  Lots more fun, lots more time spent competing, and lots of new friends. All with the big bonus of less time required: a win-win. Our family has gone to a couple of games and we have all enjoyed watching the good natured, rough and tumble play.  
When she is not in class, playing frisbee or hanging with her boyfriend, her free time is taken up with applying to Grad schools to try to get into a Speech and Language Pathology Masters program.  There are far fewer Masters programs than undergrad programs, and you must have a Masters to get your license.  Hard to do when the schools are so impacted, so she might be taking a gap-year instead and re-apply the next year if she doesn't make it in this first round of applications.  I am guessing that taking a year off might sound a little tempting to her after 4 years of 17-18 units a semester!

Jamie had a great summer.  She spent 2 months in China, the first month in Xian, where she signed up for a volunteer program that places you in China, gives you a place to stay, shows you the place you will be volunteering and that's about figure out the rest!  Anyway, she loved it.  She lived with other young women from all over the world.  Some were there for a week, some for months.  She lived in an apartment building and shared a room with 3 other girls.  In the mornings Jamie took the local bus for a 45 min ride to get to a "school" that cared for severely mentally handicapped children.  There she was an aide in a room of kids about 7-10 years old.  Due to the extreme language barrier, Jamie was pretty much on her own in figuring it out at the school, but at "home" she and her roommates all spent a lot of time together at night exploring the city.  I know she came to love Xian and would really like to go back.
The next month was spent teaching English to school kids in Inner Mongolia, truly in the middle of nowhere!  This program was thru a university, and most of fellow teachers were from China.  Again the language barrier was tough, but she came home knowing some Mandarin, a lot about China and it's culture, and even more about the world in general.  Great experiences and we are proud of her for pursuing this amazing study abroad experience.  She wrote about the trip on this site: 

Here are a few choice photos from her trip and school:
Some of her fellow teachers.

One of her classes in Inner Mongolia

Exploring the Gobi dessert.

The "Gnomes", her Ultimate Frisbee team.

The next few years will be very exciting and full of major changes for our second daughter, and I know she will rise to the challenges with her typical good humor and hard work.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

7 years ago today....

....we met Kelly in China.  
She was a hot, sweaty, snotty, whiney little 21 month old, who was embarking on a life-changing experience with strangers and in a strange environment.  

 This is her today.  
I can't imagine our family without you.   Happy Family Day big girl!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Finally Posting

   Ok, I am first to admit that I have been terribly remiss in my posts.  
   Life has been very busy and very good, we are so lucky to all be healthy and happy, and enjoying life.  My goal is to post a little about each of my kids, starting with the eldest, who is no longer a "kid", but an adult who is about to turn 24...yikes!!!
   Cory has just finished her 2nd year (of 3) at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media.  She is studying for her MFA in Film Production with an emphasis in Editing.  The last two years have been very busy for her with projects, classes, internships and T.A.-ing.  She lives at home now, which is great.  We love seeing her (which is seldom due to her schedule) and the Littles love hanging with their oldest sister.  It's been an adventure in compromise for us all, as she lived her first 4 years at Berkeley; away, so moving home as an adult has been challenging. Even so, Ron and I have been so happy to have her around.  One of the perks with her living at home is she came with us on a trip to Taipei, Taiwan for a friend's wedding.  Ron was already out there for work and so Cory, Kelly, Drew and I flew together and had a great time.  She was a huge help to me with the traveling to and from with the Littles, and it was fun having time with her away from her commitments.  The other perk of having her here is she and Jamie watched the Littles for Ron and I while we got away for 11 days for an anniversary trip.  Kelly and Drew never missed us, as hanging with the big sisters is their favorite thing to do.  Knowing the Littles were being watched by their sisters let Ron and I really relax and have fun, and made for some serious bonding time for all four girls.
   Cory has a paid (yay!) internship this summer, with a production company that works in TV.  She is editing for them while juggling editing and producing for summer school, and getting a jump on her thesis.   Her thesis will take up this last year of school, and it will be an interesting year of lots of film work.  We can't wait to see her finished products!
Cory goofing off with the guardian lions in Taipei.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

First and Last Day

Kelly had her last day of First Grade and Drew had her last day of Pre-School:

This was last fall, on their first day of school...

July? Already?

Can't believe it's July already!

   All girls home for the summer, "bigs" are traveling to see friends, working summer jobs and have projects for school.
   "Littles" have been off for 1 or 2 weeks, depending who.  Kelly has done a beach camp, and a Nature camp and loved them both.  But her real interest is turning out to be music.  Rocked her first piano recital, and actually likes to play music (a new event in our household, where piano practice had to be enforced).  Drew is done with Pre-School and got to join in on the Nature camp where she had a ball.  Both will do the typical swim lessons and beach days...oh the life!
   We finally, finally finished remodeling our pool.  It was 25 years old and in great need of help.  This photo is taken out back, where we hope to spend most of our summer.
  Happy summer!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Can't, I've got Crew."

Our family seems to have a connection with rowing; or "Crew".  Ron rowed for UCI, I was a coxswain, it's were we met.  Cory found rowing on her own, in high school where she was on the team for 4 years, and was recruited by Cal to be a coxswain there, where she was on the team for 2 1/2 years.  Jamie rowed for 4 years in high school, and was recruited by SDSU where she is ending her 2nd year on the team (NCAA DI).  She's ending it on a great note I might add!  She has made "Scholar-Athlete" for the second year and has just won a silver medal at WIRA (the Western Championships) in a 4, that she was Stroke seat in!  
   The title of this post is the saying on a popular T-shirt in the rowing set, because it is all you ever say when you are on can't do anything outside Crew, because it takes up ALL your  time.  But it is a wonderful  sport, that requires you to act as a team like no other, it demands amazing physical strength and finesse, and it is done on the water in beautiful places.  You can see why we all seem to like it.
So, this is to celebrate Jamie, and all her incredible hard work, both physical and mental.   We are so proud of you.  Go AZTECS!

SDSU's Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet. This is the Women's Crew Team on the stage

Jamie and her 4. Usually rowers are all very tall, but Jamie is good, so she can hold her own with the tall girls, while she looks like a coxswain.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bone Graft

  This post might be a little too "yucky", or medically detailed for many of you...but I post it for those interested in the Cleft lip/cleft palate side of our don't say I didn't warn you haha!

   One of the many surgeries that Cleft Palate kids usually have to do is to fix the cleft in the bony ridge that your upper teeth sit in, called the Alveolar Ridge.  After the lip has been fixed and then the palate, most doctors usually wait until somewhere between 7-9 years old to fix this ridge.  The idea of yet another surgery on your child's mouth is hard, so you don't usually rush into it.  Usually. 

   Kelly had a consult with a Orthodontist in October, and a follow up in March.  The March appointment held a surprise: the Ortho felt we should see what an Oral Surgeon said about a bone graft soon.  The trip to the Surgeon had the same result...bone graft soon.  Wow, we assumed this would be at age 8 or 9, but after hearing that she needed it before end of summer, and that the graft would mean no swimming for 8 weeks, I decided to put it all in high gear and get it done during Spring Break.  
   See the bone graft needs bone... so they open up the hip bone, scrape out all the available bone there, and then open up the maxilla, both lip side and palate side, and put the bone in there.  Sew up the hip then the mouth: both layers of skin (palate and floor of the nasal cavity) back up and send you on your way.  Oh, and take out a tooth or two (two for Kelly).  This will give the adult teeth that haven't come in yet, bone to come down through and anchor to.  It also closes any remaining holes in the mouth that air can escape through during speech.
  Kelly went in Wed. morning and we were released that same day (5:00pm) and while she was very sore and swollen, she is doing better and better by the hour.  Dr. says she can go back to school next week, play, just not run or play rough.  She is on a liquid diet for a week, then if all is well move to a very very soft diet .  The surgeon was very pleased with his work and feels it should be a success, but we won't know for sure for a month or two.  I'm just glad to have it over and hopefully done....and allow Kelly to have a great summer swimming!

  You can see the cleft on the mid to left side of the x-ray.  
  The tooth sitting right in the cleft, up high, that is horizontal was removed.

This is post-op, poor baby, SO swollen....  

One more, very large, step closer to being "done" with all the cleft treatment.