The Darling Girls

The Darling Girls

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Drew turns 3!

She is now 3...such a great number. 
Drew's birthday is Dec. 7th, which means that last year we didn't have Drew until just after her second birthday.  So she spent a whole year with us before celebrating her birthday...a whole year watching everyone else have a birthday, have a cake, get sung to, and get to blow out candles.  So let me tell you, when it was finally HER turn she was ready!!  I don't think I really appreciated how much she wanted that birthday experience until we got to the candle-blowing part.  I'm pretty sure I've never seen a child so intensely happy about it or so ready. 

                                                      Helping make the birthday cake

All she had asked for was a "ba-yoon".
 .
She picked out Minnie Mouse plates, so of course I had to make a Minnie cake.
 
 She got that third finger to work pretty quickly.
 
Happy Birthday Drew!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trying to catch up....

Trying to get caught up to date with my blog posts here....I have some other photos of this summer that I still need to post; but as usual, I have downloaded them to the computer and can't find them.  
I'll post the Halloween and Thanksgiving photos that I CAN find and will keep looking for the others! 


  Kelly was a cowgirl, and wore the same outfit that Cory and Jamie wore at this age.  Drew enjoyed being a bumble bee and they both had a blast cruising the neighborhood for candy.




Then came Thanksgiving.  We celebrated at our house with lots of family, food and noise.  Drew got to try the whipped cream straight from the beaters....She was a little suspicious at first, but then decided it was pretty good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

June Cleaver would be proud

Ok, this was just too funny not to post. 
So the other day I was vacuuming to try to keep up with the PILES of dog fur that tumble through our house on a daily basis. I stepped away for a minute and came back to find that Kelly had been into the Dress-Up box, but somehow got sidetracked by the vacuum.....

video

The strange sound in the background is me laughing.

Carmel Apples



One of our family's favorite traditions, started by Ron, is to make carmel apples a few weeks before Halloween.  This usually involves many kids, neighbors and lots of sweet stuff.  This year was no different and we did it the one weekend Cory came home since she left.  It was great to see her, and really good for Kelly and Drew to spend time with her.
The house was full of people, the kitchen sticky from top to bottom, Taylor Swift was blaring, and the little ones squealing....a great day.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer fun




 
Yeah Summer!
It's been a long and often diffucult summer but we also had a lot of fun.  We decided at the very last minute that we really needed to, and could, get away as a family.  So the best fitting option for us turned out to be a cruise to Mexico.  We have never cruised before (honestly were never interested); bareboated, but not cruised, but with Long Beach so close (no airfare for 6, let alone travel time) all food taken care of (yeah!) and having some kind of activity for 2 yr olds through 20 yrs olds, it had something for everyone in our family.  Can't say that we are big fans of the big boats, but it was a great way to spend time together and get away from it all.
Cory and Jamie have had a busy summer, Cory worked and helped out with the littles and all the Dr. appointments we've had.  Jamie has been working out, relaxing after her Jr. year and spending time with her sisters. 
Kelly stumped us, and her doctors, by coming down with Henoch-Schonlein purpura, a childhood vasculitis in early July.  It's an autoimmune disease that forturnately usually goes away by itself in a few months, and usually has no lasting damage.  It took a long time and many tests to confirm, and it did cause a lot of "down" time for her this summer, but she's doing great now, and we hope to be done with it. 
Drew continues to amaze us with her developement and recovery from her surgery in June.  It took awhile to make sure that all her systems were fine and untouched by the surgery, but everything seems to be perfect and she continues to be the "wild woman" of the house.  She is still in her Developemental Delay therapy group, but is about to be kicked out, due to her not needing it!  She has started Speech Therapy with Kelly's first SLP, Chelsea, and loves it.  I think this will be needed for quite awhile, as it's her worst delay and her speech has not improved nearly as rapidly as the rest of the delays (which are now gone).  Her behaviour is true blue two, a wonderful thing to see her act like a typical, annoying, loving, demanding two yr old.
School starts for Jamie and the littles in a few days, Cory returned to Cal a few weeks ago, so the routine is about to settle in.  What a summer!
 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Drew has surgery

As a few of you knew,  Drew had to have a benign tumor removed from her tailbone area. 
She was born with a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, and this was either a recurrent, or residual, growth from the original growth (also benign) that was removed in China when she was born.  After several doctor appointments here, a MRI, and CAT scan needle biopsy, the doctors said it needed to come out.

We were supposed to go in last Friday, but ended up being admitted on Thurs evening. This was because we were supposed to do a complete "colon clean-out" by Thurs evening...but getting a 2 yr. old to voluntarily drink 1-2 liters of "Golytley" (think prep for colonoscopy) was just not possible. She was a trooper, and didn't mind the not eating part, but chugging the nasty stuff just wasn't happening.  Our surgeon wanted her to do this in case they had to invade the colon during the tumor removal. Anyway, by 4:00 we had only gotten down 1/2 liter, so the surgeon said we had to be admitted to do the rest by NG tube.

I'll not go into the dreadful details of the next 12 hr.s after being admitted, but it was not a night to remember. We were mentally and physically exhausted after it all, Drew was completely traumatized (rightly so) and we were almost happy to move on to surgery.

The surgeon told us that the duration of surgery and recovery depended on what he found once in. After almost 5 hrs of surgery, the Dr. was happy to tell us that it went as well as could be hoped for; no invasion of the colon, tumor removed, and the added surprise of finding some of the tailbone was still there. The coccyx was supposed to have been removed during the first surgery in China and the MRI here confirmed that....but I guess MRIs are not the final word...actually looking at it was. Anyway, the last of it was taken out, and Pathology confirmed it was indeed coccyx and the mass benign. Drew was stitched and glued up and after a few hours in recovery we went off to a regular room, skipping ICU. The Dr. said it went "perfectly"...how often do you hear that from a surgeon? Of course he also used the term "carve" when describing what he had to do, but I focused on "perfectly"!

We stayed in a private room after the surgery thankfully, which was to everyone's benefit, as by this time Drew had developed a hysterical reaction to any and all medical people entering the room (which happens constantly). Her recovery was very slow at first, too drugged, too many tubes and too weak and sore to move or eat. Monday at 8 am she still hadn't put weight on her legs, or sat up, but by 11:00 am that same day she was walking around the halls of the floor and by 2:00 was trying to climb out of the crib. We were released at 3:00, home by 4 and she is now starting to eat, is off the narcotics, and really her only restrictions are no baths or straddle toys and she still doesn't want to sit (too sore). She tires easily but is sleeping well and by next week I don't expect to see any signs of the rough 5 days she spent at CHOC...other than a fresh but nicer scar on her little bottom.

We are so thankful for all our friend's and family's support, care and love and very thankful to have that behind us!

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Drew's Video, finally.

   With an awful lot of help from Ron, and using the photos that he and mostly Jamie, took while in China and at home, I've finally put together a video of our trip to China.  It includes meeting Drew, our visit to her orphanage, the rest of our time in China and the first few weeks home.  
   Many of the photos will only have real meaning to our family, and the video is  long (9+ minutes), but I think I captured our experience (or MY experience) as much as I could, seeing as I'm hopelessly computer challenged. And while Jamie and Ron did a great job on the photos, nothing can really show the reality of the "gotcha" experience or adoption trip.  This is a taste of it for others. and a good reminder for our family.
   When you hit "play" you should take the time to pause it, and then click on the little gear icon at the bottom... This adjusts the quality of the picture.  Change it from "360p" to "480p" and the photos will be much nicer.  Crank the volume (only cause I love the music) and enjoy, I know I did making it.  
  Here's to you DrewZ. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter!

                                                        Humpdee Dumpdee





I love the eggs....they say so much:  the "minion" is Cory's; the modern, graphic ones are Jamie's; the Humpdee Dumpdee is Kelly's, and the crushed one is Drew's....too funny!
It was a wonderful day with the whole family together.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not what you were expecting

This post is a little different.
For the past 6 years, Cory and Jamie have been involved with an amazing group called "Invisible Children".  The group has been wonderfully sucessful in changing the lives of many many children in Uganda and this year they hope to bring an end to the suffering.  An actual end.  Please view this video, it's 30 min.s long, so plan to sit, but it's worth it.   Just click the link.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sunday on the Sand

  Sunday at Crystal Cove with Grandma and Grandpa for breakfast and fun.  Drew and Kelly had a great time getting sandy, picking up shells, poking sea creatures, and chasing birds.  It was a beautiful day and wonderful to just enjoy a slow morning.
   Drew will be starting a group "global therapy" group of small kids this week, thanks to Regional Center.  We are now working on getting a Speech Therapy referral too, so life will be even busier with more appointments.  Drew has finished up with some major medical tests (MRI, CAT, bloodwork for each) and we'll be getting more results back soon.  So far so good.




 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quick update

Our days are still looonnnggg sometimes, but Drew is still on fast forward with her progress. 
One of her happiest parts of the day is feeding the dogs, who she intently watches while they eat, right down next to their faces.  Food is still a REALLY big deal for her, and woe unto me if I am late making dinner, or forget to carry baggies of goldfish or Cheerios in my purse while out.  Speech is still so delayed, but we have a little imitation going on, and Dada and "Mama".  Well, not really "Mama" but ear splitting, full lunged: "MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMMAMAMA".  Jamie thinks it's funny, I do not.  But it is forward movement.  Putting her down to sleep has improved dramaticly too these days, freeing up precious time for me, so that is a huge bonus.  She has been seeing some Dr.s and had a Regional Services eval, so we should be starting Speech Therapy soon.  She and I also are doing Mommy and Me swim lessons, which go great, as long as the instructor (any instructor) doesn't try to touch her.  Poor teacher and class thought I was kidding when I tried to explain that Drew wouldn't be happy about being touched, let alone HELD, by a stranger...she set them straight on how serious she was about that "rule" of hers!  The girl has lungs, and while it's a good thing for swimming, not so good in an echo-y enclosed swim area.
She and Kelly continue to act more and more like regular siblings...squabling one minute, kissing the next.  They are pretty different, and will be very good for each other, if they live so long!  Drew is pretty aggressive and only knows taking and hitting as means of getting things, while Kelly has spent the last 2 1/2 years getting pretty much whatever she wants by just asking, so I expect a "showdown" any day for them, to decide who really is the big sister, and who should be the little sis.
Life is good, exhausting, but good.
  

Monday, February 6, 2012


   Thought I'd add a few pictures of our weekend.  Or at least Jamie's weekend.  Winter Formal.  She was beautiful, the boyfriend handsome and the little sisters were in awe.  And I didn't hear of any broken ankles due to jaw-droppingly high heels.  I am impressed at these girls ability to walk in those darn shoes, but still think they are crazy for attempting it.
   Life is settling down and a routine is starting to surface... a crazed mom trying to get two little, slowwww, kids out of the house 3 days a week to Kelly's Speech and school.  Drew tagging along and mostly happy except for when I try to leave the Pre-school.  I'm not sure if it's because we are leaving Kelly, or the school or both, but she pitches a fit when we go and that is a good thing!  Great to know she wants her sister and the school.  We are filling our days getting Kelly's events in, Drew's Dr. appointments in, and have even started Mom and Me swim.  Drew must be part fish, as she immediately put her face in, blows bubbles and enjoys being on her back in the water, all very surprising for me to see.
  Jamie and Cory are busy at their schools, Kelly's month long cough/sinus infection is clearing, Ron hasn't left for China yet for work (soon) and the dogs are getting kisses from Drew on a regular basis...life is good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life just got a whole lot easier

Drew can touch, and as you can see, even ride on the the dogs now!  Of course, she still screams blood curdling screams when you least expect it at the mere sight of one of the poor beasts....but when the mood is right, she tolerates them.  Thank goodness, as the whole "are the dogs in? -Please grab the child with I feed the dogs. -Dogs, stop tearing up the door to get in" -thing was getting really old and very tiring.  And the dogs were depressed from being banished.  Whew...it is the day to day stuff that wears you out! 
  Drew can now say: "Hi", "Byebye", "Ni-ni" "Up" and as of today, "uh oh" and "mo" for more...  And she makes noise all the time now, a far (very far) cry from the silent child we first met.  Ron introduced her to the joys of belly razzberries, which she has taken to with glee.  Eating is still her first activity of choice.  Her meltdowns are far shorter (mostly) and far fewer, thank goodness.  Her joy in the little things like sitting in the swing, feeling the rain come down, or hearing Kelly roar like a lion is wonderful to see, and surprising to hear the deep belly laugh that comes out of her..who would've guessed?  Between she and the dogs, I'm not sure who's happier these days!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blooming

  Drew continues to thrive and grow.  We are done with the dreadful medicine to cure her Giardia, she has leveled out her none-stop eating, and regular excercise is helping her gross motor skills.  She is learning some Sign Language and even has a few words now, so there is a hint of communication..which makes her very happy.  We all get regular kisses now, and she can even see the dogs (thru the glass door) without screaming!  It all sound like small steps, but to her they are mountains climbed.  Our days are quiet, limited, but very productive.  And as you can see by the picture, our beautiful flower is blooming.

Monday, January 16, 2012

better late than never




Well I've finally have gotten around to posting our Christmas pictures.  We spent the evening at my parents with Shirley and Brooke and Steve and family.  It was a great celebration (happened on New Year's Day) but by the end we were done and as you can see by the attempted family photo, Drew was DONE.  But we did get a lot of smiles from her that night and the 3 sillies were hamming it up as usual.  Still can't believe we are a family of 6!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Amazing progress

Well, we survived our "Christmas" here at home.  Had  a great morning seeing what Santa brought, then went to my parents and spent the evening with lots of family.  We were concerned that Drew would be more than overwhelmed, and meltdown, but she loved it all, and only had one bad crying fit, understandable for ANY 2 year old by Christmas night.  The rest of the week has been filled with trying to get a glimpse of the "new normal" and struggling to get over jet lag.  With 6 people severely off schedule, seems someone is always awake here, but it's getting better. 
   Drew has amazed us by making great progress in bonding, adjusting and learning.  Compared to the little girl who, 18 days ago, was only either furiously angry, or completely indifferent, we now have a cuddly, giggling, curious dynamo.  She spends the day following her sister, getting into cupboards, and eating, and eating and eating.  She gleefully attacks her food and constantly asks for more.  All food, any food.  She is still very frightened of the dogs, but with all the other adjustments these last few days (one week home today) I assume that will come with time.  
  So my great husband gave me this really cute little video camera for Christmas, and I finally figured out (with his help) how to use it and upload.  Hopefully I'll remember how and will do this often!  This video is a little long, but I was so excited to have done it, and it shows how well Drew is doing, I couldn't wait, you can fast forward if you want...I will work on the editing stuff later!