The Darling Girls

The Darling Girls

Saturday, December 27, 2014

'Tis the Season

  November and December have always been crazy months for us, as they are for most families, but since adding Drew to our family, it's raised the chaos to new levels.  Then throw in a trip to Hawaii for the Littles, Ron and I in December and you've got happy mayhem.
  See it starts with Thanksgiving, then this year it was 3 days to Jamie's 20th birthday, 3 days to Hawaii, Drew's birthday IN Hawaii, get home, 5 days to my birthday, 5 days to Drew's Family (Gotcha) Day, 5 days to Christmas, and a week to New Year's.  Whew.
  We were so very very lucky to have all the girls here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was definitely a crazy month, but so worth it!


Jamie's 20th

Made their own leis in Hawaii

Drew turns 5!!

Drew's Family Day...home for 3 years.

Kelly loving her Christmas dress

Drew at Aunt and Uncle's house

The girls.

Love, joy, peace and happiness to you all.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall Fun

   Ok, so here we are in November...first day of school has come and gone, soccer and Halloween happened too.  Kelly is now in first grade (wow.  just wow.) and Drew is going to preschool 4 days a week.  Both girls are loving their school time and I am thrilled to say both are doing very well.  With all the normal issues that come with international adoption, and then adding cleft issues (speech and hearing delays) and the deprivations that went on in Drew's orphanage, we were (still are) prepared for some possibly serious literacy problems.  We are so happy to see that is not the case for Kelly, and she is blossoming into a confident reader and speller. It is such a wonderful thing!  She is right on that cusp of reading almost anything she can see and is enjoying school and all that comes with it. 

The jury is not quite in with Drew.  She is quite bright, but literacy problems tend to show up later so we will have to wait and see.  Fortunately she also loves school, and is growing socially/emotionally by leaps and bounds.

The park around the corner hosted a city fall festival.  Too fun!


Kelly was Pocahontas for Halloween, a lovely one if I might say so.  This is her best friend at school.

   And out of the blue, Drew announced she wanted to be "agreatwhiteshark" (translated: A Great White Shark).  I have no clue why, but she insisted and thanks to the Amazon gods, it was pretty easy to manage that strange request.

   It's been a busy few months, we tried to catch up on doctor appointments, and that added to the mix.  Kelly has reached the 35% in height!!  But dropped in weight (16%). I chalk it up to a growth spurt. The kid eats like a horse so I'm not worried.  She will start seeing an Orthodontist soon, to prep for the next surgery that should occur in a year or so.  The ENT has given the thumbs up for trying to go without replacing the ear tubes for a bit...we'll see how she does, and so far so good.  It'd be nice to have ONE thing over and done with, even if it's just ear tubes.

   The "bigs" are busy at their respective schools.  Cory at Chapman working on her Masters at their film school, and Jamie at SDSU working toward Speech and Language Pathology.  Both have a long way to go yet, but are making excellent progress. We miss seeing them (even though Cory allegedly lives here) and the littles love-love-love it when they are home.  
Life is good.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Fun

Some random photos of summer fun:

Our annual trip to Catalina Island on Grandma and Grandpa's boat:

 They ALL jumped!!

This is Drew with her beloved Miss Kaitlin, her swimming instructor for the last two years.  Thanks to Miss K, Drew is now part fish.

No, this is NOT our new puppy.  Our friend, and Ron's associate, Joseph just bought this adorable Chow and Kelly was having fun teaching him to like kids and the pool.

This summer was filled with swimming, friends and relaxing.  I found myself surprised at how easy and mellow it all was.  Then I realized surgeries.  The first time in several years we did not have a surgery or illness to dominate the "fun" of summer.  And Kelly is was only doing one day a week of Speech Therapy, so that left us with lots of pool/beach time instead of doctor, hospital, therapy time, and it was lovely!

In a few days Kelly will start First grade, and in a few weeks turn 7.  Unbelievable.  

Drew will start back at Pre-school for 4 days a week (yippee!). 

Jamie is already back at SDSU, rowing and has 17 units, yikes!  Not sure when she will sleep or eat with that schedule.  

Cory has moved back home and starts at Chapman University in 3 days.  She's been attending orientation all week and is excited to begin. They tell her she will be too busy to work, so she might be quitting her job. 

So, that means we are back to 3 "kids" in the house, one not a kid by any stretch of the imagiation and   the other two less and less "kid-ish" as the days go by.  It was a fast summer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A great year for Kelly

First day of Kindergarden:

Last day of school:

She had a wonderful year.  
 We were so lucky to have a great teacher and some really nice friends at school.  Kelly grew 3 1/2 inches this year, gained muscle and weight, her speech is clear enough for most everyone to understand her on the first try (yeah!) and her self confidence has improved dramatically.  She is reading level One books, which is something we are pleasantly surprised about and very pleased about.  Kiddos with speech and language issues often struggle with literacy, but Kelly has so far kept up with, and exceeded, the expected goals that are set for Kinder these days....goals which were much hader than when the Bigs were in Kinder!

She belongs to a Daisy Troop (Girl Scouts for Kinder and 1st graders) that is a super bunch of girls and moms.  The local council has put on a Father-Daughter Dance for many years, and Ron got to go to yet another one.  Same place, same tux, just different theme (Roaring 20's).  

June also means Kelly's Family Day, which is the anniversary of her adoption.  Every year I have put her in the clothes she came to us in and taken a picture.  The cute little outfit was huge on her at the time, so there was room for her to keep doing that until this year.  She has grown so much there was no way to put it on her.  And as you can see by the shoes, that wasn't going to happen either.
My little girl is more "girl" now, than "little".  And while I am sad it's going so fast, I couldn't be prouder of her and all she has done.

Monday, June 30, 2014


  Well it happened.  

  We are now the proud (very proud) parents of a college graduate. 

  Can't believe we are that old!   
  Can't believe SHE is that did that happen?   

  Cory graduated mid-May from The University of California at Berkeley with a major in Film and Media.  Wow.  I think it was the happiest and saddest day of her life.  Happiest for obvious reasons, and saddest as she loved living in Berkeley, loved the school, and most of all loved her many friends there.  She not only did school, but was on the Crew team as a coxswain for 2 1/2 years then threw herself into all things "film".  Clubs, groups, film showings, and even a founding member of a professional film fraternity.  
  We traveled (all of us) to Nor Cal to go to the main campus graduation ceremony in their new stadium.  It was lovely.  Then hung out at Cory's house and had dinner with her, some of her friends and her first year's roomie's parents.  It was a great, but fast weekend.  Cory stayed there to enjoy the last 2 weeks of her lease, and Jamie flew up for Cory's department ceremony and then they packed up her stuff and went white water river rafting (Jamie's grad gift to her sister) then came home.  
  Cory is living at home now, madly trying to make as much money as she can (hostessing, housesitting, babysitting, and hoping an un-paid movie industry internship turns into a paying internship...) before she starts school again.  She applied to, and was accepted by Chapman University's Dodge Film School for her MFA (masters of fine arts) in Film and Editing.  It's a 3 year course (groan...and a private school...double groan) and only a 20 minute drive from our house, so she will live here and commute.  The course sounds pretty busy, with lots of projects, so I am not really sure how much we will see of her, but we are so happy to get more time with the kid, who is no longer a kid...but a lovely, grown up, college grad!

                                                                Pomp and Circumstance

 Cory in front of her beloved home for the last 2 old frat house.  The frat was shut down years ago, and the house was turned into a privately                                  owned pseudo-apartment.  

 Cory with her two roomies, and dear friends.  She was one of the lucky ones who's roommates became her best friends.

                                                                 Going for crepes.

                                                    Jamie at Cory's department ceremony

                                 Cory's Department Ceremony

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kelly's Teeth

Lost another tooth!

In March we saw the CHOC Craniofacial-Cleft Team, for Kelly's annual appointment.  This is a 3+ hour long appointment with about 8 specialist, all on the team that treats Cleft kids. Kelly's appointment went well, with no surprises.  We are in a "holding pattern" for a few months.

She will continue to see her Speech Therapists (1x week for an hour privately and 2x week at school for 30 min.) which we expected.

One of her ear tubes is out, so that will be watched, not necessarily replaced at the moment.  I was pleased to hear the ENT wasn't in a hurry to replace it, like the last time they came out (this is her third set).  Most Cleft kids have tubes much longer than typical kids, sometimes having tubes forever, as the cleft issues can effect hearing dramatically.   We'll revisit this in July when she has another hearing test.

She will need to start Orthodontics in the next year or so, and that will be our next, big, challenge.  Cleft palate can have a HUGE impact on the placement of the teeth, and bone.  We anticipate many years of extensive Orthodontics...but at the moment we are really only dealing with the Tooth Fairy!  Kelly has lost her 3rd tooth, right on schedule, and was excited to place that tiny little tooth under her pillow.  As you can see from the photo, she has a serious underbite, along with some "Geminated" teeth (fused) and a tiny little lateral tooth that is finally exposed, now that the top front tooth is out.  All part of being a 6 yr old cleft kid.

Amazingly enough, she can still whistle a pretty decent tune!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Easter is always a big day at our house.  First is the egg hunt in the yard, but then in the afternoon we have a huge egg hunt in the neighborhood.  It happens on our old street, we used the yards of 8 houses, there are about 1,500 plastic eggs filled with candy and around 40 or 50 eggs with gold $1 coins and a few with a $5 or $10 in them.  The big money eggs have clues to where they are hidden, Ron and another neighbor give out the clues to the older kids, or make them figure out riddles or problems to find each clue.  Keeps all the kids (even the grown up ones) busy and the little ones move from egg hunting to the bounce house as the afternoon progresses.  We have a huge potluck and everyone has a great time, and goes home exhausted.

Cory flew down a few days before, and Jamie came the day before.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Random Pictures

Wow, were did the time go? 

Seems the memory chip from the camera that took the Thanksgiving/Drew's birthday/Christmas photos is missing.  Well, not really missing, more like buried in a "to-do" pile somewhere.  My excuse for not posting has been that I can't find those pictures, but by now, I figure I needed to post something.

So here goes, a bunch of random peeks at what the Littles have been up to:

 Chinese New Year was fun, but the Lions were a little scary for Drew

Kelly has been learning all kinds of things: jump rope, roller skating, gymnastics.  So great to see her growing and having such a great time.

 Drew has some buddies she sees most everyday when we drop Kelly off for Kindergarten.  Here she is with two of them checking out some bugs.  One cutie she claims to be her "Prince".  Yup, as you can see from the following picture, she is a true girlie-girl.  All clothing must now be "a dress; flowery, sparkly or "fuffuly" (cross between fluffy and ruffly)".  

Kelly dresses up sometimes, but the cowboy boots with the Chinese traditional dress are as fancy as it gets for her.

  And believe it or not, they still sleep in the same bed.  We have two beds in the room, but even when I separate them, which isn't often, it doesn't last more than an hour or so before one of them gets up and goes to sleep with the other.  They are such "sisters" now.  Annoying each other, tattling on each other, sharing food, giggling till they fall down, and crying when the other gets in trouble.  
Life is so good.