Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy Family Day, Blossom

It's been two years now that Blossom has been home. She's been looking forward to her Family Day for a few months and had decided she wanted Chinese food, until I offered her the option of going to her favorite buffet. She was on her best behavior and we all enjoyed ourselves. We brought home helium balloons (latex) and let them go (we have acoustic ceilings so balloons pop in our house) and watched them fly away. All the girls LOVE doing this, but especially Blossom.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Harvest Moon Festival

We did celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival, but I didn't take any pictures since we were having so much fun.

My Firefighter had just returned from fighting a wildfire after being gone for a few days and we were glad to see him. We'd been tracking the fire and created our own tracking/command station which teaches the girls how to research information online, new vocabulary like perimeter and origin, and keeps us from worrying too much. Using the online satellite map sites, we could see the actual house where My Firefighter's team was posted. The fire came within 100 yards.

Anyway, he brought some great pizza for our dinner (Tuscan and Hot Hawaiian), then we all took a walk under the full moon. I explained the significance of the holiday to the girls, again, and said it would be a good time to think about their birth families, if they wanted to, which seemed very appropriate and they liked. We stayed outside and ate our moon cakes, then My Firefighter ran to the grocery store for the makings of root beer floats, which we enjoyed while watching The Far Side of Heaven on DVD.

All the Wild Bunch

Yesterday, we took our first real bike ride, where we actually took the bikes in the truck to a bike trail and cruised through town. The girls did very well. We've been going around the neighbor several times a week as our PE for school and were ready for something longer. We went about 6 miles total, with a rest, drink and snack at a park halfway through. Blossom and Jie Jie both took spills, but a band aid on one and a dusting off of the other was all the first aid needed. I pulled the trailer with our supplies, which included a cooler with our drinks and snack, first aid kit, pump (which we did use when Jie Jie's front tire picked up a goat head sticker) and a spare diaper for Apple) on the first half and switched bikes with my Firefighter for the second half. Jie Jie and her bike ended up in the trailer for the last bit of both halves when her little legs couldn't pedal her little bike any further. As the weather turns to fall and cools down, we'll be doing this as often as we can. We all had a great time!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Fun

The girls participated in a week long sports camp.
Music, devotional and tumbling in the morning.
More music & devotional in the afternoon, then swimming.
It was particularly amazing watching Jie Jie doing cartwheels and headstands since, 3 years ago, she could barely walk half a block.

A very happy toddler!

I rescued three kittens living in 108 degree weather at a hardware store garden department.

They were filthy and flea-ridden!

And starved!

Now they are healthy, happy, and growing and need permanent homes!

Our friends have a semi-indoor pool, chickens, rabbits and a llama. We fed the llama grapes right off the vine, and we ate some, too, then, Blossom, city slicker that she is, left the paddock gate open and the llama escaped and led us on a merry chase until we caught it.

We swim, of course, and Sissy can now dive!
It's hard to get the older girls to stay still for pictures anymore.
Apple can't escape the camera, though!

Just because she can't escape the camera,
doesn't mean she'll smile for it! Her hair is growing!

A huge branch fell off a tree and the inside turned out to be hollow and full of a huge honey bee hive.

I didn't want to get too close, but wanted to show perspective as to size. It was the first time the girls have seen a bee hive, so we called is science for the day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Apple's First Ice Cream Cone

Hey, that's just my size!

I love ice cream! I'll take a big bite.

Mmmm! Good and cold.

More, please!

You want me to hold it myself?

Wow! This is a first!

Yes, I can do this!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flying Jie Jie

We've been having some serious pool fun lately. The girls have learned to swim quite well and even do some very basic diving off the side of the pool. We've had a friend for over a year now, who is beginning to spend a lot more time with us lately, making things even more exciting and fun. You might recognize him from the fire station tour post a few posts down.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Peeking Inside

It's been a long time since I've posted anything about Jie Jie's health. She's a very healthy child, but she does have a serious and rare birth defect. Her condition has been and is treated surgically and medically. Every 6-12 months we go through a series of invasive tests and imaging scans and we've just completed them for this year. The news is mixed. The good news is that we don't need to change much for now, other than in increase her medication, watch and treat side effects and keep up with her daily therapies and treatments. She's had some issues this year managing her care and lying about it and that neglect has caused a bit of what's going on now, though not by any means all of it. The bad news is that the specialist thinks she'll be needing a big bad surgery later on. We don't know how far ahead later on is, and it's not 100% certain she'll need it, but it's highly likely, unless medical technology comes up with some new stuff.

The surgery itself is big and bad enough, but it's the fact that Jie Jie has already had several surgeries and infections in China that increases the risks due to scar tissue inside her, the way she's formed due to her special need and the fact that there just isn't much of her, that increases her risk and chances of success with this surgery.

It's also not the only surgery she'll be needing, so each surgery needs to take into consideration the other because both involve using parts from one part of her to rebuild and/or remodel the other parts.

So, I'm in that grieving phase that leaves me weak and scared and wanting to crawl into a dark hole and cry for my child. I know that I will emerge soon and find my strength again, but I wish more than anything that my poor little girl could catch one break when it comes to her special little body.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apple Has Ponytails Again

We haven't seen these since last November when the surgeon shaved them off. It's so nice to see Apple's hair finally growing in!

Family Day - 2 Years!

Sissy has been home two years now. She's doing very well. She has a strong desire to learn and help out, her reading ability and vocabulary are growing, her social skills are good, she's learned to swim and so much more! Most of all, she's learned to love and be loved. I am so proud of her and the fine young woman she is becoming!

We celebrated her Family Day with Chinese food, of course, donuts with colorful sprinkles and a family DVD night.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July

We spent the day in our pool. As you can probably tell by the few pictures of the older girls, they are pretty impatient with the camera now - typical teens and pre-teen! This is the only picture I got of all of them and they could barely stand still.

Apple liked this ring a lot. Until she slipped through it trying to lay back and float on her back. I fished her out without her so much as coughing, but she didn't want anything to do with the ring after that. I got some cute video before it happened, at least.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mommy Moment

I was emailing a friend and recalled the feelings I had the very moment I first laid eyes on Jie Jie and it felt just like yesterday. I wrote to this friend this morning:

I will never forget the day Jie Jie walked into the civil affairs office, called me mama, and walked into my arms. Actually, it's the very second I first saw her enter the doorway that is forever etched into my mind, heart and soul. It was the greatest miracle of my life! I was suddenly a mother, a new identity bestowed upon me by God. I was so filled with love for this tiny little thing and kept falling in love with her more and more every single day that I had her for weeks and months and right when I thought I couldn't love her more, I did.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Morning Surprise

Needless to say, she wasn't wearing one of my PooPockets diapers or this wouldn't have happened!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fun With Friends

At the zoo again.

A tour of the firestation.
Getting our badges (stickers).

The Jaws of Life. See the wrecked car at the end of this post to see what these exact jaws did this same day. The are quite heavy!

My girls didn't quite get this. They think it was just the regular peace sign all the Chinese kids make in pictures!

The captain thought he was getting cute revenge for when the girls did it to him, but my girls are making the same sign because that's what they do in China.

Showing the girls the pictures of the wreck below.