Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just a few pictures to catch you up -

Matthew's 9 Point - killed 1/10/10
Aunt Julie making the outside animals Christmas gifts w/Julia

Christmas Eve, Eve Family & Friends

Julia's 5th Birthday Party

Julia's vision - her Dino Cake

Zoo Measurements

Poppy with the fan club
Fireman C

Pretty in Red

My Sweetie!

My dudes

Homecoming 2009

Matthew turning 15

Julia's 1st Tea Party

Chase turns 12

Matthew & Lindsey after their hunt

Julie's Spin Baby Shower

Julia modeling her fall wardrobe for her Daddy

Maybe this is where he got the idea to cut his hair?

1st Day of K-4

2009 1st Day of School

Warm days of Summer 2009
Carson turns 4

Well, to say it's been a while since I updated would be an understatement. 2009, hum. Can I say it was one of the best years we have had? Yes and no. Let me recap a little.
After my last post, March of 2009 - Tim decided he needed two stints put in his heart. That was a little bit of a shocker for us. You see, we always knew that one of his siblings or himself would inherit his mother's heart issues. I guess he drew the short straw. Needless to say, this prompted him to lose about 40 lbs and ward off any type of meat that doesn't go bawk, bawk or gobble, gobble. Oh, how I long for a steak or a real beef hamburger every once in a while. It's hard to cook two different meals each night so we just all stick to his regimen.
April of 2009 - Julia was blessed with double pneumonia and stayed in the hospital for about a week. My girl loves to wait until the last minute to show signs of being terribly sick. That's what a high pain tolerance level will do for you. Julia has done great this year with the exception of this incident. We did have her tested for exposure to the melamine that was placed in the kids formula while in China. She did show a kidney stone and we were sent to a specialist at UAB. After further testing, the stone appeared to be gone and no issues have reared since.
She continues to receive speech therapy twice a week and has come a long way considering she has a lateral lisp. So she can't say, the sheep sailed on the ship a short stint ago as clearly as I can. She does continue to struggle with social anxiety but can now express to me verbally when she doesn't want to talk to others or if there are too many people in a certain situation. I remain concerned about this issue at times but then I quickly forget about it when I cannot get her to be quiet for long periods of time. I guess when you go all day long without speaking at school, you have to release all those thoughts and observations that you collected during the day.
It has been a little over a year since Julia had her cleft revision surgery done to her mouth and nose. Today, it was decided by her surgeon at UAB that it is time to do another revision to remove scarring from her lip, move her current scars inward and extend her nose by 30%. I am so grateful that we are able to live nearby an excellent surgeon and that Julia will receive every possibility of removing the cleft features. We do not see these scars on her face or lip. She looks perfect to us each and every day but then, there's that reminder when a child looks at her and innocently asks what is wrong with her face. We will have this done the first week in March.
June 2009 - Carson turned 4. Carson is Carson and there's no changing him. He decided to be included in the "Cut your hair when you turn 4" club. At this point, I do not think it will ever grow back. Carson is just happy doing his own thing and is not one bit interested in the schoolwork aspect of life. Is it possible for a kid to know a great deal when they are 2 but when they turn 4 they forget everything you ever taught them? I cannot complain about his cheery smile that he brings in the room each and every day (at least anytime after the 7 to 8:00 a.m. timeframe).

We took a trip out West to Tincup, CO to spend the week with my brother, his wife and my niece. Well, half of us flew and the other half drove. It was actually very nice to spend several days without any phones, limited TV, hiking, fishing, white water rafting and seeing nature up close and personal.

August 2009- Matthew moved up to the high school, received his learner's permit and still has his sweet girlfriend, Ouch! Matthew has grown so much over the past year that sometimes I find myself already dreading the day he goes off to college. I now look up to him and have officially hit the "cannot keep enough food in the house" stage. He has turned out to be such a gentleman. He played football this year for the "b" team and is now on the wrestling team. Hopefully, he will give us a break when the golf team starts up.

September 2009 - Chase turned 12 - 1 year from being a teenager, double Ouch!! Chase decided to join the Y's swim team this year and play football again. They had an awesome season. He was chosen for All-Stars and they traveled to Panama City Beach, FL to play in the Snapper Bowl. They won 1st Place! We were told the trophy is being displayed at AppleBee's or Beef O'Brady's in Prattville. Not sure which one. Chase is doing great in school and continues to enjoy reading his books. I hope that doesn't end when he hits the teenage years.
Something started stirring in our household....

October 2009 - Well, after a couple of years of looking over websites with the pictures of waiting children in China, we were blessed to find our second daughter. We were matched with Chaning (Li Yun)! We are all very excited to get her home, hopefully, early summer of this year. We will probably have to travel once we are back to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a "redo" surgery but the prognosis is very good. As with Julia, we know to expect the grieving and high anxiety. We do, however, feel that Chaning's may be a little harder because she is a couple of years older than when we received Julia and have a feeling she has bonded really close with her foster parents and extended relatives. I'm sure the love she is going to receive will far outweigh the grief but it's so hard to see them hurt for any period of time.

November 2009- Let's just say January and November will never be forgotten. Losing someone close to you is something I had little experience with until this year and losing two people has been a struggle. My grandfather went to be with my grandmother that we lost in January. They had been married for 62 years and were like my second set of parents. Although I will miss my visits with him, his wise advice when needed and his hugs, I know he is where he wants to be - with my grandmother. We did have the chance to share the news of the addition of another great-granddaughter with him.

December 2009 - Continued my paperchase like a mad momma on a mission. I have always loved a challenge. Six months to get my dossier to China, I think not. Let's try it in three. Christmas was nice around here seeing as we had a little extra family visit this year.
January 2010 - Thank goodness for a fresh start and for friends and family. As you can see in our timeline, we should be DTC next week. If you have ever adopted internationally before, that means throw about 100 lbs of bricks off your shoulders and breathe. We are so fortunate to be working with the same agency that we used for Julia. Although anytime you are responsible for gathering documents, making sure they are absolutely correct and fundraising, it can become very stressful. Karla at Lifeline has made this so smooth for us that we are just waiting for the "hiccup" or "speed bump" to rear its ugly face. We are in hopes that will not happen but will try not to get our feelings hurt too bad if it does.

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