Thursday, March 31, 2011

Watching a Video of a Fushun Friend!!!

There is a little boy at Fushun that was one of Finley's great Friends. He was in many of the pictures with her and she yells his name when she sees pictures of him. A family is reviewing his file right now and they were sent 5 new videos of him recently so they can determine if they are going to proceed. The wonderful mom sent me the link to the videos and Finley was just in heaven. She literally probably watched the video's 5 times each. It was so cute and she was just so excited to see her pal Hao Wei. She was telling me all about the video's in Chinese and some English but her enthusiasm was adorable!

On another note, I had my melanoma removed on Monday and HOLY COW did they take one massive chunk of flesh!!! The scar is 3 inches and it hurts like heck!!! I am just shocked with how much they took. The original freckle was small-- about half the size of a dime-- but they took enough this time that it created a 3 inch scar. They also cut down to the fat so it is a pretty big deal. The procedure took almost an hour and she had to do 3 levels of stitches from deep at the fat level and then up. I think there are like 20+ stitches in me with just steri-strips holding the outside together. It was a much more in depth procedure than I thought and the stitching alone took 25 min. They take melanoma seriously and I am glad they do. Heck, they could have taken as much flesh as they wanted-- I didn't and don't care-- just get it out!!! They also took another freckle at the same time so we should hear this week if they got all the cancer out as well if the other freckle was melanoma or not-- she didn't think it was but then again, she didn't think the other one was either. So I am healing fine-- it hurts but Motrin is helping with that. Thanks for all of you who prayed for me. I greatly appreciate it!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend in Big Bear!!!

We had planned on going camping this weekend with a bunch of our friends but we had a big dump of snow in our mountains this past week so the crew (all 21 of us) decided to head up to one of their cabins in Big Bear to get some snow play in before the end of the season. The cabin is wonderful!! It is on Big Bear Lake-- has it's own dock and everything-- and it is HUGE!!! All 21 of us were so comfortable and we all had a blast!!

The girls enjoyed watching for the boys coming down the hill snowboarding. The boys were the only ones who could snowboard. Kevin cant with his hip and the boys are now using all my gear and I did not feel the urge to spend $700 to buy new gear for the last snow fall of the year-- so the boys were it-- with all their friends!

Finley was not too interested in being in front of the camera, so she ran away every time I tried to take a picture of her.

Mia was happy as can be to smile for the camera
Ethan at the end of a run

Ethan coming down the hill

Owen taking a break

Owen on his way down the hill

The cabin is decorated in a cowboy theme and there are saddle chairs all over the place. Needless to say all kids-- big and small-- enjoyed the riding- I mean sitting in them.

Finley enjoyed the saddle thoroughly!! She is such a ham!

Chris, Jack and Kev sampling some Belgium Beer. Kevin did all the cooking this weekend so we ate like kings!! Our appetizers on Sat night were Grilled Prawns, Mussels in white wine and other stuff with bread, candied walnuts with Stilton blue cheese and some other stuff on top of a baguette-- plus a few other things. It was tremendous!!! Dinner was short ribs in wine and other stuff and polenta that was beyond amazing. The whole meal was perfect and my dear sweet husband was to thank. He is amazing!! He also made all the breakfasts!

Ethan on the saddle

Strange big brother

This picture was poor quality so I made it sepia and it is OK. I wanted one of the girls together because they had so much fun on the saddle pretending to ride into the sunset-- notice Bullseye in Mia's arms-- they had so much fun!!

The weekend was awesome and we are so thankful for our generous friends allowing us use their home to have a fabulous weekend!!!

I am going in tomorrow to have the melanoma removed. Please keep me in your prayers and I will update you all on how it goes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Playing in the rain and the SCARY "C" Word!!

Sorry these pictures are not too good but they were taken on my phone. We have had some rain over the last few days and the girls wanted to go out and play in the puddles so my wonderful mother in law who was watching them on Monday let them jump in the puddles. I love when my mother in law or mom babysits for a few because they allow them to do thing I would not necessarily let them do. Like getting soaking wet and playing their hearts out in the puddles-- I would probably just not even thought of it, but my mother in law suggested they jump around to get some energy out and so they did. When I got home from testing a kid, this is what I found-- and the girls were loving it!!!!

They were soaking wet!!

But having so much fun!!!

The girls had been playing like this all morning and Mary had brought them all kinds of things to do. Finley loved the cup stilts and she did it very well. They also did puzzles, games, read books and played with play dough and bubbles. Overall, they had a blast. This was the second time we had left Finley-- the first was with my mom and dad on Friday night so we could get a date night-- and this was the second because Kev was at work and I needed to test a kid for a few hours. It was not for long but the girls and Mary loved it!!!

Now on a serious note. About 2 weeks ago I decided to go to the dermatologist to get a skin check. I am a freckled fair skinned person who has grown up in the sun worshipping southern California. There was one spot on my shoulder that just looked like a typical freckle but it was darker than my other freckles and it looked like it might be growing larger. When I saw the dermatologist she thought it was nothing but since it bugged me she shaved it off but thought it was nothing to worry about. Well, on Monday I got the call that the pathology report had come back and the small freckle was in fact a malignant melanoma-- skin cancer-- the worst type that kills people in my age range. In fact, melanoma is the #1 cancer killer of people between ages 21 to 45. At first I thought-- doesn't everyone get skin cancer? But upon talking to my doctor friends (Laila and Laura) I realized how serious it is. I was told story after story of people my age and a lot younger that had a little mole or freckle and it ended up being melanoma and it had spread to their lymph nodes and many of these people died. When I realized how serious this was, I started freaking out a bit. My mom who is my primary care doctors nurse was able to get the pathology report which scared me even more since it said that the melanoma was growing downward which is not good. I was pretty scared at first but spoke with the dermatologist the next morning and found out that we caught the melanoma very early and it is only stage 1 at this point. She needs me to come in Monday to get the rest of it out because they did not have clear margins (they didn't get it all) on the biopsy. So they are going to have to dig out the rest of the melanoma and send it to the lab and make sure they got it all. The DR. feels very confident that they will get it all but I will have one heck of a scar on my back which I could care less about. Anyway, what this makes me realize is that we all need to be aware of this and get checked often. I will now have to be checked every 3 months forever to make sure I don't have any new melanoma's. If you have not been checked or are scared to get checked, please go and do so. If I would not have gone in with this freckle or would have waited another year, it could have spread to my vital organs or lymph system and I might be looking at a very different prognosis. It is very important to get checked and if you are suspicious of ANYTHING, have them biopsy it.
Below is some info on Melanoma. Please read it and check the at risk symptoms because I have most of them (except I have very few moles but lots of freckles and no family history). I would appreciate prayer regarding this. I go in Monday for them to remove the rest of it but please pray they get it all and that it does not return. Thank you all very much and please read on.

Melanoma Fact Sheet Home Media Melanoma Fact Sheet

Q. What is melanoma?

A. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Melanomas might appear on the skin suddenly, but they also can develop on an existing mole. The overall number of melanoma cases continues to rise.

Q. Is melanoma a serious disease?

A. Approximately 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.1 Advanced melanoma spreads to lymph nodes and internal organs and may result in death. One American dies from melanoma almost every hour.1 Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.2 If detected and treated before it reaches the lymph nodes, melanoma patients have a 98 percent five-year survival rate.1 Five-year survival rates for regional- (lymph nodes) and distant- (other organs/lymph nodes) stage melanomas are 62 percent and 15 percent, respectively.1

Q. How many people will develop melanoma this year?

A. It is estimated that there will be 114,900 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the United States in 2010 — 46,770 noninvasive (in situ) and 68,130 invasive. In 2010, about 38,870 men and 29,260 women will be diagnosed with invasive melanoma.1

In addition, 8,700 people are expected to die from melanoma — 5,670 men and 3,030 women.1

Q. What causes melanoma?

A. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun is the most important preventable cause of all skin cancers, including melanoma. People who live close to the equator where the sunlight is more intense are more likely to develop melanoma than those in other regions. Not all melanomas are exclusively sun-related — other possible influences include genetic factors and immune system deficiencies.

Q. Who gets melanoma?

A. Melanoma can strike anyone. Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than other races. However, even among Caucasians, certain individuals are at higher risk than others.1 For example:

◦You have a substantially increased risk of developing melanoma if you have greater than 50 moles, large moles, or atypical (unusual) moles.
◦Your risk is increased if a blood relative (e.g., your parents, children, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles) has had melanoma.
◦If you are a Caucasian who has fair skin, your risk is higher than a Caucasian who has olive skin.
◦Redheads and blondes have a higher risk of developing melanoma. Blue or green eyes also increase your risk of developing melanoma.
◦Your chances increase significantly if you've already had a previous melanoma, but also increase if you have had either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, the more common forms of skin cancer.5-7
◦Your risk for melanoma might also be increased if you have had other previous cancers, such as breast or thyroid cancer.8-11

Q. What are atypical moles?

A. Most people have moles (also known as nevi). Atypical moles are unusual moles that are generally larger than normal moles, are variable in color, often have irregular borders and might occur in far greater number than regular moles. Atypical moles occur most often on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head and neck. It is important to recognize that atypical moles are not limited to any specific body area — they can occur anywhere. The presence of atypical moles is an important clinical risk factor for melanoma developing in a mole or on apparently normal skin.

Q. What does melanoma look like?

A. Recognition of changes in the skin is the best way to detect early melanoma. They most frequently appear on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head and neck.3 In females 15-29 years old, the torso is the most common location for developing melanoma, which might be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.3 If you have a changing mole, a new mole, or a mole that is different, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

If you notice a mole on your skin, you should follow the simple ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

◦Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.
◦Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
◦Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Different shades of tan, brown, or black are often present. Dashes of red, white, and blue can add to the mottled appearance.
◦Diameter: Melanomas usually are greater than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
◦Evolving: A mole or skin lesion looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to examine their skin regularly. This means looking over your entire body including your back, your scalp, your palms, your soles and between your toes. If you notice a mole that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6mm, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Q. Can melanoma be cured?

A. When detected in its earliest stages, melanoma is highly curable. The average five-year survival rate for individuals whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.1

Early detection is essential; there is a direct correlation between the thickness of the melanoma and survival rate. Dermatologists recommend a regular self-examination of the skin to detect changes in its appearance. Additionally, patients with risk factors should have a complete skin examination by a dermatologist annually. Anyone with a changing, suspicious or unusual mole or blemish should be examined as soon as possible. Individuals with a history of melanoma should have a full-body exam at least annually and perform monthly self-exams for new and changing moles.12

Q. Can melanoma be prevented?

A. Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma.1,13 You can have fun in the sun and decrease your risk of skin cancer. Here's how to Be Sun Smart®:

◦Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. "Broad-spectrum" provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
◦Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
◦Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
◦Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
◦Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
◦Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.6

◦Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
◦Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fushun Video

I am posting some video from our orphanage visit because there is a family considering one of the boys that was in Finley's little group. He is precious and I am so excited he is up for adoption!! Since video is too big to email, I cant think of any other way to have them look at the video besides putting it on my blog so I will be putting a bunch of video on my blog over the next day or so.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adding Finley's Picture

Does anyone know how to add a picture of Finley to my header. I would also like to change the kids pictures to more recent pictures. Anyone know how?

This picture is from my friend Kim's house this weekend. She was moving and our Sunday School Class helped move her all day after church on Sunday. The girls enjoyed themselves playing with all the boxes. This is a sweater they were getting rid of and the girls decided to put it on. They were so proud of themselves-- too cute!!!!

I love how they are holding hands!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ouch and Rock and Worship Show!!

First off-- yes ouch is the first thought that comes to mind as well. Finley had a little conflict with her nose and the headboard of our bed-- she didn't win. Poor baby-- she was jumping on our bed and did one too many bounces and her face hit square on the headboard right at the bridge of the nose. It started pouring blood and she was screaming but it soon stopped and she was fine but I knew she was going to have one heck of a bruise and sure enough, I was right. This happened on Thursday night and this picture was taken this morning-- swelling down a lot but really black and blue- poor thing. Luckily, it has not hurt her much at all and I have just given her a bit of motrin here and there. To all you that asks, no I did not take her to the doctor because if it was broken, they would do nothing and would have just said give her motrin-- therefore we chose not to take her in-- remember she is out 4th-- been there done that :) Anyway, she seems fine and is her old happy self :)

On Thursday night the Rock and Worship show came to the Citizens Arena in our area for a show. It was amazing and had groups like MercyMe and Jars of Clay and The Afters and many others that were awesome!!!! We took the kids and while the girls fell asleep, the boys loved it. We went with a few other families from our boys school and the kids had an amazing time worshiping and singing along with some of their favorite Christian bands. That is one thing I love about the boys going to a Christian school is that they freely worship with their friends with no inhibitions. It is a beautiful thing to see!!!!

The stage

Ethan and his pals from school-- Jared, Benny and Sammy in the yellow and hat.

Horrible picture but this was MercyMe lead singer. I was unbelievably impressed with this band. Not only are they one of our favorites but they were so evangelical and have an amazing heart for the Lord. They also sang I CAN ONLY IMAGINE- which is an all time favorite!!!

The boys worshiping-- they were on their feet the whole concert

Owen loved The Afters and got their CD and had them sign it. They sing LIGHT UP THE SKY-- it is a very popular song right now. They sing others you would know but I cant think of them right now. They were amazing!!!!

Jars of Clay-- yes they sang DEAD MAN as well as FLOOD-- we were so happy and they rock!!!!!

Again, it was an awesome night. Friday morning they were exhausted from the late night (we didn't get home till after midnight) but it was well worth it. They need these experiences with their Christian friends to not only grow their faith but to create lasting memories. My parents use to take us to "Christian Rock" concerts when I was young and I remember them so well-- I want to do the same with the kids.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Whale

Everyday my school pick up schedule is 3:30pm pick the girls up from preschool (they go afternoons 12:30 to 3:30-- next year we are switching to AM's) and then head to the boys school where they need to be picked up by 4:30pm from soccer. By the time we talk to the girls teacher and load them in the car and drive the 15 min to the boys school, we have about a half hour to kill before picking up the boys. The boys school has this whale area that is a really fun playground environment and the girls look forward to the half hour they get to play there everyday. They have so much fun and yesterday I decided to take out my camera and take a few pictures since they love it so much.

Mia assumes the big sister role and pushes Finley on the swings

Finley loves to swing!!

Mia, our little gymnast, does anything but swing correctly. She flips, sits sideways or whatever else she can do to spice things up!! She is such a little monkey!!

Gotta love the hair!

Finley in the car taking a water break

Too pretty!!

Horrible quality so I made it sepia-- it works.

Sunday was my 39th birthday. After church my parents had a little party for me at our favorite little pizza place. It was a lot of fun. This Friday night, we are having a big dinner out at a really awesome restaurant. Totally looking forward to that. No kids-- except Finley of course.

Getting ready to sing

It was a nice little party!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nothing much Going on here

Not much going on here right now with the exception of me starting back to work tomorrow-- just my normal 2 days a week so it is not too bad. I have not taken many new pictures for a while so I will soon, but here are some of the pictures that have been lingering around that I never posted.

Jake took Ethan to the San Diego Wild Animal Park a few weeks ago. They had a great time. Jake and Ethan have been neighborhood friends since they were 4 years old. Jake celebrated a birthday yesterday-- March 6-- which is my birthday too-- we share a bday :)

My big boy!

Such a beauty!! This was taken with my phone and was horrible quality so I made it sepia and it is a bit better but I didn't want to get rid of the picture because it shows how beautiful she is-- amazing!!

A few weeks ago we took Finley to her first movie-- she was not overly interested and totally not a TV kid at all but I had to take a picture of the girls-- it was a very cold rainy night.
This week I will commit myself to take more pictures-- although it is raining outside now and totally ugly but I will try. Today is another day of preschool for Finley-- pray it goes well-- I will let you know :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cousins & Another Preschool Day

We have our family over at our home very frequently because our house is kid friendly and we have a big yard for them to play in. Last weekend we had a big Chinese dinner at our house with Brad and Kevin doing all the cooking. It was absolutely amazing and some of the best Chinese this side of China!!! We had pork dumplings, some glazed pork thing that Brad made from his own pig they slaughtered, Moo Shoo Vegys with the plum sauce and pancakes, Garlic Bok Choi and a Asian Salad with basal and noodles and beef from one of Brads steers they also slaughtered (FYI my brother brad and his family live on a farm and they raise beef and pork for many many people. The animals are treated wonderfully and given amazing food so the beef and pork is top quality. They have many Hollywood stars that have Brad and Amy raise meet for them-- very cool). Anyway, it was an amazing meal that I cant find the pictures from, but I did find the pics from the kids playing.

They decided to make a train coming down the slide.

Ethan and Finley-- the boys are so wonderful with Finley-- Mia---not so much :(

Cass and mom getting in on the action

Here they come!

And they all came tumbling down!! They had so much fun!!

We started getting Finley ready for school on Wednesday this week. We are going through a time where we go with her to school for the day and help out in the class where we come and go so she gets use to us being in and out. She has done really well and keeps an eye out to make sure I am there but when I do leave the room for a bit, she seems to be ok. She cried once when they were walking down to the playground but got over it quickly. She really seems to thrive in the preschool environment.

Her teacher Mrs. M has been wonderful and really is helping Finley with the transition!

My Mia!!!

Finger painting Green Eggs for Dr. Seuss Week

She loved it!!!

Mia got both hands involved!

Showing off their green hands before washing

At Mrs. M's center they actually made Green Eggs and Ham. The girls loved whipping the eggs and showed off their skill of cracking them too-- we make cookies often so they have experience :)

Finley trying the Green Eggs and Ham--

Seems to be liking them-- I'm sure she ate many things of that coloring in China :)

Both Mia and Finley loved their Green Eggs!!
It was a great day at Preschool!! The next day (Thursday) started off rocky since Kevin took her in and stayed with her and then I came from a hair appointment. At one point Kevin said goodbye-- right before I got there-- just to get her use to us not being there the whole time-- but she lost it-- totally lost it. Mrs. M was wonderful and was able to calm her and once she was calm and working at a center, I then entered the room. She was happy to see me but totally was not dependant on me and let me come and go which is progress. When they went out for recess was when I exited and went to sit in my car till I met them at the gate for dismissal. I guess she came in from the playground and did awesome. She asked about me but was fine with no tears. I met them at the gate and she happily gave me a big hug. So, I think she is really coming around. Fridays they don't have preschool but Monday we are going to see if she will walk in at the beginning of the day on her own. I start back at work on Tuesday (just 2 days a week) so I want to get her independent by then. Both Mrs. M and I think she will be fine by then and she does not seem to have any setbacks with attachment when we get home, so I think this is good for her. Plus, it is only 3 hours a day and she is with her sister the whole time :)