Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas from our Dear family to yours!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gotcha Day One Year Later.

WOW! Has it really been a year? The day we waited for. The day we will never forget. December 19th, the day Yang Rui joined our family. Was is pretty? NO! Would we do all over again - YES!

This year we tackled what few people thought would not be worth it, to bring an older child who does not speak our language and who has multiple health issues to be apart of our family. She was our daughter the first time we saw her pictures. Would could not wait for her to become another Dear girl. It has been a joy to see her change from this shy little girl who kicked, screams and cried, to a girl who loves people and loves to curl up with you on the sofa. She has a smile that will melt your heart.

In this past year, we have been able to get her blood disorder somewhat under control, while not where it should be - it's manageable. She is not suffering any more nosebleeds. Her eyes are almost perfect, but she may need one more surgery. We are also thankful there have not been anymore seizures, which it totally baffling her doctor. God is Great!

As far as her language, she is gotten pretty good at it. She has lost her first language, but does remember a few words and could probably sing a few songs. In school, she is doing great at math and not far from being caught up to where she should be. She has started to learn to read thanks to help from a speech therapist and myself. It is amazing to see the light turn on and to see her learn something that she may not have been able to do in China. While most kids her age were in school in China, we were not sure if she was. She does have some struggles, but she is excited (most of the time). It is fun to see her gain that confidence.

Earlier this year Rae started taking tennis lessons, but we had to put it on hold after her eye surgery. After first of the year, she will start back. She loves to go play tennis with Mr. Bob. She also participated in her first homeschool co-op class. She loved going to drama/art class. She is a good little artist and loves to draw. With her sister Emily she performed in her first little play in November. She didn't have any speaking line, but she danced in the bathtub.

We are do sometimes hear about her life, prior to us. Some things were happy - like helping her nanny make spicy noodles. Then there are other things that make us sad and her cry. We pray that we can help her thru those sad memories.

We are looking forward to spending our first Christmas at home with her. She doesn't quite understand why all the presents, but she loves all the decorations and watching Christmas movies. She does know that it is Jesus' birthday.

Gotcha Day! She was not to sure of us.


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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Year Ago

It is hard to believe that one year ago we were on a plane getting ready to see this little face!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Where have the years gone. It just seems like yesterday you were a little girl running about playing dress-up with your sister. You have always loved reading and still do. You have grown into a beautiful young lady. I am thankful the Lord sent us you.

Hannah at 1 with her first birthday present
You are beautiful.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Everyday

Watch this video with your family tomorrow. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Thanksgiving from Charles Dear on Vimeo.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life gets in the Way

 I know I have been a little behind on what is going on. I may try to do some posts of from Halloween and various other things that have been going on that I have missed posting about. We have been busy keeping up with appointments of either speech or physical therapy, rehearsals, and other things. I feel that I am in my car more than I am any where else.

 For the last couple of years, I have not sent out Christmas cards. So, yesterday we set out to take the dreaded Christmas card pictures. I was going to take pics at the beach, but it didn't work out. Thankfully the weather in Ohio has been good enough to still do them outside. There are not many fall leaves left, so we set out with a more urban look. The girls did well with only one minor meltdown. I should find something in all the pictures I took.

 Here is a sneak peak of a couple of them.

Who are these young ladies and where did you put my little girls?

 Happy 11 months Gotcha Day Rae! You are truly blossoming. You love to laugh, watch movies, eat ice cream, and drive your sisters crazy.  You are always looking for something to do.  You have a sweet spirit and love to pray for people.  I can't believe you have been our little girl for almost a year. We are excited to share your first Thanksgiving and more importantly - Christmas!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Cookies, Cookies, and More...

A couple of weeks Emily and her friend, Laura, received their first order for their bakery. They usually do cupcakes and a couple other things, but this was for something specific - 100 iced sugar cookies. A friend of ours Liz, who owns a local shop in Granville, asked the girls if they could make her some cookies for her Christmas Open House.

They were excited to do it, and to learn how to do something new. Last week we had a practice with what type of cookies and to practice their piping skills. It was fun trying to decide the colors, the decorations, and their taste. Once this was all decided last week, Monday started the baking and decorating. I think it was the first time we had used almost 5lbs of butter in one day. All the baking helped take our minds off the election, but we will not talk about that. By Thursday the girls, with a little help from the moms, had 100 cookies iced, decorated, and packaged to take to the open house Thursday night. Liz let the girls hand out their cookies and serve the punch for her. They even had some potential requests of orders for their cookies.

The girls are having fun doing what they enjoy and share the workloads. So, they are working on deciding on the perfect name for their bakery. The girls will be hopefully be selling their cupcakes and cookies during the Candlelight Walk in Granville in December. We as the moms like their entrepreneurial spirit they have and with all this - they may have some of their college paid for before they get out of high school.

Emily and Laura

The Cookies

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Face Painting - Sunday Snapshot

Today we were at our favorite BBQ restaurant who happen to be celebrating their 2 year anniversary. For the kids they were doing face painting. I really wanted Rae to do it, but she was not to keen on getting it done. Luckily after talking some more about it and coaxing - she did it. She cannot wait to show everyone at church.
Pink of course to match her dress.

Ni Hao Yall

These were taken with Nikon D600.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

A Girl and Her Apples

I just loved this picture. She loved picking apples and getting sample a few of them. She picked the most apples of all the girls

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apple Picking

While Nana and Papa Jim were in town for Rae's birthday, we took them to pick apples. They had never been and neither had Rae. I knew she was excited, but to what extent I did not know.  There were not as many varieties available since it was toward the end of the season, but we did find some. I was not able to get out and pick due to my boot and not being able to put weight on my foot yet. So, I watch from the vehicle and took pictures. After all was said and done, they picked 38 lbs of apples (not including the ones eaten there). Rae absolutely loved it. This will probably be a yearly event for us.

After we were at this orchard we went to a larger one to get apple cider and a few other items. If you are in the Licking County area, go to Lynd's fruit farm and get the apple cider slushies - YUMMY!!

the girls and their apples

the girls with Nana and Papa Jim

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Family Story in Print

Since becoming a family who has adopted an older child, we have wanted to share our story.  Our first one was in our local newspaper not long after coming home.  God called us to this, and we want to be used by Him. We want to be an encouragement for other families, and potentially a resource for them.  

Through this we have been able to share our story not only on this blog, but in other sources.  We were recently featured in the CHEO Ohio Homeschool Companion for Sept/Oct. Our family was one of three interviewed for the current issue.  

The second was a blog of a friend of ours, Amy Mozombite.  I was able to answer some questions for her Adoption Mama section of her blog. Check out the rest of her blog as well.  She and her family are serving as missionaries in Bolivia.

There is another article in the works, and I will let you know when it appears.

Our new family photo thanks to LENS Photography.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Rae!

Last week was Rae's 7th birthday. Birthdays in our house are a celebration and usually last over more than one day. So, for a little girl who has never gotten to celebrate her birthday or really known what one is, it was a little overwhelming for her.  Getting "prizes" was fun, but she didn't quite understand. It was so fun to watch her open each of her presents and see how happy she was. 

It was a fun week.  Nana and Papa Jim came up to celebrate for a few days.  There was cake and "prizes".  Rae had a wonderful time, but she was sad when the party was over.  She is definitely looking forward to next year.

Fairy Birthday Party with her friends

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matt. 7:11

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Beach Time - Favorite Friday

This was just one of my favorites from our beach trip. It was her first time to see the beach and touch the ocean - all in the safety of her dad's arms.

Ni Hao Yall
the long road
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nine months and a Vacation

It is hard to believe it has been 9 months since we became a party of five. I think I did miss the 8 month update, but we were on vacation - a much needed vacation.  The last couple of months have been busy. A couple of highlights of our trip to Myrtle Beach were:
  • Rae's first time to the beach
  • Loving eating seafood
  • Having wonderful family time
  • Having friends down for a weekend
  • Pirates and Mermaids
  • Riding the Caterpillar and a few others rides.
  • Getting to go to Alabama to see Nana, Papa Jim and the puppies
Fun, fun, and more fun...

Before we went on vacation Rae had her eye surgery and her nose cauterized.  She did great, and her vision is almost back to normal.  Getting her eyes working together caused a little double vision, but it should hopefully clear up soon.  Her health has been good, and we have had no hospital visits other than finger sticks.  She has also not had any nosebleeds.  Her last neurology appointment went well too. 

I had ankle surgery after getting back from vacation, so that delayed the start of school.  I am still recovering from it.  So, the girls started after Labor Day, and it is going well.  Hannah is in 8th and is working on doing more independent studying. She happy to be back in art, band, and drama. She is also playing keyboard in the praise band on Sunday mornings until I get back to playing again.  She is also still playing in youth praise band.  Hannah is also excited for her new piano teacher, especially getting to play in more competitions and festivals.  Emily is in now in 6th grade.  She is working a little more independent as well.  This year like her sister she is playing on the Granville Middle School tennis team.  She is also in band, art, drama, and continuing her trumpet lessons.  Rae has started doing more school this year.  She will start tennis back up soon and is also in a drama/art class for little kids and loved the first class.  In school, we are working on learning her letter sounds, addition facts, and we do a lot of read alouds. 

Next week we will be celebrating Rae's 7th birthday.  We are planning a small party with a couple of friends from church and family.  She is very excited to get to dress up and wear her "kong-kong" shoes.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Through My Eyes Book

This summer I was able to get a little reading done.  One of my favorites was the Tim Tebow's book Through My Eyes.  I always enjoyed watching him play football even though he played for Florida, and it has been great to see how God has used him with the national platform he has been given.

His book talks about his family, and how his mom almost lost him before he was born.  His parents were amazing influences on his life. It follows his early life in the Philippines till when he was drafted in the NFL.  He grew up as the youngest of 5 children of which were all homeschooled.  I loved hearing about this, since we homeschool our children.  I loved reading how his mom not only taught them school, but the importance of memorizing scripture.  Pam Tebow was truly the backbone of her family.

This is one of my favorite excerpts from the book Tim says about his legacy, "I see it more in terms of rewards in heaven than just leaving a legacy on earth, because if one is not careful, focusing on a legacy could easily become material or "thing" focused.  But a legacy a legacy that left remembered in this world and the next.  The legacy God intended each of us to leave has to do with the impact our lives have had on the lives of other whom He calls us to serve... Finish strong and you not just yourself, you help others"

I would highly recommend reading this book and having your children read it.  It shows you what one person sold out to God and letting God control your life, you can make an eternal difference in this world.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

We are still here...

Yes, we are still here. After Rae's surgery, we went on vacation.  It was a much needed time away for the family.  We were able to have fun and recharge our batteries.

After we got home, it was time for my ankle surgery.  I hope to give some updates on the girls.  We are busy getting school ready to start next week. I will try to get some vacation pictures up soon. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Sunny" Needs a Family

This is my first time advocating for a child who is in need of a forever family, and she is special to our family. She was the bed mate of our daughter Rae, and maybe the sister of her friend that now lives in Akron. "Sunny" is a 12 year old girl with post op cleft lip/palate. She will need a lip revision, speech and possible bone graft. "Sunny" and Rae actually were given the same birth date.  Desiree and I would love it if a family close to us would choose to adopt her. 

Our family would love to have her, but we are not able to adopt her at this time.  With her being 12 years old, she is closer to being no longer available to be adopted.

She loves to dance and dress  up. She also helped Joshua and her foster sister Rae. She would save food for Joshua to make sure he had enough.

She is currently in 4th grade and would benefit from a loving family very much.

Feel free to share this please, lets find this precious girl a forever family. Her file is currently with Great Wall, but they are willing to transfer. If would like more information please let me know, and I can put you in touch with the right people.  Every child needs a family.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Strabismus Repair Day

Today was surgery day for Rae. She had her eyes fixed and her nose cauterized. At some point in time in her life, likely resulting from her stroke, her eyes started drifting or what is called strabismus.  It is not always noticeable to most, but it is worse when she is tired or crying.  We were not sure if we should get it repaired, but after consulting an pediatric ophthalmologist we went ahead with the surgery.  Without repair she would likely lose some of her side vision and her depth perception.  It is a fairly simple procedure done as an outpatient procedure.

This morning we headed out bright and early before 5 am for her surgery at Children's.  She did great and actually did not need any meds to calm her down.  Most of the time she has to go to hospital she get to play on the iPad or my phone.  She thought she was going to get to do the same today, but she was sad when she found out there would be no computer this time. She didn't remember much from the last time she had surgery, which was good.  We did find out she was sad and cried when she went into surgery.  It was funny when I asked her what she wanted to take - her blanket, pillow, and panda all got to go with us this morning, and they also went into surgery with her. It did make my day when I walked into PACU that she wanted her mommy and was calling for me.

Rae came thru both of her procedures just fine.  Having her IVIG  infusion last week helped get her counts up, which would cut down on any extra oozing, and it definitely helped today.  The ENT was able to cauterized several vessels in her nose, and he said we should see a very marked difference. This will be a nice break from having nose bleeds that could send us to the ER.  Her eye procedure went well too.  Her eyes are red right now and has double vision.  They are bothering her, especially right after she came out to recovery. We are having to stay close to her because if she has to move around she is still a little dizzy.  It is funny because she is wanting to do it herself, so she scoots or crawls around.  The part she is not liking are the eye drops - she was not happy with mom!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying.  We are very grateful. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Foot

My left foot for many years has been a source and pain and frustration. Several years ago when we still lived in Alabama, I had surgery on it to clean it out and fix a fracture I had no idea about. The surgery seemed to have worked, but a few weeks after it we had a house fire and I was back on my foot working hard to clean out and help repair our partial burnt home.

The pain started coming back. I would get cortisone shots, and I just started living with the pain. I ran a half marathon with this ankle. I didn't have much pain while training, so I thought maybe it was good. Well, in the past few years the pain has returned and with a vengeance. It would hurt standing on it a long time, shopping, and when I would clean my house. It would be hard to walk the next day, but I just lived with it.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I had had enough. Sadly, it took meeting our insurance deductible for me to finally go to the doctor. After my first visit he scheduled an MRI because of what he saw in the X-ray. The X-ray showed there was an extra bone, and I was hoping that was all that was wrong. This past Monday I got the results of the test, and oh my goodness. My ankle is a mess, and it seems my only option is surgery. If surgery is not bad enough, the recovery is going to be a little trying. My foot will likely be in a cast for 6-8 weeks, and then I can absolutely put no weight on my foot during that time. YIKES!! Noel has already informed me that he will be mean to me if I do not follow the doctors orders. We are both tired of the pain, and I want to be able to clean house and be pain free the next day.

 Just pray this will work this time, and recovery will go quickly and I that will come out with a brand new ankle. Pray my girls will be able to handle mom being a little incapacitated for a little while. They are sad they will still have to do school.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White, & Boom

Happy 4th Everyone!! As we celebrate our country's freedom, I am reminded of how thankful we are for our freedoms. To me, the most important is our freedom to worship.  Last night we went to Columbus to watch Red, White, and Boom.  We went over early to find a great spot.  Rae was not sure of what was going to happen.  We tried to explain, but fireworks are just something you have to see.  While, she may have seen them before, this time was special.  Emily was not with us this year, because she was away at camp.  We missed her.  Downtown Columbus was a little crazy, but we felt like we found the perfect spot on top of a parking garage.  While we would have liked to be on the river, the crowds were probably insane.  The parking garage we found turned out to be perfect.  We sat the girls on top of our car, and they were able to see an amazing fireworks show.  Rae loved all the colors, and she could not take her eyes off them.  I almost teared up during some of the songs (esp. God Bless the USA), just thinking about our freedom and the freedom that Rae now has.  She has no idea what freedom means is right now, but one we pray she will be thankful for it in the future. 

Be thankful for the freedoms we have in our country.  Be thankful for those fighting for us to keep our freedoms. Be active and take a stand to insure our freedoms in the future.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Info

School has finally wound down for our two oldest girls, but we are still working with Rae on learning to read.  Rae's English is doing great, but now we are ready (at least we are) to move on to reading.  She does enjoy us occasionally us reading to her, but we ready to unlock the door and open her up to the world of reading. To our knowledge she did not go to school in China.  She told us that they did not teach her to read because of her eyes.  We are trying to tell her and reassure her that she can read and learn.  Her life in China seemed to revolve around playing on the computer ALOT, and cleaning and/or working.  She begged me to let her mop, but I just wanted her to be a kid and play.  We have put her on a hiatus from the computer and playing on our phones.  She is learning to play, and we are working on her playing imaginatively and some alone play.

Rae's health is doing well.  She has had no seizures, but her platelet counts still fluctuate. We were hoping to get 8 weeks of good numbers with IVIG, but to no avail.  We did get a month, so we have had another treatment. We do hope this treatment will continue to work, but if is does not, she will likely have her spleen removed.  We just wait and see with every CBC test.

We had our follow-up visit with her neurologist.  We really like Dr. Jones and had a really good talk with her for over an HOUR.  She gave us the name of what is the underlying cause of her seizure - Mesial Temporal Sclerosis. Normally, you would have more seizures with this and would likely lead to having that part of your brain removed.  We are not sure if this is in our future, but it is something we are now aware of if her seizures increase.  This is also the likely cause of her strabismus.  She will be having surgery in July to have this corrected, and also to have her nose cauterized to cut down on her nosebleeds. 

Our summer will hopefully be a little low key.  Hannah and Emily will be going to their respective church camps as well as tennis camp.  I have started taking tennis lessons so I can "catch-up to their level" as my hubby said.  We also hope to get in a great deal  of pool time, and to get Rae in some swimming lessons.  We are hoping we will be able to go to the beach at the end of the summer. 

backyard water slide

beautiful butterfly

Monday, June 4, 2012

11 years ago...

It is hard to believe my baby turned eleven years old yesterday.  She becoming a young lady.  It just seems like yesterday she was just a little girl who loved Tinkerbell, and now she loves painting her nails and getting pedicures like her mama.

Happy Birthday Emily!

Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In the Trenches

It has been a crazy couple of weeks around the Dear house, but really when has it not.  Juggling three girls and all their stuff - I'm tired.  In a period of 3 weeks we have had 4 doctors appointments, tennis games, tennis practice, tennis tournament, trumpet lessons, band, middle school solo & ensemble, homeschool recital, a stay in the day hospital for an IVIG infusion, blood draws, and somewhere in there we did school.

Rae is doing well.  She has had no more seizures - PTL! Her platelet count is up in the normal range thanks to her IVIG treatment.  We should get 4-8 weeks of good number with this before having to do it again. We do hope this is the answer, and there is no more seek and find.  There are other doctor appoints we have to go to, and decisions of possible surgery coming up on her eyes and getting her nose cauterized.  We are really getting to know our way around Children's Hospital.  Her English is doing great, but it has been a little more difficult to get her to do school some days. We were proud of her when she sang "Jesus Loves Me" at the CFE recital. I think a few of us may have teared up.

Hannah and Emily are doing great as well.  Our family enjoyed watching Hannah play one of the dwarfs in the CFE Drama production of "Fairy Tale Courtroom-REMIXED". She loves drama class and looking forward to next year.  She also played in her first tennis tournament.  While she didn't win, she played really well and all her games were close.  Emily is really doing well in her trumpet lessons and did an awesome job on her solo at the homeschool recital.  Last week she got to play in the advanced band for the first time.  Both girls did fabulous! 

In the coming weeks, we are trying to finish up some things in school, and next week we are going to do their Iowa testing.  I just hope I can keep Rae from distracting them.  My mom is coming in 2 weeks, and will get to see Rae for the first time.   I cannot believe Emily will be 11, and so we are working on that party.  I am looking forward to bringing back a Dear Family Memorial Day tradition - Low Country Shrimp Boil with a new addition of crawfish - fresh from Louisiana.

Thanks everyone for your prayers through all of this.  We are truly grateful!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Proud Wife Moment

I would like to take a moment to tell the world how proud I am of my husband.  I have always been proud of him in his ministry, his commitment to God, and to our family.  He has recently finished his first book.  God called him to write this book several years ago, and it is now finally done - gone to press.  

His book, Illuminating the Darkness: A Fresh andEffective Solution to Depression, Stress, and Anxiety, covers a very controversial topic in our world today - depression, stress, and anxiety.  He has done a masterful job of explaining the biblical way of handling depression.  He has helped many people search the scriptures and to help overcome this struggle in their lives. The truth of God's Word is powerful and effective in all our lives.

If you are interested in the book, it is available or can be ordered at your local bookstore or you can purchase the paperback or Kindle version on Amazon.com.

Here is a little peak at the back cover of his book...

Are You Ready For A Change?
Every day there are new approaches and drugs to help people overcome the emotional pain of depression, stress, and anxiety. More people are being treated for these than ever before. So, one would presume emotional health and happiness would be at an all-time high. But you know that isn’t the case, not even close. In fact, the only thing that seems to be gaining prevalence faster than antidepressants is
depression itself!

Is there a way of escape? Is there a different approach from the failed strategies most often presented in self-help books and the doctor’s office? Is there hope for me? Can I live a life of real peace and joy?

Yes. Lasting joy and peace can be yours!
This is no idle promise from some new-fangled philosophy or rediscovered ancient herb.  This truth has the authority of the Bible, the simplicity of fruit on a vine, and the track-record of many generations who have discovered the real source of mental and emotional health.

This is not another strategy to try, rather it is the genuine truth about why people suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety, and how those pains can be replaced with joy, peace, and patience.

The truths presented here are…

  • Easy to understand
  • Practical in their everyday application
  • Powerfully effective in both the short and long term 
  • Proven

This book is both a challenge to everything you have heard about the cause and cure of emotional distress, and a real offer of hope. Learn here what thousands of others have learned and, enjoy an enduring harvest of the fruit of real joy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a Way to Start the Day

Our Monday was to start like any other week. We had several appointments, church events, tennis games,and to be capped of at the end with our daughter's drama performance on Friday and Saturday. Here it is Wednesday, and I am sitting in a hospital room with Rae. Monday morning Rae started having a seizure that truly scared us, and we raced off to our local ER. The ER was great and started working on her immediately to get the seizing to stop. They started some testing to get some early results and decide if we were to be transported to Children's. None of the early testing showed anything, but her CT showed something, so we were definitely being sent to Columbus. A ride in the mobile ICU is not a thing any parent wants to experience. Sitting alone praying for your child is about all you can do. We are very thankful for our friend Rochelle who came and picked up our girls. Their family has been a great help these last couple of days.

We have no record of our daughter having seizures before or knowing she had 2 previous strokes. We can only speculate that these happened before she entered the orphanage - we just don't know. There is no one to be angry at, but all we can to is move forward and give her the best medical care we can. God knew all that was going to happen, and we can just trust His plan. While we are scared and very concerned, we are so blessed by our friends and family literally all over the world are praying for us. We are truly thankful for all your messages and emails. She is one blessed little girl.

There are still many questions to be asked and tests to be done to find out the answers. We are thankful for the doctors that are working diligently to take care of her and to help her to find out what is causing this. We are thankful that no infection has shown up in the cultures so far. We pray that we are moving closer to find out what caused this and to even see if it related to her blood disorder. What ever it is, it is all of God's plan and He knows it all. We must trust His wisdom. I will chose to be thankful.

THURSDAY UPDATE - We were able to go home late Wednesday.  She is doing well on her new medicine.  We were told she could possible be mean while taking it, but we think it has given her the giggles which we will definitely take over the other.  We are loving these belly laughs! Pray there are no more seizures, and we can get more answers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter (a couple of days late)

This it the first chance I have had to post a pic from Easter.  It was a nice family day after worshiping our Risen Savior.  We decided to go out for brunch and then Rae to her first big screen movie.  It was just a great day!