...Just a Reminder...This story builds FROM THE BOTTOM UP...so if you're joining late, be sure to catch up by reading from the beginning...Thanks.

In case you're interested, we invite you to read Kyle's Story and Dylan's Story

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday Fun

Thanksgiving Photo of the Lockhead kids (the only one of about 25+ photos that was remotely close to all of them looking normal!)

Ashley, Pop Pop Lockhead and her favorite snack - Philadelphia Soft Pretzels!!!

Ashley and Grandmom Lockhead

The boys with their cousin, Justin

Mom, Dad and the "turkey in the middle!"
Ashley a few minutes after her first American haircut (complete with a sucker in hand)

Ashley out for her first wagon ride 

Ashley, Kyle and Dylan on their bicycle/wagon rides on Sunday 

We had a great week last week with family during the Thanksgiving holidays.  We did alot of eating, laughing and spending quality family time together. Ashley's favorite foods were shrimp and soft pretzels - your typical Thanksgiving food, ha.ha.  We did have our follow-up doctor's appointment for Ashley last Wednesday and since she is doing so well now, she has been scheduled for her biopsy surgery on December 7th.  At that time, we should finally have the real story of what is going on in her colon and then be able to schedule any additional surgery to repair the issues once and for all!  In the meantime, she continues to gain weight and nutritional strength with a temper and personality that is quickly becoming strong and mighty!!!  

Today was also Ashley's first big day at Goddard school and my first day back at work again.  We started the day bright and early as a family at 5:00 a.m.!!! Surprisingly, everyone but Ashley is still alive and going strong; Ashley was down for the count by 7:00 tonight.  We took some pictures of her with her Dora lunchbox (all ready to go with the boys this morning) but unfortunately, they didn't turn out so well, so we'll try again tomorrow.  It appears that all went well for her today, except that she didn't eat much lunch.  Probably too much going on and everything is so new. 

Because we have all slept so much today (not!), the boys and Dad are finishing off the evening with a Wii Game-a-thon.  We haven't played in months, but they just played Wii bowling with their cousins over the weekend, so we dusted off our own games to get back in shape.  

We hope that everyone had a great holiday, too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting ready for Thanksgiving week

As always, the longer that we are home from China, the slower that we are with our updated posts.  Time just gets away from you (or rather a toddler that is into EVERYTHING!)  Charlie had the pleasure of experiencing Ashley's daily antics first hand last night, as she first took out no less than 500 stickers and scattered them all over the floor as she was peeling off the backs just as fast; then she followed him around the kitchen while he was cooking but as he looked away, she had grabbed a chair and was standing straight up on it!!  I was laughing as this is only a very small example of what she can accomplish in 8 hours at home during the day!  

She also decided to demonstrate her Phillies' style throwing skills and pelted both of the boys in the heads with Matchbox cars and Dylan got a shiner from a fast flying Buzz Lightyear.  Most of the time she is just trying to get their attention and doesn't know how, other than throwing a toy at them.  They did all recover and then made a mosh pit of pillows on the floor, and who was right in the middle of the boys?!!

Charlie and I decided that we would be really brave and take all three children to the movies with us, since we didn't have a readily available baby-sitter.  We knew that a matinee would be easier, if Ashley decided that she needed to scream, sing, dance or cry.....so off we went to see Megamind (very cute movie, although it couldn't hold the interest of a 22 month old).  Anyway, she did okay, but managed to start crying very loudly twice, so I had to quickly run out with her.  When we came back in, she finally just curled up and went to sleep in the chair balanced on Kyle's arm.  Can you tell that we like our children to start experiencing things early in life, ha.ha.

Ashley did have a full week last week with her CHOP Developmental review last Weds.  Despite the fact that she and Santa have a belly in common, she tested on or very close to her normal developmental stages of 22 months.  She actually also would refuse to demonstrate tasks for them as she shook her head "no" while fully understanding what she was being asked to do.  Although she is tiny, she definitely acts "large and in charge" at all times!  Then she had another 5-6 vials of blood pulled and the poor lab technician was very stressed as Ashley was screaming (probably swearing in Chinese) and pointing at her directly, while I had her in a full court press, and Kyle has his eyes covered!  I think that the woman thought that a voodoo curse was being put upon her, as she told me that we could leave immediately after the procedure was done and then she was excitedly telling others in the lab that this little girl was pointing her finger directly at her!  Ashley has been a human pin cushion for over a month now, so I think she's about had it with anyone trying to extract anything from her.  We will be back at CHOP once again this upcoming Weds. for another follow-up with her gastro doctor.  

Ashley had her first CHOP Playdate, too.  She very much enjoyed being the only girl in her group and having the ability to use a marker to check things off a list.  She is constantly trying to get into the boys' markers and crayons at home.  Her favorite activity was playing in a big tub of rice with lots of little toys; that used to be Kyle's favorite activity too.  Now, the boys are all about the scavenger hunts and obstacle courses that are held for their age group.  Kyle informed the girls that they needed to make it much harder for him next time.  I think that his future career will be designing some sort of obstacle course or race track.  

Words and skills continue to keep coming quickly to her as she is home. She can say book very clearly now and good girl.  She understands many things that you ask or tell her, and sometimes, I think that she does start talking to us in Chinese as she'll say several sentences in a row.  She has totally adopted a Robert DeNiro impersonation of her "hi baby" phrase.  She says it in a deep, gravely voice at times and it's really funny. 

She has learned to scale the couch and stand straight up on it, and now can move up the stairs very quickly in a crawling motion.  We are going to attempt to get our first haircut at home this week, so we can add a little shape to the pouf we are sporting now.  The poor hair is still so thin and a little balding on top, but maybe the stylist can work a little magic for our Christmas photos. She'll also want to look beautiful for her Goddard entrance next week, ha.ha.

I'll end here as I think she is catching Kyle's cold and she is very cranky this morning, so we'll need to run our errands very quickly. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pictures from the Zoo last Saturday

Ashley's first trip to the Philadelphia Zoo (complete with yogurt puffs)

Family Photo outside the Ape House

The boys were hamming it up in the Lego Orangutan board

Getting ready for the Lion Exhibit

Ashley and Baba

Okay, so where's lunch?!

The Masked and Face-Painted Crusaders
"Before" shot on the Carousel

The "I can't believe that you are making me ride this and I am going to cry any second" shot

These vegetables look mighty tasty

Ashley sizing up the goat to see if she can make a break for his goat nugget!

The new Zoo exhibit of strange boys in the leaf piles

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Greetings from the official NO NAP ZONE ...................

Since Ashley has been home, she has decided that naps are not part of her daily routine, which makes for an excellent night's sleep but which also makes for a very long day for her and me! She is a very active little girl, who is into everything and anything.  Once one mess is made and left for Mom to clean up, we are on to the next mess stop which is repeated no less than 20-25 times each day.  You forget about these small things when you have two older boys in the house, who usually can clean up their own messes.

She is definitely coming into her own this week.  She really has not been going up or down any of our stairs; however, yesterday I ran up to do something in our room and the next thing that I see is her standing right beside me in our room!  Then later that afternoon, she decided (around 4:30 p.m.) that it should be dinner time, so she first brought her booster seat to me in the family room; then when I told her to put it back into the kitchen, she did and then she promptly climbed up into it while adroitly positioning two chairs together; then when that didn't work, she brought her bib to me in the family room!!  When she goes outside, she now expects to get into the car immediately to go somewhere and when that doesn't happen, she is not happy.  She is not one to sit still for more than a few minutes.  She will shut any door behind you, whether you are in the room or outside of it, so watch out if you have easy locks on any of your doors as she might be soon locking one of us in!

She has learned several new words this week that she has begun using:  No (in terms of "no, don't do that.."); Out (in terms of "please get out of whatever you are standing in or on") and Ow, Ow (not sure where that is coming from except she likes to loudly exclaim that any time that she needs to get attention).  Luckily, she was not using that when our social worker stopped by yesterday for a visit; although she did throw one of her plastic toys right at my head, so that Barbara could see how good her throwing skills were!  She uses all kinds of voices when she is happy and very animated.  I guess that she is practicing for future character roles of some sort.  She also will go right up to the pets and scream out something at them.  I have no idea what the word is, but they sort of look at her asking themselves "who is this strange child that is shouting things at me?"  Overall, she is very gentle when she tries to touch them.

We all had a great time at the Zoo on Saturday (pictures to follow). The weather was beautiful and many of the animals were out and about.  The boys had their faces painted and they all rode the carousel, although Ashley was not too keen about that.  She refused to sit on the ride animal since it was going up and down, so I ended up holding her the entire time.  While the boys were petting the goats in the Children's Zoo, Ashley and I decided to feed them as she was shaking her head up and down in a "yes" motion when I asked if that's what she wanted to do.  As I am feeding the goats, Ashley promptly pops a piece of goat nugget into her own mouth and then starts screaming as I am trying to unlatch it from her teeth.  This prompted many laughs from those around us, who all thought it was hysterically funny. 

Tomorrow, we are back at CHOP again for our International Adoption development testing on gross and motor skills.  Ashley is ready to wow them with all of her new found skills. 

She continues to eat alot, but now is becoming more selective as she decides what she really does and does not like (chocolate, sugary and salty items topping her strong likes!)

On Thursday, I am off to meet with a lawyer to finally start the process of obtaining US Birth Certificates for all of the children. Something that requires way too much paperwork and more legal work (as if we hadn't done enough yet), but that is necessary for future schooling and job opportunities.  We have been putting it off for a few years now, post Kyle's adoption, so now is the time to get it done once and for all. 

On November 29th, Ashley will be joining the Goddard School with the boys, so we hope to have her do 1 or 2 pass-throughs over the next few days, to make sure that she can easily assimilate into the classroom.  We were laughing that she might try and convince all that she needs to be with the boys in their rooms vs. her younger baby room!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Night Update

Hi there, C here,

Time compression is taking effect again after getting back to school and work - sorry for the week-long lapse!

But...Week #2 is in the books and it was a good one.

Ashley has been spending some real quality time with Mom this week as she settles into the routines & rhythms of the Lockhead Family, here in Harleysville.  The weather has been good so they have been out & about running errands, getting new clothes (Mom's been waiting sucha long time to shop for pink, girlie stuff!), and walking (Mom walks, Ashley rides in her stroller) around the neighborhood and getting acquainted with everyone.

Da Boyeez seem back up to speed with their classes at their Goddard School.  They are really looking after Ashley and she continues to build strong bonds with both of them.

Healthwise, we got some encouraging news on Wednesday at Ashley's follow-up appointment at CHOP.  Her Doctor (a top Doc in his field) was pleased at her weight gain, and the fact that "things" are moving again on their own through her system.  Her tummy still tends to expand at times, but the situation seems to be moving in the right direction.  We have another follow-up appointment in 2 weeks, just before the holiday.  This is shaping up to be another decision point, and the Doctor seems to think that he'll be in a better position  to schedule Ashley's scope & biopsy procedure (perhaps 2-3 weeks after Thanksgiving - or if she's still doing well, we could wait until the new year).

It's not unlike the adoption process in some ways: don't get too DOWN on the lows, and don't get too UP on the highs. (after three runs through, we get it...).  We're cautious, yet hopefully optimistic.

Ashley has developed an incredible appetite!  Mom reports every day on the plethora of foods that the child eats (or at least tries) - and the list is long and varied.
Likes:  Yogurt, Spaghetti, pretzels (she get this from our side of the family!), fish sticks, chocolate, Sun Chips
Dislikes:  Tomatoes.  Eggs...   Yeah,   I think that's really it!!

Ashley is very perceptive, forward and really likes what she likes.  And she is learning the placement of key foods among the various kitchen shelves and pantry closet!  She knows where the Sun Chips are - bottom of Pantry closet - within reach of even a 22-month old.  Ashley had helped herself to a bag yesterday and was trying to make another grab at one today.  Lisa tried to be firm and told her a solid "No".  As you might imagine, Ashley was none too pleased!  Lisa told me that A, after being denied her Sun Chips, stalked her around the house for 25 minutes, screaming curse words in Chinese, not taking that "No" for an answer!! Mom won and Ashley apparently found something else to eat.

Since Mom & A are home, the boys and I are getting pretty good at getting out the door in the AM by ourselves.  They are really good at finishing their breakfasts and pulling everything together for our 6:25 AM departure. The morning routine has gotten to be a well oiled machine - thanks to them.

We got a real treat last night when we "Skype'd" with Uncle Mark, Aunt Avery and our Michigan cousins.  The pictures were very clear and we could easily understand everyone.  The Boys & A were very excited to see and hear Luke, Logan and Paityn.

AR's doing very well and getting back into the swing of her routines also.  She visits frequently to check on the baby.

This past weekend we were shopping at the LL Bean store near Bethlehem, PA (Saucon Valley) for a winter coat for Ashley.  They have a lot of great winter stuff already out and the boys were checking out the latest in Winter hat fashions.  Here they are trying on their fur-lined lids:

Ashley would have no part of the fun!

Not to worry, though, here are some more photos of her...

Donuts & Yogurt on Sunday morning.
(A new Dunkin Donuts just opened near us!!  Doesn't take much to get us wound up!!)

Ashley & The Geges (A great name for a new Band, perhaps...who knows??!!)

Showing AR the finer points of "Leapster"

Sorry, but more new photos will have to wait...
we ran out of Blogspot's free storage space!!
I just purchased some more but it won't be available until tomorrow...

Anyway, it's late and we 're going to the Philadelphia Zoo in the morning!

Have a good night!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Pictures From the Week That Was

Love that Hospital Stroller!!

Why walk when you can ride - in STYLE!

Yogurt!!  Love it so much, I WEAR it!!

Ashley (& Gege Kyle) in the tub for a refreshing and much-needed post-CHOP Scrubdown!

Enjoying the CHOP 4 East Playroom.

More soon...

Home and Settling In

Hi all - it's hard to believe that Friday is here already. This week has been a total blur.

Today, Ashley has decided that she can't sit or stand by herself, so I have been carrying her around all morning and now she is finally perched on my lap at the kitchen table, while I try and type.  After her hospital ordeal, she appears to be moving into a cold or heavy teething phase, so her nose is running uncontrollably which makes her EXTRA cranky.  This is even after logging in 13 hours of sleep last night!!  She can rival Kyle as a very heavy and deep sleeper, which is super. She seems to really love her crib and her musical aquarium and ipod tunes ensemble every night.  I think that this is our first child that has so easily adapted to their home bed very quickly.

Since Ashley was so limited on food for several weeks, she has decided that she will join the champion eating team and has been eating copious amounts of food each day, especially at dinner.  She has a very wide variety of appetite from McDonald's chicken nuggets to ramen noodles to roast, potatoes and carrots.  She does like to eat SLOWLY so she easily can spend an hour getting through a meal!!  She also has a sweet tooth so she was following Kyle around last night, so that she could sample his Halloween candy.  She still does not like to drink much of anything, so that's been a small challenge as we try all different types of drinks for her. 

We can't say that post our very long and extended CHOP Hospital visit that we have all of the answers yet on her health.  What appears to be the case is that she does have Hirschsprung's disease and that she did have an operation as a very small newborn child, in order to attempt to correct the diseased colon.  However, our Dr. said that when the operation is done at such a young age, there usually are potential complications, which she seems to be suffering from now.  He wants to take a cautious and conservative approach to her stomach issues until she gets a bit older.  So for now, we are still on a "wait and see" type of approach.  Food and her stomach size continue to run a vicious cycle, but now that we are home and things are settling a bit, her stomach does not appear to be rebelling quite as much.  She will still need some every other day home care, but hopefully she can grow out of most of the issues.  In the meantime, she'll have medical follow-ups every so often.  

In the meantime, we are very lucky as we are in contact with her foster family that still misses her so much, but does want to see her succeed and grow in life. They love to see all of the recent pictures that we have sent to them (non-hospitalization) as she has fun with her new brothers. 

We will spend this weekend battening down the hatches, as Ashley is into EVERYTHING to see if she can use it, eat it, pull it or throw it!  My first purchase yesterday was stove knob covers, since she tried to turn on the stove for me the other night.  Right now, she is attempting to pull the buttons of a calculator, so we will have a busy girl on our hands!!

Charlie will get some more pictures up this weekend, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We are now home (FINALLY)!

We arrived home around 4:00 p.m. today but that's about all that I have the strength to type right now after 9 days and 8 nights in the hospital!!  I was beginning to feel that we'd need to name a permanent wing after the Lockhead Family.

We'll bring everyone up-to-date more tomorrow plus we'll add some more photos.  We are VERY glad to finally be home - Ashley is even celebrating with a yogurt and cheerios snack!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Morning post life as Princess Bumblebee

So the verdict is in as of late this morning, we will NOT be able to go home today!!!  Very frustrating.

Ashley is now having her "calories counted" today to determine if her calorie intact is sufficient or not.  If it is, they will review her charts tomorrow and she should be able to go home tomorrow afternoon.  If it is not, then they will send us home with the PICC line which will require training and help from a home health aide so that would add another day before she can be discharged. I am ready to stuff her full of "junk food" today to get those calories way up, but unfortunately, her tummy isn't feeling quite the same way as it is still pretty full and bloated.  We affectionately call her the Baby Buddha.  She did think that my donut this morning was much tastier than the scrambled eggs that I had ordered her.  She also thought that she needed coffee to wash it all down, although I haven't offered her any of that!

As the doctors round at 7:15 a.m., we have already had a full morning of reading books, magazines, going to the playroom and strolling around; after a long week, boredom is magnifying itself.  Now, she is down for a little nap but appears to be more interested in taking her socks off and singing some little song.  She also likes to say "hi baby!" many times. 

Luckily, she has not had any roommates since Saturday, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will remain solo for at least another day. 

The boys had an okay Halloween.  Poor Dylan had a tough afternoon, so he was not interested in wearing any type of costume except an Astronaut baseball hat last night, and just that was a challenge in itself.  It's been such a long few weeks for them, so they are so ready for a normal schedule.  They did come home with big bags of all kinds of loot, so they were pretty happy.  We were lucky to have gotten the Goddard Halloween pictures of them, since we couldn't get any yesterday. 

Kyle, Dylan and Dad all returned back to school and work again today, so hopefully they are having a good one.

I'll keep you posted as we hear more.