Thursday, April 29, 2010





Friday, April 23, 2010


Didn't get a picture until after she changed her clothes, next week I'll be ready!

I didn't mention this earlier as I didn't want to commit a major Mom faux pas . However I now have official teenager permission.


Drew took her to the movie theater and met the boy (Christian) and his Mom. Christian must have been shy because he told Anna that two other friends were going to meet them there, BUT neither of them showed up....hmmmmmm, I think this was accidentally on purpose. Christian, who by the way, I have never met, paid for Anna's movie and was a perfect gentleman.

Anna knows him because he is in all Honors classes too.

A big Mom moment!

Ps. They are going out again next weekend!

First Swim of the Year!

Jia is going to a birthday pool party on Sunday and the pool is finally a bearable temperature, so Katie decided to have a little lesson with Jia.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Tim! You Deserve It!


"Broncos move up again to select Tim Tebow!"

Blessed By Three Thanks You...

I am sincerely humbled that our little family blog has reached 20,000+ hits on our counter! Who knew? When I started blogging it was a way to keep in touch with our far-flung family and give them a picture of our everyday life.

Now I know that there are a good many other people out there reading, I have to believe it is through Tina at The Story of You. She makes the most beautiful blogs mainly catering to those either thinking of adoption, in the process, or who have brought a child home. She is a very special person.

Adoption, especially of an older child determined to be "special needs" (Jia was 3 years old when she became a part of our family) is a scary and I believe a brave thing. There are ups and downs along the way, Jia had a lot of medical issues, but adoption is a life changing experience for you and for your child. It is magical. You have to look at what they have brought into your life, and also how you have changed theirs. It is God's will all the way around.

If you have been reading our blog you know that we also have 15 year old twins from a domestic adoption. Anna and Katie were 6 months old when they came home and they too were called 'special needs" babies. Sadly, in our country race is still a factor in determining whether or not a child is "special needs".
If you even have a fleeting thought of adopting either internationally or domestically--DO IT!

Sometimes uninformed people will say "but don''t you want your own kids?" how angry that makes me! Never in my wildest dreams do I ever think that Katie, Anna and Jia are not our own. We are a family, just like all of you, the only difference is we may look a little different. We don't even notice it until someone points it out.

I also want people to know that our big girls are proud to be adopted, they have no qualms at all about talking about it. When they get the question (and they do) "don't you want a real Mother?" They are disdainful and say "we do have a real mother just like you". Little Jia says "I'm from China, but I'm home now".

Wow, 20,00! I am so honored. If there is anyone out there that has any questions at all about adoption please feel free to email me at Until then, Let me leave you with this quote that I have posted before:

"This is for all the Mom's and the families that take care of the babies and children no matter where they come from...there is no race or religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else, we are all deserving of love." -Sandra Bullock's 2010 Academy Award Acceptance Speech

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Twins Have a Cooking Lesson or My Plot Never to Cook Again

I am so lucky, Anna and Katie fight over who is going to make dinner. Works for me, even if its just sandwiches. On Sunday, I taught them how to make lasagna, one more down. Better start with Jia, before the others go off to college.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Today would have been my Daddy's 71st birthday. He passed away when he was 46 years old. And I am sad because even though I have looked through a whole bunch of boxes I can't seem to find a picture that defines him.

My Daddy had salt and pepper hair and Paul Newman blue eyes, so handsome... he was the most charming man I have ever met. He was quiet and sat back and listened while others talked, unless he was playing a practical joke (usually on me).

It was because of my Daddy that my family moved to Florida. His company was transferring him to Puerto Rico. So he got on the first airplane he had ever traveled on to check things out. He had a layover in Miami and had to stay on Miami Beach (not the South Beach of today, but the pastel, crumbling building, live flamingos in the lobbies of hotels Miami of the '60's) and he fell in love.

Daddy returned to Pennsylvania, quit his job and we all moved to Florida. Our life? the beach EVERY SINGLE Saturday and Sunday. Going to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport to watch the planes. It had two gates, arrivals and departures.

My Daddy was a business man, an interior decorator and later a VERY talented florist. But those things did not define him.

His happiest moments were sitting quietly in the elaborately tropical backyard he created, it was a work of art. When you went to Daddy's house, you sat outside, whether it was 50 degrees or 100 degrees. He shared the Updegrove philosophy that you don't go in the house while the sun was still shining. And with him, you often sat outside long into the night.

My Daddy had a short life, way, way too short, but he had a full life with a huge amount of people who loved him dearly, I was one of them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Roaring 20"s

Tonight the big girls were invited to a formal Roaring 20's party for one of their friends' 16th birthday. It was in a clubhouse with invitations that looked like they were from a wedding.

Katie really got into the spirit . I took her to the Salvation Army and she found a very sparkly dress for $7.00, she researched hairstyle and even bought gold high heels.

Anna, who only every wears pants was not as enthusiastic. She borrowed a dress from Katie, I gave her an art deco pin and pearls, and then we put her hair back with a flower. Trust me that is a huge deal for Anna.

In the pictures is one of their best friends Yun Soo. She came over after school to get ready.

Meanwhile, Drew had a soccer game without Anna (first one she ever missed) and Miss Jia and I had a date to Barnes and Noble. We bought Jia some books and a DVD and then we had a little treaty. She was very happy to go somewhere by herself without the big girls.

Tomorrow Jia has a party at a place called Pump It Up, it is a bunch of different rooms full of bounce houses and slides and things. Anna is the only person she wants to go with her, so I will get Anna to take some pictures.

By the way, I have been studying VERY, VERY hard to take a test to become a "highly certified" Social Sciences 6-12 teacher. I didn't tell any one because I was afraid...But today I took the test and I PASSED!!!!!!! I was so excited.

More tomorrow...the girls are just party animals. Jia has three weekends in a row with parties.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kindergarten through 12th Grade

My husband rocks. The other day he comes home with these little packs of rubber bands. My 6 yr old and my two 15 year olds jump and start arguing over who gets what.

Apparently the coolest thing in South Florida are these little rubber band bracelets come off your arm and go into all kinds of shapes.

The weird thing is that ALL my kids knew what these were and thought they were sooooo cool. I was dumbfounded that the high school girls knew about them. Everyone in high school wears them including the seniors.

Turn to the 6 year old, turns out every one in her class has them too.

who knew?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Heeeerrrrrreee's Katie!

It is very hard to catch Katie with a camera. I feel bad that a lot of times my blog is filled with Anna and Jia, both of whom love to have their pictures taken.

That doesn't mean that Katie isn't doing all kinds of interesting things. She is our serious kid with through the roof grades, a perfectionist (her room is always the cleanest in the house)

This weekend she is going to a 1920's party. We went shopping at the Salvation Army for a glitzy Flapper dress.

Katie is just a lot more low key than her sisters. She is totally in love with her pug, Benny-Foo and spends a lot of time reading.

Right now, Katie is trying really hard to get a summer job, she has applied to the super markets who seem to be the only places that will hire a 15 year old. If that doesn't work out, she is hoping for a steady babysitting job like she had last year.

Isn't this a cute outfit she put together?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I love my husband, but he is the most low key person I know. He read The Miami Herald this morning. (a big newspaper wouldn't you think?) had his cereal, didn't wake me up, and went to work. We didn't talk during the day, and he just left the newspaper on the table like he usually does. I didn't think to look at it.

Well, when the girls got home, they came running up the stairs to show me today's Miami Herald. Our own Anna Parnham was chosen as an Honorable Mention soccer player in the 5A-6A (biggest schools in the county) division! As a 10th grader!!!!!!!

Now I'm not saying Drew's not proud of Anna, we just have such different temperaments, I wanted to run up and down the street and call everyone I know. I asked him if he bought extra papers, of course he had not. Me, I would have bought 30 copies that would sit in a box for 10-15 years until Anna could show her kids, and wallpaper her bathroom with them. (I did send Drew out and he found 2 more).

in Drew's defense, I am having a "not leaving the house day"

Way to go Anna! Just one more thing to add to that college file, and to give her a sense of accomplishment doing something she loves!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Part 2: The Hunt

Jia & Parker ~the lovebirds

Jia's big bag ready to go, but she got so confused she only got 4 eggs

Waiting for the countdown

The oldest Mom & Dad in the 6 year old section

How Katie dealt with the Egg Hunt

Saturday morning the city of Pembroke Pines has a huge Easter Egg Hunt, so Jia and her main man Parker had a date. Jia didn't do very well, but the Easter Bunny will treat her very kindly tomorrow morning. Keep watching, there is more to come....

Onslaught of Easter Pics Part 1

Last night was egg painting night. A good time was had by all. Today al our fingers are dyed either blue or purple. Stay tuned, more later....

Friday, April 2, 2010


My Mommom ~ Marian Updegrove

My daughter~ Marianna Parnham

I have lots of Easter activity that I will be posting, but I hope those reading this blog will stop for a moment to read this one too.

My childhood was tumultuous at best. All I really need to say is that there were not many "safe" adults in my life. Thank God there was one.

This is a picture of my Mommom (Grandmother). She was and always will be the most significant person in my life. She was a person from another time. Friends and relatives would drop by and hang out around the kitchen table. There would always be dessert. If I were lucky it would be shoo-fly pie, my favorite. There was ALWAYS Sunday dinner, too much food and not enough seats. Two of us always had to sit on the organ bench.

I could write forever about her, but let me say this, when we moved to Florida Craig and I spent every summer at my Grandparents home until my Poppy passed away. Then my Mommom moved to Florida. She was never really comfortable here, but she wanted to be close to my Dad, her only child, and her grandchildren. I was the only girl, and without a doubt she doted on me. She was my best friend, and I was hers.

When I had no where to live before college she took me in.

When I was told unkind things, she canceled them with the positive. When I was told I was unlovable, she told me she loved me most of all. When I was discouraged from going to college she told me that I needed to go and gave me every penny in her savings account-$300.

One night in Gainesville I got a phone call from my Mom telling me that my Mommom was extremely ill and I had to come home right away. I immediately called my Dad (they were divorced) and started telling him things I wanted him to tell her until I got home. He started to cry and said "Your Mommom is already dead".

It was Good Friday.

Now I know that the date of Good Friday changes every year, but I have never been good with dates, so i just remember that my Grandmother died on Good Friday, the day a piece of my heart died too. She gave me all the positive things I have today. I know I gave her love, laughter and happiness too.

The second picture here is the best way I knew to honor the most significant person in my life.