Well, this summer is flying by. The girls just both celebrated birthdays in the past 2 weeks---Reese turned 3 and Lilly turned 1 and life just gets more fun every day! We got back last week from our second beach trip just for a little while before taking off again for another trip to...where else? The beach. This past trip was with family. My (Anne's) brothers and sisters rent a house every year together at the beach, the 8 of us (yea, i have 7 siblings--4 sisters and 3 brothers) and our spouses (if applicable) and kids! it gets a little rowdy! we have SO much fun together. Some people think that it seems kind of weird that we like to get away for a whole week together in the same house every year, considering the fact that we all live in the same area---anywhere from 10 minutes to at most 45 minutes apart and we see each other very often. Sounds crazy to some, but it is great fun for us! We have done it each year since we lost our mom to colon cancer in 2000. We are a very close family...(we also lost our dad 8 yrs earlier to leukemia). Anyways- the beach was GREAT--the pics above are Reese and one of her cousins on the beach one overcast morning and below are some other shots with the fam and in the pool at the house we rented. Reese and Lilly were both given a few incredible birthday parties. Both sides of the family threw them parties. Can I just say that we have the BEST family ever? They love up on our kids SOOOO much! Reese had a princess party (2 actually), as she is really into dressing up now--especially like a princess. I will have to post pictures later of what dress up around our house looks like--some of the outfits she designs are WILD! She had cinderella on her cake and plates, etc... and forever she has called her "cinda gorilla." We just think it's so funny that we have yet to correct her. so, everyone in my family now says, "cinda gorilla." We're pathetic, I know. Interesting note on the health/adoption front: we noticed about a month ago that it appeared as though Lilly's thumbs do not straighten. (They are always bent at almost a 90 degree angle). So, i took her into the doctor and our pediatrician (whom we love) was not in that day and the one available to see us is fairly new. Anyways- this new pediatrician referred me to get an x-ray and said "i have never seen this before!" (Just what you always want to hear from a doctor, right? that this is the first time they have ever seen a condition. Way to put the parents at ease, doc.) So, off we went to get x-rays. getting a little girl/baby to hold her hands flat for like 5 x rays of each hand is NOT fun. (especially when your hand cannot be in the way holding hers down). We had to tape them to the x ray table over and over again to get each angle---she was traumatized. Then, we were at the beach when the results came back and when i read them they basically said"x rays indicate that there is a bend at the blah blah blah joint in the thumb." Thanks but no thanks! Duh, we knew that there was a "bend in the thumb"--that's why we took her in! basically, the x ray was USELESS. Our pediatrician then saw her and said "no big deal, we see this every so often, you just need to see an orthopedist. You really didn't even need to have an x ray for this, as it is not really a bone issue." Once again- the x rays were USELESS. so, we went to a pediatric orthopedist and he said that he has "trigger thumb." It is not common, but not super uncommon. typically it isn't seen in BOTH thumbs like with her, but he thinks that it is likely a congenital birth defect. Since I didn't actually see her at birth, I cannot verify if it was present or not. here's the sad part...looks like she has to have surgery. :) Poor Lilly--- she will have to be completely anesthetized. local anesthetic won't work. I have never even been anesthetized and now our little girl who has already lived through too many traumatic events for a 1 year old will have to be put under for surgery on both hands! :( We'll need lots of prayers for that event. Not scheduled yet, I am still researching before agreeing to it. Anyone heard of this or had to treat it? Well, onto better info: tomorrow, my dear dear friend from Chicago is arriving with her husband and two kids who are the EXACT same ages as our two little girls-3 and almost 1. They are staying a week and I am SO excited. Mwende (my friend) and I lived together for 3 years during graduate school in Chicago. We spent like every moment together because we had the same classes, same friends, same apartment and often spent like 18-20 hours a day studying and doing research in the engineering building at northwestern....so we were sleep deprived for several years and insanely stressed out, but we managed to have some of the most fun together ever (probably because we were a bit delusional). I am convinced no one else on this planet could have lived with me through those years but her. I cannot wait to spend time with her and have our girls play together.