Sunday, November 04, 2012


During the time that Sophie has expanders, we try to do normal things.  As you probably know, this last round emcompassed our entire summer, but we tried to let Sophie do all of the things that Sophie would normally do during the summer, regardless of expanders. 

The first week of June, Sophie took swimming lessons for the first time.  She loves the water and did great with lessons.  Her teacher, Mrs. Chris, says that she just needs more time in the pool.  Hmmm...... I wonder if I could use that as an excuse for us to build a pool here at home.  I digress.

After swimming lessons, we had a week of Vacation Bible School.  Sophie had a blast!



We Are Still Here!

Wow, it's been a while, but we are still here.  Life has been going 90 miles an hour, and we are hanging on tight.  I realized that I never posted any updates from Sophie's last round of expansion. This was a round like no other, and we hope we never have one like it again!

Things started out pretty normal, and we went through our usual routine of drain removal and then the fill process.  The fill process.  Well, this time the fills were much different.  In the past, Bo and I have done them at home with the help of EMLA cream.  Now that Sophie is older and very aware of all that we are doing, she was having no part of us doing the fills at home.  Thankfully, we met Dr. Beals and his group at USA Children's and Women's hospital after Sophie's last surgery, so they assisted us with the fills.  It was pretty intense during that 30 minutes of fills, but as soon as we were done, we would go do something fun, like play at the Splash Pad.  This was a great distraction for Sophie and the moving around really helped Sophie get comfortable quickly. 

A few weeks into our fills, Sophie started complaining that her side was hurting.  We watched closely, shared pictures with Dr. Bauer, stayed in contact with the pediatrician in case we needed to make a mad dash to the doctors office.  Well, we soon found ourselves in the ER of USA Children's and Women's hospital with a case of cellulitis on the left expander and port.  It doesn't look too bad in the pictures, but there was a lot of swelling and fever, and it was very painful for Sophie.

Thankfully, they were able to get Sophie on IV antibiotics right away, and we were able to save the expander.  Our hospital stay lasted around 4 days, but being in the hospital that my sister works in made the stay a whole lot easier as did the visits from family!

Fast forward to the July, and we are ready for the expanders to be removed.  We had an uneventful trip to Chicago.  My sister, Brenda, went with us this time.  We did some sightseeing in the city, and rode the train.  The weather was great! 

Sophie's surgery went well, and Dr. Bauer was able to remove a good portion of the nevus.  Below is a collage of the before and after photos of Sophie's back and a single picture of the front.  I don't have a good before pic of the front, but trust me, a lot of progress was made.

After we got home, Sophie developed an infection in the incision.  With the help of Dr. Bauer and Dr. Beals and his group, we were able to get it under control pretty quickly.  Whew!  This was a tough round, and we are very thankful that we made the decision early on that we would not do more surgeries this year.  We all needed a good break!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ding Ding! Round 3!!

Yesterday, Sophie had surgery inserting her 3rd round of expanders.
We originally thought she was going to get 4 expanders this time,
but much to our surprise, Dr. Bauer opted for 3 instead. 
We are so thankful!

 Sophie was such a brave, big girl during pre-op.
She colored and played with the walkie-talkies that the great
nursing staff at Highland Park Hospital gave to her.
We also played a few computer games and took some silly
pictures with Daddy's iPad.

After Sophie received her dose of Happy Juice,
we headed to the holding area to wait to talk to
Dr. Bauer before Sophie and her babies headed off to surgery.
(Sophie's babies got some expanders too!)

Seeing smiles like this before each surgery is so reassuring.

Everyone had to wear the Smiley Face hat

including Daddy.  He's so silly!

After a couple of hours, the surgery was done, and
the great Dr. Bauer came out tell us how well Sophie
had done. Soon after, we were able to go
sit with her in post-op until she was awake and
ready to go to a room.

This is what we found we went to see her!  She was
sleeping so peacefully with her babies along side her.

We made it back to the hotel around 6:30 and quickly got settled
back in for the night.  Sophie was in good spirits and even
gave us a few smiles, which was very encouraging considering she
had just come out of surgery.  She ate a couple of bites of noodles
(one of her  faves), had some juice and quickly retired to the
bed to catch some cartoons before going to sleep.  We had an okay
night, but that is to be expected.  We anticipate much improvement
in the next few days.

She is one tough cookie and such a blessing to us!

Thank you all for your many prayers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hoppy Easter!

Easter 2012 was a blast!

We were able to participate in so much
more now that Sophie is 3!

We had an Easter egg hunt at church,

dyed Easter eggs with LouLou (a.k.a. Emily) and Amy,

and hunted Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny left
all over our house.  The weather was perfect, so we
were able to blow bubbles and play outside
the WHOLE afternoon!

There probably was WAY too much candy
consumption in one day, but hey, your only 3
once, right?  We made the most of it!

And it was a ton of fun for all of us!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

As part of Sophie's Gotcha Day celebration, we
bought tickets to the Barnum & Bailey Circus.  We
had a great time, and the kids were AMAZED!
I even think Mack liked it a little too!

Guess Who Can Count to 100!

Our big girl can!  Yea, Sophie!!

Happy Gotcha Day, Sophie!

On March 29, we celebrated our 2 year Gotcha Day
anniversary with Sophie.  I don't know where the time has
gone, but in two very short years,

Sophie has gone from this very quiet and confused
little girl whose world was turned upside down

to this vibrant, smart, beautiful, big girl who is
so full of personality and imagination.

She is a ray of sunshine in our lives, and we can't
imagine our lives without her.

Happy Gotcha Day, Sophie!  We love you sooooo much!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter Parade

We have had such a great time this Easter! 

We made an Easter bonnet for the K-3 Easter Parade,

and then got to watch as each precious one parade around the classroom

Sophie had such a good time waving to all of the K-4 students

and friends and family, as she and the others made their way to their seats.

The class then sang several traditional Easter songs for us.

We heard "Here Comes Peter Cottontail", "Little Bunny Foo Foo",
"3 Little Ducks", and "Baby Bumblebee".

I charged my video camera (or so I thought), but when I got ready to use it,
it would work.  Figures, right?  Well, thanks to the old handy dandy iPhone,
we were able to record it anyway.  The sound drops out in one place, but if you have time
and want to listen to the whole thing, be patient, the sound does come back before the end.

We hope everyone has a very Happy Easter!

P.S.  Sophie made the front page of the Monroe Journal in her Easter bonnet,
along with friends Molly and John Hunter!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

For the first time, we were able to participate in the Chinese New Year parade in Fairhope.  We have attended the parade several times and dreamed of what it would feel like to be able to walk down the street with all of the other adoptive families.  That day finally arrived for us, and we had a great time!  Sophie loved throwing the candy and yelling "Happy New Year" to all of the parade goers.  Our dream has once again come true!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Portrait of Mama

A couple of weeks ago, Sophie came home from school with a picture of a shamrock that she had colored.  On the side she had drawn a stick figure of sorts (she has been drawing more smiley faces and things lately).  I asked what it was, and she exclaimed, "That's you, Mama!".  How precious is that!  I am SO proud of it!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Gingerbread House

On Christmas Eve, Emily (Sophie and Amy call her Lou Lou), Amy, and Sophie assembled and decorated a gingerbread house.  Lou Lou and Amy were very patient with Sophie and let her do most of the decorating.  It was so sweet to watch, and if I haven't told y'all, Sophie LOVES to help me cook, so this was right up her alley! 

The gingerbread house stayed at Nana and Pawpaw's house until just recently.  Pawpaw said that he slowly disassembled the house by eating the candy treats from it.  He finally through it out, only to find it buried all over the yard by Speck, their dalmation.  He is very protective of his food and tends to bury it very quickly before the other dogs, Dixie and Chucky, have a chance at it.  Sort of reminds me of this Traveler's insurance commercial.  Pawpaw said that Speck woke him from a peaceful night's sleep to go check on his buried treasure, only to find that his nightmare had come true.  Dixie and Chucky must have been watching!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Christmas 2011 - Fun with the Rigbys

The first get together we had at Christmas was with Lee, Regina, and family in Millbrook.  There house is alive with activity these days, and it is so much fun to see two little miracles running about.  They are all precious, indeed!  We never did get one picture with everyone in it, but there is always next year!   

The second get together of the season was with Michael, Jessica, and Merrill.  We opted for a mid-morning visit, which worked out great!  Everyone was refreshed from a good night's sleep, and Merrill and Sophie had lots of energy to play dress-up while we all visited.  As a matter of fact,  we were so busy talking that I forgot to take many pictures.  I'm a bit embarrassed, but given the happenings of the weeks before, I should be glad I have any at all!  I will try to do better next Christmas!

Calendars were so full, as is not unusual in December, we celebrated the holiday with Tim, Michele, and family on the Monday after Christmas.  Things were winding down and a bit more relaxed by this time, so my memory and camera were beginning to work better.  Sophie and Anna Kay both loved their Baby Alives, and Nick quickly went to work on the Lego boat and truck that we gave him.  He had it almost completely done by the time we left that afternoon.  He is one smart little guy!  Again, I have to apologize that I have no pictures of Mack, the newest addition of the Rigby family, and little brother to Nick and Anna Kay.  I'm sure he could care less, but I am disappointed that I do not have picture from his First Christmas.  I guess I will have to scan the picture from their Christmas card and post it here. 

Mack, Bebe is not always this scatterbrained!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christmas 2011 - Fairhope Christmas Parade

Christmas was a total blur this past year, but I will try to piece it together as best as I can. To kick off the 2011 Christmas season, we decided to go to the Fairhope Christmas Parade. Downtown Fairhope is beautiful on a daily basis, but it is especially pretty during the holidays. We met Tim, Michele, and the kids, as well as Michael, Jessica, Merrill, and Brenda. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great time catching candy, beads, and toys and watching the bands and floats pass.

Having fun!

Throw me some candy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Surgery #4 Update

On December 12, Sophie had her 4th surgery with Dr. Bauer, removing her second set of expanders.  She did great again, and we are so blessed.  Dr. Bauer was able to remove a significant amount of nevus.  Sophie had 4 drains, 2 on the front and 2 on the back.  She has healed remarkably well again, and we are scheduled for suture removal on Tuesday.  For the last surgeries, we were able to remove the sutures ourselves, but Sophie is more aware of what is going on now and is having no part of our removing anything.  That is fine with me because it takes a lot of stress off of me! 

Our next surgery is scheduled for April 23, so we get a much welcome break from all things nevus removal related.  We are very thankful for that!

Below is a photo that shows what Sophie's back looked like when we started (top left), after her first nevus removal surgery (bottom left), and after her last nevus removal surgery (right).  It's remarkable, isn't it?  We are so blessed!!


Yes, I know that I have already done a Thanksgiving post, and yes, I know that it is mid-January, but I have to say that I am so thankful on so many levels. 

My sweet Mama won her battle with renal cell carcinoma and went to be with our Heavenly Father on December 10, 2011.  This was so unexpected, and the most difficult thing that I have ever experienced in my entire life, but I am thankful.  Thankful?  You wonder how I can be thankful when I just lost my mother? 

My mother was one of the sweetest, toughest, most precious women that I have ever known, and I am thankful that she is my mother.  I am thankful that Sophie got to know her Nana and spend so much time with her in the short year and 9 months that they had together.  I am thankful that God allowed us to have 6 years with our Mama after she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  I am thankful that Mama used that time to glorify Him and was such a strong example for all of us, even when she was so sick.  I am thankful that we took advantage of the time we were given with our mama to make special memories that can never be erased. 

I am thankful to be part of a family that is so close and supportive of each other, even during the toughest of times.  I am thankful that when difficult decisions had to be made, we all knew what needed to be done, and we all wanted the same things.  I am thankful to have a family that can pick up and move forward during the most difficult times, even when all of us cannot be there to carry our weight.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I am thankful that I will see my mama again one day in heaven.  That, people, is a comfort that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Thank you so much for your many prayers for us during this difficult time.  We have felt each and every one.