Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Doctor's Out Our Ears......

Forget about the fact that we live with a doctor, we can't seem to stay away from them!
Leila will have her MRI to diagnose the cause of her cerebral palsy. It's a total bummer that anesthesia is needed, but answers will help to complete her lifetime puzzle. I'll be going alone which I'm a little nervous about. Tariq was unable to get the time off work at such late notice. I'm not worried about the test, more about driving home with a child that just had anesthesia and no one to keep a constant eye on her during the hour-long drive home. One of my closest friends Kristy is a nurse in the MRI department, luckily she is working that day. Also, the same anesthesiologist that was there for her surgery will be there for the testing. We love this doc.

I'll be going back to my cardiologist tomorrow. While on vacation I awoke during the night with a crushing, severe pain all across my chest. The color ran from my face and sweat poured out, I began to feel faint. With my son blissfully asleep next to me I grabbed his hand and prayed that if I indeed were having a heart attach that He would just take me now. The pain was that severe. I lied down grasping my chest unable to yell out for my husband sleeping at the back of the trailer. Thankfully the pain passed after about two minutes too long. I've since experienced pain radiating down my left arm and neck with occasional difficulty breathing and palpitations. While I pray it was nothing serious, I'm being pro-active about my health based on my heart history and because I have two of the most beautiful children at home and a very handsome husband. I'm not willing to leave them over ignorance.
***Yes I'm a nurse, yes I should have called 911, yes I am stubborn.***

Jalyn decided to get his first ever sinus infection, he's getting so old! Antibiotics and decongestant should do the trick.

I hope this is the end of it as we are leaving for the magical land of Disney very soon.

If you are reading this and are a praying person, it would truly make my day if you could pray for Leila's MRI day. Please pray that all goes according to plan. Please also say a prayer for a gorgeous little girl named Anara. She is from Kyrgyzstan as well and her mommy and daddy rock! They helped us through our most trying times in our quest to bring Leila home. Anara is having surgery as well. Thank you, I truly appreciate it!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So Terri went to take the laundry to the front of the resort......
his check engine light came on! He is now at a local dealership trying to get a diagnosis. Jalyn and I are stuck at the trailer, and Terri is stuck there. Not exactly the way we envisioned our vacation. Hopefully it won't be anything major.

We've made new friends. Our neighbors. They are an amazing family that lives in Northern California. We made a vow that every year we will meet up with them here for a family camping trip. We are hoping for the fourth of July next year however, I went in to reserve a beach-side spot and they wanted $3200 for a week! NUTS! I could take the whole family to Maui for that price. Our friends hubby does work here and several co-workers live here year-round, so he's going to try and work his magic on the price issue. Don't get me wrong, this place is a 5-star camping resort and for most people here it would be a drop in the bucket.......but we ain't most people:)

I was sad to hear about Jon and Kate plus 8's episode last night. Yes.....I'm hooked. I've been hooked since the very beginning. I've basically watched a marriage fall apart over time and it's so sad. I pray that there is still hope. The camera's should have been gone long ago and their priorities should have re-arranged. Who could thrive in a fish bowl like that? Not too many of us.

I'm watching my kiddo feed the ducks right outside our trailer......does life really get any better? Well goodbye for now my dear blog, I'm getting MY priorities straight right now and going to join my son and his ducks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's cold in Cali people!
We arrived earlier today to find someone in our spot and nowhere to be found. After two hours of searching for them our neighbor finally found them...playing horseshoes. We got a free night, which is HUGE for this place. Can you believe they charge $25/night to rent a fire ring? Crazy.
There is more money floating around this place than I can even imagine. Couples younger than us with $400,000 toys. A lot of silicone as well....
Our neighbors are great! The beach is amazing and we are literally 5ft away. The high today was 73 degrees but now it's cooling down...way down. My cheap husband refuses to pay that price for a rented fire ring, can't say I blame him but were here and it's cold.
I've had time to clear my thoughts and relax.
I feel like a new girl, already.
Now, how to talk my hubby into a fire ring......

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Phew! We made it.....

Boy was that a scary drive.
Terrible winds made the trailer sway back and forth forcing us drive very slow. We averaged a whopping 5.7 miles/gallon due to the strong head winds. Upon on arrival to our temporary spot in L.A. we were greeted rather rudely by a drunk old couple. Their darn satellite dish was past the line and the spaces are so small here that Terri nudged their dish. Out they came in a drunk rage demanding we not take the spot next to them. If we hadn't gotten in so late I would have left this place in an instant. However, it is late and we are tired. Since the drunk old couples escapade, several "neighbors" have come over apologizing for the old peoples behavior insisting the rest of the campers are not rude like them. I have to say the rudest part of the whole situation was the fact that Tariq asked nicely for them to help us instead of yelling at us, the woman replied "your on your own". Gee thanks lady, don't be surprised if you wake up and your trashy trailer has been egged. Not really. I'm not that mean. Sometimes I wish I were. I miss our neighbors back home:(
We will be leaving FIRST THING to our final destination: Newport Beach. God please let our experience be a better one there.

***UPDATE: Mean old couple came over and apologized, gave us hugs. Life is good.***

Friday, June 19, 2009

See Ya in Cali

This will be our campsite for the next week.
This will be where I leave my worries behind.
Me not blog for a week? No way Jose! My laptops coming with.
See ya in Cali.........

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It was a very difficult week for a lot of reasons.
Even though we expected the diagnosis of CP it hit us pretty hard. We've been working through the emotional aspects of it all so we can fully concentrate on the task ahead....finding Leila the best care possible.
Today I had a meeting with DDD (Department of Developmental Disabilities) to discuss whether or not Leila could qualify and if so for what. She does qualify given her new diagnosis which means she will be provided with a speech, occupational and physical therapist that will come to our home each week. In addition, a teacher will also come out to work with Leila on adapting to her disabilities.
I just want to say a quick thank you to all who sent loving messages of support.
The other day was a very difficult one where many tears were shed. I looked at the comments you all sent my way and I instantly felt supported and a feeling came over me that said "I can do this". So thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Diagnosis

Today Leila saw her neurologist....
We received the diagnosis we anticipated. Cerebral Palsy.
The neurologist said that the damage to her brain was more than likely caused in utero, although there is a small chance it happened after birth. Just a few of the scenarios he put out there was a possible stroke, infection of the birth mother in utero or trauma.
He was able to assess her more accurately now as she is more functional. Leila walks with her left foot slightly dragging and turned in and her left arm contracted. She does not like to use her left hand but will when she is given no other option.
The neurologist felt it is time to go ahead and order an MRI to try and place the puzzle pieces of her life together. We were warned that the results will 100% come back abnormal and to expect something to show up. I'm so thankful that this doctor is on the same page as us. We know so little of Leila's past to provide to her in the future and maybe this will aide her in knowing just what went on during her short amount of time spent in Kyrgyzstan.
MRI's in children require full anesthesia which is unfortunate. However, our dear friend Kristi works in the MRI department at Phoenix Children's so she will be well taken care of. The anesthesiologist for Leila's skin graft surgery also wants to take care of her during the MRI which is awesome as we absolutely loved her!
We were reassured that whatever the MRI shows, her disease is not progressive and she will more than likely go on to live a normal healthy life with proper management. She already attends physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy so her treatment would not change at this time. The doctor felt as though Leila will likely be able to cognitively correct herself as she becomes aware.
During our hour with the doctor he kept pausing and smiling into Leila's eyes, he repeated over and over "boy did you sure get a gem!"
We sure did. As I've always said, no matter what is required her needs will be met. Let's just say I'm learning everything there is to know about the State's system for children with special needs.
Her MRI will be scheduled soon and I'll be sure to keep you posted.
Leila's zest for life continues to amaze us as she has got to be the happiest baby on the planet. The doctor noticed this too...despite all she has gone through she is so happy and trusting.
We are more than blessed to have this angel in our lives.
Thank you for your prayers both past and present as we feel and witness their effectiveness daily.
God Bless...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tomorrow came and went and I was terribly sick.
I did manage to muster the strength to chat a short time with Aunt Jese, and when I mean muster I'm serious people. That was a nasty GI bug, wiped me right on my tush.

She went to the hospital for her ultra sound and found out she is pregnant with........ONE.

Bittersweet of a day as twins wouldn't have been so bad. However, we are a God-trusting family and He gives us what is meant to be.

Now...if they would only tell ME the sex I would get on ETSY and order all those darling clothes I see....

I ordered you something "real nice" (as in Christmas Vacation...) from Etsy just for YOU! I figure babies get all the cute stuff, mama deserves something too! Watch for it in the mail!

Thank you both Jay and Jese for making me an Auntie again......I can't wait to meet the Lil guy (yes that is what I think IT is).

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Aunt Jese with Leila in October 2008
Love the jersey, love the girl even more

Uncle Jay with his best buddy Jalyn, October 2008

Tomorrow is a big day for me.
Aunt Jese is going for her 20 week ultrasound.
At her last appointment the doctor casually told her she may be carrying twins.

Tomorrow cannot come fast enough for me.
I am an Aunt and God Mom to "Thing One and Thing Two". I love being an Aunt.

I cannot wait to meet the little one rolling around in Aunt Jese's belly.

To Baby J(s):
When you are born, I will fly to meet you.
You are loved more than you can imagine.
Whether you are a boy or a girl (or both) I'm not sure, your parents are being cruel, cruel people about that topic....
It is making it very difficult to stock your dresser(s) properly, but we'll wait patiently....OK maybe not so patiently, but we'll wait.

Jay and Jese I love you. Good luck tomorrow!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cuisine Rie

Tonight I cooked an amazing meal, and a healthy one at that.
Tariq kept saying between bites "mmmm, I could eat this all by itself" (referring to the side salad). You see, I have no problems experimenting with new recipes and changing around the ingredients to make them my own. I enjoy trying new culinary experiences. I didn't grow up with exposure to "different" meals, it was your typical mid-west basics; meat, potatoes, spaghetti, tuna helper (I loved it mom:), and there certainly is nothing wrong with the above meals. Yet somewhere along my travels I started craving something more. I believe it started during the early days when the Mr. and I had just begun dating. We would attend dinners, paid for by pharmaceutical companies, at the finest restaurants Tucson had to offer. There were things on the menu I could not pronounce, but it didn't matter as over time you learn that a great chef can turn even beastly foods into mouth-watering bites of beauty.

I've never allowed my children to turn down any food without first trying, we call this the "no-thank-you-bite". They must try everything once and if they don't like it they can say no thank you. My goal is to open their minds to all kinds of food from all cultures (with the exception of fiery Indian food, even I cannot stomach the heat). I look at Jalyn now compared to friends that visit and see how un-picky he is compared to most children. He is not limited to a three item menu for lunch or any meal. He eats what we serve or he goes to bed hungry. Period. Some parents would disagree with this philosophy and say just feed them whatever they will eat, but I feel if there is no medical reason to do so you are simply doing your children a culinary injustice (I say this with a smile on my face). However, differences are what makes the world go around so I don't judge. Yet I see Jalyn and Leila eat food that other children turn their nose up to immediately without even trying it. Now our children actually prefer meals that have spices added, they don't like bland foods. Even Leila at a very young age disliked the blander foods I would make for her in exchange for the family meal just mashed up.

Tonight I made baked tilapia with a side salad. I got the recipe from Sunset magazine , which is amazing if you live in the west. I just finished a subscription to other cuisine magazines and ordered this one, what great ideas I received from gardening to food. If you want a light yet robustly flavored salad that is perfect for summer, enjoy this:

Asparagus Summer Salad
SERVES 6 TIME 20 minutes
~2lbs. thick asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
~2tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard
~3tbsp. olive oil
~1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil, chives, and cilantro
~1 cup thinly sliced red onion
~3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
~2oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
~1/2tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop asparagus into water and cook until bright green and slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain asparagus and rinse with very cold water until cool to the touch.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, oil, and herbs. Add asparagus, onion, pine nuts, feta, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.

It's that simple.....enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

To Bring Or Not To Bring.....

That is the Question......
*** I'm asking for all you mama's out there to vote***
Next month we have a trip to Disneyland planned for a celebration of Jalyn's sixth birthday and our seventh anniversary.
To back up a bit, this trip was intentionally planned for Tariq and I to celebrate our anniversary somewhere without kiddo's, then it turned into taking Jalyn to Disney. We had originally planned to take only Jalyn and let Leila have a week with her Amty (and if you know Amty, you know she will have a good time!) The hotel we are staying at has a great child care service in the evenings for Jalyn, the thought being that Jalyn could play there for a few while me and the Mr could go have some adult time;)
Lately we have been going back and forth on our original decision. We have a pull to bring our daughter with us as we enjoy her being around so much. We also have a pull to make this a special time with Jalyn as we can all go on rides and not be restricted by naps etc and if we are able, escape for a date night ourselves since it is our anniversary.
I have heard everything from "you've got to bring the baby there is so much for them to do too" to "are you crazy for bringing the baby, there is nothing there for them especially when you don't have to".............
Now I'm asking you, readers.......
If you could do Disney without a Toddler, would you could you without the guilt?...as the Dr. Seuss rhyme goes....
Let me know by taking the poll to the right of your screen, or leave me a detailed comment on this page!
Thank you for helping us make this decision!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Never Win

We had our family pictures done with Blue Lilly Photography. Oh how I love Wendy... She is a beautiful spirit.

She has give-aways regularly on her blog and I never win. I may sound like a sore looser and that's because quite frankly I am. I've never won a thing in my life.
Check out her website and try to win yourself, at least maybe I'll know someone who has the pleasure of being lucky.
Notice all the places she's going this year! She is one busy girl, I honestly don't know how she keeps her sanity.

She is coming to Phoenix in November and I think we'll do our family pictures again then. I loved the Christmas cards she made, just beautiful (thanks to photo shop).

Maybe just maybe we can get her to come to Michigan one day if there is enough interest generated. So if you like Wendy's work, e-mail her! Tell her you want her in the Great Lakes! I'd be happy to make a trip for family pictures there! Seriously how beautiful with all the green!

Here's to Wendy and all the families she makes look beautiful.......

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Wise Friend Said....

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." By Pierre Auguste Renoir

This friend knows exactly the pain I was talking about in my prior post. She and her husband had two failed adoptions and one successful adoption from Kyrgyzstan with similar set backs along the way.

I want to thank you Amber for the excellent quote, how true it is in our cases. One day this pain will pass and we will be able to look back at our experience and not remember the hurt as clearly.

I was lying in bed thinking about this very idea last night. People move forward and time marches on whether we are ready for the future or not. How do you honor these children's past without living in it? I don't know the answer to this yet but everyday I feel closer to finding it.