Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am no longer blogging here.......You can find me at: www.riesdialogues.com
See you there!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Day Has Come

As the sunset's on one chapter of my life, a new chapter awaits.

I have been blogging now for over two years, never really knowing where it would take me. I have learned something new about myself throughout this journey with every type of a single letter, as I ponder my life as it stands within the moment.

Typing my life has allowed me to live moments twice, once in person and again in writing. I have learned along the way that life is not about finding ourselves, it's about creating ourselves. In the depths of our souls we carry with us our future achievement's that will one day blossom, giving us the power to release our dreams turning them into reality.

May I introduce to you, my new baby:

Starting tomorrow, Monday, July 26th, the GRAND GIVEAWAY BEGINS!
Join me in celebration as I celebrate you in return!
See you there!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ya'll Come Back Now Ya Hear???

I hear the thunder of rolling waves, feel the drips of humid ocean air on my skin, and red ice cold strawberry daiquiri's are calling my name.

I am off folks, to put my bum in the sand and my worries to the wind. Watch my kiddo's place their tootsie's in the warm sand and splash in ocean water.

Taking a blogger break for the week. You bet your day-of-the-week undies (seriously, did we all have those as kids?) that I will be back!

I have been working around the clock with my web designer and participating businesses in anticipation for the launch of the new Rie's Dialogues! We have added an amazing lady to the list, check her out here: Tina Steinberg Now go and wipe that drool off your face!

Monday the 26th is the the day (tentatively speaking, you know how these things go) that we will launch my amazing new site! I'm going to even bring a little work with me to that island getaway.......but truly, I don't consider my blog work! This is my new baby and I'm ever so proud to share it with you all.

See you back soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jumping Back Into Civilization

It's harder than I imagined. I went from not even a second of free time to lots of free time, however, it's not all that free. Everything piled up while my mind focused on school and I find myself playing catch up: Planning Jalyn's birthday party, fundraising for his football team (insert here: God bless all you moms out there that do it, talk about a full-time job in itself), completing forms required for the nursing program to which I was formally accepted a few days ago (insert here: what the hell did I get myself into?), creating a new Star Wars room as a birthday gift to J (insert here: what the hell did I get myself into?), finishing the final touches to my new blog site and dealing with technical difficulties on my end (insert here: COX man coming to home tomorrow), deciding how exactly the children will be taken care of during the next year in hell or something close to it, oh, and washing, drying, and folding mountains of laundry that I swear NEVER disappears!
A few things I have found myself to be sure of.

1. I frequent a few places far too often.
Case in point- I pulled up to Walgreen's, and no more than the front of my van was visible (insert here: yes I drive a mom mobile and you drive a Lexus SUV, you suck) and the lady says through her loudspeaker "for Jalyn?"

OK so some parents in the medical field choose to let illness ride out saying things such as you don't need antibiotics for that, it won't help the illness go away any faster... blah blah blah. In my family? If there's a medication that can help ease the aches, pains, rashes, ear infections, red throats, and gosh darn stuffy noses then by gosh, I've got something for it. Seriously, why let yourself be miserable while "riding it out". Nope not me.

2. I pull up to Starbucks and simply place my order. The lady says, again over loudspeaker, "why did you switch from black to green tea?" Seriously people, the least you can do is pipe it down and say this stuff quietly and preserve an inch of what's left of my dignity.

So I've got problems? What mom trying to maintain her right mind doesn't? "Good" moms I suppose. Well I took myself off that list long ago. I am content with being me, the good, the bad, and yes the ugly--all of us moms have the "uglies" but some are chicken to own up to it. I call these times of poor discretion "bad mommy moments." I cry, feel awful, and tell myself they will never remember these "ugly" moments because I provide plenty of amazing ones too.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

8 Years

my mr and i have been married eight years now

in the past eight years we've....

-married--adopted a dog--moved--bought a home--mr had new job--adopted second dog--had ovarian cancer scare--surgery--pregnant--dog lost eye sight, $5000 to restore it--gave birth--heart failed--six months where i couldn't be mommy--hysterectomy--mr received offer to start hospitalist practice with other physicians--went without income for one year--bad timing, was in process of building new house--moved--adopted another dog--gall bladder failed, of all things--hospitalized for meningitis for two weeks--mr traded the fast life for hospice gig--began process for adoption--traveled around the world, twice--two years and a whole lot of money pass--daughter is added to our family--back goes out--spinal fusion--heart failure returned........and now were to the present.

some marriages are built with sticks upon stilts.

our marriage is built with two-ton boulders piled on top of each other with concrete heavily slathered in between.

no amount of wind will blow us down.
thank you for the beautiful weekend of rest and relaxation. but most importantly, thank you for building this home and this life with me.

here's to many more years together



Friday, July 2, 2010

the load is off my shoulders

school is over
4.0 baby!!!
i doubted myself
i've cried nearly every hour since finding out
gotta work on that confidence issue
my children left to spend a week with grandparents
i miss them
my babies
i've put them to bed
i woke them up
and took them to school
for the last month, I barely saw them
i miss them
my mr did...
and worked
it is our 8th anniversary
he will be deeply rewarded
he knows how great he is
i am super lucky and don't need to write about it
but i am anyway
i want the world to know
i am blessed
keep watch
next week is big
and i know you wanna win
i have some amazing chicks in my life as well
and they are gonna shower you
like crazy
let it be
life will always be what it will
all turns out in the end
the way it is meant to

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

my name is rie

and i'm an addict
starbucks addict that is
i swear they put crack in that stuff

and i'm not talking just the drinks
blueberry muffins, gum, mints...
it's in everything with a starbucks logo

it must be
or there would be something terribly wrong with me

i'll give myself ten more days
ya know
to deal with this addiction

after that i will break it
i will

what are you laughing at
you don't think i can?


well i'm in school with two kids at home
what's your excuse?

i thought so....


Monday, June 21, 2010

june june go away

this month has been so difficult---
1. laundry is piled a mile high
2. the pantry is empty
3. flowers are drooping from lack of attention
4. dogs are lonely
5. i miss my children dearly
6. the house is a wreck
7. i am a terrible blogger
8. and I cried the other day

1. my mr. cleaned, folded and put every mountain away
2. i have already planned my homemade menu for the entire month of july
3. the garden is thriving, i may just be a gardener after all
4. dogs have received some awesome treats--they love when mom feels guilty
5. my children don't give two hoot's about me--they love school and miss it on weekends
6. i have the rest of my life to care about a messy house
7. i will make it up to you beyond your imagination when the new site is launched
8. it felt so good to cry

my mr. put on our wedding song and we danced, barely moving our feet; holding one another so close
that song meant more today than it did 8 years ago
and just like that all the stress in the world disappeared

as stressful as life is today, i am so thankful for this opportunity i have been given. heck, i haven't watched tv in so long our dvr is overloaded---i spent way too much time in front of that thing anyway.

i am learning about different religions and have developed a stronger appreciation for them.
i am learning how to write better--i guess--trying real hard to be positive here

even when times are difficult, if you look around, there is always something positive happening...


Monday, June 14, 2010


buckle your seat belts--it's about to get bumpy.

Please bear with me this week as I struggle to complete my 15 page research paper and two essays.

I have been working around the clock to crank these papers out; not to mention feeding hungry mouths, bathing dirt-soaked bodies and nestling little creatures soundly in bed.

Oh! And how could I forget the best part?! Re-designing Rei's space, it's going to be great and completely Rie!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Reflections of One Crazy Day

When the sun has set and the moon rises into the warm summer sky I-- apply my chap stick, mist my pillow with lavender vanilla, climb into bed pulling the covers up around my shoulders, kiss my husband and reflect upon the day in which I have just had the pleasure of living.

Am I proud of what I accomplished today?

Did I treat those around me as I would like to be treated?

Did I do something nice for somebody?

Did I say a prayer for some anonymous person in passing?

Sometimes, I fall short. On nights such as these, I wonder how I can do different tomorrow.

Life can become so hectic; we feel like the world is spinning when standing completely still--And then we forget to be thankful and follow the cardinal rule.

Today my life was hectic in every way possible. But tonight, when the moon rises above our home and my feet follow that familiar path, I will lay my head down and feel nothing but peace because I:

Treated everyone around me with respect and the attention they deserved.
Have done all I can to ensure that the children that want to play football, WILL.
Taught the little girl next door how to pick tomatoes and a chili pepper from my garden.
Formed amazing new friendships.
Had an amazing conversation with someone that reminded me that life is too short to focus on what other's choose to do or rather, not do; to focus my attention on my choices--Karma Baby!

The icing on the cake??? Someone accidentally took Leila's backpack home with them from school which had her beloved "aimpies" (her blanket she has slept with every night since landing in the U.S.). The owner of the school tracked it down, picked it up from that little girls house and hand delivered it right to my doorstep. Seriously, God led us to this school. We are so blessed to be a part of their family.

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life--happiness, freedom and peace of mind--are always attained by giving them to someone else."
Peyton Conway March


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ramblings of a Busy Woman

Please bear with me while my think-tank is overflowing.
I am in the midst of writing a 15 page research paper that is due in 2 1/2 weeks! EEEKKK! Summer school is for the birds, or at least those with less commitments than myself.

I will share with you my first day:
On the first day of class I spoke to many of the gals next to me. Although I knew they must be younger than me, I could not only hold a conversation with them but I actually thought of them to be of a more intelligent breed than your normal teenager so they must be mid-twenties. I thought to myself "I've still got it! I can do this whole going back to school thing even though I'm old." So......I throw it out there, the question of all questions, "so how old are you guys anyway?" 17 they all replied except for maybe one or two others in their early 2o's. Are you freakin kidding me????? 17?! Come to find out they are still in high school! Something about an "ace" program.....who the heck knows. What I do know is I am nearly 15 years older than these girls! Did you get that, 15! When I told them my age, they replied "you don't look that old". Ummm, is that a compliment? I'm still trying to figure that one out. One girl says: "You're going to be like Jennifer Aniston, 40 years-old and fabulous looking". Note to self: Keep that girl around.

More on Leila's story to follow. It's just not something I want to throw together, is simply means too much.
I'm hoping to announce an update on the grand opening for my new blog very soon...........

Friday, June 4, 2010

Leila's Story

In honor of Leila's Gotcha Day, here is her story.

~January 25th, 2008
We had given up on adopting. Guatemala shut down and just as we approached the top of the list for Vietnam, they closed too. Perhaps it was a sign of visions not meant to be. On this day, God told us otherwise. We received an e-mail from our adoption agency of a baby needing a home in a place we had never heard of. Tid bits of her circumstances were provided but sketchy at best, with one statement contradicting the other. She had scars from a burn of unknown origin but none of this even mattered. Those eyes told us, and our families, that this baby was meant to be ours.
We officially "accepted" the referral and made plans to travel and meet our beauty two weeks later. I sent out a mass e-mail to friends and family announcing the big news.

Two weeks later we boarded a plane that I swore would not be able to get off the ground due to it's enormous size. This would be my first time leaving our great country and needless to say I was extremely worried yet bursting with excitement at the same time.

We landed in Bishkek where we were taken to our hotel for the rest of the day and night, we would meet "Alina" tomorrow. Spending the day away was difficult, we were so close now.
Morning came and we were taken to the orphanage. I should have paid attention to the scenery and beauty of this country as we drove for hours, yet only visions ran through my head; parents holding their children for the first time, feeling her heart next to mine, looking in her eyes and telling her "I"m mommy!", checking all ten fingers and toes just as any "new parent" would do. My heart raced as we entered the gates of the orphanage. We walked up what must have been 6 steps but felt like 30. Through the doors, now I could hear the children......we were so close, so close so that no one could take this moment away from me now, or so I thought.
There was a woman holding a baby that was so tiny she looked ill. This baby looked Kyrgyz but too small and frail to be the baby we saw in the referral picture, "not her" I told myself. So I began to examine the small room for my baby. The woman holding the frail baby motions for us to come over. She speaks in Russian so our driver attempts translation: "Baby very sick, very weak, no oxygen to brain, encephalopathy, she cannot do x, y and z" then they hand her to me.

I panicked. The room began to spin and I had to sit. Everything was a blur but what I do remember is that they gave her to me, had us sit down and we took our first family picture.

I thought to myself: what do you mean "first family picture?" This is not the baby we were told about. That baby had a scar and nothing more, she was healthy, she was plump. What does this mean for her? Will she survive childhood? Will she live in a wheelchair? Is there any brain function? If we were to bring this child into our lives that needed such intense care, what would that mean for Jalyn? Can we walk away at this point? We've come so far, we've spent too much money, there would not be anymore options for us after this. We are here and I can not believe we are finding this out HERE and not THERE. I can't talk to my husband in this place, they will judge us and think we are horrible people. I must look happy and we will discuss this when we get to the hotel. I'm burning up, I can't smile, I have to leave.

The drive back to the hotel was a terrible one. We didn't speak in fear of being misunderstood by our driver, or rather, judged by our driver. I quietly wept as Tariq held my hand the entire way back.

We finally arrived and upon entering the door, my knees buckled beneath me and loudly I wailed. "What? Why? Now?" I cried. "Where do we go from here?" Calmly and in a take-charge manner Tariq said "we research, we become educated in her needs and what we can do here to help her, then we fight like hell to get her home." "So you still want to go through with this given the fact she may have serious needs?" "Yup" he says. "What will become of her if we were to walk away? Who would take her and give her the life she so deserves? God has brought us to her for a reason and we can't turn our backs on that". Instantly, the stars aligned, my heart began to slow and I was able to take it all in. I laid on the bed, wept some more and fell into the deepest sleep I've ever experienced and didn't wake until morning.

A new day. My daughter. I want nothing more than to go have the meeting we deserved to have the first time. She is mine and I am hers. Even when we as parents are blessed to have children naturally, we are not given the privilege of choosing their level of health. Whatever lies ahead for her future didn't really matter from this point on. She would have anything she needed medically speaking and I had a supportive husband and family back home. All was OK. Now all I want is to feed her, stare into those eyes and tell her I am mommy. But first, since we were Americans and in the medical field, a big day had been planned for us. We were taken to a neurological hospital where a team of doctors had breakfast waiting. We witnessed surgeries, met with patients and very quickly realized just how fortunate we are to live where we do. While I was grateful for the privilege of being given a private tour, I wanted nothing more than to be at that orphanage.

Our daughter, our baby girl. She was a daddy's girl from the very beginning.

We spent the next few days getting to know her and the staff. We arranged for one-on-one care until we could be back to take her home.

And this is where the story truly begins, the fight to bring you home.

To be continued......

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Best Day

It's as though I stopped off at a rest stop for two weeks. It was a scenic place where adequate time was taken to stop and smell the desert blooms, in fact, we built entire gardens.

We celebrated life and family, cried over home videos and had open discussions on how life's tragedies have shaped each of us as individuals.

We dipped ourselves in pool water warmed by the desert sun as the sun set below the horizon. While music softly played and children giggled in the background, I did what I do best, prepared a delicious menu for my loved ones to enjoy.

Once children were bathed and snuggled tight in their beds, the adults enjoyed libations and uninterrupted conversations. Warm soft breezes blew through my hair while dogs peacefully slept scattered in the cool grass.

Today I left that rest stop and returned to my journey on the freeway. Although the pace is faster than I'd prefer, it is still my journey and one that I've chosen for myself.

I will close my eyes and remember the cool nights, grateful hearts, content children and full bellies when my speedometer is a little to far to the right. Those are the sacred moments we hold dear.

Mom and Dad, I had the best day with you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Just Can't Hide It!

It's time that I let you all in on the plans for Rie's Dialogues, and I'm so gosh darn excited I can hardly contain myself!

Rie's Dialogues is currently being redesigned and moving to it's very own website to allow for more creativity and freedom on my part.

The most wonderful part of all is that I get to thank you, my delicious readers whom I adore, by having a GRAND GIVEAWAY! I appreciate the fact that you tune in to my little space to read what I have to say, it just totally melts my heart.

Here is just a taste of the wonderful ladies in my life willing to gift you, just for being you!!!

*Blue Lily Photography

*Crystal B Handcrafted Jewelry


*Single Stone Studios

*The Vintage Pearl

*Atomic Creative Designs (The lady responsible for creating my new design!)

Stay tuned for all of the details and updates as to when the launch of the new Rie's Dialogues will take place!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Out In The Garden

Lord knows I have b**c**d and groaned about the place in which we live.
If only I lived here or if only I lived there I would do X, Y and Z.
Well today, X happened.
I may end up with a death rate of 90% (and no this has nothing to do with my being a hospice nurse), but at least I tried.
I planted a garden... in the desert.
By gosh, I cannot change my circumstances so I decided to change my attitude.

I kept saying to myself "we don't have the right backyard, or the right amount of sunlight in any given area, the soil here is horrible." Yet I watched as many here in the desert planted and enjoyed the fruits of their efforts.

So why not me?

The children enjoyed playing in the dirt and helping mama.

And here, you see? The fruits of my labor.
A perfect green pepper.

And delicious cherry tomatoes that taste like sugar and "real tomatoes" as my family puts it.

Just like everything in life, there is no perfect moment, no perfect conditions to try something new. Simply, our fears should not guide our actions. Sure I've pulled out a few
dead plants, and perhaps I will have spent more while trying to save more but in the process I'm learning about myself and how can you put a price on that?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pain and Gain

Another surgical procedure, another tough week. This old back of mine just won't cooperate. And I need it to cooperate more than ever! I've just been accepted into nursing school for the fall to complete my RN!!!

Not only that, but some super exciting things are happening here at Rie's Dialogues.
Some super big changes, and some SUPER BIG GIVE-AWAYS that I promise YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS!!!

It's going to be so amazing.

Stay tuned.......

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Piece of Home.....

Actually a BIG piece of home is here with me now and I am gobbling up every bit of it. If I couldn't go to that dock, by gosh the man responsible for building that dock came to me. After reading my post about that "little old dock", my dad said when mowing the lawn yesterday he looked at the dock and began to cry (sorry dad for exposing your sensitive side). I don't think he knew how special that small piece of earth is to me. How I appreciate the effort and work it took to build it. I love it all, everything my mom and he created, because all the little things have made me the woman I am today. I hope they realize that.

I spent the afternoon preparing my homemade chicken pot pie because there is nothing better than coming off a long flight to a home cooked meal. After one bite my dad said "this reminds me of my grandma's". WOW, I was speechless. There is no greater compliment I could have received.
(An apron I made for my sister-n-law)

Simply put, they are EXACTLY what I needed right now.

I'm going to be taking a small blogger break to celebrate my beautiful girl (more to come on that soon), and to prepare for the difficult days that are to follow (more on that to come as well).


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Day

One of God's greatest gifts is that we awake to a new day where the problems of yesterday are just that, the problems of yesterday.

A new diagnosis will not change who I am at my core; wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and above all, faithful.

A new diagnosis may change my direction but it will not change my soul nor the people that ride along on this journey with me.

So while I wait for the results, I will not let worry consume the here and now.

I am A-OK.

Friday, May 14, 2010

That Little Old Dock

I have been a terrible blogger this week. Truth is I wanted to tell you, my extended family, what has been weighing on my heart but for some reason I had a very difficult time writing it.

Turns out that what doctors thought was post-partum cardiomyopathy (heart failure brought on by pregnancy) may not be what I have/had at all. The Mr and I had our suspicions since day one that my immune system was to blame and we told everyone so. However, there was neither a person that took us seriously or the research to guide them so my diagnosis stood.

It turns out that I may very well have an immune system disorder in which your antibodies will attack your heart/lungs if a foreign body (fetus) is presented. This would also explain why my heart failure returned because with PPCM heart failure NEVER returns unless you were to get pregnant again.

I was told to have another child would be fatal therefore doctors recommended a hysterectomy. Now, if this new diagnosis is correct, I could have had more children biologically.

A firm believer in everything that's meant to be will happen, I know if anything had been different, we wouldn't have our little Kyrgyz princess and I simply can not imagine a life without her in it.

With that being said though, the choice was taken away from me. If I wanted today to have another biological child, well, I can't.

It sucks.

The one place that could ease this pain is home. Home in Michigan, 2000 miles away, where in the backyard lies a humble little dock extending over a pond. I want nothing more than to dangle my feet over it's edge and watch the movement of the water distort images of trees and birds.

All of my problems growing up were pondered on that dock. Oh those problems seemed so big at the time; boys, mean girls, bad grades. I needed nothing more than a little time on that dock and I would have a certain inner peace about life. It is a magical little place.

My life reflects the life of that little dock. I've faced the harsh elements and they've left their scars and splinters. The elements may rock and weaken it's boards but because it was built with care and purpose, it will withstand the test of time.

This was the dock that built me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MY Wild Thing

"Mom! Taste this, tell me if it tastes OK!" Jalyn proclaims as he shoves his chocolate milk, no ice extra whip Starbucks treat in my face. So, I taste.

"HA HA!!! You just tasted my burp!" he yells loud and proud as he swiftly runs away.

For our Friday Family Movie Night we watched Where the Wild Things Are....I live with two wild things of the human race and three of the canine. My house can feel like one gigantic hut where things are naturally destroyed and chaos is a way of life.

Boys are an interesting species. They are batty and berserk; inquisitive and intrusive; independent and informal. Requiring little more than an open range to explore and mark their territory, seriously. Did you know that boys pee on anything, anywhere and actually prefer the yard to a toilet?

With all the lunacy a boy brings you would think we, moms of boys, would be admitted to the nut house ***Visiting hours closed between 7pm and 8am*** But the love of a boy is exclusive and rare and a mother's true privilege. They fiercely adore and defend our honor, enjoy our embraces for much longer than girls and would readily give their last Lego if our life depended on it.

Yes my boy is a wild creature whom at times can be difficult to tame---but do I really want him to evolve into a more docile form of species? That would in fact, deny his true authentic self, his genuine boyhood.

Goo-Goo eyes from my son sends flutters to the depth of my very soul. I love the boy, completely and true. Caveman-like qualities and all. My Wild Thing has me--hook line and sinker, right where I'm meant to be.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Mother's Heart

I am team mom for Jalyn's football team, the Vipers.

On his team is a young mom of two children. She looks 20 at best and her children are 13 and 8. You do the math........does it add up? It didn't to me either. Recently I've become closer to this mom and we had a chat.

Her sister passed away from post-partum cardiomyopathy after the birth of her second son. Sound familiar? At the tender age of 18 my friend adopted her sisters two sons and gave them a wonderful life. She is beautifully mature and these are her children, no one would know any different.

The love and depth of commitment I see on her face for these children takes my breath away.

At this moment I am so grateful for my life. I may never know why my life was spared, but I do know that had fate had other plans for me you would see the same depth of love and commitment on these four women's faces for my children.

Women are the glue that holds a family together. We are there for each other in times of desperation and in joy.

We celebrate each others strengths and bridge the gap of our weaknesses.

We blissfully love their children as our own, a love only another mother knows.

Had my life ended, these women would have carried on my legacy through my children. There is no greater gift in the world.

I would not be the mother I am today without the divine intervention of these women. They stood for me in unity when I couldn't stand for myself.

You four women have moved heaven and earth for me at some point during my life. Our lives will always be linked as women who came to be family by circumstance but stand together by choice.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Super Husband. Super Dad.

Today I rolled over in bed and painfully placed my feet on the floor. I needed to get Leila to school and return home to rest.

The house was still, not a noise to be heard.

Leila was at school and so was J. My husband, that wonderful man, that wonderful man.

The hustle and bustle of life can tune out all of the wonderful things that people do for us daily. My Mr. had a busy day of work ahead yet he managed to get both kiddo's out of the house and to school so I could rest my achy back and legs for a little while longer.

Sunday morning he came in from the garage bearing all sorts of meats from the fridge. Soon the house was filled with all sorts of delicious smells; garlic, onions and bbq out on the grill. "You won't feel like making dinner the next few days so I'm making them for you" he says.

Date nights consisting of movies and fancy dinners all have their place in a happy marriage but what is most romantic to me is my Mr's ability to foresee my needs in the near future and meet them.

My mother-n-law has been so helpful as well and I can't thank her enough. Kids were bathed and nestled snug in their beds the night of my procedure. She picked them up from school yesterday and I was told not to make dinner tonight, Jidu will be bringing something delicious over.

It takes a small army to keep a family functioning when a mom or dad is not up to par. I couldn't be more grateful for the friends and family that surround us and jump into our places so flawlessly that the children don't even bat an eye at the changes.

I am one lucky woman.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dream Land

Today I had double steroid injections into my lower back in the hopes of warding off another surgery for many years.

The only word that's coming to mind right now is OUCH!!!

So........I'm under the weather today and will write my next post in a few days.

My favorite thing EV-AR is napping with my furry sons. Their warm bodies and soft fur are a delicious recipe for a long afternoon snooze.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Beautiful Day

I dropped my girl off for her first day of school yesterday. "Sit with her for a minute and reassure her that it will be a great day", says the teacher, "but don't stay too long as it will make it more difficult for her".
There she was all neatly seated for her morning snack surrounded by new friends. Visions ran through my head of all the memories she will make here. Then I thought of the memories we made together the past two years. I hope she remembers those moments I thought to myself.

I crouched down next to her and looked her straight in the eyes, just the way I did when leaving her behind in the orphanage. When I begged her to fight for her life and told her of all the love she has waiting for her. How far we have come. I cleared my throat and bravely said "look at all these new friends you have, you are going to have an amazing day! Mommy's going to leave now but I will be back in a few hours, have a wonderful day my beauty". To which she bravely replied "bye mommy".

I told the teacher that I was home and to call me if she wasn't adjusting well. I turned to wave goodbye but she didn't need to see me leave. She felt so comfortable and she was so trusting. A true testament to a child's ability to overcome a tragic start and thrive.

I picked her up a few hours later. She didn't nap but she did amazing! She was even given an award ON HER FIRST DAY! An award the teacher hands out once every few months. (I can see we have an over-achiever on our hands). After giving her teacher a big hug and waving bye to all of her friends we headed home, gave her dinner and found her asleep in the highchair at 4:30. She didn't move a muscle until 8:00 this morning.

I hope going back to school doesn't put me to sleep at 4:30!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where is He?

If you're thinking about tomorrow, you're not living today.

Today is so wonderfully beautiful for it's very own reason, though we may not always see it.

I have every reason to think about tomorrow. I almost died after my son was born. There was more than a possibility he would be raised by his father and without a mother. I went into a deep depression. I can still hear the echo's of well-intentioned people saying "stay positive", "there have been studies showing that negative things happen to negative people", "where is your faith?" and the ever-SO-not-helpful "everything will be just fine". I did not raise my son for six months, therefore we did not bond until much later. I did not even feel like a mother. I had no energy to fix a bottle, change a diaper or feed my handsome boy.

The years ahead were filled with challenges; hysterectomy, cancer scare (twice), meningitis, gall bladder removal and eventually the return of my heart failure. And throughout I would continually ask "why me?"

When my daughter was burned and then left to die on someones front door step in the middle of an incredibly harsh winter, I wondered, where is God in all of this?

Science is science. Our anatomy is fragile, things go terribly wrong. Physics are physics. When tragedy strikes it's Christian nature to ask "where is God in all of this"?

Where was God when I was fighting for my life and not able to be the mother he had blessed me to be? Where was God when my daughter was left to die? Where is God when an innocent child's life is taken? Where is God when children are orphaned and fighting for their lives just waiting for a family to adopt them?

I now know for myself exactly where He is.

He is in the doctors and nurses. He is in the selfless orphanage staff that does their very best to bring life back into these children. He is in the people that show up when we can't show up for ourselves. He is, simply put, the love that surrounds us when our world is falling apart, holding it all together. God doesn't cause these terrible things to happen. Bad things happen to good people and bad people, tragedy does not discriminate.

I've had to work very hard not to worry about the future. Everyday a thought will creep into my head wondering what's around the corner. When you've been through the worst, you realize the worst does happen. "Rare" is no longer rare. You take no comfort in any ones advice or medical statistics. And this is completely normal, completely realistic and completely OK. I no longer feel badly about expecting the worse.

But what I do know, is that no matter what lies ahead for me, God will show up. I think about today only and cherish what I have in the here and now. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11. I place my worries in His hands and focus on living the life He has planned for me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Letting Her Go

As I count down the days that I will have alone with my baby girl, I find myself feeling a range of emotions.
I'm excited for her. We dropped off paperwork the other day at her new school and she wrapped her tiny arms around my legs and said "bye, mama". Oh not yet darling. Not yet.
With all the therapist's coming and going and given the fact we don't really know anyone her age, the poor kid has been a little secluded. I may have taken the "bonding" stage a little too far looking back now. She has J and she has fantastic grandparents that swoop her up for lunch and dancing. My babe has been in no way deprived.
This will be great for her development, which is still delayed. There is nothing like peer influence to spark a child's eagerness to progress.
She will learn to trust other capable adults with her well being.

Then there is the other range in my emotions. I'm terribly sad. She, very likely, will be our last and only. She came into this family by unusual circumstances and we had to fight like hell for her. I have her now and I don't want to let go.
Everywhere I go she goes too. My little princess in the back seat that sings and dances during errands. I have been perfectly blessed to have a toddler that doesn't really act like a toddler. No tantrums, fits or crying unless something is terribly wrong. She has been a blessing to cart around. Just watching her take the world in minute by minute is a site I will forever cherish.
Two years together, mommy and daughter. I have been incredibly blessed to have had this time alone with my angel. But life, after all, is about change and nothing ever stays the same. Children grow and God calls for us as parents to grow as well. Being honest, this has been a deep struggle for me. But as always, I pray for God to lead my life in the direction I'm meant to go and I will gratefully follow. I have been lead back to school and my daughter has been lead to the most amazing preschool I've ever encountered. I have peace with our decision.
The time has come to let her go, even if I still keep her within arms reach.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's Gettin Poopy In Here!

Yup. You read that title correctly.

It seems we have entered the toddler-pulls-off-diaper-leaving-poop-EVERYWHERE-phase. Good gracious me.

I'm tired of cleaning poop off the bedding, the bed rails, the floor, the mirror, the vanity, the dresser......and everywhere else I failed to mention.

I tried to spare Leila public humiliation by posting this topic, but she's going to have to deal as mama needs some help here.

Things we have tried, unsuccessfully:
Diaper backwards
Safety pinning tops to bottoms
Clothes backwards
Potty training

A friend showed me this site so I excitedly ordered three.

Perhaps you readers have words of wisdom to share with this exhausted ma and pops, or perhaps I'm just venting as you sigh and say to me "this stage won't last forever so just hang in".

I feel better already.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now that I've pulled myself together...

I would like to share a story with you.

A story that touched my heart deeply.

Upon entering a tiny dark-green shack locals called an orphanage, my whole world changed. My circumstances and everything I believed was turned upside down.

What my heart couldn't accept in the moment, other's hearts accepted for me.

I am so touched by Kelle's ability to share such raw emotion.

A child is a gift no matter the circumstances.

Read Kelle and Nella's story here

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


evokes lightness and elegance.

Easter was neither light nor elegant in our home.

Instead of waking with excitement we awoke to J vomiting.

Leila is reading her new book from the bunny to her ill bro.

There was one highlight of the whole Easter weekend before the chaos began. Saturday night we had my Mr's parents over for dinner. My Mr's mom made delicious bbq ribs and I was in charge of sides and desert. I ripped out a recipe from my Cook's Country magazine, the one I love so dearly. I tried "Chantilly Potatoes", truly a recipe that came from Heaven.

Try them and you will see what I'm talking about!

Chantilly Potatoes

3lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (I used Russet), peeled and cut into 2inch cubes

Salt and Pepper

1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled

1 1/2 cups (about 3 ounces) grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (I used Parmesan. Use fresh grated cheese, do not cheat on this step (BEANIE), you will be rewarded for your work).

1. Microwave potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic. Microwave until tender, 8-12 minutes, shaking bowl halfway through. Use either ricer or mash potatoes. Cover tightly again and microwave mashed or riced potatoes 3-5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-third position and heat broiler. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold two-thirds of whipped cream into potatoes with rubber spatula until absorbed. Dollop potatoes in broiler-safe-2-quart baking dish.

3. With rubber spatula, fold 1 1/4 cups cheese into remaining cream. Spread over potatoes and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil until top is golden, 2-3minutes. ***Let rest 4 minutes.*** Serve.

I watched Julie and Julia the other day and became super inspired to try new recipes. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learned was that you need not a super kitchen, bells and whistles. One simply needs an organized work space and the heart. So, I took on the major project of organizing the heart of my home, my workspace, my kitchen. I have received amazing tips from a dear friend and will post pictures and share the changes I've made with you along the way.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Blessings

Just in time for Easter, we received some good news.
Jafar is not in kidney failure, the initial test at the vet was wrong! No protein in his urine says a lab with "much better equipment". Uh, yeah I'd say so. To go from extreme amounts of protein to none, well, maybe the vet should just chuck their equipment out that fancy window I just paid for!

Nasser is healthy as a mule except he has high cholesterol. Go figure, only my dogs!

This weekend we had a friend of J's over for a slumber party. During the chaos, I managed to whip up a delicious three-layer coconut cream cake. Yummm. I also tried a recipe for mashed pataters, only with a twist. Definitely going to post that recipe here very soon. I promise it is easy (for my open-a-box-stir-add-water=done!-readers....you know who you are).

Tomorrow the Easter bunny will bring a little white basket and a little brown basket for a good little boy and girl, over flowing with scrumptious treats.

What will the Easter bunny bring mommy? Hopefully some extra time added to the day for a guilt-free nap...........it's been a busy weekend and this mama's tired.

Happy Easter!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When it Rains...

It was to be a simple vet visit. I mean, we knew our "nassey-noo" may have valley fever. In most cases though, valley fever is treatable. This will either be confirmed or denied in the days to come.

Jafar came along to have a pesky ear problem taken care of. I mentioned to the vet that he must have "old-man-bladder" as he hasn't been emptying his bladder well and squirting pee off and on instead of a straight line. Harmless--I thought. She grabbed a urine sample to be extra cautious to rule out a UTI.
His urine was green.
Upon further inspection, there were tons of crystals and abnormally high amounts of protein. "Protein in urine is never a good thing" said the vet.
"I know" I told her.
"This is far more serious", she says.
"I know" I say again.
I don't want to know anymore at this point.
And so we wait for the results, $900 later.
I'll tell you, these are my kids and I would move Heaven and earth for them just the same.
You know somethings going to happen at some point, but you are never ready.
Could you please pray for my Nasser and Jafar?