Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas In Heaven

It's two weeks now since my mom has passed away. Feels like only minutes.. feels like years. Losing someone this close to you is a very disconcerting thing. It's hard now to believe that we all spent her last 40 days and nights at mom's bedside, and held her hand while she breathed her last breath. We are all starting to get on with our lives a bit.. I've started working out again (very therapeutic thank god) and am trying to think back to all the work-related balls that I dropped when mom became so ill. My siblings are trying to get back into their jobs and lives.. and my dad is very slowly learning how to live without his soulmate. Not an easy process for any of us, and especially difficult for my father.
We set up a fundraising website in mom's honor and asked that people give donations rather than send flowers, etc. We have actually raised $6,695 to date!! We are donating to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. Triple negative is an aggressive form of bc, and is a more rare subtype - lesser-known, lesser-researched, and difficult to treat.
A good friend of my parents' sent this poem to us recently, and I thought it was nice:

Christmas In Heaven
It's Christmas in Heaven
What a beautiful sight
It's my first one here
And everythings alright

The crib is adorned
With the brilliance of stars
Wisemen have come
From Venus and Mars.

I've met all our dear ones
Who preceded us here
The reunion was lovely
An event full of cheer.

And tonight we'll all gather
in reverence we'll kneel
For the Babe in the cradle
Up in heaven is Real.

I think of my Family
That I left behind
And I pray that your Christmas
Is as blessed as mine.

Please shed no more tears
For my soul is at rest
Just Love one another
Live life to it's best.

Yes, It's Christmas in Heaven
So I've heard them say
Yet, Christmas in Heaven
Happens here Every Day!

To donate:

Monday, November 16, 2009

One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

"Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I'm aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don't understand why, when I need You most, You leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

The 13th was Devika's 2nd birthday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEVI!!!
Yes, this is a late post. I wrote most of this ON her b-day.. but alas.. was unable to finish until today! Life just gets in the way these days!
This was a pretty lo-key birthday for her. We are not throwing her 'real' party until September 12th - when we are throwing one big bash for both girls together (Maya's b-day is 9/9). On the 13th, we had some cake/ice-cream and opened presents. As she has no idea what any of this is anyhow.. I don't think she minded!
It's a good thing that we did not plan a big party for the actual date. Maya came down with the flu last week, and her pediatrician was 98% sure that it was the H1N1/Swine flu. Whatever flu it was, it was nasty. It hit her Monday afternoon, and she was more sick that night and the entire next day than I have ever seen her. Since they started her on Tamiflu, she improved quickly.
Luckily, Devi and the rest of us did not pick up this flu. I have been sick with some type of cold virus the past few days.. but I don't think it is the flu. No fever.. and according to Maya's pediatrician, the local strain of the H1N1 flu is characterized by high fever and body aches. I'm sure I just have some other crazy virus that I picked up from the kids! Hopefully I feel better tomorrow. Sure is difficult to single-parent two little kids when you feel like not moving from your bed. ugh. Of course Aj has been traveling this week - and uber-busy when he isn't.
Speaking of my baby girl though.. Devi has now been evaluated by a few different OT's and they all have come to the same decision - that she has sensory processing disorder. She actually, to me (and Aj), seems to be getting worse rather than better - when you look over her behavior compared to her timeline of being home. I'm glad we had her evaluated and have begun therapy. She needs it.
The poor girl - she has the sensory issues that cause her to need 'overstimulation'. She runsrunsruns and smacks herself into things constantly (on purpose). She rarely stops running or climbing. She hurts herself on a regular basis and doesn't 'learn' from these instances. She will continue to bang her head against something - or climb back onto something she fell from, throw herself from something, etcetc. She is a holy terror at playgrounds. I made the mistake of taking both Devika and Maya to a park recently - and had to spend the ENTIRE time managing Devi. She FLEW up to the highest point of the playground equipment - while I was chasing her (not so easy for mommy to fit thru these stupid things!) and was getting ready to throw herself down a very tall and steep slide - just before I reached her.
And good lord, if you stop her from doing something that might kill her (or if you EVER - no matter how nicely - tell her 'no') - prepare for uber-tantrum. She still throws her head and body back - no matter what might or might not be behind her - and shrieks/rolls around/'pinballs' from one structure to another. It is very exhausting (for me, obviously not for her!).
I also found out, interestingly enough, that her velcro-chewing-fetish is a sign of this disorder. Nice to know, as I was beginning to wonder if she was part puppy. ;) And actually she doesn't chew the velcro - she licks it. Interesting. Shoes, toys, chair cushions, you name it. The OT said that it is actually a good thing for her right now, as it is a calming mechanism for her. So now I'm looking for a sensory toy that she can lick safely. I think I"ll just get her a stuffed toy that has different textures on it (you know - the baby toy/baby blankets that you see all over).. and stick some velcro pieces to it.
Devi is also being tested b/c she is not growing properly. She is still under the 3% point for everything.. and has only managed to gain 2 lbs since February. Her doctor is very concerned. We are doing a bunch of labwork and looking for anything disease/disorder related. Her doctor is hoping that something turns up - as that will be treatable. We have also been referred to a doctor in the nutrtion clinic at the Children's Hospital. Thank GOD we live only 30 minutes from that hospital - as we have been there so very often now.
Devi's pediatrician told me that if nothing changes soon.. we will likely be doing growth hormones when she is preschool age. Another referral to another Children's Hospital doctor. My life is spent at doctors and therapists lately! Not that I am complaining though.. I feel so sorry for Devika having to go through all of this. I hope it isn't a difficult road to get her on track.
Other than that, only other new things are that the girls both started school today - FINALLY! It officially began last week, but the flu prevented me from sending them until today. Actually.. Maya attended on Monday, but Devi had labwork on that day. It's a church-preschool, and they are both going to attend 3 days/week. This way I can try to get back into working a little. I hope Devika works out ok in this school - I'm a tad concerned. But we'll see. If not, I'll pull her out and deal with it. I'd just like to do some work and try to make a bit of an income.
A few people have asked about my mom.. she is doing ok these days. Well.. as 'ok' as she can be. Still on chemo every week.. still losing weight (she is a toothpick).. still always exhausted. She has been fighting some major depression lately, so her doctor is hooking her up with some therapy and a change in some meds. I very much hope this helps her. Can't blame her for being depressed, that's for sure. She has been such a strong fighter for so very long, it must be ungodly difficult for her. She has been on chemo, fighting this recurrence now for 2 1/2 years. Scary scary scary. We're going to visit her next week. I hope she is ok enough to enjoy the girls a little bit.
So that's the latest. Personally, I'm just spending my time taking care of the girls and feeling guilty that I have no time to pull the ungodly amt of weeds in our yard. I miss doing landscaping work.. but have found that there is just NO time for this unless both girls nap (HA!). Maya hates hot weather, so she won't go outside with me when it is hot - and it has been quite warm lately. Hopefully I'll have some time for this when they go to school.
I'm also continuing my training.. I'm going to do a duathlon at the end of September. I'm pretty excited that there will be no possibility of drowning in this race! :)
Hope you all are doing well! I seem to have no time to read blogs these days (or to write blogs.. obviously!).. but maybe life will slow down a little in the near future. Happy end-of-summer!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Am A Triathlete!

Who would ever have guessed????

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally A New Post!

Maya's vocab translation:
Physical Therapy: Piz-sickle Therapy
Energy Bar: Injury Bar
Mom's Convertible: Mom's In-vertible
Kneepads (they came with her bike helmet): Knee Helmets

Maya and her famous conversations:
Maya {to her babysitter, in the car}: Excuse me Miss J, Excuse me MIss J!!
Miss J: Yes Maya?
Maya: You need to put both of your hands on the steering wheel. My mommy drives with two hands, you need to use two hands.

Maya {to a babysitter - who, btw, is 17 yrs old}: Do you have kids?
B: No
Maya: Why not?
B: I'm not old enough to have kids yet.
Maya: Well.. I think you need to go buy one.
B: Buy one??
Maya: Yes, there is a store for that.

Maya loves her 'The Safe Side' DVD (btw, i highly recommend it!!). During the show, they often give important safety tips and refer to them as 'Hot Tips!'. Today she came to me after watching the show and asked,
"Mommy? Do Hot Tips burn you?"

Maya was talking to her cousin, Andrew, on the phone today. After a few minutes of chatting, I heard her say:
"Hold on Andrew, talk to Bear for a minute".. she then walked the phone over to her bear (who was seated in the high chair having lunch I guess) and held the phone up to bear's ear. I could hear Andrew calling "Hello?? Helloooooo???" Hilarious!

One of my fav things to say when someone does something good is 'You're a rockstar!'. Daddy was recently putting a new doorknob on one of the doors. Maya was very interested in this and thought that it was quite a feat. She came running over to me yelling excitedly: "Mommy! Mommy! Come quick! Daddy put on a new doorknob!"
"Hey Daddy - you're a STARROCKER!!"
At this point, Dad and I had to laugh.. which made Maya a bit put-out. She amended her compliment: "Daddy.. you're.. you're.. BATMAN! DAddy is Batman! AND a starrocker."

Ahh.. I luv it when kids are this age! So cute.. so innocent. And.. you have to be SO careful what you say in front of them! Every time I try to explain something to Maya, I have to think about how it could be twisted and said back to someone else at god-knows-what-point. It's a challenge really.
Kids are doing great.. things are going well. Maya is outspoken and hilarious as always. She can be super-sweet one moment and horribly mean the next. She talks to the flowers outside if they are dying (ok, most of them are - I have no green thumbs!) and gives them kisses to help them grow. "Flowers need kisses too, Mommy"
With all the cute comments, however, come the painful ones. She sometimes thinks she can tell Mommy to 'shut-up' - which is NEVER a good thing. Last night she was put in her room to sleep at 7 pm (rather than 8:30 - which has been her bedtime recently) due to her inability to control her mouth. Sigh. I am sooo not looking forward to the teenage years!!
Devi is adjusting well to our family and becoming her own stubborn little person! She loves to scream 'MINE! MINE!' and yank toys away from her sister. She has the loudest, most blood-curdling yell I have ever heard. Our neighbors must think there is some bizarre form of child torture going on in our house every day!
Devi is, however, doing great. I don't feel like I have much to write about her. She chases her sister, plays, screams. She has to know where Maya is at every minute. If she doesn't see her, she will run around the house screaming 'mayA! mayA! mayA!' She does NOT like to be told 'No', and she throws immense tantrums - throwing her body into cabinets, backwards on the floor (or whatever might be behind her) at full speed, rolling across the room. She will be a great actress someday!
She is getting very good at going up and down the stairs. She has actually almost beat Maya on these skills - at 23 months! Awesome. She luvs Maya - gets a huge smile on her face every time that she sees her. Maya luvs her back - can't wait to see and play with her every day. Of course, they also love to fight with each other - but I have sisters - I know how that is!
Things are going very well, other than Devika is sick at least every 2-3 weeks. The pediatrician said that it is probably due to the fact that she was so premature.. pretty routine for preemie babies I guess. Blah.. poor Devi!

In other news, I'm still training for the Tri For The Cure Triathlon. Yes, that's right. I am now an athlete. ;) I really have been doing a decent job of training, though. I've surprised myself. I swim, bike, or run - or a combo of those - every day. I've recently begun transferring my swimming to open water, which has been very difficult for me. I paniced the first couple of times and could not swim at all (tho I can swim 45 min straight in my Endless Pool). Today was the first time that I was actually able to swim the 1/2 mile course that they have set up in a local lake. YAY!!! Very happy and feeling more confident now.
I'm very happy that a friend of mine talked me into training for this Tri.. I feel so much better about myself. I'm healthy, energetic, and driven. For the first time in my life (finally - at almost 39!!) I am in great physical shape. Other triathletes that I see at the reservoir, bike shop, etc.. always are surprised to hear that I'm training for my first Tri b/c I look so in-shape. So I guess that, even if I don't do well in the actual race, at least I look the part!! :D Hopefully I keep this up and don't slug-out again after Aug. 2nd. It's also nice to have something that is for 'me'. I know you moms out there will understand that. Especially as I'm not working much these days - waiting until the kids are in school this fall (well, school -slash- part-time childcare). It's hard for me not to work - I'm the personality type that really needs it. This race is filling that little 'missing piece'.

Well, hopefully I can update my blog more often and not post god-awfully long posts once every few months! I'd be surprised if anyone was still reading at this point! I'll try to do better.. at least post some photos more often (sorry, sorry!). :D

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flower Power

So as you can see, Maya made her debut as 'Flower Girl' for the first time this past weekend! PHEW. That was a somewhat.. oh.. painful? experience for Mommy. ;) But all's well that ends well. Or just ends.
I know, I know.. you are always treading into the unknown when a child this young takes part in a wedding - and frankly it's half the fun! But maybe not for the parents. Or parent.. as Aj was unable to travel with us due to a work commitment. I was photographing some parts of the wedding - it was my niece getting married - and trying to keep an eye on Maya/get her to walk down the aisle. We were able to finally get her to walk down the aisle, but only holding the maid-of-honor's hand. It was 3:30 pm and she was waaaay past the melting point. She somehow made it down the aisle. No flower petals were thrown and no ring of flowers was worn on the head.. but she made it! Whoohoo!! I had to be proud of that huge accomplishment!
I will have renewed respect for parents of flower girls/ring bearers in the weddings that I photograph!
Maya had a great time at the reception though. Once the music started, look out! She was a dancing queen! She kept trying to pull little boys out onto the dance floor with her, but none of them were agreeable. I think she intimidated them with her .. 'moves'. She was having huge fun. So fun to watch! It was all fun until she vomited.. twice. After the 2nd incident, it was time to go home. Too much fun had been had. I had photographed everything that I needed to get for my niece, and it was time to go back into Mommy mode. It was very nice of my family to help watch her while I was working tho - so if you are reading this (Mike, Christy, Charlie, etc) - THANK YOU!!! I got some great photos and could not have done it without your help.

Sooo.. what else is new? So long since we have sat down to have a chat!
I'm still training for the Tri-For-The-Cure. Hopefully I get comfortable on my bike - it's the only part I'm concerned about right now. Only reason for concern is that I JUST got it (well, it's Aj's old bike, all fixed up and ready to go). I have not ridden a bike in - oh - 15/20 years? I can ride it, but I'm paranoid as hell and feel like I'm going to hit a rock or something and wipe out at any moment. Where is my youthful confidence? What has happened?? I thought it was '..just like riding a bike..''? Who made up that ridiculous expression?? Obviously not someone who is as un-coordinated as I am.
But I'll be fine. I will ride that stupid thing every day until August 2nd and I WILL kick butt. I'm ready to meet the challenge.
And along those lines.. my mom is still holding her own in her fight against her cancer. YAY! GO MAMA!! She is sooo very tired all the time - and her back hurts quite often and quite a lot.. but she is living life, going out, and fighting hard. It was great to see her for the short time that I was able to this past weekend. Miss her.
Maya was sooo cute with her, btw. She kept asking mom how she was feeling and saying '..are you ok, sweetie??'. Sometimes she would gently stroke her grandma's face or arm.. and occasionally go get her a blanket and put it over her legs. SO adorable.
I actually had to do some photos for my niece and left Maya with my parents - they took her to dinner one night and to lunch one afternoon - and Maya was awesome! It was her first outing without me.. and she was super well-behaved. Didn't eat anything of course.. but that's normal. I was very proud! {not to mention relieved!!}

In child-medical-news: All of our freak-outs from the Int'l Adoption Clinic were laid to rest. PHEW. Good god if they didn't scare the crap out of us for what turned out to be nothing really. {eye roll} But hey - good news is good news. Glad it isn't bad news, so I won't complain much about that. Devi does have strabismus - which means a bit of eye-crossing. The opthamalogist said that it isn't bad at all and he is sure it is due to prematurity and malnutrition. He thinks that a year of hi-cal diet will make a huge difference, so we will revisit this in one year.
Devi did qualify for some PT and/or OT. We will be beginning that sometime in the next month or so. I tend to think that this is ridiculous and she doesn't need it.. but we'll see how the first session goes. The evaluators from the state did not impress me, and I think they were concerned about things that are not concerning. But whatever. We'll see.
Maya will be starting PT in a couple of weeks, which is actually very good. The orthopedist did not see any major issues with her and feels that PT will make a huge difference. He also told us that her leg pains are due to a milk allergy (which she was skin-tested for and that was negative). We did not really believe him, but we removed dairy from her diet.. and voila! The leg aches mostly went away! WOW! I'll be darned.
She does have problems with her joints/muscle tone though. The more active she is this summer, the more problems we are running into. She is turning her ankles or twisting her knees on almost a daily basis. And then she is in pain for a day or two. So yes, she has been in pain almost every day for the past couple of weeks. We actually can see it when it happens, so at least we know what we are dealing with. PT will be a great thing for her.

We went to DisneyWorld, Orlando a couple of weeks ago. What a great trip! The girls did smashingly well - I was pleasantly surprised. And I, of course, loved it! I am a huge Disney fan. Can't wait to go back someday!

So Maya and Devika are both doing very well. Devi is starting to talk more - she said 'thank you' today for the first time.. and is starting to occasionally say an entire word rather than just the first sound of a word. She is still throwing huge holy terror tantrums when she is with Maya and they are fighting for my attention. This is something that we are just going to have to work through over time. And of course, when she starts HER tantrums.. Maya has to make sure that she is not overshadowed. Our household is often very very loud! But we'll get past it, painful as it is.
It constantly amazes me how much I love these two little girls! They can scream and yell.. tell me that they don't love me (that one was hard at first but I'm totally immune to it now! and of course that is only Maya so far..).. tell me that they want to 'pour chocolate on me and push me' (hmm.. that actually doesn't sound so bad!) - and then in the next moment, I get huge hugs and wet kisses. I get told over and over how much they love me (ok that's just Maya also, but Devi hugs, kisses, and neck-snuggles). Maya crawls into bed with us almost daily.. and I want to be stern and force her back into her bed.. but then she snuggles up to me, strokes my cheek with her hand, gives me the loviest-eye look that anyone could ever give (those immense pools of black that are her eyes!), smooches on me, and with the cutest little loving smile, she tells me how she just loves me soooo, soooo very much. Yikes. Owch. Sigh.
Some recent Maya-quips:
On the plane to IN, just Maya and I. She is at the window, I'm in the middle. Some nice young man sitting next to me. Maya leans over and asks, 'Excuse me? Excuse me??? WHY are you sitting next to my Mama??' She did this on 3-4 different occasions during the flight. Poor thing.. could not understand the seating situation on a plane!

Waiting for the plane, watching them fuel-up through the window: 'MOMMY! MOMMY! They are putting fuel into the airplane's arms!!'

On the plane, in response to the flight attendant's request for our drink order: Maya (loudly): 'I want apple juice. That is good for my poo-poos.'

Maya - to her babysitter (who, incidentally, is caucasian): 'Miss J, what chocolate are you?'
Miss J: 'Chocolate??'
Maya: 'Hmm.. I think you are white chocolate like my mommy. I'm milk chocolate. Daddy is dark chocolate.'

Maya: 'Mommy, I think we need to sit down and talk about our feelings. We are having a confrontation.'

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where To Begin?

Wow - it's been way too long since I have had the time to blog! Time.. or energy. Splitting time between the girls, training for the sprint triathlon coming up in early August, and way too much recent travel - leads to no time for blogging.
I have a blog entry coming soon.. we just returned from DisneyWorld, etc.. some fun things to update. No time at the moment, but I wanted to upload these videos for the amusement of my sister (who is the person talking to Maya on the phone). My chatty little mini-teenager:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reflections on Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful moms out there!

I am so happy to be celebrating this Mother’s Day as a mommy of two sweet and adorable little girls. This is the first Mothers Day in over 4 years that we are not awaiting one of our children from India. Prior to those 4 years, I spent 4 years avoiding even the thought of this holiday because we were struggling with the intense sadness and frustration of infertility. This year is truly joyous – we have both of our children home with us and, at least for the time being, our family is complete.

It would not be right to let this day pass without acknowledging the moms who have helped to shape my life and make me into the mom that I am today:

My mother. Thank you, mom, for sharing your life and love with me. Thank you for caring for me, teaching me, listening to me, advising me, having pride in me, and being a friend to me. Thank you for your strength and determination that continues to win against a disease that has been trying to steal you away from us for over five years. You make me want to be a better person and live my life to the fullest every day.

My mother-in-law. Thank you, mom-in-law, for teaching my husband what it is to love his family and to prioritize them over everything else in life. Thank you for teaching him strength and courage, and giving him the support that has enabled his success.

My mom-friends. Thank you for being there and supporting me. Thank you for helping me through the rollercoasters of infertility and adoption (wherever each of you has entered my life, I know there has been a rollercoaster of some type!). Thank you for understanding and sharing my pain as well as my joy. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your lives. Thank you for making me laugh. I only hope that I can give you the support, comfort, and happiness that you have given me.

And, last, but certainly not least: I thank two young women that I have never met or spoken to. Two women from Kolkata, India who have given me the greatest gift on earth. These women, unable to care for the babies they had just given birth to, made a positive plan for the children’s lives by relinquishing them for adoption. These women decided to give the children life and hope. In taking this step, these women gave me my family. My daughters. My chance to be.. MOTHER. For this incredible gift, they deserve much more than a simple ‘thank you’. I hope and pray that they have peace in their lives and know in their hearts that their girls are loved as much as any child could possibly be loved. I might not know these women, but I will never forget who they are or what they have done for me and for my daughters.

Every day I am thankful that I have been blessed with my two amazing little girls. I am constantly surprised by the amount of love which seems to continue to grow between all of us. I cannot imagine today that I could love my children any more than I do at this moment, but I am finding that being a mother means that your heart grows and grows .. as does the amount of love that you can feel, give, and receive.

I am truly, truly blessed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No Spicies!

{scene: mexican restaurant, early this evening}
Dad: Maya, would you like another bite of my burrito?
Maya (loudly and dramatically, as she pitches herself backward onto the booth seat as if shot): Nooo! THIS Indian doesn't like SPICIES or MUSHROOMS!

So, prior to our Mexican restaurant outing (where Maya ate fish sticks and fries btw.. nothing spicey or mushroom-y).. we took Devika to a post-adoption medical and developmental evaluation at the International Adoption Clinic which is located in a nearby children's hospital.
First of all, let me say that it was a GREAT experience. There were six (or 7?) doctors/therapists who evaluated her.. held a quick meeting together.. and then presented their results to us. They were all very good.. Devika had a great time charming everyone that she met! They worked well with her and there were no meltdowns of any kind.
The most interesting results: all of the med personnel believe that she has a vision issue. We had never really thought anything of her eyes. We have noted that, at times, they don't look like they are aligned.. but it has seemed to be a rare occurrence and not something we were sure enough to even discuss with each other (and I mean Aj and I of course). The signs that lead to this: they noted that during certain exercises, her eyes looked to not be 100% aligned; she had problems putting a peg in a hole; she had problems putting small blocks in a cup; she tried to grab items off the floor occasionally and missed; she 'rakes' rather than grasps with a pincher-grasp; and most importantly: she walks into things and hits her head CONSTANTLY. We had attributed this to just a 'learning to walk' issue.. but it did seem fairly obvious by the end of our visit that it is not normal. We spent ~2 hrs in the same small exam room and she hit her head on EVERYTHING possible - more than once. Each time she hit her head, everyone seemed more and more certain that there is some type of vision issue. Of course, we don't know.. we had to make an appmt with an ophthalmologist and wait to find out.
She also 'tested' developmentaly with most motor skills at a 15-month level. With a few gross skills she is more like 18 months, with a few fine motor skills she is at 9-10 months, but overall they felt she was at 15 months. We were not surprised or overly concerned by this. We were happy to find out that she will qualify for OT (occupational therapy) for the fine motor skills.. and possibly for gross. We are going to be making some calls to get started on this also. They do feel like if she has a vision issue, it is the main contributor to the delays.
One other wierd thing .. she has a split uvula. Now my question is.. why has her pediatrician not noticed this? Odd eh? The doctor at the clinic told us that sometimes this is a sign of a type of cleft palate issue.. but the main sign of this would be an odd voice (did he say froggy? I cannot recall). He did not hear anything worrisome from Devi's voice. I also looked this up in Wikipedia - just to check the spelling of 'uvula' actually.. and this is interesting (keep in mind that she continually has ear infections):

A bifid uvula is a split or cleft uvula. Newborns with cleft palate also have a split uvula. The bifid uvula results from failure of complete fusion of the medial nasal and maxillary processes. Bifid uvulas have less muscle in them than a normal uvula, this may cause recurring problems with middle ear infections. While swallowing, the soft palate is pushed backwards. This prevents food and drink from entering the nasal cavity; if the soft palate cannot touch the back of the throat while swallowing, food and drink can enter the nasal cavity. Splitting of the uvula occurs infrequently but is the most common form of mouth and nose area cleavage among newborns (roughly 2% of infants have this bifid or split uvula). Bifid uvula occurs in about 1% of Caucasians and 10% of Native Americans.

Statistics have been presented in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting a correlation between bifid uvula and aortic aneurysm.

Oh how I love reading medical items online. Don't they ALWAYS include some lovely note.. OH and btw.. there MAY be a correlation b/t this seemingly non-concerning issue and a life-threatening aortic aneurysm. {eye roll} I did think it was pretty cool that the doctor quoted his statistics correctly. When he saw the uvula and told us about it, he pretty much quoted the last 2 lines of the main paragraph (with numbers). Maybe he wrote this wikipedia entry.

Btw.. a couple other small items that came out of this meeting: we set up an evaluation for Maya (early June) due to our slight worries about her gross motor skills and some behavioral issues (we talked about most of this during todays meeting and they thought it would be a good idea). We also found out that Devi's screaming tantrums (our reason for scheduling this evaluation really) were normal. They saw many great signs of good attachment with us.. and they do see her always turning to 'mommy' for reassurance and care.. so they suggested some things that dad can do to try to boost his place in her priorities. They also agreed that we should pick her up and care for her needs/concerns when she screams as she is basically at 15-month level. She is too young for any type of 'manipulation'.. too young and very developmentally lacking at cognitive skills. They felt that if we did any type of damage by 'picking her up too much' or 'being too attentive'.. it would be very much the lesser of two evils (much more damaging to do the opposite). They were more concerned by the effects of my having to give this attention while Maya is needing my attention also. They gave some ideas to help this and want to check on Maya in June to ensure we aren't scarring her. ;) Ok, they didn't SAY that.. but they did warn me to be very careful and mentioned that we will revisit this in June.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who's On First?

I love my girls. They are constant, never-ending entertainment. Here are some examples from the past few days:

{Driving Maya home from pre-school}
Maya: Hey mommy, did Devika go to school today?
Me: Devi doesn't go to a real school like YOU do, but she had a class today.
Maya: Where is her class - is it at My Gym?
Me: Yes it is.
Maya: It is what?
Me: It is at My Gym.

Maya: It is at Your Gym?
Me: No, it isn't Mommy's gym..
Maya: MY Gym, not YOUR Gym?
Me: No, it is at 'My Gym'. The name of the class is 'My Gym'.
Maya: Oh, so it's YOUR gym, not MY gym.
Me: No, it is called MY GYM. Not YOUR gym.
Maya: So it's MY gym? NOT YOUR gym?

Me: Ok, fine. Your Gym.
Maya: MY Gym??
Me: Yes.

I think that I might need highlights again. I think that several hairs on my head turned gray yesterday afternoon.
Maya was playing with a Playmobile toy that went with her 'castle' sets. I had, just the night before, ransacked the entire set of toys and bagged up all small pieces that I was afraid Devika would get into and potentially swallow or choke on.
Little did I know.. that only hours later, my 3 1/2 year old would choke on a piece that looked much to large to easily fit into a mouth or cause any issue. Maya stuck a circular 'water fountain' into her mouth - it had to be 3" in diameter.. and it somehow became lodged inside and somehow suctioned itself in so that she could not breathe. I looked down at her and she suddenly was making a fish-type of face and panicing.. so I just shoved my fingers into her mouth and somehow dislodged and removed it. It was definately suctioned in and not as easy as that just sounded. Her panicked breathing must have pulled it back as far as it would possibly go in her mouth and it had sealed off the opening to her throat
ARRRRRRRRGH. Now I have made yet another run thru the house and removed even more small toys. Good grief. Thank GOD she did not do that when she was in another room and out of my sight for any short length of time. I guess this is why these kids are NEVER out of my sight for more than a minute or two. As annoying as that gets some days .. this is why I always have an ear tuned to them and an eye on them.
It was a lesson-learned. Poor thing was terrified (as was I).

In less traumatic news, Devi seems to have made some big leaps in the past few weeks regarding speech and communication. She understands almost everything we say to her. We can ask her to do something - 'put the cup in the cup drawer', 'put the ball in the toy room', etc.. and she does it! She is trying to say more words, though no one but mommy can likely understand them! She clearly says 'Mama', 'Dada', 'Baby', 'Bye-Bye'.. and she somewhat-coherently says 'Night-night', 'D
og', 'Woof', 'Ball', 'No', 'Good Girl', 'Maya'. She tries to repeat words quite often - especially things she hears a lot, such as dog commands, etc. She signs 'eat', 'cracker', 'more' on a regular basis.
She also throws huge dramatic fits on a regular basis! I hope this is due to a communication issue and will resolve itself over time. At least a bit. Criminy. Drama queen for sure. Don't dare to tell this child 'No!' without a mega-meltdown. Such a difference from Maya! It's amazing how different two kids can be.
She can definitely hold her own with Maya though. There are a LOT of sibling skirmishes, as to be expected.
Devi is starting to enjoy hitting her sister.. and Maya has no problems smacking her back. Luckily Maya doesn't throw the first hit very often - she just 'accidentally' bumps into Devi and knocks her down and then 'accidentally' sits on her. Well.. Devi is catching up in size .. and at some point is going to be bigger than Maya. Devi isn't built 'skinny-minny' like Maya.. she is muscular. The girl (Maya) better watch it or she is in trouble in a few years! I'd say they are pretty equal at starting the little fights though.. so life is very loud at our house these days.
Devi is also into scream
ing her head off for anything right now. Happy, sad, angry, hungry.. just belts out the most god-awful screams you have ever heard. I think she sounds like a baby Tyrannosaurus-Rex, so while Aj calls her 'Screamika', I nicknamed her 'Baby T-Rex'. I keep reminding her that we are not dinasours, but she isn't listening.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Be The Answer

Thanks everyone for the prayers and kind words/thoughts regarding my mom. It's been pretty crazy lately.. she has scared us a few times. She is really not doing very well right now.. she is fighting pain and nausea.. and trying to figure out a pain-killer dosage that doesn't cause her to literally fall over. She HAS fallen a few times, and has hurt her hip and banged her head. The drugs cause her to be somewhat incoherent. Luckily she has hours during the day lately where she is lo-dose and is 'mom' again. I hope these hours get longer and she rallies back into feeling somewhat human for at least awhile. I feel so sorry for her. I traveled to visit and help out a couple weeks ago, and I'm getting ready to return again. One of my sisters is staying with my parents and helping out.. she needs a break. I'm heading home again on April 3rd for a week. It's tough work - having to sleep with one eye open basically so that you know if she is wandering out of bed in the middle of the night and falling down.
I think the worst part now is that she knows that treatment had to be stopped, and the cancer is probably running rampant. She gets very depressed on occasion - partly from the prognosis and pain.. and partly b/c she hates having a lack of control. It isn't easy for a parent to let their children help so much - or at least in my family it is this way. My dad is having a horrible time dealing with our help. He is worse than mom with the control issues these days.. and it is so difficult on everyone. If we try to do anything to help, we get to hear 'I don't need anyone making decisions for me.. My kids don't need to run my life..' blahblahblah. Of course I completely understand. If my soulmate was going thru this, I don't know that I could even get out of bed and function every day. I just wish that there was more peace.
Keep the prayers coming.. she needs every single one of them.
In other news, I finished the membership film that I was creating for the Joint Council on International Children's Services. Here it is.. check it out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Need a Spa Day

I haven't had much time or inclination to blog lately.. but here I am. The past couple of weeks have been painful - ear pain and heart pain.

Life has been quite stressful lately. For one thing, Devika has been having adjustment/attachment issues. She has been screaming her head off if I am not holding her - ALL the time. Even if I go to the bathroom and take her in with me - she flips out when I set her down. Not only does she scream, but she throws her head and body backward at full speed.. and flails all over. It is crazy and horrible and I'm always afraid she will seriously hurt herself. Nothing will stop it, other than my picking her up. Aj and I have disagreed a bit on how to handle this - he didn't think it truly was an attachment issue. I talked with our agency rep, who happens to also be a good friend of mine, and she gave me very good tips on how to handle it as an attachment issue. The more I spoke to her about everything that has been happening (including sleep issues, eye-contact issues, terror of music and other non-every-day sounds).. it became very obvious to me that it is attachment/adjustment related. I've already begun following some of her advice (as has Aj - he just needed more 'technical' explanation to understand what was going on).. and I'm seeing a slight difference already. I hope it continues to improve, and I think that it will. Criminy.. it has been a painful 2 1/2 weeks of screaming fits.
Ajay has nicknamed her 'Screamika'. Fitting eh? :)
I've also been a bit down recently because of my mom's failing health.
She has been so very sick this past month. I guess we were a bit 'spoiled' by her sickness in the past. She has had some bad chemo side effects, etc.. but nothing completely devastating. Or at least, looking back, they weren't devastating - just unknown and scary. Now she is actually not able to motivate herself to eat or drink.. she keeps getting dehydrated and needing an IV hydration. She has lost sooo much weight.. she is very very underweight now. She is on pain killers for her side pain, and they are making her incredibly loopy due to the fact that she isn't eating/drinking. She was taken off the chemo a couple of wks ago and the oncologist told us last week that basically she is at the end of the road re. treatment. Her treatment has caused blood counts to plummet, vomiting that responds to no drugs, etc.
Quite devastating news, even tho we all saw it creeping up on us.. we just do what every other cancer victim's loved ones do in this scenerio: we deny that it will happen in OUR case - surely there will be a miracle of some sort - or at least a couple more years of very slow disease movement so that we have more time.
TIME. Where the hell does it go.
Anyhow.. her oncologist is now talking about potentially putting her back on the chemo.. but I don't really understand what is going on. I think maybe I will try to join her at her appmt on Monday and fill in the blanks. It's hard being a few states away and trying to decipher all of the information and updates. The chemo has basically been killing her - she became nauseous and this led to the decline (no food/water/dehydrated - led to very low blood counts, etc). We hope that her 'loopiness' is due to the pain killers, but I keep hearing about the onc. wanting to do a PET or CT scan on Friday to check some 'spots' that, to this point, had not been growing. These spots are on her liver and brain. Yikes. Very scary stuff.
Ok.. that's all the update I need to spew out right now. Just scary to be so far away when she is in such a 'touchy' situation. She has been very unstable the past month. I'm flying in to see her and help her and dad out on Sunday - staying thru Thursday.
I hate this hideous nasty disease. Leaves you feeling so powerless. For a person who likes constant control, this is almost unbearable. Thank god I have some distractions. I mentioned that I'm training for the Tri For The Cure Triathlon which is coming up in August. I'm still working my butt off - I started week 6 of training today. Whoohoo! I actually ran 20! straight minutes a couple of days ago. This week it raises to 25.. yikes. Hope I can do it. Every time I start to struggle mentally with the running, I just think of all the crap that my mom is dealing with.. and how she sure as hell would love to be in physical condition to do this.. so I press on for her. I hope I can raise some money with my fundraising for this triathlon.
I've also decided to join the Komen 3-day 60 mile walk. Only issue is that Ajay would like to do it with me and we need to have someone here with the girls. Maybe the in-laws could make a visit.. or maybe one of my friends who is reading this would like to join me? Would rock if we could get a little team together. Come on - you can do it!! I think that my siblings should at least join me.. anyone? anyone? Bueller? Not sure how many people I could talk into training to walk 60 miles.. the couple of people I've mentioned it to have looked at me like I just landed in a space ship. It is SO inspiring though. If you can't join, I hope that maybe you will make a donation when I get my fund raising page online.
Please watch this video if you have not heard of this awesome event:

I'm glad to have these goals, as they give me a teeny feeling of control and empowerment - like maybe I'm doing something that will benefit someone in the future who has to deal with this disease. I would not want to see any of my sisters or my girls having to fight this.

Ok, enough of that.

So Maya was on a roll yesterday with some funny remarks! I had to jot them down.. they brightened my day so very much. :)
  • Regarding chocolate cereal straws, which are currently her fav food item (and unfortunately she often eats them in our bed while watching cartoons at 6 am every day.. they leave hideous amounts of crumbs): "I am not an addict.. I'm a tattle-tail!" ? Obviously she has been tattling at pre-school??
  • While wearing her over=sized butterfly towel-robe after her bath - she began running around the house yelling: "Booo! I'm a ghost who needs underpants!"
  • Before school, upon walking outside and lifting her face and arms to the sky: "It's such a beautiful morning! The birds are flying, the sun is chirping..!"
  • It was chilly this morning and my arms had goose-bumps. Maya said, in alarm, "MOMMY! Your skin is standing up!!"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feeling Like A True Parent

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes for Maya! She was such a big girl on Friday! She had a 2-hr wait before they brought her into the operating room.. and then they forgot to give her the little 'chill' drug before taking her in.. so I was very proud that she did not freak out. When she was lying on the table, they tried to put the 'strawberry air' on her, and then she got scared. She refused to let them do it for a minute.. but then the anesthesiologist and the nurse started singing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'.. and she was somewhat intrigued. After a couple of seconds, she started licking at the air inside the mask! It was so funny. :) She passed out and mommy went to the waiting room.
Dad had to leave and take Devi to the pediatrician - somehow we scheduled that appmt and then completely forgot (oh what a shock - not!). I sat and waited.. and after ~1 1/2 hrs, the dentist and then the anesthesiologist came out to tell me that she did great. They ended up having to fix 6 teeth instead of 4.. and they are worried that they still won't hold up until she loses them for permanent teeth. But we will probably have to do several cleaning visits/year plus special toothpaste. Blah.
Soon after the docs came out to talk to me, the recovery nurses called me into the recovery room. Seems that our little Maya was flipping out! She came out of the anesthesia in a panic and was throwing a big fit. I helped them restrain her and take her from the recovery room into the post-surgery room. She was FREAKING out. Much as I luv the Children's Hospital, I was a little surprised that the nurses did not help me. Poor Maya was thrashing around and literally screaming as loud as she could 'GET AWAY FROM MEEEEEEEEEEE! I WANT TO LEAVE!' and then just scream-screams. She was hitting me as hard as she could (no idea how I did not leave there with a black eye) and kicking me. The tubes (IV, finger monitor) were getting all wrapped around her. The heartbeat monitor kept going up to 170 and beeping like a maniac. Meanwhile, I was trying to talk her down and hold her down so she did not fall out of the bed and hurt herself/pull out the iv/etc. Finally I decided to just pick her up and hold her b/c I thought I might be able to restrain her a little better.. and that did work. For the first 5 min or so (this was about 15 minutes into the recovery craziness), she screamed and tried to beat the heck out of me (including head-butting, which was lovely). Finally she slowly calmed down.. and eventually I was able to sit in the rocking chair and rock her to sleep. My GOD! The nurses who came in to check the beeping monitor said 'oh this happens.. it's normal.. '.. but it would have been very nice had someone forewarned me that this could happen. I didn't expect her to wake up happy - but this was a child who was NOT my child.. if you know what I mean. A bit scary. I knew it was the drugs, but it felt like it took forever to calm her down and nothing I could say or do was helping. I wish they had told me to hold her immediately, because that probably would have been the best thing to do. In retrospect, I can't believe that I didn't just DO that.. but when you are 'fighting a fire' so to speak.. I guess you are reactionary and you don't always think logically. Poor little baby!!
Wierd thing is.. she remembers this! I thought for sure the drugs would make her forget. I have asked her 'do you remember hitting mommy and yelling after your surgery?' and she gets a sheepish look and says 'yeeeeesss..' and giggles. Another funny thing is that I heard her singing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' in her toyroom earlier today - and she never has ever sung that song! Both verses even (they sung both verses as she passed out). So isn't that funny?
But - she was fine.. and her mouth hurt for ~1 1/2 days, but everything feels good now. I hope that the teeth hold out and we don't have to deal with any more of that! Not looking forward to Devika's teeth issues.. hope this doesn't happen. They have warned that it looks the same. Blaaaaah.
Of course, it is these times that really make you feel like a parent right? Those poor little girls! Maya was post-recovery and Devika was post-5-shots from the pediatrician. :(( Our house was not a happy one this weekend! Maya is still not completely recovered from the trauma - she is sleeping in my bed as I type this! But oh my gosh, your heart just could burst from wanting to snuggle them after seeing the sick kids in that hospital. I want to hug my girls and never let go!!!

Btw - for those of you who have contacted me to let me know you would like to contribute photos - I will email you tomorrow w/my personal email address. Thx in advance!

Maya loves being a big-sister!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy {early} Valentine's Day!

Maya was quite excited by the valentines she rec'd in the mail today. A Tinkerbell 'love day card' from grandma and papa.. and a Thomas the Train 'love day card' from her cousin Andrew, and the rest of his family. It was pretty cool that her valentine matched the new jammies that we bought her for her hospital day tomorrow!
Happy Love Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just In Time For Love Day

Our sweet little girl.. Daddy's innocent little baby.. experienced her FIRST KISS! Haahaa.. Age 3.. starting pretty young. I almost forgot to document this event, and I will definitely want to remind her of THIS in the future!
Date: Super Bowl Sunday - February 1st, 2009.
Boy: Sawyer H - friend/neighbor. Age 2 1/2.
It was soo cute! Not sure what was up with that boy, but when we first arrived to hang out and watch the game, he was telling Maya how much he liked her. A couple hours later, I catch him standing up on his tip-toes (he is a bit shorter than she is and has the cutest spikey hair) and planting a big smooch right on her mouth! She was watching him as he stood staring at her and then reached up for the big 'moment' - standing still with her hands clasped behind her back and her head tilted in confused-curious-amusement.
What is this kid doing? Why did all the grown-ups in the ro
om suddenly stop all conversation and stare, startled, at us? Why are all the women saying 'ooooh, how cuuuuute!', and why is Daddy running towards us with his brow furled and saying 'hey! if your son touches my daughter again, he is going to be in BIG TROUBLE!' (and then something about body parts that I don't understand..)

Ah, the memories!

Yesterday, we visited
the Children's Hospital for Maya's pre-surgery tour. A child-life specialist walked us (and one other family) through the process we will go thru on Friday - all the rooms and all the steps involved. It was great! I'm so glad that we did this. I think it will help Maya to not be quite so scared - tho I'm sure she will get freaked out at some point (psh, who wouldn't?). She wouldn't try the little 'lighted band-aid' on her finger (that measures heartbeat, etc) - tho Mommy and Daddy both tried it and showed her how painless and fun it would be.
She was very cute though - she asked lots of questions (constantly entertaining everyone in the area), she tried everything else (blood pressure, breathing into the strawber
ry-scented mask, sitting up on the operating table, taking the IV out of the doll's arm). She is very much looking forward to Friday so that she can wear the 'hospital jammies' and play with the toys in the 'toy corner' of the procedure area. Unfortunately, they walked us thru the very cool and much larger toy room of the major surgery area before walking thru the area she would be hanging out in.. and she thinks that she will be playing with those toys. yikes. Bad move really. Hopefully she is just too tired to care, as we will be there at 6:30 am.
I bought her a new pair of Thomas the Train jammies for the day.. as well as a Thomas toy to play with when she returns home. I hope she isn't too freaked out! If she is, they might have to give Mommy a sniff of the strawberry air also! :D

On a different subject - I am creating a film for the Joint Council for Int'l Childrens Services. I am in need of more photos of adoptive families/kids. If any of you adoptive-family readers are interested in sending me a photo or two, please contact me. I will require that you sign a release form (standard practice). Not sure exactly what photos I will need, as I have not begun working on the film yet.. but if you have a couple of favorites (from picking child up/orphanage/etc or child with your fam at home).. please let me know! Comment with your email address - or msg me on Facebook. Thanks in advance!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

10 Years - OMG!

Today is a special day!

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the fateful day that I met my husband! To honor this decade.. and him.. I am dedicating this blog post to him. No groaning please.. he deserves it! I occasionally hear that I am not the best person at ‘positive feedback’ when it comes to some of the people who are closest to me {ok, ok, I can be horrible about it at times.. but I am really trying to work on that.. and I’m not including my kids in this comment b/c I work my butt off to always ‘feed the meter’ with them. I just need to remember that adults need this also!!}

So.. in the spirit of those stupid ’25 things about me’ lists going around Facebook these days (yes, I’m working on mine but it isn’t done yet.. haha):

25 Things That I Love About My Husband

  1. 10 years! My longest relationship with a man prior to my husband was 3 years (and included a marriage.. ah the mistakes of our youth.. sigh). It feels like I have known Aj forever.. but then ’10 years’ sounds like an eternity.. I feel stuck in some type of paradox here. I have to say, however, that HE probably feels like these 10 years HAVE been an eternity.. haha! I’m not the easiest person to live with, but for some reason he tells me that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him. Another paradox.. I love that he loves me.
  2. I am so proud of him! He is very successful. He has succeeded at work, with his ‘moonlight’ work (real estate – and it is successful, even if we get sued every freaking year by some idiot or have to sue some idiot for doing something idiotic every year. Should they be called ‘rental’ properties? Maybe ‘suck the life out of you’ properties would be more representative.), with his coaching (past soccer teams, work teams, etc), with his friendships, and with his family.
  3. We both had the same favorite movie when we met (and still do): It’s a Wonderful Life. {No one is a failure who has friends.}
  4. We have had artists ask to paint our portrait because our coloring and facial structures blend and contrast in a way that would create a striking image. I’m quoting here.. and I hope that it was complimentary and not a ‘Dali-esque’ style of painting they were referring to!
  5. Before I met Aj, I had only traveled to a few states within the US, and only been on a plane a handful of times. I HATED to fly (still do not enjoy it – scares the heck out of me and requires the ingestion of several xanax).. but somehow this man has managed to show me the world! In the past ten years, we have flown to Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, MexicoHawaii (ok, a state.. but it was a looong flight!), Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Saint Martin, India (twice to adopt our kids), as well as several states on the east coast, west coast, and interior of the US. There are many more countries that we have on our ‘travel list’, but they have to wait until the girls are a couple years older and better travelers. (many, many times),
  6. I love that Aj is super-intense, but has a very sweet, soft side. {oh crap, I am not supposed to tell anyone that..}
  7. I hate that he had to deal with 55 hours of thinking that I had a very short time to live - because of a large tumor that was found in my colon. I love that the doctors were wrong and it was NOT cancer. I love that he took such amazing care of me during the recovery from that scary major surgery and the following scary complications.
  8. I love that he manages most of our finances, because I hate that part of life. I love that, while he manages our finances, he reviews everything with me so that he is sure I know everything that is going on at all times. I might act annoyed when he is digging thru financial details, but I appreciate this so very much.
  9. I love that he loves to learn and he tries so very hard to teach me things – especially things about history and sci-fi. History (not all, of course) bores me, but I wish I could be more interested and remember a zillion little facts and dates like he does. I wish I could have conversations with people and spout these facts off to support my viewpoints and ideas.
  10. I love that he is very smart, but I feel that we are equals. We are smart about different things and we complement each other (usually, anyhow!). For example, I am much more technically-adept than he. If I ever die, someone needs to program his alarm clock for him (and the tv.. and the remotes.. and..)
  11. I love that I met him 10 years ago at a party.. I left the party to go to a bar (the party was horrid and I was there with a girl friend who wanted to go find some fun).. and he found a way to leave his best friend’s party and follow me there.
  12. I love that he tells the story of our meeting.. and how he knew that I was ‘the one’ when I bought him a beer at the bar. I love that he conveniently forgets that I bought six different people beers at that same time. J
  13. I love that we made complete fools of ourselves that first night – dancing up on some podium-thing. I had never done that before that night.. nor ever after! Of course, the fact that we were slightly (slightly?) intoxicated and doing a little dirty-dancing really added to the memories (yikes).
  14. I love that I could not remember how to pronounce his name the following Monday at work (party was on a Friday). His friend – the party thrower, whom I worked on the same floor as, laughed at me when I came up to him at least 5x that day with Aj’s biz card to ask ‘Now.. how do you pronounce his name again??’ {..a bird.. a jay..}
  15. I love that Aj gave me his biz card that night and wrote down SIX different phone numbers where I could reach him. And that I didn’t use any of them. I do not call the guy the first time – he calls me!! I think that led to some type of email fiasco – b/c his friend thought my last name was ‘Zimmerman’. It was not.
  16. 10 years ago tonite, I first heard the words ‘In my country – you would be queen!’. Funny that I just heard him utter those same words to a male friend on super bowl Sunday! Of course, when he said them to me – he was trying to entrance me with his sense of humor so that I would come up to his ‘hot tub on the roof’. Nice try Aj.
  17. I LOVE that the night Aj and I had met – he was leaving the next week to finish his move to LA. He had already moved all of his personal items out to his house on Redondo Beach. Needless to say, he did not finish his move.. and ended up moving back to Cincinnati (a city he hated) to be with me.
  18. I love that we both have the same dream of owning a house in New Zealand and splitting our time b/t that house and our house in CO.. someday not too far in the future we hope.
  19. I love that Aj is so very supportive of me, and my pursuing my dreams.
  20. I love that Aj is such a great dad to his girls (including our lab, Tasha).
  21. I find it hilarious that Aj tried to ‘save face’ and keep up with my brother-in-law, Charlie, when drinking at a bar very soon after meeting. Had I known he was doing this, I would have stopped him immediately. It takes a special type of person to be able to keep up with this boy (or anyone in his family!).. and Aj is much, much too much of a lightweight! Yes boys and girls.. it was ugly.
  22. I loved that, on our 2nd ‘real date’ (I don’t include this meeting night as a ‘date’ – our first ‘date’ was valentines day) – we went to The Teak in Cincinnati and ate Thai food. The poor boy was sweating profusely b/c they made his food much hotter than he had ordered. He was sooo embarrassed.
  23. I love that, for our first ‘real’ date, I drove to Indianapolis, where he was working, and met him for dinner. Our first non-intoxicated kiss (I just can’t count that) was in a glass elevator. I was quite embarrassed. He, unfortunately, was not.
  24. I love his family and their culture. I love that I have learned what it is to HAVE a culture. Though it has made things challenging for us a few times in our relationship, his culture is an integral part of our lives and something that I am envious not to have grown up with.
  25. I love that we had discussed adopting girls from India prior to our marriage and prior to finding out that we could not have bio children. I find it a bit coincidental, looking back, that we had these conversations and were both on the same page. I love that we have worked together to adopt two beautiful little girls from India, and that they have their daddy and his family to teach them about their heritage. I love that we are a family.
25.5 I love that I could continue this list, but have run out of my 25 numbers. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Little News

Ok.. everyone out there who has known me for any extended period of time.. please do not laugh so hard that you roll out of your chair, fall over something sharp and find yourself with serious head trauma.. or laugh so hard that you pass out from lack of sufficient oxygen levels:
I am officially... {insert drum roll} .. in-training!
I am training for a triathlon (sprint triathlon, not a big one!). I was somehow talked into this by a friend of mine recently. She is a non-athletic, anti-workout type person also.. and thought that I would be a perfect buddy for her. How she came up with this, I have no idea. Seriously. ME??? But hey - here I am 1 1/2 wks later - already having registered and paid my $100+ (non-refundable I might add).. and having completed all of 'week 1' plus 2 workouts of 'week 2' of the 'Couch to 5k' running program.
The triathlon that we are entering into is the Tri For The Cure, which is being held in early August.
See? She also hit me with a cause that I am very serious about.. and at a time that my mom is seriously battling for her life against this hideous disease. What could I say?
So I'm into the 2nd week of working out. It hasn't been too painful so far.. but I'm not into mega-workouts yet. I balanced the chemicals in the pool today and made sure it is turned up and ready for me to use. I guess I need to start working on my swim skills and endurance. I don't OWN a bike, so that is going to be a bit of a challenge. I don't have the money to throw into a nice pricey bike right now, so I'm going to start looking at the used bike stores in the area. I have no idea what to even look for.. so I hope someone there can help me. Or maybe I should do some research/visit a retail store to gain some knowledge.
Yes, I am insane.
Yes, I do need this motivation to get myself moving.. and I'm very excited that I at least will be getting into shape! Hopefully I live to tell about it.. ;)

In other news, my mom is quite sick right now. Last week was probably her worst week EVER. She got more and more sick.. and by the weekend she was vomiting/keeping down no food or drink/dehydrated/in hideous pain. The core of her issue is the left side pain. The doctors can't find anything actually causing it, so they are now assuming it is the cancer in her spine/hip bones. Her last PET scan (was that 2 wks ago now?) - showed no new cancer in any organs, but the bone cancer is still charging right along. They put her on a new chemo and also a chemo pill. She's getting slammed.
She got so sick last week (she lost 8!! lbs b/t Thursday and Sunday!) that her doctor put her in the hospital yesterday. THANK GOD!! She needed it. She's still vomiting and feeling horrible, but the side pain was alleviated first by the morphine and now the oxycontin. They are going to put her on a strict pain-control regimen when she gets out. It will require that she SLEEPS (she never sleeps) and eats right. They are also doing some radiation on the part of the spine that they think could be causing this. Radiation is a last-ditch effort, which.. well.. which sucks. They can only radiate so much, and they won't do it until they HAVE to do it. Now they have to do it. Not sure what this will mean in the future, but whatever. She has to have pain relief, so I guess we're to that point.
Soo.. if you are the praying type.. please add her to your prayers. Her name is Ruth Morgan. She needs all the prayers she can get. She needs a lot of strength to get through this.
I'm trying to find a way to get back to IN in order to help out my mom and dad.. but no way to do it right now. Hubby has to travel for work later this week and part of next week.. Maya has oral surgery next week.. the girls have colds, so they couldn't be around my mom.. blahblahblah. But if I need to get there, I'll do it. I have a couple of friends/relatives who have offered to help with the girls, so that is always a possibility in an emergency. Hopefully there will be no emergencies. I was just hoping to get home to help with the house/laundry/food.

That's all the exciting news I have today. I spent this evening having a pretend picnic in the living room with Maya and several of her not-present school friends. It was so cute - she was very particular about the food we were eating, the utensils that she handed out, and saying grace several times throughout the picnic meal (of course there was no real food/utensils/etc)! She then spent the rest of the evening playing 'my bear is so sick and in the hospital and I have to take care of him'. :D

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Catch Up!

I've been reminded a few times lately that my blog has been, and I quote, '..quite boring' lately. Alas, life has caught up with me a bit and I haven't been taking the time to blog. My apologies.
I'm attaching some photos and video to catch you up a bit on the past couple of weeks! Here is a quick update:
* Devika did very well with her cast, other than kicking us all the time and inflicting injury to our bodies. She finally was able to have the cast removed yesterday, and she was SO very excited! There is a photo in the slideshow, if you can see it very well, that shows her ecstatic expression. It was hilarious! She has been running and climbing like an animal ever since.
* Both girls have had colds this week. Devi's is, of course, now an ear and sinus infection. Poor kiddo! Always on some type of medication. Maya doesn't seem to be getting worse, so hopefully we will go without a pediatrician trip for her this time.
* Devika had an allergist appmt a couple of wks ago. Turns out she is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Yikes! We went to the allergist regarding her milk and egg issues.. and it turned out to be a simple protein processing issue and not an allergy. In fact, she had a hideous 'blow out' approximately 2 minutes after the skin test was administered. The doctor was amazed, as this was the first time a patient has ever had a systemic reaction to a skin test that she has administered. Go figure!
The good thing is that it is caused by her colon not being developed 100% (possibly due to prematurity), and she should grow out of this issue within the next 3-5 years. I sure hope so!! She has major reactions to anything that has milk in the first 6 or 7 listed ingredients. It is ridiculous.
* My mom has been quite sick lately, in a tough fight against pain caused by either the cancer or her treatments. She has horrid pain in her left side, and they can't find anything wrong. This is the worst I've seen her (well, I can't see her from here.. but I hear from my siblings).. and the first time she is admitting to really feeling horrible. She has lost weight and is not able to go out and do anything. We're all praying that this pain gets resolved soon so that her quality of life can improve. Please pray with us!! I wish I could go visit and help her out, but it is very challenging when you have 2 little girls and your hubby travels. I'm trying to work something out very soon. Hopefully after Maya's oral surgery.
* Oh yeah, Maya has to have oral surgery to have her 4 back molars filled/sealed/whatever. The dentist warned us that her teeth were very porous from in-utero malnutrition, and here we are. Same with Devika's teeth - tho I hope she will seal them before they are decaying as badly as Maya's are. Arrggh. So Maya will have this done at Children's Hospital on the 13th. My poor baby! She will be so freaked out. The hospital has a 'pre-surgery' tour you can take with your child a few days prior, so I'm going to sign up for this. Maybe she will be more calm if we do this. She is not one for new experiences, that's for sure.
* We had our 2nd post-placement visit last week for Devika's adoption. Only one more to go.. things are in line for the legal adoption to happen in April (we hope). Yay! We actually spent more time worrying about Maya at this visit than Devi. Maya has some 'stranger' issues.. as in, she isn't scared of them - especially men - and has no prob going up to them in public places, etc. She def. bonds quickly with men vs women. I also see some bonding issues b/t her and her dad. Sooo.. we were advised to schedule her for an evaluation with the Int'l Adoption Clinic at Children's.. which does this type of evaluation, etc. I'm not super worried or anything, but our social worker thought that this might lead to more major issues in her teen years if we don't look into it now.
* Both of our girls are actually adjusting very well these days. Maya's behavior is soo much better. I believe she is pretty much 'normal' now.. whatever that means for a 3 yr old! She loves her sister and calls her 'my baby'. :) Devika also loves Maya, though she still enjoys alone time with me or with Daddy. She is such a very very happy baby! And very snuggly!! Maya was never a snuggly child, which was disappointing for us in the past. I don't know if it was an attachment issue or what (our social worker believes that it was.. in retrospect).. but it is an amazing difference to have a lovey child. Devi loves to snuggle into my neck when she is tired. She also loves to run at me and jump into my lap.. if she is ever sitting (and it only happens for very short periods of time!), this is her favorite spot.
Maya is doing well with helping with Devika, she is doing well at school, and she is becoming a bit more active (tho still won't go up or down stairs w/o holding onto something tightly or going down on her behind). Her behavior issues are improving - partly I believe b/c I'm using some new parenting methods. Need to change it up on occasion I guess. I'm now using some methods from 'The Happy Toddler' book by Harvey Karp MD. I'm working on myself to do more 'rewarding', and I've noticed improvements already. Yay!

So I know the girls have done and said soo many cute things lately, but I'm tired/sick (caught the cold today) and need to rest up for Super Bowl Sunday! Time to go to sleep. Hopefully I'll blog again in the next few days and catch up on some funny stories/cuteness that I don't want to forget!

Here's a little cuteness for today: