photo Amazon_zpsli3iz9z7.png
Do you shop at Amazon.com or know someone who does? Click on the link below, or any Amazon link in this blog, to help us earn Amazon Credit in order to buy therapy equipment! Anything you order off Amazon counts! Please bookmark Madi, Ramya and Deena's link and pass it on... every order helps! http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=missmadi-20

Monday, June 20, 2016

Minecraft News by Conner

(Conner wanted to write a post on Minecraft, so I said he could.  Here is what he thought everyone should know about Minecraft ;))


I'm a fan of Minecraft so if you want to watch Minecraft videos then type Little Kelly in to YouTube. It is so so cool.  Download Minecraft by typing 'Minecraft' in the App store.  It is like real life so yes it so cool.  Download it now!  I hope you have fun playing minecraft!!!!!



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Visit to Roadrunner Sports

The girls are SO excited about their debut in Roadrunner Sports for the Athletes Helping Athletes adaptive bike fundraiser.  We were in Phoenix last month on the day everything went live, so I took the girls down to Roadrunner Sports to see their photos and the promotional materials.  They had a lot of fun and felt like celebrities!  The staff was really sweet and gave them the royal treatment.  They even let them go in the back room to help pick out shoes I may like.  They also had them autograph one of their catalogues. We are so thankful to be part of this amazing organization!! 

Here are some photos from our time there:







There's still time to donate to Athlete's Helping Athletes and receive a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of $75 or more.  Visit a store or go online between now and July 3rd to participate.  You can also donate to AHA year-round online, even after the promotion is over.  Just follow this link:  http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/GIVEAHA/&cm_sp=nav-_-AHA-_-donate .  Your donation is tax deductible so just keep your receipt for tax time.  Thanks for helping make a difference in the life of a very special child!! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Have You Donated to AHA Yet?

We have!!



We are hoping to help Athletes Helping Athletes DOUBLE their goal and be able to provide 200 children with special needs adaptive bikes.  They have already raised enough to grant 50 bikes!!  Please consider going in to any Roadrunner Sports store between now and July 3rd to donate to AHA.  In return you will get a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of $75 or more, so it’s a win-win.  You can also donate online 365 days a year at http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/GIVEAHA/.


Thank you for your support!!

Updates Galore and Lots of Fun Times

Oh gosh, once again, I am super behind on blogging!  Life just seems to move so fast! 

I'll start with our not-so-fun few days last week, but luckily these days were followed by an AMAZING weekend, which I will share about too!

On Tuesday Madi woke up having a seizure.  She sleeps next to me in bed because her seizures are usually during sleep and she doesn't make much noise. I'm afraid to miss them, and what it could mean for her, so I keep her close.  She started with her typical rhythmic gagging and I gave her rescue meds and oxygen right away.  Usually it takes me her full dosage of rescue meds and constant oxygen to get them to stop, but this time it was a stubborn one and her full dosage of rescue meds didn't do the trick.  Her seizure protocol is that I call for an ambulance to have her evaluated if/when I get to her full dosage amount.  If she's stable and the seizure has passed, we can keep her at home.  If she's not stable or we can't get them to stop, we head to the hospital.  Usually by the time the ambulance comes she is already asleep and I know the seizure has passed.  We may take her in and check her shunt to be safe (though she's never had a seizure when her shunt failed), but they don't usually admit us.  This time once we got to the hospital she started seizing again and they had to give her more medication in the hospital.  That did the trick, thank God, but then her stats dropped and she wasn't clearing her carbon dioxide well enough.  They thought they may need to put her on b-pap or to tube her, but thankfully her numbers started normalizing very slowly, so they transferred us to the PICU and let her continue to improve there.   We checked her shunt to be safe, but her shunt, blood work, urine, and everything else was fine.  They watched her overnight and then we got to go home the next day.  We had to try out a new hospital here in Tucson (UMC), which is never fun, and we had a hard time getting an IV, so we had multiple pokes which was terrible, but the staff was great with her and we are thankful for the care she received.  David also had a crazy busy few days at work, because everything always happens at once, but luckily my aunt was able to come entertain kiddos while Madi and I were in the hospital, so we are thankful for that!


She's always sad until the rest of the family can join us.  Family makes everything better!




Ramya saw the vision specialist today.  We got a lot of answers to some things we have been noticing with her vision and she starts vision therapy next week.  It is common for kiddos from orphanage settings to have vision issues because of the lack of visual stimulation when they are tiny.  Her eyes have improved a lot since coming home, and we are hoping that this helps remedy her eye issues.  We are starting with 8 one-on-one sessions, but may need 12 total.  Conner has 3 more sessions of his therapy, though he doesn't have as much going on, so he was able to attend group sessions (and save our pocket book quite a bit of money).  Hopefully this will do the trick! 

In other medical news, Deena's leg is healing great and we have our next follow up with the orthopedic surgeon in 4 months.  We are in the process of getting her a wheelchair of her own, but in the meantime, she is able to use Madi's old wheelchair and it fits her well.    We also have her next PAM infusion scheduled for July and we will be able to do an in-home infusion, which is wonderful!


We also had Deena's re-adoption day through our local court.  Though Deena came home fully adopted, we wanted to re-adopt her in the US so that we could get an actual birth certificate for her and make it officially official.  She was really excited for her day and told me all day how this meant it was forever.  Of course when we got in front of the judge she was wearing her super serious face and seemed to either be terrified or didn't care, but she really was overjoyed and couldn't stop talking about how happy she was. 


During our extra time we've been taking the kids on outings and recently went to the zoo.  This time we rode the train and they kids were crazy excited about it.  They had a blast!





We had quiet a few visitors last month, which was really nice.  David's brother, Mark, and his wife, Kim, and kiddos came to spend time with us.  We took them to the Desert Museum and everyone had a lot of fun!  My parents also came for Mother's day, so we were really excited about that.  We took them to Tono Chul park and we all enjoyed our time there.  We also had my aunt and second cousin over for dinner when my parents were here and it was fun to all get together.  Oh, and our friends Darlene and Samuel from homeschool co-op came by to play and visit.  It's always  nice to see a familiar face!!







Conner attended camp for the first time over Memorial Day weekend.  He went with our old Church, North Valley Community Church.  He really, really, really wanted to go; until the night before.  He got nervous and scared and there were tears involved.  We talked and prayed through it, and I reassured him I would come pick him up if he needed me.  He called me every day, but quickly decided camp is amazing.   His days were filled with archery, airsoft wars, swimming, rock climbing, zip lines, and small group.  He told me he can't wait to go again next year!


While Conner was gone at camp we stayed at my parent's house in Phoenix.  We went to a wedding, saw family, and hung out with friends we have been missing.  We also went painting with David's family and celebrated my birthday.  We had a wonderful time!


While we were out painting we also went to eat lunch.  While we were eating Roger, Madi's pilot from the Sky Kids event we attended (read about that here) walked in.  Madi was really excited to see him, and he was excited to see her as well. 



Roger told me he had been meaning to e-mail me and tell me that, at the event, Madi really touched his heart and made his day special.  He was hoping we would attend the next event and he would get to see her, but it hadn't worked out.  We had registered for the event, but hadn't gotten a call that we were accepted until last minute and at that point, David was in Tucson, I was in Phoenix with the kids, the house was for sale, we were trying to find a rental in Tucson and start moving, I was waiting to leave at any point to get Deena home, and we had to miss the event, sadly, because life was pretty nuts.  Roger spent quite some time talking with us (Madi somehow even convinced him to walk over to Ross and help David and the girls shop for a birthday dress for me.  Only Madi could convince someone to do that.  She cracks me up!!!) and Madi was overjoyed.  Long story short, David and Roger talked and Roger offered to come to Tucson to take us up flying.  The kiddos (and David) were crazy excited!  What's even more amazing is he talked to the company he flies for, Transpac Aviation Academy, and they sponsored the entire flight!  He came out this weekend, which was just what we needed after our not-so-fun hospital stay.  He took the kiddos and David and I up in rounds so that each child could help him fly the plane.  The kids all loved it and haven't stopped talking about it.  Madi calls Roger "her pilot" and tells everyone that when she grows up she is going to live in the Taj Majal and her pilot, Roger, will pick her up and take her on vacation.  It must be nice having your own personal pilot, right!?!?!?  Madi kept talking about how awesome it all was, and even sang Roger the "Everything is Awesome" song from the Lego movie while were flying.  The company spoiled us rotten and even sent Roger with hats, lanyards, keychains, and treats for the kids.  We feel so  blessed!










There was a restaurant at the airport we flew out of called Todd's Restaurant at Ryan Airfield.  It's a family-owned restaurant and they were so sweet to our family.  They were the only place with air conditioning at the little airport, so they let us come in and hang out in their kid area for a few hours while we all took turns going up in the airplane.  They chatted with the kids, gave us drinks, and even convinced the fire fighters eating there to pull the trucks up for the kids to see.  The fire fighters turned their lights on and visited with the kids for a bit and they loved it!  After we were done flying we ate at the restaurant with Roger and the food was really, really good.  The husband of the husband/wife owner team makes the food.  He went to culinary school and the food is definitely not your typical diner food, it was really yummy!  The prickly pear tea and prickly pear cole slaw were my favorites.  We will definitely be going back to eat there and watch the planes come in and out.  If you live in the Tucson area, you have to check them out!  The wife also heard that we were new to Tucson and gave us her cell phone number with instructions to call if we ever needed anything at all.  We were very touched! 



I think that's about it for updates for now.  As you can see, our days are busy, but we play hard too.  We all know you are never promised tomorrow, but when you have kiddos with significant medical needs, you realize just that much more how much of a gift every moment of every day is.  We try our best to live life to the fullest and not let the not-so-fun parts of life keep us down.  We are crazy blessed and are so thankful that every day, even on the hard days, our journey is filled with joy!







Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Athletes Helping Athletes; Help Give a Child the Gift of Independence

Toward the beginning of this year I shared about an amazing organization, Athletes Helping Athletes, that together with Roadrunner Sports not only gifted Madi and Ramya hand cycles, but also asked if the girls would like to be their 2016 Featured Heroes. Of course said "yes" because we wanted to do anything we could to help give back to their wonderful organization. They spoiled us rotten and the kids had so much fun (you can read that story here)! 

 The time has officially come, and the campaign is officially live! We are so excited to share!! You may have seen a catalogue come in the mail with photos of our girls, as well as a snippet of our story. This is the first time AHA has done a three page feature, but they wanted to make sure to tell our family's story. They also made sure to include Conner and Deena, which meant so much to them.




Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA) has been granting children with disabilities adaptive bikes since 2000 and to date has awarded 1,078 grants! They have changed so many lives and have blessed so many children with the gift of independence; the chance to just be a kid! 

This year AHA has a big, important goal, to raise enough money to purchase 100 children bikes, and we want to help them meet it and change more lives.  They have a special promotion running through July 3rd, 2016 with Roadrunner Sports. If you make ANY size donation, in-store or online, you will receive a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of $75 or more. It's a win-win!! Adaptive bikes can cost up to $4,500 EACH, which is why this fundraiser is so important! 

Roadrunner sports (the company that supports AHA) has a huge selection of shoes to get you up and active. I was given a gift card to their store and had the privilege of being fitted for custom inserts. I was also able to pick out a new pair of shoes to use when I work out. I am prone to shin splints and foot pain and, before purchasing inserts and shoes from their store, have never had a pair of shoes that I felt supported my feet correctly. I am in love with my new gear, though. The difference is seriously AMAZING! My feet have never been happier, which is huge for me! If you love walking or running, or maybe you are like me and you have kiddos you help with lifting and transfers and put extra strain on your feet, head to Roadrunner sports and let them help you find a great fit. While you are there, make sure to donate to AHA so they can grant more special kiddos with adaptive bikes! 

You can find your closest Roadrunner Sports store by clicking here or you can shop online by going to roadrunnersports.com


 You can also donate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online by going to the Athlete's Helping Athletes tab on the Roadrunner Sports home page or by clicking here

Thank you for supporting AHA and for helping bless our girls with adaptive bikes. They really have been life-changing! Before I go, I want to share the promotional video featuring our girls. Could they be any cuter or more full of joy!?!?!?! They sure love Athletes Helping Athletes! I'll be back to post more about that later :).




If you are interested in applying for an adaptive bike for your child, please click here. AHA grants many different types of bikes depending on what that child's needs are and they are amazing to work with. They truly care about each of the children they help!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Appointments, Visitors, and Fun

I am behind on blogging, as usual, but I'm trying to be consistent ;).  Ok, not really, I just operate slightly behind, and thankfully it doesn't bother me too much.

A few weeks back we attended an event for the Tucson chapter of the Arizona Spina Bifida Association at a local gymnastics gym.  The kids had a LOT of fun.  I plan to get them on the wait list for future classes.  An OT leads frequent classes for kiddos with disabilities and is really great with the girls.  Conner has been wanting to take gymnastics too, so it works out great!







 Conner got to take his turn and have an appointment with a vision specialist.  He was pretty excited actually.  I had all the kiddos evaluated in Phoenix, just to make sure that not only their vision was fine, but also their tracking and the such, and Conner showed some gray areas where the doctor thought he may eventually need some vision therapy.  His eyes have a hard time converging when he's reading.  It's not major, but seems to be effecting his reading a bit.  I have noticed as the print has gotten smaller, he closes one eye when he reads, sometimes skips lines, and still reverses some letters. I took him to get evaluated again at a different place in Tucson an they decided that he would benefit from glasses to magnify his work whenever he is doing school work or watching TV.  He also is going to do 8 sessions of vision therapy.  He is super excited for his glasses and very happily wears them.







Madi's new neurologist wanted to do a sleep deprived EEG to see how she is doing and possibly switch up her medication since she's still having a decent amount of seizures, and her seizures are hard to stop.  He wanted me to give her about half the sleep she normally gets.  At first she thought staying up and watching movies with me sounded amazing, but she is my girl who loves her sleep, and the novelty wore off quickly.  She did it, though, and I was very proud of her! She did well during the EEG and had the nurses all giggling, of course.  The doctor said her patterns have remained the same.  She has a lot of mis-firings, most stemming from the left-hand side.  We discussed new medication for her and I told him my concerns with picking a new one.  She only has one functioning kidney, so it's very important to have her on something that will not cause any kidney damage.  She is also terrified of blood draws, so I wanted her on something that did not require frequent level checks.  We decided to try lamictal since it works well with focal seizures but also helps generalized seizures.  There is a risk she may have a rash/reaction, so we are taking our time and getting her up to the full dosage very slowly, over a span of 4 weeks.  At that time we will see how she is doing and hopefully slowly wean her off the Keppra.  The keppra makes her moody, so I am hoping the lamictal helps her there, though I'll take a moody girl with a happy kidney over anything that may harm her kidneys any day!  After the EEG I took her out to eat and she chose Panda Express since we do not usually eat there (gluten sensitivities) .  She was pretty excited!  I also got a coffee (because momma was sleep deprived too) and she convinced the barista to give her a cup of whip cream with chocolate on top.  This is a rare treat for her (due to her dairy sensitivities), plus they gave her a huge cup, so she was super excited! 

(She looks grumpy but really wasn't.  She was in a good mood but was just tired)







Last week we had visitors and really enjoyed our time with them!  Our friends Darlene and Samuel from homeschool co-op in Phoenix came by to visit on their way to see family.  They brought us a pretty lavender plant and some gluten-free yummies and the kids had a lot of fun playing.  It means a lot to the kiddos to see a familiar face!  My parents also came in for a night for Mother's Day.  We had planned to stay in Tucson since we have to be in Phoenix again at the end of May, so they decided to come here.  They hadn't been here since the end of last year and the kids were really excited they visited.  





Deena had her follow up with the orthopedic surgeon and everything looks great!  Her rod is in perfectly and her bone is healing nicely.  He said if she felt good she could take off her splint, which made her VERY excited.  We kept it to put back on if she has any pain, but so far she says she feels great.  I'm trying to keep her going a little bit slower than normal while it continues to heal, but she's a feisty little cutie and not always great at that.  





Other than that, the girls are liking our new occupational therapist.  She seems pretty proactive and works well with the girls.  This week she brought fun dress up clothes to practice dressing and the girls loved it!  I think I have speech therapy lined up as well, though finding physical therapy is proving to be a challenge.




Oh, and this morning we woke up to cookies at the front door from my dad (AKA papa) and then found that all our butterflies had emerged from their chrysalises so we got to release them.  The kiddos were pretty happy!  David got me an in-home massage for Mother's Day and she came today, so I had a pretty good day too.  Tomorrow David's brother, Mark, and his family are coming to Tucson for a visit.  We are really looking forward to spending time with them and are excited for more visitors. 




I think that's all for now!  I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!