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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stable Influence Riding Show Fun and Seizure Not-So-Fun

Saturday morning the girls had their Stable Influence riding show.  They have been taking therapeutic riding lessons for about a month and a half now and really love it.  This Saturday was the show they have been waiting for and they both did fantastic!  I have seen a lot of changes in them already and am so glad they are able to participate.  All of their family came to watch and they were so excited!  Their new physical therapist, Kelly, came with her daughters too and that made them very happy!  Here's a video of each of them riding...




Here are a few photos as well...



I think Madi had a little too much fun though because she unfortunately had a seizure when she came home.   We walked in the door and I had started making a bottle for a baby we were babysitting and went to start lunch.  I heard her little voice say "mom" and went to her.  She looked at me and started her rhythmic gagging.  Crap.  I hollered to David to grab her oxygen and rescue medicine.  I started her on both, but it did not stop the seizure.  3 tabs of rescue med total still didn't do the trick, so as is our protocol, I called 911.  Madi was kind of coming in and out but still wasn't herself (she normally falls asleep after the seizure has ended and she wasn't falling asleep), so off to Mendy's Place we went in an ambulance.  Never a dull moment around here!!  Everything checked out (CT scan, blood, and urine tests), so they sent us home.  She had a bad headache, so we gave her some Tylenol and she was very tired so I just let her sleep.  It was a really odd seizure for her because she almost never has seizures during the day, they are usually while coming in or out of sleep.  I kept her in the shade as much as I could during the show and kept making her drink water, but I am wondering if she got over heated and if that triggered it.  They checked her electrolytes, though, and they were fine.  She wasn't sick, had no missed dosages, and had no "reason" to seize.  I will follow up with her neurologist and neurosurgeon tomorrow to see if they have any insight. In the meantime we have increased her seizure medication dosage to see if that will help. 

(My sweet girl was SO tired.  She was mad at the doctor for waking her up.  When the doctor asked her what she wanted, she swung at her and yelled, "TO SLEEP!"  They left her alone after that and let her rest :))

(Madi's BFF Gloria came to visit and brought her flowers which cheered her up :))
So that was our excitement for the day!  To say we were all exhausted was an understatement.  We skipped Church today and all slept in.  We really needed it!  We are all feeling better now, and Madi is back to her normal spunky self, thank God!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Conner's MindCraft and Lego Friend Party

Earlier this week I went to put together Conner's birthday album (every year I add a picture and a letter to them in a birthday album), and realized I never uploaded his birthday pictures from his friend party... two months ago.  Ooops!

Conner had such a fun party.  We had Lego Playwell come and build with the kiddos.  They also wanted to swim so we had heated the spa for them, but some of the crazy kiddos decided to try the pool out too.  He ended the fun with a sleepover with two of his best friends.  They had such a fun time!  Here are some photos from his fun day....



Sunday, March 15, 2015

On Being in the Picture

(I often write blog posts in my head and never type them out.  They are usually a little more emotional /personal /raw in nature and not something I would normally publish.  I have decided, though, that those thoughts and feelings are part of our journey and I should start getting them out.  I am sure there are others out there that feel the same way as I do at times, and I want those people to know that they are not alone.  These posts will start with "On...", so that you know what to expect)

Around Christmastime I was looking at Facebook and noticed a picture with many of my momma friends, together, at dinner.  It was a dinner I was not invited to, so naturally, I was not in the picture.  It was in that moment, though, that I realized that I haven't really been in the picture for a long time.  In fact, I haven't been in the picture for so long that I have lost touch with many people I used to consider my friend.

I'm not going to lie, the realization stung a little.

I will admit that sometimes I am an absentee friend.  Sometimes life goes haywire and we hunker down, pulling together as a family, but pulling away from anything extra.  There are times when I would love to have friends over for dinner, have some alone time out, or sneak out with my girlfriends, but life doesn't always work that way for me.  Someone gets sick, someone needs me, there's a seizure, we have extra doctor's appointments, or sometimes, I'm just plain tired and making plans seems like too much work.   There are other times, too, when I could say "yes" but choose to say "no" to spend quality time as a family.  I will admit, though, that sometimes, for a second, I get a little envious of my friends who get out a lot.  Sometimes I feel a little twang of jealousy towards those that get to run away for a girl's weekend, or a fun weekend with their husband.  Don't get me wrong, we truly are blessed, there is no doubt about it.  David is an awesome husband and encourages me to get out of the house when I am able, and I am thankful for that.  We have lots of date nights "in" too, and we love that time together.  We are blessed with family that is able watch our kiddos sometimes so we can get a few hours away together.   We are also very fortunate in that we have been given a large capacity to love on our kiddos without running out of steam.  For that I credit Jesus and Starbucks.  I can't help but wonder, though, how it feels to be able to go out without having your phone in your hand the entire time, never leaving a 20 mile radius, just in case of emergencies.  I wonder how it feels not to be glued to the baby monitor at night, watching your little one's every move.  I wonder what it feels like to be  the one in all of the pictures.

After some tears and processing, I realized I truly have peace and am ok with not being in the picture.  We knew that raising three kids, two with special needs, and one with some extra emotional "stuff" from years of neglect, would mean that life would change.  We knew that there would be things we would have to walk away from. Our life has changed a lot over the years, but we truly do not regret one second of it.  These kiddos are the most important work we will ever do in our lifetime.  Seeing the joy and smiles on their faces, seeing them thrive and overcome obstacles, and seeing the compassion they have for others makes every second worth it.  The truth is, sometimes I get a little jealous, but I honestly wouldn't change anything about my life.  My life can feel crazy sometimes, but it's mine, and it's perfect. 

I have also come to appreciate those that have stuck by us even more than I did before.  I am thankful for friends who don't take "no" for an answer.  I'm thankful for friends who know we want to see them and invite us over, even if it is our turn to host.  I'm thankful for those friends who don't accept a "we're fine" answer and know to keep on asking.  I am thankful for those friends who visit us in the hospital, pray for us, rejoice with us, and take the time to understand our life.  God has given us some pretty amazing friends, and they truly are a blessing in our lives.

To any of you out there who are no longer in the picture, just know that you matter.  What you give up can feel hard sometimes, but what you gain is even more precious.   I am praying that God grants you peace, hope, and joy in your journey and lifts you up when you feel weary.  I pray that you have the privilege of knowing that your work is significant.  Your picture might look different, but just know, what you are doing is important and you are never alone.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ramya Turns 8

On Saturday Ramya turned 8 years old... can you believe it?!?!?!  Though she has only been home two years, we have been able to celebrate 3 birthdays with her.  She was just one month shy of turning 6 when she came home, so we celebrated 6, 7, and 8 with her.  I cannot wait until she has celebrated more birthdays home than she has alone!

Ramya requested a Rapunzel birthday at Peter Piper Pizza.  Though I despise birthdays at Peter Piper, I really wanted to have a big, fun celebration for her.  Her first birthday, at 6 years old, was small with only a few of our closest family members.  She had only been home a month and we were still limiting visitors. 

At 7, there were only two other families she wanted to invite.  Though her birthday was a lot of fun, it was small because she still didn't have many other kiddos she truly considered friends.

  This year, though, she was excited to invite a bunch of our friends, and we wanted to give her the big celebration she was wanting.  I also love that she has so many friends now, and is really feeling at home.  That, in itself, is deserving of a huge celebration If you ask me! 

Ramya had a blast and is still talking about her party.  We all left exhausted, but with happy hearts.  There's nothing more special that celebrating someone you love with those that love you! 

(My friend, Chrissy, made this AMAZING cake.  If you would like to look up her business, the link is....


Calcutta is my Mother... Support an Upcomming Documentary on Finding Roots

I was recently contacted by Reshma, a woman adopted from India as a very young child.  Reshma was abandoned as a baby, weighing just over a pound when she was brought in to an orphanage in Calcutta.  They waited for her to die, but she amazed them all and lived.  She was adopted by a family in the US, being sent to them after another child that they were going to adopt, Ruby, passed away. 

Though, as a child, Reshma loved her family very much and felt very connected to them, she ran from her story of adoption and wanted nothing to do with India or her roots.  Now, as an adult and a mother, she yearns to discover her heritage.  Her dream is to return to Calcutta and to create a documentary about her journey.  In her documentary she plans to shed light on adoption in India, connecting to both those adopted from India, as well as those whom have adopted a child from India and are wondering what emotions their child may face.  She also wants to show what her life may have been like if she was raised in Calcutta.  She has started a kickstarter page where she shares her story and her plans for her documentary, as she is currently in the process of raising the funds needed to document her journey.

I see so much of her story and thoughts reflected in Ramya already.  I am excited to see her documentary come to fruition and to get a bit of an inside look in to what Ramya may think or feel as she grows as well.  I also think documentaries like this will help Ramya have peace with her story when she is an adult and looking to connect.  As I have shared in the past, I was also adopted.  Though my parents gave me a life full of love and connection, and I never felt like I was lacking, I still wondered about my birth parents. About 5 1/2 years ago I found my birth mother and connected with her, later connecting with my birth father as well.  My parent's love and support throughout my journey was huge for me.  I want Ramya to know that if one day she is wondering what India/the orphanages she lived in/her birth parents are like (though we do not know who her birth parents are.  Like Reshma, she was found abandoned), or if she ever wants to return, I will be there to love and support her as well. 

If you would like to contribute to Reshma's journey, please visit her kickstarter page and learn more about her story and her plans. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Cutest Little Ballerinas You Will Ever See

Madi has been wanting so badly to start dance class again.  The issue is, though, that she has a big desire to "dance on stage".  Though we LOVED our classes at the community center, there isn't an opportunity for her to dance on a stage.  I called a few local dance studios and they would not take the girls because of their wheelchairs, even though I offered to buy wheel slippers so they do not scuff up the flooring.  One studio told me they couldn't because they don't have special certification.  Well, neither do I!  This momma bear is now researching disability law and letters will be written to those studios... if anyone wants to help me with this, I will gladly take the help.  I wouldn't want to take the girls there after their reasoning anyhow, but I hope that if I kindly but firmly address the issue it will help those that come after us. 

I finally found a lady that was very excited to work with the girls.  The only issue is she used to be very active in Arizona but has moved to California.  She still comes back to Arizona to teach her students, but they have not had a big performance in Arizona in a few years.  I hope to help her fundraise so that Madi (and Ramya, of course, but it really is Madi's dream) can see her dream come to fruition.  I may also keep searching out a dance studio that will take the girls, but for now, they are happy, and that is what matters.

Ramya is also in dance for the first time and I am hoping it will work out well for her laso.  I was fully involved with the dance class and stayed on the floor with them and participated the whole time.  Still, when class was over and it was time for Ramya to transition back to me, it was hard for her and there was a lot of defiance.  I pray this gets better as she gets used to class and what to expect.

I just have to say, I seriously have the CUTEST dancers in the world!  They are still talking about class and asking when it is again.  I love to see how excited they are! 


Lego Kidfest was a BLAST!

Friday we went to Lego Kidfest and the kids had so much fun!  The girls really loved the Lego Friends and Lego Princess activities and the boys loved the Starwars exhibit and Bionicle exhibit.  Everyone loved the HUGE pile of bricks, of course!  They also had 4 different activities where you got a free small Lego set for participating.  We did 3 of the 4 activities and the kiddos were really excited to come home with 3 new sets.  Here are some pictures from our night, and a few video's Madi made after the photos...

Madi also wanted to make a few videos to show everyone what Lego Kidfest was like.  The baboon one is my favorite (listen to the end).....