Thursday, January 12, 2012

Terrifying, Blessed and Funny Moment ALL AT ONCE!

Slowing down the clock; watching a terrifying moment turn into moments of rejoicing, complete with comedy from the peanut gallery. While loading my children in the car after school today, I ran through a final checklist before reversing. I glanced into my blind spots and slightly noticed a mother loading her 2 to 3 children in her van with an infant baby stroller just outside the passenger door. In that split second, I saw a huge gust of wind thrust the stroller forward at great speeds and out into the street. Not one single person noticed... except me.

I felt like a golf ball was lodged in my throat and frantically started screaming, "Save the Baby! Save the Baby!" This wasn't a normal scream (I used to sing opera); it was a Curious George, opera lady in the bath tub type of scream. I couldn't take my eyes off the baby coasting further into the road. Without thinking, I began viciously pounding on my horn while screeching, "Save the Baby! Save the Baby!" My closed window did not carry my screams well, but that horn jolted the mother enough to turn around.

Quickly, she realized her baby was gone and sprinted into the road saving the baby, which had coasted about 20 to 25 feet. My heart literally hurt. I cupped my hand over my mouth as I gasped and choked back tears. I finally found the window button and said, "I didn't know what to do. I was in here screaming for someone to save the baby and my hands just seemed to only find the horn. Thank goodness it did and your baby is okay."

She looked so shocked and could only stumble out an out-of-breath "thank you." I left quickly, still reeling from the event when my mind began to replay the commentary in the background by my three stooges. Kole, Jadyn, and Milana had not seen the event...the baby event. They did witness something called "Mom." At the beginning of my tirade, I heard a mixture of: "Baby? What Baby? Hee hee, Why is she screaming Save the Baby and honking the horn? I think mom has lost it. hahaha I think she's gone crazy. hahaha Yeah, mom's gone pyscho! hahaha Can I honk the horn next mom? I wanna be crazy like you." I can only imagine what I looked like at that moment to them, but at least one family has been saved from tragedy and one little precious girl is sleeping safe and sound right now. And maybe, just maybe, mom learned what stroller brakes are for.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Dreaded White Smear!

Disclosing the child's identity would not be prudent and I want to avoid mocking the child...just the behavior. haha

While waiting for one child to join the others for our nightly story time, I heard incredible screams reverberating through my house, "MOM!!! Hurry, come quick! It's an EMERGENCY!" I feared the worst aka "Is there poop all over?" Rapidly I was met with "NOOOO MOM IT'S WORSE!" Oh you know I bolted up those stairs.

As I rounded the corner I came face to bum with a child standing on the bathroom sink, cupping their hands around their calves. White melted goo had run the length of, not only this child's legs, but their entire body . I glance over and see a new tube of Desitin three-quarters of the way empty. The rest... was on... the child.

The smeary mess covered their hands, arms, chin, legs, bum, toes, and stomach. My initial reaction: how awesomely hilarious!! Next I remembered how hard it was to clean off, how hard it is for me to remember to buy that stuff when it runs low, and a bit of peeved moodiness that the children would now be late for bedtime due to scrubbing a kid for 15 to 20 minutes.

"Why did you do this??!!??" "Uh mom, because my butt was really itchy." I guess really itchy has to be answered back in style.

Pulled the kid down, handed it a bar of soap and said, "Get to scrubbing." That was pure delight on my part watching the nature of life teach the lesson for me... Desitin doesn't come off easy!! haha

The slop proceeded to turn into a greasy concoction that painted my tub, faucet, and increasingly white child. I jumped in and started to help this poor little wild thing (who's frustration was mounting). After I deemed the cleaning sufficient (or my tiredness said who cares), we dried the little desitin hound and lotioned the child's now drier-than-ash body. On the plus side, we now both smell baby-butt fresh!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2 Baby showers & 2 weddings and and

Please tell me this happens in your house too? Trying to capture a moment of suckers with an Iphone for the friend who gave the suckers to the squirrely suckers.

2 baby showers down & two weddings to go... also conquered a lingerie shower, family visits, trip to AZ after finishing a week of finals for college, and raising 4 kids & two pups & keeping track of hubby! Now on to a wedding reception this weekend, anniversary over Memorial Day Weekend (12 years!... I think if I am subtracting correctly this late at night), a neice being born beginning of June, another neice & grandnephew in July. Alright!!! Surviving with style!

I know I bombed at writing more often. I think I promise because I despise breaking promises.... my kids always know that and try to make me promise to things like ice cream when I'm not paying attention (sneaky!!). I did finish my classes and received 100% in Political Science and 97.9% in math... ok not too happy that I didn't receive 100%... it was because the final was on a pc & the answers I gave were correct but not in the pc acceptable rounded format grrr. Perfectionist anyone?

I also said I would be more blunt. Yes, here is some of what I had rolling around in my head the last year or two. When Milana came home, I noticed my time was spent really being mom, which it was supposed to be. I also found that I started to think about what I would post all night long ... all the things I would write about, but morning would come & the thoughts were gone. I wanted to make grand gestures for momentous occasions but found myself needing to keep things within the family. How was I supposed to blog about feelings and thoughts and their significant meanings when I didn't even understand them myself. I knew if I wrote, the next day or week, I would feel completely different. I came to find that my family dynamics had changed so much that I didn't know what was up and what was down. One minute things were going smoothly and then when I thought, "ok, I can report about my events"... a boom would hit. My children were all adjusting and going through powerful waves of adjustments.

Now all kids go through phases... but these were over the top phases. Ones that I don't know if I'll ever be able to explain. I've learned a huge amount of patience... but the one person I don't have enough patience for is myself. I started taking on too much... telling myself constantly that "I had time"... like Mr. Incredible who ends up being late for his wedding. I never thought I would see the day that I was disorganized.... it's here. I'm learning to accept it (for the time being while the kids are young).

I can't imagine our life without Milana... she is an absolute ray of sunshine & a bolt of lightening, beautiful to see but almost impossible to explain or catch & sometimes harness that power. She has brought so much "life" to our family. I have seen huge growth and enriching thoughts come from our children as they have grown together. The children are inseparable and fiercely look out for, protect and love each other. They fight and make up like other children but there is something magical when they discuss openly observations they have made. They have brought Milana into this world of discussing feelings & "talking back" (grrr) & learning ogre mom is tamed by explaining what you were doing (haha).

This is all off-the-cuff and me talking while sleepy....better now than not at all. So thankful for the insight I've gained because of being a mother. I never imagined all the things I would have learned when I first started this journey. I hope maybe by writing some down... I can leave some hints to help fellow moms & parents. 11 years of being mom...& barely scratching the surface :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Picking up their new puppy Smiles!

I am doing dishes and hear Jadyn whispering, "Sit. Shhhhh." I turn around to see her feeding our puppies Chubbs & Dumpster a spoonful of her yogurt and then taking licks herself.

"Jadyn, what are you doing?!"

"But mommy, I just couldn't resist Chubbs' cute little puppy face!"

My sister came over to my house before I arrived home. Jadyn sees her car and emphatically declares, "Mom! Open the door quick! I need to get out because Aunt Jo thinks I'm the cutest one! Hurry!"

Jadyn and Milana bonked heads and Jadyn went down crying (Milana fake cried). I rubbed both their heads & told Jadyn I know Milana's head is hard like a rock. Jadyn says "Actually mom, it's made of metal because she is the meddler & gets into EVERYTHING! She has the power of a metal head and the power to meddle!" Unbeknown to me Milana is really Super Hero The Meddler (as the others have dubbed her). She proudly announces this now and puts her hands on her hips. Well... I guess there are plenty of worse things children can call their siblings.

Kole just finished the 3rd Harry Potter Book (Prisoner of Azkaban) and now has earned the reward of watching the movie. I think the Harry Potter material becomes a little thick from this point on. I truly did not know if Kole would finish a daunting book of over 400 pages. Slightly nervous about book number four. Think I may post-pone borrowing it from the library. Oddly enough, he was scared of the first one (saw it before reading it) and the second one he said, "Mom, this one is so not scary... they left a whole lot out!" That was the point of him reading the book first. He took his time and when it was a bit too overwhelming of a story line, he set the book aside (not an easy task with a movie). So when did you/will you let your children watch Harry Potter?

Nika just experienced her first pedicure & manicure at a spa... she was glowing. So adorable and I swear that child is a fabulous diva in training... the sweet ones. My child is joining the ranks of junior high children next year! eeeekk

Finished my math midterm; somehow finished 100%... totally weird. Tomorrow, I take on Political Science...grrrr bring it on! One more class & prerequisites are complete (just my Occupational Science class!).

The birthdays that I never posted about last year were Milana, Nika & me. I had good reason (emotionally sorting things). Will talk about that soon.

These next two months, I have 3 babies being born (family), 2-3 baby showers, 1-2 bridal shower, wedding receptions, my anniversary (12 years WOOOO), Nika, Milana and my b-days... (and many more extended b-days) and a baby niece's birth to attend to. Don't forget finals! Alright, pass me a crate of Rock Stars! haha

Monday, March 21, 2011

Totally Back & Alive!

Couldn't stay gone forever, right?! I think I've mulled over my thoughts to myself long enough. Feeling a little cooped & ready to say hey again. Going to school part time still (Political Science & Math this semester, Anatomy/Physiology & English last semester). I've missed a whole lot of comings and goings with everyone (very sad about that). Felt very overwhelmed a bit with all that I have taken on, but now have sorted through a rich mixture of feelings. Confused yet?

I guess I could explain it as chapters in my life morphed into new ones and I didn't quite know where I was headed. I do know that I miss the closeness I felt with everyone of my friends. I also know that it is important to take care of finding "you", which is where I was and where I'm going.

It's the two month long celebration of birthdays in my house again. I will whip up a post to sum up what we've been up to next. I kept promising myself that I would post something fabulous and would sit up and night thinking of what I would write when I have time and then one day it hit me.... I'll never have time if I have to proof-read & censor myself. So off the cuff, here we come. That's what this is changing into. More of me. More of my fly-by-night self. Raw Sara. Scared yet. ;) I'll be checking in and checking back often. Thanks for the patience & back to your regularly scheduled programming.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Local Opportunity Village Devastated By Rain

Hi Everyone, I am spreading the word to help out Opportunity Village; this is a not-for-profit organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities. Each year they bring to life the Magical Forest that delights children young and old with a train, huge light display, slides, food (& I thought a carousel). The Marines and many local groups come out and help set the festival of lights up, and my daughter was set to sing there had she not come down with the rotavirus.

Recently, Las Vegas has experienced unusual, torrential downpours which has devastated the Magical Forest and forced it's closure. The much-needed revenue from admission to the Forest is now lost and the organization is pleading for help. If you are feeling generous, please donate to their cause ($10, $5, anything). This is one of the more rare, fun events for children that Vegas holds each year. I was planning on taking the children this year. It has true Vegas spirit with over-the-top lights rivaling a casino. My sister was one that was helped by their organization. She has a mental illness and they employed her for a time. If helping individuals with intellectual disabilities is close to your heart, this is a wonderful cause. Thanks everyone. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuck: Oh, Despicable Me!

Well, we recently watched Despicable Me. Normally I screen all the movies my children watch before hand. This one I had heard was decent and funny; I knew nothing about the adoption aspect in this movie. So I didn't screen it before hand (I know not very smart) and here we are in the middle and I wanted to take it out. Problem was I know my children and it is worse to not finish the movie because they have a whole slew of unanswered questions. Kole was panicked, poor kid. He was so upset and concerned for the safety of these little girls. He was standing on the couch and said I do not want these horrible things. Jadyn was cuddled up on one side squishing my arm, Milana curled under the other and Kole on my head. Nika was wrapped around the side of all of us. They had all gravitated over by the middle of the movie. Donnie had to leave for work and didn't get to finish (not knowing what the movie was about either). Milana took it the best because of how much we have explained to her about adoption and her life. She said, "Mommy look, he made mistake. He try hard make it right. Now they family. Their's mommy could not care for any baby now. Grow new family." She seemed to understand the growth that the small group was experiencing. She told me calmly everything that happened in the movie and gave me big hugs, kisses, and smiles, and said You my mommy! You my family!

Jadyn, Nika and especially Kole seemed mortified. The harsh depiction of an orphanage and the lying evil scientist who easily adopted 3 girls upset them horribly. I was very saddened to see how hard this movie makes it for adoptive families without a GIANT FAT warning! I know it is my fault that I didn't fully research the movie. I did watch it with them and explained to all of them that they would never be returned anywhere! Kole just kept asking, "why would they stick them in a box of shame, why would they erase them from the wall, why doesn't he go back for his girls?" I had a whole lot of explaining once the movie was over. They were satisfied with the ending. I had to tell them that some adults make many mistakes too. That Dad and I are not leaving you anywhere. If anything were to happen to us, we have a plan and you would not be in an orphanage. Not my most favorite movie about adoption. Everything in this world happens for a reason; this was a learning experience and luckily in a safe environment with love and someone to explain all of this to them. I can't imagine the impact on a traumatized child who watches this alone. These girl are quite resilient and display some behaviors that closely mimic children who have been hurt (although it was cute when the little one wrapped her body around the man's leg, it still was not an appropriate behavior for just meeting someone... hello social promiscuity!).

I am thankful to have seen my children be sensitive, in different manners, to this material. Adoption holds a special place in their heart and even though they were upset about the treatment within the movie, I was warmed to know that they do not turn a blind eye to important themes that need to be discussed. They have learned something, especially because I was there and we were able to have an open conversation about it. Granted, I wasn't prepared to dive into this realm at this particular moment, but life is unscripted... when do we ever really get a warning. I'm glad that I didn't fumble and drop the ball completely. The rest of the night, they were sweet little cling-on's. I am so thankful that they view Milana with such love and protection that they were hurt inside about this portrayal of adoption. I know that may sound strange, but it helps me to know that they have grown and matured to understand something that those untouched by adoption do not understand. This is the enrichment we need as a family. So yes, I was shocked about the movie, but was it all bad... I can't really say that it was. And hey, I didn't end up in the emergency room with stitches. It was a cute movie, but it does have some deep things that need to be fully explained.

So in other news, I am swamped with school. Almost done with this semester. Decided I am just going to have to write snippets and forget grammar, spelling and all that fun stuff if I want to be a friend on my blog. I miss everyone. Milana, Jadyn, Kole, and Nika are doing amazing. Donnie and I are doing well although super busy and my dog is awesome and naughty at the same time (boxer puppy). Please don't forget me, I won't forget all of you.

Oh I forgot to write about my favorite melt your heart night. Milana was going to sleep one night and said firmly, "Mommy, you hold me, Mommy you kiss me now, Mommy, You are my bestest friend in whole world! I love you!" It was after a particularly hard day and I do have to say, I did not have a hard day for a whole week because it just is an awesome thing to think about. Or the sweetest thing, she saves her snack everyday at preschool. When I pick her up, she talks about sharing it with Jadyn the whole way home and then runs in the house screaming, "Jadyn! Jadyn! I have snack for us to share! One! Two! One me, You two!!! YYYAAAYYY! Today she had rice and Jadyn asked if she could have her Chinese rice. I tried in vain to explain that it is just rice that happened to be bought from a Chinese restaurant. Next thing I know, Milana tells me that she was born in Chinese rice! I tried so hard to explain that she was born in Taiwan and yes, she is Chinese but Taiwanese too and all she cared about was that she was born in Chinese rice! I never thought I'd hear the words, "You were not born in rice," come out of my mouth.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dearest Gift

Life. That would be life. It is the greatest gift and we are all here to help each other and protect life. Sometimes, with that gift comes heartache born into it. For our daughter, it was a succession of some heavy burdens, but also some incredible miracles leading up to her amazing growth and health. Our daughter was born exposed to Hepatitis B and C. She was born premature, anemic, with a slight heart murmur and of low birth weight. She later was discovered to have hydronephrosis of her kidneys and further on when we arrived to bring her home to our family, we discovered strabismus afflicting her eyes. Her beginnings were less than a stellar ideal place to start, but they gave her tools, knowledge, and experiences that she must learn in this life.

Amazingly, she is in the 75% range for height and weight on American charts. She has no signs of anemia, her heart murmur, and her exposure to the antibodies of her birthmother's Hepatitis B have not caused chronic HBV... she resolved that miraculously at around age 1. We have corrected her strabismus with surgery and she has had an amazing recovery and catching up with her cognitive, gross and fine motor skills, as when she was tested for teh school earlychild program, she is at 50% ready to go to Kindergarten and that was being in the country for less than a year!

When she came home at the age of 2 years and 2 months, I always kept hope that she did not have Hepatitis C, although her pediatrician said she really probably does because it had been more than 2 years and the maternal antibodies leave by that time. We did a simple blood test and confirmed the HCV. I was very nervous about the next doctor appt and post-poned it for a few months. I knew that HCV has many genotypes that determine how much harder or less hard the disease is to treat. Of course the hardest one is the most common to contract. I set up an appointment with the gastroenterolgist to get her RNA tested and to find out her genotype. I received the lab request but something told me to wait. The doctor said that they were not urgent tests so go ahead and wait 3 to 6 months so we didn't traumatize her any further.

Six months later, we go to the lab and as she sits wrapped in my arms, she starts whimpering about the impending blood draw, so I sat there singing to her in Mandarin, wiping tears from my eyes as her body tensed itself and sweated profusely so much that she went into slight shock from it all and started to drift to sleep. I had two phlebotomists assisting us who just happened to be Asian and I could see the tears start to well up in their eyes as well. One was an elderly man who quietly inquired, "Mandarin?" and I just nodded and kept singing. Even though we were behind a curtain, the entire place became silent as they listened. My nerves of singing didn't exist that day, because my daughter needed me more. My feelings were so heavy that day as I vowed that one day, she would be healthy no matter what it took.

I went and picked up the lab results the next day and read that her liver was very healthy, that indeed the HBV was completely gone, and strangely there was no genotype listed because they had to stop the test. That's okay, I said to myself, she will be having lots of these and we'll do it next time. Flu season hit and we didn't get a doctor appt for months to have the lab results read to us. Finally, it had really been pressing on me for weeks, even dreaming about it so I called the doctor's office and asked if they could ask him to read the results over the phone. He called about 5 minutes later, and the most serendipitous, sweetest words come out of his mouth, "She is negative. There is no sign of Hepatitis C. We have no idea why she doesn't have it, but rarely the maternal antibodies hang on longer than usual. That is why she didn't have a genotype." I was shaking and crying and overjoyed, almost speechless (which is highly unusual for me!) and because I kept stammering and asking questions about how it was even possible, he said we could retest in a year if we wish, because he must have thought I didn't believe him. May 4th is the day my world changed. My perspectives were given a jolt. I was ready for a long haul. My heart went out to all the people who are HIV, AIDS, HBV, HCV, HDV positive and so many other blood diseases, and who may never hear this kind of news, but today was our day to rejoice and they would want that.

I screamed and cheered when I got off the phone, ran and picked up Milana and gave her the most kisses she would allow (and maybe a few that she probably was like, Stop smoothering me! hee hee) and then gave huge bowls of ice cream to all the children. I called my husband and told him, who was of course in shock, and confused. Then he was upset because she was perfectly healthy and yet had to wait two years for her family. I told him that it was because she was meant for our family. I called family members excitedly and we all cheered, cried and overjoyed. All week, I would just think about the news and start to cry again. I get so giddy and happy everytime I think about it, months later. My gratitude cup is SOOOO full for her health. No parent wants their child to hurt.

I never never gave up hope that I would see this day of her being Hep C free, but I imagined I would be 50 or 60 and possibly have contracted it myself, making sure that she was taking care of. I resolved that I didn't care if I contracted it as long as I gave her a wonderful life. I still am amazed by this miracle. I didn't type this immediately; I was worried about saying it too often, like it would disappear as a morning dream. But it hasn't and it's real. I weep happy tears every time I think of it. The burden she unknowingly bore for months was a shared burden for me. Every time I look at nail-trimmers, toothbrushes, razors, band aids, those super-anti-viral wipes you see at the doctors, I pray and say Thank You. My children were taught to respect blood, that as much as it gives life, it can also take it away. That you must treat everyone's blood with sanitary hygiene practices. I have told them that blood requires gloves no matter whose it is because we want to preserve life.
I do want to say for all those who may consider adopting a child who has HCV; for day to day activities, they are like every other child. Unless they have an infection or reduced liver function, you can not tell any difference from one child to the next. Now, when HCV gets bad, it gets really bad, but children who contract it vertically (through childbirth) only have a 4 to 6% chance of keeping it past two years old (they just have the antibodies). If the HCv persists past then, it is considered chronic. The good news is that they have a higher chance of clearing it than adults and they often fair better with it. Little is known about children born with HCV because it is barely being discovered or researched. I have great hopes that in the near future they will have better medicines (like LDN helps the immune system naturally fight infections but there isn't enough funding to push for it to be approved for many illnesses it would help). You only monitor blood exposure and don't share personal hygiene items. They have so much love to give just like every other child and need every ounce of love back. Opening your heart to a child with HCV is an amazing journey. I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have any questions about children who have HCV, please don't hesitate to contact me. I may be busy but I will answer. It is not a death sentence. Most people die with it, not from it.

Busted Lip

About a month ago, Milana was running in the mall and fell face first on the concrete floor. Four of her teeth went through the inside of her lip and blood just started gushing everywhere. I quickly asked the cashier girls to go get tissues. And they panicked and brought out band aids, wipes, papertowels, toys for the kids, a lei for Milana, a trashcan, some alcohol swabs, etc. One girl said, "I don't know how you are being so calm. I have an 18 month old and I don't know what I'm going to do when my child does this for the first time." I just smiled and laughed, "you get used to it and besides it's all relative." Relative, perspective... I knew that she was going to be ok. I checked her teeth and they didn't fall out or move, her lip was swollen as well as her face from crying, but she was healthy. A bumped lip was the least of what she has gone through. I didn't have gloves at that time and even if she had HCV, I wouldn't have cared, she is my baby girl and I love her with every ounce of my being. I'd give my life for her. Mommy loves you Milana and I'm so thankful you are here with us. Thank you for being my precious daughter.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cashews in the Washer

I am taking a break. Really. I have been pre-reading my anatomy book for class so that way when I am doing school for four children and myself, I'm ahead of the game. I'm on page 361 of a 560 page book. Finished my PSY class which was more like PSY year 3 not 101 (even a different professor said this teach went all out)... but I survived and hopefully wiser as well. School starts in one week and I am sorry but summer is way too long of a break; I favor year round schools... why? so many reasons, like doing daily homeschooling is exhausting while they're out (I give huge props to the full-time homeschoolers!!), adults don't have 3 month long breaks so why get the kids used to that and then throw them out into the work field and see if they can reverse 20+ years of summer break, and three, my ideas lag about the 2nd month on how to keep them entertained especially while reading about the sternocleidomastoid muscle while the kids are sneakily kicking each other and blaming the other child.

Oh wait, this was called "cashews in the washer"... why, because that is what I found when doing the wash after going to Legoland this summer. I put them in Kole's pocket when we went to the ocean to keep him eating and his mind off of... dun dun dun dun SAND ON HIS FEET! I had to pick out tons of them. I've had a multitude of oddities turn up in the washer but never cashews. What odd things have you found before? Haha... and you probably just thought I was nuts naming this post about nuts! har har I need sleep.

I also found that Milana LOVES rollercoasters and other exciting rides... not too keen on the darker ride that strolls through cave-like interiors. Kole... not a thrill seeker; loves laser shooting rides. Jadyn half and half and Kole's nerves seem to overtake her sometimes, but Nika and Milana's adventurous spirits sometimes win out... Nika mostly there and while she'll go on any ride, she gets nervous just before take-off. I don't have nerves other than wishing I didn't have to rub my neck after the inevitable whiplash of the bruisers. The kids are so adorable and loved having some time to chill.

We also went to Arizona in June for a week and a half. My niece's wedding gave us a great reason to visit everyone. It was right in the middle of my PSY class so I did 4 wks of college work in two weeks (which since it was a summer class was equivalent to 6-8 weeks) just so I could go and enjoy AZ (I think I still am having dreams about seratonin re-uptake!). We went swimming, visited a small amusement park, had a great pot-luck with my giant familia (which some of them had never met Milana before so that was actually very nice as Milana really liked them... I waited for her to be freaked out by their sheer voluminous numbers but she did awesome), and my kids went on a boat for the first time ever... I even wake-boarded and didn't get dragged the whole time.