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.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fun stuff

We just got back from Nika's podiatry appt and she no longer has ingrown toes! Yippee! No more pain.

Donnie and I celebrated our 11 yr anniversary & we got.... a new bed! Okay, everyone needs to get a Wynn Dream Bed... so not kidding. We both laid down on our backs and couldn't move... we both sleep on our sides but couldn't get ourselves to roll because it was so comfy. So my brave husband went first and said I had to try it because it was even better. I have slept so soundly the past couple nights; it's amazing. Oh and Happy Anniversary... I really do love you more than the bed. ;) You really are the only one who could ever understand me and actually enjoy it! I love you.

I still haven't gotten to our b-day posts. I have to do it soon, because I start college on Monday. I am going to start studying to become an Occupational Therapist! WOOHOO! I'm excited and so nervous about starting something for me. I did take my placement test for English and received the highest with ENG 101. I was so nervous that I'd have to start at the bottom because I haven't been in school for 13 yrs. I chickened out of the math one... so I can study more. I even bought Danica Mckellar's Math Doesn't Suck & Kiss My Math books... they are for middle school girls but I think I may have forgotten middle school math steps. oops.

Milana had a Urology appt & ultrasound and.... her kidneys are healing! Her hydronephrosis is lessening and we will do one more ultrasound in a year to make sure she continues to outgrow this. Her bladder size is going back to normal and this is excellent news. Her health is such a miracle and blessing.

Kole told me the other day, "Mom, I know what psycho kenesis is! It means you can move objects with your mind." Um, Kole, I don't even know how to spell pyscho kinesis... where did you learn that from?!@

Now, I need to run off again. =) ♥☻☺

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quick note

Kole does not have Scoliosis! I know that I didn't tell anyone because I don't like worrying people. I soooooo thankful about this as well as no cataracts. He has posterior embryotoxon (the white of his eye covers a bit of his iris) which is a heightened risk for cataracts. But it's alllllll good! Many times blessed. More good news to follow.

Nika, Milana and myself had birthdays in April! Woohoo! B-day posts to follow. Let's see, we had spring break, Milana started preschool, and we will be having our final post-placement report this week. We have Nika's choir concert (so very excited to see that)!

Milana's preschool: She is doing absolutely wonderful! I stayed for days there but went into Kole's classroom and visited every 15 to 30 minutes until her body tension eased. She was a champ by the second day and very eager to go. I came back an hour later to check on her and she didn't run to me; she looked up excitedly and asked me to come look at her art. She was having a blast and it really eased my mind. Her demeanour has completely changed from almost a year ago. She is funny, bright, has budding confidence, knows her family well, is becoming predictable (HUGE BLESSING) and many many more great blessings have happened and continue to happen.

Well, the kids are hungry... have to run. =)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shake the Glitter

"Shake, shake, shake the glitter." Katy Perry's song is so true. Hubby calls me today and tells me the bad day he's had so far... but it is so hilarious too, sad but funny. He gets a call for water in a room, checks the room and there is water soaking the carpet by the bed and air-conditioner. Odd because when tubs leak, they usually soak only the tub below. So he treks up to the room above.

He tells the occupant he needs to check the room for water damage and they find it near a huge mound of now wet and damaged convention clothes laid out near a wall. Obviously not the leaky room, up another couple floors and when he finds the closed room with water pouring out, he bangs on the door, yelling for the occupant to open. No answer, so after trying a few more times, he warns he's coming in.

Six inches of water comes spilling out and he sees three luggage cases floating around the room. He wades into the restroom and finds a tub overflowing and a shower running with a woman passed out, laying across a shower bench. He yells at the woman to wake up. No reply. Turns off the shower and keeps yelling for her to come to. He can't wake her and at this point with the way her body is draped across the bench, he has no idea whether she is just crazy inebriated or wasted by drugs or drugged. Finally he gets her to mumble out, "Is this a dream?" He says, "No this is very much reality, and you had better get up and get it together because in about 5 minutes, you're going to have a room full of men in here draining the water."

He says her only dry clothes were dirty on the bathroom counter, and out of her 5 day stay for work, this was her 4th night (almost made it unscathed). She had two cots in the room and asked where the guys were.... then she realized these "guys" did not stick around and abandoned her. Now what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.... except your $8 - $10,000 flood bill.

This is literally one of millions of stories. My husband says this song is his theme music. So to today's Aquatic Beauty ... that's what you get for waking up in Vegas. copy and paste (embeding diabled)
Katy Perry - "Waking Up in Vegas": "One Of The Boys" (MTV one but delay on words and it bugs)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jadyn & Donnie’s Birthdays

Donnie and Jadyn’s birthdays! Yippee!!!  Jadyn is such a silly joyous animal.  I mean it… she loves animals.  Not so much touching them and loving on them; she loves their animal magnetism to the point of mimicking them daily.  Tonight she told me she wasn’t Jadyn… she is “Beast Boy.”  The other day while picking up Kole, Donnie said she was hanging out the window yelling “squirrel!” at passer-by’s.  If you haven’t watched Phineas and Ferb or the movie “Up” you wouldn’t get it.  Just type in “Squirrels in my pants” in google. Oh she is a hoot and so intelligent.  Ok, so Kole had his testing and I saved Jadyn’s report for her b-day.  She also tested in the highly gifted range… like 6 to 7 year old range of 98.6%.  See… I’m outnumbered!  She is reading overnight.  Literally.  She was trying to read a cereal box a few months ago and Kole told her that she couldn’t read.  Well, that slightly ticked her off, it seems, as she kicked it into high gear and is flying through books.  I also thought I’d do some math with her and she finished the entire Hooked on Math set in 25 minutes… the games, books and DVD rom.  I am at a loss!  I have no idea where to start because I get some curriculum, settle down to teach it and they say done.  I don’t even know where to start anymore.  How am I going to keep up with them?
We are so thankful this year as we just found out Jadyn’s heart murmur is one of those innocent functional ones. whew.  I was concerned and lost sleep over that one.  I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to worry anyone; I also didn’t want to think about it until I knew for sure.
Back to birthdays!  Jadyn had a Ironman cake… yes, she is Ironman as well.  She really loved her presents and time with family and we love every minute with you my sweet multi-animal darling.  You guys will get a tiny glimpse of our comedian in the pictures hopefully. 
Donnie… that man is my hero.  He seriously is a tank, indestructible or something.  Happy Birthday Love.
Squirrel. This present was given because 26 animals will be enjoyed by Miss Squirrel.
012 022
Nika’s crazy horns on her Avril Lavigne jacket.
And finally, I’m going to post a youtube video of our CNY fun.  Turn the speakers on if you want to listen. =)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

hApPy bIrThDaY kOlE!

It’s such a great day!  6 years ago this week, my little man came into our lives and blessed us with so much and soooo many laughs.  Our little handsome man is a pretty awesome little dude.  This last week he graduated/exited from his developmental delay program (speech, fine, gross motor skills, social skills) and when they tested his IQ, Surprise!  He scored in the upper extreme range, with a score of 144 out of 145.  He has brains 99.8% higher than kids his age.  Hello!  Not sure where that came from and now having trouble figuring out exactly where to start to challenge him, but so happy for him.  The principal sat there with her mouth open in awe and the other group of teachers and I couldn’t help but giggle as he read us a chapter book that he had started and finished during our meeting.  It’s one of those odd, awe-inspiring, shocking things to see a kindergarten child not stumble over words like lieutenant and counterfeiting.   Normally they don’t even test kids for gifted capabilities until they are in second grade.  Since he qualifies and they haven’t even had one in this school yet, they have to make him a program and tweak it for a kindergartener.  Whew…  Still shocked here.  Very excited to see what he does.

Today we spent two hours setting up the “Tower of Doom” (actual name) for our little man and the kids had a blast playing with it.  Have to get to bed, but couldn’t sleep without wishing my Kole-o-ly-oxen-free a Happy Birthday.  I love you. =)



010 He is such a goofball!

Earthquake in Kaohsiung =(


Monday, February 22, 2010

Just a pic update =)

We’ve been fairly busy.  I’ll upload our Chinese New Year adventures soon.  Then since I’ll be caught up, I may have time for a note.  I miss everyone ALOT.  Four is a busy number, but I think even more so when one of my monkeys equals about 5 by herself!