Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Hits Keep Coming

Well, our nice day staying home yesterday with a calm little sweetie, that was cake compared to today, it was actually nice.

Well, D left early to go swim and so I started the day by myself. No biggie in theory. Well, I heard the kids' toilet flush so I walked out of our bedroom and coming down the hall was my dear Doodle. I said good morning Doodle and she just let out this animal-type howl and starts arching her back...terrifying. I immediately picked her up and tried talking to her and kept repeating her name, she was shaking like a leaf, but not jerking. I assumed we were in the middle of another seizure, a place I was hoping that I would never be again. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and she was shaky but not the violent grand mal jerking. This put me into a terrified mode though. I didn't want to call 911 as the first time this happened to Doodle in January, there were literally 20 men in my house, terrifying her even more and scaring the other 2. I decided to call a good friend who is an EMT and he told me to go with my gut, then he showed up at my house 5 minutes later for support. Then out sitter's husband showed up to get Meesta and Shenzi, we have some very good friends.

D called me back and we met 1/2 way to take her to the ER. Bottom line, they checked her out and she seems fine now, temperature was exactly normal, but we are seeing a neurologist next week. We are hoping that nothing is found, but also want to make sure she gets the treatment she needs if she does have something wrong.

The ER doc thinks that she had an aura of a seizure and that she was both scared and likely the seizure was imminent and that led to the sound she made, she wanted to tell me, was almost crying, and couldn't get anything out. She was able to tell me later that she did feel "weird" and that later she felt "normal". I hate that she understands this to some level, but am glad that she is able recognize what is happening with her body.

This hospital just so happens to be the same one that my uncle is in, so I called my aunt in his ICU room and she came down. She is not doing well. Everytime something good is discovered about how the chemo treatment is going, they find something else bad. She is terrified and is getting so frustrated by all that she does not know. I feel so very horrible for her. They are just going through so much...please keep them in your prayers.

The bad thing about Doodle's neurologist appointment - the one they are "squeezing" her into because it takes weeks to get into this guy because he is "the best" (per the ER doc) - is next week, the same day and time that my promotional review that I have to present myself at is...go figure. Obviously, I will try to reschedule my promotional review at work - but if they refuse, my priority is without question with my daughter, that is where I will be. My company is good though and I am very hopeful that they will get me rescheduled without issue.

A good thing - my good friend Chris is going to Vietnam tomorrow!!!!! They have waited a very long time for their little guy and I am so very happy for their family.

**I have read 2 books recently and mean to give a review of them. That is a RARE treat that I have read 2 books.

All for to check on Doodle for the 100th time today. My guard was down for seizures after 10 months...but it is definitely up now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Well, I have been officially sidelined - not a place I am used to being. Monday I worked from home because I felt so awful and had a project I absolutely needed to finish. Yesterday, I knew Doodle was getting sick, coughing and yet protesting that she was fine and could go to school - so against my better judgement, I allowed her to go. She did fine but by bedtime last night she had a fever and was very docile. So, today she and I and Shenzi are home. Our sitter is coming to get Shenzi when she picks up Meesta at school, this will ensure that Doodle gets the calm and rest that she needs.

I did not anticipate staying home today though and did not bring home my work laptop...I guess my coworkers will have to survive without me today. I always feel helpless and in the dark when I am not informed, I will survive though. Hopefully I will get some rest today too and that will be good for all!

All for now...


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Family are Complicated

Families are complicated. It is just as simple and as complex as that, one little sentence says so much.

My dear uncle who had a heart transplant 8 years ago has been diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). This is very sad for all of us, especially his wife (my aunt) and their 13-year-old son. We are all very close and we are all hopeful, but further lab tests are required before a specific course of action can begin. Being the scientific person that I tend to be in these situations, I am eagerly awaiting the specifics, is Epstein-Barr involved, are there B cells or T cells implicated - these things all matter. The problem lies in that to make the cancer more receptive to treatment, his anti-rejection meds which automatically reduce his white blood cells must be reduced - so treatment for his cancer can lead to his body rejecting the heart that was so lovingly donated to him 8 years ago. Prayers are requested as we navigate how to respond to this and how to be there for them all. We pray for healing, he is such a fun and generous man with way too much life left to lead.

Now the touchy thing. When things are not going well in your relationship with a family member, what do you do? Especially when whatever it is is so stupid in your mind, actually you don't even know why things are going well??? Shouldn't a life-threatening illness of a close family member make all the silliness go away? Isn't that a wake up call? I am frustrated and don't know what to do.

It is all so complicated and frustrating and I am wayyy simplifying it here. Oh well, lots of things to ponder.

Today is my birthday and my good friend CW made it a great day at work, baked me a cake and she and my other good friend at work, Nik, took me for lunch at my favorite Indian buffet - yum! D and the kids made it a nice evening as well. They got me a private little obsession, something I saw in the store a few months ago and really wanted but had honestly forgotten about - a little 5-game (old school stuff) video thing that plugs directly into your t.v. with a little joy stick, that is it, no big game system. Guess what it has...ok, I will not hold you in suspense - Ms. Pacman! I have a mild obsession with that when I get around one. We had neighbors in our old house that had a full-size arcade game of Ms. Pacman in their basement and they kept it in their basement and we had free reign to come and play anytime as it was accessible from their garage...but now, I have my own. I am in trouble!!!!

It was a decent day, birthdays indeed get less dramatic with age, and that is just fine.

All for now...


Monday, October 16, 2006

4 Years Ago Today...and 11 Years Ago Today

October 16 is an important day in my life. It used to be that I liked this date because my friend June had this as her birthday (2 days before mine) and that was cool while growing up. However, the date took on my significance when a good friend of mine from college was killed in a car accident on this day, just months after we graduated from undergrad. Her name was Tonya and she was one of those people you can't help but like, that you wish you were more like. She and I had a lot in common and we were in the same sorority, both raised by single moms, both a bit fiesty, but she was wayyyy cooler. She was eccentric looking in a very positive and stunning way, she captivated attention from both men and women, and she was fun. You always had a good time when she was around. Her death changed me and I grew up quite a bit after it. I realized just how short life can be - I am glad she lived hers with gusto.

Now, the more recent and much happier reason that October 16th sticks out as an important day is that it was 4 years ago today than our twins arrived on my state's soil...after nearly a year of battling to bring them home. Doodle and Meesta turned our lives upside down from the minute we received their referrals and have continued to do that ever since. I have no idea how D and I survived that trip home, almost 48 hours of travel time with 18-month-old help as our help had to leave Cambodia following our own US Embassy's ineptitude at doing anything sensible...we could not leave on our originally-scheduled flight because of errors in Meesta's visa...and it was rushed and likely done wrong because the "black list" was down and they could not check to make sure they were not on the terrorist list...I kid you not.

Anyway, it has been 4 years now since we arrived home (following our final delay of the airplane re-ascending while landing at our home airport - can you imagine!!!!!, as if we had not already been through enough!). I will never forget the tons of family and friends (and even reporters) at the airport to welcome us home. It had been a journey not just for us, but for those who loved us and even for strangers who had followed our story in the press. We became a "family" in the true sense of the word that day and I am forever a better person because of it.

I thank God for the miracles that are my children and feel so incredibly blessed that I am able to parent them. They have begun to talk much more about Cambodia and are beginning to get the concept of "adopted" but still don't seem traumatized by any of it. I hope they will be able to work through any struggles this causes them while growing up enveloped in the love they know we have for them.

Mommy loves you so very much!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Moon Cakes

Given that we are an international family, we take that seriously and feel it is our responsibility to teach our children as much about their birth culture as we can, within reason.

Well, it is Moon Cake Festival time for the Chinese and we felt that Shenzie (using nicknames, tired of letters...) should experience Moon Cakes, so I got creative. One of the international adoption listserves posted several recipes so I decided to make it happen.

Here is a picture of a traditional Chinese Moon Cake:

Well, my recipe was a bit more simplistic - and then I filled them too full of jelly (not into red bean paste)...but they were still very yummy. I even took them to work and shared them with my fellow Chinese adoptive parents and some of my Chinese friends (and they told me they were very tasty)!

Here is a picture of my Moon Cakes, with a glimpse of my Shenzie looking on to her mom's marvelous, yet not very pretty, Moon Cakes.

Here's a Moon Cake Toast to our kids, for enriching our lives, adding joy and culture beyond our wildest imagination. They are loved more than life itself!


Friday, October 06, 2006

We did it - In the garage...

Yes, we did, tonight in the garage - but it is not what you think, get your heads out of the gutter...we danced. It was fantastic, impromptu, and deliciously romantic. Yep, in the garage.

Now that D is in seminary full time plus working 30+ hours/week, we don't have much quality time together. His head is constantly in a book and I am busy keeping the house in order/managing my own job and the not-for-profit/taming the adorable monsters that call us mom and dad. We are doing great though, but I do miss my time with him.

Well, this evening after the kids were in bed, he was helping me do some stuff in the garage this evening with our not-for-profit and we had the radio playing and all of a sudden, he was grabbing me for a dance. Ahhh, it truly made my heart go pitty pat. I do LOVE that man!

Here's to all my cyber friends - may you feel the love too, it is incredible!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Incident in the Parking Lot

Well, the incident happened the other night. It is somewhat of a repeat for me, unfortunately. One would think I would not have ever let it happen again. The last time this incident happened I was in college. I was driving home with my best friend then to our home town and well, I just couldn’t control it. It just, well, happened – despite my best intentions.

Well, it happened again, yesterday. D and the kids were with me and I was in the parking lot of a strip mall of sorts. Let me set the stage, at least in my defense…

The twins had gotten the little free personal pan pizza from reading books and so we went to Pizza Hut. I drank 2 diet sodas. We then decided to go and get CA’s hair cut in the strip mall, so we all went in, no biggie, hair cut, we are out. Well, I had to go to the bathroom, but it seems I always do, and well being the martyr mom that I am, I thought, oh I can wait until we get home.

So, as we are walking out of the hair cutting place, CA accidentally hits his little noggin on a side mirror of a car, HE WAS FINE, but D and I both laughed…he did too, it was funny – you had to be there. I should also add that I was carrying SK, our adorable monster 2-year-old…and she is HEAVY. Well, the laughter did it, I could not hold it.1.MORE.SECOND.

I peed the parking lot. All I could do was stand there helplessly and laugh, uncontrollable, with a puddle growing around me. As soon as D realized what had happened, he just starts laughing uncontrollably, which makes me laugh harder – and well, have you ever been able to hold it while laughing??? No, I think not.

We did not tell the kids what happened, they did ask why mommy was sitting on the towel in the middle row seat – I just told them because I wanted to. I wanted to tell them the truth, but knew they would go to school and tell their teacher that their mommy had an accident. It was certainly memorable and we laughed a lot.

Oh yes, back in college, I peed my car – my OWN CAR that I was still making payments on…same situation, trying desperately to hold it but my best friend started laughing at my discomfort and pain and literally ½ block from my mom’s house, out it came…how awful. I had to air my car out for some time, not pretty.

Last night I was even worried that I would dream about it and pee the BED! This did not come to pass fortunately…Thank GOD.

This was a good dose of humility and embarrassment and I was ever so glad that D was my best friend as well as my husband at that moment…

Life is this good…even in wet pants and soaked shoes…


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Did God Use Me?

D's seminary classes have my mind buzzing to new topics and opening my eyes to different ways to view religion in general. One of his papers that I edited recently (he has a built in editor in me;) mentioned something about how God can use you to speak to others. I found it interesting but did not think much more than that...until the next day.

I don't always remember my dreams, actually rarely, but last week I did remember one, very clearly. It was about a lady who works at the same place that I do, we used to work on the same "team" but not for very long and we didn't really even like each other much, both too much of a "driver" personality. I see her fairly often and we always say hi, but that is about the extent of our relationship, I don't know much about her in general or her personal life.

All that to tell you that my dream was that I saw her in the hall and she told me that she and her husband had adopted 2 children from Russia and that she was unexpectedly pregnant - and not so happy about it. Odd dream, no?

Well, the next day I happened to see this lady and it triggered my memory that I had dreamt about her. I proceeded to tell her and she just stopped and pulled up her shirt sleeve to show me her goosebumps. She and her husband are talking about adopting 2 children, from Russia. AND, one of her big fears is that she would then get pregnant. This gave me goosebumps too.

What does this mean? I am really not sure, but as I processed this interaction, I realized that maybe God had used me to either persuade or dissuade (??) her to proceed with the adoption. I guess time will tell. I don't recall ever having such a specific dream and it truly having meaning to anyone other than myself.

I likely won't forget this one anytime soon.