Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping up 2010...

I can hardly believe the year is over- didn't we just begin? Gavin's first year of life has gone by entirely too quickly... I'm losing my baby years. Starting to get baby fever, a bit, but then I come to my senses again. :) Thankfully!

Updates: Gav's biopsy was rescheduled due to the awful, nasty, icky cold that charged into our home and refuses to leave... he'll have it done on the 13th of January. I'm hoping for good results, either the same or less eosinophils. Grace's ultrasound came back normal (Thank God!) and she's adjusting well to her SMO (foot brace). She's walking everywhere now, it's her only mode of transportation now- so exciting!! Gavin is starting to cruise- I'm sure walking won't be far behind.

Christmas was far too good to our family, we really are quite spoiled. The kids got a water play table, a pirate ship, Papa and Grandma and they are in LOVE! The Gonce family spent Christmas dinner with us, and it was awesome to watch the 4 kids play together- a beautiful day to spend outside, filled with giggles and splashing!

Grace checks the backdoor every day to make sure her boat remains in the backyard. She begs to play in it daily, irregardless of the weather. Poor girl got terrible goosebumps trying to play the other day- then bundled in a nice warm towel and got comfy and cuddly- mommy's favorite time!

We've survived a mini heart procedure (stent and 2 balloonings) and approach 2011 with hope for a quiet heart year. We've survived Gavin's crazy allergies, and also approach 2011 with hope for a diet that fits our growing boy. We continue to have all of life's blessings and love- our family being the greatest gifts.

With love to all, cheers to another year!

Our family letter for 2010:

Season’s Greetings, all! Hopefully this letter finds you in good health, and happy hearts! We’ve had a busy 2010 and 2011 is sure to bring even more excitement and joy.

We kicked off 2010 with a visit to Wisconsin, blessed to spend time with family over the New Year. Grace experienced snow for the first time, and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. All of us enjoyed spending time with family, especially meeting our 3 nephews: Hunter, Cranden and Spencer. Upon leaving Wisconsin, we received a call from the adoption agency about a prospective placement. Again, blessings shine upon us, and within a week, we welcomed our son, Gavin, to our family. Gavin was born January 17th, weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces. It was such a change for us to bring our child home from the hospital right away! Grace welcomed her little brother with welcome arms, and I know she’ll never be able to imagine her life without him.

February found us busy at home- nesting, and preparing Gavin’s room. We literally had less than a week to prepare for his arrival, so we spent many weekends at home enjoying our new family.

March was a busy month for our family. Felix visited Connecticut on business for 3 weeks, leaving me alone with 2 children for the first (not last) time. Wow, had I been taking his help for granted!! Thankfully, I had plenty of help from family and friends! My dad and step-mom came for a visit from Wisconsin, along with my aunt and cousins from California. Together, we saw 3 spring training games (Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland A’s). Pam (Mimi) moved back from Michigan, and has continued to save my sanity as a live-in help, physically and mentally!

In April, we decided to sell our small home, as we were officially busting at the seams! Luckily, we have great friends, and we were able to move into a larger home at the end of the month. The month was a blur, with Pam making an emergency flight back to Michigan at the unexpected passing of her father. We’ve spent the past few months reliving his amazing life, and remembering the good times.

May was a blur, as spring often is. In addition to spring cleaning, we experienced spring moving- a new phenomenon, especially with 2 children! I vowed never to move again, without a moving crew- what a job! Gavin’s adoption day was officially celebrated on Cinco de Mayo. We were surrounded by friends and family at the courthouse, and then after during a celebratory breakfast. It was a wonderful relief! Grace continued to amaze us, as she went from 100% oral aversion, to eating baby food- literally overnight! Worried it was a fluke, we continued to feed her daily, often every hour or so. I’m happy to report that Grace is still eating, making more progress daily. On Mother’s Day, I received the best present EVER- Grace finally learned how to return a kiss! Of course, I’ve been smothering her with them every day since! Felix found himself being sent to Denver on business with a one-day’s notice. Making the best of his business trip, the kids and I traveled with him to Colorado. The kids and I then rented a car and made the 8 hour drive to Felix’s parent’s home in Cody, Wyoming. Mid-way I was blessed to visit family in Casper, Wyoming, enjoying laughter and pizza and a great night’s sleep, before making the rest of the drive. We spent 2 full weeks in Wyoming. The kids enjoyed their grandparents, great grandmother, great uncle, aunt, uncle and cousin as well as Yellowstone National Park. What a great visit!

In June, I became an officially ordained minister and officiated my first wedding ceremony- my mother and step-father’s! It was a beautiful, intimate affair celebrated in our backyard with friends and family. Grace learned to officially crawl in June, as well, but preferred her usual mode of transportation- the “butt-scoot”. Grace would literally sit on her bottom, scooting everywhere she needed to go, often quicker than I could walk!

July came and went, with one of the hottest summers I can remember here in Phoenix. To escape the heat, we took a family day-trip to Sedona. The 10 degree difference was AMAZING! We spent all day just enjoying the break. Felix and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on July 14th- hard to believe it’s been that long! To celebrate, we took the kids on a 3 day staycation at a local resort. We spent all 3 days submerged in the pool- so fun! We learned that Gavin loved to swim and kick, in fact, he loved the water so much he would often fall asleep in his floaty for a mid-swim nap! After that trip, Felix and I decided we needed a vacation from our vacation, so we splurged on 2 nights at another resort for just us. Very, very relaxing!

August and September went by far too quickly- with not much “autumn” here in the valley. Luckily (for the kids and me!), Felix was sent on another 2 week business trip to Denver, so the kids and I visited Wisconsin and enjoyed the fall splendor! Felix was able to join us at the end of his trip, and we all enjoyed the visit with family. Felix and I were able to sneak away for a day, and I enjoyed playing tour guide. We spent the day touring the lakefront of Lake Michigan, even having lunch with a good friend at the American Club in Kohler. When we returned back to the heat of the desert, we played catch-up on our daily lives. The kids both had numerous doctor visits- including Gavin getting ear tubes, and Grace having a stent placed in her left pulmonary artery. Luckily, kids are super resilient, and they recovered quickly and seamlessly! We spent the remainder of the summer mostly indoors, while Pam and I worked on building a miniature kitchen set for the kids. Great idea- they love it!!

October was still warm, but we could see the change in seasons on the horizon. Gavin had some allergy testing done, and we were able to get some answers about his health. We’re still working on figuring out his perfect “food” combination, but I’m confident we’re making the appropriate strides towards our goal. Halloween was an exciting day for our family! We all dressed as a clan of pirates, went to a neighborhood block party, and then trick-or-treated into the night. Gavin was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, and fell asleep immediately once we got home. Grace decided she wanted to be a “big kid” and would walk, yes walk, to the houses! This was a first for us- such an exciting time! She proceeded to hoard her candy bars when we got home, eating a full-sized Baby Ruth bar!

The holiday months kicked off early with November coming so quickly! Felix and I were gifted tickets to Elton John, and made a great date-night out of the event. We planned a pre-Thanksgiving mini-trip to Disneyland, meeting good friends for 3 fun-filled days! We enjoyed the memories made with my niece and my god-children.

Everyday finds our family blessed beyond words. Our lives have changed significantly over the past few years, and with the holiday season upon us, we can’t help but be thankful to God for where we are now. Grace continues to grow stronger and stronger, tipping the scales at a whopping 20+ pounds! She’s walking more every day, and growing up way too quickly, having turned 2 on December 1st! Gavin is turning into a little man, right before our eyes. He’s crawling EVERYWHERE, babbling up a storm, and trying to outgrow his sister at a whopping 19+ pounds! Their laughter fills our home, and for that, we are eternally blessed.

Happy Holidays to Each and Every One of you!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spreading the Word...

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, our son, Gavin (age 11 months), suffers from a rare autoimmune disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis ("EE"). Kids with EE are quite literally allergic to food. The proteins in food cause a build up in the digestive tract and blood of a white blood cell called an eosinophil.

Eosinophils are meant to attack parasites, but the body of a child with EE mistakes food for a parasite. As a result, the build up of eosinophils cause numerous and very serious health problems, including, failure to grow and thrive, uncontrollable vomiting, severe stomach and throat pain, inability to sleep, joint pain, just to name a few. Many kids with EE can only eat 1 or 2 foods and need a feeding tube to survive.

CURED is a charity that I am actively involved with that raises money to find a cure for EE. CURED has donated over $2 million to research over the past 6 years. CURED has begun a $1 challenge. We are looking to find 500,000 people to each donate $1 or more to CURED, since that is something that almost everyone can do in these hard economic times. If you are interested in donating, please write Gavin's name on your donation and mail it to CURED at P.O. Box 32, Lincolnshire, IL 60069. or go to and make a donation via pay pal. Furthermore, if you wish to go even a step further, please forward this email to your family and friends. The more we get the word out there, the more likely it will be that we will reach our goal.

Thanks for your help!!!
Happy Holidays!!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Gav's MRI results came back today.... 100% normal. I was so relieved at first, but not I'm just confused. If there is nothing wrong with him neurologically, what is causing him to be weaker (stiffer) on one side of his body? Why is he so hypertonic? Why does he have a sensory processing issue? I asked the nurse all of these questions, only to have her tell me that the doctor will be in touch... Fabulous. That will probably only take 500 years. In the meantime, I've made an appointment with a Developmental Pediatrician at the Melmed center. I'm hoping for some answers. I think I get more frustrated with Gavin's issues than Grace's because I have no way of understanding the problems, as they're not defined or explained. With Grace, it's fairly cut and dry. She has TOF, therefore she... etc, etc, etc. With Gav, it's he has nothing, yet these are all the bizarre things he does. No, I don't know why, that's why I'm here... UGH!

Respite is the BEST invention ever. Seriously. Today, I made 5 batches of cookies, all while Jess, our respite provider, read and played with the kids. Friday, she comes again, and I'll have all afternoon to nap, or clean, or even go out for a massage. I get approximately 72 hours per month, per kiddo, so... I have lots of relaxation coming my way. Woo-hoo! I feel guilty, but I am in such need of this, so I'll accept it and be thankful.

Tomorrow is another busy day for the kids. Gav is scheduled to have his EE biopsy, but since he's become super congested (and coughing), I think I may reschedule. Grace is scheduled for her bladder/kidney ultrasound. She had a UTI, and apparently it's unusual for kids her age. I'm wondering if other preemies have similar issues? I've noticed that she doesn't have the "inner protection" that other full-term girls have. I'm trying not to get too graphic here.... LOL!

I'm completely obsessed with the Glee soundtrack. It's somewhat disgusting. All of my ringtones are now songs that have either been on Glee, or are sung by Glee cast members. My favorites? F*&k You by Cee Lo Green; Marry You by Bruno Mars; Valerie by Amy Winehouse... the list goes on and on....

Random thoughts :)

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm so exhausted this holiday season! I have much to be thankful for, but I can't help but feel like I'm draggin'...

Today was a busy day, not unlike most days in our house. Occupational therapy started @ 9 for both kiddos. I filled out a sensory questionnaire about Gav, and all signs point to Sensory Perception Disorder, not a huge surprise. Gav has to be CONTINUALLY moving, receiving some kind of input on his tiny muscles, or he literally freaks out. It's completely exhausting for both him and me. We worked on a few things today- he loved them! We rolled him up tight in a blanket and then unrolled him, and then swung him in a blanket. What a giggler! After we were done with him, his crankiness set in, but I'd be pissed too if I couldn't eat! Gav was scheduled for his MRI with contrast (anesthesia) this afternoon, so I had to starve my bubs. He did well- such a champ when it comes to anesthesia. We got to visit with our favorite anesthesiologist, which is nice, but I imagine it sounds odd to "non-medical" families to have a favorite anesthesiologist... LOL! He's scheduled for another esophagis biopsy on Thursday, so we may be able to visit with her again. It's the little things... :)

Grace did great in OT this morning, too. She made cinnamon-applesauce ornaments, loving getting messy! She got to spend the rest of the day with Mimi, even making a trip to the park! At the park she learned to kick her giant ball, and even noticed her shadow! When I came home from the hospital, Grace had speech therapy- admit it, you're totally envious of my jam-packed life- and rocked it, as usual. She's becoming so much more verbal. It's easy to get frustrated with her slow and steady pace (desiring quicker results) but when I reflect back just one year ago, the results are seriously AMAZING! Last year, on her first birthday, Grace couldn't sit up on her own, she didn't allow food into her mouth, and she made little to no noises. Today, she's walking, sometimes running (and tripping), eating garlic cloves among other foods, and talking all the time! It's too cute. Her words are mostly mispronounced, but I understand her. I've taken to calling her language, Grace-ese-ian... A combo of Grace, Chinese and Russian.





Dora... Dohr

Love You... Too Too

Daddy... Dada

Gavin... Gah or Gahga

Brother... Bwubba

Bottle... Bobba

Water... Wah

Please... Peas

Book... Booooh

When she kisses us, she'll make the smacking sounds. When she drinks water, she'll say "ahhh" after- like it's the most refreshing thing ever. Too frickin' cute! She often sits in a quiet area saying, "Mama, Dada, Mimi, Gaah".... over and over and over again.

On her birthday, she finally "got" opening presents. Now, she's trying to open every Christmas present under the tree. Good times!

She's become a tiny "bag" lady. She steals my gift bags, uses them as purses, and walks around the house picking up all the random things laying around: hair clips, bobby pins, shoes, socks, etc. At a baby shower we hosted, a mom couldn't find her son's shoe. We looked EVERYWHERE- high and low- sure enough, it was in her bag! She's become a tiny mommy. When Gav fusses or cries, she'll rush over, hug or kiss him and then pat him on the back to calm him. Also, with her baby, Holly, she puts her to bed by throwing her in the play bassinet, then remembers to pick her up and kiss her, then throws her back in (often face down!) and then throws a blanket over her. Nice to know that's how she thinks I put her to bed, right?

Well, that's enough for tonight. I'm plain tired! Good night, world!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

New blog Design.... Lots more to follow! I'd like to treat this as a "diary" of sorts- so that I can remember what is happening in my day-t0-day life, rather than just being for emergencies (although some of my daily life is an emergency)!

Thanks for reading!

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