Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Family Photo

This poor neglected little blog!

So what's new with us?  Since last time I posted, we had a family photo session by Kiss the Moon Photography and this is our sneak peek.  I'm in love and can't wait to see it on my wall on a huge canvas.  This photo is the very definition of Beautiful Chaos,  :)

We have had our little Lucy go through some evaluations and we have some diagnoses.  She has her ARD meeting this week, and starts the PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) through our school district soon.  We still need to get some testing done for other possible issues.  I am a dog with a bone right now... not dropping it until I have everything she needs.

As for me, I have another ultrasound (and hopefully NOT another biopsy) on my thyroid this week.  Please keep me in your prayers!  It's a scary thing to be on cancer-watch, no matter how curable this kind usually is.

I keep having grand plans to revamp the blog and make it a regular record of our family life.  But as the mother of five children, Facebook has become my blog now.  One day I will get it back.  Until then, I am busy being the best wife and the best mom these people have ever had.  ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Something About Lucy

I'm going to tell you something about Lucy.  My sweet Lucycakes has been struggling through some behaviors that I don't understand, for about a eighteen months now.  At first, I assumed she needed more attention during her mommy's difficult pregnancy.  I thought with a bit of extra attention & affection, she'd grow out of her little quirks.  It became clear that it was not a passing phase, so as time went on, I tried to discipline her out of it.  I used time-outs and eventually moved on to sticker charts.  The older and more verbally expressive she becomes, the more I realized that she is truly struggling with something else.  She is not like my other children in some ways, and as I think back on it, there have been some differences from infancy.  It isn't a behavior issue, it isn't bad parenting... Lucy may be dealing with a condition called Sensory Processing Disorder.

A lot of things I have read seem to fit her to a T.  However, some things don't fit the mold.  I don't know if she is dealing with anxiety due to trying to cope with her world, if she has some behavioral issues alongside her neurological condition, or if it is something else entirely.  I'm not a diagnostician and I obviously am not objective.

I am just really relieved to learn that there is a "name" for what she is suffering with, and that there are effective treatments that will allow her to make the connections she needs to make & go on to have a perfectly normal childhood.  I don't want her to be labeled a brat/naughty/crybaby... she isn't.  She doesn't process sensory information the same way we do.  The world can be an overwhelming and scary place for her.  As an adult, I would struggle with coping so I can only imagine how a toddler gets through the day!

Knowing that this is REAL and that I am not alone has helped me personally.  We have contacted the right people and filled out a bunch of paperwork in anticipation of a full battery of testing.  In a month or so, we will learn whether this is something I can help her through at home, something she needs occupational therapy for, or something she needs a special education program to help her through.

Out of respect for Lucy, I won't be going into detail about her particular issues.  However, this article can help you understand what sensory issues look like and how they impact our family: 

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!  We are lucky to have Lucy.  Again, we are at the very beginning of the process so I can't say that this is definitely what she has, or the only thing she has.  No matter what "label" she has, she is a fun, funny, fantastic little girl and there is nothing I won't do to make sure she has the best.  Lucy is a delightful little lady to be around... she is engaging and very expressive, so I know she will help me to help her as time goes on.  :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not The Worst, Not the Best... but Good Enough! :)

Thank you so much for praying for me!  The biopsy result: "Suspicious biopsy, showing a follicular adenoma. Though usually benign, up to 20% of these nodules are found ultimately to be cancerous." 

I have to have another biopsy in a month. Boo.

It's not the best case scenario, but DEFINITELY not bad either. :) Going to bask in some sweet relief now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Me and My Thyroid: The Long Version

When I got home, the kids asked what happened.  I told them a vampire bit me.  Everyone laughed, but Ben.  He was pretty horrified until I assured him I was only joking.  ;)
Wednesday the 25th, I went to my doctor for a physical.  I have been so tired that I am literally falling asleep anytime I sit still... watching TV, reading, nursing.  I also have had unexplained, intermittent low-grade fevers for the last several months.  I am still overweight, after initially shedding about 25lbs since March, I have been stuck for the last 6 weeks despite keeping track of my calories and exercising.  I thought it was probably all due to nursing my little Alice all day, waking up a few times a night with her or other kiddos, being exposed to all the viruses my kids bring home, and maybe being too stressed to lose weight.  My blood sugar has been out of whack as well, but I blamed it on being fat.  However, I really started to get concerned so I went in for a check-up for my own peace of mind.  It seems that we've had a series of really bad luck with health ever since November, and I have learned the hard way not to ignore it when I am feeling weird symptoms.

At the appointment, Dr M found a lump in my thyroid when he was doing my physical exam.  He recommended an ultrasound and bloodwork.  I do have some abnormal levels, but nothing too scary.  It may be that I am still recovering from my mastitis infection (oh yes, that too) and that I need to lose weight.

Thursday, I went in for my ultrasound.  It wasn't bad at all.  A little awkward to have the warm gel on my neck and to NOT see a baby on that fuzzy screen, but whatever.  I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing on leaving, thinking I need to redouble my quest for better health that I started earlier this year.  They said I would have results in 3 or 4 days.

Instead, the doctor called me an hour after I got home and said I needed a biopsy as soon as possible.  I scheduled it for Friday afternoon.  The nurse warned me that it would be uncomfortable, and that I would need a support person to drive me home.  She said that I couldn't pick up anything heavier than 10 lbs (poor Alice!) or do any sort of physical activity for 24-48 hours.  I would need to stay home that evening, so I could alternate thirty minutes on/thirty minutes off with the ice packs.  That should have been my clue that it was a bigger deal than I wanted to believe.  I did the WRONG thing (Googling "is a thyroid biopsy painful?) and heard the whole gamut... some people said no big deal, other said pretty uncomfortable, some said that the biopsy was the worst part of having cancer.  Yikes.

I was brave on Friday because I had Adam with me.  But when they said he couldn't come in with me for the actual procedure, my heart sank.  I don't really want to talk about the experience in detail, but it was really difficult for me.  I had 3-5 passes in 4 places, guided by ultrasound.  I don't get emotional in front of people and won't complain of pain ever, so I held it all in until I got outside.  The minute I did... I did the "ugly cry."  I was hurting more than I thought I would, and afraid.  This has all happened so fast. 

I was feeling really optimistic going in, but have been down since the whole thing.   Yes, 9 out of 10 people have benign results so it is a VERY good chance that this is nothing.  But someone has to be in the 10% who have cancer.  Why not me?  I have beaten the odds on everything else this year, lots of bad luck one thing after another.  I found out my grandma had a thyroid tumor in her thirties and had to have her thyroid totally removed.  Yes, if you are going to have cancer, this is the kind to have.  But who wants to have ANY cancer?  It is still a big deal to have your thyroid out.  You have to be on medication for life, you get a scar, most people lose all or part of their feeling in their necks, you have to have radioactive iodine and stay away from your kids for days, and you even have a 4% chance of losing your voice forever.   

I had trouble sleeping last night, because turning my head at all was so painful.  I feel like I have an ear infection in my left ear (the largest biopsy spot on my left side is swelling against a nerve) and it feels like I have been punched in the throat.  Or choked.  The good news is, I have just really mild bruising thanks to my sweet family's help and ice packs.  The swelling looks a bit silly... I look like I have gained at least a few pounds just on my neck.  I have what looks like a lot of pimples from the needle pricks.   Pain-wise, it's better this afternoon than it was yesterday.  I think I just had a pretty extensive biopsy and they had to go in on a lot of different spots.  

So that's what has been going on with me.  I am supposed to rest this weekend, and will use it to play with more photos and back-post them here.  I *really* appreciate the prayers and good thoughts. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Black and White

Lucy is so beautiful to this Mommy's eyes, that I have to just run for my camera several times each day.  She doesn't always let me photograph her, but when she does... oh, she is so fun!

While Lucy was in an agreeable mood, I got her to pose with my Dad.  Called "Poppy," Lucy has him wrapped around her little finger.  My Dad loves babies more than anyone else I've ever met, I think!  When he is here, he likes to have at least one of them in his lap at all times.  

As my family and friends know, my Daddy is sick.  His liver and heart aren't going to last as long as I wish they would.  Please keep praying for him to stay as healthy as possible.  I tease him a lot, but I love him even more.  And so do my kiddos!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Sophie had her second VBS experience, while Bella & Ben enjoyed their first.  These kids had a BLAST at VBS and couldn't wait for each new day.  They were all very sad to see it end.

Every morning, we listened to their VBS CD on the way, and they were so cute singing in the car and doing their hand-motions.  They all met in a big group and sang their hearts out before they split into their individual "flight crews."  They all made friends rather quickly and enjoyed the yummy snacks.

Friday wrapped up with a slide show and FABULOUS pictures of my cuties.  It was so fun to see them all dancing, playing, and truly enjoying their time at VBS.

Are we going next year?  YES!  Do we intend to try to register for another parish's VBS in a few weeks?  Yes to that too!  ;)

(And were these photos Sophie's idea?  YES!  So where is the smile?  I don't know.  Hehe!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's That Time...

My first child ate everything... no sweat. At age two, she loved steamed veggies, ate tomatoes, and gobbled up salads. There weren't any mealtime battles. I simply ate healthy foods, and served Sophie what we were having. At 10, she is still a healthy eater. Broccoli is her favorite food.

I was convinced I had done something right, and told my friends that their picky eaters would be fine as long as they just served them what the whole family was eating. As only a first time mom can do... I knew just enough to be dangerous, and thought all children were like my Sophie. Ha! My second and third children were so painfully picky, that tears of frustration were a regular part of dinnertime! ;) They still have a really rough time eating veggies.

Thank GOD for Lucy, who is also a great eater. Mom needed a break from mealtime battles.

Though I obviously didn't learn my lesson about one-size-fits-all parenting advice... because Lucy is determined to keep me on my toes when it comes to potty training.

With my first three kiddos, I just waited until they turned three or near enough, and let them choose some really fantastic undies with their favorite characters.  Then, when we ran out of diapers, I just didn't buy more.  I only took a week or so for each kid to get the hang of using the potty.  No tears, no stress... just making it a natural part of the day.

Lucy?  Oh boy.  Lucy has decided that she will NOT ever use the potty.  In fact, I quote:  "NOOOO!  I not sit on the potty!  I pee pee in diapers!  Gimme diaper!"


So we have pulled out the bribe of the century... pink marshmellows.  She has, so far, gotten two of them for two sucessful potty trips.  But this is not going to be easy.

Dear Every Mom I Have Ever Given Advice To On This Subject,
I am sorry. What works for one does NOT work for all. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Swimmers

When Mimi took the big kids to the pool, Lucy had a tummy bug ad had to stay behind with Mama.  She was so sad!  So I set up her own little water-play area.  

Goodness, I love this kid!

Hoping for no more tummy troubles tomorrow, so we can join the big kids at the big pool too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Fun: Week 2

Lucy, striking a hilarious pose!

My prayers are with another Lucy today.  This little sweetheart is fighting for her life, and her mother is so inspiring.

Our first week of Summer Fun ended up with five exhausted babies and one exhausted mama!  Hehe.  We will be slowing it down around here.  I think I was a little TOO excited to pack in a whole summer's worth of fun in a single week.

This week, the kids are going to VBS.  So far, they love it!  They are singing songs, doing crafts, eating snacks, watching skits, and most importantly... learning more about our faith.

I am really happy.  Just absolutely content with everything in my life.  I am still endeavoring to write here daily about our family adventures... a scrapblog, if you will.  But I am putting first things first, and it feels amazing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Break Begins

Last day of school, June 2012
The blog has had to wait, because between the end of school celebrations and graduations and activities... I haven't had a whole lot of time to myself.  :)

Today was our first day of Project Summer Fun.  I squeezed in a workout WITH Sophie (Family Bodyjam!) after a really crazy morning trying to get everyone fed, cleaned, dressed, and out the door. We dashed home for a quick lunch and a shower, and then it was off to the library to sign up for the Summer Reading Program and enjoy a special event for the big kids.  Sophie wasn't so impressed with the show and of course, Bella must share all opinions with her fabulously cool big sis, but I think Ben enjoyed it. 

Next, we ran some errands and filled out paperwork for VBS next week... but we are after the May 31 deadline, so we're on the waiting list.  Oops!

Finally, Ben had his very first hip-hop class.  He just LOVES to dance, but ballet wasn't all he hoped it would be.  ;)  He has a really young, cool instructor who is a recording artist too.  Ben was very impressed.  But he kept waving at me through the window every five minutes and getting in trouble, so I had to go hide for the sake of the class. 

I barely had dinner started when Adam came in and took over, while I put Alice to bed.  She was quite put-out by the day's schedule and refused to nap in protest.  Note to self: planning more than ONE thing each day is not a good idea.  Thanks to Mr. Fantastic, taco night was a success.

I just love having all of the kids home.  My heart wants to try homeschooling again, but my brain knows that things are best left as they are for now.  :) I do hope we are making up for last year's miserable summer though!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Without the great sacrifice made by every Fallen Soldier and the families they have left behind, I would not have this beautiful life with my own.  Thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. 

Freedom is not free.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Pentecost!

Why, yes... that IS corn and rice all over the table.  Thanks, Ben.

We went to Mass today after what felt like a very, very long time.  It felt like coming home.  I'm so very glad that these recent difficulties have passed, and we are back where we belong.

During the homily, Ben leaned over and whispered: "I love God because He made you and Alice."

Life is good, and God is GREAT!

A Quick Catch-Up

My computer is still broken.  I'm starting to think I will never get a new one in working order.  I miss posting real photos... but for now, the camera phone pics will have to suffice.  I've been too busy to blog, and here is why:

 May 17: Took Alice back to the doctor to follow up on her kidney infection. Test results were good, and she has another appointment on June 1st.

May 18: Ben graduated from preschool. It was quite bittersweet.

May 19th: Bella was invited to a "Spa Day" for a friend's birthday.

May 20th: Bella had her first ballet recital, and it was absolutely everything I thought it would be and more. 

May 21st: Adam and I celebrated our 7th year anniversary of our Catholic Wedding Mass.

May 22nd: Lucy turned three years old, and there was a rather homely Peppa Pig cake that her Mama made with lots of love. 

May 23rd: Bella wrote her first knock-knock joke.
May 24th: My parents left for home (Tulsa) and I miss them already.

May 25th: We remembered the feast day of Sophie's patron saint and namesake, St. Madeleine Sophie of Barat. Lucy celebrated her birthday with her playgroup. Ben got a haircut.

May 26th:  I spent a lovely evening downtown with David Beckham.  Actually, that is my wordsmith-y way of saying that the whole family went to the Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy game.

And because this is my little family blog, I am sure I will eventually share the real photos of these events... and video too!  :) 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alice Again

My sweet Alice spiked another temperature today.  Because she is so young and just got out of the hospital, 101 means a doctor's visit.  :(  She is still dealing with a UTI and has a moderate cold.  We are going to have to take her to Texas Children's for a test to check for kidney reflux and I am really nervous about it.   

I am trying to find out how to keep our family healthier.  It seems that we are sick so often and I am looking for ways to fix it! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weighty Wednesday

I've been working really hard at losing weight since March.  Since I am nursing, I am taking it super slow and doing it the natural way.  I am just counting calories and exercising.  I hit the 20lbs lost mark and was so excited!  20 lbs feels like I am 'really' on my way to getting fit again.

However, we spent the last two weeks dealing with a sick baby in the hospital followed by strep throat for me... so... I'm afraid it is back to just 17 lbs lost.  Tomorrow, I will be back at the gym with my amazing trainer Mariana and get this ball rolling in the right direction again. 

It really is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is way past time for me to be healthy and happy again!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Our two big girls are down for the count with confirmed strep throat, just like Mommy!  The kids brought out their suncatcher crafts, and Lucy wanted to do some painting of her own.

I love the way she sticks her tongue out, reminiscent of Charlie Brown, when she is really concentrating.  ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 10TH Birthday, Madeleine Sophie!

‎10 years ago, Madeleine Sophie was born! I was reborn that day too as a Mother, something I had never been before. My beautiful baby has grown up into an amazing young lady. Words cannot express how proud I am to be her mother, and how dear she is to me. ♥ Happy birthday, Sophie!

What a difference...

A decade makes!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Song

My heart is like a fountain true
That flows and flows with love to you.
As chirps the lark unto the tree
So chirps my pretty babe to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

There's not a rose where'er I seek,
As comely as my baby's cheek.
There's not a comb of honey-bee,
So full of sweets as babe to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

There's not a star that shines on high,
Is brighter than my baby's eye.
There's not a boat upon the sea,
Can dance as baby does to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

No silk was ever spun so fine
As is the hair of baby mine.
My baby smells more sweet to me
Than smells in spring the elder tree.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

A little fish swims in the well,
So in my heart does baby dwell.
A little flower blows on the tree,
My baby is the flower to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

The Queen has sceptre, crown, and ball,
You are my sceptre, crown, and all.
For all her robes of royal silk,
More fair your skin, as white as milk.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby.

Ten thousand parks where deer run,
Ten thousand roses in the sun,
Ten thousand pearls beneath the sea,
My baby more precious is to me.
And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby!

Mother's Song, by Sabine Baring-Gould (1890)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Isabella's Thoughts on Her Mommy

At the Mommy's Makeover Day in Isabella's kindergarten class, we were presented with these bookmarks.  I loved mine! 
In case you can't see, it says:

My mom's name is Lerin.
She likes to play outside.
She is afraid of bats.
She is funny when we make jokes.
My mom is the greatest because she takes us to the mall.
I love you!

This sweet paper also melted my heart.  It says:

Mommy by Isabella

Pretty, Nice
Loving, Kissing, Hugging
She helps me and loves me.

Bella gave me a makeover, complete with nailpolish of the hottest, pinkest variety:

And the lipstick was just a little bit crooked:

But I truly felt beautiful, because I am Bella's Mommy and that is how she sees me!  :)

It was such a fun and special time together.  I am so glad I could go.  I never want to forget.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quick Takes Friday #24

It has been one crazy week.  I'm going to give the short breakdown, day-by-day, for those of you who aren't Facebook friends! Join more 7 Quick Takes Friday Fun at!

Saturday, May 5th

I took Alice in to the Emergency Room, because the stomach bug had gotten out of control.  My poor 3-month-old baby was emplting her stomach both ways at least 12-14 times in a single day.  She was lethargic, spiking fevers, and only had two wet diapers all day.  We'd taken her to see the pediatrician on Friday and recieved a list of "warning signs" to watch for.  Once we saw them, it was to the ER we went. 

Sunday, May 6th

After spending the remainder of the day and all night in the ER, Alice was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital around 2AM on Sunday morning.  She was so sick, that it was extremely scary.  She was refusing to eat ANYTHING... no nursing, no bottle, not a drop.  I have never, ever had any of my other children become THIS ill, especially as such a young baby!  Lucy (2) was home with strep throat, so she couldn't be left with anyone but Daddy.  Although it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I was alone in the hospital with my baby for 2 days and long nights.

Monday, May 7th

My parents drove all night so that Adam could be with us in the hospital.  I had only slept about 30 minutes in two days, so was emotionally and physically wrecked!  I was so relieved to see him.  They did some more testing and ultrasounds, and it turned out that Alice had a kidney infection on top of the virus she was fighting.  It was a very difficult day.  She was in a lot of pain.  She didn't nurse all this day either.

Tuesday, May 8th

Alice slept all day.  She started nursing for about five minutes at a time, which was the beginning of her turnaround.  We just took turns cuddling her and got her to nurse as much as she possible could.

Wednesday, May 9th

Alice continued to improve by the hour, increasing her amounts of nursing with every feeding.  I took an hour away to attend Ben's preschool "Tea Party" for Mamas, and I was so glad I did!  I hadn't seen my little boy for four days and I know how hard he'd been working on the songs.  They waited on us hand and foot, and it was quite possibly the cutest thing I'd ever seen.  I spent the rest of the day at the hospital with Alice and was overjoyed when we were discharged around 8 PM.

Thursday, May 10th

Alice slept much better at home, and began nursing regularly again.  She still isn't herself and will be on antibiotics for the next 10 days, but she is doing so much better.  I am so thankful for the care we recieved.

On a happier note, Isabella also had a special program for Mother's Day at school.  The kindergarteners had a "Mommy's Makeover" day.  I was pampered with hand massages, a manicure, brushing my hair, and she even did my makeup. 

Friday, May 11th

All of the sleepless nights caught up to Mom!  I had to go in for a left ear infection, eye infection, and yes... strep throat.  Alice and I are taking a nusring vacation... spending the days in bed together, taking our medicines, and getting well as soon as we can.

We got wonderful news today that Ben's name was pulled in the lottery for the Two-Way Immersion program offered as a magnet school option in our public school system.  There was probably only a 10% chance with the number of applicants this year, and we feel EXTREMELY blessed that he got in!  Ben will be in a classroom with 10 English speakers and 10 Spanish speakers.  He will rotate instruction... one day in Spanish, one day in English.  It is a HUGE commitment on the part of the parents, and he must stay in the program though 5th grade for the best results.  By 2nd grade, we will have mastered social Spanish... meaning he can play on the playground and communicate effectively with a Spanish speaker.  By 5th grade, he will have a good grip on academic Spanish too.  Since siblings are in the first round draft, this paves the way for Lucy and Alice to enter the program too when their time comes.  I still am hoping we can get Bella in for first grade, too.  SHe is on the top of the waiting list.

Have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  :)