Friday, April 27, 2012

tea time

The girls had some tea this afternoon.  Grandma, the dogs, and the Barbies.

Wyatt wasn't too interested in the tea since he had his tractors to play with.

 And he had neighbors to spy on

But then he heard we had cookies at our tea party

So he joined us

I could do tea every afternoon with them

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I spoke at our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) meeting at our Church last week.  Every year the mentor moms put on a beautiful Tea and Treasures party for us filled with delicious food, fellowship and speakers.  This year, I was one of the speakers and I was so honored to get up in front of my peers and tell my story.

Here is my testimony:


Life as I knew it changed 3 years ago.  I won’t say it changed for the worse, it just changed for the different.  The life that I thought I had planned out was a little different than the life He had planned out.
As I sit up here and talk to you today most of you would be surprised that anything could possibly be wrong with me medically.  I look healthy and everyone says I look fine so I must feel fine, but I don’t.
November of 2008 I walked in the Breast Cancer 3-day with some of my best friends.  I recovered quickly from the blisters and pulled muscles and signed up to do it again.  
The next year, November 2009 I walked with my husband.  I hadn’t been feeling that great the week before but by the time the walk came I was ok.  
The first day of the walk, I injured myself.  First my hip, then my knee, then my shins.  Each step I took, I was experiencing excruciating pain.  I kept walking.  I knew that my mind was stronger than my body and I could get through it.  My husband and I joked about the fact that they were just injuries and it wouldn’t kill me.  We kept walking.  
Hand in hand, all 60 miles, we completed the walk.  
A month later I was still not recovering from the injuries so I went to the doctor.  
2 months later I still wasn’t feeling better so I went back to the doctor and the journey began.  
I saw many different specialists and had many different tests ran.  Nothing was matching up or giving us clear enough answers to what was going on.  
I finally had a muscle biopsy done in August of 2010.
I went to the post op appointment with the surgeon alone.  I assumed everything would be fine because from what I read, it is really hard to get any answers from muscle biopsies.  It is a complicated process and everything has to be done precisely... many steps were involved in getting that piece of muscle down to UCSD at the perfect temperature in a timely manner.  The surgeon even said nothing would show up because he was certain I had MS.
The doctor looked at the results and from the look on his face I immediately knew something was up.  He explained that my muscles were dying and atrophying because my nerves were dying.  He couldn’t give an explanation as to why this was happening so he said I needed to see my primary care doctor right away so I could be sent to a neurologist.
I took this new information and sat in the parking lot on the phone with Anthony, my husband and that’s when it all hit me.  
I was crying with him on the phone trying to explain what the doctor had just told me and all I could say was something is wrong.  I told him there are 3 things going on... type II atrophy something, and something else, something’s dying.  I can’t remember.  That was a hard moment for the two of us to not be together for.  That was one of many moments that I was brought to my knees.
At that point, I had been sick for 9 months but didn’t know why.  Now I was getting answers and they weren’t the kind that came with fixes.  I saw my doctor that next day and he was just as perplexed.  
The neurologist I first saw sent me to UCSD to someone that he would trust with his own family members.  He knew he wasn’t the one that was going to be able to help because this wasn’t his area of expertise.  I needed a rare disease specialist.  At that point we started calling it an exotic disease, it sounds much sexier.
Next step was a nerve conduction study. They stick needles into my muslces and make me hold a position to stress the muscle.  The needles were great, holding the muscles was miserable.  
When Anthony and I  drove to this appointment we talked about how precious life is and how important it is to really live.  
Live like you are dying.  
We were getting nervous because all along we have been praying for answers and we knew we were getting closer.  We were nervous because we weren’t sure we actually wanted to know the answers.  We decided right then that if we got any bad or funky news we would take the less responsible route and plan an exotic vacation to Bora Bora.  
While I lay on the bed and 2 neurologist were conducting this test with puzzled looks on their face and saying words like abnormal, no this is not good, I had tears running down my face and I looked over at Anthony and mouthed, Bora Bora.  
Something to look forward to.  Although we have now waited too long and that dream may not be able to become a reality.
We were now given more information as to what was going on inside my body.  I have an excessive amount of mitochondria in my cells. I have a disease called mitochondrial myopathy.  
I now see one of the top mitochondrial specialist in the US down at UCSD and when I go to my appointments I feel like I am on an episode of House.  I just wish it was more like an episode of Greys Anatomy. 
The mitochondria which are inside our cells create more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth.  When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell.  Cell injury and even cell death follow.  If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail.  
Imagine your body is a battery.  You start off charged and as the day goes on and the more you do, your charge wears out and before you know it, you are running in the red zone and then you stop working.  I deal with this on a daily basis.  Some days I wake up and my charge runs out by the time I get in the shower.  Other days it doesn’t run out until dinner time.  Those days I am so thankful for.  
With this disease I experience:
muscle weakness and muscle fatigue
slurred speech
vertigo and vestibular weakness
complications with my endocrine system
breathing and heart problems
autonomic dysfunction which causes blood pressure and body temperature problems
It sounds scarier than it is.  Maybe because I am the one going through it, it doesn’t seem that bad.  I do get scared when new symptoms arise because then I realize it’s progressing.  I have so much hope that the disease will stop progressing and even repair itself.  Even though there hasn’t been a case where this has happened, I am eager to be the first.  I think the main reason I am not scared is because I have God.  He is with me through it all.  I know He will bring me through it.
This disease is genetic and I pray that I did not pass it down to my children.  
They are being watched and if they start showing any symptoms, they will be tested.  I don’t want to put them through any more than they have already been put through.  
They are living with fear and it breaks my heart.  They can’t quite understand what is going on with their mom but they know.  
They know I’m fragile, they know we have had to change our lifestyle and they have not once complained.  
My daughter prefers to stay home and take it easy with me and I don’t know if it’s because she just wants to make things easier for me or not but I want to make sure she doesn’t miss out on living her life.  
We played hard when they were babies, beach camping, yosemite trips, going to the river every other week, living it up.  It has all stopped because of me yet they are not mad at all.
During the past 2 years I have become closer to God than ever before.  I have always had a strong relationship with Him but getting sick has helped me see the light.  
I see beauty everywhere I look.  I find joy in everything I do.  To me, everything is a sign from Him. 
He is everywhere with me and I couldn’t be more grateful. 
I am not walking alone.  
Even when I have those moments that are so dark and scary, He is there to lift me up.  I know He will always be there.  
Faith is the one thing I have not lost. 
I have been blessed beyond belief.  More positives in my life than negatives.  More ups than downs.  More light than dark.
God has provided me with great doctors.  The nations top doctors right here in San Diego.  That in itself is a blessing.  He has provided me with an amazing family that cares so deeply and is so supportive. He has even given me neighbors that are always there for us as well.
Having something like my health taken away from me has given me strength in other areas of my life.  I love more passionately, I have more patience, I can see clearer, I have a deeper appreciation for life and am extremely grateful for the love, and friendships that I am surrounded by.
I don’t know what kind of future I have in store for me, but realistically, no one knows.  Only He does.  I love my life and pray that I can stick around a little longer.
I am also not afraid to die.  I know where I am going and who I will be with.  But for a long time I was to afraid to admit that.  I felt that if I admitted it, then He would feel He could take me now.  I am not ready to go now, I have a family to raise.  So for now, we will live a life of love and joy and live for Him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

chicken tortilla soup

My neighbor makes the best chicken tortilla soup I've ever tasted.  I finally got the recipe and it has quickly become one of my families favorite meals.  I make mine in the crock pot .

1 white onion chopped
1 can black beans drained
1 can kidney beans drained
1 can pinto beans drained (I left this out today... we ran out)
2 cans Rotelle chopped tomatoes and green chilies
1 can corn
3-4 cans chicken broth
1 pkg taco seasoning
1/2 pkg ranch seasoning
tortilla chips
chicken... she uses a whole rotisserie and shreds it (much easier) I used about 5 or 6 chicken thighs that I had to cook prior so I could take the skin and bone off.  You can also use 4 frozen or thawed chicken breast.  *cooking chicken prior to adding in crock pot is not necessary, it really does all cook together

add all the ingredients into the crock pot and mix around

set to low for 6-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours depending on your crock pot

Crunch up the tortilla chips and sprinkle on top with cilantro


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

a bedroom re-do, the finale

The bedroom makeover is finally complete.  We have had a blast working together, singing songs and showing the kids what team work really means.  Well, that was the plan.  Reality knocked and instead we showed the kids how to resolve arguments, what an exhausted and frustrated dad looks like after spending 12 hours a day painting and sanding and doing whatever the determined mom wants.  The product is finished and I couldn't be happier.  I am also very content and not feeling the need to change anything else in the house, so don't worry honey, you can have a few days off.

***If you missed the first post with the before's click here.***



 The inspiration for the colors came from these printables made by Ashley at Lil Blue Boo.  I bought picture frames from the thrift store for $2 and spray painted them white.

We switched the fan blades over from the brown wood to the white wood, and everything else that went back in the room was painted white.

We searched for months for a dresser on Craigslist and one night I finally found the perfect one for $25!!  I couldn't pass it up so the next morning I called my dad and we set out on the amazing race.  We had to be at the location before 9 because another person was coming.  It was about 45 minutes away plus it was raining and we had no idea where we were going.  We made it with 1 minute to spare, paid the girl and drove off.  Everything worked out so perfectly!

Anthony told me to leave it alone and he would work on it when he got home but I have a small problem with listening and a bigger problem with patience when it comes to getting projects done.  No rules were broken here by having Alexis do the sanding.

 She came out beautifully!  The knobs were passed down from my niece a few years ago and we finally got to use them.

 We painted those shelves white for her knick knacks and the mirror was also from my niece.

The headboard never made it back in.... I'm not sure if we can salvage it but don't worry, I will try!

Alexis LOVES her new room.  Last night she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy and asked if she liked her new room... she said yes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

a bedroom re-do

A while back I got it in my mind that Alexis needed her room re decorated.  I talked her into changing it up so together we went to Anthony and said how important it was to her/us to get a new look.  
After a few weeks/months, maybe even a year, we/he finally started.  This awesome husband of mine spent every single one of his days off working in her room, inhaling paint fumes and watching me screw things up instead of help.

Here is what we started with.  It was a bitter sweet to change it because my mom made those valences for Alexis before she was born.  I'm keeping them but have no idea what to do with them now.

We brought in some extra help.  These helpers were so eager to work that they couldn't even stand still.  Putting two excited kids in a garage full of wet oil based paint caused for some paint covered hands and re-sanding/painting.

My handsome painter

And this here is why I cause more harm than good when it comes to painting.  I'm trying to learn and the only way to learn is to keep practicing.  But it keeps getting more expensive because now I have to go buy all new hardware... (I'm kind of excited about this, shhhh)

This headboard will be getting re-sanded and painted again.  Oops.

This is what happened when I tried to use that RIT to dye the bed skirt.  A new one was ordered and should be here in a week.

This project has been a lot of fun for me.  I'm not sure if everyone in this house can say the same thing but for me I have been happy the whole time.  I'm excited to get the new curtains and hang everything on the walls.  Don't worry, I won't be doing the hanging myself.  When Anthony took everything off the walls he couldn't figure out why there were 4-6 holes to hang one frame.  I just kept banging nails in the wall until it was even.  Apparently that wasn't the "right" way to do it.  You guys, it's very important to find studs and use molly's and screws.

Stay tuned for the final reveal.  The curtains will be in next week.  I'm so excited!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

recipe for french toast

I found a great recipe for French toast on Pinterest and had to give it a try.  The best part was that it is made the night before and just popped in the oven in the morning.  That means no cooking and no cleaning after eating :)

* This is NOT a gluten free, dairy free or sugar free recipe.  It has all the bad stuff in it and tastes oh so good.

The recipe was originally found here.

Ingredient Checklist
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)

1 cup brown sugar
1 loaf of white bread* (I only used 6 pieces)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

1. Melt butter in microwave and add brown sugar....stir till mixed.
2. Pour butter/sugar mix into bottom of 9 x 13 pan....spread around
3. Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla
4. Lay single layer of bread in pan
5. Spoon 1/2 of egg mixture on bread* layer
6. Add second layer of bread*
7. Spoon on remaining egg mixture
8. Cover and chill in fridge overnight
9. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to one hour covered until the last 20 minutes, then uncover
10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar

*original recipe called for Texas Toast bread... I couldn't find that so I used Bimbo's White Bread

A delicious and easy breakfast for the entire family!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter weekend

Easter weekend started off with our neighborhood Easter egg hunt up at our park.  As usual, the kids had as much fun as the adults :)

My kids were running around gathering the eggs with trash bags I found in my car because once again I forgot their baskets.  I think I will be selling their baskets at the garage sale this year because I have forgotten to bring them every year as my daughter kindly reminded me.

Sunday morning had been eagerly anticipated for over a week.  The kids were so excited to sing in Church but Wyatt and I partied like rock stars all night Saturday.  Not really.  He was up with croup... again... for the 10th time this year, and I couldn't get any sleep with the sand paper lining my throat.  We were quite disappointed to be missing out!  After our long hot shower in the morning (partly to make us feel better but mostly to stall and wait for daddy to get home) the kids ran downstairs to follow the trail that the bunny left behind.

Seriously mom, the Easter bunny left a pencil sharpener?  And it broke after the first use?  Yes.  But they were very excited about the bubbles!  Can never have enough bubbles right?

Out to the backyard for another fun egg hunt.

Why is she crying you ask?

Poor thing wiped out and scuffed up her ankles, knees and hands.  Daddy quickly fixed her up with love and sent her on her way.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus!
He is Risen!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Why do bad things happen to good people?  I asked my parents this question at the age of 14 when a very close friend was killed in a car accident.  A young girl who was so pure and innocent, with a love for life and compassion for others.  Someone who spoke only words of kindness, reached out to others with a heart of gold, brought joy to those around her.  She was a good person who was killed in an instant.  Why?

An unborn baby that has a severe heart defect with 2 incredible God loving parents.  These parents are friends of mine and they are so loving, patient, and compassionate with their 3 beautiful children.  He is a youth pastor at our church and she is a stay at home mom providing unconditional love and lots of fun for her little ones.  They radiate joy.  Even when they learned of the news of their son Stehpen having such a serious heart problem, they never complained.  Their son has a special heart.  They know God is in control.  They know they can get through anything but still... why does something like this need to happen?
Please read more about their story on their blog by clicking here.

A beautiful mother fights breast cancer, then loses her husband in a tragic car accident and 5 months later finds out her cancer has returned.  WHY??

These are all good people.  God loving people.  People that have joy deep in their hearts.  People that bring light and love to the world.

God graces us
He uses us to shine a light

We fret over someone cutting us off on the freeway or someone jumping in front of us in the grocery store line.  It's time to realize how precious life is and not waste a moment with out being in joy.  Be an example to others of what living a life with God is like.  Before getting upset over something "little" take a deep breath and smile.

I have an overwhelming sense of peace tonight.  The more I pray, the better I feel.  I feel safe.  I know He is in control and it feels good.  I can't answer any of those questions.  I may never know why bad things happen to good people but I can choose joy, whatever the circumstance, because they have.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sharing a friends story

Good friends of ours are expecting their 4th baby in a couple of weeks.  Stephen Joseph has a very severe heart defect and will be undergoing multiple surgeries soon after birth.  Kim and Joe have started a blog to update everyone and I encourage you to follow their story and pray for them.  You can find their blog here:

Much love
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