Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pneumonia Free!!

We are approaching ONE year pneumonia free for my sweet Madelyn.  This is a HUGE step toward living a normal life and breathing easy.  Let me start at the beginning...the beginning of her sweet existence.  Three and a half years ago we were deep in the throws of a complete home remodel. We were broke, no place to call home, we had 3 children 4 and under, a lien on our home and a lawsuit (and lawyers fees) that was making it difficult for us to breath. We were surprised with the news that another sweet baby would bless our lives. It was a huge slap in the face , a giant dose of reality.  We were convinced that with our current situation not only financially but our lifelong goals, that our family was complete.  To put it simply, we were TIRED.  As awful as it sounds I spent 9 months in denial.   I knew for certain Madelyn would be the LAST baby, Then I embraced a cuddly 7 lb. bundle of joy.  For hours we called her Spencer, we thought she was a boy.  I sometimes wish we would have kept the name for kinda just fit.  

I was insistent that she was born before her due date (Thanksgiving). I wanted everyone to be home to celebrate our first holiday together in our completed home.  However, God works in mysterious ways.  She was born on the 15th of November, released from the hospital....and RE-Admitted on THANKSGIVING day for her lengthy stay.  It was the nightmare that movies are made of.  It was Camryn all over.  Her liver wasn't functioning to excrete the Bilirubin from her body and her Jaundice was reaching extremely high levels.  This time I couldn't hold her, rock her or change her on my own.  She was locked in, what Scott and I refer to as a Darth Vader like chamber.  As her body grew, her body began to function and she was released.  I cried, that time was the longest I had been away from the other children, but I refused to leave her side. 

Fast forward to ONE!!! The last of the First Birthday Celebrations, kinda bitter sweet. If you have children you know that with the turning point of the first birthday comes many 'firsts'.  There is the introduction to new foods, walking, first words; a whole new world opens up.  But for Madelyn this was a the beginning of a downward spiral.  First bout with bronchitis, first pneumonia, first blood draws, first steroids. This played out for over a year.  The doctors explained that with each pneumonia irreversible damage is being caused.  Her lungs are still immature and they need be able to relax.  She was prescribed Steroids and Antibiotics what seemed like every 7 weeks for over a year. I knew she couldn't take much more.  Her body was so doped up, I wondered how she could function. FINALLY she was referred to allergy.  THANK GOD!!!! She was diagnosed with Asthma and given preventative care.

Since her diagnosis I have research the best possible lifestyle for Madelyn.  We discovered she is allergic to eggs and milk.  This was the cause of the pneumonia onset at age one.  Age one you are introduced to whole cows milk....well, that just doesn't work for Madelyn.  Her Doctors believe there may be more allergens and the discovery of those will come with time.  She maintains a fairly strict diet of fresh RAW foods.  I had no idea there was an 'asthma friendly' diet, but as I researched more I learned so much. At three we are working with her on knowing what she can and cannot eat, it is hilarious to watch her climb up in the fridge and say, "No cow milk".  She has tried preschool and her immune system is just too weak. Not because of asthma....but because of the medications she has been on.  One week of school and she came home with Bronchitis, Pre-Pneumonia.  Sometimes I sound like a protective freak, and I may be just that....but when your baby turns blue you will do what ever it takes to NEVER see that again.

One Year free of Pneumonia is exciting news!!   Not only because that means fewer sleepless nights and pain, but It means we are on the right track in preventing the attacks.  The birth of a child is an amazing thing. You never know what lay ahead as they take their first breath, what they will become or do in this life.  It dawns on me that just maybe GOD has something huge in store for Madelyn; after all she exudes love.

 “Sometimes I feel so full of love that there is no room for a breath.”  

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Do you ever sit and reflect on the years past and wonder where time has gone? OF course you do! We all do. I remember as a child the words of my elders and they still echo today, "time flies". Such a simple statement with such huge impact and meaning. As an adult myself I now realize those words ring true more often than not. But as time does tend to escape us I wonder if we are just too busy for our own good. Let me explain. 2014 was an AMAZING year for myself, my love,  my family and my business. We have been able to experience things I honestly never dreamed. Our life kind of took on a mind of its own and we just 'lived' it. There were MANY moments I reminded myself to sit present in the moment and bask in ALL of the mundane glory. Sometime the phone got in the way of moments and sometimes TV was an escape and in other moments these 'crunches' helped to live the moments they helped document.
Two of my children have had amazing experiences in  Hollywood for there ONE year experience. My son filmed Dracula and commercials (Enterprise,  Elf on The Shelf, Wow! Cup, Downy to name a few. ) and my daughter held a guess apperiance on The Haunted Hathaway's. They worked together and separate and they have gained valuable life experience along the way. Now that being said 2015 may not be as successful.  It was a lot of work on my part. Some days I felt defeated and run down sitting in 3 hour traffic with a sleeping kiddo in the back and  rushing against the clock to get to the others. But let me tell you... when a work day came along for them, I was their BIGGEST cheerleader. I was in the moment. That was together time. Talking, playing, reading and for my son eating (he loves craft services with a passion I have never seen).

Cam is a competitive dancer. I have been guilty of getting caught up in dance mom drama. Pushing our kids to the point they break. Their little bodies can only do so much. I want to be present!! And it wasn't until half way through the year that actually I became present for my daughter. The Title award ment a little less than in years past. The joy came when I saw her nail a leap or turn. I saw that she can move mountains....and she will.

The boy is naive to his experiences and I LOVE that. What? you say? Yes I want my son to revel in the moments he spends with his father while seeing the Stanley Cup or shaking hands with all of the kings on the roof of the Staples Center. (Did you even know they had a roof?) I want him to scoff at Wolfgang Puck as he hands him dinner...or ask Dustin Brown why he photo bombed he and his friend. I want him to continue to ask for free ice cream cones....just because "they taste good" and then watch him RECEIVE said cone. My Jr. L.A. King and actor has had more life experience in his 7th year than most do in a lifetime.

Now the little ones have had preschool, moments of glory and tantrums.  They are both so little yet wise beyond their years. Avery struggles to find her place in such a busy house. She is such a sweet girl and recently mentioned aspirations of becoming 'a soccer girl'.

Madelyn has spent almost a year pneumonia free!!! This is an amazing feet. I think we have her meds and diet under control. She has cut her own hair not once but twice and although I got so mad I cried....I also found the perfect shirt and photographer to capture the damage and  her feisty personality.

Moments are fleeting but that doesn't mean we need to stop living them. We need to embrace the mundane and hold it tight, after all that is what life is made up of. So yes I have uttered to myself "time flies" actually, quite often. But that whisper is often followed up by a snapshot.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Beginning

A wonderful thing happened a few weeks ago. I came across an old piece of paper. Simple I know....but that simple scrap had amazing words of wisdom scribbled on it. It was my birth plan for my first child from 2006. My eldest daughter was only a twinkle in my eye yet I had oodles of things I wanted her to know, to feel, to do; I even scribbled down things as mundane as, "wood toys only", "no make-up" and "less is more". Where had this mom gone?!  Why had my priorities and my hard-line set of rules taken such a back seat to the mom I had become?

I begain to think hard, to analyze the person I am versus the person (the mom) I wanted to be. Eight years and four children later I want to take back my family and my kids. I remember fondly sitting with the love of my life and essentially creating a roadmap for our future, for our children. We had wants,  wishes, and goals. The number one thing we agreed on, "don't allow stuff to become more important that people."
Somewhere along the line we found ourselves swimming in the belongings of our children. Something we promised ourselves we wouldn't do.  But after every turn we also found ourselves buying more and more until our home was filled to the brim. After awhile 'stuff' is just 'stuff' but still it is a need so we continued to  fill already full rooms with one of a kind 'stuff' and  hard to find 'stuff' trying to justify the purchase.  We came to a serious realization this holiday.  WE were going to take back Christmas! We wanted moments not things. And the things that we were going to buy were going to mean something. We settled on each child receiving four gifts... a NEED, a WANT, a WEAR, and a DO. Actually it shows how little we truly NEED. Not one of the kids received a NEED gift and we actually told them we have it all. We have faith, family,  friends and most importantly we have our health. 

I actually think this was the best Christmas to date. We took pictures at the mall, baked cookies, drove around the neighborhood to look at lights,  we had dinner out, wrapped gifts, and talked about the miracles of the holidays.  It may sound too good to be true or like something out of a Rockwell painting and's better.
My goal for my children is to be well rounded, respectful, and feel so deeply the love that I have for them. And you know what?   I think STUFF just gets in the way.