July 29, 2011

In Transition

My world is changing.  Everything is happening so fast and I feel almost like an outsider looking in on my life.  I feel quiet and contemplative and suddenly full of life and exhilarated and other times just plain exhausted and defeated.  In the last couple of weeks we added a tiny soul to our family.  As I began to cherish and really relish this newborn phase {since with Alexa I didn't really get to enjoy it} my safe little nest was shaken.  The good thing is that I had already learned that life moves forward in beautiful yet sometimes challenging ways. 

About two and half weeks after giving birth to baby Luke, my dad, father, papi, my first love and protector,  suffered a life altering debilitating stroke.   My family initially thought of protecting me from the news but it was just much too big to keep secret.  I struggled between being there for my dad, mom and siblings and being here for my little ones, especially my tiny one who was/is so very dependant on me as I am his primary source of nourishment.   My dad's stroke happened on the evening of June 6th.  I knew that strokes kill and I had seen/heard of some people who had strokes and were somewhat affected but still looked and acted fairly normal.  I didn't know the in-between.  NEVER imagined a stroke could cause all that my father has been through these last couple of weeks.  It is truly incredibly scary.  

He was initially able to receive a clot busting medicine but this did not help as much as the doctors had anticipated.  The stroke completely affected the right side of his body and he was initially unable to swallow.  Because of this he needed a feeding tube, the feeding tube quickly became severely infected (lack of care) from irresponsible nurses and docs {but that's another story} so they removed it.  It was not healing and so he required abdominal surgery to sew his stomach and clean out the infection.  After three weeks of this, we were finally able to get him over to an intensive rehab therapy hospital to help him deal with the aftermath of the stroke on his body. My dad has not been able to speak intelligibly since the day of his stroke. He has something called Aphasia and Apraxia.  He can understand us but we can't understand him.  It is very frustrating for all of us.  We want to know what he is feeling and thinking.  It is very isolating and probably the worse thing you can have when you are in the hospital because you can't express your needs or pain. 

my dad as a youth

My dad was an independent, fairly young {just turned 58}, strong and jovial person.  Loved talking, telling jokes, making people laugh and feel at home.  I've always admired his keen sense of hospitality and strived to be like him.  He was a gifted musician and artist.  He could play any song on any instrument all by ear, never requiring musical notes but his favorite instrument was the organ.  While kids he filled our home with music. 
It breaks my heart so see him in a wheel chair, unable to express his thoughts and feelings and to do the things he enjoyed but we are so thankful he is still with us.  So glad he can still enjoy watching his grand kids play, a beautiful sunset and a delicious homemade meal.  We are thankful for what we still have but the truth is also miss my old dad.  I have cried for the loss of the man I knew.  It is strange to mourn someone while they are still alive but I've learned it is part of the process after a debilitating stroke.  There is so much I wish I could ask him now, so many things I feel like I don't know about him.  We all thought we had more time, he is young, we didn't expect this at all - ever.

my dad and me

We are happy to see his personality shining through again.  He laughs and still makes jokes.  It is amazing how much emotion the face and eyes can communicate without saying a word.  Although, thankfully he has begun to say more sounds and some words now.  The therapists all love him and his cheerful disposition.  After everything he went through, we were elated to welcome him back home on July 23rd.  My whole family pulled together to get us through this crisis.  We pray and hope our father with continued speech, occupational and physical therapy along with hard work, love, support and prayers continues to make improvements.  Strange to be in this situation but I have thought recently how in the coming months I hope to see both my son and father learn to talk and walk {again}.  During this time, I read a beautiful book entitled " A Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing"  written by Diane Ackerman.  This book helped me sort through some of my emotions and to foresee some of the challenges and joys my parents may face in this new chapter of their lives. 
So you can say that this summer has been far from ordinary.  I feel like my kids just got out of school for summer break and in about a week it is time to back to school.  Time just rushed by.  I am from California and I think it just doesn't feel right that kids go back to school here at the beginning of August when we are still in the thick of summer.  As a child I really enjoyed going back to school in September, after the Labor Day holiday, one last summer hurrah! And then you could just feel it in the cooler air, autumn was coming and so was the beginning of a new school year. 

As I began to help my kids with getting ready for school, reviewing math skills for example, I began to question the quality of education they are receiving in public school.   I liked the thought of being able to choose the curriculum, what they learn, how they learn it and just actively watching them come to new realizations.  I really enjoyed the time we spent together teaching and learning and they seemed to equally enjoy it.  Handling this on a day to day basis with two younger ones however, is a concern for me.  So there is a whirlwind in my head about this and I will continue to ponder and explore the possibilities.

I realize life is about change but I feel it more intensely right now.  My babies are growing up way too fast.   And I want to accomplish so many things within my home and for my family.  I struggle to find a balance between keeping up with home chores, trying to exercise so I can fit back into my clothes , healthy meal planning and savvy grocery shopping.  I think the most important though is reaching my kids hearts and minds.  Teaching them about their creator and to love and appreciate Him.   Building our faith everyday and every week.  I want to stop time, I want to be with my kids, love them, get to know them deeply as individuals with respect love and admiration for the beautiful wonderful beings  that they are and for being mine. 

July 20, 2011

My two boys

Wow! Another month gone by! I really thought I would have had time to update the blog before this time but I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part.

So baby Luke turned two months old on the 18th of July.  I'm two days late but doing better than last month.  I took him for his check-up on the 18th and he weighed 12 pounds 10.5 ounces! He is also 24 inches long! He is a pretty big boy! I think on the 76% percentile line.  He has only slept through the night one time so far and that night I stood up reading late on the computer, so I was still sleep deprived but not his fault.  He still wakes through the night about once or twice.  Usually he goes right back to sleep after nursing but sometimes he seems very wired and I say he looks like he is 'swimming' in bed because he is just kicking his arms and legs around and is happy and cooing.  Last Saturday he did this and was up from like 2:30a.m. until 5:30 a.m.   I really had planned on going to my 9 a.m. Sunday Bible meeting but I just couldn't get up.  I have to get everyone ready and fed before leaving so it just wasn't going to happen.   Luke is also smiling a lot these days and even beginning to laugh out loud a bit.  The kids are all still just loving him to pieces and it is so sweet to see!

On another note, my BIG baby boy Caleb got braces last week!   He looks so handsome. We did some before and after pics to commemorate the occasion. I was a little bit concerned about him getting braces in what in my opinion is a little early, since he still nine years old. I had braces too but got mine at twelve or thirteen years old but it seems like getting them earlier now is the new trend/recommendation. I've seen kids in his class last school year with braces already. He was excited but now has a more extensive oral hygiene routine to keep up with. The Ortho place is great though and they provide him like a credit card he can earn points on for rewards if he keeps up with all their instructions. I can't believe how much he has grown. He is a great kid, funny, smart and sweet!

Loving all my bambinos!

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