Saturday, August 28, 2010

Madi goes to the dentist

I totally procrastinated on getting Madi to her first dental appointment, mostly because the sea of pediatric dentists was new to me, and I was overwhelmed by the options. I finally decided on a female dentist in the next town over after seeking a few recommendations.

The appointment was a nightmare. We were there for two hours, no joke. It was painful. The office also had a very strange feeling and aura. It was truly like a Twilight Zone episode, or maybe it was just our timing. Luckily, Julianna came along to help entertain Madi. The bottom line was that they were unable to get her bite wing x-rays (she was crying hysterically in pain), and they found a small cavity in a molar. On the way out, as they scheduled Madi's filling, they explained to me their policy of "no parents allowed" during procedures. WHAT? No parents allowed? Are you kidding me?? I am totally not okay with that. Call me crazy and overprotective, but there is NO part of me that's okay with that!

I lamented about the situation and put out feelers to various friends for more names of pediatric dentists. Apparently, the 'no parents' thing is common policy! Look, it's not that I don't trust the staff. I understand the part about the open room and lots of people around to witness what's happening. It's just that I want to be one of those people!!!

Sorry for ranting. I guess I feel pretty strongly about this.

I called my parents to fill them in. My Dad was furious that I hadn't called (or visited) our family dentist, Dr. Juliano, in Boca. My Mother agreed. DUH. I have no idea why I never considered him. I suppose it was because everyone else takes their kids to a pediatric dentist, and I thought Madi would get more of a 'warm and fuzzy' feeling there? That couldn't have been farther from our experience...

Last week, Dr. Juliano squeezed us in for a consult. He was so unbelievable with Madi. I mean--he must be good if Ariel the mermaid is among his clientele, right?? He was able to easily and painlessly get the bite wing x-rays, assess the situation, and give Madi a dry run of what to expect. Madi hit the treasure box, and we hit the road.

On Thursday, we went for the filling. Unbelievable. They got the job done without any anesthesia--NOTHING--no gas (like the other place was going to use), no Novocaine--N-O-T-H-I-N-G!! Dr. Juliano told Madi that he was painting her tooth and that it would tickle a little bit. She let out a giggle here and there, and we were out of there in fifteen minutes. Madi asked us if she could go there forever.

So relieved that's over! On to the next issue...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rest in Peace, Schroeder

One of our beloved felines of over fifteen years, Schroeder, went to Heaven this evening. How beautiful that Schroeder, otherwise known as Baby Co, passed on a Sunday at home and went to join Daniel and Grandma in Heaven. He had been sick for some time, and he always got very stressed out going to the vet. That is why we hoped he would pass peacefully at home, and our prayers were answered today.

We had a feeling all week that he was getting close. This morning I brought him in the bed to cuddle with Madi and me. Then I suggested to Madi that we take him outside in the backyard. He always loved the outdoors and we knew he was too weak to try to run away. After about ten minutes, he moved towards the door to return indoors. We watched him all day and gave him loving attention. This afternoon I was once again moved to bring him outdoors. At about 5:00, we brought him out into the grass while the sun was still shining and there was a nice breeze in the air. It was close to 6 o'clock when we decided to bring him back inside. I carried him in and laid him next to his twin sister, Cinnamon, in our bedroom. A few minutes later, I noticed there was a dove in our backyard and commented to Jimmy that the Holy Spirit was present. We went in our bedroom and within ten minutes, the three of us watched our Baby Co move from this Earth. We sat with him, stroked him gently, kissed him and let him go.

Madi wanted him to be buried in her "Trust Jesus" beach towel that she made at SVF Bible Camp, so we did. She was also adamant that Schroeder be buried just behind Daniel's plaque so they would be close together, so we did. Our dear, strong daughter sprinkled Holy Water on Schroeder as we said prayers and laid him to rest.

We will miss Schroeder. It is so strange that he is gone but somewhat comforting that Daniel now has a pet in Heaven:)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Daniel touched many lives, but he really touched Amanda, one of his anesthesiologists at Holtz Children's Hospital. In the medical world, they say that medicine and emotions shouldn't mix. Amanda broke all the rules. She allowed her heart--and her faith--to get involved. Her bond with Daniel was crystal clear from the first day we met her at his catheter procedure. She was so good with him and with us. She professes to be his second love (after Jules, of course). It is amazing how God puts different people in our paths for different reasons. Daniel has now changed her life in many ways.

When we entered the picture, Amanda was unsure where to go with her medical career. She was finishing up her internship and preparing to take her boards. She wasn't sure whether to stay in pediatric anesthesiology or to switch to adults in the future. Meeting Daniel made her decide to stick with pediatrics. Although losing Daniel caused her to question her choices once again, she has received indications from our Holy Spirit that pediatrics is where she must be. We couldn't agree more. Now she is even contemplating pediatric heart medicine and care.

Amanda came to dinner on Saturday. She played with Madi and we were able to spend some time watching videos of Daniel and reminiscing about him and about his medical condition. It is comforting to hear the opinion and the facts from someone who not only knew his case personally, but also coming from someone who truly loved him.

We know that Amanda will be in our lives forever now. The bond that has been forged is beyond words. We are forever grateful to Amanda for loving Daniel and giving him such good care. Her's was the last face he saw and the last voice he heard before his surgery took place. That is a very, very comforting thought for us. We pray that Amanda will answer the call and positively impact the lives of many children in the future.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of Pre-K!

I find it interesting that I look more Chinese than my daughter. If only I could have that skin tone!

Madi had a wonderful first day at school. After much coaching about how she is the "big girl" of the group, she parted without a problem. In fact, leading up to the big day, she has started making independent strides to do more at home on her own too. After all--she is going to be FIVE soon, and she is very excited about that!

Madi has a wonderful teacher this year named Mrs. Avogardo. Daddy calls her Mrs. Avocado (no offense:). I can only imagine it won't be long before Madi spills this information to her teacher. Oh, I hope it goes over well. She already told Miss Dana at Banyan all about it yesterday!

Drop off was emotionally okay for me today. We had been to Madi's open house on Monday morning where I revisited my visions of Daniel trying to balance on the curb like the big kids, and I pictured him running into Mrs. Bivin's class to greet her with a smooch and to collect his big sister. Today, memories gave me smiles, and I even had to console one of my dear fellow mom's who cried on the way to school thinking of Daniel. It brings me joy to continually discover just how many families and friends have Daniel's little mug hanging on their refrigerator to give them inspiration.

Beautiful blue skies today in Delray Beach...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to Banyan

Today was Madi's first day back to Banyan Creek for speech classes. We are thrilled that she is back in the loving care of Ms. Dana. She was excited for her first day, especially since she will be eating lunch with the other kids.

Drop-off was tougher for me than I had planned. As my almost-five year old beauty exited the car, I realized that I was emotional because I was missing both my children. This was the first time dropping Madi off at Banyan without Daniel in the car with me, and it was totally overwhelming. I can see that these unexpected moments are going to hit me--to hit us--probably forever. Thank the Lord for strength and joyful memories.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In Loving Memory

Our dear friends Michelle, Dave & Kayla Sneiderman delivered the most special gift for our garden today. They had this beautiful plaque made honoring Daniel. We placed it in our butterfly garden right in front of our Buddha Belly bamboo. David installed the post and plaque for us while the girls played, and Michelle and I had time to talk about our little angel. We are blessed with such amazing and loving friends...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marco Island

Marco Island was everything we needed. We realized that the three of us have never taken a vacation together alone, and it was priceless having that quality time. We checked into the resort on Friday around noon and spent the day swimming between the pool and the ocean. I am in love with the West coast beaches. The sand is so white, and the water is so much calmer than the Atlantic. Gone was my paranoia of Madi being swept out to sea.

About halfway through the day on Saturday, we decided that leaving on Sunday was going to be a problem for us, since it seemed like we just got there! We ended up cashing in more Marriott points to stay an extra night. We hit the jackpot though because so many people were checking out on Sunday that they upgraded us to this amazing Lanai Suite that had private access to the beach and pool area. It was awesome and well worth our decision to stay.

Nickelodeon sponsored some events at the hotel this weekend, and Madi got to meet Dora! She loved it. We also got to watch these Nickelodeon games on the beach where big kids got 'slimed' for losing, and sometimes winning, competitions. Madi loved being a spectator and admitted that she was happy she didn't get slimed!

On Sunday, we rented a water hammock to float around in the ocean. The water was choppier than usual, which made it extra fun and exciting for Madi. In fact, she declared that it was "more fun than Disney!" Those are some pretty big claims! We did have a ball and spent several hours out there floating and jumping off on occasion to scout for shells.

Which brings me to my new addiction--shelling. I love the thrill of the hunt. Jimmy seems to always find the best ones, but we all managed to find our share and ended up with 3 gallon size Ziploc bags full! I was so into it that we actually wore Madi out and she was tired of shelling. By Monday morning, she was totally ready to head home and wanted nothing more than to have down time and watch shows. So, I ventured out on my own on a last-ditch effort to come up with that "prize" conch shell. Instead, I came upon a mother and her little boy playing in the sand. I totally fell apart. Daniel should have been on this trip with us. I know, I know...he was with us--he was all around us, but oh how we missed his physical presence, the three of us guessing how he would have handled every experience, guessing what he would have said, wondering how each event would have been different if he was there. The most important thing though is that we had fun. Despite Daniel not being there, we laughed alot and enjoyed our time together immensely. We are grateful for those moments and for that vacation.

We checked out of paradise and headed for home Monday morning. As much fun as we had, it was so nice to be home, and we couldn't get back here soon enough. There's no place like home...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Off to Marco!

We are excited for this weekend. We cashed in some Marriott points to spend the weekend in Marco Island, which is about a two hour drive. Half the fun seems to be in preparing for our trip. We have been busy making lots of lists of things to take, which seems like everything we own! Madi is busy packing her suitcase, her baby doll's suitcase and many things to entertain her. In reality, we know that most of them won't even be played with, but that's okay. She's having a ball thinking about it and planning for it.

Jimmy and I stayed at this property last year after we renewed our wedding vows. We had a great time together but dreamed of the day that we would return with both our children. We had been matched with Daniel at that point and imagined the two of them running and playing in the sand. That is difficult for us to swallow, but we intend to keep this trip upbeat knowing that Daniel will be with us--while are swimming in the ocean, on the beach collecting shells, playing on the water slide--he will be with us.

So half of this dream will come true this weekend as we make the trip with Madi to enjoy some fun in the sun. Next year, we hope to take this same trip with both of our children. One of them is out there somewhere waiting for us. And we are here anxiously waiting for them. It is so exciting and hopeful to think about...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


That's about the story of our Summer. Madi and Mommy in our jammies until noon. An occasional lunch or play date here and there. Lots and lots of down time. Perfect.

One of our Summer discoveries has been home movies. It started with our discovery of Daniel footage after his passing. We were able to relive Gotcha Day and the trip to China to bring him home. We were able to relive the past few months with Daniel and Madi as loving siblings having the time of their lives. As Madi would say, "I think I've seen this a hundred times!"

Then we dug out the footage of Madi. It is amazing--and crazy--how this little chunker has grown and changed in the past few years. Oh, those movies are so precious to us. They ground us and remind us what life was like when it was just us and her receiving our undivided attention. And so, this Summer has also been about the three of us reconnecting and Madi, once again, receiving our undivided attention. Very soon, she will be back in school and hopefully we'll be bringing a new family member home soon, so we are embracing every moment with her, our amazing daughter.