Friday, September 16, 2016

Christian Gets Braces

At the ripe ol' age of 8 (almost 9), Christian now has braces!  

A few weeks ago, the orthodontist placed a pallet expander across the roof of his mouth, and the braces were part two of the process.   He just doesn't have enough room in his mouth for all of his incoming adult teeth.

The braces will be on 6-9 months (or according to Christian, "forever).    And then once his adult teeth have come in, he'll be getting a second round of braces to align everything properly.

Naturally, Scarlett is jealous because Brother got something she doesn't have.   HA! 

Fortunately, the brackets are only on his four front teeth.  So that makes them easy to clean and maintain.  






Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Christian's Professional School Portraits

Our new tradition is to go to a professional photographer in our community and get the kids some really nice school photos (please see Scarlett's blog for her set of photos that day). 





Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Christian is a Cub Scout

Christian is sooo excited to be a Cub Scout and wear his new uniform!   For second grade, he will be in the "Wolf Den."

And finally, we have an activity that we can walk to!   His weekly meetings are just a couple of blocks away at the new elementary school in our neighborhood.   







Monday, August 22, 2016

Christian is a Second Grader

Christian is so excited to be a 2nd grader!   He is at a brand new campus this year (same charter school, just a brand new campus that is very close to our house).   His teacher is super nice and enthusiastic!

We have a good feeling about this year!!










Sunday, August 21, 2016

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Scarlett's Statement on Bella

Today Jonathan is taking the kids to a movie while I host an event at our home that has been planned for several weeks.    Last week on this day, we had gone to church, swimming lessons, a movie and lunch ... and then we returned home to find Bella.

Scarlett (4,5) said something so interesting:

Scarlett:  "You know what?  When we go to the movies tomorrow, Auntie Liz can come watch Bella."

Jonathan and I look at each other ... and he says to her gently, "Scarlett, Bella is gone."

Scarlett:  "Yeah, but ... if Auntie Liz stays with Bella and watches her, then she won't die."

*sigh* Scarlett understands Bella is gone, BUT she doesn't understand time or permanence.   She thinks that because today's activities will be similar (the movie in particular) that there will simply be a different outcome if Auntie Liz is here to be with Bella, rather than Bella staying home alone.

Ah, my sweet girl ... if only we could turn back the clock on do things differently a week ago ... if only ...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

An Unexpected Gift to Remember Bella

Sometimes I am absolutely amazed by the kindness people have inside them.

The day after Bella died, three of my friends came together to bring us flowers, baked goods and a sweet card.

Last night, a woman I know only very casually - and saw a the pool yesterday - messaged me to say she'd left something on our front porch. 

Jonathan and I were beside ourselves.

I had no idea where she got Bella's picture.  Initially I assumed she must have looked through my FaceBook photos to find it.  But, I had been looking through my photos myself with the hopes of finding a picture of Bella, but there were none.

Turns out, she went to Jonathan's Facebook page and found one in his collection of photos.  They aren't even "Facebook friends."   I was really impressed with her successful search to find a pic of Bella.




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Christian's Memorial to Bella

Today I was explaining to Christian about how sad Jonathan and I are feeling about Bella.  And he told me that after Bella died, he got a handful of her dog food so he could remember her.  And he told me he put the food behind his Millenium Falcon toy.   

The same day, he drew this simple picture of Bella so we could all remember her.  I just love his precious, tender heart!





Sunday, August 14, 2016

Farewell to Our Beautiful Bella

I am heartbroken to announce that today, we lost our beautiful Bella.   Her death was sudden and unexpected and there aren't words to convey how devastated we are.

I do not wish to share the details of what happened. other than to say we were out most of the day and returned to find her already gone.   And thankfully, the kids did not find her, nor did they see her.  The details will be forever etched in our minds, and so there is no need to post here for us to read again and and again.

We adopted Bella in May 2005, exactly one week after Jonathan and I were married.   She was at a pet adopt-a-thon.  We were looking for a puppy ... and so were lots of other people.  She was a puppy, but older (6 months) and very shy.  But we somehow knew she was the dog for us ... and she was with us for over 11 years. 

She was our "first baby," and every bit as much of our family as each of us.  She has been our only pet as the Lucero family ... and so the only pet Christian and Scarlett have ever known.

Our kids and are pretty resilient.  When Jonathan discovered Bella today, I knew by his intense reaction that she was gone.   I tried to quickly usher the kids into their bedrooms so they couldn't hear or see our devastated reactions.   After a few minutes passed, we explained to them that Bella was gone.   It took some time for them to process the news ... but I saw Christian's face drop when he really understood.  And when Scarlett saw Christian break down, she knew the situation was serious.

After 11 years, we have so many memories of Bella ... her personality, her youthfulness (despite being 11+ years old), her contentment in just sitting next to us.    She was fiercely protective of us - didn't like people coming over.  And when somebody would come to our front door, she would charge and attack the door.  Best guard dog ever!  And yet with us, she was sweet, loving and gentle.   If somebody displeased her, she'd give quick growl, stand up and walk away.    We loved her so!

As she got older, we were aware that she had fewer years ahead of her than behind her.  But she was still so healthy and energetic.   In fact, she had recently been to the vet and got a clean bill of health ... and for a dog her size and age, she had somehow escaped having hip and joint problems.

Looking around the house, there is evidence of Bella everywhere and it is almost too much to handle:  bits of her food on the floor from today's breakfast, her bed, small, faint collections of her fur built up in some corners on the floor (whooo, did that pup shed!), her leash still hanging on the wall by the front door ... her nail marks on the sliding glass door when she was ready to come inside.    

So far, her food and water bowls have been removed, as has her bed.   But every time I walk into our room, I see her laying there ... gone.    To think it happened while we were out having a fun family days:   church, swimming lessons, a movie, a late lunch, ice cream.   Completely unaware of the devastation that awaited us upon our return home. 

Thanks to a very kind friend who called a local vet for us, Jonathan was able to take Bella there just before the office closed.  They gave us her paw print in plaster to serve as a memory ... which I thought was very sweet. 

That is all I can share ... because my heart is broken into 1,000 pieces and my eyes are so very puffy from crying for hours.   The devastation is immeasurable.

Bella we love you.  We miss you.  Our hearts are completely broken.




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Christian's Long List of Allergies ... Lung Issues, and Asthma.

Since we've met our medical deductible for the year, and health care is very reasonably priced until January 1, I decided it was time to take Christian to an allergy specialist.

A while back, he had allergies that got really bad and when we took him to the doc, he thought Christian might have asthma.   He gave us a prescription for an inhaler, Christian used it for a few days and all was well.   Haven't had any issues since.

Back in February, when Christian was in feeding therapy, I had provided cashews as a snack during therapy.  Shortly after eating a small amount, he threw up and then broke out into a rash on his face and neck.   I wasn't sure what was going on, so we rushed out to get some Benadryl.  He took it, fell asleep with a few minutes, and was just fine when he woke up.

Since then, I had wondered if he was truly allergic to cashews, but didn't know because it was the first time he'd ever eaten them ... and I just made sure not to give them to him again.

Prior to doing all the testing today, I told the doc the cashew story and he thought it might have been just a one-time occurrence.   He wasn't worried at all ... and I thought, "Well, at least this exam will be inexpensive."

Turns out, Christian is HIGHLY allergic to both cashews and pistachios.   The doc said "off the charts allergic."   A second exposure to cashews could have been life-threatening to Christian.   Wow, I did NOT expect that news.   So, we were given an RX for an Epi-Pen.

He is also allergic to "everything outside."  Weeds, trees, pollen ... you name it.  He is allergic.   We were told there is no need to change our plants / trees / grass because the allergens can blow in from 600 miles.  Doc also said that the air in the Phoenix area is one of the worst in the entire country because of all the allergens (guess cuz plants bloom year round here), all of the pollution, and that fact that Phoenix sits in a valley.   Great ...... can't win for losing (as they say).

We ALSO learned he has persistent inflammation in his lungs ... even when he appears perfectly healthy.  And that is why when he gets allergies, he gets respiratory issues.   So, he will be taking a drug called Singulair each day, and we also got another RX for an inhaler.   Thankfully, the inhaler isn't a daily thing ... just as needed.  And he rarely needs it.

He is also allergic to cats (the number on the chart was the same as the cashews), but not  to dogs (thankfully!).    Good thing we'll never be a "cat family."   Bella is all we need. :)

But knowledge is power!  So thankful we now know for sure what his issue are, and we know how to treat them.   I shudder to think what we would happen if we didn't gain this valuable knowledge, and Christian ate cashews again ....

Thanks be to Jesus for always protecting Christian.  




Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christian's Latest Surgical Procedure

Today, Christian had surgery to repair "undescended bilateral testicles."   Boy, I tell ya ... if there is going to be an issue, it seems Christian is going to have it.   Poor kiddo!

Unlike last year's tonsillectomy where Christian was in complete panic mode before the surgery, he handled this one like a trooper!    And thankfully, recovery is expected to be far, far easier and faster the tonsillectomy.

Here is after the procedure ... happy as can be. :)





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Our Happy Place Oregano's

Christian Gets Baptized!


Last summer at Vacation Bible School, Christian gave his heart and his life to Jesus.   Today, it was time for him to get baptized at our new church, Summit Community Church.   So proud of him!!















Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday to Christian



Today, Christian turns the big EIGHT!   It has hard to believe so many years have passed since he first came into this world!!

These days, he's very much into Jack Skellington from a "Nightmare Before Christmas," Legos, and whatever is on TV (this boy LOVES TV with a passion).

His extracurricular are currently marital arts and swimming lessons.

He is very theatrical and has a fabulous memory - he often recites lines from movies with complete accuracy.

And he is a great big brother!   He is never mean to Scarlett ... never retaliates when she does something to him.   And when she is hurt or upset, Christian is right there to see what is troubling her.

Christian is full of compliments for others.  Out of the blue, he'll say, "Mommy, you're my favorite mom!"   Or, "Mommy, you're a really great baker!"   And even a simple, "Mommy, I love you!" comes out with such heartfelt love, that it melts my heart.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our Sick Kiddo

Poor Christian has had a rough few weeks.  First there was his tonsillectomy in August, and a tough recovery for a few days.

Then after finding blood in his urine the other day, Jonathan took him to urgent care and we discovered Christian had a urinary tract infection (which is rare for boys).

On top of that, he's had a persistent cough for weeks that we assumed was because of allergies.   When we took him in for the UTI follow-up, I mentioned the cough.  Christian's doctor listened to his lungs, and sent him for a chest x-ray.   And we learned Christian has pneumonia ... and there is a concern that he might have asthma, too.

We felt terrible ... we really thought his cough was due to lingering allergies. 

He now has a rescue inhaler that we're supposed to use regularly until his cough subsides.   I wasn't sure how Christian would do with it ... but I am pleasantly surprised that he does well with using it.

Here he is getting his chest xray.  He thought it was really cool that there was a cross projected onto his back.   Silver lining. :)


Monday, September 28, 2015