Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Party Planning

I'm pretty excited that I have something to occupy my mind and time lately.  Liliana's 3rd birthday is on Friday!  

At first I was reluctant to do much of anything after realizing her papi wouldn't be here to celebrate with and I was feeling guilty for wanting to celebrate.  But after much talking with my dear husband, he convinced me I should throw Liliana a party for her birthday.  We were in the States last year for her birthday and he missed that one as well, but we didn't really do much except go for dinner with my in-laws.  He reminded me that this day is for her and our little girl definitely deserves the best!  So once I made the decision, I ran with it full force :)

Her actual birthday is this Friday, December 2nd.  I am planning on doing this in the morning for when she wakes up...

Then she will open her presents and we will take her out for a sushi lunch, which is her favorite food in the world.  The girl would eat it every day if I could afford it!  LOL.  Then after lunch we will head down to one of our regular spots, the famous Indianapolis Children's Museum.  I told her when we went there the other day that we would buy one toy from the gift shop there on her birthday so that will be special :)  

The party we are planning is going to be on Sunday, December 4th.  I'm working on Saturday so Sunday was the best option.  It's turned into an early evening party so I think it should be fun.  My mom has rented the clubhouse in our neighborhood.  It's a really nice space with two rooms, one of which we will designate as the play room and we are going to set up a bunch of things to do in there.  

We are getting the party catered by a local Mexican restaurant.  My mom decided it would be easier and less stressful to just have everything made for us and I can't agree more!  We are also getting their famous margaritas for the adults ;)  

I have been practicing making cake pops and I'm quite nervous how they are going to turn out, but I'm gonna go for it.  I also saw a cool idea for the kids' food that we are probably going to try.  Check it out below with the cake pops....

We wanted to do a theme for the party as well and my mom and I went out shopping over the long weekend for the decorations.  I desperately wanted to do a girly princess theme because that is sooo Liliana, but there might actually be more little boys than little girls at the party, so we opted for a Dora and Diego theme which is still really cute and she LOVES Dora too.  We'll do a princess party next year!  My brother-in-law is having a pinata made for us of Dora and I can't wait to see it.  I'm slightly upset about the candy aspect of the pinata, but it a Salvadoran tradition so we have to have one.  I've been so good about not letting Liliana have candy for so long that I don't want to break that, but I guess I have to relax for that one day :)  

So there you have it!  I still have a lot of little preparations and things to buy.  My step-dad is going to take Liliana out tomorrow night so we can wrap her presents.  I'm excited we are doing this.  But of course none of it is the same without my other love here and I know it's really hard for him too.  Luckily he has an equally busy weekend in El Salvador with 2 baptisms and a wedding so I don't think he will have time to think about it!  I will post party pics next week :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Second Opinion

First I want to say thank you to all those reading that posted comments on my last post More Dental Decisions.  I took everything to heart and was able to come up with a plan of action.  I decided that although our current dentist has come highly recommended, I needed to get some other opinions.  

Eduardo and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that we would go ahead and have the tooth pulled rather than put a crown on it.  Since there is still so much risk with the crown chipping, we figured we would save the trauma of going back repeatedly and just take it out.

That was until today!  Yesterday I made it my priority to start calling around asking about how other dentist go about their procedures.  I have been deeply disturbed about not being able to be in the room with Liliana through her treatments and even my mom has been really upset about it.  I just wasn't going to take "no" for an answer!  Well I spoke with half a dozen dentist offices and didn't find the right match.  Everyone told me that I wouldn't find a dentist that would allow me in the treatment room.  Then I finally spoke with a nice man who couldn't do what we need, but recommended me to someone else.  I called and spoke with the receptionist and she said the dentist would call me back.  Well he called me back within 20 minutes and we had a great conversation.  Long story short, I scheduled a consultation for today and we went this morning.

Unfortunately the office is about 45 minutes away, which seems silly when there are about 50 offices in between, but it just felt like the right fit.  Upon meeting the dentist himself, I felt immediately at ease.  I held Liliana while he examined her teeth and we had a great conversation.  He gave me our options and his personal recommendations.

Unlike our current dentist, he gave us the option of just filling in the broken spot like our dentist in El Salvador did!!  I was so excited.  He does it a little differently because he will remove a little of the resin that's already there, but he thought it was the best choice.  Our other dentist wouldn't even consider that option!  

We both agreed a crown would be the last choice, with pulling the tooth being the 2nd best option.  I am still deciding, but will probably go with fixing the tooth.  The best part is that with either procedure, I will be allowed in the room!  The doctor said it's better to have me there to keep her calm.  Gee, what a thought!  He doesn't believe in the papoosing or wrapping them up so they can't move unless it's a bad situation of the child freaking out uncontrollably.  I would there to comfort and calm her according to this dentist :)  Ah, I feel more calm already. 

Now if we just fix the tooth, she will only get laughing gas.  He said she was so good during her exam that he felt that's all she would need.  The gas should relax her enough so she wouldn't get emotional and if she does, then I will be there.  If we pull the tooth, then she will still just get the laughing gas, but then the numbing anesthesia as well.  He said that he does not recommend sedation because the effects are so hard on them, whether it's a conscious sedation or completely asleep.  I felt more at ease as he explained his opinions and he explained everything so calmly and so thoroughly.   This was the first time I really understand why someone was suggesting something to me.  

So the reason he recommends fixing the tooth is because there is no serious present decay on the tooth.  He also said there is enough of the original tooth that can be saved that it doesn't need to be pulled out.  I think the only real benefit to pulling it at this point would be that we would know for sure that she wouldn't have to go back for anything like this again until her permanent teeth come in.  Even though it gets fixed, it could still chip and we would have to fix again.  So that's where I'm at.  

Eduardo seemed excited we could fix it and so did my mom so it seems like we will probably go that route.  I think I got myself talked into pulling it that now I don't know.  Aesthetically I'm not sure which would look better.  She gets a lot of annoying strangers asking where her "other" teeth are so I don't know if it would be better to not even have one or keep that one there.  Every time I ask her she says she wants to keep it :)  I don't know which way will be better for her self-esteem when she's older??

The last thing I will say is this dentist was telling me that when the baby teeth are pulled this young that the permanent teeth will actually come in later, not earlier.  That was really good to know.  We have an appointment scheduled for December 16th and I have until then to decide what we want to do.  Thanks again for all the support with this.  I'm so glad I stood my ground and found someone that will work with what makes us comfortable!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Dental Decisions

We have come again to a place where we need to make some major decisions about Liliana's teeth.  I usually get quite nauseous just thinking about it and I'm finding this decision particularly hard.  

If you've been reading for a while, then you will know that my little Liliana has had a lot of work done on her teeth.  She has a history of rapid decay and she currently only has one of her four front top teeth left.  The other three have had to be removed at different points.  All of the work was done while we were in El Salvador and though it was traumatic for her and us, we always felt comfortable with our dentist there and her procedures.

We originally saw a dentist in the States about Liliana's teeth and after hearing the bad news decided to get the work done elsewhere.  We didn't have insurance and there was no way I could afford it.  Also Eduardo was already in El Salvador at that point and Liliana and I really needed his emotional support through the process.  

We've never regretted getting the work done down there and actually prefer the way our dentist did things.  But now that we are back in the States, our American dentists are too impressed with the fact that we had work done in a 3rd world country, heaven forbid!  It's kinda looked down upon with complete ignorance on their parts.

Anyway, the point of this is that Liliana's lone front tooth got chipped.  I think it was from trying to bite into an apple instead of letting me cut it up for her.  She was so proud of herself when she did it that I had a hard time saying no and it wasn't until later that I saw the chip :(  

So we went to the dentist that we have been seeing since coming back here.  This dentist's office was recommended to us and accepts Medicaid (which Liliana is on) and we've been mostly pleased so far.  

That was until this visit.  We went into a private room and saw the 3rd different dentist we have seen in our 3 visits and I wasn't impressed with that as I had to explain our whole story each and every time to each dentist.  Then she told me what my options are for the tooth.  

I'll back up a bit by saying that this tooth has chipped once before in El Salvador.  The dentist there suspected it would happen because of her age and the size of the tooth.  We went into her office and she quickly filled the tooth in (it's not all her real tooth).  It wasn't too traumatic.

Well this dentist is now recommending we either put a crown on the tooth or simply pull it out.  She suggests just pulling it.  Even if they do a crown at this point, it can still break, especially her being so young.  I don't know which one I want to do.  I'm completely devasted and on the fence about either situation.  

I might not feel so horrible if we were in El Salvador where I know how the procedures are done.  Here they are a lot different.  These dentists will NOT let me be in the room during the procedure and I'm freaking out about this.  I have always been with Liliana through everything in El Salvador.  They also will not put her to sleep like we've always had done.  They just give her laughing gas and she will be awake and conscious (but relaxed supposedly) the whole time.  Then to top it all off, they basically put her in a straight jacket to keep her from moving.  It all just sounds horrible to me. 

I have put in a call to the dentist's office to ask some more questions, but haven't received a return call just yet.  Once I hear back, I will make my decision about which route we will take.  Hopefully this can be the end of our dental nightmares, particularly for Liliana's sake!  

To catch up on all of our previous dental experiences, check out Liliana's TeethLiliana's Dental Surgery and Another Tooth Pulled.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Define American

I came across a link someone had posted on Facebook this evening and feel compelled to share with you all.  The website is  Everyone is being encouraged to go on here and share our stories!  This is what they say about Define American:

Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it requires a conversation that's bigger and more effective than the one that we've become accustomed to.

Define American brings new voices into the immigration conversation, shining a light on a growing 21st century Underground Railroad: American citizens who are forced to fill in where our broken immigration system fails. From principals to pastors, these everyday immigrant allies are simply trying to do the right thing. Some are driven by a biblical call to social justice, while others believe this is a moral imperative. They, like Harriet Tubman and countless brave Americans before them, are willing to take personal risks in order to do what is right. These heroes need to be the center of this national conversation. Together, we are going to fix a broken system.

Our campaign is about asking: How do we define an American? Why do people come to this country? Who are the American citizens who help them? When it comes to undocumented immigrants, what would you do? As a teacher? A friend? A mother?

I just found out about this website not even 20 minutes ago and I've been on it reading stories and thinking about how I want to share my own.  I think one of the things all of us caught up in this immigration madness want is to be able to share our stories.  This feels like a good format to do that.  I think that getting people aware is what it will take to make things change.  

I still get people asking me all the time why Eduardo doesn't automatically get a visa because we are married! I always find it my duty to inform people on the realities of the laws and how screwed up this system is.  

I encourage anyone out there going through this to tell your story.  I also encourage anyone that may be a friend or just someone who feels strongly about this issue to share your stories and thoughts as well.  

Sometimes I don't even cry for my situation.  I cry for all the other families out there that are suffering from our harsh immigration laws and how this madness has to stop!  Please re-post this link wherever you can :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still Waiting

I had so much invested in Eduardo's appointment at the embassy last Wednesday.  Unfortunately things didn't go according to plan.  Big surprise?  Not really.  It's taken me a few days to recover and move on to be able to even put this post together.

Apparently when hubby talked with the psychiatrist last week, the guy flat out lied to him.  He had said he had spoken with the medical doctor and that everything was fine and the papers had been sent on to the embassy.  Well, the embassy never received the reports, which means my husband's case still is not complete.  They did make a call to the doctor's office and found out the doctor had the papers, but they had not been signed.

The embassy did however have Eduardo do everything else he would need to in order to get his visa and all our documents were turned in and reviewed and we had all that in order.  Yay!  (I was nervous about that).  So according to the embassy, once they receive the medical reports, they will send off the passport to hubby in the mail.

Eduardo did still make a visit to the doctor's office to find out what the hell had possibly happened.  They claim that the psychiatrist did not even send the papers until Monday and they had just received them on Tuesday, which was not enough time to forward them on to the embassy by the Wednesday morning appt.  The doctor was busy and hadn't had time to look at them.  Also, once the doctor looks at them, Eduardo will have to go to the office and sign the papers as well.

He called on Friday to check on the progress, but the office was closed of course.  He is going to try again tomorrow, Monday.  Hopefully we can get those papers off to the embassy ASAP!

Everyone has been great and really positive, but it was a huge blow for me.  It may seem like a minor setback, but when your whole life is on hold and you are hanging on with everything you've got, the little things feel huge.  I think both Eduardo and I are almost getting numb to this process now and I don't think that's a good thing.

I don't feel positive and I don't feel negative about it now.  It hurts too much to get let down and it takes too much energy to be angry and mad about it.  So I'm just waiting.  I don't know how else to describe it.  For the first time in this process I don't even hardly feel like talking about it anymore.  And I sure do like to talk!  lol.

Hopefully one day soon I can get on here and share with you that my husband is home.  One day soon....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holiday Commitments

Now that November has rolled around, it's time for my immediate extended family to start thinking about the holidays.  Who will go where and when are the main things.  Who is going to host Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?  Of my sister, brother and I, who will actually show up to these events?  And with so many changes in our families right now, will any of our plans actually happen?  

But the pressure is on.  All it took was one phone call from my Grandma to my mom and the ball is rolling.  Plans were made and then changed a couple days later and now there is a "tentative plan."  

My Great Grandma is in her 90's and suffered a stroke 3 weeks ago, as we just found out.  So my Grandma would like for us all to make the trip to Michigan for Christmas along with my aunt's family.  It's only about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive, but for some reason it always feels like it is sooo far away.  But it will be nice to go.  

Then long before Christmas is Thanksgiving which is coming up really soon.  My mom and stepdad have changed their minds about a billion times as to whether they are going to Costa Rica or not for Thanksgiving and I have told them I have no plans for that weekend except to be at home.  

And then there's Liliana's birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my mom desperately wants to plan a party!  I would love to do that as well and have already bought her a couple presents, but here's my issue with any of these commitments...


I will have a better idea after Wednesday of this week, but until then I absolutely refuse to make any decisions, let alone even think about what the options are.  I have one goal in life this week and that's to get my husband back to the States within the next couple of weeks.  My life does not exsist further out than that right now.  Yes it my be inconvenient, but that's just how it is.  Once I know when he is coming back, I will assist in making holiday plans.  Until then, it's on hold.  

Besides, I know what culture shock feels like and after a year and a half in El Salvador, it will be somewhat hard to adjust back here again and I don't want to put Eduardo in any situation he doesn't want to be in.  I totally have to respect that.  

Hopefully all of these events will occur with our little family back together again :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Devastating Rains in El Salvador

In the month I took off from blogging something terrible happened in El Salvador.  It rained non-stop for about 2 weeks in what was called a "tropical storm".  The thing is that the storm did more damage than Hurrican Mitch in 1998, but because it was not a "hurricane" got hardly any media coverage internationally and sadly only a couple of stories in the US.  

Any of you that are friends with me on Facebook probably know that I posted relentlessly about the rains and posted on ways to help.  Even though the storm has passed, the country is in great distress.  Tim at Tim's El Salvador Blog has kept up to the minute with the disaster and has posted about every aspect, including how you can help.  Please visit his blog to learn more.  Some statistics he quotes are this: 

"The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that 56,000 people have been displaced and many are in need of water, food and sanitation. The agency also said there has been an increase in reported cases of flood-related illnesses such as diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, and dengue fever."

It was really sad for me to hear what was happening down there.  It's one thing to see it happening on television, but hearing about it firsthand from your husband is another thing.  We weren't able to talk for days on end because the rains were so hard and non-stop that we couldn't even hear each other on the phone.  I sent the little money that I had to help them with whatever they needed.  I felt so helpless not being able to give more and knowing the conditions Eduardo is living in down there.  Luckily our house remains intact, but that's not the case for so many others.  It's just so sad.  

I know this certainly isn't the best coverage of the recent devastation in El Salvador, but I felt the need to mention it because the country and it's people deserve to be known about and helped.  If you feel the desire to help, there are multiple ways you can do so.  Here is a link for Tim's blog again that will give you a list of organizations you can donate to.  Also, I will accept any donations personally and send them to El Salvador to be distributed in any way that can help in our little town :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's New

So it's been a while.  The last month proved to be a tough one and it seemed hard to find inspiration in anything, even just a little to write a blog post.  But I am back and with many life updates.

The past two weeks I focused on nothing except finding myself a vehicle and finding my family a place to live.  My mother has been kind enough to let us use her car these past five months, but she was ready to have it back and I was ready to give it back.  There are a lot of details involved with the car purchase, but I won't go into it and just leave it at the fact that I actually bought one!  It's not total winner, but it was only $1500 and it will get us through until we get back on our feet again.  And the best part is that it's mine, all mine :)  It's a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan.  I wanted a van so I can use it for all my markets and work things as well as day to day.  Some of you may recall we drove our beautiful Honda Odyssey down to El Salvador a year and a half ago with the intention of leaving it there.  Some have been open with their disapproval of that decision, but we've never regretted it at all!  But it did leave me here without a vehicle so I am happy to say that problem has been solved!  

The house/apartment hunt is still on.  I was hoping to move this month, but apparently you have to have money to rent an apartment and I'm a little short in that department.  So unfortunately my big plans fell through, but it's only for now.  I really wanted to have our own place by the time Eduardo came back, but we will just have to suck it up and wait until the circumstances are right.  But I am getting a head of the game and finding the places I like so it will be easier when the time comes.

Eduardo had his appointment with the psychiatrist on October 25th.  It went as well as it could and the doctor even admitted to all of this being "a big misunderstanding".  Gee thanks!  There are again more details with that, but the main point is that he is actually signing the papers we needed him to and forwarding them on to the next people that need to sign them.  Hallelujah!  

His next appointment is with the embassy in less than a week, on November 9th.  It's coming so close!  This will be his final appointment where he submits all the insane amounts of papers they have requested again and then the case will close and they will send him his passport with the visa stamped in it through the mail :)  Once he receives the passport, I will book his flight here as soon as possible.  My plan is for him to be here by Thanksgiving and then Liliana's 3rd birthday the week after.  Please God, let this happen!!!  I have been constantly praying this last appointment goes smoothly for us with no complications.  We certainly deserve it!

On a less dramatic note, Liliana had a dentist appointment last week.  It was routine, but I was nervous because she had been complaining of pain in her teeth.  Luckily everything was great!  But turns out the pain and grumpiness and sleeplessness had been side affects of her top molars coming in.  It was actually a relief to hear because we had seriously had a rough couple of weeks and I was feeling like a terrible mother because of our crazy interactions.  But the past week she seems to be feeling better because she is eating more, much happier and sleeping better, which makes me happier and sleeping better :)

We didn't do Halloween.  I didn't want to trick or treat.  Liliana is intensely afraid of anything in a costume so I didn't think it would go over well.  And then the thought of a basket full of candy in the house sent shivers up my spine thinking of all the tantrums and arguments it would cause.  So we hung out with a friend who was also not doing Halloween and I was happy with our choice :)  

Yesterday at the license branch Liliana was decked out in a pretty snazzy outfit she had picked out herself and the lady commented "oh, I see someone is still in Halloween mode."  I said "no, this is just everyday mode!"  It was pretty cute.