Saturday, June 25, 2011


We have had a great 2 day visit from Ji Ji and Auntie Nene from Maui. It's so nice of them to visit once a year, and it's great to hear their perspective of how much the girls have changed. They were particularly impressed with the progress Miss Riley has made- thanks to ALOT of therapy and ALOT of hard work! We had a great time jumping at Bouncing Bears, swimming and being teased. Grandparents are the best!

Posted using BlogPress frommy iPhone
Friday, June 17, 2011

Won't Let Her Fall

This gait trainer, more commonly know as a walker, has opened up a whole new world for Miss Riley! It has really been a huge blessing as it's difficult for her to have any independence. Plus it has allowed her to be more like her sister and get around like she should be able to. My absolute favorite is when Keagan puts a doll stroller in front of the walker for Riley to push, and follows with her own stroller!

The gait trainer just supports Riley while she does all the work. In other words it does exactly what I am trying to do as the girls mommy. I will always do my best to not let them fall, even though I know they will. I will encourage them to work hard, and I will always cheer them on! Just like I do everyday when my baby learns to walk.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011

Riley's Story

We were recently asked to be a "Miracle Family" for Texas Childrens Hospital and Childrens Miracle Network. This means we will represent the 2 organizations at events and share our story to help raise awareness and funds. To start I had to write Riley's story- which is very difficult to put into words, especially on one page- but I thankfully had help from my sister.

Riley's Story
Texas Children'' is our home away from home. That phrase may seem cliche', but it simply states the truth. When a health crisis prevents us from being home, we are grateful to have a hosptial that can take its place.

Riley Kikuchi was born 9 weeks early. She arrived weighing 1.14 pds. while her twin sister topped the chart at 3.5 pds. She spent 7 weeks in the NICU (at a hospital where we live in Hawaii) where she gained weight and learned to eat. All her early signs pointed to good health.

On December 28, 2008, Riley was brought to the ER at Texas Children's because she wasn't eating and her breathing was labored. RSV or pheumonia were an assumed diagnosis. But, at 2:00am, Riley was admitted to the NICU and I was told that she was in heart failure and a heart transplant was in her future. She was only 14 weeks old.

That year that followed the first shocking and terrifying night, was filled with doctor visits and hospitalizations. All of them at Texas Children's. In total, Riley has recieved 19 different diagnoses. Dialated Cardiomyopathy, Cerebral Palsy, Polymicrogyria, Microcephaly, Global Developmental Delay and Asthma are a few that top the list.

But, Riley is not defined by her list of health problems. She is a miracle. That is why we are so honored to be one of Texas Children's Miracle Families. This hospital has been so integral in caring for Riley and helping us learn and understand ho to care for a child with special needs.

We are grateful for the doctors and staff. They have become part of our Miracle Family. Dr. Mott, Cardiologist, walked us through that first long night in the hospital. Then the entire Cardiology Team became our steady strength. Corey Gates, heart transplant coordinator and RN, has gone above and beyond her nurse obligations. She truly loves Riley and does everything she can to make sure she receives the best care. She calls after hours and makes each hospital stay feel more like home.

We are also grateful to Dr. Weschler from Physical Medicine and Rehab. She has provided us with comprehensive care. She take time to ensure that all of Riley's needs are net, not just those that fall under her medical specialty. The Emergency Room doctors and nurses are phenomenal. We are there so often, many have started to recognize us.

Riley's health today is stable. She is 2 1/2 years old and only weighs 20 pds. and is all smiles in her hot pink wheelchair. Her hearth health has improved beyond any of our hopes and predictions. We are so fortunate that medicine and therapy have improved her quality of life. She faces many battles in her future, but she has also seen many miracles. She radiates an infectious joy.

So often, when you walk the hallways at Texas Children's you only notice those that are sick and face life-threatening illnesses. But hidden behind those scenes, there are miracles. There are doctors that give extraordinary medical service, there are nurses who provide outstanding support and care beyond what is expected, and there are children like Riley, who thrive because of all this hospital offers her.

Riley is a miracle. The doctors, nurses and staff are a miracle. Thank you Texas Children's for bringing us all together to make our own, special Miracle Family.
Friday, June 10, 2011

Fill er Up!

Today my tank was empty. I was exhausted, had no patience left and had just run out of steam. Being a single mom of twins and one who has special needs can just be heavy at times- though I wouldn't change it for the world!

So I did the amazing...I got a babysitter and took the night off! Lots of babysitters in fact. Grandma Linda watched Riley, and Keagan hung out with her cousins- all three Foster girls. And momma had a great dinner with a great friend! If laughing with Taryn wasn't enough, I came back to such a sweet little surprise! For the first time Keagan had made me a gift! In her darling happy voice she said to me when I was admiring her work "I made it for you!" That right there just filled my tank right back up! Then I picked up my sweet Riley girl whose smiles made my tank runneth over!

With my Keagan hand made magnets on the fridge my tank should be good for a little while.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big Bites & Big Waves

We've been making BIG progress around here! Miss Riley is just showin off lately! Last week she did what I've been trying to help her do for a year now- feed herself!! This is HUGE as there is alot of thought and coordination that goes in to that! She actually just surprised us all and brushed her teeth one night and that must have just made things click on because the next day she was a master of the spoon! I still have to put the food on her spoon but she gets it to her mouth! So proud of her- and her therapists!

Just yesterday she started waving too! Normally people are thrilled to be greeted or sent away with her radiant smile. But add this new cute stiff wave to that and your crazy if that doesn't make you happy! It sure does me!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Both of my cute girls have serious obsessions! Keagan is SO attached to her "cup cape" jammies! She has to wear them every single night! They are two sizes too small and I have to wash them a million times a week. But they make her happy and sleep good! I just don't know what we are going to do when we can't squeeze them on anymore!

And what would complete her sleepy outfit better then last summers flip flops? Yes she has to wear these every night too! And when I won't let her wear them to the store or church then she carries them in her purse!

Rileys obsession is a little more mainstream. She's addicted to a tv show. I would know absolutely nothing about something like that as I am in no way addicted to Survivor, Amazing Race, SYTYCD, or the Bachelor! She LOVES The Fresh Beat Band on Nick. This show seriously makes my happy girl even happier! I think Twist may be her secret crush!

They could be addicted to much worse! I hope there obsessions always stay this innocent!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Monday, June 6, 2011

A lil Summer Cleaning!

There is nothing so cleansing to the soul then a little dumpin and donating! I spent 2 hours going through my room, my closet, the guest room where I have been "storing" stuff and the girls room just sorting and organizing. 5 garbage bags to donate and 3 to the trash later I feel like a whole new woman!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Saturday, June 4, 2011
All winter long when we would drive by the club house in my sisters neighborhood Keagan would say " I anna go simming!" Now summer has arrived in style with some toasty temps so I have a feeling we are going to be here alot! Brace yourself for me lookin like a lobster and for the girls part Hawaiian to hula on in!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Little Drummer Girl

Look at Keagan go! This girl is always singing, dancing, making music, or at least talking. I think I just better buckle in and get used to the noise!

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Friday, June 3, 2011

Stand Tall

Riley is CONSTANTLY teaching me things! Considering the fact that most people in my life are really loud (I'm a Ginn and Keagan has alot of Ginn in her) its incredible that she can teach me so much when she has yet to utter a word.

Riley recently got new "boots"- they are orthopedics. These boots help with her Cerebral Palsy that effects her legs and feet and her inability to currently stand or walk. They do all kinds of wonderful technical things like one has a hinge that helps her knee, they stabilize her ankles and flatten her heal and most importantly have darling pink flowers all over them.

Riley does not stand on her own, but I put her boots on yesterday and slightly leaned her up against the ottoman and...wala! Riley was standing there like she hit that mile stone way back when Keagan did and it was no big deal. You can see she even has one knee bent like "it aint no big deal!" As I cheered she wouldn't even look at me because she was much too busy watching Sesame Street!

I took this picture to remind me of the lessons she taught me yesterday. First, we all need an ottoman to lean on sometimes and we can put as much weight or as little weight on it as we want. That weight will always vary but its good to have that support there. My ottoman happens to be the Lord and I'm sure He's thrilled about this wonderful comparison!

Second, to stand up tall and look forward in the face of adversity like my sweet little girl. And if you are just able to gather yourself together enough to fake like you're a pro- then that will help too!

Can't Contain Mickey

We literally had so much fun at Disneyworld that this blog couldn't contain all of it- so I'm not even going to try. Here is just a little slice of the millions of pictures we got.

We stayed at Saratoga Springs- a great Disney resort. Had amazing food all over the parks and resorts, rode ALL the incredible rides with Riley's disability cut in line pass, and most of all relished in the magic which just happens to be so dang clean and nice and cheerful!

I could move in! Cinderella doesn't need that whole castle to herself! A princess should never be selfish!

Greatest Place on Earth!!

We went to Disneyworld with my sister and her family to celebrate my sisters big birthday- yes she turned 21! We did alot of planning and spent too much money, it was hot and there was alot of walking in some very long days. But it was all SO worth it to see my girls faces for the week!

They don't call it the happiest place on earth for nothin! Just ask Keagan and Riley!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Here we go again!

I'm takin a second swing at this whole blog thing. I'm starting over from scratch because my old blog was created by an old me- a completely different person from who I am today. I wanted to start this one for mostly selfish reasons... to document all the achievements, the struggles, the joy and the fun that my girls and I get to go through together.

The title of my new blog is something I have been thinking alot about lately. Bloom Where You're Planted. Its exactly what I am striving to do and to hopefully teach Keagan and Riley. When I scan my life for a minute (when I actually have a spare one) I don't see much of what I was planning on 5 years ago. I didn't plan to be divorced. I didn't plan on having a Special Needs child. I didn't plan on moving back home. I didn't plan on having to sweep the kitchen floor 20 million times a day! I didn't plan much of this... but I LOVE IT! I did plan on being happy! Thank heavens (literally) that I am!

I love my girls! I love that I have found strength in being a single mom where I didn't once see any. I love living in Houston surronded (sometimes suffocated) by my family. I love what the Lord has blessed me with!

Now lets just hope I can keep up on documenting all of it so I can get one of those darling blog books which I covet of my sisters! Wish me luck!

Me and my girls on our recent Disneyworld trip. Time of our lives!