America in pictures

Camera

When our friend Matt D picked us up from the airport he apologized for the bumper to bumper traffic. I said ” oh this is relaxing! its so quiet and everyone is staying in there lanes and all the red  lights are relaxing!”

Taron on the other hand didn’t like being in a car seat for the first time. Check out this short video of him.





One of the first stops is OC California. And of course we gotta take advantage of the best parks ever! Taron was perfecting his walking, but he did not hold back in adventure!

20121109_10212620121109_10130620121109_100802

20121109_10480020121109_10264620121109_102236Next we hit up our friends, the Doane’s. One of Arwyn’s best friends from our church in LA Lily are pen pals and through meeting the family we realized that 3 of our kids are same gender close in age and love eachother, including parents! That is always extra fun! So we walked from thier house a neighborhood park, which turned out to be one of our favs to visit when we would go see Josiah’s grandpa in an assisted living home. Then we walked to there addiction “the Habit”, which I have heard that they put some sort of addictive component in there food just like Tim Horton’s. It was quite good!

Vange below with Taron’s buddy, Seth. Fun Fact: Marie is a nurse and she performed my first 3 ultrasounds when I was pregnant with T back in March of 2011, and she was also pregnant with Seth.

20121112_16545420121112_164928

20121209_141640

Next we were off to Josiah’s parent’s for 2 weeks over Thanksgiving in Arizona. I put a great pic up here about the highlight of our road trip.

I posted about Thanksgiving Here.

No visit to Nana and Papa’s would be complete without piano time with Papa. This time was Taron’s first:)

20121124_081442

Meeting uncle Joel for the first time.

20121124_125852

Naps out in the dessert are so peaceful. But she wasn’t tired so she just read a book instead. 20121126_142940Another thing we love about Nana’s house is  hikes in the area which I blogged about here. Nana’s great food, kids playing in the cactus filled backyard, Even when getting poked, pictured here.

Then to Mexico for Josiah’s sister, Jessica’s wedding. Josiah performed the wedding I was a bridsmaid and the kids were all flower girls and ring bearers, needless to say very busy week. Beautiful location. Welcome Marcos to the Watters family!20121127_131408521384_10151474564090867_1285020111_n483459_10101240590952615_1172459893_n385840_10151481174590867_1437430163_n

After we crossed the border again, we passed off our 4 kiddos to Nana and Papa and we had an empty car, for a week! Josiah and I celebrated 10 year anniversary back in September last year and we had a week in OC to visit beaches, eat at yummy restaraunts, go see movies, we even worked out all week. It was great! Could have been 2 weeks…

One favorite pastime of ours is tidepooling so we went straight to a great spot and PLAYED!

20121204_07402720121205_14461220121205_14534720121205_144124 20121205_14342420121205_142859

20121205_142612You can never get enough beach so when Nana and Papa and kids came back we fit one more trip in with them Here.20121109_163449

20121127_112054After Nana and Papa brought us back our kids and we headed to Sac-Town! 

First things first on Grandma and Papa’s big wide clean street we worked on Arwyn and Malachi learning to ride there bikes without training wheels.

Sometimes we needed a little break!

20121212_112626 No Christmas season is complete without heading up to Apple Hill and cutting down our christmas tree. So I bundled up T in my Snuggli vest that slips over the baby carrier and off we tromped through the trees. 

The kids picked out there fave and then they all  took turns cutting it down.

Then we needed some apple cider and apple fritters to restore us 🙂

20121213_132456 20121213_13333220121213_132356 20121213_133609 20121213_13401220121213_143748 20121213_151619 Time at Grandma and Papa’s was complete with walks to the dog park, gingerbread house competition, and children hanging over the fence.20121224_15410420121224_153336 20121224_15444620121224_15362720121224_15484620121212_122806 20121224_17152820121224_17354220121224_173602Here is Taron meeting a little Christmas puppy while we were hanging at our friends Matt and Alanda. (I don’t know how I didn’t end up with any pics of the kids with friends).

20121222_183510No trip to Sac would be complete without our favorite Ice cream place, Leatherby’s.

Below Vange is with our good friends daughter Ava. We marveled at how they looked like twins when they were younger. They loved playing dress up together. We think of her everytime Vange puts her Cinderella p.j.s on.:) They have the same crazy energy running non-stop through the house.

Also below is me sitting at the tip of a kids boat at a park that is special to us. Josiah first told me he loves me there, and held my hand. Sweet , I know. And we also have a lil grave spot there for Jasmine there in the back of the trees.

Taron got to enjoy big bath tubs at Grandma and Papa’s, too and he LOVED them!

20121227_184544 20121231_131606 20130104_17440520121225_192157
20121225_192549

My cousin Shawn sent us overnight to Tahoe to play in the snow and refresh in the woods. Taron loved it! He would lay face down and lick it. We got to go sledding and even took the older 3 ice skating for the first time. We told them how horrible it would be, they would fall and it would be cold and hard. We figured that they wouldn’t be dissapointed about how hard ice skating is. It worked like a charm.

20130117_14130320130117_142454 20130117_14452020130117_14354220130117_141622 20130118_160356

California wouldn’t be complete without some time in the woods. Josiah and Malachi headed  to SF for a visa run and had some Man time. Out in Nature, no place better.

20130128_113200 20130128_114432

Then they headed to the aquarium. I love this shot below.

20130128_151141 20130128_15222520130128_15112820130128_15104320130128_140540

When Josiah asked me if I knew who that statue was I answered: Yoda? Whoops.

20130128_17021920130128_14005220130128_135611

Nothing like some good ol fashioned Man time to put your soul at peace, look at that face.

Then we headed to LA again for one more week before we headed home. and what was in store? More  Man time. The Great Park was huge and awesome and complete with a hot air balloon ride.

Funny Story: When The people were asking Malachi for his hand so he could get it stamped for the ride, the next thing they knew he was gone.

Josiah looked down and he was doing a head stand. Apparently he thought that “hand stamp” was “head stand”, so he went all out to get his admission.

20121116_09412520121116_09462920121116_101309Camera1

Some nice friends that attend our church in LA gave us 3 free tickets to DisneyLand, so me and Arwyn and Malachi got to spend the day before we left PLAYING! 

Our first ride was TheTower of Terror in CA adventure. And from the look on there faces we didn’t go again. Arwyn thought she was going to die, poor girl. Malachi loved the adrenaline rush.
20130206_103211

20130206_105118 20130206_121657 The Man that gave us these tickets has a liftetime membership because he built the rock wall in the Scout’s obstacle course place. It was fun watching them rock it!

20130206_134254 20130206_134306



20130206_154831

This was the kids FAV thing: Talking to Crush. We did it 3 times so that Crush actually picked Malachi, who has squirt at home in his bed. It was a BIG deal! The video is 13 minutes but its FUNNY! We had just gone the time before and Crush talked to Arwyn , and this time around he also talked to her and remembered her…

20130206_202858It wouldn’t be complete without a late night treat before we head home! It was a great time!

Time to pack, this is all our luggage in the garage: 21 pieces in all 😉 and say goodbyes 😦 Uncle Issac below.

20130207_173340
20130131_111215

One more goodbye: the backyard swing.

20130202_112559

All our bags in the airport. Malachi always finds a little hole to fit in.

20130208_142040  

Back home to India… via Sri Lanka 🙂

Random photos from 6 months ago.

20120722_114503

Taron and I at Starbucks in Thailand.

IMG_4708

Arwyn loses her first tooth in May. Before: above.  Video.http://

After: below.

IMG_4750

Taron gets his first teeth in May.

 

 

IMG_8375

 

 

 

IMG_4662

A wet girl (above) after a swim lesson with Daddy (below).

IMG_4659 IMG_4341

Mama and I going out to meet my friend above. Twins below.

IMG_4329
One of our favorite hair-do’s : a fishtail braid. (right before she got a hair cut for her birthday.)
IMG_4328

yes mam

Time for the mammomgram. Just got into Delhi and went straight to my 10 o’clock appointment. Made my $40 payment and miracle of miracles actually got in and out by the time my appointment was actually scheduled  for. But it was sure packed full of entertaining and memorable things.
For starters, I had to convince the technician that I actually was indeed supposed to be having this procedure, since I was only 32 (funny that my OB said when I was pregnant with T that I needed to get the genetic testing cause I was ALREADY 31… ) When she asked if my mother or grandmother had cancer I could answer yes to both. “What age?” she asks. Mother 50, Grandmother 35.
(Now, I wasn’t lying but I know that Grandma died at 42 from a slow growing cancer so its very  likely that she did have it at that age, but I didn’t know for sure when she actually got it, and I knew that it would increase my chances of getting my procedure over with instead of drawing it out by getting written permission from  my oncologist and then coming back)

So she took me back to the room where the Dr’s were reviewing other Mam results. I found myself in a semicircle room looking at different pairs of breast from women in Delhi. It was weird, not in the creepy way you might think like I was peeping or something. But to me as I looked, I saw live verdicts. Life changing news not given, or relief that all was clear. Big news either way, to so many precious women. And I knew mine would be next up in the screen in an hour or two. Weird, and heavy.
The Dr. asked me for my referral which I left at home, in my city 3 hours away (way to go Heidi!) SO I told her that I was getting 4 tests today and tomorrow all for cancer screening because I am positive for Lynch. ” Do you know what that is?” not sure why I asked cause in India the answer is always YES, in order to save face. She nods yes and asks me to email her my test results for lynch. I agree knowing that she actually is just really saying it not meaning it, cause its of no use to her, but this is her way of pushing me through to get the procedure.

It occurs to me on the walk back that they meant “did my  mom or grandma have breast cancer?” to which I would have to say no. So I lied, unknowingly, whoops. Don’t worry I wouldn’t ever lie to just get my way, that doesn’t show any character. Jesus can do anything on my behalf, why should I need to manipulate and lie to get things done? But he did use my honest mistake to push things along, which was nice.
Once I step in the room, she switches to HIndi and I stare for a minute trying to f igure out what she just said, she repeats in broken english, ” take off your tops.”
WELCOME TO INDIA!

No sense of privacy here weather your getting a massage or going for a routine OB check one is expected to drop the drawers or fully undress in the presence of other people. Pretty awkward when you are not given a robe to have on,  just left naked… scared… and alone.

Just kidding, only naked, well you may be scared depending on your precedure, and even alone cause… well… you ARE the only naked one in the office. As I satnd there waiting for some further instruction feeling a bit bare with my pants and flip flops and bangles on, I hear the the door knob jiggle and I jump. “Don’t worry” she chuckles.

She sets me up for my first side but has to adjust her machine, I ask her if her job is fun. Which I have to translate cause she doesn’t understand “fun” or “job”,  when she does she chuckles again and says “not really most women cry, from the pain”. Why was I asking her this?
Then she adds, “and lots of women want me to meet them.” I look confused so she comes and says, grabbing my right one in her hand and shaking it ” hello nice to meet you”. Did that really just happen to me? Did an Indian women really just “shake hands” with my breast? It did.
Moving on as I am trying to block out the pain from being squished, which is painful mind you, I look down at the machine on the top portion of me and there are two live bugs crawling around in it. It’s in this moment where I remember I AM in India and I recall all the signals thus far that tried to show that.

We finish the right side and then the power goes out. ” 2 minutes to wait” she says. So what do we do? What else, we stand there facing eajother, maybe 5 inches part. Me stil topless, and she stares at me. Not just me, but my “upper half’, thats right folks, its ok here, to stare unashamedly at whatever you would like to stare at. (unless you are a woman staring at a man which is in fact an invitation for a bed buddy. But if you are a man staring at a woman in the same way, its fine. unnerving but fine. THIS my friends, is the main reason women here wear Dupata and Niqab. not the common belief that its because of the oppression of women.) but I digress.

So yes, she is staring. I am waiting. Then she is curious about some freckles on  my chest, so she makes contact with her object of observation and says, “whats this?” Luckily, as I am racking my brain if I should even try to explain in another language this absurd and uncomfortable request for knowledge, the power comes back on.

Yes, I know she has already made contact with them when positioning them in the machine, but this my friends was off the clock. Those times were necessary, these were just plain wrong.

We get rolling again and she gets a phone call. which she answers, in case I haven’t forgotten, i am reminded again we are in fact in India. You can answer the phone whenever and wherever you please, there is no such thing as unnprofessional. Relationships and connections are always justified. Even when keeping a woman half naked waiting in a procedure she cant wait to be over from. She answers the phone to say “Im busy” and returns to me.

“You are from?”

“America.”

“oh, India is better than America. In America all family and friends kill each other. It is so dangerous.”

Wondering with what extensive experience of America did she come by this knowledge I resist the urge to laugh, or ask ” did you watch that on TV?” instead I say, “No, that’s not true. crime is all over the world, evil is all over. America is no different than India.” I am thinking “other than its billion people” so technicaly, just because of population reasons there are more killings in India than America, but technically there are many more reasons. And technically why am having a political debate with an Hollywood rumor fed woman in the dim lighting of a mammogram room, half naked?

We finish up and I get dressed and as I am slipping my shirt over my head, she answers another jiggle from the door,  a man is there waiting to come in. I bet this room is many a staff men’s dream to be in. But I am done and there will be no more viewing today.

“do you like India? she asks,

“oh yes, I love India”.

I’ve got it…

Back in May I finally did something that’s been on my shoulders for awhile. I got tested.  Mom’s got it, her mom had it. Do I? That was the big question looming in the air for almost 2 years. Various reasons came up at different times about why I couldn’t get it at the moment. But finally I did. And I’m positive.

Me and many in my mom’s side of the family have Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC). It’s a genetic mutation in a gene that predisposes you to getting certain types of cancer. Of all the stuff you read about it they all really come down to “it’s a matter of when you get cancer not if”. We didn’t find out our family had it till about 2 years ago when my mom got in touch with some long lost cousins and in catching up they shared that one of the young men in the family got colon cancer and they screened him for HNPCC and he was positive. Slowly all the family started getting screened and they found out that many people in the family had it.

So mom got screened and she was positive. Then she started the process of testing for uterine and colon cancer (the two main manifestations of our strain of HNPCC). Because ultrasounds and biopsy’s aren’t 100% accurate (there are many layers in your uterus and the biopsy only takes tissue from the innermost layer) her biopsy didn’t detect that she had it. But God led her gyno to encourage her to get a hysterectomy because she wasn’t having a typical journey into menopause.

So she did and they found her cancer in between layers in her uterous. If she hadn’t gotten it taken out, she would probably be fighting for her life right now, and it would be too late. Just like her mom’s journey.

So Iv’e got it. And there was a small relief that at least now I knew, there was no looming question. It’s fair to say that I just traded one question for an even bigger one. Do I currently have any cancer? And later the question becomes : When will I get cancer?

This past weekend we were in Delhi for so many wonderful reasons. Malachi turned 6. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary. Devon had their baby. I got 5 out of 7 tests done.

The mammogram I wrote about, cause it was just comical. But instead of “save” I pressed publish when I wasn’t quite done writing it up, and also I hadn’t gone public with my HNCP. So if you are amoung some of the ones that read the partial story and were left wondering about it, this is what it was all about. You might want to go back and re-read it cause I finished it and grammar checked it.

My colonoscopy checked out great. And it wasn’t as bad as I’d heard. My IVC (uterean ultrasound) turned out great too. My mammogram needs further tests, most likely because of my size I have denser tissue and my age contributes to that too. We are still waiting on results from my uteran papsmere and culture. And in early November right before we fly out for the states I will get a blood test and a breast ultrasound, possibly a biopsy as well.

So I am almost done answering the second question, “do I have cancer now?”  And yah! I know that third one is more stuck with you. When will I get it? But I really don’t feel like this is a death sentence. Something that I have to let rule my life, or even define me.

What it is, is God’s grace on our family. Bringing something dark, that has “taken out” so many people, into the light.

We have knowledge, and power. We can fight this. I can get tested regularly. Eat wise, exercise, and previve.

It’s really huge that we know about this. Estimates say that 1 in 35 people diagnosed with colon cancer have HNPCC. 600,000 people are predicted to have HNPCC in the US alone. Can you imagine how steps to get tested and previve can dramatically impact our cancer deaths each year? HUGE. God’s grace.

I predict that as the awareness spreads in the coming years that not many people in the world will not know what Lynch is. It is not racially bound. My Indian Oncologist practiced in London when he first learned about HNPCC from a string of arabian muslim brothers that all had colon cancer. They discovered that they too had HNPCC.

Because I am so grateful to know what we are up against and to have a fighting chance, it makes me want to dance, like this. Maybe when I get to the states I will get to participate in spreading awareness in this way. Arwyn can’t wait to do one. My mom’s gonna get roped into it. And maybe some of you too! Especially if you have loved ones that died or survived cancer, I am comin for you. You know you want to dance with me!

Maybe I can get J to wear this shirt as well 🙂 An indian man was wearing it a couple sities over in our friends city. He doesn’t speak english. Nor read it.

Uncles are about childhood

This Thanksgiving we got to have a special treat. Uncle Isaac came to visit. There is something about U. Isaac that brings out the spirit of childhood in them. Maybe it’s that he just feels free to play and not parent. And even free to get them all in trouble 🙂 But they laugh more, squeal more, and enjoy life a little more when there uncles are around. Two weeks of Isaac here was BLISS for A, M, and E. He even made it on the Thankful Tree. And very sad tears were shed when he had to go 😦

At the end of the trip we returned to Delhi for his flight out and A and M went to Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque in India with daddy and uncle.

She dreams of weddings, and sparkles, and breakdances and skates in her spare time.

Below: This picture captures the fun the spirit they get into when uncles are around.

The three older kiddos had there own special tables for thanksgiving dinner.

Devon is taking the picture, here we are about to dig into our yummy meal. Herbed baked chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, stove top stuffing and cranberry sauce (thanks to friends back home!) and homemade biscuits. Devon brought a green bean dish and a DELICIOUS apple pie.

Notice the Thankful tree coming out of Isaacs head.

Mom in Lancaster




We went on a walk on this great spring day that Mom was flying back to Cali from her week with the kiddos. Before we took off on our walk I stopped by our car that still had all our luggage in it and got out A and M’s gifts from london: pink London sweatshirt and a red double decker bus for M.

Posted by Picasa

Mama’s birthday

According to my Frazee profile I need to work on bragging, but I must just say That I love the lighting I got in this picture! We got to celebrate Chi’s 2nd birthday , then Mama’s birthday, then our anniversary. So we had a pie. And Josiah made it!