"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

April 29, 2012

Rough Week Contd.

To add to the rough week that baby Katea had, Ma had a really rough week too!  :(

She started feeling sharp pains in her left leg....and we already knew what that meant.  De ja vu of what happened last year at this exact same time....the blood clots that the Dr's anticipated would cause her problems were the culprit.  (Click HERE to read what happened last year)

We were all so sad and really shocked that she was in pain, because a few months ago when she started feeling a little discomfort in her leg, Tea took her in and they did a little same day surgery on her.... they put a balloon in her leg to help stop the blood clots and to catch them from moving in her body and possibly going to a place that would cause her more severe damage.  That same day surgery was supposed to prevent any further problems.  Well, it worked for a few months and then the pains came back even more severe.

Tea took her to a Dr appointment because of her pain, and they found out that she needed surgery.  Her veins were so old and weak and the lining so thin that the balloons they put in didn't hold.  She was going to have the same surgery she had last year on her right leg...on her left leg.  They were going to insert tubes to help catch the blood clots and prevent them from going to her heart.  The Dr's were thinking that this time would be easier than the last time because the circumstances were a little different.  With the surgery she had last year on her right leg, she couldn't feel her leg...it was numb....there was no blood flow going to her leg at all, so if they didn't do the surgery, she would have had to get her leg amputated.  This time, with her left leg she was in pain.  The Dr's were thinking that the surgery would be easier this time around, but that was not the case.

The surgery took even longer than last time....it took a full 7 hours...and probably could have gone even longer.  As they were trying to fix the clots from bleeding out, she continued to bleed more...one of the clots from her leg moved, the Dr saw it but couldn't stop it....he said that she was bleeding so much and he was worried that that blood clot that moved was on it's way to her heart, that after hours and hours of trying, they needed to stop while they were ahead and try again the next day.  They wrapped up that surgery and started again the next day bright and early in the morning.  Poor Ma.  Another day and 7 more hours of surgery... 3 incisions, several pokes to attempt to start and IV, and finally one that took in her neck, ....and lots and lots of pain and tears, she was finally done.  Poor Ma.  She was exhausted and she was in pain. 

Old surgery scars from right leg surgery last year
New scars from left leg surgery

She spent almost two weeks in the hospital to heal.  Tea was by her side every single minute of every single day, she always is, Ma's other kids came to visit and then left....but Tea stayed with her 24-7....she even just took her clothes and showered there at the hosptial.  Since Ma doesn't speak any English, she couldn't be left alone....someone would always have to be there to translate what the doctors and nurses were saying. 

It was bad for us too because we weren't really able to visit her, as much as we would like.  Ova was still recovering from his surgery on his wrist and his lupus was acting up, so he was in pain and bed ridden at home.  Baby Katea doesn't leave the house because it's still RSV season....and I was in charge of our two foster girls while Tea was gone.  Let's just say that was a very stressful, busy, hospital filled month :( 

We did get to visit her was after baby's doctor appointment, kind of.  Since baby's pediatrician was at the same hospital that Ma was at, we took advantage of going to visit her that day.  I made sure Ova was ok and had every thing he needed, then I loaded baby Katea, my 3 kids, and the two foster girls into the Durango and headed to the hospital.  That was the 6 month appointment where baby got her shots.....I had the fosters and Makai stay in the waiting area with Mone and Lautala and I went back with baby to the appointment.  I was thinking that would have been easier, but it actually ended up being more of a headache because the fosters started fighting with each other and made a pretty big scene at the hospital (that's a whole nother blog post)... after I came out and got them settled down, we went to visit Ma.  Only problem was that Ma was still in the ICU, and no kids are allowed....and Ashlee and Diana were still be dramatic from the fight they had, so we just had Tea come out for a second so we could say hi to her and then we left.  I was very frustrated that day!

Ma got to move to her own room a few days after that, so I took my kids there to visit her on Sunday night.  I wanted to cry when I saw her....she was so tired...still in pain....totally not her happy self.  I made her some ufi before we left home and took her some kapa pulu to eat with it...I know she hates the hospital food.  We stayed there at the hospital for several hours with her...then it was time to go.  Ma is a strong woman, so incredibly strong.  I'm so blessed to be so close to her, and more blessed that she loves, knows and disciplines my kids.  She'll be 90 this coming January....and even though she's so strong and such a fighter....we don't know how much longer she has with us, so we try to take advantage of every moment we have with her!  Get well soon Ma, so you can come home!  We love you!

Rough Week

For a few days baby Katea has sounded a little congested.  I attribute it to this crazy Utah weather and my 3 older kids running in and out of the house, playing....and then coming in and kissing her all over.  They always wash their hands and use the hand sanitizer, but still...

I actually wasn't really worried about it because nothing had changed....she was not coughing, not irritated, not up on her oxygen levels....she just had mucus in her nose and throat and I actually was able to get a lot of it out with the battery-operated nose aspirator suction thing I bought from Wal-Mart (awesome little contraption) then on Easter Sunday it got a little worse....I wasn't able to suction really anything out of her nose....because the mucus was just sitting at the back of her throat.  Poor girl, it was so irritating for her...she kept trying to cough it up, but it just wasn't coming up.  I decided to take her into the Riverton hospital, since they have a Primary Children's branch, just to get suctioned out.  Well, turns out that you have to have a prescription from your doctor to have your child get suctioned....so what was going to be just a quick suction and leave....turned out into a 7 hour ER visit....because that's the only way they would do it.  Uuugghh!  Makai asked if he could come with me to take her....he's such a good brother and is always helping where he can.....but I was reluctant to take him because by the time we actually left, it was like midnight.  I ended up letting him come, because he kept begging, and because he was off track and didn't have school the next day!  I'm so glad he came because he totally kept me and baby company while we sat there for that LONG 7 hours.
 They came in and suctioned her....then took what they got to go and get it tested to make sure she hadn't caught another virus.  While they were testing her mucus, they took us back to get a chest x-ray, just to make sure her lungs were ok.  The x-ray tech was really nice and made it such an awesome experience for Makai....he took him back and let him push the button to take the x-ray and then was explaining what all the different equipment was for, and answered all the millions of questions Makai had....lol...I was happy he was so kind!   After the x-ray was done, they took us back to our room where we waited for what seemed like forever.  Baby was hungry so I fed her....then she fell asleep.  Makai was drawing pictures on the white board in the room with their dry erase markers and then the registration nurse came in with snacks and markers and paper for him.  They were really nice and treated us so great! 

After waiting for what seemed like forever, the ER doctor came in.  She just asked me a few questions about baby Katea's history.  She was completely shocked at how big she was considering she was such a micro preemie.  She kept saying, over and over again "she's amazing"..."I would have never guessed she was a preemie, she looks great!"  I just had the biggest smile on my face!  She went on to tell me that the tests came back great and that baby does not have any virus....she's just got some mucus that she needs to learn to work out...and she said that there's obvious chronic lung disease on her chest x-ray (which we already knew) and that it looked like the top right lung was collapsing, so that I should make sure to see the pediatrician within the next couple days.  She was very nervous to let us go....probably just given her history, but I was completely calm and confident and wasn't worried at all.  She said "it's comforting to me that you're so calm about this" and then she asked me if I wanted her to be admitted or if I just wanted to go home.  I told her unless she really needed to be admitted, I would much rather just take her home and monitor her there....I mean, she already has her own monitor, she's on oxygen already....and if all they were going to do was monitor her, I could do that at home.  The doctor agreed that would be fine, and we left.....what a long night!

Baby Katea turned 6 months old, and her 6 month check-up was scheduled for 3 days after our trip to the ER, so when I called the pediatrician's office for her ER follow-up, they said I could just wait until our scheduled appointment.  At that appointment, because of the collapse of the top of her right lung, they put her on a steriod pretnezone.  She's been on that steriod several times since birth.... it just helps open up the lungs.  I made sure to have her pediatrician write us a prescription for her to get suctioned, just in case, so we don't have to do the whole ER thing again.

The good thing is she's growing like crazy....she weighed 13lbs.6oz. at her appointment and is 24 inches long.  Her growth is really amazing!  She got her immunizations....5 in total, but they were able to combine them into 3 shots....so she got 3 shots that day.  She's such a trooper, she only cried for like 5 seconds and then was over it.  That's my girl!  :) 

Her chubby little legs @ 6 months

A few days after that appointment she had her follow-up eye-exam.  Thankfully that appointment went just as smooth as the last one, only this time we got excellent news!  Her eyes are finally completely mature and her ROP is gone!  So excited and thankful that she doesn't have to have her eyes dialated or popped out anymore....at least not every week!  She will have a follow-up appointment in 6 months to see if she's near or far sighted!  So happy for the great news!
I still have to take her back to her pediatrician in a few days for her last synagis shot of the season....then no more shots until she's 9 months old!  Yay!

April 21, 2012


Please help support us with this amazing cause! 
March of Dimes/March for Babies is a very special cause that hits very close to home for me. As many of you know, I was pregnant with twins and last year.....I ended up having to bury my daughter Cindy and her sister, Baby Katea was born 16 weeks prematurly, at 24w5d. She only weighed 1 pound when she was born, and we weren't even sure she would survive.  It is a miracle she is alive and doing so well today!   Did you know that 10% of all pregnancies end in prematurity??   I didn't until it happened to me! That's why this cause is so important!   March for Babies raises, not only awareness, but money to help fund advancements in technology that help these little ones that were born to early, survive and strive. I have no doubt that because of how far medical technology has come, my baby Katea is here with me today! But there is so much more to be done....and with the help of everyone, we can get there!

We have created a team for the March of Dimes, March for babies this year....we are TEAM KATEA! We have set a personal goal to raise $500 to help with this great cause....we are so close to reaching our goal....and we only have a couple more weeks!   Please check out the link below and help us reach our goal!    Also, if you would please help us spread the word by forwarding this message and link to your family and friends!   The more we can get the word out, the more babies lives are saved!   No amount is too small....whether it be $5 or $500...any amount will be greatly appreciated!  Or, if you're in the area and free on May 5th, come walk with us!  It's free to sign up, and everyone that walks, raises money!

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Please think of my sweet angel baby Cindy and my miracle fighter baby Katea and help us reach our goal!


Thank you, we love you!
Monica and Katea

April 19, 2012

Easter 2012

Holidays are always a great time to spend with family....this Easter was no different.  Because of Ova's surgery and baby Katea's situation, we had to tweak things a little bit, but it turned out all good in the end! 

Easter celebration started on the Saturday before with Ova's family.  Instead of doing a big feast, they decided that everyone would just meet at Chuck-A-Rama for lunch and then have a Easter egg hunt for the kids in the park afterwards....that way nobody had to cook or clean, everyone could just eat and enjoy each other's company.  The weather here has been a little unpredictable and even though the week before Easter was beautiful and sunny, the days right before were actually rainy and cold.  I didn't want to risk taking baby Katea out in the cold weather....around a lot of people, especially all the kids....so I was planning on just staying home with her while Ova went with the kids.  Plans changed the morning of because Ova woke up in a lot of pain that day.  He wasn't going to be able to go out and enjoy himself with the pain, so he decided to stay home.  Unfortunatly that still didn't make it possible for me to go because he wouldn't have been able to take care of baby in his condition.....so Gramma Tea ended up taking all the kids with her so they could enjoy the day with their cousins.  Thank goodness for Gramma Tea, she's ALWAYS there when we need her!  All the cousins were together, because the Vegas cousins made it down....so my kids were loving it!  The egg hunt was a big hit because not only was there candy, but there was money hidden in the eggs too!  They always have a great time with their cousins!

The Sunday of Easter was pretty much the same story.  I wasn't able to go to church because of baby, and Ova stayed home because of his hand.  I woke up early that morning and got the kids ready and they went to church with Gramma Tea.  That night, Ova's brothers and their wives came to our house for Sunday Easter dinner.  Just a chill night at home.

My family decided to get together on the Monday after Easter.  This time Gramma Tea stayed home with Ova and baby Katea and I took my kids down to my parent's house.  When we got there, my dad was doing what he loves the most....he was bbq'in....as soon as everyone got there, we had all the kids go inside the house while Gramma Cindy kept them entertained while the rest of us hid all the Easter eggs....and there were A LOT!  Tons of eggs full of candy, some had quarters, a couple had $1 bills in them and the grand prize egg had $20 in it (thanks to Misipou)......the little kids got the whole back yard to and the older kids got the sides and the front....the kids were running around everywhere gathering the eggs, and trying to find the grand prize!  And guess who found it??!!  MAKAI!!  Whoo-hoo!  After the egg hunt, we all ate and just hung around together talking.  Love the holidays, and the fact that every single holiday is a very important and special time to spend time with family on both sides!  There's nothing better to build family bonds than to spend time together and I'm glad we always make time!

Oh, and we all got a bit of good news that night too!  My little brother and his wife are expecting again!!  Whoo-hoo!  Yay for another little cutie to add to the family...that will make 18 grandkids for my parents, from just 4 kids!

In preparation to go to my parent's house for our Easter get-together, I had to stop at Sam's Club to grab some stuff.....the Easter bunny was there taking pictures with the kids, for a $5 donation that would go to Primary Children's.  Of course, anything we can do to support that hospital, we always do....just because they've helped our family so much.....so on our way out, I stopped and let my kids take a picture with the Easter Bunny.  That would turn out to be a funny experience, so I just have to blog about it so we can always remember it.......

We stand in line to have their pictures taken, and when it's finally our turn, they walk up to the Easter Bunny and he says to Makai "Malo e lelei"

Makai's eyes got huge and he had the biggest surprised look on his face.  He said to the Easter Bunny "did you speak Tongan?"  The Easter Bunny said "you're poly aren't you?"  Makai said "Yes"

Mone says to Makai "OMGosh Makai, the Easter Bunny speaks Tongan?"

Makai says with a very excited voice...after thinking for a minute "Mone, I think it's because he's like Santa and he goes around the whole world....so that's why he can speak a lot of languages"

At that point, Makai was way more excited at the cool fact that the Easter Bunny spoke Tongan....than that they were taking pictures....

The picture was finally taken and then the Easter Bunny shook their hands and said "Malo"

As we were walking away Makai couldn't stop talking about it.  I kept him going by telling him that that was so awesome....I can't believe the Easter Bunny can speak Tongan!

Then Makai says, I can't belive he knew that I was Tongan and didn't think that I was miko.....I just had to laugh at that....poor kid....hahaha!

Here's my kids with the Tongan speaking Easter Bunny!

Too bad I couldn't get a picture with all of my kids together....but here's a picture of baby Katea on her very first Easter!  This cute little outfit was given to her by one of my good NICU mom friends, and her daughter...and baby's Katea's future bff....Charly Bella!  Thank you!

Hope you all had a very HAPPY EASTER!

April 18, 2012


10 days ago Ova went in to fix an old mistake that he's been paying for for the past 11 years.  11 years ago, he was playing football at Snow College and he broke his wrist.  He went to the doctor and they put a hard cast on his arm and was told to leave it on for 2 months so that it could completely heal.  Well, back then, football was way more important than anything else, so he cut the cast off after only 2 weeks and played in the game that weekend.  Needless to say, his wrist healed incorrectly and instead of the bones joining back together where they should have, they healed with one sticking up higher than the other.....and the bone that was sticking up was constantly rubbing on the nerves in his hand causing him a lot of pain.  Over the years, his arthritis has grown and gotten a lot worse, especially around his injury.  He has actually been able to tolerate it pretty well, just using his hand as little as possbile.  Sometimes it would flare up and he would have days of extreme excruchiating pain.....and then it would get a little better....but he's never really been able to use it to the full extent that he would like to, like playing sports or throwing a ball with our kids....he could still do it, but always with pain.  Working at US Synthetic, he uses his hands all day everyday when he's at work and that additional pressure has caused him a lot of pain, always, that never goes away.  Thankfully his insurance is awesome and so is his work....because we finally got to get it taken care of!

He went and met with an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Raemisch...took some x-rays...saw what the issue was....discussed the procedure he would need....filled out some paperwork......and scheduled the surgery

What the surgeon was going to do was shave down the bone that was sticking out....so it wouldn't rub against the nerve anymore....scrape all the arthritis from around that area....and fuse all his joints in his wrist together to give him full strength back.  The only downfall of the operation was that he wouldn't have full mobility of his wrist, meaning he won't be able to bend it all the way back or forth ever again......but honestly, the idea of having strength and being pain free was way more important and appealing than not being able to bend it!

This was actually the first surgery he'd ever had, and he was a little nervous about it.  He gets a little queezy when it comes to needles (even though he has half a sleeve tattoo....but that's another story...haha) and he was worried about how they were going to put him under.  It was actually a very pleasant surprise to know that the only poke they would need to do would be to put an IV in his hand and that was it.  They put the sedation medication right in his IV and before he even could count to 10, he was out cold.  They even had to intubate him for the procedure, so he got to experience what baby Katea went through (except he wasn't ever awake for it so he doesn't remember having the tube in his throat) 

The procedure was just a same day surgery at LDS hospital, we got there and checked in and we actually didn't really have to wait at all.  They took us right back, he got prepped for surgery.....then they came to take him back to the operating room.  Everything moved really quickly.

I was told to go to the waiting room while he was in surgery and that the doctor would call me when the procedure was done to let me know how it went.  They told me the surgery would last about 2 1/2 hours.

I sat in the waiting room and about 45 minutes later, the volunteer told me that the doctor was on the phone for me.  I went and answered it and he told me that the surgery went really well and that he was done.  I was surprised because it was way faster than they had told me it would take....but he reassured me that they always allow extra time, just in case....but that his surgery went really smoothly and everything looked great.  He also told me that hand surgery is one of the most painful surgery's to heal from, just because we always use our hands....so Ova was going to be in a lot of pain.  He told me I needed to make sure I did 3 things:  1-make sure he keeps it elevated   2-make sure he keeps ice on it   3-make sure he stays on top of his pain medication.  The doctor told me he was in the recovery room and would probably be for another hour....but that as soon as he was ready to go back to a room, they would call me so I could meet him in there.

That was it.  45 minutes in the operating room would hopefully fix all the pain he's been having for the past 11 years.

Only like 15 minutes after that phone call with the doctor, the volunteer told me that I had another phone call.  This time it was the recovery room nurse.  She said that usually patients stay in the recovery room for 45 minutes to an hour, but Ova kept insisting that he want his wife....so they were going to just take him to a room so I could be with him, since I'm not allowed in the recovery room.....she just wanted to let me know that he was still out of it, but that since he was so adimant I was with him...they would let him leave earlier than normal.  Lol.

This was right after the surgery.....nauseated and completely out of it

He was so cute because he kept asking for me, until he opened his eyes a little bit and glanced at me with a very sedated look and gave me a half smile.  Then he asked me where Makai was at.  I told hime Makai stayed home and he said he wanted Makai to sing to him.  I called Makai and told him that daddy just got out of surgery and the only thing he wanted was for him to sing him some Tongan hymns.  I put the phone on speaker and Makai started singing 'Folofola Mai a Sisu'....he sang it over and over again and Ova was mouthing the words along with him.  It was so sweet, it almost made me cry.  After Makai sang it a few times, Ova fell asleep so I thanked him and hung up.....then I sat there rubbing his arm until he woke up.  He woke up pretty nauseated and feeling like he was going to throw up.  We stayed in that room while he recovered for about an hour before he started feeling better, then we were headed home.

I was really nervous at how much pain he would be in when the numbing and sedation wore off, but he was such a trooper.  I am actually amazed at how strong he's being and how much he is able to move his hand.  He's been doing so well.....except once a couple days ago, he actually passed out because of the pain....and it was all my fault :(  He took a shower and I was helping him put his shirt on afterward.  The shirt was bunched up in his armpit and I yanked on it a couple times trying to get it loose and I yanked the arm he had surgery on.  Immediatly he started screaming and crying saying over and over again "babe, it hurts so bad"  I felt horrible!  He said he was feeling light-headed so I told him to hurry and go lay on the bed.  He didn't make it.  The pain was so intense that he blacked-out....on me...and I couldn't hold him up.  We both ended up falling to the floor as I screamed for someone to come help me.  Tea came in and saw him on the floor and started crying, she called Kina, Ova's brother, to come and help us help him up and to give him a blessing.  He felt a lot better right after the blessing, but I felt so horrible.  When he finally came out of it, he didn't know what had happened, he was wondering why he was sitting on the floor, and why I was crying.  All he knew was that his hand was throbing and killing him worse than it ever had.  I can't believe the pain was so bad it actually knocked him out :(  It was pretty sore for a few days after that, but eventually it started feeling better.

Today we went to his post-op appointment.  They took the soft cast off that they put on him after the surgery....and they put a hard cast on him.  The doctor was very happy with how everything looked, and especially how well Ova is healing.  He did say that we still have a few more weeks before it's completely healed though.

Here's his x-ray....you can see the little spider-looking device they put into his joints to fuse them together.....that will stay forever and give him strength back into his wrist.

We went to the appointment thinking he was going to get a red cast.....because of course, we're big UTAH fans.....but as soon as he saw the color choices, he chose purple to support our little miracle in her March of Dimes walk that is coming up.  What a great daddy!

April 17, 2012


handicap husband (from surgery)
high maintenance baby
clingy 2 year old
two boys that have to be told 5 times before they do anything...and are constantly fighting
and two foster girls that love to create drama and fight with each other over any and every little thing


I'm so tired today!

At the end of my rope....

Glad it's late and I can sleep it off....tomorrow is another day!

April 15, 2012

Elder Rasband

I think of all the talks given at this past general conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband's talk hit me the most.  His talk was titled 'Special Lessons'.  He spoke of his grandson who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and had spent a lot of time in the hospital, specifically in the NICU.  He talked about the staff at the hospital and the incredible care they gave to his grandson... He talked about things the little boy's parents went through, are going through still.....all the fears and heartache.....and things their whole family went through.  It's a trying thing to be faced with a sick child.....I cried through most of his talk because I know exactly what those feelings are that he was explaining.

I took some notes while I was listening to him speak.  And although his entire talk was powerful and inspired, here are the parts that stuck out the most to me...the parts I wrote down:

"Some of the sweetest spirits are housed in the most frail frames"

"To all of you who have challenges, concerns, disappointments, or heartaches with a dear one, know this:  With Infinite love and everlasting compassion, God, our Heavenly Father loves your afflicted one, and he love you too"

(I've added my baby Katea's name in this part of his talk....just to show how his talk applys directly to me)
Shortly after precious Katea was born, we knew Heavenly Father would bless us and teach us special lessons.

God’s works are definitely being made manifest through Katea.

We are learning patience, faith, and gratitude through service, endless hours of intense emotions, tears of empathy, and the prayers and expressions of love for our daughter Katea and for us, her parents.

He shared a quote that Elder Faust shared in a previous talk...."I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartache for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infermity.  This anguish often continues everyday without relief during the lifetime of the parent or child.  Not infrequently parents are required to give superhuman nurturing care that never ceases day or night.  Many a Mother's arms and heart have ached years on end giving comfort and relieving the suffering of their special child"

He also posed a question, that really got me thinking.....he asked, If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all. 

This made me think of myself...how many times have I made that statement "Let me know if I can help".....it made me feel a little guilty at the many times I haven't put into action the urge I felt to help someone in need.  Even though saying "Let me know if I can help" is well meaning, like Elder Rasband said in his talk....very seldom does the person actually let you know what they need, so nothing gets done.  This happened to us a lot while we were in the NICU.  Many people asked us to let them know what we needed.  It's hard to ask for help, but not to accept it when it's offered.  I felt like this a lot.  Some offers were made with sincerity, others were just because they didn't know what to say....so they told us to let them know what we needed just to get out of the conversation......but then there were those that just did it, they didn't ask, they just helped.  Sister Choke and the palangi ward relief society didn't ask....they just made us dinner for a long time......Tea didn't ask, she was just always there to help watch our older kids when we needed it......my parents didn't ask, they just helped when and where they could.....  I'm grateful for them and the many others that helped us get through.  I know now to listen to those promptings I feel and actually do something instead of just asking!

Very powerful talk that really hit home for me.  I love general conference!

Another part of Elder Rasband's talk brought me back to the scriptures....
After His Ressurrection, when visiting the Americas, our Savior, Jesus Christ, reached out to all with this invitation:
“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. …

I know that my baby Katea is alive and doing so amazingly well because of the Lord.  When we were at are deepest, saddest and darkest moment, we turned to the Lord and he fulfilled his promise made in that scripture.  Katea is a true live modern day miracle!

How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father for my little champion Katea. Through her the Lord has manifest his works and continues to teach me these valuable, sacred and special lessons

April 14, 2012

General Conference

We've started a family tradition for General Conference, which I hope will continue!  Since this was really the first time, it was a little rocky...we weren't all completely on the same page, but it turned out nice and it was a great way to spend quality time with our families, while listening to the leaders of the church, and teaching our kids how important conference is!

My Dad is the stake president over the Tongan stake in Utah County....with that calling comes the opportunity to get tickets to go into the conference center.  Usually my dad just gives them out to whoever asks, but this year he decided to do something a little different.  He saved the tickets he got for us, our whole family, and we planned to spend the weekend together watching conference!  :) 

He had enough tickets for all the girls to go to the Saturday afternoon session.....so we all planned to meet up that afternoon.  We actually met at the hotel they were staying at and we walked together to temple square. 

The original plan was to have all the girls go into the conference center and the boys stay outside with the kids, either on the lawn or in the tabernacle.  That was the part of the plan that didn't turn out completely as planned.  My dad ended up getting himself a ticket, so he went into the session with all the ladies....Lini didn't come to that session...Patrick didn't come to that session...Misi didn't come to that session, so it was only Ova and my kids.  I felt bad for him because he didn't really get to listen to or enjoy the session at all.  He did get to spend 2 hours of quality father/children time with our 3 oldest though sitting on the grass at temple square!  :)  He had fun taking pictures of them.....

After the Saturday afternoon session, we all met in the middle of the conference center.  We waited for priesthood session to start and my dad had tickets for all the boys...including the boys who were 8 years old.  While the boys were in the priesthood session, us girls took the kids to the new City Creek mall.  I probably would have enjoyed it a little more if it wasn't so croweded, but I took the stroller (in case Lautala got tired of walking) and it was a huge hassle trying to get the stroller through that whole crowd of people!  We ended up just going to the food court and getting ice cream cones from McDonalds
.....with about 30 minutes left until the priesthood session was over, half of us girls went to reserve us a spot at Chuck-A-Rama.  We knew it would be packed, especially with conference just getting over, so we thought we'd get a head start on getting a table.  Good thing we did because it was Tongan central up in there!  haha I guess everyone had the same idea as we did!  The other half of us girls waited and picked up the guys after the session and then we all met and ate together. 

After dinner all us parents with the younger kids headed home and G-ma and G-pa took the kids that were older than 8 to their hotel with them to sleep over.  That's a total of 6 grandkids older than 8 (or turning 8 this year.....Lote, Jalen, Pita, Makai, Lia & Halle)  My parents always stay in a hotel on conference weekend....since they live so far.....this time they had two rooms and that was just enough room for them, Leka and all the kids!  G-pa had tickets all of them for the morning session on Sunday....so him and G-ma went with the kids!

The kids LOVED it!  They always love it when G-ma and G-pa take time to spend with them.  G-ma made sure to have notebooks and pens for them to take notes, and treats for them.  What a better way than to spend conference weekend with the family...teaching the kids to be excited to listen to the leaders!  Now they're all excited and already looking forward for the next conference!  What a great family tradition to start!

They went and watched the 2nd Sunday session at Marie's house and then they came to our house for dinner.  Tea always goes all out for my parents when they come to visit.  She made them tons of Tongan food, my dad was loving it!  She is so sweet!

It was a great turnout and we're looking forward to the tradition of spending family time together every conference!  Thank you so much G-pa!

Here's some of the notes I took from the conference:

14441346 Members as of December 2011
136 Operating Temples

Jeffrey R. Holland
Why should you be jealous because others choose to be kind?
Don't get hurt or feel envious when good fourtune comes to someone else....we are not in a race for who has the most or who is the prettiest....we are in a race against sin.

Do not covet.  Be kind and be fearful that God is kind...it is a happy way to live.

Don't dwell on old issues and grieveances, not towards yourself, or others or towards the church.  Don't hyperventilate at something that happened in the morning when the Lord is trying to bless you in the evening.

Even though those grievances didn't start with you, they can end with you...and you will be blessed for it!

You have not traveled beyong the brinks of everlasting love.  No problem you cannot overcome.  No dream that can't be realized.  Even when you think it's too late, it's not...come fall upon the feet of the Lord.

To husbands and fathers....awake and be men...brethern, step up....do it for your sake, do it for the sake of those that love you and are praying for you.  Do it for the Lord.

Testify of the renewing power of God's love and his grace.  It is never too late as long as the Master of the vinyard says there's still time.  Don't delay, it's getting late.

If you haven't made covenants, make them!
If you have made them, keep them!
If you have made them and broken them, repent and be clean!

 Robert D. Hales
The sacrament gives us the opportunity to come to ourselves, to remember our covenants and to lead us back to Heavenly Father

Our desires to return to our Heavenly Father intensify as we become worthy

Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us strength to follow God.  Sustain our leaders.  Attend church meetings.  Live a virtuous life.  Be good parents.  Faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophet.  Be obedient and make sacrifices.  Giving of ourselves to build the kingdom of God.  As we do all these things we receive power from on high to face our challenges.

As our desires to learn and follow Christ increase, we become closer to our Savior, and the spirit becomes a part of us.

The purpose of temporal and spiritual reliance is to life ourselves to higher ground so that we can help to lift others.

Follow spiritual desires to come to ourselves...talk to ourselves in the mirror and see where we stand.  Are we worthy to take the sacrament?  Are we worthy to go to the temple?  We need to follow our spiritual desires and get there.

David S. Baxtor
Speaking to single parents
With God's help, you need not fear the future....never feel you're in some kind of second tier....to the Lord, there are no second class citizens.

You are not alone!

Ulisses Soars
There is a fine line between the Lord's territory and the devils territory...if you stay on the Lord's side, you will have the spirit...if you cross the line, the evil will overpower you and you will lose your spirit.

We need to ask ourselves if the things we choose to do keep us on the Lord's territory, or not

If our attitudes are good, we are on the Lord's side...because everything good comes from God. If our attitudes are bad, we are on the wrong side.  We need to fix something so we can be back on the right side.

The Savior banished from his life anything that tried to take his focus off his divine mission.  Although he never sinned, he had a broken heart carrying the burden of the sins of mankind as he atoned for us.

You can't be right by doing wrong
You can't be wrong by doing right

Quentin L. Cook
Have the courage to refrain from judging others

The hope is that everyone will be faithful in all things, not only in some things.

Many of your goals is to be good parents to your kids.  Here's one way to start.  Avoid being overly judgemental about conduct that it youthful, innocent and playful...and is not sin.  Where there is lack of knowledge, the children need to lovingly be taught knowledge.  We need to speak softly to our children.  Teach them in love, not fear.

What we are speaks so loudly that sometimes our children don't hear what we say.  Are we who we want our kids to be??

Mothers and fathers, praying with your children may be more important than doing anything else with your children.  Next is reading the book of Mormon with them.  Persistence is the answer....it requires dedication from everyone in the family.  It will bring blessings.

Regardless of the challenges you face, please do not get discouraged.

Richard G. Scott
Relationships are strengthened through the veil.  The separation is temporary, but the covenants we made with our loved ones are eternal.

We should be comforted in knowing that our loved ones that have passed can see us so much more clearly than we see them.

Yielding to emotions of anger, hate and frustrations chase away the spirit.  Sense of humor is ok with the spirit, loud laughter is not and chases the spirit away.

We need the spirit because it is the Lord that is doing the teaching through the spirit of the Holy Ghost.  When it is for the Lord's purposes, he can bring anything to our minds.  Revelation, inspiration.

Humility is fertile soil where spirituality can grow.

Obedience ensures that we qualify for divine power.

April 10, 2012

I think it's TIME!

I was helping my mom put away groceries the other day and Lautala comes up to me...."Mommy change my diaper, it's full"

Me and my mom just look at each other and laugh....um, if you're old enough and smart enough to tell me to change your diaper, you're old enough and smart enough to use the bathroom in the toilet.

I changed her diaper and told her the next time she needed to go pee-pee to let me know and I would take her to the bathroom like a big girl.  I kept checking with her all day and asking her if she needed to go pee-pee.  When she finally did, I took her into the bathroom and sat her on the toilet....she pee'd and I made a big deal about it! 

Then I said "Yay Tala, you're a big girl!  We need to go buy you big girl underwear now!  Give me five, you're awesome!"  Etc, etc, etc...

I showed her how to flush the toilet and then we washed her hands...the whole time I'm talking her up for being such a big girl...and she had the biggest smile on her face, so happy that I was so proud of her!  We went out of the bathroom and the celebration continued as I was telling G-ma Cindy how Tala was a big girl and she went to the bathroom in the toilet!  G-ma and Leka celebrated with us and she just felt like the most awesome girl in the whole world!

Unfortunately the excitement wore off....and pretty quickly!  :(  She wasn't interested in using the toilet after that, the only thing she was really interested in was flushing the toilet.  That part of using the toilet, to her, was so awesome!  Whenever she was missing, I would find her in the bathroom flushing the toilet over and over again.

I sat her down and told her that she could only flush the toilet if she went pee-pee or poo-poo in the toilet.  She couldn't flush the toilet if she didnt.

She stopped to process what I had just told her and then she says (scrunching her nose and shaking her head) "oh, I no like flush toilet" and she walked out of the bathroom.

I just had to stand there and laugh.  She is so smart.....I think she's totally playing me....hahaha

Needless to say she's still in diapers and not a bit interested in going to the bathroom in the toilet....and she has completely given up flushing the toilet because she understands that she can only do it if she uses it.....haha  :/

Just the other day I was cooking dinner and Tala comes up to me and says "Mommy, change my diaper"  I asked her "did you poo-poo?"  She said "No mommy, it's really wet"


So here we are.  She's smart enough to do it.  She understands when I explain things to her.  But she flat out doesn't want to do it, so she doesn't. 

Hmmmm.....how do I get over that hurdle?  Some people say just give her more time because she just turned 2, some people say to make her.  I've only had to potty train boys before, so really I don't know what to do with a girl.  Any suggestions??!! 

Early Intervention

Early Intervention Services

Baby Watch Early Intervention 1-800-961-4226

What Does Baby Watch Do?

The program provides early identification and developmental services for families of infants and toddlers, ages birth to three.
Some of the services offered include:
  • A full assessment of a child's current health and development status.
  • Service coordination among providers, programs and agencies.
  • Strategies to build on family concerns, priorities, & resources (CPR).
  • Developmental services: occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language therapy, etc.
These services are provided through the coordinated effort of parents, community agencies, and a variety of professionals.

Who Qualifies to Receive Early Intervention Services?

Children birth to three years of age who meet or exceed the definition of developmental delays in one or more of the following areas:
  • Physical development
  • Vision and hearing
  • Feeding and dressing skills
  • Social and emotional development
  • Communication and language
  • Learning, problem solving and play skills

Since baby Katea was born prematurly, she automatically qualifies for the early intervention program.  We already know that she will be a little delayed in her development.....because even though she's 6 months old already, she really should only be 2 1/2 months old.  The early intervention people come to our house to work with her developmentally.....to make sure she's at least meeting the milestones and requirements for her 2 month adjusted age...and to try and help her develop some skills to help her act her actual age.  They say she'll be fully caught up developmentally, both physically and mentally, when she's 2 years old.  Until then, we just have to work with her to help her along!

Our first early intervention visit was last week.  I didn't really know what to expect, but was plesantly surprised with how the visit went.  Shawn was the name of the early intervention specialist that came to visit us, and that visit just consisted of an assessment of baby Katea, where she's at developmentally, where she needs to be, things I could work on to help her progress.... he was explaining what the program was, what it has to offer and he answered any questions I had.  I loved that he took her from me, held her, played with her....he got down on the floor with her and did some exercises.  Her actual age (6 months) she should already be rolling over.  She's no where near that yet.  He showed me some exercises I could do to help her out.  He gave us some flash cards with black and white pictures on them and they immediately caught baby's attention.  She followed them all over with her eyes....I was nothing but big smiles when Shawn was telling me how impressed he was with her!  :)   Her little legs are strong and if you hold her up, she'll stand on them....that was awesome, but her neck is not as strong as it needs to be.  She hates tummy time, so I haven't really been making her do it.  He explained how important tummy time is, and how much it will help not only strengthen and develop her neck muscles, but also it will help her get in the position to crawl.  He gave me some suggestions to lay her on her boppy pillow or in the bumbo seat.....I've tried both of those and she HATES both of them!  She's a pretty content baby and she hardly ever cries except when she's hungry....but she screams her head off when she does tummy time, even with the boppy and the bumbo!  :(  Sorry baby girl, you gotta do it....it'll only help you out!
He asked me if I had any questions and I asked him to look at her head.  How flat it's getting is really worrying me.  He did a little assessment on her and noticed that her right ear is a little farther forward than her left.  That just means that she's been laying more on her right side than her left.  He told me to make sure to lay her on her left side and hopefully the next time they check her, her ears will have evened out.

He also wants her to be more interested in her feet....he said if she starts to notice and grab her feet, it will help her to roll over.  She sucks on her hands and fingers all the time to show us she's hungry....but other than that, she doesn't really notice her feet.  She hasn't hit that stage where her hands fascinate her.  She can hold on to things, but she doesn't really realize that she's holding it.  I've been putting a rattle in her hand and she moves it, but it's more of her just moving than moving to make the rattle sound.  She just doesn't realize it yet.  I'm working on it with her, and hopefully soon she'll realize them.  She's amazing in so many ways, her developmental will come with time and work....I know it will!  :)

Shawn was going to go back and assign me a developmental specialist to work specifically with baby Katea, and that person will come weekly to work with her.  Today I got a call from Melinda, she's who will be working with us.  Our fist appointment with her is next week.  Can't wait!

April 6, 2012

Fabulous Fangupo Fighters

These 3 Fangupo children are all amazing...they've all been faced with severe, life-threatening health issues, and they've all coming out fighting....kicking and punching every obstacle they face....and they all have overcome many many times. 

This picture above is Tevita (on the left)....he's Ova's oldest brother's son....he is 3 years old.  He was born with several tumors in his neck, which obstruct his airway making it hard for him to breathe.  The doctors have always said he's a miracle because of how hard he has had to fight for his life since the day he was born.  With how big and how many tumors were blocking his airway, it would have been so easy for him to just give up....but he didn't.  He fought through it all, through the hospitalizations, the chemo, all the treatments....and the tumors finally started to shrink.  He is amazing!  So far, the tumors are benine, which we are all so grateful for....but the problem with his tumors is the location they are at, and the amount of them.  They are wrapped around his veins, nerves and arteries in his neck and because of how they are growing, he is not a candidate for operation to get them removed.  What that means is that he constantly is undergoing chemo therapy treatments to shrink the tumors.  The chemo shrinks them.....but they eventually grow back and he has to do it all over again.  He will have to do this his whole life. You would never know if you saw him though.  He's a lively happy little boy who loves to play.  He doesn't let those stupid tumors get in his way.....he shows them who's boss!

Toakesa is in the middle....she's Ova's little brother's oldest daughter....she is 7 years old.  Toakesa was born with a bad liver and actually had to get a liver transplant when she was only 1 year old.   I remember when she was born, she basically had to live in the hospital....tests, monitoring, more tests....lots of tears, fear of the unknown....our whole family spent a lot of time at the hospital with her and her parents.  The surgery went well and she did amazing!  The doctors were amazed with her and how well she did after the transplant.  Of course being a transplant patient, there are certain precautions she has to take for the rest of her life....and several medications she'll have to take as well.  She's not supposed to go swimming because of the bacteria in the water...she's not supposed to eat raw fruits....so many precautions she has to take that other kids don't.  She has to go to the doctor often to get lab work to make sure her body is still accepting the liver.  For 6, almost 7 years she's been doing it.....her labs have been perfect and everything's been looking great.  She also has had to fight for her life since the day she was born....and she will for the rest of her life.  She's amazing.  She's a miracle!

Then, of course, my baby Katea in Toakesa's lap.  You already know her story.

3 kids in one family with severe life-threatening health issues....who have fought for their lives since the day they were born....who are still fighting for their lives....who will have to fight for their lives for the rest of their lives.  It doesn't seem fair.

The picture above was taken last week.  All 3 of them were together at Primary Children's hospital at the same time.  Tevita got sick and his parents rushed him to the hospital....an infection started growing in his neck around where the tumors were at.  He was admitted to Primary Children's hospital again for more rounds of antibiotics.  Toakesa lived in Vegas with her family...she started having stomach pains...the hosptial in Vegas does not have a liver specialist so she was life-flighted to Utah's Primary Children's hospital.  Tests and tests and CT scans and MRI's showed that her liver is rejecting.  They put her back on the donor list to get another transplant.  We never knew...she never showed any signs of it.  She's a happy, feisty, talkative, beautiful little girl.....her body was fighting so hard that her labs showed she was ok, even when she wasn't.  She's still happy, energetic, so smart and playful....you'd never know by looking at her everything she's been through and everything she's going through now.  And baby Katea wasn't admitted to the hosptial....she was there for her weekly eye-exam. 

While baby Katea and I were in her eye-exam, Ova took the kids to meet up with their other cousins in the play area, then we met up with them after.  It was nice that we were all able to be there together...but at the same time it was a little overwhelming seeing all three of them together in the hosptial.  They were all laughing and playing with each other like they didn't have a care in the world.  Us parents sat back and watched them playing and having so much fun....but in the back of our minds we were tired, sad and worried sick.  It sucks when kids are sick, but when they are sick with life-threatening issues it kindof leaves a hole in your heart that is always filled with fear and worry.  Watching them play and laugh.....color, paint, draw.....tease each other and fight brings us back to reality....the reality that these amazing little kids are just that, AMAZING.  They don't worry or fear or fret....they just keep fighting past their illnesses and keep playing.  They are great examples to us...all of us, sent here to teach us triumph through pain....and happiness through fear.  Even though it doesn't seem fair that so much heartache is present in one family, we are learning.  God works in mysterious ways.  Our children are our strength, they are so much stronger than we are.  They are the ones fighting, they are the ones overcoming.  They are miracles.

April 5, 2012

Another Eye-Exam

Baby Katea had her follow-up eye exam and this time, thankfully, our experience was completely different than last time.  I must admit, I was nervous taking her back to that office at Primary Children's because of the experience we had at her last eye-exam.....but I wonder if the survey they sent me after her last appointment tagged my account or something because this experience was 100% different....for the better!

Ova didn't have to work that day, so we actually took a family trip to the hospital for her appointment.  Makai was in school so Ova, Mone, Tala, Baby Tea and I loaded ourselves along with all baby's oxygen, monitors and equipment into the Durango and headed to the hospital.

When we got there, the waiting room wasn't very full at all.  There was maybe only 2 other people there, and only 2 kids.  What a difference from the completely full room the last time we went.  I checked in at the front desk and headed to the waiting room to sit down.  Ova was watching the kids play in the little play area, and not even 5 minutes later, we got called back.  So much better than the hours we had to wait before.  So far a much much better experience!  When they called us back, I got up to go, and Ova refused to go back with us.  He's a bit of a baby......especially when it comes to our kids.....he hates seeing them go through any pain.  (Can you imagine how hard it was on him throughout our whole NICU experience??!!)  I hate to see them go through pain too....but I'm the strong one...who has to suck it up.  I'm not complaining though, because I love to be involved in everything with them and I ask a lot of questions just to make sure I'm completely up to date.  I've explained to him how invasive the eye-exam is, and knew there was no convincing him to come back with us to watch it......he actually took the kids to see their other cousins who were admitted there at Primarys.  (that post is coming next)

We went right back and the nurse came in and gave her the drops to dialate and numb her eyes.  Just like last time, it was going to take 30 minutes for them to be completely dialated, so I was thinking they were going to send us back out to the waiting room like last time.  Just as I was getting ready to walk out of the room, the nurse asked if I would like to wait in a private room so I didn't have to take her back to the waiting room.  OMG, really??!!  They have private rooms but last time when there were a million kids, they made us go back to the waiting room.......I asked the nurse why we didn't get to go to a private room at our last appointment and she said they were probably full.  They were open that day because they weren't very busy.  She suggested I call ahead and let them know of my daughter's situation and request a private room so that if they can, they can save it for us.  Nice to know!  In the private room the lights were on a dimmer and that was nice because I could turn the lights down so her little dialated eyes weren't irritated.

We waited there for what didn't seem too long and they came and got us.  The opthamologist, Dr. Dries, came in to do the exam.....he's really nice and always cheerful....he was quick and happy with where baby's eyes were at.  They're still not completely mature, so she's still in zone 3, but he said they're almost mature.....and her ROP is still clearing itself up.  He mentioned nothing about the PLUS disease and he said her eyes looked really good.  I asked him before he did the exam how soon they would be able to tell if she would need glasses.  He said that he probably would already be able to tell already, and that he would double-check when he did the exam.  The results were what I expected.  He said she WILL need glasses, probably within the next couple years....definitely before she's 5.  I'm ok with that....it's really the least of my worries!

Unfortunatly because her eyes were not completely mature, we have to go back again.  We actually have to go back every 2 weeks until her eyes are completely mature, especially since she's on oxygen.  

It was a good appointment....much much much better than our last experience in that office!  Her eyes are not where we want them still, but they're progressing slowly in the right direction and that's all we can ask for!  Yay for progress!

April 4, 2012

Happy Half-Year!

Exactly six months ago from the 26th of March, baby Katea was born.  This is what she looked like at 1 week old.
In this picture she weighed 1 pound 10 ounces....she'd lost a couple ounces since birth.  Her lungs were in critical condition and we weren't 100% sure that she would survive.  She hadn't had her brain ultrasound yet, she hadn't had her chest x-ray yet....there were so many unknowns about her....we didn't know if she would survive, or if she would suffer handicaps or disabilities.  In the picture above, I hadn't even held her yet......she was 7 days old in the picture, I didn't get to hold her until she was 11 days old.  We took it right after baby Cindy's funeral.....it's the first day she really opened her eyes.    Her skin was still thin and see-through....but it had gotten a lot better than the day she was born.  We didn't know much of anything at all....the only thing we did know was that we were so so so happy that she was still alive, and we loved her more than anyone could ever imagine.  6 months ago our lives were definitely changed.....and changed for the better!

Back then, I never even thought about her turning 6 months old, being at home and doing so well.  I never thought about it, not because I didn't think it would happen, but I was so wrapped up in what was going on with her at that time, witnessing her struggles and having to see all the things that she would and could face. 

To be honest, this 6 months have completely flown right by.  I'm so glad I've kept this blog and documented her progress.  There's no denying that she's been through so much, and overcome so much....and there's no denying SHE IS AMAZING! 

Here is my little miracle today at 6 months old

She is so beautiful!  She's a good mix of her siblings....some people say she looks like Makai, others think Mone.  I don't really know who she looks like.....I see Ova in her, and I see myself.  She's beautiful.  She has BIG brown eyes, and it's so funny because when she gets startled she opens them super duper wide.  Ova says she gets her big eyes from me....he's probably right!  haha  That makes me remember the last time she was in the hospital when we were at Primary's.....the nurse was freaking out that something was wrong....I was confused because I didn't know what had changed, she looked fine to me....she said "she's opening her eyes really wide, that's a sign of distress"  I just started laughing and told her she was fine....she just had BIG eyes.  Lol.

I just wanted to record some of the things that she's doing right now as a 6 month old (2 1/2 months adjusted)

-She's wearing size 1 diapers
-She's wearing size 3 month clothes
-She smiles a lot more often now, especially when she's just laying there staring at the ceiling (I like to think she's talking to her twin sister)
-She sucks on her fingers, especially when she's hungry
-She is an awesome sleeper!  She sleeps 9-10 hours at night....and quite often during the day too!
-She just recently started cooing and talking when people talk to her
-She can follow you with her eyes. 
-She's a very very good baby, she hardly ever cries....only when she's hungry
-She doesn't really eat that much, she only eats 4oz every 4-5 hours, and sometimes she doesn't even finish the whole thing.  But she's gaining weight, so her pediatrician is not worried
-She weighed 12lbs4oz at her 6 months check-up
-Her head circumfrance is now 15.9inches
-She measures 24inches in length
-She's still on 1/8th liter of oxygen and is pretty dependant on it
-She's more grabby now, so she's constantly pulling her nasal canula out of her nose
-She hates tummy time, but needs it to strengthen her neck muscles....even though she's getting better at holding and controlling the muscles in her neck, she's not as strong she should be.  We're working on it with her
-She still gets wheezy sometimes, and requires albuterol treatments about 4-5 times a day
-Poor girl is still constipated so she gets prune juice everyday and if she goes too long and gets too uncomfortable, she get glycerin suppositories to help.
-She's a very clean eater....we really don't need a burp rag under her chin (all our kids have been that way)
-Her reflux has greatly improved and is no longer a problem
-Her eyes are still not fully mature, but she's at a zone 3 and her ROP is clearing up....she still has to get eye exams every couple weeks until they're fully mature
-Her head is so flat in the back :(  The NICU did and amazing job at keeping her head nice and round, but since she only sleeps on her back at home, I haven't done a very good job keeping it that way.  We are trying to get her to sleep more on her sides to try and even it out since her head is still soft and formable.....worst case scenario, she'll have to wear a helmet when she's older to even it out
-She gets my attention pretty much 24-7

Half a year is pretty amazing for someone who was born so early.  I'm so grateful for her....the fight she has, her happy and calm spirit, the lessons she's taught me of patience, persistance, faith and love.  Happy Happy Half-Year birthday my sweet baby Katea.  We love you so much!