we have had our fair share of skin problems on the island. our pediatrician and dermatologist have both said it takes a while to adjust to hawai’i and staph is a big problem here. the weather is a perfect breading ground for germs. jack broke out into a weird rash while we were in seattle. i took him into three separate doctors and none of them had any idea what it was. initially they thought chicken pox but it never went away. i had an appointment with a dermatologist but we moved before i could get him in. the bumps were itchy and he would scratch until they would bleed and scab over. this went on for months. right as we were moving they seemed to be going away. i figured it was a virus and was glad it was over.


mosquitos are everywhere in hawai’i and jack seems to be their favorite treat. he keeps getting bit and he scratches to death. he ended up scratching a few bites that ended up swelling and oozing. i kept them covered with an over the counter antibacterial ointment. the bites seemed to only be getting worse. i took him into the doctor and he said it was staph. he explained to me that staph is super common here. not to worry and to put mupirocen ointment on it and start antibiotics. he gave me 10 refills of the ointment so i guess it really is super common.


we finished the antibiotic and jack started getting the weird bumps again. the same ones he had in seattle. i made an appointment with a dermatologist who got me in right away. hawai’i gets a bad wrap for their healthcare but i can tell you the doctors offices and er’s aren’t overcrowded like they are on the mainland. we’ve been to the emergency room several times here and never have a wait. the doctors are friendly. we’ve met a few that went to school or did their residency in seattle. we’ve always gotten our issues resolved and been happy. i know there are some procedures they don’t perform here and you have to go back to the mainland for but for your regular illnesses they’re fine. the dermatologist said the bumps are eczema. i was shocked. this isn’t the eczema my other kids had. jacks looked more like chicken pox than dry itchy patches. the doctor gave us a steroid cream and said to come back in a few weeks. we repeatedly asked if it was something in his diet and he said no. i have a hard time believing i can’t clear up his skin by clearing up his diet and what he comes in contact with. i don’t want to coat him in steroid cream nightly if i can cure him naturally.


i decided to talk to my friend. i’ve mentioned her before when i touched lightly on jacks eczema (enlightened homemaker on instagram) and we came up with a plan to get rid of whats causing the flare ups not just mask it. she helped me chose supplements that will clear out the candida and settle the allergies and inflammation. i’m also cleaning his diet up. focusing on eating vegetables, fruits and healthy meats. cutting out dairy, gluten, corn and soy. i’ve already noticed an improvement. i’ve been using lavender and melaleuca essential oil on the bumps that haven’t broken through the skin to soothe and help stop the itching and inflammation.


we are keeping on this path and trying to heal him from the inside out naturally. that poor boy has been through so much and needs to detox all the medicine that he had with his surgery at 2 weeks old. theres nothing worse than feeling hopeless and having doctor after doctor tell you they don’t know whats wrong with your child. its such a blessing to have an answer and see we are making progress. any of you moms out there with kids that suffer with eczema here are a few tips i learned early on, when ava and henri both dealt with it- don’t use any detergent with synthetic fragrances and chemicals. i’ve talked to a lot of friends about eczema and the first thing i ask them is what detergent are you using? stop right now! i’ve even had them tell me just stopping that made a world of difference. there are a lot of all natural, dye and fragrance free detergents that work great. make the switch. i also got rid of any soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners that contain fragrance and dyes. exchanging those chemical filled products for natural ones made a world of difference in my older kids. jack seem’s to be a little more tricky. probably because his start was a lot tougher and from birth he was pumped full of medicine. i’m so happy to be seeing improvement in him so quickly.



wow this year flew by! i can’t believe how much catching up i’ve done on the blog over the last two days. feels like a weight lifted! seattle is treating us so good. the summer was amazing, the fall was beautiful and its been a treat to have an actual winter. i am cold a lot. i’m not used to that. in my mind december should be a nice 70 degrees. i’m really craving a warm day. for christmas we decided on a family trip to hawaii. we surprised the kids with a swimsuit and few hawaiian trinkets. they guessed it right away. we leave in 2 1/2 weeks. i’m so glad its not a secret anymore. i almost slipped up so many times! henri is doing so well. ivan on the other hand has terrible allergies. i’m not even sure how since nothing is blooming. i told him he needs to get allergy tested maybe his constant congestion is a food allergy??




henri got his tonsils out. we talked to his doctors back in arizona and they said he needed them out. they are constantly infected and he gets strep far too often. they said it would help with post nasal drip irritation and snoring. his doctor here agreed. he recovered like a champ and is doing great.





henri also got a haircut. doesn’t he look so handsome and 10 years older! he loves it.





meat and bread is in seattle! we’ve only been to the vancouver location. so nice having one down the street. i got the meatball and loved it. ivan got the traditional porchetta.





i’ve had trouble finding great donuts in seattle. i like the traditional pink box donut shops from back home or a gourmet donut. seattle can’t seem to get it right. mighty-o are good cake donuts but they don’t have those light fluffy fresh donuts like other places. another big chain up here makes the donuts at a separate location and ships them up, thats not fresh! general porpoise was pretty darn good. the vanilla is my favorite. its not the kind of donut shop that you order a dozen. i want to say they’re almost $4 a donut but for a sweet treat they hit the spot.





my cute little ramen date. i love this hat on him. he really is so much fun!





ivans brother and his wife came to visit. we had the best time with them. i wish they’d move here! see what i mean i’ve got 20 layers on and i’m still cold.





love for paris





jacks figured out what rain boots are for. he loves jumping in puddles.





via tribunali has easily become our favorite date night spot. its close, usually not too crowded and delicious.







i called our previous cardiologist that we loved back in az. dr. stock and asked him for a recommendation for a cardiologist here in seattle. he gave me the name of one he highly recommended and actually did rotations with when they were in school together. it’s a scary thing leaving a doctor you love and who knows everything about your baby. dr. stock was the first cardiologist we talked to once we got the diagnosis. he sat down and drew a picture for me of jacks heart and a healthy heart. he explained every detail of jacks surgery. he answered all my questions. we formed a bond and felt nervous moving on to a new doctor and new hospital. we thought about keeping dr. stock and making the trip back to az for check ups. we were still watching his asd and weren’t sure if it would need to be closed or close on its own. needless to say we knew we needed a doctor close to home if he did need another surgery we wanted it to be with a doctor we established care with and in a hospital here where we could be together as a family. not thousands of miles away.

we went to jacks appointment nervous. hoping his asd closed on its own but preparing that if it hadn’t this would be the time they would make the decision to close it. he did so great sitting through his ekg and ultra sound. it felt like it was dragging on forever. i laid next to him and sang songs, fed him snack and watched tv. waiting for the doctor to come in feels like torture. we met the doctor and he told us his asd closed!!! no surgery. the biggest relief ever. we go back in a year for another checkup. he’s cleared to be as active as he wants and has no restrictions. this miracle baby is one tough guy.


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the parks in seattle are amazing. probably because if you’re lucky enough to have a yard its tiny. we took the kids over to discovery park the other night while ava had a church activity to attend. if you park by the visitors center you can walk the trail over to the tennis + basketball courts and the playground. the zip line ended up being a total hit with henri + elle while jack loved the big yellow swing. we had the whole place to ourselves and the kids had a blast!

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jack was having terrible social anxiety. he would scream and cry every time a stranger walked by. he’d yell “mooooooomma, person..person.” crying the whole way to me. initially it broke my heart then i started wondering if i need to take him to a doctor or someone that can help us get through it. luckily he seems to be over it and doing much better. i think it was too many changes all at once. i was talking pictures of him when someone walked by and he freaked. i got a few shots of him before scooping him up. this is real life and i don’t want to forget these moments. the good and the bad.

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here he is, happy again. the person had walked by and he was back to his normal self. how quickly kids forget!



we love hummus around here. the kids love anything dip. sour cream, ranch, salsa, frosting its all dip to them. i love that it gets the kids to eat their vegetables. hummus is one of those dips that is actually healthy while being delicious. this is our absolute favorite recipe. i don’t buy hummus from the store anymore, this one is so easy and tastes way better. jack was my big helper. ignore that he’s in his undies. keeping clothes on him is difficult these days. i’m really going to miss cooking in this kitchen when we move. the kitchens in seattle are tiny!













1 can garbanzo beans, drained

3 Tbsp. tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. cayenne (we likes ours to have a kick. use less if you don’t like it spicy)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. olive oil

combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor for 20 seconds. while the processor is running drizzle in olive oil. serve with warm pita bread + veggies.




this past week i’ve had that nagging feeling i needed to donate blood. you are able to donate every 8 weeks and right when i hit my eight week mark i start getting the calls. asking me if i can donate again. then the emails. i had three emails in my inbox in the last week alone all with donation spots close to my home. somehow the days flew by and i hadn’t made it to donate. last night was another chance to donate. i had promised henri a date night and by the time we got home it was 7:40 and i had forgotten all about it. i sat down and checked my email, there it was in my in box. united blood services taking donations at my church building until 8pm. i grabbed ava and said lets go.

ava has never gone with me to donate blood. she knows i do it. she is scared to death of shots and needles. i have to admit i was the same way when i was little and up until i had my first baby i would freak out at the sight of a needle. i didn’t sign up ahead of time so it took a little longer than normal. we had to go through all the questions. they were so kind to her down there. she got to eat as many snacks as she wanted and they talked to her about the importance of donating blood. the phlebotomist explained that every bag we donate saves 3 lives, that they separate the blood into platelets + plasma + blood. each are used for different traumas. she also said they need 700 donations a day to keep up their supply and get nowhere near that. so they are always in a deficit.

ava was so loving. she held my hand and rubbed my arm (the one that wasn’t having blood taken) it was sweet to see her being the brave one. telling me it was ok. usually i’m consoling her at the doctors office. i could tell she was nervous for me and she didn’t want me to feel nervous. i assured her i was fine and i am happy to donate blood. my veins are huge and i fill a bag quick. i don’t have side effects. i’m ready to go the minute i’m done. how can i not donate. there was a young boy donating next to me. maybe 17 or 18. i wanted to hug him. i wanted to tell him how awesome he is. donating blood out of the goodness of his heart on a tuesday night on his summer vacation. he could be out with friends, at a movie. but he chose to be here doing this. his mom must be proud.

jack had two blood transfusions when he was in the hospital. one the night before we found out he had TAPVR. i remember the nurse waking me up in the middle of the night and saying they would have to transfuse him. i was so out of it. it felt like the first time i had sleep in 5 days. i said ok and dozed right back off. she woke me up again and said i need you to sign for the blood transfusion. shocked i said “BLOOD TRANFUSION???” what?! no!! i said i guess i didn’t understand what you were saying. they did so many tests and X-rays. it was all blurring together. i thought it was just another test. she brought the doctor in and he explained jacks body was shutting down. he was no longer making new blood. i was raised jehovahs witness. (i no longer am) we were not allowed to be given another persons blood. i remember every field trip permission slip my mom would write -do not give blood for any reason. all over it, in capital letters and underlined. it was ingrained in me that we don’t take anyones blood. for anything. so being faced with this decision was very difficult. ivan and i talked about it. the doctor explained this was his only option. i cried. he was given his first transfusion. a tiny bag of donors blood. i called my sister the next day. i told her how i was worried about telling my mom. she is no longer jehovahs witness either. we’ve never talked in depth about it but i know she would have done the same thing. when faced with the decision, you do whats best for your baby. he was given his second transfusion during open heart surgery. i am forever grateful to those donors that saved jacks life. i often think about who they are. i look around when i’m donating and think it could have been one of these people. i wonder whose life i’m saving. a baby like mine. someone with cancer, a mother a father.

life is precious. life in unpredictable. you never know if that could be you or one of you family members in need of a transfusion. having that blood available is so important. i hope to encourage anyone who is able to give to do so. it is one of the greatest gifts you can give. if not the greatest. to save a life is invaluable. its quick, virtually painless and usually very convenient. united blood services  set up all over the valley. get on their email list and they will let you know when they are in your area. thank you to all that donate. you are a hero. you have touched my life and saved jacks.

Go here to donate




i remember when we were in the hospital with jack.  after his open heart surgery we had a lot of struggles with getting him to eat.  i nursed him and when he was put on a feeding tube i pumped.  until he had a leak in his lymphatic system and had to be put on fat free formula.  he hated it, it upset his stomach.  he would scream and cry for hours.  i remember the nurse telling me “heart babies are difficult babies.”  i was eventually able to nurse him again thank goodness because he had a very sensitive stomach and couldn’t tolerate any formula.

so we nursed and nursed and around six months i introduced solid foods.  he loved them until he didn’t.  he’s a picky eater.  he has texture issues.  he can gag on a dime and throw up even faster.  he will gag at the sight of certain foods.  so we get creative.  i don’t push foods.  i know if i push him to eat a green bean everything else he ate will come right back up too and then we are back at square one.  we had a food therapist come in and she told me to take the pressure off.  make eating fun.  she put food all over the table which is not something i ever would have done.  but when you’re dealing with a baby falling off its growth chart you will do anything they tell you.  so i lay back and i let him choose.  i put out healthy options and i wait.  somedays he eats great and others he barely eats at all.  i’ve come to the realization that the less pressure i put on the situation the better for us both.




anything i can do to make eating fun i will.  when i saw this nuby monster plate and spoon set i knew jack would love it.  he’s into anything monster right now.  he gets so excited for his monster plate and if i can make eating an enjoyable experience my job is done.  i love the side grips on the plate making it easy for him to carry.  the fork and spoon are perfect for little hands and make learning to use utensils easy.  i love the bright colors and design.  if you want to purchase these product you can find them here and here.





i was sent this product to review, but all opinions are my own.




got these new illesteva sunglasses.  i absolutely love them.


initially the chickens made her really nervous.  now i see her out there holding them, petting them.  its really sweet.


our neighbor gave us goose eggs to paint for easter.  if you haven’t seen one in person they’re huge and heavy.  the kids had a lot of fun drawing on them.  they ate them too and said they were good.  i’ll take their word for it.


jack loves watching kinder egg videos on youtube.  its becoming and obsession.


cheering ava on at tennis.  he just yells hi ava the whole time.  its really cute.


it was all fun and games letting jack crash into them with the baby doll stroller until henri got it good.  that’ll teach ya!


ironically we didn’t have church on easter we watched it on tv.  so this was our week before easter church picture.  minus new easter outfits.

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he’s finally starting to pretend play.  i love watching his imagination grow.


i love this swing in the yard.  so does jack.


elle’s date night at zin burger.


catching up on missed homework from being in mexico.  neither one of us was very thrilled.



we had cousins in town for easter.  jack and amelie on the piano.


elle doing ami’s makeup.


ava, always the animal lover.


date night with ava, i love that she still loves little girl things.  i know these days are numbered so ill take as many as i can get.


would you believe me if i told you we are finally celebrating henri’s birthday.  only 4 months later.  christmas day is just a hard day to have a birthday.  anyone else with a christmas birthday out there have any advice for me?  im struggling.





if you know us or have read our other blog then you know our youngest son was born with infra cardiac TAPVR.  its a congenital heart defect that if untreated is deadly.  there is no chance of survival without open heart surgery.  i wanted to talk about CHD (congenital heart defects) today because it is so near to my heart.

– congenital heart defects are americas and every other countries #1 birth defect.

– nearly 1 in every 100 babies is born with a CHD.

– CHD is the #1 cause of infant death in the united states.

– there is no known cause of CHD.

these are just some of the statistics relating to CHD.  no one knows why my baby was born with TAPVR.  we didn’t even know he had it until he was 2 weeks old.  i had a normal pregnancy + delivery.  i delivered jack in the hospital and brought him home 24hrs after delivery.  at a week old i noticed his bowels slowing down and he started spitting up.  i knew in my gut something was wrong. you can read more about that gut feeling and jacks recovery from TAPVR here.  we found out that he needed open heart surgery at 2 weeks old.  i was the most scared and at peace i’ve every felt in my life.

i remember talking to my pediatrician right after we found out he needed surgery, they were getting him ready to be flown over to the hospital where he would have surgery, and i asked her is this bad?  is this really bad?  she said as far as heart defects go this one is very serious but its fixable.  your only hope for survival is surgery.  it hit me not at heart defects are fixable.  there are moms who lose their babies to this. before jack i didn’t personally know anyone with a heart defect.  i really didn’t know much about heart defects at all.

i tell every mom to please pay attention to your baby’s pulse ox test.  its that little red light they wrap around your baby’s toe.  ask what your baby’s pulse ox number is.  they get an immediate answer right after they wrap the light.  it should be very close to 100.  if its not ask to have them re-tested.  jacks initial test registered at 85, cardiac failure.  had i known this i would have asked questions.  i had no idea what that light tested for so i didn’t ask the questions i should have.

jack opened us to a world we knew nothing about.  he also opened us up to a life of heartache + recovery + love + true happiness.  we live every day to the fullest.  we know what it feels like to watch someone slowly die, to not know if you are going to have another 5 minutes with them.  this doesn’t mean i don’t get frustrated or have bad days.  this means i have more patience.  i have less regret.  i tell my family i love them.  i tell people i appreciate them.  i surround myself with positive + happy people.  there’s no time to waste.  be happy now.  life is full of trials.  you weather the storm + you come out a better person.  the trials are real and they are hard but they are here to teach us, to help us grow.  if you asked me a year and a half ago if i was grateful for the trial’s with jack i would’ve have said no.  today i can truly say i’m happy with the mother/wife/friend i’ve become.  i love deeper and am more honest in the things i want for my life and my family.  jack has taught me more than i could have ever learned on my own.

jacks second birthday is april 15th.  a day which at one point i thought he’d never see.  instead of presents for jacks birthday we ask our friends and family to make a donation or drop off a gift to be delivered to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  a place that we called home along with so many other families.










i took jack to the park for the first time and actually let him play. unless you count the one time we were on vacation and i let him swing then disinfected him.  that time doesn’t really count so yeah this was his first time.  and guess what… he loved it!!  i loved watching him play.  we went to the park in our old neighborhood and no one else was there.  score!  i love that park.  we have so many good memories there.  now we are all sick with the worst head cold ever and we’re trying to recover.  guess that’s the side effects of the germ infested park.

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