Walking, Horses and Preschool

 

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Here we are in November and I am ready to provide a huge update (remember I have not posted since February).  Peyton started walking in March, right before her second birthday!!!!  We were ecstatic and so thankful to Peyton’t team of therapists that helped get her there.  Back in March, Peyton had about 10-14 hours of therapy per week of PT, OT, Child Development, and Speech.  We had been driving to LA to the NAPA Center(Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center) once or twice a week for 3 hours of therapy/day and we finally felt like Peyton was ready to handle an intensive therapy session, which is 3 weeks of therapy for 3 hours a day, focusing on Physical and Speech Therapy.  I have to admit I was not quite sure we were ready for the drive everyday and just the overall commitement, especially thinking about Chad (our 3 year old son (Now 4, as of October).  I am so thankful to our family and friends for their love and support and giving us that extra push that we needed to just do it!  And thank you to my Mom who was there for Chad…it definitely takes a village.  The therapists at the NAPA center are amazing and people travel from all over the world, with many different syndromes and conditions, to attend the intensive therapy sessions.  Our first 3 weeks were amazing, I did not want it to end, so we signed up for a follow-up week in April (I did feel a little bit addicted).  Peyton did so well and improved so much that we have decided to take a break from once or twice a week trips to LA and continue with once a quarter intensive 3-week sessions.  We had a follow-up 3-week session in August and it was awesome.  We will do it again in December.  Whoo-hoo!

In April, we went to see Dr. Miller, Peyton’s amazing Endocrinologist in Florida.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives and as the lead on Peyton’s team.  Brent and I went alone with Peyton for a very quick, 2-day trip to Florida. We were excited to see Dr. Miller and for her to see Peyton.  The night before I had a little meltdown, it hit me unexpectedly, as I realized that I was afraid of what we might hear at Peyton’s appointment.  So many times before I set myself up for a successful Doctor appointment and then I am blindsided by the news that they give us.  The week prior, we had Peyton’s x-ray of her spine and hips, tracking the curve in her spine and any hip dysplasia, along with her quarterly bloodwork, and I was just nervous for the results.  As always, Brent, my amazing husband, reminded me that this is why we see Dr. Miller, if there is something wrong, she has the answers and the experience, and will tell us what we need to do.  She sees hundreds of patients a year with PWS, she does a lot of the research, she is the expert, this is why we fly to see her every year and we are never dissappointed.  I am happy to report that Peyton’s appointment went extremely well and we went home with a prescription for orthotics to help with Peyton’s stability.

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In May, Peyton started Hippotherapy (Horseback riding therapy) and she absolutely loves it.  She loves her horse, Bliss, and she is gaining more and more confidence.  She loves to kiss and hug him and feed him apples and carrots at the end of therapy.  Peyton works with a speech therapist while she rides Bliss.  The Center where Peyton rides had their annual fundraiser and they asked Peyton to be one of the riders.  They had 1,000 people at the event.  Peyton rode her horse, waiving and blowing kisses to the crowd.  It was truly magical to see her out there.

In July, Peyton received her orthotics.  I was so excited to pick them up.  We ordered the ones with little pastel flowers on them and pink straps.  I have never seen a little girl rock orthotics like our Peyton.  I could see the confidence in her the minute she put them on, they help to increase her balance and stability.

In August, Peyton started 4 hours/week of Behavioral Therapy to help with some of the behavioral issues that can come along with PWS.  We are finding this therapy extremely helpful.

In September, Peyton started Preschool, TYPICAL PRESCHOOL!!!!  This was huge for us.  Peyton and I would take Chad to school and she started saying, “I want to stay”, and I realized that we should look into that.  Here is my 2 year old giving me the advice.  Her preschool is amazing, they have small classes with two teachers, which seemed like the perfect environment for Peyton.  I looked at a special needs school that was wonderful, but for Peyton, I did not feel like it was the right fit.  Peyton is progressing so well and  we do not want to limit her.  She is so capable and we will do all that we can to help her achieve.  Achieving doesn’t mean typical or special needs school, achieving means that she is being challenged, not to a point of full frustration, but challenged to where she is thriving and confident in herself and her abilities.  We will not limit her and we refuse to make assumptions for her just because she has PWS.  We are committed to helping Peyton to be the best that she can be.  She is already perfect in our eyes.

2014 has been an awesome year.  To see Peyton’s progress is just unbelievable.  I feel like we are in a good place, a place where much of the fear has been replaced with hope and possibility.  We have so much hope for our sweet Peyton.  We see her progress and we see all of her possibility.  I look forward to updating sooner rather then later…  ha ha, famous last words.  XO

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Wow, It Is 2014 Already!

IMG_2261Happy New Year!  Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted and one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to post more regularly to update everyone on Peyton’s progress.  To start, we are SO thankful for 2013.  At the beginning of 2013 I made a day planner (I know, who uses those anymore), and on the cover I had printed “Making Miracles Happen in 2013”.  To summarize everything that happened last year, in April, Peyton stopped using her G-tube (feeding tube), she started crawling in July, she was standing (assisted) in August, in October her G-tube sight was surgically closed (no more leaky milk from her belly-I know, gross, and her scar is healing beautifully), in November she was officially cleared of her oxygen (goodbye oxygen tanks!!!), she started talking  (baby-talk, mama, dada, chad, tickle-tickle, kitty-kitty, etc), and she took her first steps on Christmas Eve (the best Christmas gift EVER)!!!!  She is not walking yet, but almost.  So all of this equals miracles in 2013!

In November of 2013, we participated in the One Small Step Walk for Prader-Willi Research.  These walks are hosted all over the World.  In 2012, we attended the walk and I cried the first moment I introduced myself and told them that Peyton had PWS.  In 2013, we set up a fundraising page, our family and friends walked with us, and we raised close to $10,000.  We were overwhelmed with the generosity, love, and support.  It was truly an uplifting event that offered so much hope and the greatest part, ALL of the proceeds go towards research.  In 2013, $1.3 Million was raised through these walks. This year, we hope to start a walk in Orange County.  To be honest, I am hoping to have the courage to take that on:)

We have learned so much from Peyton.  She has taught us to accept help, to tell our story, to share our deepest thoughts, emotions, struggles, and triumphs.  Peyton has taught us that we are more capable than we ever imagined.  She has taught us pure joy.  She gives unconditional love and in return she has taught us the true meaning of unconditional love.  I think back when Peyton was diagnosed and I remember feeling like this was not our plan, having a child with a disability was not our plan for us, for our family, and most definitely not our plan for Peyton.  We acknowledge that although this was not our plan, that this was part of a greater plan.  It is a challenge when God’s will is not  your will, but trusting in God’s plan for us is comforting.  Relinquishing that control is freeing, knowing that we are not completely in control of the plan is also terrifying (If you know me that probably doesn’t surprise you since I am such a planner).  I have to admit, it makes it easier to trust in God’s plan since it has already proven to be more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.

So in 2014, I am going to focus on being brave, being brave for my family, for Peyton, for PWS; to dream, to dream big; to believe, to believe in miracles; and to trust, to trust in God’s plan.  During this journey, I will never stop doing all that I can for a cure, I will never stop praying for a miracle, I will never give that up.   Peyton is amazing, and we are crazy about her.  She has such a sweet spirit, an absolutely infectious smile, and she is just magical.  Peyton has no doubt changed our lives for the best.  She has taught us to believe again.  To believe in the possible, the impossible, and most of all in miracles.  She is a very special little girl and we are so grateful to have her as our little girl.

So my mantra for 2014:

Be Brave, Dream, Believe, Trust….repeat, repeat, repeat

I cannot wait to update all of you with Peyton’s progress in 2014.  XO

Happy Mother’s Day!

IMG_0684Happy Mother’s Day!  Wow, it is amazing to think that it was just a year ago this weekend that we received Peyton’s diagnosis.  I am in awe at the progress we have made in this first year, the progress Peyton has made and the progress we have made as a family.  I do not even know where to begin.  March and April have brought big changes.  In March, Brent moved the office from Sherman Oaks to Torrance, and on April 1st, we moved our family from LA to Orange County.  Where do I begin…we are just so happy to be here. While we most definitely miss our friends and family in LA, we are thrilled to be in such a family friendly area and so close to my parents!

But, there is more!  On April 14th, we flew to Florida to meet Peyton’s specialist, Dr. Jennifer Miller, which was truly awesome.  After Peyton’s diagnosis, we started reaching out to other families that had children with PWS, and we heard over and over about Dr. Miller.  I called her soon after and was amazed that her nurse passed my call directly to her.  I spoke with Dr. Miller for 20 minutes about Peyton, what we needed to do now, and that it would be best to see her when Peyton was a year old.  So… we started planning our trip.

Our meeting with Dr. Miller far exceeded our expectations.  We went into the meeting with some anxiety.  We felt like we were in a really good place with Peyton, that she was making so much progress, and we really did not want to have to focus on what was too come.  Not that we were in denial, but this first year has been a roller coaster of emotion and we were just enjoying where we were at right now.  Dr. Miller gave us so much hope for Peyton and her future, she eased our anxiety, and made us feel like the potential was endless.  We now feel like Peyton is currently under the care of the best doctor for her.  PWS is a rare condition and where some specialists see 10 patients a year, she sees 450.  People come from all over  to see her.  We know that the right regimen for Peyton, therapies, growth hormone, supplements, and support, will make a big difference in her future.

Peyton turned 1 on April 18th, it was such a happy day with so much to celebrate.  Then on April 22nd, Peyton’s G-Tube was removed (her feeding tube).  I cannot tell you how happy this makes us!  Peyton is eating enough food on her own that she no longer needs it.  We are in a really good place right now and we are so thankful to everyone for their support and prayers because we feel like they are being answered.

Peyton has taught us so much in her first year of life, she has refocused us on what is really important.  She has taught us to slow down and enjoy the little moments, to cherish our time with our families and our friends, and that beauty shines most brilliantly through the imperfections.  This is the best Mother’s day ever.  I love my amazing family.

Happy New Year

DSC_0165_2 DSC_0167_2Happy New Year!  I know, it’s February, but still, Happy New Year.  I am so happy to finally post in 2013.  We are looking forward to an amazing year.  We look back on 2012 with a mix of emotions.  I struggled to post at the end of 2012 because I was struggling with my feelings.  I was feeling sad.  I do not like to get down especially when I see such amazing progress with Peyton.  She brings us such hope and inspiration, but there are times where the sadness can still be overwhelming.  I was sad because I just don’t want anything to be wrong with Peyton and it is difficult for me to let go of that wish.  I guess, I will never let go of that wish.  That is where the sadness comes from.

So, yes, there is sadness, but overall, I can honestly say that we are happier than we have ever been.  We have found true, pure happiness.  It is like Peyton has allowed us to feel so free and alive, and to let go of so many of the little things that really don’t matter anyway.  At a time when we could be so sad, it is amazing to me that we have never been happier.  I think it is the sadness that has allowed us the freedom of feeling the overwhelming high of happiness.  As I acknowledge the sadness, it is the happiness that we feel most often, it is the happiness that always outweighs the sadness.  We live for the joy, the hope, the happiness.

So that brings me to our anthem for 2013, “Carry On” by FUN.  I am just crazy about this song.  To us, it is uplifting and inspirational.  They say “if your lost and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, Carry 0n”, and that is exactly what we are doing, carrying on.  So when there are days or times that I am sad, I remember, I can carry on, this too shall pass.  I know it gets better, back to happy.  “No one’s ever gonna stop us know, cause we are, we are shining stars, we are invincible, we are who we are”.   This is our 2013 anthem, it inspires us to make a difference, here at home, in the PWS world, and everywhere…to make a difference in this crazy world of ours.

To sum it up, in 2012, we learned a lot about life, love, family, and hope.  We found less to complain about, not more, and so much more to be grateful for.  So…here is to an amazing 2013 full of love, laughter, strength, happiness and miracles, lots and lots of miracles.  Lots of love to everyone.  XO.

Perspective

I have always known that life is so much a matter of perspective, that “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  I have never had this tested as much in my life as I have now.

As I was ready to post my blog last week about perspective, I was challenged with my own perspective.  As I try to stay positive throughout this journey, I was struggling.  A few months ago, my sister, Holly, met a guy who runs a rehabilitation facility in the LA area, the NAPA center (Neurological and Physical Abilitation center).  Holly  has been asking me to go and check out this facility.  People come from all over the world to this facility for intensive treatment, both traditional and non-traditional therapies.  I went last week with Peyton for an evaluation.  Let me say, the NAPA center is an amazing facility and we are happy we found it.  The people there were loving and accepting, completely understanding and comforting.  Thank goodness, since the minute I opened my mouth to introduce myself, I started crying.  Once again, (if you have read my previous posts) I was overwhelmed and shocked by my emotions.  In that moment, I felt as if, out of the blue, someone ran up to me, shoved me to the ground, smacked me in the face, kicking me as hard as they could while yelling, “Your daughter still has PWS!”   You would think I would be used to it by now, explaining our situation, being overwhelmed by my emotions, but no, I keep being taken by surprise, caught off guard.  I know that I am not in denial about Peyton nor my emotions, it is just difficult at times because she is doing so well and when you look at her, it is hard to imagine that there is anything wrong with her.  When I go to a new place and have to introduce myself and Peyton and tell our story, it just brings up all the emotion from the day we were told of Peyton’s diagnosis.    After the evaluation and my experience, I was trying so hard to find the silver lining, to keep a positive perspective, but I couldn’t get out from under my hangover of emotion.

Today, I brought Peyton for her first therapy session.  We have therapy 6 times a week at home, so we have chosen to use the NAPA center for some non-traditional therapies, most specifically CME or Cuevas Medek Exercise.  This is a form of physical therapy that exposes a child to the influence of gravity.  Peyton’s first session was painful for both her and I.  She cried through the first session and subsequently, so did I.  It was extremely challenging.  We call Peyton the WBB, the World’s Best Baby because, quite simply, that is exactly what she is, the World’s Best Baby.  She has the sweetest demeanor and she is just the most loving, easy-going baby.  She does not cry a lot and when she does, she is easy to console.  Today, was the most and the hardest she has every cried.  About 35-40 minutes into our hour long session, I had enough.  I knew this therapy was helping Peyton, but that was all we could handle for today.  I left there feeling sad.  I was sad that Peyton had to go through this, through therapy, through PWS.  At the same time, I wanted to stay grateful for finding the NAPA center (Thanks Holls).

Tonight, I was holding Peyton, she was sitting on my lap and she was so aware of her body, holding her head so straight, using her arms to support herself, engaging her stomach muscles, and there it was…the silver lining.  I couldnt’t help but say to her, “we are doing it, we are doing it, Peyton.”

Happy Thanksgiving

I feel like it has been so long since I posted.  So much has happened these past few weeks.  There are so many things I want to write about, where do I begin?  We attended the One Small Step walk for the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, we had a doctor appointment with a neuro-opthamologist, and, drum roll please…Peyton sat up on her own today!!!!

A few weeks ago, we attended the One Small Step walk for Prader-Willi Research.  It was amazing to be a at the event, to meet other families and children.  We met some wonderful families who had children with PWS who were thriving.  We were able to talk about new developments, and the impact of early intervention.  This event was so positive.

A couple weeks ago, we had an appointment with the neuro-opthamologist.  Children with PWS can have trouble coordinating their eyes, a condition known as strabismus or crossed eyes.  Prior to our appointment with the doctor, I made sure that I prepared myself for any outcome.  We know that there are potential challenges that can come up thoughout Peyton’s life and I now that I have to prepare myself so that I do not fall apart when we are faced with a new challenge.  We know that there is power in knowing.  That knowledge helps us move forward and face the challenge directly.  Well, I am so happy to report that there is nothing wrong with Peyton’s eyes that is related to PWS.  She has a couple of astigmatisms that are symmetrical, good sign, and we will recheck her eyes before kindergarten.  We were thrilled, absolutely thrilled.

Peyton sat up on her own today!!!!!  I want to keep saying it because it makes me so happy.  Peyton sat up on her own today!  She just woke up today and decided that it was time for her to sit up.  You can see that she is so proud of herself, but not nearly as proud as her Mom and Dad.  I cannot put into words what this means to us, to see Peyton thriving.

This is a time of year to be thankful, to remember everything that we have in our lives to be grateful for.  I am so grateful for our life, for our kids, for our family and our amazing friends.  I can honestly say that I have never had more in my life to be grateful for.  For that reason, this will be the most amazing Thanksgiving.  I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving full of lots of love, joy, and an abundance of thanks.  Lots of love to all of you.

To Be Loved & Accepted

This past week, I went to my first Mommy & Me class with Peyton.  I had started Mommy & Me with Chad when he was 6 weeks old.  It was an experience that I really enjoyed.  It was my time together with Chad, meeting other moms and babies, talking about all of the struggles, experiences, and joys of being a new mom.  It was such an amazing support system and we met the most magnificent people that have become some of our closest friends.

I wasn’t sure I was going to participate in a Mommy & Me class with Peyton.  I had thought about it a few months ago, and I knew, emotionally, I wasn’t there yet.  Recently, as Peyton has improved and progressed, and as we are feeling more comfortable with our new schedule, I have felt like this was the right time.    During our first class, I was unexpectedly overwhelmed.  I must say there was a moment when I thought it would be best that I excuse myself, fight or flight.  When it was time to introduce myself and Peyton, I was flooded with emotion.  Having to discuss Peyton and her diagnosis was all too much for me.  This was the first time I had been in a room full of moms and babies the same age as Peyton, and sometimes when I verbalize the words “Peyton has Prader-Willi Syndrome”, it just hits me that wow, Peyton has Prader-Willi Syndrome.  As I was sitting in the room, I felt for the first time a feeling of judgement.  This was not coming from the others in the room, it was more of an internal feeling, it was a fear of Peyton being judged.  I do not want Peyton to be judged, now or ever.  I don’t want her to feel different.  I do not want people to define her by her diagnosis because she is so much more.

This brought me back to an article I had read recently in my newsletter from the Prader-Will California Foundation.  A question was asked, “Does anyone’s child or adult child with PWS experience bullying and if so, how do you help your child/adult child respond to it?”  The father that responded told a beautiful story about attending the special olympics with some friends.  He noted that while the athletes were playing, he saw in the short distance three teenage boys making fun of the kids.  He walked over to them and although he was angry and frustrated, he decided to take a different approach.  The father smiled at them and told them how fortunate they were to be born in good health.  He went on to say that these kids are the kindest people they will ever meet and that it is not their fault that they have a disability, and really, all they want is what you want – to be accepted, loved and respected.  The boys were taken aback, one even had tears in his eyes and  before he knew it, the boys were playing with the kids from the Special Olympics.

No matter what your situation is, if you have a disability or not, we truly desire the freedom of being loved and accepted for who we are.  As we get older, I think we care less about that, but we still care.  Brian Tracy wrote it perfectly, “the greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”  Isn’t that so true?  Isn’t that the greatest gift that we can give to others and such an important gift that we can teach our children?  To be loved and accepted.  To love and to accept.

Thankful

Thank you to all of you. Thank you for all of your support, and for your words of encouragement. We feel so fortunate that we have surrounded ourselves with such magnificent friends and such amazing family. I was scared to open up and to share some of our closest, deepest emotions. Thank you to all of you for making me so thankful about my decision.

When we were told about Peyton’s diagnosis, it was devastating. That night, our world changed. There is no doubt that this has been the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my adult life. After the doctor’s discussed Peyton’s condition and gave us some details about Prader-Willi Syndrome, Brent so gracefully thanked them and let them know that we needed some time together to digest this information. After they left the room, we cried, we held each other, we held Peyton, and Brent looked at me, and he said, “We will love her so much”. Those were the first words Brent said to me. At a time when our future had changed forever, our expectations were unknown, and we were flooded with emotion, those were his first words. So, when you say these amazing things, when you write such beautiful messages, please know that I wouldn’t be here, in this place, if it weren’t for my amazing husband.  I am so thankful for Brent, for his courage, his strength, and his unconditional love.

When I think about going through this journey, I cannot imagine doing this with anyone else. I always knew I married the most amazing man, the perfect man for me, and when he handled Peyton’s diagnosis with such grace and such positivity, in that moment, with all of the emotions, through all of the devastation and sadness, I fell in love all over again. I knew, right then, that we were capable of doing this, we were going to be able to make Peyton’s life amazing. What I did not know, what I had not realized, was that she was going to give us more than we could ever give her. She was going to change our life forever. For this, Peyton, we are so appreciative and thankful for you.

I am thankful for so many things, for our family and our friends and the amazing support that we have received, for our beautiful children, Chad and Peyton, for my amazing husband. Thank you to all of you for supporting us and pushing us on this journey. We are so thankful for all of you.

Perfect, Just the Way You Are

The other night, I was reading with Chad, our 23 month old little boy, before bed.  We were reading Corduroy.  I am sure many of you have read it when you were little or maybe you have read it to your children.  For me, it had been a long time since I had read that story.

To summarize, Corduroy is a little bear that lived in the toy department of a big department store.  This little girl, Lisa, spots Corduroy and says to her mom, “Look!  There’s the very bear I’ve always wanted.”  The little girls mom responds by saying “I’ve spent too much already.  Besides, he doesn’t look new.  He’s lost the button to one of his shoulder straps.”  As the Mother walks Lisa out of the department store, you can see that they are both so sad to part.  Corduroy had not realized that he was missing a button, and so that night he goes looking throughout the department store, in search of his lost button. While on his search, he is found by security and placed back in the toy department.  The very next day, the little girl was one of the very first customers to come in.  She grabs Corduroy and says, “I’m Lisa, and you’re going to be my very own bear.  Last night I counted what I’ve saved in my piggy bank and my mother said I could bring you home.”  When they got home, Corduroy looked around and saw that right next to Lisa’s bed was the perfect little bed, just for him.  Corduroy says to Lisa, “This must be home, I’ve always wanted a home!”  Lisa sat down with Corduroy on her lap and began to sew a button on his overalls.  She said to him “I like you the way you are, but you’ll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened.”  “You must be a friend,” says Corduroy, “I’ve always wanted a friend.”  “Me too!” says Lisa as she gives him a big hug.

I finished putting Chad to bed and went into the living room.  I grabbed Peyton and held her tight.  I couldn’t help but start crying.  I felt so much the way Lisa did about Corduroy.  We will do everything that we can to help Peyton to become the best that she can possibly be.  With her therapies, all of her doctors appointments, her growth hormone shots….we will sew on her missing button.

In life, it is easy to get carried away with perfection, when really, perfect doesn’t have to be perfect at all.  To us, Peyton, you will always be perfect just the way you are.

Am I Really Doing This?

I want to reiterate how excited I am about starting this blog, and at the same time, I am also so terrified.  I keep thinking, am I really doing this?   I consider myself to be more of a private person and here I am getting ready to put some of my most personal thoughts and feelings on my blog.  It both terrifies me and liberates me at the same time.   The last few days, I find myself overcome with ideas, thoughts, and topics to post on my new blog.  Before I do that though, I feel like I need to address my purpose for this blog, my hopes and goals.  I want this blog to be insightful, into the life and journey that we are on, and most of all, inspirational.

I want to share an essay titled, Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley.  This marks the beginning of our journey.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

We love Italy, we planned for Italy.   We are now in Holland and Holland is beautiful, Holland is full of the most amazing things.  We are crazy, madly in love with Holland.