Take Me Back Anne

This time of year is amazing for many reasons – lots of birthdays, Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years, etc. but also (arguably at the top of the list) chocolate covered cherries – and not just any chocolate covered cherries but ONLY Queen Anne.  

I have loved these dangerous little morsels for as long as I can remember. In fact tonight we purchased the largest box known to man (refer to picture) – when I realized they are so much than cordials. That $5 investment is able to take me back to a time when my life was so hectic that I was able to live on them for 6 + weeks.

You see, Ella was born on November 26th, 2008 and my maternity leave was anything but enjoyable. Between many doctor appointments for her cleft, no sleep, pumping to feed her, and working from home – Queen Anne kept me alive. She allowed me jiggle Ella (in attempt to stop the 6 hours of daily crying), answer emails, and not kill myself because it only two seconds to pop one of those chocolates in my mouth. Anne truly is a queen.

Now two years later, after recently celebrating Ella’s 2nd birthday, those Queen Anne memories don’t seem so bad. Don’t get me wrong, that time was the hardest challenge I have ever survived, but not even comparable to all the joy that Ella has brought to our lives in her 2 short years.

I know, I know – life is about more than chocolate (sometimes) so I should probably update on some of the recent adventures at Leschisin Petite Ferme.

As I mentioned, Ella turned 2 on November 26th, but she has been celebrating for the last month and will probably claim everyone’s birthdays as her own for the next year. She has sang Happy Birthday to herself more times than I can count and is constantly asking me for “birthday cake.”
<---She really likes cake!

Today I met with Birth to 3 in hopes of getting a new speech therapist. At this point my expectations are low, but that way it can only go up from here :D

On a brighter note, I was fortunate enough to have my contact information shared with the President of St. Mary’s Hospital, to whom invited me to a breakfast meeting in early 2011. The meetings are held once a month and attendees include local business and health leaders. I am hoping to be able to share Ella’s story in hopes that changes can be made to the existing program to help future children & families affected by clefts. I am very excited and view this as a huge opportunity to continue to spread Cleft Awareness.


Much Needed Update

I know I know – it’s been a long time, but for some reason I have just felt like I haven’t had much to write about. I still feel that way, but I know people like to know what is going on in our lives, but more importantly what is happening with Ella.
So what’s new? Prepare for a long journal post:

Wedding update: The last time I wrote Joe and I had just gotten engaged. Since then we have managed to make some wedding plans that we are pretty excited about. We booked our location, photographer and DJ – next step, a caterer – which will help to make other decisions once I know what they will and will not be handling on that day.

Family update: Over Labor Day we went to Joe’s parents and were able to get some free time to ourselves, which is very rare and much needed. Before we set off on our own we took Ella to Fawn Doe Rosa. We went there last year too, but this time she was big enough to fully enjoy it.

We were also able to travel back home for Kael’s 3rd birthday and Ella had so much fun. She rarely gets to hang out with other kids outside of daycare so she loves anytime we get to spend with our family. She also really loved Kael’s new bike, as you can see! She walked around wearing that helmet forever. Even though she looked a bit special, I didn’t stop her from doing it cause I figured it was something she probably needed anyways.


In the beginning of October Shawn, Heidi, Paige & Claire came to stay with us over the weekend. It was nice to get to spend some time with them and especially for Ella to play with her cousins. We made a trip to the Madison Children’s Museum where we were able to get a great view of the Capitol. I wish we lived closer and could do that more often. Next time we are going to have to go visit them and eat caramel apples in their living room ;-)

Ella update: We have continued speech therapy, with no real results and a lot of frustration. Our mid-program review is tomorrow so hopefully that will shed some light on therapy success, we’ll see. In the meantime, we had Cleft Clinic last week Friday where we were able to meet with the speech therapist who specializes in children who suffer from clefts. It was a very beneficial meeting and he really took the time to observe her. This morning I took her in for a second opinion and that appointment was great. We plan to pursue this new option and are crossing our fingers that it may be more beneficial. After Cleft Clinic we went to have Ella’s hearing tested where we learned that her hearing levels are down a bit and one of her ears is retaining fluid. Based on that, we decided to schedule her for her next surgery, November 10th to replace the tubes that have fallen out. I am nervous for her to go under anesthesia again, but in all honesty – this surgery is nothing compared to the ones in the past, and I am hopeful that her increased hearing levels will allow her to hear us enunciate words more clearly and hopefully help her speech!

Now we are just enjoying the beautiful, changing fall colors, pumpkin picking and anxiously awaiting Halloween.


The Sky’s the Limit

First, I apologize for the hiatus from blogging. I have attempted to write numerous times over the last month, but it never felt right- so I chose to skip it vs. posting to just post. It was probably a good decision because some major events happened in the last month that have inspired me to blog in a positive light. **Forewarning, since it’s been a month – this post may be long, but I won’t be offended if you stop reading, I too have A.D.D.

About two months ago, Joe and I discussed the fact that we were in desperate need of a vacation so I told him to plan something (I always plan) and keep the details to himself so I could have something exciting to look forward to. The weeks ticked by as I patiently waited for the 3 day weekend I was longing for. Finally August 20th came and it was time to kick back and relax.

We went to my parents house to drop off Ella on Thursday night so we could get an early start the next morning. On Friday we got up and set off on our departure, I was still clueless where our final destination would be.

We made our first pit stop in Lancaster to grab some coffee at a cute little shop. As we traveled on we saw a sign for Potosi Brewery and of course made a quick detour, come on everyone loves beer! For being a small town, population 700, their brewery was amazing! We moseyed around, had some lunch, chatted with the locals and moved on.

At this point in our travels I had determined we were on our way back to Galena, IL. We went there right before we had Ella (Oct ’08), to spend our last time together when it would be just the two of us. I loved the first trip, but didn’t know that it meant that much to Joe, until now.

The first time we were there we took this picture:

On Saturday morning Joe mentioned that he wanted to update the picture we took in Grant Park. We had kept the camera in our room (air conditioned) and the temps outside were sweltering, so when we got there to set up, the camera was completely fogged up and the test pictures were not turning out. Joe was persistent on the fact that it had to work, and I was getting annoyed by the fact that it was taking forever :D Finally I offered the use of our other camera, sat it up and returned to my bench to wait (patiently, of course). I heard him hit the button, but he only had 5 seconds to sit down and he was slowly coming up on my left, when he should have been running to sit down on my right. I was a bit confused, but figured since it was going to take a series of pictures, it would be fine.

As he got closer I began to turn and this is what I found:

While I realize we have been together for 5 years and have a baby together, I was 100% genuinely surprised. I had NO idea he was going to ask me to marry him. Not only was I surprised, but I was HAPPY and so proud of the fact that he was able to surprise me and put so much thought into his proposal.
I don’t remember all of what was said, but I do remember the look on his face and how big his smile was. He was beaming with excitement. I know he asked me to marry him twice and I responded with, “Are you serious? Of course!” I didn’t cry and neither did he, until he sat down to tell me about the rest of the festivities for the day. He talked about how much my post “Meet You at the Treetops” meant to him and how the only way he could get me to the trees was on a hot air balloon. So touching and thoughtful. I am one lucky girl, and so is Ella. Cheers to being Joe, Kelly & Ella Leschisin on September 17, 2011!


Manic Monday

Wait a minute….it’s not Monday, it’s Tuesday – maybe it feels like Monday because this day went about as well as most typical Monday’s do. Or maybe I am just too excited for next weeks vacation Joe and I are taking or it could be the fact that my workload is just too large right now, but it feels like I cannot escape this week! Seriously.

I would pay $1,000,000 (if I had it) to go back to sitting around the campfire this past weekend. We attended the 1st Country on the River festival in PdC this past weekend for my mom’s birthday. It was filled with lots of family, fun and country music. It was not only Ella’s first music festival, but also her first time camping. She did great and loved dancing the night away with Grandpa Stevenson and playing with lots of cousins. Grandma bought her glow bracelets that she was fascinated with. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and for a first time event, everything went really well. I will go on record stating I have a crush on Blake Shelton – he was a great performer and pretty good looking. That Miranda Lambert is one lucky gal.


Hump Day

I have tried to write a post three separate times tonight and wasn’t happy with any of them – so here I am. My biggest issue is that I tried to post three times and didn’t… which means I am over analyzing my writing vs. just getting my thoughts out there …which I vowed to not do. So, I am going to blame it on Hump Day.

Had a crazy, crazy day, filled with work, doctors appointments, Cleft Awareness, Kella, etc. The moral of the story;
We met with our surgeon and Ella does not have any scheduled surgeries in the near future. The hole in her palate is almost non-existent and he doesn’t think it’s contributing to speech issues, so that’s great news!

We had our first pediatric orthodontist appointment. First, the Children’s Dental Center is phenomenal and I am 100% positive my childhood dental visits were not like this. We met with Dr. Dowd, who specializes with children with clefts —she is amazing, I really like her. She could potentially be the most helpful person we have met in this entire process. I will cross my fingers. She says Ella’s teeth look amazing and everything is lined up really nicely. She currently has all of her teeth, except her 2 year old molars. She may be missing a tooth next to her front tooth, but we will not know that for sure for a while. If so, no big deal!

Ella met with her speech behavior therapist for the second time. This time she was observed at daycare. I have not yet decided if this is speech or behavior therapy. No matter what, our therapist, has offered lots of useful tips on how to minimize tantrums and stop the biting, so …if something good comes from this, I will be happy! In the meantime I have been working extra hard with Ella to learn more sign language so she can better communicate her needs.

I was able to make a great contact in regards to making jewelry for Cleft Awareness. Julie, from Heart & Stone Custom Jewelry has been amazing and very helpful so I am really excited to see if something can come of this relationship. Although I am super excited to make something, I want to make sure I take my time and make the right decisions so that I like it for a long time. Lets be honest – we all know I have A.D.D. – so it could still happen :D

Ok kiddies – it’s no longer Hump Day so I am going to sign off for now. I will leave you with this: