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recapping 2018 and making new lists for 2019

Oh, 2018, let's recap. To say that this was a hard year is an understatement. Once I left my postpartum storm behind, I thought I was in the home stretch of the usual childhood scrapes and bruises. I spent a lot of time at the hospital for both kiddos. What a whirl it has been since the beginning of the year! From asthma attacks, staph infections, croupy coughs, flus A and B strains to a rare blood disorder that my daughter was diagnosed with. I feel even more exhausted just thinking about what a year its been!

So onto this "new"ish blog. Because I do miss blogging!

Life after these past series of storms begin like this: standing in the center of chaos and wondering, "where exactly do I go from here?" I use to think that I needed to go all in; tackle as many tasks to clear the mess faster/repair the damage faster. But with my fickle heart, I would find something in the thick of cleaning up, a memento or a destroyed shard of something that would give me pause or…

Hope in the midst of darkness

I was originally going to start this blog at the beginning of the year. I had an outline, planned out dates, and jotted down inscriptions with little voice of motherhood wisdom and our faith sprinkled throughout....
Instead, I can't sleep because our daughter is sick and found myself needing to speak out into the void instead of googling symptoms and trying not to break down and cry!
This blog is about finding hope in the midst of darkness.
I thought our journey of hospital stays would end when our premature babies left the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Instead, I confided in a friend that our local childrens' hospital has become a second home. It's not as daunting and scary anymore. It's become an overwhelming epiphany of "same old, same old."
I am navigating the world as a parent to a child with an autoimmune disorder. My daughter has autoimmune hemolytic anemia. You can read about it here.
I'm used to having labels and badges handed to me - moth…

creator and a prisoner

👉”Postpartum Forest,” from my memoir Storm of Hope: God, #Preeclampsia, #Depression and me.” 👈
Sometimes my anxiety manifests in thoughts of things that may happen.  “I can’t go to a play date 10 mins away because I have to cross that freeway that always has wrecks. I’ve been lucky before but what if today is the day?” Or “I have to sit in line for 1 hour waiting for my kid, because if I don’t, she’ll think that I’ve abandoned her. What kind of mother abandons her kid?” These thoughts make my day impossible and I get overly anxious when a plan deviates. I live and breathe routine because if I don’t, I feel off kilter and perhaps, the world will work that way too. . . When I was younger I thought I wanted to travel the world and be the type of spontaneous person who just ... lives. I didn’t imagine I’d be creating for myself habitual patterns, one where spontaneity is both foreign and a thing that’ll incite a panic. . . When did I create this for myself? When did I lose my faith in myself? . . W…

Motherhood Monday #1:

When I was a kid, my parents would always take us on summer road trips across the country. More so by my mom's work schedule then by design, we would end up celebrating my birthday out at some fancy vacation spot. By the time I hit college, I "implemented" a celebratory week. Since I share a birthday in July with my mom (7/8), my niece So (7/11) and Sasha (7/15), and my father in law (7/22), it became a month long party!
This is trivial in the scheme of things - most especially after this weekend. Naturally and selfishly, I've always loved celebrating my day. As I started my parenting journey, my identity is tied to being Ellie and Ro's mama. My birthday, at least, I get to remember all the lovely goodies and memories of who I was before and who I am now, and who I get to celebrate with in the future.
My day.
My cake.
Presents just for me.

Today is the Monday after my birthday (7/21) and I had hoped to reflect on my 35th year, all the ups and downs, and what I h…

Motherhood Monday Series

I miss blogging. I started blogging in 2008, to help me cope with stress as I prepared to get married and graduate with my undergraduate (within a week of the other). It also allowed my relatives in the Philippines to get a glimpse of life here in the States. Blogging helped me tremendously during my anxieties, my depression and within the ten years, all these questions of God, and where I stood in the midst of my fears and faith.
I've learned so much about myself while I blogged, and even though I've mostly deleted its contents, I've kept the ones within the past 6 years - the ones I've deemed "important," mostly because it's the current season I'm in: Motherhood. I'm in the early childhood years of it, and I know as time goes on, it'll change to preteens, teen years....reflecting and gauging the seasons that my children are in. 
I love being a mom. Though there are parts that I wish never to repeat again, and parts that I often wonder why I…

Dallas Promise Walk 2018

On May 19th, I gave this speech to fellow survivors, walkers, mamas, and papas, at the Preeclampsia Promise Walk in Dallas. 

My speech:
I’m Leila Tualla, a believer, a wife, mama to two feisty kiddos.I’m an anxious writer and a terrible speaker.
I was in the fun phase of my second trimester where maternity photo shoots would be scheduled, hospital tours were coming up, and so were the endless supply of baby shower treats.My first child would be born in a sea of pink and polka dots. I was in bliss.
And then I one day, I wasn’t.
In January 2012, about 26 weeks in, I was diagnosed w Preeclampsia.At 31 weeks, I entered motherhood w a baby that needed to be life lighted to a hospital that had a NICU an hour and a half away. It would be her home for six weeks.Those weeks blurred into each other, and I only remember the highs and lows. There were plenty of highs, including her first bath, our first kangaroo care, meeting the grandparents…..I remember when she was upgraded from an isolette to an o…

Preeclampsia Awareness Month 2018

I was told on Mother's Day two years ago, that the NICU was gearing up to discharge us. I spent a majority of that day doing Infant CPR and infant care and then doing a car seat challenge.

There was no "celebration of mom" at our house, but a celebration of the IDEA that my family would be whole soon.

On Feliz dia de las Madres (Mexican Mother's Day), I was holding onto my little man's hand on our way home.

I didn't have breakfast in bed or have a slice of cake. I didn't have any time carved out for "me-time." 

What I did have were little toes and fingers to kiss lovingly....for however long I wish.

I didn't have wires I had to worry about or had to explain to my five year old why and what the alarms that sounded meant.

What I did have was a big helper who knew where the diapers and wipes were kept; who kept kissing on baby brother and who wanted so badly for him to "get bigger so we can play barbies."

What I understand and what I'm g…