Tuesday, July 14, 2015

hotel living truths.

We have been living at Homewood Suites for a little over a week now as a family of 4.
These are few truths I have learned about hotel living thus far.

1. unlike a dorm, or even apartment living ... our neighbors are not here as long as we are. 
we have many times said hello to families with kids on our floor (or at the communal breakfast times) and have always been met with a very reluctant and suspicious hi back.
wyatt even offered to take the luggage cart back downstairs for a man, he felt very uncomfortable with us asking ... but in truth, wyatt just wanted to ride it down to it's place. ha!
the good in this is that the kid who liked to jump on the bed and stomp across our ceiling was only here for 2 days, and the dog next to us that kept trying to open the door was only here for an evening.

2. people love themselves a free meal. 

it doesn't matter if it's the breakfast or the simple salad and cheese and cracker tray out at dinner time. the ways that people can manage to fill a plate (or three) amazes me.

3. taking down my personal coffee cup in the mornings signals the staff that we are not the typical short-term visitors.

we have met some really great staff here at homewood suites. they are friendly, accept daily hugs from our kids, and truly wish us luck with the home selling/buying and with john starting his new job.  in several ways they are becoming friends.  which is super beneficial when my boys want a blueberry muffing with the case is out.  (or so i say because i really wanted it)

4. my kids do better in their own rooms

i know lots of parents love to have their kids sleep together, but it is not beneficial in our house. haden still is a very loud breather while he sleeps which causes wyatt to get less quality sleep.
when haden begins to wake at 5am, he runs over to wyatt's bed and begins banging him on the head in excitement that his best buddy is in the room with him. oy!
a terrible combination when mixed together
oh Lord, help us survive these next 6 weeks in here.

5.  giving wyatt a key card was genius

first of all wyatt had to spend about a week in the hotel with us, proving to us he knew how to get to our room from all doors and front desk/food areas.
now that he has his very own card ... FREEDOM i tell you. not only does wyatt feel like an adult, but he's super helpful. I send him on errands several times a day. just today he changed out the laundry, got me an apple, took a tray back to the food area, and back down for extra coffee creamer.

6.  we are all starting to feel the tightness 

we miss the ease of a backyard play area, being able to sit on a soft couch, and not always HAVING to be in a room with someone else. there is so little alone time here for any of us.  Even now as i'm typing, john's on his computer 4 feet away doing his own thing ... several nights i've watched shows on my tablet WITH HEADPHONES as to not disturb him.  it's funny how i just miss watching tv with normal sound.

7. i never knew a rotisserie chicken with microwavable mash potatoes would ever taste so good.

it had been weeks for john and i of constant dining out. sure we ate at some nicer restaurants, but that first meal as a family, in our hotel room, using both office chairs so we all can sit at our tiny table. the four of us cleaned that whole chicken dry, and the kids slept wonderfully that night.

8. i worry too much about a 'proper' dinner for our family.

one night we all ate corn dogs. that was it. nothing to go with it, just corn dogs. it wasn't awesome, but they were microwavable and in that moment that was good enough.
another night we had frozen lasagna and nothing else. we ate it and were happy enough.

9. hercules is a great cat

he doesn't meow, he sleeps most of the day and plays throughout the night. he lets the boys look at him for a moment before he disappears again. i never expected him to be this great. he must just feel happy to not be left at home alone anymore.

10.  swimming everyday is fun and exhausting

the boys love the pool. i love that it is only a short walk down the stairs to it.
it's really awesome to watch them giggle and play, and that 45 minutes is full of giggles.

Friday, July 10, 2015


As to quote the Disney cartoon Little Einsteins "I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!"

I, Kara Rocha, Married to one John Rocha CALIFORNIAN, am sitting here in a hotel suite in DENVER COLORADO still in somewhat disbelief that the last 8 weeks just happened.

First of all. John had been contemplating Denver for the past 4 YEARS.   He has been researching the dynamics of the city for years and lead by God decided it was time to move his boys to the mid-west style of life.

I have known that he was considering moving since the end of OCTOBER.  That's six months from first thought that MY husband would ever move out the bay to actually doing it. AHHHH!

From the moment John submitted a resume ....  to (no joke) hours later with the first phone interview ... to me sitting here now ... GOD has lead this process.  
My parents were visiting us the first week in May John flew to Denver for the in-person interview. They painted and touched up our walls and baseboards just incase we would need to sell.

About a 3 weeks go by and there is no yes, nor a no.
Our preacher gives a great lesson on God truly wanting the BEST for his people,  and God is WANTING to give you a YES to whatever your question to him is. At the end Shane said something like  "ask God for your yes this week and wait to how much greater his yes to you will be."  So I waited ... and I prayed in the car a lot that week. I realized deep in my soul that I wanted that YES. I wanted to move out of the Bay Area. I wanted that Mid-West style of calmness, family, and lifestyle.  Sunday came and I felt a bit discouraged. I wanted a YES, and didn't get it ... I got silence. So I prayed that day to remember God's timing.

Monday, May 18th,  I'm at a therapy session with Haden and I check my email. 
John has sent me an email from the company he interviewed with.  It is an job offer. 
And it has everything. From a good wage and benefits, to paying for a moving truck and a 2 month stay in an extended suite hotel. This company WANTS John. 
We sat at the table that night and there was no "no" for us to say.   A few hours later we called my parents and Memaw to tell them the news.

It took us about a 10 days for it to sink in enough to start telling our friends we were moving.

We have spent 6 great years at our church.  And we loved it.
We have had Granny Gerry and Papa Garey in our home apart of our lives for the past 3 years. And we deeply love them.
I have made lots of good mommy friends, and how do you leave that behind?

By the time word had gotten out about our move. It was already June and the typical end of school year chaos has began.  Last play dates were scheduled, but the rush of it all and the time of year made it not feel sad or real at all.

They boys had a few days in our home after school ended before I flew them to Ks.
They spent from June 10 until July 5th with Grandpa and Grandma. And they were so happy there.

John stopped working on June 12th. He made a quick trip to Denver on the 14th to settle us into a hotel. He found a great spot.

We packed and packed and did have the opportunity to visited with friends until our moving truck came to take all our belongings away on June 23rd. (except a few items and a few suitcases of clothes in which we will survive on until we own a Denver home.)
It took John and I until the 26th before we left the bay.  Something was always more important than cleaning the house. (like the 2 hour lunch we had with the Castles & holding baby Sophie one more time)

John, Hercules, and I had a nice drive together. We left about noon on the 26th and went to Las Vegas. We stayed at a beautiful resort at Lake Las Vegas and started our drive to Denver around 8am the next morning.  We enjoyed listening to old podcast of  Click and Clack, quietness, and not packing/cleaning! We made it to Denver about 8pm and were happy to be done with the drive.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


2 Corinthians 4:8

we are hard pressed on every side,
  but not crushed.
perplexed ...
   but not in despair.
   but not abandoned!
struck down,
   but not destroyed

Here's to a new year 
    To rebuilding and strength.
    To trusting and standing firm.
    To growing more of the fruits of the spirit.

Forgetting the struggles of the year behind.
Prayerful to be blessed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Post-Surgery update

Haden went into surgery on Monday May 7th.
After being put on general anesthesia, Haden's throat was scoped and they found that he indeed needed supraglottoplasty (which involves cutting the tissue of the aryepiglottic-above the vocal cords- opening the airway).  The doctors also found evidence in the throat tissue of gastroesophageal reflux.  Haden also had ear tubes put in.

Dr. Messner came and spoke to us when the surgery was over. She said that the cuts this time were "harder and deeper" than before. She suspected that Haden would have a rougher recovery than in December. We asked her what caused the laryngomalacia to come back and she said that Haden's throat tissue is just soft, while breathing that soft tissue is being pulled (approx. 30 times each minute) until it stretched enough to cause stridor and make breathing difficult once again. She also said Haden's reflux irritates the throat tissue making it more suspectable to being soft. Unfortunately at the end of our conversation she mentioned that until the swelling goes down and Haden we will not know if he will again need surgery a few months later.

John and I were soon called into the recovery area to see Haden. He was still struggling through a breathing treatment and was in great discomfort and pain. The breathing became less labored and soon we were taken into our very tiny short term stay room. Haden struggled in not wanting to taking liquids and napping (as it was a shared room until late at night.)  Finally about supper time, Haden took 3 bottles and fell asleep. When the room cleared out about 10pm - the nurse allowed me to lie down to sleep with Haden. He and I were up every few hours with pain ... but his O2 stats stayed constantly between 97-100 so we were released to come home.

After getting home Haden has continued to heal. He slowly has been getting his full appetite back.  Haden is getting his full energy back as he played with Grandma and Memaw.   He is yet again trying to keep up with his big brother.
There is still stridor in his breathing, although much quieter. And he continues to be on medicine for reflux.  Yet we wait ... hoping what we currently hear is still swelling from surgery, but secretly preparing ourselves for yet another -tougher- round of surgery, if it should come to that again.

To end on a positive note
    Here's a video of Haden joining Wyatt in the sprinkler on Wednesday afternoon.
Our joyful baby has not been brought down one bit by his breathing nor hearing adventures.
     his JOY always makes me grateful of the Lord

Friday, April 13, 2012

Here we go again .....

We should have been sharing this with you all along.
We were waiting on some answers before alerting the masses to Haden's needs.

In order to start this post, I first need to give you a bit of history.

Haden has been diagnosed with  Laryngomalacia - this simply means that the tissue in his neck is floppy.  In the extreme cases the tissue of the upper larynx collapses inward during breathing.  Laryngomalacia is actually common among newborns; however 99% of them grow out this within the first 2 months of life. Haden is one of the extreme cases, but not severely extreme - and for that we thank God!  Haden has strider (which is very noisy breathing), reflux, and mild sleep apnea, feeding problems (see previous posts about Haden's inability to suck), slow to gain weight,  and failure to thrive (not meeting developmental benchmarks) ... all of which Haden had prior to his original surgery December 5.  The severely extreme cases also include blue spells in which the baby actually turns blue from the lack of oxygen.  Haden has never stopped breathing nor turned blue.

                                           *healthy throat                        *floppy throat

   In December Haden underwent his first surgery. They used a laser to cut out the extra tissue instantly causing Haden's O2 stats to jump from 96% (his normal) to a 100%. A small miracle in our hearts.  Also in the 4 months since surgery Haden has gained 4 pounds. Another miracle we are constantly amazed at. He started sucking on bottle - although still pulling off the bottle to breathe, and his tight muscles loosened and mobility started.
   About a six weeks ago we took Haden into a hearing test. He failed it. The audiologist said that he had so much fluid behind his ear drums that the drums were unable to move causing him to not register sound. I cried that day.  We've been in our pediatrician's office every week since to monitor the ear drum fluid. Without an infection Haden went on an antibiotic.  It did relieve some pressure, but fluid still remains behind his ears.
   On Wednesday John and I took Haden back to Lucille Packard to meet again with Haden's Ear/Nose/Throat surgeon Dr. Messner. We had our list of things ready - sleep apnea, still noisy breathing, and of course the fluid behind the ears.  Dr. Messner walked into the room and didn't speak, she just listened. She checked Haden's ears and then scoped his throat again. She asked us about his speech development. He's only making a few sounds.      and then it came ...... her recommendation.

surgery again.  
   less than 20% (of the 1%) who need the laryngomalacia surgery also need a second round to cut more tissue.
PLUS .... ear tubes, followed by a repeat hearing test the next week.

On Wyatt's 4th birthday, May 7, we will be taking Haden back into Lucille Packard for his surgery.  
He will again be in the hospital at least one night following the procedure.

Although you never hope for your child to be sedated and sent into surgery, we are hopeful for even more growth. We are so excited about Haden's progress in the past 4 months. He's even taking 3 steps now! (see video - notice the sound of his breathing too)

We feel blessed to have you all praying for success. (again!)
  & we thank you for all the love you show when life gets tough and complicated.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a weekend away

John and I were blessed to have Friday night until Sunday afternoon to disappear kid-free time together.

We sat in a cabin, in the mountains of Sonora California.
We listened to the melting snow.
We didn't talk. We just sat in a cabin in the quiet.

We read the bible and books.

We breathed in the fresh air surrounded by redwood trees.
We were refreshed and revived.

We took a nap - after breakfast!

We went to bed late and watched 2 movies in one evening.

We ate breakfast at a restaurant.
We ate dinner at a restaurant .... and did not feel rushed.

We made goals for our family.
We gave those goals to God through prayer.

We felt confident in the care our kids were getting.
We did not text but once or twice a day ... and no phone calls.
We missed them ... but let go of the stress that is caring for kids.

We talked.
We had full complete conversations.
We listened to each other
We were reminded that we do fit well together.
We like each other, we are not "just in love"

A weekend away .... so filling for the heart, the marriage, and the family.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm in disbelief.
 I've prayed much thanks the past few hours.


I went out with a friend leaving John to get both boys in bed. After a long day of 2 short naps Haden was asleep before John even finished strapping the diaper - let alone taking any milk.

After I came home I decided to try and "sleep feed" in hopes Haden wouldn't wake in a few hours and I could sleep through the night.  I made the usual thickened milk bottle and worked the nipple into Haden's mouth. And with him still asleep that's when I first heard the foreign sound and felt the pull on the bottle. He was LATCHED and he SUCKED!!! He dream fed a whole 2.5 ounces!!! Another huge success since until that moment Hadens max milk intake had been less a single ounce. Amazing!!   Unfortunately he still woke about three hours later. This time he was fully awake. As I put the bottle in this time ... He didn't latch and he didn't suck.  The dance of bottle in bottle out swallow soon started. It took about 8 minutes of this before it happened again .... I felt the tug in the bottle and then heard the sound. Haden was awake and sucking!!!! It surprised him as well. His eyes got huge as he keep sucking and forgetting to breathe (a very usual occurrence even when he nurses and the milk starts the let-down process from his gnawing). I pulled the bottle loose and he caught his breath and reached for the bottle again. This time he swallowed he breathed and drank 3.5 ounces worth of milk.  It was hard for me to fall back asleep after all that excitement.

Here's to hope of more bottle latching and sucking in his future.
Here's to stronger muscles thanks to our now two therapists who work weekly with Haden. 
And a huge thanks to you who have all at one point prayed for our tiny Haden to begin developing physically!
God is listening and teaching Haden the things that I cannot.