Sunday, January 31, 2010

A lazy Sunday with a BIG surprise

This actually happened to us like almost two months ago. But the photos were stuck on my phone and I couldn't get them off until now. Sorry they are grainy. 99% of the time I am known as the girl who always has my camera (just in case) but this time I didn't have it. I was just running to the store to grab coffee and donuts on a lazy Sunday morning. Me and the kids were still in our jammies. Ella asked if she could throw on her Cinderella dress, princess crown and shoes. I said sure and off we went!

While driving there we saw a Hot Air Balloon in the sky (no surprise- we see this all the time in the skies out here). We snapped a photo anyway since it was so close...

We went to the store of our morning breakfast goodies and more importantly Mommy's caffeine fix and as we were driving back we saw that this balloon had landed. But it had a partner with it and it was landing in an empty field. So I asked Ella if she wanted to pull over and watch it land. She was so excited. We pulled down the street and parked the car to watch. After the balloon landed we were sitting in the car and the guy manning the balloon yelled that we could get a closer look if we wanted. I wasn't sure just how close he meant, so we got out of the car and stood on the sidewalk to snap some photos.

Then the guy yells over at me that we can come even closer. Right UP TO THE BALLOON if we wanted. We were like seriously? I had never seen a hot air balloon up close before. We walked over and suddenly were SO SMALL next to it. It was so big and intimidating. Ella was thrilled! But she got a little scared whenever he had to pull the rope and the fire filled the balloon with hot air. The wooshing sound was loud, the fire was a little scary and it was HOT. 212 degrees is the temperature of the air that fills a balloon usually. Holy cow. She looked at me and was like Mommy I don't want to go in there. (which is funny cause I was looking into taking her up in one but I have to wait till she is a LOT older- I was told). We got to touch the basket (which is a lot taller than I expected) and we watched as they prepared to deflate it. They let Ella pose for a few photos before they took it down. Here are the photos we took (she is standing like 150 ft in front of the balloon at least cause we couldn't fit her and the balloon in the frame).


Then we watched it deflate...

What a cool and unexpected thrill for a little girl (and a big girl) to have on a lazy Sunday morning! Ella even got a cool souvenir photo card with photos facts and info about the balloon on it. She looks at it all the time. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Tale of Two Families

Two Families. Two pregnancies. Two similar delivery stories. Two different outcomes. The Carilli Family and their daughter Ella and The Cobo Family and their daughter Lily.

Ella (top) Lily (bottom)

One doctor who should have recognized the warning signs that Ella was in distress and didn't. One doctor who did recognize the warning signs that Lily was in distress.

One doctor who never told us the risks of proceeding with a regular birth as opposed to delivering by C-Section. One doctor who clearly explained the risks of proceeding.

One doctor who did not recommend a C-Section. One doctor who did.

One baby born in critical condition, due to meconium aspiration (the filling of the lungs of a tarry poop like substance usually caused be a traumatic and difficult birth). One baby born perfectly healthy.

One baby ripped from her parents arms and taken by helicopter to a level 3 neonatal intensive care center where she would stay for 11 days and rack up over $30,000 in medical bills. One baby gets to go home with her loving parents who are unaware that their world is about to be turned upside down.

One family was told the State would pay for any amount our insurance company might refuse to pay with the exception of $500. One family was told their insurance company had changed their policies AFTER the Family purchased their care plan and hence they are refusing to pay for their emergency C-Section. That family received a $17,000+ bill.

In spite of their doctor stating repeatedly in writing that she believes the C-Section was necessary because their baby was in distress, the insurance company still refuses to pay. They have actually issued a statement that "fetal distress" is not an approved reason to have a C-Section. Really????????? I can't think of two better reasons for having an emergency C-Section then either mother's in distress or baby is in distress. Apparently they disagree. Or rather, they just worry more about the bottom line and their profits.

This is one example of thousands one can find with a simple google search as to why our Healthcare system in this Country is royally messed up. We have never had a problem with our Insurance company and we are fortunate to have insurance subsidized through my husband's employer. This family has two self employed parents who are on their own when it comes to buying health insurance for their family. They are contributing members of society, hard workers, don't use State assistance for anything and thought they were doing the right thing by waiting till they were financially ready to have a baby and until they could afford to buy medical insurance for their family. And now instead of enjoying the first year of Lily's life her mom has spent hundreds of hours talking to anyone who will listen who might be able to help her family fight the insurance company and get her bill paid. The big kicker, although the bill sent to this family was over $17k due to negotiated discounted contract rates between medical providers and insurance companies Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona would only have to pay the hospital about $6,500 for this C-Section. And yet they would rather this hardworking family scrounge to come up with this money to pay for something that was clearly medically necessary to save their baby's life and livelihood.

Insurance companies do not belong in our hospital rooms or in our doctors offices when we are deciding on care or treatments for the sick or the dying. Insurance companies and hospitals should not be industries that are for profit. This is how our healthcare system has gotten so out of control and why so many people cant get the care or medicine they need. If they were illegal immigrants or on welfare/state health their C-Section would probably be paid for. But they are hardworking middle class family instead facing over $30,000 in bills. I am so grateful that I didn't bring Ella home from the hospital with a stack of $30K in medical bills to go with her. Because we probably wouldn't have had another baby as a result. And it makes me so sad to know that my second baby Ryen was born by an elective C-Section. I didn't even NEED to have it. My doctor did it to give us peace of mind because of what we went through with Ella. And my insurance company didn't blink at paying it. Doesn't seem right that a family that actually needed this procedure cant get the same from their insurance company.

I am disgusted with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. A company I always respected in the past. If they are EVER a choice for us going forward (even if they are the cheapest) I will NEVER choose them as a result of this family and their struggle. If you have them and you can switch I urge you to. In the meantime please show your support for this family. Their story will be airing on Chandler 3 on your side on Monday February 1st, between 5:30-6pm and again at 9pm. They also have a facebook group page you can join by clicking here you can also follow the progress of her case on her blog

If you or anyone you know is an attorney licensed to practice in the state of AZ please consider taking on her case pro-bono. If she had the money to hire an attorney she would have the money to pay this bill. Litigation or at least the threat of it, is probably the only thing that is going to get this Company to do the right thing. It will cost them way more than $6500 to fight her in court then pay for the damn C-Section. They are obviously hoping the more they deny her the more she will lose hope and give up. They obviously messed with the wrong woman!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Cobo (Lily's Mom) this morning for awhile. And she said something I think is AMAZING. Even if the Insurance Company agreed to pay for her C-Section as long as she agreed to go away quietly, take down her website and no longer talk about her case, she is not sure she could bring herself to say yes. Even though her ultimate goal of getting her bill paid would happen she doesn't want them to buy her silence, because she doesn't want ANY other Woman, Mother, or Family out there to ever get blind-sided by something like this. If she can prevent one family from going through this, then maybe it was all worth it. Obviously her and her husband feel very blessed Lily is happy and healthy and GORGEOUS, but they really believe that maybe this is happening to them for a reason. So that they can be an inspiration to others to fight back against insurance companies, and to speak up against injustices to others, and to educate people on the notion that just cause your Doctor who is a medical professional believes a procedure is necessary to save a life, doesn't mean an insurance company will agree. And right now, they have all the power.

What are you willing to do about it? Will you get involved or keep saying, well it is not me so I don't care? What if it is you one day? What if it is a cancer treatment or a life saving transplant and your insurance company decides they care more about their bottom line then saving your life? This is a time in our nation when healthcare reform is in the spotlight and every American has a chance to have your voice heard. Get involved. Get out and vote. Write letters to your representatives. Write angry letters to Blue Cross Blue shield about this case if you want to. Or you can just keep praying it doesn't touch you or yours.

Good Luck to the Cobo Family. Fight the good fight and don't lose faith. Hopefully help will come from somewhere soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 in 10 update!

In late 2007 after I saw the movie The Bucket List, I was inspired. I realize we all probably have a bucket list in our heads, but most have never really stopped to try to put it down somewhere. I know mine has a bunch of stuff on it. It can seem overwhelming to tackle the whole list. So instead I try to be realistic and choose 10 things that I THINK I can accomplish in the next 10 years. It makes it a little less intimidating. I call it my 10 in 10 list. This is list is constantly evolving as new things are added or completed. In 2008 I was able to cross one of my top 10 off my list (having my second baby). In 2009 I was able to cross another one off my top 10 (renew my Vows for my 5th wedding anniversary) BUT, as I said there are so many things on my list than just 10. And guess what!? I was UNEXPECTEDLY able to cross 3 MORE things off my bucket list in 2009!! WOW! The items I have taken off my list are in green. The ones I plan on tackling in 2010 are blue.
  1. Have another Baby (2008)
  2. Renew my Wedding Vows (2009)
  3. Get really fit (2009/2010) (work in progress so staying on my list)
  4. Go Skiing for the FIRST time (2010- going this weekend!!!)
  5. Get on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry (2010- already in progress)
  6. Take my children to Disney (2010)
  7. Take some cooking classes (2010)
  8. Become a runner (2010)
  9. Run a Half Marathon (2011)
  10. Go to Europe (2011)
  11. Become a Brunette (2009)!
  12. Complete a Triathlon (2009)!
  13. Started a side-Business from home (2009)!
  14. Sky Dive
  15. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
  16. Work on a house for Habitat for Humanity
  17. Spend a weekend in New York City
  18. Renew my vows in Italy
  19. Volunteer in my community
  20. Take my kids to the Polar Express
  21. Scuba dive in Australia
  22. Island hop around Hawaii
  23. Visit Chicago
  24. Visit Seattle
  25. Go to Atlantis in the Bahamas... (the list goes on and on!)
Life is shorter than we think it is and too short to put these things off. Here is hoping you all scratch items off your bucket lists or 10 in 10 lists this year. I wish much love, prosperity, happiness and peace in your hearts to all of you in 2010. Wish me Luck on my own goals for 2010!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday to me!!

So I turned 30 again this year. I don't like to celebrate my birthday on the actual day, since it is so close to Christmas (the 28th of December). Last year Jimmy and I celebrated on June 28th. This year he surprised me with a sitter and we had a nice dinner out. The next day I baked my birthday cake with Ella and her friend from next door Rachel! Here are some photo of us playing around in the kitchen and the ugliest cake you have ever seen but the kids loved it! lol

Little did he know that I had surprised him with getting my sister to sit for the kids for 24 hours so we could have an overnight date! I was gonna take him to Sedona but instead we decided to check out the new casino! It was so much fun! First we went and saw not one but TWO movies back to back at the theater! It was awesome! We have never done that ever! Then we stopped home for dinner and then out for our night at the Casino! We had so much fun playing roulette all night! We gambled with the same $30 for like 3 hours ha ha! We had a great uninterrupted night of sleep and slept as late as we wanted in the morning. Lastly, we went to breakfast in the morning on the way home with NO needy kids! Thanks to Lori for that great night! When I got back from these two date nights, Ella had made me a birthday card. Check out the birthday cake she drew for me COMPLETE with CANDLES!! How frickin smart is she seriously? She is drawing so well it is amazing. Here is my card!

Later that day we sang Happy Birthday and ate my monster of a cake!! Hee hee. Here are me and my babies and me blowing out my candles!

Then about 5 days later my girlfriends surprised me with a birthday brunch! It was very sweet and nice to get together with them. They also got me a cute card and a Dunkin Donuts gift card. How cute are they!? I love them... sigh.

All in all it was a great 30th Birthday ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bathtime Fun!! BEST VIDEO at end!!!

The girls took their first bubble bath tonight, thanks to some princess bubbles bought by Nana. I don't know if it weird or not that they hadn't had a bubble bath yet, but you guys know how I am with mess and I wasn't sure how they would handle the bubbles. Anyway, Ryen hated it at first. Did not like the bubbles and wouldn't sit down. I had to keep asking her to sit for photo so there would be no naked parts in the photos (per Daddy's wishes!) Ella liked the idea of bubbles but wanted a wand and to pop them like bubbles outside and when I told her they weren't those kind of bubbles she asked if I could take the bubbles out of the water. But then she warmed up to it! Here is a photo collage (some of you may have already seen this on Facebook).

But now for the best part!! Ryen is talking up a storm lately and was in such a good and fun mood during bathtime that I thought we could capture her talking on video. This video is hard to sit through without cracking up. Trust me. She is just so adorably cute! She even cracks Ella up when she starts imitating Wubzy from Nick Jr. Check it out!! Gosh, I just love these girls to bits and pieces... Enjoy (3 minutes but well worth it!) Thankfully bubbles are covering most of her- hee hee!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Day Photos

Christmas was so fun for us this year. As Ella gets older and understands more we are able to do do way more things. Ryen was actually old enough to sit and open presents and even play with them. Hard to believe last Christmas she was only 10 weeks old. Where did 2009 go??? We have two before and after photos that I just LOVE...

Santa's cookies before and after

Ella loved looking at the bites he took and reading his letter to her and Ryen!

Christmas tree before and after!

This was the first year that Jimmy didn't let me put ANYTHING under the tree until Christmas Eve. Usually we would have some presents from their Aunts/Uncle/Grandparents, a few from us and one from each other under there. But when Jimmy was little the tree was always completely empty till Christmas morning. I have to say, it did make it more exciting and we got more of a wow factor from the kids in the morning. The photo on the right doesnt do it justice. There were so many presents it was ridiculous. The presents also filled under the tree all the way back to the wall. There were presents on top of each other, presents filling the floor and seats of the Barbie Jeep! It was insane! And we LOVED it! So did the kids! Santa was good to The Carillis, and thanks to Black Friday and Mommy going out at 1am to shop it was good on our wallet too! Woo Hoo!

Here are collages of the girls Christmas Experiences. First Ella:

And Ry Bunny:

Ryen was hilarious! She would not get out of the Barbie Jeep for like the first half hour of opening presents. We had to bring the presents to her and let her open them in the Jeep! But she loved it!

And lastly, mine and Jimmy's Christmas experience:

These are a few individual photos of some of my favorite shots of the morning!

Pretty girl!!

Crawling under the tree for gifts!

Christmas is fun!!

Lounging in the jeep!

Couldn't wait to drive it!

And my FAVORITE photo of the morning:

"This is SOOO exciting!" ha ha! :)

Then my sister Lori and her family came over for Christmas. Ella and Ryen played with their cousin Livvie and then we all had a nice ham dinner. We exchanged presents and had some yummy fudge and treats for dessert! It was a nice conclusion to a very relaxed Christmas. My first one with family in 6 years! Here is a collage of our day with them! (PS Check out the Tu-Tu I made for Ella to wear on Christmas day! My first and ONLY tu-tu I will EVER make myself.)

Guess what? Exactly 10 mos from today I get to put my Christmas Tree back up!! ha ha ha! 349 days till Christmas comes again! ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Zoo Lights- Christmas Eve Tradition

So our annual Christmas Eve tradition is to hit The Phoenix Zoo for their annual ZOO Lights event. This tradition was started between us and our good friends The Palevskys. They are Jewish and didn't have a whole lot to do on Christmas Eve and Jimmy and I didn't have any family out here and no one to spend Christmas Eve with. So it worked out perfect for us to hang out together and hence our tradition was born!

This year my sister Lori and my niece Livvie were able to join us. The kids LOVED it! They ate popcorn, drank hot chocolate, got these cool light sabers, and of course ooh'd and ahh'd over all the lights! They also got to ride the carousel on the way out which they loved! It was another fun Christmas Eve for us and we were home early enough to put the kids to bed so Santa could do his thing. Here are some collages and then some individual shots of some of my favorites from the evening! Enjoy!

I love this photo of Livvie and Ella!

I love the beautiful trees in all the different colors...

How amazing was the new peacock they got this year (in the middle)??? Awesome!!

My favorite photos of the night:

Me showing Ryen my favorite zoo lights tree (they have it every year!)

Good times for us grown ups...

...and good times for the kids!! :)