My Beautiful Family

My Beautiful Family
I am blessed

Monday, June 20, 2016

A new adventure

When I started attending Vanguard University, I learned how involved the Grad Psych department is with Royal Family Kids Camp.  One of our favorite professors, Jeannie Colvin, takes a group of students to volunteer for a week every summer.  The first summer I was in school, my desire to go was so great, but the care of my mom had to take priority.  I let God know how much I wanted to do this, then let it go.  The second summer of school, my school schedule didn't allow for me to attend camp.  I was disappointed again, but again, let it go....

Side note:

 Many of you may not know that last year, Brian and I started the process to become foster parents through Olive Crest.  I can see jaws dropping all over the country.  Yes, we know our children are all grown up.  Yes, we know we are on to a different phase of life.  We know...we know...we know.  Knowing didn't dampen the desire we both have always had to take in a sibling group.  We started the process and rapidly discovered that our schedules were just not conducive to doing foster care at the time.  We accepted that and once again put it on the back burner, knowing God will provide us the opportunity when He is ready for us to have it.

Which brings me to today.

This summer I have the time and the opportunity to attend Royal Family Kids Camp.  I can't tell you how excited I am.  Seriously.  Let me tell you a bit about the organization.  The vision of Royal Family Kids is  for every foster child ages 6-12 to experience life changing camp, club and mentoring.  The mission is to create life changing moments for children of abuse.  This is an organization with the sole purpose of helping foster children know they are LOVED.  Can you imagine being 6, 9. 11 years old and never having experienced the love of another person?  That's the goal here.  For each child to feel the love we all take for granted. 
Every foster child, ages 6-12, experiences a life-changing Camp, Club and Mentoring. - See more at:
Every foster child, ages 6-12, experiences a life-changing Camp, Club and Mentoring. - See more at:
Every foster child, ages 6-12, experiences a life-changing Camp, Club and Mentoring. - See more at:

The counselors and staff who go are put through an extensive interview, background check, and training process.  It's intense. 

How can you help?

Every counselor and staff who goes is asked to raise enough money to cover the cost of one camper.  That's $500.  I think I should be able to raise $500 easily, because I know the hearts of my family and friends.  I would love to cover the cost of 2 or 3 campers!  So far, I have raised $120.00.  I still have a ways to go before I have even met my minimum.  Would you please help me?  Skip going out to coffee or going out to lunch today and help a foster child go to camp instead! 

All you have to do is click on the link at the end of this post.  Find my name (Cindy Burlingame) in the drop down menu, then make your donation.  You can donate as little or as much as you want.  The best part is that it is a tax deductible donation!  Another way to help is to share this post so others can be a part of helping a foster child go to camp. 

Thank you so much!

Royal Family Kids Camp

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Cynthia Burlingame, M.S.

I dreamed but never believed I'd see those letters behind my name.  The fact they are there is proof of two things.  #1:  Dreams do come true.  #2:  God knows the desires of our heart, and fulfills them for those who are faithful in doing their part.  This journey of higher education has been a long and curvy road; it has been one that has brought me to the highest plateaus and one that has ripped me to shreds.  This weekend was the culmination of years of work.  I don't think it has hit me quite yet that I am finished with school...for now, anyway.  What I do know is that there are a whole lot of people that I need to recognize for helping me to the finish line. 

The first person I need to thank is Gerald Parsek.  Many of you see pictures of him on my Facebook, but have no idea who he is.  Let me share a story with you...

When I was in the middle of my 7th grade year, my family moved from Naples, Italy, to Huntington Beach, California.  It was a horrible move for me.  By the time I got registered at the middle school, the year was half way over, and the reality is, all of the kids had known each other their whole lives.  I was not only an outsider, but a weird one at that.  I was a mousy little thing, who would rather have had my nose in a book than pretending to like fashion or boys.  Let's just say, I didn't fit in.  Gerald was an algebra teacher, as well as the Vice Principal at the middle school.  He used to tease me relentlessly, and some days, his teasing was the only attention I got at school.  I wasn't in his math class...he taught ALGEBRA.  If you know me, you know that I am HORRIBLE at math, and couldn't have made it to his class even if I wanted to!  Yet, he still took the time to make me feel like I wasn't invisible.  When I got to high school, and I struggled with math, back to middle school I went.  Gerald was always available to help me with my homework, and to encourage me that I COULD do it, even though I am sure he had to have had many moments of doubt in his mind.  He was the only person in my life who NEVER told me "You're making this more difficult than it needs to be" or "I don't understand why you don't get this!  It isn't that hard!" Several years later, on to college I went, and I didn't utilize his help.  I tried taking college algebra and had to drop it...5 times.  I gave up and decided to take a break from school.   Gerald remained in our lives as a dear family friend, present at all of our significant life events. Many, many years later, I decided to go back to college and give it another try.  When it came time to take college algebra, I was sick. I just knew there was no way I could do it, and that was the ONLY class keeping me from my Bachelor of Science.  I called Gerald, and for the next 16 weeks, he sat with me in the library every single Sunday for 6 hours, helping me work through every homework problem I had.  At the end of the semester, I had not only passed Algebra, I passed it with a B.  All of that to say, that if it wasn't for Gerald, there is NO WAY I would have been able to get in to grad school.  So thank you Mr. P.  In case I never told you, I forgive you for throwing me in the horses trough in Yosemite all those years ago.  Hahahahaha

My Tiaras:  It has been too many years since we have been together, but I have to thank you for your prayers, for your texts and emails and for always believing in me.  Tawdra, we have waited a very long time for this day...let's plan that trip now, because it is WAY overdue!

The next thank you has to go to Don and Karen Metcalf.  They have been a second family to us for many years, and have been there through deployments, helping to raise teenagers, many of moms surgeries, deaths, graduations, weddings and anything else you can think of.  Their support has been paramount in our family, and I am beyond thankful God placed them in our lives. 

I have to give a shout out to Caroll and Harold Long.  I am ashamed to say, if it wasn't for them, my husband would have gone an entire 3 years of grad school with no home cooked meals.  They have been valuable friends for us, as well as amazing prayer warriors. 

Hannah bear.  Alyssa's partner in crime; our adopted daughter, and the one who never fails to come to our rescue when we need someone to take Tank on his walk or feed the dogs.  She makes us laugh and never ceases to amaze us with her talent. 

Gayelee.  My best friend and forever prayer partner.  When I started this program, we saw each other several times week to walk, pray, have coffee, sit in the jacuzzi, etc.  By the end of the program we were lucky to catch sight of each other once a month.  With that said, our friendship never faltered, and her encouragement and prayers sustained me through many difficult nights.  It is rare to find a friend who you can laugh with, fight with, and pray with and know they are going to be there every step of the way.  Thank you G. 

My kids.  My greatest joy in life has been as a mother to these two.  I am so proud of them, and the adults they have become.  They have endured many nights of, "sorry, I have homework" or "can we do that once this paper is finished?"  I hope they have learned from me the power of perseverance and dedication.  I have learned more from them than I could ever have imagined. 

My sister.  How can I even begin to thank her?  For those who don't know, when Brian and I took on the care of my mother, my sister was beside herself, because she lived so far away and couldn't be here to help with the day to day care my mom required.  Instead, she flew or drove out here one weekend every month the entire time my mom lived with us.  While she couldn't get involved in the logistical care of mom, what she did do was so much more valuable to me.  She did anything and everything to make my life easier.  That includes doing endless yardwork, rearranging the house, cleaning house, running errands, sitting in the hospital with me for hours on end keeping me sane and entertained...I could go on and on and on.  She is one of the most generous people I know of, and her sense of humor has kept me from committing crimes I'd be in jail for.  From the day I was born, I was her baby, and that has never changed.  She is my protective mama bear, always looking out for me, always helping me, and always encouraging me.  I could not have survived caring for mom and being in this program without her cheerleading and encouragement.  I even forgive her for trying to kill mom when I was in Europe AND trying to kill me by giving me someone else's pills.  LOL! 

And last but certainly not least...

My husband.  What do I say about a man whose goal in life is to make his wife happy?  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, this man would walk through fire for me.  He is the only person who has walked every step of this journey with me, who has seen me torn apart and ravished by the self doubt and insecurities of self-reflection and been there to pick up the pieces quietly and lovingly.  His mantra through this whole program has been, "Why don't you see what everyone else sees?" 

I don't know too many men who would spend three years living on take out food, or having toast and jelly at 10 pm many nights without a word of complaint.  Most of the time we have been ships in the night, passing each other Monday - Friday and only seeing each other on weekends.  When he took the job at Vanguard, we became pros at stealing kisses as I was getting on campus and he was leaving.  Many nights, we had date nights in the cafeteria before he would go home.  Trust me, cafeteria food leaves much to be desired for a date, but we always just enjoyed that time we had together.  There is no way I could have survived this journey without him, his love and his never ending support. 

There are so many other people I know I'm leaving out, but know that each of you played a significant role in this journey of my life. 

I'm going to transition now for a minute to talk about "The girls"

The girls who walked this journey with me day by day.  The girls who I have laughed with, cried with, prayed with and for, drank with, rejoiced with, complained with, disagreed with, but most importantly the girls who have graduated with me and have become such an integral part of my life, I'm not quite sure how to assimilate to the idea I won't be seeing them every single week from now on.  Just the thought brings me to tears. 

The girls:

Ana, Carrie, Jennifer, Christina and Rachel

Our girls nights out have been my sanity and saving grace and although we are finished in school, those monthly nights are something I will continue to cherish.  I love each of you so much, and I am so thankful God brought us together.

If you are still reading this, I am impressed with your concentration!  Thank you for sharing in this little piece of my journey. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What God doesn't tell us....

I understand fully the concept behind Ephesians 5:31.  However, what God doesn't tell us is how a mama's heart is supposed to handle it.  You have a child, you nurture, love and care for all those years.  Then one day, he grows up and marries and moves far, far away to be with his wife.  All of a sudden, that child who you have seen every single day of his life is gone.  Yes, you can talk on the phone, and text, but when things are hard, and he is homesick, there is no way to wrap him in your arms and tell him it will all work out.

God didn't give mama's a bible verse for this time period in life...

So, I pray.  And pray.  And pray.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mom's memorial

I have been trying for several days to get the video's uploaded to YouTube so I could post the memorial, but it isn't working.  I decided that I would go ahead and upload the text versions of what Carmen, Brian and I all said so those of you who couldn't be there could at least read those.  I'll continue trying to get the video's uploaded, but in the meantime, this is better than nothing!

Mom ~ Cindy

When my dad died 2 ½ years ago, mom had just gotten out of the hospital.  We held off on doing the memorial for 3 weeks to give mom time to build strength.  I didn’t realize until this moment that it also allowed me to be further along in the grieving process.  I was able to speak and hold it together at that time.  I don’t think I’ll be quite so lucky this time around. 
Carmen is going to talk about mom’s sense of humor, which is what she will be most remembered for.  I have had a terrible time trying to figure out what I wanted to say. 
As many of you know, I am the baby of the family.  As such, I can honestly tell you that in many ways, my mother never cut the umbilical cord.  After I married and moved across the country, I spoke to my mom ever day.  Every. Single. Day.  When we moved to California the year Alyssa was born, we saw my parents every weekend.  Brian and I were my parent’s best friends.   When dad died, and it became apparent that mom couldn’t live alone, there was no question that mom would live with us, not because Carmen wasn’t willing, but because in mom’s world, I was always the center. 
The last 2 ½ years, caring for mom has consumed our family.  It has become so much a part of our fabric that Brian sat up in the middle of the night 2 nights ago panicked because he had forgotten to give mom her shot.  We are now looking at each other wondering what our new normal will look like without mom a part of it. 
Here is what I want you to know that I learned from my mom through the years:
  1.  Always help the underdog.  Mom was forever helping people, giving money to those who needed it.
  2.  Adopt strays.  That’s how we ended up with Brian.
  3. Treat dogs as people.  Actually, I treat my dogs better than most people.
  4. Husband and kids come first.  Period.
  5. Unconditional love is always shown to the grandchildren, who can do no wrong…ever!  Kylie, Shawn and Alyssa were the light in my mom’s life. 
  6. Strength.  We always said that mom had no pain tolerance, and she didn’t.  Not for physical pain.  But in the last 3 years mom lost her job, her husband, her home, her health, and her quality of life.  She endured things no one should ever have to go through, and she pulled through each one of them.  When people ask me where I get my strength from I can say that it comes from my mom… she was one of the strongest women I know. 
  7.  Finally, the greatest gift is the gift of laughter.  I will never forget my mom’s laugh…aside from her heart; it was the most beautiful part of her. 

Our Mother ~ Carmen

Those of you that knew my mom personally knew what a great sense of humor she had…there, that’s it…the end!
That’s the way it’s always been regarding mom…Cindy and me…one keeping the other on track. Especially the last 2 ½ years since we lost Dad and Mom took up full time residence at Casa Burlingame! Our sense of humor is what has gotten us through the challenges.  And we have Nancy J. Sasso to thank for that sense of humor!
Now, in preparing this talk and going through all the stories we have about Mom, I realized that most of the really funny ones are not what SHE did or said, but what was said or done TO her! And if I told you some of the stories, you might just report us to the society for prevention of cruelty to one’s own mother!  But….taking a chance that you won’t judge me or us too harshly, I’m going to tell you a few…
Our mother has always been funny…not funny strange, but funny ha-ha.  It always came naturally to her.  She had a quick wit and was a fast to laugh. She also had the ability to laugh at herself.  I don’t know many traits we inherited from our mom, but her sense of humor  is something I am grateful we got.
Cindy and I made it our job to make sure Mom laughed on a regular basis.  One of the first times we had to take Mom to the ER, she fell asleep.  While she was asleep, Cindy blew up about 5 or 6 surgical gloves and I climbed up on the end of her hospital bed and starting playing with the remote.  When she woke up, her bed was 4 feet off the floor and she was surrounded by balloon animals!  I think that may have been the first time the dr told us to take our sense of humor to the other patients and get out of the ER!
As a family, we are always doing things funny…on the rare occasion we could all get together, Mom and Dad loved to play Pictionary.  Usually, the girls would beat the boys, and then the girls would unleash our secret stash of silly string to punish them for cheating and reminding them we won anyway.  Although, I will say, the year before Dad passed away, after 20+ years of being pelted with silly string, they got us back—with at least 6 cans of silly string at once! As you can see, by the pictures scrolling behind me…Uh…I guess you’ll see those at the reception…we love to laugh!
Several years ago, mom started doing things that were so hilarious; Cindy and I told her we were going to start writing a book on her antics.  Last count, we were on something like volume 6, chapter 12! 
Chapter 1 started with her trying to use her library card at the bank to withdraw money
Chapter 2 included the story of when mom asked the dr for a sleeping pill and he prescribed Ambien.  That night after mom took it, we walked into the room to find her licking her cane!  When asked what she was dong, she replied that she was enjoying a candy cane. All of which she denied the next morning!
Of the 12 surgeries Mom had, she usually had one of three anesthesiologists.   Every single time before the surgery, they would come into the room; the first thing mom would say to them is I’M STILL AWAKE!

Chapter 3 started when mom, who as you all know, was a junk food junkie, took to Facebook to rally support for her eating habits.  I got on Facebook one night to find this posted by mom:
"HELP!  I'm being held hostage by a health food nut!  Broccoli, asparagus - NOTHING that is white!  If you have any Twinkies or chocolate chip cookies, send them to me and I will hide them under my bed!" 
Chapter 4 is one of my favorites and was a conversation between mom and Alyssa.  It went like this:
Nana:  "What's that?"
Alyssa:  "Mouth moisturizer"
Nana:  "Let me see" reads ingredients.  "This has sperm oil in in!"
Alyssa:  (takes tube to read ingredients).  "Nana, it's SPEARMINT oil, NOT sperm oil!" 

After Mom’s last surgery, the oxygen mask mom wore had a balloon attached to it, not to mention it was way too big for her face.  Because of that she couldn’t see well while it was on.  At one point, she looked down at her chest and her eyes got really big, and she asked if we had finally gotten the boob job she had always wanted!
As we reminisce about mom from this day forward, , the chapters in the book will continue to grow.  Soon we will be filling it with our own stories, as Kylie, Shawn and Alyssa do the same to us as we did to our own mom.  Thank god, for mom’s sense of humor…it will continue to live on.

MA ~ by Brian

WOW! After talking to Ma Sunday from AZ and seeing her coherent Mon, Tuesday, and Wed morning it’s hard to believe I’m standing here today. But as we are always reminded our plan is not always GOD’s plan.
As you heard, and most of you are aware of ma had a great sense of humor- as Cindy stated, I am the stray of the family. This results from the fact that even though Cindy and I were married 24 years this past Monday I have known ma for 32 years, since I was 19 and a young Marine. I was her neighbor in Naples Italy when I had been in the Corps for only 1.5 years of my 30 year career. It was at this point ma took me in and considered me her son, so much so she even picked places to live that were close enough for me to get to from the Marine Base.
I have so many great memories during my relationship with ma over the past 32 years, both as her son and son-in-law. I’ve seen her through good and bad, provided support during deployments of Bopa, and she did the same for my family and I until my retirement a few years ago.
There are many in this room who are adults now, but were young kids and called Nancy “Ma or Nana”, and many young people here today who have come to do the same over the past few years as they have become part of the fiber in the Burlingame/Sasso Family, it’s just who she was known to be “Ma and Nana”!!!
If Ma, Nana, or Nancy were standing here today she would want you to know and realize the significant impact you played in her life, everyone in this room has been there when it was time to laugh, cry, or simply comfort her when she needed it most.
The last two and half years have been a challenge for ma and our family to say the least, but through it all and because of it, she would want you to understand that we have grown and it has taught us all a great deal. It has taught us to stop/pause on many days to simply reflect that regardless of how difficult some days were, we were blessed in many ways. It showed us, we have a family of great laughter and humor even on the most trying of days. It taught us patience and compassion in their purest sense; it allowed us to reflect on what was really important in our lives.  Those we could count on the most in a moment’s notice, or if we just needed an ear for listening so we could vent. Everyone one of you are present here today.
Ma could not have asked for a better group of doctor’s or care providers during her surgery’s or in her recovery’s,  they were never just concerned with her physical well being, but who she was as a person, so to Krister, Donna, Isha, Dr. Zimmerman, Cooperman, Souza, she thanks each of you as does our family.
I’m not sure ma would know exactly in words or if words could even express her deep gratitude and  appreciation for the women’s ministry at The Crossing Church, who have provided, meals, talks, visits, love, and even care through medical assistance when Cindy and I could not be there for shots or needed medications. Ma loved her Church family who always made her feel important, and needed even on days she was unable to participate. She will forever be thankful for your many friendships and the compassion you have shown to her and our family.
I will close by telling each of you that Nancy, Ma, and Nana says thank-you for being a part of her life. Feel proud and know that whether a friend, co-worker, care provider, or her Church family it took all you to make her know she was loved and a friend to many. Never take life for granted and cherish each and every day that you have. Hug everyone, and always take time to spend with someone if possible or at least a minimum provide a friendly smile and hello!!
I will miss you ma, I’m so grateful and thankful for all the times I have shared while being a part of your life, but I know I will see you again, with no pain, no hurts, and just a big happy smile!! I love you with all of my HEART your son!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vaccine thoughts...

I have been putting off writing this post for quite awhile, mainly because I know it will not be a popular post.  I realized today that I must write it, because evidently some are finding my postings on Facebook upsetting to them. 

There is a HUGE divide between the people who are pro-vaccination and those who are anti-vaccination.  Those who are pro-vaccine, enjoy posting posts that give all the thousands of reasons why everyone should vaccinate their children.  Those who are anti-vaccine, enjoy posting all the thousands of reasons why everyone shouldn't vaccinate their children.  Welcome to America.

Here is where I stand on the issue.  I am neither pro-vaccine, nor am I anti-vaccine.  What I am is a mother who cares very deeply for what gets injected into my children.  You see, many of you don't know, but my daughter suffers from an MSG allergy. She has also suffered for many years with IBS, otherwise known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It was upon discovering these conditions that I began to research food, drugs, and yes, vaccinations. 

I am not going to preach about why you should or shouldn't vaccinate your children.  I believe the majority of parents do the very best job they can with the information they have.  What I am going to say is that for those of you who encourage ALL vaccinations...have YOU done YOUR research?  I know and can tell you EXACTLY what is in EVERY vaccine given to children today. I have read the package inserts, I have looked up what those ingredients are that can't even be pronounced.   I am not anti-vaccination, but I do very carefully pick and choose what is injected into my children.  When necessary, I will get waivers to avoid having terribly harmful ingredients injected into my kids.  I am going to say flat out that I am not going to subject my child to a vaccine simply because someone else is upset that I don't vaccinate for specific things.  Guess what?  This is America and no one knows better than I (no, not even the government) what is best for my kids or my own health. 

I am happy to discuss this with anyone who wants to, however I must say that if you are going to debate me on this topic, you need to have your facts straight and you need to find your facts from somewhere OTHER than a government site.  You see, the government makes a LOT of money from vaccines.  So I'd suggest you get your information from an unbiased source.  One that doesn't stand to make millions of dollars.  I should also tell you that I have been studying, researching and writing papers on this topic for about 10 years now.  With that said, if you are still upset about the fact I pick and choose vaccines and want to discuss it, bring it on....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's been awhile...

It has been so long since I have written that part of me doesn’t even know where to begin.  I think of writing all the time, but time gets away from me, and before I know it, almost an entire year has gone by. 

I guess an update on life in the Burlingame home is in order, especially since I didn’t send out Christmas cards (again) this year.  I haven’t sent them out since dad died.  Life has just been too chaotic since then. 

Mom has had a most difficult couple of years.  Her hip has been a constant problem, and on December 12, the doctor removed all the hip hardware permanently.  This means she will be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life, but the constant infections were taking a toll on the rest of her health.  This past Sunday, her wrist got an infection in it, and had to be surgically cleaned out.  He weight is very low, so that is another area of concern.  Through all of this, she keeps her sense of humor intact.  As of this writing, she is currently in skilled nursing, and she is hoping to be home by the end of the month.  Carmen makes frequent trips out here to cheer mom, and help me retain my sanity!

Brian is working for Keypoint Government Solutions as a Special Investigator.  He has been there about 9 months, and feels like he is finally settling in.  It is a good fit for us right now, because it allows him to set his own hours and he works from home. 

Shawn is working on Camp Pendleton for Youth Sports.  He is in charge of their soccer and basketball program.  He absolutely loves it, and it is a great job for him.  We are so tickled to see him growing into such an amazing young man.   Shawn’s big news of the year is that he is an engaged man!  Yes, he asked Ashley to marry him and she accepted!  They are planning on a long engagement, so no date has been set as of yet.  We’ll keep you posted on the happenings there…

Alyssa is in the home stretch of her senior year. She is Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper,  was on the dance team at the beginning of the year until an injury sidelined her, and is involved in the production of Les Mis that CAHS is putting on in May.  Her big news is that she applied and was accepted to Azusa Pacific University!  It is difficult to comprehend that my little Tinkerbell will be going away to college, so I am choosing to not think about it too much right now!  We are exceptionally proud of her!
Alyssa and I had the trip of a lifetime last summer.  We went to London, Paris and Rome and seriously loved every minute.  Paris was Alyssa's favorite, as she has always wanted to picnic under the Eiffel Tower at night (which we did).  Rome was my favorite, and I missed my dad terribly knowing I wasn't going to be able to share my trip with him.  He was so excited that Alyssa was going to see Rome, and I know he was smiling down on us as we traveled. 

My year has been a whirlwind.  I started grad school at Vanguard University and to say that I love the program would be an understatement.  I take 3 classes per semester, and I am so thankful that Brian is the rockstar he is, because I couldn’t do it without him picking up the slack at home.  Juggling school, caring for mom, and a family can get quite overwhelming at times, but I rest in the knowledge that God carries me every single day. 

I have enjoyed a month long break, and school begins again for me this week.  I imagine that this semester will be just as crazy as the last, so I don’t expect I’ll be updating again for a few months.  Until then…

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mom Update

Mom had her 7th surgery in less than a year a week ago.  It was to put her hip back in and thankfully, the surgeon was able to put it back in.  It took a lot of work.  The surgery ended up being almost 5 hours long.  He was able to get almost all the length back in moms leg, too.  She may have to wear a slight lift, but that is the least of her worries at this point.

Mom had to go back to skilled nursing, as the rehab there can't be beat.  She is also on another round of IV antibiotics for 4 weeks.  After that, she will continue on oral antibiotics for the rest of her life.  Her body just can't fight infections, and no one wants to take a chance that the hip will re-infect. 

Mom is doing VERY well.  Her spirits are high, she is happy and excited to get on with life now that she can walk again!

Exciting News!

The news I have been waiting for has finally come!  I have been accepted to Vanguard University's Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program!  There are NO words to describe how excited I am. Classes begin August 26th, and I can't wait! 

A little bit of a back story on this journey. When I was researching schools to apply to for graduate school, I checked out several schools.  So many have wonderful programs, but I knew that I wanted something specific.  I also knew that from the time I decided this was the career I wanted to pursue, that God would guide my hand every step of the way.  Brian and I went to Vanguard to check out the program, and on the way up there (the school is in Costa Mesa) I told him that I didn't think Vanguard was the school I was supposed to go to.  I really thought I should go to Azuza Pacific University in San Diego.  Brian said that it never hurt to check out all the options, which I agreed with, and we continued on our way. 

The moment I walked in to the Graduate Psychology building, I was home.  I felt it in my very core.  I looked at Brian with a look of complete disbelief and said, "This is where I'm going to school!"  He just shook his head and smiled. 

I prayed about it, and fully believing that God is guiding my path, I applied to Vanguard.  I felt very good about my references, my transcripts, the whole shebang.  Then I had to go through a panel interview.  There were 6 prospective students and 1 professor.  When the professor said there was no particular order to answer her questions, I jumped right in.  I felt great about my answers for the first couple of questions, but there was one question in particular that I knew I hadn't handled well.  I spoke without thinking and my answer came out completely wrong.  To the point that the professor stated that this probably wasn't the program I was looking for. 

I left the interview feeling...deflated.  I KNEW this was the school God wanted me at.  So at that point, I turned it over to Him.  If this was truly where He wanted me, it didn't matter how I did in the interview.  He would open that door.  I was so confident that Vanguard was the school God wanted me at that I didn't apply anywhere else.

On Tuesday this week, I was standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables for our dinner salad.  Brian always checks the mail, but since he had been in Colorado for 5 weeks, I got accustomed to checking it.  As I was standing at the kitchen counter I thought, "I should go get them mail" and just as quickly followed that thought with "No, Brian will get it on his way in."  I literally heard God say, "Go check the mail."  I paused a moment, and letter was there!  I ran to the mailbox and opened it.  There it was.  The BIG envelope.  I happy danced my way into the house and haven't stopped smiling and thanking God since. 

August 26 can't come soon enough!

Caiman Glee Choir

Here is a video of Alyssa performing with her high school choir.  SO AWESOME!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time continues to fly by...

If I could freeze time, I wonder if I would?  It seems there are never enough hours in the day sometimes! 

The last time I updated, mom had gone through two hip surgeries.  Since then, she has had two more surgeries.  The last surgery was due to her hip being infected and resulted in the surgeon having to remove all the hardware, leaving mom with no hip.  She went through 6 weeks of IV antibiotics, and we are now facing another surgery on April 22nd.  We are hoping the surgeon will be able to put the hip back in, but we won't know until he gets in there to see if the infection is truly gone.  If it is, he will put the hip back in and mom will do another round of IV antibiotics.  If it isn't, he'll wash it out with an antibiotic wash, close her up and she will do another round of IV antibiotics.  This has been a very long process, and quite discouraging.  Mom is mostly bed ridden, as it is painful for her to sit up for long periods.  She has to have help doing everything which is frustrating for her as well.  We are definitely praying for the best case scenario of the hip being able to be put back in. 

Brian has spent time in Colorado going through school for his new job and he loves it.  He is happy to be working again although I enjoyed the time he was at home!  This job is perfect for our family because he can work his own hours and be home when he is needed which is a huge blessing!

In February we took our annual trip to the desert to ride, and we had a wonderful time as always.  We always say we need to do it more than once a year, then time just gets away from us!
The kids are doing well.  Shawn is dividing his time between working here and visiting Ashley in New Mexico.  Alyssa is up to her eyeballs in far too many activities as always.  They are both such great kids. 
Shawn with his new best friends in Roswell

Alyssa heading out to tea for a birthday party
That pretty much brings everyone up to date here.  I'll try not to let so much time lapse before updating again!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

End of year wrap up

I just realized so much has happened, and I haven't blogged any of it.  I guess that is the down side to Facebook.  I assume everyone is keeping up to date over there, until I get an email from a friend who isn't on Facebook, and has no idea all that has happened. 

So, the last time I updated was the beginning of June.  Mom was in her 2nd surgery.  The doctor honestly didn't think she would survive the complications from surgery.  While it was touch and go for awhile, mom did pull through from that surgery.  Since then, she has had to have two additional surgeries, both a right hip replacement.  She fell and broke her hip the first time, then the second time she fell and dislocated the new hip and it had to be redone.  As of today, mom is doing well, and the thing we are battling most is her weight.  She got down to 89 pounds, and we now have her up to 91 pounds, but it is a constant battle to get her to eat.  Mom is filling her time taking an online paralegal course, crocheting, and always trying to convince me she needs a new pet..kitten, puppy, parakeet, pig, bunny, etc.  So far, she hasn't worn me down!

We completed our year of "firsts" without dad, and while each of them were difficult, I think we are all happy to have survived them and move past them.  Not a day goes by that we don't miss dad...his laughter, his grin, and Brian definitely misses his garage cleaning buddy!

As for the rest of us...what a year it has been!  2012 brought three graduations to the Burlingame family!  Brian graduated in April with his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from Ashford University. 
Shawn graduated in June from Classical Academy High School

And I just finished this month with my Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology from Park University.  Alyssa will be next, but not until next year, thank goodness! 
Shawn had a fantastic senior year, and enjoyed playing keeper for the varsity soccer team.  He made some great friends and had a blast on the senior trip.  Shawn turned 19 in October, and has developed into a young man that Brian and I are very proud of. 
So, what does this bring for each of us?  Well, Brian is getting ready to start a new job conducting background checks for the federal government.  Shawn is working, trying to save money and decide what path his future will take him on.  His girlfriend, Ashley, lives in New Mexico, so frequent trips are made back and forth between the two of them. 
I am waiting to start graduate school, hopefully in August, and Alyssa is, as always, active in her junior year of high school and enjoying every minute of it.  She and I will be attending a college visit weekend at Azuza Pacific University in February.  She is very excited about that, as APU is her first choice of places to attend for college.  Alyssa has her permit, so she is driving now, and she will get her drivers license in February.  Her youth group just returned from a quick mission trip to Doors of Faith orphanage in Mexico, and Alyssa loved spending time with the kids.  She has a full course load at the high school, but her favorite part is being on the yearbook staff.  She is involved in choir once again and is a part of play production.  The play this year is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Alyssa always has a ready smile, and loves spending time with her friends.  She turned 16 in November, and like her brother, is developing into a young woman with a beautiful heart that Brian and I are so proud of. 
We are looking forward to our annual trip to the desert to ride in February.  In fact, it can't come soon enough!
We were honored to host 2 French students again this year.  Claudie came to us first, followed by Luther.  Both of them are amazing young people who we grew quickly to love.  Hosting French students has become the highlight of our summers.  Although this next summer, Alyssa and I are going on our own European vacation, so I don't think anything could top that one! 
Hopefully, I won't allow so much time to lapse before I update again.  For those of you are on Facebook, feel free to find me there! I'll wrap up by including some pictures of our year...
Brian, Shawn, Alyssa and I the morning of Shawn's graduation.

Shawn being teased by Auncie, as always!

Alyssa and our French daughter, Claudie

Shawn, Alyssa and our French son, Luther

My beautiful children, the night of Alyssa's sweet 16th.

Sarah (Alyssa's best friend) and Alyssa on homecoming night.

Nana with her granddaughters

My girl and I sharing a laugh. 

Brian taking care of the turkey

Mom and I headed to the Christmas tea at church. 

My girl and I

Decorating the tree!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mom update

This will be quick because there isn't too much to report.  Mom had a feeding tube placed in her abdomen.  She was losing weight too quickly and refuses to eat.  She is very skinny now...scary skinny truth be told.  The feeding tube will allow them to get her the calories she needs not only to survive but to heal as well. 

The constant battle seems to be pain, regulating her blood pressure/heart rate, and her sodium levels.  She is confused much of the time.  She asks me to call dad and let him know that she will be late getting home, or asks if she should make pancakes for dinner.  The one night I took Alyssa up mom didn't know who Alyssa was, which was, as I am sure you can imagine, devastating for Alyssa who has always been a Nana's girl.  With that said, mom didn't know who I was, who Cheri was, or who SHE was for that matter.

We are preparing for Shawn's graduation, which will be bittersweet knowing that not only will Bopa not be there, but Nana as well.  Prayers for Shawn appreciated because he truly has been dreading graduation without Bopa there.  However, we will celebrate this accomplishment with all the gusto that Bopa would have expected!

We appreciate and covet your prayers for healing for mom, and for wisdom for me.  Every medical decision that is made I am the one making, and I ask for wisdom to make the best decisions for mom.