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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December Blog Hibernation...

Please forgive my winter-induced blog hibernation. Things have been just plain crazy here at the den. So, please accept this entry as my "electronic coffee catch-up date", mmmkay? I don't have the mental energy to compose a long elaborate blog so here's a chronological list of what we've been up to:

Saturday 12/12/09 - Watched "Wicked" with my Stepmama. My sisters got her two tickets as a birthday gift and I was given the glorious opportunity to attend. Let me just say it was the most awesome time I've had in a loooong time! I seriously almost cried 'cause it was soooo good. Afterwards we went to Denny's (to wait for the rain to let up) and chatted about life. I think it was a much needed break for the both of us.

Sunday 12/13/09 - Church and family get-togethers filled up my day. We spent the evening at my mother's house decorating her Christmas tree.

Monday 12/14/09 - Niki had an appointment with Hematology. She weighed in at a whopping 21 lbs AND she's in the 95th percentile for height. Dr. Awesome increased her NovoSeven dose to 190mcg. I ended up being 1 hour late to work because her appointment was so long! Luckily, my co-worker is very understanding and patient. I also found out during the visit that Dr. Awesome is shooting to have Niki's port surgery in March. Unless something else comes up, of course. Otherwise, all was well for our littlest lioness. :)

Funny Kev Story of the Day: When he came home from school he asked me if he could grab a snack from the fridge. KID grabbed prosciutto, water crackers, and Parmesan artichoke spread to make what he called "mini cracker 'wiches" He's so fancy schmancy for such a wee little dude, huh? ;-)

Tuesday 12/15/09- Kev had a dental appointment for a baby root canal. Despite drinking lots of milk, brushing his fangs daily, and using fluoride toothpaste, our "Future King" (that's what he's been calling himself since he watched the Lion King) has been cursed with weak tooth enamel. However, my boy is a brave little cub so he took it like a man and didn't need a shot at all.

Wednesday 12/16/09 - Kevin's holiday performance was a success. He managed to memorize "Up on the Rooftop" just in time. His school had a food drive and Niki took a her first "Santa Pic" ever.

She doesn't appear to be a fan of jolly St. Nick. You should see the pic she took with the mall Santa. LOL!

Where's Kevie?

After the performance, Niki had an appointment with her regular Pediatrician "Dr. Sweetheart". Poor Niki never quite recovered from the Great Flu Fiasco of 2009. She had a residual cough for such a long time that a follow up appointment was in order. Dr. Sweetheart started Niki on a stronger strawberry-tasting oral antibiotic called Cefdinir 250mg/5ml @ 2.5mls daily (for what was supposed to be 10 days) to help knock out the rest of the ickiness that was left in Little Miss Diva. After the appointment, I had a holiday party at work and had the best time ever with my lovely co-workers.

Later on that day, Kevin came home from school with a card and ornament that he made in class. He drew a picture of our family with Ethan included. He told me that he drew me first because he "loved me the most".

And there you have it folks -- kids don't lie! (So there, John!) On the way home we had the funniest conversation in the car...

Kev: Mommy, where are you going tonight?
Me: Daddy and I are going out to run some errands. (We were going Christmas shopping.)
Kev: Are you guys going on a date?
Me: (amused) Do you even know what a date is?
Kev: Well, it can be a fruit.
Me: (laughing) How do you know that a date can be a fruit?
Kev: I read about it. (He said it so matter-of-fact like.)
Me: So are me and Daddy going on a fruit?!
Kev: No! Not THAT kind of date! Like you know, when you and Daddy go out to eat so you can talk about what you're going to buy for Christmas. (A hint of impatience was starting to creep in his tone.)
Me: Well, what do you think we talk about buying.
Kev: Oh, like how Daddy needs a new car and how you need new slippers.
Me: You're one perceptive little guy, Kev.

Lol! That boy one hell of a sponge. John ALWAYS talks about how he wants a new muscle car and I DO need new slippers. Our "Future King" is growing up! :)

Thursday 12/17/09 - Niki started her 1st day of oral antibiotics. All was well with the world again.

Friday 12/18/09 - I received a phone call from my MIL 15 minutes before my lunch hour was supposed to start. Apparently, Niki had a huge amount of blood in her poop. I had to ask my MIL to perform the arduous task of taking a picture of said poop from her iPhone so she could send it to me at work. So here it is.... (scroll down to see it)

Haha...sike! I'd NEVER do that to my Queen. Let's just say it was reaaaaally gross, okay?
The emotional scarring would be too great if I posted a pic of her poop for all the Internet to see.

Besides, girls don't go poo anyway! ;-)

Lol...all joking aside I had to call Dr. Awesome's office for instructions. This happened on a "No Factor Day" so I had to rush home and give her a dose. Then it was onto the waiting game! Niki goes poop maybe once a day so we basically had to watch out for any more bloody stool or blood oozing from her rectum.

Saturday 12/19/09 - Thankfully, the factor seemed to work! Her morning poop only had a bit of blood in it. She was still on the oral antibiotics so her cough starting to get better. ;-)

Sunday 12/20/09 - Niki's morning poop was completely free of any signs of blood. Later on that day we attended my very good friend's son's 3rd birthday! He's such a handsome little guy. :) We couldn't stay long because I had to go out to dinner with some more good friends in Vallejo. Nevertheless, it was fun even though we couldn't hang out. Dinner with my other set of friends was a blast! We ate at Matsuri in Vallejo and the food was damn good. Being the lightweight that I am, I somehow managed to get tipsy from two measly sake bombs.

(Or the sensation could have simply been heightened because I didn't have my glasses on...who knows?!)

It's really a shame that I have these pesky "idiopathic allergies" otherwise I would have totally partaken in the most delicious sushi I've ever laid eyes on. There was this nacho-thing that I was dying to try in my doubled-visioned drunken stupor. Alas, I had to stick with my usual California rolls and bento box. But times! Nothing like sex talk, sake, and good eats to lift up the spirits.

The most interesting fact I learned that evening? Semen smells like persimmon -- or vice versa. Go figure, eh? Lol!

Monday 12/21/09 - I got a call from my MIL shortly after I started my shift. Apparently, Niki had a huge lump/knot left on the side of her head. My MIL had no idea how it got there, but it was definitely there. I called Dr. Awesome's office and she recommended that Niki come in for an evaluation by Dr. Sweetheart since her office is closer to our house. John had to go home (since I already had to leave work last week for the bloody poop situation) so he could draw a circle around the lump to monitor its growth. He also gave Niki her factor dose before he had to rush back to work in SF. I went home on my lunch hour to take a gander at the lump. It wasn't pretty (maybe about a little larger than a quarter), but at least it wasn't severely bruised or totally "camel-like" in size .

John took Niki to the appointment two floors down from my department. Dr. Sweetheart confirmed that Niki had a hematoma (which wouldn't have been possible unless she hit her head somehow), but she was otherwise okay. As always, we were asked to watch for signs of neurological deterioration in the next few days. Thankfully, none ever surfaced.

Later that night I found out that some pretty heartbreaking things were being said about Niki. Perhaps the comments weren't meant to be mean-spirited, but they were hurtful nonetheless. I just wish people would stop treating Niki (or speaking about her) was if she weren't good enough or "second rate" just because her blood is missing one factor. Lord knows He chose her to have FVII-def for a reason and personally, I cherish this very unique aspect about her. She and Ethan are the same and any disrespect for her or her condition is viewed in MY EYES as disrespect for my son. I'm hoping everyone else can have MY perception someday. :)

Tuesday 12/22/09 - The blood came back. Niki didn't have blood in her poop the day before, but she sure as hell had some today! My MIL called me to report that she took a huge magenta-colored poop right before my lunch hour. I swear that girl's bowel movements are like clockwork.
So what did I do?

Naturally, I called Dr. Awesome's office for instructions. Dr. Awesome decided that the Cefdanir (the oral antibiotics that Dr. Sweetheart gave Niki to get rid of her cough) was causing the GI bleeding. So, she asked me to discontinue the medication to see if the bloody stools would persist. This was the 6th day that she had the Cefdanir so we had to cut the 10 day course short and hope for the best. The poop also happened on yet another "No Factor Day" (do you see a pattern here?) so I also had to go home from work AGAIN to give Niki her NovoSeven. The waiting game commenced.

It appears that Cefdanir was indeed causing the bloody stools because she hasn't had any bleeds since then. Now do you see why I call her Dr. Awesome?!

Niki is such a trooper though. You would've never guessed what her little body was going through by looking at her. She had to take studio portraits with her cousins (for gifts) later that night. She's a Mama's girl by nature so she cried the whole time, but the pics didn't turn out too bad.

Wednesday 12/23/09 - Her morning poop was *almost* completely blood free -- THANK GOD! I didn't feel 100% comfortable leaving her for the day, but I had no choice other than to go to work. (Gotta preserve that good medical insurance!) She was doing okay in the poop department, but her cough came back so that was a major set back.

I hate it when she's sick!!

Just to be sure I decided to stay home from a would-be dinner date with more good friends.I felt terrible about being such a flaker, but I would have felt even more awful if something happened while I was out having fun. The kids were in desperate need for fresh air (they were cooped up in the house all day) so John and I took them for a short drive to Chestnut Estates so they could see the Christmas lights. The boys were thrilled and Niki even seemed to be in better spirits when we got home.


"Thrillest" - She fell alseep in my arms while the boys gawked at the houses.

Our favorite house!

All better, see?

Thursday 12/24/09 Christmas Eve Day - Despite appearing to be tons better after our short car ride, Niki ended up being and cranky all night! At 5:17am she felt a really warm so I took her axillary temperature and it was 101.4! I waited an hour and took it again and it was 101.7! Grrreat.

As you may remember, she CANNOT have any fever-reducing medications. Since she surpassed the 101.5 temperature cut-off, I had to page the on-call Hematologist. The doctor told us to get ready for another trip to the ER.


John got Niki ready while I debated about what I was going to do about work. I couldn't call off (it was too late) and I knew we were VERY short staffed. Aside from that, I already missed so much work from the bloody poop fiasco the week prior. Unfortunately, I had to make the tough decision to go to work. John had to take Niki to the ER in San Francisco all by himself. Thankfully, my co-worker (who has also happened to evolve into a very good friend & confidant over the years) was super helpful when I got to work. She knew how stressed out I was from not being able to be with Niki. 

I just felt so f*cking helpless!!! Even more so when John told me about the all errors the ED kept making their assessment--they always ignore the protocol card!!!

But I co-worker/friend G is the best. She helped me facilitate means to me to get the hell out of work. I started at 8:15am and she & our covering manager somehow managed to get me out of there by 9:15am! I broke all speed laws to make to Kaiser SF in record time. Niki was discharged a little over an hour later. They drew blood cultures, but the results were most likely compromised since she JUST got off the Cefdanir the day before. There were a few Broviac nursing flubs, but nothing too major. Niki got her infusion of Ceftriaxone (super strong antibiotics in case her line was infected) so I was relieved. I was absolutely delirious from lack of sleep and went home for some much needed sleep after the ER fiasco. The MD asked that we take Niki back to the ER on Christmas morning for another Ceftriaxone infusion to keep her line free of infection.

This is what we'll have to do EVERY TIME she gets a fever above 101.5 -- ER evaluation and infusions await us for years to come! Fun, huh?

Moving on...Niki and I got LOTS of sleep after the ER. We woke up mid afternoon feeling refreshed. I thought we were going to miss the entire slew of our holiday traditions thanks to her ER visit a few hours prior. However, by the Grace of God, Niki was fever free and in better spirits just in time. We got ready and made our annual holiday trek to Alameda for John's Dad's side, Daly City for John's mom's side, Midnight Mass at St. Dominic's in San Francisco, and back to Daly City for my mom's house. Despite the trip to the ER, Niki and the boys had the BEST Christmas Eve ever!

My most favorite Christmas tree EVER! (Alameda)

We both had feathers in our hair. :)

Boo and Kev in Alameda.

I thought of Ethan all night long and couldn't wait to see him the next day. He should be in this picture.

John, lighting a candle for Ethan.

I LOVE our Church. :)

Niki sleeping peacefully during Midnight Mass.

Christmas Day 2009 - The entire den slept in after the evening's extended events. Niki and I woke up first so we could spend our Christmas morning in the ER at Kaiser San Francisco. (She needed to have her 2nd round of Ceftriaxone.) This wasn't quite what I had in mind for my Queen's 1st Christmas morning, but Niki didn't seem to care. John stayed home so he could do the Christmas morning-thing with the boys. He got to keep the DVD recorder so he could record the boy cubs opening gifts while I took my trusty, but bulky Canon to the ER. Niki had a mini photo shoot in the ER while we waited for her infusion to be over.

You know I'm real BIG on documenting everything about my cubs. :)

Watching the clock...

She was starting to get impatient...

All done!

Niki felt like a million bucks after that second infusion because she was in the BEST mood when we drove to Vallejo for my Dad's get-together. "Santa" (ahem...Mommy!) gave Kevin and Anthony hand-crafted airplanes (a la Target) for being good boys all year long. Niki opened her Christmas gifts when we came home that night.

Saturday 12/26/09 - John and I took the Christmas money that Niki collected and purchased a new car seat. :) She's a big girl so it was time to switch to a forward-facing seat. This is not as easy as it sounds since John and I have differing opinions on every huge purchase we make. We looked for the most padded-long-lasting-SAFEST-car seat for her to ride in, but I'm a spend-thrift while he tends to be more....frivolous. However, her Daddy had his heart set on getting her a Recaro car seat and when he wants something, he gets it. She got a car seat and goodies from Tiffany.

Talk about living vicariously through your children. It has excellent side impact ratings though. ;-)
He dressed her up...
Waiting for her gift from Daddy...

Of note: I didn't get sh*t for Christmas!
Sunday 12/27/09 - We spent the day resting up from the long weekend. We didn't even bother to clean up all the Christmas gifts the kids accumulated. I literally spent ALL day planning Niki's party...searching for vendors, looking at venues, and brainstorming. I even made a mock up of her invitation.

Monday 12/28/09 - Back to the grind! After I got home from work I FINALLY mustered up enough energy to organize all of the Christmas gifts and look though the kids clothes for outgrown items for donation. It feels good to have a freshly organized closet. :)

Which brings me to today....I finally had the time to update this dang blog. Aside from being better about taking my medications, being more "overall positive", and increasing my self-study habits, my final New Years Resolution is to be better about updating this blog more frequently!

We'll just have to see if I can adhere to ALL of my resolutions, won't we?

'Til then...HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Little Lions...

Don't get too excited....I am NOT pregnant!!! (Heh, for once.)

I simply wanted to blog about the *possibility* of adding more little lions to our den in the future. Many of you know that I am quite the Fertile Myrtle. If John looks at me funny, I get pregnant! He's knocked me up 5 times in the past 11 1/2 years so let's do the math, shall we?

4 little lions x 10 months (40 weeks/per pregnancy) = 40 months of pregnancy
Add 2.75 months for Baby #1 (more on baby DCD some other time) = 42.75 months of pregnancy
Divide that number (42.75) by 12 (months in one year) = 3.56 years

This means that I have been pregnant for almost 3 1/2 years of our relationship. Please don't even get me started on how many years I've been postpartum and breastfeeding! You'd think that I'd be absolutely sick of being pregnant by this time, right? I mean, 3 1/2 years is no walk in the park! Think about it -- pregnant women are grouchy, moody, hungry, (dare I say it?) EVIL little fatsos. least I was.

So why on God's green Earth would I want to subject myself to pregnancy when I've already incubated FOUR LITTLE LIONS?! Why? Why?! WHY?! Why the hell would I want to have more little lions?!

I ask myself that often.

Haven't I had enough? I had Niki DRUG FREE and felt ALL of the searing, hot vaginal pain when I pushed her out. Haven't I had enough considering that taming these little lions is a lot of work?! Haven't I had enough since the economy sucks and raising children is expensive?

But....even though pregnancy sucks, watching my little lions grow makes it worth it.

I'd be happy with just one more little lion (or lioness!) for Niki to grow up with. Or two...or three...or 18 and counting! ;-) But, don't worry, we're not getting all Duggar....yet. Actually, I'm more Octomom-esque since I've sort of been "single" with my desire to increase the size of our "lion pride".

Until recently...

John and I were looking at old pictures of the cubs when he blurted out, "I love having babies. Being a parent just comes so naturally to me , ya know?" Aside from marveling at how thin we were, we admired how much our little cubs have grown. And, how much we miss having sleepy newborns around the house. We then flirted with the idea of having just one more little lion in a few years. So, it looks like I'm wearing him down, folks! Lol.We also came to one more interesting conclusion. The more we stared at Boo's baby pics, the more we realized that Ethan was a spitting image of Boo.

That boy was gonna be a heart breaker, I tell you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All in the Name of a Clean Vagin@...

So, I have a terrible confession to make...

I dropped Niki on Saturday.

It was soooo bad and I felt sooooo awful. I'm convinced that I totally jinxed myself after I gave the "2 unnamed baby falling culprits" (see here and here) such a hard time about "allowing" Niki to fall off the bed.

And then here I go DROPPING her!

I was giving her a bath in the bathroom sink when it happened. I was holding her over the sink to wash her "lady parts" when she forcefully arched her back and started to fall. Keep in mind that Niki is a almost 1/3 of my weight, okay?! Anthony was keeping me company while I gave his sister a bath so saw the whole thing. My little Boo let out an audible gasp when Niki slipped out of my hands and hit the ground. Even a four year old kid knew it was bad!!! On her way down, I desperately clawed at her slippery little body in an attempt to catch her from falling. But alas, my efforts were in vain because she fell anyway! Who in their right mind DROPS their hemophiliac child?!

I'm sure Boo will remember that moment for the rest of his life. Lol...FAIL!

Niki fell so quickly that I didn't really see what body part hit the ground first. I just saw her fat body flip and tumble. I *think* I saw her hit the side of the tub, but I wasn't 100% sure. When I picked her up, I saw red marks (from my desperate clawing) on her arms, legs, and trunk of her body. I checked her head to look for bumps or marks, but THANK GOD she had none. She was crying, I was crying, and Boo was stuck staring at the both of us with his beautiful, wide eyes.

He totally had a "Oh shit Mom, what the f*ck did you do?!" look on his face.

Luckily, the fall wasn't as bad as it sounds. I gave her factor 15 minutes prior to the "Fall of Shame" so she was covered. (NovoSeven is at its strongest within the first 1 hour or so of infusion. Factor VII has a very short half-life because it's also a very potent factor. To state it simply, the body uses FVII very quickly to help clot. Her blood is the "most normal" RIGHT after she gets her factor.)

But, that's not the only good news!

It was laundry day so there was a pile of pre-sorted dirty laundry (I believe it was colors) right next to the tub. Niki's fall was softened my a pile of dirty pajamas, t-shirts, and Lord-knows-what-else (coloful "Vickys" undies perhaps?). Niki stopped crying almost instantly after I picked her up.

I quickly and *carefully* ran downstairs so I could grab my phone to call the on-call Hematologist. I was wearing socks and my MIL has hardwood-- I didn't want to fall and inflict MORE damage! When I got downstairs, I grabbed one of Niki's many cold packs and placed it on the largest red mark (near her right shoulder). I was so worried that all of my frantic grabbing may have caused a joint bleed somewhere.

I also placed the dreaded phone call to John to let him know about my "parenting FAIL" and he wasn't too jostled by the news. (Perhaps because he was guilty of a similar fail before? Lol.)

After what seemed like ages of being on hold, the Hematologist (I forgot her name because I was in such a panic) on-call finally got on the phone. Meanwhile, Niki was trying to wrestle the cold pack from my hands (like she normally does) so she could gnaw on it.

My daughter is such a hopeless little heffer. Lol!

Dr. No Name assured me that Niki was perfectly safe (just like any normal baby would be if they didn't have head trauma) because she JUST had her factor dose. In fact, the Hematologist told me that she felt "more sorry" for ME! She knew how guilty I felt.

She could probably totally hear my pathetic sniffling how terrible I felt in my voice.

As always, the hematologist advised me to watch out for growing bruises (she had so many fingerprint bruises from my grabbing), joint bleeding (swelling, redness, pain during movement) and of course, head bleeding (highly unlikely since she fell on a pile of laundry). John drew a circle around the larger fingerprint bruise to monitor the size too.

John came home and didn't make me feel that bad. He held Niki and kept saying (totally joking, of course) "Mommy dropped you, huh? Mommy's a bad girl, huh?" And then he'd pretend to spank me to appease his baby girl. Of course, Little Miss Queen was totally soaking it up by snuggling close to her Daddy and giving me the evil eye.

LOL...he's such a meanie. ;)

So, it has been a few days since the "Fall of Shame" and Niki is doing just good---no joint bleeds, the fingerprint bruises never grew, and she didn't have a head bleed. "parent ego"? Not so much. I think I'll feel guilty about that for the rest of my life. However, during the holiday party Ate A's mom disclosed to me that Ate A fell off the bed when she was a baby too. It's nice to know that I'm not the only "mom of a severe bleeder" that had that happen to their kid. When Ate A overheard that she fell off the bed she replied, "That's f*cked up, Mom." and totally laughed about it.

I hope that Niki has the same sense of humor.

On a lighter note, AT LEAST Niki will know how much importance I put on personal hygiene. 'Cause let's face it people, some women just don't give a damn. ;-P A very important life lesson was learned here folks so I say the fall was worth it. (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself to make me feel better, lol!)

Sure, I dropped my baby, but....

it was all in the name of a clean vagin@!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Walk with Me...

I am going to serve as a Team Captain for the Hemophilia Walk on 4/17/2010. All proceeds of this fundraiser will go toward raising awareness and funding research for a cure. Our local chapter (HNFC) is holding its FIRST walk in a few short months. Let's start this event off with a bang!I am walking (and fundraising) in honor of Ethan and Niki. Will you walk with me?

Ask me for details. I attended an information session today so I have lots of information to share. I'm so excited to show Niki how much support she (and her brother) have! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday with the Hemos...

It has been brought to my attention that a lot of my blog entries are open ended. I also tend to leave out smaller details from time to time. So from now on, I will try to be better about updating ya'll on the outcomes of my past b*tching/complaints AND I'll link more references in my posts. But...if I ever leave anything out or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment (you can do it anonymously) and I'll answer 'em.

Big thank you (you know who you are) for bringing this oversight to my attention. :)

So, let's cut to the chase, shall we? In case you were wondering...

Things have been quiet with Kevin's teacher lately. The scare tactics she used seems to have worked (for now) and Kev hasn't messed up since his trip to the Principal's office. battle is ongoing and I'm still continuing to document EVERYTHING. A very good friend of mine has even given me some pointers on how to effectively handle the problem at hand. It ain't over yet.

BTW -- I was whining for Nerds at the corner store. :)

Now, on to the real blog update!!

On Sunday, we went to Children's Hospital in Oakland to attend HFNC's holiday party. It was nice to spend some time with our "hemo family". John and I tend to be shy when we're around new social circles, but we're definitely getting used to attending more and more of these events. (Anyone want to come to a HFNC Crab Feed on January 21st? Let me know!) The bleeding disorders community is THE BEST and our little family is starting to feel increasingly blessed to be a part of it. Niki's beautiful "pinay hemo sister" (I'll call her "Ate A") was there and I had the opportunity to meet Ate A's mom. Let me just say that I felt so relieved after I spoke with her.

FINALLY someone who fully UNDERSTANDS what it's like to be a Filipino mother of daughter with a bleeding disorder!!! Ate A's mom totally understood my secret agony.

Our culture is a complicated one and things (medical jargon) often get "lost in translation". Some people in our community (Ate A & Niki's) family just don't seem to comprehend what it means to have a bleeding disorder. So, the conversation I had with Ate A's mom made me realize just how valuable Niki's "extended family" will be in the years to come. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our family and the massive amount of support they give us, but things just aren't the same when you have a child with a chronic condition. There is a huge stigma (fear of the unknown maybe?) that surrounds Niki's condition and I think it's because Ethan died from it.

I don't ever want anyone feeling "kawawa" for Niki.

But alas, it happens. I've tried to explain her condition in simple terms -- to assure people that she doesn't have a death sentence -- only to have it still be misunderstood. I even found out that someone thought Niki was going to be "retarded" once. Oh and for the record, I hate that word. It's so....derogatory.

And, it's really heartbreaking to know that some people can be so insensitive.

Believe it or not, Ate A's mom went through the same things I did. Especially after her own daughter had to wear a helmet and endured numerous hospitalizations. People in their own family felt "kawawa" (sorry for) Ate A too! So, do you know what happened? Ate A grew up to be a strong, confident young woman.

I can only hope that Niki will grow up to have the same "I don't give a f*ck what you think" mentality.

All in all, the holiday party was a blast. The kids got toys, met Santa, and ate lots of delicious grub. Really, I hold our "hemo family" very near and dear to my heart. :) I'm attending a Hemophilia Walk information session this Wednesday so I'll update you all on the details of that event later.

In the meantime, here's one final funny story I thought I'd share.

Anthony decided to have an huge "crying and rolling on the floor" tantrum because I put gravy on his mashed potatoes. The food was right next to the stage where the holiday carolers were singing so I was totally embarrassed. John was tending to Niki in another area so it was just me, the boys, and two handfuls of plates loaded with food. I managed to get Anthony to follow me back to where John was sitting, but on occasion he would sit on the floor (with tears streaming down his face) in order to express his contempt for said gravy.

Oh, I wish I had an extra hand to take a picture!

We were almost to the area where John was when Santa (with his sleigh bells ringing) started a mini-procession toward to stage. Santa was walking in the same direction where Anthony was sitting and pouting. My hands were still full with plates full of grub, so I pleaded for him to get up, but he just sat there and cried. Santa was about two feet away when Anthony suddenly stopped crying, stood up, wiped his tears, and acted like a complete angel.

"He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!"

I suppose my sweet little Boo knows that phrase well. But...not well enough. As soon as Santa passed, that little bad ass sat back down and proceeded to cry again!!! Lol! Who would have ever thought that gravy would piss him off so much?!

But this my friends, is just another day in the life of lion taming. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dark Thoughts?

I'm about to disclose some pretty morbid sh*t so bare with me....

I look forward to death.

Now, before you think I need some sort of intervention, please hear me out....okay? I don't want to die NOW (OBVIOUSLY I know that I'm needed here on Earth), but if I were to die to tomorrow, I'd be totally fine with it.

Does that sound crazy?

Probably. Okay, it does sound crazy, but this is my blog and I'll write what I want. I'm really trying to express myself in a "not crazy" kind of way, but it's hard to do. Death is taboo and not too many people (unless they are suicidal--which I'm NOT) "look forward" to dying.

But yeah...I'm totally okay with death. Remember this blog entry when I'm gone. ;-P

I've had some pretty close calls with death. My asthma is NO JOKE so it's entirely possible for me to die from a bad attack. (And, if you're reading this post you're probably one of the "lucky" few people that saw me in the ICU on the ventilator looking like the Incredible Hulk after my lung collapsed. P.S. Thanks for not taking black mail pictures!) I wasn't always okay with dying. After I had that close call, I was down right terrified of the possibility of dying early.

I don't want no other b*tch raising my cubs!

But...after Ethan died, I realized that I would be totally at peace whenever it was my time to go. (Even with the possibility of some other b*tch taming my cubs...Lol!) Of course, by the grace of God, I hope and pray that won't be kicking the bucket any time soon. Frankly, I'm too young to die and I haven't gone to Confession in years so I'd probably go straight to hell...or purgatory.

But...if it were to happen early (like tomorrow), just know that I'd be laughing my ass off at the irony of this post if I was struck by lightening or die from an asthma attack.

Yeah, my sense of humor is f*cked up like that. But...all joking aside, losing someone you love really tests your beliefs. And, I didn't wholeheartedly believe in the concept of Heaven until my son was waiting for me there. I didn't truly feel God's presence until the day before Ethan's viewing. John and I both felt Him (His power "rushed" inside of us) as the Priest prayed over us. He was praying for our strength and God gave it to us. It was at that very moment that I knew "100 x infinity%" that God was is real and my son is in Heaven with Him.

I soooooo hope I can get it in!

To state it simply, I look forward to dying because I just want to see my baby again. I was looking through his things the other day when I found a lock of his hair. I pressed his soft strands against my face and "felt" my son after almost two years.

I missed him desperately.

I want to feel his skin next to mine. I want to feel his weight in my arms, his sweet breath on my face. I just wish he and I could be together again. So it this a little morbid for me to look forward to dying? Yes.

But...have I redeemed my public sanity yet?


Outliving your baby makes you a little crazy anyway so I don't care. It's my blog, my therapy so I write what I want.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Seizing the Moment...

I saw this for the first time today:

This is the last video I have of Ethan. I was standing right beside my cousin (the one speaking in the background) when he shot this footage. When Ethan fell ill, we didn't want anyone taking pictures of him. This was the same rule we upheld even after Ethan passed away. No pictures, no video. We set this rule because we simply didn't want people to *possibly* share (video/pics) before we had the opportunity to emotionally process what happened to our son.

This video was the exception to that rule.

My cousin is deeply religious and came all the way down from Sacramento to see Ethan before we withdrew care. He asked me if it were alright to take a short video of Ethan to show his church. At first, I declined. But...when he told me that he was planning to share the video with his church so they could pray for Ethan, I obliged.

Now, I cherish this footage so very much!

And now realize how much I regret not documenting everything about Ethan. I wish I allowed photos of Ethan's funeral because his services were so beautiful. I could tell them (the cubs) how beautiful the service was until I'm blue in the face, but a picture speaks a thousand words.

The kids deserved a chance to alleviate any curiosity they may have in the future.

I/we robbed them of that chance when we made the decision we made. Now, it's too late to seize the moment. Words cannot paint an accurate picture. Ethan looked so peaceful, like he was sleeping. Ethan had so many flowers. The weather was gorgeous the day your brother was buried. There were so many people that came to see him. He was SO loved.

Those words do no justice to describe how special his services really were.

So, with that being said, I am asking all of you "secret picture takers" to come out from the woodwork. Despite our rule, I *think* I heard camera phones clicking and saw flashes in my peripheral vision.

If you or anyone you know has ANYTHING (video/pics/diary entries/whatever!) of Ethan, please share them with me.

I desperately want to have these treasured moments for the years to come.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All That Glitters Isn't Gold...

I grew up in a poor humble household.

My mom was a single parent and worked six days a week for most of my childhood. She had to. We (my mom, my two brothers, and my sister and I) lived in a 2 bedroom townhouse for almost 14 years. That tiny condo was packed, but it was something that my mom gave her blood, sweat, and tears to own. We weren't dirt poor, but in order to survive my mom had to adhere to very tight budget.

There was very little room for luxury when I was growing up.

Oh, I have so many memories about my childhood and the struggles our family faced! I could devote a whole new blog site about those stories. But with as many stories I have, there is one memory in particular that stands out to me....

One day when I was about Kevin's age, I went to the corner store with my mom so she could buy last minute stuff to make adobo. We needed lemons. However, I really wanted some candy so I think I started whining begging my mom to buy me some.

Well, the problem was my mom didn't have enough money.

She quietly told me that she didn't have cash to buy both the lemons and my candy. I even remember her explaining to me that the adobo wouldn't taste as good without the lemons. Well, I was irrational (being a kid will do that to ya) and reasoning didn't work with me. I must have caused a quite a fuss looked really cute (lol!) because my mom was going to skip buying lemons so she could buy me candy.

Oh, the things mothers do for their daughters!

The store owner overheard my mom trying to calm me down. Apparently, he was taken aback by the mini-sacrifice my mother was willing to make. He told my mom that I could have the candy as a gift and he gave her the lemons for free. My mom was so touched by his unexpected generosity that she cried on the way home. She repeatedly told me that I should be thankful for each small blessing God gave us. That was nearly 20 years ago and I will never forget the lesson that day taught me. Times were tough when I was growing up, but we made it without any handouts from anyone. I learned a lot watching our family struggle.

So, where am I going with this?

I grew up appreciating the simple things in life -- a roof over my head, warm food on the table, clothes on my back, a car that runs, HEALTH INSURANCE, and *sometimes* having a sensible head on healthy shoulders. ;) I wanted nice things when I was a kid, but in my world, it was about as attainable as touching the stars in the sky.

Money didn't grow on trees and I knew that at a very early age.

As I got older, I learned quickly that we come from a consumer-driven society. As such, we've been programed to believe that accumulation of material things equals happiness. I was never raised to "keep up with the Joneses" and I honestly didn't know much about what it meant to want the "finer things in life" until I met John. He came from a more privileged family than mine so he was the one that schooled me on "all things bougie".

I miss not knowing any better.

Oh, how I wish a person's worth wasn't defined by the type of door they shut behind them, the clothes on their back, the car they drive, or the kind of purse/wallet they carry their receipts in! ;-) It's all about the Benjamins these days.

But to be brutally honest, I'm guilty as charged, too!

I feel like sh*t because I don't always have the finer things in life. I hate that about myself especially since I came from such poor humble beginnings!!! Sometimes, I'm blinded by a silly, but insatiable hunger to accumulate shit that I/we really don't need. (Damn you for ripping away my naivety, John!) Things that I once thought to be unachievable are do-able, but at what cost? What am I teaching my children by wanting to shower them with expensive crap?

What the hell is the point of *thinking* that my kids will be judged if they don't have the newest...blah blah blah yackety schmackety?!

There is a huge part of me that covets nice things for my children because I couldn't have them when I was a kid. I want to give my kids all of the things I couldn't have. I want them to have the "finer things in life". I want them to start school with brand new shoes every year instead of the embarrassing things I had to go though. (I had to start my 6th grade year with my refurbished Reebok Classics from 5th grade!) I most certainly do not want them to experience the crappiness I felt from being "underprivileged".

So, I buy.

And sometimes, I'm tempted buy too much because I think it will make my kids (and everyone around them) happy. I don't buy what little I can actually afford to showboat, but more often than not, I try to provide "sparkly" things for my kids because it gives me the illusion that I'm doing a good job as a their mother. I also feel like we're being judged less that way. Sometimes, it's easier to join the mainstream, ya know? I've been disillusioned to believe that I'm a better mother when I'm able to produce "all that glitters" for my kids.

But the other part of me?

The other part of me KNOWS that my worth (our worth!) isn't defined by how well dressed my kids are or what kind of car I chauffeur them around in. Our family is not part of a pedigree dog show that we MUST win at all costs!

But feels that way. Consumerism is the devil, I tell you.

I feel even guiltier when I succumb to the rat race because I know I don't want to raise my children to be spoiled, self-entitled little twits. So I try VERY hard to fight the temptation to "spend, Spend, SPEND!"---to buy my worth. To be part of the "in crowd". By doing that, I'm putting less value on all of the simple things I treasured when I was growing up. It's almost as if I've betrayed my humble beginnings every time I drool over teeny, tiny Gucci shoes for Niki.

The "old me" would've been thrilled that she even had feet to put them on to begin with!

I want to do right by my kids. So, from now on I'm going to try my best to remember that "all that glitters isn't gold". Having a lot of nice stuff doesn't necessarily make you a better person. Some of the most mean spirited people on the planet are the richest too! I'd rather be humble and genuine than extravagant and fake. I may stumble and fall on occasion (because I'm human and I really want those damn shoes!), but from now on I'm going strive to be the best mother I can possibly be to my children. So, I will try raise them by finding a happy medium between "super bougie" and "super broke". Lol! The formula is still in the making. :)

I just want to be this girl all over again. And, I want my kids to be like her too! Minus the broke-ass hat of course!