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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Tummy, Happy Heart

October turned out to be the perfect month for making my tummy and heart very happy. I had quite a few  therapy sessions these past few weeks. My belly and soul have been satisfied.

For starters, I had my "usual" Sunday brunch date at La Boheme with my friend D. I haven't had dinner there yet, but their brunch is super fabulous! I haven't had a chance to reconnect with her since March because I was busy with lion taming while she was busy finishing up grad school and writing her thesis. (She's one smart cookie, I'm telling you.) But.... I love, love, love my brunch dates with D! We always pick up right where we left off no matter how much time has passed. I also really appreciate her wisdom and strength. She gives me such a broader perspective on things, and has the rare ability to validate my feelings without me still second-guessing myself.

I also had quite a few coffee dates this month.

On 10/11/10, I met up with P (and my niece D) after I got off from work. P requested to meet with me so we could discuss the possibility of me designing her STDs. (Save the dates.) She will be getting married in July and I was honored that she entrusted me to help her with this. We shared ideas over coffee and then headed over to Michaels so we could brainstorm. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my niece D because she's a craft nut just like I am. She's my sidekick whenever I have to do party stuff. It was also nice to get out and get into "craft mode" with a bride that has such an awesome vision for her wedding. I really adore the theme for her wedding because it's so unique! I left Michaels that day feeling refreshed and eager to get started on making a mock-up of her STD. This is going to be my first wedding gig and I'm excited. :)

Side note: I have also started planning Niki's 2nd birthday. My uterus will probably still be expelling gobs of lochia (thanks to my giving birth) so I figured now would be a good time to start planning her party. I already found a venue (SAVE THE DATE FOR FEBRUARY 26th!) I'm also trying to coordinate a blood drive since Niki had a transfusion this year. Ethan's 3 year death anniversary is on 2/27 too. More details to come...

On 10/18/10, I met up with Niki's Ninang (and my good friend) M for a Starbucks date. And then I revisited Starbucks again on 10/21/10 with my best friend K! If you're starting to become alarmed by my caffeine intake, don't fret because I usually opt for a caramel apple cider or seasonal hot cocoa  being that I'm preggers and all. There's something cleansing about about sipping hot drinks and sharing good convo with my girlfriends.  I wonder if men feel this way about their buddies? Even though Kevin often interjected his thoughts into the conversations (I took him to both dates) we still had the opportunity to share chissmiss and vent about life.

Good times!

On Monday 10/25/10 I had the pleasure of experiencing a double whammy of "tummy happiness." I met with my neice D for an impromptu lunch date and I had a "coffee and homework date" with my boys. :) D and I met in San Bruno for some yummy Japanese food at you guessed it -- Akagi!  (I can't get enough of that place.) Their yelp review sucks, but I swear it's the best hole-in-the-wall place to get Japanese food. Can't beat their prices or the taste. I'm not a fan of raw sushi (I'm allergic) but I love their bento boxes and cooked rolls. Deep fried California Rolls are my favorite. :)

D (can I just say your first name from now on?)  got there early and ordered for the both of us. I know the menu by heart so I just texted her my selections. Great minds must think alike because we both ordered the same thing. I owed D big time because I missed her 21st birthday celebration in Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago. I barely get to see D anymore since she moved to Fairfield so it was nice to just have some one-on-one time with her. I miss having my "Fats" around. That girl is my diary. ;-)

My lunchtime date gave me a sudden boost of energy so I decided to take both Kev and Boo out on a coffee and homework date after I got off from work. It was a challenge, but the boys had a lot of fun. They enjoyed sipping their hot chocolates and devoured their brownies. Even John made it in time to join us! Once the kids finished up their homework, we went grocery shopping for dinner. (John made tacos because I was craving for them.) All of the excitement must have exhausted the boys because they were bathed, in bed, and asleep before 9! It was a miracle. No one got up because their were thirsty, scared, or "too bored to sleep."

Kev and Boo toasting each other. I swear I don't know where they get this stuff from!
 Sipping on their hot cocoa. :)
 I love my boys.
 Cocoa + Crayons = The perfect way to end a school day! 

I can't wait until I can have coffee dates with my girls. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Baaaaack In!

I still can't believe this has happened --- I'm posting an entry in my home sweet home!!!! My friends, this has got to be the BEST Friday...EVER!!! Losing my blog was so devastating that getting it back almost feels like it's too good to be true. Someone pinch me and tell me this isn't a dream!

For the past few weeks I've bounced you guys all over the place -- from WordPress to a new blog ( on Blogger. I've fallen, dusted myself off, and dragged you all along for the ride. I'm sure I've exasperated a few readers, lost a few readers, and surely confused the hell out of all of you. So, I thank you for baring with me as I tried to figure this whole thing out.

Now that I'm back, it feels so good to have people to share my joy with.  I've also gained some new bloggy friends out of this whole experience and that ain't bad at all. ;-)  I promise, promise, promise that this will be the last time you'll all have to switch your "follow buttons" back. I plan on completely shutting down the "" blog once I've completely re-transitioned back to home. Special thanks to the folks at Google / Picasa for being the "" -- you guys have seriously glued my heart back together. :)

For now, I'll be basking in the moment and looking forward to enjoying Halloween weekend. More posts to come!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Different Dream...

If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend following Jolene Philo's blog at (Her site is listed under my "Good Things" tab.) Jolene is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to raising a child with special needs. In my old blog (yes, I'm still dwelling on it guys) I wrote about how Jolene interviewed me about Ethan & Niki's story for her upcoming book. Since then she has graciously written two blog entries about that interview. And, I'm honored.

Here is a link to the most recent post:

If you are a parent raising a child with special needs and have tips or suggestions that you would like to share, please feel free to comment on the post. We could all use some help from time to time. ;-)

Also, here is the link to the original post she wrote shortly after our interview.

Lastly, click on the link if want to purchase A Different Dream for My Child. I'll be sure to let you all know when the book (the one I interviewed for) is released.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today's Highlights...

I got off from work at 2:30 today to take Niki to her routine check up with Dr. Awesome. We try and alternate visits between clinics in Oakland and SF, and today's appointment just so happened to be in SF. I was hoping to make it there a little early -- and I was making good time too -- but I got caught in some pretty gnarly traffic. In case you don't already know or you live under a rock, Game 1 of the WORLD SERIES is today!

Lovely, isn't it?

The last time the Giants made it to the World Series was when I was pregnant with Kevie in 2002. The Giants had a damn fine team that year!!!! That was the year I fell in love with J.T. Snow (even more after the Darren Baker incident at home plate), Barry Bonds was is the Homerun King, and Dusty Baker was the best goddamn manager there every was! When they lost, I remember dwelling on the fact I couldn't tell Kevin (when he got older) that the Giants won the World Series when I was pregnant with him. How cool would that story have been?!

Where for art thou, J.T. Snow?

Now here we are -- 8 years later -- and Kevie & Boo have Giants fever! The whole dang Bay Area has caught Giants fever!  Most of the staff at Dr. Awesome's clinic in SF wore Giants gear and they had posters all throughout the clinic showing support for the Gigantes.  And tomorrow, in lieu of uniforms, Kev & Boo's school is allowing all of the kids to wear Giants gear to celebrate.

I lost touch with baseball when I became a Mommy, but you guys probably remember me writing about my love affair with baseball on my old blog. Hell, I had no idea what "Fear the Beard" meant until two weeks ago! Now, I'm struggling to write while my boys (John, Kev, & Boo) excitedly clap and yell things like "Gooo Posey, gooo!" or "Uuuuurribe!" or "5-2 baby, 5-2!" or my personal favorite "Yeah, Diirrrrrty Sanchez!" to the television. Ah, father-son bonding at its finest. ;-) 

I still love J.T. Snow, but Buster Posey is a very close 2nd in my guys-I-think-are-cute-book. 
 And yes, I'm know I'm somewhat of a cougar for feeling this way.

I'm not a bandwagon fan -- frankly I'm opting to write rather than truly watch the game -- but I'm still hoping the Giants kick some Texas Ranger ass tonight. Maybe I can tell Noie the Giants won the World Series when I was pregnant with her.

But I digress...

All went well at Niki's appointment with Dr. Awesome. As usual, Dr. Awesome was THE BEST. Niki lost some weight with the MRSA incident (and now I miss my old blog because I would've linked the original MRSA post), but she's otherwise doing okay. Niki's been bruising easier and she has a nasty hematoma on her tongue, so Dr. Awesome increased her NovoSeven dose from 200mcg to 220mcg. To give you non-medical folk and idea of how much factor that is, it's about the same volume as a single tear drop! And to think -- her factor costs thousands of dollars for one dose! She has a 1ml vial it goes bad about three hours after it's reconstituted. All the "tear drops" left in the vial go to waste.

Nurse Rich got Niki a 2-month supply of hard-to-get Griper needles, and a note allowing her to fly to New Orleans with her factor and infusion supplies. Dr. Awesome brought it with her to the clinic in San Francisco. I called Niki's social worker one month ago about the letter, but she must have forgot to write it for me before she went on vacation. I know I've said this before, but Nurse Richard is the BOMB!  I honestly don't know where we would be if Dr. Awesome and Nurse Rich weren't so wonderful with Niki.

With that being said, John and I finally spilled the beans.

We let Dr. Awesome know that we were naming the baby after her. I was scared that she would be weirded out by it, but you know what she did? She started to tear. And I started to tear! And we hugged. :) And THAT is why John and I love her so much. Even though we don't go to a HTC, we know that our "medical family" genuinely cares about Niki. We're going to Oakland for our next visit so Niki can see Nurse Rich. 

I also mentioned to Dr. Awesome that Niki's case is probably going to be included in a "letter to the editor" for a medical journal. I don't want to go into details until it actually happens, but Niki is the first case that this factor VII deficiency expert knows of where NovoSeven was used as primary prophylactic treatment. Dr. Awesome is doing some awesome things with our little guinea pig!

So, Dr. Awesome is totally worth naming one of our children after. :)

Totally random note: I LOVE the way Tony Bennett sang "God Bless America." So SF!

My Partner In Crime...

Here is the link to my latest post at I've copied and pasted the post below, but I still strongly recommend that you visit the site to check out all of the cool things at HemAware Magazine. They offer a wealth of information for people with bleeding disorders and for people that want to learn more about the community. :)

There is something amazing about ending up with your high school sweetheart. Twelve years doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a long time if you think about all the life stages I’ve gone through with John. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe how much time has passed! We’ve grown up so much over the years that I’m amazed we haven’t grown apart.

John and I started unofficially dating in May 1998, one month before my 16th birthday. Back then he had peach fuzz on his upper lip and smoked cigarettes, and although I’ve heard his voice practically every day for the past 12 years, I’m sure his voice was much higher then, too. John’s personality reminded me a lot of Dally, my favorite character from S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. John wasn’t violent, but he was a “bad boy” nonetheless.

John transferred from a different high school because he got into a lot of trouble when he lived in the Oakland-Alameda area of the Bay. I never really noticed him around school because we were such polar opposites. I was goofy, innocent and hung out with a completely different crowd. And yuck—I didn’t like smokers! So, for almost all of sophomore year he didn’t exist in my world, and I didn’t really exist in his.

When mutual friends caused our worlds to collide, I didn’t gravitate toward his defiant personality. In fact, I didn’t even give him the time of day at first! John and I still playfully debate how it happened, but the very first night we went out with friends, he kissed me (although he claims I kissed him), and we’ve been together ever since. We had your typical whirlwind high-school romance, and with time, I stopped being such a goody-goody, while he softened up a bit.

Becoming Parents Together

If you had told me when I was 16 that I would eventually have children with the guy, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you’d told me the family we’d create would be a different kind of normal—that one of our children would die and another would be born with a rare bleeding disorder—I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, I probably would have thought you were crazy!

Although he shaves every day now, I can still visualize how his teenage face looked. And I can still remember the way it felt when he sweetly hugged me while we waited for the bus together. We were so young and immature when we welcomed our first son, Kevin, on my 21st birthday. Just when I thought we were veterans at this parenting thing, we matured drastically as we learned to cope with Niki’s diagnosis. I also remember the look in John’s weary eyes nearly three years ago as we watched our son die. The way he held me when Ethan died was different from all those times at the bus stop. So, to say we’ve aged a lot in the past 12 years is an understatement.

Persevered Together

I’ve read the statistics about the death of a child correlating with a higher chance of divorce. I’ve also heard of couples breaking up over the stress of raising a child with special needs. I may sound arrogant or idealistic for saying this, but I don’t worry about those things with John. We’ve lost dreams together, lost a child together, and through hell and high water we’ve persevered.

Both parents must carry the factor VII deficiency gene for it to be passed down to a child. Out of all the people I could have possibly had children with, I ended up with someone just like me—a carrier of a severe form of this disorder. Some people may perceive that as a curse, but to us it’s a blessing in disguise. We are far from perfect—we still bicker and fight when stress runs high—but there is something oddly reassuring about our “curse.” To us, it’s a sign that the life we’ve created together was meant to be.

The boy who was rough around the edges has turned into the man who is strong when I am not. It’s his eyes that meet mine during those sleepless, stressful nights when all we can do is worry. The boy who wouldn’t dare shed a tear in front of me for fear of “losing face” has transformed into the man I’ve held while sobs racked his body. So, though our life together has been difficult, I appreciate it for all its glory.

My high school sweetheart turned soulmate makes this journey run smoother, bumps and all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not Good...

Today wasn't a good day.

I was at work, sifting through some old e-mails, when I came across pictures that my neice "D" sent me a few months after Ethan passed away. The photos were taken the day we took him to the emergency room. There were a lot of people visiting him that night (after he already had the bleed), and no one thought anything was odd. He was alert and responding to people, but Ethan just felt...tense. Hell, the emergency room doctor tried to send us home that night. So, perhaps it was impossible for anyone to know what was happening to Ethan at first glance. '

Or at least, that's what I tell myself to make my heart hurt less...

I wish I could say that staring at those pictures made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, but they didn't. I felt like shit because I had pictures and NOT him. I don't give a care what anyone thinks..I am not "over" it. Yes, he was a baby -- but he was MY baby -- how would you feel if you were me? Like really....let it sink in for a moment. I'm going to ask again -- how would you feel if your baby died one week after he/she was born?

I rest my case.

You would be surprised how many people told John and I that we should be glad that Ethan was "just a baby" when he died. Ha! As if we couldn't possibly emotionally attached to him after "only one week!" Like they thought it hurt less to lose Ethan because he wasn't older! Since when does love have to grow stronger when it comes to your children? I know people probably meant well when they tried to "console" me with those words, but frankly, that whole experience taught me that people are stupid.

I'm mad today, can you tell?

I'm mad at how horridly unfair this is. I'm mad at the ER doctor for making me feel foolish that night, and showing remorse in the NICU later. I'm mad at myself for ignoring my instincts. I'm mad at all of the stupid shit that John and I encountered while Ethan died. And after Ethan died! Sometimes I wish I could just post a whole expose about all the uneccesary stress we had to deal with, but really...what good is that going to do? It's not going to change what already happened. And, it's certainly not going to bring Ethan back.

No, those blog entries will stay private forever.

I write about almost everything on this blog -- but there are some things that need to stay locked away. I simply needed to cleanse my soul and write to get this ugly feeling out of my heart. Bare with me, I promise to be in a better mood the next time I post.

Staring at this picture always makes me feel better.
His smile will make me smile.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cookies & Blue Angels

We were originally supposed to take the kids to see the Blue Angels on Saturday 10/9/10, but John unexpectedly had to work on the car (the PT Cruiser). So, instead of having an impromptu chill session with my friends J&M to fill my day, I ended up staying home to tend to the cubs. I spent all of Saturday lounging in my house clothes and baking.

I learned very quickly that promising the kids that they could lick the bowl (after) does wonders to keep them well-behaved while I bake. The boys really enjoy measuring and mixing things together. Meanwhile, I use the opportunity to teach them about fractions. Niki simply enjoys snacking on whatever morsels of sweetness I give her. So, it's a win-win situation.

Let the picture parade commence...
 Oatmeal & Raisins...
 All mixed-up...
 Fresh Out of the Oven...
 The Finished Product...
 Getting Devoured by John...

My first batch of cookies were a special request from my MIL. She loves oatmeal raisin cookies which is why I whipped some up for her. John just so happened to come home when they were fresh out of the oven. He doesn't really have a sweet tooth, but he loves oatmeal raisin cookies. He devoured some too. Again, it was a win-win situation. :)

I was still in the mood to bake once the oatmeal raisin cookies were done. So, I decided to try a heirloom coconut-chocolate chip cookie recipe. John must have really enjoyed the oatmeal cookies because he decided to hang out with me while I baked. Let me just say that I love it when he keeps me company in the kitchen. I feel so...grown up. (Lol, if that makes any sense.) John snapped some pictures, helped me measure/mix when my arms got tired, and polished off a few of the cookies with Niki as they came out of the oven. Baking has become my therapy again. And I feel a little more Mommy-like too.

My Semi-Sweet Guy Measuring Some Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Coconut & Chocolate
 Me and Noie

Rounded Spoonfuls...sort of.

My Cookie Monster...

In case you missed it, it was Fleet Week here in the Bay Area! I've always loved the way the City transforms during Fleet Week. (Especially the during the weekend.) All the beautiful people are out and about, love/lust is in the air, and it's tons-o-fun to kick back to see the ladies going ga-ga over cute sailors. (It's good luck to kiss a sailor, you know.) In our younger, pre-cub days, John and I would go out every year with our friends to cruise the City. We would take the Mustang, drive with the top down, and "people watch" on Broadway.

Good times!

It has been years since John and I experienced Fleet Week's "nightlife", but we've made it a family tradition to take the cubs to see the Blue Angels every year. The boys really enjoy the sound of the planes zooming overhead. I like spending time with my kiddos and explaining the world to them. There was nothing like a gorgeous Sunday in the City to make me feel refreshed for the work week! We attended the air show on Sunday, October 10th. Here a few pictures from the day...Enjoy!

He did.
 We paid $40 for parking at Pier 23!!!

 I see this guy everywhere! (Remember my pictures from Folsom?)
Hello, sailor!
Gotta LOVE SF.
 We finally made it.

 They were flying loooooowwwww...
 And high...

 And high....

I love the looks on their faces. :)

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the hot weather at Pier 39...

 Boo and Niki are lefty's. This store is total crap though.
 John and Uncle J carrying the Queen in her chariot. ;-)
The Little Lions

I wish every weekend was like this one. :)