Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Flamingos

Flamingo Sac Zoo 2014 July

Pink flamingo proves strange is beautiful.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Belong

Five Minute Friday

I am once again participating in Five Minute Friday.  Lisa-Jo is on vacation, so it is being hosted this week by Crystal Stine!  The topic for the week is “Belong” – the rules are always the same.  Five minutes of writing with no editing and no second guessing.  So, here goes:

I love the feeling of belonging.  I guess you could say I long to belong.  I have always felt this way to a certain extent.  I don’t know if it is a reaction to my mom’s seeming resistant to “belonging” to anything.  She didn’t like organizations.  She didn’t get involved in groups.  And even when I was on teams when I was younger, she would choose the more solo efforts required of parents rather than getting involved in group planning, etc.  Part of it may have been my dad’s alcoholism.  Part of it was probably her constant doubting/judging of herself.  But, there was definitely a resistance there.  So, maybe my want/need to belong was a sort of rebellious action.

In high school, I ran for student government despite being one of lower status on the high school social scales.  I was a successful athlete, so I had some recognition despite the fact I didn’t really dress right and my hair was always short and somewhat lacking in style due my 4 – 6 hours of swimming everyday (I was on the swim team, diving team, gymnastics team – I didn’t have time or money to have fancy hair or clothes).  But, I ran for an uncontested office and won.  I also participated in our county’s Jr. Miss competition and won and was able to compete for the State title.  Again, not exactly where I “belonged,” but I loved it.  It seemed like it opened up a whole new space for me.  A space where I was part of a group.  I was “approved”.  I did social things due to my participation in these groups.  It was fun.  It was social.  And I loved it.  I decided that even when I didn’t quite feel like I belonged somewhere, I could still be a part of something.

I am still fighting that battle.  I join mom’s groups.  I went to my church’s women’s retreat despite not knowing another person at the church yet.  I volunteered at VBX and loved it.  And I’m sure I will be involved in my daughter’s school next year.  I don’t always feel like I “belong,” but it is still good to be part of something bigger than myself.

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #20

Today has been kind of a crappy day, so determining some thumbs up may be a little difficult.  But, I will do my best.  After all, gratitude can change attitude!


First, I’ll give a thumbs up to our preschool teacher.  She has done four “summer camps” and we were not signed up for this week’s but originally signed up for next week’s.  Then, Bean had multiple medical appointments scheduled next week so I texted to let her know we would miss out on three of the four days next week and she was gracious enough to invite Bean to attend the last two days of this week’s camp to make up for next week.  She was excited and its given me a bit of a break.  I so appreciate our preschool teacher and her flexibility and true love for Bean.

Second, Vicks Sinex 12 Hour Decongestant Ultra Fine Mist 0.5 Fl Oz (Pack of 4)

I didn’t actually use Vicks this time – just the CVS brand.  But, I have used Vicks in the past and it works wonderfully (although the CVS brand worked very well too).  Both Bean and I have had these nasty summer colds for the last week and a half or so and without this mist, I would have been absolutely miserable!  Absolutely!  So thankful.

Third, Google Hangouts.  We had a meeting of my debate team members last night using this tool and it was great to be able to see each other, talk about the topic and research and not have to get everyone to a certain location during the summer months!  I have not used this tool much in the past because…well, I’m not sure why exactly.  But, I will definitely be using it more often for work!

Well, I think that will be it for this week’s thumbs up.  Hoping for good medical news for next week’s thumbs ups!

What about you?  Anything this week that you would give a thumbs up to?  Please, do share!


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday


We spent this weekend at my mom’s house.  We went to Fairyland in Oakland, CA and it was fantastic. It is the perfect place for 3 – 6 year olds.  Everything is made for THEM.  Such an unusual thing to be where literally everything is designed to be enjoyed by littles.  Bean loved it.  She definitely wants to go back again and use her key to “open more stories”.  We saw a puppet show, rode on two carousels, slid down a big slide (which did scare her a bit), went in the whale’s mouth (pic below), met a bunch of animals and listened to a lot of stories.  Can not recommend this place enough if you have littles in your life!  So much to do!



We also watched Discovery Kingdom fireworks from the Costco parking lot in Vallejo.  It was definitely an interesting experience as there were a number of amateur fireworks shows happening in the parking lot with some quite loud and quite large fireworks!  But, it was fun and we had a good time.  

Overall, it was a great visit with my mom.  We will be returning on Monday night, but this visit is much more medically oriented, with a nephrology appointment on Tuesday, heart clinic on Wednesday, infusion clinic for a blood draw with my mom on Thursday and then a talk with an auxiliary group on Friday who raises funds for Lucile Packard Hospital.  Busy, busy, busy!

Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth #2

tuesday truth

Today’s Tuesday Truth is:  Summer is Hard.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love, love, love me some summer time.  But, there are multiple reasons why summer is hard for me at this point in my life.  I’ll share a few to see if there is anyone out there that can relate to my situation.

First off, summer brings with it all these pressures to do things you otherwise don’t have time to do.  Vacations, days at the pool, getting all those little (or big) house projects done, catching up on all the TV you didn’t watch during the school year, reading books, and relaxing (how are you supposed to relax while doing all these other things?).  And, for me, as I see the weeks quickly slipping away with no book completed, no vacation taken, only a few hours at the pool and mostly for swimming lessons, no house projects completed, and the same old TV shows on my list of things to watch, I just can’t relax.  So, here it is, one month into summer break and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.  And I have a feeling that much of that will remain the same another month from now, as I’m staring down the barrel of a another school year.  Sigh…

Second, summer is hot.  I spent the last few days at my mom’s house, where it is significantly cooler, but she doesn’t have AC so the house still gets hot.  Here at home, it floats between 90 and 100 on most days.  We have AC, and I’m not afraid to use it, so our house always stays cool, but going outside and loading and unloading a five year old into a hot car is not at all pleasing. I often avoid going places just because I can’t face up to that part of the trip.  And those days at the pool mentioned above aren’t possible on most days because it is too hot to go for much beyond an hour or so.  It isn’t even nice to lay out or sit and read by the pool because it is so miserably hot.  I could definitely do without the heat.

Third, summer is two months of single-momming it for me.  My husband works at camps for seven weeks during the summer.  So, we have about one week to do a family vacation, right before school starts.  I have a five year old, all to myself, for most of the summer.  It was definitely worse in previous summers when she was sick or recovering from surgery and couldn’t do a lot of fun things, but it is still hard.  I get tired of being her sole source of entertainment (thankfully she has things like VBX and summer camps at her preschool to keep her busy for a few weeks of the summer).  As she gets more independent, I am sure I will look back longingly to these times, but in the midst of them, they are hard.

Finally, I think summer has a higher level of expectation of fun.  Everyday is supposed to have something “fun” included in it.  I will say I think we do pretty good at this, even if the fun is just going to Barnes and Noble for some train play and looking around at toys and books, but it is a lot of pressure.  Sometimes I just want to spend a day in bed.  But, that doesn’t seem acceptable to my five year old.  The summer colds we’ve had for the last week or so have not helped things at all.  I’m hoping we are on the tail end of those and can get back to feeling 100%.  I also feel like I have a lot of pressure to spend time at my mom’s house during the summer, which is difficult with trying to schedule swim lessons and camps and such.  But, it is true that I have the summer off from work and I will regret NOT taking that time to spend with my mom when I had the chance.  So, I was just there for five days and we’ll be home for five days and then back there for five more days.  And we will probably go and visit for at least a few more days here and there during the next six weeks or so.

So, there it is – my Tuesday Truth…that summer is hard.

But, in the end, I love summer.  I love being a teacher and having the time off from teaching (not work, because I still prep during the summer quite a bit).  I love being able to do fun things with my daughter during this age when she actually wants to do fun things with me.  And I love my AC in my house during the hottest days!

What about you?  What’s your view on summer?


Happy Heart Day #5

I thought in honor of my DD’s heart day (the day she received her heart transplant and was given her second chance at life, only five short months after being born), I would take a photographic walk through the last five heart days…and, as always, her donor family is in my heart and mind today.

July 8, 2009 - heart day pic

Because she spent most of July 7 in surgery, I don’t have any pictures.  But, here she is on the morning of July 8, with the myriad of medications and the bandages on her chest (they read 7/7/09 as they mark each bandage with the date it was placed).  She was giving what some said was her “I’m #1” hand signal.  🙂

Here she is after our big one year “Transplantiversary” where we had balloons, cake and friends over.

Transplantiversary #1

And, heart birthday #2 at my in-laws in Bakersfield…she grows so much each year:

Heart Birthday #3 (day after)

And heart birthday #3 in 2012:

Heart Day #3

And last year:

heart day 2013

And finally, here she is five years post transplant, with one additional heart surgery and many, many biopsies and a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, a ton of X-rays, IV pokes, blood draws, a few bouts of pneumonia, and a whole lot of other things.  But, she is thriving and she brings so much joy to my life!  Please send some prayers to the donor family and please register to donate your organs if you have not already done so!


Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Our miracle month is upon us.

July is my miracle month.  Five years ago on July 7, my daughter received a new heart after only 30 some days on the organ waiting list (which is a very, very short time for a baby).  She recovered from the transplant quickly and was able to come to live with us at the Ronald McDonald House on July 25, one day after my birthday (best birthday present ever and can’t really be topped).  So, July is a bit of a special month for us.

I can’t believe it has been five years, but in many ways it seems like a lifetime.  We have a heart clinic visit later this month and I think I will take a cake to the appointment for all the heart transplant team (or some cupcakes since there is a Sprinkles right across the street from the hospital).  I may look up something we can do relatively easily to take to patience in the CVICU as well.  It is sometimes hard for me to get these things together, but I really want to be able to do it this year.