Thursday, May 20


Yesterday was a rather tough day for me. I am trying to establish care with a neurologist here in WA so I don't have to make the trip to SoCal every 6 months to see my current neurologist. Let me say, one of the hardest parts of moving was knowing that I wouldn't be near my team of doctors who literally saved my life. Yesterday I met with a doctor up here who criticized my CA doctor, didn't believe my diagnosis, wanted to take me off all my meds that have kept me stabilized, interupted me or didn't give me time to tell my story (even though she asked), told my my mom to shut up when she tried to help me out, and finally told me I needed both a psychiatrist and psychologist (wow!). Yeah~that sucked.

So I put a "woe is me" statement on facebook and started receiving such wonderful comments from friends far & near.

But then today, I received a notice on my wall from a (fairly) new friend, Kristine. But before I go into that, let me tell you a bit about Kristine.

While we've yet to meet in real life, I truly believe Kristine & I have connected in a sweet friendship. Kristine lost her precious, beautiful baby daughter (after 5 love-filled days) shortly after my nephew Demetri was "born sleeping." And we just, well, connected. Kristine is a special woman, whom I greatly admire. Her openness and vulnerability, her fight and drive, her everything is so inspiring.

Kristine's blog, Cora's Story, tells the story of Cora's brief, yet wonderful, life and how her life goes on and her story spread in order to save lives, so that (one day) no one will face the horror and tragedy that Cora's mom & dad did when she passed away from an undetected heart defect.

Kristine, through her grief, while grieving, has (along with her husband) founded Cora's Story, a non-profit organization that spreads information about CHDs (congenital heart defects), fights toward having every hospital give newborn a Pulse Oxometer test (that can help detect some CHDs) prior to being released after birth, as well as comforting and supporting other mothers/families who have lost a child to CHD or who are fighting for survival alongside their special heart babies. On the 30th of  each month, people are encouraged to wear pink in honor of Cora's birthday, but more importantly, to do an act of kindness in Cora's name.

Her blog is both a place to get out awareness of CHDs and a place to journal her grief. She writes the most precious letters to Cora there. This blog is full of Kristine's strengths and fragility. Her ups and downs. Her fight for life for other babies. And a touching tribute to her sweet daughter.

this one beautiful baby or what?!?

And then today, she leaves a message on my facebook wall, with a link to her blog that contains a posting that left me bawling like the proverbial baby. You see, another "heart mom," who does beautiful photography on behalf of grieving families, has started a blog called Spread the Love. This site encourages people to make a difference in someone's life...It could be absolutely anyone. Your neighbour. the postman, the person behind the counter in the grocery store, a family member or a friend.

All they encourage you to do is to put everything in writing. It does not have to be a long letter. It could be a short message on a post it note~just a little something that says something positive about that person. Tell them they are wonderful. Tell them they are appreciated. Thank them for making a difference in your life.

And (here's where my bawling started), Kristine chose me! I feel so absolutely honored and blessed by Kristine's kind words and encouragement. It totally takes the discouragement of yesterday & makes it seem like it's nothing. Which, in comparison to what Kristine is doing, it is!

And so, I send this love back to you, Kristine.

Thank you, Krisitne for thinking of me. For encouraging me. For being there for me too, even in your darkest days. Thank you for letting me walk alongside you on this journey you are on. I feel so absolutely blessed to be a part of your life.

I only wish that we had met under different circumstances and that Cora & Demetri were here too. But I know they are together, in a place of sparkling blue skies, jeweled butterflies and dragonflies, soft breezes, crystal waters, green grasses, and absolute serenity. I've seen them there in my dreams! And the laughter and peace and joy of this place is incredible. While I know they would have liked to be here, with us, I know they are in a special place where they look down upon us with love. How proud Cora is of her mommy! And the love is palpable.

You have touched my heart and I value our friendship. And so, I send the love you spread back to you! Someday, we shall have to meet in real life!!!

If you have someone in your life you'd like to spread the love to, just visit Carly's site and learn how to participate.

Sunday, May 16


Look who moved to Washington!!!!!!!

My brother & sister-in-law arrived last Wednesday.For the 1st time in 17 years, my brother, my sister, and I live in the same area at the same time! I'm thrilled, to say the least.

Yes, we are slowly trying to rope in all family & friends into moving to the Pacific Northwest!

J&D got the cutest house on Whidbey Island~just a hop, skip, and ferry ride from us!

View of Whidbey from the ferry.

How cute is this house??? And it's NEW inside & out!

The backyard rocks!

Going there feels as though you are going on vacation...a vacation that's just 45 minutes away. I love it!

They have been staying with my sister & brother-in-law while waiting for their furniture to arrive. Poor Teagan: 2 more people to dote on her!

Giving kisses...

We've had a delightful week of hanging out, BBQing, shopping trips for "necessary" essentials for them, walks through the wetlands, etc, etc.

Our mom is thrilled to have all 3 of her kids together again (well, 5 with spouses). It is wonderful!!!!!!

Sittin' Pretty

Remember this post from back in January? Where I showed pictures of Teag trying to sit in the little chair my aunt had given me and her aunt had given her?

Teag still loves her little chair...but now she has become rather blaise in regards to the actual sitting down part...because she has it down pat. In her own unique way of course. The whole backing into the chair has never made much sense to her. Instead, she prefers to get into the chair feet first, facing the back of the chair. She then lowers herself down & then spins around. You know, things you can do only when you are 14 1/2 months old and are super bendy!

Sitting in her chair is so common place that she no longer sits prim & proper as she once did. Instead, she lounges....

This being the case, I have decided it is time to challenge her once more: so I bought a bigger chair, that is more wobbly, and is harder to get both in and out of. I mean I wouldn't want her to think that just because once a challenge is completed that life doesn't have another one waiting right around the bend for you. 'Cause it does and I want to prepare her for the real world!

This chair has knocked her down a few times (literally!) so we are still lifting her up into it. An added bonus, trying to get out is extremely hard too (like life) so she prefers getting help out, which means we can trap her in one place for a bit of time if we need too-like when she is eating something sticky.

Seriously, though, she loves her Pooh chair too. It has the added advantage of being taller and therefore making our grown-up sized footstools slightly more accessable to her.

She was having fun watching the horsies on the TV til we made her cry...I would have cried too had I placed any bets on the Derby. My horse came in 6th...I should have bet on jockey Calvin Borel instead. Of course such logic withered with the Preakness because the horse I'd "backed" at the Derby came in 1st, while Borel's came in 8th...but enough of horse racing (at least until the Belmont Stakes in June).

Anyway: point being-isn't Teagan growing up so fast??? She is learning new things so quickly! She knows her body parts, is learning shapes and colors, and is saying so many words now! In fact, last night she learned a new word in one try: PIE!

Such a smart little girl!! And the delight of my life!

Sunday, May 9

Mother's Day

I wish to honor all mothers:

those with full arms and those with empty arms;
those with children on Earth and those with children in Heaven;
those whose desires to be mothers have not yet been met;
grandmas & great-grandmas;
and also to some of the best aunties around
who are like 2nd moms to their nieces & nephews....

but especially those who are near & dear to my heart.

I love you all!!

I know that there are probably a few women here, whom I love, but failed to put your picture up.
I apologize.

I know for some of you this day brings great joy.
For others a reminder of sorrow.
But for all of you: I wish you hope & peace & (most of all) love.

Since I'm an aunt I admire (yes, I'm sooooooo modest)
thought I'd put my picture in here too:
Can you tell we're all related?!?

Friday, May 7

Clothes May Make the Woman, but Food Keeps her Goin'

Little fashionista...

My great-great aunt, who lived in Ireland, made this apron for me when I was little.

She's such a little lady...

Her cousin Kenyan gave her this dress~
Kenyan wore it when she was this age!

But, like all the women in her family, being a fashionista or little lady doesn't always apply to meals. We do like good food! It's in our blood: we're Italian! And German. And Irish. Oh heck: doesn't matter where we hail from; we just know good food when we see it!!! (Or better yet, taste it!!)    ;-)

Gramma's spaghetti & meatballs?!? Yum!!