5th grade life

In the beginning…

And in the end:

Note to self: when taking end of year pictures with your son’s teachers in order to capture a glimpse of how he has grown you might want to give his teachers a heads up and not let Daniel choose the setting as it was a rather bright, windy afternoon and Mrs. B and Mr K both were busy packing up their classrooms and moving boxes. Just saying. Take note, self. Write it down for next year.

Meanwhile, don’t you just love Human Growth Hormones? Accelerated velocity, y’all. That’s what this is. It’s kind of cool to see for the first time that your child is visibly taller at the end of the school year…at the end of his 5th grade life.

Bring it on 6th grade and Middle School!

Hold me!

wish I knew then what I know now

So have you seen Amy Purdy on Dancing With The Stars…or perhaps you saw her earn a Bronze Medal at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in Snowboarding. That girl just takes my breath away. You might think it’s because of her amazing skill as a paralympic snowboarder or being a finalist on Dancing With The Stars…and yes, you would be right because I do appreciate obvious skill and talent. But what really catches my breath every time, literally every time I watched her dance across the ballroom with Derek Hough during this season of Dancing With The Stars was our own fight with bacterial meningitis with our own dancer just five years ago.

Really, it has been five years!!!

Purdy lost both her legs and kidney function to bacterial meningitis and, not unlike Jodie, complained of not feeling well with a headache and flu-like symptoms only to be literally fighting for her life just hours later. I watch what this athlete, this dancer, this warrior, does on the dance floor under the direction of Hough and I am in awe. Then I cry just a little because I find myself back in that ambulance, in that ER pod, in that pediatric ICU looking at my little girl, my tiny dancer literally fighting for her life when just hours before we were together skipping through Guadalupe Park in San Jose.

We got lucky.

We were so very lucky.

It would be weeks later that we truly realized just how lucky we were as she was able to take to the stage again doing what her body seems to be made to do…to dance.

Five years later, she and I both still can not believe how lucky we both were as we both fell ill to meningococcal meningitis and spent some time in the hospital miles from home.

Five years ago, holding my baby girl’s hand as I watched her life slowly slip away, I could never imagine that I would watch her defy gravity now as she often does on stage.

Nor pirouette and spin the way that she does with such effortless beauty and grace.

Yes, perhaps you could say that I am just a tiny bit overwrought with emotion and melodrama…unless you too stood helplessly by your child, your baby as you watched them begin to slip away.

We’re so lucky. So damn lucky. For that, every day with every leap, every turn, every time she takes the stage I give thanks.



today’s installment of “the more you know”

Because there is always something going on in this life of a juggling mom, today was another adventure in Madera at Children’s Hospital Central California. No big deal. Just another checkup with the endocrinologist. Daily Human Growth Hormone injections means Daniel is more closely monitored which means more frequent blood draws and more office visits with his favorite endocrinologist…that funny, tall lady as he describes her.

Adventures in Madera, FTW! We totally own this.

We both like the funny, tall lady who happens to be Daniel’s endocrinologist. She is super smart but has a way of explaining the way the human body works with all those crazy hormones that even kids like Daniel understands…and seasoned nurses like his mama who suddenly “gets” that A & P lecture from years ago. Today’s office visit was no different from others with Dr. K. Daniel discovered that he really should be more flexible than two 50-something women who happen to be his mother and his doctor. Mom and Dr. K were absolutely THRILLED to see what Dr.K. calls vertical velocity on Daniel’s growth chart.


Daniel is still below the growth curve, as he has been since the day he was born. But he is now -0.3%ile which is the closest he has ever been to the growth curve for boys his age. He grew a little over one inch in the last three months which is nothing except when plotted on his chart shows suddenly a vertical jump rather than the ever so lazily gentle, sometime stagnant, kind of curvy-ish, straight line that has represented Daniel’s physical growth over thee last 4 years or so.

To celebrate, Dr. K. has increased the dose of his daily HGH injections.

“Is this a good thing?”, Daniel wonders…

“THIS IS A REALLY GOOD THING!”, doctor and mom practically shout back.

Perhaps we were a little bit shouty because Daniel did ask us to stop yelling.

Sorry, son.

Dr. K. continues the exam which includes examining the whole body.

Did you know that endocrinologists often use beads to determine the size of certain body parts…certain , um, boy body parts?

For your information, boys and girls, this is an orchidometer. Looking for an image to share, you Google “beads to measure…” and yes, Google finishes with …“to measure testicles”.

That’s awkward.

But, no, it is not awkward or weird at all when the doctor literally pulls these beads out of her pants pocket and explains what they are used for.

Not at all.

Cue the upbeat, “The More You Know” music.


It’s awkward.

Let’s focus on the fact we have vertical velocity and we are so close, so very close to actually being plotted on a “normal” boys growth chart.

And because I can’t leave you all with the image of those beads, I give you this.

Daniel wants the webs to know that he is now bigger than ketchup. He literally asked me to post this pic with that statement. To celebrate he used pretty much half the bottle to eat his chicken strips at the Black Bear Diner today.

Of course I gagged.


using the semicolon

When one becomes a person of a certain age, one sees their doctor more regularly…unless one is my darling husband who would rather hide from what the good doctor is recommending for him these days. He’ll wait until he’s bothered by his daily hacking-up-a-lung cough that becomes even worse than it already is or until his wife’s nagging becomes unbearable. Me, on the other hand, I do try to see my doctor annually and not just when I am sick. Just trying to walk the nurse talk of the importance of maintaining one’s good health, building trust with a good doctor-patient relationship and stuff like that there. So today was the day. The good doctor sits down with me going over the results of the physical exam and ordered tests. The physical exam…perfect. Cardiac function…perfect. Lab work…in his words his 30-something patients should have labs like these.

“You’re a perfect patient!”, he concludes.

“Yes, except for the depression, anxiety and panic attacks.”, I answer back.

“Yes, there’s that.”

And that is why I use a semicolon all the time.

A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. Every single day of my life I choose to use a semicolon.

No, not usually with my writing. I know my use of punctuation could easily be criticized…and sometimes is. Have you seen how often I over-use an ellipsis?

No, the semicolon here represents the fact that my story isn’t over yet. Far from it. I am my author and the sentence is my life and as long as I choose to live this life I will choose to use the semicolon…every day.




Some days it is a struggle. Some days it can be almost a knock down, drag out fight. The fight to choose the semicolon, to keep myself grounded in the love others have for me instead of the hate I feel for myself, remains a struggle…and one I don’t always share for so many reasons. I hate being viewed as weak or less than or even just as someone who struggles. I hate being compared to the parent who far too many times in my lifetime tried to put a period at the end of her sentence. I can imagine her pain and her struggle. I lived survived a lot of it with her. It was so hard for her. So very hard. Still, no child should ever be the one to call for help because mommy won’t wake up…again. No child should ever have to try and get her younger siblings out of the house before the ambulance comes to protect them from seeing mommy this way. No child should have to run down the hill that was Davis Lane to flag down the ambulance because you can’t see that gravel road very well in the dark of night. Add that to the many reasons why I, every day, consciously choose to use a semicolon.

I should be stronger than this.

I should be braver than this.

I will always have anxiety. I will struggle from time to time with debilitating depression. I will sometimes become frozen in panic for no rational reason whatsoever. I will, at times, choose poor coping mechanisms. But I will always choose the semicolon.

My story isn’t over yet.

The Semicolon Project 416

pinteresting and more

Perfect for poolside…if I had a pool; or if my hot tub was working and not dismantled and just an empty shell as it has been for weeks now. Ahem, darling husband.

So there have been a few tornado watches and warning here in our neck of the woods. Yes, Northern Cali experiences tornadoes! People often forget that NorCal gets tornadoes. In fact, the only reports of tornadoes in the US on Wednesday, March 26 were from our area. But because everyone believes them to be rare, warnings sent out via text and phone just don’t get the respect they should in these here parts. Which means we get to see some pretty amazing pictures and videos like this.

Whoa, indeed!

Math nerds, mark your calendars.

Actually, I imagine that the math nerds have known about this a long time ago. The rest of us mere mortals are just now catching up.

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
~ Author Unknown ~

It’s even lovelier around my neck.

I want to be this awesome when I am 97.

And here I was all ready to write something thoughtful and eloquent about motherhood and Gwyneth Paltrow when Sarah of the Sticky Fingers Brigade did it for me.

Not one mother out there has never said (or thought to herself) some snarky, mean thought about other mothers doing it wrong, meaning not the way we are doing this mothering thing that we do so maybe we should chalk up Gwynnie’s thoughts to her doing just that. We can then smirk and shake our heads over her being a lot clueless and get back to trying to do our very best being the mothers that we are.

For those days when I have nothing to wear.

Thank you Caleb White for your service to us all.

Yes, thanks to Self and their mistake and pretty lame apology we discovered something pretty awesome that is Glam Runner because tutus are pretty damn awesome.

Even more better was that Self followed up on that apology by changing the conversation and keeping it positive.

You can support Girls on the Run — the charity on whose board Monika sits — and UCSD’s neurooncology lab where she is being treated, or you can go for a run tomorrow morning wherever you live, in a tutu or anything else you like. #ChangeTheConversation  #KeepingItPositive