Friday, June 29, 2007

A Trip to the Beach

Drew's been asking us to go to the beach. "Can I go to the beach mommy? Can I swim in the ocean?" I don't know how he even knows about the beach, maybe he saw it in one of his books, or on Little Einsteins. So we finally took the kids to the beach last weekend. It was just a short trip, after we "camped" with friends and played sloshball (which was a lot of fun). It was so sweet to see the kids in awe of the ocean. Drew quickly changed his mind about swimming in the ocean, and was hesitant to even dip his toes in. He even ran away from the waves! Luckily there was a little stream that the kids could play in. Ava, as usual, was fearless. Just started walking right towards the water, and then went walking down the beach on her own. We were good parents and slathered the children in sunscreen, but neglected to put it on ourselves. We both ended up with sunburns. It really was a lot of fun and since everyone had such a nice time, we're thinking of planning a family vacation at the beach.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A New Backyard!

We finally began our landscaping project yesterday. The backyard was beautiful when we bought the house, but really not very child-friendly. The koi pond was lovely (filled with large Japanese koi fish) but it was a potential drowning hazard so we sold the fish and drained the pond pretty soon after moving in. The backyard also had a lot of uneven surfaces, lots of rocks to throw, and lots of concrete. Not a lot of grass or flat space to put a play structure or even a blow up swimming pool. In the pictures I've posted you can use the peach tree in the back left to orient yourself. Here's what it looked like when we bought the house in October 2005.

And here's what it looked like after a year and a half of near-neglect:

This is at the end of Day1 of construction:

And this is at the end of Day 2!

And this is Drew mesmerized by the big tractors in our backyard!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cardiology and Other Appointments

I forgot to mention that we had our follow-up cardiology appointment last Monday. It was a quick appointment, kind of. We did spend a lot of time waiting, but not a lot with the doctor. Anyway, everything seems to be fine with Drew. I hadn't really noticed an increase in endurance or easier breathing so the Dr. felt it was fine to increase the dose of his Sildenafil. He now takes 2.5 ml 3x a day. Our next follow-up appointment is in two months, on August 13.

In the meantime, we have quite the line-up of appointments. It seems we see our specialists about every six months and all the appointments are pretty close together. Here's the schedule:
June 26-Immunology at UCSF
August 6-Dentist
August 13-Cardiology again
Sept. 21-Endocrinology

Actually, after writing them all out like that, they don't seem that close together.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

For Father's Day I wanted to write something beautiful and eloquent about what a wonderful husband and father of my children I have in Dan. But words cannot express the gratitude I have for this strong, loving and compassionate man. In our almost 6 years of marriage he has been tested as a young husband and father. He is a true blessing to our family and it is an honor to be his wife. I love you honey!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We're Back!

After a week and a half in Southern California it took us almost another whole week to get back into the swing of things. Finally the piles of mail have been sorted, the suitcases unpacked, the laundry done (although it's piling up again--amazing how it regenerates). We resumed our playdates, visits to gymboree, and lunches with friends.

The weather has been HOT! We've been spending lots of time outside in the whale pool, at the park running through the fountains, and swimming at friends' pools. We also visited an indoor air-conditioned bounce center. What a great idea! Now those of you who know me are probably going, "she let Drew bounce in one of those germ-infested, injury producing, bouncy chambers of doom?" It's true, I did. But I like that it's indoors so the kids aren't getting all sweaty and drippy and I of course purelled him head to toe when we were done. And he had so much fun. Plus, it's June. We're pretty much out of cold and flu season.

I wasn't really sure what to write about today so I'll just share some things that have been on my mind.

1. Drew has been saying the funniest things lately. Last night at dinner Dan and I were having wine. Drew asked if it was for adults, and we said yes. We asked him if he was an adult and he said no. Is Ava an adult? He said no. So we asked, "what is she?" And he said, "she's a dog!" We were cracking up and he goes, "no, she's not a dog, she's one."
2. We got our itemized statement from UCSF this week. For one day in the hospital, less than 12 hours, it was $35,ooo. I am so glad that we have good health insurance. Drew is truly a multi-million dollar baby.
3. We are going to start the project to re-landscape our backyard next week. Unfortunately it is going to be quite expensive, but they are going to be finished in about a month. I am definitely looking forward to having a more usuable space out there and the kids will be able to play safely in their own backyard.
4. I have been thinking about some friends of mine going through difficult times right now. Baby Ramona is six months old and just underwent her second open-heart surgery to repair an anuerysm in her heart on Friday. Todd had a bone marrow transplant a month ago and just received some discouraging news from the doctors. And another friend of mine just suffered a miscarriage. I have been thinking about and praying for all these people and their families.

Here are a couple pictures of Drew enjoying the warm weather.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Thursday was Flag Day so I made a red, white and blue cake for Life Group. Here's my creation:

And Drew enjoying it:

Drew Singing

Here is Drew singing one of his favorite songs. He is so adorable!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Goodbye Dr. P

Dr. P and Drew (18 months)
Today is a sad day. Our beloved pediatrician is leaving and today is her last day. Our entire family has formed a strong bond with her. When I was pregnant with Drew, Dan and I interviewed her. We both liked her and decided she would be a good fit for our family. Of course at that time we had no idea just how much time we would be spending with her. We thought we’d see her for well-baby checks and maybe the occasional cold or ear infection. We ended up seeing her quite often, especially in the months after Drew’s first two heart surgeries. I think we saw her every two weeks in the beginning, in addition to the myriad other appointments we had scheduled with specialists.

I don’t know if it’s because she was there with us from the very beginning, when Drew was diagnosed as a newborn. She was there to help guide us through one of our most difficult life experiences. She followed our progress at UCSF and then checked on us during the next 6 weeks at UCD. She answered our questions and made important decisions. She flawlessly organized all the authorizations required for his appointments with cardiology, endocrinology, ENT and immunology. Every time we were in the hospital she would come see us. She would allow for extra time for our appointments because she knew I would have lots of questions and wanted to make sure she had time to answer them. She never made me feel like I had a stupid question. She indulged my irrational fears. Once Drew needed a breathing treatment and I knew a child who had the same condition who died during a treatment. I told her I was scared about that and so she stayed in the room with us during the entire treatment, holding Drew’s DVD player and talking with us, to make me feel better. I’m sure she knew he would be fine, but she took the time to go above and beyond what was required of her as a doctor. Just recently Ava had her one-year appointment and I confessed that sometimes I’m afraid that maybe Ava has an undiagnosed heart defect. Instead of making me feel silly, she said “of course you are” and she checked her oxygen saturations for me (they were fine).

Perhaps the biggest reason we love her so much is because she loves Drew. And he loves her. Every time we go to the doctor he asks if we’re going to see Dr. P. Once we’re in the waiting room he wants to know where she is, and as we’re walking back to our room he yells out “Hi Dr. P!” She really gets how special he is, what a loving boy he is and as his mother I really appreciate that. I think sometimes doctors can get lost in an interesting medical puzzle and forget that there is a sweet little boy underneath all of that.

I think part of what makes her such a great doctor is that she has four children of her own. Which is part of the reason she’s leaving. She wants to go somewhere with a slower pace, somewhere where she will have time to go to their baseball games. And although we will miss her incredibly, I can’t argue with that. At our last appointment she gave us her new address and phone number and told me to call if I ever have any questions. I hope she meant it, because I plan on it! She told me to send pictures and keep in touch. She promised her replacement is just like her. I certainly hope so, because she is leaving some pretty big shoes to fill.

Congratulations Rachel!

My baby sister graduated from high school last night! Congratulations Rachel! And Congratulations Mom and Dad! Your 15 years at Canyon are finally over!

The beautiful graduate

Rachel's audience

I ran into my high school AP History teacher, Mr. Lynch

Rachel with her brothers and sister

Our proud family

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A visit to So Cal

It's been a while since my last post. We've been busy as usual. Right now we are in Southern California at my mom's house. We flew down on Thursday and the kids did great on the plane. It's just a short trip, but Ava could do a lot of damage in one hour, so I was worried. Luckily she was content to sit in my lap and eat snacks for most of the plane ride.
We're here for another round of weddings and graduations. The first event on our calendar was my friend Laura's wedding in Orange. It was beautiful and the bride and groom are so cute and so in love, it makes me happy just to look at them. We stayed in a hotel that night and my sister came with us to watch the kids (thanks Rae).

Tony and Laura

My mom got us tickets to a taping of Jay Leno for Father's Day and we went yesterday. We got to go onstage and meet Jay afterwards and take pictures because we had a special VIP ticket. No cameras allowed in the studio though, so they'll be sending our pictures in 4-6 weeks. It was cool, but it made me sad to walk by all the people in the standby line, because that's where my friends and I were in NY waiting for Regis & Kelly.

Dan and I even escaped to watch a movie the other night. We saw Knocked Up and it is seriously the funniest movie we have seen in a long time. Of course, we rarely see movies anymore, what with the two kids and all, but still. Very funny.

Next on our agenda, my sister graduates from high school tomorrow. The kids are staying with a friend of mine because Drew is terrified of graduations. Seriously, that's why I've decided not to walk next week in my own graduation. The rest of us will be in the stadium by 6:00 waiting for the ceremony to start at 7:00. I'll probably cry when they play Pomp and Circumstance.

Then we've got our family graduation party on Saturday celebrating my sister's high school graduation, my brother's college graduation, and my grad school graduation. Unfortunately we willl be missing my brother's actual graduation ceremony on Sunday because we are flying back to Sacramento for a wedding that afternoon. Wow.

On our off days we've been visiting local parks and playing in the front yard. We miss all our usual playdates and activities and can't wait to see you all again soon.

Dan and Andrea at Laura's wedding

Me and my Mom toasting the bride and groom

Me and Dan outside the studio