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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just Lie

Yesterday and today were absolute chaotic days so I didn't have time to think about the continuation of our medical issues. For those wondering, still no word on the results of Tommy's tests but the leg welts are back and ironically there was a note about strep in the classroom in his backpack. Why won't the doctors listen to me?

This is going to be a very short post that is really aimed at the men that read the blog. I have already mentioned in a previous post that I love to have discussions with questions that provoke deep thought out answers. Leo doesn't really love this game. I love when people play along with me. I am going to give you men some advice. When your wife asks you, "When did you first realize you loved me?" or "When did you know that I was the one you wanted to be with forever?" if you don't have an answer, just lie. I promise you that if you come up with a story, your significant other will relish it and appreciate it and will not check whether it is true. At least I wouldn't. A movie that I always enjoy watching is "Housesitter" with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. She plays this eccentric woman who tells stories to make her life more interesting and she encourages Steve Martin to do the same to win back a lost love. I, for one, would be impressed if Leo came up with a story for when he knew he loved me.

I think as women we need to feel connected. We need to feel like we matter and that there is a reason why we were chosen over anyone else. Maybe it is because I write romance novels (I use that term loosely because one is finished but really bad because I wrote it when I was in high school and had no clue, one is finished but it is more like 3 books in one and I can't stop editing it or let go of the characters and one is hard to finish because I have been writing scenes instead of straight through) and I write those big moments all the time and I just want to know my own big moments even if Leo has to make them up.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Isabella's Own Chaos

Isabella was the sweetest baby. She only cried when she was hungry or needed to be changed. I would stare at her and think, this is why people have a lot of kids. She was so easy. Or at least she started out that way. Not to be outdone by her brothers, one night when the twins were 2 months old, Isabella was sleeping in between Leo and me. She made a pitiful cry and when I felt her, she was on fire. I took her temperature and it was almost 104. After a brief argument with Leo on whether to go to the ER, I raced her there. I knew it couldn't be good to be that small with a fever that high. They did a spinal tap which broke my heart to hear her scream like that (they wouldn't let me in the room). That came back clean but her urine test came back positive for an infection. She was admitted and her little arm was tied to a board to keep the IV steady and one of the nights when she wouldn't stop crying from what I was afraid was pain, I had to crawl in the crib with her and let her sleep on me (one of the only benefits of being 5'2). It was the week before Christmas and I cried when carolers came to sing to the kids that were there. No child should be in the hospital at Christmas. They ran a bunch of tests and it was a good thing I was already on antidepressants because it was very hard being there that week with them trying to figure out what was wrong. At one point, Leo looked at me and said, "Please can we be done having kids? This is too hard." She was released the day before Christmas Eve with the diagnosis of a bladder infection.

She was seen in the ER two more times, once at 18 months and again at 2. Both of them were for bladder infections. After the urologist ran some tests, he found that she had bladder diverticulum with urinary reflux. She had to be on an antibiotic indefinitely so at home I had to have a big chart of who got what medicines at what time. I had new appreciation for nurses which I had never aspired to be. If you read my "Florence Nightingale" post, you know this already. The doctor kept calling it a defect which made me just want them to fix it but that was not recommended at that young of age. Had the boys not had CF with all of what that entailed, I probably would have felt differently but I was in the frame of mind where if she had something that could be fixed, why wouldn't they just fix it?

I remember crying to my mom that was it too much to ask that one child not have a medical condition and how I lived in fear of any of them having to go back to the hospital. I felt like all three kids belonged to the medical community and that no matter how hard I took care of them, they still ended up in the ER. There were so many appointments with various specialists. Belle also had a functional heart murmur so that meant more tests and more appointments. I hated the hospital and the chaos that was left behind with the other two kids when I had to be gone. I felt torn between the child that was sick and the two that were at home but was so lucky that I had family close by because they either went to my house to be with the two kids that were at home or relieved me at the hospital so I could go see the other kids. It was a very stressful time for everyone and it seemed that from December 4, 2001 until the twins were 5, that someone was in the hospital.

At one of the frequent appointments for the boys, there was a woman and her teenage daughter sitting in the waiting room. I am sure I looked like I was on the edge because she said to me, "Don't let them scare you. This is manageable. Your boys will be fine. Just don't treat them any differently. Handle things when they come up but it doesn't have to be your whole life." I bet that woman doesn't know how comforted by her words I was. I bet she also doesn't know that she couldn't have been more wrong at that time. As far as CF went, we were about to find out how daunting it really was.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

TV (American Idol and other shows)

I am still going to do the post about Isabella tomorrow but I couldn't help myself tonight. I am just catching up on all my shows and finished watching James sing on Idol and I might be a little in love. OMG! I love Carole King and his version of one of my favorites gave me the chills. LOVED IT! I still like Scotty but he needs to hold his microphone differently or not sing out of the side of it or something. It's starting to bug me. I really like JLo and Steven (he cracks me up). I haven't watched to see who gets voted off and was in the middle of the episode when Leo came in and threw a fit about not seeing yesterday's.

Celebrity Apprentice: I cannot stand Donald Trump. If I hadn't invested more than half the season, I'd stop watching it. Glad to see Gary Busey go and looking forward to the Star and Nene showdown. Still love the men's side and Marlee from the women's.

Housewives (all of them): Not liking Sonja from New York and still think Kelly is a loon. Jury is still out on the new one. Orange County: Tired of Gretchen and Tamra. I think I miss Laurie. Jersey one is starting soon. I am afraid it is going to be reduced to the Bravo version of Mob Wives. Glad Danielle is gone but did they trade her for ones that are worse?

America's Next Top Model: Molly has the worst, most negative personality but man, she can model. I can't help like her when she is modeling. So glad that Hannah is still around. I think she is a good model and has a good personality which means she will probably be gone next week so they can continue the drama that they think pulls in ratings.

Mob Wives: I am not actually watching this one but happened to catch it and it is a train wreck. Between all the words bleeped out, I could only make out that all of the husbands but one are in jail. All of the women need anger management classes and I have a hard time imagining their husbands are scarier than them.

The Voice: This is the show that Belle and I are going to watch together but since we haven't had time to watch the whole thing, I have only seen some of it and I can't tell you anything about the singers. I can only tell you that I think Blake Shelton is hot. He is funny too which makes him even hotter. I don't care if this is the worst show on television (as long as Mob Wives is on, this show is safe), I will continue to watch for Blake Shelton.

eBay Issues

I think I have been scammed by eBay. I love eBay and have bought many things and have only had a problem twice in ten years but this one makes me mad because it was an impulse buy that seemed too good to be true and now probably was. Gia is teething and has been up in the middle of the night for several nights. I was flipping through the channels and before I knew it, I was sucked right in by the Insanity one. The workout that promises to be a new you in 60 days. I am actually shocked that I was that brainwashed into thinking I had to have it. I was watching the people do the exercises and thought, I could totally do that (even though one sit up leaves me with an aching back and squats hurt my knees). 45 minutes a day? No problem (even though I can't seem to find 15 minutes to shower). 3 easy payments of $39.95...hmmm...for something I wasn't sure I'd like, not sure about that. So the next morning I went on eBay and found it for $48 with free shipping. Before thinking twice, but after making sure that it was what I thought it was and the seller had a 100% feedback rating, I clicked "Buy it now." Immediately, I thought something was odd. It never took me to an eBay page, just a PayPal one. When I went back to check on the purchase, it was gone with a note that said "This seller is not a registered eBay seller." What? I had never heard of a seller being able to sell without being registered. I tried to send him a message and that was when a note came up that said, "This seller is from another eBay site and might not speak English. Your message will appear just as it is below." Buyer's remorse! Buyer's remorse! I was going to send a message but I am just going to wait and see if I get it and if it is what it is supposed to be. If not, I'll open a claim and try to get my money back. Ugghh...why didn't I just order the Wen Haircare System for $29.95? I am also a little shocked that I bought the Insanity one since I hate working out longer than 20 minutes and Zumba is really a workout I like and it has its own infomercial out there. What possessed me to impulse buy like that? Probably the same thing that caused me to buy Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred at Target (each workout is only 20 minutes)...I'm desperate to find some sort of exercise that I'll stick with (so I can continue to eat the strawberries and chocolate) and get fast results. On that note, why can't I take my own advice to my kids: If you want something, you have to be willing to work hard to get it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free Garbage Day and Thanks to the Blog

Taking a small break from the heavy posts. Hoping to continue with what happened to Isabella in Friday's post.

Where I live, you have to buy garbage stickers to put on each can or bag of garbage. I really hate this and for the last almost seven years, it has been a constant argument in this house. Every week, garbage day is the same day and yet, Leo will say to me on a Tuesday morning, "Are you going out today? We need stickers." It is one of the most infuriating questions only rivaled by, "Is Nico's uniform washed?" or the sister question of "Have you seen Nico's uniform?" fifteen minutes before Nico's game. I don't know why he doesn't understand that for me to go out, I have to lug Gia out and he is only one person so it is easier for him to do it than me. If Target sold them, it wouldn't even be an argument because it would just be another excuse for me to go but Target doesn't and so it is easier if he just goes. While he is at it, why doesn't he buy 20 of them instead of 2 so we won't have to have the argument every week? Anyway, yesterday was free garbage day and while I didn't get everything that I wanted to throw away on the curb in time, I got most of it. We are finally stepping out of the white trash stereotype with Leo throwing away the rusted fire pit that has been sitting in the middle of our lawn for the last two years and the rusted, white, plastic lawn chairs that I swear I don't know how they made it through the move from Bartlett. If only he could have parted with the empty propane tank. My favorite part of throwing things away was Leo looking at what I was throwing away and saying, "Is this garbage?" or "Are you sure you want to throw it away?" I painstakingly went through several corners of my house throwing things away (think kids' art projects, writings and so on). I am SURE I want to throw it away! I even begged for him to bite the bullet and put all the mail from the mail corner in a black bag and throw it away right when the garbage men came so that no one would rifle through it but he couldn't do it. I know...there are crazy people out there that are just waiting to steal your identity but I dream of an empty corner where that mail is so for a moment, my judgement was clouded.

The funniest part of the free garbage day is that we threw away our old couches from the basement. I saw several vans and trucks drive up, get out, look at the couches and then get back in their van or truck and drive away. Our couches were gross enough that even the garbage pickers wouldn't touch them.

On another note, thanks to the blog I have made some dear friends because after reading it, they have told me they feel like we are old friends (J.P., I'll be thinking of you on Saturday), prayers were said for a cure for the boys (thanks, J.L.) and a dear friend found Black Cherry Propel and the chocolate I like at her Target and is sending it with her husband when he sees mine (thanks, S.N.). I have to say the best part of the blog is the comments and when people tell me that they can relate. It makes me think that I am not alone in the chaos.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Time of Mixed Blessings and Breakdowns

On October 18, 2001, the twins made their entrance into the world by planned c-section. It was not nearly as traumatic as Nico's but I was afraid of complications since it was a twin birth. I couldn't have been more wrong. Everything went smoothly and we even got to take them home with us when we left 4 days later. I was even nursing them with lots and lots of help from the nurses. One of my favorite Leo stories is when I wanted to bottle feed and he wanted me to breast feed. For the first two nights, I never made it into bed. Someone was always eating. On the third night home, Leo promised he would help me and he did. I stayed in bed and slept and he got up when a baby cried, changed them and brought them to me to feed. Just when his head would hit the pillow, the other baby would cry and he'd have to get up and do the same routine. That went on for the whole night and then in the morning, he woke up and said, "You should just bottle feed. It's too hard to breast feed." Then my sister had twins and proved me wrong. I just had too many issues to be any good at it. One being the depression I was fighting against since finding out about Nico. I can honestly say that despite that, I was happy. Tommy was a hard baby. He was fussy right off the bat. He just could never settle himself. He loved Leo and Leo was so good with him that we were partners in taking care of the babies and in taking care of Nico. It felt like we could handle it. It still hurt but it stopped feeling like the end of the world.

I felt like I was bad luck so I told our doctor to call Leo with the results of the CF test but I really felt like the twins didn't have it. I think because they didn't have the same NICU experience, I naively believed it would be different all the way around. I remember it was November 4th and Leo came home from work to find me on the couch with both babies asleep on me. He said he had good news and bad news. I wanted him to stop talking. I didn't want to hear anymore news. He said Isabella didn't have it...wasn't even a carrier but Tommy had it. What???? He said, "It's going to be okay. Nico will be able to help him. They'll have each other." I didn't care. I handed the babies to Leo, got in his car and left. I cried all the way to my parents' house. I remember screaming, "I hate You, God! I freaking hate You! I will NEVER believe in You again!" I remember feeling so lost and so alone with the thought that God didn't care about me or my family. Both the thought of losing both my boys and the thought of losing the God I loved and believed so firmly in was devastating to me.

After we found out about Tommy, I became someone that is very hard for me to look back on and say was me. I immediately wanted a way out of the guilt of having given this to our boys and the hurt I felt everyday just being in the house so I told Leo I didn't see how we could stay married. I remember telling him, he could leave and start all over and not have this be a part of his life. I was the one that was infertile, not him. I felt like I was the one dragging him down and making his life full of things he didn't want. It got so bad that I imagined leaving and getting out the way so that Leo could marry someone that embraced taking care of a family with kids that had medical needs. Some women are so good at making it their life's fight and they wear it as a badge of honor. I am not that kind of woman. I am a "hide in the sand until it goes away" kind of woman. It wasn't fair to my kids to be that kind of mom. I imagined his new wife would be a great mom and love cooking and cleaning and she would even have blond hair so they would all look like they fit together (I was the only brunette in my family). Just having those thoughts would reduce me to tears because I loved my family and just couldn't understand how we ended up where we were. How could Leo and I have given them a deadly disease? I completely underestimated how strong and loving Leo could be. He assured me when I would cry that he didn't want to leave and didn't want me to leave and that we would get through it somehow. He even said, "Maybe God gave us Tommy and Nico because he knew we'd be the best parents for them." I wonder if Leo knew then how close I was to ending our marriage? I am so grateful that he saw my weakness and at my worst and loved me anyway. That thought brought me some comfort but not enough to battle the depression that consumed me.

The worst part of looking back is how I was with Tommy. I had a very hard time bonding with him. He preferred Leo so it was easy to hide but my heart broke when I would hold him because I was so afraid to love him only to lose him. I was afraid to go anywhere because I was afraid he'd get sick (the irony of that is that I brought Nico everywhere). I remember having a CF appointment for Nico and refusing to bring Tommy. The doctor was shocked that I didn't bring him but I wanted to keep him untouched by them. I didn't want to hear that anything more was wrong. I knew I was having a hard time so at my 6 week appointment with my doctor, I cried to him. He put me on antidepressants and gave me the name of a therapist. Immediately, they both helped. At the very least, I wasn't imagining me leaving and Leo remarrying.

I lived in fear of the boys getting sick. I scrutinized everything the boys did and was so relieved that CF might have been there but it was hiding at the moment. I even felt like with therapy and the meds, I could handle it. I could be a good mom to them. Just one day at a time and not focusing on it was how I got through the days. Then, while I was so busy worrying about what could happen to the boys, I had no idea that the chaos about to happen wasn't going to be caused by them but by Isabella.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Aftermath

I felt like a terrible mother. There I was worrying about the babies I was carrying and right under my nose, there was something wrong with the child that was already here. How could I not know? While we were sitting in that meeting with the doctors, they said something that stuck with me taking me years of therapy and the wise words of a favorite uncle to get over. They, in an attempt to make things lighter said, "It was just bad luck that you found each other." They told us that CF is caused by a recessive gene that each parent carries. I am a carrier and so is Leo. Of all the people in the world, we fell in love with another carrier of a deadly disease that we had no idea we were at risk for. One different choice and Nico would have been spared this path. I get it that it wouldn't be Nico but when you are in that position and your heart is breaking, all you can think of is how could I have prevented it and all answers pointed to, "We must have made a mistake. We weren't supposed to get married. I fell in love with the wrong guy. I chose the wrong guy." It all seemed to click for me: the infertility and now this. I was being punished for something and the only thing that I could think of was that God gave me signs that Leo and I shouldn't have gotten married and I didn't listen to him. So many obstacles and we took pride that our love overcame them, but by not listening to the signs, this was the ulimate punishment...we were going to lose our son. Our marriage was incredibly strained. We handled things so differently (still do). I withdrew and couldn't stand that together, because we fell in love, we gave Nico a deadly disease and he wanted me to stop crying and look at things logically (he had it, we'll give him medicine, we'll fight it and he'll be fine). Then there were moments where I leaned so hard on him and felt so lucky that I married a strong man that could weather some of the things I was spewing out in a hurting rage. He would hug me and tell me he loved me and that it was going to be okay and that the twins were not going to have it because lightning doesn't strike twice (everyone told me this). I loved him and wanted to believe him. I questioned God but still held on strong to my faith. I remember crying out to God and begging him to not let it be true. Begging for Nico to be okay. Asking to please spare the twins because I couldn't live with myself if we gave another one of our children this disease that in such a short time, I already hated.

The weeks that followed were filled with doctor's appointments and the blame game. Nico had to learn how to take the enzymes and do the vest and we had to learn it all along with him. He hated doing both and would cry each time. He had to take the enzymes with every meal so there was a lot of crying. The only way he would do the vest was if I told him he was just like Jack Hammer (he LOVED the Rescue Heroes). It's funny but our parents couldn't wrap their brains around where this came from so they were either blaming each other or saying things that were so completely ignorant that it made the situation worse (Leo's mom saying it must have come from my mom because she smoked). It wasn't their fault...they loved Nico so much that they were hurting too but I will tell you how evil I was. I got so fed up with Leo's mom saying it couldn't possibly have come from her side of the family that when she said it again, I meanly said, "Oh, didn't we tell you? They did a test and found out that it is traced back to your side." See...a little bit of evil lurks there.

I became a basketcase. I stopped eating because I was nauseous all the time and I stopped sleeping because my dreams were riddled with me asking every guy I ever dated or had a crush on "Are you a carrier?" I would cuddle with Nico like I always had but I would end up silently crying when he would fall asleep. He was this normal, rambunctious, loveable, seemingly healthy 3 year old that only had a nighttime cough and they were telling me he was sick and would only get sicker and have to be in the hospital and might need feeding tubes and home IVs. I wanted to trade places with him. I could've handled it if it was me but my child? I could not get a grip. If I wasn't numb, I could actually feel the crushing of every dream. Nowhere, in any of what I imagined my life to be, was this scenario.

My family threw me a shower a month before I had the twins. I think they really wanted to show me that life could still have happy moments in it and though I got to see some very dear friends from the support board (T.S, T.L and C.V., I will never forget what you did for me that weekend...getting on a plane less than a week after Sept. 11th), I remember just going through the motions. Of the shower, of being a mom and of being a wife. I just kept thinking that everything I knew to be true wasn't anymore. I felt alone and cursed with bad luck and the fear that he was going to suffer was paralyzing. Nico's diagnosis threw my obstetrician and the CF doctor in a panic about whether the twins had it. Even the geneticist (another professional that I hated because she LOVED her job and at the time(though I am sure she didn't love that part of her job), her job was telling me that my son had a genetic disease) kept pushing me to run tests but I didn't want to know. It wouldn't have changed anything and I wanted to live in ignorant bliss that everything was going to be okay. I agreed to a level 2 ultrasound where they said they saw no sign that either twin had it. I remember feeling like God was listening and maybe everyone was right and it would be okay. naive...

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter! I am going to take this time to reflect on the Easters of the past. I miss my Grams all the time but I especially miss her on Christmas Eve and Easter. Both of those holidays were hers and everything about both of them are tied to the memories I have and can sometimes still feel. Growing up Catholic, we usually went to church on Saturday nights and Easter was no different. There were a few that we went to on Sunday and I remember hating having to stand the whole time. In those days, we went to church every week so I resented the "holiday Catholics". We endured church thinking about going to Grams' and Gramps'. There were images of the long-awaited calzone (that I went years thinking it was pronounced galzone). It isn't what you think it is. It is a delicious egg and cheese and sausage dish that my Grams and my Auntie Jean would only make on Easter. She would have the normal appetizers out but it was the calzone that I remember most. Every year, my uncle who was a retired butcher would try and pass off the lamb that my Grams was having as roast beef but we all knew and I am pretty sure the adults were the only ones that ate it. We filled up on everything else. The funny thing is that besides the calzone, the food wasn't what made that holiday special. It was the blue colored eggs with everyone's name on them that Grams used for place cards, it was seeing relatives that you didn't get to see very often, it was playing word games and answering thought provoking questions with favorite uncles and it was being in my grandparents' apartment imagining all of the Easters I would spend with my kids (naively thinking they would be in that apartment). I wish my Grams was here to see all of my kids. At the very least, I wish she had the chance or my kids had the chance to know the Grams that I loved. Nico has little memory of her before she got sick with Alzheimer's and the twins only remember her when she was in the home. I think she would have gotten a kick out of Gia.

We are headed first to church (which if you read previous posts about church, you'll understand why I have a new understanding for holiday church-goers) and then to my mom and dad's where there will be good food (my mom now makes the calzone that is every bit as good as my Grams' and Auntie Jean's), good company and thanks to my mom, traditions that my children are lucky to be a part of. My mom started a tradition of the week before Easter, my sisters and I, along with our families and my Gramps, get together to color eggs, take pictures with the Easter Bunny and exchange Easter baskets (the godparents buy one for their godchild). It's a wonderful tradition that I need to make sure nothing gets in the way of (Nico and Leo missed it because Nico had a game) and I hope my mom realizes how much we all appreciate how hard she works to make it special. I know that when we walk into my mom and dad's today, my kids will feel that same feeling of family and love that I felt walking into my grandparents' when I was their age.

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease and I am sad that Grams suffered from it but I am choosing not to remember her like that and instead I will remember her on Easter with her prettiest blouse, with her fancy jewelry and her bright red lips flitting around making sure everyone felt the specialness of Easter. Love and miss you Grams!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Day Life Changed Forever

First, I want to say that I would like to go back to the posts where I am complaining or poking fun at Leo. I would even welcome posting about the chaos that my kids cause. I would give anything not to post about this but I don't see how you could understand where I am coming from if you don't know where I've been.

Second, I refuse to name this post "Things that Shaped Me Part 4: Cystic Fibrosis. Even typing it makes me feel a little sick because it might have changed me but it will never define me.

On July 16th, we took Nico, who was 3 1/2 at the time, to Children's Memorial for the sweat test to "rule out" Cystic Fibrosis. They put gauze on both his arms and taped them and we had to wait a few hours for them to remove them and measure the sodium levels. Kids that have CF (which is how I will refer to it because I hate the actual name) have high sodium levels. I still lived in the land where bad things only happen to other people so I thought nothiing of Nico doing the test. It didn't even register that my child was being tested for something that had no cure. That was all I knew about it. I was assured by two doctors that it was going to be asthma which I had and so did Leo so I figured at the very worst, he'd have to have an inhaler. Looking back, I was so dumb. I had a very good friend whose twin boys passed away and I was worried about her so I would check how she was doing on the loss message boards of the website I frequented. I remember thinking how strong she was to have survived losing her sons. My heart broke for her because what was worse than burying your child?

I remember exactly where I was when I got the call. It's impossible to forget the moment your life changes forever. I was in the basement on the computer chatting with Leo over the instant messenger. The doctor sounded like she was crying and that she herself was in disbelief. She was talking and I stopped listening. Something about having to call a doctor at Children's Memorial. Something about needing to do it right then and that she was sorry. She said more but the only thing I remember is typing to Leo, "He has it. Come home." Do you believe that? I told him over the instant messenger. I made his life-changing moment in an IM. As if on auto-pilot, I called and made the appointment. The woman said we had to come the next day. Before Leo could call me, I looked it up and all I saw was "life-shortening" and "fatal" and I started sobbing. Nico was upstairs watching Tarzan for the 100th time and so he wouldn't hear me, I buried my face in a pillow. Leo called and I sobbed for him to come home. I called my sisters and all I could cry was, "He has it." My parents were out of town and I remember wanting them to come home and tell me it was going to be okay and they were wrong. I stayed in the basement until my sisters came over. Luckily, Nico had a big supply of juice and goldfish crackers and didn't have to go to the bathroom until they got there so he didn't even notice that I wasn't upstairs.

That day was a blur of people coming over. I didn't know how it was possible. I remembered a time when Nico was a baby and having a formula issue (he had reflux and wasn't gaining weight) and I was changing him and I remember asking God not to take him from me. I have NO idea what would prompt me to pray that. Mother's intuition? Nico walked at 10 months and talked at one and I remember asking my sister if God was letting him do things early because He was going to take him from me and He wanted me to get to see him do those things? She shrugged it off saying I was crazy but on that day I wondered again if that was true. (If that really is true, Gia will be with me forever because she walked really late and still isn't saying much.)

I didn't sleep at all that night. When I finally did, I dreamt that I was in Barnes and Noble picking out books that on the sides had one title but on the front had Cystic Fibrosis written on it. I would throw them down and yell, "I don't want this!" Explaining to Nico what was going to happen the next day was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I knew that they were going to want to run tests and I was scared and I had to act like I wasn't. I didn't want him to be scared. My three younger sisters went with me. Two to stay with Nico while we talked to the doctor and one, that was a nurse to be with us because I knew I wasn't going to hear a word they said. I sat in with that doctor and I hated him and I hated the nurses. I hated anyone that believed he had it. I was belligerent when they asked questions. I disagreed with everything they said. Whatever I had to say to make them go away, I said. At one point, I heard Leo agreeing with them and I hated him too. The doctor cheerfully said, "With all the advances, the life span is now mid-thirties." I burst into tears and said through gritted teeth, "Sorry if that doesn't bring comfort to me." He said that he had a lot of women I could talk to that were in my same shoes." I bitterly asked him, "Really? There are other women that are 6 months pregnant with twins that could possibly have this life threatening disease that you just said my 3 year old has?" His answer was no. Nico had to give many vials of blood that day and he was so scared that he wouldn't sit still. Leo had to hold him down and he was screaming to me, "I'm afraid I am going to die! I don't want to die." He meant from the blood test but I cried right along with him because that was my fear too.

I am going to stop here for now. That's enough heaviness for today. I will continue this in Monday's post. Tomorrow I want to do a post about Easter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nico's Turn in the ER

At this point, they really should just have a room on reserve for us at CDH. I had every intention of writing the follow up to the twins post but obviously Nico thought that part of the story shouldn't be told yet. I swear, it is almost like my family is jockeying to see who can be the star of this blog. I think Nico might be winning. (Still no word on Tommy's test results. I pray that no news is good news.)

I was getting ready for my big night out (Ruby Tuesday's and Barnes and Noble with a chance of Lifetime after) when I heard Nico scream, "Mom!" He screams that all the time but this time, there was a strain to it and it sounded so desperate that I ran downstairs yelling, "What?!" He said he hit his head on the door and was crying. I mean, I felt bad for him...I know how that hurts but I didn't think anything of it. He had his hand on his head and when he took it off so I could see if there was a bump, his hand was dripping with blood. He cried out, "Oh, God!" and I immediately went into flight mode. I calmly said I needed to take him to the Emergency Room and called Leo who was at practice with Tommy. He started to ask me a bunch of questions (if you have read previous posts, you know that Leo is not a fan of the ER). I started calling some of the neighbors to come watch Isabella and Gia but no one was home. I finally got in touch with one of my friends who said she'd be right over. I called Leo to tell him that she was going to be here and he said he was turning the corner. I called her back and told her not to worry about it.

Leo decided to examine Nico's head in the middle of the street. When Leo gets nervous, like when I get nervous, he gets...hmmm....less than nice. He wanted to clean it up and see what was going on and though I thought that was what the doctor should do, I said okay. He asked me where we keep the alcohol and I flipped out saying it would burn Nico too much to pour that on his open wound. Even now, the thought makes me weak. We argued about whether he should go to the ER and finally I said I was going to be a nervous wreck if a DOCTOR didn't check him out. He agreed and before we left, Nico showed us exactly what happened. He was outside shooting hoops when he stepped in dog poo (I don't even know what the mature or nicer way to say that would be) in our front lawn. This is a little frustrating since we don't have a dog. Anyway, he went in the house to clean it up (gross) and he leaned over to untie his shoe. When he came back up, he was close to the door frame and sliced his head on the part that sticks out from the square piece on the part of the door that doesn't move. I don't know a better way to describe that but I do know that the odds of that happening have got to be so small because I have never heard of anyone else ever cutting their head on that.

We went to the ER and I gave them our information which, at this point, should pop right up as frequent visitors. Head injuries seem to get priority so he was seen right away. It's just my opinion but the pediatric triage nurse was either having a bad day or needs to find a job where personality doesn't matter. Nico even said, "It's like she's mad that we are even here." Nico immediately started with all the questions: "Am I going to need stiches? Are they going to do staples? Can I hang out after this? Am I going to miss the Bull's game? Do they have the Bull's game here? When does the Bull's game start? What channel do you think it would be on? Can we go to Dairy Queen after this? Are you still going out?" The only answer I knew was that I was not still going out. The physician's assistant came in right away, cleaned it up and said he needed two staples. I saw the fear on Nico's face while he described having to give him a shot in his head. Nico is the one afraid of needles. I asked him if he was too old to want to hold my hand through it and he said no. I did, he squeezed and then it was over. No tears or anything. The whole visit took an hour which is record time for us to get in and out of the ER.

I think he was traumatized by the whole thing because on the way home he decided that I could get him Dairy Queen at some other time and that he didn't feel like hanging out. He just wanted to go home and watch Untamed and Uncut with me (just what I wanted...more blood and guts). At first I was bummed that I wasn't getting my night out but in retrospect, how many more times is Nico going to want to cuddle up and watch Animal Planet with me?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Mysteries

1. Why do they make the word you have to type as a security precaution on some websites so hard to read? Is it just me but it takes me a few times to post something on someone's blog or sign back into my email because what I think is an "o" or a "c" is actually a stretched out "d" or a "g"?

2. Speaking of that, why do they make it hard to follow a blog but people are hacking into other people's emails and facebooks all the time?

3. Sometimes the whole morning will go by and my phone doesn't ring at all but as soon as I call someone, there are a dozen calls that come through the call-waiting.

4. Why do I run into no one when I am having a good hair day and have a decent outfit on but run into everyone when my hair is in a goomba and I have on pajama bottoms?

5. No matter what my food obsession is, it inevitably becomes discontinued or hard to find. I talked about a lot of them in my food quirks post (Clearly Canadian, Frankenberries, etc.). I went to Target and guess what they were out of? The chocolate that I use to dip the strawberries in. That was the second time I went in for that and they didn't have it (still managed to spend over $100). Black Cherry Propel is still hard to find over here (in the 6 packs).

6. What is confusing to me is when Leo is watching a basketball game and is falling asleep so I take the remote away to watch my show and suddenly that very same volume is too loud and he can't sleep. I can't tell you how many times I have woken up at 2am to see him playing in an online poker tournament and watching a movie and I don't ask him every five minutes if he is thinking of going to sleep soon. He could return the favor when I am writing and watching my shows on the DVR. BUGS ME!

7. I'm losing my patience for this next one and it's not necessarily a mystery since I think I know why she does it but since I give her a ton of attention, it can't be just that. I'll give you an example of this one. Isabella didn't get enough sleep so her eyes were red. She sneezed and so her eyes were watery. Someone looked at her and told her she had pink eye. For an hour, she obsessed over whether she had pink eye. She had NO other symptoms so I assured her she did not. For days, she wanted eye drops because she felt a bout of pink eye was coming. Someone told her it was probably just allergies and that they have eye drops for that. She bugged me every day until I got them and now asks me daily, "Is it allergies if your eyes water? Is it allergies if your eyes are red?" It also drives me crazy when we are at the doctor and she checks out okay but the doctor says in front of her, "Watch for a sore throat or pain or whatever." Like clockwork, an hour after the appointment, I hear, "Mom, I'm not sure but I think my throat hurts" or whatever the doctor said to watch for.

8. Did you ever notice on Facebook that posts about Starbucks get 20 responses but posts asking for help for fundraisers get none or very few? In all fairness, the ones that ask for prayers get more than just a few.

9. Why is the memory that I'd give anything to forget is the very one I can't?

10. Why are the traits I'd like to change about myself the same ones I seemed to have passed onto my children? Nine times out of ten, it's those traits that are the ones that push my buttons and make me crazy.

11. Why is the grass greener on the other side? Is it ever greener on my side?

12. Why can my husband be home early when THEY have plans but can't seem to get home early when I have plans?

13. Why do the kids bug me to hold Gia or play with Gia when she is playing nicely by herself but the minute I need them to play with her or hold her, they want nothing to do with her?

14. How is it that they can make something called pajama jeans or a diaper that shows a line when the baby pees but we still don't have a cure for CF?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Mail Pile, Teenage Brain and More Homework Woes

Sorry if it feels disjointed when you read this. The stuff coming up weighs so heavy on my heart that I have to lighten it up in between.

If you have ever been to my house, you have seen the corner in my family room that we refer to as "Leo's mail pile". I have begged, cried, and threatened him to get rid of it. I once started to put it all in a garbage bag to store downstairs when he freaked out saying it was "organized" by when he got it and what he has already gone through so I stopped. It is ugly and a reminder of one of my husband's biggest flaws. Procrastination (I won't say much here since I suffer from it too). I really think he thinks if he ignores certain things, they will go away (again, with certain things, I am the same way). You might ask why I don't open the mail. Much like the sandwich that gets pulled apart or things that spill, Leo is quirky about the mail. God forbid, I ever open mail without a letter opener, it will send him rolling his eyes and huffing and sighing. For some reason the sight of a jagged envelope gets to him. I'll share a secret...sometimes...when I am mad at him...I open the mail with my fingers, leaving the envelope looking like Gia got a hold of it, just because I know that it drives him crazy. I know...evil.

Last night, he asked me to stay in the kitchen with him while he tackled the corner. It was a joke. If I wasn't so disgusted by the whole thing, I would have laughed. He felt the need to tell me the things he had found. One thing he found was a postcard that was sent to us by accident for the neighbor girl telling her parents what a joy she had been in school...LAST YEAR! Another was an electric bill from last year that obviously he paid but I wonder how many phone calls I had to answer about that one before it was paid. He had found health club discounts that expired last year and Christmas cards that were from the Christmas before Gia was born that were sent back because the addresses were wrong. I don't even think he noticed that I left the room, he was concentrating so hard on a menu from a Chinese restaurant that we ordered from over a year ago. At the rate he was going, the mail pile should be gone by the time Nico leaves for college which brings me to the second part of this post.

I'm starting to wonder how Nico will ever survive college. I love my son and I think he has the potential to do anything he sets his mind to but he would lose his head if it wasn't attached (an old saying that we have all heard a million times but it fit here). I will share with you the conversation I had with him on the way to baseball practice:

Me: Where is your hat?
Nico: Oh, yeah. I meant to grab it. (He left for about 5 minutes which had Gia crying in a stationary car. He came back without a hat.) I can't find it.
Me (feeling a lecture coming on): Nico, I know you are smart but what is going on with your brain? First, you lose your Wolves pullover, then your Wolves hat, you text me telling me you forgot your social studies homework and then nevermind, you found it and then you forgot your math book for the only homework you have tonight. What is going on?
Nico: I'm not good at remembering things.
Me (incredibly confused): How is it that you can play quarterback and remember all of those plays, point guard and know which plays to run and remember everything you are supposed to when you are playing catcher?
Nico (rolling his eyes): Mom, this body doesn't work right (that breaks my heart a little). Really only my arms and legs work the way they are supposed to which is good because I need them for sports. My brain really only works for sports.
Me (not really knowing how to respond to that and amused on some level that he even came up with it): Great.

Besides his struggle with math, he is a good student so I am not really worried about the academic factor. I am more worried about the responsibility factor.

Then, while helping Isabella with her homework, I got this:

Belle: Um...Mom, can you help me with this spelling worksheet?
Me (so tired of helping with the dreaded spelling worksheet that is more of a vocabulary worksheet that is worthless in the practice of spelling): What do you need help with?
Belle: Which one of my spelling words fits in this blank? Farming is a blank way of life? Here's my spelling words---
Me (stopping her because I really don't want to do 3rd grade spelling): Say every word and see if it fits in the blank.
Belle (about to throw a "frustration fit"): I did and NONE of them fit. Can you look at it and help me, PLEASE?
Me: Even if I look at it, I am not going to tell you the answer. You have to figure it out yourself.
Belle (full-blown frustration): I don't want you to tell me the answer! I just want you to tell me what it is!

And if anyone can tell me what the freaking difference is, that would be great. I am stuck between wanting school to be over because I am SOOOO tired of helping with homework (was I really a teacher in my former life?) and wanting school to go on forever so I don't have to deal with three different social calendars.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Congratulations!!! It's...

Twins!!!! My prayer was answered and I was ecstatic. I fought infertility and I won! I would never have to go through what I went through again. Leo was happy but nervous. I think he still thought about Nico's labor and wondered how in the world I would do it with two. I was a regular on the website I wrote about and there were a lot of scary things that could still happen. My biggest fear when I first found out was "the vanishing twin". My doctor looked at me like I was crazy when at 9 weeks, when he was releasing me to my regular obstetrician, I asked him if I was still pregnant with twins and did I still have to worry about a vanishing twin? He said ", my dear, are having twins...enjoy." I had really bad morning sickness and Nico was almost 3 so it wasn't easy. Another thing you should never say to someone that suffered through infertility or really any pregnant woman is, "I don't know why you are complaining. You wanted this." Of course I wanted to be pregnant but no one wants migraines, puking or sciatic nerve pain. That always bugged me when I heard that.

Leo and I took Nico to Disney World with my sister and her family. I was 5 months pregnant and though it was hard, it was fun. We went to a Beauty and the Beast play where they asked for volunteers for some of the parts. It was really quiet and all of a sudden I heard Nico say, "I'll do it!" He was 3 and marched up on the stage to play Gaston in front of a large crowd of people. They asked him to show his muscles and he did and everyone laughed and he wasn't scared at all. Then they looked out in the crowd and picked out Leo to be the Beast. It still goes down as one of the proudest moments seeing both of them up there. I remember being truly happy. Then, when it was over, Nico threw one of the biggest fits of his little life. I turned to Leo and said, "We are raising a monster." The moment was over.

Around this time, Nico developed a cough that was only at night. I took him in and the doctor said it was allergies and put him on medicine. That seemed to work so I didn't give it another thought.

We played around with names for the twins and if we were having two boys, we were going to name them Thomas Ernest after my Papa and my dad and grandpa and Joseph Rocco after Leo's grandfather and my great grandfather (grandfathers aside for this one, I just really liked the name). If we were having two girls, we could not agree. Leo loved the name Jessie and Jenna. I loved the name Alyssa. I loved Kylie and Kayla. For a boy and a girl, we had no idea. On June 22, we went in for the ultrasound. I was so nervous. The day before, I ran into a friend from high school that I had not seen for a long time and when I told her I was having twins she said, "Oh, are you afraid they will be conjoined?" Well, I wasn't until she said something. Just another example of when you don't know what to say, you shouldn't say anything. Anyway, the technician asked if we wanted to know what we were having and we said yes but first I needed to throw up. I don't know if it was because it was taking a long time and I was flat on my back or because she was about to tell us something that would have a major impact on our lives. I was either going to be the mom of 3 boys, a boy and two girls or two boys and a girl. Why that would make me nervous, I don't know. I threw up, collected myself and went back on the table. She said, this one right here is a boy. I breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Yay! Nico will have a little brother." Then she said, "This one is a girl." I wasn't ready for the show of emotion that poured out of me. Being from a family of all girls, I always wanted all boys. I really thought she was going to say I was having twin boys and I would have been fine with that. I just didn't know how much I wanted a girl until she told me I was having one. She said everything looked good as far as she could tell us and to go home and relax. I did feel sad a little that we weren't going to have a Joseph Rocco and then Leo and I proceeded to argue about names until the 11th hour. We almost had a Tommy and Taylor when one night we were watching Sopranos and there was a character on it named Isabella. We looked at each other and said, "That's it." I let him think he came up with the name but really it was mutual.

We went to Door County and Nico really struggled with his cough but only at night so we brought him to the doctor wanting stronger cough medicine. What we got was a referral for an allergist and orders for tests to rule anything major out. I saw what some of the tests were for and asked the doctor, "Some of these are really scary. Should I be worried that he has any of these?" She assured us that he might have asthma and the specialist were going to run these tests anyway so I should just get them done but she didn't think he had any of them. In fact, after his x-ray, she called, along with her physician's assistant and said, "No rush to get the sweat test. I just talked to the radiologist and I looked at the x-ray and he has the lungs of a child that has asthma." I told her we had an appointment on July 16th for the sweat test and she said to keep it but that it wasn't an emergency.

When I say that the events that followed were blindsiding, that is a huge understatement. It's proof that in a minute, your whole life as you know it can be changed forever.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things That Shaped Me: Infertility--Part 3: IVF

I called and they gave me a list of tests I needed to have done before I could start. I did them all, hating my body the entire time. I mean...hating it so much, I don't think I looked, really looked in a mirror that whole time that I was cycling. I was so unhappy with everything that I didn't even recognize myself anymore. I was consumed with sadness, anger and envy. I hated who I had become. Someone that was completely obsessed with having another baby. Had Leo and I not had a strong relationship going into it, I don't know how our marriage would have survived. I was completely unlovable and I credit him with keeping it together. I put a smile on my face for Nico but inside my heart was breaking at how hard it was to do the most basic thing. It's hard to explain and I admit feeling jealousy and envy when I would hear that someone else I knew had gotten pregnant effortlessly, but it wasn't really directed at them. It was more of a reminder of what my body was failing to do. I was still happy for was just tainted with sadness for me. I absolutely hated that part of what I was going selfish I felt. I tried very hard to not let one feeling get in the way of the other. I hope that I never made anyone feel bad because of what I was going through because it was all consuming and foreign to deal with needles and blood tests and doctors to do what everyone else could just jump in bed and do. I just could not make sense of it. Women were having babies forever. Crack whores were having babies. Teenagers were having babies. People were having one night stands and getting pregnant all the time. Everywhere I looked, women were having babies and I was so envious. I remember being at the grocery store in line behind a women that had six or seven kids (they might not all have been hers but at the time, that is all I saw) and was paying for her groceries with food stamps. I lost it right there in that line. Why couldn't Leo and I, a happily married, financially stable couple get pregnant?

Before we had to learn how to inject me with the hormones, I will share with you something that few know. I had to go to therapy to get over my fear of needles and my hang-ups about IVF. It was then that I found the website, and I credit the women on there with keeping me sane and helping me get through some of my darkest times. If you are reading this and you are having trouble, I strongly recommend visiting that site. It isn't just for infertility. It has adoption, parenting and loss sections, too. While in therapy, I figured out that the only way I was going to get through the IVF cycle was by praying and becoming an emotionless robot that just follows directions to get it done. That's not actually what the therapist said...just what I got out of it. I wanted no memory of what I was doing because I hated every second of having to do it.

I will tell you everything I remember, though it might not be much because I really did block out most of it. I remember I didn't want Leo to be a part of any of it. I felt like a failure with a body that completely betrayed me and I was afraid that if he had to give me shots, it would make me less attractive. The first time I had to give myself a shot in my stomach, I remember sitting there sweating and crying for two hours. Leo heard me and came in and I told him my fears. He made me feel better and I let him do it. It was one of the most humbling times for me but inevitably brought us closer. I hated the situation but it was a great feeling to know he loved me unconditionally. Every day I had to have a blood test and an ultrasound. In other words, each day I got to find out if my body was succeeding or failing in the whole fertilization process. Most days, I was failing. It's hard to describe my mental state at that time because I don't know if it was the hormones or the anger at having to do it at all (and not being good at it) but I was impossible to live with. I was angry one minute, crying the next, puttig on a brave face for Nico and trying to hide it from everyone. I don't remember laughing once that whole time and I still resent that I have no memory of that time with Nico and pray that he doesn't either. Because of the surge of hormones I was getting shot up with, I developed a cyst that I had to have aspirated in the office. WITH NO ANESTHESIA! I put that in all caps so that you could feel how painful that was. My body wouldn't respond to the medicine so at one point they threatened to cancel the cycle. Just when I thought I was done, they called and told me when to go in for them to retrieve my eggs. I made arrangements for Nico and Leo and I went in. The retrieval is a minor surgery with a twilight anesthesia. The only thing I remember about the actual retrieval was that they told me I had more eggs than they actually retrieved so I was very nervous that I wouldn't have much to work with.

Nico was at Leo's mom's house for the day and my dad came to stay with me while Leo went to work. I was feeling really tired and got up to go to the bathroom before falling asleep. The next thing I remember was being on the bathroom floor face down. I remember thinking it was odd that I fell asleep with my glasses on face down when I realized that I was staring at blood. I started yelling for my dad who, to this day I feel awful, should never have had to see his daughter face down in a pool of blood. He drove me to the hospital where it was decided that I had passed out from the anesthesia. They took x-rays and found that I broke my nose. I broke my freaking nose!

The next day they called and said that they had fertilization. I was thrilled that finally, we received a positive phone call. The following day, I went in and they transferred 3 embryos. I secretly prayed for twins because I NEVER wanted to go through any of what I just did ever again. I went home and was on bed rest for three days. Nico came home after being gone for way too long and the obsession began of whether or not it worked. Everything felt like a sign and I feared it was all in my head. What is worse is that the medicine I was taking mimicked pregnancy symptoms. I had to wait 10 days to find out. I tried not to leave my house because I had two black eyes and tape over my nose and I got tired of telling people I was not being abused by my husband.

The morning I went in for the blood test to see if it worked was just like any other morning. I went through every scenario so I would know how to feel but nothing really prepares you for that phone call in the afternoon. When the nurse called and said, "Congratulations! You are pregnant!", I fell to my knees crying. They weren't tears of happiness...they were tears of relief. I felt incredibly lucky that it worked the first time and remember repeating over and over again, "Thank You, God, that it worked the first time. Thank You, God!" They told me my number which was 386(funny that I remember that) and anything over 5 is pregnant (that early). I quickly peed on a stick because I needed to see it turn positive. I had waited 2 years to see it be positive and I remember even with a number that high, it was only a faint positive. I put it on a paper towel with a sign that said, "IT WORKED!" Amazing that at the time I didn't think it was gross to put something I peed on, on display.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When do you stop having birthday parties for your kids? We used to have 50 people over for my kids' parties. Our families and then our friends who feel like our family would come. Then the kids would want a separate party for their friends and it would end up being a lot of work and a lot of money. Again, the appreciation factor didn't always match the inconvenience factor so I was starting to resent doing it. We stopped parties and said we'd let them choose two friends and we'd do something special like go to the movies or Dave and Busters and then the kids could have the badly wanted sleepover. Nico has 6 best friends that hang out all the time. How do you choose 2? Even Tommy and Belle said they could never just choose 2 (which is why they have never done that). Someone's feelings would get hurt. These days it costs a small fortune to take that many kids anywhere so it defeats the purpose of not having a party. The thing about birthday parties is that someone's feelings are always going to get hurt because everyone can't be invited to everything. I live in a community where everyone is friends with everyone. Adults and kids. We aren't all best friends but this community of people have been very good to my family and it would kill me to think that my kid hurt their kid's feelings. I probably care too much. There have been parties that my kids haven't been invited to and they have survived because they have learned that they aren't going to be invited to everything but it still makes me feel icky to think of my kid being the reason why some other kid feels bad. The other part of why I hate the whole birthday party idea is that every idea has already been done and it feels like each party tries to out-do the last. The kids want something different and exciting. Different and exciting usually means hard and expensive. In this land of "one-upping", I'd like to opt out for good and not do parties anymore. The three older kids didn't get a friend party this year. How long do you think I can get away with that?

We had a little get together yesterday for Nico's birthday with just my family (which alone is over 20 people). Even that was not without drama. I usually do pizza but this time I did tacos, which Nico informed me that he no longer likes (I wish he would have told me that before I cooked 9lbs of meat). My mom is very neat and organized (no spare paper lives in her house longer than 30 seconds) so I wanted my house to appear neat and organized. I'm pretty sure I broke a "how not to become a hoarder" rule and threw everything that I keep meaning to go through in a black garbage bag and hid it in my room. That alone shocked me into going through it, ironically enough, while I was watching "Hoarding: Buried Alive". Anyway, the subject of sleepovers came up because my kids think that if it is with their cousins, my answer will be different. I didn't want to think about it while I was doing a hundred other things so I said no nicely. The kids would not let up, Gia was crabby because she didn't nap all day and I felt bad because I bought the wrong game for Nico from my mom and I finally snapped. My poor nephew asked me one more time and I started yelling, "FINE! EVERYONE can have a sleepover. They can all go to the other person's house so I could get a break and Isabella can go knock on neighbors' doors to see if anyone wanted her to sleep over since my nieces were already going to be at one." I was fuming that another get together was ruined and that my kids have not learned not to bring it up in front of everyone. The children not caring that I just lost it and not being able to see past their own wants thought it was great that I finally said yes but my sister said to forget it because she knew I was upset. My kids sleep in on the weekends if other kids aren't here, Nico has a game and I am tired so I already told them no sleepovers this weekend. Standing your ground sucks. Now I am "Mean Auntie ReRe."

Edited to add: I forgot to add that Leo was a huge help to me at the party and then after the party. He cleaned the whole thing while I had to deal with Gia and all of her crabbiness. It was a wonderful surprise to come downstairs and see the whole kitchen clean.

I should have mentioned how wonderful Belle was in helping me get ready for the party. She did whatever I asked her and didn't complain once. Although she did ask for a sleepover on Friday, she finally knew enough to not ask yesterday. I am very lucky that Gia loves her so much because while I was doing stuff for the party, Belle entertained her.

I am always writing about how they drive me crazy but I want everyone to know when they make life a lot less chaotic. I would have been lost without both of them this weekend!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


For those reading Parts that Shaped Me: Infertility, I am working on Part 3: IVF but with the chaos anticipated for the weekend, it might not be up until Monday.

I remember when Fridays meant going to football games or basketball games with friends. I remember when Fridays meant going to bars with my friends. I remember when Fridays meant the end of a work week and time to relax. I remember when Fridays meant the end of Leo's work week and more time spent with him. I remember when Fridays meant the end of a school week and we could relax because there was no homework to help with. Before Gia, Fridays meant getting together at friends' houses or my own, having a few drinks while playing games and laughing while the kids all played together. My kids have killed Fridays for me. I still enjoy getting together with friends and mine are good about coming here so I can put Gia to bed. The school week is rushed with morning chaos, homework chaos, and activity chaos that by the time Friday comes, I am tired. The three kids have three different ideas of how they want to spend it and it all involves money or driving somewhere and then asking for a sleepover even though I warn them not to ask. Why is it wrong to sometimes want everyone to stay home and do nothing so we can get ready for the chaos of the rest of the weekend? I am not asking them to get rid of their social lives or even do it all the time but once in awhile, it would be nice to do nothing. Having them NOT ask for a sleepover at the end of a very enjoyable Friday night would probably make me have a completely different view on this but they never learn.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things That Shaped Me: Infertility Part 2

Five weeks later, I had a backache but didn't think anything of it. It kept getting worse so I called the doctor and he said I just had a backache and to take it easy. The night that followed was the night from Hell. I remember I felt like I was in labor and that I must have been pregnant with the spawn of Satan because he was breaking through my stomach to get out. I knew something was wrong and was really afraid I was dying. I dropped Nico off for what I thought was an hour and instead it was for three days. I endured an awful ultrasound and an even more awful surgery because I had a tubal pregnancy that was erupting and the pain in my shoulder meant I was bleeding out. It seemed that the scar tissue trapped the growing baby. I remember crying before going into surgery and begging the doctor to please let me leave with all the parts I went in with. I was afraid that I was so damaged that I was going to need a hysterectomy. My doctor was able to save my tube and after two blood transfusions and three days in the hospital and a trip back to the ER for unusual bruising, I was on the road to recovery. It took two weeks and my mom, bless her heart, took off work to come over every day until I was okay enough to take care of Nico. That was February of 1999 and I thought it was the worst we would ever go through. We got the okay to start trying again and I will tell you that after feeling like someone was ripping apart my insides, that was the last thing I wanted to do.

The most insulting part was that insurance companies make you try for a year before they will pay for you to see a specialist (if you have coverage at all) and it starts over if you have a pregnancy which the tubal counted as. So I was stuck between grieving for the baby I lost and being disappointed that I couldn't get pregnant again. All while still trying to enjoy Nico wondering if we'd ever be able to give him a sibling. I have said before that I am the oldest of five girls so the thought of Nico not growing up with a brother or a sister made me very sad. It wouldn't have been the end of the world but it did make me sad. A year went by of every month wondering if I was pregnant and not being pregnant only the difference from when we were trying for Nico was that I had the fear of another tubal pregnancy. This time everywhere I looked was big families or pregnant women toting around other kids. It was killing me that it wasn't happening. The thing about secondary infertility (the inability to conceive after having a child naturally) was that there was no place to deal with all the emotions. I had a child so women that suffered from primary infertility didn't want to hear how I was upset not being able to get pregnant again when their arms were still empty. The rest of the world had a whole lot of advice for me (again, things you should never say):

All of the same things from the previous post.

Just enjoy the child you have. I always found it ridiculous when people said this to me. I didn't need anyone to tell me to enjoy Nico and just because I wanted another baby didn't mean I wasn't enjoying him. One didn't have anything to do with another. In fact it was because I enjoyed Nico so much that I wanted more kids. I wanted more little Nicos.

At least you have a one child. Other people were allowed to want more kids but if you were having trouble having more than one, you should be satisifed only having one. My heart and my head wanted more kids. It's like saying, "Well you have one arm. I know you want two but you should be satisfied with the one you've got."

You better hurry up and give that kid a sibling.I hated when I would be at the park with Nico and some well-meaning person would come up and start talking to me and the conversation would inevitably lead to this. I wanted to say, "Look, person that I have known for 30 seconds, I AM WORKING ON IT!"

After a year of disappointments, I wasn't ready to see a reproductive endocrinologist. Some people that deal with infertility can't wait to see the specialist, find out what's wrong and have a plan to fix it. Some go years in denial and some, like me, want the solution to be as simple as possible so they stay with their regular doctor and try everything possible without having to admit to themselves that there is a real problem. The doctor ran tests on Leo and me. Leo had good swimmers and I had to have a laparoscopy to remove a cyst they found on the ultrasound and my doctor was convinced that I had endometriosis that was causing the problem. I had the surgery, he removed the cyst, found very little endometriosis or scar tissue but discovered I was allergic to latex. Leo and I went to Vegas a week after the surgery and I will tell you that an allergic reaction over a large part of your body in the Vegas heat is not fun. I was put on Clomid alone first and nothing. Then I was put on Clomid and did two artificial inseminations and still nothing. Each time we tried something new, my hopes would soar. I just knew that had to be the answer. When it wasn't, the doubts would creep back in. I would question everything from why would God make it so hard for me to have kids to maybe I married the wrong guy and that is why it was so hard to maybe I wasn't a good mom so I was being punished with not having more kids. Was I being punished for something else that I did?

I could not wrap my brain around having to inject myself with hormones to get pregnant when there were couples that just jumped in bed and made a baby. I was uncomfortable with the whole idea and tried avoiding it until my doctor, who I loved, gently said he did all he could do and gave me the name of a specialist. We met with the specialist and after he reviewed everything, he said, "You have a good ovary on a bad tube and a bad ovary on a good tube. IVF (InVitro Fertilization) is your only option." I burst into tears.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things that Shaped Me: Infertility, Part 1

I have wanted to be a mom since I can remember. I had a doll in my hand since I was old enough to carry one. I wanted it so bad that my sisters and I used to look through the Sears Catalogs and pick out the kids that we could pretend were ours. Being a mom just seemed like the greatest job in the world. My mom instilled that in me. She was (and still is) just the best at it. Cooking and cleaning and loving and making it fun...I wanted to do the same thing (loving and making it fun and cleaning, not so much). I became a teacher because I loved kids. I LOVED being surrounded by them and with each class, I loved those kids like they were my own. I couldn't wait to start a family with Leo. Would our kids look like him or me? Would we have boys or girls? I could NOT wait!

I remember the very moment when having my own became a reality. Leo and I had been married for three months (after dating for 7 years) and when I went back to work, my college roommate's mother came in showing off my friend's baby (her mom was my secretary) and I thought, I can't wait to do that. Then it hit me, I CAN DO THAT! I AM MARRIED NOW! I will tell you that the moment I had it in my head that we could have a baby, I couldn't think of anything else. I could do a very long post about how devastated I was for almost a year of every month thinking I was pregnant and every month being wrong. In that post, I would write about how EVERYWHERE I went, I saw pregnant women and it seemed like it was easy for everyone but me. I would write about how having my body fail me at the one thing I dreamed most about in my whole life made me doubt everything from Leo and my marriage to whether I was deserving enough to be a mom. I would also write that looking back, 11 months was nothing compared to what was to come.

I'm going to do a sidebar of things you should never say to someone who you know has been trying to get pregnant: Just relax. What does that even mean? Maybe it means the next one. Stop thinking about it so much. I challenge anyone that has a dream to stop thinking about it. It will happen, when it happens. Every woman trying to get pregnant knows this and thinks and hopes and prays that when it happens is right now. God has a plan and His timing is perfect. Looking back, I know this is true but when I was going through it, my relationship with God suffered a few hits and I didn't want to hear about His timing. He put the dream in my heart only for me to be devastated every month. The story of some woman you have heard about who tried forever and then adopted and then found out she was pregnant.I know this has happened but it's not what you want to hear. Adoption isn't a quick fix to getting pregnant. If you have gotten or get pregnant easily, resist the urge to say, "All my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant." Last but not least,You must be having a lot of fun trying.You would think but no.

The day I found out I was pregnant with Nico is still one of the happiest days of my life. The relief and happiness that washed over me when that stick came back with two lines was the best feeling. I LOVED being pregnant! It was one of the things I thought about and the reality was just as good. This post isn't about being pregnant or my labor with Nico but it was the delivery that led to years of heartache. I labored for 56 hours and it was intense, back labor the whole time. Finally I was diagnosed with "failure to progress." I hate that phrase. First I felt like a failure trying to get pregnant and then I was a failure at delivering him? I ended up with a c-section and it just couldn't be a routine one. It had to have complications. After they announced that we had a boy, Leo announced to our families that were waiting with thumbs up that, "We have balls!" I was back on the operating table feeling like I was in a bad movie. I heard the two doctors whispering and asked what was wrong. One of them answered, "Nothing, we just have a small complication" and then put me all the way under. When I came to, I was in the worst pain I ever remember feeling and they explained that I had two large dermoid cysts on both of my ovaries that they removed taking some of my ovary with them. I didn't give much thought to any of it because I wanted to see my baby. Nico had to be in the NICU because it turned out my water was broken for longer than 24 hours so he developed an infection. The worst part of the whole thing was that I had to leave the hospital without him. I could write another whole post about how heart-wrenching that was and the amount of tears that spilled at feeling like I was leaving a part of myself every time I had to leave him. I didn't even know that could happen. I was so naive. He was in for a week and I was trying to nurse him. I did too much going back and forth to the hospital, especially in the middle of the night, and my incision split open causing more pain and more problems.

Fast forward five months later and I was still having pain. I went in and my doctor asked me if I wanted more kids. I wanted a lot more kids but having a 5 month old, I wasn't thinking about it right then. Her advice was if I wanted more kids, I should get started sooner rather than later because she had a feeling, after doing an ultrasound, that it was scar tissue causing the pain. Then she said something I'll never forget, "I hope I did the right thing by taking out those cysts. I hope I didn't cause problems for you later." We made a plan for us to start trying (and that was a ton of fun to do with a 5 month old) and if I wasn't pregnant in 3-4 months, she would do a laparoscopy to remove as much scar tissue as she could and then have us try before it would build up again. After four months of disappointments and resenting the fact that I just wanted to enjoy my baby (who was having a lot of issues of his own at the time), I went in for lab work for the laparoscopy. The day before the surgery, the doctor called to tell me that the surgery was canceled because...I was pregnant! I thanked God (He and I were still on shaky ground) for the miracle and couldn't believe my luck. I was so happy, I told everyone. Again, I was so naive and still believed bad things happened to other people. I thought my problem was getting pregnant, not staying pregnant. I had no idea what was about to happen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nico's Birthday Dinner, Baseball and Cleaning

After the vacation we just had, I was a little nervous for us all to go out to dinner. Leo said he'd be home by 5:30 which is earlier than we ever eat these days because baseball has started so I was excited. Nico chose Japan 77 so I was even more excited because it is one of my favorite restaurants, too. I'll try not to go on and on about how aggravated I was that we were all starving and ready to eat by 5:30 and Leo didn't get home until 6:00. I asked my mom if she would watch Gia for an hour since she lives across the street from Japan 77 and it might be easier if she could be somewhere she could walk around. Now that she is walking, she hates sitting. We dropped Gia off and I have to say, it was the nicest time we have all had as a family in a long time. We had some good conversations and no one fought. I worried the whole time that the dinner was taking too long because my mom works and I knew she was tired but other than that, it was a very relaxing dinner with delicious food. After dinner we hung out at my mom and dad's which was also nice. I love being from a huge family and I love when we are all together but sometimes it's nice when the kids get some alone time with my parents. I'm so happy my kids showed me the side of them that makes me proud to be their mom. They are lucky they did because I was starting to worry.

Baseball officially started last week but last night was the first game I went to. The first one was away in Wasco and Nico said, "Mom, I don't think you should come to this one. I'd rather you see me when I am feeling more confident. I am a little rusty right now." I wanted to go to the one on Sunday because he was playing his old team and I really wanted to see the friends that I had made while he was playing. It was beautiful out but it would figure that Gia was not feeling well and had a slight fever. Yesterday, I went and it ended up being really cold and I couldn't see a lot of the game because all Gia wanted to do was walk in the wet, muddy grass. I think it is going to be a long season unless my friend, Kay, brings her dog to every game because that is the only thing that kept Gia entertained. I am thinking she is not going to be a big baseball fan.

We have already established that I hate cleaning the house. It's not the cleaning part so much as it is that it doesn't stay clean for longer than a minute. My cleaning lady is coming today (I hope. There have been a few miscommunications on both ends the last few times). I wonder how many women are lucky enough to have one and I wonder of those women, how many have families like mine who feel that because we have a cleaning lady, they don't have to do ANYTHING? Even Leo last night, while I was putting away clothes that I was so tired of washing, folding and putting away that I wanted to put them in garbage bags to donate, said to me when I asked him to help me straighten up for today, "We have a cleaning lady. Why do you do that?" Well, lazy family of is she supposed to clean when your stuff is everywhere??? I will admit that while I was putting HIS clothes away, and I don't care if they weren't the majority (Nico), I kept imagining throwing something at his sleeping head. I'm sure he rationalizes playing basketball this morning as his way to get exercise but since I can never go to Lifetime at 5:00 in the morning, I think he should forego basketball, help me in the mornings and we should get fat together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finally Caught Up: TV

Top Chef: I am so happy that Richard won Top Chef! I liked the All Stars season. It was fun seeing a lot of the chefs back. Though I would be okay if I never had to see Marcel, Jamie and Jennifer. How uncomfortable was the argument between Elia and Tom Colicchio at the reunion?

American Idol: What the Hell happened???? I still don't have a stand out favorite but Pia goes home??? The thing that bugs me about American Idol is that they do this every year. At some point a fan favorite or even a judge favorite goes home (Constantine, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Tamyra Gray and now Pia) and Ryan gets up there and says, "This is proof, America, that you must pick up the phone and vote." It makes me think that America has very little to do with who stays and who goes. I refuse to watch American Idol in real time because I dislike Ryan so much. I fast forward through all of his parts. Something about him is so weasely (I don't even know if that is a word but it does fit him).

RH Orange County: Where is Jeana? I need someone to like on this show. I could stop watching but it is like a train wreck and I can't look away. Tamra and her new boyfriend and all their "Baby, this and Baby thats" are nauseating and really boring. I will say that the emotion she showed when she was going through her wedding things showed that she is human. I used to like her but this new Tamra is annoying. Gretchen thinking she has good comedic timing made me laugh out loud. I don't think she is funny at all. I think she is the most immature and with Tamra in the bunch that says a lot. Alexis and Peggy might as well be the same person. Vicki, Vicki, Vicki...I liked her last season but she is so unhappy at home and we hear about it every week. I feel bad for her family and her coworkers. I actually feel bad for anyone that has to deal with her. She is so controlling. Where are the brunettes? Is Fernanda a housewife?

RH Miami: What is up with Marysol's mom? I wish there was more of Cristy. I don't care if she did or didn't buy a ticket to Lea's fundraiser (she said she did) or what happened in her first marriage. I liked her and wanted to see more of her. The rest of them were just ehhhh. Adriana and all her sexiness just seemed slutty. I just don't like Lea.

RH New York: It's too early to form an opinion about this season but Jill still bugs me and I still think Kelly is nuts. I think Alex takes herself too seriously and modeling? Hmmm...I don't get it. I think Sonja should hang onto that guy and I wonder why it is complicated? Ramona with those job applicants was tough to watch. She thought she was being helpful but she was just mean. LuAnn and the new one are just far.

Sister Wives: This show is another one that I didn't want to watch but can't help myself. I am fascinated by this lifestyle because there is no way in Hell I would be okay being a sister wife. I mean, I would love the help but sharing Leo would never work. I can't get him to do things around my house. I can't imagine him having to oversee more than one. Plus, I inherited the jealous gene from my mom so for that reason alone, it wouldn't work. The kids seem incredibly well-adjusted and with each episode, I think Meri gets more and more sad or frustrated. She talks like she is okay but there is something in her tone and in her eyes that makes me think she is becoming not okay with her situation. The fact that she has dealt with infertility makes my heart hurt for her. I had to laugh ,though, when they were talking about their finances and how Janelle doesn't know how she's going to pay the bills next month and Kody got into a sporty, little Lexus. I'm an episode behind so that is all I have for this one.

America's Next Top Model: Still don't like Alexandria but really don't like Brittani. I am still rooting for Hannah and she might complain a lot but I still like Molly.

And finally, the biggest disappointment for me--Celebrity Apprentice:I wasn't sad to see Richard Hatch go. I was thrilled to see Dionne go. I'm sorry that Jose's dad is sick but wasn't sad to see him go, either but Mark McGrath? Why did he throw himself under the bus when it is clearly time for Gary to go home? With Gary there, it feels a lot like a circus which is why Trump keeps him around, I am sure. Still rooting for John Rich for the men and Marlee Matlin for the women.

Friday Night Lights is coming back to NBC this Friday, I think. I have already seen it on Direct TV but any chance to see Tim Riggins, I am going to take it.

I watch too much tv.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nico!

It has felt like I have had a teenager in the house for the last six months but today, it is official...Nico is 13. I thought about posting about his labor and delivery or how difficult his first six months of life were but I don't want to think about that today. In light of the events on vacation, I feel like remembering the happiness Nico has brought to my life. All of my kids make me laugh but Nico is by far the funniest of them all.

As soon as he could walk, whenever he'd hear the theme of Dragon Tales, no matter where he was in the house, I'd hear him run through the house to get in front of the tv and dance to the music.

As soon as he could form a sentence, he would call me every morning the same way. "Mooommmmy! I goooot pooooo pooooo! Come and chaaaaaange me!"

When he was about 2, we were in a park district class where they played Disney theme songs and the teacher would yell out different things to do like, "Run around the circle!" Then the song would change and she would say, "Hop around the circle!" My lovely son refused to do anything that the teacher yelled out but instead would yell, "Lion King!" or "Toy Story!" when those themes came on. He knew every single one of them. How proud I was when the teacher said, "My, someone must really know his Disney movies."

When he was almost three, I was showing him how to pray and we did the sign of the cross and I told him how we pray for people we love. After doing the sign of the cross, he said, "Please bless Mommy and Daddy. I love them so much. Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

Around the same time Nico and I were at the mall with two of my sisters and they were fighting. One of them started to cry and Nico went up and put his hand on her face and said, "Come stop your crying, it'll be alright. Just take my hand. Hold it tight." It was the theme of Tarzan. His favorite movie at the time. Obviously we had an underlying theme going on. He watched waaay too many Disney movies.

When he was about 4, Leo and I were talking in the bathroom while I was doing my hair. Leo spit in the toilet and Nico looked at him and said, "What do you think you're doing? Did you just spit in my potty? I go pee in that potty. Now flush your damn phlegm so I can pee in that potty." Leo and I looked at each other shocked and Leo said, "Did he just tell me to flush my damn phlegm?"

When Nico went to preschool he got in trouble for not listening and when I was telling him what I expected of him he said, "Do you want me to be good at home or at school because I can't be good at both?" I am still suffering from that discussion because he decided it was more important to be good at school.

One time when I was picking him up from preschool, his teacher stopped me and asked me how "the dog and the hermit crabs got along?" I am sure I had the most dumbfounded look on my face and asked her what she was talking about. She proceeded to tell me that Nico told the class that his dad was the Canine Cop and that he just got hermit crabs and he was hoping they would get along. WHAT???? That wasn't all. She said she was "sorry to hear that our dogs got loose and were hit by a car." I quickly told her my child had an active imagination (for those that don't know, Leo was a mechanical engineer at the time) and that none of that was true. When I confronted Nico, he started to cry and said, "I'm sorry but I just wanted all of that to be true so bad!" Okay, I get the Canine Cop but the dogs getting hit by a car? We had a long discussion about telling stories and having to come clean after you tell them otherwise it is just lying.

He was in a little sportster class when he was 4 and loved basketball even then. The next time, he couldn't wait to play again but they were doing hockey. He looked at the hockey stick and said, "How does this thing fit in the hoop?" When I explained how it didn't, he sat and cried the whole time because he wanted to play basketball again. Another proud moment that was not funny at the time but I laugh about today.

When Nico was in 3rd grade, they had a family living unit and talked about the changes that your body goes through when you go through puberty. We were taking a walk and I asked him how that was going. The conversation that follows is still one of the funniest ones I have had with Nico.

Nico: You know it's going to happen to me next year (when he turned 9).
Me: What's going to happen to you?
Nico: You know...(here he clapped and rubbed his hands together).
Me (holding back laughter): What is that?
Nico: Mom, you know...(he clapped and rubbed his hands together again).
Me (really confused): I don't know what that means.
Nico (exasperated and rolling his eyes): Mom...(he clapped and rubbed his hands together again) you They said I have to do it next year.
Me (knowing he had to have misunderstood): Ummmm...who told you that?
Nico said the name of a girl in his class that had older siblings.
Me (really tryng not to laugh): Okay, first of all, you are going to be nine so you are not going to "do sex" next year. I think what they meant is that your body might start going through changes next year but it might not happen until much later, too.
Nico (looking slightly disappointed that he was off the mark): What changes?
Me (not really believing that I was having that conversation with my 8 year old): Well, some boys start to grow hair or their voices start to change.
Nico: When did Dad start getting hair on his chest and his pits?
Me: I have no idea. You'll have to ask him.
Nico (never one to miss a beat): So when am I going to do sex?
Me (looking for the fastest way out of that conversation): When you are married in 20 years.

Even recently, just about to turn 13, he still comes up with things to make me laugh. Nico came in the house and took off his shoes. I couldn't help myself in complaining about the smell.

Me (gagging): Nico, what is going on with the feet? Is it the shoes or your feet?
Nico (throwing up his hands very confused): I don't know...I...I think something is wrong with the smell glands in my feet.

So though he is sometimes a pain in my butt and he is more stubborn than anyone I know, he can be the sweetest, most affectionate, openly candid boy I know. If he has one dollar to spend on himself, he'll split it and buy Tommy and Belle something. He's been known to be partners with someone because he felt bad that no one was asking him/her. I pray that as we enter these hard years, he remains as open and talkative with me and continues to come to me when he needs help navigating his way to adulthood. I love him so much that my heart sometimes hurts and I am so proud that he was the one that made me a mom!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Animal Planet and Irrational Fears

I think I have been watching too many shows on Animal Planet these days. It started when Nico was little. He LOVED animals and we would watch it together between Dragon Tales and Bear in the Big Blue House. His favorite was the one where animals would fight and you had to guess who would win. Then Tommy came along and he liked the Animal Cops show. Watching Animal Planet has become a thing that Tommy and I do together but now the shows he likes and I am fascinated with are Fatal Attractions, I Shouldn't Be Alive, I'm Alive, Untamed and Uncut and Human Prey. Now that I have written that, I think we might have issues. One of my irrational fears is getting eaten alive so I am sure that feeds into why I watch these shows. I am also afraid of rats and mice so maybe watching Animal Planet is a way to torture myself. Anyway, I think I have been watching them too much because I am now having bad dreams about them. I already shared the one about the Lions and they just keep coming. I won't bore you with the details of every dream (I know my dad is somewhere saying thank you) but most of them are wild animals roaming free and I am the only one that thinks it is dangerous.

One of them had me holding an orangutan thinking it was okay when someone told me it was covered with lice. I threw the animal and even now when I think about it, it gives me the heebie jeebies. I live in fear that my kids will bring home lice. I know there are worse things to have to deal with, believe me, I do. If you know me and have seen my hair, you know that if lice ever comes home and takes up residence in my hair, it will be a permanent one because I have so much hair, I am not sure how I'd ever get rid of them. Ick, just thinking about it makes my head itch.

The funny thing about my fascination with Animal Planet is that I am allergic to every animal except and how ironic, rats. I want to be a dog lover and I do love them from afar but I can't get within a foot of one without my throat itching and my eyes watering and the feeling that I am trying to blow up a balloon with no air coming out. Some are worse than others and a lot of times it has to do with how big of a space I am in with the dog but it has definitely robbed my kids of their dream to have a dog (they got Gia instead).

I did have a dog growing up (well, I was 14 when we got him) and the story was that my mom and aunt took in these dogs that were supposed to be brothers that were left in a dumpster. The funny thing was that they didn't even look like they came from the same litter. My mom and my aunt named them Starsky and Hutch because one was dark brown and the other was yellow. That was really only cute if the dogs stayed together which ours didn't so every time we'd tell someone our dog's name, they would ask, "Where's Hutch?" Starsky looked a little like Nicodemus (from Secret of Nimh, if you ever saw that movie) and Hutch looked like Tramp from Lady and the Tramp. I wasn't allergic to Starsky so the running joke was that he wasn't actually a dog but a city rat.

The funny thing about writing random thoughts is how this post came to be and how they really weren't that random at all. It was because I have had bad dreams the last three nights, there was a an ongoing discussion on Facebook about the dogs Starsky and Hutch and I really want to know that I am not the only one that has irrationaly fears. If others are afraid of rats or being eaten alive, even better.