Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a mother's love

On my 39th birthday, I can't help but be grateful for the woman that gave birth to me. Thank you Mom for being who you are, for loving me no matter what, for being by my side, and most of all for believing in me. Thank you for always reminding me that with a little hope and a lot of love...well, anything is possible.

You are truly the best mom ever.


Friday, November 23, 2012


Time certainly goes by fast. This is becoming more apparent to me now that our boys are 5 1/2 years old. When did that happen? Just yesterday they were babies, right? Today they want to help save the ocean and their baby teeth are falling out. Kevin asked one of them last week "when did you become so grown up? Slow down a bit." My son's reply was that he couldn't because food helps him grow.

You know Thanksgiving has always been a special day. One of my favorite holidays. It feels like a fresh start is approaching. In our house two years ago, Kevin was discharged from Cedars, his first tour.  While our lives had dramatically changed and new challenges were upon us, we never lost sight of those simple things.....which brings me to yesterday's day of gratitude. A very happy Thanksgiving indeed. Sleeping in later than usual because the boys were playing quietly together. A hot cup of coffee soon followed by a hot shower with no rush to hurry up and go somewhere. The smell of my juniper brined turkey in the oven. The chance to sit and enjoy the company of good friends. Edible napkin rings. Sweet potato pie. Being together under one roof.

I hope that everyone I know and those I don't know had a Happy Thanksgiving and also had the chance to enjoy the simple things. Whatever your simple thing is, enjoy it and be grateful for that moment in time.

my little family of four

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

these guys....

It really is all about the simple things in life. He's such a wonderful father, no matter what he always takes time out of his day for them. This picture makes my heart smile. ♥ Today, I'm thankful for all three of 'em.

Monday, November 19, 2012

southern California

Is it weird that I'm thankful for southern California? Sure, I've had a love/hate relationship with where we live BUT on days like today I'm reminded why I love living in southern California. 

Presently I'm sitting outside on our patio, sun is shining, drinking French press coffee, all while watching my kids play football in the backyard. And winter is supposedly approaching? Bring it on.

Our boys were born here and southern California is the only home they know. My little native Californians, my beach lovers, actually want to learn how to surf. I love it. 

Yes, both our families might live 3000 miles away but we've been here so long that we've made friendships with people who we also consider family. Do we miss our families back east? Yes, but they understand our place is here. Besides, Apple has made it easier with iChat and Facetime to visit with our families whenever we want. 

Southern California is also home to Cedars Sinai Medical Center. It's where everyone that had a hand in saving Kevin's life works. It's where he was given a second chance at life, where so many triumphs along this heart journey were had. I am ever grateful for Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Their staff is the best of the best. 

So for today, I am indeed grateful for the choice Kevin and I made to live in southern California. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

two thankful turkeys

Such little kids yet so mature. They've seen so much in only a short time yet never losing sight of what was and will always be the most important in life. Family and love. Without it, none of us would have survived. Period. These two turkeys have more strength than most adults. I am so grateful that I get to see their smiling faces every day. And these smiles are thanks to a very generous family that said "yes" to organ donation. Whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

letter writing

If you're a reader of mine, you know I'm a believer in paying it forward.  For two years now a bunch of my friends and I have been volunteering at Operation Gratitude. It's a non-profit organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed in hostile regions all over the world. It's a great way to say thank you to our troops. 

Here's a picture of me this past weekend. I decided to take part in the "letter writing" aspect of Operation Gratitude. You know telling the U.S. troops in each letter how grateful I was for the sacrifice they've made. Going on in my letters about how I'm able to live safely here in the states while they're serving and protecting our great nation. 

Thank you to all of our U.S. troops and Veterans. 

Friday, November 9, 2012


I'm probably one of the few people that can say they truly love their job. I'm grateful that I have a job. I'm grateful for the company I work for and the people attached to it locally and all over the world. 

I guess it holds true that the people you work with eventually become close to you...well, it holds true for me. I admire and respect Joanna, the woman I work for, as well as the people I get to visit on my weekly sales calls. These people, all of them, have seen me go through so many stages of my life. Milestones. From being engaged to getting married, being pregnant, watching my kids grow up, and of recent...the challenges my family has gone through the past two years. 

Once again, I'm extremely grateful for everyone related to my job. The past two years, for me going to work was an outlet. It was a welcome distraction. Were clients and friends concerned about what was going on in my life? Yes, but not once did I get a sad face. I always received a warm welcome, the if you need anything you let us know, the hugs, and by them letting me do my job, they were helping me get through it all. 

So for today and the past few days, my thanks is for everyone I get to work with, the people I get to visit on a weekly basis, the hotels and companies all over the world...because without them I wouldn't have a job. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


My son's homework was to write 1 - 2 sentences about something he was grateful for. After he showed me I instantly smiled. He told me "I'm grateful for the world cause we can travel anywhere we want. If we lived in space we couldn't go to New York, New Jersey, or Africa. And mom, I'm grateful for my family cause Daddy's new heart keeped us together."

So, today my gratitude is for this moment shared with my son. ♥

Monday, November 5, 2012


Do you have power yet? This is a question I asked several friends and family members back east for over a week. Actually, some of them are going on day seven without power. In the off chance my readers have been under a rock the past week, Hurricane Sandy ripped through most of the east coast and tried to knock the good people of New Jersey down. Newsflash: the strong survive and the rest get eaten. 

Power. Electricity. It's just one of those things where it usually gets taken for granted. Come home from a long day of work, walk in the house and what do you do? Switch. Turn on the lights. Then you cook dinner or maybe turn on the TV (to watch The Walking Dead), do some laundry, use the dishwasher... you get the idea. 

This is why days four and five of November are dedicated to my being grateful for power. Grateful for having power and even more grateful most of my family has it again. Electricity is indeed an amazing thing. To those in New Jersey still without it, I'm sending positive energy your way that it gets turned back on and soon. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

modern medicine and science

Is it coincidental that on day three of November I'm grateful for modern medicine and science? Because without it, the three men in my life wouldn't be here. I'm referring to the love of my life, Kevin, and our twin boys whom I often refer to as "the monks."

Modern medicine and science has not only given me a family but it also saved my family.

can't imagine life without him.
this pic taken post heart
Let's start with Kevin. After he had heart failure his doctors implanted an LVAD, left ventricular assist device, into him. This piece of equipment, regardless of how challenging our lives were, gave Kevin that bridge to transplant. The LVAD gave Kevin nine extra months until a new heart was available for him. Of course I'm thankful for it. The LVAD is implanted in not only hundreds of others, but thousands. It's designed to basically give your heart a rest and in some cases if your heart heals, it gets taken out. In Kevin's case, it was used as a bridge to transplant. In others it's used as destination therapy, meaning people live with it for the rest of their lives. I'm not only grateful for this because it had a big hand in saving Kevin's life, but there are so many more out there still living with an LVAD.....and some of which I care very much about.

3 months pregnant with
the monks. Yes, I was huge.
Now moving on to my next point about modern medicine and science. Without it, the monks would not exist. Period. For me, I've always wanted a family. Kevin too. Naturally after we got married we started to "try." After a year of no luck and fed up with multiple idiot doctors who told me to just keep trying....we saw a fertility specialist. First doctor to give us some sort of hope introduced us to IVF, in vitro fertilization. Was it a fun process? No. Were we willing to go through it? Absolutely. Modern medicine and science is amazing. IVF not only helped us get pregnant, but pregnant x TWO. That's right, my little monks are twins. I couldn't be more grateful for IVF and our doctor who never gave up hope on us.

Back to Kevin. You all know he had a heart transplant (extremely grateful but that's another blog entry). And then that giant tumor joined our party, you know the one that caused his heart failure. Well, let me tell you that because of modern medicine and science we now know that said tumor was genetic. Modern medicine and science has given us the knowledge about this genetic tumor to protect the monks and any other family members that might possibly carry the gene.

my family of four living post transplant
Modern medicine and science folks. My little family of four is living proof  that modern medicine and science is alive and well. That moving forward is the wave of the future. That without it, the three most important men in my life, the three reasons for who I am today, well, they wouldn't exist. For modern medicine and science, I am truly grateful.

It's still there, day two

Days two of November has to do with the roof over my head. (and yes I'm aware I'm a day late on this entry but only because I started watching the very popular "Walking Dead" with Kevin recently and yes, we're addicted.)

It's very easy to take for granted the roof over your head. I'll be the first to admit that I've been there, done that. It protects me and my little family from the elements and if you think about it, the roof on your house is always there. It might leak or need a repair once and awhile but it's still there.  Having said this and after viewing the devastation that our friends and family have lived through from Hurricane Sandy... well, the roof over my head is not being taken for granted these days.

Our friends and family that lived through Hurricane Sandy still have a roof over their head. For that, I am thankful. They might not have power yet, but the roof over their head, it's still there.

For the people I know and the ones I don't know that have lost their houses because of Hurricane Sandy.... I can't imagine what you must be going through and my heart aches for you. You're all in my thoughts with hopes that your family is together and safe.  I'm hoping relief of some sort is headed your way to help you rebuild a new home.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 days of November

November has got to be hands down my favorite month of the year. Sure, it's the month I was born and every four years my birthday falls on Thanksgiving BUT ever since I was a little kid, I've always looked forward to November. That crisp air in the early morning, when you can see your breath in the air. It also has Thanksgiving which brings me to this blog entry, 30 days of November. 

A blog entry for each of November's 30 days, choosing only one thing to be grateful for that day. Maybe I'll elaborate, maybe not. Living post transplant is really about living

Those simple things in life really do sit in the forefront of my mind. Some days I do lose sight of the simple things because let's face it I'm not perfect and neither are you. Usually though there is something that will remind me to slow down, take a deep breath, because I can. So, for today, November 1, I'm grateful for the air I breathe freely into my lungs every day.