Saturday, April 2, 2016

Junior Prom 2016

 Tonight is Junior Prom.  Zach asked a lovely girl named Karina (who he has been talking about for a while now-- I never thought he would get the nerve to ask her!)

They went to the San Jose Country Club for pictures and dinner.

Isn't the corsage gorgeous!

They were invited by his friend Ryan and her date. 

Turns out she had plans/made plans with quite a few of her friends for dinner and pictures.

Most of the girls did not have dates!  I was shocked-- look at all those beautiful girls!  You missed out Leland boys!
5 boys to all of those girls (and more-- as I was leaving 4 or 5 more pulled up!)

Have fun Zach and Karina!

Friday, January 29, 2016

We have a birthday boy!!

Vinny is 12!!  12 years ago today Vinny made his entrance a grand one,  intubated in the NICU, 4 weeks early and with pneumonia.  He has kept us on our toes since, carving out his own path in our crazy family.

Currently he is rehearsing for Peter Pan, where he will be one of the pirates.  He has had a crazy busy week, with tech rehearsal every day from the time school is out, not getting home until almost 9 pm.  We have had to wake him early every morning, as early as 5:45 am, to then do his homework.  He hasn't complained once, and managed to get all his work done (well, I think.  We will see what the portal says)

The kids lining up to get their mics on

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to help out back stage at one of the tech rehearsals.  It was my first time ever watching one of these and I was impressed.  They worked the entire 4 hours (minus a 20 min dinner break).  An incredible amount of work goes into these shows.

 I can't wait to see the shows this weekend.

The traditional sprinkle waffles with ice cream for breakfast!

This morning was a bit rough.  I got him up early to do his homework.  We then realized he left his Wordly Wise (language arts) book at the theater.  No problem, he can work on the vocab sheet.  That was also no where to be found.  Classic Vinny.  I suppose the biggest surprise was that this was the first day all week for this to happen.  He was a trooper though.  I brought him to school 40 min early and he knocked on the teachers door.  Luckily she was there and she let him in to borrow her book.  He got it all done!

No tech tonight!  It happens to be Bronco Night at school and Vinny wanted to go.  Pete was (and still is as I type this) gone at the Little League draft.  We had a quick pizza dinner, opened his present, then he went off to Bronco Night with a couple of buddies.

What did he get?  He wasn't sure what it was at first.

 Now he sees it...

A guitar!!  He has been asking to play off and on for the last 6 months.  Looks like we are adding guitar lessons to baseball, musical theater, and voice lessons.

Happy birthday to my boy of many talents!  We can't wait to hear you rock that guitar!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Zach's new normal

I am posting this with Zach's permission.  He has had some medical issues come up and we are at the point where others are finding out and have questions.  So here it is.

About 3 weeks ago, seemingly out of nowhere, Zach began to have significant stomach issues-- bloody diarrhea and a lot of it.  He had not traveled anywhere, or eaten at any fast food restaurants, but we assumed it had to be some crazy infection.  Testing came back negative, and he was rapidly getting worse- losing weight, getting tired.  A few days before Christmas he went for a colonoscopy.  I admit it seemed a bit drastic to me--Pete and I were still so sure it had to be an infection.  Much to our surprise his entire colon was inflamed, bleeding and sick.  He was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis .  (Click on the term if you are unfamiliar with this disease)

Zach's pill box- I don't think any of his grandmothers take this many pills...
He was started on oral medication right away.  Christmas was days away, along with our yearly ski trip.  He seemed to be improving so off we went.

He seemed to improve and do well at first, but by the last few days he was sick again.  By Sunday night he was much worse, even vomiting.  We weighed him when we returned and his weight loss was now up to 17 lbs.  In less than 3 weeks.  We called his GI doctor and it was decided he needed to be admitted.

Visiting big brother in the hospital!

Monday morning (yesterday) he was admitted to Good Samaritan hospital.  He was dehydrated and unable to eat or drink what he needed so was being admitted for IV fluids and stronger medications to get the colitis under control.

Grandma Liz came to help out 
Today he started on a powerful IV medication called Remicade.  If it works then he will need to go to the hospital every 4-6 weeks to get it-- it is an IV infusion.  He will be on it long term- years likely assuming it continues to keep him in remission.  If not he will move onto something else-- at the moment this is a life long disorder that he will need to be on medication for.

We are not sure how long he will be in the hospital, but we are told 1-2 weeks.  We are hoping not that long, but it is just too early to know how fast he will respond.

Zach is handling this in typical Zach fashion-- with hardly a word of complaint, and with the maturity and courage of someone much older.  He is sad about baseball-- high school baseball is just starting to gear up and try outs are in a few weeks.  He is determined to get back to it though and soon as his strength is back. He has his ACT exam in a few weeks as well, not to mention school.  We just want him to get better.

He does have a room mate- thanks to his Aunt Tina!
Thanks to all the help and support we have already received.  He has so many people praying for him, he can't help but get better! And we are confident he will get better.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy 17th!

Zach is 17 today!  And how is he celebrating?  The same way he does every year-- he is taking finals.  Poor guy.  Of course if he had just arrived in mid January like he was supposed to then that wouldn't be a a problem!                                                                                                                                      

Zach overhead squatting our Xmas tree
All kidding aside, they don't get any better than this kid.  Despite being our first (Kids are like pancakes- you always screw up the first one!)  he is amazing.  Pete has always said that even if Zach was born in the slums of Calcutta he would have been a success in life- he is just geared that way.   I was looking at him this morning, and thinking about what one word I would use to describe him.  The first thing that popped into my mind was integrity.  Zach is a man of integrity.  Even at 17, he has a strong sense of himself and the confidence to do the right thing.  If he says he is going to do something, he will.  He is honest, hardworking and loyal.  That seems like a rare thing in the world these days.

It is exciting to watch him begin the journey to find a college.  I have no idea where he is going to go, but I do know that he will succeed.

It is a joy and honor to be your mom, Zach.  I love you, and hope your day is a great one.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Maui 2015

 A few weeks ago our school was out for Fall Break.  We left town and went to Maui!  We weren't the only family in Almaden with the same idea-- we saw 7 other families on the same plane that we knew!  And a few more at the airport heading to other places as well.

We usually stay in Kaanapali, but since the place we usually stay was closed for renovations, we decided to try something new.  We stayed in Wailea at a resort called the Wailea Beach Villas.  The place was amazing!  I didn't take very many ipctures of it, but the pic of the kitchen above gives you a sense of how nice it was.

The beach was also beautiful (is there a beach in Hawaii that isn't gorgeous?)

Vinny and Ewan, being goofs

Our friends the Landines were staying at a place just a mile down the road from us.  The kids had a blast hanging with their friends most days on the beach.

Pete walking down to the water in flippers was much more entertaining live than in a still pic.  You will just have to trust me on that one.

We went to a Luau at the Grand Wailea, which was the resort right next to ours.  It was nice being able to walk back to our room after the show.

The Landine, Contini and Christensen kids, ready to snorkle!

We also did a snorkel trip to Molokini and Turtle Town.  The Landines came, along with the Christensen family, other friends of ours who were also there.

Joey wore the gopro and got a few fun shots underwater.

Including, of course, a selfie.

Pete and Vinny

For the first time, Christopher was finally big enough to go ziplining!  He was still too small for most of the companies, but we did fine one that he could do.

The boys have all done some ziplining while at camp.  I have even done it many years ago at some residency bonding thing.  While Pete was the only newbie, the extent and height of this course was nothing like any of us had done.  It was a blast!!



walking the bridge to another tree
Family picture time!

More realistic family time...





Vinny, who was just as big a spaz in the air as on the ground!




 After ziplining, which was located upcountry, we went to a pizze place that came recommended to us by so many people it was ridiculous.  FlatBread Pizza Company in Paia.  I highly receommend if you are ever there--it was delicious!

After pizza we went for shave ice,

 and gelato.

Overall, a fun day spent exploring a different part of the island.  Our trip was a fun combination of days spent doing activities, and days spent just hanging out at the beach alld ay.  The weather was perfect- not one day of rain (despite the dreary predictions I was obsessing over on Weather Underground)

 The resort we stayed at had a pool table that the kids enjoyed.

 The best thing though was the guys that would set you up with chairs and umbrellas every day!

We were even able to get good snorkeling in right on Wailea beach itself.

The picture above just made me laugh-- Erika (the Landines daughter) had Zach pulling her around the sand on the boogie board.

Pete and I even got a few workouts in.  We went to Crossfit Kihei, a small and friendly box that had some great workouts and nice people.

Does this picture even  need a caption?

And then, sadly, the week was over.  Countless family memories made and some much needed relaxation was had by all.  Already looking forward to our next trip.