Monday, June 12, 2017

The Latest from The Meads...

There are many times when I feel there's nothing to write about... no special events, no special occasions. No updates on Maia, no new pics. But when I asked Marcus about what I should blog about, he simply answered "just write about how we're doing." Wow, what a concept!

I can honestly say we're doing ok. There always seems to be room for improvement, but I think that goes together with striving to make life better, by doing better things and being a better person. But at the same time, I'm very proud of who we've become, who we are now, and where we're headed.

Our transition into a new normal life since Maia's passing has had it's share of ups and downs, but we're very determined and focus on what matters most... us. We've had our share of medical issues, including Gordon's cornea transplant, his chronic back and sciatica problems, and more recently, his complications from hernia surgery. Marcus continues to slowly get better with each passing year, and has been able to manage his grief and anger management issues little by little. Although he prefers one-on-one sessions with his therapist, he tried out some group sessions earlier this year and did ok with it. We're so grateful he has such an amazing support system! As for me, I've been pretty healthy for the most part, which is always a good thing. I've now become a regular blood donor and I get excited when I know I blood drive is coming up! As a result I've monitored my iron better too. It's also been a year since I had my Lasik eye surgery and I'm loving it! I only wish I didn't look into it sooner, but it's still one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up, acutally it was a Groupon Valentines from my wonderful husband that we couldn't pass up!

On the home front, we're looking into finally moving into our own place. It's probably been one of the most stressful things since Maia passed away, since being unemployed was almost always an issue. But Gordon has been with Lexus now for almost 3 years. He started out part-time but is now working full-time. I'm currently still on the job hunt since last year my employer relocated to the Washington-Oregon area. They now live in Washington state where there is no income tax and their business is set up in Oregon where there is no sales tax. It was one of those opportunities they couldn't pass up, and I don't blame them. For now I'm enjoying the limited time I have left as a stay-at-home mom. I'm more selective this time around and I want to find that job and company that's a great fit for my skills and personality, and a place that cares about their employees. It might be more difficult to find but I think it's worth it, and I'm patient too! Plus, I want to work at a place where I want to be, where I love coming to work... so we'll see what happens. Aside from keeping up with Marcus' schedule of activities, I've been volunteering at school whenever I can. This includes being a part of the Staff Appreciation Committee. It's a big deal and a great honor to celebrate the people who have such a big influence in our kids' lives. I'm always so in awe of how they handle so many kids and personalities, not to mention the curriculum, low wages, and the other behind the scenes of the teacher life. We have been very fortunate that Marcus has had such wonderful and supportive teachers throughout his school life. They've all been there for him inside and outside of the classroom, and there were times when he really needed their guidance and support. Plus, it always helps to have teachers that love and care for your child, and are on the same parenting page as you are. They tell Marcus the same things we do, but since it's not coming from parents' mouths, it's heard differently. I guess you can say he's learned to tune us out and is pretty good at it!

We are so ready for the summer! As always, we'll be doing our best to keep Marcus active and stimulated, both mentally and physically. We already have some family 5K runs planned, so we're going to do our best to continue to be healthy right alongside Marcus. Amongst all the activities and adventures we'll encounter this summer and all future summers, one of our top priorities will always be keeping Maia's memory alive, and with purpose. She will always be an inspiration, and it's our mission to continue inspiring others.

Since 2015, the summer months have taken on a new meaning for our family. In other words, it's almost time for the 3rd Annual Heart of Maia Toy Drive!!! We're currently working out the details, so please stay tuned!!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It's Toy Drive time!!!

The 2nd Annual Heart of Maia Toy Drive


From NOW until the end of SEPTEMBER!

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

Donate new unwrapped toys, books, and stuffed animals
for kids ages newborn to 17 years old

*** Ideas for toys - think of toys you would get your own kids, friends' kids, nieces, nephews. It does not need to be expensive, you can also check out clearance sections for good deals, and let stores know you are shopping for a toy drive/charity and you may get a discount (doesn't hurt to ask)!

Drop off toys at the following locations:

Gold Medal Martial Arts
Foster City - 999A Edgewater Blvd., Foster City, CA
Burlingame - 1333 Howard Ave., Burlingame, CA 
Belmont - 390 El Camino Real, Ste. F, Belmont, CA 

Talbot's Toyland
445 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

544 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, CA

Putnam Lexus
390 Convention Way, Redwood City, CA

If you would like to donate toys and are not in the local San Francisco Bay Area,
you may purchase toys online (Amazon, etc.) and ship it to:
Heart of Maia - 1347 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404

For monetary donations,
Please make checks payable to: UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and write on note/memo Child Life Department - Heart of Maia

Credit card donations can be made online at:
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Donation Page
You can designate your donation to ("other") Child Life Department,
in Memory of Maia Mead

It's not too late! If you would like to have a collection box and help collect toys in your area or business, please email Rizza at

Thank You

Disclaimer: Heart of Maia is not a non-profit organization. All proceeds and donations
collected from this toy drive go to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The best view comes after the hardest climb...

June 13, 2012 is one of those days we "should have" been celebrating. It's a day that "should" probably give us anxiety and a feeling of dread... but thankfully, it doesn't. At least not in the way most people think it does.

4 years ago on June 13 we cried tears of joy and tears of sadness. Our world was changed in a way that we didn't want it to be changed. All the preparation that was done for this moment was not enough to prepare us for what was to come... We were not ready.

Marissa was born. At 11:52am she entered our world and peacefully left at 12:35pm. I look back and I seem to remember everything in slow motion. Maybe because I knew she didn't have that much time with us and somehow slowing down time gives me the feeling that everything didn't really happen that fast. Leading up to that day, I clearly remember many well-meaning and well-intentioned family and friends, praying for a miracle. The miracle of a healthy baby... our healthy baby. But deep down I knew that every one of them failed to realize the true miracle. It wasn't going to be in the hope that the Drs. were wrong and that Marissa was healthy. The miracle was her all along. It was hard to witness all around me how an exception was made to the saying "every child is a miracle" when the child is not healthy or "normal." But I didn't let it bother me. I wanted to soak in every possible minute we had with our miracle, and that's what we did.

I feel like this is when our life lessons truly began. This is the time we actually started to live life. Life in the world as we knew it before Marissa was born, is so foreign to me now. What mattered then does not matter anymore. What we thought were problems then, are no longer considered problems to us now. Everything is different. Everything has changed.

But is has changed for the better. After learning about our story, many assume that it was our journey with Maia that changed us, that made us stronger and put everything into perspective. For me personally, it was Marissa. She was the catalyst that started the change, to question our needs and wants in life. Her short life brought to the surface everything that was never given attention to. She made me analyze life like I had never done before. She made me realize how strong I am, and how strong Gordon and Marcus are... and how much of life I wasn't fully living, not fully appreciating. After Marissa passed away, I started coming across many inspirational quotes. Whether I was looking for them or not, I seemed to notice them more. Many of them I had already heard of and already liked. The difference was that I now wanted and needed to apply them to my everyday life. They were no longer just quotes, they were words to live by. A perfect example is "The best view comes after the hardest climb." Not sure who should get credit for this quote, but it's a beautiful one. I'm able to appreciate things I never would have before... to appreciate people, moments... appreciate life. 

I think that's why our journey with Maia was one of the most amazing experiences ever. We were able to live each day to the fullest and not take anything for granted. We appreciated the bad days just as much as the good days. When others saw a depressing struggle, we were experiencing something completely different. We didn't have time to be mad or negative... so we put more effort into making the most of each moment we had with Maia. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow and that is something we are more aware of now. 

Thank you Marissa.... and Happy Birthday. 


The 2nd Annual Heart of Maia Toy Drive ~ July 1st through August 31st

As a reminder, we will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for kids ages Newborn to 17. 
This toy drive benefits UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

If you would like to participate and help collect toys, please contact:
 Rizza at and/or Gordon at

Thank you for all your support. Help put a smile on a child's face!!