Sunday, March 22, 2009

Karen, Shriners, and a request

Kev 9 Karen's red hat 


It's not a great photo---but I love it. Kevin took it on his iphone at Christmas. The lovely woman in the red hat is my favorite blog reader, my oldest sister Karen. We had just given her the hat and she was trying it on for Nolan. Kay checks in on our blog a couple times a month at her school, and I always get a thrill when I see "St. Mary's" on the reader list.


Karen, Erin and me web This photo is a bit better, but my sister Eileen refused to sit for it so it's just Karen, Erin and me with the chubby cheeks.


Karen loves music, soap operas, and Erik Estrada, definitely not in that order. She also loves her family, and reminds me of our dear Nana in so many ways---but especially in her ability to remember all her sisters and brothers' birthdays.


She was the first one to send Nolan a gift when I announced I was expecting. She's the greatest aunt, and now that we aren't teenagers sharing the same bedroom, she's the best sister too. She's the most intuitive person I know, and has the most gentle nature.


Karen also has cerebral palsy, and growing up she had to have several surgeries in order to walk. Several of those took place at Shriners Hospital in Illinois. I remember Kay in a double leg cast there, and the girl in the bed next to hers, who was born without arms. She let me feed her some yogurt, and in that moment and countless others, Shriners made an indelible mark on me.


I hadn't thought about  Shriners Hospital in years. Then I reconnected with an old high school friend, Peggy, whose son Owen was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Owen's condition will require more than 18 surgeries, and Shriners has been a life-saver, according to Peggy, picking up the cost of his surgeries and his medical equipment along the way.


Shriners is an amazing organization, with over 20 hospitals dedicated to helping children and their families. Peggy wanted to give back and came up with an incredible idea that she has entered in the Name Your Dream Assignment. Her plan is to create a black-and-white photo exhibit and book of patients, doctors and families at Shriners, with all proceeds going back to the hospital.


This is where you come in. I'm asking that you take a few minutes to click over to the Name Your Dream Assignments web page, and vote for Peggy's proposal, Perfectly Imperfect.


On the left hand side of Peg's page is a PIC IT button. If you click it, you will need to fill out a very brief registration. If we can get Peggy's proposal into the top 10, it will then be reviewed and judged on creativity, thought and originality.


I'm asking you to do one more thing---and I can promise it will be the last request I ever make here, as the days wind down to Sean's birthday. Please share the link with friends or on your blog or with anyone who would be interested in helping. Shriners does amazing work in this world, work that rarely is acknowledged, and I believe Peggy's book would be an empowering tribute to all the medical professionals at Shriners and their amazing patients, including my sister Kay.


Thanks for your help!






Friday, March 13, 2009

Snapshots of His First Year





Susan inspired me with her beautiful slideshow of Evan.


Both songs are by Renee & Jeremy.


I just want to thank everyone who's been visiting here and indulging me in my monthly snapshots of our boy. Your checking in helped me stick with capturing the little milestones that all blur together over the years. I'm so grateful for this record of Nolan's first year, and your interest and encouragement here has been a great part of it. Thanks!






Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Nolan!

1-month-old-web


1+11=12 


12-months-oldweb 


We are so very blessed.


Only a few minutes left to post this on his birthday. I'll be back tomorrow with more highlights, and then of his lil party on Saturday. Angie pointed out that it's only fair to keep the blog going till Sean's birthday next month...so closing up is postponed till the end of April. Phew;-)






Monday, March 9, 2009

Aidan at Seven

Aidan at 7 web 


My baby is seven.


Handsome web


I tried to crack him up for that shot by reminding him of the girl in his class who called him "handsome" this afternoon. Aidan turned bright red when she said it;-) 


 His teacher has each student draw an ice cream scoop with a compliment and then they share them aloud and staple them to make a giant ice cream cone.  My favorites were "creative", "unique" and "kind." They know him well.


There are still presents to wrap and cupcakes to bake so I'll update later tonight.






Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Random Bits

1. I have about 2o minutes to do three hours of work...so I'm posting. One of the biggest questions facing me as I prepare to close the blog is what will become my new preferred form of procrastination?


I debate joining Facebook at least once a week. When I learned about Janice's illness, I regretted not having joined it...but, in general, I think people in our past are there for a reason. Plus, I enjoy teasing Mary Alice, Amy, and Erin about their addiction to it, and I know my own OCD tendencies too well.


Watch this hilarious YouTube video satire of Facebook, and read Newsweek's'"Why I'm Quitting Facebook" if you need help resisting the fad too.


But watch, next month I may be there...


*ETA: Some clarification for those who've asked. Despite my "in the past for a reason" belief, I am grateful for the reconnecting that's come via this blog. Even though I set this blog up to be "unfindable" via googling my name, I am grateful for the way it has led to reconnecting with some old friends (via shared links), especially the '94 MZMO crew (hi Scott, Ryan, Mandy & Bridget!). I'm also grateful for the new friends I've made here, especially the moms-of-boys club members. And I'm mostly grateful for the way this space has helped me capture a bit of this crazy-magical time.


It's still time to pack up though. I freak out a bit when I see MSN image searches land on photos of my kids (if anyone knows a way to opt out of that engine, please share!). I imagine our boys will be curious to look through a book of one year from their childhood captured in blog form...but any more than that would be tedious or worse, eg: I'd love to see an old grocery list of my mom's from when I was a kid...yet I would be creeped out if she had saved them ALL to give me someday;-)


Perhaps a less photo-centered blog is in the future, I don't know. But right now I'm thinking Nolan's birthday post will be the last. If you have any suggestions on how to reap the benefits of a blog without the negatives, please email me your ideas. I'm hoping to make a blurb book so the site will remain up for at least a month or so after the last post.


2. Life is incredibly good right now. In no small measure due to the arrival of spring. Alleluia!


1st sign of spring 


Catch moments---today, Sean and his buddy Rayce came to me, announcing, "There is a circus in your bedroom!" Nolan and I were instructed to sit on the bed while the clowns performed. The clowns had a hard time not laughing themselves. It was a priceless performance and I hope they come back to town soon.


Also this afternoon, I asked the boys to entertain Nolan, who was eating O's in his highchair, while I got the mail. I walked back in to find them singing "The Wheels on the Bus" together, much to Nolan's delight. Maybe I should start leaving our videocamera on the counter.


3. Aidan's birthday party is this weekend. He is having a Ben-10 party, because when you can't beat 'em, join 'em. If you ever look at the list of recent visitors, there are usually a half-dozen or so  who arrived here (often from other countries) looking for Ben-10 birthday ideas. Much of this traffic finds it way here via Anne's Green Jello site or google, and I finally got around to posting the details of the Alien Ice Game for them. It brings me irrational joy to finally see these visitors now landing in the right spot (instead of searching my archives in vain).


So I'm motivated to share another game. We've created Bingo cards using the Ben-10 aliens. It took me an embarrassing amount of time just figuring out how to make a grid in PSE. If you have Photoshop or a similar program, just click on the small image below, save the larger file, and then create different bingo sheets using layers and copying & pasting the aliens in different boxes. A little time consuming but much cheaper than buying them from a birthday supply store!


Ben 10 bingo2 


4. I remember going to bed Sunday night thinking it was one of the most perfect days of my life...but that's about all I remember. However there is some photographic evidence of a light picnic and some soccer playing among three of my favorite men.


Sunday soccer 


5. There seems to be sad news all around lately. Brian's aunt is fighting for her life in Illinois. A heartbreaking local accident. Good friends asking for prayers for a little girl who is sick.


We do what we can: say the prayers, send the flowers, shake our heads, cry the tears. And then do what seems unspeakable at times---find joy in this mixed up world any way.


Thankfully this joyful little boy makes that easier. Wishing you all good health & safety today.


Nolie nolie web






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