a different kind of perfect

i'm a mom...on a mission...to enjoy life everyday...appreciate the little moments...try not to get so easily annoyed...raise my kids with a faith legacy that leads them to continue to be amazing people...and to make my husband feel as special as he makes me feel.

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30k children and adults in the US (70k worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that both clogs the lungs and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. [www.cff.org]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

so long...farewell 2011

2011 was a good year.  Uncle Stevie came to visit from California in February to kick off the year with some family bonding time.  Although, Owen took him as another wrestling challenge, Evie balanced out the madness by bonding with her godfather.

In March, we shared the story of how our baby Dean was diagnosed at birth with Cystic Fibrosis and how we as a family had spent the previous year understanding, accepting and making it a part of our lives.  We hoped by telling our friends and family that we could raise our goal of $3,000 to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund vital research programs.  Amazingly, we raised $27,000.  Throughout our emails and subsequently our newly created blog, we've expressed our gratitude - however we're not sure if we expressed how completely that support helped us in feeling we have so many people lifting up our baby, lifting up our family and loving and supporting us.  That feeling doesn't have a price tag.  It's one that encompasses your whole body making you feel warm.  Dean turned one in March and continues to be an amazingly active little boy, currently cutting his molars, learning new words and just recently learned the stinkeye.

Dean's stinkeye
Evie turned 3 in May and her personality is just simply awesome.  Extremely independent, she is willful, precise and hilarious.  You can frequently hear her singing "I'm sexy and I know it" courtesy of dad's pop dance parties.  She's shyer than ever in her first preschool class but has made some new friends and continues making up friends and where they live (i.e., her friend Candy lives in Hawaii, Felly lives in Michigan, Stella in New York).  We're unsure if she needs more playdates or has the travel bug.  She takes gymnastics and just started karate with her big brother.  She'll do anything with dad and never wants to miss out on anything athletic.  My all time favorite quote from her this year came after she watched her favorite movie Elf about a go-zillion times.  She came running into the kitchen telling me "Mom, Mom, I think I broke the son of a nutcracker."  Here's a picture of her and the "Son of a Nutcracker"

We walked in our first Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Fundraiser at the end of May; cold, rainy and surrounded by a group of the most amazing family and friends, team Eat. Pray. Dean. 

Cali turned 8 in July and got a room makeover from the O's - teal blue and scattered with Peace Signs.  She has grown up so much this year.  She is intent on pursuing being a singer/actress when she grows up and took part in a summer camp performing the Bear Went Over the Mountain as Mouse #2.  In January, she will have a role in the Children's Ensemble of the Sound of Music.  Cali continues to surprise us with her memory and is an avid reader.  She cannot wait to host another book club this winter, just got her first Nancy Drew series and loves to stay up late talking. 

Jim & I also celebrated 11 years of marriage this month - I love my best friend.  Enough said.

August threw some changes in our lives.   Dean's annual lung xray showed some mucus build-up in his left lung so we started a new series of treatments.  A nebulized medicine with the intent to thin any mucus in his lungs and The Vest to "hammer" the mucus out of his lungs.  He's awesome, takes it in stride and just gets that it's part of his daily routine now.  We also were fortunate enough to be able to help out with a neighborhood softball challenge that our subdivision organized.  Seeing our neighbors and then the greater community pull together to raise funds to help improve an aspect of a child life was humbling.  It's so easy to get caught up in the me, me, me and how I need to do this or that and you sometimes forget to think how good you have it, how awesome your life is and how helping others and giving back is what makes this world go round.

October is probably the only month that threw me for a fantastic loop.  I should have taken a picture but there was a crazy amount of antibiotics being administered among the normal meds around here.  50% of us on z-pacs at the same time and the introduction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa causing 2 more daily neb treatments for 28 days for Dean.  We got over it, the PA was cleared and I learned to NEVER again complain about the 30 minutes he does every day because it could always be worse.  I've learned that lesson a lot in life - there is always a situation that is worse off and one that is better but realistically, God only gives you what you can handle - you don't grow by dealing with the easy and normal; you grow with the challenges.  Granted, when all is well, it's awesome but challenging yourself, either intentionally or the challenges your given is another thing we've learned is important in growing up, growing strong and growing in our faith.

Another milestone, Jim celebrated the big 35 in October and the kids surprised him with 35 balloons stuffed in his car at the train station.

their proud selves after stuffing the car and writing on the windows!

Owen turned 6 this month too.  He's a sweetheart; forever concerned with others feelings and has a crazy head for numbers.  He's really into Wii, loves climbing trees, ranks as a camoflauge belt in karate, would do anything to be with his big sister and idolizes his cousin Danny.  He's got a sensitive streak that is frequently excited when dad teases him about his "girlfriends."  One of our favorite memories of this year for Owen is when a little girl came up to him and school and said "Owen, I like you and I want to marry you."  Owen proceed to say to her "You're too short (meaning too young)" and she replied with an "Owen, you are going to regret that!"  Already breaking hearts...

In November, Jim and I escaped with some of our best friends for 5 days of palm trees, sand and relaxation.  We had time to eat warm meals together, talk, swim, reunite.  How easy it is to neglect your spouse in the hectic day to day routine.  It was awesome getting to know each other again.  Of course, without the best Omma, Obba, Grandma, Grandpa and Gigi in the world we wouldn't have been able to do that so we are forever grateful to the way they came together and helped us enjoy our 11 year anniversay!  I know there are times where I take for granted what I have in our parents; it's something special and awesome when you have parents that want to spend time with your kids.  It's a breath of fresh air knowing you're not alone in loving your own kids with every ounce of your heart...we're blessed with our parents and as much as I do remember, there are many many times I don't remember to thank them for loving us and our gems.

We also kicked-off our 2012 fundraising this month...17 people joined us to brainstorm and help us figure out how in the world we're going to raise $28,000 this year - thanks a bunch to Kim for keeping us on track for it all.  In conjunction with that meeting, we launched our personal website where you can keep up to date with our efforts to raise money for a cure and our first CF Madness raffle to take place in March.

December marked a great month of celebration of the birth of Jesus, family gatherings and bonding with the kids and a surprise visit from Uncle Stevie.   Quality vs. quantity.  Even though you may not get the opportunity to see the people you love as much as you do, I've learned it's more important to make the moments you have count.  Taking the time to smile and really show someone you care means more than countless hours spent near each other.   That's one of the many things I admire about Jim, he ALWAYS says what he means, honestly and takes every opportunity to make a connection with someone.  It's not always easy to feel comfortable in every situation but it's the people in this world that count right?  Our pastor recently said you won't see a U-Haul following your hearse.  So true, so true...

Whenever I ask Jim how it's going, he says Fantastic, I'm living the dream baby.   I think he's right - sometimes I feel like I'm in a dream that is scary but we're blessed with an amazing amount of goodness our lives and I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be than right where I am.  In 2012, I thought about making resolutions, promises, another to do list.  I think I'll just make memories.  Wishing you all a year full of fantastic moments and blessed and healthy days.   To a fantastic 2012...

Some favorite verses from the year...
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. [1 Peter 5:7]
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. [Ephesians 4:29]
  • And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  [Hebrews 13:16]
  • I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. [Philippians 4:11-13]
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