Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Jillian!

In some ways it is hard to believe that Jillian is 2 years old, and in others it seems like she is going on 12! This morning Jillian woke up, and like Mommy went to make some coffee in her coffee pot (drips water), sat in her chair to receive her birthday phone calls and well wishes talking away, and then headed out to breakfast with Grandma, Auntie, Uncle Chris, Andrew, Emma, Joey, Mommy, and Daddy. After much attention and filling her tummy at breakfast we came back to the house to open some gifts before going to the Teenie Weenie New Year's Eve Ball! Much different than last year where Jill fell asleep on my shoulder with the dj's music blaring and not making it until midnight--12 noon-- today she was partying like a rock star! She is in full diva mode constantly amazing us, making us laugh, and making us shake our heads a bit too! Happy 2nd Birthday Jillian Grace!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Week in Pictures

Before Christmas my Andrew and Emma's grandparents from NY were in so we were able to get together a few times with them to catch up. The first thing I had suggested for them to do was of course go to the Arboretum!


Christmas Eve service was at Joey's school church. The kids enjoyed singing songs, seeing our neighbor in the choir, sitting up front with the pastor talking about the toys he got as a kid and the magic of Christmas, followed by a cake for Jesus being ushered down the center aisle! We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, had some cake and visited with our friends and then it was back home for a light lunch and naps. Christmas Eve was at our house with the Kurby side of the family: Nonna, Grandpa, Auntie Steph, Uncle Don, Mikey, and joining us a little later was Uncle Kevin, Aunt Nicole, baby Amelia, and Miranda. As the pictures show we all had a great time and the kids had a blast and loved each and every thing they got!


Christmas eve after everyone was gone and Joey finally made it to bed, Grandma and Jessie came to sleep over so they could be here in the morning. Grandma, Joey, and Jessie tried to get up at 4am Christmas morning, so Mommy had to go into their room and tell them it was a little too early! Santa did come and brought way too much. Even Java and Jessie had plenty of treats in the morning--Frosty Paws!


After playing with our toys and taking a short nap we headed to Assumption to say Merry Christmas to Josh who is so lucky to spend Christmas with the birthday boy-Jesus! (Although it is also Grandpa's birthday on Christmas day too--Happy Birthday!) Afterwards we drove to Grandma's for some more fun with Andrew, Emma, Auntie, Uncle Chris, Grandma, GG Joe, GG Rose, Mike, and Kathy. The food was of course delicious and Grandma got to use her new kitchen and dining area for her first real big meal! After dinner it was another obscene gift exchange and I think every kid got more than they even thought they wanted!


Monday was spent winding down, playing with all the things we got, visiting with Mike and Kathy, and wishing them a safe travel back home. Today (Wednesday) we had some free time and Daddy is still on vacation so we braved the cold and went to the Brookfield Zoo! The kids loved it, it was chilly but it didn't seem to bother anyone as we went from animal house to animal house.


We hope you all had a Merry Christmas! We are now getting ready for Jillian's 2nd birthday on Friday! Time sure flies!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More holiday fun...

Last Friday we had the opportunity to see our neighbor Nicolas perform in Scrooge with a company in St. Charles. We had a great dinner, play, and dessert afterwards with the performer! Thank Beth and Dom for going out on a date with us...it had been a long time!


Last Saturday Jill had her dance class and Joey and Daddy came to watch as well. Joey and Daddy came in the room to take some pictures since you couldn't get a good shot from the tinted glass outside. Joey was a little bit of a distraction so they didn't stay in the room long, but Jill was in her glory showing all her dance moves and following her teacher through her exercises.


After dance class we headed to Nonna and Grandpa's so the kids could help them decorate their tree and bake some cookies. Joey and Jillian really seemed to get into it, and we heard they loved baking with Nonna too!


On Sunday we celebrated an early Christmas with Uncle Wayne, Auntie Carol, Jenn and Chuck, and Mike and Nikki. Auntie, Andrew, Emma, and Grandma were there as well and everyone was excited to open gifts and catch up. Thanks for a yummy brunch Auntie Carol! After heading home, Emma came back over for some fun play time while Andrew went to the Blackhawks game with his parents and Grandma. Emma had lots of fun decorating cookies, marching in our parades, and having a picnic with Jill.


Monday we went to Cosley Zoo with Nonna and Grandpa since we had the day off and usually that is their day to watch the kids. After looking at the few animals that were braving the cold and watching the zoo keepers count the tagged ducks we headed over to the Arboretum. Nonna and Grandpa hadn't been here with us before so Joey was happy to show them the ropes! And of course the trains too since they will only be there a few more weeks.


Finally, on Tuesday was Joey's Christmas program at school. Joey did a fantastic job ringing his bells, singing, reciting poems, and entertaining us all! A far cry from Halloween when he cried through the parade, this time Joey was very excited and jumping around when he shouted "hey!" in Jingle Bells. After the performance he brought us a secret present he had been working on at school...a snowflake ornament that he painted, glued glitter, and placed his picture in, a perfect keepsake ornament! After some cookies and punch we headed back home and Joey is officially on break!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Catch Up

So it has been a long time since I last posted and a bit of stuff to catch up on. I am going to go a little out of order because I need to address something first and foremost:

The most wonderful Christmas gift we received was from Uncle Mark, Auntie, Miya, Nathan, and Jacob. We were delighted to have them over and be able to do a Christmas exchange, and were completely blown away by their thoughtfulness and generosity. IF you remember last year they gave us the awesome banners for the Joshua Charge for CHARGE run that we will use year after year. A very thoughtful gift and couldn't be topped. Well, I was overwhelmed with emotion once again to receive not only a beautiful family ornament with each person in our family represented, but also a memorial brick to be dedicated to Joshua. As you know, if not from my millions of pictures and posts of us spending time at the Arboretum whenever we can, or from me constantly talking about how great it is there, I love the Arboretum. I have gone there with friends, family, alone to run or mill around, with just my kids to spend some adventure time and picnic, or to just reflect. I feel very close to Joshua at the Arboretum, whether its because is a serene place or just a place where I find myself connecting a bit more while I run or play around, it has become a place I go when I want to do something fun and for me. I am lucky that Joey and Jillian have the playful energy and love the outdoors as well! I know they will have fun going to the Arboretum and looking for the brick with Joshua's name on it. We plan on being there when the brick is put in this spring, and will have Uncle Mark, Auntie Miya, Nathan, and Jacob there as well! It truly is a most thoughtful and generous gift that I cannot put my gratitude into words. I am thankful not only to have such a lovely gift, but the great friendship and support that Miya and Mark constantly provide. Thank you!

Unfortunately I do not take enough pictures when they are around because we are usually too busy talking and having fun, but I got a few of Joey and Nathan together. Nathan loves Java and I think Java likes the attention she gets when he's around!


Last Sunday (12/11) we had a busy morning. After church we headed over to Assumption to bring a Christmas tree. It was a bit cold so we weren't there long, and luckily across the street at Cantigny a friend of mine gave me an article about a train show! So we went in to see the Lego railways. It was very detailed and elaborate. After a bit of time there it was off to the Arboretum! (You know I can barely go a week without being there!) The Arboretum has an Enchanted Railroad with trains galore! When I had gone the week before I spoke with a lady that worked there and she said it was possible to spend hours there watching the different trains go by, so to bring a book if I brought my kids. She was right, Joey and Jillian absolutely loved it. Before going in, we noted where the brick in Josh's memory will be placed, it is a great area right when you walk in! We spent almost 45 minutes there before we made them stop for lunch. Of course they had us back in after lunch all the way up until nap time!


Last Friday (12/9) we woke up to finally a little bit of snow! Of course it is all gone now, but our fingers are crossed for a white Christmas anyways! Joey could not wait to put on his boots, hat and gloves and play in the snow, no matter how shallow and bare it was! Jill was initially hesitant, but then learned how much fun it is once you leave your gloves on! They found the little patch of ice from the grill container lid that had blown off so they were taking turns ice skating on a 10x12 piece of ice!


Saturday (12/3)we went to Joey's school for a yummy pancake breakfast and who did we meet...Santa! Joey enjoyed seeing his teachers outside of the classroom and loved telling Santa all the things he wanted for Christmas! Jill even sat on his lap and said a few things that she wanted too! (I think the pics are on Phil's phone so I will add those later). After coming home from breakfast with Santa we were ready to continue the festivities having Auntie Pam, Auntie Tiff, and Auntie Trish over for lunch, and to meet Auntie Trish's new puppy Chevy! Chevy and Java got along really well, and Joey and Jillian (as well as the rest of us) fell in love with Chevy, she is so cute!

Auntie Pam brought the kids a gingerbread house to put together and decorate! Of course Joey wanted to do it right away, but we waited until that evening and we assembled and decorated away!


On Sunday (12/4) Daddy and Joey along with Andrew and Grandma went to ride the Polar Express! They took a train ride, sang songs, visited with Santa, had some yummy snacks, and got an ornament too! We did this last year, and the boy seemed to have just as much fun this year too.


When I was younger, and even now, I would lay underneath the Christmas tree at night with my blanket and stare at the lights. I love the magic of Christmas and all the joy it brings. So each year I have made it a point to do it with my kids as well, and they enjoy pointing out the different colors, talking, and cozying up under the tree.


Finally some other random pics of the last couple weeks...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving

I started my Thanksgiving with some really awesome women that I am lucky enough to work out with a few days a week. We drove out to Glen Ellyn to run 5 miles in a Turkey Trot. It was the furthest they have run, and they did an amazing job and made me so proud and lucky to have shared the morning with them. They are true rock stars! Great job Cindy, Barb, Pam, and Chrissy! Best start to Thanksgiving EVER!

In the afternoon it was off to Nonna and Grandpa's for our traditional Thanksgiving festivities. Daddy had met Scarlett before, but for the rest of us we were finally able to meet her! Baby Amelia was there too, who is a month younger than Scarlett (3 mos and 4 mos). Scarlett must have had some turkey earlier in the day because she slept through the festivities so there wasn't a chance to have the two babies together at the same time. Maybe next time! After a yummy, big meal and lots of desserts to top it off it was down to the basement for some games! Joey and Jillian had fun sitting with everyone playing LCR!

The next morning we had Uncle Chris, Auntie Brooke, and Scarlett over (awake the whole time!) for a Christmas gift exchange since they won't be here on Christmas. Joey and Jillian took to the gift opening quickly and loved all the fun things they got, thank you! The coolest thing I thought was the Sit 'N Spin! I want to check the box to see the weight limit because watching them on it brings back some memories and I can't help but laugh watching them spin around...especially Jill who has her own method of spinning. It was fun to get to play with Scarlett and get all 3 cousins together for a picture. Hope you got back home safe and sound!


Friday night we headed to Wheaton for the light parade. We hadn't seen it before so we didn't know what we were in for. We were pleasantly surprised to see a few bands, Elmo, Micky and Minnie, Buzz and Woody, the folks from the Wizard of Oz, a Snowman, lot of firetrucks, ambulances, and plows donning lights, a pile of coal, and of course Santa! It was a nice night to be outside, thanks Grandma for coming out with us!

Grandparents Day

Last Thursday at Joey's school it was Grandparents day. Joey had Grandma, Nonna, and Grandpa come to his school so he could show them all the things he's been learning and doing. Joey loved showing them around and going out to lunch with just them and him! I went to conferences this past Tuesday and his teachers said that you could tell he really loves his grandparents!

Random pics

Here are some random November pics of the kids... from Jill's Illini shirt from Grandpa and Joey decorating his tree to them cleaning the house!

Body By Joey

Joey is in the process of not napping most days now. One day I was trying really hard to get him to nap so I could get a run in since I neglected to get up at 5am that morning! I had less than 1/4 mile to go when he was up or should I say demanding to not take a nap at all since he had been tossing and turning the whole time I was trying to run. So, when I got him he asked what I was doing and if he could exercise. I said sure, and he ran to get my yoga mat! He showed off his pilates/yoga moves for me before asking to head to the basement to run on the treadmill. I put the safety strap on him and kept the pace really slow, he insisted on me increasing it. As I did he laughed and would say "the house is really moving now!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #64 3 Years Ago






Three years ago today Phil was in Florida on a trip for work. Josh had finally graduated from the NICU after his 126 day stay and we were settling into our routine of therapies, doctors visits, and appointments for pretty much everything under the sun. I was going in for a routine check on Josh's shunt. I had his tube feeding with me, along with his afternoon meds since the neurosurgeon's office usually meant a good 2 hour visit. As the nurse practitioner came in to look at Josh's shunt she noticed something white poking through. After some back and forth, and of course waiting for the doctor...the doctor I hate the most, he came in and it was decided that his shunt was actually popping through. In slight disbelief I asked the NP if that meant we were staying in the hospital and she said I should plan on it. Not having my pump, anymore milk for Josh, and Joey left with his grandparents it was a quick call before Grandpa showed up with my pump and parts and I was heading across the hospital with Josh, at this point not thinking we'd actually be admitted. Well, a few hours later it was official, Josh would need a shunt revision. That would entail 2 major surgeries, one to take the shunt out, a few days to let the spinal fluid drain where Josh would have to remain on his back and not moving so that the fluid could drain, and then another major surgery to put the shunt on the other side of his head. Once admitted I made the call to Phil to let him know our fate. He was not able to be reached. Later he called back when NICU nurse Tina stopped by to say hi to Josh and I after hearing of our admission, so I handed her the phone and she broke the news to Phil. Outside of worrying about the health of Joshua and how in the heck to keep a 4 month old baby from moving too much, I was wondering if we'd be home for Thanksgiving. It was this first readmission after Josh had finally made it home that I realized my life would never be something that could be "planned out" anymore. At any given moment our family could be split between 2 in the hospital, 2 at home, or some other juggle of sorts. The upside was that Joey was able to be in the PICU (whereas the NICU no siblings under a certain age are allowed even if they themselves were NICU graduates or twins). And since Josh had been home Joey and Josh had been side by side for meals, activities, and cuddle time. So it was important for us to allow Joey in to be with his big bro.

I was somewhat mopey today, not sure if it was the weather, the fact that Joey is so painfully shy sometimes, I was just not myself. Then I started thinking about the holidays, how Josh had come home from this hospital stay just in time for Thanksgiving, and I looked down at my watch to note the date. 11/19, the day we returned to the hospital. It is funny how Josh can still pull at my heartstrings and how I am still emotionally tied to him and can be "off" on certain days only to realize the connection of why or what the day means to us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #63 My Christmas Wish

Phil and I have spoken in the past about how many pictures we have of Josh...I often say that on the blog when I do a Joshua's Journeys I now feel like I am repeating pictures. I think Phil and I did a great job taking as many pictures as we could of our time with Josh and Joey. I even took a picture of him stripped down in the doctors office showing the red line on his chest, knowing other doctors would be questioning what it looked like. I remember the neuros at Children's being impressed that I had the camera and the picture with me to show the line when it was almost a week after the fact and that line had gone done and they were trying to figure out what it was like before. Anyways, to come back from that tangent, I love and live for pictures of Josh...remembering the good and the bad of whatever was happening on that particular day or in that particular moment. I know I feel I have cached out pictures that we have but notice you each have pictures that I don't and from different perspectives. Of course there is no way to get my first born back, but I would love nothing more than to sift through pictures and reminisce about those times. So for Christmas this year I am not asking for something you can go out and buy... I am asking for a bit of your time. Please look through your pictures from July 3, 2008- March 14, 2009 and any pictures you have of Joshua I would love to have. I can supply you with a USB to make things easier on both ends--for you to just load your pictures and for me to be able to put them on my computer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Sunday we had a Halloween party at Uncle Chris, Auntie Christy, Andrew, and Emma's house. There was tons of food, activities, and kids dressed up and running around! Earlier in the day I had pulled out some old costumes we had in the basement. Couldn't quite figure out how we had it, but we had a Superman costume in a kid's size. Turns out we forgot, but are so grateful that our awesome neighbors gave it to us last year even though Joey was a little too small for it. He still was quite small for it, but some safety pins got it fitter a little bit better and I'm sure he will wear that costume for a few years now! He decided Tow Mater was old news and once he saw and put on Superman there was no turning back! Good thing I got the Tow Mater costume for $3! And thank you to our great neighbors...he loves that costume and will be wearing it for years!

Yesterday, of course was Halloween! Joey was dressed in his costume all day long, while Jill sported a Tinkerbell shirt, but didn't get fully dressed in her costume until after naps. After naps we headed out on our block for a little trick or treating and then back home to wait for Auntie, Uncle, Andrew, Emma, and Grandma. They brought over some of the left over pizza so we heated that up while I distributed some fun Halloween place mats for the kids to color while they waited. After a little bit of dinner, glow sticks, and pumpkin flash lights we all headed out for another block and cul de sac. Joey and Andrew were running from door to door, Emma followed yelling "Hello!" as she approached the doors, and in princess fashion Jillian only did a few houses before insisting on someone putting "Pixie Dust" on her so she could fly aka be carried from house to house! Before we hit the end of our block we were greeted by a police man in his car who stopped to hand out candy to the kids. It was pretty cool to see the kids running up to the police car to get candy (good way to make friends Officer Friendly!). We made our loop and headed back inside to warm up and watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sonny Acres
Last Friday we went to Sonny Acres to pick out our pumpkins, play around in the pumpkin patch, and of course a few rides! After dinner we headed back to Uncle Chris and Auntie Christy's house to carve our pumpkins. After the initial pulling the top off the pumpkin with Joey, Daddy pretty much did the rest all by himself. He made a great Tinkerbell for Jill and Lightning McQueen for Joey. Good job Daddy!


Saturday Lunch!

Saturday we went out to lunch at Pilot Pete's a restaurant by Schaumburg airport. Jillian loves airplanes and points them out to everyone all the time so she and Joey had a lot of fun looking at all the planes taking off, landing, and even one guy washing his plane!


Cuddly
On Tuesday Joey had his turn to take care of Cuddly the bear. Each kid in school gets to take Cuddly from Tues. to Thurs. and have him at home for some adventures. Then you have to write what adventures you and Cuddly went on and draw a picture. Joey was so excited to bring Cuddly home. He napped with him, had him at the table for meals, took him for a bike ride, went to the park, you name it whatever Joey did in those 2 days Cuddly was there! He was not happy about having to bring him back, but knew it was Kayden's turn next (one of his buddies) so he brought him back on Thursday.


Joey's school Halloween parade

Thursday Joey also had his Halloween parade and party at school. At 10:15 Daddy went in the classroom to dress him while Jill and I waited in the sanctuary. Shortly after Daddy's return and telling us how Joey did not want Daddy to leave, the parade started which was Joey staring at us the whole time half crying, not singing the song they learned, but trying to bee line back to us. After the parade and song was over we helped him decorate a treat bag, filled it up with all the treats from his cubby, had a bite of the Halloween goodies all the parents brought, and then went out to lunch. While we were at lunch Joey told us how much fun he had at the parade at school, and proceeded to sing the Jack-O-Lantern song he learned and was supposed to be singing earlier!


Meeting Jacob!
Thursday was also the day that Jacob Matthew was born! Nathan is now a big brother and his mommy and daddy looked so happy and ready to take on another boy when we went to visit them on Friday. It was so wonderful to hold Jacob, so light, gorgeous, and comfy! We were so excited to meet him and so happy to see that mom and dad were doing well too. Congrats Auntie Miya, Uncle Mark, and big brother Nathan! And welcome to our world Jacob!
I will get some pictures here soon (with parent consent), they are on Phil's phone!

And finally some miscellaneous pictures from the past week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A full week we've been having...

We have some fun things planned for our weekend but didn't want to lose things from this busy week in the shuffle of pictures and fun times!

Monday we decided was the day to upgrade Joey once again to Big Boy status with his bed and then give Jillian some freedom and Big Girl status of her own! When we ordered the cribs that convert into toddler beds and then headboard/footboard when Josh and Joey were not even here yet we made a mistake and only ordered one set of bed rails. Now that Jillian is potty trained and ready to get up if she needs during naps or at night time she needed to be allowed out of the crib and into her toddler bed. So we made the switch...Joey's bed (and eventually Jill's) turns into not a twin but a full sized bed! We now have a less than 30 pound kid being swallowed by a gigantic, comfy bed! And Jillian is ecstatic to not have to reach between slats to grab her books she can actually get out of bed and grab them if need be. So far they are both doing excellent in their big beds and absolutely love them!


Tuesday night after I was done with a class I had signed the family up (free!) to go to the library and hear a talk about bats, and even get to see some up close! Jillian was not so sure about them, but pointed out the other animals on the slides when the lady was talking, and Joey was very interested and was so excited when he was able to wear the "bat bib" and let a bat hang on him! Jillian was unsure but went along with it anyways.


Wednesday night the anticipation was finally over...we got to meet baby Amelia! Uncle Kevin and Nicole had Amelia August 10, but last night was our first chance to meet her. We have been trying for a while, and Uncle Kevin has a very busy work schedule but we were so happy to have dinner with them and meet Amelia. Joey was in prime show off mode for Uncle Kevin, and I relaxed much of the night with the comfort of this cute baby girl in my arms...I did finally share with Phil too. It was great seeing you Uncle Kevin, and we are so happy to meet you Amelia!


Finally for this week, Jillian had her last dance class for this session today. We are hoping it continues next session but need some others to sign up. Jillian loves her dance class. She dances with the hula hoop, maracas, tambourine, baby dolls, parachute (has come a long way with that one!), bubbles, and mommy and the teacher. Jillian loves music and dancing, and I think will be seeing a lot of Ms. Rachael in the next few years.


Phew, is it Friday yet?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #62 Corduroy the Bear

Speaking of our NICU nurses and all the wonderful things they do, we would call Josh's nurses NICU aunties because they took such great care of Josh (and Joey when he was there, but the long term stay of Josh drew a deeper affection). Josh's NICU Auntie Stephanie knew that we read Corduroy the Bear to Josh quite a bit and I had mentioned I was looking for some green cords for Josh to sport on Halloween. He was always very hot so we weren't really concerned about a shirt for him. Well, NICU Auntie Stephanie took it upon herself to surprise us with a homemade costume custom fit for Josh! She made ears for him to wear as well and he looked adorable, better than anything I could even try to come up with. All I had to do was pop Josh's book in his hands, sit him in his stroller, and bring in some candy to put in his bag for staff to eat! We even took a few strolls around the NICU that day to bring candy to other parents and staff that might not have passed his room.

Saturday night after baths I was cleaning out some things in Joey's closet and knowing we were going to the NICU reunion the next day couldn't help but grab Josh's pumpkin hat to see how small it was. Joey was interested so I showed him the Corduroy costume that Stephanie had made so when Joey saw Stephanie at the NICU party he knew she was the one that made his brothers costume. It was a really sweet moment to show Joey that this lady that he might not remember knew him and his brother and made that special costume for Josh. A side note about Joey here... we had passed CDH the other day and told Joey and Jillian that the hospital was where all 3 of them were born. Joey responded with "Josh and I were boring there?" And in attempts to correct him he now insists that he was "boring when he was in mommy's tummy," even though we said he (and even moreso) Josh was anything but boring when I was pregnant!

Weekend Update...

The weekend started for us Friday morning. I have nothing going on Fridays (for a little while) so I asked Joey what he wanted to do. Either I have trained him well or he loves it as much as I do, but he responded with "Go to the Arboretum!" I was hoping he would say that because I knew we had a fairly full weekend ahead of us but wanted to make it over there to see the glass pumpkin patch that was on display and for purchase this Fri-Sun. So here are just a few pics of the kids at the Arboretum, but a few seeing some different things. They had the glass blowing classes outside with benches for all to watch and demonstrations going all day. So after playing in the children's garden and going to story time, we went to see the glass pumpkins and glass blowing demonstrations. The pumpkins were quite neat, but quite pricey as well so we did not leave that patch with a pumpkin, but got some popcorn- a Kurby kid favorite! It was also a very, very windy day so after searching for some pinecones we decided it was time to head home.


Saturday the we headed over to the fire station for an open house! They had balloons, Sparky the dog, many fire trucks to climb on and look at, firefighter outfits to try on, an obstacle course to race in, a big bouncy to climb and slide, and a trailer for a demo of how to get out of your bedroom if there is a fire in your house. They actually had a firefighter teach the kids in a room that looked kinda like a kids bedroom, got some fake smoke in there, smoke detector went off, and they were assisted out a window. I thought it was a pretty cool demonstration, and the kids got fireman hats too! Not to mention once again popcorn and juice in CSFD cups to take home!


Saturday night we did the super cool thing and went grocery shopping at Target! This week is the last week of the session for dane, but I signed her up for the next one since she loves it so much. She has been the only one in class not in full ballerina attire and I have been too cheap to get her a leotard. Well, for Halloween she is going to be Tinkerbell (a great buy from a resale!) and needed a long sleeved something to go underneath. So we decided it was time she got a little getup. Jillian's eyes lit up when I took her to the dance area, and she was showing off her dance skills the next morning when she tried it on.


Sunday was the annual NICU reunion party! It was our 3rd year going and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. It used to be held in the cafeteria of the hospital, but with over 500 kids in attendance they moved it over to Danada House. It was so much fun. We always love catching up with our favorite NICU nurses. We stay in touch with Josh's primary nurses and a few others that volunteer at the CHARGE 5K, and some we just get together now and again with, but this reunion allows us to see everyone we might not otherwise get to see and catch up with some great families and friends we have made along the way. Plus, there is nothing more adorable than seeing a bunch of little kids all dressed up busting a move to the band, chasing bubbles, playing games, taking pictures, decorating cookies, bouncing around, this year going on hayrides, and decorating pumpkins! Our friends from the family advisory council had their daughters there as well and while waiting for our cars the kids enjoyed making wishes with pennies in the fountain. So cute! I wish I had more pictures but there is always so much to do, so many people to see and so little time! It is always a great time and this year at the new location completely top notch!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Perfect Autumn Weekend!

We had a great weekend and enjoyed every bit of this wonderful fall weather. On Friday the kids painted some pictures for GG Joe's 89 birthday on Sunday. After naps we headed out to Scarecrow fest where there was a craft show, bouncies for the kids, carnival rides, face painting, and much more. We didn't get out there until 5 and the craft show was already closing up, but the kids loved all that we did do including just walking by the riverwalk. A fun start to our weekend!


On Saturday we started off with breakfast at Nonna and Grandpa's where Grandpa made some delicious blueberry pancakes! After fueling up it was off to Goebert's for some more fall fun! If you remember last year it was pouring rain the weekend we had scheduled to go, so this year was much better not being wet or cold and seeing all that Goebert's has to offer! They enjoyed posing in front of the character cut outs, reading in the giant rocking chair with Nonna, feeding the giraffe and other animals (but the giraffe was hands down the coolest), riding ponies, watching the pig races, and riding a camel too! Thanks for a fun morning!


Saturday night we went to Grandma's house to celebrate GG Joe's 89th birthday! Well, turns out at 3:00 Grandma got a call from GG Rose saying that GG Joe was in the hospital! If you know GG Joe, he is the fittest 89 year old man you'll ever meet and can handle pain like no other. So for him to have said he was in pain enough to go, you know its something. Turns out he had his gallbladder taken out Sunday morning, on his birthday! He was not able to eat anything Grandma had made him--of course all his favorite things since it was his birthday--and Grandma brought our gifts and pictures to GG Joe after dinner. Fast forward, GG Joe did great through surgery and is expected to go home tomorrow! (Hoping to eat apple pie soon I'm sure!)


Sunday morning I woke up at 3:30 to head down to the city and check in to Volunteer Headquarters at 4:30am for the Chicago Marathon. Since I ran in Sept. I decided not to do another marathon so close, but of course could not stay away from all the excitement the marathon hold, especially since Ryan Hall would be in the vicinity (my current favorite male marathoner who placed 5th, but is not just a tremendous athlete but a great guy giving back too). This was my third time volunteering: the first year I did runner information, second time start corrals, and this year charity village directing people running for charities to their charity tent as well as many to the start line. The excitement and anticipation on people's faces after months of preparation is priceless and made me wish I had signed up even if it were just a "fun" run.

After heading home at 8am it was a quick pit stop before heading back out with our family as well as Auntie, Andrew, and Emma to go apple picking. Unfortunately Grandma couldn't make it since GG Joe was having his surgery that morning but we were sure to pick plenty of apples for her so she could make her famous, delicious apple pies! Even though we got there 15 minutes after they opened there was already a long line to go on the wagon ride and head out to the orchards. So waiting in line the kids entertained themselves dancing with each other and goofing around. Once we got out there the kids had a lot of fun being lifted by Daddy/Uncle Phil, eating as many apples as they could manage, and carrying their full 1/4 peck bags of apples around. Of course we had to indulge in some apple donuts and cider before heading home. We later caught up with Grandma for updates on GG Joe, which of course we were happy to hear he is doing very well. Happy 89th Birthday GG Joe!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall is here!

I love the fall...the changing leaves, the cooler nights where I can cuddle up in a blanket, drinking hot chai tea or cider, and marathon season! While I am happy that I had my marathon a couple weeks ago I am still very excited to see the Chicago and New York marathons. I think it is such an exciting and great time. I guess most correlate the fall with football, which I do like to watch after a long run, but I think of the fall moreso for marathon season! Anyways, back to other fun fall festivities...I am of course always up to going to the Arboretum to see the leaves changing and all the autumn events they have going on there, but Daddy did not feel like going out there the other night but still wanted to get out of the house. So I brought out a few booklets that had fests and activities, we toyed with Cosley Zoo but we wouldn't have much time since it was after naps, we'd also have to have dinner soon, etc. So we drove a very short distance to Sonny Acres...we didn't get our pumpkins, we are doing that later in the month with Auntie, Uncle, Andrew, Emma, and Grandma, but we did go check out the petting zoo, looked at the pumpkins, and the few rides that they had out for the kids. Joey and Jillian went on a pony ride which Joey loved! Jillian was a little hesitant and had a kung fu grip on my jacket the whole time but stayed on unlike last year where she screamed when we tried to put her on a pony. They both loved going into the petting zoo area where we were able to not just feed the animals but mingle amongst them! I don't think I've ever been to a petting zoo like this, I was a bit surprised, but the kids loved it! We are very lucky to have this place so close to our house, and I'm sure we'll be back a few times before the season is over!
Whenever we move Joey's room around or spend time playing in his room he almost always brings up the time last year when I put all the stuffed animals he had gotten around him in an a la E.T. way. He loves when I pack the stuffed animals around him and takes it very seriously trying to hold still. He was a little agitated at Jillian because she was laughing and goofing around so much, but we managed to do it with both of them together. We had just switched the hutch from Joey's dresser on to Jillian's since we are not using the top of hers as a changing table anymore, so now it looks like a big girl room. There are also some pictures of the kids going on a leaf hunt in the back yard. They love the pumpkins that we brought out for Halloween and were itching to put something in them so we went leaf hunting.

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Last Saturday Nathan turned 2! We were lucky enough to celebrate with him on his actual birthday. We started off at a coffee shop with an indoor playground. It was a very fun place to climb and play and allowed Mommy, Daddy, Auntie Miya, and Uncle Mark to have some coffee and relax, at least for a little bit. Then we headed back to their house to play on their new swingset, bouncy that was super fun, and of course Jillian got Auntie Miya to bring out some bubbles! After a yummy lunch and cake it was definitely time for naps. Thanks for having us over, it was fun to play with you Nathan. And happy 2nd birthday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joey and Jillian Updates

Joey has been in school now for 3 weeks and absolutely loves it! He loves the fact that they play outside for at least a few minutes every day, and loves to paint! He also received his first Scholastic Book order which he (and I!) were super excited about. His school offers an enrichment program where you can pick a few days a month or all and sign up to eat lunch at school and stay a few hours longer to do some other activities and learn more, next months topics discovering ABC's and PeeWee Picasso. October will be the first month it is offered and when I asked Joey if he'd want to stay at school for lunch and be with his teacher's from last year (they are the ones that do the program) he gave me an excited yes! So I will probably be looking into a few days to let him stay at school a little longer! He is also enjoying t-ball on the weekends and I can't believe its already decision time to put him in the next session! He really enjoys it and loves that Daddy hangs out at the school to watch him while he's there.

On Thursdays Jillian started Mommy and Me Dance class. She absolutely loves it! She has performed her Rock-a-Bye Baby dance for several willing audiences (grandparents and Auntie!) and learned some more dances this past week. The first week she had a little freak out moment when they brought out the big parachute...she wouldn't go near it, and wouldn't let me either. If I reached for the handle she'd scream "Mommy, no, no!" She sat back in the corner until I took her to go potty and then they had put the parachute away and we were dancing with bubbles. This week she not only allowed me to play with the parachute, but sat in the center of it as we twirled them around in it. She much more prefers to dance than play with the parachute, and really enjoyed doing her ballerina walks, plies and twirls during ballet time! She even received a Tinkerbell stamp on her hand and was walking around with her hand in the air the rest of the morning!

Today was such a beautiful morning and I think we are in for a rainy weekend so when I mentioned the Arboretum to Joey last night he was all for it. We explored some areas we don't regularly frequent and it constantly amazes me how big and how much the Arboretum has to offer kids and adults alike. I can't wait for the leaves to really start changing over there! I hadn't been there on a Friday and the other days I am working or Joey is in school so this was the first time we were able to make it to story time! We all enjoyed hearing Ms. Donna read about the animals and trees of the forest and we went looking for some acorns and leaves before lunch time.

Trains, trains, and more trains

Last week Daddy went out for a "work" lunch, and while he did get some work conversation accomplished he also brought home some of his coworker's son's trains for us to borrow until Joey is done with them! Thank you Sam for being such a good sharer! Sam is Kevin's (Phil's coworker) son who was really into Thomas as you can tell from the pictures and while we are giving them back Joey scored a ton of trains as well as track, fountain, bridges, roundabout, and many, many other things Thomas! I tried to line up all the new trains (these pics do not include Joey's roughly 20 trains that he had and we thought was plenty!), there were quite a few, I should have counted before Joey woke up from his nap to see the Thomas world in the basement!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#10...and a PR!

This morning I headed out in the rain to run my 10th marathon. I was doing 1-2 each year with a couple of setbacks...the first year had stress fractures that didn't allow me to run, and then a good 3 years off to have kids (either be pregnant or on bed rest at the time I should be training or running). I have run several half marathons and other races in between, but today was my 10th marathon.

My mom and sister have always been there cheering me on, and the first year Phil was finishing school so he couldn't be there, but has been to almost every other one since then. The additions of Andrew, Joey, Emma, and Jillian came in the past few years, and today my (mother-in-law) mom and (father-in-law) dad also made it to Curbside Superstar status! While I did not decide to run Chicago this year it saved them and myself from the congestion and chaos of the crowds, but we also got a pretty cold and rainy day.

My best time to date was 4:04:45, and I couldn't surpass that time no matter how hard I tried. Some days you win, some you lose no matter how hard you train or prepare, some days are just not yours. With the support of my Curbside Crew and many other wonderful encouragements from friends (thank you, your words were bouncing in my head most of the way today!) I hit my goal of beating my best time while still finishing feeling well. I have wanted to break 4 hours, but even a PR with the wet, cold weather we had today would have thrilled me. I am delighted to say that I ran my 10th marathon this morning with a time of 4:01:54!

Breaking 4 hours might take another year or two ( it is really hard to shed a mere 3 seconds per mile over 26.2 miles!), but considering my shirt felt like it weighed 10 pounds from all the rain and my shoes were sloshier than ever I am one happy girl! Thank you to all that gave me words of encouragement and support, and of course the whole crew that went to different spots along the course to sit in the pouring rain to wait for me to run past! And thank you Phil for the awesome playlist!
Here are pics from Daddy and Nonna and Grandpa

Pictures from Auntie Christy
Pictures from Grandma and here too.
I can't thank them all enough for being there! XO

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We like to potty, we like, we like to potty!

First off, lots of posts here sorry they all come condensed onto one day/update!

Our Labor Day weekend was very low key--spent at home except for an outing to Grandmas for dinner, but what a momentous weekend at the same time! Saturday we were planning on going to a Kane County Cougars game...we've never been to one, and since the Flyers that were even closer are gone we figured it was time to try them out. The weather forecast was calling for rain, it wasn't looking too promising outside, and we were back and forth on if we should go. We have also been back and forth on when we should start potty training Jillian. We started Joey pretty early. Since they are 17 months apart I was pregnant and very big with Jillian, having to go potty quite a bit myself so I would put Joey on the potty as well. It took him a while to catch on to the whole process, but he was fully potty trained before he was 2. Jillian has been so interested in the potty chair because of Joey always going, and she has had her attempts of jumping on there herself. A while back I had thought after our Orlando vacation we should start trying her, but hadn't quite committed. Well, we finally had nothing going on over the weekend, I had bought some underwear for her for what I thought was going to be Christmas or whenever we started trying, but I wanted to have it washed and ready to go. Well, Jillian saw the Tinkerbells and Minnies and had to put them on! So our Labor Day was spent 99% of the time in the bathroom with Jill! It did seem a bit early, but Joey had already started trying at her age, and really we can not wait to be done with diapers! Jillian loves showing off her big girl underpants and has moved on to major big girl status wearing her underpants all day long, even when we are going out. She has a few accidents, but is doing an amazing job. She is still in her "night nights" (pull up diaper) at nap and bedtime, but since she's been in her big girl underpants she has not #2'd at all in them! She must not want to mess the pretty patterns! What started off feeling like we were potty training a puppy carrying a dripping girl to the potty, currently has come to our pretty girl grabbing my hand and saying "I go potty" this morning as we walked to the potty! Its not a 100%, but she is so well on her way. She has done an amazing job, and we couldn't be more proud of our little big girl!

Honey Bee Weekend

This weekend was honeybee weekend at the arboretum so we went out for some honey fun! Ok, so we didn't do much in terms of tasting honey, bee hive tours/talks, or visit the local vendors but we did play and have fun! It was Auntie, Andrew, and Emma's first time at the Arboretum so Joey showed Andrew the ropes so to speak! The weather was perfect and was a great way to let the kids run around and burn off some energy!

Play Ball!

Joey started t-ball this weekend! We signed him up for a 3-4 class and thought it was a parent/child class, but when Phil went in with Joey he was told it was just kids. Joey had asked Daddy to stay with him before they got there, but once he was in the gym he was in his element. He ran the bases, was learning to field grounders, and throw. While he was the shortest one there he had the enthusiasm to make up for it. Jillian and I walked up to the school to meet the boys, and Jillian picked dandelions to make a bouquet for her big brother who loved receiving it! Great job Joey!

Let's Go Out to the Movies!

Friday was a rainy and somewhat dreary day around here. It was a day we didn't have school, Mommy didn't have to work, so we could just hang around and relax, but I think Joey and Jillian are getting to be like me where we just like getting out of the house. My thought was to go to the Arboretum, but given the weather it didn't seem worth heading out there. So we played with Play-Doh, painted, colored, still we found ourselves wondering what to do. Joey asked to watch Cars on tv, which I don't allow tv during the day (after naps and before bed is ok) so I said no. He then remembered going to the movies for his birthday and asked if we could go see Cars 2 on the biiiiiig screen! I laughed at his great memory, and said I didn't think it was at the theater anymore and told him how we have to wait for it to come out on video (dvd,blu-ray, you know what I mean!). But then I had an idea... we had never been to the Picture Show by us, the $1.75 show, so I looked up what movies were playing and Winnie the Pooh was! I asked the kids if they'd want to go after naps and they both agreed, as did Daddy when I told him Joey had a great suggestion. So after naps we headed to the movies! Popcorn, m&ms, and a movie later Jillian was still dry--no accidents proving once again she is a big girl and can go out on the town! The best part was "dinner" and a movie for 4 was less than $20, I was super excited and told Joey if Cars 2 is there soon (there were posters in the lobby) we would go. Jillian's first movie was a success...they both behaved well, which I know the popcorn helped, and enjoyed themselves quite a bit!

Extra, extra

And here are some random photos...
I had to take pictures of the kids thumbing through their first toy catalog asking for Christmas presents. Joey will sit down at random times of the day and ask for this catalog to look at the toys that he wants from Santa and will share with everyone!
There are also pictures of a day watching Jessie, flying a kite in the backyard, playing with the neighbors...or should I say all kids tackling Dominic, and other random pics, enjoy!

Joshua's Journeys #61 Remembering...


Of course I could not let today go by without some sort of reflection of 9/11. I have tried not to watch too many specials in fear of being glued to the tv and not paying attention to my kids that are still here playing, growing, and enjoying the day. But of course I have caught some specials, clips, commercials, songs, how could you not? In talking with Phil about where we were that day, calling each other to make sure the other was safe, it seemed like a long time ago in some respects, but like yesterday in others. I can't help but be selfish right now and think if 9/11 was just 10 years ago and it feels like yesterday, how fast is the 10th "anniversary" of Josh's passing going to come? What will Joey and Jillian be doing? Where will I be in my journey? And of course what would, and what if if Joshua were still here. While many are still mourning the devastating attacks 10 years ago I am remembering along with them, and aching for each family member, friend, and stranger that has to relive what they were doing that day and how this has affected them. There are too many heads falling on pillows with eyes wide open wondering what if...
We miss, we remember, and we love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School!

Last school year Joey had started school in March after finding and contemplating a lot about a preschool for him being under 3 years. Joey had a hard time with being overly shy and things as I've stated before are magnified around March (when his twin brother passed away). So we had put him in preschool last March right before spring break was his first introduction, and then he finished off April and May. So today was officially his first day of school!

Joey was very excited for his first day of school! He had been talking about it for a while. He met his teachers last week and was very excited to go back, but a little apprehensive about Mommy and Jill not staying with him. Then this weekend after telling him that Jillian is too little to go to school and he is a big boy he took that as his way to indulge in being able to be away from Mommy and Jillian during the day! He kept telling me that Jill is too little to go, but he's a big boy! Joey sported his backpack, did his "homework" from meeting the teachers (he had to decorate a treasure chest to put on the bulletin board the first day) and headed out the door. He refused to hold my hand in the parking lot but did tell me there were no cars coming before walking, and even held the door for Jillian and I. Joey did a great job on his first day, we left him outside of his classroom where he did not cry--instead Jillian was the one that was crying as I told her we had to leave. She came in for the meet the teachers day and I think she thought she was going to be allowed in again. We took a peek into the classroom she'll be going into once she turns 2, but we didn't spend much time because she was not happy with having to go and I didn't want to disrupt the other classes!


Jillian does have some big girl status news of her own, but we will wait a bit to share...

Joshua's Journeys #60

Last Tuesday was meet the teachers where Joey and Jillian enjoyed playing in the classroom and with all of the stuff set out on the tables. Last Monday night was parents night, the informational meeting about what will happen during the school year, etc. It was just under an hour, but it didn't take much longer than the opening prayer (its a Christian school) where the lady was talking about blessing our children and letting them teach them and take good care of them where I found myself panicked that I was going to lose it! I had to spend a lot of time looking at the calendar so that I wouldn't burst out into tears--thinking Josh is supposed to be here too! Maybe not in this exact school, but he should be here with us, and what would he be doing now? Joey would love playing with him, and as nutty as Jill can be at times (I have often envisioned her deliberately yanking out his g-tube) she would also find him a pleasure where I could see her bringing him something to play with, patting his head and leaning in for her hug. Life would be different that is for certain, I would take it all if I could, but I know I am in my own school--I may have bad days where I want to cry, where I miss him, where I just want to lay in bed and try to get back to a dream.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Arboretum Fun!

So, I had a short hiatus from the Arboretum with our vacation, Andrew's birthday, and then the CHARGE run the following weekend. But it did not take long to get back in the habit of heading over there for some outdoor fun! The day after the race we went to the Arboretum with Grandma and Joey showed her how he loves climbing everywhere. We also went on a tram ride, which Joey insists is a train and kept asking Grandma why we were stopping each time the tram stopped. He did point out some trees and told Grandma the guy was talking about the Arboretum at one point, but he really was more interested in pretending to be on a train and in the forest. We were surprised as to how many people were there when we first showed up...there were lines of cars to get in which is fairly odd. Turns out there was a Groupon expiring at the end of the month! Oddly enough the Sheldon's had that Groupon, so we managed to meet up with them this past weekend as well! Joey had a lot of fun showing Ben and Abbey around. They were all dressed up from having their family pictures taken there which would be the perfect scenery for a family photo! Friday, Auntie Miya and Nathan invited us to Yorktown where the play area was redone by the Arboretum! So we went for lots of popcorn (between Joey, Jill, and Nathan I think they had 4 bags!), some free stuff, and we even saw Curious George from the other side of the fountain! It was fun to catch up with Auntie Miya and Nathan, and Joey and Jillian had a blast running around and playing with Nathan. I also managed to squeeze in a long run at the Arboretum Saturday morning too...did I ever mention it is really hilly there! But gorgeous!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Charge for CHARGE pics...

We got yet again some great responses from runners. We had our 1st place winner contact me again--well to get his medal since he had to leave early, but spoke of praises of the race and will most likely be out there next year to defend his title!

A few others e-mailed to say they thought it was a "great race and a great time" and "really enjoyed the well organized race!"

Results have been posted on raceime.info website, as well as the CARA and Chicago Athlete web sites.

Here are some pics from my mom's camera. Another Shutterfly person so I can give you the link.

And the finish line pics.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

3rd Annual Charge for CHARGE 5K!

Yesterday was the 3rd Annual Charge for CHARGE 5K! The weather held out pretty perfectly for us to get our run/walk in, awards, raffle, and cleaned up. Once we got home the skies opened up and it was pouring!

We had a great day with 118 bib numbers accounted for, and even more that donated. We raised $2,815 at the race alone, and have had other donations on our fundraising page. It looks like we will hit our goal of $5,000 before time runs out!

Thank you again to all of the volunteers who help orchestrate everything so seamlessly, those that participate since they are the reason we can get out there and put something like this together in the first place, and everyone who donated. It was once again a wonderful day. I have so many great pictures to sort through, so if you are looking for one of yourself I am sure I have it, just let me know and I will look for it. Otherwise, here are some of the great pictures our volunteers took! These are mostly Crystal's pictures, but a few from Phil as well.


Click here to see pictures from my sister, all good as well, but I can't get them off of Shutterfly and haven't gotten her card yet.

Soon we will have some from the water station as well! Yes, lots of pictures, but lots of fun to be captured too!

And be on the lookout, after the holidays I will be announcing the 4th Annual Joshua Kurby Charge for CHARGE 5K!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Charge for CHARGE 5K in the Press!

Here is the article in the Press (MySuburbanLife) that will be in tangible print tomorrow. I really liked the article that the Daily Herald ran, but this is still some great publicity! The details aren't quite right but it was nice to have our whole family represented in a photo, even if the caption underneath is not quite right either! The quote at the end about determined parents was supposed to be describing the kiddos with CHARGE, not the parents, but parents are great advocates! I don't want to criticize the article, again so happy to get the awareness out there, and once again thank you Cindy for doing all the footwork to get the interviews going, and making sure they run!

Here is the article.
Hope to see you on Saturday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Java!

Today is Java's 6th birthday! She has been with us through good times and bad, and is nothing short of patient with Joey and Jillian as they try to ride her around the house like a horse, play sometimes a little too rough, feed her things she probably shouldn't be eating (fruit snacks are good for dogs, right?), and always ready to give a big kiss to anyone. Happy Birthday Java Chewbacca! (Java's middle name was a lost bet on my part...if I broke my marathon goal that year her middle name would be Marathon since we picked her up in the afternoon after I ran, if I lost Chewbacca... now you know how that race turned out!)


And as I was trying to find the other article a bit prematurely, its not supposed to run until Friday, I found this mention in the Carol Stream Press on August 4, when we were on vacation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Charge for CHARGE 5K in the news!

We are nearing the 3rd Annual Joshua Kurby Charge for CHARGE 5K! Can you feel the excitement building? We can! Thanks to a great friend of mine, Cindy, who has been our press release girl we have been mentioned in the Examiner, this article in the Daily Herald that will run tomorrow (Tuesday), and also the Press (My Suburban Life) on Friday! I did an interview and had another family who is also the president of our Foundation as of this past conference, write an essay for the article. I'll let this article speak for itself!
Click here for the Daily Herald article put out this afternoon.

In addition, Cindy got connected with the Press/My Suburban Life where I did a phone interview and on Saturday we had a photographer come to the house. We all donned our CHARGE gear, although I'm not sure it will show in the picture in the paper, but Joey and Jillian seemed like they knew they were doing something special for their brother. They even told the photographer who was in the frames that they were holding...Joshua of course! I will post that article as soon as I find it available...supposed to be Friday. (And Jillian now thinks she is a star and had to put on her new sunglasses!) Thank you Cindy for the great PR!

Weekend Events

A quick recap on what we did, more to be posted later.

We watched Minnie for a long weekend and Joey and Jillian had a blast! The kids loved feeding, walking, and playing with Minnie, and Java had a lot of fun too.


This weekend we also celebrated Andrew's 4th birthday! I was very negligent to take pictures because Kelly, Andrew's other aunt, is a great photographer so I let her capture the day which you can view here!
I will post some pictures of ours on his "real" birthday!

Monday, August 8, 2011

CHARGE Conference

Before getting started, there are a ton of pictures so I did my best to just grab a few of each thing that we did on our vacation. If you want to see more feel free to ask Joey or Jillian, they love to talk about and look at all the things they did on their vacation!

Joey and Jillian took their first plane ride to Orlando last Thursday to attend the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation Conference! It was a 3 part vacation, but started out only because of the conference. The 3 parts were: the conference, Disney, and Nonna and Grandpa's condo.

We had a blast at the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation's conference. This was our second one we attended. If you remember the first one we attended was in Bloomingdale, nice and close to home! We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see those that we had met that year, and meet some that I talk to regularly but had never met in person until now! A definite highlight of our trip was meeting Ellen who traveled all the way from Australia! We were able to see many others that we had spoken with but hadn't seen outside of pictures and videos on blogs in 2 years, it truly is like a family reunion--only better! Friday and Saturday Joey and Jillian went to camp while Daddy and Mommy got to volunteer in the daycare/camp area for the kiddos with CHARGE. It was a great way for us to give something back to a great foundation as well as connect with kids that have many behaviors and mannerisms as Josh. We both fell in love with many of the kids we were taking care of and found ourselves as usual wondering where Josh would be in his accomplishments at this time. We were able to take part in the evening activities that not only included catching up with some of our favorite people, but also CHARGE-a-palooza where Joey was made into a pirate, both Joey and Jillian cut a rug on the dance floor and played games, got some swag from the silent auction, and also hung out at the pool with some families as well. (Joey felt like one of the big kids hanging out in the water with Alex and Bailey!) The true reason for this vacation was the conference, and definitely worth the trip! It was hard being away just before the 5K with a lot of work to do, but seeing how much our Foundation does to help those affected with CHARGE is really unbelievable. There are not many conferences that you go to where everyone welcomes each other whether they are on the Board of Directors, a family member, or a presenter from another country, they all sit as a family and share themselves. Amazing!

Just before the conference ended on Sunday, Grandma had arrived to pick up Joey! Joey and Grandma went up to the room (Jillian actually fell asleep at camp this morning after her long night on the dance floor) so we got her after the conference ended to continue our trip...

Magic Kingdom

After the conference was over we grabbed some lunch, let the kids take a nap, and then headed out for the next leg of our vacation...Disney! We finished out the afternoon/evening at the Magic Kingdom! The ferry ride over was fun for the kids, but of course they loved being at the Magic Kingdom and we even stayed to see the Main Street Electric Parade! Very fun!