Sunday, July 24, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #59 Open Heart Magic Begins!

You may remember a post I did a while ago about Josh being down at Children's and we did Hospital Bingo. At the time Josh had been in the hospital for a while, and although an 8 month old baby can't play Bingo, he could look at the clown on tv dressed up in bright, fun clothes talking to him along with the kids that were able to make it to the 5th floor to participate in person. Josh won Bingo the first day, I was so excited calling down to the 5th floor on his phone to shout Bingo over the tv! He won a Build-A-Bear! The following week when we did not win, he got a goldfish beany baby as a consolation prize (can't win 'em all!). Anyways, we were down at Children's for quite some time before being discharged, and then returning just a day later to what would end up being his final days with us. Being constantly at your child's bedside, comforting, and doing all you can to keep life "normal" for the rest of your family can oftentimes be very hard if not near impossible.

Another post you may remember was from this past October (I think not posted until early November) where I spoke about going down to McCormick Place to pick up my packet for the marathon. They have a huge expo with lots of different vendors and people trying to raise money for different charities, etc. You may remember I smirked and sighed at the guy who was asking for a t-shirt from the Children's Memorial Hospital team because his son stayed there for a few nights, when all I wanted to say was my son died there one night! After passing that booth I came to a booth that wiped the tear before it could even start to fall...Open Heart Magic. They are a group that go to different hospitals and perform magic for kids and parents. Sounds kinda silly? Well, when you are in the hospital day after day you don't need another nurse, doctor, friend, or family member telling you to "hope for the best" or giving their words of wisdom which come from no experience like yours at that moment. What you need is to get need to go to a magical place, not just your kid but the parent as well. You need to be able to forget everything that is going on, remember what its like to smile, to learn, to engage, to feel a part of something outside of the medical staff's rounds, you need Open Heart Magic!

Within seconds of seeing a trick I was sold...this is what I had to bring to the Family Advisory Council at Central DuPage. It was such an easy thing to do, and Mike the Director/Founder of Open Heart Magic was so wonderful to work with. It was with a joyful tear this morning that I found a very overly complimentary e-mail in my inbox stating that this past Tuesday CDH has started Open Heart Magic! I know that Josh continues to grow in me and makes me grow as well. He is the driving force behind many of my actions and I am so very proud that CDH now has Open Heart Magic. If you live in our area and, heaven forbid, you wind up at CDH and happen to run into one of the fantastic magicians know that Josh is visiting you as well. They will be visiting the Peds Units: PICU, Peds, possible NICU) Pediatric ER, and Pediatric Outpatient Services. They may even at some point flow into the adult units as well, as the hospital staff saw that this magic is not just for kids its for everyone!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mommy and Me Bootcamp

Over the summer I have taught a Mommy and Me Bootcamp class. You may remember seeing a picture early in the summer of Joey and Jillian after class.

The first session was 5 ladies and their kids, and this past session we had 8 moms with their kids, this group being a little younger than the previous. One mom wanted a picture for her son's baby book on the last day of class. Of course that was the day that a few others were absent, including Joey and Jillian because Auntie was having her garage sale. So, Joey and Jillian aren't in these pictures, but they have attended and helped me instruct all the other classes. We are continuing the class this fall and possibly adding on a Mommy and Me Yoga class. As many of you know Joey loves showing everybody how he can do Down Dog and Single Arm Down Dog, so I think he is up for the additional challenge!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lotsa Lotsa Posts...

I haven't posted anything since Joey's birthday/4th of July weekend, so here are the past couple weeks of what we've been up to!

Mini Indy

Today was the Mini Indy. Joey and Andrew's bike race/rally. It was super hot, but they as well as Jillian and Emma handled the heat really well. The park district had a Mini Indy that consisted of several stations for the kids (3-6 year olds) to take their bikes as well as some races. They started off with a bike wash, where they grabbed sponges and washed then rinsed off their bikes. Here is where the girls decided it would be coolest and they pretty much played with the water the entire time. A staff member brought over a chair for them to wash and they were very content. The boys went to a bike safety talk, then out some "bling" on their bikes with streamers, bells, spoke noise maker, and more. After that it was time to decorate a license plate and get their race numbers. Joey was excited about his race number I think from the bib number he got at his last running race. They also participated in an obstacle course and then they stopped at the Pit Stop for a quick snack before being led to the races. Joey and Andrew raced each other and you were supposed to zig zag between the cones, but Joey cut across the course to chase Andrew. They both finished at a tie, noting that Joey didn't really do the course correctly, and Joey in a deja vous moment went splat on the pavement. He is getting much better at his dramatic finishes and didn't cry or whine one bit. He got up, looked at his knee, and moved his bike to the side for the next race. By this time I had made my way down to the end and Joey was totally fine, just concerned about his was a little out of whack from the fall. So I adjusted it as best I could and he hopped back on and was fine. At the end Joey and Andrew got trophies for "winning" the whole race! All the kids got trophies, but Andrew and Joey were hugging each other saying they beat all the other kids and won it together. I'm good with that!. On the way home Joey said "me and Andrew won the race and I crashed them all!" Hmmm...I hope he doesn't think the finish of a race is supposed to be a sliding finish!

Auntie Trish and Uncle Alex's new place

Last Sunday we went in to the city to see Auntie Trisha and Uncle Alex's new apartment! They moved in Memorial Day weekend and were brave enough to invite the whole crew down. Yes, the whole crew consisting of Auntie Pam and Snowy, Grandma and Jessie, Auntie, Uncle Chris, Andrew, and Emma, and then Daddy, Joey, Jillian, and myself. Java kept cool and calm at home. Later in the evening Auntie Tiff, John, and his dog also showed up! It was quite the housewarming party and I think we really broke the place in for them! We hope to be invited back again! The kids really had a blast, thank you Auntie Trish for the fun coloring activities, and for allowing so many dogs and kids in your place at one time! The food was fantastic! Auntie Trish did all the cooking inside where you'd think she had been living in her place for years, and Uncle Alex braved the heat grilling some tasty food for everyone! Thank you so much for a fun, fun night!

Joey's 3 year and Jillian's 18 month pictures

So we were taking Joey and Jillian in for their pictures. We had a nice shirt for Joey to take his big 3 year old picture, and then thought it would be cute for Jillian and Joey to take a picture together since she is now 18 months. We decided to put them in their pajamas and let them hold what they go to bed with each night...Jill has her 2 Minnie Mouses, and Joey usually has some race cars. So, we figured Joey would be up first and then we would put them in their pajamas and be ready to head home afterwards. Joey refused to smile. It didn't matter what we did, what props he was given, he did not want to smile. Jillian the attention seeker that she is, was catching the photographers attention plenty and being a little goof. So we figured it was a bust for Joey to be dressed nicely and threw them in their pajamas. Even with his sister it was near impossible to get Joey to smile. So we have 3 pictures total from a good 45 minute ordeal. When the pictures were all over I was talking to the lady and Joey whispered to me that it was fun taking pictures. I said "Really? Then why didn't you smile?" He responded with "I didn't want to make that lady happy." UGH! I guess the three year old behavior has started!

Harry Potter

As everyone is well aware the last Harry Potter movie came out last weekend. I have never read or watched a Harry Potter movie and am not all that interested in starting, just not my thing. But it is Grandma, Uncle Chris, Auntie Christy, and Daddy's thing! So, I got the privilege, as I did for the last HP movie to watch all the little ones while the big ones went to the show (or as Auntie and Uncle Chris told Andrew--their meeting). The kids all ate really well and played really well. We were greeted a few hours later with popcorn (how nice of them to serve popcorn at your meetings Auntie!), and we all indulged!

Miscellaneous July pictures

Here are some random pictures from the beginning of July up until now. Daddy playing with Joey and Jillian, Joey and Jillian watching Jessie, going to what we call the Blue Playground, and Joey's new shoes. The Blue Playground is a new playground that has a lot of fun and different things, it is a little bit of a walk, but the kids really enjoy the stroll when the weather is right. Joey's new shoes are actually hand me downs from Andrew. Auntie Trish had gotten them for him when she was working at a shoe store a few years ago, but Andrew didn't quite fit in them, so they were handed on to Joey and he loves them as much as I do! I love New Balance shoes, have been running in them for years. I took a little sabbatical from New Balance to try out some other brands earlier this year but when I got a fitting done it proved that New Balance shoes fit me best and I love them! So I was super excited for Joey's new kicks!

Bean Bag Tournament for CHARGE Foundation

On Saturday, July 9 we helped Abbey celebrate her 3rd birthday. Scarlett and Abbey share the same birthday, but her party was on Saturday at a super fun splash park. I was looking for our pictures, but I think since we were in the spraying water with the kids I may have forgotten to take pictures! It was a very fun, and very Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) themed party. Thanks for having us!

Sunday, July 10 we went out in the heat to Lake Zurich for another CHARGE mom's fundraiser. Last year she held her first bean bag toss tournament and Phil and I did pretty poorly. This year, we stepped up our game a little bit, we were not immediately eliminated, but hung in for 4 games. This year they also had a bouncy for the kids. There was a raffle, lots of donated food and drinks, and a lot of fun! It was a very hot morning-afternoon, but the kids did really well, and so did Nonna and Grandpa--thanks for watching the kids while Phil and I played our games!

Welcome Scarlett Elizabeth!

July 7 Uncle Chris and Aunt Brooke welcomed baby Scarlett into the family! Joey and Jillian can not wait to meet their new cousin, but have enjoyed looking at pictures, videos, and seeing her in action over the phone with "face time" (like skype). Daddy was able to visit Scarlett and the new parents last Saturday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Joey!

Happy 3rd birthday (golden birthday) to Josh and Joey! Joey had a great time with all of his friends and family at his party, and thinks he hit big boy status since he did not nap at all on the day of the party. Instead, he made sure the water toys were warmed up and ready to go!

We also had a number 3 balloon for Josh and Joey. Joey understood the idea of the balloon being up on the trellis connecting him and Josh. Joey has told us that he "was with Josh when he was a little baby too. We just played together, with heaven." He also mentioned "I don't want Josh to be away in his house. I want him at my house." We all miss him and wonder what our daily routine would be like, but we'll have to wait for another time to be reunited, and hope that Joey and Josh play at night in Joey's dreams. Happy Birthday boys!

The following day was the 4th of July and since Joey didn't nap, didn't go to sleep until late, and woke up at his usual time he was pretty tired all day. We went to the parade and saw Gigi marching in it. We didn't make it to a family friends' barbecue, but we did make the long trek next door for some dinner and swimming! Thanks to our neighbors we were able to relax next door, have some dinner, and go swimming! Joey took a little bit longer than Jillian to get comfortable, but once they were in and shown a thing or two neither wanted to get out! We are going to have to watch the fence and make sure the kids don't scale it to get in their pool! (Not sure why these are different slide shows, but I'm not messing with it!)

And finally some cute pictures from today: