Thursday, November 8, 2012

This and That.

My mom and aunt are currently at my Grandma's house in Michigan.  Every time they go up there, mom takes her laptop and shows my Grandma this blog so she can keep up with 3 of her great-grandchildren.  Since I know they're there, might as well update now so that Grandma can be informed of what's going on in central Indiana...

Hi Grandma!!!

First and foremost, I made a blunder last week.  When I made this post regarding the opportunity the boys were given to assemble Operation Christmas Child boxes with some of the Colts, I never gave credit to the photographer.  Usually the pictures I post are my own, sometimes they are my mom or dads.  This time the pics were from a professional photographer who donated her time and energy and photographs to all of the families that attended.  So my apologies to Heidi Hackney Photography and also a heartfelt Thank You! for providing us with these great pics and precious memories.

Saturday I participated in my second half-marathon.  My first half-marathon was back in May and the humidity made it miserable.  My brother ran that first one with me and got me through it.  This time, I was on my own.  The temps were cool and perfect for me.  My dad and uncle went with me for moral support while my mom and aunt kept my kids.  And it was great!  I finished in 2:16:48, which is a great time for me and I ran every single step of those 13.1 miles.  The training is tough, mostly because it's hard fitting in all those runs every week when your husband keeps the work schedule that mine does.  So it might be a while before I do another.  Maybe I'll do more 5K and 10K races and work on my speed.  Or maybe I'll just keep popping ibuprofen and nap.  I'd love to give a sprint triathalon a try ("sprint" indicating that it's much shorter distances, not necessarily fast) but again, scheduling in the training would be tough.  Maybe in a few more years...
Picture courtesy of: Dad.  (Hey, I remembered!)

Elections are over.  Thank goodness.  That day, Blake was as entertaining as usual.  He was told by a cousin that Obama was trying to destroy the Earth, so you can imagine his concern over the president's re-election.  In Blake's mind, I'm sure he pictured Obama himself drilling into the core of the Earth, with a big cartoon stick of TNT to stuff into the center of Earth.  I tried to assure him that this was not the case, so Blake says now that he only half believes it.  Whew, I guess.  The night of the election, as we watched the news and waited for the results, Blake put on a tie, wristwatch, and jacket over his pajamas in an effort to dress like Romney.  No one makes me laugh harder.

And speaking of Blake, guess who lost a tooth tonight.  Nicholas had lost his first 8 teeth by the time he was Blake's age.  Blake had only lost 2 prior to tonight.  He's had 4 teeth just a tiny bit loose since early summer.  His teeth are as pokey coming out as Blake is when it's time to get ready for bed.  So it's an exciting occasion.  The dentist commented years ago that we should enjoy Blake's perfect teeth because there is absolutly NO room to spare and when those permanent teeth start coming in, it's gonna be rough.  Of course, at the rate things seem to move where Blake is concerned, those new teeth may not get here for a few years.

Alexis has taken up the drums.  Lord help me.

And finally, this is the scene most days when everyone is ready for school in the morning and we have a few minutes to spare before heading out to catch the buses:

Night Grandma!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An amazing opportunity.

Once upon a time, Alexis was in the Newborn ICU for 67 days. A couple of months ago we attended the annual NICU reunion and while I was there, I stuck Nick and Blake's names in a drawing. The next day I got a call that they'd been selected. So I thought I'd better figure out what I'd just signed up for.  The boys were being given a chance to pack Operation Christmas Child boxes with St. Vincent hospital and Colts players!!!  But as I watched the video, I realized that this was for NICU kids, so I called the lady in charge and clarified that siblings could attend also. It's often the siblings that remember the experience of the NICU, and my boys, while they never seemed phased by it, remember me dropping them off at preschool or leaving them with family for over 2 months straight as I'd make my daily trek to St. Vincent Women's hospital to visit their little sister.

I waited before telling the boys. I waited until we received the written information in the mail that included our formal invitation. I waited until I heard back from their principal who said, "We will excuse both boys from school as this is an extraordinary experience." So a couple of weeks ago we told the boys that they were being given an incredible opportunity, thanks to their sister, to help St. Vincent Hospital pack hundreds of Operation Christmas Child boxes. We've packed some of these boxes as a family before and they knew what they were. They thought it was cool that they'd get to leave school to do it. Nick thought it was neat that it happened to fall on his birthday. Then we mentioned that maybe, just maybe, there would be a couple of Indianapolis Colts players there.

What the What?!?!?!

So Tuesday was that day. We picked the boys up from school at 1 p.m. while Alexis stayed with Paula. We could have signed her up to go too, but knowing that she wouldn't understand or fully appreciate what was happening, we let another child have her spot. It was interesting to talk to a volunteer who said they never know which football players might show up. The team chaplain waits until after the most recent football game to approach a few players who are good, kind, Christian men and he asks them to come. I learned from the players that when the chaplain asks, you don't say no.

Awaiting the start of the packing party and the arrival of the Colts.
There were about 30 kids in attendance. They showed an Operation Christmas Child video that explained to our kids how these boxes are sent all over the world to help kids that live in heart-breaking situations. We were shown how to pack a box and were shown the St. Vincent video above. And then the players arrived.

#69 Winston Justice, Tackle

#25 Jerraud Powers, Cornerback

#73 Seth Olsen, Guard

#5 Drew Stanton, Quarterback

As much as I love the Colts, I didn't know a single one of them, but yet, was totally starstruck. I tried to follow my boys example by focusing on the more important task at hand: filling the boxes. I kept getting distracted. The boys would be collecting toys and toothbrushes and crayons to stick in the boxes, and as a Colt would approach our table, I'd distract them.

Nick, are you sure you don't want to ask him for an autograph? I brought a Sharpie with us!
No mom. I'm busy.

Hey Blake, here comes Drew Stanton. Don't you want to take a picture with him like those kids are doing?
No thanks mom.


Oh yeah, back to the boxes.

I kept pushing encouraging them to talk to the players. Nothin'.

Eventually, the director of the program told the kids to take a break. The Colts could only stay until 4 and they wanted to take a group picture before they left.

Many pictures were taken and then, as the boys watched others get autographs and photos, they decided that maybe they'd like an autograph on the back of their Operation Christmas Child shirts. My shy little boys, who aren't yet too comfortable with approaching strangers and asking for things like this, just walked up to a player, turned their back to them, and backed into them as a way to get the players to sign the backs of their shirts. Oy.

That's right, my kids made Drew Stanton laugh.

Drew Stanton and Nicholas

Blake and Seth Olsen

The players were very kind and gracious, and the boys now have autographed shirts to show off to their classmates. And I have pictures of my kids with Quarterback Drew Stanton.  I promise to stop name dropping now.

The players left, most of the boxes had been packed and we were told that we were more than welcome to stay and help pack the remaining boxes but it was also fine to leave. I turned to the boys to let them decide what they wanted to do.

Nick wanted to stay. Blake wanted to stay. And then Blake said,
I want those kids to be happy, happy, happy.

Another day, another opportunity to be amazed by my kids.

**All images courtesy of Heidi Hackney Photography**