Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthday Party

Scarlett's birthday was a milestone for all of us.  We wanted to celebrate her amazing little life, her triumphs and her bright future.  I decided we would celebrate with a rainbow theme.  Her birthday was the rainbow after nearly a year of rain clouds, and I couldn't resist surrounding us all with vibrant colors.

We started the day with a little photo shoot at the park.

Then, the party began.  All the excitement led to an interrupted nap and a pretty grumpy baby.  But, well, the party wasn't really for her sake and we all had fun anyway!

Tissue paper poms - made using Martha Stewart's tutorial

This was her big smile for the afternoon.  As for her outfit:  it's mommy-made!
Rear view!

She took solace in whichever grandparent would protect her. 
I also made a fun little cake.
I used this tutorial for the fruit-flavored layers (basically, it's two cake mixes split into 6 bowls, then each is mixed with fruit and tiny bit of food color.)  It was AWESOME!
You can see that Scarlett was impressed...
Her first bike!

Time to start planning the next party!

Thank you to Krista from Krista Lucas Photography for sticking with us all day and helping us capture some precious memories!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Today we ventured out to the local pumpkin patch to pick up some gorgeous gourds for decorating.  We had to wake Scarlett up to take a few pictures, but she didn't mind too much...

 Well, maybe she did mind.  She refused to smile, but she did tolerate the camera in her face, so that's the best I can ask for.

This is the first annual event Scarlett has gotten do to a second time.  Here's our teeny tiny watermelon this time last year...

She had just crossed the 7 pound mark!  This morning, she was 19.5 pounds!  I can't believe how big she has gotten!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scarlett's Blood Drive

On Saturday, we held Scarlett's Birthday Blood Drive!  It was an amazing event, and we were blown away by the response from our community, blog readers, friends and family.  We were graced with beautiful weather, ample volunteers and more donations (both of blood and goodies!) than we knew what to do with.  The final count was....129 donors with 103 units of blood!!!!!   We far surpassed the paltry 50 units that we originally targeted, and even the 100 that we secretly hoped we would hit!  We know that many of you tried so hard to donate but couldn't (more iron next year, mom!) and we want you all to know that we were so happy that you tried!  Thanks to everyone, we had one of the biggest patient drives the Stanford Blood Center has ever done!

Thanks to Krista Davis, who took pictures for us throughout the day!  We had a ton of food for everyone who came, thanks to Dino's Grill, Let's Cupcake and Jennifer Jones.  I think I ate enough cake to last me a year!
A last-minute donation of a helium tank definitely spruced up the place!

We had about 25 raffle items thanks to our blog readers and community!  From gift baskets, homemade jam, and some nifty kitchen gadgets to the highly coveted Toys R Us gift cards and an iPod Nano, we made sure every donor got a chance to win!  Plus, since it was such great stuff, we let people buy additional tickets.  We made a $142 donation to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation in Scarlett's name.

Thankfully, Scarlett's cousin Caleb has waited to make his appearance until AFTER the blood drive!

We had eager donors ready to go at the stroke of ten, and the line did not stop until 4, when we sadly had to start turning away walk-ins.  The blood center staff ran out of supplies twice!  At one point, the wait was over an hour...sorry, guys!  It was for a good cause! 

Chris has very efficient veins, so he was in and out!

I am always a slow and steady took a while, but I did a whole unit and didn't pass out this time!
Scarlett's great grandma  donates every 8 weeks!

Scarlett's grandpa did a double red cell donation

Uncle Mike was pretty nervous...he thought he would be at work, but got to donate instead!
We kept all ten donation chairs full for 7 hours straight.
Everyone enjoyed snacks as they recovered from donation.  We only had two faint, so I think we did a pretty good job!
Chris and his friend Mark entertained us all with karaoke throughout the year maybe someone else will join in!

Thank you again to everyone who came out, and especially to those who hung out all day to help us set up, keep everything running and then breakdown (three hours later than we had planned!)  Kids like Scarlett and patients all over owe their lives to blood donors like you!  Is there any better feeling than that?  We already have a plan brewing for next year...double or nothing!

P.S.  Check out my newest project....product reviewer and editor at BabyGizmo!  My sister and I have both used BG as we shop for baby gear over the last year.   I'm excited to share what has worked for us over the last year, and especially those things that other kids with special needs might benefit from!  Check out BabyGizmo's blog, Rated by Mom, to see my latest review of Scarlett's must-have paci, the Wubbanub!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


After two weeks of insane business, we're back on the grid!  Pictures are on the way from Scarlett's birthday party and the blood drive, and I will post more about them as soon as I have some visuals to spice it all up.  Both were amazing and I can't wait to share!

More immediately, I would like to direct as much positive energy as I can to our blog friends Beth and Ryan and their son Keegan from Karing for Keegan.  Keegan has been fighting a brain tumor similar to Scarlett's for most of his two years.  He has been through multiple rounds of chemo, radiation and surgeries to stop the tumors from growing.  Earlier this year, they found that the cancer had moved from his brain to his spine, so they started over with a new plan for more chemo and radiation.

Last week, Keegan's latest MRI brought back the wrost possible news: his tumors have spread and are no longer treatable.  The family was sent home in hospice, and they are trying to make Keegan's remaining weeks or months the absolute best they can.

I know too well how devastating this is for Beth and Ryan.  We were sent home with the plan for hospice when Scarlett's tumor was first discovered.  And while we were lucky enough to find a surgical option, I remember how harrowing each day was, and how precious each and every moment was when we were expecting the worst.

If anyone lives near Evansville, Indiana, friends on their Facebook group are putting together meals to help them through the next few months.  Otherwise, I think they mainly need moral support to get them through this most difficult time.  Please check out their website or group page and send a little love Keegan's way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blood Drive Countdown!

We are in countdown mode!  Just TWO more days until our big blood drive!  We are up to 86 appointments filled last time I checked.  That is AMAZING!  I am working on organizing all the goodies for the raffle.  We have some wonderful prizes thanks to blog readers, local friends and companies I contacted.  Some of the prizes include:
  • iPod nano
  • $50 gift card to ToysRUs
  • Gift Certificate to Mabel's Labels
  • Dog Training session
If you are planning to come, but haven't yet signed up for an appointment, that's fine!  There are still some appointments in the afternoon, or you can walk right in and we'll do our best to get you in as quickly as possible.  Schedule an appointment!

If you are giving blood, be sure to eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water (even the day before - it's harder to find good veins if you are dehydrated).  If you are feeling ill (other than nervous about the poke!) please reschedule to donate another time.  Make sure to bring a photo ID.

Chris, Scarlett and I can't wait to you all there!

P.S. - If you can't come to our drive, but you gave blood, let us know via the pink widget on the sidebar.  We will post all the names we collect and a final total of donors at the end of the month!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Present from Momma

Months ago, while Scarlett and I were in and out of the hospital every week or so, I started to hatch a plan for something I could make for her in all my "free" time (otherwise known as the time I spent sitting staring at the walls in the hospital).  It was shortly after my Pinterest addiction began, and I was eager to try something I had pinned.  Then, one day I saw a quiet book, and I was hooked.

I had a quiet book when I was little.  It was a fabric book with activities that would keep little hands busy for a while - things like counting, lacing, weaving, shoe laces, buttons, zippers and other gizmos.  I saw some wonderful examples here, here, here, here, here and here.  Around this time, I bought a basic sewing machine, which I have since used for a multitude of projects, including the diaper boat and Scarlett's birthday outfit (pictures to come!)  I began what I thought would be a simple little project that could live in one small box (which is what I told Chris - "it will all stay in the little box when I'm not working on it!  Not in the way at all!") and about 6 months and many boxes later, I ended up with this:

The fish slide side to side on ribbon waves.
Zippers zip up and down
...on buttons!
Shoe tying (a kindergarten teacher pet peeve)

...with snaps!

Two number pages with counting beads

Textures (velvet, vinyl, sequins, corduroy, satin "snakeskin")
Dress up doll...
...with outfits!
Picnic! (the food fits in the basket)

 It was a long labor of love.  I look forward to Scarlett and I playing with this as we wait in the clinic for hours of end.  I have a ton of ideas for new pages to add eventually, but I promised myself and Scarlett that I would have a finished product in time for her birthday (and she's a tough taskmaster!)  It was a fun way to learn how to use all the functions of my sewing machine, and even though it is a little rough in some places, it is pretty sturdy.

I'm quite proud of it, despite it's quirks, and I can't wait until I can start tackling my next project!