Saturday, June 30, 2012

dreamnight at the zoo

A couple of weeks ago, we attended Dreamnight at the Zoo, put on by Blank Children's Hospital and the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  We went several years ago when Andrew was a baby, and honestly we never went again because it was way too crowded!  The line was so long to get in, that by the time you got in the night was half over.  Then the line for dinner took so long that you hardly got to see the animals or do the other fun activities.  I just never had a desire to go back, even though I think it is a great and free program for families with children facing illness.

Well, this year they split it up into 2 different nights, and it was awesome!  Way less people and we got right in, and we knew this time to go straight to dinner first!  No waiting!  It was a perfect evening with beautiful weather and I'm so glad we went!
Do they look pumped for the zoo or what??
They had entertainment while we waited to go in!

Several people had different animals out for the kids to touch.  Andrew loves this lizard!
But his face was pretty priceless when this guy came walking up the sidewalk!
He got a tatoo of a shark... "with blood!"  he said!  Ha!
We spent the evening with our heart friends, Andrew and his mommy and sister.  Love them!  And they had free train rides!
No she wasn't drinking the pop!  Ha!
The zoo is improving year by year, this year they added a new Australian exibit and animals.  Soon they are bringing Rhinos!
Another fun friend!
And something else to touch!  Andrew is never scared of these things!  You couldn't pay me to touch it!  Ha!
This cracks me up!  We put our girls in a picture with the princesses... had to do it!  Kerigan looks thrilled, right?  She was tired!  Ha!
We just happened to catch the last week for the Ice Age exhibit, which couldn't have thrilled Andrew more!

Again, he wanted his picture taken by all these things, even the weird ones!  Ha!
And the mammoth- his favorite!
I just have to write this conversation down to remember it... on the way home from the zoo we were talking about the displays and that last year they had dinosaurs.  He was asking why we had to leave after the night was over and I told him the animals were going to sleep.  He asked if the mammoth and those dinosaurs went to sleep too.  I asked him if he thought they were "real" and he said no.

So we proceeded to discuss the fact that dinosaurs and mammoths are now extinct, which means they died a long time ago and don't live on Earth anymore.  This seemed to shock him, and his lip actually quivered and he got tears in his eyes and said "I don't want the dinosaurs to be dead!"  Oh my gosh, it was the sweetest thing ever!  And let's just say I felt really bad for ruining the night by breaking his heart!  Ha!
And this little girl fed herself her bottle for the first time!  Yay!

Overall it was a great night and we saw many other heart families out enjoying the evening.  It was just perfect weather and a perfect amount of people!  We will definitely be adding this to our "must do" list every year!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Andrew has been having fun playing T-Ball this spring/summer for the first time!
He was so cute out there with his little glove, catching (or not catching!  Ha!) and throwing the ball.
I was pretty impressed with his throw in this picture!  This was game #1!
Stepping up to bat...
Love the look of concentration on his face!  He is pretty good at hitting, but sometimes knocks the whole "T" over!  Ha!
Running in his way too big shirt and way too big helmet!  Ha!  It's amazing he could even do anything!  They give all the kids the same size shirts and they always fit everyone else but Andrew!  Ha!
He was so cute, when he'd hit the ball, we'd yell "RUN!!!" because he'd just stand there, stunned that he actually hit it!  Then, he'd run to first base, stop and look at us and say "I win!"  Ha!  Yes, his daddy is an athletic director.... he has some work to do!
We also had to help him figure out to run all the bases!  Ha!
Watching Bubba play!  
I love this... daddy "coaching" from behind the fence!

If he gained nothing else, I hope he remembers and enjoyed being part of a team.  One sweet little boy came up to him after one game and said "Nice game, Andrew!"  It just made my heart so happy. 
Discussing the game very seriously with daddy.

I never even would have imagined Andrew would be playing T-Ball someday.  It always brings me back to those fragile days in the NICU and after his surgeries.  He made it... and he's come out on top!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

heartwalk 2012

We had a very small turnout for the Heartwalk this year.  The smallest we've ever had since we started walking six years ago.  Since then, Andrew has been the ambassador, and that year we seemed to have the largest turnout to date.  We've raised on average $2,000 every year.  In case you aren't doing the math... that's over $10,000 we've raised for the American Heart Association in Andrew's life time.  
We think that's pretty incredible.  Recently, in a life changing cath procedure, Andrew directly benefitted from current research and education of CHD's.  I am confident that in his lifetime, the dollars that we have helped raise will make more life changing events for him and countless other children.  To say we've been a part of that is extremely rewarding and nothing short of amazing.

 I'm going to admit, this year I was worried because I know how much Andrew loves having his family and friends surround him.  I feel like the older he gets, the more he understands his special heart, and understands the support he receives.  So, I'm not gonna lie.  I was bummed this year when many of our loyal walkers couldn't make it.  We usually have a big party at the house afterwards, with lunch and cake and lots of people.  I always love it.  

But I also have to admit, the day turned out to be pretty special, despite the smaller team this year.  First of all, we still raised $1,300, so our loyal supporters did not disappoint.  We know everyone was with us in spirit!  Secondly, Andrew didn't seem to notice the team was about 1/10 of its usual size.  He was happy as could be, and we were all so proud.
He was excited to see his special heart buddy, Andrew.  These two have known each other since they were babies and his mommy and I have gotten to be great friends.  There's nothing like other "heart moms" who just understand without even speaking words.  We are so grateful for our heart support group and many families we know were out walking so we had a lot of fun connecting with them, instead of running around worrying about keeping all 30+ people in our team together!  Ha!
Two special little survivors... I love their shirts!
This was Kerigan's first year supporting her brother.  But I had to laugh because she was definitely there last year!  As I waddled along, 36 weeks pregnant!  Ha!
I love the sea of people... walking for one common goal.
We all laughed and laughed about this picture above- do you see my extra belly button the stray cheerio?  Ha!  So typical of my life right now!  
The funniest part about it was the fact that these two ate cheerios pretty much until they were stuffed.  They give out bags of them, and also each kid had a bowl.  They were spilled all over the wagon, sticking to everything, including every roll of Kerigan's legs!  Ha!  It was quite a process cleaning everything up.  So the picture just made me laugh.

She's so silly!
Our team at the finish line!
After the walk there are always special things going on.  I loved this- Andrew went right up and hugged this big heart!  Ha!

He can't get enough of these bouncy slides!
He wanted to go again and again...
They were giving out all kinds of things- including beach balls!  And in the background Jason Brown was performing a concert.  It was so much fun and just a great morning!  We enjoyed just going back home and not entertaining (don't get me wrong, entertaining is one of my favorite things!)  But we enjoyed some family quiet time and relaxing afterwards, which we have never done before.
My little walkers!
We may not have had the numbers... but we had just as much love and support as always.  Thanks to everyone who donated this year and helped make a difference in the lives of children born with congenital heart defects!

Together, we HAVE made a difference!

Related Posts with Thumbnails