Sunday, October 7, 2012

dragon walk

Last weekend was a very special one for our local heart families.  Andrew was honored as one of the ambassadors this year and we were so proud to be part of something so special.

Not only was my husband on the radio to promote this event, he also spoke the morning of the walk, and I seriously think he has a second career as a public speaker- he is awesome!  I love hearing him talk about his son- you can just feel his pride in his son.  I love how Andrew is looking up at his daddy in this picture.  He thinks his daddy is pretty much the most amazing person on Earth.
I am a teacher and I talk in front of kids all day, but I could never stand in a group like this and make the impact that Craig can.
This is the only picture I got of the bounce house!  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the kids in it because when we weren't walking or on stage... they were in the bouncy!  Ha!  It was a hit.
The other ambassador was sweet "little" Andrew (as Andrew calls him!).  They are about a year apart in age, and they have been buddies pretty much since they were babies.
This is them in 2008 at a heart group Halloween party!  Ha!  Are they not the cutest little things you've ever seen??  So fun to think they have known each other all this time.
I met his mommy, Erin, at a heart group meeting when her Andrew was just born.  Both boys have Tetralogy of Fallot, and both have new little sisters with perfect hearts!  And they are just best buddies.  I have been blessed to get to know Erin these past few years.  It is so special for these boys to relate to each other.  One night at our heart group meeting we watched the boys lifting up their shirts and showing each other their scars. We are so blessed to be part of such a special group of people with children who can lift up their shirts, showing visible proof of their unexplainable bond, and then go on playing.  It is truly amazing.
Our family and the Burton family.  Seriously, we didn't get one picture where both Andrew's weren't picking their nose, making weird faces or had their eyes shut!  Ha!
All the heart families in our group on stage.  We have gotten to know some amazing people through this group.  It was started by two fellow heart moms and great friends, Melissa and Emily.  Help-A-Heart is a nonprofit group that raises money to directly benefit heart families with expenses, like hospital stays, food, gas money, hotel money, etc.  Every time we are in the hospital with Andrew they provide us lunch.  They also helped us early on when Andrew had his first surgery.  Melissa is one of the first people I met in the heart world and I truly believe that she knows everything there is to know about hearts!  I spent hours on the phone with her and we just clicked right away.  Her son, Dylan, was a very special little boy with a special heart.  I am blessed to say that I got to know Dylan on this Earth before he passed on to meet Jesus.  Melissa is an amazing person, and she has always had a special bond with Andrew.  They named the walk "Dylan's Dragon Walk" after her son because he loved dragons.  One of my favorite memories of Dylan is that he always had little finger puppet dragons on his thumbs.
My sweet sister in law brought Evelyn and Jayden to the walk (Uncle Jay was working!) and Ga Ga and Papa came, too.  It meant so much to me to have our family there to support our special heart group.  I didn't tell Andrew his cousins were coming, and I wish I had recorded his face when they came running up to him.  He loves them so much.  They have always been so supportive and always make the long drive to Iowa City to visit when Andrew is in the hospital.  These two are the best medicine!!  Ha!  They can cheer him up immediately, every time.  I am so grateful my kids have such special cousins they can grow up with.

Kerigan loves Evie and Jayden too.  She even says "Evie!"  She was grouchy this whole morning until Jayden got in the wagon with her!  Ha!
Sweet cousins!
And my precious babies... this picture melts my heart.
After the walk we all gathered back at the park and played, visited with families and Kerigan took the stage!  Ha!

Check her face out in this picture- she makes this face all the time and I love it so much!
These pictures crack me up... a little girl on a mission!
Almost got it...
Aha!  Finally found it!  Her beloved paci.
I begged and pleaded for her to take a paci early on and she wanted nothing to do with it.  I kept pushing it on her, and now I've created a monster!  She won't go without it!  I tried to do what I did with Andrew and only let her have it at nap time and bedtime, but she won't have it.  She wants it all the time!  I think breaking her is going to be lots harder than it was to break her brother of it!  
She fell right to sleep on my heart mama friend Mandy.  Mandy just loves Kerigan- she is always asking me to post more pictures!  She always wants to hold Kerigan at meetings but she is on the go all the time!  So Mandy took the opportunity when Kerigan was getting sleepy!  She wouldn't let me take her away!  Ha!
Mandy has two precious girls Andrew loves playing with at meetings.  He calls them "those nice girls."  He always says "Mama, are those nice girls coming?"  Ha!
After a very special day Uncle Jay, Aunt Rachel and the kids came over for dinner and a bonfire.  We roasted s'mores and sat by the fire well past 10:00.
And we were having way too much fun to wipe the chocolate off our faces!

We will never forget this perfect day spent with our special friends and family.

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