Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dinner with the Ronald McDonald House

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."
Mother Theresa
On Sunday February 17th, Team William provided a mid-winter BBQ for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of CNY.  For the past three years, our family has been fortunate to have the offerings of the RMDH program.  From our very first trip to Sloan-Kettering in December 2009 as a family still overwhelmed by the new diagnosis of  a baby with cancer through the present time as we continue to travel for medical treatment, RMDH's have welcomed us with open arms. 
All our efforts combined to create a lovely (and may I say delicious!) night for the many families currently in need of our community’s House. Using each of our skills, we came together and were able to accomplish something beautiful.
Dad grilling up the sausage. 
~ a busy kitchen ~
The kitchen crew!
My friend Rosanne brought lovely table decorations and candy.
I got in a little crafting fix by making food labels.
There were many kids staying at the house, including siblings of children in the local hospitals.  They appreciated the playdough, cookie cutters and craft sets that Nicholas and William picked out.
Nicholas was so excited when he found these foam airplane crafts. He was certain it was what he wanted to bring for the RHMD kid. 
 William and his playdough materpieces!
In all, I know how fortunate we are to have the support of those who continue to extend thoughtfulness to us.  We have many close friends and family members who I know wholeheartedly would do anything to make the boys and I smile.  Beyond my silly homemade thank you notes, I am often reeling with the wanting to give back to the same people who are so supportive of us.
Time and time again, I find myself at a loss as to how to accomplish that.
Without knowing a way to give something of thanks for those who help me, I will in turn give back to those who I know how to be helpful to.
This small gesture was truly made possible by those who came out to help, those who supported the effort AND those who have supported my family.   Without this flow of energy, giving and gratitude, this would not have been made possible. 

The evening of the meal coincidentally marked the 3-year anniversary of our stay at the RHMD is NYC for William’s major tumor surgery.  Having a welcoming home at a reasonable cost for over 4 consecutive weeks while William was hospitalized was invaluable to our family during those difficult days.  It truly meant a lot to be able to give back on a time of year that is so meaningful to us. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blueberry pickin'

We had a lovely afternoon picking blueberries. 

Nicholas was very excited to go, saying he wanted to pick enough berries to make Poppie a blueberry pie.  Once at the patch, he saw the similarity of the blueberry bushes to grape plants, which reminded him of their newest John Deere DVD that shows a Korvan grape harvester.  Nicholas instantly turned our Radio Flyer wagon into a Korvan harvester...bringing plenty of his spirit to the typically quiet revenes of the berry patch.

William kept our loot secure in the wagon....I mean Korvan harvester. 

Our harvester also had capabilities of sorting berries by size, with Nicholas seeking "plump grapes."

I love capturing the boys in their play schemes.  Here they were combining harvest collections and emptying the "Korvan."

All in all, we really picked some beautiful berries.  I served some with dinner and Nicholas said, "Oh wow, these are the berries we picked!  These are really special ones, I remember picking this one!"

As we were checking out, William asked the teenage farm hand, "How you shake your berries?"  It of course took the boy by surprise and Nicholas chimed in, "He really means how do you harvest the berries with a Korvan shaker?"  After explaining of the John Deere video, the attendant told us the berry patch is entirely hand-picked.  Nicholas' response, "Man, that's a lot of work.  I think you should buy a shaker attachment!"

Monday, July 30, 2012

Construction Awe

As Grammy was driving through the village, she called to give us a heads up of some major construction repair going on right down our street.  Knowing how much the boys would love watching the real guys in action, we of course had to head down.  I asked Nicholas to check the mailbox, assured he would notice the flashing lights down the street.  Seconds later, following the squeals from the porch, he darted in the house straight to his hardhat and vest, babbling he needed to go check out the problem...

Nicholas could have stayed there trough the final step (as it was, he got rained on).  He is purely fascinated with all things construction... knows all the machines/vehicles/terminology....and is holding on to his future career destiny as "a construction worker."  I just love his excitement for this!

Who needs entertainment when you live in the village?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photo-A-Day: Chores

February 5th, 2012
These boys have always had a thing for cleaning.....which will hopefully only grow stronger in the coming years ;)

This morning, they were calling themselves, "Miss Jackie 1 and Miss Jackie #2."

Miss Jackie is an amazingly supportive friend who we met over two years ago when she was recommended as a house cleaner to help just after William was diagnosed.  She entered our home back then and remains in our hearts today, clearly as the boys show. 

~ our version of a two-foot powered floor polisher ~

Nicholas told me this day, "Mommy, you can pay me in those bill dollars, because I'm saving up all my monies for something really big."  This boy has it all figured out....and his window skills are not too shabby!

My busy boy!

Pennies & putty in PJ's

Today William insisted on putting on his "Nicky Elf pajamas" around noon, hours after he had been dressed for the day.  This boy sure likes his comfort clothes!

He thoroughly enjoyed digging through putty to find treasure coins. 

At one point, he tucked close to the blob of putty on the table and said ever so seriously, "time to cooperate putty!"  So priceless!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Photo-A-Day: Something You Love

Pure and simple,

I love being home....
being together...
all the silly moments...

 doing what bring us smiles....
seeing the boys content and pursuing their interests....
...and just being kids

...because that's what its all about.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo-A-Day: Tree

Now in our new house, it's been somewhat exciting to see what's popping up in the yard.  Truly, these beauties are very confused by our "winter" weather....

Photo-A-Day: Black & White

There's no doubt about it....William absolutely adores his Poppie.  Most mornings, he wakes and asks "Poppie coming today?"   The minute Poppie comes in the house, William directs, "You take off your coat Poppie."   He watches Poppie's every move and treasures all his time with him. 

He's also picked up on a few of Poppie's trademarks...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

"Today is gone. Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.
Every day, from here to there
funny things are everywhere."

Imagine that my Nicholas was hesitant to even read Green Eggs and Ham this morning....I swear he knows all my tricks to get him to try a new food!  As we were beating up the green scrambled eggs, Nicholas offered the interest of green french toast - whoohoot!

We enjoyed a walk around the "big hill block" this morning and ended the day with the boys somehow conniving this safety line repair/rescue man set up. 

You just never know what to expect between William's dare-devil side matched with Nicholas' infinite creative play....
My favorite part was how Nicholas was sure to protect William's pump pack by hanging it on a cupboard knob.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Photo A Day #2 - Water

Last week, we welcomed new pets - the perfect type for a family like ours!

The boys have been working on naming each underwater creature.  So far, we have Crabby Crab, Sunshine, Snail ("just like Snail on Franklin!" according to Nicholas) and Deep Red.

We're still working on encouraging William to keep his sticky paws out of the water...busted, William

Picture A Day Challenge #1

I've longed for a way to get back into find the joy I once had in snapping pictures of my boys, not stress over the lighting issues of our new home and the never-ending mess that will surely be in the background of every picture.  Coming across the Picture-a-Day March Challenge will hopefully be the encouragement I need right about now to rejuvenate my passion and spirits.

So, without further ado, today's challenge topic couldn't be more perfect....

"Something that makes you happy"

William was recently hospitalized on February 25th (his two-year anniversary of TPN dependency) through the 28th.  Nicholas was absolutely crushed when I told him William had to go to the hospital that Saturday morning, as was I.  The urgency of William going to the hospital literally comes out of the blue, no warning....and we are all left to just deal.  For a 5-year-old who has been tragically affected just as much as William and I over the past 2+ years of the illness roller coaster, this is a lot to handle.

After begging to come with William and I, crying unconsolably in the fetal position of our play tent that had just been assembled in the family room that morning, repeating over and over again that he just doesn't like being away from Mommy....  And then there was the best 5-year-old's attempt to pursuade me that he will help me take care of William at the hospital. Nicholas eventually calmed down after many attempts by all the adults to redirect his attention  (he was thankfully consumed with making a combine harvester out of TPN delivery boxes with Grammy, pictures to soon come).

The next day, one excited Nicholas beamed through William's hospital room to hand-deliver a special get-well card he made for his little brother.  He exclaimed, "I made it especially for you, it's me and you holding hands, William!"

These two brothers have an amazing connection between them.  Nicholas can interpret William's language the best of anyone - they almost remind me of the special connection twins have.  Nicholas is always William's best medicine and Nicholas just adores and protects his brother in every way.  Their relationship brings me inspiration...and hope in the reality that authentic and enduring relationships really can exist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Welcome to Tim Hortons! Can I take your order?"

August 9, 2011
With so much going on, the little moments of this day gave me that quiet whisper that things will be okay for us.  

Nicholas is constantly coming up with hysterical play schemes.  With so much whirling lately between William's needs and all those things we shall refer to as "life management issues," Nicholas' need for complex, Mommy-help required play can be just another thing to attempt to juggle in the mix.  Of course his play includes complex directives often for me to tape random toys together in an effort to make a greater Nicholas-imagined device or him snatching items from the recycling bin only to convenience me that he can use the items RIGHT NOW instead of it being recycled into something different.  I have to admit though, when he instructed me to go behind the breakfast bar and then said, "Welcome to Tim Hortons!  Can I take your order now?"  I got in my much-needed, well-overdue laugh that cleansed this Momma's spirit.

With headphones on, a nice selection of small, medium and large cups and a variety of Keurig coffee selections, Nicholas was "Joan, the owner of the newest Tim Horton's store across the street from William's cancer hospital in New Nornk City!"

(for those that don't know the significance, Joan & Dave own our local Tim Horton's in Cicero and used to own the store at Golisano Children's Hospital.  They have become dear friends and are constantly extending their thoughtfulness with complimentary coffees and Tim Bits for us.  And Nicholas gets a little tongue tied with saying New York....its more of a New Nornk).

My little man even corrected my coffee order when he said, "No Mommy, you always get extra cream and two Splenda!"

Of course, once his Tim Horton's store was getting really busy, he hired "Pop" to help man the drive-thru orders. 

William was thoroughly amused with the whole production too!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Climber Strikes Again...

This boy has no fear....he runs, he climbs, he has been caught many times putting a step stool on the couch to attempt some sort of death defying act...and he insists on doing things "me" (as in me do.)  This day, William got himself into Nicholas' chair for breakfast.  He had pulled out the chair, climbed in as if climbing a ladder, then yelled to Nicholas and I in the kitchen with a grunty "ME!"