Saturday, March 12, 2011

They came bearing gifts...

Last weekend we were lucky enough to have family fly in for a visit and we couldn't have been more excited! My in-laws Steve and Laurie, aka Gramma and Grampa flew in for a short trip and brought along our nephew Tyler with them. Tyler is Eric's sisters oldest son whose 8 years old and one of Owen's favorite people so needless to say we were all pretty excited about the visit. Eric and Owen went off to the airport on Saturday to pick them up while Mason and I waited at home for their arrival. When I got the call they were on their way I could hear Owen in the background talking a mile a minute and it was obvious he was bursting with excitement. Once we all met up, Gramma and Grampa had some surprises to share with us. They came bearing gifts! The boys had asked for some new books recently so that's just what they got! Daddy was thrilled with a few new additions to his wardrobe and we got our very first baby gift for our newest little guy, the traditional Red Sox onesie that every true New Englander gets for their child. I'm saving the best for last because that's just the way it should be...I got two of them most amazing gifts ever. First, a new pair of Coach sneakers! Woohoo! Boy, am I glad I have a mother in law with good taste! And the all time favorite thing they brought...Dynamite Sticks from Wholly Cannoli Bakery in Worcester, Ma. If you don't already know I have been craving these for months and to have them shipped hundreds of miles away costs a pretty penny. Luckily, Laurie picked some up the day before and packed them in a cooler in a suitcase after calling airlines and researching to make sure she wouldn't get arrested or kicked off the plane for smuggling Italian pastries into the airport! After going to all that trouble I think it's safe to say it was WELL worth it because they were AMAZING!!! I had four of them all to myself and it took everything in me to hold back from eating them all at once. SO GOOD!

Now on to the rest of the weekend activities! We spent some time going out to eat and to the playground so we could show off some of our favorite spots. Then it was home for a quiet night with some pizza and ice cream while we the boys wrestled and sat by the fire. We spent Sunday exploring the Museum of Natural History in DC and riding the rails of the metro. Of course we forgot the stroller, but luckily we had enough people to pass around the kids when they got too tired to walk. The boys all loved seeing the huge dinosaurs skeletons and got pretty grossed out by the section devoted to bugs. Tyler especially got into this part where he seemed to like looking at everything but not so much as to participate when the scientist decided to pull giant live bugs out of jars for people to hold. He got close enough to see while staying behind some of the more hands on viewers...I can't say I blame him! Then we headed home just in time to beat the rain walking through the city and back to settle everyone in before it was on to one of my favorite parts of the weekend!

My in-laws were also kind enough to surprise Eric and I by sending us off to a hotel on Sunday night so that Mama and Daddy could transform into Lynden and Eric for the night. Gramma and Grampa held down the fort with the three boys and the dog while we went off to the Sheraton for a little getaway. We were so excited to have the opportunity to get some down time for ourselves and have a date night...and SLEEP! We started out by going to dinner at a local steakhouse where we took our time enjoying appetizers and great meals and some drinks for Eric, non-alcoholic for myself of course! Then we were off to a movie where we saw Hall Pass and were able to get back to the hotel by 10pm to call it a night. I think we were both tired from our busy weekend while also exhausted from life in general. Things get so crazy in everyday life when we're working and parenting and raising a family and I think it's important to rejuvenate yourself once in a while. This was the first time we've gone away for the night like this but I'm hoping it won't be our last! The next morning we were surprisingly up by 8am or so and headed down to the hotel breakfast before meeting up with the family. We hung around and did some shopping and playing before having to wrap up our mini-vacation. Steve, Laurie and Tyler headed back to Ma on Monday afternoon and we were definitely sad to say goodbye. We're so lucky to have such great family and appreciate them always. We're looking forward to seeing them again when we make our next trip up to New England! Here's some pictures we took throughout our visit!

Ty with his favorite dog, Rocco!
Dynamite Stick!!!! 
Cousins in front of the Washington Monument
Tyler by the Capital Building
Grampa and Mason at the Museum of Natural History
Owen posing with a...bison?
My big boy Masie
The Laundry Family

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When life gets too hard to stand...

Tonight I am feeling extremely thankful for my children. I think too often I take for granted just how lucky I really am to have healthy thriving children. I have been so grateful when I have given birth to my beautiful baby boys who were so perfectly healthy and continue to feel that sense of appreciation and relief when going through ultrasounds, doctors visits, viruses that come and go, etc. How can you not? It's natural to think about it when we go through these type of things. I pray daily and thank god for my family and for our health but it's not usually until we're faced with trials in our lives that we truly stop and think of how lucky we are to have our health. Can you imagine what it must be like for those parents who have children that aren't well? I don't think I know anyone personally who is struggling with serious issues with their little one but can imagine it must be an extremely difficult situation. It absolutely breaks my heart at the thought of an innocent little child having to go through any pain or discomfort while they muster every ounce of strength in them to keep fighting. Can you EVEN imagine?

I have come across a family who is in this very situation right now and wanted to share their story with you. I don't actually know these people, which probably sound strange that I'd be sharing their story with you right? Well, here's how I came across them.....I occasionally visit a website that is dedicated to pregnancy, parenting and children. Often times when I visit this website I have seen people writing things about "Baby Scarlett" and how she's fighting, or please donate, or we need to pray. Whatever the case may be, this little girl has that whole stinkin website fighting for her and if you ask me she deserves it. The reason I am writing this tonight is because Baby Scarlett is a four month old little girl who her parents thought was perfectly healthy and then at her two month well checkup she was diagnosed with  a brain tumor. Since then she has battled brain surgery, hospital stays, and chemotherapy among many, many other difficult experiences. This little girl is fighting for her life and she needs all the prayers she can get. Her parents have a blog in which they update regularly on what is going on in their lives and the battle that Scarlett is facing right now. I happened to read through their blog tonight and feel that the very least I can do is to share her story and continue the prayer chain for this little girl. Please pray for Scarlett and help this little girl win this battle. A friend has a sign in her home which says, "When life gets too hard to stand, kneel" and it's time like this that remind us to be faithful and God will come through for us. Jesus said, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22. Please have faith for this baby and PRAY! 

Here is the link to baby Scarlett's parents blog. Read through and see what a truly special family they are and the extremely difficult journey they are facing. God bless that baby girl!

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