Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sara's Wish for a Playground!

Here's the bottom line:  This face is why I do what I do.  It's that moment of surprise, when a child forgets every other thing going on in their world, they're lifted out of their frail body, and for what I hope is a lifetime crammed in a short few minutes, they are floating on Cloud 9. 
In Sara's case, her Cloud 9 was delivered in the form of a playground in her backyard, with all the specifics she could ever ask for (and did!)....down to a yellow slide, and a cargo net, and rock wall, and a lot more suprises!

Our Saturday started bright and early stopping by Jeff's office to pick up supplies we needed (to include cutting some rebar!).  Not only has Jeff become a board member, but if his company isn't sponsoring events or wishes, he will....God love him.  For Sara's, he shelled it out for all the PVC pipe and mulch--so thanks, Jeffrey, from me and MAW for helping make a wish come true! 

We loaded up our truck and trailer, sent a big ol' Robinson dump truck full of the mulch ahead, and headed to Lanett, AL to sweet Sara's house, where her mom had already snuck her out for the day so we could work, work, work!

Terri, my "wish partner" beat me there with her husband, and some more manual labor for the day!  Bill is an ever present part of all MAW events, and I suppose an "unofficial" board member and volunteer as well!

Another HUGE shout-out needs to go to Action Buildings from Columbus, GA who makes the most wonderful playsets.  They discounted our playset big time, and sent two of their best installers to put ours up in record time.  It was such a breeze to work with Action and to design exactly what we wanted in a custom playset.  Thank you, Action!!

Our two Action guys making magic happen!

We had two other pretty amazing people come to volunteer to make this wish come true.  They might have been the most special of all in my book.  Anyone remember Jake?  He's a wish kid.  He wished to meet Spongebob on a Nick Cruise.  Every since then, he's won my heart, and keeps popping up in my life.  He gets his big ol' heart from his parents too.  His mom and dad both stay super active in MAW.  So his dad asked to come (with his big brother) and help out.  With a lump in my throat, realizing he simply wants to give back what was given to him, I accept the offer.  He is a humble man, who didn't even stay for the unveiling to Sara, but quietly ducked out without any thanks....people and their hearts.  I am forever touched.

As the playset installers did their thing, the guys set the PVC pipe around the playground area (which apparently is the latest and greatest material to use on playgrounds...PVC that is...with its rounded edges and smooth surface, its a lot more child friendly than those old railroad ties).  Next we all grabbed wheelbarrows and rakes and got to spreading the mulch.  I'd be fine if I never saw mulch again.  Or a wheelbarrow.  Or a shovel.  Just sayin.

Oh man, but when it was finished, what a feeling!  (And I don't mean that..."let's all fight for a seat on the swing to rest for a minute!" feeling...)  It was that feeling of realizing what we'd done, and just why we'd done it, you know.  (Made Jeff stinking so bad on the way home a lot more bearable....hehehehe)

And just look!  She got her yellow slide, her swings, her "shaky" bridge, her "fort," her rock wall, cargo net....there's even binoculars and a captain's wheel!

So when we gave mom the call to bring her home, and that surprised face walked out the back door....well, let's just say it was priceless!  Her words were "It's my playground!!!" 

So there's only one thing to do to make this playground Miss Sara's in our book:  an official ribbon cutting ceremony of course!

And as soon as the ribbon hit the ground, her excitement could be contained no longer!  She darted around the yard to her playset, and touched everything there was (at least twice!).  And squealed the whole time!

Oh, how I loved every minute of this day Sara!  Your sweet smile in the end made all the hard work so worth it!  I hope you make many wonderful memories on your new playset, sweet girl!  Best Wishes!!  We Love You!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meet Miss Abigail

Friday afternoon started out with the typical Kubota ride with a frosty beverage around the farm. 

We also made a stop by Miss Abigail's house to bring her a prize I had ordered because a certain little girl I know is Hello Kitty c-r-a-z-y.  You'll see it when she sports her cute Smitten & Co tee on her birthday in a few weeks!

She's about the prettiest thing around.  But she's also just about the most shy thing around too!  It could frankly depend on the weather if she might talk to us or not.  And she's known Uncle Jeff her whole life!  But for some reason when we asked if she wanted to ride with us, she said OK!
So off we went.  She wanted to check on the baby lamb that was born (wish I had my camera, he was so cute!).  Then we checked on all the cows.  And last we checked out the turtle holes. 

By the time we pulled back up at Stan and Loretta's, I said "Abigail, let's have a slumber party at Uncle Jeff's!  Let's eat lots of ice cream and watch girl movies and drive Uncle Jeff crazy!  Won't that be fun!!"

And I'll be durn if that child didn't say "OK!  I need to get my BBQ and Hello Kitty toothbrush first!"  (She did not want our dinner apparently.)
Jeff and I were blown away, and so was her mama.  We all gave each other winks, knowing this wouldn't last long.  I also hadn't thought about the fact Jeff and I were due in town at 8am for a Make-A-Wish event....

We all sat down to dinner....Jeff and I to steak and zucchini, Abigail to her BBQ, and then we hit the bath while Uncle Jeff warmed up the recliner, go figure.

As we made crazy shampoo hair and lots of bubbles in the giant jacuzzi tub, we sent funny pictures to a sad mama who missed her baby....who to all of our surprise was still having a blast.

Next we picked out a very appropriate Barbie movie (YESSSSS) for the 4, 31, and 41 year olds to watch.  We all piled three deep in a king size bed for movie time (guess who got middles, lucky me) and made it through about 10 minutes before I was surrounded by snores.....

I proceeded to have the most restless night's sleep of my life, between Abigail talking in her sleep, twirling my hair (aka KNOTTING my hair) rolling on top of me, etc.  I told Jeff to Mark My Words!!  I will not have my kids in my bed!!! (Lord, please don't let me eat my words.....) 

But this angel woke up bright eyed with a smile on her face after a great night's sleep, which was my sole purpose in life that night.  So I suppose my mission was accomplished!  She said she had fun, but asked if we could start the Barbie movie that morning since we didn't finish!  HA!  So at 6:30am, we popped that puppy right back in....I just don't understand why Uncle Jeff didn't want to watch though?  Why is loading up the truck and feeding ducks more inticing??  Huh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aloha Joshua!

Joshua is an energetic 9 year old (in a house full of sisters!) whose biggest wish in the world is to go to Hawaii and swim with the dolphins and visit the place where Jurassic Park was filmed.  So the Make-A-Wish Foundation's plan is to make his wish come true this week!!  This sweet guy is a big time trooper who is fighting big time against the worst type of sickle cell anemia, along with his big sis. :(

But our job is to forget ALL ABOUT that yucky stuff, and to have FUN, FUN, FUN in Hawaii this week!  So we sent him off with a Hawaiian themed party at the restaurant of his choice.....Chucky Cheese!!!  I'd have taken more pictures, but I barely could get him to sit down for was all about TOKENS baby!  I will say he loved these special cupcakes I brought made by some pretty special bakers I know. ;)

Happy Wish Day, sweet boy!  I hope this trip is so very special for you and your family, and you make some precious memories!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reasons I Smile

 I have a lot of reasons to be happy.  My life is good.  I have a lot of wonderful people in it.  I laugh a lot.  It certainly comes with it's fair share of stress, but then I'm reminded that I've come so far, love so much, and am loved so much.  And that is enough for me. 

I smiled a lot this weekend.  The first time is when I was reminded just how well my Jeff knows me.  I must say he's trained well, ha!  When I came over to his house, the first thing he did was to take me outside to show me the palm tree by the pool that was blooming (a date nut palm).   I believe his exact words were "I just knew you would love this for practicing on with your camera."
 And as always, he was right.  :)  For no less that twenty minutes, he held the palm leaves away from my head so I could get up close to the beautiful blooms like I knew what I was doing.  He tells me if he had any idea a Christmas gift (my camera) would be used as often as it has....  I like to remind him my Yurman bracelet is used just as often....hint, hint... ;)
 As the afternoon progressed, I got a whole heckuva lot more reasons to smile.  Jeff's baby girl, Emmy and her cousin Amy let me "practice" on them too as they showed me their moves in the pool.

 It wasn't long before Kyle joined in and showed off as well.  But of course his moves always seemed a little more painful....and resulted in a red belly and back by the end!

 Emmy felt it was only right she score her brother after each jump.  And I must say, she's a tough critic!

 After a little more swimming, I kept on smilin.'  The girls came in to help me with a little project.  I have a Make-A-Wish party I needed cupcakes for, and I happen to know a little blonde who loves to bake (and lick icing).  So when I asked, there was exactly ZERO hestitation in helping me bake cupcakes!
 Amy and Emmy mixed up all kinds of colored icing, and frosted cupcakes til they could frost no more.  Then they sprinkled the mess out of them!  They are just perfectly bright and cheerful to celebrate Joshua's trip to Hawaii!
 Kyle even got into the next part.  We all made special cards for Joshua to let him know how excited we are for his trip.  I explained to the clowns what a special difference they were helping to make a sick child happy on the day his wish would come true, and they seemed genuinely happy to be a part of it.  It makes me proud to know how big their hearts are.  Kyle drew this awesome palm tree on my sign!
And how could I not smile with a rediculously unhealthy, but delicious!, dinner of fried fish, hushpuppies, and homemade fries that Jeffrey was working on in the background while we were doing our project!  Man please!

Yep, I'd say it was a good day.  The kind with lots of smiles.  The cheek-hurting kind.  Someone pinch me please.  I love my life.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mama's Love

Mother's Day started bright and early, and put a lot of miles on the truck, but was well worth it!  After all, it started off with us heading to Montgomery to Mimi and PawPaw's to meet up with my family....where we got to spend time with this pretty mama!

Next we scooted across town to Grandmother's to spend time with her and Uncle Pat's family.  Two weekends in a row with my family made me one happy girl!  

By late afternoon, we were on the road back to Columbus, to Jeff's parents, where warm poundcake and homemade iceream was waiting on the porch for us.  Have mercy.

 We wrapped up the day loving on this precious mama, and called this busy day a wrap!  Jeff and I are so very grateful for all our mamas' love, and so thankful to be able to spend time with the people we love most.  Happy Mother's Day, Mamas!  XOXO

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bugfest 2011

You know, like mudbugs.  See?

Saturday was my dear friends, Rich and Chrissie's, annual Crawfish Boil, at their house on Lake Harding.  We had perfect weather, a great crowd, and plenty of "mudbugs" to go around.  However, Jeffrey seemed a little guarded over his corner of the table.... I actually rarely saw him all day not looking like this....
He did manage to squeeze one picture in with the host.  (Probably because they planned their "outfits" together the night before I'm sure.)  hehehehe
And for the few minutes Chrissie wasn't on mommy or hostess duty, I grabbed her too (though we didn't coordinate our wardrobes as well).  :)

There were plenty of handsome men there.  And for once, I will refrain from speaking of Jeff.  :)  This one had my attention the whole time.

He may look just like his daddy, but he's got waaay more hair that Rich!  Sorry, bud!

Well, crap.  I run across a picture like this and how can I not mention him??  So it's settled.  I definitely did have the cutest date over 2 years old there.  Hands down.
Of course you ask Christian's sister Tori, and she'd tell you SHE'S the best thing on that lake.  And I'm inclined to agree.  She's pretty hot stuff.  After all, attitude is everything.
I've been to a lot of Warner Bugfests, but I've never been on the cooking end of things.  Watching Rich cook this year I learned a LOT.  First I gotta give him props....this Cajun friend of mine drives to Louisiana (a 14 hour round trip!) to pick up 300 pounds of fresh crawfish the day before each boil!

It's so strange to see these guys alive, crawling all over each other in those giant coolers!  And covered in salt too...if you don't know what that's for, I won't tell you here.  You need to Bing it, it's TMI. 

Sorry, little men....
Rich and his strong armed buddies dump a cooler full into the pot, and you can hear these crustaceans saying Hail Mary's as they plop.

Then with a nifty little carrying pole, they lower that heavy pot into the bigger pot that's just a boiling (was that technical enough?).  This is where their prayers cease. 
Sorry Sebastean.  This little mermaid is ready to eat some tails!

It was a beautiful day filled with LOTS of crawfish, a great time with friends, and perhaps lasted a little too long!  But on the bright side of things, if it hadn't....we would have never made that midnight run for my first "The Donut Hole" experience!  Bound to happen sometime...  :)  Here's to another great Bugfest, Warners!  You pulled off yet another one!!  Love yall!