Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Cheers for July 30th

While I try to live my life so that every day is special, today is a very special day for me, for three reasons. And since today is extra special I've decided to take the time to share why with all of you =)

Reason 1: It is Daddy's birthday! About a million or so years ago my father was born. He was raised on a farm in Indiana, and a member of the 4H club. Lucky for me Grandma gave me some old pictures of him growing up, isn't he adorable with his baby cow?:

Fast forward somewhere around 50 years and you have the picture Niecey took of him after snatching my camera (I may have given her permission to play with it) over Christmas:

Happy birthday Daddy, you have always been there for me and are a wonderful father to my siblings and myself as well as Niecey. You are the best daddy a girl could ask for and I love you very much!

Reason 2: It is Niecey's birthday! Six years ago today I had a very very very sore arm from being Middle Sis's leg holder. It was highly traumatic seeing my sister give birth, I NEVER want to view a baby being born again, including my potential future offspring! Even though I am scarred for life over seeing my sister shoving an 8lb 2oz baby out of her nether regions it was all worth it. I was blessed with the most adorable little niece after enduring all that and watching that tiny little baby grow into this little girl has been amazing:

And who doesn't like morning snuggles? Whenever I visit and Niecey wakes up before me she will quietly play by the room I sleep in and check periodically until she sees my eyes open. Often she will try to get me to get up and play with her but usually she'll humor me and give me some morning snuggles before "making" me get out of bed, one of the great perks of visiting the homeland!

Happy birthday Niecey! I hate that I've spent the last 4 years of your life so far away but know that I am doing it in part to be able to give you a better future and even though there are 350 miles between us I am always here for you. Thank you for making me an Auntie, I love you with all of my heart and am so very proud of you!

Reason 3: One year ago today I decided to stop being just an observer of the blogging community but to join it. I started this humble little blog for several reasons but one of the main ones was that I followed so many wonderful people and felt close to them even though they had no idea I even existed for the most part. I wanted to see if perhaps some of these great people would find me amusing and let me join the fun. In that year I have made friends with so many amazing people and am so proud to be a part of such an awesome community. We laugh together, we cry together, and when someone needs help people in the blogging community step up and do what they can to support whomever is down, whether it be with a sweet comment or by donating money/supplies or in my case a fellow blogger opened up his home and let me stay the night when I got stuck in traffic and was going to have to try and find a hotel in a city I had never been to (I have not forgotten you and your wife's kindness and what a great time we all had Kevin, thanks again and I will get around to writing a post about it one of these days!). I think the world would be a much better place if real society followed the example of the bloggers. Thank you all for reading my blog, for the great comments you leave and for befriending a nerdy grad student, I love you guys!

So two birthdays and a blogoversary all in one day, definitely reason to celebrate! What better way to celebrate than with a yummy chocolate cake:

The 6 yellow candles are for Niecey's birthday (yellow is her favorite), the green one is for Daddy and the blue one is for my blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Eyes for Jaclyn

The other day in water aerobics a fellow regular was passing out fliers and asking we post them and try to get the word out for a local charity. When she handed me one I told her I would try and do one better, given that it is summer there aren't as many people in my building and I'm not sure how many pay attention to the bulletin boards I told her I would write a blog post about it. I took the flier home with me and then went on the website listed, which led to a journal and I got to know a bit about this lovely family:

Don't they look nice? That picture was taken last summer when they went to Colorado, they had no idea that a year later they would be in a very different situation. This spring their sweet little Jaclyn, the one in the middle, started complaining about her eye. At first it seemed like it something minor and then they got a diagnosis that no parent wants to hear, their baby girl has retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye. They had to remove her right eye and unfortunately discovered that the cancer has spread and so she now is undergoing chemotherapy, she is only three and a half years old.

After surgery she made her puppy a patch just like hers.

Her first new eye, it has a little flower "tattoo" on the top because she wanted a pink eye, they compromised ;).

Given that this state is predominantly rural and the severity of Jaclyn's cancer they have to travel somewhat far for her treatments and to get her prosthetic eye. They thankfully have insurance but as everyone knows that does not cover every expense that they have related to getting Jaclyn the care she needs. As a result their family and friends are putting on a benefit next month to try and earn money to help them cover those extra costs. Anyone in central Iowa is invited to attend the event, it is on August 15, 2009 in Gilbert, IA from 5-7pm. They are also selling "Fight Like a Girl" clothing & merchandise and people can send monetary donations, for more details here is the benefit's website. **They recently added an online donation option, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can't miss it =)**

Big sister Courtney and Jaclyn at the zoo.

Jaclyn being totally adorable!

Please consider helping this family, whether it be through buying a shirt, attending the benefit, sending a donation or simply just keeping them in your thoughts and prayers. Any help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated, I have badges (see image below) that you can put in your sidebar, e-mail me at and I'll send you the code (let me know if you have one or two sidebars as the sizing is different). Also I would be thrilled and honored if any of you were willing to have this as a guest post on your blog. I will make sure all supportive comments get forwarded to Jaclyn's parents. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and for anything you do to help this family =)!


Note: All pictures are the property of Brenda and Leo Gessner and used with permission. The Eyes for Jaclyn graphic was made by Jaclyn's uncle, I just added the border and code.