Sunday, March 30, 2014

Four Months!...

Tomorrow is the big day!!  The silent auction officially opens for bidding at 8am, EST!  Get your trigger finger ready, friends! 

It will work similar to eBay.  You can type in your maximum bid and it will auto-bid for you up to that amount.  You will only be notified by text (or email if you registered your desktop or laptop) if your max bid was out-bid - or if you WIN!  So high tech, eh?

Please remember - anyone around the world can participate in this silent auction, but you need to register (which is free!). You can do that HERE.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and would like to attend the fundraiser on April 5th, which is the day the silent auction will end, you MUST purchase tickets in advance.  You have FIVE days to purchase your ticket HERE.  All tickets will remain $25.00 per person.  You can find all the details about the event I'm calling "Gavin's Playground Project" HERE, including directions, time, what to expect, etc.  The event is adults only.

Feel free to share the silent auction page on your social media sites!  The more eyes on this auction, the more wallets that might open and the closer we'll get to building a playground!

Tomorrow is the big day - 8am EST!  Set your alarms, people!!

But today?
Today is all about our little Miss Hope.
She is FOUR MONTHS old today.
She's beginning to really laugh and coo, which melts our hearts.
She's getting so big! She has rolls on her thighs and arms and is such a solid bundle when you pick her up.  I was so surprised when she weighed in at only 12 pounds at the doctor's last week!  I would have guessed 15, easy.
I do think she's about to have another growth spurt, though.  Last week I was complaining that she barely slept during the day - and would sleep all night.  This week she's been taking little naps during the day - and is back to waking up once during the night!  
I read that this sometimes happens at this age - and to just go with it so my milk production will keep up with her changing needs.  They wrote that, developmentally, babies at this age have so much going on during the day - distractions and exciting things to look at and a brother incessantly talking that makes them crane their necks to look and new milestones they are thinking about and so anxious to try- it's hard!!  And exciting!!
But at night, it's dark and quiet and she has my undivided attention and I have hers.  She fills her belly and goes right back to sleep.
And I have my moment to stare at her beautiful face and thank God for this incredible gift.  I love that time - just the two of us.  And I know, like everything else, it's just a passing phase.  She'll get herself adjusted and we'll be just fine. 
Hope often has her fingers (or, if she can get it in there - her whole hand!) in her mouth.  I have a hard time believing she's teething already - but it's possible, I guess!!  She's beginning to drool a little, too!
(As a side note - if you are coming to the event and see Hope, please try not to touch her hands!  I know it's a natural inclination to grab a baby's hands, but with so many different people - and knowing that she'll stick those hands right in her mouth - I'm nervous about her getting sick.) 
Happy Four Months, Hope Margaret!!
Enjoy the rest of today's photos!  I was grateful to have an assistant today.  Thanks, Daddy, for helping pull out the smiles!
We love you, beautiful girl!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Half Birthday in Heaven...

Dear Gavin,

Happy "Half Birthday," Bugaboo!

Today, you would have turned 6 1/2...halfway to seven.  We celebrate half birthdays in our family - we always have since you were six months old.  Not acknowledging today would be like not acknowledging you.  Just like we celebrate every second of every day that we had with you...we will continue to celebrate you and incorporate you into all of our family traditions.

It was easy to decide what to do.  Daddy, Brian, Hope  and me... we all decided to have a sleep over in a hotel that had a POOL!!  Not just any hotel, mind you.  We went back to the first hotel that you and Brian ever stayed in. You had so much fun in the water swimming with Daddy.
And Brian kept a safe distance - with no interest and a healthy fear of the pool.
A lot has changed since then.  Besides your obvious absence. 
Brian is a complete fish!  He was so excited in the room once he got his bathing suit on.
And we even got Hope a little teeny tiny baby bathing suit! We were very anxious to see how she would like the water.
She loved it.  So much.
As I held her and swayed back and forth in the water, I truly felt your presence.  In a way, I felt like I was holding you once again.  The water can make your body feel weightless. As it turns out, it did the same to my grief.  Being in the water made me feel so close to you. 
Brian loves the pool as much as you did - and he's getting so brave.  
He was even jumping in to us, getting his face wet and even holding his breath to go under water!  We were so proud - and it made all of us so happy to see him so happy.

I know you were watching.  Maybe you were even swimming with us!  We had a lot of laughs and I smiled thinking of how much fun you would have had if you were with us.

Last year on this day we went to Arnold's Family Fun Center... one of your favorite places. 
Daddy took the day off and we spent the whole afternoon as a family.

We rode your favorite ride - the Frog Hopper...
...and, for the first time, I carried you up inflatable stairs so we could go down the big slide together.  I'm so glad I did that - it is now a cherished memory.
We weren't doing anything extraordinary... or unusual.  This is just us.  We love to celebrate you and your brother and now your baby sister.  We really had a great time on this day last year.  And I'm forever grateful that we did.
We never - in a million years, EVER - could have known that you would be dead just 16 days later.


Gavin, I vow to you that we will always celebrate.  Not just your birthdays and half birthdays and what was and what you've inspired since.  That's easy.

I promise you - forever - that we will celebrate Brian and Hope.  Every birthday.  Every half.  Every day.  I know it would be important to you - I know it IS important to you - that we parent your brother and sister well.  And we will.  Not because you died.  But because you lived.

Happy Half Birthday, Gavin.  I love you.  I miss you.  I celebrate the uniqueness of you... and will forever.



Friday, March 28, 2014

The Last Auction Previews...

Here is the last round of Silent Auction Previews before it all opens on Monday for bidding!!  Some of these are whoppers and may totally surprise you.  

If you're wondering how you can help me - please share about Gavin's Playground Project anywhere and everywhere you can!

HERE is a link with all the event information.

HERE is a link to purchase tickets to the April 5th event.  You MUST have a ticket to get in!  Please register for the silent auction if you are attending the event.  Even if you have no intention of bidding on any of the items, there will still be ways you can participate if you are registered and it will save you time that night.

HERE is a link to register for the silent auction by pre-authorizing a credit card.  You will then be able to view all of the items, watch the bidding all week, and bid on your favorites!  Remember - registering and looking are both 100% free!

HERE is a link to make a tax deductible donation directly to the hospital.  Be sure to select "abilities playground" under donor designation.  And remember, you can write in any amount you want - every dollar counts!

Here is what you can tweet all of your favorite celebrities (if you can come up with something better, feel free!):  
Join free online silent auction & help build ability playground! PLS RT! Info &register: 

If you don't have a smart phone or an iPad - do not despair.
Here are instructions on how to view and bid on all of the silent auction items from your desktop or laptop:
Go to the GiveSmart registration page HERE.
Enter your information and use your home phone number.

Register your credit card.
You will get an email with a link that will take you to the auction page.

Enjoy the final previews!!  (I'll be previewing all of the fun raffle baskets next week!)

Alaskan Cruise
Cruise past fishing towns and majestic fjords aboard Royal Caribbean International to Alaska for seven nights in a veranda stateroom for two.

All Star Disney Vacation  
Make your family's Disney dreams come true in Orlando, Florida for seven days and six nights at the Disney's All-Star Movies Resort in a quad-room with economy class air for four, including five day park-hopper passes to Disney World.

America's Cup Yacht Experience
Learn the ropes and cast away in San Diego, California for five days and four nights at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina with economy class air for two, including a hands-on experience aboard an America's Cup Yacht.

Dublin, Ireland
Tours and tastings, cuisine and castles are yours to discover in Dublin, Ireland for seven days and six nights at the Brooks Hotel with economy class air for two, including a 2-day Dublin pass, Dublin sightseeing tour, premium Whiskey tasting, Merry Ploughboy dinner and show, and your choice of one of the following tours:  The Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, The Buren and Galaway, The Tour to Giants' Causeway Glens of Antrim and Wild, or the Ring of Kerry Tour.

Sandals Grande Riviera
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Enjoy three nights and four days at the luxurious, secluded and all inclusive Sandals Grande Riviera.  (Land only)

Exclusive D.C. Experience
A Capital adventure awaits you in Washington, DC for four days and three nights at your choice of the Grand Hyatt Washington or the Hyatt Regency Washington in one guestroom for four, including a Gray Line Washington DC in a Day sightseeing tour.  (Land Only)

Las Vegas Experience
Entertainment inspiration will mesmerize you in Las Vegas for four days and three nights at Caesars Palace with economy class air for two, including tickets to your choice of Zumanity, Zarkana, La Reve, Mystere, KA, O (Ed and I think you should choose O - which we've seen about 5 times!), Love or the Blue Man Group.

Maui, Hawaii
Soak up the beauty of Maui, Hawaii for seven days and six nights at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, an all suite hotel for two, including a $1,000 Fairmont gift card (Land only)

The Most Magical Place on Earth
A theme park adventure for the family in Orlando, Florida for five days and four nights at the Residence Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista in a suite for four, including a Three Day My Way tickets to Disney World and passes to Universal Studios.  (Land only)

This is Your Balinese Paradise!
Soak up the tranquility of Amed, Bali for eight days and seven nights at hte Villa Pantai for up to eight people, including scuba diving lessons, Balinese massages and your choice of a tour of Tirta Gangga Water Palace or the Lempuyang Temple.  (Land only)

Treasures of Italy
Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan
History and culture abound in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan for eight days and seven nights for two, including first class train travel between cities.  (Land only)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Silent Auction Previews!...

Tonight's Silent Auction preview has a little bit of everything.  Some items are for LOCAL BIDDERS ONLY - and they will be marked accordingly.  If you bid on it from California - you'll be out of luck unless you're planning a trip to Pennsylvania!  Some things are in my possession, but I'm willing to ship them if you live in the United States.  They are marked accordingly, as well.

Before I show the items, I have some exciting news for those who don't have smart phones, iPads, or tablets and still want to participate.  I worked with the GiveSmart people today and told them I want ALL of my readers to be able to participate and they came up with a solution!!  Now you will be able to participate from your desktop and laptop!!

Go to the GiveSmart registration page HERE.
Enter your information and use your HOME phone number.  (If you use your cell as your home phone, that's fine)
Register your credit card.
You will get an email with a link.
Click the link and it will bring you right to the auction page!  If you do it now, you will see the items up for auction, but you won't be able to bid until Monday.

It will work kind of like eBay.  You'll be able to see the last person's bid - and you'll be able to outbid them.  But, unlike the smart phone users who will get a text message if they are outbid, you will have to refresh your screen to see the latest bid.  No big deal!  I'm so happy that everyone will have a chance to participate - and see what's going on!  Thank you, GiveSmart!

Now, on to the previews...

Interior Design Consult - for local bidders AND anyone!

One hour in-home interior design consultation with Beth Roeder of Roeder Design Group, Inc. worth $250.00 for Philadelphia and suburbs only.  Beth is also offering another package for all of my readers - her online interior design services from one of her online packages.

An XBOX One - Day one edition with a Skylander game starter pack.
Worth $548.00
I (meaning me!) will ship this within the United States.

XBOX 360 Bundle
I have FOUR XBOX 360s (which I am also willing to ship within the U.S.!)
The winning bidder will get an XBOX 360 gaming console, a 1 month XBOX live subscription, 1600 XBOX live points card, a Dance Central 3 game and a Gears of War game.
Value - Approximately $300.00!

Beautiful Tiffany Holly Clutch in Rose Satin.  Brand new and 100% authentic from Tiffany.
Worth $300
(Kate will ship within the US)

Tiffany silver and red enamel heart pendant from the Paloma Picasso collection (retired) with sterling 18" chain.
Worth $300
(Kate will ship within the US)

Tiffany blue pendant with silver outlined cutout daisy on sterling chain. (retired)
Worth $300
(Kate will ship within the US)

"Little Jubilee" Party in a Box.
This is perfection for a Mom like me who can't even spell Pinterest.  And it's great for Mom's who are "Pinteresty" - but don't have time for the execution!  It's a Pinterest party in a box!!  The winning bidder will be able to redeem a party from their selection which you can find on their website.
Worth $200

A personal reading (in person or on the phone) with a psychic medium, Candy Savarese!
Worth $100

I have TWO G-Shock Watches by Casio.
(Kate will ship anywhere in the U.S.)

Visit Gavin's fire truck in Ocean City, New Jersey - and ride any ride you want.  Gillian's Wonderland Pier has donated $100 worth of VIP tickets.  These tickets NEVER expire.  One ticket will get you on any ride - even if the ride usually requires more than one ticket!

A Birthday Party at Arnold's Family Fun Center!
If you know us, you know that we love Arnold's.  As a matter of fact, this Saturday will be a year from the last time we were there with Gavin - celebrating his half birthday.  Gavin was always so happy there.  The general manager happily donated one of their birthday party packages in memory of Gavin.
Worth $250

Local bid only - you must be at the event or willing to pick it up if you live nearby.
I used to sell Cutco many, many years ago!  And I have their knives and can tell you - they're the best out there.  They come with a forever guarantee, too, so if anything happens (which is unlikely) you will get it replaced.  No questions asked.  Cutco donated this very expensive Galley Set worth $637.  
It comes with the butcher block holder and a cutting board.

The following items are all strictly local!

"Sit in" with "Preston and Steve" - A morning radio show on WMMR!
This is a priceless experience

"Sit in" with The Fanatic  on 97.5
Hang out with Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes during their sports talk show!
Another priceless experience

Portrait session with Bella Baby!
In your home or at a mutually decided location.
Lauren from Bella Baby came to my home to photograph Hope's homecoming and took beautiful photos like this one.
She is also going to be the official photographer at the event - ensuring that all those who can't be there will feel like they were!  Watch for this adorably funny photo of her little boy when you're bidding...
Bella Baby is another one of our event sponsors.
Worth $475

If your children watch Sprout TV, you'll recognize Sean as the former host of the Sunny Side Up Show and Noodle and Doodle.  He's an amazing artist and he donated his piece, "Under the Charles Bridge, Prague" for the auction.
Worth $300

Portrait Session with Kate Giovinco Photography
Kate is another one of our event sponsors!  She is offering a family portrait session and a 20x24 canvas of your favorite photo.
Worth $849

Portrait Session with The Little Nest
Best of Main Line photography studio.  They have donated an in-studio portrait session for up to three children and $60 towards product purchase.
Worth $160

Snap Shops Women's Photography Workshop
Caitlin Domanico Photography has donated a gift certificate for the workshop of your choice.  I took a great workshop with her a couple years ago that was geared towards Mom's with fancy DSLR cameras that only use one mode.  Yep - that was me.  I learned a lot - and it was really fun!  Caitlin is a great photographer.  She took this photo that is now part of my header!

Thank you to everyone - for donating your time and services to the auction... for being enthusiastic about the event... for encouraging me... and for donating to the hospital already!  I am so grateful to see this really happening.  I think it's going to be great!!

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