Thursday, November 20, 2014

Countdown To One!!...

I have something very exciting to share with you!  The countdown to Hope's first birthday is on.  It's hard to believe that ten days from today is her big day!  I will be posting her monthly pictures all week on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page for the "Countdown to One."  Here are her one month...
...and two month photos.
For the past several weeks, I have been receiving lots of mail from readers hoping to send Hope a first birthday gift or card.  This does not surprise me at all because I have always said I have the most thoughtful readers on the internet.  It's so sweet - and humbling - that you're always thinking of our little family.  As a rule, we don't accept gifts - but we appreciate the gesture so much!!  I have been giving those requests a lot of thought, though, and I've come up with a genius plan!!!!!

We can ALL come together to celebrate Hope and, at the same time, SPREAD hope to many!!

I came up with "Give ONE to Celebrate ONE!"
You can read all the details - the hows and the whys and the wheres and the whens HERE on the YouCaring Page I set up.  But basically - here's the deal:

We lost Gavin.
In preparing to donate his organs - we realized we had a baby.  Hope in my belly, as I like to call those early days before we knew she was a she.
In the midst of our sorrow - we had hope.
I feel like sharing her since the day I announced it here has spread hope to many of you.
So, to celebrate the gift OF her life... the gift TO Brian and Ed and my lives... and the ultimate gift OF Gavin's life - we can "pay it forward" by spreading hope even further.

You are welcome to donate as much as you want, but I thought if many people came together from all over the world and each donated $1.00 (Well, Pay Pal takes 33 cents from each dollar for credit card fees - so a dollar donation would really come to 67 cents.  If you give $2.00 it will come down to $1.64, though!) - we would show just how far a dollar donation can go!  I've chosen five particular charities (five for a sentimental reason) - if we raise $1,000, it will all go to the first charity.  More than $1,000 - we go on to charity 2.  And so on.

I know it's right before the holidays, but most of us have $1.33 that we can spare.  It sounds like such a small amount - but when we all come together, it's amazing what can happen.

Thank you for loving our daughter during her first year.  As any proud Mom, I have smiled - beamed, really - with each and every comment whenever I post a photo of her.  She has been a joy this year - but the real joy has been watching how loving Brian has been to her.  How attached he has become - from day one.  Of everyone in this story - it was Brian who needed Hope the most.
He is very excited about this project - which will end on his 6th birthday, December 16th!!  Please share the YouCaring page with your friends and on social media.  You can copy and paste this link wherever you want:

 I hope we can make this a very hope-filled holiday for all that will benefit from our dollars!

Now.... on to the other business at hand.  Catching up!  Want to know how I spend most of my days?  Getting pretty much "nothing" done... but getting the most important things accomplished.  I may forget the practical stuff - like when I need to run to the grocery store or taking the wash out of the dryer or even - gulp - forgetting to send Brian in with his snack. (That was a sad day in our house.  I made up for it by sharing giant soft pretzels on the couch reading books together.) 
But I feel like I accomplish everything when I collapse into bed at night and reflect back on the day.  I may have read another three exciting chapters in a Magic Tree House book with Brian... or sat and played with Hope on the floor... or played yet another rousing game of "Star Wars guys that chase each other" with Brian (don't ask - I still am pretty unclear myself)... or patterned "Sooooo Big!" 40 times for a very disinterested Hope.  

The point is, nothing else really seems that important most days.  I just love to be with my kids.  And, lucky for me, they love to be with each other.
  I have fallen into a bad habit, though.  I have been snapping the majority of my photos with my iPhone.  Don't get me wrong - iPhones take nice pictures!  But my camera takes much nicer pics and I really should be using it more.  Sometimes when you have an iPhone picture printed to put in a frame, the quality doesn't look the same.  I also haven't been taking as many pictures as I used to - or videos!  At this moment, there are less photos and videos of Hope than there were of the boys when they were her age.  I'm sure you find that hard to believe - but it's true!!  I need to snap out of this!!

I will admit, it is easier to carry the phone around in my pocket so I'm ready to capture simple moments when they happen.  Like blanket forts in the kitchen...
Or Hope meeting Gavin's Christmas Elmo for the first time.
(She's in love)
A bedtime hug-fest.
Or Hope standing independently.  Brian has been obsessed with capturing Hope standing and actually quickly grabbed my phone to take this picture himself!!!  Not bad, eh?
The other day, Hope and I met Granny at our local Mall to have lunch and do a little shopping.  Hope was fashionably dressed for the occasion.  (Mommy - not so much.  Ha!)
(You can almost see her top tooth in this picture - it broke through this week!)

I found the perfect dress for Hope's first birthday pictures - and for her princess birthday party next Sunday!!  I wish I could show it to you - but I have to leave SOME things as a surprise.  I didn't buy this little hat...
...but I was tempted!!

I'm not a big fashion person - or even a lover of shopping - but I can spend HOURS looking at baby and kid clothes.  It's a sickness.  Hopefully one with no cure.

Don't forget the "Give One to Celebrate One" project!!  And thank you, as always, for caring about our little family.

(p.s. - please know that I NEVER ask anyone to fundraise on our behalf.  If anyone tells you they are raising money - by having a Tupperware Party or a makeup party or a lemonade stand - beware.  You will only hear from ME for any fundraising projects!)

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