Monday, August 19, 2013

Team Ethan - 2013

Happy Monday, friends!

If you've been reading the blog for at least a day, you know that we're pretty smitten with - and incredibly proud of - our son, Ethan.  Those of you who've been around for a little longer also know that, each year, our friends and family come together as "Team Ethan" to support our local chapter of the American Heart Association in the Triangle Heart Walk.

Team Ethan - 2012

We've been walking since 2010 and, together, we've raised close to $10,000 for the American Heart Association!  A couple of months ago, I watched a video that explained ways the AHA has been able to use research dollars to advance cardiac care.  I was blown away to see that three of the top advancements (CPR, stents, and pacemakers) have already had such a profound impact on Ethan's life.

Not everyone will agree with our support of the AHA, but our family is committed to their mission.  The AHA's involvement with improving cardiac outcomes is reflected in Ethan's big brown eyes.  Not to mention, our local chapter played a HUGE role in getting the Pulse Ox law passed in North Carolina - and we know what a lifesaver that was for Ethan and so many other babies like him.

If you live in the Raleigh area, we would love for you to join our team and walk with us! It's free and fast to sign-up, and it's always been a fun afternoon celebrating LIFE.  If you can't walk, but would still like to show your support, you can donate directly to our fundraising page or purchase a t-shirt! Shirts are $12, and a portion of the proceeds will go towards our fundraising total.

(For more information about signing up or purchasing a shirt, click on "Contact Us" to the right and shoot me an e-mail!)

Last year, we raised just under $4,000 and I set a challenging goal of $5,000 this year.  We're a long ways away from that right now and, with just over 30 days to go until the walk, I'm not sure if we'll meet it.  However, while raising money is important, the presence of our family and friends - whether you're walking beside us or wearing a t-shirt hundreds of miles away - means so much more.

Every little bit counts and helps ... please consider supporting Team Ethan today!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Vacation to Remember

After four years, four months, and twenty-three days, our little family finally had the opportunity to get away together - just the three of us.  We've taken some pretty amazing trips over the past four years with lots of people we love, but there's something to be said for intimate family time and, lately, I'd been craving it something fierce!

Thanks to the generosity of some wonderful people, we headed down to Emerald Isle, NC for a long weekend and it really couldn't have been more perfect.  I tend to have too much get-up to my go on vacations, so I had to make a conscious effort to slow down and actually relax.  Once I got the hang of it, I didn't want to come home! All three of us slept until at least 9:00 each morning and started the day with no agenda - it was simply whatever we wanted to do and whenever we wanted to do it.  Doughnuts for breakfast at 10:00 a.m.? Sure thing.  Golf cart rides around the campground at 10:00 p.m.? You got it.

I'm telling y'all - it was awesome.

Not even the rain could get us down.  In our opinion, a rainy day at the beach beats a sunny day at work, so we made the most of it and headed to the aquarium.  Growing up on the coast of NC, I have a fond appreciation for all things "ocean", and I love me an aquarium.  I had never visited this one as a kid, so I really enjoyed experiencing it alongside Jeramie and Ethan for the first time!

Me: Ethan, why are you SO cute?!
Ethan, shrugging his shoulders: That's just how God made me.

Checking out the hermit crab in the touch tank.

Turtle rescue station.  Our turtle was evidently suffering from extreme constipation and needed some enema action.  I'll never look at a cute little turtle tail the same way again.

Be still, my beating heart.

And, can we give some love to the 50mm for these next few shots? Half the time I have no idea what I'm doing with it, but the aquarium seemed like as good a place as any to practice.

Found him.

On our way back to the camper, we were pleased to see the sunshine and decided to take a late-afternoon dip in the pool.  In just a few weeks time, Ethan has gone from an anxious, water-fearing kid to Mr. Independent.  He still has some reservations about "going under" and definitely doesn't want to go in without some sort of floatation device, but he's come a long, LONG way!

Friday was our big beach day and probably my favorite! Other than the sand that seems to get everywhere it shouldn't, I love the beach.  I love the sounds of the waves and seagulls, the saltiness of the ocean, and the way sunscreen smells on our towels and bathing suits.  I've said it before, but I consider myself so lucky to have grown up on the coast.  My love for it is in my genes and, apparently, in Ethan's as well.

As we approached the four-hour-mark of sun, waves, and sandcastles, we gave Ethan the option to stay at the beach for a while longer or head back to the campground to swim in the pool.  He chose to stay, and my heart did a happy-dance.

Another perk to the beach? It's the perfect spot for kite-flying! Since getting a kite for his birthday in March, Ethan has reeeeeeeeeeally wanted to try it out.  But, between a rainy spring and my forgetfulness, it's just never happened.  I kind of surprised myself with even remembering to bring it with us, and I'm glad I did.  He was so proud and enjoyed it so much!

Throw in a seafood dinner, a trip to Dairy Queen, and an outdoor movie, and I'd call that a pretty fantastic vacation.  So great, in fact, that Ethan cried off and on for about an hour on our drive back home.  "I just want to go back to the camper!", he'd say in the most pitiful voice ever, and I assured him that I couldn't agree more.

While coming home to car shopping and laundry and grocery shopping quickly brought us back to reality, I'll cherish the memories we made that weekend, look forward to the ones to come, and continually thank God for the blessings He pours out on our family.

He is so, so good to us.

Emerald Isle - August 2, 2013

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