Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Landen's 5th Birthday

Landen had a wonderful 5th birthday, I still can't believe he's a big 5 year old already . . . we spent the day at the Sea Life Aquarium, had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then he had a birthday party with my side of the family on Saturday, it was a fun few days for him, which is a joy to see. He also got to celebrate birthdays with Jeff's side of the family over Memorial Day at the lake so he had a lot of celebrations going on, which is great as he definitely needs to be the star of the show every once in awhile as on our CF journey, he often doesn't receive all the attention he deserves and no matter how hard you try to make your life not all about CF, Olivia's health and her daily treatments to keep her healthy are a top priority so I know he often doesn't feel like he's #1 around here. He had a birthday blast and I honestly think he knew as did we all, that it was his day, his party, he was in the spotlight . . .

Daddy, Landen, Austin & Grandpa George celebrating their June birthdays over Memorial Day.

Landen was stoked about his dinosaur puzzles that he got for his birthday, he has them both memorized now that he can whip them out in about 10 minutes each.

Sea Life Aquarium . . .
The touch pool

Watching the sharks and sea creatures swim overhead


Landen's Shark & Dinosaur Birthday Party . . . 
 Dinosaur Cake

Landen wearing the shark fin for a game of Shark Tag

Feed the Shark Bean Bag game that Landen & I made up, the kids had a lot of fun with this one

Landen enjoying a few of his Birthday Presents . . . 



and we ended the weekend by wishing Daddy a very Happy Father's Day, he definitely is the best!














Sunday, June 17, 2012

One of the many amazing people I know.

There is no doubt on this journey of mine I've met, encountered and already know plenty of amazing people - and I am blessed. These people make my life better because they are a part of it and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to know them and call them friends. In the past 2.5 years as we've begun our CF journey as a family, the amount of truly amazing people we've come in contact with has grown, our list of amazing people continues to expand.

CF is hard, I've said it many times and will continue to say it because it is. We live a life and are on a journey that is not typical for most people that I know but that doesn't mean that others don't end up on a life path that is any less easy. Everyone has something to deal with, everyone faces struggles, hard times and hardships. One of our dear friends, has recently begun a journey down a path she never would have chosen, she has breast cancer. Now I definitely know about life taking a turn and sending you down an unwanted and unknown path, one you would never chose, but I don't know what it's like to hear the words, "You have cancer". I don't know how she feels and will never pretend to, afterall, those are not the shoes I wear, my journey is a different struggle than hers so I did what I could do. I told her that I was sorry. I was sorry for her cancer, and I told her that she is an amazing woman with a strong-will and a positive attitude that can and will overcome this. She has a ton of friends and family who love her, are cheering her on to the finish line of this race and will do whatever they can to help. This amazing friend has been an instrumental part of our CF journey, offering many words of encouragement, donating to our events and offering her support along the way. She is a wonderful friend and one of the amazing people I know.

Knowing that she was fighting a new battle in her life, for all the support she has given to us, Olivia and the CFF, we wanted to be able to offer her support as well. Jeff, I and the kids want to dedicate a luminary in her honor for the Relay for Life. Last week I had emailed her to let me know what would be the best way for us to go about dedicating a luminary in her honor. I expected a reply email with details for donating, what I did not expect and what I instead received was this: "Bridget, I know the American Cancer Society makes much more money than the CF Foundation, I want you to use the money you would send for Relay for Life to CF." Truly an amazing woman. I was speechless and tears were brought to my eyes. The mere fact that she was willing to help us further support the CFF in honor of Olivia rather than accept our donation to a society that is now a very real part of her life completely knocked my socks off. How self-sacrificing and wonderful - a truly amazing woman whom we are very fortunate to call a dear friend.

She is a prime example of one of the many amazing people I know. Thank you for all you do, for always dropping a note of encouragement when the path gets rocky, for continuing to support Team Olivia through your monetary donations and mostly for being a true friend. Jeff, Landen, Olivia and I feel extremely fortunate to have you in our lives making them more blessed because of you. We cannot express how sorry we were and are to here about your cancer, but we are here, cheering you all the way to the finish line of this part of your journey.
I will honor her wishes. For our next fundraising event I will donate more than usual to Team Olivia in honor of her but I will also find a way to dedicate a luminary in her honor. I cannot do nothing. I have to pay-it-forward, she's too kind to sit on the sidelines without taking action. I do know that I will feel honored to be able to share this story of pure kindness with Olivia someday when she's old enough to understand. What an uplifting and inspiring story to be able to share with my daughter about the acts of pure kindness of amazing people fighting for her, cheering her on and taking action to help find a cure. We are blessed.

I truly believe our friend will cross the cancer finish line and be cured. I can only continue to hope, pray, believe and raise money for the CFF with the dream that Olivia will someday be cured from CF. How amazing it would feel to cross that finish line.

*To protect the privacy of our friend, her name has deliberately been left out. You know who you are.

Friday, June 15, 2012

5 years ago . . .

it was a warm summer day with temperatures around 85 degrees. George W. Bush was president and his overall rating was at an all time low. A barrel of crude oil was at $67.65. The former planet Pluto was further kicked down as the dwarf-planet Eris was confirmed to be bigger than it. A few of the local headlines of the day included: "Lyme's disease is booming as local infections keep going up", airline experts claim "it could be the toughest summer travel season ever" and "Minnesota bird populations plummet as habitats shrink". Just a few things that were happening that day, none of which I could have cared one eyeota about, because for me, June 15, 2007 was a life changing day. It is a day that forever will be one of thee greatest and happiest days of my life. I remember the numerous big to the very small, yet all very important details from that day and I still can't believe it was already 5 years ago. I shed tears thinking that 5 years have passed since that miraculous day, 5 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. 5 years ago I no longer held only a title of a woman or a wife. 5 years ago today . . . I became a mom.

June 15, 2007 . . .






To Landen from Mommy: 
You are the sunshine on a cloudy day, your smile and laughter light up a room and are contagious . . . you are sweet, honest, loving, forgiving, brave and aged beyond your years. You are my one and only son. You are my firstborn and because it was you first who made me a mom, my heart has a special place that is only for you. I tell you all the time that "I love you more than you will ever know" and you ask me to tell you how much and I say I can't because it's so, so much. It is your sweet calling voice that I wake up to every morning to start my day and it is you my 'sweetface' that I tuck in last every night. I love that you always need a few more hugs and kisses from mommy before drifting off to sleep. I love you my dear, sweet Landen. Although a lot has changed in those 5 years and you so often do not receive all the attention you deserve, know that it breaks my heart and the lack of attention you sometimes receive does not reflect on my love for you. For I love you like no other, you are my son, my friend and to me you will always be my baby boy. I love you bud. Happy 5th Birthday! Today is your day.

June 15, 2012 . . .















Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Summer So Far . . .


in photos . . . 

Swimming lessons - last class for Landen & Mommy in the water together.

Landen & Olivia staying cool on a warm May day in the little green pool.

Memorial Day spent at the lake with family . . . Landen, Olivia and their cousins playing hide & seek w/ "Uncle Jeff"

Aunt Jennie & Landen braving the cold water for Landen's 1st Kayak ride of the summer.

Landen, Olivia & Daddy fishing over Memorial Day

Landen caught one - he's super excited!

Having fun with his new Butterfly House - "Get out of their Butterfly - it's time to go!" 

Jeff and I got to go out for supper to celebrate Jeff's 33rd Birthday, what a fun evening it was thanks to Aunt Darci for watching the kids! This is super special, we are only "kid free" about once or twice a year.

Almost too pretty to eat isn't it?

Landen is all about sharks, well that and dinos!

The kids enjoying their first time in the big pool. Landen has been waiting to get the pool out ever since we had to put it away last September, this fun has been a long time coming!

Friday Landen will turn 5 . . . seriously where has the time gone . . .? 

Next up - Landen's birthday fun.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Halleluiah

Today I received Olivia's annual blood test results and her sputum culture result in the mail. I am always anxious and stressed waiting for the results to come and having to wait over a week every time proves to be harder and harder as time goes on, probably because deep down I know that they aren't always going to come back as "good" results forever. But as it is, I'll take whatever bit of positive I can get! As the week wore on I figured that no news had to mean good news as our CF team has continually told me that if and when something "bad" comes up, they will call me so I figured as we were heading into the weekend with no news from the CF clinic thus far, the results had to be okay and we'd just receive a letter in the mail. That was the case today.

Olivia's blood work all came back in the normal range except for her Vitamin D level which was low so we will now start her on Vitamin D drops. Beings we live in Minnesota and not the sunshine state, I've been told numerous times by my own physician that "it's not uncommon for Minnesotan's Vitamin D levels to be low". I myself have been told to take a Vitamin D supplement so this news regarding Olivia didn't worry me too much. Olivia has also quit drinking milk pretty much altogether now which is a whole different battle entirely as far as her weight goes, but that could attribute to her drop in Vitamin D as well. She already takes special vitamins higher in A, D, E & K but apparently she needs more Vitamin D. As history has proven on our CF journey, we are usually always adding more medications, never decreasing them so not a big surprise here I guess. Just one more med to administer and remember but thank goodness it's just a vitamin, it could be so much worse.

Her sputum culture came back as normal flora this time which was a huge surprise, in a very good way! For over 2 years now, Olivia has consistently cultured at least one strain of staph, ranging anywhere from slight to heavy growth to which we all were thinking she may be colonized with it. 2 years ago, it shook up my world momentarily when I was first told she cultured this bacteria, a few cultures later we were accustomed to it and expected that she'd culture it continually. Every 3 months over the past 2 years with the exception of her last culture in February she had been treated for staph and put on a 3 week antibiotic. I figured this would be our "normal" course of action for some time so today it was a wonderful surprise to know that she actually got rid of that bacteria for now, especially since she hasn't been on an antibiotic to alleviate it since January. Nice to know that some things actually work out every once in a great while.

So today was a good day, a great way to start off our summer that is for sure. Olivia was asking for pizza today so Daddy brought her home pizza for a "pizza party" to celebrate the good news of her results. Cheers to a good day and here's to hoping that Olivia does well for the rest of the summer as far as her health and weight gain go.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Love Scentsy? Help find a cure for CF.

If you have a Scentsy warmer I'm sure you are in love with the thing. It fills your home with amazing fragrances all throughout the year and it's so much safer than a candle. The thing I find the most fun is changing out the 'scents' as often as you like to freshen up your home. Both Landen and Olivia love to smell the different bars and pick which one to put in our warmer next! Landen will always pick a blue one, no matter what it smells like and Olivia of course, favors those that are pink. 


My dear friend Anissa Lightner, who is also an avid supporter of the CFF and finding a cure for cystic fibrosis is a Scentsy consultant. Anissa and the student athletes at the University of Minnesota have been putting on the Breathe Easy 5K for over 4 years now to raise money for the CFF. My sister Darci and I love our Scentsy warmers but haven't yet had the opportunity of attending a party to smell all the different aromas Scentsy has to offer so we teamed up with Anissa to host a Scentsy party with a portion of all sales (20-25%) going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Very, very exciting for all 3 of us, here are the details . . . 
Scentsy Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser Open House Party
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Birchwood Arbors, Forest Lake, MN (2nd Floor Activity Room)
*Birchwood is Darci's place of employment*

Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend the open house party, pass the word on, the more people the merrier as every order placed will help raise money for the CFF. Stop in for a few minutes to check things out and place an order or stay for the entire time! Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided. 

**As an added bonus, for anyone who attends the party and places an order, your name will be put into a drawing for the Contenta Mid-Size Scentsy Warmer & a package of Cherry Vanilla Scentsy Bars.

Can't attend the party? No sweat, you can place an on-line order by following this link "Bridget's Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser". Make sure you place the order through our party so that a portion of the sales, 20-25%, go to the CFF. On-line orders can be placed now through July 20, 2012. You can also place a catalog order through either myself or my sister Darci. Anissa has given us samples of the scents available and catalogs of all the other items Scentsy offers so if you will be seeing either me or her anytime between now and July 12th, we can bring the scents and catalogs along so you can smell all the different scents that are available and place an order that way as well. Lots of ways to enjoy Scentsy and place an order to support the CFF! If you are interested in this catalog method of ordering, email me at bm_fiala@hotmail.com to let me know.


**Anyone who places an on-line order or a catalog order prior to the party date of July 12th, of any dollar amount will be entered into a drawing for the Fizz Plug-In Scentsy Warmer & a package of Cherry Vanilla Scentsy Bars. If you order on-line, send me an email at bm_fiala@hotmail.com with your Order Confirmation number and your name will be placed into the drawing. 

Contenta Mid-Size Warmer & Fizz Plug-In Warmer that will be gifted as prizes as indicated above.

Please join us for an evening of fun on July 12, 2012 for a great cause in honor of my daughter Olivia and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or if you can't attend feel free to place an order on-line or through the catalog. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Angels Among Us

As I've mentioned before, there are many other CF blogs that I follow and even though I don't know these other folks personally, I still feel connected to them. We go through similar daily struggles and triumphs, we all know and see what CF is and does and we are all fighting for a cure. One of my favorite blogs is by a CF mom named Breck, her son Bennett is just 1 day older than Olivia and he too has CF. Breck has a wonderful way with words and she does a wonderful job of sharing her son and their family's story. I had to share her most recent post, it is wonderful and reiterates that there are indeed angels among us. 

This year I've experienced it myself, I've seen firsthand what these angels can do. They come to you when you least expect it, unannounced and they knock your socks off. Our angels, Tyann, Hilary and AJ and all the other people that came out and donated to the CFF this year in honor of Olivia to help us raise over $8200 this year for our Great Strides event still amazes me. As Breck questioned in her latest post, why? I had some of the same questions surrounding the Dreams for Olivia event. I knew and know why I raise money all the time for the CFF but it still was absolutely unbelievable to me that other people, some who we didn't even know, would jump on-board to do it as well. Many days I still sit her in awe, stunned by the fact that we raised so much more money than in past years because of all these people and I've concluded that rather than continue to question why, I will attribute it to the fact that these people are good people, they see a need and act upon it . . . they are angels among us. 

Please read this amazing story about Breck and Brittney