Thursday, June 20, 2013


We've had a lot going on for the past month and a half that a recap seemed to be a good idea so that I personally, can remember the memories we've created thus far in summer 2013.

May started out with the Dreams For Olivia event. I got the final figures tallied and was able to present the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with a total donation of $5,502.29 from the event yesterday, a splendid start to summer indeed!

Next up was Landen's graduation from preschool. This was his second year of preschool since he has a summer birthday so next year is kindergarten. It's still so hard for me to believe my little bud is heading off to kindergarten come fall. Where does the time go . . .

After the preschool celebration ceremony the kids have an ice cream social and usually head out to the playground to play. However, on the day of Landen's graduation, it was cold, rainy and an all around not nice day. We however, bundled the kids up and headed out to play despite the mist in the air and the kids had an absolute blast and enjoyed having the entire playground to themselves while they played.

 I absolutely adore the pure joy on both of their faces.

Landen is in t-ball this summer and so far is doing well. I think he enjoys it but it's hard to say if he likes the t-ball part or being with all the other kids more! The best part about it is that Landen has the pleasure of having Daddy help coach his team so the two of them enjoy Tuesday night t-ball while Olivia and I thoroughly enjoy watching the games. 

Daddy celebrated his birthday in the beginning of June. Landen had fun wrapping up Daddy's gift and making him a special card for his special day. He drew a picture of Olivia and him playing together outside, it was precious and definitely will go into my overflowing keepsake box. 

The kids love playing in the camper so the second weekend in June we decided to pull our motorhome out of the shed into the yard so the kids could "camp". They loved it and it was quite the easy peasy set up for Jeff and I beings we had all the necessities of home just steps away from the camper. The kids played in the camper, we grilled and had supper in it and we completed the night with a campfire and s'mores. The kids had a blast on their first "camping" adventure of the season. Even though it was too cold for pool/water time, the kids did manage to find a bowl to fill with water to get in some splash time. Not sure if Shelby or the kids had more fun with the water dish . . .

Whenever I'm busy doing yard work, the kids find ways to entertain themselves and keep busy and mostly stay out of trouble. One afternoon while I was raking the grass clippings, I invited Landen to come out to help but he decided to play with this dump truck instead. He found one of the only "hills" in our yard and proceeded to ride his dump truck down the hill over and over again. He wasn't scared at all but this photo and Landen in general, cracks me up everyday . . . 

Cousin Braelyn finished up kindergarten and we have had the pleasure of having her come over in the afternoons to play with us. The kids have been having so much fun having a friend to play with. Even though Braelyn just lives minutes away from us, with her being in school and between the never ending sicknesses that our kids had and the few that she had over the long school year, we seldom were able to get together with her this year so these two weeks that she has been coming over to play have been a real treat for Landen and Olivia and something they look forward to every day. 

They have enjoyed playing games, cars, dinosaurs, legos and just being the crazy little things they are when they all get together. 

It finally began to warm up so a run through the sprinkler day was in order to keep cool. They had so much fun. Now that it's finally summer like around here with 80 degree days and 90's in the future forecast, more pool days are sure to come. 

For the past 6 months to a year, Olivia has been deathly afraid of the toilet. She would freak out when she'd hear it flush. She'd never want to be in the bathroom alone if the toilet seat was up, just an all around fear of the potty. So we hadn't been pushing the potty training much because of her fear combined with the fact that we weren't willing to take the risk of having her hold in her business and get a blockage. Well, we decided that since she'll be 4 in October, it was due time to face the fear head on. Once I was able to coax her into the bathroom and sit with her for literally half an hour every time, she finally calmed down and figured it out a little bit but not fully. I decided an "incentive"/bribe, call it what you will, might help, so I let her pick out a toy and told her once she went potty and we could hear the potty's in the toilet she could have her new toy. One afternoon after little to no success, Aunt Darci came over and tried to encourage her and she finally did it, got out enough potty's that we could hear so she finally got her new toy, the Barbie and swimming puppies. It took less than a week for her figure out the potty part, she hasn't had any accidents throughout the day and will hop up and potty in no time at all on her own so that's been an awesome change around here. She's still deathly afraid to go number 2 on the potty so that remains a work in progress but at least we are half way there. 

Here are the swimming puppies that have adorned the top of my refrigerator for quite some time. We finally took them down, blew off the dust and got them out to play after her potty for Aunt Darci. 

And here we are over half way through June already, the summer and warmth goes by all too fast that's for certain. 

My little bud celebrated his 6th birthday this past weekend and he was lucky enough to have 2 party's. We had one party for him on Saturday, his actual birthday, with some of our friends that hadn't been up to see our "not so new" home yet. Both he and Olivia had a lot of fun with all their friends and it was great to see them both interacting with the other children. They played in the pool, rode around on the power wheels, and burned off energy running around and playing on the swing set. 

Landen loves Lego Star Wars and Angry Birds so he was thrilled with the Angry Birds toys and bedding we got him but mostly with the Battle of Hoth Lego he got from us. He had the entire set put together by mid afternoon and was very proud of himself for putting the entire thing together with little to no help from mom or dad. He was even more proud because it's an 8-14 age Lego set so he truly felt like a big guy after he put it together. 

Landen's Angry Birds party with all his little buddies, complete with a life size angry birds tower and sling shot. He had fun with all his friends that were able to come and celebrate with him. 

I'm certain kids do not have a temperature sensor. The water was quite cold but Landen didn't seem to mind or care, he had a blast all the same. 

Daddy thought that Olivia needed her own power wheels toy to drive around the yard so he brought this home for her last week. Landen got a John Deere gator when he was 2.5 years old and loves it. In turn since it was his before Olivia even arrived, he has a bit of a hard time sharing. So Daddy found this pink little gem off of Craig's list for a good deal and Olivia absolutely loves it. We just have to teach her how to steer better so she doesn't run into the shed, house, trees, swing set, us . . .

His second party was on Sunday, Braelyn, Darci and Grandma Dianne were all able to make it. The three kids had fun with the sling shot and angry birds tower, playing pin the tail on Red Bird and also swimming in the pool. 

3 little piggies indeed!

Landen received all kinds of Angry Birds and Star wars Legos for his birthday, he is so happy with all his new treasures. I'd say he had a super splendid sixth birthday.  

Happy Birthday to my Best Little Buddy, who is growing up all too fast!

We also had to of course celebrate Father's Day on Sunday to the best dad around. Landen had fun making another keepsake card for Daddy and they were happy giving him the little gifts they picked out. Landen and Olivia are most lucky to have such a caring and loving dad who does so much for them. We love every minute that Daddy is home from work with us that we get to spend with him. There are so many moments that make my heart melt when I see Jeff and the kids together. The love they have for him and the outpouring of love he has for them is always evident. Before Olivia, I already knew he was a great dad to Landen but after her birth and diagnosis of cf, it became so much more apparent. There is not one thing in life he would not do for either of them. He is always thinking ahead and looking out for them and their best interest in all situations. He is stern when he needs to be but so fun, loving, caring and nurturing at the same time. Landen and Olivia love their dear daddy so much and I'm so thankful for the bond they share. 

One special moment that made me tear up and smile was just last week. Last fall, the kids, Jeff and I were planting nuts around our yard that we got from Grandma and Grandpa Oltmans with the hope that they will grow into a tree. As we pushed the acorns, chestnuts and walnuts into the ground, we'd mark them with a flag so we'd know where to look for a sprout come spring. As the planting wore on and the kids were becoming more impatient, I drew on a flag for each of them to carry around. I put a kitty face on Olivia's and it entertained her for the rest of the day and many days to come. Since last fall, it's been in the shop somewhere and she always remembers it and asks about it when we are out there. Fast forward 8 months later to last week when Jeff and I were finishing up the cleaning touches on the shop in preparation for Landen's party last Friday night. Olivia's new Barbie jeep had just been scrubbed clean, Jeff was charging the battery and getting it all ready to go for the next day. I was painting a shelf and turned around to see Daddy over at the jeep, permanently attaching that kitty flag from 8 months previous to the roll bar of the little jeep for Olivia. Two things: the fact that he found the flag after all that time and knew without a doubt that Olivia would absolutely love having it on her jeep - absolutely priceless. I just watched with tears in my eyes, another reminder of how lucky we all are to have him. And of course, he knew he couldn't leave out Landen so I drew him an Angry Bird on a flag and Daddy attached that to his gator. 

That about sums up our summer days so far. I'm thankful that we've managed to enjoy them and create lots of memories to forever hold on to. Birthdays always are bittersweet, reminding me of how fast the time goes, how quickly the years pass and how we must strive to make each moment count. As I recap all the memories we've already made in the past month and a half and all those yet to unfold throughout the rest of the summer, I know we are blessed and I can't wait for all that's still in store for us in the days, weeks, months ahead. Happy Summer!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dreams for Olivia - Part 2

Thanks to the success of the 2013 Dreams for Olivia event, we will be donating $5,477.29 to the CFF on behalf of Olivia! Since this was the second year of the event and it occurred on Mother's Day weekend and walleye fishing opener we are pretty darn excited about these numbers especially since there were more expenses this year. So through the golf tournament, silent auction, and the generous cash/check donations we received, I'd say it was one remarkable and successful event! 

From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You to everyone who did this, who helped us raise over $5,000 for the CFF to get us one step closer to a cure. 

We couldn't do this without the support system we have and we are beyond blessed to know that there are so many CFF supporters out there, willing to donate time and money to find a cure for this disease. 
I know I will not be able to remember everyone there is to thank nor do I know of everyone there is since there are so many but the people and businesses that I do know of I want to be sure to recognize, and I sincerely apologize if I leave anyone out as it is not intentional at all. Having so many to thank is definitely a good problem to have, so here goes . . . 

Thank you to every single one of the golfers (both new to the event and veterans from last year) who came out on a very cold and windy day to golf and raise money for the CFF. So much of the success of this event is generated from the golf tournament and we couldn't do it without you - thank you golf participants!

Thank you to all the businesses who made a donation to sponsor a golf hole, who donated an item(s) to the silent auction and/or made a cash donation to the event. The following are only those that I'm aware of - I know I have missed some here:
Elite Mechanical Systems
Windom Area Hospital 
Bank Midwest
Milk Specialties Global
Doctors Gentling 
Advanced Light & Sound - Brady Winters 
Thrivent Financial - Page Kern 
Staples Oil Inc.
State Farm
Revitalize Therapy - Mandy Lund
Wolf Massage Therapeutics - courtesy of Jan Duscher
Enspired - Hilary Mathis
University of Minnesota Athletics - courtesy of Anissa Lightner

A big thanks to Travis over at Elite Mechanical Systems, who ran a Facebook event that for every page like the company received, $1 was donated to the event. This generated over $500 alone in just a couple of days! Thanks also to everyone who liked their page while they ran this event.

Thank you to the following individuals who made cash donations to the event: George & Pam Oltmans, Jan Duscher, Rock Anderson, Joan, Julie, Nikki & Lynn from the Windom Area Hospital and everyone who came out for the meal and/or evening entertainment at PJ's and made a donation to the CFF on behalf of Olivia. *Grandma Pam won $373 in the 50/50 ticket drawing back in October during the Breast Health Walk fund in Windom, MN. Since October, she has held on to her winnings and is donating them to the CFF through this event - super awesome!

Thank you to the following individuals who donated a basket/item to the silent auction:
Pam Oltmans
Dianne Fiala
Darci & Braelyn Branby
Tyann Marcy
Anissa Lightner
Glen & Alisha Perkins
Paulette Chester
Barbara Ochester & Knitting Group
Nancy Boone
Jill Forst
Carol Nelson

We had some really awesome items for the silent auction this year including a TV valued at over $600 (thanks Brady from Advanced Light & Sound), a Joe Mauer autographed baseball (courtesy of MN Twins pitcher Glen Perkins and his wife Alisha Perkins), MN Twins Tickets, lots of U of M sports memorabilia and so many awesome baskets and gift certificates. A big thanks especially to everyone who purchased items through the silent auction, which raised over $1000 alone.  

Thanks to Crystal Jensen for designing the new Team Olivia t-shirt graphic, Scott King for printing them and to everyone who purchased one. 

A huge thanks to the Windom Country Club and everyone who worked and volunteered there that day to accommodate the golf tournament, we so very much appreciate it. Another huge thanks to PJ's II for hosting the dinner and evening event at their facility.

Lastly, but most importantly, thank you to Tyann, Hilary and AJ who coordinate and put in the time and effort it takes to organize and make this event happen. None of this would be possible without these 3 - thank you so very much. 

To anyone else I missed, I am truly sorry - we appreciate each and everyone of you and the support you bring to the CFF. 

We can't possibly put into words how grateful we are to everyone who supports the CFF to help make our dream for a cure a reality. Jeff and I truly believe in everything the CFF is doing and stands for. They are a nonprofit, they do not spend money on promoting themselves or advertising in an effort to put the precious dollars they do receive into funding a cure. I am proud to support the CFF, they are a remarkable foundation and with each passing day and every new dollar raised, they are getting closer to finding a cure for all those with cystic fibrosis. I know the day will come, relief from this disease is on the horizon and thanks to this event and all of you who supported it, we are that much closer. Give yourselves a big pat on the back, because without you, none of this would have been possible. 

Without sounding like a broken record, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, we cannot express our gratitude to you all enough. Until you walk in our shoes, you will never fully be able to grasp how sincere and how truly thankful we are for each dollar we can give to the CFF. To us it is so much more than donating to "a good cause", it's so much more than charity, it's so much more than doing something good. To us, this means the world, it means everything. You give us hope, you give us support, and you are working to save our daughter's life, to bring her relief from this disease, and to add so many more tomorrows for her and all those with cystic fibrosis to enjoy.

Our success in supporting the CFF is directly dependent on all of you who support us, thank you, thank you, thank you. We can't wait to do it all again next year!


Group photo of both of our family's at the event

My side of the family

Jeff's side of the Family

My sisters, myself and our cousins
Thanks Nick (Jill, Lainee & Stratton) & Ashley for joining us again this year.

My two kiddos

Tee Off Time

Group shot of some of the boys

 My sister Amber & Tyann. 
Tyann - thanks for another great year of this event.