So by now, you have heard me rave about the Ronald McDonald House. Let me just explain that it is more than a nice house with fun activities for the kids. We have met so many wonderful people who are all dealing with major medical problems. It is so nice to be able to share stories and know that people understand the jumble of emotions we are feeling. They all have the same wishes for their kids that we do.
We are also so thankful for the staff who just genuinely show caring. I can't tell you how many times staff members have stopped us to ask how Abby was doing today. It is never in a oh, I need to ask kind of a way--these people truly care about the families that are staying there. It's evident by the way they interact with the kids. It's obvious when they great returning families who have been gone for a while.
The volunteer network that RMH has is so awesome! Groups come in to prepare meals (not every breakfast and dinner, but frequently) and create activities for the kids. Companies bring in special treats and toys for the kids and put them in their mail boxes. Local attractions donate tickets so that families can do something fun together. IT. IS. AMAZING.
So the challenge: A lot of you have commented on how you never really knew what RMH was all about. Well, now you do! So in order to provide for more families in need of a home-away-from-home, please consider donating your spare change when you go to McDonalds. There are containers at the counter and in the drive-through, and all money goes directly to support RMH.
Matt and I are also already discussing ways that we can help at RMH of Maryland directly by having the youth group cook dinner or plan an activity. I would love to donate some toys or treats for the mailboxes too. One family has even taken on the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner the last two years! We would love to be a part of the volunteer efforts when our life returns to some sort of normalcy. (Nope, I have no idea what normal means anymore, but I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually!)
So that's my challenge to you: just donate the spare change to RMH and help out a wonderful charity! Thank you so much to all of you who have already said that you've started donating! I LOVE IT! (And so did the director when I told her today!) :)
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Saturday, October 30, 2010 2:31 PM, EDT
Proud Big Brother
Caleb met Abby last night, and I have to say that he is quite smitten with her! He really enjoyed holding her hand and remarked often, "Look how little her big toe is!" With our help, he stroked her hair and kissed her hand when he left. It was all very sweet. We have our first official family picture (minus Becky, as Caleb often reminded us!) that we are enjoying. We'll post pictures soon, but for now we are just enjoying the moment!
Last night after dinner, they had a pumpkin carving activity for the kids. Caleb was in heaven! My parents stayed with him while we went back to the hospital for a little longer. While I can't say that getting Caleb to bed last night was easy, we made it! He is having to adjust to having me as an authority figure again after 6 weeks of someone else being in charge. We're also in the process of trying to find the balance between enjoying our son when he is hear and being there for Abby. We're not used to splitting time between kids, and definitely not in this way. We want Caleb to feel loved and secure amist all of the craziness, so we are being careful to spend quality time with him as well.
Today, I set foot in a store for the first time since September 19th. I have only been in the hospital, my house, or RMH since then...pretty crazy! I kind of felt like I was an invisible person walking through the store looking at everyone else leading their normal lives without the faintest idea of what our life is like right now. It was a bit surreal, but I managed to make it through and get the things we needed without making a spectacle of myself!
Now if you'll excuse me, there's a little boy playing on the playground with a face that is just begging to be photographed!
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Sunday, October 31, 2010 10:24 PM, EDT
Abby's First Halloween
I'm hoping that Abby's Halloween next year will involve a costume, candy, and games at our church. Unfortunately, this year's was spent at the NICU in a diaper with a feeding tube. BUT, the sweet nurses made each of the babies a little pumpkin decoration with the baby's picture in it, so at least we got to document it some way.
All in all, Abby has had a good weekend! She is starting to wake up now that they are reducing her pain meds. She has tried to wake up before, but it has been in a very irritated, uncomfortable way that caused the nurses to up her pain meds again. This time, her wake-up seems very calm and natural. We are enjoying seeing her eyes once in a while, even though they still have that cloudy, drugged look to them! We will be very thankful when she is off of all of the pain meds completely and able to be more aware of her surroundings.
The doctors have also upped her feedings to 15 ml, which is about 1/2 an ounce. This doesn't seem like much, but she started at 5 ml! We're excited to see her start to grow now that she won't be burning all of the calories trying to breathe. Pray that she continues to tolerate the feedings so that they don't have to bring her back down. She's had a little trouble, but they are trying to ride it out because they really want her to grow!
Caleb enjoying spending time with Abby. He absolutely hates scrubbing in and wearing the yellow gown, so getting him into the room is a bit of a struggle. Once he sees Abby though, he is perfectly fine to just sit there and talk to her. It's very cute.
RMH had a parade today that we really enjoyed. Ronald McDonald himself led the parade, and Caleb absolutely loved him! He's not much on mascots, but he adored Ronald! He kept yelling, "Good job, Ronald McDonald! Good job!" :) They also had a DJ, tons of food, motorcyclists, classic cars, and police vehicles. It was really exciting for Caleb, and a good chance for us to spend some quality time together. We haven't had too much of that since I was hospitalized.
While our main focus while we are at RMH is most certainly Abby and will never view it as a cheap vacation like some (unfortunately) do, we are thankful that they provide fun activities to do with Caleb when he is here. We want him to feel included during this ordeal and not abandoned by us.
Tomorrow, Abby will have an MRI. Please pray for the procedure and that the results will be good!!