The Blaines

The Blaines
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Going Green

This past weekend, Noah and I, and 200 or so other people got together to support St. Jude, at Crop for a Cure.  If you remember from last post, I told you about Noah's goal of raising $3000 for St. Jude!  If he raised $3000 he got to dye his hair green, once he passed $3000 he aimed for $4000, and if he hit that, Mommy would get some pink in her hair.

I don't know if I can quite find the words to say what this past weekend meant to me.  I got to watch my son in action...although quiet action, he did it.  He wheeled his snack cart around, quietly offering beverages and snacks to over 200 ladies...and maybe a gentleman or two.

 He made it through half a gym, all by himself before his emotions got the best of him, and I couldn't help but gladly step in and help him with the rest of the gym.  I witnessed all these women, especially the Tri Deltas just open their arms to Noah, just like they have to me.

I can't leave out the guys who were right there with Noah, supporting him. 
Both these sweet men, went green with Noah...of course for a price!  The day of the crop, Noah pulled in over $600 with his snack cart, people just handing him money and selling more of his magnets!  In the end, Noah's total money raised for St. Jude was approximately $5000!


I also had the pleasure of sharing our story with this crowd.  Speaking for me, while nerve wracking is so therapeutic in a way. Luckily, right before I spoke, someone donated a massage to me, so I had 15 minutes to myself, to breathe and just relax!  Two years in a row now, I've been allowed to speak about Ellie, St. Jude and most importantly God. This year Noah inspired me to speak about being courageous...and in true courageous Noahman fashion, when I began to tear up while speaking, he put his arm around me.  This child's heart is so big. You can read the speech here


Let your light shine before men, so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt 5:16

All these fundraisers are not about me.  And for a minute this time around, my vision got a little blurry about what these are all about.  I got in a little wrapped up in thinking this was about Ellie, and if people weren't donating it must mean Ellie isn't important to them. That's when God had a little "talking to" with me, through a normal chat with my mom.  I was sharing frustrations, and for the first time I really heard what I was saying.  It's not about me or Ellie.  It's not about her memory. It's about representing the Lord through my words and actions.  It's about helping others and expecting nothing in return.  The joy I get from talking about Ellie is just a nice side gift that God gives to me. The funny part is (or should we say the God part) that once I let go of my "stinking thinking" and got my brain on straight donations starting going up and up. And I'm proud to say that the Crop for a Cure's soft total raised for this 10th annual event was $57,726.42!  That's God bringing a ton of people together from all over to raise money for His children!

Thank you all so much for helping Noah go green, for giving Mommy a reality check and for allowing us to shine in your lives!  We love you all!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hurry Up and Slow Down

I'm staring at a mess of a house, listening to pretty much quiet, watching Noah finish up things for Crop for a Cure, thinking about the things I need to finish before Monday, almost ready to cry because my summer is two days away from being over.  I remember back in June, desperately waiting for summer vacation to get here, and now its done.  I look back over the past 6 weeks, and think what did we do (besides make the mess I'm staring at)?  I know we went on vacation, I know I took the kids swimming, I know Richard worked a ton, and oh yeah welcomed my new nephew! (He loves me so much, I can tell already!)

Life is still moving faster than the speed of light or sound, or something like that...it's just going too fast!  Lulah has finally mastered crawling, after a month of dragging herself backwards all over the place.
She is still very mild mannered (hope I didn't jinx that) with the sweetest toothy smile.  I sure am going to miss her when I head back on Monday!  Her crawling just really got me thinking about how much we want things to hurry up and happen.  Her pushing herself backwards all over was getting really frustrating to her, she kept getting stuck in places and could not get out.  I found myself having to go rescue her often, thinking "I wish you'd just go forward".  Now she does, she's reached another milestone, and now I find myself wishing for those moments where I knew she couldn't get into anything.  We wish, we want, we get, we wish for something else, we get, we are happy, we want something else.  I'm sure all parents go through this, but today its just on my heart that I may not be taking the time to truly appreciate what my children are doing, I may be spending too much time wishing their behaviors away instead of trying to enjoy the time I have with them. And now that time is over with school starting back!

Ahhhhh....I feel like I'm getting a little too deep!  Need to laugh!
 Speaking of deep...look who took to swimming like a pro!  SG is still SG, over the summer she has grown, along with her attitude...to the point that sometimes I wonder if this is really what 2 year old little girls are like!?!?!  Ellie was two, but I guess I just didn't realize how mature she had become.  SG likes to test boundaries and her vocal chords.  She can also be with sweetest snuggler you've ever met.  She uses some of the same phrases as Ellie, and you just know that that is gift from God, because there is no way she would have known that.  She has also named some of Ellie's old stuffed animals "Ellie". She puts Ellie in time out, tells her no, dances with her and sleeps with her some times.  It makes me giggle to think that this may have been similar to their real life relationship.


And let's not leave out Noah! I think he's growing vertically! We've had to get rid of some more clothes, much to his dismay!  And the boy who cried at the end of first grade because he didn't want it to end, is now pretty excited for second grade to start!
School supplies have been bought, struggles over new backpacks and pencils pouches have been had, and now he gets a week with Mrs. Kelly and the girls before he heads down the hall to second grade.  He told me "I'm not nervous at all!"  This summer he's gotten pretty excited about his St. Jude Fundraising!  Noah Goes Green has really taken off!  He's sold crafts at a Crop for a Cure craft sale, sold old toys at a yard sale and has continued to make thank yous for donors and post pictures of he and Ellie.  He met his $3000 goal last week, and his first words to me were, "What do you think I can do when I raise $4000?"  I love that he gets excited about these things, that he cares, and its just not me motivating him to do things. So Richard suggested that he would get a green mohawk if Noah did at $4000...that had Noah in tears...his "by the rules" self couldn't handle the thought of a mohawk!  So I told Noah I'd love to get in on the action and get some pink in my hair.  He thought that was pretty awesome, and now we are a little over $400 away from $4000! So now I've hijacked his facebook page and I'm writing the thank yous and posting the pics! It's been fun, and as much as I wish it would hurry up and get here, I'm really trying to enjoy the time spent together!

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" Psalm 90:12
What should we take out of each day? The temper tantrums? The bills? The dirty house? The fact you have to go back to work in two days? Or the snuggles, the smiles, the conversations, the silly selfies, the little milestones that you will never get back!  What do I want my children to remember about these days?  What do I want to teach them in the short days we have here on this earth?  I want to teach them how precious life is, a gift from God and we can't waste it, cleaning (oh darn), we are meant to use this life to love others and do good for others, just like Jesus did for us! So easy to type, a struggle to live out some days!  

My favorite goldfish munchers are requesting a movie...and I'm going to say yes...and I may just make myself sit here with them and watch!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Our online auction for CureSearch is in full swing, ends tomorrow night (8/2)!  Some super nice items to check out! http://www.32auctions.com/princessstrong





Wednesday, July 8, 2015

You know us...just raising some money!

We have so much going on for fundraising, that I just had to put it all in one place!

I will be hosting an online auction again this year, these have always done so well for raising money, so we are doing it again!  Previous auction items have been jewelry, Scentsy items, books, photography services, scrapbooking items, and gift certificates.  The auction will be July 31st through August 2nd, and I'm searching for people who would like to donate an item or a service.  If you are interested, please click here.  It will take you to the form to fill out if you are interested.


Thermal Lunch Box Fundraiser in memory of Ellie! My friend Jessica will be donating 100% of the commission from the sale of these thermals to CureSearch for Childrens' Cancer in Team Princess Strong's name! I hope you help us out! To order one of these... it's simple!! They are $25.00 each including shipping and tax!
Just click on this form, fill it out, and she will contact you for payment!
http://goo.gl/forms/pnQBa9ojR0



Jamberry CURE SEARCH FUN-RAISER! Another great friend Kristi is donating her commission which is 30% which will be donated to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer’s mission is to end children’s cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. This donation will be proudly given to this organization on behalf of Team Princess Strong! Invite a friend, encourage them to attend, learn about Jamberry, but more importantly LEARN why it's important to keep researching and supporting organizations such as this! Come one, Come All... Let's make CURESEARCH, Team Princess Strong and Princess Ellie proud of what we can do, when we do it together!!! http://kristikellison.jamberrynails.net/party/?uid=db1412f2-9f90-4bc1-a0f5-ab2d5f49e9c4

The Pink Heals 5K Color Rush is September 12th.  Proceeds of this fabulous race to benefit two wonderful LOCAL organizations:

Mary Washington Hospital Foundation- Color Rush 2014 created the "MWH Foundation Pediatric Oncology Fund" to benefit the MWH Regional Cancer Center! This Fund was created in memory of Princess Ellie Marie Blaine. http://www.marywashingtonhealthcare.com/mwh-a-sh-foundations/foundations

"Strong For Dom Foundation" whose mission it is to:
-Raise awareness about Neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers
-Raise funds for research for Neuroblastoma and childhood cancer in effort to treat/cure such disease
-Keep their son Dominic’s spirit alive and sustain his memory and strength

To register for this awesome event...trust me, your kids and you will love it...visit http://www.imathlete.com/events/EventOverview.aspx?fEID=23687 and choose team Princess Strong when you register.  We will be making new white shirts for this year, stay tuned!

CureSearch Walk is coming up September 26th.  This walk is held in Charlottesville, VA and is a wonderful even for families to come to!  We'd love to have you join our team!  To register or to donate please visit Team Princess Strong Page.  I will be reopening the tshirt link if you didn't get a chance to order a shirt.  25 must be order for the shirts to print.  I will post a link once its open.

Noah is still raising money for St. Jude!  He is almost at $2000.  His goal is $3000, that's when he gets to dye is hair green in August!  To follow his progress and see all his thank you's and videos, his facebook page is Noah Goes Green.  If you'd like to donate directly to Noah, he has his own fundraising page.

I do hope that our friends and family will join us in these upcoming events!  If you cannot, I ask for your prayers for all those that help put on these events.  They work very hard to organize these amazing days, and I know they would appreciate prayers for guidance and peace as their events get closer!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~ Carly

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Getting Away

We did something we've never done before this week, we went on vacation, just us. We've always done family trips with my parents, and I don't think a trip to st. Jude quite counts as a vacation, although some days I miss it as much as the beach! Once I realized how short our summer was this year, with the new school calendar taking effect, I thought it would be the perfect thing for our crew. Nothing over the top, nothing life changing, just a week away from our everyday lives to recharge.  I felt like such a big kid as I contacted the realty company myself...something my mom has always done. Great stress and feelings of responsibility went into our menu for the week and our massive grocery shopping trip. I made lists upon lists to make sure we didn't forget a thing (I love that part!) I felt super domesticated and Betty Crockerish as I baked, tried new recipes, and froze meals so I didn't have to cook on vacation. As I watched Richard carry every Thirty One bag I own...good thing I have so many...to the cars (yes we had to take two) I had a huge appreciation for all that my parents have done for the numerous years we have gone on vacation (Thanks Mom and Dad!) and even though they weren't coming with us, Dad's truck and canoe still were...always looking out for us! 

With as much as Richard has been working this past month or so, this week was so needed.  It has been so beautiful to watch my family, be a family. We have played in the water, canoed, ran around, ate, climbed that big hill back from the lake (all that walking should make up for all the eating!) played board games, watched movies in black and white (because we can't figure the TV out) ate some more, thrown water balloons, played in the rain, taken naps outside, read, gotten bug bites, walked and giggled. 





It's an odd thing to go on a "family vacation" when someone in your family isn't here. At times it has been overwhelmingly obvious that Ellie isn't here. There was a point I was coming inside and I stopped and caught my breath as I looked in at everyone sitting on the couch, and perfectly placed between Noah and SG was an empty seat. 

I see that space a lot. Ellie's not here. As much laid back fun as we've had, she still not here. Noah would correct me at this point and remind me that Ellie is with Jesus, and Jesus lives in my heart, so technically (yes he would use that word) she is here're with us.  But I can't touch her, hold her or hear her, and that's what I want!

It's been interesting though, to watch little bits of Ellie continue to shine though SG. Physically SG wears a lot of Ellie's clothes now, so sometimes from the back, I see Ellie...well from the waist down. 
But SG has so many of Ellie's mannerisms, the way she dances, some of her sounds, her hair twirling when she's tired...things we could have never taught her. I can take credit for the clothes, and yes there are days I put certain clothes of her because it takes me back to a sweet memory, and then there are days that I cannot handle an Ellie dress, so she wears something brand new.  However I cannot take credit for SG doing the Ellie dance, or that silly noise that I could never describe, that SG has just started doing. I give that credit to The Lord who understands that I can't physically see my girl right now, and He knows that hurts, so He's going to bless me with some sweet reminders, a silly noise, a funny hop, and sweet snuggles. 

I'm so thankful to The Lord, for knowing my heart, knowing my needs and continually providing for me and never leaving us alone. http://youtu.be/DavJ9UKS2ps


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Prayers, Praise and Pink

Carly


Monday, June 8, 2015

#noahman

I'm not sure when I ever started calling him Noahman, but its now affectionately the hashtag he goes by.
This past year has been such a year of growth for our little man.  This year Noah conquered going back to his old school, and leaving behind a school that he truly enjoyed and that walked right beside our family during a very difficult time.  He experienced yet another little sister entering the world, and survived a very spirited year with SG.  He has dealt with temper tantrums and hair bows and diapers all with a smile (most of the time).  His prayer life has grown from "God is Great" to thanking God for the teachers that teach him and the house he lives in.

He has stood on stage in a new place, in front of people he doesn't know, to accept an award for his service to others.
We have really tried to work on his anxiety around others. So although he looks terrified, this was a huge victory for him and honestly for me as well!  We worked for months to get to this point!
I cried listening to them talk about all the money he has raised. Realizing that 3 years ago, we wouldn't have cared about any of these organizations.  Cancer was a word that didn't cross our radar, and surely raising lots of money to support these places was not on our to do list.  Thinking without cancer, we may still be living with our blinders on.

Noah also took on soccer this year.

Talk about watching a kid come out of his shell!  There were no nerves, no what ifs!  He took to soccer like a fish to water.  He's by no means the fastest little guy, and surely not aggressive, but he felt confident and I think this is the first time I've watched that emerge from him.  I even watched him get hollered at for goofing off during practice...which is a big deal for my straight laced kid!

We watched him perform a "solo" in his school music program...It was just a line, but for him this was huge!
Yes that's our guy up there in the pink shirt!

He continues to look forward to our next cancer walks, and has finally graduated from riding in the stroller to helping push!
Although I think if we let him, he'd ride in the stroller!

He continues to grieve with the rest of us, and amazes me at his ability to recognize a bad day for me and quickly comes to hug me, and those hugs make the world alright again!  I'm so thankful for his memories of Ellie and that he never hesitates to share them with us.

Noah's newest endeavor involves St. Jude, some hair dye and scrapbooking!  As most know our family has participated in the St. Jude Give Thanks walk for the past two years.  Through that walk, I have met some really great people, one of whom, Lisa, invited me to participate and speak at Crop for A Cure last August.  Crop for a Cure is put on by the Tri Delta Sorority, a huge sponsor of St. Jude, in fact the short term housing facility on the St. Jude campus is named "Tri Delta Place".  After last year's crop, I struck up a wonderful friendship with Lisa.  Her love for St. Jude is just inspiring and her dedication to helping others motivates me.  Lisa and I just seem to keep meeting each other at events and she always brings a great hug and a big smile!  This year our local St. Jude walk is moving to a different location and we will not be able to participate in it, to say I was bummed is an understatement.  I really wanted to find a way for our family to still raise money for St. Jude, even if its not at their walk.  After numerous emails with my buddy Lisa, I talked to Noah about the walk, and how we couldn't do it this year, and how I was still doing this event with Miss Lisa to help raise money, and he wanted in.  I knew he wouldn't want to sit and scrapbook all day, but he sure loves getting people to donate money, he has quickly learned the ins and outs of fundraising, via facebook!  
We talked about how some people shave their heads for money, which he quickly protested.  I brought up the idea of a mohawk...again no go (for as messy as his hair is, I can't believe he'd flip out over a mohawk!)  Then I suggested dying his hair...well that caught his attention.  He asked if he could dye it green.  In the name of cancer research, I said yes, but told him he had to meet a goal.  So he picked $3000.  Miss Lisa set him up a fundraising page and he is happily on his way to $3000 by August.  The best part of this all is him asking me daily, "do I have any thank yous to write?"  He has started making personalized thank yous on his iPad to those who donate :)


He got a little down when his donations slowed up, so I told him he had to encourage people, do something for them exciting if they donate.  So he's now currently telling jokes for every $10 donated.  Watching him come up with them is pretty funny.  He and Richard were on a roll tonight...I've heard enough knock knock jokes to last me a year!  

I'm proud of him.  I'm grateful for him.  The whole reason we started going back to church was because we were pregnant with Noah and we wanted to raise him in a church (little did we know it wasn't just about a building, its about raising him with a a relationship with God).  Noah helped lead us to the Lord...or should I say the Lord used Noah to help lead us back to him.  God uses Noah often to teach me a lesson or remind me of things that I forget when I get too caught up in life.  I can't take credit for the kid he is, God has completely led us in raising him, to which I am so thankful, because I'm sure on our own, we would have made a mess. Its hard to put into words just what he does for my heart, he's my son.  I look back over these past few years, and I'm amazed.  Amazed that at 7 years old (even if you just turned 7) he can have such a grasp on life with these basic principals.

1.  Its okay to not smile all the time
2.  Wear your heart on your sleeve, people will love it
3.  Mean what you say
4.  You are never alone, because Jesus lives in your heart
5.  Hugs are the best medicine

I think that if we could all remember these, we'd be a much happier people!
Happy Birthday sweet Noahman.  You sir, are bound for amazing things because you have a big heart, a brilliant mind, and you know that Jesus will always take care of you!

If you'd like to learn more about Noah's goal of $3000 and see his jokes on video, his Facebook page is Noah Goes Green
If you'd like to donate towards his goal, Noah's Fundraising Page

Thank you for letting me brag on my boy tonight!
Prayers Praise and Pink,
~Carly



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Birthday Prayers and Praises

Thank you Lord for creating me. Thank you for forming me in the image of your son, Jesus. Thank you for creating a plan for my life, a plan so much bigger than I will ever understand. Thank you for each one of the beautiful children you have entrusted to me, and thank you for loving them even more than I do, which is still so hard for me to fathom. Thank you for bringing a soul mate into my life, to share joy and pain with, but who is always here for me. Thank you for all the many people you have brought into my life.  I can't help but look at all the people who sent me birthday wishes today, and think how many of them I would have never known, had you not taken me down this path. Thank you for helping me to see blind faith. For giving me that confidence that I don't know what the outcome is, but I trust in you for it. I just feel very grateful today for my life. A life that hasn't been what most would call happy, that has traveled hundreds of miles down some really tough roads, but is completely beautiful because it's mine, and I'm traveling it in God's will.  This birthday brings some tears, but of joy, because I know that this life I'm living, the one God gave me, and planned out before the world was created, is being lived to glorify Him, and I'm pretty happy doing just that! Lord I pray I can continue down this road, shining for you (and maybe sparkling a little too!)

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Prayer, Praise and Pink
Carly

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Clothes

We are on Spring Break. And it's been my first real "down time" day. With the warmer weather and SG growing I knew it was time to tackle clothes once again.  The beauty of having all these girls is a ton of hand-me-downs and not having to get new clothes every season! The tough part now is that SG is growing into the clothes that Ellie wore while she was sick. After Ellie passed I put all her clothes in totes nicely sorted downstairs, like we do with all the kids clothes.  Those 3 totes (Ellie sure had a ton of clothes) pretty much sat untouched for quite some time, SG was no where near that size yet. Everyonce in a while I'd go looking for something in particular and see those totes, and all the memories packed away in them.  I got brave before Christmas and went looking for pajamas for SG, I found Ellie's Santa Jammie's she had on the morning of our early Christmas and I fell apart. I wasn't preparred to find those in that box.  I wanted them to smell like her, and they didn't and I just couldn't bring myself to let SG wear them, so I quickly shoved them back in the box and bought her new ones. Clothes seem so insignificant in the moment, but when that person is gone, clothes just hold a lot of thoughts.

I started out just looking for some shoes I knew I had bought Ellie when we were at St. Jude, she never had a chance to wear them, the cutest little fake Toms, all pink and sparkly. SG is a huge shoe fan so I knew she'd like them, and once I found them and showed them to her she was in love...for a few minutes at least. I figured since I had already pulled out one tote, I might as well keep going (and Richard's at work, so he can't holler at me for making a mess!). This time was a much better experience than last! I smiled a lot, remembering places we had been in those clothes, or the people who gave them to her. 

 I could picture her in my head in her cute outfits and here her excitement over Princess nighties. There were a few tough moments, especially on a certain pair of striped pants from my sister. 

And her beloved flip flops that she wasn't allowed to wear on physical therapy days. And this dress...
SG wore it to her 2 year check up...with her boots, her own flair to the outfit! 

As I loaded up a bag to transfer to SG's room, I was excited to start seeing her wear some of these things, and get to have those memories all over again. It kinda feels like I'm moving a little bit of Ellie back into her room.  The sweetest moment was SG discovering this new bag of clothes...I've told her not to touch...like I really believed she wouldn't...and she keeps running to me wanting to put something else on...who knows what she will look like by the time we get to church, but that's why I love her!



SG will never be her sister, she has her own way of doing a lot of things...and as much as she drives me nuts some days, I love her determination and independence! So some of the poofy skirts and dresses I just left in the tote...it's not SG's style!

I'm so grateful for something so small today. The past couple of weeks have been lonely, something is just missing, and I needed this to happen today...isn't God just awesome like that! 


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Prayers, Praise and a whole lot of Pink clothes!
~ Carly