Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 First Country Club Weekend!

It's feeling like summer know what that means!!
Shorts, t-shirts, boats, skiing, fishing, grilling, hanging out and camping at the Country Club!  This weekend was the first weekend the weather was cooperative enough to play! Chip and Hill were ready to get out and about, as was I.  I was at a Rotary conference in Vicksburg, MS all Friday and came home early afternoon Saturday.  We called the Warrington's to see what they were doing and they went and bought us all crawfish for a mid afternoon snack!  Yum!

As it ended up Hill's faulty diaper leaked through and he had to take off his pants.  Instead of changing into new ones just to get all dirty from being outside I let him go pantless.
Who needs pants when you have Mardi Gras beads?
The Mardi Gras beads came from a cabinet in our house that Hill found his way into -- he loves playing with them.  I'm not sure if the fact that he doesn't have on pants and is wearing beads is a good sign for the future though.
What is a good sign for the future is I think my son will actually walk, one day.  He took 11 consecutive steps this weekend.  I think it has to do with the concrete at the Country Club pavilion scratching his knees up.  He didn't like to scoot his knees on it.....

so, he'd try to avoid crawling on his knees

that was tiring so he had to rest

then try again
 It ended up that he'd just sit or stand when he didn't feel like crawling.  He'd walk a bit, but truly no more than 5 or so steps.  11 was the max.
As it ended up...Harvey took off his pants too!

Pants Off, Dance Off!
Silly boys!

Don't mind if I do! Yesterday, Sunday, the temperature was great outside but it was really really windy.  Chip decided he wanted us to go out to the Country Club and fly kites.  We don't own kites.  Since Wal-Mart is always 2 holidays ahead of the fiscal calendar we were sure 4th of July stuff would be out and we'd find one.  Nope. 

Thank goodness the Pettits found these cute tiny micro kites.

How tiny!

I guess I must tell Chip to "Go Fly A Kite" too often...
He's really good at it!

Whitney and Tanner had fun too!

Tan Man running with the kite

Hart & Tanner with their mad kite flying skills.

Sweet Hill supervised

Tanner ate popcicles

And got out his new fishing pole

Don't you just wanna kiss that face?

Hill helping Dada put a cork on Tanners pole

I think Hill thought it was his fishing pole.
We will get him one soon!

Hart putting the worm on the hook while Tanner looks...

The Pettit Boys

Sweet Pettit guys

Whitney, Hart & Chip relaxing & fishing

Tanner napping

Hill being a dare devil and standing in his wagon
while drinking his juice

Got. To. Puuush. The. Wagon!

Hill decided we were carrying too much in the wagon
so he decided to drop some unnecessary weight so I could
pull them around.

Snack time!

I love this picture of Tanner.  The tiny hand coming in from
the left cracks me up though.

My boys headed home

The Pettit's headed home.

What a fun time we had!  No fish were caught, but it was so much fun!  I can't wait for this summer.  Be sure to check out Whitney's blog.  Her pictures turned out way better and are super cute please go CHECK THEM OUT !

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Andi's Smile Of The Day

I just want to say a special thanks to friends, family and blog readers for learning more about Hill and his cleft; it has raised awareness of his condition, even in our small community I feel as though people are a bit more educated about how clefts affect so many.  In turn it has brought out the spot light to help many other children that are less fortunate than Hill.  

It's so heart warming that for his birthdays, baptism and Christmas in lieu of gifts some of you have taken raising awareness to a new level and found the true meaning of gift giving by donating to awesome organizations like Smile Train or Operation Smile in honor of my sweet boy.  Brings happy tears to my eyes knowing that because of my little boy the selflessness of others shines to help those that can't afford to receive the medical attention to repair their cleft.  You and I can't imagine, but in third world countries cleft children are outcasts, known as the cursed children and are shunned.  Some never recieve the medical attention needed as infants because they are seen as a deformity, a lost cause.  I cannot comprehend what life would be like if I knew Hill had to endure those battles.

With that said, there is a special little girl that continues to make a difference in the world each day.  Today she has picked Hill to spread cleft awareness and be her poster child as the Smile Of The Day via her Facebook page.  Check it out by going to Facebook and searching for 'Andi's Smile Page.'  Make sure you "Like" her page so you can have some sweet kiddo that we may not know their story, but they surely have one, put a smile on your face, daily. 

Her gift of putting Hill as the Smile Of The Day couldn't have come at a better time.  I think I needed it more than anyone.  Thanks, Andi!  If you are not familiar with Smile Train or Opeartion yourself a favor and check out their websites.

Meet Andi Kezh.  She is 10 years old and from Decatur, GA.  Andi was born with a cleft and has taken her struggles and made such a positive impact to raise cleft awareness.  This little girl is absolutely amazing.  I'm so glad to share her story, enthusiasm and strong will with you all.

Here is her interview last year for Kids Who Give,
sponsored by Farm Rich.
Please describe how you have helped others. Hi. My name is Andi. I was born with a cleft lip and palate and I have had nine surgeries. The other day I saw an ad for The Smile Train, which gives free surgeries to kids like me around the world who can't afford surgery. I told my mom I wanted to raise money to buy surgeries. We started a Facebook page called Andi's Smile Page and I raised enough money for four surgeries in one week and I almost have enough for five surgeries now. You can go to Facebook and look up my page. I also have a page on The Smile Train website so that people can read my story and help out kids like me. I want kids to feel okay with how they look. I know what it's like to be laughed at because you look different. Now these kids will not be laughed at anymore. Here is my Smile Train page: I would LOVE it if I could win $1000. That would buy four more surgeries for these kids! Awesome!

How long have you been involved in this effort? Please include a start date and end date if applicable. When and how often do you volunteer? I just started this two weeks ago, but I have been helping others all my life. With my church, I serve breakfast to the homeless on Saturdays. This is the biggest thing I've ever done, though. I feel like this is what I am supposed to do because I know how it feels to be different. I play soccer and I'm on the swim team. You can't do those things with a cleft that hasn't been fixed because it is hard to breathe right. I want all kids to have the chances I've had.

What was the outcome? For example, funds raised, the number of coats collected for needy kids during winter, the number of community members who supported your cause, etc.
So far I have raised over $1100 in two weeks! Can you believe that? Each surgery from The Smile Train costs $250 because the doctors give their time for free. Only the stitches and surgery materials cost money. That is why The Smile Train can do it for $250. My first surgery was when I was three months old. There are kids in poor countries who are my age who haven't even had their first surgery yet! I couldn't believe it. That is why I had to help. I cut a picture of one of these kids out of the magazine and pasted it on my wall in my bedroom. I look at it every night before I go to bed and hope we get more donations for surgeries. So far people I don't even know have given money to help.

Why did you decide to volunteer your time?
When I saw that picture in the magazine of the girl who is my age and still hasn't had one surgery I almost cried. She is crying in the picture. I think she is crying because people make fun of her and think something is wrong with her because she looks different. I know how that feels. I don't want anybody else to feel like that. I had to do something. I even volunteered to bake cookies for everyone who donated but they all said they loved what I am doing and I could eat all the cookies myself!

What have you learned from this experience?
What I have learned is that people want to help but sometimes they just don't know who needs it. I mean, there are always ways to help others. I guess you just have to help them learn how. I knew that I did not have enough money to buy the surgeries by myself and I knew I needed help to do it. I thought we might get enough for one surgery but people just keep on giving and giving. They just needed someone to show them how. So I guess what I have learned is that people are good inside and they will help if you tell them how they can do it. That's what I have learned from this.

If you win the $1,000 charitable contribution, how do you plan to spend it helping the community?If I win the $1000 I will give every penny to The Smile Train to buy four more surgeries for these kids!!!! So far I have almost paid for five surgeries, and that would make nine! I would be helping nine children in the world have a better life. When you have a cleft that isn't fixed, food and water and milk come out your nose. You can't get food to go down the right way. Also, your teeth grow into the roof of your mouth and it hurts. Another thing is, other kids don't understand why you look different and since they don't know why they laugh at you. I learned that the hard way. Now I understand it because I am nine, but I didn't understand it then. If you give a surgery to a cleft kid, you are giving them a whole new life that is totally different from the life they used to have.

What advice do you have to share with other kids who are interested in spreading happiness through community service?
My advice is that when you find something you feel strongly about and want to do something about, just go do it! You will be totally shocked at how many people will help you! I know I am. I thought my parents and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles would help, but I have people from all over the United States coming to my Facebook page and reading my story and then donating. They can donate straight to The Smile Train on my page on the website so they can see their name and how much they have helped. I gave all my allowance to get it started. That way people knew I was serious about wanting to help. If you want other people to help you have to show them you are going to help first. Then, all of a sudden, they just start helping you! I have learned a lot of good lessons about how to help people and I know people want to help.

Note: In the hope of capturing the spirit of youth and integrity of the entrant's personal story, submission content has not been edited for spelling or grammar.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekend On The Coast

As I was telling Chip the other day that this trip to the coast has been the most fun so far with Hill.  He's not so tiny that we have to carry everything and the kitchen sink when we go, it's more like everything and the coffee table now.  I'm working on the packing technique, if you have any pointers, I'm all ears!  Yet, Hill is big enough to enjoy things and have a good time too.

Friday Hill and I left to go meet Chip in Diamondhead at the condo.  He had been down on the coast since Tuesday for a conference in New Orleans.  (A quick shout out to all the single parents out there - Not too sure how you do it 24-7 you are my heros) 
Anyway, Hill was a great traveler for the 3 1/2 hour trip.

When we got there Chip, Hill and I went to dinner with Aunt Jane Claire (Chip's sister) at our favorite restaurant - Yup, you guessed it - The Jourdan River Steamer.  Sigh, it was fabulous, as always!  We got there and the waiter was seating us and said, "Oops, I forgot the menus!"  I said, well I already know what I want and he replied..."you usually do."  Seriously, we must be the biggest frequenters for non residence.  We were talking to the owners and they were in awe over how much Hill had grown and that he was already a year old.  He's probably been there more times than half the locals.  Hard to believe his first visit was at 13 days old and now here he is 13 months old!  I'd say he's been there at least 6 times in his 13 months.  Yet, this was the first time that he's actually eaten there. 

I'm not a big fan of the kids menu when we go places.  Usually Hill would rather eat my food than the chicken nuggets or hamburgers found on the kids menu, and personally I'd rather him eat better food too even if it means taking half of it home.  Anyway, I noticed that there was a pasta and shrimp dish for the kids, but I didn't know if Hill was old enough to eat shrimp or not so I asked if they could substitute it with grilled chicken.  He assured me they could.  Then I asked what veggies came with that.  He assured me none.  Well, Hill loves veggies.  The kid chooses black eyed peas and english peas over mac and cheese.  I asked if they could make some veggies on the side and I'd pay extra.  The waiter said he'd meet with the chef and see what they could come up with.  A few minutes later this is what came out...

Yum, freaking ola.  It was pasta with fresh veggies like tomato, mushroom, and carrots with grilled chicken.
The chef came out to ask Hill if it was to his liking and he could tell it was as Hill couldn't get enough!  We thanked him for making a special dish for our good eater!  I think the chef probably appreciated a tiny tot that enjoyed his good food.  Once Hill had his fill of his special dish he proceeded to eat all the asparagus and potatoes off of my plate.  Needless to say, he was miserably full when we got back to the condo.  He ate more than I did, but his was all good healthy foods.  Mine was rich heavy foods.

It was good to see Aunt Jane Claire, but we missed Madison and Addie this trip. Then Saturday we did the Childrens Museum and pictures at the beach which was an all day fun affair (see previous two posts.)  We went to the outlet mall and bought Hill a bathing suit and hat for this summer and then grabbed a McAlisters sandwich and headed back to the condo.  I was ready to go to bed at 5:30 pm.  Hill had other plans.  He is cutting his top back two teeth and that makes for a drooly unhappy camper when not entertained.  Once his daddy got in from fishing it was lights out for mama bear!

Sunday was a big day too.  There is a park one mile from the condo.  Everyone is so nice and friendly, we had a great time.  I love it how Hill absorbs what the other kids were doing and then he would do them.  That little brain of his is just ticking 24-7.
Where is Hill?

Hey, Slide!

I will climb you!

And try to walk up you!

And make silly faces!

And be sweet!

And eat the rocks that I dumped onto you!

And laugh about it!

Then be silly!

And do the trick my Mama taught me.
(sticking out his tounge)

Does he not look like a big boy!?!
Ugh!  Breakin' my heart kiddo!

He wanted you to see the inside of his mouth.

And how long his tongue is.

And how much he loves his Mommy.
 Then back at the hacienda...
We play in our clubhouse under the barstools

Play with Dada

And hit Mr. Hambone with our Elmo balloon

And step on his face

Because we are too cool for school
Can't wait for spending more time this summer on the coast finding fun new adventures to get into!