Friday  -- March 21st

(For those that don’t know, Kristen had her left rotator cuff operated on earlier this week. All went well but at this time she is unable to type – and clean and cook and make the beds and take out the garbage and do laundry etc, -- so I have been granted special permission to author today's column. – Ernie)

Fundraising season is in full swing and this year we have jumped in with both feet as it relates to the supporting Dana Farber and Children’s Hospital. After two years, it’s great to be on the offensive against this disease.

This year we were honored to be asked by the Lutes Family to take over the Norfolk Kids PMC. Alison and her husband Dave have been running it since starting it in 2005. The ride is going to be on June 8th and we are encouraging as many kids as we can to participate. (You can go online and sign up at https://kids.pmc.org/kids2006/Events.asp?EventID=171) Both Michael and Maddie have been helping out with the planning and fundraising. Michael is going to ride as well and has already raised $1,300.

We have a couple of ideas for fundraising. The first was to set up a raffle for all the kids who are riding In addition to sending out fundraising letters, they can sell raffle tickets and use the money they raise towards their own fundraising goal. Many of the area businesses are helping out. We have donations from Lowe’s, Bicycle Plus, Something Special, Shaw’s, Papa Gino’s, Fore Kicks, and Guido’s Restaurant and several area families. We have a whole bunch more in the works so we expect to have quite a raffle. If you know anyone who’d like to donate towards the raffle, let us know.

Another thing the kids want to do to raise awareness is put together a public service announcement for the local cable station. Michael also wants to do a segment on fundraising ideas and Maddie wants to do a segment on the Jimmy Fund. Paul Altmeyer, who runs his own well known, highly rated hockey show at the station, has offered to help us out. Should be lots of fun.

In addition to the kids ride I’m also riding in the PMC. I’ll be doing the Wellesley to Provincetown loop which is approximately 160 miles. I chose that route because it goes through Wrentham, just down the street from the house.

Also new this year is Stephanie Knowles. She’s riding the Sturbridge to Bourne route. The Knowles girls have been babysitting for us for about seven years. They’ve been an especially big help over the past two years and this is just another example of their spirit and support. I encourage you to help her out with her fundraising efforts. You can do so at http://www.pmc.org/mypmc/profiles.asp?Section=story&eGiftID=SK0136.

We are also proud to be associated with Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles run. Maddie is paired up with two runners, Kristin D'Orsi of Stoneham Massachusetts and Claude Berreckman of Cozad Nebraska. They will be running the Boston Marathon to raise money for Children’s Hospital. The run is Monday April 21st and only 5 weeks away. We hope Maddie will be able to join the runners for the last stretch of the Marathon and cross the finish line with them. These guys need your support. Their links are http://www.chtrust.org/nationalruns/default.asp?page=boston08&topic=profile&ProfileID=DK0044&EventID=112 and http://www.chtrust.org/nationalruns/default.asp?page=boston08&topic=profile&ProfileID=BC0035&EventID=112.

I know it seems like everybody in the world is asking for donations. But it is for a great cause and we are blessed to have so many people who are trying to put an end to this disease. A while ago I was going through my emails and I stopped to read a copy of a letter Kristen wrote when we first started this journey. It brought back a lot of memories and I thought nobody should ever have to write one of these. Your donations can help make that happen. God Bless and Happy Easter.

Kristen’s email from August 2006

Monday  -- March 17th

Happy St.Patrick's Day!

The lucky leprechaun came this morning! He left each of the kids a clover lollipop and a bag of gold coins, behind the same tree he has left gifts behind every year! William and Thomas ran outside in their bare feet and pj's to claim the goods!

It was such a hectic but great weekend!

It started Friday afternoon right after school. Maddie decided not to have a big birthday party this year, but instead, wanted to go to the Cape Codder Hotel in Hyannis with our next door neighbor, Lorraine, and her daughter Kristen. So, right after the bus got home, we hit the road! We had a sitter watch the boys until Ernie got home.

We checked in, ate dinner, and went down to the pool ("unfortunately," Lorraine and I "forgot" our bathing suits!) We could not believe who we ran into in the pool...it was Hannah Vanderlaske from the hospital, one of Maddie's very dear friends and roommates! The two of them had not seen each other in quite a long time and had really missed each other. It made Maddie's day that much more special.

Running into Hannah could not have come at a better time...this was Maddie's first time trying out her hair piece in a pool and she was very nervous. She was considering not going under water, which would not have been much fun. She even thought about just taking the hair piece off, so she wouldn't have to worry about it. She said she didn't care if people stared at her! As we stood there debating, that's when Hannah walked up! Well, Hannah helped her make that decision! We went into the bathroom and she pulled it off and went swimming with her beautiful head uncovered! I was so proud of her and now she was able to have fun! The three girls all had a great time together and Hannah ended up spending the night in our room.

At one point during our stay, Maddie and Kristen went down to the arcade room and won a prize for both Lorraine and I! They were so proud to present us with some new bling bling! That's right! Maddie won a pair of "diamond" earring studs for me and Kristen won her Mom some "gold" hoops with "diamonds!" We put our new jewels on right away so that we could show off! We looked amazing! We even agreed that we would let each other borrow our new jewelry, but only for special occassions.

The girls were sad to be leaving the next morning. The time went by so fast. We all got a last swim together, and had breakfast together before departing.

When we got home on Sat. I had to get Thomas over to a birthday party within 10 minutes. We were a few minutes late, but he had a fun time!

William had made plans of his own! While I was on the way to Hyannis and before Ernie got home Fri night, William had called one of his classmates, Caroline, and invited her over for Sat afternoon! That little stud got her phone number during the week! Caroline called back on Sat to find out time she could come over! Ernie and I had no idea what was going on until I got on the phone with Caroline's Mom! We were both laughing and her Mom said she saved the msg. William left so that she could play it for me because it's so cute! That's our boy! The two of them had a fun time together but William now knows he has to run his social plans by Mom and Dad first!

We ran through Maddie's gift opening pretty quickly on Sat afternoon because we had to head out again. Saturday night Ernie and I went to Colleen and Frank Duffy's PMC fund raiser event in honor of their daughter, Meghan. It was a beautiful event and it was so good to see some friends from the hospital that we hadn't seen and of course, to just be a part of such a special evening. Ernie even got lucky and won two candles in the raffle. I think he secretly wanted to win the basket full of hair products! He says he put a ticket in that one for me, but I don't know about that... I love the candles!

Sunday was a bit more quiet. Maddie went into Boston with Helena Findlen, her son, Aidan, and Kristen, to ride in the St. Patty's Day Parade, in the trolley for Cops With Kids For Cancer. They had a great time waving to the crowds, handing out candy, green flowers, and beads.

I took Michael out to do some clothes shopping for him. It was nice to get out and just have a little time with him. He's so enjoyable. It's funny how different they all are when you can get some one on one time with them.  After that Ernie and Michael went around town soliciting funds for a raffle they are putting together for the Norfolk Kids PMC ride on June 8th.  Alison and Dave Lutes have been running it since starting it in 2005.  This year they have decided to take a break this year and Ernie and I have agreed to give it a go!  We're really excited.  As part of that we are putting together a giant raffle that all the kids across town can sell tickets for.  Paul Altmeyer is going to help Michael and Maddie do a video for the local cable tv station as well.  Anyone looking to sign up can do so at https://kids.pmc.org/kids2006/Events.asp?EventID=171  The link for Michael's ride is https://kids.pmc.org/kids2006/?action=sponsor&EventID=171&ProfileID=SM0015

Well, that's about it. Lots to do before Wednesdays big day. Definitely have to knock BJ's off my to do list today. I won't be lifting those big boxes for some time!

Have a great day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday  -- March 12th

Rainy weekend. My parents decided not to come because of the rain. They will come up for Easter instead. Don't know how good of a hostess I'll be then. I'm set for surgery on my shoulder on the 19th. Been putting off the problem - burcitis, tendonitis, calcium deposit... It's luckily my left shoulder, so I can still keep up with some things around the house. Boy, is my laundry going to pile up though!

Doesn't the amount of laundry you do every day truly amaze you?! Where does it all come from? If there are 6 people in the family, why are there atleast 10 complete outfits in the hamper, or should I say, near the hamper, every night? The hamper is never empty. My washer and dryer never stop running.

Ever notice that out of all the piles, maybe a few pieces actually belong to YOU? Why is that? That's because women actually realize that you can wear a sweater, jeans, whatever, more than once if it isn't dirty! Fold it and set it aside! Am I right ladies?

I love when you ask the kids to pick up their rooms and then you turn to look at the hamper. It's now doubled in size! That's because whatever has fallen off of hangers in their closets, whatever outfit they took out of their dresser then changed their minds about wearing...all end up in the hamper. Much easier for them that way! I'm not complaining. I wouldn't want anyone else doing the laundry for fear it wouldn't get done right. In fact, I've asked Ernie to give it a go a few times, and I'm quite sure that he's not color blind, but let's just say I've told him to step away from the laundry. The same trick works for him when it comes to making the bed. He knows if it's not made right, I'll want to re-do it, so he's just given up completely...hmmm, as opposed to doing it right!

So, we'll just have lots of laundry and lots of unmade beds for a while, but that's ok, we'll survive!

Maddie turns 10 this Saturday! Wow - so hard to believe! She spent her birthday last year in the hospital and had her pic line put in her arm that day. That was a really tough day. I am SO grateful for where we are this birthday!

Friday  -- March 7th

Yeah - it's Friday!! The fifth grade had their annual Wax Museum presentation last night at the school. It was so great! The costumes on the kids were so amazing! Michael was Jim Henson. He looked so good with his beard and mustache and had memorized his lines perfectly! I was so proud of him. Each child had to recite their life story/history by memory, after you "activated them" by asking them to tell you about themselves. I brought William with me and Ernie had to stay home with Thomas and Maddie.

William ran around and found his favorite Wax personality - the guy who invented the Hershey Kisses - of course! He kept coming back to me a with another handful of kisses. I only hope he didn't keep "activating" the poor kid, making him recite his lines over and over, in order to get thoses kisses!

The boys had so much fun playing outside yesterday afternoon. We get so excited when there's any little bit of warm weather! Unfortunately, I think Thomas sprained his ankle. It's swollen and it hurts when he stands on it. I'll have it looked at today.

My parents are coming up from CT. for the weekend. They haven't been up in a while so it will be nice. We're expecting a lot of rain. Maybe we can all get an umbrella and go singin' and dancin' in the rain!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday  -- March 3rd

Well, school vacation was pretty lame. Everyone was sick the whole week with the cough/sore throat thing, so we didn't do much. Maddie had it the worst and had a high fever off and on for several days. Her body had a little more trouble kicking it than the rest of us. We're all finally on the mend.

Michael and I went shopping at IParty at the end of vacation week, to find a beard and mustache for his wax museum project at school. He is going to be Jim Henson, creator of the muppets and lots more. Well, they didn't have what we needed, so I bought a wig there, that we took home to cut up. It turned out great. Got a mustache and beard out of it. He'll put it on this Wed. for school and then the parents are invited Thur. night to see. It should be fun.

We had clinic day this past Thursday. Maddie had her blood draw and her monthly exam. Everyone was so excited to see her and nobody recognized her with hair! Maddie was so glad to see everyone. She misses her nurses and friends. She even had time to squeeze in a guitar lesson with the new music therapist, Brian. Ernie had met us over there for the check up, so when we were done, Maddie went back to the office with him. I got to drive home alone, blast the radio and sing horribly, without anyone listening! It was great!

I went out Thursday night, to meet up with friends, Alison Lutes and Amy Palmer. Alison and her husband, Dave, have been running the Norfolk Kids PMC ride since starting it, several years ago. They have decided to take a break this year and Ernie and I have agreed to run it! We're really excited and hope to raise lots of money for cures! We have set the date for June 8th and will hopefully post a fund raising link on the website real soon, so that anyone who wishes to contribute can do so. You have all been so generous in the past and we're so grateful.

We had a good weekend. My childhood next door neighbor, Trish, and her daughter, Molly, came up from CT. for a sleepover Sat. night. The girls got along great! We took Molly to get her ears pierced while they were up. What a great memory! I still remember getting mine pierced with Kim Costello when I was 12...

While we had girl's night, Ernie took the boys, and Michael's friend, Drew, to a hotel for the night so they could get out and go swimming. They had a great time. William and Thomas decided they wanted to come home to sleep, so Ernie brought them home later and then stayed overnight with the two older guys. They all had fun!

Well, that's about it for now. Have a great week!

 

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