Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Visiting the new Ashburn Fire House...

For quite some time now, Adam has been watching the progress of the Ashburn Fire House as they've worked to build a completely new station just a mile down from my folks house. He would tend to ask Grandma & Grandpa to drive by it to see how it was looking. Well, a few weekends ago we got to be part of the grand opening and see the finished product up close and personal. 

It was a wonderful event with all kinds of equipment to check out, "helpers" to meet, activities to take part in and lots of yummy treats as well. Adam was mesmerized by all of it. 

A few highlights were getting to sit in the big fire truck as well as the airport equipment - that thing is huge; meeting one of the EMT's who transported Harper from Fairfax to Fair Oaks - he said he could never forget a name like "Gribble" and showing Adam the type of transport unit and equipment that Harper got to ride in; learning about "Stranger Danger" and getting to break a wood board in the process - this kid can't wait to sign up for Tai Kwon Do; and of course - "sliding" down the pole! 

In between all of that we enjoyed some cotton candy, played with Legos, and even had Adam's blood pressure taken - he's right as rain as they say! 

It's a beautiful new building and at the end of the day Adam enjoyed playing Fireman & EMT with Harper & Liddy! ;) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Clearwater Beach...

I always look forward to my annual work trip to Clearwater Beach, FL. This year was no different, however I was feeling sad about it being my first long trip away from Harper. Happily the work aspect of the trip keeps me so busy I didn't have too much time to dwell on how much I missed the family. 

The trip kicked off with a little pre-conference relaxation/Mother's Day at the pool. I enjoyed some festive frozen drinks, warm sunshine and a few dips on the pool. I got nice and sun burned, but I guess we'll chalk that up to getting my "base" for the summer! :) 

The rest of the week was a bit of a blur as my colleagues and I put on another awesome event for our customers. We had long days of education - but fun nights networking, watching beautiful sunsets, and sharing lots of laughs. 

At the end of the week our leadership team was treated to a fantastic dinner at my favorite restaurant down there - The Island Way Grill - where we literally ate a boat load of sushi!!! It was a great way to top of a successful event and I so enjoyed being back out on the road with my team - they make being away from the family worth it and I'm so lucky to work with such awesome folks. 

Until next time Clearwater Beach! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Happy (early) Mother's Day...

I was going to be traveling and gone for all of Mother's Day so Andy & the boys put on a great celebration for me the day before. I felt super spoiled with an early morning mani/pedi and then an evening of some of my favorite things - oysters, crabs, & duck! 

Andy & Adam picked up fresh oysters and soft shell crabs at the Farmer's Market (the first weekend of the season!). Then we turned the soft shell crab into soft shell crab bruschetta - inventive and delicious! 

Adam gifted me an adorable handmade book. In it he wrote things like "My favorite thing to do with my mom is cuddle." and "My mom makes the best cookies." and "I love my mom because she is sweet and kind." It's definitely a keeper! 

I was a little melancholy during the day knowing I was about to be leaving for 6 days - the longest I'd been away from Harper - but the boys had one more trick up their sleeves - 2 dozen roses awaiting me in my hotel room to brighten my Mother's Day & to be a beautiful reminder of them all week long. 

I'm one lucky Momma! 

"How Does Your Garden Grow" starring Adam...

The 1st Grade musical was a few weeks ago and it was pretty much adorable. I sadly had to miss Adam's kindergarten play, so I was so happy that I was home for this one. The musical was "How Does Your Garden Grow" and Adam played Herb the Gardner (the "h" is silent you know?! - a line they sang several times, ha). 

The musical numbers included "The Garden Hoedown," "Planting Seeds," "Weeds Rule," & of course, "How Does Your Garden Grow?" The lyrics to that title song brought a few tears - I'm not going to lie. Hearing these smart, adorable, sassy & grown up 1st graders sing "Will you give every seed all the love that it needs to become the best that it can be? Will you care that each one has its day in the sun, and can grow in a world of harmony?" was almost too much to handle. They are all growing up so fast - especially our Herb the Gardner - wow - is he really almost a 2nd grader!? 

A spectacular performance and I'm already looking forward to seeing what these talented kiddos will have in store for us next year! 

Bravo Adam & the rest of the Aldrin 1st graders! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Harper hits 8 months!

Our little buddy has been doing so great. His personality just shines through and he is becoming more and more active every day. Leading up to his 8 month milestone he really developed a great taste for all foods - minus peaches for some strange reason. He loves green beans, bananas, chicken, turkey, blueberries, squash, pumpkin - the list goes on and on - again, except for those peaches. Maybe someday he'll change his mind. Though if there is a food he isn't going to like, I'll take peaches over anything green any day! :) 

On the mobility front he's just a total rolly polly! He isn't crawling yet - those arms and legs need to grow just a little bit - but he sure knows how to get from point A to point B by rolling his way there! It's pretty funny and you definitely can't let him out of your sight - who knows where he'll roll to! 

He is very engaging and lets you know what he's feeling - there's no doubt about that. If you aren't paying attention to him - he'll let you know. If he's hungry and you're taking too long to get him another bite of food - he'll let you know. If he's soooooo happy to see you in the morning - he'll let you know. It's great watching him learn to communicate, and even though he isn't using real words yet, he definitely gets his point across. The best is watching him interact with Adam - if he can get Adam laughing at something he is doing you'd think he'd won the lottery. Those sweet boys are already the best brothers ever. 

There isn't a check-up at 8 months, but he did see a pulmonologist a few days after the 8 month mark just to check on some wheezing that he has - it's nothing to worry about they said but we did get a nebulizer to have on hand if he is ever sick and the wheezing gets worse. At that visit he weighed in at almost 19 pounds. Big, happy, healthy, chunky 8 month old! 

Happy 8 months you gorgeous blue eyed, blonde haired angel you! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

March for Babies...

It wasn't long after Harper was born that I got a thank you card in the mail from a good friend of mine whose daughter has type 1 diabetes - he was thanking me for donating to their walk to raise awareness and money to find a cure for that terrible disease and at the end of the thank you note he wrote "let us know when it's time to raise money for the March of Dimes." While we had already met the March of Dimes rep in the NICU we had yet to really feel and experience all that they would do and continue to do for us through Harper's journey. So of course when it was time to start raising money for them - that's exactly what we did. 

Team Harper Gribbs had all kinds of support from friends, colleagues, old colleagues, friends of friends (some of whom I don't even know, wow!) and of course family. We raised over $5,000 and were one of the top family teams for the Northern VA march. It was quite overwhelming to see so many people taking an interest and lending their support. 

We felt first hand the great work that this organization does and we know Harper is healthy and thriving in part because of the research they have supported. We also can never forget the ways in which they supported us as a family during Harper’s 60 day stay in the NICU. Everything from goodie bags to a recordable story book that Adam could read and record so Harper could hear his brother’s voice before he was able to visit and even a baby shower that they threw for other moms and me which was a fun and necessary distraction from the reality we were all facing. Being able to begin to give back is such a privilege and I'll look forward to continuing to support this group for years to come. 

We were lucky to have the Harpers come up from Myrtle Beach for the weekend. We also had friends and family all set to march with us as well. We even got Team Harper Gribbs shirts made thanks to a colleague's wife who donated them to us. 

Sadly the day of the march the weather was pretty crummy. Lots and lots of rain was falling but that didn't stop (some of) us from still marching. They shortened the walk as a result of the bad weather, which was good news for Adam who wasn't exactly looking forward to the 4 miles it was originally going to be. They still had a big gathering of folks before the march and we happily saw some of the doctors and nurses that took such good care of Harper - including nurse Jenny, one of our favorites from Fairfax and Dr. Baker - our hero at Fairfax who was so kind and reassuring, spending quiet time with us answering questions we hadn't even asked yet he knew we were looking for the answers anyhow and Dr. Silk who was the first neonatologist we met when we got word that we would be delivering Harper - he was also Harper's main doctor at Fair Oaks. 

After the march we dried off and headed home for a little celebration we hosted in honor of our super hero - Harper. We felt this was a great opportunity to say Thank You to those who supported us through these past 8 months - and really, a good excuse to buy a big yummy cake from Wegmans! I put up a photo collage of Harper's journey and some of the art work that Adam had made for him that used to hang on the walls in the NICU. I've yet to take it down.

Even with the rain this weekend was one of the brightest we've had since Harper was born - surrounded by friends and family celebrating life and most of all, celebrating a little boy who brings big smiles and light to everyone he meets.