Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks

We just returned from a little mini-vacation for the past four days. With all the chaos of the holidays surrounding us, I had a chance to really reflect on the things in my life that I am thankful for. I was having so many "mommy moments" and found myself getting tearful quite often!

First stop on our trip was Wilmington, Delaware, where Seamus had his bi-annual checkup at AI DuPont Hospital. He saw Dr. Bober and Dr. Mackenzie, and did fantastic! While we were at the hospital, we encountered many children with severe disabilities and illnesses. My heart was aching, when I realized that so many parents will never see their children smile or laugh, never watch them play, never feel their arms hugging them tight or hear them say, "I love you, Mommy." It really puts things in matter how tough life is, there is always someone out there fighting a harder battle.

I am thankful for the health and happiness of my children. I hope to never, ever take one smile, laugh, kiss or hug for granted.

After the appointments, we checked into the Ronald McDonald house, which is right across the street from the hospital. Seamus LOVES coming here, and can't wait to sit outside on the bench with "Happy Donald." The House is amazing, and everywhere you turn there are fun playrooms and comfy couches to relax. There is a huge kitchen, a workout room, a movie theater, and toys galore. Also, we get the opportunity to spend time with other families who have traveled to the hospital for their children.
Here is the room we stayed in.

One of the many great play areas, with an awesome Bob the Builder mural!

I am thankful that the Ronald McDonald House provides a caring, comfortable place of refuge for many families and children who are scared, confused, and often very far from from home. I plan on showing my gratitude by volunteering and fundraising for our local RMD House.

Our visit to Delaware was extra-special, because Seamus' best buddy Ethan also had appointments on the same day! The boys were so happy to see each other! We all went to dinner at a yummy hibachi restaurant, and on Friday we left DE and drove to Camden, NJ to visit the Adventure Aquarium. What a great place! We saw hippos, sharks, sea turtles, and Seamus' favorite, jellyfish.

The kids had a great time!
Family shot outside the aquarium

Here are the two goofballs being silly at lunch, each wearing a pair of my mom's reading glasses!I am thankful for great friends and the bonds we share. I hope that we keep making memories together for a long time to come!

After lunch on Friday, we said goodbye to the Weissers and headed to Somers Point, NJ to stay with my Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jon for two nights. It was Aunt Maureen's birthday, so we had a delicious dinner and some birthday cake. Grace's middle name is after my aunt. Here are the two of them together!
Saturday morning we got up and went separate ways; the girls all headed off for some retail therapy, and Devon and Uncle Jon took Seamus on a train ride (MAJOR excitement, as I am sure all of you with 3-year-old boys understand!)

Here is Seamus and Uncle Jon on the Seashore Lines.
Seamus was so happy to be riding a real train.

And check it out...even the Big Guy came along for a ride! (Notice the classic Santa-picture face of excitement mixed with fear and apprehension.) But what a great-looking Santa!

Thanks for the great visit Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jon!

I am thankful that my children grow up surrounded by such loving extended family. We are blessed to have their constant love and support.

I hope all of you have as many wonderful things to be thankful for. I'm getting pumped up for the Turkey Trot 5k, here's hoping I cross the finish line and make it home for some pumpkin pie! I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving, eat, drink and be merry!


Jillsblog said...

That Ronald Macdonald house is great. We have the same picture of us sitting next to Happy Donald. I wish we lived closer, JD and Seamus seem like very similar 3 year old boys!

Your adventures look fun!!! We all should be thankful for our adorable kids!!! Happy Turkey Day!

Katie said...

What a great trip! I wish we had some "friends" for Cole that lived closer...what a lucky little boy Seamus is!
I totally agree with you about being thankful everyday that I will hear Cole say I love you, get kisses and hugs (when he wants to) and watch him grow up to live a productive's always nice to keep things in perspective when you start to feel sorry for your little one.

Melisa said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I always wondered what a Rondal McDonald House looked like. I would love to have the opportunity to tour one myself and maybe volunteer at some point.

The Weisser's said...

It was such a fun trip! I hope it's the first of many "vacations" our families share!

Becky said...

Sounds like a great mini-vacation! The Ronald McDonald house is such a gift to those who need it! We stayed at one when Olivia was first born, and a few times since when she's had appts. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Melissa Swartley said...

Glad you had a great trip! Yes, seeing how many other families have much harder struggles to get through sure does put things into perspective. I am thankful everyday that I get to hug, kiss, hear I love you's and wipe boogies away from my childrens noses. That is a great looking Santa, I hope our local one is just as impressive! Happy Thanksgiving to you all and I love the pictures as always!

Greene Family said...

It looks like you guys had a lot of fun on your mini-vacation! Great pictures! You can tell that Seamus and Ethan are best buddies - so cute! I agree - we too have so much to be thankful for, especially Simon. We feel so blessed! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

mejane said...

Great post! We all have so many things to be thankful for.

Caden and Mommy said...

I totally agree with your thoughts about our little ones ... they really don't have it bad when you look at what other kids go through! Adorable pictures of the kids at the dance ... I'm a little behind on my blog comments! Happy Turkey Day!

Kim said...

Emily-I love the Ronald picture! It has been so awesome to watch Seamus grow in that picture every visit! Oh the train ride looked like lots of fun! I am sure Preston would have loved to go too! I understand the obsession fully!
I miss you guys and I am thankful that our special boys brought us a lifelong friendship! Happy Thanksgiving!

Danielle said...

It looks like a perfect mini-vacation! I grew up in NJ, the Somers Point area is really nice! I've only been to the Camden Aquarium once though, back when it very first opened. We have a great aquarium here in Tampa if you are ever looking for a vacation spot. :)