Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birthday pictures

The party was a hit. I was nervous because we had it at our community pool and parties aren't allowed. I bought a kiddie blow up pool for backup in case anyone decided to bust up our party. But it all went well and the cake was super adorable. My cake lady is booked through October. Guess I better start looking for someone to do Nolan's birthday. I already booked her for the boys' parties next year. Geez! You should have seen the live action shots of Campbell with his first introduction to sugar. It was a riot! At first he just mushed it but then Grandma gave him a tiny piece in his mouth and he went to town. It looked nothing like a fish after he was done. He was such a trooper for the party in the heat but took a 3 hour nap afterward. Guess he experienced his first sugar coma.

A Daughter's Final Gift

Dawn's story and legacy has been so amazing that NBC did a story on her and it's beautiful.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Nolan is definitely a little man. When he goes big potty he shouts, "I need a mazaing!" for his reading pleasure. I just love how he says it...makes me laugh every time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Campbell!

One year ago at 3:14 p.m. Campbell Allen McDonald came into our lives. Wow, fastest year of my life. I'm so amazed at how much has happened in a year and how far our family has come in a year. All the frustration, forced family fun, laughter, and most importantly...love! Campbell has just been such a great baby even through every hair-pulling moment...I wouldn't trade any of it. I am beyond grateful for him and it's almost frightening how much I love these boys.

We've had so much fun this weekend. Gram, Pop, and Aunt Rainey came in from Kentucky. I have tons of pictures to post but for now...I wanted to reminisce about last year and shake my head wondering where that year went.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This story is one that will surely give you goosebumps, warm your heart, or make you cry...or do all three like he did for me. Dawn's memorial service was yesterday. It was a wonderful celebration of her life with a church filled with family, friends, and students that her life has touched.

They were able to use many of her vital organs to help save others lives. Dawn's kidneys have already found a recipient. Her pancreas is on its way for diabetic research. Her eyes will be stored until a recipient is found. Her skin will be used to make burnt victims look and feel better.

Before this tragedy every took place Dawn's dad was scheduled to have open heart surgery at the beginning of July. Dawn already booked her plane ticket to go up to Iowa to be with her dad. She was extremely close with her family. Her dad needs a new aortic valve and was waiting to hear if the donor's valve would fit. Well, Dawn's valve is a perfect fit! So now Dawn will be able to have a piece of her heart living in her dad's heart. Are you crying yet? What an amazing story and Dawn wouldn't have any other way to save her own father's life. How appropriate that after living a life of a dedicated teacher that she is still giving and thinking of others even in her death. Wow!

Monday, June 22, 2009

In memory of a dear friend

I can't believe that I'm even writing this post because it really doesn't seem real. My dear friend and co-worker Dawn Patino is up in heaven. Dawn is right across the hall from me at school. We eat lunch together everyday, work out after school, we're constantly in-and-out of each other's classrooms throughout the day. I know I must have completely annoyed her the past two years coming into teaching and knowing NOTHING about what I was doing and asking her a million questions. She never showed anything but compassion and help whenever I needed it.

At the end of the school year, we had our annual kickball tournament: 5th grade vs. teachers. We were all having a great time but Dawn pulled her Achilles tendon. She went to the hospital and had to have surgery later that day and was put in a full leg cast. We laughed about how crazy it was that she was in a full leg cast for the summer after a harmless kickball game. Friday night, Dawn had a blood clot to her lung (a possibility after a surgery) and had a heart attack. She was in the hospital when she went into cardiac arrest, but it took them over 30 minutes to revive her. The doctors and nurses said that four minutes without oxygen to the brain can be devastating. Her family drove in from Iowa and later found out that there was no brain activity after several tests. After trying every possible test, her family had to make the unbearable decision to take her off life support. They are donating her organs and how appropriate for Dawn who would help anyone and everyone to save lives.

Tomorrow is her memorial service and I just can't believe this is happening. I don't think it will really set in until next year when I don't see her in her classroom or have lunch with her everyday. This is just another reminder how fragile life is and to live each day like it's your last. I love you Dawn and I will miss you terribly. What an impact she's made on so many lives and students! She may have only been 34 but what an amazing and self-sacrificing life she lived!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day Justin!

Before we ever had kids, I knew that Justin was going to be a great dad. My nieces and nephews would ask, "Where's Justin?" as soon as I saw them like I was chopped liver. Kids just flock to him. But I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing father to my children. He is such a wonderful example of how to treat a woman, be a servant to others, and love unconditionally. He's not afraid to kiss boo boos, change diapers, cook, or bathe our boys. He's definitely an involved dad. Our boys absolutely adore him simply because he adored them first. So here's to an amazing man who is the best father to our children. I couldn't ask for a better role model. We love you, Justin!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Campbell started clapping his ears and we went into panic mode thinking he had an ear infection. Turns out Mr. Cutie Pie just wanted a good old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo. Seriously, could he be any cuter? Please excuse my utterly annoying voice telling Campbell "peek-a-boo" a million times. I think he finally did it to shut me up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Oh boy, my boys go all out when they decide to get sick. Here's how they plan it. Let's wait until mom is out of town on her last "me" trip before full time motherhood this summer and get really sick. Campbell decided to go first on this little stunt on Friday and he went full throttle...ear infection, strep, 103 fevers, runny nose, coughs. Nolan decided to come in on Round 2 on Sunday. You guessed it...strep and a very suspicious rash that looks like red dots on his face and arms. Hmmm, what ever could it be? Chicken pox, anyone? I made it home on Sunday after being worried sick and feeling terribly guilty. We went to our regular dive - Carenow. We should buy stock in that place. Is it listed on NYSE? Not sure about the chicken pox. We're still on "watch" but dots keep going away but then another one comes up but no itching so we don't think it is...stay tuned.

So the past few nights have been reminders of the newborn days with the crankiness and sleeplessness. If there's a silver lining in all this it's that I'm off work and don't have to worry about sick days. We've been a fever free household for 48 hours and decided to venture to VBS tonight only to discover Campbell had a low grade fever tonight once we got there. Oh what a start to a "relaxing" summer. At first I was going to nominate Justin for "Dad of the Year" dealing with all that by himself but now I'm thinking if they got THAT sick on his watch, maybe not so much. Maybe it's all part of their evil plan to never leave them with Dad alone again. Hey at least I have job security.

Friday, June 12, 2009

If you're happy and you know it...

Campbell is such a dancer/performer/entertainer...I mean when he hears a beat he just starts right in. He loves to clap. He is our little family cheerleader. He claps for everything and anytime the word 'happy' is mentioned, he will drop everything and clap. Super adorable. Tonight we went to the pool and anything that Nolan did, Campbell was right there clapping for him. Of course, Nolan loved it. We've even caught him in the middle of standing and holding onto something and he'll let go and cheer and clap and stand for quite some time. Looks like we'll be the ones cheering him on to walk soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Well here we were all pumped and geared up for basketball. Shoes-check. Basketball-check. A little guy a geared up for some ball-check. Well we signed up a month ago but the start date kept getting closer and closer. I kept calling and calling but no one would return my calls at the Y. I was getting extremely frustrated. It was the day of when b-ball was supposed to start and we knew nothing!

Finally we had someone call us back and turns out that no one ever put Nolan on a team! We were pretty miffed and then after being told games would be Saturday mornings, they scheduled them at 2:30. Who ever had the brilliant idea to have the 3 yr olds play right smack in the middle of nap time obviously isn't a parent. So we were really debating whether or not we should keep him and just suffer through 8 wks of no nap Saturdays.

Later that afternoon our friend Kenny and Amanda had a birthday party for their little girl Emily at this gymnastics place in Keller. We walked in I just knew that Nolan (who is scared of his own shadow) would not be participating in any of the birthday activities. Justin and I were shocked when he was all over it. I'm talking swinging from ropes, jumping on the trampoline, swinging from bars...this is huge! So I think we might have found our "rebound" sport (no pun intended) and we're going to give this tumbling thing a try. I really think it will help give him self confidence and help with his coordination.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Concerts in the Garden

Sunday night we got to spend some great time (without kids!) with Beth and Josh and enjoyed an awesome night at Concerts in the Garden. We both had the grandparents watching our kids and it was the smartest move. We actually had this thing called a conversation! It was amazing. It seems like every time Beth and Josh are in town from NY we are always busy with our own kids so we had a lot to catch up on. We laughed so hard and it's one of those friendships that no matter how long it's been, we just pick up right where we left off. We miss Beth and Josh so much but now we're looking forward to using it as an excuse to go to NY soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amarillo by morning...

or by midnight. We took off after an ALL day field day with 21 4th graders and hit the road with the boys to head to my grandmother's 80th birthday party. I was so nervous about how the boys would travel and already worn out when we starting driving. Thankfully, Justin drove the entire way. I think he could see my exhaustion. The boys were WONDERFUL in the car. Best purchase ever? Hands downs it's got to be our portable DVD player...worth EVERY penny of silence. Campbell on the other hand slept 5.5 hours in the car and woke up as we pulled up to the hotel-love that baby. The down side was we forgot our playpen and Campbell has never slept in the bed with us. So after a 5.5 hour "nap" in the car, we had the next two hours of trying to get him back to sleep. As soon as we did and put him next to one of us in bed, he would pop up like it was a slumber party and just giggle. It was really cute but not so cute at 1:00 a.m. I don't think we'll ever forget a playpen ever again on a trip. The next night we tried to put him to sleep but again he thought it was slumber party time so Justin ended up sleeping on the floor and Campbell had the big bed to himself while I slept and got kicked by Nolan all night.

The party was a hit. My grandmother's name is Byrdie Mae Hogendorn so it was only natural that she have birdhouses at her party and she has them throughout her fabulous garden of Eden in her backyard. Nolan was a little disappointed by this and told her that he wanted her to have a "hippomus" (hippopotamus) party. He's all about birthday themes right now and let's us know daily what he was his birthday theme to be in September. And yes, of course, it changes daily as well.

I'm so grateful and blessed that my grandmother is so healthy and active. You would never guess that she's 80. She's on FACEBOOK! (No, I'm not kidding), just got back from a cruise, can out-garden you any day of the week, and is pretty much up at her church anytime the doors are open volunteering. What an amazing and beautiful woman.


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