Friday, July 24, 2009

Hearts of Hope

Many of you, by now, have heard me mention the support group for local families of children born with congenital heart defects, Hearts of Hope. I was only made aware of this group after I met fellow heart mommy, Michelle. She informed me of this group, linked me to their blog, for which I am super grateful. I had been trying to find a local CHD group for quite a bit of time, and the closest group I could find was in Southern California. So when Michelle informed me of this group, I was super happy and excited! HOH has monthly meetings, often with guest speakers offering valuable knowledge. Along with the monthly meetings, the group often has outings, King's games, Rivercat's, trips to the Zoo, etc, that they work hard at getting DONATED, so all families in the group have a chance to experience these things with their children, as well as allow their children to befriend kids *just like them*.

Since then, which was probably less than a year ago, Michelle and I have been asked to become the coordinators for the Hearts of Hope Care Package Program. Michelle and I were very honored and eager to get started on this program and become a part of something so amazing. The care packages go out to heart families facing a new diagnosis, hospitalizations, surgeries, or having difficulties following surgeries/procedures. Michelle and I have put on our thinking caps and brainstormed a few ideas that we hope will make these packages even more valuable and useful to the families in need, and thanks to some extremely generous donations and hard work of the group, many of these ideas are happening!

Right now our packages consist of:

* Logo tote bags
* Aluminum water bottles
* Note pad and pen
* Tissues
* Various toiletries
* Beanie babies
* Blankets
* Healthy and energizing snacks for the parents/siblings

An ongoing list of needs for our care packages to succeed and continue:

* toiletries (ie -individual toothbrushes(adult and child sizes), travel size toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, hand sanitizer, disposable razors, scrubby puffs, brush/comb, etc
* puzzle books(crossword, word search, sudoku, etc)
* disposable cameras
* non-perishable, healthy, single serving snacks
* phone, gas, grocery store gift cards

If you have any further ideas for these packages, we are open to suggestions, especially if you are a parent facing such hospitalizations. If you would like to donate, join the group, or become involved in any way, please visit the group page(which clicking on the title of this entry will take you to) or contact me directly.

Thank you!

Heart hugs,
Jen Bolima

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday's Jelly Belly Factory Fun!

I can't really think of a better way to start the week. A mini trip out to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield with family and friends. In attendance were Uncle Joe(my brother), Auntie Brie(my bff), her two kiddos Lucas and Logan, Brie's sis Kacey, as well as Auntie Tiffany(my bff)and her super sweet and cute twinsies, Alexis and Aleasha.

We did the free tour, that place smells SO GOOD. They were making bubble gum Jelly Bellys that day, which I am typically not a fan of one bit, but my GOSH that smell, it was intoxicating. :) We all donned our super stylish white paper hats, learned and saw how Jelly Bellys were made, and heard more than we ever necessarily wanted to know about Ronald Reagan's Jelly Belly infatuation. :) It was fun, and informative.

After the tour we roamed the gift shop, bad idea. Who knew a family of four could easily spend almost $40 on Jelly Belly's in a matter of minutes. Okay, we actually didn't buy many Jelly Bellys themselves, as we OTHER yummy confectionery goodness. :)

Our plan was to eat at the Jelly Belly Cafe, but the choices are somewhat limited as was the seating, so we(minus Brie's clan, potty accidents will happen...)all decided on Chili's in Vacaville(NO, hubby didn't even let me stop at the outlets, pretty rude huh?! But in all reality it wouldn't of been much fun for the kiddos, and it was their day...I guess...), which was super yummy. Not a place we frequent often but it's very kid and budget-friendly, plus the quesadilla I ordered was insanely delicious! :)

Then once were home and utterly exhausted, brother came over, we ordered some pizza and the boys all played wii until about midnight. FUN day. Ava was in bed early, it was a super long and eventful day for her, she had fun but you could tell it took it's toll, poor mamas. But I do believe these kids who aren't all that used to sugar and went candy-bananas yesterday(how do you justify a trip to a candy factory and NOT?)have some serious cases of sugar hangovers! It was a fun day, here are some photos from the day...

Tiff and Ava, at the Factory in front of all the CHOCOLATEEEEE.

Us in the car, you can only see G because his head is huge. ;)

My buddy and me.

G donning his super cool hat.

Ava donning hers.

Uncle Joe laughing at Ava's pirate face. Arrgh!

Tiffers and her twinsies.

Most of the kiddos(sad we didn't get any of Brie's clan!)

Uncle Joe and Miss Ava, looking very happy about those hats,probably my favorite shot of the day! :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guess What?!

In case you haven't heard yet, the Catheterization scheduled for Monday, July 20, was canceled. Ava has been sick for about a week now and had this terrible cough over the weekend. So we took her to the Dr. on Monday and she was found to have a double ear infection, yup, BOTH ears are infected, at the same time. She wasn't showing any outward symptoms of an ear infection prior. Silly girl. So we told her Cardiologist and he didn't want to touch her until she has a clean bill of health. Understandably. Him and I were definitely on the same page with this one, as usual.

So the gals at the office are working on a August 31 date. First case, on a Monday, just the way we like our UCD Cath Lab visits. ;) Let's just hope UCD doesn't decide to double book that time slot again...We are currently waiting to hear the official OK from UCD, and that can take up to a week sometimes. If there is a change in date, I will update on here.

Other than that, everything is going well. Ava is on amoxicillin and is feeling the side effects...I won't bother elaborating. ;) She's only now tugging on her ears. But other than that, she's fine. Her last day of school was Wednesday of this week, but she had to miss it due to her illness(still has a really bad sounding cough and a runny nose). When we called into the office to clear her absence, they informed us that Ava was going to be given an award that day, but that they will forward it on to her home school for the fall school session. Must. Make. It. To. Fall....This mama is SO ready for BACK TO SCHOOL!

Ava's latest and greatest:
* bigger appetite, seems to grow daily, WOOHOO!
* thumbs up, saying aww-emmm!(awesome!)
* two new molars
* the "disco roll" YES, it's a disco dance. Think John Travolta in Staying Alive...It's hilarious!
* new favorite word...NO. Go figure.
* mastering the somersault. GO AVA, GYM DIVA!
* fish status. Ava finally LOVES the water and pool!
* lots more sounds/words. Very exciting!

Hope this finds everyone happy, healthy and enjoying Summer!
Ava's Mommy

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Fun!

So though my dearest hubby had to work the first 4th of July that I ever can recall, we all still got in some family time before he had to depart(graveyard late shift). He was definitely missed, though. :(

We spent the late afternoon/rest of the day at my parent's house, as we do almost every year, it's become a tradition. Family, BBQ, swimming, lots of fun. This year was the most low key it's ever been(just myself, my kiddos, my parents, and my brother) but it was actually really nice. We could all hear each other, had a place to sit, and didn't run out of mojitos. ;)

We used to be able to view the fireworks show Carmichael/Fair Oaks put on from my parent's front lawn when they held the show at Del Campo Park, and the walk was a super short distance if you felt the need to be "in the middle of it all." But a few years ago they moved the Fireworks Show to La Sierra, which is still right down the street, but basically impossible to see from the house. So my dad in previous years has taken it upon himself to provide the entire block a great show with enough fireworks to last a few hours. No joke. This year he had help, though. Thanks to a lovely person I have met through Ava's journey, a fellow Heart Mommy and amazing advocate, as well as half of the fabulous team that fronts the support group, Hearts Of Hope, and her equally generous friends, our family as well as a fellow heart family, were given a tour of the TNT warehouse and gifted two boxes of fireworks as well as tee shirts, hats, pins, etc! There are truly some amazing and inspiring people out there and I could never give proper thanks for the thoughtfulness and generosity they are spreading to heart families. Thank you Valerie, Thank you to everyone at TNT Fireworks, from the Bolima Family. :)

I hope everyone had a fabulous, fun and safe Fourth!

On a side note, a very VERY sleepy and sometimes sensory sensitive mini diva was not having those loud booms last night, as a result she and I spent most of the time indoors or covered under a blanket. I did manage to sneak a few cute photos, though. I am also including a couple from our trip out to the TNT warehouse...

Love always,
Ava's Mommy