4th Birthday Photo Session

4th Birthday Photo Session

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Power Of Andi Bean: Recruiting Blood Donors

This morning while we were getting her ready for "summer camp" -- a glorified title for daycare that enables them to charge more money... Andi was pulling at her shirt and showcasing her heart surgery scar.  She said, "I had surgery!"  I replied, 'Yes, you've actually had nine surgeries!"  I pointed to her nose and said, "you've had many surgeries on your nose!"  (choanal atresia)  We haven't really talked about CHARGE Syndrome yet, nor how she might be perceived as different in any way.  It's more like, 'yep, I've had some help and dang it... I'm a bad ass!'  I want to equip her with the ability to stave off any negativity, and turn all into a teaching opportunity.  Most people don't get it unless they live it, that applied to me too!  Therefore, a few weeks back, I inquired at work why we don't do blood drives at our office.  Apparently, there's upward of 600 people in our building, if they all showed up on the same day.  With that being said, we now have a blood drive that I'm coordinating.  In effort to implore people to give the gift of life, I'm using Andi and her heart surgery story to show how donating blood can save lives.  So, her face will soon be all over our building.  I'm excited by it and a little anxious too.  I am debating bringing her to greet donors outside the vampire truck.  I think that might be fun to have her sing her songs, dance her lil' whip & ney ney, and relax people in Andi's unique way?!  Hey, if it helps get donors in the recliners and more pint donations... I'm all for it.

So, here we are using our experience to help others.  THAT is what I hope Andi will do.  Educate others and make people kinder, gentler and wiser.  The power of Andi Bean.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Andi Meets Ralph

Our first morning in New York, the family got together and had breakfast.  It was four or five tables pulled together.  We all chatted up a storm, with conversation just flowin', laughter and stories envelope us all.  Then there's Andi.  Andi has a tendency to go from person to person and ask a variety of questions.  This morning, it was 'what did you have for breakfast?' and 'who did you sleep with?'  I mean, we all were giggling.  Andi canvasses the room and asks each person at our table.  Here were are a month out from that trip, and I would honestly bet money that she can still tell you what all these people ate that Saturday morning.  When Andi asked Uncle Pete what he had for breakfast, he told her about his meal, and then she asked him, "who did you sleep with?"  While most of us would expect him to identify his wife during this inquisition, he simply said, "Ralph!"  I believe she asked, "Who's Ralph?" and so the story goes.

Thank you SO much Uncle Pete!  What a gem for Andi to have, and so sweet of you to send!  When she was done opening it, Cory looked at me and said, "that's something your Mom would have done."  Simply wonderful!  Thank you!!!!  We love you!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Andi Turns 7: The Birthday Video Tradition (videos 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)

For the past five years, I have made a video to capture and celebrate Andi Bean.  The first year I did it, the video captures the first three years.  I had to recreate it though, as the software it was originally done in did not jive with youtube demands... so not only is it extra long, it's not as fabulous as it started out...  yes, I'm still angry about it.

This year's video is no different.  In fact, in all of them, I have used the same song, "It's Amazing!" by Jem.  In previous years, Andi has not gravitated toward this song.  In fact, she'd insist we skip the song when it comes on the road trip playlist.  This year however, Andi actually started singing the words.  Listen to the words and think back of the many obstacles she's faced and overcame.  In that spirit, the song just absolutely fits perfectly.

Here's the link to all the videos!  


Andi Turns 7!

Andi Turns 6!

Andi Turns 5!

Andi Turns 4!

Andi Turns 3 Revisited!

Birthday Party #2, #3, and #4

So, Andi is not your typical kid.  She never has been.  Most kids get a birthday party with friends, then maybe just a small family celebration.  Not Andi.  Oh no, as if 30 people at her kids birthday party wasn't enough, Andi gets to go to Montgomery where her Poppa and Ginga live and have a whole separate party.  There were something like 22 people all coming together for dinner, cake and presents at the club.  Andi has a whole posse of adult friends over there that simply dote over her.  Again, Andi is not the typical kid.  She never has been, never will be.  Sorry, she's simply a magnet of awesome that draws people in.  As for the birthday party, there were 'Reserved for Andi's Birthday Party' signs all over the tables, table decorations, a massive Ariel balloon, and gifts at the center of the table, Andi's princess thrown.  Unfortunately, Andi's stomach wasn't cooperating, so she spent a majority of the party not feeling well.  However, she still rallied and reveled in all the birthday glory.  The next night, she enjoyed birthday party #3, with Poppa, Ginga, uncle Chris, uncle Art, auntie Chelle Chelle, and of course, her chauffeur & caretakers... Mom & Dad -- the ol' ball & chains.  Luckily, Andi's stomach was feeling better this day, so she got to enjoy some steak, mac & cheese, and all the fixin's.  On this night, she actually got to enjoy her ice cream cake.  Andi got to spend a lot of time with her extended family this trip and she throughly enjoyed herself.  She went to the pool with Ginga, and made new friends.  She just savors all the attention from the various people.  So at some point this weekend, we need to carve out time to make more 'Thank You' cards... as we all are very thankful for seven full years of Andi Bean... 

Prepping for my party at the salon!

I wanted and I got rainbow colored fingers and toes

New party outfit, too bad I threw up on it at my party!

I don't feel good!


I do love me a good mirror!

Belly-up to the bar with my Unkie!

I'm cool, yo!

My shared birthday ice cream cake!

Styling one of my three new swimsuits!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Early Birthday Party Extravaganza

Due to park availability, we chose to have Andi's 7th birthday party a few weeks early.  We invited all her friends from school, a whole 1.5 weeks before the party.  Surprisingly, the turn-out was rather perfect.  The last minute scramble to get a birthday bash together is becoming a skill for my LinkedIn profile.  The night before the party, I hit Costco, Kroger, Dollar Tree and Party City.  It was a whirlwind of activity, but I wanted to keep the food and decor fresh and not withered by time and inadequate conditions.  I soaked all the produce in a cleaner, and tuckered out early that night.  Up the next morning with Andi at 6:30 a.m., I instantly got started on party items.  We had a piñata to fill, fruit salad to make, cooler to pack, mac & cheese to bake, burgers & hot dogs to grill, cake to pick-up, and party gifts bags to prep, car to pack, and most importantly, a threat of rain to swear off.  I spent the next four hours sweating my a$$ off.  I raced around like a rabid chicken without a head.  Our kitchen so small, I practically tripped over my own feet, getting in my own way. I was worried about the threat of rain, but we had rented a pavilion.  I bought coloring books, a piñata, face painting kit, and pin the nose on the clown (what happened to the tail on the ass, I mean nothing is more kid friendly than a giggle fest over using the word ass!  I mean, I am perpetually 12 and I think it's funny!) and that was my plan if the weather didn't cooperate.  The pavilion is off one of the coolest playgrounds in town.  It has a little something for everyone, kids big and small.  So, we take two cars full of crap to the park and of course, there's like three baseball games going on and the parking lot is packed.  Andi and her Dad take the closest parking spot and I find one that seemed about a .25 of mile away.  Of course, I have the bigger ride with most of the crap in it, but we didn't want Andi to have to walk that far.  So we took turns unloading and started setting up.  I bought 20 balloons and tablecloths to help decorate the space.  Luckily, my coworker's perfect timing worked yet again and we milked her decorating skills!!!  She got the piñata up in a perfect spot!  We got the food set-up and the rest of it was a bit of a blur.  There were a lot of us and all seemed to have a really good time. We even had a game of freeze dance party, which was a big thrill for Andi.  Although the songs were done by Kidz Bop, I believe a bunch of parents were standing around asking if these songs were actually appropriate for children. Andi was giddy the entire time.  She had a smile that reminded me of her Disney World trip where she smiled ear to ear, sunrise to moon rise.  

And wouldn't you know it, the weather held.  Right as the party wrapped up, and a few friends remained, the girls were playing on the playground when the thunder started to shake and crack.  It was the perfect party, and Andi was so happy.  In fact, I've noticed that I must have picked up some serious happy-Mommy points as she is even sweeter with me since the party, which I am savoring.

I must admit that when I was at Party City and trying to determine the perfect piñata.  Although I decided Disney Princess would speak to her more than the others... I still can't get over my in-store fantasy of taking a bat to this lil' shit and watching a massive pot of spaghetti & meatballs come flying out of his busted gut.  I was giggling inside the store like a crazy person... but the dream still fills me with joy.  #WhackanElmo