Friday, December 6, 2013

Play House Bouncers!

So, it's been a while since I've posted here.  What can I say, life just keeps getting busier with Drew and Gee-off's continued involvement in rec and travel soccer, school parties and activities, homework, gymnastics for Carter and Brenna, outside therapy for Carter, regularly scheduled, frequent specialist appointments for Emily and more substitute jobs for me!

We need some extra fun right here at home I think!

I'd love a Bounce House like this one from from Play House Bouncers!  They're giving one away to a blogger, so I had to take my chance.  I've entered as many of their recent contests as I've seen on their Facebook page.  We came really close a few contests ago where all of my awesome friends and family liked my comment on their FB page about how great it would be to have a Bounce House at home so Emily could enjoy it with her siblings, away from the crowds of the local bounce place. I'm pretty sure we had the 2nd highest likes, but alas, we did not win.

So, why not try again?  Check out this cool Pirate Bounce House!

 I don't think it'll fit under the Christmas tree, but I'll sure try! *wink*


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soccer Coach... Who knew?

I asked all the kids at the first practice; “Why are you here?” They all answered that they love soccer or they wanted to play soccer, but none of them told me they were here to win. Everything we’d done since then has been rooted to that concept. Our practices are action packed and fun, and our games are all played in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

It all started last spring, when Drew was chosen to play on a travel soccer team in town. Drew is skilled at soccer, but was clearly one of the weaker players for that team. He was smaller, younger, and less mature than the rest of the team. In his defense, he was playing “up”, which in soccer lingo means he was too young for the team age, but he was allowed to play with the team because the team didn’t otherwise have enough players to field a team and there was no team for his age group. Drew enjoyed the competition, and practiced twice a week with the team, but game after game, found himself on the sidelines watching for more than 85% of the games. This was never an issue for him, but it didn’t make sense to me. I felt that he needed to be on the field if he was to improve and I hoped that as the season progressed, so would he. At the end of the season, it was obvious Drew would not have a place to play the following season, and like any other “Papa Bear”, I had to look out for my cub.

Aimee suggested that I step up and volunteer to coach the nonexistent team that was needed for Drew’s age group and start recruiting players so we could field a competitive team. I reviewed the pros and cons and although I had serious reservations, I knew three things that helped me realize I would be an effective soccer coach.

1.As a teacher, I know how to treat children fairly despite dramatic differences in work ethic, ability, and motivation.
2.As a camp counselor, I’ve “coached” hundreds of kids over the last 20 years.
3.As a parent, I could never forgive myself for being afraid to step out of my comfort zone for the sake of Drew’s well-being.

The cons were mostly the fear of public scrutiny if I was a bad coach. I generally only do things I’m good at doing to preserve my self esteem. I couldn’t be a failure in my son’s eyes. So, I listened to all the jokes from my friends, read a ton about soccer, talked a lot of soccer with friends with experience, and took the plunge. It did mean some things around our house would need to change. After school tutoring would have to stop, we’d need to adjust Emily’s nursing hours on weekends, and our schedules would be changed to allow soccer to become a priority.

I now own more soccer shorts than any other middle aged, overweight, non athlete that I know. I have thirteen boys and girls who love soccer and habitually attend our practices and games. Miraculously, they play equal time despite the societal pressure to win, win, win! Maybe that might cost us a victory here and there, but all of them love soccer and are happy to be on our team. I have two fantastic assistant coaches who have been so helpful and all the parents that have been so supportive. But mostly, I have Aimee, who encouraged me to try something new, and has been so understanding and helpful as I took on this new challenge.

I always thought I was doing the noble thing to help Drew. I never intended for it to be another source of pride for me. The most important reason I love this team is that not one of my players complains when we lose, brag when we win, or gripe about playing time. Of course not, they are here because they love to play soccer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wingbo for Emily

Aimee found a product on facebook called Wingbo. They make a swing that aims to improve tummy time and we are hoping to win it in a contest this month on the Wingbo Facebook page. The benefits of this swing as therapy for Emily are countless, and it is certain to keep her happy.

The description on their website, includes the following:
"Wingbo has benefits for special needs infants and young children, in particular those with developmental delays. It can be a therapeutic tool for use in institutions and practices as well as privately in homes. Wingbo is recommended for use by pediatricians, physical therapists and early intervention specialists. Wingbo is recommended for developmental delays."

Visual impairments, low muscle tone, sensory integration, and acid reflux are also among the list of benefits from using this swing, all areas for which Emily is treated daily. I also think it is great that they even have a special pad for children with a G-Tube, so the pressure from her button will not irritate her belly and she could actually be in the swing during a feeding (which is more often than not).

The biggest reason we want this swing is because Emily has limited things she can do here at home, so her routine tends to be pretty set once she gets home from school. Sit in her tumbleform chair, roll on a blanket, cuddle with us, or lay in her crib. It would be nice to add something else... especially since her awake time tends to be in the evenings.

So here is where YOU come in...
It is so easy, click the link, "like" wingbo, and comment "Aimee Magnan Gollihur sent me". Emily gets one more chance to win for each unique person that posts a comment. Thanks so much! If you shared this blog post on your facebook wall, your friends could also support this opportunity for our daughter, Emily, who would absolutely love the Wingbo swing. The winner will be selected March 22nd.
Thanks for your help.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What's going on?

I have neglected this little blog for too long.  I think it's due to a combination of several things; Emily's health has been fairly stable, Drew is more heavily involved in extra-curricular activities, Carter and Brenna have given up napping, we moved, I started my photography business, Gee-off is extra busy with school, and, well,  Facebook! ;)

I only get about 2 1/2 hours each morning to myself while Carter and Brenna are at school.  Most of that time is for chores and errands, showering, coffee . . . so I have to keep this short.  But, did you catch that??  I get 2 1/2 hours every weekday morning to myself!!!!!!!  Yipppeeeeeeee!!!!! :)

Okay, the update.

Let's break it down.

Emily has been doing pretty well.  She is now in her second year of Pre-K at her school and loving it!  She stays awake most of the day now and is happier while she is there.  Developmentally, she is making some progress.  She is holding small toys, she can even "see" a toy if it is held a few inches from her face and will reach out to grab it.  She makes "talky" noises, but no real speech yet.  She laughs a lot.  She rolls everywhere, and is now getting up on her knees and forearms and trying to crawl!  Go Em!!  She is still on 100% tube feeds, but likes to get drops of water from her syringes and she gets sips of water from a special cup and straw at school.  Medically, she has been very stable, except her seizures.  She still has infantile spasms and they have been increasing a bit lately.  We also think we've been seeing something that looks like it could be a new kind of seizure as well.  

Here is one of her most recent pics.

Drew is in 2nd grade and doing great!  He has been to the orthodontist over the last year because his adult teeth have been coming in super tight and very crooked.  He does need braces, but we are holding off just a little bit longer.  He loves soccer and played this fall.  Then he tried out for the travel team and made it!  And then he was asked to play on an indoor soccer team as well.  He is big into video games and has a best friend that he likes to hang out with all the time.  He's really a big boy now. :)

Carter and Brenna are in Pre-K now and in separate classes.  They are both doing great academically, but still need to work on things like sharing and playing nicely with others. :)  Carter is doing great with his OT and PT and it looks like he'll be able to transition to regular Kindergarten next year.  They are very active and rarely nap, but they love to play with each other so they usually keep each other entertained pretty well . . . when they're not fighting!

In November, we moved to our new home.  We decided we need to sell our old home because it wasn't accessible enough for Emily.  All of the bedrooms and bathrooms were upstairs and she has to be carried.  We looked into renovating, but buying turned out to be a much better option for us.  Our new home is just about perfect, everyone has their own bedroom.  Well, I still have to share!! ;)  Our room and Emily's room are on the main floor, as well as an accessible bathroom for her too.  It is great and really feels like home already, though our first home will always hold sentimental value for us.  It was our very first real home and where we lived when all of our children were born.  Ahh, memories. :)

That's all for now!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Emily - From the perspective of her 7-year-old brother

We met with the Child Study Team and Emily's teacher this week. She'll be returning to the same school again next year and is eligible for a program in July/August as well. We have seen tremendous improvement this year.

Back in October, Drew spent a few nights writing a book about Emily. He chose what he wanted to write and we picked/took photos to match. I don't know why we never posted it, but we think it will be a wonderful keepsake for all of us to see Emily through the eyes of Drew years from now. He was only 6 when he wrote it, but turned 7 soon after.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

A new adventure

Photography has become more than just a hobby for me lately, it's become a passion.  I've always loved taking pictures, in fact, when I was younger I loved an older camera my Dad owned - with it's hard leathery case and a loud "click" when you pressed the shutter button.  I used to pretend to be a photographer or a reporter back then, but I really remember loving how that big and clunky that old camera felt when I held it.

I've starting doing informal photo sessions for family and friends and I'm really enjoying it.  Now I'm hoping to take it to the next level and actually make it a little business.  I'm trying to set aside my self-doubts and just go for it!

Tonight, I've been brainstorming names for my business.  I could go with Aimee Gollihur Photography or Aimee Lynn Photography, but I'm just not thrilled with the sound of it.  Many others incorporate other things I love like music and my family; HeartSong Photography, Fourever Photography, Caboodles Photography, All 4 Love Photography (too Color Me Badd!), and Quartet Photography.  Others ideas were Snap Happy and Ever After Photography.

I don't want to be too cutesy, or too formal.  I also don't want it to seem limited to one kind of subject because I hope to do babies, children, families and maybe even events like birthday parties.  No weddings though . . . yet!

I just love this one that just came to me.

Live. Laugh. Photograph.
But it's taken!!  As are many of my other ideas. :(

Still thinking about it . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Decathlon for 3 Year Old Supremacy

You read that right. Today while eating dinner, Drew explained that Carter and Brenna were going to have a heavy lifting competition after dinner to see who is stronger. Their crazy parents allowed the event to become a fun-filled after-dinner activity to focus everyone’s energy rather than continuing what everyone was doing before dinner (being cranky).

Our initial event, Hula Hoop Jumping came down to a tie due to the limits of my analog stopwatch and no clear-cut winner.

Although the 10 Yard Dash was a photo finish, we still don’t know who won, because Carter was busy tackling Drew at the finish line. Apparently, the 9 yard dash is all Carter can handle before falling over.

Heavy Lifting, which ended up resulting in a victory by Brenna, also won the ROTFL award. Watching toddlers trying to figure out how to lift a rocking horse over their head is more entertaining than most prime time tv.

Hoop Hurdles was the only activity that ended poorly, due to an overzealous seven-year-old in charge of holding hoop #1. We judged it a tie in an effort to move on.

Up the Ladder-Down the Slide was a competitive event. Although Brenna did win the three lap event by a two-second margin (18-20), Carter did show some style when heaving his body across the slide. Perhaps, as a fan favorite, he’ll end up with some endorsements…

The Slam Dunk Contest was less than impressive with neither contestant showing any slam dunk proficiency. After several missed attempts and a few poorly executed finger-rolls, Drew, who demonstrated an impressive jump and dunk in the explanation, was declared the winner.

The Obstacle Course which combined the rigors of cross-country running, long distance kicking, and an impressive display of automobile pushing ended in a tie, although I do believe Carter would have eeked out a victory if he hadn’t turned back to fix the askew hula hoop.

The Javelin, Shot Put, and Discus events rounded out our big evening. Carter won the Javelin throw by less than an inch, Brenna threw the Shot Put past Carter while his was still being marked, and Carter’s Discus had a 14+ inch lead over Brenna in the final event.

Final score you ask? Clearly, everybody wins here at the HHOMC.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Deja Vu?

When I came home tonight after running some errands, Gee-off told me he had written a blog post and shared it with me.  So sweet!

Well, it just so happened that a few days ago I had made a smilebox "scrapbook" for him and had it set to send on Saturday (when weg et to go out for our Vday date)!

While it seems like I was a copycat, I promise, I really had this made already!!! 

I love that we chose some of the same pictures too!

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day to the best husband!  (And just for the record, it was NOT a fake question!!!)

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Scrapbook design customized with Smilebox

Happy Valentine's Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I think back to the days when I was courting Aimee and how much I envisioned spending the rest of my life with her. I met Aimee on my very first day as a transfer student to Rowan University. I still remember the sweatshirt she was wearing, her gentle smile, and her beautiful red hair. She verified that I was indeed in the right classroom — after having a short exchange of introductions, I walked away, hoping to eventually build a friendship with the beautiful woman who, unbeknownst to anyone, would be my wife in three short years.

I remember being disappointed to learn soon after that Aimee was already seeing someone, but years later I realized that it was essential for our eventual relationship. I never put up any fronts or tried to impress, we were merely classmates, so I could just be myself. Aimee was so genuine and welcoming to me, I have to think the barrier of her being “spoken for” was to my benefit, because I had no reason to think that my actions would change her feelings and she only ever knew the “real” me.

The following fall, several key unplanned events occurred that resulted in seeing Aimee a few days in a row, and a trusted friend learned from both of us that there was mutual interest. I still remember going to campus on a day when I had no classes, hoping to bump into Aimee and perhaps work up the courage to ask her out. I never did spot her, but when she called me out of the blue to ask me a made up question about a class she was taking, I knocked an entire shelf over in my closet, trying to find my notes. During my avalanche, I distinctly remember my very sad attempt at asking Aimee to dinner. Since her intention was to ask me out anyway, she made it easy for me, and our story officially began…

To me, it was hard to imagine a girl so wonderful might be my girlfriend, much less become my wife. Aimee is smart, talented, beautiful, caring, funny, understanding, creative, and beautiful. Who could ask for more? She helped me to realize that I also have some pretty good qualities too, and I’m not embarrassed to say that she brings them out of me like no one else ever has. And if you noticed I wrote beautiful twice when describing Aimee, It was intentional — She still takes my breath away.

Fast-forward through a thousand sweet kisses, an unforgettable engagement, a beautiful wedding ceremony, a cute little apartment, a teeny-tiny shack on the outskirts of town, our first new home. New challenges — new solutions — a real team approach. As we have grown, we’ve grown together, learning new responsibilities and accepting sad realities. Realizing a combined optimism to get through every unexpected turn, we have weathered storms we never anticipated, always emerging together and happily enjoying our greatest blessings hand-in-hand.

Valentine’s Day — a day when we ask to be loved, and we share that same love to those we care for — I’m proud to say that I don’t need a holiday to remind me.

Aimee, I’m so glad you’re my Valentine.

“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu

Looking in your eyes, seeing all I need
Everything you are, is everything to me

And these are the moments I know heaven must exist
And these are the moments, I know all I need is this
I have all I've waited for… And I could not ask for more…