Friday, August 19, 2011

We relaxed.

I bet you read this title and thought, oh great.  She's pregnant.  HA!  You are wrong.  Let me just start by saying that I won't end this post with the picture of a positive pregnancy test.  We weren't relaxing THAT much.


The morning of the Just Relax party, we saw a teaser photo posted on Facebook by one of the people responsible for all of this wonderful madness.  You guys?  This party?  It was legit.  This was the photo:

It was too legit.
Too legit to quit.
Hey, hey.
You would not even believe this fundraiser.  Unless you were there, which...were you there? Ohmahgah it felt like everyone was there.  I kept saying that it was like our wedding all over again - how every time we turned around, another familiar face was greeting us with a smile.  And also how we had to divide an conquer because it was impossible to talk to everyone.  There were 200 tickets available and it was a sold out event - friends, family, family and friends of family and friends.  Strangers New friends.

Decorations, made by people from all over the place and mailed to Ohio
for our party.

My friend Andrea has a recap here, with lots of pictures.  I took a few pictures that night, mostly to document the existence of this ridiculous shirt:

The prizes for raffle and auction were INSANE.  I don't know how many there were, but I walked around the table a few times and was still surprised when I saw the things people won.
Is that tiger shirt up for raffle?  No?

The temperature was in the mid-90's on the day of the party and the venue did not have air conditioning.  So basically it was hot as a motherfucker.  I think we were all a bit worried about it, but it ended up being fine and I don't think anyone let the heat get in the way of the fun.  Plus, I learned a new term: swussy.  It's like swamp ass,  only more classy.

Andrea - the one mostly responsible for making Just Relax happen.
Jen - the one with all the drama that makes people feel bad enough to throw a 200 person fund raiser.
Lynn - the one who taught me about swussy. 
(And by taught I meant told.  It's not like she showed me or anything.)

Sometimes I say something that I find to be so hilarious that I keep saying it over and over to people and I know that it's pretty obnoxious but I can't stop.  The night of the party, someone brought me my own special beer (Sam Adams Summer Ale OMGYUM).  And any time someone told me they love Summer Ale, I'd say, "It would be nice of me to share, but I'm not nice, so I won't." 

Me with my beer, which I refused to share
 with people who were giving me money because
they are nice feel bad about my ridiculous life situation.
Not sure exactly what I'm up to.  Looks like maybe I'm minding the stepchildren?

The food was delicious and the music was fab - there was live entertainment and some DJ action.  We got to see all of our friends and family that we haven't had time to see since December.  We ate and drank and laughed and we really did relax, which I think was the point.

Finally!  Someone else who enjoys making ridic faces in photos!

At the end of the night, the total was announced and it made me cry.  Which, doesn't happen a lot as my heart is essentially a blackened little piece of scrap metal.  I have no idea who donated what, so I can't do formal thank you cards.  But I know that a lot of people were involved who read this blog and don't even know us (well, know us in real life - you know pretty much everything because I overshare, which, you are welcome, HA!) but donated money and prizes and wrote us nice cards and letters.  The gross cash donation total was over $15,000.  I have no idea what the prizes were worth, but there were a ton of prize donations.

Don't we look relaxed?
Not for long, as per usual.

At the end of the night, we packaged up a bunch of leftover dinner and desserts and took them to the NICU.  Ainsley was having a rough night, and two days later, her right lung collapsed again and she had to come off of the home vent.  Who didn't see that coming?  Really, she has a two week routine of: OK, good, great, not-so-great, hmmmm wonder what's wrong, crappy.

Dis mah trach.

Lately I've come to realize that we've been thinking of going home as this big relief when it actually isn't. I a point it is a relief - we live 40 minutes away from Akron Children's, and it will be so nice to not have to drive there and back all the time. But it's not going to decrease the level of stress because we will have to care for a very sick little girl and keep life as normal as possible for a very active big girl. 

It's all very terrifying, if I'm being quite honest.  And knowing that we have so many people out there supporting us doesn't make it any less terrifying, but it does make it a lot less lonely.  So, thank you so much.  Really.  From the bottom of my blackened little heart.


One Year Ago:  The Morning Sickness: It Continues
Two Years Ago:  How to make your own baby food, you tree-hugging hippie freak.
Three Years Ago: Lucky 13


renee said...

Sooooo glad that everything went so well. You are definitely thought of/prayed for/loved by a LOT of people (including strangers lol). And it's nice for people to feel like they can help in some way. You deserved a night of relaxation (and summer ale! Josh looooooves that stuff).
Also, I've always called it "swag" (swamp vag lol). That was the first time I'd heard "swussy" but I like it. I may use that one and see how quickly Josh pretends he doesn't know me when we are at the zoo...or fair. Oh who am I kidding, I'd fit right in at the fair. ;-)

areyoukiddingme said...

Looks like it was a lovely party. I hope you get many more chances to relax.

Sorry to hear Ainsley is still doing her two steps forward one step back dance. I know it won't be easy when she comes home. I also know that your family can handle it with humor and lots of love.

Leila said...

This post is why I love you so...whip smart, funny, and REAL. Thank you for sharing your joy and your fear. You help so many others, they were glad to finally repay the favor. I think when you finally get that little Belle of the Ball home, you will see that life will be sweeter, in spite of the challenges.

Stephanie said...

You so deserve this party. Hope Ainsley can come home soon.

Tarah said...

That is so so awesome. I'm so thrilled for your family! Hopefully Ainsley comes home for good soon!

Vaso said...

You deserve it!!! I am hoping Ainsley comes home soon and stops the drama :)))

HereWeGoAJen said...

I'm so glad it went well. I wish I could have gone, so thank you for sharing it here.

alison said...

Love love love it. I wish I could have been there. Maybe for Just Relax, Part Deux: The Just Drink A Lot version? I will come to that. :)

She's the cutest, as always. Sending you love!

eggsinarow said...

What special friends! Amazing. I love this...seriously. And Ainsley continues to be adorbs. Praying for you guys.

Redrockcity said...

What great friends! You look so relaxed and happy in the photos--it must have been a fantastic party. Ainsley's cheeks look adorable and delicious in her photo--so cute!

Abs said...

I'm so glad the event went well. I found your blog from a whole ladder of links and when I read your story I was excited to donate something.

We did 9 days in that NICU and I can still hear that song of beeps and that smell of hand sanitizer. I remember the nurses I hated and the ones who I could cry at for transporting my baby boy there safely. I can still picture Dr. Kantak (is that spelled right) during rounds and the way they all talked in the center of the room and you try not to listen to everyone else so hard.

If you could use food dropped off (I could tag it and leave it in the family room) please let me know. Or anything else.

Oh, and who designed the stupid parking garage to ONLY take cash/check?

clearness said...

I bet she's the cutest and chubbiest baby in NICU. Lots of love and prayers.

nyanarose said...

Home with a sick babe ain't easy, but it sure as hell beats NICU with a sick baby. Let the love of friends and family and strangers... er, new friends carry you all to the finish line.

Stacey said...

I can't wait to hear about Ainsley coming home FOR GOOD. And reading about her chasing Olivia around the house--it will happen! The sister hug pics will be heart-meltingly cute.

d4ce770a-cc5e-11e0-9a54-000bcdcb471e said...

We were soooo glad we could finally help!! A friend of mine referred ur blog to us and it only took me 2 full days to read through all of it!! My house was a disaster after all of it but what else is new?! My husband and I donated the cornhole boards, and I hope it helped!! Let us know if we can help any other way!!

Crazy Sister said...

People love you! What a great night.

Valerie G said...

I discovered your blog for the first time this weekend and read every post, beginning to end. What a journey you have been on and continue to be on... Heartbreaking as it was at times, I enjoyed your writing and your story immensely and look forward to what happens next! Your blog made my "What I'm Feeling Friday" post (bc it is rude not to tell people when you are talking about them) and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Mimi@blueroofcabin said...

Jen, I am so happy you had a moment to relax and soak in all the love. The total raised is amazing, thank you for sharing yourself with the world, you really have helped me and I'm sure so many more. Hugs to you and your family!

jdareg said...

I've been following you since right before your sweet girls were born. My heart has broken for you and i have smiled with you. Your words are amazing, real and helpful. I can't imagine what you've been through but I know that you have helped people. What an amazing group of friends and family. Glad the night was relaxing and my prayers continue for your sweet girl to get better and come home.

raisingmiles said...

So glad I could "participate" even from afar. Looks like you guys had a dandy old drinkin' time. Glad you got to relax.

I hope A gets over her attitude with this 2 steps forward, 1 step back thing...

G+D said...

I got tears rolling right down my cheeks. What an incredible event. I wish I could have been there (to steal your beer). What amazing friends you have--you deserve them. I continue to think about you and your family all the time and send you as much strength, energy, and peace as I have to spare.

G+D said...

PS. You look gorgeous. Tell anyone who doesn't think so to fuck off.