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Super Perry and Rare Disease Day

Monday, February 29, 2016
In case you missed it, today we celebrated Rare Disease Day. Though at HudsonAlpha and the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine, everyday is really rare disease day.

We have had a little something up our sleeves for that was made public this afternoon in a press conference at the clinic. The unveiling of the Hero Fund, thanks to the overwhelming generosity from an anonymous donor, that will provide funding to help underserved patients receive genomic medical care for many years to come. Along with the announcement was a call for support from others to contribute to this cause.

Genomics is expensive and insurance frequently does not pay for genome sequencing even when it is has a high likelihood of providing a diagnosis for a critically ill patient. This is a landscape which will hopefully change soon, but until then access has been and is a real problem for many patients. This is one step towards alleviating that burden.

The branding of the clinic is around super heros, helping our patients whether they are children or adults find their diagnosis, their secret identity. If you surf the internet with any frequency, Perry has likely graced your screen in a banner advertisement for the clinic. We chuckle at how often we see his sweet face in the margins of our computers. Like this one, while I was innocently listening to pandora radio...

Our communications team wanted some cute super heros to be there for photo ops at the press conference today, and I happily volunteered our cute little red headed super boy. Standing still by a podium while people talk is not terribly entertaining to a kid, and he and his good buddy Olivia were a little squirrely, but that is real life with 3 year olds. They looked super cute though and played their part. One day he will realize the significance of the event. lol.

Happy Rare Disease Day! Here's to more diagnoses, treatments, and advocacy for those living with rare disease...which collectively are not so rare.

Word(y) Wednesday

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So funny story that is too cute not to share, and only peripherally related to the photo above. This kid loves chocolate and sweets. Like any toddler. Not going to even pretend that a lot of bargaining happens around here trading dessert for the consumption of vegetables.

But the other night when we were over at the Garrett's and we were joking around with P and asked him if Travis was his favorite. To which he replied "no." When asked who is favorite was...he thought about it and then answered "chocolate." So there you have it, cocoa takes trump over humans in his book. Or maybe the s'mores he was eating had gone to his head. lol.

Birthday Party Palooza

It was a weekend of birthdays this past weekend. Perfect excuse to celebrate and eat lots (and lots) of cake. I think we are still in a sugar coma.

Friday night we had a fun little dinner and campfire with some friends. And we celebrated Gina's upcoming birthday with cupcakes and a side of s'mores.

Saturday Perry had not one, but two, birthday parties for friends in his preschool class. It was a busy day for sure. But oh so fun!

The day started off with a visit to Grandma on the way to party number one. It was a sweet visit and fun to watch her and Perry play. She read him books and taught him to write some letters.

Then it was off to Everett's house to help him celebrate his 3rd birthday, Minion style. It was a fun party with lots of super cute food and games and even a small bouncy house in the backyard.

We headed from there to Perry's best buddy Sully's 3rd birthday party which was at Up a Creek. Sully is moving to Texas this week which is going to be so sad. His dad told me that when they went and toured the new preschool in Texas that Sully asked if Perry would be there. Even at 3 they have formed such a sweet bond. Sully's party was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed and it was so fun. The kids at the party had the whole place to themselves to play for two hours with a brief intermission for chicken nuggets and cake. Pictures were hard to come by because no kids would stand still long enough to not be a blur. lol.

Up a Creek was awesome and I know for a fact that Perry and Ellie Mae had to be carried out crying and kicking because they didn't want to leave. Sign of a good party right there.

It was a super fun day of celebrations followed by naptime. For everyone.

Three Year Old Checkup

Monday, February 22, 2016
Perry had his annual visit to the pediatrician last week. And it went very "normal." Which is exactly what you want. He was right at the 50%ile for hight and weight. 37.5 inches tall and honestly I can't even remember what the weight was...but it was perfectly normal.

I remember the height well...because immediately what started running through my head was disney world attraction heigh requirements...and he is 0.5 inches away from being able to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I am thinking with a couple months and the right shoes we will be all set. :) I know I am not the only mom who thinks these things...

3 year old check up means no shots. And thankfully Perry wasn't listening when Dr. Ellis said next year there would be "four at four." Eek. I about fell out when he said that would be his pre-kindergarten shots. I don't even want to think of my baby being in something called pre-kindergarten any time soon.

Perry passed all the milestone questions with flying colors. Except that potty training thing...we are still working on that (and doing quite well these days).

So we are all set for another year. We have miraculously made it though this winter without any sick visits (knock on wood) except for a bad diaper rash issue...which is not really being "sick." Seems like everyone else at preschool has been out sick lately.

Perry was feeling stylish or trying to avoid the bright lights of the doctors office...and felt the need to sport his shades inside. No confidence problems here. :)

A few other things about Perry these days. He still sleeps like a teenager. Last weekend we literally woke him up at 11:45 am. He eats well most of the time. Favorites would be any kids favorites...chicken and fries, pizza, macaroni and cheese, fruit, cheese dip. Least favorite would be broccoli. He still sleeps in his crib though his big boy room is all set and ready and he will play in there. We are not messing with a good thing when it comes to his sleep.

Favorite things to do are puzzles, games, legos and watching octonauts. He loves reading books too. He is starting to get really interested in spelling things and knowing what letter various words start with in conversation. I hear that at school he can recognize every other child's name in the class. So proud of him and all he is learning to do. Three is such a fun (and challenging at times) age!

How Huntsville does Mardi Gras

Thursday, February 18, 2016
Better late than never but here is a little recap of our Mardi Gras festivities. Not a huge holiday in our family but we had a little fun with it this year.

A couple weeks ago we had our friends the Towry's over for dinner and were feeling a little Cajan. We did some rice, sausage and shrimp and of course had to have a king cake for dessert. Apparently baking plastic babies inside food has been deemed a choking hazard and liability so publix just put the baby beside the cake which is kind of I took it upon myself to walk on the risky wild side and jam the poor baby up into the cake from the bottom somewhere. Where is the fun if someone does not accidentally eat a plastic baby? It was yummy. It was a fun low key night of dinner and games and some basketball watching.

This past weekend we rounded out our Mardi Gras fun with the official parade downtown. It was freezing cold but it was fun. We ran into our friends the Ledbetters downtown so it was extra fun to stand with them and catch up on life. Perry and Daniel had fun watching the parade together.

Huntsville parades are such a special cultural experience. I had no idea there were so many interesting themed women's organizations in our city. Apparently there is a whole community for women who like pink. And leopard print. It was a fun spectacle to watch and we all got lots of beads thrown our way.

We are looking forward hopefully to a much warmer weekend ahead. And maybe some good play time outside. I don't know about you but I am so ready for spring and warm weather!

Super Bowl!

Monday, February 15, 2016
Last weekend was Super Bowl Sunday. We aren't big NFL fans but we were a little more interested than normal this year since our fellow Auburn alum Cam Newton was quarterbacking for the Carolina Panthers.

We had a little party with lifegroup friends to celebrate the big game...and the big commercials. Wings and cheese dip were the main course and then we had popcorn, cookies and tartlets for dessert and snacking.

And we played a couple games of our own. Some commercial bingo and a "football pool" with the score at the end of each quarter. The winner of each got their pick of a wrapped "as seen on tv" merchandise item. I mean who doesn't want some sand-tastic?

And of course we needed eye black stickers...kept the glare off the TV. lol.

Love these people!!

Mommy and Me Valentines Breakfast

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Yesterday morning Perry and I went on a little mommy/son breakfast date. Emma's Tea Room was having a Mommy & Me breakfast specifically for little ones under the age of 7.

Side bar...there is a real discrepancy in the number of valentines activities for the little guys. So many valentines activities are solely for daddy's and daughters. Sweet, yes. But where are all the mother/son things?

Anyways...there were lots of little girls at breakfast, but a few other well mannered boys as well. It was a fun morning to get dressed up, take some pictures and go have a sweet breakfast with my boy.

How precious is this picture of P with flowers "picking mommy up for breakfast."

I love this sweet, handsome boy so much. I hope and pray we can instill in him the desire and the ways to show God's love and respect to other people, on Valentines day and everyday.

Breakfast was a prefix $15 for both of us and consisted of quiche, muffins, grapes and a drink served in a fancy tea cup and saucer. Perry thought that was strange...and wanted to know why his cup was sitting on a "plate." 

Every table had a craft on it for kids to work on, a valentines frame with stickers to decorate it with. Perry did awesome peeling the backs off the stickers and arranging them all on his own.  He was so proud of the finished product.

Thank you sweet boy for a fun morning and being my breakfast date. This may just have to become a valentines weekend tradition. Love you! To the moon and back.

Preschool Valentines

Holidays are so fun on the preschool scene. Whenever the little food/volunteer sign-up sheet gets taped up on the doorframe to the classroom, it means a holiday party is on it's way.

Friday was the day for Valentines parties throughout the school since actual Valentines Day fell on the weekend. We decided that this year Perry's valentines for his friends would be s'mores themed, because well yum, and because Minted had these precious little valentines cards on sale.

A tagged treat bag filled with graham crackers, chocolate and heart shaped marshmallows was easy peasy.

The Minted order was not without drama...after we received a set in which 1/3 of them were signed "From Madeline." I guess there is a Madeline somewhere in the world who has the rest of our original "Perry" order. They fixed it though and got a new batch to us just in time. Just glad it got caught before they all got distributed to his friends and people were wondering who the new kid in the class is, and why Perry forgot them.

Perry was a good helper with the valentines assembly. Until he started eating the marshmallows that is.

We were also in charge of a sweet treat for the preschool valentines party. So we decided to make valentines themed s'mores bites. These things are so stinking easy and easy to modify for a color/theme. The original version would be milk chocolate with graham cracker crumbs on a marshmallow. But here we just used white chocolate and died it pink for a little extra "love." What isn't shown is the lollipop sticks I shoved into each one the next day. The HudsonAlpha Education team has become quite fond of s'more bites as well so they were gifted with all the leftovers.

I fell in love with this "love you more" hoodie and had to get it for Perry to wear for Valentines Day. Finding boy valentines clothes is no easy task. But this hoodie was perfect, subtle and he can keep wearing it all spring. We had a little photo shoot before we headed off to preschool on Friday morning. If I have learned one thing, it is to get the pictures you want before you send a little one off to school (yeah I am talking about you, Halloween incident of 2015, when there was an outfit change before party time).

The party was sweet and fun. The kiddos did a craft and ate their lunch on valentines plates and napkins. It was so fun to see the kids in their preschool scene and catch up with the other parents. The food was all right up their, cheese puffs, popcorn, sweets...and not a veggie in sight.

It's getting a little easier to get pictures of Perry with his friends. When they want to cooperate that is. Above are pictures with two of his favorite "friends that are girls": Ellis and Ellie Mae. And as the last photo shows...the most fool proof way to get smiles on toddlers is to turn the photo to selfie mode.

Final Christmas Fun

Thursday, February 4, 2016
I am going to call getting all of Christmas blogged before Valentines day a win. lol. There are a bunch of other little miscellaneous Christmas memories that haven't been shared yet, so I am going to stick them all here together and get it wrapped up with tinsel and a bow.

1. Perry's big boy room got dressed up for Christmas this year. He hasn't officially moved into the room for sleeping. We aren't messing with a good thing when it comes to this kid's sleep. But he plays in his big boy room because that is where is train table has found it's home. We got him a sweet little tree from land of nod that came with a felt skirt, gnome for the top and little felt ornaments. It was perfect. We supplemented with some of his small ornaments from the big family tree. He loved helping decorate his tree. Next to it sat his wooden Melissa and Doug nativity set.

2. We went to see Kate perform in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." She made a very cute little Who Girl.

3. One day Perry and Hadley just happened to be dressed alike. Seriously, could not have planned it better if we had tried. So we had to get some pictures of the two coordinating Christmas kids.

4. Perry was a good little helper in the kitchen. One of our favorite memories was teaching him to make puppy chow (that amazing chex mix, chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar concoction with a heavy dose of butter). Perry's task was peeling the butter wrappers, pouring in the chocolate chips, and of course taste testing the end result.

6. We went over to Granna's one night and had her help us build a gingerbread house.

7. Perry's preschool class had their annual Christmas Party. We were on "sweet side" duty and got some amazing "north pole" mini cookies from Telah. Perry had so much fun eating and playing with his school friends.

8. We went to Santa's Village downtown for the first time. We had heard it was crowded and crazy and it lived up to it's reputation. Didn't help that we went on a really pretty night when it was warm outside and everyone else in Huntsville also thought it would be a good time to visit. We stood in line for Santa for a really long time, but it was worth it. It was an awesome Santa and Perry loved meeting him. They had lots of other fun things to do there too that didn't have long lines. We wrote a letter to Santa with Perry's wish list (which consisted of DinoTrux, Octonauts, and Thomas), met some reindeer, colored an ornament, and lots of other little fun things.

Whew. And I think that is a wrap on Christmas 2015. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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