Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Benefit for Quinn

Quinn has had an incredibly busy January - including sipping Tea at the Plaza, enjoying her first mani / pedi, hosting her first slumber party and just today, undergoing her first (and only) surgery for placement of a g-tube and a Nissen fundoplication.  I am happy to report that she is 'resting' comfortably right now, having been strong enough to bypass PICU entirely, being placed directly into a regular room post-op.  

(She's only theoretically resting though because despite her crazy day and all the medication she's been given, freely kicking her legs while laying on her back for essentially the first time apparently trumps her exhaustion!)

Cataloging her various activities this month will have to wait for now because the most special thing to happen with Quinn this month was actually something for which she was not even present.  On Saturday, my brothers, sister, best friend and our neighbors hosted a benefit in honor of Quinn.

my mom and three of my four siblings - Mary, Brian, John (l to r)
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography
the fourth sibling - and Master of Ceremonies - Rick(y)
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography

the world's best neighbors.
my brother had the perfect caption for this photo:
"this was the moment the neighbors became FAMILY"
my best friend Amanda with some more of "Quinn's Crew":
Liza, Amanda, cousin Colleen & cousin Kelly
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography

^  That's the only word I can come up with to even attempt to describe what went on that day.  

Those closest to us worked tirelessly (and often, tired-ly) for months to create one of the most special days of our lives.  Four hundred seventy-eight people (yes - 478!) came together to support Quinn and to support our family.  There were raffles, there were silent auctions, there were donations of every form.

And there was LOVE.  

"In Support of Quinn's Wonderfull Life" bracelets sold at the benefit
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography
the full LOLA crew
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography
a small portion of the raffles / auction items which included
a Howard Stern experience, horseback riding lessons and a private chef
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography

It was simultaneously the most hectic, most intense, and most peaceful day I have ever experienced.  People we haven't seen in 10, 20 years, people we have never seen, and people we see virtually every day joined in what turned into a fete of Quinn and her wonderfull life.  

the NYPD Emerald Society played!
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography
As Brett and I noted to all of those present, while we don't know what we're doing that is so spectacular - nothing any one else wouldn't do in our situation - it's very obvious just how we're doing it.  

Our support system, well represented by the almost 500 people standing with us on Saturday, is the how.

my uber cool family <3

some of my fabulous aunts and uncles
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography

There are so many people to thank that I would wind up clogging up the interwebz so I will thank the general 478 people in attendance, the 144 who made online donations and the hoards of others who helped out, who donated, who sent notes and prayers and good thoughts for the day.

And most importantly, thank you to my AMAZING siblings Ricky, Brian, John and Mary; my awesome best friend Amanda and our incredible "neighbors" (no longer the right word for these ladies!) Candace, Lauren and Michelle.  

They have refilled our reserves of strength and just in the nick of time.  It's how we got through today's surgeries and I know it's how we'll manage to get through what lies ahead.

me and Brett, listening to one of the many heartwarming speeches of the day
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography
Brett and I even managed to get through a few words at the end of the night
photo credit: Angela Marshall Photography

The list item "Love" will always remain on the To Do list - no such thing as finite completion of that - but this day was Love exemplified.

Love.  Check!

INCREDIBLE drawing of Quinn, done by one of my oldest friends -
Jen of A Mother's Touch Photography
(original image by Shira Z Photography)
defining photo of the day <3
(thank you to Lily Flanagan's for a perfect venue!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

They Do!

Quinn had a very special task today - and Brett and I were so lucky to be able to tag along!

Last week we received an email from two special people - Brett's cousin Josh and his fiancee Adi - with a special invitation for Quinn.  Josh and Adi are getting married on the beautiful island of Aruba later this month but to have their marriage recognized in the States, they needed to do the legal ceremony at city hall.  And they asked Quinn to be the flower girl - and sole attendee! - at the ceremony today.

Ahhhhhh!!  I wanted to be a flower girl so badly growing up that I actually dressed up as one for Halloween one year.  

(Sad, I know)

And now Quinn was being asked at 7 months old?!  So cool!  (And, if all goes well, Q will repeat this task in August for my cousin Kelly.  What can I say?  She's a popular lady :) ).

Obviously we said yes, cancelled her PT for the day, put my mom in charge of Frick y Frack and hightailed it into lower Manhattan. (After hitting up Lord & Taylor yesterday for a flower girl dress, of course.)

It was a perfect day

First of all, the building is gorgeous.  And everything worked out perfectly with timing and parking - which is always a crap shoot - and we wound up in front of the building with four minutes to spare.  The ceremony was brief but it was so special that Brett, Quinn and I got to be there with Josh and Adi, especially since we will be unable to make the trip to Aruba at the end of the month due to Quinn's scheduled surgery.

Josh doing the paperwork
C658 - that's their number!

We had breakfast omlettes, bagels and tea post-ceremony because really, with what else would you celebrate a minutes-old marriage??  

It was an incredibly fun and special day and we were so honored to be part of it - and especially to have Quinn play such an important role.

Quinn was quite smitten with cousin Josh

they even gave her flowers <3

she really liked the flowers

Adi held her the whole ceremony!  We're still not entirely sure which one Josh married today ;)

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Kaner!!  We wish you a long, healthy and happy marriage.

 And thank you :)

the newlyweds, Adi & Josh

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

I received the following email from my cousin Erin about two months ago:

Subject: Something for Quinn's List
Everyone should do the polar plunge in coney island on new years day.  Not suggesting she gets wet.  But a crazy (like me) carries her in with them to like their knees.  It is actually fun and people wear costumes.  A friend is a polar bear - maybe I could get her to be an honorary member!

I, of course, did what any sane person would do.  I ignored it in the hopes that it would magically go away.  (You can tell how well that worked with the ear piercing suggestions I received.)

When Erin brought it up again, I said I would speak to Brett - knowing for sure he'd never let Quinn do it.  Right??

"Eh, what the hell - sounds fun!"


We did it - or rather, Quinn did it!  I simply stood off to the side and watched, hoping CPS wouldn't be at my door when we returned home.  And you know what - it was fun (well, for everyone but Reid who had a massive meltdown about how cold he was and how he just wanted to go home.  He's the one in the down parka and very warm hat below lol).
Colin & Reid surveying the scene

making our way down to the water - you can see how many people there are!

still bundled up
so cool!!  you can see she's interested in the water and actually only cried on the way OUT!

Quinn did great and my cousin rocked it - she even went fully in herself after she gave Quinn back to us (unscathed, I might add :)).  And true to her word, Erin did get Quinn honorary membership in the Polar Bear Club.  Pretty awesome!

Let It Be Known! haha
apparently a 45 minute meltdown tires a guy out

And as marathoners must load up on carbs the day before a big run, so must polar bears load up on ice cream - specifically the pistachio kind.  

Quinn, Colin, Reid, Brett and I spent New Year's Eve with Grandpa David and Ann at Inatome - our all-time favorite restaurant, and another tick mark on Quinn's List.  Inatome is like a Benihana but soooooooo much better, the real deal Japanese steak house.  Brett and I had been going to Inatome most of our lives, even before we met and when we bought our house one of the first things we realized is that it was within 1 mile of Inatome.  That's walking distance!  (Well, technically speaking.  Of course we've never actually walked there.  But it's good to know, just in case.)  

Everyone had a great time and an even greater meal - as usual!  Quinn even tried some onion soup, rice and of course, half of Brett's pistachio ice cream.
Quinn, looking cool

posing with our chef for the evening

she seriously housed Brett's ice cream.  I think we have to order her own next time! 
Ann, daddy & Quinn

the boys enjoying their meals

After we got home, in lieu of our standard two stories, three songs bedtime, we all snuggled up in our bed and watched a show.  I live for Inatome, but this was actually my favorite part of the night.

three cuties
We've no need to take a cup of kindness this new year's - we are incredibly fortunate as people have been doling them out left and right.

Happy New Year!

Polar Plunge
Quinn's Ideawoman: cousin Erin

Quinn's Wing(wo)men: cousin Erin, Scott, Crystal and Rob

Quinn's Ideawoman: Liza

Quinn's Benefactors: The Dimaio Family, The Thienachariya Family and The O'Leary Family

Quinn's Wing(wo)men: mommy, daddy, Colin, Reid, Grandpa David, Ann