Nothing’s merrier than a sparkling Christmas light display
Here’s San Diego Family's annual list of the best and brightest light shows around San Diego County. Displays range from decorated, private homes and streets, to entire neighborhoods. You’ll also find festive local events, holiday parades and unique Christmas traditions, such as the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights, San Diego Botanic Garden’s “Garden of Lights” and the big Christmas tree at Coronado’s historic Hotel Del. Click Map of Christmas Lights
) to plan your holiday adventure.
Ho Ho Ho!
Onwards and upwards!
Today Noah asked me who was my favorite baby?
I smiled and said, "I love you all the same... I love you, Daddy, and Cecily all the same... and I love you all a lot."
He looked at me and said, "me, too. I love you all the same. I love Daddy to the moon and back. I love Cecily to the moon and back. And I love you to the moon and back, too. And Grammy and Grampy, too."
I told him to cuddle in and he climbed on my knee for a big hug. But it didn't last long... because Cecily was not about to miss this moment. She crawled over, pulled to a stand and started to grab and Noah's shoulder until she had a good hold.
With a big smile, Noah said, "This is a sandwich. A big sandwich. and I'm the meat!"
We had a wonderful day today playing at home with all of Noah's new toys. His birthday surrpise was a huge hit! We decided to surprise him with his own room makeover. Noah watches us work on rooms for other children and he understands that he is a very lucky boy. It was so fun to be able to give him this gift and to see him truly LOVE his new big, boy room! He has even been picking up his toys and using his new toy bins to keep his legos organized. I'm not sure how long this will last but I know that I love that kid all the way to the moon and back.
Onwards and upwards!
Where is the time going? I can't believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and my baby boy will be five on Sunday! I always feel old when I say these things out loud because as a child I thought it was silly to hear "adults" chatter on this way...
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the volunteers at Cecily's Closet. It has amazed me how many people have reached out to us in support of our quest to help children with special needs and their families here in San Diego. It is such a blessing and it inspires us to keep on trucking.
We often thank our amazing painter partner, PaintGreen, and artist, Emily of Inside Emily Dolton's Head. And while these two partners continue to give to us - and we love them beyond words - there are so many individual contributors that help keep us running every day that we often forget to thank.
Thank you to Gina for organizing our belly band operation and for securing partnerships with TVIA to help us get our room makeovers completed. Gina's dedication, support and wisdom is such a welcome blessing on those days when I'm not sure what end is up! Gina's donations of time, talent, fabric and more are the single reason our belly band program took off this year! She has made such an impact on me personally - and this organization - and her efforts behind the scenes are so crucial to our success! Thank you for everything you do.
Thank you to some newcomers who are helping us make the belly bands! Nina, Glenda, Beverly and her Mom, Ingrid's Mom (whose name escapes me!) and of course my Mom. I know there are others, too. Please forgive me for not mentioning you by name. We are so very grateful. You are helping us help children with feeding tubes continue on with their daily activities - without the stress of having the tube catch on something or get pulled out by those curious kids! We stick by our motto - comfy for kids and priceless for parents :) Thank you for making these bands with love.
Thank you to Patrick for helping us to finally get our equipment recycling program off the ground! It has taken us almost 18 months to get traction with our community but we are finally seeing our dream come true of getting stuff out of garages and into homes of children that desperately need equipment to help them grow and thrive! Thank you to Patrick and all the families in our community that have reached out to recycle their durable medical equipment.
Thank you to all the artists, muralists, stencilists, and designers who have helped us pull our rooms together! It is the art that makes the difference! I wish that I could capture the look on the children's faces when they see their rooms for the first time. They respond to the art in such a unique way and we know that you have each provided them with a gift that will keep on giving. Thank you for using your creative talents to promote the development of a child!
And then there are all the donations of clothes, toys, books and more. We remain so grateful to Sherri and Cooley LLP for keeping the donations flowing. We have been able to circulate our goods to children with special needs that don't have the necessary clothes, toys and books to fulfill their full potential.
And thank you to the corporations and organization who have helped to fund us! Websense, UPS, and Emerson. Thank you! And to our individual donors who have given and given to keep us running. We are hoping to apply for more grants in 2012 to scale our efforts! We are grateful.
And thank you to the total strangers who have called or emailed me us and subsequently dropped off lots of wonderful stuff at our home. It is because of these donations that we were able to achieve our goals in 2011. We are so lucky to have such an amazing community. It is a reminder of how good people can be. It is inspiring to see so many people giving back to their community.
And then there are our good friends and family who have stood by us even when they thought we were mad to try and take on something new. Thank you!!! You all know who you are and we love each and every one of you so much. We never intended to take up people on their offers to help... but we're learning that we have to say "yes" in order to scale our little operation. Thank you to every Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, sister, brother, friend, cousin, daughter, son, and organization that stood with us this year and who have offered to continue their efforts into the future.
And a special thank you to my faithful and supportive husband who supports even the wildest ideas to help children like Cecily. I know I sign you up for a lot of project... often asking forgiveness instead of permission... yet you always deliver. You are my rock. I don't say it enough but I appreciate you and I am so grateful
We are so excited about Cecily's Closet and its future. We are small and will remain small until the kiddos are older... but we will keep on trucking! We know that we can make a difference one child at a time!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
Onwards and upwards!
This is one of my favorite pictures of the kids. They love each other so much and seeing them cuddle and hug and smile and play is the best part of my day.
Every morning Cecily stretches out her arms when I am holding her to give Noah a big cuddle. He runs over and they hug and he says, "I love you sweetie."
It is priceless.
The other day they were playing in the playroom and I walked away to start making dinner. Cecily began to cry which is pretty much how it goes these days... she does not like me to do anything but give her 100% of my time. Noah put his legos down and came over to give her a cuddle. I hid behind the door to see him in action. He bent of and said, "It's ok Cecily. Mommy's still here. I got you. It's gonna be ok."
I ran to the kitchen so he didn't see me. She was settling down under Noah's care and I could finally get to making dinner - which is my least favorite activity of the day. (Eating it is my husband's least favorite activity...) One day I will learn to cook. I welcome any lessons but let it be said that I am not a very good student when it comes to the kitchen.
With soccer over until January Noah joined me for Cecily's horse-riding lesson at POVA on Saturday. It has been a few months since Noah has joined us at the ranch to see Cecily ride. He kept turning to me in amazement and saying, "Mom - she's not even crying. She's really riding that big horse." and "Mom, she is even riding that horse backwards...she is so cool!"
Cecily was so proud of herself and she rode so tall on Saturday. She waved to Noah while riding and I could see how much she loved Noah's attention. When it was time to go home Noah helped strap Cecily into her car seat and he leaned in and said, " Cecily - you were awesome out there today!"
Cecily squealed and threw herself with a happy shrug into her seat. When we got home Noah raced to find Daddy to tell him how amazing Cecily was at her lesson. He is so proud of her and we are so proud of both of the kiddos. They have such a special bond and we love to watch it grow.
Onwards and upwards!
We just had to share this inspiring site! IWe learned about it from a loving Mom who contacted us for a belly band for her precious angel who is battling Rett Syndrom. Rett Syndrome is an awful neurological disorder that mainly impacts GIRLS! It is the leading cause of severe impairment in girls - and most cannot speak, walk or use their hands. It is as prevalent as ALS, Cystic Fibrosis and Huntington's Disease and another baby girl is born afflicted every 90 minutes. This syndrome is caused by a random gene mutation that every baby girl has an equal chance of acquiring.
I am selfishly partial to this cause because the Doctors who care for our little Cecily feel that whatever syndrome she may have is very similar to Retts - and at one time we thought ti was Retts. I loved reading about Girl Power 2 Cure and the amazing story that started it all - girls helping girls. I encourage you to check out their site and see how Girl Power is making a difference for girls everywhere with Retts.
Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for treatments and a cure for Rett Syndrome, a devastating neurological disorder that almost exclusively affects girls.
They are committed to making Rett Syndrome
the first reversible neurological disorder by harnessing the spirit of girls to support fellow girls who are suffering. They support girls in the planning and implementation of events that raise awareness and funds for Rett Syndrome research
, as well as support Rett families with resources, fundraising help and awareness tools.
Their inspiration is our flower: always in bloom with hope and positive energy, ready to grow anywhere there is someone ready to join in support of their mission.
How inspiring is that? I love it. Join the fight!http://www.girlpower2cure.org/Home.aspx
Onwards and upwards!
For more information contact Rachel Ackerly
For Immediate Release
Cecily's Closet Receives $7500 Grant from the UPS Foundation
San Diego, CA - 11/15/11 Cecily's Closet received a $7500 grant from the UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS (NYSE: UPS). The grant will be used to fund the non-profit's Sweet Dreams Room Makeover program for children with special needs that spend a considerable amount of time in their home environment. In addition, the grant will fund the non-profit's growing Belly Band operation. The belly bands are designed to protect the Mickey Button or PEG tube that is inserted into a child’s abdomen for the purpose of feeding. These simple, fabric wraps enable a child to safely proceed with therapy and daily activities because they protect the tube site from rubbing. They offer parents peace of mind by reducing the risk of the tube being dislodged. Comfy for kids; priceless for parents; and FREE to anyone in San Diego that asks.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the UPS Foundation and the amazing volunteers from the local UPS office in San Diego who have worked side by side with us for the last few months. This grant will enable us to help so many children here in San Diego and will help sustain our efforts for 2012," said Brien Ackerly, co-founder of Cecily's Closet.
Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, GA., The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, the UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: non-profit effectiveness, economy & global literacy, encouraging diversity, community safety and environmental sustainability.
In 2010, the UPS Foundation distributed more than $44.6 million worldwide through grants that benefit organizations such as Cecily's Closet and provide support for building stronger communities.
"The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that make a meaningful difference in our communities - so we are proud to support Cecily's Closet's efforts to provide awareness for early intervention services, access to durable medical equipment and room makeovers for children with special needs" said Ken Sternad, president of the UPS Foundation.
We are celebrating!!! Onwards & upwards!
I love my babies more than anything but I also miss spending time with my husband and remembering what life was like before the amazing kiddos arrived. After almost 15 years together I often can't remember the care-free kid days so this weekend was a great reminder!
Thanks to a tag-team effort from Grammy and Grumpy Gramps & Auntie Neeta and Uncle Keith - we were able to sneak away for the first time in a very, very long time. It was magical. It was restful. And it was admittedly too short! Did I miss my angels? Of course. Did I worry and likely call too many times to check in... Yep! But did we get to sleep (uninterrupted sleep!) and eat adult food and have time to read and watch movies AND have the pleasure of not having to worry about all the "stuff" on a Mom and Dad's to-do list? Definitely! Thank you family for always supporting us and making sure we get the help we need. We may not like to ask for it - or take it - but knowing we have it is such a blessing.
I know that there are so many people just like us that need a break but have no way to get away. It is very hard to find good help and even harder to afford it! Did you know that there is such help here in SD that lets Moms and Dads sneak away? UCP offers an amazing program that enables parents of children with special needs to take a fabulous, stay-vacation in a fancy, local San Diego hotel. Respitality - the "hospitality" of local hotels is combined with "respite" care to create "mini-vacations" for parents who have special needs! For more information call 858.571.7803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please spread this information to families that may need a well-deserved break!
And when we returned from our lovely trip to the desert we found Cecily hard at work... in her new dream kitchen courtesy of Santa and Grumpy Gramps. This kichen was bought practically upon her birth (can we say eager beaver???) but she is finally ready to make tea and play with it! Thank you Mom and Dad for the hours it took to build it! That was a gift in itself...
Tea anyone? Onwards and upwards!