Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life as we know it

You may never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice - Unknown.

See you Saturday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Outside my comfort zone

Yes I am posting on a random day.  But I have an excuse.  VisionWalk is just a few days away. 

Please join us.  We want to have a large team there.  The weather is going to be mild and sunny.  So please consider joining us!  You don't have to register.  You don't have to pay.  Just come!

I feel like I have been asking a lot of my family and friends lately.  I am not used to asking for much.  It is definitely outside of my comfort zone.

But the response has been more than I have expected.  Greater than anything I could have ever imagined.  And we know we are just at the beginning of what we can do. 

And will do.

People say yes so easily to us when we ask for something for Finley and for our new RDH12 Fund for Sight.  I am still in shock when I decided to jump with both feet, and I get an immediate yes response.  From our town.  From our schools.  From our friends.  From our family.

All have come together for one little girl in the hopes that we can stop her from going blind.

Tonight I am feeling a little excited and nervous.  As we wrap up with Foundations Fighting Blindness for the year, and start out on our own adventure with our RDH12 Fund for Sight, I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

We are over joyed with the support.  We could never thank everyone enough.

Stay tuned for our upcoming events.  We have the Chain Link Charity that Connellsville High School is doing for us.

We have a spagetti dinner that is being given for us.

We have a church bizzare coming up in October where our church family will donate all the funds to our charity.

We are going to have a Finley's Fighters booth at our towns Apple Festival.

Our elementary school is doing a charity month for our Finley.  With fun to come with that!

We are doing a Dinner in the Dark at our local church.

Our local mom's club is getting in gear for a big fundraiser in the spring.

We could go on and on.  Every little bit helps.  It gets us a little closer to our goal.

It takes between $70,000-$100,000 to do the level of research a YEAR that Finley needs.  And that is just the beginning stages.  It will get more expensive as the research gets more intense.  So we are going to push hard.  As Tricia said, we will have to be a fundraising force to be reckoned with!!

So - I leave you with a quote from my friend Jennifer's blog

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visionwalk 2010 is just days away

Just a few more days and we will be heading off to Pennsylvania to walk on Finley's behalf in the annual VisionWalk for Foundation Fighting Blindness.  I cannot believe it is here already.  We are really excited about seeing everyone and getting everyone together!

 I hope you are planning on joining us for this fun event.  We will be presenting our check for OVER $10,000 to FFB thanks to all of our friends and family that supported us!  To date our number is $10,422.  We are over the moon to know that we are giving that much on behalf of Finley to Foundations Fighting Blindness.

 It isn't too late to join us.  Remember - the walk is FREE.  It is on the Southside of Pittsburgh - by the Cheesecake factory.  The race officially starts at 10am, but we would like our team to assemble around 9:30.  We would like to start our basket raffle ticket sales before the race, so that we can draw the winner before everyone leaves.  Even if you cannot stay after the race, you are still eligible to win!  Even you CAN'T come - you can still buy raffle tickets if you would like.  They are $1 a ticket, $5 for 6 tickets and $10 for 12 tickets!

 Here is a picture of the basket.

 We have a ton of goodies in there!  Buy a ton of tickets and better your chances!  Here is what is included:  car magnet, 2011 desk calendar, 2011 magnet calendar, mouse pad, bag, hat, t-shirt, pen, coffee mug, magnet, car decal, key chain, wristband, notepad, and braille t-shirt gift card!  You can let my mom or myself know if you want tickets, but we want you to come Saturday if you can!

 If you need a ride, or need to follow us, we are meeting at my parents house around 7:30am to take off for downtown.  If you don't want to go that early - the evite has the directions - so just follow those!  It is going to be a fun morning!

 If you do not have a Finley's Fighters shirt - please don't worry.  If you have something blue or red - wear that!  If not - wear whatever!  Just come.  We will have a few extra shirts there for sale, and we will also have our wristbands for purchase as well.

So come down!  We have the largest donation for FFB at this years walk.  And we want to have the largest team.  Like my SIL Tricia said "that is how we roll'.

Sunday we had a picnic with our church family.  Most of the pictures in this post are from that.  One of the church members has a beautiful house on the water, so we got to enjoy a beautiful view, good food, and fellowship.

 These are a few people from my church.

 This is Courtney and Gay.  This is Gay's house.  Courtney has two boys who are around our kid's ages and we all hit it off when we joined 2 1/2 years ago.  They are a FANTASTIC family.

 This is Courtney's mom.  AKA - Granny.  (the pretty lady standing) We have adopted her as our kid's grandmother.  She is AMAZING.  She has been a driving force at the church for fundraising for Finley (the upcoming bizarre's profits will benefit our new RDH12 Fund!) and just a general support for our family.  We are lucky to have such a wonderful church family.

 (this is Finley and Cainan's bud from chruch  - "W" - he is just a bit younger than they are - but taller!!)
 Today Finley had her semi-annual (twice a year - is that the right term?)  visit to the Low Vision Clinic at Perkins School for the Blind.  They check her vision field to see how she is seeing.  Well - to the best of their ability.  This is one of my favorite appointments because Dr. M is just the most wonderful person.  She is excellent with the kids and really patient.  And she is really good with parents - she listens well, and takes everything we say very seriously.  She never rushes.  We love seeing her.

Today Finley's vision field did prove to be worse in some aspects and the same in others.  Her peripheral vision has stayed about the same as it was over the winter last year.  She is average peripheral vision for a 4 year old.  That was really good news!  The bad news is that her central vision is gone.  She has a little bit right on the outside of her central area, but not enough to mention.  We knew that already, but it was confirmed today.  So it is hard to say what will become of that.  The other news is that she has lost some of her ability to see light colors.  What that means is that while she can see dark print very well, she struggles - even at the 20/100 vision level - she cannot see anything lighter than black.  That was new.

 The doctor suggested large print for her at a 36 point.  And she should be learning braille (which she is).  She said that contrast is a big problem in the school setting, so she was going to make some recommendations for the school, which will be nice.

 So - we are done with that for probably another 6 months to a year.  Dr. M suggested we try and see a vision field specialist at Yale in our new Eye Clinic, and see her once a year.  She is a bit of a drive for us (she is in Boston) and Yale is closer.  So we will look into that.

 Okay!  that is all.  So - make sure you check out our two websites HERE and HERE - if you haven't already.  Order your Finley's Fighters gear!  Order a braille shirt!  All proceeds go to our new RDH12 Fund for Sight.  I am up to a $500 donation to RDH12 for JUST braille shirts alone!  So keep the orders coming!  And we cannot wait to see many of you this coming Saturday - please join us!

See you then!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making Meals Monday

Making Meals Monday is going on hiatus for 2 weeks.  We are going out of town later this week and so we are not cooking much.  And next week I will be traveling on Monday - so can't post!  So MMM will be back soon!

In bigger news, we have reached our $10,000 goal for Foundations Fighting Blindness!  We did it!  $10,422 is our money today with 4 days left to go until the walk.  I am SO PROUD of everyone and all their hard work.  In 2 1/2 months you helped us reach our goal.  We are not $10,422 closer to a CURE for LCA.

And now we will start to fundraise BIG for our RDH12 Fund for Sight.  Visit the new site HERE.  And visit Finley's Fighters HERE

My goal - another $10,000 by Christmas.  Can we do it????? YES WE CAN!!!!!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Camping and cuteness

Last night, Mat decided to take Arlington camping overnight.  We have a very nice state park only a few miles from our house where you can camp.  The little ones and I decided to go along for the campfire and goodies, but would be returning home to spend the night at the house.

Maybe when they are a little older, and we have a bigger tent, we will all go over night.


So after school, Arlington had a playdate with her friends "B", "G", "C", and "O" and then we came home and went to the camp site.

All three kids were really excited.  Finley was a bit disappointed she couldn't sleep in the tent.

 I think she would have felt differently if she actually would have had to do that.
 We had hot dogs and chips

 And then we put the tent up.

 The kids had a great time trying to help.

 And then they even had a better time playing around in the tent.

We lit the fire again, and had smores before the little ones and I headed home.

 Mat put Arlington in charge of the first round of marshmallows.  That turned out to be a super swell idea.

 So - she was all done with that job after that.

 The kids enjoyed the yummy treat, and then we packed up and headed home.

 Arlington actually couldn't wait for us to leave so her "real" camping adventure could begin.

 It was a nice night, so they didn't get cold.  But Arlington did wake up at 5:30 and didn't really want to go back to sleep.  That is early - even for her.  So Mat got them up and took an early morning hike.

 Then he called me around 7:30 and we went to pick them up.  We were all packed up and home by 8:30.

 Needless to say, Arlington was a bit grumpy this evening.  She had a playdate with her buddy "B" this afternoon, and after that, she was done.

Everyone went to bed peacefully tonight.

Finley was being especially cute the other night in bed.  I went up to check on her, and this is what I found on her bed.

 Yes - that is her behind this train of dolls and stuffed animals.  And yes, she was supposed to be sleeping, not playing.

 As I went around to start to get her settled, I saw that she had found her flip flops.

 She is not ready for summer to end, so she dug them out of her closet, and put them on.

 She is a funny little thing.

We are one week away from the VisionWalk in Pittsburgh today.  One week!  Please come and join us.  If you received an Evite from me, please respond.  Check your spam box in case it went there.  We are hoping for a beautiful weather day!  We are starting at 9:30 on the South Side.  Come with your Finley's Fighters shirt on, or if you have a blue or red shirt - that will work too!!!  We want to take a group picture.  And the walk is FREE.  You do not have to register ahead of time, nor do you have to pay to participate.

 Come and show your support for Finley.  We will have a basket we are going to raffle off - full of great Finley's Fighters stuff.  So please come and join us.  If you need directions, need a ride, need to follow us down, please get in contact with my mom.  We can't wait to see you!!

 And continue to visit our Finley's Fighters website HERE (  And the VERY exciting news is that our Fund website is up and running!  Yay!  Please visit our Fund sight HERE.  You will have a chance to see pictures of some of the other kids who have RDH12 just like Finley.  Mat worked really hard on it and we are excited that we are now official.  All the paperwork is turned in, and we are so happy.  It feels great to take this next step for Finley and all the other kids affected with RDH12 LCA.  So check it out!

If you want to donate to us now, please make checks out to RDH12 Fund for Sight.  And continue to buy our braille shirts, and Finley's Fighters gear.  We are doing so well.  With all of this help, we will find a cure.  We will pay for the research that will cure Finley before it is too late.  Thank you for all of your support!

See you Monday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Aunt Tricia

We would like to wish our Aunt Tricia a happy birthday.  Today is my sister-in-law's birthday.  She is turning 21.  Again.  And again.  But you are only as old as you act, so that should count for something!

Tricia is the most amazing Aunt to my kids.  She cares for them as if they are her own.  She has been a leader in getting funding for Finley and being there for our family this last year when things were toughest.  She plays with my kids, spoils them rotten, and has agreed to take them!  Just kidding about the last part.  Sort of. 

She is a wonderful parent and a even more fabulous teacher.  Her school is very lucky to have such a brilliant mind teaching those young kids.  I would be honored for my kids to have her in class.  And I know she would be tough on them!  That is what they need.

She is a great mother.  It comes very naturally to her.  But we knew that before she even had her baby.  I won't forget how she came and spent almost a whole week with me after Finley was born.  She flew down all by herself to give me a hand.  I went to pick up our dinner and Finley was sleeping.  She and Arlington were playing and Finley woke up.  She took Arlington upstairs and got Filney and put Finley back to sleep - while she managed to read Arlington a story.  Like I said, a natural.

I wanted to give this post just to her because I just feel so lucky to have her as part of our family.  She has a big heart, and true love for us and our kids.  I cannot thank her enough, or tell her enough how much we love her - especially after this past year.  The kind of person she is really shone through after we found out about Finley. 

She is like no other.  We love you Tricia.  Have a wonderful birthday!!!

Check our Tricia's gorgeous family HERE.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Making Meals Monday - Birthday Style (take two)

Tomorrow is my sister-in-law Tricia's birthday.  Age.....uh - she would not be happy.  So let's just say that she is 21 - yay!  Again!!  ha ha ha.

So I asked her to give me a few of her favorite recipes in honor of her birthday.  Here is her blog - check out her family!!

Happy birthday!  We love you!

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.
Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


Grilled Sea Bass (or any white fish)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
lemon pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
2 pounds sea bass
3 tablespoons butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat grill for high heat.
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, lemon pepper, and sea salt. Sprinkle seasonings onto the fish.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the garlic and parsley. Remove from heat when the butter has melted, and set aside.
Lightly oil grill grate. Grill fish for 7 minutes, then turn and drizzle with butter. Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.