Scared and Hopeful

Maybe you missed this post from last week but don’t feel bad. I am going to talk more about baby AJ here.

He is the child of my penpal/friend’s best friend. They are chosen family so he is her nephew. My friend is also a mama blogger that can be found here. As of today, he has been alive for 15 days. Just 15 days and already he’s had a world of struggle. Yesterday he was flown from Iowa to Pennsylvania and is currently at one of the best hospitals in the nation, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They will be able to perform much needed surgeries on him to get him started on growing into an awesome young man. I have not met AJ and I met his father and my penpal friend for the first time on Sunday night when they got into town. These parents are really having a tough go of it. They did not know prior to birth that their child had any health concerns. It was discovered after birth that he has several heart defects as well as Downs Syndrome. His family and extended friends love him no matter what and will do anything to help the family during this medical crisis.

Both parents will be out of work indefinitely and thousands of miles from home. Their daughter is staying with Grandma while they are here fighting the heart surgery fight with AJ. It’s hard. Mama is trying to keep pumping milk and love her little guy and they don’t get to be as cuddly with him as they’d like. Dad was telling us that he’s been trying to impart “dad/son” life lessons to AJ and had us all crying. I do not know the Hanford-Gale family personally until all of this happened. I do know Lasairiona and her will to be there for those that need her most. I’ve stepped up to offer the best that Philly can during this tough time. I’ve collected money at my church, from family, from Facebook. I’ve had offers of housing and to pay for airbnb because they aren’t approved for Ronald McDonald yet. People that I know have really stepped up to help this baby’s family feel welcome and find a home away from home here. I am amazed at how much love there is from people that do not know one another. I love that people in my life see me trying to help them out and are saying “YES ME TOO” and ask what they can do. This is what community is about folks!

I haven’t been sleeping well since I took on AJ’s fundraising and Philly welcome duties. I don’t know how or why I decided to make it my cause but I felt so pulled to help them out, especially once I knew they were coming here and didn’t know anyone. I’m worried about the baby like he is a relative of mine and I’ve never met him. I’m heartbroken at the possibility of the parents losing their little guy so early in his life. I really hope that the surgeries are all successful and that once the next month’s of surgeries are over, they will be back home and settling in as a happy family of four.

These feelings of “lost child” can be overwhelming and I’m trying not to think about myself but it happens when I’m laying in bed at night. I’m wondering what if our baby had been born and this was our struggle. What if we were faced every day with the possibility that our child might not live through the next night? In a way, I am glad we do not have to worry about the impending doom of the future of a beloved child. This is so hard for me to imagine and I get weepy thinking about it. I hope that once the first surgery is over (Thursday) that he will be on the mend and there won’t be any life threatening emergencies in his near future. I need for this kid to be healed and grow up. So many people are offering their prayers and good thoughts, donations of food, and places to stay. It’s amazing what people will do for one another. The welcoming spirit is everywhere with Pope Francis arriving in just a few days. Excitement is everywhere and we need it to wrap around AJ and help him make it through this week.. and the next.


I am offering one dozen home baked cookies to anyone that I know donates to the gofundme site. If you click the link in the first line of this entry, you can donate. This offer is to anyone that I know online or in real life. The catch is that you cannot donate anonymously because how will I know that you donated?! If you do donate, please email me at and let me know so I can keep an eye out for your name on the donation roster. I love to bake and to mail things so it’s really a win-win for everyone! (All dietary restrictions will be respected when preparing baked goods)


I will survive

My toe is healing nicely, I think. I spoke with the Dr today when she called to talk about the biopsy results and she said it sounds like I’m healing up just fine. The good news is that I have a bad strain of fungus. The good news is it’s not cancer! I have to take medication for 3 months to “permanently” kill off the fungus so that it doesn’t come back when my nail starts to grow. That is my worst nightmare- having to go through all of this again.

I have graduated to wearing a large bandaid and regular shoes. I’m still walking on the outside of my foot so it looks like I am waddling or exaggerated limping. Oh well. I’m happy to at least not be walking on the surgical shoe which was so padded that my gait was off and my hips were really bugging me.

Now I can go back to my regularly scheduled life.

AJ needs help

Can you help a little one have much needed surgery?

This little guy is a week old. He is my friend’s nephew and she left her toddler in Texas with dad so she could go to Iowa to be with her loved ones.
AJ has several heart defects that need urgent repair. Mama is off work indefinitely (unpaid) while he gets care which insurance won’t completely cover.

A generous donor will match dollar for dollar contributions up to $10,000. Can you give a few bucks?

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His Holiness is coming

I’m sure there are others who are overflowing with Pope Francis city panic, right? Let’s talk about this.

In 2 weeks he will be in the United States. Two of those days will be in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. There will be a papal mass on a large Parkway and near the historical section of our city. The city expects a million visitors, minimum. This is going to be huge.

The Pope coming means it’s a national security event and the Secret Service is organizing security. If you haven’t heard they are building a wall around the city once the Pope is in. Literally, walls on for sides to keep all vehicles out. Even residents in the city must get their cars out. From Friday-Monday no vehicles in and out of the area. The inner city protected area is being called “Francis Festival Grounds.” That is supposed to reduce the bad image we all had after so many PR nightmares.
My office will be closed for four business days during the World Meeting. Public transportation will be running weird schedules to keep up with the extra people. People are expected to walk up to four miles to get into the city for the public mass. The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed for four days. Schools are closed.  It’s a nightmare. The restaurants and business folks aren’t sure if they’ll be open to feed the million people on the Parkway. With no trash pick up and no deliveries allowed, the food businesses will be struggling. It’s going to be smelly and gross.

I think it’s such an exciting thing to happen to any city- having a Pope visit. I don’t know if anything could be done differently to make it less of a hardship on those living within the festival grounds. If I lived closer I would probably go to mass just to see the Pope. I’m not even Catholic but it is exciting. The city is trying to get people motivated to attend rather than fleeing before the city shuts down. I hope that as a city we are able to give the City of Brotherly Love vibe that we are “known” for. Someone this significant should be honored and we should be proud to host him. Somehow I think things won’t go off without a hitch, but I can hope.

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Minor surgery


I had my toenail removed today for biopsy and research purposes. It was the weirdest process. I had to get lidocaine without epinephrine because I’m “allergic” and it took 7 shots..maybe more because I stopped counting after that. Once it was numb it went quickly. I didn’t feel anything until it was fully removed and then it felt weird, different.    They told me to expect a lot of bleeding because the drugs didn’t have epi. So yay.

I have a nice big bandage and am waiting at a Pharmacy to buy a walking boot because the Dr gave me nothing to support this whopper toe bandage. I must keep it wrapped for 2 weeks. It’s worth it if I can get around. No sandals or flops will work with my delicate feet. As you know, I’m a disaster waiting to happen. Best to protect myself from the get-go. It hurts and it’s only been one hour. I have a back up prescription of Percocet but I don’t plan to fill it unless necessary. If the throb settles down I’ll be good.

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House Warming

We had a house warming/anniversary party yesterday. I think we ended up with about 30+ people who came by to check it out and celebrate with us.


Our dining room got many compliments. The color is really wonderful, we love it. We’ll be adding more art to the walls even though my mother-in-law basically said I can’t.

We received several gift cards for home stores and some lovely gifts.



In the end, we realized we have such an eclectic group of people in our life and they are all wonderful. Someone commented to me afterward that we have “interesting” friends and the conversations were unique. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in my house!

I have an annoying neighbor already. I think she caught on to the queerness of several other guests and then she hightailed it out of here. She is a very strange bird.

I had 2 people ask me about our baby plans..I think this is because there is no dedicated space for a baby and they were curious. So we told them about our plans for no kids. I was told that I handle it very well (talking about our decision) and I’m not sure how that is to be taken. One thing is clear, wrangling ten kids is tough. I couldn’t handle the loudness, the bickering, and throwing of  things. Parents tried to keep them in the proper areas with toys, not slamming doors, or chasing my dogs. I don’t know how parents do it and, in those moments, I’m glad not to ever have to deal with it full time.



Happy puppies are a great way to end any post!

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