Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween - one of our family's favorite nights of the entire year. Not sure who enjoys it more - me or the kids. Jeanne gets the credit for making everything so much fun each year. She always comes up with some creative ideas and usually gets out the sewing machine to sew some costumes for the kids (and sometimes me, too!)

This year, the theme was the Cat in the Hat. I got to be the Cat and Brian and Jason were Thing 1 and Thing 2. Here we are:

Jeanne sewed the costumes for Brian (Thing 1) and Jason (Thing 2). She also dyed the hair blue and the color came out perfect! I hit up the craft store and cobbled together the hat out of some styrofoam, posterboard and scraps from Brian and Jason's costumes, then got out an old "Rufus the dog" costume of TJ's from a couple of years ago - Jeanne's idea again, of course. I used the dog costume for my pants (it provided the tail), then tied the top of it off around my waist as it was way too small. Then, I threw a couple of black shirts on, covering up the top of the Rufus costume and providing me a nice paunch.

Unfortunately, Brian and Jason haven't been feeling well this week, so the little guys and I didn't do much trick-or-treating. Jason stayed home completely. Brian decided he wanted to give it a try, but after two houses he had enough, so we headed back home. And these are two guys who walked the entire neighborhood last year when they were just two! I feel bad they didn't feel up to it this year. At least they wore the costumes for a while and seemed to enjoy the atmosphere.

TJ went around the neighborhood with three of his scout buddies - Ben, Ryan and Isaac. He went as Ash, the Pokemon trainer. Here he is:

They were out for a couple of hours and gathered a lot of loot. Apparantly, Ben had a "costume malfunction" somewhere along the way, though. He started out as the headless horseman and ended the night as a Red Sox fanatic. Sounds like the guys had a great time. Now I'm off to raid the candy bowl!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jack's baptism

Congratulations to our newest nephew Matthew John Tobin IV on the day of his baptism!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wii are family

Got the Wii out again this weekend for the first time in a few weeks. Best video game system ever. The thing I like best is that the whole family can enjoy it together. And with two 3 year-olds, a 12-year old, and Mom and Dad, finding things the whole family can enjoy together can be a challenge at times.

Here's Brian and Jason enjoying a game of baseball.

And, yes, Jason does know he's wearing his shirt backwards. It's his thing right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Top fundraising teams for Hudson Valley Walk 2007

This just in from Heidi...

Thank you to all of you for being such dedicated team captains. Almost all of our teams this year were "repeats"- and most were bigger than ever before! The time you spent organizing, recruiting, and fundraising paid off! Despite the rain, we had a bigger turn-out than ever before and have raised close to $60,000. You played a big part in that success.

The top team fundraisers for 2007 are:
1st: Three Peas in a Pod (captain Michele Karl) with $15,521
2nd: Luke's Team (captains Kirsten and Stuart Sclater-Booth) with $10,721
3rd: Hooked on Hope (captain Heather Buckley) with $5,606

Honorable mention goes to:
Team Teddy Bear with $4,300 (with only 7 hard-working walkers!)
and Benny's Brigade with $4,061.

We had a lot of teams that raised thousands of dollars. Great work and we hope to see all of you back in 2008! Sept. 20, 2008, to be exact...

Heidi Cambareri
Volunteer Chapter Coordinator
PKD Foundation-Hudson Valley Chapter

Great job, Team Teddy Bear!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

pictures from walk day

They've posted some pictures from this year's Hudson Valley Walk for PKD. Check them out here. Hopefully, you can pick out the familar faces!

Monday, October 15, 2007

pumpkin picking

Yesterday, the family went pumpkin picking at Secor's Farm. We started out by taking a tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch.

Jason and TJ enjoyed the ride out:

The rule in our family (which is the rule Jeanne grew up with) is that you can have any pumpkin you want as long as you can carry it. Jason was content with staying small and easy to handle.

TJ went for a largish one, but didn't push his limits.

Brian was determined to grab the biggest pumpkin he could handle:

Could he do it? Well, see for yourself:

OK, so in the end, Mom helped out just a little

Dad decided to get one with a stem

OK, we've all got pumpkins - time to head back!

The only disappointing part was that when we got back, we found they were out of cider and donuts. That's my favorite part! So, instead, we stopped and grabbed some on the way home and made ourselves a picnic around the kitchen table.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hudson Valley Walk for PKD totals (so far)

I've received some email with news of the Hudson Valley Walk results:

"Thanks to all the participants, sponsors and volunteers who made the Hudson Valley Walk for PKD such a huge success!
More than 220 participants, spectators and volunteers joined us for a perfect (but rainy!) day of raising funds for PKD research and awareness of polycystic kidney disease in our area. Together, we have raised over $54,000 and the total just keeps rising!
Online donations can be made through the end of October and checks can still be mailed directly to the PKD Foundation (please use this form to make sure your donations are credited correctly).
Top fundraiser prizes were given out on Walk Day to Michele Karl, Stuart Sclater-Booth, Bob Sayah, Luke Sclater-Booth, and Thomas Sayah, but we were unable to give out Top fundraising team prizes. As of walk day, Three Peas in a Pod and Luke’s Team were within a few hundred dollars of each other… and so 1st and 2nd place could not be definitively awarded without double checking the math. Similarly, Hooked on Hope and Team Teddy Bear were both in the running for 3rd place and “too close to call”. All 4 teams have had additional funds come in since walk day, but at 10pm on October 15th the final determination for these prizes will be made and the award plaques will be sent out to the captains of the winning teams. So, if you have donations to send in, do it now!
Help take us over the top! You can still: - Follow up with that co-worker or friend who wanted to donate but just forgot. - Follow up on matching corporate dollars. Get us your corporate paperwork and donation information, we process the request. This can be an easy way to double, even triple your donation!
A Special Thanks goes out to all of our sponsors, as we could not have done it without all of your help!
Nationally, the Walk for PKD has raised more than $2.5 million and we played a significant part in it all. We were one of 72 walks held across the US and in three International locations. To say it was a huge success is an understatement!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a picture is worth a thousand words

Ever wonder what a Polycystic Kidney looks like? Here's one that was recently removed from a PKD patient in the UK. It's almost 30cm long!

For comparison, here's a healthy kidney, only about 12cm long.

'nuff said

Saturday, October 6, 2007

return address labels - who needs 'em?

So, I was finally taking some time tonite to mail out "thank you receipts" to all of our supporters. As I was addressing the envelopes, I noticed that I was using some return address labels which I had been sent from various charitable organizations along with their requests for financial support. A brief thought went through my mind: hey, wouldn't it be cool if I had some PKD Foundation return address labels to use for these envelopes? But, then, I thought again: isn't it better that a charitable organization uses its funds for things like research and information for patients rather than address labels?!?

So, thank you, PKD Foundation for being the kind of charity that spends its money wisely, rather than on frivolous things like address labels. If need be, I can always write the return address by hand!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's a girl.... and another girl!!

Congratulations to my cousin, Dan, and his wife Rachelle, on the birth of their twin girls today. Their names are Hailey Elizabeth and Alyssa Marie. Here's their first pictures:

That makes three sets of twins out of the 16 Halpin great-grandchildren. Guess they're right about twins being hereditary.

They weigh in at 4 lb 7 oz and 4 lb 10 oz - just a little bigger than Brian and Jason were when they were born.

Hope Dan and Rachelle are all caught up on their sleep, because I know from experience they've got a lot of sleepless nights ahead of them. Best of luck to them as they begin their journey through parenthood!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

first news of walk results

I received the following email this evening from the Minnesota Chapter of the PKD Foundation:

"Hello to all you supporters of PKD research.

It was another record year for the MN Walk for PKD!!

There were 771 participants (compared to approximately 700 in 2006, 500 in 2005 and 250 in 2004) in the MN Walk for PKD. As of today, the MN Walk for PKD raised $160,000 for PKD research (compared to approximately $140,000 at this time last year, $100,000 in 2005 and $55,000 in 2004).
Thanks to all of you, volunteers and participants, for this great success. One day, when we have a drug treatment to manage PKD, maybe even a cure, YOU will have the satisfaction of knowing that YOU were part of the solution!!"

It's great to see all of the numbers heading upward! Hopefully, the Hudson Valley Walk will have similar news soon. I'll certainly pass it along once I hear something.