Levine Cardiac Kids Anniversary Picnic

On Saturday we had our first annual Levine Cardiac Kids Picnic. We were celebrating one year since the group was formed! I can't believe how time flies, it really doesn't seem that long ago when we went to the very first meeting.

It has been so exciting to watch the group form and become what it is. We can't tell you what a blessing it is to finally know people who have a child with heart defects. Sometimes you just feel that other people really don't understand what you've been through or what life can be like with a "heart baby", so it's awesome to be able to be with people who "get it." Even though we are all different, all of our kids have different diagnoses, different meds, different surgeries, different outcomes, etc...there is a common bond that has brought this group together. The common thread is compassion. Everybody in this group desires to help other families who have to go through what they've been through. Nobody is there to get what they can, they are there to give of the knowledge and resources that they have acquired on their journey.

The picnic was a BLAST! There was lots of stuff for the kids to do. Childlife from the hospital came and set up tents with games underneath. They had great prizes too! My kids were loaded when they left! One of the dad's in our group builds the engines for Dale Earnhardts race cars and he brought a race car for the kids to sit in. Caleb thought that was awesome!

The food was so yummy...Outback steakhouse donated hamburgers and grilled chicken, Chik-fil-A donated TONS of chicken nuggets, other places donated chips, and Coca-Cola donated tons of soft drinks, water and lemonade. All of the families in the group worked together to bring veggie trays, fruit and desserts. So yeah, it was wonderful! We were all stuffed and there was so much left over!

Here's Lydia with mascot from the Carolina Panthers "Sir Purr." He was giving out autographed pictures of himself and these drink cooler things.

Caleb and Lydia waiting patiently.

More waiting and finally an autograph! Caleb screamed his head off the last time he saw "Sir Purr" at an event but this time he was totally cool with it. He still thinks Sir Purr's eyes are scary, haha. =)

Some of the ChildLife people were doing face painting. Lydia wanted to be a cow at first but I did not want my whole child's face covered in black and white paint! Especially not with her sensitive skin. So she opted for a flower instead. Yay!

She did really good and held so still!

The final product...complete with glitter on the petals! (You can't see it in the picture though.)

This is Mrs. Susan helping Caleb with one of the games. Mrs. Susan is the director of ChildLife at the hospital and has been doing that for 27 years. There's a lot of wonderful things I could say about her, but suffice it to say that she is just awesome. And Caleb adores her, that says it all doesn't it?! =)

Caleb giving a "five" to Homer the mascot of the Charlotte Knights. (Triple A baseball.)

Lydia and Homer!

This my friends, is absolutely the cutest dog in the entire world. This is Windy and she is a Sheltie. She is a miniature, but nobody knows why! Nobody in her family is small except her. Windy is 10 months old and is full grown. She reached her full size at 5 months of age! She weighs all of 5lb. and 4 oz. She is utterly adorable. We saw her at the hospital a few weeks ago (she's a hospital therapy dog) and I was so surprised to see her at the picnic.

Windy walking on her leash. She is really smart and well behaved. She did everything her "mom" said. She would even jump over these some little tiny hurdles.

I'm telling you, my kids have completely changed since we got our dog Phoebe! There were several dogs at the picnic and neither Caleb or Lydia had any problem walking right up and petting them. Before, and I'm not exaggerating, they would have been in hysterics and would have been miserable the whole picnic wondering if the dog was going to come near them. But now they love dogs! Caleb is petting Surfer, who also is a sheltie and a hospital therapy dog.

There are some more pictures coming in the next day or so and they are pretty special. I saved the best for last!

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