Saturday, May 17, 2008

Emerald Downs

I have written some sort of "down" posts this week. It was a difficult week for me, but today was better. We were invited to the races at Emerald Downs (no pun intended; it's the name of the racetrack) to join a group from Ronald McDonald House. You can see a lovely view of Mt. Rainier, on the right side of this photo, taken from the clubhouse, overlooking the track.

As I have written before, we lived at RMcD House for several months during Katie's treatment in 2006-7, and it was a real gift to be able to live there. We are so thankful for this privilege. It made a horrendous time in our lives easier to bear. They often offer outings, or tickets to activities, to families who are staying in the house, but when we were there, Katie was too ill for us to be able to participate in most of the activities. This was sort of like being able to do that, much later.

We believe in the mission of RMcD House wholeheartedly. When Seattle's Children's Hospital grows and expands (as they plan to do -- from 250 beds to 600), Ronald McDonald House will also need to grow, to serve the additional families who bring their children for treatment. If you use the link to the website, there are several places on the page that show you how you can support RMHC, and there is also general info about the house. Some ways to help are: donate items (you can call and ask for a list of what they need), attend the auction/benefit in October, volunteer to cook dinners, volunteer to help in other ways around the House, send money, etc.

The people with RMcD House have been wonderful to us, and very sensitive about remembering and honoring the children who have lived there, including Katie. The staff holds an annual memorial service, and they requested that we send Katie's story to them, and write what it meant to us to be able to live there. They sent us their memorial program afterward, and it was beautiful. I feel that they genuinely love kids, and care about the families who stay there with deep compassion.

Today's event was a treat for David, Gregg, me and my parents. David and Gregg were able to watch one of the races from the Winner's Circle, and stayed there to see the owner and jockey greet each other. They were in a "photo op" in the Winner's Circle, as well.

My mother and I are big fans of the three races of the Triple Crown -- the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Today was the day of the Preakness, which Mom and I really wanted to watch, and we were able to watch that race on a big-screen TV, enjoy a buffet lunch and watch the local thoroughbred races, all together at Emerald Downs. We also got to see our friends Dave and Cary there, with their three lovely daughters and extended family. Cary was in great form; her spirits are so strong.
The bar that served our group was out of mint, so I still haven't been able to try a Mint Julep, but I had a good time without it. Maybe on the day of the Belmont Stakes, I will finally have that Julep! ...or I will use smileygirl's recipe and make my own.
Hey, I just figured out how to put links into the posting! Wow!

I also had a wonderful surprise when we got home. A package arrived from Ann and Kaci Vossekuil in North Dakota, friends from CaringBridge. Ann's beautiful daughter (and Kaci's younger sister), Taylor, passed away from ALL leukemia in November. Her page is Ann and Kaci are participating in the Relay for Life on Taylor's birthday, May 30th, and I sent a FROG-themed quilt (Taylor's motto was Forever Rely On God) to them so that they could raffle it at the Relay to help raise funds. The package that they sent contained a variety of FROG items, a luminaria with Taylor's photo on it, and some very sweet and generous gifts, along with a card for me. Ann wrote that, along with luminarias in Taylor's memory, they have also made some in Katie's memory, and they will put them out for the Relay for Life in North Dakota. What a beautiful, considerate gift to us, in the midst of their own grief. Thank you, Ann and Kaci! You really brightened my day.


Karla W. said...

I'm so glad that you were able to have a wonderful day with family! A good day is always something to be thankful for.

I'm also glad that you received such a nice care package.

Thank you so much for sharing about FROG. My sister loved frogs growing up and throughout the years I have collected many yards of frog fabric. You've now inspired some ideas as I know many who could use a F.R.O.G quilt (unfortunately it will have to wait for school breaks to be realized).

Please know that I pray for you often. Love Karla :)

Katie said...

Sounds like a beautiful day, I especially love the surpise package. Here's to a new week!

Smileygirl said...

Wow is that sun I see??? Looks like a beautiful day for all of you. Your parents are so cute, I love the pic of your mom in mid laugh! There must be a high demand for mint going around because we planned on making Juleps for our get together yesterday but the store was out of mint! So we had German Chocolate Cake Martinis instead.

The Ronald McDonald house is such a first class place. What an honor for the families of the children who lived there to get together for a memorial. Katie was loved by sooooo many.

karengberger said...

Thank you for your kind comments, all.

FROG is apparently a known-acronym in some circles, but it was new to me. Taylor V. continues to be an inspiration.

Yes, it was near 90 degrees yesterday, and in the mid-80s the day before! Today is sunny and approaching the 70s. It's awesome, and gorgeous. We love it! (We're going for a beach walk now.) I admit that I was grateful to be inside (with the AC) for most of the day at the races, though.

Come to think of it, we have mint plants in our yard...

Smileygirl said...

Yay for you on posting links! So you have mint in your yard?? Too bad we're not neighbors, I'd be over there stealing some leaves in the middle of the night! But then I'd invite you over for a Julep in the morning so it cancels out the stealing.

I'm curious, do most homes where you live have central air conditioning? I never knew the Seattle area to get hot but you mentioned it was 90 degrees and it's only May so I would imagine central AC might be necessary.