Friday, September 23, 2011

The Benefit

I know I have mentioned before that my mother in law, Suzie, was sick, but I never really explained how sick she was. Some time ago she had a cough left over from a cold that never went away. Long story short... she discovered it was lung cancer, had surgery, and is in the midst of chemo. She recently confirmed that the cancer is gone from her lungs so we are hopeful for her prognosis moving forward. Suzie is a very special lady and I feel very grateful to be a part of her family. She raised a couple of compassionate, smart, and entertaining sons and I am lucky to be married to one of them.

Since Suzie has been out of work her family put together a benefit for her this past weekend at the Shakopee VFW. Luckily her son, Rich, (Jesse's brother) and his family were able to come in from Pennsylvania to attend. We love having Rich, his wife (Susee), and their two boys (Mason and Cade) visit. One of the best parts of having them in town is seeing how much fun Riley has with them.

They arrived Friday while I was at work so Jesse took them to Edinborough's indoor park with Riley.

The last two pictures are actually from a previous visit, but you get a better sense of the scope of the park. I have a feeling Jesse and Riley are going to spend a lot of time at the indoor park this winter.

On Saturday the benefit started with a motorcycle run at 11:00 and continued with the main event at 4:00 where there was a raffle, silent auction, bake sale, food, DJ... We weren't able to make the bike run, but have the below picture and video to give you a taste of what it was like.

290 people

180 bikes

At first glance the above picture simply looks like Jesse is going in to kiss Riley, but if you look closely you can see his brother's head squeezed between them in the background. It's really not much of a picture, but I found it amusing and had to include it.

The above picture was taken right before most of the bikers returned. Once they entered the building it was shoulder to shoulder standing. It was an impressive turnout.

 Susee, Rich and his aunt Debbie and uncle Jamie.

Back inside the VFW Suzie and Michael thanked everyone for coming out to show their support.

One of Riley's favorite parts of the night was walking up and down the stairs while counting the number of stairs. She's been pretty good at counting to 5, but she stepped up her game this weekend and now sort of counts to 13. There are a couple numbers she struggles with, but she seems to favor 'two', 'tree', 'si', 'eigh', 'nine', and 'tertteen'.  Back at home she even started to point at numbers in her books and say what they were without any prompting. She'd get them right regardless of the order. Kid's brains amaze me.

We weren't able to stay long at the benefit because of Riley's sleep schedule, but we heard that it was quite successful. Before we left we bid on a kid's pink blanket with pictures of ninja monkeys on it and a bacon basket (bacon flavored soda, bacon flavored lip balm, wallet with picture of bacon, etc...). I have a co-worker who is a bacon fan so I was hoping to surprise her with it. Unfortunately, we did not get the bacon basket (sorry Nakeela), but we did get the blanket. Our nephews won the bacon basket and earned their grandma even more money by auctioning off a glass of the bacon flavored soda for an additional $60 bucks. Such innovative kids.

The next day we gathered at grandma Suzie and grandpa Michael's house after the Vikings game was over. Well, at least it was over for me. I watched the game at home while Riley napped, but they tivo'd it so I had the pleasure of watching the Viking's painful loss twice.

Peekaboo or shame over another lost Vikings game?

This was also a rare opportunity to get pictures of the 4 grand kids together.
Riley, Mason, Cade, and Maddie

Where's Riley?

She sure loves her cousins.

"Hand me the football. I'll show them how it's done."

Grandma with her gang (and a tired Riley).

Unfortunately, the weekend had to come to an end and Rich and his family had to go home. We're already looking forward to the next time we'll get to see each other. We miss you guys!

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