Saturday, April 19, 2014

Short Hair, Big Moments

Many months ago, three ladies decided to embark on a journey together. The journey was more of a waiting game, and they were playing it at the same time. Julia had the idea to grow her hair long enough to donate to be made into wigs for kids with cancer. Her mom and grandma joined in too and so they all began letting their hair grow to at least ten inches.

In some ways the journey started over three years ago. In December of 2010, Julia's hair was starting to fall out. She decided to get it cut short so that her transition from hair to completely bald over the next few months wouldn't be so drastic. Julia got her hair cut into a cute little 'do.

Julia's hair did eventually all fall out, but like hair is known to do, it grew back. Sometime while the growing was occurring, Julia thought about letting it grow long enough to cut and donate. The next two older generations decided it was a good idea too and so the three - child, mother, grandmother - started down the road of waiting for their hair to be long enough.

Well, the day finally came. Grandparents made the drive to River Falls. A stylist was called. The newspaper was alerted (why not?). Julia, Amanda, and Beth were more than ready to have short hair.

It seemed very much like a coming together of past events, a convergence of storylines. The same person who donated her time and expertise to help Julia feel better about her hair loss three years earlier was again volunteering to help us with this next chapter. And the reporter from the River Falls Journal was familiar with Julia's story already; she had written about Julia before.

Amanda and Julia posed for a before shot from behind.

Julia's smile wasn't forced at all. She was very much looking forward to NOT having to take so long brushing her hair multiple times a day.

The three of them talked through short haircut options with the hair stylist, Raine.

The actual cutting of the ponytailed hair was a little strange. It almost seemed like a body part being lopped off.

While getting the rest of her hair touched up, Julia was asked questions by Gretta, the reporter from the newspaper.

I think she enjoyed the sudden feeling of nothing hanging from the back of her head anymore.

Even before the cut, Julia said she would have to wear more scarves to keep her neck warm.

Up next was Amanda and then her mom, Beth.

All three ponytails - ready to be shipped off to Locks of Love.

Of course we needed to see a back and front shot of the finished products! For another before and after, click here.

I'm curious to see if Julia will start thinking about growing her hair out again soon. My guess is that she'll wait awhile and just enjoy her new look first.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Relay for Life, 2014

Just a couple of things before we get to the title topic...

Sometimes when I get pictures off the camera I find some selfies and other oddities. I think this one falls in the "seflie" category.

Julia and I participated again in the Daddy Daughter Dance last month. We did a little photo shoot at home before heading out for the evening.

Amanda has taken up crocheting and she finished this brightly colored blanket for Julia. It's been fun watching the slow but steady progression of the growing rainbow.

I couldn't help but smile at the kids playing a quiet game of chess one weekend morning.

It was our 3rd year actively participating in Relay for Life (see here for 2013 and 2012). We had planned to get creative this year with some fundraisers, but we never found the time to expand on those good intentions. We did end up raising $752.55 which was a small part in the Pierce County total of $150,000 raised.

Seeing the survivors walk in together and the subsequent survivor's walk is always emotional. We're proud of Julia for putting herself out there.

Finn and Amanda were going to stay the whole night too. The plan was derailed slightly when Amanda wasn't feeling well. Both kids and I stayed all night and had a lot of fun. While we were all there though, we did some things together. Our little tent was made into our home for one night.

The ladies posed by our team's pennant - Relay had a sports theme this year.

While walking the track, we spotted a picture of Julia on the wall from last year.

Luminaria bags are put out by people in honor of or in remembrance of lost loved one. We found one with Julia's name on it that someone had made in honor of her.

Julia made a luminaria in remembrance of her friend Carina.

Julia was thrilled to see her teacher in attendance and I was glad to get a nice picture of the two of them together.

At one point while walking the track, I looked down and noticed Finn having quite a long conversation with three middle-school girls. I'm not sure what he would have been holding their attention with and I'm not sure if I should be worried. (He did know one of them from day care.)

Finn had a good time and was a good sport. He participated in Dude Looks Like a Cheerleader. Julia was content to help him hold his purse while we walked around and collected donations.

I had to get a picture of the biggest and littlest cheerleaders around!

There were only five brave guys who participated in the event.

Finn collected over $69 and that was good for a 3rd place finish.

Finn also participated in a number of very late night activities. It was mostly college-aged folks and Finn. He did scooter races, tug of war, and musical chairs. There were close to 30 participants in musical chairs and Finn made it to the top ten.

You can hear the people watching let out a big groan when Finn lost.

I had been able to talk the kids into laying down around 3:00 am so they did get a couple hours of sleep. The evening that started with a spaghetti dinner ended with a hot, but tired breakfast. Amanda came back in the morning to have breakfast with us and pack up things to head home.