Carolee’s Baby Project

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Have you seen this project by pregnant photographer, Carolee Beckham? She is cleverly documenting the size of her growing baby by comparing to fruits and veggies in gorgeous film photos. So lovely!

To see all of the charming photos in her project, head over to Carolee’s blog.



COMMENTS (5)

Snippets

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I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you so much for every email, donation, care package, prayer and virtual hug you sent over the past week. The response has been truly overwhelming. So far, you have donated $1,500 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund, which is INCREDIBLE. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wita and I visited Maddie last Friday. Oh man, is she special. Maddie told us all about the amazing adventures she’s experienced over the past few weeks. Snorkeling in Hawaii, releasing Clarice the elephant seal back into the ocean, petting sting rays and feeding zebra sharks, to name a few. (You can read about her adventures at Maddie’s Caring Bridge page.)

What struck me the most during our visit with Maddie was how incredibly nurturing she was with Wita; tickling her feet, complimenting her blue eyes, giving her sweet, gentle kisses…I thought my heart might burst. While showing Wita her favorite Wyland coloring book, Maddie made sure to hide the shark page from little Wita’s eyes since it might “scare her.”

Such love. Wita couldn’t get enough, as you can see.

Things might be a little quiet at whoorl this week, as Dustin and I are working hard to design the website for Maddie’s foundation. (D was working on the design before the sun came up this morning. I love him so much.) Jesse and Amanda from Comal Productions have donated their services to build the website, and Secret Agent Josephine rendered an illustration for us within 10 minutes of me reaching out to her this morning. We are so grateful for these three folks. Jesse and Amanda can build a mean website (ahem, HAIR THURSDAY), and Brenda rocks. Most of all, though, they are good people. Period. (And how could I forget Amanda’s awesome website, Tipsy Society, that was featured in my I Think I’m Love series forever and ever ago.) Thank you, Jesse, Amanda, and Brenda!

This past month has forever changed the way I approach each and every day with my family. The little, nagging annoyances suddenly seem so trivial, the tender moments tug on my heartstrings a little harder, and the silly, fun moments have been amplified a million times over. At the end of last year, I told you that my New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to take at least one photo every day for memory’s sake. Well, I’m still going strong, and haven’t missed a day. Here are some of my favorite photos from January. (Click photo for larger size.)

Happy Valentine’s Day. Give your loved ones an extra hug today.

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COMMENTS (15)

Madeleine

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Sweet and spunky Madeleine James was diagnosed with an inoperable, malignant brain tumor called DIPG in January. Without delving into all of the details of this aggressive tumor, Maddie’s prognosis is grim, at best. The median overall survival of children diagnosed with DIPG is approximately 9 months, with the 18-month survival rate being less than 10%. These statistics make it one of the most devastating pediatric malignancies. Maddie’s doctors have given her 6 months.

My family has been absolutely floored by this diagnosis. Shock, disbelief, devastation, and complete anguish are a few words that come to mind. Constant worry over what this is doing to Maddie’s family; how her parents are even able to feign participation in the normal, day-to-day grind that keeps whizzing on around them regardless of their horrific new reality. I can’t imagine what they are going through, I truly can’t. And if I try, I immediately feel like weeping, punching, screaming, hyperventilating and vomiting at the same time. God, the excruciating pain they must be feeling right now. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I think of Maddie’s mom, Kajsa. As a mother, I can’t fathom the grief that has overtaken her heart. To lose a child, her only child. The child that was conceived after years of infertility struggles when it seemed like all hope of becoming pregnant was lost. The child she spent the last 5 and half years holding, raising, comforting, teaching and marveling over. Her only child. Her miracle. Her heart.

I think of my dear cousin and Maddie’s father, Collie. The way his eyes light up every single time he mentions Maddie’s name. The enormous pride and adoration he has for this child. The child he spent the last 5 and half years holding, raising, comforting, teaching and marveling over. His only child. Daddy’s girl. His heart.

I think about the intense grief Collie experienced four years ago when his sister and only sibling, Lauren, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 26. I think about the slow healing of his heart over the past four years, and whether it can withstand this ridiculously unfair and cruel blow. To lose his only sibling and now, his only child? This can’t possibly be happening. Yet, it is. I think about his parents, my aunt Katherine and uncle Collie, who are dealing with the stifling pain of losing a daughter and now, their only grandchild.

I think of Maddie’s cousins. Maddie’s aunt and uncles. Maddie’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Maddie’s neighbors, schoolmates and friends.

Most of all, I think of Maddie. I think of the incredibly bright, beautiful and talented 5-year-old that isn’t getting a chance at a healthy, long life that most children are given. To not be able to blossom into a vivacious and lovely young lady reminiscent of her godmother, Lauren.

I think of Maddie.

At this point in time, it’s so incredibly difficult to find any shred of a silver lining in all of this. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever will, but I do know that if I don’t try to help in any and every way possible, I’ll implode. Although Maddie’s parents have been going through a divorce, they have come together as a team of super powers dedicated to making every single day of Maddie’s life a day worth celebrating.

One of their CaringBridge journal entries says it best,

We have chosen to cherish every moment we have left with our beloved daughter.  And, a little laughter is sometimes the only thing that helps us get through the day.  We have a lifetime to deal with the grief when she is gone.

How can you help celebrate Miss Maddie’s life? Many, many ways. (And I would be remiss if I didn’t include a whoorl-worthy list.)

1. Maddie’s parents have started an amazing foundation to honor Maddie and her immense love of the ocean. You can learn all about The Maddie James Foundation here, as well as Collie and Kajsa’s hopes of creating The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center here. If you feel so inclined, please help them reach their goal by making a tax deductible donation here.

2. Visit Maddie’s CaringBridge page. Read about the special moments she is experiencing and will experience throughout the upcoming months.

3. Send Maddie and her family all of the prayers and positive thoughts you can muster. They need them more than you will ever know.

Over the past 5 years, I have witnessed firsthand the immense support you all have put forth for good friends of mine who were dealing with tragedies and challenges. For that, I am so incredibly humbled and thankful. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the sheer love and generosity that you have shown in the past. As you can imagine, this particular tragedy has taken hold of my heart. Watching this happen to a young family member has caused a pain that is, well, indescribable. I hope my attempts of providing you numerous ways to help haven’t come off as excessive, but I just want so desperately to help in any way that I can.

Most importantly, if only for a second, please think of Maddie and her family today. Send all the warm thoughts and prayers you can.



COMMENTS (98)

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Fave Hair Product

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So, APPARENTLY I’m not the only one!!

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Photo: © The Image Gate/Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow says the secret to her gorgeous hair is dry shampoo.

The Country Strong actress always keeps dry shampoo on hand to mop up excess oil from her roots and scalp, with her favorite being Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.

Gwyneth wrote in her GOOP newsletter, “This stuff’s great when your hair needs a little spiffing up, especially when it’s starting to get a bit greasy. If you want to maintain a blow dry or don’t have time to do a full wash and blow out, this really does the trick. It gets right to the roots and brings back volume and makes your hair less oily.”

The 38-year-old star–who has children Apple, six, and Moses, four, with husband Chris Martin–is a fan of French beauty products and always makes sure she stocks up on her must-have products when traveling in Europe.

She added, “Many of the absolute best beauty products I’ve found come from regular French pharmacies. I always stock up on these items when I’m in France or ask friends to bring some back when they’re passing through.”

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Try on Gwyneth Paltrow’s hairstyles in the Makeover Studio!



COMMENTS (6)