Friday, October 14, 2016

Spina Bifida Awareness

For information on the Iron Man Isaac Benefit, go to the Facebook event or for those without Facebook, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Spina Bifida Awareness Month

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month, which makes it a perfect month to raise money for Iron Man Isaac!

Next weekend (October 22) is the benefit for Isaac and I'd love to see as many people there as possible.  You can find all the details on this Facebook event or for those without Facebook, click here for a flyer.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Iron Man Isaac

Once again, it's been ages since I've posted anything (I apologize to all 3 of my passionate readers).  It's been so long in fact, I never shared that I'm an aunt again!  My little nephew is now 3 months old and is he one amazing little dude.  Let me tell you a bit about him....

When my little sister, Bonnie, was 21 weeks pregnant with their second son, Isaac was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida called myeloschisis. From L1 to S4, he had an open lesion, exposing the spinal cord to amniotic fluid. Additionally, he had a malformation known as hindbrain herniation, hydrocephalus, and a left clubfoot.

Bonnie and Isaac were fortunate to qualify for fetal surgery with a world-class team of doctors in St. Louis.  On March 22, at 24 weeks gestation, these doctors repaired the lesion on Isaac's back and tucked him back into the womb to heal and, hopefully, reverse some of the damage that had been done.  You didn't read that wrong - they actually took Isaac partially out of the womb, worked on his back, and then put him back inside!  I did a whole lot of reading and watched the few videos I could find online about it because my mind was blown.  I couldn't understand how this was even possible and my request to observe the surgery live was denied - as was the request for the nurse to FaceTime it to me. 

After the surgery, Bonnie spent two weeks in St Louis and was then able to return home.  Her brief stint outside of the hospital was short lived though, she spent the final ten days of pregnancy on hospital bedrest before Isaac arrived via emergency c-section at 31 weeks. He was born on May 7, 2016, weighing 3 lbs 10 oz.  Big brother Evan wasn't really sure about him at first, but with a little quick thinking (and knowing how much Evan loves super hero's) he came around.  And little Iron Man Isaac has lived up to his Super Hero status!  After 
34 days in the NICU at Children's Hospital of Illinois, he came home!

Despite not staying in the womb long enough to see the full benefits of fetal surgery, Isaac is already defying the odds. We are told he will likely need a shunt, and will likely end up in a wheelchair. But at this time he has not required intervention for hydrocephalus, and he is not paralyzed…he has movement in both legs down to his toes!

They are now travelling to St. Louis weekly for appointments with a pediatric neurosurgeon, urologist, and orthopedic surgeon.  Isaac is currently undergoing casting for the clubfoot, followed by bracing as well as aggressive physical therapy. He had his first surgery (this side of the uterus, mind you!) on August 10 for bilateral inguinal hernias. 

As you can imagine, the medical bills add up very quickly and will continue to do so as Isaac grows and reveals his needs. The family has also taken a considerable reduction in income to allow Bonnie to stay home and care for him.  So, that is why we are hosting a fundraising benefit to help with medical expenses and continued physical therapy.  If you would like to attend, you can find all the details on this Facebook event or for those without Facebook, click here for a flyer.  

If you are unable to attend, but would like to help the family in some way, we are looking for items to be auctioned off.  If you have a product, service, gift certificate, gift basket, sporting event tickets, etc you'd like to donate, contact me at  Shirts are also for sale with part of the proceeds going directly to the family, click here to purchase.  But be quick, they are only available for another 20 days!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gone, but not Forgotten

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  Life has been busy - new kid, new house, new job - and the list goes on.  It's hard to find time for myself, let alone this here little blog.  But I felt like I could muster up at least five minutes today to share a blog post from Guns Save Life.  You see, my spunky, witty, wonderful Grandma Dorothy passed away this week.  She was 94 years old, so it really didn't come as a shock to any of us.  In fact, I've been trying to prepare my 6 year old daughter for this day for the last 6 months.  Even though it wasn't a shock though, it still hurts.  Still makes me sad that she's gone, but that's just selfishness.  She's no longer a slave to her wheelchair, or stuck inside watching out the window when she'd rather be outside running around.  So while I'm sad, there is also some happiness.  She lived a long, fun-filled, amazing life.  And I got to spend 35 years of MY life with her.  So that's something to be grateful for.  And I am. 

Now back to GSL.  Ever wonder where I get my love of guns from?  Well, it would be from the above woman and the love of her life, my grandma Carl.  Grandpa has been gone for 15 years, but we were lucky enough that Grandma had an AMAZING memory.  Probably the best memory of anyone I've ever met.  And she shared so many fun stories with not just my cousins and I, but with our kids - her great-grandkids.  It's hard to find the words to describe how awesome it was to have her tell my kids about the grandpa they never got to meet.  There were even some stories that I had never heard before!  The below is one that I had heard, but I loved reading it from some one else's perspective as well.  So long story short - thanks to Guns Save Life and John Boch for such a nice tribute.  We are sure going to miss this feisty woman!

Dorothy Holland:  Practically GSL’s matriarch

by John Boch
Dorothy Holland was a remarkable woman, and probably GSL’s oldest female member.  No doubt she was one of our longest members, and I’ll tell you why…

I remember getting a phone call about an old fellow and his wife that showed up on then GSL President John Naese’s doorstep.  The two stopped on the way back from wintering in Florida in the late 1990s.

Those two were Carl and Dorothy Holland.

They heard about Guns Save Life on a national radio show that had a segment on the pro-gun Burma Shave style highway signs along Interstates in Illinois.

In fact, if I remember the story correctly, Carl and Dorothy (well, mostly Carl) wanted to pull up stakes a little early for the return trip because he was so excited to meet these gun rights people so near his family’s farm.

The two owned a lot of farmland.  By golly, as they were a gun-loving, patriotic Americans, the two of them wanted a set of those signs on their land near McLean, Illinois.  We got them signs and they were a great source of pride for Carl and Dorothy.   What’s more, the two of them fell in love with Guns Save Life’s aggressive and proactive gun rights advocacy, along with our great people, and became regulars overnight.

Dorothy was almost always at her husband’s side it seemed.  She was a sweet, kind, Southern Belle – a graceful woman living in Yankee territory.

The two of them attended meetings, and when the Independence Day Parade in Champaign came along, they wanted to be in it, so they drove over an old, old car.   It looked like something out of the 1920s.

“What in the world?” I thought the first time I saw it rolling up to our float.  In the seats were Carl and Dorothy, both of them just beaming with happiness and pride to be there with their new friends to celebrate America’s birthday.

It wasn’t long before Carl and Dorothy got their adult children involved in Guns Save Life.  Son Bob and his wife became regulars.  The whole family started cycling through GSL Defense Training classes.  Carl and Dorothy’s kids and grandkids, and their spouses pretty much all came through.
Carl and Dorothy had a bunch of kids, too.  All have enjoyed very successful lives.  Their grandkids are on the same path as well, and I’m sure the great-grandkids will as well.  They are the 1%, not so much in their wealth, but in successes in life.  Good families, good kids, successful careers in their choice of work – and blessed with good DNA as there’s not an ugly one among them.

Son Bob joined our Board of Directors, and today serves as GSL’s liaison on the Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources Board of Directors.  Granddaughter Bonnie served as GSL’s corporate secretary for many years.  Today Bob and Bonnie are outstanding instructors with GSL Defense Training, as is Carl and Dorothy’s other son Jack.

It’s been a blessing to meet and share life with the Hollands, all high-quality people thanks to their upbringing with Carl and Dorothy who found out about us from a radio show while they were in Florida for the winter.

Carl passed away in 2001, but Dorothy continued to live in the family home up until recently.
I remember running into her at the McLean, Illinois family restaurant about a year or two ago as we stopped there after teaching an Appleseed class.  I hadn’t seen her in ages, but I recognized her right away, almost shocked to see her.  She gave me a very warm and kind welcome, having recognized me right off as well.  She seemed so happy and proud, running into old friends.  She seemed even happier seeing us still actively promoting and sharing the fun and excitement of gun ownership, something she and her husband embraced whole heartedly, with a new generation of Americans.
I’m sure her passing is a great loss for the entire family, as it is for all of us who have been touched by not only Dorothy’s life, but the kind works of her children and grandchildren that she helped raise.  She will be deeply missed by all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Home Sweet Home!

After much planning and a few headaches, we are finally done with construction and all moved in to our forever home! 
I don't know why exactly, but the house that we lived in for 8 years just never really felt like "home" to me.  From the very first night we stayed in the new house, it has felt like "home".  And that makes me so incredibly happy!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Project Appleseed Weekend

It's that time of year again... time for the Holland Farm Appleseed!  You won't want to miss out on this fun event.  If you haven't registered yet, don't worry, there is still time.  Join us August 9-10 and bring a friend!

If you haven't done an Appleseed before and aren't sure how to prepare, take a look here.  And if you'd like to participate but aren't a rifle owner, that's okay too, shoot an email to John Naese at and he can help you out.  No excuses to not be there!  AND, to top it all off, there will most likely be a special appearance from this little fella... how can you resist?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Carl James

It's been quite the long road, but finally, after two and 1/2 years of trying to conceive (and facing a few set backs) we were lucky enough to welcome another baby into our family!  We couldn't be more happy to have Carl James join us, he's certainly something special!

Born - July 1 at 5:38 pm
Weight - 7 pounds, 1 ounce
Length - 20.5 inches

Big sister is thrilled to finally have a little brother!