The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Oct 19, 2011

2011 Buddy Walk!!

This post is delayed a few days because I am unable to find adequate words.  I'm at loss for words.  Words, at least the ones in my thesaurus, do not serve justice when attempting to describe how I feel about this past weekend's Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midland's Buddy Walk.  It was amazing!
The preparations have been going on for several months.  Family & friends have been donating GENEROUSLY to our "Movin' with Macy" fundraising page.  We finished in the "TOP 5" of Omaha area fundraisers, woot woot!  The t-shirts (nearly 100 of them) had been designed, ordered & distributed.  Communication of logistics had been shared with prospective "walkers".  Gayle flew into town late Friday night (especially FOR the Buddy Walk).
We arose to a quiet house on Saturday morning (McKenzie slept over at cousin Anna's!!).  hehe  It was brisk, but otherwise PERFECT weather.  The car was already loaded up from the night before.  All that was left to do was simply put on our shirts, get in the car and head to UNO.  And just play out the rest of the day as it unfolds. 
It "unfolded" wonderfully!  The big open field was a buzz with excitement.  Tons of really fun things for people of all ages to do...bounce houses, photo booths, dance floor (complete with DJ & BUBBLES - this was a HIT with Macy), face painting, the list goes on.  The best part was just taking it all in.  Simply standing there are watching everyone around me.  EVERYONE was having a genuine good time.  I also LOVE seeing all the various groups & their special designed t-shirts.  Many people get super creative.   :-)
Yes, people all around us were having a good time, as they should have been, the main purpose for this gathering was to support, advocate and celebrate all individuals who have Down Syndrome.  The future is looking bright for us all, including them!
My other favorite part of the Buddy Walk was just waiting.  Waiting as our "Movin' with Macy" team members trickled in and joined our "circle".
As the morning went on, the air around us got warmer and our little group got LARGER.  Between, family, friends and the Pi Ep sorority girls (plus dog), our group had grown to 120+ strong.  All I have to say to that is...WOW.  I am SOOO very grateful to those who took time out of their busy day to join us for this walk.  It truly means the world to me!  Some were unable to attend due to illness or schedule conflicts, but they were with us in spirit & I genuinely appreciate their thoughts & prayers for our big day  :-)

As I think back on the day, I can't help but still have a "" kind of a feeling.  I was thankful for a bright and sunny day, mostly because I found myself getting teary eyed many a times throughout the course of the day.  But this was for only me and my dark sunglasses to know  :-)  I'm a crier, what can I say?  This is nothing new!

It is so funny to think how I allowed and was comfortable with Macy just wandering around.  She ventured well outside her usual 10 foot radius of mommy & daddy.  And here of all places?  Why would I let a 21 month wander around mid-town Omaha (Nebraska's big city), in this HUGE crowd of (my estimate) 5,000+ strangers.  Because here, these people do not feel like strangers.  Here, we are all linked to one common thread.  We ALL love, care for and support someone who has a little something extra.  Macy was IN HER ELEMENT!  Parading around confidently like she owned the place.  Walking, strutting, waving & flashing that million dollar smile to everyone around.  She has a natural swagger in her step lately & I think it is just the cutest thing ever!  She swings her arms from side to side, shakes her hips with every heaping step and pushes her tummy outward a bit, ha, love it!  Each time she tried to escape our area (and she did SEVERAL times), I did not run after her, I simply continued whatever conversation I was currently having.  So long as I had a visual on that long blue balloon that someone I tied to her belt loop, we were golden.  Besides, I knew other people in our group were also watching out for her & keeping and eye on her too.  I was not alone.  Especially not here.  There was always someone who would take the initiative, chase her down and bring her back over to her "place".  I was able to bounce around & chit-chat with most everyone who showed up to support our team, without having to worry about the needs of the girlies.  A BIG thanks goes out to my sister Keri for taking Kenzie in as her daughter that morning (my sisters have a away of doing this regularly).  On this morning, Kenzie just ran around playing the games and eating the snacks with cousin Anna (Keri was never too far behind them).  Thanks Keri for allowing me to relax and actually TALK to people  :-)
The simple thought of KNOWING you are not alone.  KNOWING that there is a village of people "on your team", lending you a helping had and loving on your kids right along with you is, quite simply, the best feeling ever!  Loving someone else's children is by the best compliment you could ever give a person.  I felt the "compliments" all around that day!
At home, ready to go!
this looks similar to last years' pose...minus big sis as she slept over at Anna's house  :-)
My friend Emily and her sweet Olivia were among the first to arrive.  Bless their hearts!
Macy & Grandpa dancin' to the music  :-)
she found the BUBBLES!!
"Mom"..."Is this heaven" she wonders".
movin' & groovin' to the beat.  Make note of Grandpa watching from afar.  Kind of like her bodygaurd off in the distance.  As I mentioned before, this girl is NEVER alone!
Macy and (her boyfriend) Jaxson enjoy the bubbles together  :-)
he was VERRRY excited!
oops.  caught that one in action as it happened.  ha.  Macy, you need to understand, this is just how boys show their affection sometimes/  by pushing & shoving.  hehe
our buddy Vollen with his uncle.
There's Wesley & Vollen's momma's!
Jagger & his dad. He sure is a rockstar!
Chloe & Elizabeth
and she's off.
Casie & Macy having a little convo before the walk begins.
Macy LOVES stealing everyone's she tries Jaxson's mommys (Tasha's) on for size.
"Hey Jagger, what do ya think"..."are they a good look for me"?
"Hey Olivia, thanks for coming today"  :-)
"wanna see my balloon"?
and again...she's off!  trying to escape once again.
I wanted to have all three girls pose in front of the wagon.  yeah right.  As if that could happen.  They were all WAAY to busy to stand still for silly old mom.  haha  This is as good as "that shots" going to get.
McKenzie playing with the balloons.  She referred to this day as "Macy's day".  :-)  She knew it was a special day!
Macy not wanting to hold still for the pic...not gonna do it mom.  I wanna GO!
Aunt Keri and McKenzie deciding on a stamp design
The Sparkle cheerleaders giving a performance.  They did a fabulous job!!!
um yeah.  She walked right up to the bubble machine, stuck her face against it...even opened her mouth!  This girls' afraid of nothin.

Penny came to the walk with her two girls, Devan & Corey.
Niki & Macy.  Do you see a theme here?  now that she's a walker, being held is for the birds.  Let me down, I want to GOOO!  :-)
But people kept picking her up & lovin' on her anyway  :-)  She doesn't seem to mind hanging out with cool cousin Ashlynn and her friend Dakota though!
Here she is with her "Pi Ep" friends.  It was sooo sweet of thes ecollege girls to make the drive into Omaha and support Little Miss Macy at the Buddy Walk.  Thanks again ladies!
Natalie showed up with friends to support team "Movin' with Macy".  She is such a sweetheart!  I wish her sister Katie (who also has DS) could have joined us again this year...maybe next tim!
Autumn, Macy, Ashlynn & Dakota. 
Cousin Mason decided he want to join in  :-)
My dear friend Adria from K-12 school joined us as well!!
Jeremy, Macy, Uncle Gordy & Grandpa Harnisch!
Macy with Grandma Harnisch  :-)
awww.  just check out this little cutie-pie's hat!
Emily, Oliva & the Edie's.  Jenny, Nate, Emma & Tucker
The Mazur's Emily, Renae, Kylie & Blake...minus Randy because he had to work.
there goes Macy trying to escape again.  haha
Macy with two more of the Pi Ep girls.  they brought a mascot for us!
okay this was funny.  All the Pi Ep girls were dancing (I think it was to that Soldier Boy song).  Macy just stood there watching the whole time.  hilarious!
she wouldn't move, she just stood there.  ha!  she's like "teach me"
Laura and Claire!  "The Baum Squad".
Jenn & cool is this?  Molly, decided to start walking this day of the Buddy Walk.  whoo-hoo!!!  Go Molly GO!
Two friends from college and their brand new babes.  Tyson, Heather, Tiff & Sawyer
The Wees & Becker families
hi Brook.  Don't look too excited.
Keri opening the girls banana and string cheese snacks.   Thanks again Keri for taking care of my big that day!
ME.  oh muy goodness, I actually made it in a shot.  hehe.  Alex & Lyla got in there too  :-)
The Witt crew (and Macy)
Ja & Bethany, Neeley & Grady
Lucy came over to say hi!  She is Macy's Occupational Therapist  :-)  As you can see Macy is demandingly signing eat. Which, of course, makes Lucy proud... I, being mother of the year, was ignoring it, Aunt Keri however, after this photo, snagged her and took her over to the snack table.  THANK YOU!!!  hehe
Emily and Leah!  Leah did not join us on the walk, as she is "with child" and starting to get uncomfortable as of late...but I am SOOO glad that she and Charlie came anway  :-)  I am sad that I do not have pics of her little guy Charlie as he was over at the Bounce house the whole time.  Leah's mom Linde was also at the walk, but I did not even get a chance to say hi to her, as she was chasing Charlie around.  What a GOOD Grandma!
Jenny's mom Mary also joined us for the walk!!  How sweet  :-)
Pastor John came out with his little ones, Ethan & Leah. 
I think this is a great picture of them all  :-)
Brian, his two boys & Adria!
Auntie Gayle (who is the bestest! and wins the award for have traveleing the farthest to be here) & Grady.  love this pic!
Mayor Suttle sharing some words and making a declaration that this day, October 15, 2011, is National Down Syndrome Awareness Day for Omaha.
Tod, Sam & Jessica  :-)

Emma & Macy...Macy is still playing with this chip bag she stole from Olivia.  I think Olivia gave it to her, but none-the-less, macy carried it around ALL morning.  hehe
Let's get this walk STARTED!  Grandma Lee carried the Movin' with Macy banner proudly.  Macy tore it off her wagon.  go figure.
All lined up and ready to go.
Ethan hiding behing the pole.
Great shot of Adria, Brian & the boys.
Jim's such a good daddy.  I was bummed that my sister Lisa was sick and not able to come to the walk, but glad that Jim & the kids still came anyway  :-)
Hi Becca  :-)
McKenzie was the "line leader" for a short while.
this might be close to all our group...
Penny & her sweet girls.
The Rogert family...minus Maddi who was home sick but with us in spirit.  Niki said she was wearing her "movin' with macy" shirt.  hehe
nice Erika!
going over the Dodge Street Pedestrian Bridge!
check out that huge line of people winding around Memorial Park.  It stretched for WELL over 1&1/2 miles as the front of the line caught up to the middle at the bridge intersect.  little bit of a bottle-neck.
Brook & Ally being silly
My Dad had the best seat in the house, near the top of Memorial Park near the monument.  He had a great vantage point and got lots of wonderful photos!
Ja, Bethany and the twins playing in the open grass area during the walk.
It was neat to see the Westside Football team lined up throughout the course of the walk.  What a great show of support.
This is when Macy fell asleep.  Right there in her wagon.  The walk was about 3/4 of the way over...what a party pooper.  hehe
McKenzie checking her out.  trying to wake up, but no go.
Finally Aunt Heather couldn't handle watching her bob around in the wagon, so she picked her up and carried her the rest of the way  :)
One last pic with the Pi Eps.
Macy Special Education teach Renee also came out to support the Buddy Walk!  Great to see her there  :-)
Our friend Brady.
Bella & Tracy!

We were able to gather for a large group shot...I will share that once Russ sends it to me.  I am sooo glad he took it for us  :-)  Can't wait to see how it turned out.
I stole the below pics from Keri's facebook page and from my dad's camera as well  :-)
Kenzie enjoying the bounce house and obstacle courses!
getting her face painted.
Cousin and Anna sliding
Two beautiful sisters...Anna & Erika
My dad and I taking pictures of each...taking pictures of each other
This is not the best shot, but it was on the drive shows the wild girls having a fun time with the balloons in the backseat!!!
What an awesome day!  We went home, took a power nap and walked over to Bethany for the fun Fall festival.  What a perfect day for all these outdoor activities!  :-)

Grandpa like bodyguard hiding in the wings.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, goodness, Macy is just too, too, too beautiful!!! So glad you had a great day - our Buddy Walk was on Sat., too, and was just. perfect. :-)