We Painted the World OWENGE (again)

Bilda’s was a huge success!  I had so much fun.  It was a day of happiness, celebration of life and fun.  Just pure fun.  The OWENGE merchandise was in full swing, the band was awesome, face painting was stunning and the company was so great.  We started at 10:30am setting up … filling the dunk tank, folding all the clothes, hanging orange decorations, etc.

My brother was willing to test the dunk tank before the crowd arrived … the water was FREEZING!  Fresh garden hose water.  I’m talking chill to the bone, freezing!  Jaden, the little stinker had such a blast throwing at the target … he got his fair share of dunking Jake!

The Bushke family made these AMAZING sugar cookies we had for sale.  SO awesome!

Doug’s parents came down for the event too … here is my father-in-law with BOTH kids!  🙂  It’s one for the scrapbook.

One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing all my friend’s kids.  Some I was seeing for another time and others I met for the first time!  Below is Connor – I’ve had a few playdates with him and his mom Sara (an ex-coworker from Kohl’s).  What a stud … sporting his orange!

All the OWENGE merchandise.  Makes me SO proud to see all the shirts and hoodies in his memory.  My little 6 month old is doing really HUGE things!

A view from the parking lot.  The dunk tank was just to the right of the merchandise tent.

Patty’s cousin Trisha got in the tank for a while.  This set of photos are great!

The face painting was incredible!  http://www.facestofollow.com/  Here is Spencer – he wanted a kitty.  Dog?  NO kitty!  And his kitty’s name was socks.  Too cute!

Here is my good friend Jennie with her daughter Alana.   Jaden and Alana had a date while we were there … they ordered mountain dews … and the waitress GAVE it to them!  hahaha  Honestly, thought her and Jaden were too sweet!  She wanted to buy balls for the dunk tank and wanted to buy 8 so she and Jaden could have 4 balls each.  They held hands while walking through the parking lot … I was about ready to give Jaden the “gentleman” talk!  We won’t even go there about the kissing!  🙂

This is the stunning Violet.  Daughter of good friends of the family.

My friend Lezley even came … she’s going to have her daughter in 9 days (maybe earlier? fingers crossed?)  She looks so beautiful in her orange.  Can’t wait to hold a new baby girl!

Jaden was batman (of course).

And batman found spiderman!

Me & one of the Bushke daughers Mandy.  An angel in disguise … honestly.  She had a huge part in making this fundraiser possible.

I love my siblings … they make me smile 🙂

I title this one “Sibling Love”

The triplets were having a great time in their stroller … Weston now stands up in his seat and tries to bust out!  He’s a mover and a shaker.

Lex (sporting the new toddler size shirts!) and his mama Lezley.

THIS is Patty!  I met her through the blog, and she has been slowly blessing my family by the TONS!  She reached out about organizing Bildas and ran with it!  Her son Tucker is around the same age as the triplets.  I’m so blessed to have made a great friend … another mark under the blessing column.

Here is my dad and I listening to the band play.

My brother, Jake.  He wants to get a tattoo in memory of Owen (like all the rest of us siblings) but he’s not 18 yet.  Even with a parent’s signature, in WI,  you can’t get one until you are 18.  So, he got a trial run of the warrior feather out of face paint 🙂

Several people sported the Warrior “O” for Owen (including myself!)

Abby was an Owl for the the boys!

Orange monarch anyone?

Hello!  orange shoelaces?  I’m thinking we need some for Briggs & Al Run/Walk in Sept!

Abby-ka-dabby in the dunk tank!  What a sport.

This picture still makes me giggle!   This is Issac in the dunk tank … LOVED IT!!

Even the adults got a little crazy … say hello to the cougar!

We had some of the boy’s nurses come out to the event too.  These people come into your lives, are apart of these life miracles, and then most times you never see them again.  What a blessing to family that we are able to still welcome them into our families and keep in touch!  Below is Wendy, a nurse from when I was on bed rest.  Man oh man did we share some giggles when I got slap happy in the hospital.  🙂

Here is Kaitlyn – she was one of Owen’s nurses from Children’s.  There is something magical about her holding Weston after being one of the last people on earth to care for Owen.  Her, Doug, another overnight nurse and I shared many conversations about life, death, children … and sometimes just laughed.  Another angel in my Life Book.

This is Eric, Patty’s husband … I believe she just hit the target in this photo.

A blog reader and a friend of my brother’s – Crystal.  She even got jewels with her facepainting!

Doug said he would get in the dunk tank if my sister could come up with $100 …. she had announcements being made from the band … ran around Bilda’s asking for a blitz donation.  And wouldn’t you know … she came up with the $100!!  If you look closely you can even see Doug’s tattoo of a crested lion, in memory of Owen (of course).

Jaden thought it was the COOLEST thing to dunk daddy in the freezing cold water 🙂

I had a little trouble hitting the target at first … I had to resort to running up.  Doug’s face is classic though!

I finally got him in! (the real way)

It was a fantastic day!

It’s a mysterious to me how we became apart of something so big.  I pray every day for guidance that we’ll know just what to do.  I pray for wisdom that I’ll know what to say.  I know I need to find a more specific message with Owen’s story.  Some who weren’t blog readers weren’t sure what the fundraiser was exactly for.  To be honest, I’m not 100% sure either.  God’s work?  Spreading the story of hope?  Good things are happening without true direction, but I have faith that it will become clear one day.

My focus now is to find a way to be true to myself, who I am.  The person I was “meant to be.”  Acknowledge my shortcomings and work to improve them.  We all have them … why try to pretend that they aren’t there?  I enjoy my glass of wine.  I have been known to “drop an F bomb.”  I can be selfish.  I’ve raised my voice at my husband … there are many times I could be a better wife.  Could Doug be a better husband sometimes?  Of course … but that’s not for me to dwell on.  Could the lady checking me out at the grocery store have smiled more?  Of course … but that’s not for me to worry about.  Focus on myself … look inward for improvement and peace.  I am the one that has to look myself in the mirror at night … am I proud of what I have done, said and thought today?

For now I am hoping for continued vision.  For the strength and dicipline to continue on the right path.

Thank you to EVERYONE who made Bildas’s a success!  I can’t wait to see the next sea of OWENGE at the Brigg’s & Al Run/Walk.

Love, Mel


  1. oh Mel, it seeme like such a success. I am so happy that you all had a great time. I checked and checked your blog cause I was so anxious to see all the beautiful pictures. God bless the triplets, they are such handsome adorable lil men. I’m sure you all did Owen our little warrior very proud. God bless you all Mel. I will hope to meet you at the Briggs And Al walk/run. Can’t wait. Always thinking of you all!

  2. You are such an inspiration to me! I subscribed to your blog emails so every time you have a new one I am notified. I look forward to them and I think I cry during each one! Maybe it’s still partly the baby hormones…I have a 4 1/2 month old and I started reading your story when I was pregnant. We had a very close friend of ours pass away a year ago. My son is now his namesake. Patrick Bernard:). His initials are PBJ and our friends call him sandwich:). Just recently Patricks wife and I got tattoos in his memory. I drew mine and it says Blessings with the Christian cross and fish. Just know that so many are praying for your family and you healing. Until next time…I look forward to hearing from you! God Bless and Faith in Love.

  3. What a beautiful and wonderful day spent wiht family and friends in honor of Owen. I am sure he was right there with you….perhaps he was an Oriole flying overhead or a Monarch butterfly dancing over some wildflowers? He was there…. I feel it in my heart!


  4. It was such an amazing day! I love you my God friend…you make my and my family’s life better by just being you! Being one of Owen’s OWENGE Warriors is one of the most proud things I have done in my life. Our God is an awesome God and I truly believe that He and Owen are smiling on the success of Bilda’s…after all it’s all because of them!

  5. These pictures are just beautiful, the boys look so happy, and that little boy with the cat on his face? ADORABLE! So glad the fundraiser was such a huge success. Owen is lucky to have all of these people in his life.

  6. You are already such an inspiration. I’m happy to “know” you and your family. What a fantastic day. I’m glad the fundraiser was a success.

  7. My daughter found your blog and she was so touched by it that I started reading it every day!!! I am so inspired by you and your bravery!! I would like to get both my daughter and I an Owenge Tshirt so we can share your stories and inspiration with others!! Please let me if I can still order 2 of them?? My email is shellbell54940@yahoo.com. Thank you and God Bless your family!! PS I would also like the orange bracelets!!

  8. Although we could not stay the whole time, it was so much fun. Mel, you are an amazing person, and and incredible mom!

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