Thursday, December 27, 2007

If this is vacation, I'm ready to go back to work!

What have I done so far today? Well, let's see...

Wash the dishes

Cleaned the kitchen

Did four loads of laundry

Picked up the toys

Played Play Doh

Played puzzles and stickers

Made homemade cinnamon rolls

Dressed up with the princess

It's only 1:45!!! Are you serious? I've got more laundry to do, finish cleaning the house (thank goodness the housekeeper is here to help clean the toilets!), squeeze in a little bit of work while Maggie naps, and then get ready for the neighborhood annual After Christmas Party.

For those stay at home moms out there--I have the utmost respect for you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas

What a great Christmas! Today was back to work for Andrew and a work from home day for me while Munchie played at my mom's. We're home the rest of the week (though I expect I will squeeze in some work time when I can). We still have lots to do before my official vacation ends on January 2nd and my slow month of work ends. January through May will be busy, but I know I will continue to search for some balance between home and work. We've had two sleepovers with the Krieger boys (Josh is here playing video games right now and I'm not needed so long as Andrew is playing Mario with him!), lots of time with family, two parties, a visit with some friends, and a quiet New Year's Eve game night here with the Kriegers. I feel so lucky with my life and so blessed to have the wonderful people that surround me each day.

Here are some Christmas pictures!

Proud of her pigtails that Aunt Amie ("Maimy") made for her.

A cousin's Christmas! Max, Isabella, and Maggie on Christmas Eve

Dancing with Max

Can anyone say it's time for gymnastics class? She taught herself how to do sommersaults!

Christmas morning--Her new sleep mat with attached pillow to take to school. She loves it! She's sleeping with it now in her crib. Speaking of cribs, her Nana bought her a new bed! We're going to begin transitioning very soon. My baby is growing up!

Snow White and her Snow White doll
When Ga Ga comes with a wagon, you know she bought a lot of presents? Crazy thing? This was only half. She left the other half at her house to open after dinner Christmas day.
Opening more presents at Ga Ga's house. The bows? Red sparkle bows to match her new red "sparkle shoes." She also has them in hot pink, but I hate when she wears them with her school uniform.
Cinderella! Or, as her principal at school likes to call her--Magerella! She loves this costume because it reminds her of Tracey's daughter "Pincess Lucy." As soon as she put it on, she started giggling and saying, "Mama, I Lucy!!"
My family--Maggie, me, my mom Sharon, my brother Jeremy, and my "Mom Mom" Sarah
Maggie's biggest fans--Mama and Ga Ga!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday, no matter what you celebrate. I know we sure did! Aren't the holidays way more fun with kids?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pictures! What a happy Maggie!

With her boy crush--Joey!
Checking out her girl crush--"Pincess Lucy!"

Fancy Play Doh jewelry

New flannel sheets with the best thing on them--DORA!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lesson Learned

Sweet Maggie learned a valuable lesson today--when you smack your mama in the face at the Chick Fil-A (because mean mama wants you to go potty before playing), you DO NOT get to stay at play with your friends.

It's so hard to be two.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nothing of interest

In an attempt to post, I came here tonight to write. I got nothing. Nothing much of interest here. A few things:

  1. Shopping is done. Wrapping to do tomorrow. We had a quick meeting with the big man, but Maggie was not too impressed with Santa. We're wrapping gifts tomorrow night when Maggie has her sleepover with my mom.
  2. We're here for the holidays. I am working from home for the next week and a half. We have some playdates and sleepovers with our friends kids here at our house planned.
  3. Maggie is sick with yet another sinus infection. It's her fourth in five months! She and Andrew are both miserable with sinus issues and her sinus have backed up so badly they are now draining out her eye (which means she is contagious of course with conjuctivitis). Andrew is home with her tomrorow so I can attend a funeral of a nine year old boy who died of bone cancer this week.
  4. Brandy is recovering quite well. Staples were removed last week and the cone is off (which makes her so much happier). We need to start physical therapy soon and she still has another 8 weeks of walking on a leash to go potty. Fun, right? Not so much!
  5. I'm apparently liking lists these days on the blog. I am a person who loves to create lists (you knew you liked me, didn't you Amy Franklin??). You can just about always find a white note pad on my desk with a long to-do list. I take extreme pleasure in crossing things off my list (that and crossing days off a calendar!!) and then re-writing it when enough items are completed. I love a nice neat list!

So that's it. Nothing exciting. Really, when all I can think of to put on a list of what is going on is the fact that I like to make lists, that should tell you something. Maybe Andrew was right....not very interesting at all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Most Beautiful Blue-Eyed Angel

Picture--the day we brought our new baby home!! What a beautiful little Allie!

It's Allie's birthday today. She would be four. I had a baby four years ago?? Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant, Mother's Day 2003. What a present that was!

Maggie could not have been any sweeter today. She slept in (hallelujah--that means *I* slept in!!) and then we snuggled and watched TV for over an hour. We didn't rush, we didn't stress. It was nice. We ran some errands and then went to the Heroes for Children office for a little while and had a quick meeting with Cheryl and Christi. Andrew met us there and took the rest of the afternoon off. He hasn't come with me to the hospital for our birthday tradition in over two years, so it was a VERY big deal that he came with me. We had a quick lunch together at Chick Fil-A, picked up a decadent cake for Doctor Goldman. We went together as a family to visit the outpatient clinic at Medical City.

Dr. Goldman greeted us immediately and ushered us over to meet the patient at the infusion center. "Did you ever get help from Heroes for Children?" he asked the mom. "Well, she's one of the FOUNDERS! Come here, Jenny!!" The mom gushed her thanks and her son was so very sweet. We enjoyed a nice treat with Dr. Goldman and the nurses. Dr. G wasn't as interested in the cake at first as he was with Maggie. This is why I love this man--he put her on his lap, cut a piece of cake, and fed her cake and icing. He kept saying, "this is my birthday present--this is the best present I could have!" The nice treat for me today was not only did I get to visit Dr. Goldman but both Dr. Weinthal and Dr. Lenarsky were there as well. What a treat to get to see all three of them. Dr. Weinthal did make sure to remind me of his birthday in July!

Dr. Lenarsky asked me if I would like to meet a sick little girl newly diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor, a tumor of the kidney. The four year old was diagnosed 13 days ago with cancer. She's the youngest of five. Last week, we mailed her a check. The child has had cancer for less than two weeks and HFC has already helped. The mother profusely thanked me for our help. I got a little choked up watching the little girl lying limply in the bed. A flashback hit me of my Allie laying in that very same bed in that very same room vomiting uncontrollably as I listened to Dr. Lenarsky report to me that Allie's first round of chemo was not successful. She still had 50% cancer in her blood after one grueling month of chemo. We had been hoping for less than 10%. Our intention was to come back in that day for her bone marrow aspirate at the clinic, then up to the transplant unit for a quick 8 day round of chemo. The plan was 8 days of chemo then three weeks at home. Those three weeks never came. We sat at that room with our horribly sick baby and she died less than four months later, never going home again. So, yeah, I choked up just a little.

While we were at the clinic, Deb, my fearless Co-Director of Camp Discovery and awesome oncology nurse at Medical City, called up to 12 South to see who was working. Both Kochumol, Cindy (Allie's two favorite day nurses!) and Michelle (Allie's favorite night nurse!!) were on the floor. We were for sure heading to 12 South! I went up to the window at the nurses station and quietly knocked on the window. Looking up expecting to see a patient visitor, Michelle squeeled when she saw us! In a flash, everyone was out in the waiting room to say hi to Maggie and give big hugs. It was a great homecoming to them all. Again, I choked up talking to Michelle. When I told her Allie would be four, both our eyes filled with tears.

When Maggie could handle no more, we decided it was best to hug and head home. Maggie crashed in our car on the way home, and I got the pleasure of sleeping with her softly on my chest for more than two hours. For me, that is pure bliss. There is nothing better than a sleeping baby (though Andrew reminds me she is definitely not a baby anymore, I refuse to accept that!) on your chest. I could remain that way for hours.

Dinner with the Kriegers was a perfect way to end our good day together. My heart is full. I'm so thankful that I have spent the day honoring my sweet angel.

Happy Birthday, my Allie. We miss you every single day.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Sugar Filled Christmas House

It's the little things people. It's the little things that make me happy and that bring me utter joy. It's the fact that I get to now look at this picture hanging over my mantle everyday...

Oh yes, a giant 20x24 gallery wrapped canvas of my Scott family love. Oh wait, not enough? Check out my playroom....

God love you, Jen Weintraub. Sugar Photography has filled my home! My heart swells when I walk into a room and see my family captured by my great friend. Really, how can you not be happy when you see this each day?

If that wasn't enough, my house is filled with Christmas spirit. Granted, it isn't the "Winter Wonderland" that is my mother's house (Santa exploded into a million little pieces in every crevice of her house), but it still makes me happy. I love a Christmas tree. I love decorating the tree and love to see every elses tree. Ours is a classic hodge podge tree. I lovingly spend time unwrapping all the ornaments, laughing at the memories, and cringing at watching Maggie try to help hang an ornament.

This is my favorite ornament.

Let me tell you the story. This was a gift from a family friend when Allie was born in 2003. It was her first ornament and I was so proud to put it up. The following year, it was painful to make the decision to put out a tree three months after the death of our daughter. When I found this ornament, I realized why I love it so much. Look at the other side...

"Angel Baby." This was given to me one week after Allie was born her very first Christmas. And yet, how prophetic was it that it has her name, the words Angel Baby, and wings? So perfectly appropriate for my forever angel baby. I love it, and I am sure to give it the most prominent position on my tree each and every year. A few of my other favorites include:
Maggie's special ornament.

Heroes for Children 2006 ornament made by Cheryl.

Adorable Andrew, age 2. Really--how freaking cute is he??

What would the Scott tree be without some Sugar love as an ornament? Ah bliss. I love my Sugar filled Christmas house!!! Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why I love my job this week

1. Heroes Milestones had it's first recipient and event. Check out our HFC Blog for Christi's full write up about how one young man's life will soon end (but with a bang!). I cannot tell you how excited this office as been for this project.

2. I cried during a board meeting this week trying to express my extreme gratitude to the four original board members that are now rolling off--my FIL Jim, my wonderful mother Sharon, my great friend and cancer mom Dana, and my friend Randal. Why are they rolling off? No, I promise we didn't kick them off! We have three year board terms in place. The original members recognized the need to have a rotating system of board members so that we always have new board members coming on (we have five out of 15 new next year). It wasn't easy to realize that these former members have attended their last meeting, but it was with love and the desire for the organization to continue to grow and succeed that they did it. It was one of the most emotional board meetings we've ever had, ending with big hugs and lots of tears. Not sure who cried harder--me or Randal!

3. Just call me Santa! Since we implemented our new Holiday Heroes program this year, I've had the extreme pleasure and honor to be apart of the gifting to cancer families. We had a party hosted by the Pi Phi's at SMU on Saturday for families to come and get their gifts. Some were unable to attend due to illness, so I personally drove out to their homes to deliver. The last family out of fourteen in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio will get their gifts tomorrow. My mom and I are driving to Ft. Worth, and my mother in law Frances is meeting us there.

4. Yesterday, I got the chance to leave for a few hours to volunteer at Maggie's school. I love that I have a job that affords me that time for my child. I didn't have that as a teacher.

5. This afternoon, I was given my Certificate of Nonprofit Leadership from my 14 week leadership program at the Center for Nonprofit Management. Recognizing the benefit for our organization and my development as a leader, HFC covered the cost of this program. I'm so proud of my framed certificate that I received at the graduate luncheon today!

6. We spent more than $14,000 on families this week!! Seriously--that is more than we gave out in the first two months as Heroes for Children!!! And last week was more than $10,000. I love, love, LOVE these numbers!! I love what it means for this families and how it makes a difference in their lives. I love that this holiday season, that is one less strain for them.

7. Tomorrow night is our staff Holiday party at my house. We're having a mexican fiesta with margaritas and all! The kids are going to the Rayson's home (our board chairman and 5K race chair's home) to be with babysitters. Good thing the Raysons live on our street! Very convenient. Have I mentioned before how much I truly love and respect the beautiful ladies I get to work with? That they amaze me each and every day with their talents, strength, caring, and passion? Or that they make me laugh and bring a smile to my face all the time? Well, if I haven't, it's true. Larissa, Cheryl, Christi, and Cricket are the best!

8. I've made some great friends because of Heroes for Children. Our awesome volunteer turned friend Megan is having the entire Scott family over for dinner, toy time with Maggie and Hopper, and video games for Andrew and Damon! I'm so looking forward to Sunday night.

9. I got this note from one of my social workers the other day at the bottom of her application for assistance for one of her patients--"ITS NICE TO HAVE ANGELS LIKE YOU AROUND - YOU MAKE MY JOB WORTH WHILE. THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU. THANKS FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO HAVE A GOOD DAY. IF I DIDN'T HAVE A RESOURCE TO GO TO WHEN I HAVE A FAMILY IN NEED - EMOTIONALLY I WOULDN'T MAKE IT IN THIS TYPE OF WORK. I REALLY REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DO. LOTS OF LOVE!!!!!!" Can I tell you how much this made my day??

10. Allie's birthday is Monday. I have a job that honors her each day. I am bringing Munchie to the office in the morning and then we're heading to the hospital to take Dr. G his annual birthday cake in honor of his "birthday baby." How lucky am I that I have a job that lets me do this kind of thing without any problems?

So, you see--I love my job. Last month was our third anniversary of being Heroes for Children. Three years!! And the great thing is that I know we have many more years to come!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well nice to meet you!!

"You asked for it!" I loved seeing that comment from you all! Yes, I asked for it. It has been so interesting to watch the comments come in. And keep coming. Oh wait, and now there's more! Thank you all for your sweet words about my girls. With Allie's birthday Monday, I am even more acutely aware of her absense. I appreciate beyond words the love and support to my Allie. You're right--she was pretty darn incredible.

So, now you've come out and said hello. Don't be a stranger. Blogs are meant to be interactive. That is why there is a comment section! Now, I can't promise that my blog will stir controversy (like some people sometimes have on their blogs), and it may just be about my family or my opinions about something, but you are welcome to comment too.

Nice to meet you all (and yes, I read ALL the comments--as of now--all 224 of them!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I am not techno savvy. The only reason I have this blog is because Tracey taught me how to set it up. If I have a computer issue, I immediately run to Andrew to help me with it. So is it really any surprise that I had no clue how to track visits to this blog. Not to me it isn't. But to Jen? Yes, she was shocked. But again thanks to Tracey, I learned how to load a stat counter to this blog late Friday night.

And since then, I have been glued to the website fascninated at the number of hits to this website. Yesterday, there were more than 1,900 visits to this site! It's only 7:45 AM and so far--over 200 hits this morning. Seriously? Now, I know that many of these are the same people revisiting the site more than once in a day (including myself as I refresh to see if there are more comments). When I showed Andrew this, he said, "but you're not THAT interesting." Thanks, babe, no I'm not. He then reminded me that he wasn't one of the 1,900 hits since he doesn't read frequently (he said he glanced at the pictures from the baby shower but that it was my "thing" and he didn't read the write up about it. "I mean--it's all about a baby shower and a sleepover." At least he's honest!).

The cool thing is that I get to see where the different readers are located. Many I can't tell exactly (especially ones saying Dallas or Plano), but I have had visits from all across the country and outside of the US. Sunday, someone visited from Hong Kong! I've seen just about all the states but Alaska (yes, someone from Hawaii too!)

And yet, with 1,900 hits, I only get an average of 10 comments to a blog post. So, I'm asking you all--come on out! Tell us who you are and how you got here! I'd love to meet you! This blog doesn't allow for anonymous posts (I learned the dangers of anonymity and the internet--allows people to say things they might not say otherwise and I received some not so pleasant messages in our original guestbook). I apologize for the inconvenience. You will just need to recent with Blogger. You don't have to have a blog to register with them. It will just give you an account to use for posting too.

So stop on in to the comment section and leave a note. How did you find this little corner of the blog world?

Thanks--nice to meet you!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jerry Lee Lawson

In honor of one of my hero's 60th birthday today, here are 60 things about Jerry Lee:

  1. He was born December 9, 1947. The oldest of five, he lived in Indiana with the Lawson clan.
  2. He learned to swim when his father threw him in a lake. It was literally a sink or swim situation. He swam.
  3. He wasn't a good student. He rarely went! At the age of 17, he dropped out of school and joined the Army.
  4. He loved his siblings--two brothers and two sisters.
  5. In Vietnam, he was hit by an Army truck and sent home injured. That truck probably saved his life. After returning to the states, he was stationed in Pennsylvania.
  6. There he met a girl at a dance who boldly walked up to him and asked him to dance.
  7. He proposed to that young girl one week later, and they married on June 10, 1972 three months after that first dance.
  8. His Army career included time as a lifeguard, a soldier, a drill sargeant, and a recruiter.
  9. He spent over two years with his young wife living in Germany as a Military Police Officer.
  10. He loved to sing a song "Oh Lord I wanna go home," about life in the Army. His favorite line was "they give you a hundred dollars, and take back ninety-nine--Oh Lord, I wanna go home!"
  11. His son was born in 1975 in Colorado.
  12. His daughter was born in 1978 in New Jersey.
  13. He lived for his family--dedicating his life to loving his wife and two kids.
  14. He gave all his cars a name. All cars were female, with names like "Betsy." The only one given a more male name was "Ole Blue" a big classic sized Chevy van with big blue and beige stripes down the side.
  15. He bought the van from his cousin's dealership in 1983 when driving his family across country for an Army move to California. The first part of the trip was in a family wagon that just wasn't big enough for the family. Stopping in Indiana, he went to buy the van.
  16. He loved the ocean.
  17. Spelling was not his strong suit.
  18. He hated writing school notes excusing a child's absence for illness. He made his daughter write them and then he signed them.
  19. He practiced answering the phone before picking it up. His favorite way to answer the phone was "Jack's Pool Hall--8 Ball Speaking." It confused people, which made him laugh!
  20. He and his brother Mike had disagreements over "who was prettier." He hated it when his daughter sided with her favorite uncle!
  21. In the mid 80's, he retired from the Army after 20 years of service.
  22. He traded his Army uniform for a Postal uniform, working in San Ramon, CA as a postal worker. He walked over 15 miles a day for over ten years delivering mail.
  23. Even in the Winter, his skin was red. It always looked burned.
  24. He considered himself a "Small Town Boy." That was his favorite song from John Cougar Mellancamp. Every time he heard that song, he would say, "that's my boy!"
  25. There were no strangers. He talked to anyone that would listen and he was always kind.
  26. There was a freckle in the center of his green eye.
  27. The man loved to eat!
  28. Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday. He made his family go around the table and discuss what they were thankful for every year.
  29. He joked about having the family dog, Chevy, stuffed and put on the mantle after he died.
  30. When Chevy was put down after 12 years of being the family dog, he cried harder than anyone else. The next day, he nailed the dog's tags to the kitchen wall to serve as a constant reminder. He never had the dog stuffed.
  31. He called the back yard his "office." He liked to sit out there to smoke and visit with people. He would tell them, "Step into my office."
  32. He sat in a big orange chair in the living room for many years.
  33. His lap was the best spot in the house.
  34. Slipping money to his kids was his speciality. He had a way of shaking hands while slipping $20 bill and whispering, "Don't tell your mother." He always acted upset when one of his kids ratted him out about slipping them money (to stay out of trouble themselves, of course). And yet, the next time he could sneak some cash, he still did it again.
  35. He loved to tell his family, "I am the spoke that makes this wheel turn!"
  36. He fed his dog Chappy peanut butter sandwiches.
  37. Basketball was his sport of choice. Proud of his Hosier heritage, he loved to watch a game on TV. Football held no interest for him.
  38. 4-5am was his wake up time every day. He usually woke up about 1 or 2am to smoke and eat too.
  39. He never missed an opportunity for a good nap.
  40. He shaved his mustache once every two years to shock his family. Without it, his thin upper lip made him look a little too like Homer Simpson.
  41. When a good song came on the radio, he yelled for his wife or daughter to dance with him. He loved to dance in the kitchen with "his girls."
  42. He laughed until the tears came to his eyes. He loved to laugh.
  43. He loved to tell his daughter, "If you're good, I just might dance with you at your wedding." Not much of an incentive to behave at ten years old.
  44. His son was his best friend. The two had a bond like no other.
  45. He drove his son, daughter, dog, and two birds in "Old Blue" from San Francisco to Plano, TX all by himself while his wife stayed behind to sell the house.
  46. He loved his wife and lived to make her happy. He loved to find little things that would make her smile and looked for opportunities to spoil her when he could.
  47. On his postal route, his was bit by a small dog in the upper thigh. The woman called the pound, animal control and the post office (on her own dog). She told everyone that her dog had bit him in the crotch. When he returned from his route that day, everyone was waiting at the post office to see how hurt he was. That was one of his most embarassing moments!
  48. He fell twelve feet from the attic to the garage floor looking for Christmas decorations. He broke his toe, foot, pinkie finger, and dislocated his shoulder.
  49. He fell face first into the tracks of the garage door wheels, slicing his face and ear. Before going to the hospital, he went to inspect the tracks to find the piece of his ear! Yes, he was very clumsy.
  50. He was NOT handy. He didn't know how to fix anything. People ran when they saw him with a hammer--no telling what he might do!
  51. He cussed. A lot. Twenty years of the Army would do that to you.
  52. If he liked you, he always liked you. If he didn't, he never hid that fact.
  53. His first grandchild has his middle name.
  54. He started smoking when he was 11 years old. He quit four weeks after being diagnosed with tongue and neck cancer when he was 51 years old.
  55. He had two radical neck dissection surgeries to cut out the cancer and almost lost his tongue. During the surgery, the doctor discovered he wouldn't need the tongue procedure. He woke up telling everyone that no matter what--he would NEVER consider that surgery again. He loved to talk way too much for that.
  56. His daughter was married three days after his last round of radiation. During the wedding, his wife "fed" him through a feeding tube in his stomach. But he got that father/daughter dance he always wanted.
  57. He learned the news that the cancer spread to his lungs on New Year's Eve, 1999. Given less than 9 months to live with treatment, he signed up for treatment that day and was ready to fight.
  58. His fight lasted another four months. He died on April 4, 2000 at the age of 52.
  59. He was my dad. I was Daddy's little girl.
  60. We miss him each and every day. He is never forgotten and never will be.

Happy 60th Birthday, Daddy. I love you very much.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Blast from the Past

And just for you, Jen--thought you would like this Billy Joel version...

Oh, I so wanted to be on Kids Incorporated!! I wanted to sign and dance like those kids!!

OK--so what's your blast from the past? Find me some fun videos!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

25 staples and $3,000 later

Brandy had her surgery yesterday at the Dallas Veterinarian Surgical Center (Kathryn--of course I remember you!! Even your French name--which was Jacqueline of course!--thanks for your comment about Brandy!).

My sweet baby came home today and looks pretty darn rough. We didn't realize just how intense this surgery is. Let me tell you what, I know now. She had a steel rod implanted into her bone to help her learn to not use her ACL. They found she also had a torn meniscus and had to repair that as well. The surgery was close to two hours long and she has to undergo physical therapy. Most likely, she will never walk the same, but she will have more function than she ever would have if she didn't have the procedure. For the next 14 days, she has to wear the head cone to keep her from licking the staples. For 10 weeks, she has to be walked on a leash to go outside to potty, has to be confined in a small space for sleeping and either crated or in a small space when no one is around. No running, jumping, or using any stairs for over 10 weeks. And physical therapy. We have an appointment in 10-14 to have the staples remove and discuss physical therapy. She takes four medications twice a day for the next month or so.

In my mind, all this was completely worth it for my Bee Bee. I could have taken my friend Dana's suggestion from our lunch the other day and "just amputate the darn thing," but I think having the leg fixed was a better option. Dana cracks me up sometimes! Thank goodness Brandy had this surgery now and not when things are really busy at work! At least I have the time in the evenings to be with her and we're not too crazy right now.

It wasn't easy to hand over a credit card and make that payment (yes, $3K for the surgery!), especially during the holidays. Andrew and I had a trip planned in January for our birthdays to San Francisco and Monterey. I silently said goodbye to that trip at the vet's office after they took Brandy back for the surgery. But really--I'll take my dog any day. It's just tough watching her like this. All she wanted tonight was me, so I spent the evening on the floor with her while playing Legos and watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Maggie (side note--that was much better as a child!). She hates, hates, hates the cone, and Andrew and I have tried to let her go without when she's with us. Poor thing has been whining and crying. Her only highlight of her evening was the giant amount of peanut butter I gave her with all her pills!

Tell you what...she's a sad little sight right now. Andrew says she looks like a plucked chicken. Maggie responded with, "Bee Bee--no chicken!! BIG boo boo!!"

I mean, really, how sad is this??

Maggie had to get in on the picture taking action. As I was taking a picture of Brandy, she was telling me, "No, Mama, say CHEESE MAGGIE!!"

Adorable even with the big cone. Maggie has been so sweet to her all night. She was sticking her face inside the cone and giving her "big kisses Bee Bee." She would tilt her head and say, "Oh, Bee Bee--Doctor! Poor Bee Bee."

Poor Bee Bee is right.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mamas on a Playdate

This weekend was a celebration. A celebration of soon to be born twins, my beautiful best friend Debbie, and the great friendship we have been so blessed together. These girls, these amazing strong women that I have forged a bond so strong. Possibly the strong relationship of my life.

The shower was wonderful. We ate a delicious spread and enjoyed oh so yummy cake while oohing and aahing over tiny baby gear. We laughed and hugged friends and family. And we anxiously looked to our night of fun ahead of us. You see, since Tracey was coming to town and spending the night at Jen's for the shower, we somehow got it in our ends to have a slumber party. A slumber party!! When's the last time I attended one of those? Surely in middle school. With promises not to freeze anyone's underwear for being the first to fall asleep (good thing for Amy too!), we put plans in motion to have a slumber party at Jen's!

Between the shower and the party, Tracey and I got to have some time hanging out. First, we stopped at the HFC office for her to see everything. Tracey is one of my biggest supporters of what I do and why, so it was incredibly special for me to give her the grand tour of the office. Back at my house, we watched the news stories that ran during Allie's illness as well as the memorial video shown at her funeral. I choked back the tears and watched as my little girl pointed out her sister and all her family members as each picture changed on the screen. Maggie has no problem spotting Allie. Tracey--thank you so much for spending that time with us yesterday. I'm so lucky to have a friend that so completely supports what I do for a living and who loves me for me. How incredibly lucky am I that I found four such friends?

After a quick stop at my mom's to drop off the Munchie for her overnight time with "Ga-Ga," we drove a quick tour of the Dallas rich houses and returned to Jen's house for more fun. We were up late in our jammies. We ate leftover shower food (read--more cake!), had an interesting "toy" presentation from a lady older than my mother and after politely kicking her out, settled in for a perfect chick movie. By the time we all headed towards Jen's room to decide sleeping arrangements of the two air mattresses and king bed, we quietly talked until the last one fell asleep. Amy and I were apparently the snorers of the group. Did you know that if someone is snoring in their sleep the appropriate action to take is to throw a cat on them? Ask Deb and Megan, it is. Don't mess with two pregnant chicks functioning off of little sleep and lots of chocolate covered strawberries!

I wish I could fully describe the fun. Sadly, the Nyquil I took over an hour and a half ago for the raging cold I now have is clouding the look of the computer screen. No, I promise it isn't a hangover. Because even after five drinks, I still never even felt a buzz. I blame the bartender. Guess that is what I get for having a pregnant girl doing the mixing. She couldn't taste test!

I had a wonderful time. Thank you to my great girlfriends for your friendship and companionship this weekend.

And now for pictures:

The seven of us all still dressed up! From left--Megan, Jen, Tracey, me, Deb, Heather, and Amy

This picture cracks me up!! Really--did I ever look as good as Deb and Megan pregnant? No, and certainly not with cute braided pigtails to match.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Day

5:35am--Alarm goes off. Groggily look around and remember I'm not in my bed. In Houston at my event chair's house. Groan and hit snooze.

5:45am--Drag my butt out of bed to get ready and head to the airport. Realize that I have no shampoo and the guest bathroom doesn't either. Grossed out by my appearance, I shrug my shoulders, throw the hair in a ponytail and finish getting ready.

6:30am--Tip toe out of Mary Lou's house as quiet as possible since her son had been up throughout the night with a 102 fever.

7:00am--Arrive at the airport only to find out that 8:30 flight reads "CANCELLED" on the Departure screen. Great. With an 11am meeting scheduled back in my office (one that has been on the books for five weeks), I can't afford to have a cancelled meeting. Thank goodness for the nice woman behind the counter that was able to squeeze me on to the 8am flight instead of the 9:30. Thank you, ma'am! So, I head to the gate and settle in to work.

8:00am--Waved goodbye to good old H town and said I silent AMEN that it is my last flight of 2007. On flight with notepad and financial reports of general ledger in hand. Spend entire hour with pen in hand working fast and furiously.

9:20am--settled in my car, I take a glance in the mirror to see my horribly dirty hair. Decision time--suck it up, suffer with dirty hair or rush home to shower and change. Quick conversation with Deb reminded me that I hate dirty hair. I would never survive in the woods. I must have clean hair.

9:20--11:00--Oh rushing. I live 30 minutes from the airport. I am the woman that must utilize my time to the fullest. Drive time means talk time. Three calls with social workers (including a new one that actually lives in my neighborhood and followed all of Allie's story--very sweet) and one quick call to a donor. Arrive home in time to shower, dry my hair, pat the dog's head and head out. Stop off at the cleaner's to drop off my ever growing bag of clothes, get gas, and walk through my office doors at 10:58. Of course, my 11am meeting didn't start until closer to 11:30. They had a meeting before that for another board topic (that I am not privy to and had to stay locked in my office not listening)

11:30--2:30--Meetings. Scarf down Jason's Deli while reviewing financial statements. Met with Finance Committee and then with staff, including a special visit from Larissa, Lilly and Luke at 2pm. No better way to have a meeting than with a cute, funny two year old your lap!

2:30--5--Work, work, and more work. The four page to do list isn't dwindling yet I'm afraid.

During this time--I attempt a phone conversation with Jen. Three tries and we never really had a real conversation. Thing is--if I get a business call, especially a hospital, I drop whoever I am talking with immediately. Ditched Jen a few times. We're finalizing plans for our twin baby shower this Saturday for Deb along with fellow hostesses Amy and Tracey (yes, in all our abundance of free time but we do it with love and pure joy to have our time together!)

5:30pm--Arrive at Maggie's school just in time for the start of the parent meeting. Hand-picked from the principal, the 15 ladies in the room were "selected" to help as the parent volunteers to coordinate the first ever Winter Program. The school needs parental support and aren't gettig it from many, so they were happy to have us helping out. Luckily, I have a little more free time in the next few weeks with only one night meeting in December (can I get yet another AMEN for the day?? I've had one to two night meetings a week since August!). I'm looking forward to helping with the school, but quickly turned down the requestfor help with sewing poodle skirts. I'm the undomestic goddess---no sewing happening here.

6:30--With sweet lady in the car, we head to meet up with Andrew at the Kriegers for dinner. They had already eaten when I arrived but didn't forget to leave me a plate.

8:30--Head home with Maggie falling asleep in the car.

9:15--Of course, she woke up.

And now it's 10:30 and I am contemplating the possiblity of actually dragging my ass to the gym tomorrow morning before Maggie wakes up and we get ready to head out for work and another action packed day. Chances are highly unlikely.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My poor baby!

When did my baby get to looking so old? Where did this gray around her face come from? Wasn't she just that little puppy we brought home to our one bedroom apartment?

It's a known fact in my house that Brandy is MY baby. She is my lovey girl and my sweet dog. So, it is no surprise that I would be sad when my baby is hurting. And she is.

For the past month, Brandy has been limping bad. Her back left leg has not touched the ground in weeks. The vet gave us arithitis medicine to try. Nothing. After calling back last week, they gave us pain pills and scheduled an appointment for today to put her under and examine her. Large dogs are difficult to examine because they tense so much that the vet can't really see what's going on without sedation.

"Bee Bee" has a severely torn ligament in her leg. Basically, every time she puts weight on the floor, her knee is completely popping out of place. OUCH!!! The solution? We have a recommendation to visit a surgeon to discuss our options for fixing this. Without surgery, she will limp the rest of her life. She's only 6! I don't want to see her limp for years to come! The surgery is really expensive, but for our family, necessary. Like I said, she's my baby. So she's worth it.

My poor baby!

Friday, November 23, 2007


It's up! We have the Sugar session!

Check it out

Love them. Thanks, Jen--you rock.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tis the Season

As we enter our season of frenzied eating, shopping, and partying, many of us look towards our charitable giving. According to Charity Navigator, 50% of all charitable giving by individuals and families is done between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Whether charged by a giving spirit in a time of thanksgiving or the need to complete charitable donations before year-end for tax purposes, people are opening their wallets and making a difference.

In case you feel so compelled--allow me to help guide you just a bit to a few of my favorite charities--

  • Heroes for Children--well, you had to know this would be on the top of my list. If you are a reader of this blog, you know my love of Heroes for Children. You know that I believe our mission is vital for cancer families. Serving these families in need is our number one priority. Something to think about:

    $100 will provide a struggling family with basic household necessities.
    $250 will pay for a family’s utilities at a point when it might be turned off.

    $500 can make a COBRA payment for a family that might lose their insurance.

    $750 (Our average gift) can make a car payment and insurance so that a family can get their child to treatment.

    $1000 will pay a rent or mortgage payment for a family facing eviction.

    2007 has been an amazing year for Heroes for Children--with successful expansion of our giving to three major hospitals in Texas. But we're not done yet. I've had numerous calls from social workers, nurses, parents, and family members in Austin calling for help. We're not in Austin yet. We hope to be soon. We are not throughout the state providing at the level we could be. With your donation, we will oneday provide for every family in Texas in need fighting childhood cancer. With your help, we will continue with our tradition to never deny a request for financial assistance.

  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, specifically Friends of Heroes--Originally created in my sweet Allie's memory, Friends of Heroes works in conjunction with LLS to raise funds for research to CURE blood cancers. Because of the cutting edge research funded by LLS, I was given more time with my daughter. Because of their mission to fund researchers on the cusp of discovery, I was given hope. Friends of Heroes remains the largest Friends and Family team nationwide, and the amazing thing is that it is comprised of strangers, connected by the internet and the same passion to help. And here's the big news for them--they're SO close to their 2007 fundraising goal. The goal is $100,000 in order to have a research grant named after Friends of Heroes. And they are LESS than $3,000 away!! Wow--congrats ladies!

  • Lance Armstrong Foundation--If you live in Texas, you know about Prop 15. You know that the Lance Armstrong Foundation in partnership with many other cancer nonprofits brought more than millions of dollars in cancer research. It's not just about a cool yellow wristband, people. It's about banding people together to put an end to cancer and to support those enduring the fight.

Of course, cancer is my fight. It is my passion and my cause. Some of you may be reading my list feeling less than excited to open your wallet and make your gift (and with gift, I am talking anything from $10 to $10,000--any donation is a GIFT). If funding a cancer nonprofit isn't what you had in mind, not to worry. There are plenty of nonprofits you can find in your area that would appreciate your gift.

At Heroes for Children, we believe than any donation is important. Hanging on our wall is a note from a ten year old boy who collected cash through a book sale. In pencil on a sheet of notebook paper, the boy wrote us about his $14 donation. Hanging next to this note is one from a large donor that sent his donation of $10,000. The juxtaposition of these two notes serves as a constant reminder--that all donations matter, no matter the increment. A significant gift is different for each person--what is significant to me and my finances is different than someone else's.

A few tips for giving:

  • Check out the charity. Don't be afraid to do a little research. If a charity is not listed (example--HFC is not because of the length of time we have been around), call them. Pick up the phone and ask the questions you want to know.
  • Find out the percentage of funds that go to the mission. If it is less than 60%, hang up and give elsewhere. Try to find charities that spend 70% or more on their mission. That means they are focused on what is most important and not wasting money on administrative, fundraising, or other costs.
  • Choose one or two charities instead of "spreading the wealth." This isn't the first time I've written about this.
  • Don't just donate your old stuff. If it is your junk, don't make it the junk of a charity's. If you do want to give it away, donate to a reputable charity that you know will use your donation of used items. For example, while I appreciate the offers of furniture or children's toys, I can't do much with them. They would be much better off if given to a charity equipped for this type of donation.
  • Involve your children!! Even if you are just making a financial contribution, have your children involved. Let them help you research a charity. Have them write a note to the charity or see if they can write a note that would go to a beneficiary. As a former educator, I feel strongly that parents need to take the time to instill the love of philanthropy in our children.
  • Don't let this be the only time you give or volunteer your time. Let your gift be throughout the year. Organizations thrive on donations and the countless hours of volunteers.
  • Find the right fit for you. Find a cause that gets you excited. Something that makes you feel like you've made a difference and that you want to associate yourself with.
  • Donate in honor of a loved one. Do we really need more gifts? In honor of co-workers, friends, and family, choose charitable giving this season. Our staff has decided not to give gifts this year. Instead, each of us will be making a contribution to Heroes for Children on the day of our staff meeting. If someone asks you want you want for Christmas--consider asking for a contribution to a charity. If you donate in honor of someone, you will recieve the benefit of your tax deduction and the knowledge that you helped a worthy cause. The person you donated in honor of will receive an acknowledgment of your gift, knowing you thought of them. Attending a party and wanting to give a hostess gift? Donating in their honor is a great alternative to bringing a bottle of wine or bringing flowers!

Most importantly,

  • Whatever you do--just give!

May you have a wonderful giving season this year!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

A whole lot of sugar!

At 4pm this afternoon, we pulled into a parking lot in Deep Ellum for our photo session with Jen. After weeks of anxiety ridden shopping for the perfect outfit for Maggie, I was ready to go. My solution--bring a mobile closet! I had options, but I don't have the eye for putting things together. I had twelve outfits, three pairs of shoes, and five different bows for her hair. Would I have combined rainboots, a tutu, and a shirt that most definitely matches a different skirt all together? No, I wouldn't. Did I think my child was TO DIE FOR dressed in her tutu, rainboots, and shirt? Oh yeah, I did. Simply delicious, I tell you. I could've just eaten her up.

There was no love for Mama during the session. For Daddy, she clutched his face and planted a giant kiss with a look of complete adoration and love. When Jen suggested I pop in the shot to hug them both, she screamed, pushed me away, and refused to look at the camera. She hugged him. She ran from me. Poor Mama!

We brought the potty. I had the plan to have it in the car, and use it when necessary during our stops at the perfect urban backdrops (bright blue brick walls, white doorways, pink and teal doors, etc). I just knew it was the perfect plan. Maggie didn't. The instant she was placed on a potty inside her car, she made it clear that she was having NONE OF THAT! She cried and yelled "NO POTTY!!" So, in an effort to not ruin the session before it began, we conceded and threw on the diaper. Let me tell you--the child was very happy to switch back to her panties when the session was over and we were safely at the CPK bathroom at dinner. So happy that she had to use that potty three times during my dinner. Oh fun. Oh, and yes, we did go to dinner still dressed in the tutu and rainboots! Precious!

I can't WAIT to see the final products of her photo session today. I couldn't be more pleased that I have someone with the caliber of talent of Jen Weintraub to capture my sweet, precocious little Munchie. Thank you, Jen, for your patience and love to our Maggie. You're the best! Thank you my sweet sugar baby--We're so lucky to have you in our life.

Be on the lookout for our Scott session with Sugar Photography (no pressure, Jen, none whatsoever!!). Coming soon!!


UPDATE as of 10pm--

Jen Weintraub ROCKS!!! She just sent me four incredible pictures of our session!! These are just teasers of the finals to come, but with her permission, I am sharing them here. Jen--you're AMAZING!!! And yes, you're right--"girlfriend ROCKED it!"

OK--I've GOT to get back to the gym. Yuck!


Want to guess how Maggie felt about going potty in her diaper? Hilarious!