Friday, July 27, 2007

Boyfriends, terrible twos, and nudity

A little Maggie update:

  • Girlfriend has lots of options with boys. Her longtime man, Luke, she doesn't get to see as often since they do not go to the same sitter anymore. But, she keeps a picture of him in her room and points to him at the fridge. They enjoy playtime when they can. She likes to play the mean girl at her babysitter's with "Day-Day" (aka David), who puts up with the little bully. Of course, she has the older boys too--her favorites being our friends' sons Josh and Joey. The mere sight of eight year old Joey has her tilting her head and flashing a big smile. She would do anything he wants! And now, we have the introduction of two new contenders for Maggie's heart and affection--Brandon and Aiden are coming over for a playdate on Sunday! I just know we'll have a blast--can't wait Melissa!

  • When does the terrible two stage begin? I think it's in our horizon and we are coming in closer and closer every day!! Oh, the drama, the tantrums, the tears!!! Heaven forbid the girl doesn't get her way--all hell breaks loose. Now, I'm pretty lenient on things, but there are some things I am just NOT backing down on--She can NOT treat my house like a jungle gym. She can NOT climb to the top of the kitchen table, stand up, and try to jump up and down. She can NOT get to the top of my bed and fling herself backwards full force onto the mattress. Can you tell we have an emergency room visiting in our future? Let the record show that I won the bed battle this morning. We screamed a lot, had two time-outs, and I redirected twenty million times--but I won dammit!! :)

  • Why wear clothes when you are so much cuter naked? A diaper simply inhibits you and when you are a free spirit like Munchie, you must be free of those restraints. So, my child strips. All the time. It's been about a month now that she will remove all her clothing. At first, we found her in her crib, naked holding her clothes during nap. Her shorts weren't even a challenge anymore to take off. Well, now it is all clothes, including the foot jammies that we thought she couldn't manage to unzip. Oh how wrong we were. So, here's the plan we go with now--we cut the feet out of all the footed jammies. Turn them backwards, and like a straight jacket, zip our daughter up the back. Works like a charm!

Some recent pics from our fun night last night with her new flooring in the playroom and new house and tunnel. We all got into the fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Full of hope, full of love, full of cheer!

The toddler, full time job, and Harry Potter reading (no, I haven't finished as I am a slow reader and only reading when the baby is in bed and Big Brother is watched! Andrew and I did get a chance to see the movie tonight!)are really cutting into my blog time this week! Funny how when you've been gone for a week, you return to 300 emails and lots of work!

OK, the camp blog--here it goes.....

Christi, our new HFC employee (LOVE HER!!) and I drove down one day early to San Antonio. We were presenting our Heroes for Children services to the Christus Santa Rosa support team--Child Life, pyschologist, and social workers. For an hour and a half, we explained what HFC does, why we do it, and how we can help San Antonio families. This was our first time to present to them and we will officially begin working with them August 1st. It was an incredible meeting. There were many times they were near tears hearing how we can serve their families and meet the many needs they are facing. One woman said, "We work EVERYDAY searching for resources for our family, and you are coming here and wanting to GIVE it away? That's awesome!!" The two of us left the meeting exhilirated about our jobs and ready to make a difference for these families.

Saturday is a full day of training for all volunteer staff. It is a day when returners hug and catch up, and new volunteers try to get comfortable with the others. While the new people sit through new orientation, those of us who know the drill quickly get to unpacking. For the first time in three summers, Arts & Crafts finished most major unpacking that first day. Can I tell you how happy I was??

The kids arrive Sunday afternoon. From the moment they step off the bus, it is go, go, go! No time for homesickness because there is so much to do. Many of the campers are returning for subsequent years, many are new.

Each day, there is an activity schedule of five different activities between 9-5:30, with lunch and "Happy Nappy" in between. All cabins come to Arts & Crafts three times, with a few, like the oldest cabin "Purple Girls" coming four times. They are my favorite cabin to have in our session because they love their projects and work intently--nice and easy! Now "Red Boys," phew--that is a whole other story. 12-14 seven and eight year old boys away at camp for a week--those counselors are saints! The activities include swimming (daily), archery, golf, tennis, high elements, fishing, canoeing, center stage, and a few extras such as Krav Maga, an Israeli form of self defense. Days are busy and full of fun for the kids.

Each evening has a different event going on. Our schedule is as follows:

Sunday night--Opening Ceremonies, group photo, and crazy games (six games in rotation competing boys against girls based on cabin colors--I got the nonmessy game this year as opposed to being in charge of the whipped cream/cheeto game I was with last year!)

Monday night--Older cabins have a camp out. Younger cabins had a presentation of "Birds of Prey" and then all camp swim.

Tuesday night--Remembrance Ceremony during "Happy Nappy" in the afternoon. Lots of tears, lots of emotion, very beautiful. Carnival in the evening hosted by a company in San Antonio called Genzyme (oncology company, I believe). They put on one serious carnival, with crazy crafts, fun game booths, food areas, water slides, and even a dunking booth! Somehow, I have escaped climbing into what a friend described as the longest 15 minutes of her life for three summers now. Another counselor caught wind of that and lodged a complain to our Co-Director Joey (being that this person had been in the dunking booth three straight summers in a row). Being that I joined an all girl alliance to take Joey down in Jello Wars and have been deemed a traitor, I don't see that I will stay too dry next carnival!

Wednesday night-Dance! It's all about the dance, people. All about the date. What a blast this night is! I love to see the kids in costume and all dolled up.

Thursday night--Skit/game night. The older three cabins are teams for Jeopardy and the younger cabins prefer commercial breaks. This year, I was a member of the staff on stage for the skits. Yours truly was "Miss Priss" in a hideous old-timey dress, old fashioned hat, and handbag. I sweetly cheered on the boy side of each cabin and acted as the score keeper. As our theme this week was the Magic Time Machine, we had other staff members as the "peanut gallery" dressed in various costumes as well--a cavewoman (who banged her club and shouted "FIRE" as answers to questions randomly and made all the kids laugh), a cowboy, a gladiator, etc.

Friday night--Jello Wars in the afternoon! I think I was picking Jello out of my ears for two days. As I mentioned before, I was a memeber of an all girl staff alliance to bring down our elusive leader. Our shirts were all matching, made by a team member that said "Hit List--#1--Joey" on the back. We have a picture of all of us proudly wearing the shirts before and after. Of course, on learning of our team, Joey recruited his loyal friends to help him target us. Right before we started Jello Wars, I calmly looked at the others and said, "ladies, we're screwed!" They all nodded in agreement. However, my team (not me because after removing my glasses I couldn't see a damn thing) did manage to get Joey to the ground this year--quite the success.

Evening is Closing cermonies. Oh so sad and emotional, but truly an amazing experience. The kids are all given paper and pens to write their wishes, hopes, and dreams for the future. Cabin group by cabin group, they are called up to the fire and given a sparkler to throw into the fire with their wish paper. The ashes from this year's fire will be what will be poured in to begin the next year's fire. Now, it didn't have quite the effect as years past since we had to be in the Rec Hall due to rain, so we let them go out on the covered part and throw into a bbq grill instead of the big bonfire pit at the amphitheatre. But hey, we made it work and the rain subsided for us to have fireworks. You know, we talk during training about the benefits camp has on the camper. I listen each year and agree, but it really sinks in so much better when you hear a camper express it. We hear it is a chance for them to express their emotions about their cancer experience, but it doesn't explain it as well as hearing a 16 year old say, "I wish there was no cancer. If there has to be cancer, I just wish it could be put all on me so no one else would hurt." We are told that they need to be able to talk about it without their parents, but when you hear them say, "I don't mention my cancer to my parents because it upsets them. My friends take two steps back if they hear the word. Thank you for letting me talk about my cancer." Yes, this was from a 10 year old. And for sure we are told that once having cancer, many of this kids have a life changing effect on them, but we don't get it until seeing a kid like our camper Benji tell the whole group that he wants to be a doctor and find the cure to cancer one day.

The effect camp has on me and the other staff members is profound. I thought I could get up there and make it through my thoughts during closing ceremonies with compsure. Sure didn't. I tried to tell the kids that when I work for Heroes for Children and need a little inspiration, I look to their faces each day. I visualize kids like those that touched me at camp, like a sweet little camper in Christi's cabin who was still on treatment (2 years in, I believe), puffy with steroids with a cute little bob haircut, and keeping a good attitude though sick at camp. My favorite thing year to year from camp is seeing the kids that come back improved from their cancer. One of my biggest inspirations these days is a 16 year old boy. Last summer, he was frail, pale, bald, and sick. Though he never once complained of his condition to anyone, he was visibly hurting last camp. He couldn't do as much and spent time in the Bandaid box to re-energize when needed. I knew he was coming back to camp since I had spoken to his mother the day I was leaving for my Austin trip for a camp project we were working on as a surprise for the graduating 11 campers (graduate at 16). But, when all the campers were there Sunday night, I looked and wondered where the heck he was. I couldn't find him. That was because he was a vibrant, healthy, stocky kid that looked like every other kid around. He was healthy as could be. And boy did he ever make the best of camp! He hung out with everyone, treated everyone with kindness (even taking a very ill girl to the dance as his date--so incredibly indearing) and showing he was the true leader of the camp. The last night, he was presented with the trophy as "Camper of the Year." I watched him make his way to the stage sobbing. I will never forget that moment. Never. I spoke to his mom on Monday about Heroes for Children and she told me how much that trophy and award meant to him. She said she didn't understand why he was going back to camp this year now that he was healthy, but she gets it now. He told her when he returned that meeting Michael Jordan did not compare to the moment he won Camper of the Year for him. Wow. Can you imagine?

All this writing to convey how much I love camp, but I know I will never fully do it justice. Not for all of us who love it so much. Once again, I have 50 weeks before heading to camp again, but I know the Camp Discovery theme song will creep its way into my mind here and there.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm a Walking Zombie Today

I'm back and I'm tired! We had a great day with Maggie, taking her to the Wiggly PlayCenter and enjoying our special time together.

I'm EXHAUSTED, but so completely happy. Longer post about camp tomorrow, but I'm off to curl up with a J.K. Rowling's final book.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Out with a BANG

The smoke from the fireworks have cleared away, and I'm hanging out before our counselor meeting at 10:30pm tonight. Lots of tears shed tonight as we've shared what camp means to us and why we continue to come back each and every summer.

For the kids--it's the fun, the camaraderie and the ability to be around others with similar experience.

For the adults--It's simple. It's all about the campers!

I'm tired, I still smell whipped cream up my nose and in my ears (my hair has been washed three times but it still stinks of a sugary substance!), and I'm overwhelmed with love for this place.

Heading home tomorrow morning.


Oh, L--Benji said at the mic tonight that he is definitely not ready to leave--he had a BLAST!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Checking In

Just finished a counselor meeting (though I am NOT a counselor, remember!) and thought I would check in. The program office has a few computers that I was able to get a hold of one tonight. It's 10:45 and we've been going since 7am. What a great day!

They blessed with me two other staff members in A&C, so life is great with our groups. We've finished two days of projects--woodworking treasure boxes, tie-dye, fuse beads, and "loot bags." It's been a wonderful two days at camp, and we have three more to go. Tonight was a full blown carnival put on by an oncology pharmaceutical company. It's an amazing night and the kids had a blast. Tomorrow night is the dance, so securing a date is number one priority for the older cabins.

Every Tuesday during "Happy Nappy," Camp Discovery has it's remembrance ceremony. It is a time for us to reflect on the campers that have passed away since last July. Sadly, we lost five campers this past year. During the remembrance ceremony, we take time to also remember anyone we want that we have lost for some reason. There is a time for the kids to share, a beautiful poem read, singing, and then the chance to write a note to that loved one or write out thoughts, followed by a balloon release. Those will be thrown into the bonfire and "sent up" on Friday night when we begin closing ceremonies. You can imagine that this is difficult for me.

I came really close to skipping the ceremony this year. At the last minute, I found myself jumping on the tracker with everyone else and riding out to the gazebo over the pond. It won't be a surprise to know that I bawled like a baby. This is my release at camp. I cried for about an hour until I was able to compose myself just in time to tie dye with the "Red Boys." Red boys are 7 & 8 years old--no time for crying because they need all the energy you have!

So now, I have finished another great day at camp and I'm ready to climb into my bed. I can guarantee you that I will NOT be joining the running group that is heading out at 6am tomorrow morning. I've had my Oreos and ice cream today and I'm quite happy with my fat, thank you very much!

Hope you are all having a blessed week. I know I sure am.

PS--Lorraine--Benji is doing GREAT!! He is such a sweet kid. I told him you wrote me and he beamed. He told me he has quite the outfit ready for tomorrow so I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Better than Disney

"This is a warning--If you can't handle optimism, don't go around children with cancer. If you feel tears are more appropriate than laughter, don't even think of dropping in on a camp wherey they are. If you don't want to put yourself at risk feeling good about yourself, your life and the world....wear a mask!" --Erma Bombeck

I'm San Antonio bound Friday morning! Time for Camp Discovery! No computer access until after July 22nd, so please excuse the lag in blogging. I'm really excited to head back to camp and run Arts and Crafts for the third summer in a row. What can I say about Camp Discovery that I haven't already said? I love this experience.

My first summer, I watched a young boy explain it best on the last day of camp. He timidly walked up to the microphone after throwing his "wish" into the bonfire (the ashes of which start the next year's bonfire) and said, "Some people say that Disney World is the greatest place on earth, but they've never been to Camp Discovery!!" The staff sat with tears in our eyes with the realization that our exhaustion and our hardwork for the week was worth every second. That child was pale and bald, and he was heading back to the hospital shortly after camp.

I never wanted to be the Arts and Crafts director for camp. I just wanted to be a counselor, hanging out with a specific age group and enjoying camp life. But the first year I applied, I was pregnant with little Munchie. The camp director called me saying they really wanted me as a member of the staff, but I was NOT going to go as a counselor. I was offered the A&C position because it is in an air conditioned building and rooms in the staff cabins away from the kids. That would give me time to rest in the evening. I did NOT want to accept the position. Me--Arts and Crafts? No freaking way. I don't do crafts. I am not crafty in any way. But this was the only way I was going to camp. So, I begrudingly accepted the position, convincing myself that if I hated crafts, I could move to being a counselor the following year when I was not pregnant. Three summers later, there is NO WAY I want to be in any other spot at Camp Discovery then in my Arts & Crafts room! You would have to seriously fight me to get me to leave my coveted position and consider doing anything else! Funny how that turned out!

I never went to camp as a kid but I was always curious of what that experience was like. I imagine that our camp is very similar to most summer camps with some large differences--all campers are cancer patients or survivors. Some will walk out of the hospital and on to the bus on Sunday afternoon. Some have been off treatment for quite some time, with long hair and no outer side effects from their cancer. We have a fully equipped camp, but with some extra bells and whistles that most camps don't have. Our "Band Aid Box" comes with oncology nurses prepared to give chemo when needed and trained in side effects of treatment. We have an oncologist on staff at all times, and a large majority of our staff (counselors, nurses, and staff like me) are cancer survivors. Many of them are former campers returning to give back to others for the memories they were given at camp themselves. I am the lone person in my category--a cancer parent. We don't have anyone else on staff with that on their resume.

It's a moving experience, watching the children interact. There is no other place that you can see the bald child leading the blind child (who lost sight due to either a side effect or had something such as retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye) walking alongside of the child with thick long hair pushing the wheelchair of the newly amputated child. We see it all. And there are no boundaries for these children--they're all equal and treat each other as such. Beautiful, I tell you, simply beautiful.

I fell in love with camp the first summer, but I worried whether I would return once Maggie was born. The final night of that first camp, I made my decision. The last night, closing ceremonies provides the kids a way to express their emotions and opinions about both their cancer and camp experience. Each person in the amphitheater is given a small piece of paper with which to write down their "wishes." Cabin by cabin, the kids are invited to come up front and throw their papers into the bonfire. If they choose, they are able to come to microphone and share their emotions. It usually starts off with the seven year olds saying cute things like, "I love Camp Discovery--I wish it lasted all summer long" followed by the entire staff looking at each other with exhausted eyes and mouthing "No!!" The older the cabin groups that come up to the bonfire, the more emotional the moments at the mic tend to become. That first summer, a very pretty young lady of about 14 or 15, walked up to the microphone sobbing. Her cancer was gone, but the lasting effects of what it did to her will be with her for the rest of her life. I do not know the details of her treatment or her cancer, but I know that it left her face disfigured. One eye was larger than the other and it was noticeable. She tried to keep that side of her face covered with her long bangs and looked at you with only one eye. With sobs, she gently said, "When I look at myself in the mirror at home each day, I don't like what I see. I'm different. People treat me differently, and I hate myself." Long pause as her cabin quickly jumps to her side and surrounds her with love. "And then I come here, and I'm not different. I'm just like everyone else and I'm a normal kid. I love you guys." Tears fear flowing not just from the girl's cabin, but from most (except the seven year old boys who are looking a little lost and wondering when in the heck do they get to see the fireworks). I sat there and sobbed for this young lady and cried for the beauty of the experience. I cried happy tears that she had this sanctuary and this place to be like everyone else.

I told her the next summer that she was my reason for returning. She and I had a good cry as I told her that she was my inspiration and that knowing her was an honor in my life. I will never forget this child for the rest of my life.

It's funny--I don't cry in public often about my life or what happened to Allie. Very few people have seen me shed many tears. But at camp, especially during staff orientation when we all share our favorite camp moments, I cry. Not cry, I bawl. Last year, as I began to cry, as tried to tell everyone, "but I usually don't cry." Several laughed and said, "you ALWAYS cry, Jenny!!" Maybe it is my outlet.

I will miss my family desperately, but I know they will do fine without me. Andrew is the most capable father you've ever met and Maggie is Daddy's Little Girl. She was angry with me last summer when I returned home and wouldn't look at me for over an hour. I wonder how she will react this summer! We tell her that when she's old enough, she will go on her own camp. She NEVER gets to go to Camp Discovery (remember--you have to have had CANCER to be a camper--something Maggie will NOT have!!!), but she will have her own camp experience.

I'm excited to see my camp friends and favorite camp kiddos. I'm looking forward to the crazy, fun, exhausting days of camp--fuse beads (can I tell you how much I hate those darn things--hate ironing them, hate picking them up, yet love the fact that they can render even a 15 year old teenage boy quiet while assembling his fuse bead dog!), tye die, flag pole (thank goodness I am not with a cabin group since I am late to flagpole just about every morning--like pep rally at 7:45 in the heat with cheesy camp music--I've got joy, down in my heart, deep deep down in my heart!!). I can't wait for the carnival, the dance, skit night, and even all camp swim. Maybe I will actually swim this year? I can't wait to see the beaming red faces as they bound into the Arts & Crafts room after an hour of archery in the heat or a trip out on horseback. I'm thrilled that my favorite retired woodworkers from Sun City out of Georgetown will spend the day with us in A&C making a woodworking project the campers LOVE.

Have you gotten the point that I LOVE Camp Discovery??

And with that, I prepare myself to sing (to the tune of "You are my Sunshine")

It's summer fun time

Out in the sunshine

We'll have the best time of the year!

At Camp Discovery, we're one big family

Full of hope, full of love, full of cheer!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What can you expect from a Muggle?

4out of 6 answered correctly


You know just enough to pass your first level, but it'll be years before you're ready to take the O.W.L. exams. Test yourself next week with another celebrity quiz Tuesday on!,,20039442,00.html

I'm sure Deb will do better than me.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Hives are for the bees

This morning, I took off Maggie's jammies to discover hives all across her back and tummy. Poor baby was covered and scratching like crazy! As it was the first day of our new employee, I could not take time off to take her to the doctor. So, slightly stressed (and so out of sorts that I ended up taking the WRONG laptop to work today--ARGH!), I called Andrew to schedule a doctor's appointment. Instead of taking her to the babysitter's, I took a cute little hive baby to Andrew's work. We did the baby exchange (note the joys of being a working parent!) and I headed off to work. Late of course since I had to rearrange a few things and make phone calls. Good first impression for the new employee--good thing she volunteered with us for months now and she knows us!

An allergic reaction to food most likely, the doctor said. But what? She ate nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought. I called my mom who took her to dinner last night to give me the run down of what she ate for dinner. Just pasta, spinach dip, applesauce, and some chicken. All normal stuff. Well, my mom called back a few hours later to say she remembered my grandmother feeding her pasta with clam and shrimp. So, we think it is a shellfish allergy! Poor baby--we've avoided shellfish up until now. Given that her daddy is allergic to all raw vegetables and fresh fruit (yes, you read that correctly--ALL fresh fruit and veggies are even worse), we are very cautious on trying new foods. Mom Mom feels terrible that something she gave Maggie caused her this problem. I am in no way mad at the situation, we were bound to find out at some point.

You know, you would think that by this point, Andrew and I would have gotten more comfortable with common childhood problems for Maggie. But, sadly, no we haven't. Instead, we get nervous every time. When will our time come when the floor falls out from under us again? We have a feeling of impending doom every time we go to the doctor for something other than a well visit for her. Poor Maggie--she's had her blood tested six times in the last year and a half! I need the results because I need to know she doesn't have cancer. I need to know that whatever is causing a random fever or rash isn't going to kill her in five months.

Morbid? Maybe, but after what we have been through, we can't help it. One week, our healthy happy baby had a sinus infection, five months later she died in my arms of a rare cancer. That kind of fear never leaves you. We can't look at a rash of hives and think allergic reaction. We look at it and make the leap to something much worse. We dread a doctor walking into a room and closing the door. If you have ever seen two pediatrician's enter a room and close the door, you know you're in for bad news.

I'm happy to report that a little benadryl made the hives go away and we now know that shellfish is the culprit. We are breathing a little easier than we were this morning to know she is ok. The fear and anxiety has subsided a bit, but we know it will flare up the next time she coughs, gets a little more tired, bruises, or especially has a fever. Maybe when she's twenty we'll stop testing her blood. Maybe.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

No time soon

"So, when are you having another?" I'm SO tired of this question!! People forget--I've had two children already. They see just Maggie and ask me when the next child is on the way. But, as I remind them, I had two girls in 22 months, and one died of cancer in between. I went through a lot in that time and had two fairly exhausting pregnancies that left me vomiting for months on end (sweet Maggie had me throwing up until the DAY she was born!). I'm not ready for another. Not at all.

I'm not saying I won't have another child one day. I know that I will wake up and feel that my family is incomplete. And when that happens, I will greet another child into our home with the same love as the first two. However, right now is not the right time. I am happy with my current family dynamic. Maggie is spoiled as can be, but with love and attention (well, she probably has a few too many toys too). She is the center of our home life, and we like it that way.

"But don't you want to give Maggie a sibling?" Of course I do, but at the right time. It was not my intention to have Maggie be an only child. If it had been the way we originally hoped, I would be home for the summer from my teaching job with TWO girls, juggling both a 20 month old and a three and a half year old. But sadly, that wasn't in the cards for my life. Allie is not with us and we are making the best of our lives without her. We miss her each day and feel her absense strongly. Maggie will know of Allie. She exclaims "Alla!" when seeing her picture in our hallway each morning.

We know this is the right decision for us right now. Andrew and I are on the same page on this. My best answer when people ask is that we'll discuss the issue when Maggie's two (that's soon, I know). Most likely, we will decide at that time to revisit the issue when she's three! Now, if I were to have an "oops, baby," I'm sure I will be happy. But, with the help of a little pill, I would like to try for the time being to stick with just the one sweet girl I have.

Thanks. Now stop asking!

Best Buds

Maggie's favorite toy

Friday, July 6, 2007

Note to self

Sangria at midnight with friends when having to go to work the next day---not a good idea, Jenny, not a smart plan at all.

Note to child--bless you for sleeping in this morning.

Returning to Diet Dr. Pepper.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Summer Obsession

Anyone who knows me and Andrew knows that we are TV junkies. We watch too much, we know. But with the glory of Tivo, we do not watch it when Maggie is up and we never miss our shows. Depends on the time of year as to what we're the most into. When it was Soprano time, we wouldn't answer the phone if we are watching.

It's that time again! Our favorite summer obsession starts tonight! That's right, my friends, Big Brother is back!! Woohoo! Time for lying, deceiving, and maybe using someone's toothbrush to clean a toilet!

I love Big Brother, not exactly sure why. The other day, Tracey, Rich, and I (with Andrew just copied but didn't respond--party pooper!)had an e-mail going back and forth discussing characters and what we think of this coming season. After viewing the new cast, I asked--why all the beautiful people this season? What happened to having the bigger old guy or the hairy gay guy? Why does everyone have to look good in a bikini this season? Why so cookie cutter this year, Julie Chen? Now, will that deter me from watching a single episode until mid-September? Heck NO!

I miss me some Kaysar! Any other BB fans?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Charitable Involvement

This was my post from last week on the HFC Blog, but I liked it, so I decided to repost here too.

I like to check in with Charity Navigator Trent Stamp's blog on a frequent basis. This week, he posted a link to an article in Money Magazine educating donors how to be efficient in both their monetary donations and volunteerism for charities.

I think the point of the article is reminding people to find the passion in what they are commiting to. Get involved with a charity (doesn't have to be this one, though we love to have you!) because it means something to you. Doing something out of obligation never is effective.

For me, I had to narrow it down. I run a charity, so that means I tend to have a bleeding heart. I watched American Idol's show Idol Gives Back and like the rest wanted to reach for my phone and get to calling for my donation. I have been fortunate to attend many charity events in the last few years. I have not found many charities that aren't doing good works for good causes. But, I just can't give to them all.

So, this past year, I narrowed down my list. Naturally, Heroes for Children is my largest charity involvement. Well, it does pay my salary! But, and this is the more important part--it is what means the most to me. I love the cause and I love to see the positive effects of the dollars to the families. It is hard for me to give money to any other group. With the exception of very small donations to support friends or family (such as a donation to my mother in law's Team in Training run last year). But, I do volunteer my TIME, which I feel is just as important in many cases, to a different group other than Heroes for Children.

I've been fortunate to be the Arts & Crafts staff member (Director this summer--yikes!) for Camp Discovery, a week long cancer camp for kids 7-16 from San Antonio, Dallas (Medical City Children's Hospital only) and Austin. The camp is funded by the American Cancer Society and free for all campers. Since January, I have attended monthly planning meetings to help in the coordination of camp. Camp is in two weeks and I can't wait! I spend one exhausting week with kids, working in the A&C room to create woodworking projects, lanyard necklaces, and fuse bead art. I even suffer through my least favorite activity--tye dying--and participate in the ever disgusting "Jello Wars."

For me, it was about finding what means the most and sticking to just those. Heroes for Children and Camp Discovery have my heart. What has yours?

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Ah, Bruce. Doesn't matter his age--once a badass, always a badass. This morning, Andrew and I went to see Live Free or Die Hard. Munchie was with my mom for a sleepover and we caught the early Sunday show. We love this time to see a movie and usually try to go when something bigger has come out (ie-great to watch Stars Wars at 10 on a Sunday morning!).

Andrew has always been a Die Hard fan. He had them all on videocassette as a kid, and if he "ever finds the bastard that stole Die Hard II" from his house, he would "kick some serious ass." Sure, babe, sure. So, with that much admiration for John McClaine, we couldn't miss out on the newest installment.

I LOVE to go to the movies. Not just see a movie at home--I love to GO to the movies. Love the escape of the movie theater, the darkened room, and the two hours of being drawn into another world. I do NOT like horror or really gory flicks, but I love me some movies nonetheless. Of course, I don't go quite as often as our pre-kid times, but we still get to sneak away to the movies at least once a month (thank you Mom!!). In June, I've been lucky to see a few more--including this great one with the girls. LOVED IT!!

There is only one problem with seeing a movie with Andrew--must he deconstruct all that was incorrect? Must he find the flaws, especially if it is a technical one and point them out to me? Can't I just enjoy my ignorant bliss and believe that some big machine can do this crazy bit of technology? Of course not--I'm married to a computer geek! So, even though he enjoyed today's most recent flick, he couldn't help himself from pointing out the flaws. Just. can't. stop. himself. Sigh.

Now, sometimes, I like when he does it because he will find the things that the editors forgot to remove from a frame. Last night, he saw a pair of Converse shoes in the montage of shoes during the film Marie Antoinette! I thought that was pretty funny.

Oh well, not much more to say to this post except--"Yippie-kai-yay!" You remember the rest of the line, right?