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!

Friday, November 16, 2007


My kid--rocks. She's awesome, fun, and spunky. And as of this week--potty trained.

You may remember when I decided it was time to start potty training. That literally ended the day after that post. We were sitting for thirty minutes on the potty with stickers and books. Then she would pee. With our cruise coming up, I was pushing to get us potty trained sooner than necessary. Truth be told--it was because you can't swim in the pool on the cruise ship unless you're potty trained. We didn't swim in the pool while there (well, we snuck her in once during formal night!) and we didn't regret it. With three major fundraisers and a mound of work, I decided September and October were not prime times for me to tackle potty training.

Then came our transition into the two year old class at school. I didn't blog about it, but it was just a bit traumatic for us all. Instead of the two week long transition we were promised and expecting, Maggie was pulled from the toddler class instantly and put into the two year old room. The reason? A red-headed twenty month old little girl biting my daughter. Five times in like a few weeks. Poor Maggie was her target and she was biting her all over!! Small of her back, under her arm, near her face... So, on to the two year old room to give Maggie some separation. It was rough. She cried when we mentioned school. Cried when we went near school. Even cried at the school fall festival to trick or treat and have family fun because it was AT the school. It was awful.

But then she fell in love with her teacher and a little boy in class. Then she made friends, and just last week starting to happily say, "bye bye Mama" as I was dropping off (instead of the look she gave that conveyed that I was truly breaking her heart into a million pieces by dropping her off at school). Her teacher decided to start working with her to see if there was a potty interest. There was. Within two days, Maggie was peeing on the potty every time, though still in diapers. Last weekend, she didn't have but one accident, stayed dry, and even told me when she wanted to potty in the middle of Gymboree class. Sunday, we bought panties. "Melmo" and "pincess" panties, to be exact.

And since then, we have had very few accidents, and none in the last three days!! She has been dry through nap in her panties, and even POOPED on the potty everyday.

Oh yeah, my kid rocks. She is SO proud of herself and her potty accomplishments, waving "Bye bye Maggie's pee-pee" each and every time she flushes the potty. She has no issue with the public potty at Kohl's, Gymboree, or even the restaurant we went to with Andrew's family last weekend. Yep--rocks.

Here's my only dilema--in an effort to continue to encourage our potty success, I really don't want to have to put her in diapers or pull ups (we've done this without pullups and really don't want to use them--aren't they kind of just glorified diapers??). So, we have our photo session this Sunday with Sugar Photography . Do I put her in a diaper and not worry about it? Or, do I go the route of being a bit tacky and BRING the potty with me to Deep Ellum for our photo session?? Andrew is a bit horrified, I think, that I am leaning towards bringing the potty with me. Sounds like the plan to me. "Is that too tacky," I asked Deb. Not if I keep it in the car and only do it when we first arrive, she told me. I posed the same question to Angela tonight at dinner and got a different answer. They used to keep a potty strapped to the bed of the truck when Joey was little, so she of course, thought I should not only bring the potty, but carry it with us. Oh, what to do??

Sad, but besides working, this has absolutely consumed me! If you have made it through a conversation with me that didn't even going "pee-pee on the potty," you're one of the few.

This weekend, the rockstar and I have lots of fun planned, with two playdates, Gymboree class, and our photo session. Think I am trying to make it up to her for being away a few nights this week? You betcha!!

I'm off to dream about the potty. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Anyone seen my family?

Because really, I haven't this week. I've had one work function after another. Home last night, but gone tonight. Wasn't home Sunday or Monday night either. Yikes.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving break! Not much working this weekend--only one afternoon thing to attend, but Maggie is going with me to play with her friend Hopper while we're there!

If anyone sees my husband, give him that nodding, approving smile that lets him know you feel for him. He's a good sport this month. And the kid? I think she's still two. Tell her that her mother is still around.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Daniel and Daniella

I'm so excited!! It's time for Aunt Jenny to get to shopping (well, after payday, that is!)!!

Deb is having a BOY!!!! AND A GIRL!!!!


Now, they will have to name them before I let Daniel and Daniella stick (not their real names, people, I promise!)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Let them eat cake!

Seven years ago, Deb and I took a girls trip to San Antonio. She left her then year and a half old at home and we enjoyed a fun filled night on the Riverwalk. It was the best!! Sitting on the patio drinking a margarita--we vowed to take a girls trip EVERY YEAR. The next day, we found out she was pregnant with her second child.

We have not taken a trip since.

Friday, Deb and I loaded up in the car and headed towards Austin. Heroes for Children has created a new program, Holiday Heroes, to adopt fifteen families in the major hospitals we serve to cover holiday expenses entirely. A group of Gamma sorority girls at Trinity University in San Antonio were signed up to help with Holiday Heroes for the two families adopted from Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital. Needing to use my credit card and oversee the project, I planned to head down to San Antonio Saturday. A perfect opportunity to pose a girls trip plan with Deb!!

Of course, if heading to San Antonio and going directly through Austin, the girls trip turns into an overnight crash at Tracey's!! A quick stop in Temple to meet with a social worker at Scott & White, and then we were on our way for lasagna dinner with the Robinsons. We spent all day Saturday shopping with the sweetest group of sorority girls and my friend Amy from cancer camp. I'll write more about that aspect of the trip on the HFC blog this week.

Oh, we laughed. We talked (my favorite thing to do!), and we discussed serious topics. We shared our side splitting stories and entertained each other until 2am. And did I mention the cake? Oh yes, the cake. Caramel apple cake made by the ultra overly busy Tracey (time? where did she find the time??). More than a week ago, Amy, Jen, Deb, and I enjoyed an inpromtu sushi date. Missing our friend, we decided to text message her our love. Amid giggles of, "no, you do it," "no--you!" and "She's going to KILL us!!" we sent a silly photo text message to Tracey letting her know (with cupcake in hand) how much we missed her.

So, it comes as no surprise that we sent Amy and Jen this picture via email Friday night:

Mean? Possibly. Rubbing it in that they weren't with us? Maybe. But in truth, we love these girls so much that the idea of being without them was just no good. So, we had them join just a bit in the festivities.

It was a great weekend--a little bit of work, a lot of fun, and much needed recharge of my battery.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

His Obituary

Dallas Morning News had this sweet tribute yesterday for Richie. It was a beautiful service and I'm very glad I went.