Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Name, Same Blog

The name has changed! It's the same site, but just a new name. I've been using the CharityMom name for my twitter account and have gone accustomed to it. It describes me. These are two of the most important things in my life--Maggie and Heroes for Children.

What do you think?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Pics

The dress. Yes, she was pretty damn happy!

The first gift opened on Christmas morning-the dress, of course

There were more costumes...

Hanging with cousin Max

More cousin loving
My beautiful girl in her new Christmas outfit

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cousin Christmas

We had a great Christmas! I have a lot of pictures, including the famous "mary dress" excitement from good ole St. Nick, but I'm not posting them all tonight.

My favorite thing at Christmas is to get a picture of the cousins all together. This year was no different. It is my goal every year to get these adorable children. Maggie adores her cousins and looks forward to any time she gets to have with them. Luckily, we'll see them two more times in the next week.

Just as I did for Halloween, I thought it would be fun to have a look back at cousin Christmas pictures.

The first one:

2005: Isabella, almost four years old, Maggie two months old. Max just days away from being born!

2006: Maggie and Max age 1.

2007: Izzy almost 6, Max and Maggie 2.

2008: With our newest addition, sweet snuggly chunky Ellliot

Saturday, December 20, 2008

From Our Home to Yours

Happy Holidays from the Scotts! Our holiday card, thanks to the talent of Jen at Sugar Photography and the graphic design of Megan.

The front...
The back...

Wishing all my friends near and far a happy, healthy, safe holiday this year. I hope you have wonderful times with your family and happy memories this year. I'm looking forward to a peaceful holiday with my loves.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five candles

My angel's birthday

Five years ago, around this time, my water broke. I was in the hospital by that point, preparing for the arrival of my first baby. I began pushing at 5:30 and at 8:10 (seriously--it took that long--I was whooped!!) I heard her crying for the first time. My Allison. Allie was a gentle, easy baby from the beginning. Today, I am missing that sweet angel and my heart is aching.

I'm having a rough day, I'll be honest. To be completely honest with you, I've been having a rough MONTH. I spent the last few days focusing on Maggie and having some good quality time with her. Monday, we played hookie from work and school and went to the mall to see the train exhibit and then saw the movie Bolt. Yesterday's ice day ended as a blessing since it made me be home with her again. I worked all day and she played around me. We set up her picnic table in the living room to let her do art, playdoh, crafts, etc while I was right there. She had great behavior. Last night, I was supposed to have a board meeting for HFC, but that was cancelled as well due to inclement weather.

Today, I'm having trouble focusing. I'm at work and getting done the things I need to before Andrew picks me up for our annual tradition--taking Dr. Goldman birthday cake. Andrew will pick up Maggie and then we will all go together. Maggie knows that today is her sister's birthday. The first thing she told me this morning was "Today is Allie's birthday and we're FINALLY going to pick Allie up!!" I explained that no, Allie had to stay in Heaven. Just as she has done anytime Allie's name has been mentioned lately, Maggie tilted her head and said, "Aww, poor Allie."

Must get back to work. Happy Birthday to the most beautiful blue-eyed angel that changed my life forever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Allie on Sale!

The handbag that is. The Allie bag from Elaine Turner is now on sale! I have the red bag featured above and I LOVE it!! Check out the clutch bags to see all the colors the Allie comes in(and see Taylor's gorgeous bag under the Satchel section). I love Elaine Turner's bags. They are durable, pretty, and reasonably priced. There is always a crown somewhere (her logo) and an element of bamboo such as the clasp above. My favorite part about Elaine Turner? She is one cool chic! She and her staff are the best! I love any chance I get to visit a little with all the girls there--Elaine, Heather and Lauren. Plus, they are incredibly generous, supporting Heroes and Handbags each year in both cities!
Enjoy browsing at Elaine Turner's site. You want it all, I promise! At least I do!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Three Part Update

My life these days can be broken into three parts--the family, the job, the diet. So here's an update on all three:

The Family--
We are having some really good times these days. Sunday was our last trip to Six Flags this year with our season passes. It was Holiday in the Park with the entire park twinkling with Christmas lights. Maggie was giddy because we were at Six Flags at "night night time!" We've also been to Disney on Ice and the Nutcracker in a Nutshell. She loved them both and stayed perfectly still to watch the performers. I'm most excited about our next adventure with my mom and Andrew's mom--going to Bass Hall in Ft. Worth to see the production of Annie!! Annie was my favorite movie as a child and one that I watch incessantly. Maggie watches it over at my mom's and really enjoys it. We're dressing up, going out to dinner, and seeing the show. It is my hope that Maggie, my mom, and I will see at least one show or more a year together, so long as Maggie enjoys it. That is my special thing to do with my mom, and we are excited at the possibility of including Maggie in our times together. Over the years, Mom and I have tried to make one musical at least a year. Some years we're lucky and catch two! I wish I could afford for both of us to have season passes, but that is just not in the budget right now.

Allie's fifth birthday is next Wednesday. I usually don't struggle with the birthdays as much as I do the anniversary. This year, that's not the case. I'm struggling. She is going to be FIVE. I find myself on the verge of tears or crying every time I think about it. Five years ago, I was preparing for my first child to be born. I should be enjoying her last year of preschool before preparing to send her off to kindergarten in the fall. Her absence is so strong this holiday and I miss her so much. Right before Thanksgiving, I found her death certificate for the first time (Andrew had handled it for us when it came in and then put it away. We found it when we were cleaning out the guest room getting ready for a guest to spend the night). I came to this site to write about it more than once, but I could not find the words to fully describe the pain of seeing that. It sent me into about a weeklong funk. OK, I'm going to stop writing about that now because even describing it here has me in tears again.

Maggie is talking a lot about wanting a "baby boy just like Max has" (she has her new cousin Elliot so she says she wants one too!). We've tried to tell her the likelihood of a boy is not as great given that we've had two girls. Andrew says he would be shocked if we had a boy! She insists it must be a boy and she doesn't want a girl. Remember--I'm not pregnant. Not trying yet either, so we're just talking hypothetically at this point. Her reasoning for not wanting a baby sister--"I already have a baby sister!!" Duh, she has Allie. She looks like we're so stupid to even suggest another one when she clearly already has a sister.

The job--
Things at Heroes for Children are going really. We're so busy! I kept thinking I would slow down a bit in December, but truth be told, I'm just as busy as ever. We have a lot of preparation for the Spring going on. New board members are joining us in January, so I'm preparing for that. Tonight, I went to the Texas Motor Speedway to pick up a $15,000 grant from the Speedway Children's Charities.

This month has been our big Holiday Heroes program for cancer families. We've adopted 40 families throughout the state for the holiday season. For some families, we bought everything down to the Christmas tree. On Sunday, a pre-med honor society at TCU hosted a party for the Cook Children's families of Ft. Worth to come and get their gifts. This group went all out for our families--three crafts, lunch, Santa, and even the TCU mascot SuperFrog! We spent more than two hours with the family. The Pi Phi's sorority of SMU are hosting a similiar event for the Medical City and Children's families this Saturday. I cannot begin to fully describe how gratifying this experience was for me on Sunday. I watched a mother cry over seeing a Christmas tree with her stuff. A father cried when I told him we would be able to secure a laptop through our Laptops for Love program on top of the Christmas we were already providing. With tears in his eyes, he asked me "how is this possible? You've done so much for us." His son has been battling cancer for close to four years with three relapses. I stood and cried up against the wall watching these families and feeling so grateful that I get to be a part of their lives in a very small way.

As you already know, I love my job. I continue to love my job, and I'm looking forward to more good things we can do for these families in 2009!

The diet....
You know what triggers my downward spiral into bad eating habits? My stress and my grief. Yeah, I have both of those right now and I'm struggling my hardest not to let them sabotage my success. I want to eat a milkshake when I'm upset. With Allie's birthday next week and my dad's birthday today (we miss him so much!!), I am fighting myself to keep from turning to my normal staple--comfort food. I have some challenges in the next week or so--dinner with my family about my dad and Allie, pot luck lunch with the HFC staff for our all staff meeting on Friday, dinner with good friends to be prepared by a great cook (that one has me a bit stressed truth be told because I don't know what I will be able to resist), and our annual birthday cake outing to visit Dr. Goldman at Medical City for Allie's birthday. Oh yeah, and then there's Christmas! I fully intend to enjoy Christmas, but I want to remain good the other times so I don't have guilt on Christmas day.

The good news? I've lost 11 lbs! Clothes are starting to fit again. It's so frustrating to have clothes that I own sit in my closet unused because I can't zip the pants or I hate the muffin top the shirt shows on me. I have pretty clothes that aren't being worn because I can't fit in them. Some days I am very discouraged by how far I let myself get before trying again. I look back on journal entries I've written before about my weight and the need to diet. In all of those entries--I weighed my current weight (you know, the one I'm at AFTER the 11lb loss) or less. And in those entries I talked about how big I felt. Nothing compared to what I did to myself this summer and fall. Because last April? I was 5lbs less than what I was now. Now, if I was really brave like some people I know, I would post my weight stats here, but that's honestly just not going to happen. Just know they are currently going down in the right direction and I am getting better.

Training for the half marathon is really making a difference. Andrew and I are enjoying our walks together. It has given us time to reconnect. We've been so busy lately, especially me with Heroes for Children. There is little time to talk about issues other than what's been going on with Maggie. Our training has given us dedicated time to talk about what's going on and have time to be together. Maggie loves riding in the stroller with us on night walks, and my mom has been so nice to have her overnight on Friday nights so we don't have to take Mag at 6:30am for Saturday trainings. Right now, we're doing 2 miles, 3 times a week on our own, and then we have a group train on Saturdays currently at 3 miles. We'll move up to 4 miles next weekend. By the end of January, we'll have worked our way up to 9 miles!

So, that's my three part update. I'm logging off to try to do a little exercise tonight before bed. The bed is calling my name, but the weights must be used first.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Impact on Cancer Families in 2008

Click on the image below to read our Year End mailing about what Heroes for Children has been up to this year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We're off to the Nutcracker

It's a princess' world and I am just one of her royal subjects

It's a "Girls Only" day--shopping and lunch, the Nutcracker and then
the Sugar Plum Party after.

First, she is applying fake makeup on the dog. All the girls must
look our best you know

Monday, December 1, 2008

Charitable Giving in Economic Hard Times

Dear Generous Blog Readers,

Did you know that more charitable donations are made in the fourth quarter every year then any other time? Imagine how difficult that is this year when many charities are relying on these end of year gifts, especially when we have been officially declared in a recession.

I'm frequently asked about tips for fundraising and giving during these tough times. Just as I did last year, I would like to give a few simple tips to charitable giving during these times. Most of this is probably stating the obvious, but I wanted to highlight something so very important to me. Now more than ever, charities need us. Some things to consider:

  • Don't stop! While you may have to cut back on your financial contributions to charities, I urge you not to stop all together. As the economy continues this way, there will be two important things happening for charitable organizations--1)the donations may DECREASE as people begin tightening their spending habits 2)the need from the clients served (especially for social services organizations) will INCREASE.
  • If you give less, don't spread the wealth Choose one or two charitable organizations instead of giving to five or more with smaller increments. Choose to make a bigger splash than more small drops in the bucket. Instead of giving 5 $20 gifts to 5 different charities, choose one that means something to you and give $100.
  • Donate in-kind gifts Think about ways you can donate and support a charity without giving cash. A disclaimer--be sure that you have done your research with the charity in advance before you donate in-kind gifts. For example, we had a kind woman do a big used toy drive for HFC. When she called us with boxes upon boxes of used (albeit gently) toys for us to donate to the hospital or cancer families, we couldn't do anything with them. Due to immunocompromised patients, hospitals will only accept NEW toys! So, we had to sadly turn the woman down for her charitable giving.
  • Consider food banks Now more than ever, local food banks are struggling. Again, the strain of the economy will further push the demand of services provided by local food banks. Many will struggle to keep their shelves stocked. Pick up a few extra cans at the grocery store--even the smallest gesture helps!
  • Engage your children I cannot stress enough the importance of getting children INVOLVED in philanthropy. Whether it is having them research charities with you (for the older kids) or coloring pictures to give with your donation, make them a part of your giving process. Put a collection jar on your counter. Find a cause that will be meaningful with them. *Side note--if anyone in the Dallas area is interested--I do an entire speech on children and philanthropy that I love to do for moms groups, PTAs, church groups, etc. Contact me if you would like to set up a speaking engagement!*
  • Make a donation instead of purchasing a gift this holiday season When I taught, I was overwhelmed with the gifts of candles. It took more then three years after I taught for the candle box to dwindle! I'm not kinding. There are only so many candles I can have in my home. I would have been honored to have a donation made in my honor in lieu of a Christmas gift as a teacher. Better yet, if the parent had asked me about my charity of choice, it would have made it all the more special. Instead of spending $15--20 on a small gift for the teacher, make a donation to an organization that is meaningful to the teacher. Most charities have cards that can be sent to the honoree stating the donation. Think about all the different groups you can do this with--office co-workers (our staff does this every year and this year we're purchasing gifts for a Holiday Heroes family in lieu of buying small gifts for each other), giving family gifts (my mom and I are choosing a charitable donation instead of a gift to each other this year), or even as a company's gift instead of items to send to clients (we just had a company make a donation and they are now sending cards to their clients saying they made the donation to Heroes for Children this holiday season in honor of their clients--shows they are charitable and not being frivolous on things like a fruit or cheese basket!)
  • As I said last year, make it a year long commitment The holiday season isn't the only times charities are in need. It is often when our hearts are most geared towards philanthropy due to the holiday season and that general feeling of gratitude many of us have. However, there is just as great of a need in July as there is in Christmas. Make it a New Year's resolution that you can stick with--stay involved. The best way to do that? Match your talents/gifts to your volunteerism. If you are a graphic designer who has a passion for your work, put it to good use helping a worthy cause. If you aren't shy and willing to ask for donations, get yourself on a fundraising committee to help the charity build a stronger base of donors. Finding the right match for your is key to keeping you engaged longterm.
  • Did I mention DON'T STOP? Yeah, well, that's a big point I want to get across. Keep giving. No matter how much or how you go about doing it. Find a way to give, even in the smallest of increments. If we all gave even a small increment this holiday season, it will make a difference.

Thank you for your willingness to support the many worthy causes out there. If you would like, highlight a charity or cause that means something to you in the comment section. I would love to hear about the things near and dear to your hearts!

With gratitude,


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Only two blog posts left

I'm almost there. Can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The end of November and the end of the NaBloPoMo challenge of blogging every day. I had an almost perfect record--missing two entries due to crazy busy work days. All in all, I enjoyed the challenge of blogging everyday. I liked finding topics to discuss and thinking of things to discuss (even though I did get writer's block once).

My next challenge? A focus on weight loss and exercise? My challenge is to exercise 30 minutes a day the entire month of December. Will I do it? I don't know, but I'm going to try. We need to get in four trainings a week for our Team in Training half marathon. The other three days, I need to do something. Whether it is getting to the gym or adding another walk in, I'm not sure. I'm ready for this next challenge. The reward? I have a pair of jeans, size 12, sitting in my closet. I can zip them. It ain't pretty. Fitting in those jeans would be a big reward!

Excited for a family sleepover at Papa Jim and Nana's

Friday, November 28, 2008

For the Twilight Fans

A Review--

Sunday, I went with friends to see the much anticipated Twilight film.

Some thoughts....

The characters--

Bella was perfect. She had the manneurisms down. She had the look and the voice I had in my head. And she was believable.

Edward--yes. Like many prepubescent teens, I too am fairly smitten with a vampire.

Alice--the hair was right, the perky attitude was right. The ideal casting choice.

Rosalie--really? She is the epitome of beauty? She is the most gorgeous girl in the room? Am I missing something?

Emmett--Hilarious. Loved his timing and his attitude. Loved Emmett.

Jasper--Did the actor study Edward Scissorhands before he took the part? He was seriously creepy. Every time he cocked his head to the side, I laughed. I know it was supposed to be his restraint and the struggle he had with wanting human blood, but it just came across comedic, not like a vampire.

Esme--Gorgeous. She exuded the love and compassion Esme is known for.

Carlisle--Ever see the movie Can't Hardly Wait? The actor that plays Mike Dexter (Andrew always refers to him as the "Tom Cruise wannabe") is Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Carlisle is supposed to be the smoothest vampire. One that the mere sight of him makes women just melt and become completely befuddled. They swoon. Instead, when Carlisle walked into the room for the first time, Angela and I busted out LAUGHING. So much so that people started looking at us as we were trying our damndest to stifle our giggles.

Charlie--Exactly what I pictured.

Jacob Black--Is it just me or is his teeth unnaturally white? Otherwise, I have no beef with Jacob. However, I don't know if I really want to sit through New Moon--that's a lot of Jacob.

James--The tracker. Angela might have ruined it for me when she leaned over and asked, "Is it just me or does James look like Bucky from American Idol?" That did it and I was singing bad country music in my head.

The movie--

As always, the book was better. There have been very few movies where I have been able to say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book. Very, very few. No exception here. The book is detailed. If I stepped into the movie without reading the book, I might have felt as though I was missing some important element. Some further details that would make me understand Edward's actions or Bella's self consciousness.

I love the scene in the trees.

I felt disappointed with the image of Edward in the sun. If it wasn't for the sound effects of the shimmering lights, I might not have really noticed all that much. They didn't have it in the meadow, taking away the magnitude of this moment for Bella and Edward.

The vampire house--breathtaking. I saw it as a white house in my head, not sure why.

From the baseball scene on, I was hooked. It made the movie. The fight scene in the ballet kept me on the edge of my seat. Once Bella is bitten by James in the book, you really don't get a description of the writhing agony she is experiencing. You most definitely see that in the movie and it brings a new visual and understanding of what Bella is going through.

Good chemistry between Bella and Edward.

The conclusion--

I didn't love it, but I liked it. I will most likely watch it again when it comes to video.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I woke this morning to a sweet three year old stroking my face, reminding me how thankful I am for her in my life. We played, put up the Christmas tree, peeled potatoes, and set up the table. The turkey is about to go in the oven. Maggie is dressed up as Belle and watching the Muppets movie (I forgot how much I LOVE this movie--can't get much better than the Rainbow Connection!)

This afternoon, we have my family, his mom and stepdad, and our good friends the Lintons and the Kriegers all descending upon our house for a Thanksgiving feast. We're doing the turkey, mashed potatoes, and my personal favorite--the best homemade yeast rolls ever. YUM. Everyone else will be contributing an item to put on the table.

As for the weight loss--I'm not stressing about it today. I'm 8.5 lbs down! I'm going to enjoy one meal but not let it get the best of me. I'll be back on track tomorrow. You can't really see my weight loss yet, but I can tell in some of my pants. Several jeans fit again. My big goal--20 lbs down. That will put me at what I was when I got pregnant with Maggie. I at least want to be down there before I begin trying to get pregnant. 11.5 lbs left to go!

Best wishes to all my friends and family on this day of thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I'm Thankful For (In Pictures)










Monday, November 24, 2008

True Love

A conversation with Maggie yesterday:

Me: What do you want for Christmas, Maggie?

Her: Hmm....maybe a mary dress and a mary doll.

Me: A what?? Huh?

Her: A mary dress. You know, Mama.

Me: Mag, what's a mary dress?

Her: So I can marry my daddy!!

What does my daughter want for Christmas? A wedding gown so she can wed her true love--her daddy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

There's cake, there's brownies, and I'm resisting it all

Night in with the girls still way better than the calories

Friday, November 21, 2008

One Word

This was an email we all had going around this week. I've been enjoying reading all the answers. And since I'm LOVING all your comments from last night's entry, I'm going to invite you to join me in this one too. Put your answers in the comment section if you want to participate.

You can only type ONE Word! Not as easy as you might think.
Now copy or forward, change the answers to suit you and pass it on.
It's really hard to only use one word answers.
You can only type one word, on each line. Send it to 7 people
including the person that sent it to you:

Where is your cell phone? couch

Where is your significant other? home

Your hair? colored

Your mother? Kind

Your father? missed

Your favorite thing? hugs

Your dream last night? forgotten

Your dream/goal? happiness

The room you're in? Deb's

Your fear? regret

Where do you want to be in 6 years? HFC

Where were you last night? walking

What you're not? skinny

Muffins? love

One of your wish list items? cruise

Where you grew up? California

The last thing you did? laugh

What are you wearing? tshirt

Your TV? HD

Your pet? spastic

Your computer? frustrating

Your life? stressful

Your mood? vegatative

Missing someone? Allie

Your car? dirty

Something you're not wearing? earrings

Your summer? relaxing

Love someone? Andrew

Your favorite color? red

When is the last time you laughed? today

Last time you cried? today

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writer's Block

After blogging every day for more than 20 days, I've come tonight with a blank mind. I've got nothing tonight. Sorry, friends. Help me out--tell me something about yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Office Manager hung this in our office today...cracks me up

My staff will tell you that I often take these hours to heart. That's
why they silence their cell phones--the dinging at 11:45pm from emails
from me!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My precocious child...don't know where she gets it from!

  • She needs three stories because she's three years old.
  • She wants to eat three "breakfast hot dogs" (pigs in a blanket) because she has three cousins.
  • At school, she MUST SIT ON THE LETTER M on the apple tree carpet. If she doesn't? Loses her business completely.
  • She organizes her shoes to display them for our friends when we have guests.
  • She's a different princess every day, often every few minutes. "Can I be Belle?" There are more costume changes in this house on an average evening then in most plays!
  • Her shoes must match her outfit.
  • Her hair-ties (yes, I call them hair-ties--whatever you call them, ponytail holders?) must match her shirt.
  • She prefers dresses/skirts most days.
  • She picks out MY shoes.
  • If she messes up an art project, such as pressing too hard and ripping the paper, she will cry hysterically and throw the paper away.
  • Her teacher starts her first on art projects because she is more meticulous than anyone else in the classroom.
  • Her dancing is hilarious--picture Elaine from Seinfeld sticking out her thumbs.
  • Her new nickname for me is "Mama Booty Pincher" as I tell her I'm going to pinch her booty to make her giggle.
  • She makes us rock her on the floor every night after stories, but before she climbs into bed.
  • Every night, she empties the contents of her toy box when she is supposed to be sleeping. Every morning, I make her help me put it all back away. It's a vicious cycle really.
  • She wants to know everyone's name and relationship. Everyone. I honestly can't tell you about the lady that just walked past us in the grocery store, Mag, sorry.
  • She won't watch regular TV--movies only. She calls them "moonies." She's killing us with Pocahontas 2 right now. Have you ever seen that crap? Terrible.
  • Every day when you pick her up and ask her what she did at school, she replies "I shared with my friends!"

Oh, my sweet Maggie love!

Monday, November 17, 2008

First sign of success

5 lbs down as of this morning! It's a first step. I've got a long way to go, but five pounds give me a little more confidence. I'm ready to start feeling a difference in my clothing! In the last week, we've walked ten miles. My legs are sore! It's a sad realization of how badly out of shape I really am. Andrew is pushing the stroller at a quick speed and barely noticing our pace. Me? I'm huffing and puffing behind him, trying to keep up the pace. Tonight was a little better, so I think I will get more and more acustomed to our routine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go Away 'Kemia!!

This is Maggie's new phrase--GO AWAY KEMIA! She likes to yell it in the car now and says it when playing in her room. Why? Because we are training for Team in Training and finding a way to explain to her what we're doing. Our explanation is that we're raising money to help leukemia GO AWAY. Then we all chant--go away leukemia!

Can you help? Please visit our fundraising site and donate if you are able. Pass it along. $3,600 is our goal to meet both fundraising minimums for us. We're training from now until the big day on Sunday, April 5, 2009. I'm ready!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Training

4:30 this morning, a little person was wedged between us saying, "Let's get up!" We pushed it for 30 minutes, all snuggling, hugging, and kissing in the bed. Maggie was stroking my face and my hair, and I felt like the happiest mother on earth. We rolled out of bed at 5 and began getting ready to arive at 6:30 for our first training session with Team in Training. It was our first session, but the others' third, I believe, as we had a late start.

Wouldn't you know today was one of our first really cold mornings of the season! 40 degree with a very strong wind chill factoring it all in. Our group huddled together, looking at this coupled with a well bundled child snug as a bug in her jogging stroller. With my mom out of town and both parents training, our only option was to bring along the little Munchie girl.

The TNT staff member in charge of our training group was working there when I was a part time staffer years ago for the Pennies for Patients division. We spoke earlier about my sharing our story, the "Mission Moment" of the day. As we were all huddled together to shield from the wind and jumping up and down to keep warm, I knew I had to make a brief speech. I didn't get to share much about our story, just a few brief words lasting less than about three minutes. Eventually I hope to share more about Allie.

Off we went to begin our first two mile walk with the group. It was a quick realization for me that I am WAY out of shape! Walking into the wind made it difficult and keeping up with Andrew's longer strides had me running more than once to catch up. Still, we came in last out of the others training. That's ok, we still showed up and made the commitment, and I'm proud of that.

As I was feeling the cold and wishing I was snug in my bed, a vision of Allie's face came to the forefront of my mind. I want to do this to lose weight. I want to do this to bond with my husband and set a goal of something I never thought I could do. More importantly, I'm compelled to do this for a tremendous cause (to irridicate blood cancers) in memory of one gorgeous blue eyed girl. Over the next few months, I anticipate that I will be relying on her strength to guide me through the training sessions, especially as we increase mileage. Now of course, I sweetly asked Andrew if he was thinking of Allie on the walk. He responded, "I was thinking how I needed warmer clothes most of the time and I wanted out of the wind!" OK, that makes sense too!

I'm setting up our fundriasing page tomorrow. Tonight, Mag and I are heading over to babysit Deb's kids while she goes to engagement party for her younger brother. As soon as I have it set up, I'll be posting up here, you can be sure.

One training down and many more trainings to come!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Can't wait

Where Angela Krieger and I will be next weekend at some point. Not sure when yet, but positive we WILL be watching this movie.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Fundaising Event in 2008!

Dallas Heroes and Handbags

Houston Heroes and Handbags

5K Run/Walk

Heroes for Children Golf Classic

and tonight?

Hold'Em for Heroes!!

I'm off to raise more money for cancer families!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The support? It means a lot. I didn't realize that posting about my weight issues would bring out such great comments and encouragement, but I'm thankful for them all just the same. One thing that helps for sure--knowing I'm not alone. Many of us struggle with weight issues each and every day. Some just do better than others.

As for me, I'm tired of it all. I'm tired of the yo-yo dieting, the motivation and than quick diminishing of it all, and the stress eating. I'm desperate to feel better about my size and to actually get to wear some of the clothes in my clothes. Right now? Most doesn't fit and it frustrates the hell out of me.

I'm just finishing my third day of Phase I of South Beach. For those that are unfamiliar--this is a two week intense phase with no carbs, no sugars, no starchy veggies, and no fruit. I am not able to completely cut out the fruit, but I am following it completely otherwise. After the two weeks, I get to slowly introduce good carbs, such as whole grains, and fruit back into my everyday routine. For those that are familiar with Weight Watchers--this is VERY similiar to Core once in Phase II. It focuses on more natural foods, less processed things. I did this two years ago and found great success (lost 8 lbs in the first two weeks--all from my middle!). I fell off the wagon for our cruise and never got back on.

I can't tell you I'm loving it right now. It's tough. I'm tired and I'm a bit cranky from being without my carbs. Come mid next week, I may be an outright bitch. BUT, if it does what it did for me last time, I will lose the cravings for the sweets. I will be able to add the good carbs without wanting to shovel it all in all at once.

As I already mentioned, Andrew and I have made the decision to train for a half marathon through Team in Training. No, we're not running. He gets cramps, and frankly, I'm big chested--not real conducive to running, especially not our first time. So, we're walking. Racewalking to be exact. Larissa trained to racewalk years ago and swears that I'll love it. I'm really excited about our first training session on Saturday. We're two weeks behind everyone else that is training, but we hope to get into it quickly. Our event isn't until April 5th (right after the Dallas Heroes and Handbags event on Friday, April 3rd--great way to help me fit into a great dress for the event!!). It's the Big D marathon in Dallas. The North Texas TNT only has two options for training for Spring marathons--it's either Dallas or ROME. Seriously? While we would of course love to return to Rome because we love the city, we just can't commit to fundraising $6,200 a piece. Not our first attempt!

Tonight was our first walk. We did 2.2 miles in 30 minutes. It's not the quickest pace in the world, but it worked for us. Maggie was snug as a bug in her jogging stroller and Brandy was horribly jealous that she wasn't invited along. If you have never walked my dog, you might not understand, but geesh that girl can pull. Andrew walks much faster than me, and I found myself behind more than once. When we got home, I was noticeable tired and feeling it whereas he said he didn't really feel much. Watch him lose more weight than me without even being on any kind of diet. That's how it goes, isn't it? Men.

I'm really excited to be doing this with Andrew. We are so completely different and tend to have very little common hobbies/interests. He is my best friend and I love him dearly, but we are different. This is fun and exciting to be doing something with him in this way. I'm excited that we've found something not only to help me in my weight loss but to attach to a worthy cause in memory of Allie. I love that Maggie will participate in some capacity with us through her stroller time with us taking family walks, especially helping us garner a healthier lifestyle for her as well. And what I really like about this plan for the half marathon? It gives me a goal to work towards. Just saying I'm going to climb my butt onto an elliptical at the gym is obviously not cutting it anymore. I have a goal, a date in sight. I will cross that finish line, with my wonderful husband by my side.

I will be posting periodically about the journey, and you can rest assured that I will be posting information regarding our fundraising pages once the sites are up and running. I appreciate the support and welcome the feedback and encouragement. I debated more than once to post my weight up on this site as another way to keep accountable, but frankly, I'm just too embarassed to do that. Way too many people read this for me to feel comfortable about saying how much I weigh!! Let's just say I have more than I'd like to admit that I need to lose.

Struggles I am going to have over the next two weeks--catered meals! I have tomorrow nights big Hold'Em for Heroes poker tournament, we have a donor appreciation party next week (guest speaker is Linda Armstrong Kelly, Lance Armstrong's amazing mother), and a baby shower for Jen. Oh wait, what else am I forgetting? Oh yes, that would be THANKSGIVING!! URGH! Meal for twelve people being hosted at my house. Guess Andrew and I will just have to make sure we do a really good walk afterwards! I'll need your help reminding me that just one day is not the excuse to let myself continue to spiral into bad habits because that is my usual routine. It's going to be tough to resist the good food that I know will be put in front of me, but I need to, I HAVE to resist them. Any tips?

Three days down, eleven more bitchy days to go before I move on to Phase II. Success--here I come!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yeah!! Eating broccoli!!

Big time for my child who refuses to eat veggies

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time to lace up my sneakers

Andrew and I signed up for Team in Training today. We're going to do a half marathon in Dallas in April. We're two weeks behind in training, but starting on Saturday. I'm really excited to do this with him.

I wish I had more tonight to blog, but truthfully, the house is all quiet (Andrew is out helping my brother) and my bed is warm and cozy on this rainy night. I'll blog tomorrow

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Battle of the Bulge

I have a problem. A weight problem. I've been struggling with it for years. I try to lose weight. I fail. I feel deflated when I realize my current size. I lose weight.

And then I gain it all back. Again, and again, and again.

So here I now sit the biggest I've ever been in my life, and I can't get a handle on it.

This year, I've dieted three times. I've lost a total of twenty five lbs (cumulatively--the most was 12) and gained thirty. I have one pair of jeans that currently fit, I only shop at one store these days, and I hate seeing myself in the mirror. I'm out of shape, tired all the time, and stressed. When I'm stressed, I eat. When I'm grieving and crying, I eat. And when I don't want to face my issues, you guessed it--I EAT.

The hardest part?

I'm ready for another baby. I want to get pregnant, but I am unwillingly to try at this current size. I just can't agree to pregnancy at this current state because it will just make it worse. I'm spiraling down. A pregnancy now would just make it worse. I know this. I've known it for about a month. And in the last month? Instead of taking the initiative and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT, I've eaten more. Worse. And now? Ugh.

I'd like to tell you that this is a new revelation that will make me stick to it, but I don't know. I'm ready to give it another go. A fourth try. Yet, I can't help anticipating that fourth failure.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our Daily Conversation

Maggie: What your daddy name, Mama?

Me: My daddy's name is Jerry Lawson.

Maggie: Lawson? Like my GaGa! Where your daddy?

Me: You know--where is my daddy?

Maggie: In Heaben with Allie. What he have?

Me: He had cancer.

Maggie: Like my Allie! She have Kemia. Allie my baby. Allie your baby?

Me: Yes, Allie is my baby. Just like you're my baby too.

Maggie: Oh no, I not a baby. I a big girl!!

Variations to the normal conversation:

Maggie: Allie was a real person?


Maggie: Allie in Heaben a rweally long time. She coming back now?

Me: No, honey, Allie will stay in Heaven.

Maggie: I go to Heaben to see her and your daddy?

Me, Andrew, everyone else: Not until you're an old lady.

And a tough conversation back in September--

Maggie: Mama, all babies go to HEABEN!!

Me: Oh, no, baby. Not all babies go to Heaven. We know lots of babies and they aren't going to go to Heaven.

Maggie: Oh, just MY baby go to Heaben?

Me--complete silence as my heart breaks just a bit.

Maggie: Oh, I not an old lady. I a little girl.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Through Dress Up and Play

I don't have much of an opportunity to volunteer for other organizations. With my work with Heroes for Children, I limit my other volunteer efforts, mainly sticking to Camp Discovery. I've recently gotten involved with the Princess Alexa Foundation. The PAF is a new nonprofit created in memory of Princess Alexa Aigner after her long battle with Neuroblastoma.

I'm so excited that we have our first board meeting tomorrow. While I don't know that I will serve on the Board of Directors, I would be honored to serve as a member of their Advisory Board. I'm looking forward to helping this group tomorrow in creating the infastructure to create something longstanding to help seriously ill children find fun in dress up and play during difficult times. I wrote recently about how I chose to get involved. Using my knowledge of creating a start up nonprofit, I hope to help guide them a little towards the right path. After four years of doing this and going into my fifth year with Heroes for Children (holy cow!!), I've learned a thing or two about running a nonprofit. An expert? I'm most certainly not the most proficient in all things nonprofit, but I know what it takes. I know what it is like to lose a child and create something meaningful in her memory, and I hope that I can use that knowledge to help the Princess Alexa Foundation achieve success. I'm so excited!

With Halloween just ending, costumes are on sale everywhere. If you are looking for an easy way to help an organization, please consider picking up a costume. The Foundation is building a large dress up closet of NEW costumes for Children's Medical Center. The goal is to have close to 2,000 outfits for boys and girls of all sizes when it is launched. You have the ability to help us reach our goal. Please visit the website and see how you can help out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Babies, babies, and more babies

Oh, my baby love is flowing tonight:

  • Maggie has a new cousin! Baby Elliott was born this afternoon around noon at 7lb 6oz. Congratulations to Andrew's sister Amie and her husband Michael as well as to big sister Isabella and big brother Max. We're thrilled for the family and can't wait to meet our new little man! Please join me in congratulating Amie and Michael!

  • No, that doesn't help the baby fever, but we are getting closer to considering trying. Potentially in the new year. Still unsure, but we'll see (don't get all crazy excited now, I just said we'll see). I definitley want to, but I am stressed about my health and my weight (that's a blog post that's coming this month, I promise. Just too tired for it tonight)

  • Have you seen my adorable twins lately? Well, I know they aren't mine, but oh my, those twins are getting so big!

  • I'm missing my baby tonight. I'm in Houston until Friday late afternoon. This is the first overnight trip I've had since cancer camp in July and I'm gone for two nights. She simply reminded me I had to bring home a present given that I was taking an airport.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Holiday Heroes

Everyday, I read applications for financial assistance for families battling childhood cancer. I see applications for laptops, our Milestones program, and our direct financial assistance program. With each one I read, I silently thank Allie for bringing the child and family into my life, and I remind myself how very lucky we were during Allie's treatment. We didn't struggle to keep our lights on. We had strong family support surrounding us with love. We asked for things, such as our dog to be taken care of or our laundry to be done, and it was taken care of. Many families going through the battles of childhood cancer cannot say the same.

This month is our big Holiday Heroes project. Holiday Heroes adopts families for the holiday season to help bring them hope, love, and hopefully some happiness during a difficult time in their life. This year, we are adopting 40 families from all across the state for the holiday. We have volunteers through our women's auxiliary, HFC Friends, in Dallas helping us with 26 families in North Texas. There is a sorority group in San Antonio, and volunteers through our Heroes and Handbags group in Houston helping (though we do need a few more volunteers in Houston to help and shop this Friday morning with me and Danielle, if you're interested, email me).

The applications were all due on Friday. All last week, they steadily came in. Wow. These families we're adopting are going more things than I could possible imagine. Like the family of a single mother with her five children barely able to meet the bare necessities (HFC paid to keep her lights on last month). A Christmas? Not going to happen for that family without us. How about the family whose child has been in the ICU for exactly two months as of today? The mom hasn't left her son's side and dad is only working sporadically while the other siblings are shuffled around. Of course, there is the family who adopted four children and then their biological child got diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to Hurrican Ike, the family's home has more than $35,000 worth of damage.

I'm truly humbled seeing what the families ask for. A family who has a 3 and a half year old with cancer, a 2 year old, and a baby merely asked for Hot wheels and tractors for the boys and diapers for the baby. Diapers. That's it. Of course, with a $1,000 per family to spend, we're going to make sure they have a great holiday. We'll get them diapers, diapers, and more diapers, and I suspect even more for the baby that might just be for fun too.

We shop for four days in the next two weeks in four different cities. It will take four staff members to help shop being that we have to be in different locations with our volunteers to pay for all the items (no, we don't need donations for the program. We are luckily blessed to be able to fully fund this program--volunteers simply help me shop, wrap, and deliver--not give monetarily). In December, we will give out the gifts. In Dallas and Ft. Worth, we're lucky enough to be able to throw parties for the families through the generosity of the Pi Phi's of SMU and a health honor society at TCU. One day, we will hopefully have a stronger presence in Houston to be able to do the same type of thing there as well. For now, we're glad to be able to do what we can there.

I know that in the next two weeks as I stand in line to shop for these families, I am once again going to be silently thanking my sweet Allie for bringing these families into my life and allowing me the opportunity to help them, even if it is just by finding a Wii to put under a Christmas tree this year.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

La Grande Fete

The dresses

The accessories

The Princess!

All the princesses participating in storytime with Belle

A brave knight protecting the princesses

Belle telling the sad story of how Cinderella was mistreated.

Belle and Maggie doing the princess pose (yes, that is costume number two, she had four costume changes last night)

Beautiful Belle--she was AWESOME!!

Girls don't have to be princesses. You can be Joan of Arc, you know

"Hey everyone--let's give Belle a BIG HUG!!"

Already bethrothed--baby Coco and a little Snuggle Bunny

Proud daddy heading out with the cake

This pic chokes me up every time

My girl

A sleepy Beck

A happy Ella

Megan and her little man

Jen, Deb, and Ella enjoying some drinks :)

Me and Amy

My mom has the magic touch--Coco has succumbed to her powers

Jaymee and John (Andrew's best friend)

Carter might be a little happy. Think the kids were having fun

Baby Convention

We might have been opening presents but there was a game on, you know (Texas vs. Texas Tech)

Quiet house, no more guests besides "Uncle John." What does a little princess do? Play video games with her daddy!