Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Video for Heroes for Children

I'm so excited to share the latest video for Heroes for Children! Special thanks to Kyle Raybourn for production, the amazing families who participated, and of course, to our AWESOME narrator, Tristyn Brewton! Hearing our story told from her words makes this all the more special.

Hope you love it as much as I do--get your tissues ready!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back on the wagon

Dieting was tough this month. Real tough. When the month began, I weighed in at 155. I've been anywhere from 155 to 160 this month, with that last number when I returned Saturday night from Memphis. I'm around 157 now. It's time to focus. Time to get back on track. I need to start working out again. Debbie is doing the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Micheals and swears by it. Truth be told, it scares the crap out of me!!

What are you doing for exercise? Help a gal out--what's working for you?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The deliquent blogger

I haven't been the best blogger as of late. Once, twice a week at best. Things are so hectic and crazy. Long work days keep me from being able to enjoy time in front of the computer that doesn't involve Heroes for Children. I am averaging two evening functions a week, though this week will be double that. I have a board meeting tomorrow night, then board a plane on Wednesday for Memphis. I am attending the annual conference for the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers. Yeah, I know I'm not a social worker. However, that is our main point of contact for the oncology families we serve. The topics that will be discussed range from celebrating events through treatment (we got excited about this seminar because we have the Heroes Milestones program) to survivorship. I'm looking forward to the education of the conference, but dreading leaving my family for four nights.

So, in an attempt to catch you up, here's a random list of stuff going on.

  • Our good friend Kris gave us his wooden swingset. He's moving in with his girlfriend and their home has no room for the huge swingset with the pool in the back. Andrew got it up last week, just in time for it to be horrible rainy weather for close to a week. Maggie finally got the chance to play on it tonight. It was so much fun, with one minor exception. It's a bit difficult to let loose and swing freely when a golden retriever is going beserk and nipping at your legs! Brandy is definitely NOT a fan of the swingset. She isn't amused at all.
  • Heroes for Children is hiring in Houston. We're hiring a "Houston Manager" to oversee Development initiatives in the Houston market. Should be a challenging position. It'll be a new challenge for me as well, managing a branch of the organization remotely. We have a big focus on Houston this year and I can't do it without staff support. It's so exciting to see this change for the organization!
  • The weight challenge continues. I haven't been able to stay as focused as necessary. I'm at about 156 or 157 depending on the day. Not bad, but I really wanted to be better. I have cheated a number of times. While my weight is the same, I'm noticing my waist not looking its best lately. Need to focus more! Debbie has been seeing some great results with the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. Just don't know if I have the dedication to do it consistently for 30 days!
  • We finished the half marathon on April 5th, keeping a good pace throughout. At some point, I sprained my ankle. I didn't know it was sprained for a few days. I just kept saying, "my foot is jacked up" to Andrew and coworkers. Yeah, the ankle was sprained. Spent six days limping on it then another four days with it wrapped. It's all good now. The marathon was a great experience. Definitely something I would consider doing again. I loved crossing the finish line with Andrew by my side, holding my hand. Instead of putting my name on my shirt, I wrote, "In Memory of ALLIE." Throughout the course, people cheering for HFC were yelling, "GO ALLIE!" as I passed by. I didn't correct them. Didn't want to.
  • I started this blog entry on Saturday. It's now Monday night and I'm still struggling to get it done. Serious delinquency around here.
  • Maggie has gotten to be a an absolute pill to get ready in the morning. Tonight, I'm trying a new tactic of picking out our full outfit, shoes included as they are the worst part, to see if it can alleviate some of the issues we have getting us out the door in the mornings. The other day, her meltdown was over the fact that I chose to wear flats, not heels as she wanted me to wear. Yeah, she's a bit of a diva.
  • She's a diva with a major love of clothes and shoes. Saturday, my mother in law, Frances, and I went shopping. First, it was Old Navy to buy Maggie some dresses and swimsuits. She was literally hugging the clothes when she found the item she wanted to purchase. After we had a quick lunch, we went to Nine West to look at some shoes for us. She squealed when we walked in. She began excitely grabbing shoes off the shelves, trying to yank them on my feet. She would exclaim, "oh, look at this red shoe!" or "I LUB this one!!" The salesperson kept giggling at her and said she had never seen such a happy child in a shoe store. Seriously, it's her happy place. Today when I wore the new shoes I bought, she told every friend in her class when we walked in together that Mama just bought new shoes. Love this diva.
  • No, I'm not pregnant. Trying but not pregnant. Plenty of people asking, so just thought I'd throw that out there.
  • I have a lunch meeting from tomorrow until May 8th. Every single day. Good thing I was able to have a longer lunch with Deanna and Debbie today to enjoy some girl time. I really needed it!
  • We're getting very close to five years from Allie's diagnosis. This time five years ago, our sweet little girl was showing her first signs of disease--a mild fever. Little did we know that two weeks later we would find out she had AML. Five years has been difficult for me. Her fifth birthday was very tough. Five years since her diagnosis brings me anxiety, and I can't even begin to think what her five year birthday will be like in September.
  • I delivered a laptop to a teenager with cancer at Medical City Children's Hospital on Friday. Our social worker, Kate, just left the position and is now going to be a missionary in France for the next two years. They have a few temporary people working to sub for this position until the full time replacement comes in a month. One of the ladies subbing twice a week is Monica, the social worker we had. Monica stopped working full time shortly after Allie died. We loved her. Cried with her. Visited and laughed with her. I have not seen Monica in almost five years. Seeing her at the hospital on Friday broke me. I stood and cried hugging her. We laughed through our tears before pulling ourselves together to deliver the laptop. At the end of our time with the patient, I pulled out a business card to give to her to send me an email with her new laptop. Monica immediately noticed my business card holder and I saw her in tears noticing it--a giraffe on the front of it. I love that she remembered.
That's it for now. Not sure when I'll blog again. Maybe a photo I can send to the blog while in Memphis.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I put this picture on Twitpic but thought I would post here as well. This picture was taken at the Dallas Heroes and Handbags event on April 3rd. Me and my awesome Co-Founder, Larissa Linton. Can I first just say how happy I am that I actually looked good in a Handbags picture? I have HATED every pic of me from Heroes and Handbags for the past three years. This year? Love the dress, love the SIZE of the dress, and feel good about wearing the dress. That's a feeling I'm enjoying!

As we get closer to the five year date of Allie's diagnosis, the impact of Heroes for Children on my life is heavy on my mind. Close to five years of working next to Larissa. We've laughed, cried, fought, disagreed, bonded, and supported each other. Looking at this picture from Handbags, I'm reminded of the gift Allie gave me--Larissa and Heroes for Children.

To Larissa--thank you for joining me with Heroes for Children. We've come so far and I know we have so much further to go. Thanks for sticking with me--my overbearing, neurotic, obsessive nature--to help create something so lasting in memory of our gorgeous girls. Love you dearly.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby

Today, my sweet baby turned eight years old. Are you kidding me? Eight? In 2001, Brandy came home to us as a five week old butterball. It was the end of my first year of teaching, and my earnings from being the Plano ISD Beginning Teacher of the Year bought me the one thing I wanted--a golden retriever. She came home on Mother's Day 2001 and I was in love.

My girl has been my constant companion for the past eight years. She smells. She's expensive. She steals all my socks and carries them throughout the house. I literally find myself searching for a matching pair of socks and mumbling my annoyance at this behavior on a daily basis (of course with a chuckle in my voice at the same time) She's gentle and sweet. She will lick you to death and step over the child to get to me. Craves attention and often forgets that she's over 70 pounds, thinking she can crawl in my lap with ease. Neurotic has been used to describe her more than once, especially in her first few spasdic crazy years.

I can't remember if I've ever shared the story of how Brandy, our "BB," acted after Allie died. If I did, please forgive my indulgence of sharing the story again. When Allie was born, B was in love. She was the sweetest dog I could have asked for. Each morning, before I usually even heard the sounds of the baby crying on the monitor, I had the dog licking me to wake me up. As soon as my feet hit the floor, she bolted across the house to be in front of the crib. She laid down on the floor next to the blanket during tummy time. She protected the baby.

Allie's death was devastating on all of us, even the dog. Being my sockhound, Brandy found her own way to express her grief. She found two baby socks. She carried these two baby socks around the house everywhere. For close to a month, she crawled up in a ball in front of the nursery room door whining and crying with the socks in a wad in her mouth. It was heartbreaking. Finally, we got her used to being just the two of us again. When I got pregnant with Maggie, she clung to me. She could sense it. I often joke that if she could crawl in the womb, she would. That's how close she wants to be with me.

Brandy has never fully recovered from Allie's death. She has never loved Maggie as intensely as she did Allie. Granted, she adores her and is by her side when she eats, but some of that is simply because she learned very quickly the advantage of a small child--food.

If you can't tell enough what this dog really means to me. OK, I have to stop and laugh right now. As I'm typing all this, Brandy just came up to me with her mouth full. The contents? One tank top, a pair of little girls underwear, three socks, and her pink teddy bear (her "baby"). Seriously, this is every night.

I love my dog. Happy Birthday to my first baby.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The last 7 days in numbers

2 successful Heroes and Handbags events in 2 different cities

85 hours worked

1 lost iPhone and 1 replacement iPhone

400 great pictures gone from lost phone

1000 ladies shopping for handbags

420 handbags in silent auction

$190,000 raised in event day monies (excluding monies raised prior to the event--we'll figure that out soon!)

4 different beds for me to sleep on

2 fabulous dresses to wear

6 staff members who ROCKED IT

100 + volunteers who helped pull it all off

1 person who peed on the side of the highway (note--NOT ME)

600 goodie bags stuffed

2 berry mohitos to celebrate

1 banana split shared between 2 coworkers

4 friends out to dinner enjoying sushi

13.1 miles walked through Dallas as 2 parents walked in memory of 1 little angel

1 birthday party

3 nerf guns in the hands of 3 grown men acting like children

5 episodes of Gummy Bears to entertain 1 3year old while 2 parents moaned with exhaustion and soreness



The end.