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Month: April 2009

Picnics with a Purpose- How Orlando Stole My Heart

Picnics with a Purpose- How Orlando Stole My Heart

Last week Cooper of The Motherhood emailed me to see if I wanted I wanted to be spontaneous.  After the week I was having, I jumped on it.  I didn’t even ask what she needed.  It turns out that she wanted me to go to Orlando to help with a great cause.  (Double bonus: my brother lives there and I have never been to his house.)  I was most definitely on board when she explained to me what the project was going to be.

The Motherhood has teamed up with Hebrew National to sponsor Picnics with a Purpose to kick off the summer grilling season.  Now most of you who know me know that I am very brand loyal.  Once I find something that I like, I am sticking with it.  Hebrew National is one of those brands.  So, they had me interested by brand name and had me hopping on a plane with the charity aspect.  But what really touched me is the “purpose” part of this project.  Each city that The Motherhood and Hebrew National visits will be giving back to the community and/or a local charity.  If you know me, I love helping with charities.  Especially those that involve children. 

Saturday afternoon we had a picnic in Orlando hosted by blogger Lee of Theme Park Mom.  She chose to help out the charity Give Kids the World.

Do you know about this great charity? Give Kids the World Village is a 70-acre, non-profit resort that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accomodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a week-long, cost-free fantasy vacation. GKTW has helped more than 75,000 families from all 50 states and more than 50 countries.

I was honored to meet a family who has benefitted from Give Kids the World Village.  Amber and her daughter Gabrielle.  It took me about 2 minutes (if that) to want to be best friends with Gabrielle.  She had something about her that draws people to her.  I was asking to be her best friend after a half an hour.  Gabby has had so many multiple obstacles to overcome in her 7 short years.  She is most definitely a living miracle.  And boy does that little girl live!  She is full of smiles, love and laughter.  I am convinced she has some sort of special angel dust that surrounds her.  I even asked her to sprinkle just a little bit on me to get even a touch of her specialness.  (She did it, too!)

I am over the top excited to be a part of this. Learning about new organizations that need help, supporting a brand, Hebrew National, and working with the amazing women at The Motherhood.  I mean, what is not to love about all of that?

For those of you who want to be a part of the fun we are having, check out the following cities.  (And, no, I won’t be able to go to all of them.  I am sad about that, too.)  Anyway…. Picnics with a Purpose is being held in eight cities: Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, New York, Virginia Beach, Providence, RI, Detroit and Philadelphia. If you live near any of the eight cities, let the lovely women of The Motherhood  know and they will send an invite (until they fill up). Eight star bloggers are hosting the picnics and along with each, a community give-back project.

And for the record, yes, I am feasting all I want on hot dogs.  Because I can.

Mommy Madness!

Mommy Madness!

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I have been waiting excitedly to tell you about the latest opportunity this amazing blog has brought to me.  I had to take care of a few administrative things before I could say anything but now, rather than bursting, I am going to share with you my secret.  I’ve been selected as one of only five mom bloggers in the DFW metroplex to take part in the “Mommy Madness” campaign for CBS Radio and North Texas Chevy Dealers.  What does this mean?  Well, in short, it means that I get to test drive (meaning live out of) a brand spankin’ new Chevy Travers for the next 8 weeks.  They are calling us the Mom Squad.  We have missions to do and errands to run but they are all fun for not only us, but for the entire family!

On Friday (during a downpour that made my liver quiver) I drove to the CBS studios to meet some of the CBS Radio DJ’s and pick up my Traverse.  Let me tell you something about the two fabulous DJ’s I had the opportunity to torment harass get to know:  They were hilarious and fun!  I am talking about Gene and Julie from the KVIL morning show.  Things I did not know before I chose to sit between them:

  • Gene actually would choose to eat baby food bananas if asked to. (He admitted it and it is on tape somewhere.)
  • You can totally be a smart alec with people who do it for a living and they aren’t afraid of your “out there” personality!
  • Calling yourself “the supreme being of all around me” will only get you the response, “Sorry, that is my title but if you need to borrow it you can.”
  • These two people are perfect together and I now have a duel DJ crush.

I also was able to meet  with the North Texas Chevy Dealers, more CBS radio personalities from Jack FM, KLUV and KVIL, all the marketing people you can fit into one conference room and the other 4 Moms who are a part of the “Mom Squad.”

The DFW Mom Squad moms are:

    After the meet and greet and tell us what you would eat (if you were to eat baby food), we were paired up with our very own dealer from our very own dealership. I was honored to be paired up with Jerry’s of Weatherford.  Poor David was the man selected to show me all of the amazing features of the Traverse.  I say poor David because we spent half the time going over the features and half the time laughing so hard people thought we had lost our mind.  For example, while he was showing me the features of the back seat DVD player he looked up and noticed me hugging the seat and fondly caressing the car.  To say the least it threw him off track.  Pretty much all of the features he showed me had similar responses from me.  He was absolutely hysterical as I responded to each amazing part of the Traverse with glee, giddiness and a bit of lust.  What a great sport!

    And now, where you can help me.

    The wonderful people behind this program want you to vote for you favorite DFW Mom Squad member.  (This would be ME to you, my wonderful readers!)  Just go to the Mommy Madness site and vote. (Again, for me.)  It isn’t hard.  It doesn’t hurt. AND when you vote you have the chance to win a spa trip to Lost Pines Resort & Spa in beautiful Austin!  You know you want a piece of that!

    AND if you are in the DFW area and go to any North Texas Chevy Dealers and test drive a Traverse, you can get a ONE HOUR massage at Massage Envy.  Show me one person who doesn’t need that one!

    I will be uploading pictures of my new foster baby Traverse later.  For now, go vote.  It is your patriotic duty, people.

    Let the PTA mocking begin

    Let the PTA mocking begin

    Okay for those of you who do not know this already, go read why it is best to never say never on my Parenting Magazine column.  Go on.  Read it.  We will wait.

    Did you read it?

    Now, many of my long time readers are sitting there with either their mouth agape, or they are spewing their drink on their computer OR they are laughing so hard they can hardly read this. (You people laughing, so not nice.)  I know. I KNOW.  The anti-PTA, fall down and play dead if they approach, mock all things PTA and call them Stepfords drank the Kool Aid.

    You are now reading the blog of….(insert either a drumroll or Taps here) the president of the [insert elementary school name here] PTA.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No, it is not an April Fool’s joke.  Yes, I am serious.

    PTA president.  WHAT HAVE I DONE?  (If ever a sentence deserves all caps, it is that one!)

    Okay, so before I get into details, feel free to let the open mocking, laughing and “you did what?!” comments flow. Because? I will bite you if you keep it up past this post.  (Although “they” say I have to be nice now.  Do they not read this blog??)

    First the economy tanks and then people actually nominated, voted and elected ME to be the PTA president.  What is next? Locusts and plagues?

    There are more than one of you I know are dying to let me have it. Bring it.  I can take it.  I have power now.  (Bwhahaha Yes!  I did spit out my drink at that one!)

    Stepford Mom?

    So does this mean I am under arrest?

    So does this mean I am under arrest?

    Hey, my wonderful readers.  I hate posts like this, however, the blog police were here and told me it had  been over a week since I updated. (Doing math. Pondering.)  Anyway, my bad.  In between work, conference calls, doctor’s appointments, sick kids, sick husbands, meetings, setting up blood work and MRI’s for my son and life I absolutely should have taken the time to post something.

    Again, my bad.

    And with that….

    Pink – So What

    A Quickie Just For You

    A Quickie Just For You

    I wanted to hop on quickly to let you know that I have not abandonned you, my beloved readers.  (Well, that and the blog police will be here soon so I had better have fresh content or else!)  It has been an insane month.  So much better than March, though.  A good busy.  These are either the half written posts I promise to finish by the end of the week or just random thoughts I have had in the past week.

    • Gabriella celebrated her 8th birthday. (I wrote about her amazing story and how she renewed my Faith on my Parenting Magazine blog column.)
    • The anniversary/birthday of our stillborn son came and shocked me when I realized he would have been 17 years old this year.  SEVENTEEN?! I don’t even know how it is possible to be that long ago.  I sang him Happy Birthday and made a birthday wish in his memory.
    • I pondered ways to actually become the first mom to have Hallmark‘s love child.  I am not sure of the actual specifications of how that will be physically possible, but I am looking into it.  Why?  Because I fell in love and sometimes when you fall in love you want to have a love child. There is nothing wrong with that!  And I imagine the baby will look a lot like Hillary Swank.  I’m just saying.  More on Hallmark, love children and why I wept in the hallways of one of the most energetic and creative buildings I have ever been inside after a VP  of creative writing and editorials and a published author herself (whose creative energy just crackled off of her!) stopped to talk to me and shared something special with me about why she  believed April would be a good month and why she knew last month’s March 6th would bring me luck.   It made me cry.  (A good way.)  And?  I discoverd there are actually some mom bloggers and PR reps who are generous in dealing with an old lady (me) who has  teenagers. (GASP! Teenagers!!)
    • I am sure that if I do the research, I will discover that the underwire bra was originally the idea of a man who hated his wife and/or girlfriend.
    • I love to travel.  I love to meet new people. I have discovered that when I see things first hand and experience them with my own eyes and ears, I really do become a brand-loyal-almost-but-not-quite-to-the-point-of-obsessive-stalker. (Even if I thought I already was, I become more so.)  One might call me a product whore. I might hit that person but one might say it.
    • If you are on an airplane and you have a new Nintendo DSi and are playing with the camera feature, you just might get a free drink out of the deal if you let the flight attendant play with it.  Not that I am actually admitting that happened.  I am just saying that if you did have one and you did let her play with it that might happen.

    Well, those are just some random thoughts.  If they were real blog posts I would link to them and send you over to read all about them.  These are just random thoughts I thought I would share with you.

    I’m just saying.

    Why, yes, I do have a blog! And readers! And would it suck without you!

    Why, yes, I do have a blog! And readers! And would it suck without you!

    Oh yeah! I do have a blog.  I remember it now!  Let me just say, March sucked.  There.  It is out.  I hated March.  March kicked my butt.  In fact, March marched all over me and left bruises to prove it.  And when life does that to you it can be hard to, well, write about life.  We are on better terms now, life and me.   I just had to take time to focus on me, my family and the chaos that my life had become.  It was all about prioritizing and simplifying.

    Let me tell you something about me.  That whole simplifying thing is hard. I mean it really is hard for me.  I had to make some very tough decisions last month.  Many times I have been jolted awake at night wondering if I did the right thing.  Sometimes I cry and think I made a mistake.  Other nights I know I only did what I had to do for me and my family at the time.  I can’t look back.  Thankfully, the amazing and beautiful people involved backed me up and that helps when the doubt kicks me down.

    In other words, I had to cut back on things.  For me, that makes me sad.  I loved everything I was doing but the toll it was taking on me and my family at a time when I was not doing well at all and when they really needed me, I had to do what I had to do.  I don’t really want to go into specifics.  Let’s just say standing on the edge of a cliff you have two choices:  jump off or take the hand pulling you back.  I took the hand pulling me back and I am getting better.  It was rough for too long.  Too rough to get into and too personal to talk about in detail yet.

    I can say this.  You see, after Mom died, I think a huge part of me died, too.  Or at least, went dormant.  For three years.  That is too long.  I knew that.  At least, I know that now.  And with help, I am coming back to life.  How cliche` and appropriate that I am coming back to life in the Spring when the rest of nature is too.  I kind of like the timing.  Well, that and my sister decided it was time to stop being losers and start living our lives again.  Seeing as she is my older sister, I do what she says.  Most of the time.  (Let’s face it.  I will always look up to her and respect her.  When she tells me to get it together with her, I do it.  She is still the boss of me.   I think she always will be.)

    BUT, it was not all bad.  I want to share with you something good that did happen in March.

    On March 6, 2009  I celebrated a huge birthday!  Not the year I was born.  More like the year I found life again.  On March 6th, I celebrated 9 years being clean from my addiction.  NINE YEARS.  That seems almost impossible.  But I know it isn’t.  I have not picked up my 9 year chip (and ohhhh how I want to hold that thing so badly!) but I will post it proudly here when I have it.  You see, for me the further I get my my “sobriety date”, the harder it can become.  At 9 days I had a full support system.  I was going to meetings all the time.  I had a sponsor.  I had people every single day ask how I was and knew if I was telling the truth.  At 9 months, the same thing but with fewer meetings.  At 9 years, the meetings have dwindled. I have no sponsor.  I really don’t know any addicts right now.  It gets harder because I am more removed from the disaster that was my life.

    Sometimes I wonder what normal people do when the proverbial poo hits that fan.  I mean, what goes through a “normal” person’s mind?  For me, no matter how much I know I won’t go there, my first though is “Gawd I wish I could take some pills and numb this.”  I don’t go there physically, but the mind does.  And we all know my mind is a scary place to be most times.  I have not given in in 9 years.  Not when Mom died.  Not when things fell apart financially.  Not when everything around me crumbled.  I did not give in.  For 9 years.  And though I know at any time I am just as much at risk as any addict or alcoholic at any phase in their sobriety, I have made it this far and do not want to blow it.  I am determined my baby girl will never, ever know a using mom.

    So there is my good March news.  The rest? It sucked.

    But you?  My beloved readers!  Here you are.  After so long, you are here.  You have no idea what that means to me.  Thank you so much!  I really do mean that.  Because you know what?  I love to write here.  I love to hear from you.  And of course I love your feedback and comments.  But really?  Knowing you came back?  Thank you.  Because? My life would suck without you! (More than March did!)

    For realz!