Monday, January 25, 2010

Emotional and Busy Week

This past week has been a very emotional one. Chase Bank had a Community Giving Program on Facebook (Round 2), and The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation had a real chance at winning anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million!! If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) is what took my dear friend Rita's beautiful son from her at only 5 months old. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation was started to raise money to fund research and awareness for SMA, the #1 genetic killer of infants. Anyway, Jan.15th - 22nd we were working our butts off emailing, tweeting, basically bugging the crap out of people for votes. The top charity won $1 million, and places 2 - 6 won $100,000. It was SO very important that GSF placed in the top 6, I can't even tell you. Scientists are so close to a cure, but they need funding. When SMA is finally cured, it will also provide treatments/cures for such things as ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, the muscular dystrophies, and even some forms of cancer. So you see, this was very important. GSF was only one of 100 charities to be voted for, and compared to many of them, it is very small - SMA is not something people are familiar with until someone they know and love is diagnosed. After 8 long days of campaigning, emailing on facebook, posting every single status as a plea for votes, tweeting celebrities, etc., GSF came in 6th place with over 52,000 votes. That is HUGE!!! The money won, $100,000, will go a very long way toward finding a cure and to raising awareness. There were times when we'd lose momentum, and sink low thinking we were done for - at least I did - after countless pleas to a few of my "friends" on facebook, and being completely ignored was very disheartening. I never gave up, and I know I bugged the hell out of my friends with my relentless posting. It certainly paid off though, and we are all so proud of the great feat that we accomplished :) The winner of the million is an organization called Invisible Children, Inc. They rescue children in 3rd world countries who were abducted and forced into being soldiers, children as young as 8 and 9....sad. They had a voting center all set up with phones, laptops, lots of volunteers; all we had was a bunch of passionate people, parents fighting for their children's lives, asking for votes. So needless to say, it was a great accomplishment. Here is baby Gwendolyn celebrating! She reminds me so much of Raia, and vice versa...I have come to love this little girl from very far away, and her parents, too.

The few moments I spent off the computer this past week (LOL), I got some really cute pictures of Raia.

This one makes me laugh a little - Raia mid-tantrum.

Nathan has been so good this week about keeping her in the evenings when he got home from work. He knew how important getting votes was to me. Here they are snuggling.

And again, only this time in the Blue's Clues sleeping bag LOL!

This girl loves to wash her hands...the sticker on her forehead came from my Aunt's house, and for some reason, that is where she likes to put them...go figure.

Me and my beautiful girl :)

In addition to working so hard to get votes this week, I also had two cake/cupcake orders, and I had a cake and cupcake order the week before. I will post pictures of the cakes in a bit, but here are the cupcakes for one order...These cupcakes were for a little boy's birthday, just plain with sprinkles.

Raia wanted to lick the spatula when I was done. After all, it matched her nightgown :)

Raia is such a smart cookie - she knows when she is doing something cute, and will say "Take pitcher ah me!" while posing! (Yes, I know it's spelled wrong, but that's how she says it!)

She loves stories! Either read to her, or made up ones. Cinderella is her favorite, and she asks for it every night as we rock to sleep.

Princess Raia - (taken at my mother-in-law's house)

I mentioned the cakes and cupcakes I have done the past two weeks. These were done for a little girl's 5th birthday, and this particular lady heard of me from a friend. She wanted a Little Mermaid cake. I usually won't put the toys on a cake if they have to be transported, I would hate for them to fall over during the ride and mess up the cake, that would be BAD. So here is the Little Mermaid cake without Ariel on it. If you will notice, the bottom edge has neat little "rocks", and they look SO real!! One of the guests at the party even asked if they were real rocks, but no, they are chocolate covered candy made to look like rocks - YUMMY!!

This is the actual cake, before I baked it. It is all French Vanilla, but I dyed part of the batter pink. I think this is just so pretty :)

Here are the cupcakes to match.

After the Little Mermaid party, the woman was so impressed with my work that she called me the same night and asked me to do another cake/cupcake order for her the following weekend (yesterday). WOW! Talk about an ego boost :) This one was for her mother. The flowers are actually purple, I don't know why the camera shows them as blue :( They turned out very nice though, and she loved it.

Rosebud cupcakes to match.

I think that's about all I've got for now. The only time I really have to blog is late at night after Raia goes to sleep, and I am pretty tired tonight. Night before last I only got two hours of sleep because, like blogging, I can only work on cakes after Raia goes to bed. The 'Happy Birthday Mom!' one should have been easy and should not have taken me long at all, but I got all 'OCD' on it and had to make it the best I possibly could, so I didn't come to bed until 3am. That was also the night that GSF won the grant from Chase Bank, so I was pretty wound up and couldn't sleep. Around 4am, when I finally started feeling sleepy, Raia woke up. She had me awake for another hour and a half. I had to get up at 7:30 am to get ready for work that morning, I was so tired. Guess I'm still catching up.

Like always, I will try to blog more often. The next few weeks are going to be pretty slow around here, I hope anyway! I have a cooking date planned with my friend Rita next Sunday to try out my Grandma's 7 layer chocolate cake. I will have to blog about that for sure!!

One more thing before I go - My sweet Mother had a birthday last week, and I am so terrible at sending cards :( I always remember either the day before, or the day of....sorry all you got from me was a measly phone call, and you weren't even home :(

Mom, you have been such a blessing in my life. I love that you always have a smile on your face, and you always see the good in people. You came into my life when I was 5 years old, and have fulfilled the Mom role without batting an eyelash, no matter how much grief I gave you, especially later in my life. You have loved me unconditionally, as if I were your very own child, flesh and blood. I hope that you had a wonderful birthday, and from your email (sorry I haven't replied yet!) it sounds like you had a great week! I am so sorry that I forget to send cards, but please know that I do think of you on your birthday and hope that it has been the best birthday ever! I love you with all my heart! Happy Belated Birthday Mom!!

And with that, I bid you all adieu ~ thank you for checking in :)


The headaches have been much worse this week, and I know it is from stress. We are planning to find a new Dr. for me, because this one just wants to throw pills at me and send me on my way - never once has he talked about triggers, and when I ask him to help me find a cause for them, he just tells me that "95% of all migraines have no cause". Please say little prayers that 1.) the headaches ease off, 2.) I find a Dr. that will DO something. I don't want to be on pills the rest of my life, ugh!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cell Phone vs. The Bible

(Got this from another blogger, thought it was so neat and wanted to share!)

Cell Phone vs. The Bible

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we
treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go......hmm.......where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing.
Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think where are my priorities?
And no dropped calls!


Don't forget that FRIDAY, Jan. 15th is the day that you need to vote for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation on Facebook in the Chase Community Giving Program! I cannot stress enough how important each vote is. One million dollars could potentially CURE a deadly disease that steals our children, most before they reach their first birthday. Friday will be one year and one day since my dear friend lost her 5 month old son to SMA, and I hope no one EVER has to endure the heartache I've seen she and her husband have....EVER.

In addition to VOTING (on Facebook - I posted links on the previous post), please commit to at least 3 things YOU will do from January 15th to January 22nd.

1. VOTE: go to
2. Email friends the voting link.
3. Post the voting link to your Facebook status all week long.
4. Blog about GSF and the $1M miracle to cure SMA.
5. Twitter the voting link.
6. BE ANNOYING (meaning persistent:) ALL WEEK LONG!

YOU can be part of a miracle...please VOTE!!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If you have a Facebook account....

Imagine being part of a miracle...

Starting this Friday, January 15th, Chase bank is launching their Chase Community Giving Program, Round 2 on Facebook. What that means is, in a nutshell, Chase bank is giving away $5,000,000 to worthy causes. There will be 5 chosen. I am asking YOU to please give one of your votes to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. Every vote they get is one step closer to a CURE for SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), the #1 genetic cause of death in infants. Please watch the video above, it is very powerful, and you will know everything you need to know about SMA when the two minutes and 43 seconds video is over. PLEASE help...

Link to Facebook Chase Community Giving page: CLICK HERE

Link to Gwendolyn Strong Foundation Chase page: CLICK HERE

Link to Gwendolyn Strong Foundation YouTube "channel": CLICK HERE

Link to Gwendolyn Strong blog: CLICK HERE

If you've ever wanted to be a part of a miracle, it takes just one click, one vote...


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Trip :)

We had a wonderful time on our trip! We drove all the way to Alabama, and opted to drive overnight so Raia would sleep through most of it. There is NO WAY she would have stayed in that car seat for 10+ hours (one way) during play time!! Nathan did an excellent job getting us there and back unscathed, while I plugged in my computer and surfed the net for most of those 10 hours! I tried not to sleep, but on the way back I did a little. I was afraid Nathan would fall asleep at the wheel, and wanted to be alert in case he did. Thank goodness he didn't! Way to go, Nathan!

***Please know that the following information is not easy for me to blog about, and share with the entire world (if they so happen to come across this blog)***:

I have not shared on my blog yet about my sons; they both live in Alabama. This blog was primarily made for my family, but I do have a few non-family readers. It is something I am not particularly proud of, the fact that I am not with them. Only my closest friends know my past, and know my situation. I do not openly share this information, because I am afraid of being harshly judged. I know that there is only One who I should care about judging me, but I am only human, and I do care about what people think of me. Eventually I will have peace about everything; I am working towards that now. I feel like finding a church to attend, and renewing my relationship with God is my first step.

Patrick, who is 11, is my son from my first marriage. He is one of the smartest kids I have ever known, very sensitive on the inside, cares so much about his Granny (my Aunt, she has adopted him), loves attention, absolutely loves his video games, he likes to play rough and tough like the big guys, and he is growing like a weed! He had hit a growth spurt since the last time I saw him, and I almost didn't recognize him! My little boy is almost a man!!

Jacob, who is 7, from my second marriage, is a sweet boy, he is so polite, nurturing (he couldn't stop loving on Raia!), also loves his video games, smart, and very forgiving. He hadn't changed much since the last time I saw him, except for the few teeth he had lost, and a little taller.

It is tough not being there to watch them both grow up, but they are both in the best of hands, learning and growing, and always ready to see me when I come to visit!

We stayed in a hotel this time while we were there (Thank you Mom!!). Usually we stay with my Aunt, but her health is not what it used to be, so it was best that we let her rest instead of catering to us. Any prayers you could say for her would be wonderful! I love her with all my heart, and she has become like a mother to me, and HAS become a mother in my place for Patrick. For that, I am forever grateful.

While we were at the hotel, the boys swam, and LOVED being at the pool! I think we spent more time at the pool than anywhere else! They had an inside pool, and a hot tub (thank goodness!!!!!!!) While the boys swam in the sub-zero degrees pool (YES! It was cold, even being inside!) I was able to take Raia in the hot tub for just a few minutes. She didn't seem to mind, but we never kept her there for more than about 15 minutes; the pool was just too cold for her....AND me!

More pictures from the pool:

We had an after Christmas Christmas. We opened gifts - mostly Patrick, Jacob, and Raia, and they had a blast! I think that doing it this way kind of extends the holiday, you know? (Kinda like when someone wishes you a Belated Happy Birthday - it makes your birthday last that much longer!) My last post was about not having many Christmas decorations, and my Mom, being a loyal blog reader, filled TWO whole gift bags with Christmas decorations and ornaments! Even one from my childhood from my Nomi! I loved them all, thank you so much, Mom! I can't wait until next Christmas when I can put them all out! I LOVE Snoopy, and especially Woodstock - he is my hero! - so I got a cute Peanuts themed plush Christmas decoration to put out for Christmas, too! She thought of everything! Love you, Mom!!I also got one of those Big Top Cupcake (silicone, even!) from my Aunt!! Thank you!!!!!!
My other Aunt (I have lots of family, and since I'm adopted, my family tree has lots of branches; it gets complicated, so I won't bother explaining here) got Raia the cutest blanket, personalized with HER name on it! It came with a duck, arms wrapped tightly around the rolled up blanket..did I mention how CUTE it was?!

Raia also got a tea party set from my Mom, "Gran-Gran", and she LOVES it!!!!! Here she is playing with Nana:

We had a really good time. It is always so great to be home, and to see my boys. I miss them terribly. They are going to be grown before I know it. It is always so hard to leave, knowing that it will be months before I see them again. Patrick was having a hard time before we left, he never wants us to breaks my heart.

I know that it won't be long before we can go back, but it hurts knowing I am not with the boys, raising them like I should. God has a plan for me, for all of us. If I had not come to Texas, I wouldn't have my beautiful Raia. That is what keeps me going, and it is what keeps me from beating myself up over my bad decisions. I have three wonderful, smart, beautiful kids, and though we cannot all be together now, I know things will all work out in the end. I am truly blessed.

Thank you all for checking in!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

I have been neglecting my blog...

Sorry folks...I got so wrapped up in going to visit my family, I just didn't make time to blog. This is just going to be very quick, I just wanted to let you all know that I will be updating sometime this weekend. I have LOTS of pictures to upload and go through, and then figure out what I want to share. Thanks so much for checking in!!

And one last is bugging me to know: You all see the little tracker thing I have on the right hand side bar, called "Live Traffic Feed"? I would LOVE to know who is checking my blog from Lewisburg, West Virginia!! If it is you, please leave me a comment (or email me if you have my email, or message me on Facebook if I have ya there)!!