Friday, February 26, 2010

I thought this little video was great! It reminds me so much of my Mom and Dad :)

An elderly couple walked into the lobby of the Mayo Clinic for a checkup and spotted a piano. They've been married for 62 years and he'll be 90 this year. Check out this impromptu performance. We are only as old as we feel, it's all attitude. Enjoy! They certainly do!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Dear Dad,

I remember one year Mom and I made you a cake for your birthday; it must have been your 40th, I only remember the music notes we put on the cake in white icing! Oh, how I wish I could make you a cake now! Sadly, I don't think it would make it 6 or 700 miles in one piece :(

I have always admired you for your intelligence, I don't know if I've ever told you that. I also think it's cool that you can play so many instruments, and that you are a composer. I used to brag about you to all my friends, still do :)

There are many things about you that make me smile or laugh, like your shiny bald head (remember that time at the church in Fayette when you were sitting in the choir loft, and I was in the balcony - we made eye contact and I made motions like I was buffing my head to make it shiny like yours, hahaha! I made you chuckle that day :D I love that shininess!). I will forever cherish and have great appreciation for puns - YOU are the Pun Master! And breaking out into song whenever a moment calls for it! I was SO embarrassed when I was a teenager when you'd do that, and now as an adult I think it's wonderful!

I am proud to be your daughter, and wish I could be more like you in so many ways. Thank you for putting up with me and loving me even when I made it hard to. I love you, Dad. I hope you have a great birthday!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time for another vote!!

Another way to help raise money for SMA! With another vote, you can add $5,000 more to the efforts the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation is putting forth to find a cure for SMA. You can also post it to your Facebook page after you vote so your friends who supported us in the Chase campaign can jump in and help out once again! (I will copy and paste from Victoria's blog)

I'm no hero. No more so than any parent fighting for their child. But, if I win the "Hero Next Door" contest, that means $5,000 more for SMA research and awareness. And so, I am asking for your vote once again.

Care2 -- the company who hosts our, who has been incredibly supportive of our cause, and who we simply love -- has teamed up with Tom's of Maine to create the Hero Next Door contest -- every day people doing more. We were nominated, along with dozens of others, and here is the neat thing -- we made it to the top 10 finalists! Now this is where you come in...

Here is the breakdown:

* Voting ends February 26th.
* You can only vote ONCE.
* The person with the most votes wins $2,500 for their charity and $2,500 for themselves -- which, in my case, would obviously go directly to research and awareness because there is nothing more important! So that's $5,000 for SMA -- all with a simple vote.
* Technically only one person can win and so "Victoria" is the name you see, but the nomination is clearly for all of us -- including Gwendolyn.

How to vote:

1. Go to: Hero Next Door
2. Click on Vote for Victoria. (It is the green button at the bottom of the page.)
3. Fill out the form (name, birthday, email and zip code).
4. Click on the animal picture (to help stop spammers).
5. And then hit "Vote" and that is it.
6. You will see a big "Thanks for voting for Victoria Strong" to let you know your vote went through.
7. Since you can only vote once, help spread the word by also using the "Tell a Friend" features on Facebook, email and Twitter by clicking on the icons on the right.

And again, all $5,000 will go to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation to support SMA research and awareness! Thanks for once again supporting us and getting your voting skills out! We are all becoming pros :)

I can honestly say, this woman is a true hero...not only to her beautiful little girl Gwendolyn, but to the many families out there fighting along side her to find a cure for SMA. She and her husband, Bill, received Gwendolyn's diagnosis when Gwendolyn was about 6 months old, and have not laid down and let this beat them - OR Gwendolyn. Instead, they are doing everything in their power to raise awareness and money to end SMA forever. They have a BLOG where many people follow the daily life of Gwendolyn and the goings-on of fundraising and awareness. They have had triathletes competing in a triathlon to raise money, the Unite For The Cure program (they challenged 20 families directly affected by SMA to raise $5,000, and the final total raised was $146,643.70!!! The goal was only $100,000, and they passed that by a mile!), they raised $44k in their Sponsor-A-Mile program where they traveled 4,816 miles round trip in an RV from Santa Barbara, CA to Vicksburg, MS and back to introduce Gwendolyn to her 104 year old great-grandfather (WOW!)! These are just a few things this wonderful family has done. I am deeply touched by their love for their daughter, and their passion to end this horrible disease.

If you need a refresher on SMA, here ya go:

SMA is the leading genetic killer of infants. It is a terminal, degenerative disease that results in the loss of nerves in the spinal cord and the weakness of the muscles connected with those nerves. SMA impacts the ability to walk, stand, sit, eat, breathe and even swallow. The mind and spirit are no different from that of a healthy baby, but the body eventually fails. Typical babies with SMA Type 1 have a life expectancy of between one and two years and they require around-the-clock medical assistance and monitoring.

SMA Statistics:

* SMA is the #1 genetic killer of children under the age of 2.
* SMA is estimated to occur in nearly 1 out of every 6,000 births.
* The gene mutation that causes SMA is unknowingly carried by 1 in every 40 people or nearly 8 million Americans.
* There is currently no treatment and no cure, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) selected SMA as the disease closest to treatment of more than 600 neurological disorders.
* Researchers estimate that we are as close as only a few years away from finding a treatment and/or cure.
* Because scientists know so much about SMA, SMA is considered a "model" disease with direct impact on research into many other diseases potentially benefiting millions of people.

So, if you've got a minute to spare, and I know you do, please follow the link above to vote for Victoria in the Hero Next Door contest. Actually, click here, it will take you directly to the voting page :) It costs you nothing.
If you have another 30 seconds, and I know you do (otherwise you wouldn't be here, reading my blog), then please go sign the Petition to Cure SMA. Everyone in your household can sign it; you do NOT have to be 18 years old.

On your mark...

Get set...


Thanks for checking in :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Amazing Week

This past week I have had some wonderful, amazing things happen in my life. I will try to explain everything the best I can. First, on Wednesday I found out that my sister-in-law is pregnant! Raia is going to have a little cousin! YAY!! I am so happy for Beth and Michael :)

Next, I spent Thursday and Friday with my friend Cathy. Her little boy Parker was having his 1st birthday party, and we were making his cakes! Cathy is such a wonderful woman...she is beautiful inside and out. She really wanted to be a part of making Parker's cakes, and she did great! I will post her pictures, as mine were not so great.

Also, on Thursday while I was at Cathy's, I got a phone call from a lady who works for a local grocery store (HEB). I had recently filled out an online form to possibly participate in their Shopping Challenge. Well, I was selected (woohooo!!), which means that I get to go shop in their store and get $150 of FREE groceries :) We scheduled it for Monday the 8th (that was today, I will get to that in a few minutes).

On Saturday, I had to work. I get a phone call from Nathan after I had been there about an hour. Our conversation went a little something like this:
N: "Do you know anything about a KithchenAid Mixer?"
Me: "Huh? What are you talking about?"
N: "There is one on our front porch..."
Me: "What?! Is it in a box?"
N: "Yeah. Brand new in the box, where did it come from? You didn't order this, did you?!"
Me: "NO!! What does it say on the box?"
N: "Has your name on it, from"
Me: "I have NO IDEA!! Is there anything else on it? A return address maybe?"
N: "No, just"
So, ladies and gentlemen, I have a brand new KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and I have NO IDEA who sent it to me! I am grateful for it, to say the least, floored actually, because these things are NOT cheap! Everyone I have asked and have talked to say not to question it, and to enjoy the gift. So enjoy it I will do! All I can say is WOW...and THANK YOU to whoever sent it to me, you have no idea how grateful I am :)

Nice, huh? I have already used it twice and made this cake for a friend. I know it is kinda plain, but I like it - hope she does too!

On Sunday I went to church with Cathy. I have really been feeling God pull me back into church, the best times in my life were had when I was a part of a church. I love Cathy's church; even though I was raised Methodist, this Baptist church just seems to fit me (so far). I have been so moved each time I attend - its great! This Sunday they were having Communion. At first, I was a bit apprehensive and didn't know if I would be allowed to participate since I was not a member. I had no clue how they would do Communion. There was a Catholic church I visited once for Easter a few years ago, I wasn't allowed to participate in their Communion because I am not Catholic. So I just didn't know. I was pleasantly surprised, and learned new things about Communion that I didn't know before. I loved the way the pastor explained the last supper, and the breaking of the bread. The entire service was about The Last Supper and what Communion means. Luke 22:19 says - And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." - The pastor said that Jesus knew there was a traitor sitting at the table with him that night, and yet He still gave thanks to God and broke bread with him. WOW. Every time we take Communion, we do it in remembrance of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. The pastor talked about the eulogy at a funeral, and how it sums up the life of a loved one. He asked what we would say if we were asked to give a eulogy for Jesus. Then we all prayed, and I realized I had no idea what I'd say if it were my duty to give Jesus' eulogy, and I really needed to figure that out. We sang a song just before Communion, I don't remember the name of it, or any of the words, but WOW, I was moved...had tears streaming down my face - it was powerful. Thank goodness I was in the back row! I think I've gotten way off track here, I just wanted to say that church was probably the most wonderful thing that has happened this week in my week of awesomeness :)

Ok, now it is Monday - my day to do the HEB Shopping Challenge! I was nervous and excited all at the same time. The lady who walked with me was really nice, and helped me when I didn't know where something was, she was super patient with me (and my coupon shopping!). My friend Rita was picked to do it a few months ago, and she is the one who sent me the application to fill out (Thank you!!). After about 2 hours, I thought I had about $150 worth in my cart. I had been using a calculator to keep tally, but the darn thing kept turning off, so I lost track. The lady was so nice and told me I could go check out, use my coupons, and if I wasn't up to $150 I could go back for more. I didn't think I'd be able to do that. I was pretty close - $127.02. We went back for a few more things that I had put back because they were not needed and cost a little more than what I wanted to spend, so YAY!! My total after that was $149.30! It was awesome :) Here is everything I got (click on the picture for a closer look if you want). I had to buy all national brands, no store brand items. Some things are hidden because I had to stack items, but you get the idea.

Raia has been an absolute doll this week. Yesterday Gibson came in the bedroom and jumped up on the bed beside us, and I asked Raia "Where are Gibson's ears?....Where are Gibson's eyes?....Where is Gibson's nose?....Where are Gibson's whiskers?" That one confused her, so I had to teach her what whiskers were. Last night, she was still talking about whiskers, so I asked her where her whiskers were. She thought a minute and then said "I not have whiskers." I decided she should have some of her very own :)


Well, it is very late, I really need to go to bed. Thank you for checking in :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Raia Reading

Raia's love for reading has really blossomed over the past few weeks. She loves to be read to, and just loves stories in general. Every night while I rock her to sleep (or near sleep), she asks me to tell the Cinderella story. That one is her favorite. Sometimes I tell Snow White, or Elmo and Gretel - same version, only a name substitution because she loves Elmo so much!
Just the other day, I caught her on video "reading" her Cinderella book. If you listen closely, you will hear the words "Once upon a time", "Cinderella", "child", "Evil Stepmother", and just toward the end, it sounds like she says something like "knock on the door" which I am thinking is the part where the King's Messenger comes knocking on the door to deliver the invitation to the Royal Ball. Soooo cute!!

On a side note, I have really noticed how horrible some of these stories are, especially Hansel and Gretel!! The old witch was going to EAT those poor children!! I guess when you are young, you don't really think about how awful the stories least I never did. The childrens stories I read always had a happy ending. The children always had little animal friends to help them out of scary situations, the Prince always came and whisked the poor maiden away to a better life in the castle, and the bad guy ends up under a pile of rubble - not dead, mind you, just out for the count.

Here are a few cute pictures of Raia from this week.

Cutie pie on her Zoe (from Sesame Street) pillow. We call it the Zoe pillow because it is orange like Zoe, and Zoe's favorite color is pink, which is on the opposite side :) A gift from Aunt Chotty for Christmas :)

Here is one brave child - up in the shelving unit!

These last two are showing off a new beanie that I got her where she can actually wear her pretty bows! Her hair is so thin these big ones just fall out...or are pulled out! (Thank you again Devon, we just love them!)

Well, sorry this post was so short. I decided to blog before Raia's bedtime, and well, now it IS bedtime!! Thanks for checking in!


P.S. Last weekend I wasn't feeling well, so Rita and I had to postpone making my Grandmother's 7 layer chocolate cake. We will hopefully do it the weekend after the Super Bowl!! Can't wait!!
ALSO - I think my new headache meds are working!!!! Wednesday I asked the Dr. to let me try something else, I couldn't afford what he had prescribed previously, even with insurance (something called Amrix). So, he put me on Amitriptyline, and so far no bad side affects, it doesn't make me sleepy or woozy or anything, AND it is super cheap!! I haven't had as many headaches, and the ones I do get are not as strong. YAY!!
Ok, to bed now!