December 23, 2008
December 23, 2008
Martha Stewart that is!! It’s officially 9:45pm the night before I am to have 9 people in my house for Christmas dinner and I sit calmly on the couch typing this post. Usually at this time of the season, I’d be a little more like the woman in this poem…
Twas the night before Christmas dinner and all through the house
Not a person was helping, not even my spouse…
The children were restless and what made it worse…
I at my computer typed nonsensical verse!
When what to my poor bloodshot eyes did I see
But the Calendar with only 1 night left glaring at me!!
So off to the kitchen I flew like a flash…
Tore open the cupboards and made a mad dash…
Baking my cookies and stirring my fudge,
Dozing by the sink till someone gave me a nudge!
With presents to wrap and bows to tie
and the house is a disaster I thought with a sigh…
I looked ’round the mayhem and thought to myself…
Next year will be different, I’ll organize myself!!
I laughed when I heard the traditional phrase
That was made every year and forgot in just days…
So to all those who know me i have one thing to say…
Merry Christmas to all…JUST DON’T GET IN MY WAY!
This year I actually took my own advice and planned every aspect of my Christmas dinner way in advance. Yes, it’s true, the casseroles are done, the veggies all cleaned, peeled and cut, the pumpkin bread smelling up the house (while it cools on the rack!)…the table is set, decorations are up, gifts are wrapped and I’m relaxed…it’s a miracle!! Usually at this time I’d be running circles in the kitchen screaming for Dustin’s help worrying that I wouldn’t get everything done. I attribute my successful evening and preparation to my list making and am very pleased with myself for having planned so well this year! Dustin was a huge help in Christmas preparations as well, so big THANK YOU goes out to him. As I bask in my glory I just wanted to wish everyone else as much success in their preparations — I know it’s stressful…so good luck!
Here are a few pictures of my Christmas decorations this year…
December 18, 2008
You know that the sugar has gone to your husband’s head when he says “It’s like having 20 different wives who all baked me a different flavor of cookies!”, but all you can do is laugh because the joy you see in his eyes as he is sampling all the treats is just too cute. Yes, my husband actually said that — you see, I’ve been to 2 cookie exchange parties in the past week (one at my friend Natalie’s house and another at work) and our kitchen counter is abound with sugary concoctions. Each night after dinner it’s like he’s a kid in a candy store…he skips over to the cookies and creates the perfect plate of mixed delicacies – chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, some with frosting, some without, some with gooey centers…you get the point. One night, he even took the individually wrapped bags of cookies and ranked them in order of his most to least favorite – laying them all out in a row so he’d eat the best ones first before they got stale! He is a connoisseur of all things high in sugar so not having to bake or think about dessert for a while has been a nice break for me! Attending the parties was a nice little time. Natalie (the hostess at the first party) had the cutest little treat bags for us to stash away our goodies in — and she served a delicious fare of soup, salad and dips! For this party I made homemade oatmeal cookies.
I hope that you enjoy the sugar in your lives this holiday season — just remember we’ll all be battling the scales come January — so sometimes it’s best to just pass the sweets to the husband!!
December 11, 2008
As many of you know, my Uncle Robert passed away in August 2007 of brain cancer, leaving my aunt Beth and cousin Bobby, his then 8 year old son, here without a husband or father. My family has done several things to ensure Bobby doesn’t forget his dad and what an amazing person he was (saved pictures, created scrapbooks, clipped newspaper articles) — and today our family learned of another way that we may be able to ensure that the memory of Robert and his good deeds is never forgotten. The city of Southlake, Texas (where Robert was a police officer) is building a new city park and the Parks & Recreation office is taking suggestions on who they should name the park after. The guidelines for naming state that the person chosen must be a “A deceased individual or group who served the community” and my Uncle Robert did just that.
I’m asking that you take 2 minutes to email the Parks & Recreation department at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell them that the park should be named after my uncle, Officer Robert Hodges. No long, detailed explanation is needed (although a sentence or 2 might help our case). You need only to include your suggested name of the park (Robert Hodges Memorial Park), your name, address, and phone number. I am pasting my submission below so that you can see how well thought of my uncle was in his community.
Thanks for your time and consideration in this matter! The deadline is this Monday, December 15th, so PLEASE send your emails ASAP!!!!
I would like to suggest that the new Southlake City Park be named after Officer Robert Hodges, a 12 year veteran of the city of Southlake Department of Public Safety, who passed away August 2, 2007 after an 8 month battle with brain cancer. My suggested name for the park is the Robert Hodges Memorial Park.
Officer Hodges’ career flourished as a motorcycle officer in the city of Southlake and in 1997 he received the Director’s Award, the department’s highest annual individual recognition award. In 2002, he was awarded the highly coveted Life Saving Award after rescuing and resuscitating a drowning 22-month-old child from a swimming pool. Officer Hodges was also a well-known motorcycle riding instructor within the community and served as an instructor to motor officers from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies throughout the DFW area.
Apart from his daily duties at the police department, Officer Hodges was a highly regarded community volunteer who founded and organized the Southlake Showdown Police Motorcycle Rodeo benefiting Special Olympics Texas. He also developed and implemented the school crossing-guard program for Carroll ISD and volunteered many hours training school crossing guards to ensure the safety of children. He loved the fact the he was recognized by kids in the community.
Office Robert Hodges was a highly respected community advocate and volunteer and his popularity in the Southlake community can be seen through the many events and fundraisers that the citizens of Southlake organized for him and his family while he was ill (see links below). There is no better way to preserve his name in the Southlake community than to name the new city park after him.
Dallas News Article about Officer Hodges’ passing – http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/obituaries/stories/DN-hodgesob_04met.ART.North.Edition1.4244f88.html
Motorcycle Rally benefit for Officer Hodges – http://www.dfwfreedomriders.org/newsletters/2007mar-nl.pdf
Robert Hodges Softball Benefit – http://southlakelibrary.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html
Southlake Citizens organize Casino Night Fundraiser for Officer Hodges –http://www.dentonrc.com/grapevinesun/pdfs/grapevinesun050307.pdf
Spokes4Hope a bicycle program for underprivileged kids started in Officer Hodges’ name by fellow motorcycle officers – http://southlaketxnews.com/images/frontpage.pdf
Officer Hodges honored for his valiant service to the Southlake Department of Public Safety in a speech by Congressman Kenny Merchant in the United States House of Representatives – http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?r110:20:./temp/~r110R7XrkW::
December 11, 2008
This past weekend Dustin and I and a few of our friends braved the almost freezing weather in support of several local charities in San Antonio (it seems like I’ve been doing this a lot lately…and I hate cold weather…but I guess when it’s for a good cause, I can’t resist!). We geared up and rode in a 15 mile charity bike ride through the San Antonio Missions and along the San Antonio River. It was called Mission to Mission and we pledged donations to the Rape Crisis Center, Meals on Wheels, and the Seton Home among others in return for the chance to ride the beautiful trails with hundreds of other bikers. It was a great experience and a very scenic, relaxing ride. I was able to stay up with the guys most of the time and they even let me lead the way a few miles of our trip! It was a great day for a great cause and I feel great for being a part of it! I hope some of you will join us next year.
December 11, 2008
I know it’s been way too long since I’ve posted about my cousin Jon and his progress in battling leukemia. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has emailed, myspaced, facebooked, texted or called to check on him and to remind us that you continue to pray for him and our family. A lot of time has passed since I last posted on his battle and a lot has happened. I’m going to make a very long and grueling story short and add Jon’s blog comments where I can to explain what he is going through. These are laymen’s terms, so forgive me if some of this sounds simplistic…believe me, it’s not.
I had already posted this, but I’ll reiterate to refresh you — After the initial months of chemotherapy and radiation the tumor in Jon’s chest had shrunk by almost half. Here is his blog about the occasion –
So I finished my 3rd cycle of chemo. It was really tough. This isn’t getting any easier. It is the hardest thing I’ve had to go through so far. I told people before, I can truly understand why some people just want to let go and stop going to chemo. It wears you out so bad. Sometimes you just want to say forget it…make me comfortable and enjoy the time I have left. It is hell. The worst pain, nausea, anxiety and fear all balled up in to one feeling. I can’t come close to describing the way it actually makes you feel. I’m not giving up. I have 5 more chemotherapy treatments. Then I don’t know what happens. Hopefully the tumor will be gone and the Leukemia in remission. If not, then I’ll figure it out when I get there. I had a CAT scan while I was in for the 3rd Cycle and it showed that the tumor in my chest has shrunk almost in half. That was wonderful news. Hopefully it keeps on shrinking. Thanks again everybody for the prayers and support. I love you all. Don’t take your life and health for granted like I did. Be thankful for each day. This life we have is borrowed. Take care. -Jon-
After a few more rounds of chemo, the pain came back as did the tumor L Jon’s blog –
well it appears that my situation has taken a turn. I started having pain again in my arm and chest. The same pain that brought me to the hospital to be diagnosed with the t cell lymphoma and leukemia. I had a PET scan which shows active disease. The tumor in my chest some how has grown back to its original size. So now I’m back at square one. The fight is not over. My next step is to go to Baylor Dallas for significantly stronger cycles of chemo therapy. I will also have to have bone marrow stem cell transplants. That’s all I know at this point. I’m terrified right now. They are going to get the ball rolling on the transfer on Monday. Who knows when I’ll actually make it to Dallas. Please continue to pray for me. I really need them. I thank everybody for everything.
Jon’s condition continued to worsen for a while and he had to take higher and higher doses of chemo to try to fight the cancer. Jon’s blog –
I have officially been in the hospital 25 days in row. The Chemo was rough but I made it through again. The chemo was so strong that I might have to stay in the hospital 6 weeks instead of 1 week like in ft. worth at Harris. The chemo cycle I received was 6 times stronger than what I was used to receiving. So now I’m just waiting on my Labs to recover, most importantly I’m waiting on a Bone Marrow/stem cell donor match. My life depends on it. So that’s where things stand right now. I’m doing pretty good over all. I’m not fat and hairy anymore. I’m just fat. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss everybody and mixin it up at shows.
P.S. I’m sorry, I know I’m being selfish but If you have time could you throw up a prayer that I find a Bone marrow stem cell match. Thank you and God Bless
Over a month went by with no leads on a stem cell/marrow match/donor. I can’t imagine how slow that time must have gone by for Jon. All of the family went to get swabbed (you only have to have your cheek swabbed to determine if you are a marrow match for someone!) and a few swabbing drives were setup to encourage other people to get tested to see if they were a match for a marrow transplant (not just for Jon, but for any of the thousands of people who are needing a transplant to survive!). Finally, we found out that Jon’s dad was almost a perfect match. Jon’s blog –
Well everybody, they found a donor for my bone marrow transplant! It’s my Dad!!! This is unheard of in the medical world. Biologically parents are only a half match 6/12 to their offspring. But somehow my parents shared certain antigens, making my blood and my father’s blood very similar. He is a 10/12 match. We even have the same blood type. My Oncologist said it’s a miracle. You just don’t see parents that close of a match. In my dr’s words “its really cool!” It’s great. My doctor said that even if there was a perfect 12/12 match to come along, he would still use my dad as the donor because we are from the same blood line which reduces the chances of my body rejecting the transplant. My Doctor feels comfortable that with the anti-rejection meds that I should respond well to the transplant. I’m hoping so. I would like to thank everybody who has been put on the National Registry and had their blood checked for me. I can’t thank everybody enough. Y’all are wonderful people. I will go in the hospital on Nov 30th. I will get 2 days of high dose chemotherapy followed by 3 days/6 doses of radiation. Then I will get the bone marrow/stem cell transplant. I will then be in the hospital for at least a month. Hopefully my body will accept the new marrow and stem cells and they engraft. If they engraft as planned, it should kill off the rest of the tumor in my chest and convert the leukemia and put all my cancer into remission. I just have to continue to take it a day at a time. God is wonderful. I hope everybody has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love everybody. -Jon-
As of now, Jon remains in the hospital and is recovering from the transplant. Here is a ‘momma’s report’ on him from December 7th – “Jon had nausea during the night and his blood counts are very low and he will receive another unit of blood. He said he feels awful with body aches like the flu. He wants to be well and live a normal life. He has suffered so much, he deserves a beautiful life. The fireworks of celebration are just around the corner. We love you dearly sweet family.”
I beg you to please keep Jon in your thoughts and prayers as he undergoes this phase of his battle with cancer. My family is thankful for your love, support and prayers during this time.
December 11, 2008
First off I must confess that busy-ness has overwhelmed me the past few weeks. I’ve been so busy in all aspects of my life (socially, philanthropically, at work, at home) and though I’m usually able to deal with it all and keep on truckin’, I’ve found it very hard lately. I’m not complaining as I’ve enjoyed some great girl time, husband time, and me time in the past few weeks, but I am just no longer able to juggle the 500 tasks I have going on at once each day. I’ve been frazzled, unorganized, fuzzy-brained, sleepy, headachey, and lethargic and I just can’t get over it. To try to tackle the domineering inertness I’ve come down with, I’ve given myself 1 task each night that I must complete — be it cleaning the dining table (of all my crafty projects that fill my to-do list with due dates before December 24th!), check my email or even just making dinner. I’ve done pretty well between my evenings out…I mean, I couldn’t resist Bunco night, girls pizza night, and a cookie exchange party…but I am looking forward to some time in the future (most likely after Christmas) when I can calm down a bit and get back into a routine (working out and eating in are both on that agenda). For those of you who know me well, this agenda also includes ridding myself of the ‘bumps’ that have once again shown up on my feet — itchy, irritating, keep-me-up-at-night, blister bumps that I haven’t had since I was about 23 years old!!! They’re back and they’re a bitch..supposedly from stress…inattentive to any topical or oral medication I use to battle them. uuugggghhhh….
Ok, now to the real purpose for this post…Thanksgiving!! I have a lot to be Thankful for. My life is pretty darn good – my family is the best – friends are the finest – job is paying the bills. With the exception of praying for a little more in the way of health for my family, this year has been pretty superb. Dustin and I spent 4 days with my family in Granbury and it was so nice to be able to spend time with everyone. Thursday was filled with fun and food at my grandparent’s house on the lake and ended with a night full of laughter while playing Cranium. Friday was spent napping and finishing the leftovers! Saturday was with my Mom who prepared a delectable dinner of Cornish hens. The drive to and fro was a little longer than we remembered (how does 4 hours seem to stretch out every time we make the drive?)…but we’d do it again in a heartbeat if it meant spending time with some of our favorite people.
Check out all of our pictures from Thanksgiving here.
I pray that all of you were able to enjoy such a tiptop time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving as well. Get ready, the holidays are upon us and I know it means the hustle and bustle is here to stay (for at least the next 4 weeks). Good luck getting your house ready (my decorations are half hung, but mostly strewn about the house waiting to be placed….uuuuhhh…the list goes on!). I hope to see many of you this holiday season, but until then remember “At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year” (Thomas Tusser).