Monday, November 24, 2014


Me and my Daddy

On October 23rd, at approximately 8:30am, my life changed.  At 10:49pm, it changed again.

A girl identifies herself differently at different points in her life.  A dancer, an athlete, a brainiac, a gymnast, an actress, an honor student, a girlfriend, a college student, a business woman, a wife, a mother.... the list is infinite.  But from the very moment we come into this world, we are all one thing - a daughter.  To someone, somewhere, present or not, traditional or not, we are daughters.  And in the backs of our minds, we always define ourselves, in part, as Mommy and/or Daddy's Little Girl.  On October 23rd, at approximately 8:30am, while I was in a car on my way to see him... I ceased to be Daddy's Little Girl, because my Daddy left this world for a better one.

It's been a rough couple of years for my family.  In 2013, My Mom's brother, my Uncle George, was diagnosed with throat cancer.  Then, my Dad's sister, my Aunt Kathleen, was diagnosed with leukemia.  And the final blow of the year was my Dad being diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor.  They all underwent treatment.  Some more aggressive than others.  But they all refused to go silently into that good night.  We all had high hopes that 2014 would be a year to slay the dragon that is Cancer.

Aunt Kathleen fought like the tiger she was.  From the moment she was diagnosed, she made appointments and phone calls and did research.  She went to the best hospital available to her - even though it was an almost 2 hour drive from her house.  But in the end, her body gave out on her, and she left us on June 5th.

My Uncle Georgie stopped his treatment in pretty short order.  It destroyed his quality of life, and the payoff was maybe an extra year.  He decided it wasn't worth it.  We can only assume he was right.  He made it about a year past the end of his treatment before he left us, at complete peace with the end of his life, which came on October 11th.

Both of those losses were hard.  I loved my Aunt and Uncle to the ends of the Earth and back again. I think about them all the time, and know that they are both looking over us.  I know that they are both healthy and whole and happy.  That they are with our amazing loved ones who have gone before them.  That my Grandparents were likely waiting for them with open arms.  That they are with God.  And, although all of that is a comfort, being left on this Earth without them is still hard.   But, really, I had no idea...

I got a phone call on Wednesday morning, October 22nd.  We were at my daughter's riding lesson.  I saw the caller ID, and my heart dropped.  It had been several weeks since I'd directly spoken to my Dad.  I knew what the phone call was.  I briefly thought of ignoring it, but, of course, ignoring something doesn't make it go away.  Oh, how I wish it did!  I would have ignored it forever.  I was told that my Dad was failing.  That if I wanted to say goodbye, I should get my butt to New Jersey.  That I shouldn't wait.  Even until tomorrow.  So, I made phone calls.  I called my stepmother, who said Dad was best in the mornings, and why don't I come around 9am?  I made arrangements... my husband left work early, took Thursday off, I packed, accepted my Aunt's offer to spend the night with her, gassed up, and off I went.  It's a 3 and a half hour drive from my house to my Aunt's.  Longest three hours of my life.

We woke early, my Aunt and I.  It was an hour drive to my Dad's from her house.  I showered and dressed up a little.  I even put on makeup.  I wanted to look nice for my Daddy.  We stopped for breakfast.  Half way to his house, we got the phone call that we were too late.  Or he was too early.  But either way, God had called him home.

The rest of the day is already a little hazy.  I'm not sure how I made the 3.5 hour drive back home that afternoon.  There were tears, certainly, but I didn't really loose it until I was home, the kids were in bed, and I was alone in the dark with my husband.  Then, I sobbed like a little kid.  Like the Daddy's Little Girl I no longer was.  And then I got the text.  It was 11:10pm.

"7 lbs. 8 oz.  Don't have length yet....born at 10:49.  She pushed 4 times and that's it.  She did amazing!!"

One of my best friend's daughter's... she was 8 days overdue with a son.  They decided to induce her that morning.  And Colton arrived an hour before midnight... the moment my life changed again.

Thursday, October 23rd started with one of the most significant men in my life leaving this world... and it ended with a new man coming into it.  It's only right, I suppose.  If God was going to take my Daddy that day, that He give me a reminder of life's miracles.  That, against all my thoughts to the contrary, life goes on.  That happiness is still possible.  That it's ok to smile... and even to laugh.  And that this hole in my heart and in my life won't ever go away... but I will learn to go on in spite if it.  In some ways, because of it.  Because I know that my Dad would want those of us he left behind to find our happiness again.

I love you, Daddy...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Things We Do....

I saw something once, a saying about how we, as parents, feel about our kids.  Something along the lines of, "Our children are our hearts beating outside of our bodies."  I thought that was true when my kids were babies.  I would have protected them with everything I have, and then some.  I'd give my last breath for my babies.  And as they grow, I'm learning the broader meaning of that saying.

To keep our hearts beating, we will do a whole nature of things that go well beyond physical protection.  Sure, we feed them, clothe them, make them brush their teeth and try to keep them basically healthy.  That's kind of a no-brainer.  But what else is there?  Now that I have one that's almost double digits (holy. crap.), I'm really learning the extents to which I will go, the mountains I will climb, to raise the little people I made into the best adults they can be.

As I'm sure you've noticed, my boy child has an affinity for baseball.  Just a little.  I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised - it's in his DNA.  My Dad played ball for the Padres organization in the 60's.  My Popop (on the other side of the family, my Mom's Dad) was pursued by the Yankees in the 30's-ish (the YANKEES!  In the golden era of baseball!!).  Neither of them played past their late teens/early twenties.  My Dad because there wasn't a whole lot of money in baseball in the 60's, unless you were a superstar, and he was already married with a son, and my Grandfather because he came from a "good" family, and you just didn't ignore your "real life" to "play a game".  But the fact is that my son has a baseball rich heritage.  Who knows, maybe he's got the spirit of my Pop in him, urging him along so he can give it another go.

But whether it's because if all that or in spite of it, my son loves this game.  He watches the games, follows the stats - both Minor AND Major League, plays every chance he can get...  He eats, sleeps and breathes this sport.  He's got a passion for it that's rare in 9 year old boys.  So we foster it.  We feed it.  We play with him.  We have fun with him.  We get him lessons.  We send him to camps and clinics.  We try not to think about the expense, and we simply find a way.  A way to help our heart not just keep beating, but grow and thrive.  And that's how I came to be writing this today, from a Starbucks 50 miles from my house.

We signed Connor up for summer camp with the Washington Nationals, his favorite baseball team.  It was quite the expense, and it's not close.  It not only required financial output for the camp itself, but a 50 mile drive - each way, every day, sometimes twice a day for me, for 5 days.  Through morning rush hour in DC traffic.  Which can be (and has been, on a couple of occasions), nightmarish.  But the look on his face when I told him he was going was amazing.  The experience he's had this week was worth. every. damn. penny.  Every minute on the highway.  Every gallon of gas and mile on my beloved car.  Every whine from my 3 year old, who had to make the afternoon drive with me 3 times.  All to keep my heart beating strongly.

And today?  Today is Friday.  The last day of Nats Camp.  Possibly probably definitely the best day ever.  Today, he gets to go to Nationals Park.  He gets to play on the field.  Did you know that when you take a tour of any given ballpark, you're allowed on the warning track (that dirt area between the grass and the wall that circles the field), but you're not even allowed to touch the grass?  And they're not kidding.  They'll escort you right out of the ballpark.  But my kid gets to play out there today.  Like the big boys.  I told him to roll in the outfield grass for me, so I can smell him later.

But that's not even all.  He gets to meet one of the players.  And not some Minor Leaguer who's name no one knows, yet.  He gets to meet a regular.  An active 25-man roster guy.  He gets to meet Nate McLouth, who my son knows and respects.  He gets to talk to him, ask him questions, and get an autograph.

He gets to touch the dream today.  And that's worth all the exhaustion, all the time, all the money in the world.  Because I will do all of that and more... because my heart deserves every bit of it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Raising an Athlete

Be careful what you wish for... You just might get it.

From the time I realized I wanted kids, I imagined what they would be like.  I know what I wanted, of course.  The same thing we all want: a happy, healthy, well-rounded, smart, good at everything, liked by everyone, successful in life offspring.  Barring all that, which pretty much takes a small miracle, we secretly pick.  Part of my secret wish for my firstborn was that he be a good athlete.  It does, after all, run in the family, so it wasn't like that particular wish wasn't do-able.  I just had no idea how it could come around to bite me in the butt.

We've tried several sports.  Gymnastics, swimming, cross country, baseball...  If he wants to give it a shot, we're willing.  He was good at them all.  He's small, fast and strong.  He runs a mile in 6:22 (freakish, I know.  I don't think I can ride my bike that fast).  But baseball...  he fell in love with baseball.  I didn't start him until he was 6, because I thought he might be bored.  Let's face it, America's pastime isn't necessarily the most exciting or fast paced game in the world.  And since baseball runs in the DNA, I wanted him to like it.  So, we waited.  He had a really cool T-Ball Coach that he loved.  He was one of the first to be able to hit a coach-pitched ball.  Later that fall, he started playing Machine Pitch.  Bigger kids, faster balls, more rules.  He loved it.  He picked less daisies in the outfield.  The next Spring, he played as a 7-year-old, one of the younger kids at the Machine Pitch level.  He learned to catch.  He was really good at it.  He was the only one that didn't shy away from the ball coming at him at 35mph.  We took him to his first Washington Nationals game.  We stayed until the bitter end, by his choice.  He declared Bryce Harper to be his favorite player, and the Nats his favorite team.  He decided he would play for them when he got older.

Last year, we had to make our first difficult athletic decision for him.  Move him up to the next level (Kid Pitch Minors), or keep him in Machine for one more season?  The average age progression for these kids is as follows:  T-Ball, 4-7; Machine Pitch, 8-9; Minors, 9-11; Majors, 11-12.  He was 7 playing Machine.  Should we move him up to Minors at 8, or leave him down another year?  Based on Coach feedback (and Connor's begging), we moved him up.  I was nervous about him playing with older, bigger boys, but it turns out it was for nothing (mostly).  He rose to the occasion and did a fantastic job.  His team even made it to the City Championships (which they lost), and he played 2nd base most of the way.  I just won't tell you about some of the new... ah... interesting terminology he picked up while sharing a dugout with 11 year olds.

By the end of that 2013 season, my son had really hit his stride.  He did a couple of camps over the summer, practiced all the time, took private lessons, hit the batting cages, clinics, you name it.  He started switch hitting.  Well.  Like, line drives and grounders 75-80% of the time off a 40mph machine well.  He's 9!  I swear, if you asked the child if he would rather breathe or play ball, he'd pick baseball every time.  My Dad and my husband bought him some practice equipment for the yard.  He didn't care if there was snow on the ground, he wanted to play.  And it sure showed at his Spring Evaluations last week.  Turns out he did so well that all the Coaches were - still are - talking about him.  Even though we had expressed that we were leaning toward keeping him in Minors this season, talk of moving him up surfaced.  Once he got wind of it, the begging started again.  "Pleeeeeaaaasssseeee let me play Majors!  PLEASE?"

Did I mention that there are 12-year-old boys in Majors?  That's Middle School.  That's hormones.  That's some kids that are bigger than my husband.  Seriously.

But...  he's a really good ball player.

But... he's my baby.

When did "I hope my son is a good athlete" turn into a bunch of grown-ups vying to have him on their team?  Seriously, apparently one of the Coaches offered up two other players of he could get my kid on his team.  Makes a Mama proud.  And makes a decision that should be easy that much harder.

I have to balance challenging him vs. overwhelming him.  Keeping him excited about the game vs. boring the crap out of him.  Play more vs. ride the bench more.  Play with boys his own age vs. older boys.  The list goes on.

Where's my kid manual???  You know, the one with the answers to all the tough stuff??

So, yeah...  having an excellent athlete isn't all cheering and proud Mama moments.  It's stressful and nerve-wracking, too.  And let's not even talk about expensive.  And you never get to win the Mother of the Year Award in years where you disappoint your own kid.  Because he's playing Minors again...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Born Again Athlete

This morning, when I was at the gym taking a group class, the instructor said something really cool.

"Everyone is on a personal fitness journey.  Maybe today, you're just trying to get through this class.  Maybe you're past that, and today you're trying to SLAM this class."

She doesn't care which one it is... she's just glad we're there.

Two years ago, I wouldn't have gone this morning.  Two years ago, I wasn't even a member of a gym.  Two years ago, I was proud of myself for walking a couple of times a week around my neighborhood, pushing a stroller.  Two years ago, I was still working on fixing what was broken inside, so I could be happy with the outside.  Today was my 5th workout this week.  Today, even though I'm tired, and the kids are already frazzled with Christmas glee, and I have a million other things I could have done, I did not do what I would have done two years ago.  Today, I got my ass in gear, got the kids up and ready, fed everyone, made my son's lunch, got him out the door to school - with his trombone! - packed myself and my daughter up, and went to the gym for my hardest class of the week.  Why?  Because today, I'm a different person.  My innards have morphed right along with my outtards.

My journey isn't over.  I've learned that it probably never will be.  I will constantly fight an inner battle with my relationship with food.  But here's the thing: two years later, I've won the war.  I got this.  There will still be skirmishes.  There will still be days where food wins, and that's even okay.  But I will never again be obese.  Because it's not who I am anymore.

Some of the stuff I've learned on this crazy journey:
1.  On day one, you are always ready and raring to go.
2.  On day five, you think you'll never make it.
3.  You will.  Just don't stop.
4.  On day 365, you know you'll make it.
5.  If you don't fix the inside, you will never love the outside, no matter how much you loose.
6.  Yes, spending an hour or two in the gym (or wherever) everyday is absolutely worth the time you spend away from your kids. They would rather have a healthy, fit, happy parent who plays with them, instead of an unhealthy, unhappy, cranky and out-of-shape parent who is physically present but never gets down and dirty with them.
7.  Don't diet. They don't work.
8.  Do find the nutrition/exercise combo that works for you.  I did not loose 80 pounds with tricks.  I worked my butt off.
9.  Don't listen to the critics.  They're everywhere.  I got criticized for being heavy, and I get criticized for being thin.
10.  Once you've retrained it, listen to your body.  After a while, it knows what it's doing better than you do.
11.  Don't beat yourself up for having the occasional crappy meal.  Or doughnut.  Or burger.  Or mac-n-cheese.  Or even half a box of Munchkins (yes, I did that.  Yesterday, actually.  And, seriously...  my body hates me today.  But... yum).  It happens.  Just don't let it happen all the time.
12.  Learn to love food again.  Food is good, and it's meant to be enjoyed.
13.  You have to do it for you.  Until you're ready to do it for yourself, it won't work.
14.  You do have the time.  Get up earlier, go to bed later, just do it.  The time is there, if you want to find it.
15.  Believe.  You can do this.  I know you can.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Friend's Angels

Loss is a part of life.  We loose little things all the time - our keys, cell phones, favorite pair of jeans... but these things are all replaceable.  Our loved ones, when we loose them, are not.  My most painful loss is that of my Nana.  She helped raise me.  She was 92 when she passed 5 years ago, and it still hurts.  But there are losses that we, as spouses and parents, can't bear thinking about.  If I lost my husband, I don't know how I would continue to function.  If I lost a child...  one of my precious babies... well, I just can't even go there.  But I have to.  I have to, just for a second, try to imagine it.  Why would I do that, you ask?  Because I know people, friends, who have lost their babies.  Some to miscarriage, some to still birth, some to tragedy.  And they, without exception, are forever changed.

I haven't had a miscarriage.  I haven't had a still birth.  I haven't lost a child to a fire, a car accident, a drowning, or any other horrible tragedy.  And I can try - so can you - to imagine it, what it feels like, what those parents must go through... but I can't.  I know I won't even come close.  So why bother?  Because I have to remember that as much as I might want to ignore it, to pretend none of that can ever happen, it does.  And my ignoring it does not help my friends.  Talking about it, about the angles taken too soon, about what happened, even...  those are the things that help.  How do I know this?  My friends have told me.  They've told me the best thing we, as supporters, can do is to talk, to remember, to be a shoulder, to listen, to hug... and if we need to shy away, that's ok - they wish they could ignore it, too.  They understand.  But they need people who won't.  They need people who will, on some days, hunker down in the trenches with them as much as they need us to haul them out on others.  Is it hard?  Is it heart-wrenching?  Of course it is.  But what I, as someone who's never gone through the loss of a child, will feel absolutely pales in comparison.

Why am I writing this today?  It seems like there have been a lot of babies leaving us lately...  I attended the funeral of a playmate of my 2 year old daughter recently.  She was only 3 weeks older than Casey.  Just a few days ago, I heard of a 3 year old who was lost.  A local family lost 2 young daughters to a house fire.  Newtown.  And these families, and the countless others like them, need us to support them correctly, and not to just ignore it.  Don't just ignore and offer painful platitudes... help by facing the pain with them.  From what I'm told, it helps more than we can know.

One of my amazing survivor friends told another recent survivor to ignore everyone that kept telling her to "just take one day at a time".  She said that one whole, long, excruciating day was too overwhelming.  She should take one minute at a time, one breath.  That can be handled.  And you just take it from there.  If that doesn't help with our understanding, I don't know what will.

Take a look at this Still Standing Magazine... let these wonderful people help you help others.  Please...  do not ignore or push aside the loss of a baby, whether they were born or unborn when they got their wings.

And then...  go see Return to Zero when it's released.  You will help so many families by breaking the silence.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Frustrations, Plateaus and Other Fun Stuff

I don't like 2013.  I know we're only 3 months in, and it's certainly possible that 2013 will redeem itself, but I'm not holding out much hope.  Less than 2 weeks in, I had a minor fender bender in my brand new, 4 month old, Honda Pilot.  My husband insists that once it was washed, you can't even tell.  There are some scratches, and the wheel well is pushed out ever so slightly.  I can tell.  It pisses me off every time I see it.  Because the stoopid accident was my fault.  Haven't had an accident for over 10 years, and I swipe a guy at 11pm on a Saturday night in downtown Baltimore.  While wearing a formal dress.  Great.

Our shower is broken.  The base has a nifty crack in it that started leaking into my son's closet.  You know how I know?  I found mold growing on the ceiling in there when I was putting away some blankets from a sleepover he had.  We can't use my shower until it gets fixed.  Which was supposed to happen 2 days ago, but since the part has to be special ordered, I have to wait another 2 weeks.  Oh, and did I mention that the money to fix this particular debacle comes from the money I was going to use to buy my new, professional grade camera?  That I have been waiting for and drooling over forever?  Yeah.

My husband changed jobs (that's actually good).  We found out after he started that his new insurance wouldn't kick in for almost 2 months.  And when the Cobra letter came in the mail, it was more than our mortgage to get the patch insurance.  Nobody get sick until April 1st, people!!

I've had to deal with an unacceptable level of drama in an organization I volunteer for.  A reminder of why I, at times, really dislike being only one of the people in charge, as opposed to the person in charge.  When you're the person in charge, you can tell everyone else to take a long walk off a short pier, and do what you think is right.  Sometimes, it's just better that way.

Since March 17th, 2012, I've lost 54 pounds.  I've gone from a size 14 to a size 8.  And I'm stuck.  Been stuck, and fluctuating inside the same 3 pounds for six. weeks.  When I'm at the bottom of that 3 pounds, I only have about 10 pounds to go to hit my goal.  Ten pounds!!  I've lost almost 55 pounds, how come I can't drop the last 10?!  Grrrrr.

Most recently, my son started his Little League season.  His first year in kid pitch, yay!  And he winds up with what, by all appearances, is an amazing Coach.  After the first practice, I was thrilled.  Until we got the email that he's moving his child down to machine pitch - for perfectly good reasons, and I respect that - and won't be the Coach.  Less than one week of practice, 2 weeks until opening day, and he's on his second Coach.  Woo. Hoo.

But, here's the thing...  If you know me, you know I'm a pretty positive person.  I'm simply wired that way.  So, with all the stuff that's happened in this thus far short year, I'm still managing to see the silver lining - thank GOD.  Otherwise, I might have already stuck a fork in my eye.  Repeatedly.  That fender bender?  It really was minor, and no one was hurt.  It's just a car.  A fabulous, amazing, well-worth-the-long-wait-for-it car, but still just a material thing.  And the kids were not with us for the experience.  And the insurance company rocked it.

The mold in my son's ceiling?  Nothing but ordinary, run-of-the-mill, non-toxic water mold.  And not much of it.  A simple removal and replacement of the offending affected drywall, and it's fixed.  The shower?  After some whopping estimates that ranged from a staggering $5,500 (do NOT use Sears home renovation services!  Everything from the guy that came out to the overpriced products stunk.) to a more reasonable $2,000, we found a highly recommended independent construction guy who'll do it for $800.  More silver lining on that one?  That means I can get my camera!!

The insurance?  No one's gotten sick (I'm currently knocking on wood).  And, even dealing with that hassle, my husband went from a 90 minute commute - each way - to a 5 minute one.  He's home more. He's less tired.  He's less stressed (so far).  Let's hope this keeps up, because it's worth every uninsured-for-almost-2-months minute.

The volunteer thing?  It's worked itself out.  With the help of an amazing mentoring organization.  And some good friends with clear perspective.

My weight?  Well, I got on the scale this morning (weigh in day!), and I've lost 2.5 more pounds.  I'm up to almost 57 pounds lost and 8 pounds to my goal weight.  Plateau OVER!

Little League?  I still haven't met the new Coach, but he seems ok.  And there are some pretty good kids on my son's team.  My son loves baseball, and that's all that really matters.

There are good things that have happened in 2013.  My daughter, who just turned 2 in December, has suddenly jumped to forming "real" sentences with inflection and everything.  Like, "Now can I watch Mickey, Mommy?"  Or, "Can you make me some mac and cheese, pleeeeeeeeease?"  And the daily, "Mommy, can we go get Connor now?  He's at school."  She amazes me.

My son is excelling in school.  He's advancing in his Tae Kwon Do training - he'll be a Green Belt soon.  He's active and healthy and an absolute trip.  He amazes me, too.

I have the best husband ever.  Seriously, ever.  I would list why, but the list would be so sappy and sentimental that it might make you throw up in your mouth a little, and I wouldn't want to do that to you.

After a lot of years feeling like my close friends were achingly far away, I have found a set of amazing and wonderful women who are finally making me feel like I'm home.

Huh.  Look at that.  Maybe there is some redemption in 2013, after all.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


There are times in my life when I am completely humbled.  The birth of my kids was one.  My latest endeavor is another.

On September 29th, I'll be participating in the 2012 Warrior Dash in Virginia.  It's a 3+ mile obstacle course.  Mud, fire, mud, climbing walls, mud, hills, mud, water, mud, cargo net climb... did I mention the mud?  I'd heard of it before.  Tim actually wanted to do the Tough Mudder (a Warrior Dash on some serious steroids), but we'll be out of town.  So this whole mud run thing wasn't new.  What I didn't realize was that these things are generally done to raise money for charity.  How awesome is that?  As odd as it might sound, I'm all for that sick and twisted do-something-physically-painful-and-call-it-fun kinda thing.  I think all athletes are.  And once I heard that I could not only run this Dash with amazing friends (thanks for the suggestion, Christine!!) but I that I also had the option of raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, I was all in.

Now, their goal is for their Warriors to reach $250 per individual.  As incentive, they give you access to the St. Jude VIP area... it has private showers.  Did I mention the MUD?  So, $250 seemed like a small price to pay.  Shoot, I was thinking of donating that all myself, just so I wouldn't have to drive 3 hours home covered in mud.  Ew.  But, honestly...  it's more than the shower.  St. Jude is one of my favorite charities.  Always has been, and became even more so once my oldest was born.  So I'm always willing to raise money for them.  So, I set my goal for $250.  Then $500.  Then $1,000...

And I've passed them all.  Faster than I thought I could.  Never in a million years would I have thought that my ticker would top $1,225.  Yep, that's right.  One thousand two hundred twenty five dollars.  From over 30 people.  And still going!  And there is where I am humbled.  Those people.  I actually signed on to my fund raising page one morning and started tearing up.  Ok, more than one morning.  All those people stopped and decided to give money to some kids in need.  Yeah, I asked, and that was a catalyst, but if they weren't giving people to begin with, they would have ignored the request.  There are people on my ticker that I know don't have extra to give, but they did anyway.  They all gave up something in their lives to give something to a kid with cancer.  And not even a kid they know.  A stranger.  I can't even say that they're all parents, and cannot imagine having to go through that with their own kids.  Several of my donators don't even have kids.  None of them have a dog in this fight.  But they all gave.  And I am humbled.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who gave.  And a thanks in advance to everyone who will.  This has been an amazing journey, and I haven't even run the actual Warrior Dash, yet!  My people are amazing and wonderful.  You make me proud, and I love you all.

**If you'd like to donate to St. Jude, please click on the link for my fundraising page, and have at it.  No amount is too small!!**