Monday, January 31, 2011

Road to THON

After a busy weekend of THON work, I thought I would have time to sit down and write about it all. After the hours editing and uploading photos... squeezing in a trip to the grocery store... babysitting... the blood drive... yeah well. Needless to say, I haven't gotten a chance to stop, to breathe and to write.

So in the mean time, enjoy the newest in the collection of THON videos:

I've spent a weekend celebrating my kids, my organization, the money we've raised and that we THON in less than 18 days. Please take a minute or two to celebrate with me:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flash Forward Friday

I'm constantly trying to come up with ideas, themes and improvements for this blog and here's the newest.

Flash Forward Friday.

Friday's are the busiest days of my week. Class 9 - 12. Babysitting 12 - 3. Work 4 - 10. That means a lack of free time, and consequently - a lack of blogging time. But Friday's are important. They're a precursor to a weekend of fun and a week of classes/THON events and hopefully, interesting posts.

The idea of Flash Forward Friday is to give you an idea of what is coming up here over the next week.

This weekend's plans include a trip to State College with my best friend for a day of THON meetings and time spent with these fabulous people.

Photo courtesy of CCSG and Andrew Bailey
Following CCSG, Hana and I will be attending our first THON hoops game with some of our favorite guys. This also means seeing our favorite families - the Hills, the Goldens, the Allens. And for Hana, meeting our commonwealth morale team and their fabulous captain, Steph Fuss.

Then early sunday, we will be back to York just in time for Basket Bingo. Remember, bingo will be taking place at Penn State York on Sunday at 2:00. Doors will open at 12:30 for refreshments and a light lunch and bingo itself will begin at 2:00! Tickets are only $20 and include 21 games of bingo plus the opportunity to win some great door prizes. You can purchase yours at the door on Sunday! All proceeds from the event will benefit the Penn State IFC/Pan-hellenic Dance Marathon and the fight against pediatric cancer.

For those of you in the York area, you can also contribute to THON on Monday in a less traditional way - by donating blood. For each blood donation, $4 will be donated to THON in Penn State York's name and you as a donor, will receive a fleece blanket. So if you have the time - come out and see us so that you can say "Today I saved lives and helped to stop cancer." It has a good ring to it, huh?

On Tuesday, I will be featuring a blog post on Penn State York's two THON dancers and a few of my friends who are also dancing for 46 hours this February. The post will feature information on how you can send them dancer mail to encourage them to continue dancing and various items you can send that they may enjoy for the weekend.

On Wednesday, you can check back for interviews and information about our commonwealth morale team - Teach Me How to Fussy. This team has done some incredible things this year for me, for Kasey, for York and for the kids. I want to take the time to stop and say thank you for all of that hard work and effort. Plus, nothing is more important for THON weekend than some yellow love.

Courtesy of Steph Fuss
And what about Thursday? Well, at this point it will likely be a post on the upcoming Polar Bear Plunge but in my life, who knows what may happen over the week so at this point - it's too far in the forecast to say. But likely it will be about Lindsey and I, why we're plunging and what in the world we're wearing.

So while we're on the subject of the plunge...

You can also make a donation by seeing me in person!

As you can see, it's going to be an interesting and busy week! (In my opinion, at least) Hopefully you'll check back for lots of posts and photos over the next seven days. Also remember, if there is anything you'd like to see here - feel free to let me know in a comment or by email.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gold Ribbons

Over the past few days, THON has been celebrating Awareness Week - a new tradition which celebrates the gold ribbon and everything that it stands for. To give you a better idea of why I wear a gold ribbon every day, THON prepared this video which was featured on the THONblog.


If you would like to do something simple to raise awareness, to show your support and to donate to an incredible cause which helps children everyday - you can buy your own gold ribbon pin at the THON store today. The simple action of wearing this pin gives you the opportunity to explain its significance to those who ask, and allows you to spread the message of THON, The Four Diamonds Fund and the fight against Pediatric Cancer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow and... Baskets?

An unlikely combination, I know. But, that is exactly what today is all about.

Snow days and Basket Bingo.

For those of you who are not in the North East, you may have missed the forecasts over the last few days which waned between snow, rain and sleet in amounts ranging from two inches to almost two feet. Now, the Weather Channel proclaims "Northeast: It's not over yet." But in our house, well, that's okay.

We're celebrating the brotherly love that snow brings. Now, don't get me wrong - two hours ago, the boys were at it. Arguing over who would play the DS next, who was going to be Luigi, who knows. But the snow and sledding, brings them together.

But for me? Well, the snow chases my wet feet and frozen fingers in doors. To get ahead in my online class. To prepare business reports. To do THON work. To blog. To eat cinnamon rolls.

Today's snowy day project is sharing with you Penn State York's upcoming Basket Bingo Benefitting THON.

This Sunday, my THON committee will be hosting it's first ever Basket Bingo. This event has been put together by our fundraising captain Brandy Snyder with help and hard work from our other committee members.

Our bingo will be featuring twenty regular games with Longaberger Basket prizes (please note, this is not a Longaberger sponsered event). In addition, we will have one special game (a "T" for THON, of course) and two raffles for Penn State themed baskets.

Not only can you win the baskets themselves, but each basket is packed with a theme. The themes vary from Valentine's Day to Italian Foods to "Pamper Yourself", a basket filled with treats from Bath and Body Works like those pictured above.

Steph and I were given the honor of filling the special game basket with kid-friendly fun and the perfect treats for anyone attending THON Weekend. In addition, this basket will feature tickets to Dutch Wonderland - a great win for any parent or grandparent.

Other baskets will also feature gift cards and tickets to local shows and venues. We've had some incredible donations for this event including tickets to Paranormal State at the Pullo Performing Arts Center, dinner and a show at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, a floral arangement from Pealers Flowers of Camp Hill, a gift card for Red Robin, movie tickets compliments of Regal Cinemas, and more. (A big thank you to all of the individuals and coorperations whose donations made this event possible.)

Your ticket purchase gains you admission to the event, inclusion in all twenty one bingo games and also makes you eligible to win some fantastic door prizes including gift certificates and special coupons to Chili's and Red Lobster. These are perfect for combatting those Valentine's Day costs.

While bingo begins at 2:00 pm, doors will open at 12:30 for light lunch and refreshments. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Brenda's Sandwiches, Martin's Potato Chips and more! You will also have the opportunity to find out more about Penn State York and our THON Committee before bingo begins.

Tickets for this event are only $20 and can be purchased at the door on Sunday in the Conference Center of the Main Classroom Building on campus. Any questions or ticket inquiries can be directed to myself via email or by commenting on this post.

Also look for our upcoming ad in the York newspaper on Saturday and for phone interviews with myself concerning Basket Bingo and THON this week on WOYK.

All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Penn State IFC/Pan-hellenic Dance Marathon to help in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Hope Express

In an attempt to get ready for THON Weekend 2011, I will be including a photo a day from my experience dancing as well as a piece of advice, a story or some little piece of inspiration.

THON recently revamped its gallery and created a new photobase which features photos from last year (Love Belongs Here) and this year (Together Without Limits) - not only photos of THON weekend but of the FT5K, Harvest Day, Family Carnival, 100 Days Celebration and more!

You can check it out here.

In fact, a photo was included from during the last four hours of the weekend and the time that I spent on stage with some of my favorite girls in the world - Steph, Becca and Maddie. If you look carefully, you'll also find a picture of Aiden and his face covered in stickers.

Courtesy of

Folks, this is what 46 hours awake and on your feet looks like.

In addition to this little photo feature, I will also be doing some posts explaining THON and many of the different aspects of what we do as a university, what we do as a campus and some of the incredible things my friends are involved with across the commonwealth.

Tonight's post is focused on one of the newer parts of THON, but a part of THON that is growing momentum every year. This group is off to a running start (no pun intended.. okay, maybe a little bit intended) at becoming one of the top fundraising independent organizations with a goal of topping $50,000 this year.

They are a group of students, alumni, previous dancers, Four Diamonds parents and inspired individuals who take on the challenge of closing the gap between the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and the Bryce Jordan Center, where THON takes place each year - a 135 mile gap, that is.

They are The Hope Express.

If you haven't yet heard of the Hope Express, you are not alone. This will be the run's fifth year in existance and I hadn't previously heard of the group or its goal until they ran into the BJC on a very important Friday last February.

"All too often in our day to day lives we like to think of ourselves in control. We plan our every moment and convince ourselves that we are not prone to harm. This is folly of course. We all eventually succumb to "some kind of mishap or misfortune. For most of us these mishaps are minor blips on the screen of life. Yet for others the misfortune is deeper. It is life changing. It runs deep, all the way to the soul of our being."

These are the thoughts and experiences of the Gabe Angus family - the family whose idea it was to create the Hope Express. Somehow, I missed the family's incredible story on Family Friday on the THON blog. (A big thanks for Savannah for sharing it with me.) Rather than condense their story for you, I suggest you read it for yourself as the words of Gabe's parents are moving and strike such a familiar note with many of us.

I fell in love with the idea, then and there but I never took the time to understand, to learn, what exactly these runners were doing or why. While THON weekend is a chance for many Four Diamonds family and children to take a weekend break from cancer, clinic and treatments to relax, laugh, run and play - that isn't the case for all families. Unfortunately, some children have count levels too low to attend THON. Others are currently admitted in the hospital. The Hope Express is a way to connect these families and kids, like Kasey, to the excitement and passion of THON Weekend. And while it breaks my heart that Kasey won't be able to join me this THON weekend - it inspires me to know that this team of runners will be helping to make THON feel not so far away from Marathon Avenue.

Despite the immediate excitement of seeing the runners complete their 135-mile journey, I doubt that I would have ever stopped to look up what the run was all about or how to get involved but this year, a friend (and inspiration, might I add) of mine, Brian, will be completing four legs of that journey.

After months of facebook statuses about midnight runs and event invitations to help support Brian and his run, I finally gave in and had to ask just what he was training for and why on earth he would be running at such odd times of night and in the snow, none the less.

During his sophomore year at Penn State, Brian became involved with THON after a friend of his, Kaitlin, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Not only did Brian decide he would join THON's fundraising efforts or would spend weekends standing in the cold collecting change, but he went above and beyond. In 2009, Brian was chosen to dance for Penn State Berks and went on to chair the organization the following year. Though he has graduated from Penn State, Brian remains heavily involved with THON through DMAIG, the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group, as a regional chair for the Philadelphia area and also through the Hope Express. Because as we all know - hope is sometimes the most important thing. And that is one thing that Brian has more of than just about anyone.

For those of you interested in running and the logistics of this specific run, below you can find an interactive course map. Brian will be completely three legs of the race on his own (each being three miles in length) and will then finish the last leg of the race with his teammates.

The first hand off of the relay will take place at the Hoss's in Hummelstown on Thursday, February 17th at approximately 6:30pm. For those of you in the area, Hoss's will actually be donating 20% of the days proceeds to the Hope Express team if you simply present this flyer. But at that moment, the race to THON begins.

Brian will be completing miles 25 - 27, miles 70 - 72 and miles 112 - 114 before finishing the race with his teammates. These nine miles include a trip through my local neighborhood of Mechanicsburg and even a leg over the Tuscarora Mountain.

Brian isn't new to running For the Kids - this was taken at this year's 5K at Penn State Berks.

Though Brian had danced at THON before, I had a feeling that the preparation for a task like this might be a little bit different. Like I said, I'd seen the facebook statuses concerning snowy midnight runs and when I got ready for THON weekend - it was in a cozy gym, on an eliptical, in my favorite leggings.

"Being a former THON 2009 dancer, I believe that The HOPE Express will be harder both physically and mentally, therefore it will take much more to prepare for the run on that cold, wintry night in February.
I've been preparing for the run like any runner would do if he/she was preparing for a race or marathon. Every week I've been running on average about 16-20 miles a week and since I've gotten my approximate start times I've been trying to run at those times to get used to sleep deprivation come February 17th.

And like any dancer would know, I've participated in the dancer diet once again and cut out caffeine and fatty foods. "

Oh, the dancer diet.

But Brian recognizes that all of the hard work and preparation isn't about your feet or heart rates but about the kids and inspiration. (Even if Natalie, Berks four-year old THON child, won't give him hugs.)

The Berks Dancers from 2009 were invited by Natalie's family to attend her final spinal tap treatment.
"For inspiration to keep training, I've been watching THON videos and gathering inspirational stories that I've collected in the past years to put in a packet so I that can read in between legs whenever I feel like giving up.

But I only need three letters that will push me through the mountains and allow me to get to the BJC this year - FTK."

FTK Pride from Costa Rica
If you would like to help keep Brian inspired, I will be collecting cards for him as he finishes the second leg of his race. If anyone would like to join me to cheer Brian on, I know he would appreciate some excited faces as he finishes his sixth mile of the run.

You can also help Brian get even more excited for the run by making a contribution in his honor at Simply select organizations and credit "Hope Express - Brian Tran." Your donation will not only support Brian in his run but will support all the families who are currently seeking and receiving treatment at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

Together, we will make a difference in the life of a child - wether its through a 135 mile run, 46 hours on our feet or a year worth of fundraising.

Monday, January 24, 2011


There are few things I love more than getting packages - or really, mail in general... even the credit card applications with nine pages of regulations and restrictions in English, nine in Spanish and four in Russian. But as you know, I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new camera strap. Today, I received the USPS tracking update that the package had been delivered to my home at precisely 12:25 and only four hours of babysitting and a night class stood in my way of opening the newly arrived manilla envelope.
My house lacks good acceptable lighting.
I couldn't be happier with it. The best feature is the plush lining across the shoulder but the ruffles are nice too. Every girl could use a little more ruffles in her life. If you happen to be looking for a new camera strap too (or would like to start thinking about a birthday gift for me..), check out Sassy Strap on Etsy - she carries straps for your DSLR, Point & Shoot, and even simple lanyards. The best part? Quick shipping. Mine arrived in less than five days including a southern snow storm and a Sunday. Now that's classy.

For those of you who are lucky enough not to talk to me every day, you may not have realized that "classy" has become my catch phrase - the word of the day, week, and month. Typically, it finds itself being used sarcastically and mockingly at the situations and people I encounter from day to day. But, occasionally, it means just what it says - classy. [Ahem, see the paragraph above.]

I always seem to have cling to words. You may remember the "legit" phase. Maybe "meep"? Or  possibly "bahaha"?

I don't think many things are classier than Sunday night football with the guys except a simultaneous taco night and Steelers win. Who am I kidding? There's nothing classy about the Steelers.

You can bet that such a combination is how I spent my Sunday night. After watching a miserable Bears lost and consequently seeing Ryan's heart break a little, Sean joined us as we ventured to Giant to seek out the perfect dinner choice. So we braved the 7 degree weather and piled into Ryan's not-even-remotely-warm Mazda to wander the fluorescent lit aisles until deciding upon tacos. Soft and hard, we do it right. Honestly, we couldn't have made a better choice - they were delicious. But then again, dinner always tastes better when you can leave the dishes to someone else your boyfriend.

That's Ryan's "Please put the camera away, already" face. Love it.
I know it's not much of a post but I wanted to simply stop in and update you on the musings of my weekend before a week jam-packed with interesting (no, really) blog posts. You can look forward to a Penn State York THON feature including Basket Bingo and our Dancer Announcement, a look at the Hope Express and my advice for surviving forty-six hours on your feet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Stacey.

Though I should be doing homework, laundry or something productive, I wanted to take the time to stop and write a very special Happy Birthday wish and thank you. Stacey, I hope you have a wonderful birthday - you deserve it. You work so hard to make sure that Kasey is getting the best care that she can be, to make sure that the boys are happy, fed and not breaking any bones, and on top of that - you've been so welcoming to me. Super mom of the year award, really. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your lives over the past seven months because you're such a fun family and I love getting to spend time with all of you, especially when we're telling stories of sushi knives, eating chocolate fondue and watching iCarly. So thank you SO much, I hope you have the best birthday possible because no one I know deserves it more.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simple Things

Some days are simpler than others - some days better, some days worse. Today was one of those days where I took the time to stop and enjoy the simple things that define the differences between our days. I was enjoying the mundane, the typical, the things that seem to slip from one day to the next unnoticed but I still managed to sneak in special visits and lots of laughs.

Today, I was loving...

1. Scarves and texts from far away friends. I miss you, Claire!
2. Visits to Kasey Rain and trying not to get bitten by Chewy - that pink dress is deceiving!
3. Four o'clock sunshine.
4. Opening packages, especially ones that include free dinosaurs.

But the part of today I'm loving the most is looking forward to what I'll be loving tomorrow:

Much needed time with some of my favorite people.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Today's blog post is being brought to you by our lovely sponser Dunkin Doughnuts from our MIS204 studio located in IST103.

Having a 9am class at the end of a week consisting of 10:00 alarms and 1 a.m. bedtimes isn't the most pleasant idea, especially when you're wishing for a delay and the streets are still covered in snow but shockingly, well, it's not so bad.

Of all the classes scrambled onto my schedule at the last minute, this is the one I was dreading the most. Management Information Systems. All I knew was computers were involved and the book was going to cost me almost $200. Great.

I misjudged the class - I couldn't have been more wrong about the class, the book, or the subject matter. Each class, we start off with MIS in the News. It seems corny but so far its involved the New York Times, TED talks, Wikipedia and the ever growing power of the US Armed Forces. If that isn't a clear enough explination, let me make it simpler - it's interesting. While 53% of us (American's, that is) use Wikipedia, I know that I've never stopped to think about how it started, how it works or even why someone would begin such a site, anyway. Founder Jimmy Wales actually did a TED talk about his ever growing website and his dream of world knowledge given to all. Interested? After all, I'm sure you've used wikipedia wether it was for a project (only to have your teacher say its not a legitimate research source) or to find out how your favorite band got started.

But my favorite part of class isn't the TEDtalks, the easy Excel labs or that it gives me some computer time to work on THON, clearing emails or my blog - Professor Warner is the most genuinely interested professor I've ever had the joy of taking a class with, even if he picks on me for examples. We spent our first class getting to know each other (and the fact that 90% of my classmates dream of working for a professional sports team) and talking about how this class information will be obsolete by next fall. Today, we spent the 10 minutes before class talking about my camera and how he just got his daughter her first. Like I said - he's genuinely interested, not in grades, ANGEL assignments but his students. And the best part?
As a thank you for making it to class on a snowy-delay-less day, Professor Warner brought three boxes of freshly made doughnuts. Even ones with chocolate and sprinkles - my favorite, if I could eat doughnuts that is.

"We can't eat these in the lab though - I'd be in big trouble."
It doesn't hurt that I share a computer desk with my favorite friend and we spend half the class whispering about the latest THON drama, our boyfriends or how great our teacher is. Then spend our break scarfing down breakfast, buying sodas from the book store (which now sells food, medicine and snacks - really, check it out!) and taking pictures of the delicious doughnuts. After all, Hana loves doughnuts. Right, Hana? Just not ones with chocolate or sprinkles.. (Maybe she's not my favorite friend afterall.. just kidding).

"HANA, what is that on top of your doughnut?! It looks like oatmeal!"
But for now, its back to Annuity Scenarios, Microsoft Excel and the importance of parentheses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Little Time

Spring semester always brings about busier schedules and more things to do than I can handle, especially with Penn State and THON in full swing. This year is a little bit different though. Penn State York decided that I'd be taking each of my classes only once a week and mostly during the evenings. But seeing as how no one wants to be at school after eight (including professors), my 18 credit hours really only take approximately nine hours a week, not counting that online class I've yet to start. And I'm loving it because it means I can fit in 10 hours with the girls, 3 nights at the Blue Heron, THON and a sleepover with my boyfriend every week. Like I said, I'm loving it.

But the next few weeks (weekends, really) are packed full of fun, friends, parties and visits:

January 22 - 23

This weekend myself and thousands of THON volunteers across the commonwealth will be standing on street corners, in the cold, snow, and whatever else comes our way, this weekend (and I promise, we'll be wearing many more layers than in the picture above). This has been one of the greatest sources of donations for Penn State York THON this year and hopefully this weekend will keep up that trend. Our canning captain, Angi (above), has done an incredible job this year and raised almost $4,000 with her first canning weekend. Keep an eye out for Penn Staters this weekend and if you get a chance, drop a few coins (or bills) in their cans and give them a big THANK YOU for all they do to stop pediatric cancer.

Our last phone date with Katie
This weekend also means seeing some of my favorite girls - Kasey, Maddie Hill & Katie Bush. I haven't seen Katie in ages, way too long really, but we're changing that. Maddie and I are making our first ever roadtrip to Lancaster on Sunday to spend some much needed time with our favorite cheerleader. And hopefully Saturday will entail a visit to the Griffiths family, who I miss way too much. Besides, I've got a brown paper bag full of rainbow striped tissue paper and souvenirs from France for my favorite 11-year-old.

January 29 - 30
I'm heartbroken that I won't be going to CCSG this weekend, but I will be at the Blue Heron, of course. The exciting part of the weekend is not work though. On Sunday January 30th, Penn State York will be hosting it's first ever Longaberger Basket Bingo to Benefit THON. Our bingo will feature 20 regular games, 1 special game, door prizes, two Penn State basket raffles and more! We've got some really fun themes and great basket stuffers including a baking basket, a fresh flower arrangement from Pealers Flowers, tickets to Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, many restauraunt gift certificates (Red Robin, anyone?) and so much more! I will post a more detailed list later this week - and maybe pictures too?! The bingo is being held in the Conference Center on the bottom floor of our Main Classroom (or John Romano Administration Building) with doors opening at 12:30, at which time you will be able to purchase lots of different food and drink options such as Brenda's Sandwiches! Bingo will begin at 2:00. If you'd like to purchase tickets, they are only $20 (with all proceeds benefitting the Penn State IFC/Pan-hellenic Dance Marathon and the fight against Pediatric Cancer) and I would be glad to get them to you! Please feel free to pass this information on to friends and family.

February 5 - 6

On Saturday February 5th, I will be trying something new. Lindsey Shortt and I will be freezin' for a reason - a really good reason, at that. We will be dipping our toes (half of our bodies, really) into the nearly frozen Susquehanna River at the York Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the 20,000 Pennsylvania athletes who participate in the Special Olympics each year. I know that I am constantly asking for donations and requests but I hope that each of you finds one that strikes you as important. If you'd like to make a pledge toward Lindsey and I, you can do get information on doing so by clicking the image above! (Please be sure to leave a comment here if you do.)

In celebration of our cold afternoon swim and one of America's favorites sports, on Sunday February 6th, I will be hosting my first ever superbowl party! (If you don't count the time that the Colts went and I hung some blue and white streamers around the living room) A HUGE thank you to Ryan for allowing me to do something so untypical of us and to Hana for helping me get all of the delicious food ready. This Sunday we shall see who will make it to the big game, but in the meantime, the NFL is tracking out the road to Superbowl XLV. While I'm sad to see my Colts knocked out by a single point, I'm still celebrating that Patriots loss. I'm rooting Jets and Bears all the way.

February 12 - 13

A big weekend in the flower world but also the last canning weekend of the year. While I don't know what Valentines plans I might have, I gaurantee that this will be one of the busiest weekends of my year as I balance rose arrangements and fundraising, while trying to have a normal Valentines date with my boyfriend - I'm a little disappointed that sushi is out of the question this year, though.

February 18 - 20

In  28 days and 19 hours, the biggest weekend of the year arrives for many families, students and children across Pennsylvania. For 46 hours, we will come Together Without Limits to dance, stand, sing, dance, play, and raise money. It's not too late to join in today and help make our goal of one day beating cancer possible. In the next few days, I will also be sharing information on how you can send mail to the wonderful dancers and children who will be on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center that weekend!

These are the things that I'm looking forward to in the next few weeks, which means many late night posts and pictures here. I've never been a fan of winter but its starting to look pretty good. (Well, except for all the snow coming down outside)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'd like to first take the time to say Happy Birthday to some wonderful people who are part of my life, once were or who have simply made an impact upon it. Who knew that so many birthdays of people in my life could possibly take place on one day.

1. Poppa

I'd like to take the time to say Happy Birthday to the most fabulous poppa in the world. (Dad - that's your birthday gift... that part where I called you fabulous.) But really, I don't know what I'd do without my poppa. For one, I would definitely be without a car by now... or terribly in debt. I may have even had to learn how to change a flat tire or properly check my oil. And, worse, I would've never gotten to visit the world's largest junk yard.

I wouldn't know how to fish and I definitely would have never gone hunting. (Errr.. maybe that'd be a good thing.) I'd have no one to eat my baked goods gone wrong. But more importantly, I simply wouldn't be here without him. Literally. I love you Daddy - sorry I missed out on the cake and ice cream at your "party".

2. Pappy 

Today would have been my grandfather's 76th birthday. The picture above is of my grandparents and their children - my mom and her sisters. My mom is the furthest to the left. Priceless.

3. Kara

Picture stolen from Brandy Snyder ;]
This is sort of a Happy Birthday, but more just a chance to stop and say thank you. Kara serves as the Public Relations captain for Penn State York's THON. She makes every poster and advertisement you see but more than that, she always brings a smile and good attitude to every meeting, event, captains meeting.. and shes at all of them, always. Maybe it seems a little corny but if you ever find yourself trapped in the SGA office on a Thursday afternoon, well, you'll understand. Kara, thank you sincerely for all the hard work you've put in over the past few months and for never complaining when I send you the text begging for a flyer by the next afternoon. I hope you had an incredible birthday! 

4. Toine

A BOTRT flashback. I'm going to leave it at that. Happy Birthday Anthony!

5. Cezanne

While we're on the subject of birthdays, why not talk about Cezanne who would have celebrated his 172nd birthday today. For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, Cezanne was a French Post-Impressionist known for his use of bright colors and his series of landscapes, portraits and still lives. 

But, to change the subject from birthdays..
I like to think about things from a one word perspective. Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in elaborate descriptions, never ending imagery, unrelenting explanations and in all of those words, I lose the real meaning. Today's word is temporary.

When I babysat today, I was given some reaffirming advice - "You may think you know who you are now, but at nineteen, trust me, you don't." I don't think those words could have come at a better time. (Now, to be honest, they were in the context of why I shouldn't get married now - which trust me, I'm not even considering, but still, they rang true)

My biggest downfall is that I become easily and inseparably attached to things - be they people, hobbies, ideas, philosophies, even songs. An addictive personality? Perhaps. An optimist of the worst degree? More likely. I hold onto things as though they are permanent. Every friend I make becomes a "the lifelong friend" or "a best friend" in days. I skip the steps of adequately judging someone, I take everyone at face value, I see the good and justify the bad. 

And ultimately, I get hurt.

I'm too trusting, too committed. I let everyone use me for their temporary needs and find myself sitting back afterwards wondering where my friend went. The person that I spent the past few weeks with. The person who I'd talk to on the phone every day. Gone. And better yet... Why? I look for closure, I seek it in all the ways I know how but ultimately, I live with that question for.. well, I won't say forever but, you know.

Temporary. At this age, in this culture, temporary is commonplace. It's acceptable and expected to maintain a friendship for a short period, until your wants or needs are met, and then to move on. We don't even purchase things with the intent of them lasting a life time. We don't choose a neighborhood because we could see our selves walking down that same block in fifty years, still happily married and enjoying our retirement together. We simply do what we want for now.

The temporary breaks my heart. 

I know we've all been in situations where we are forced to make the best of a situation, to make friends with the girl in your English project group, to get along with your club members, to smile when your brother's new girlfriend (who you really don't have a good first impression of) walks through the door and most of us, grin and bear it. I'm not quite part of that "us". I embrace situations, I make something out of nothing, I see the good that's maybe not really there. 

And so, I've learned today that I need to tread a little more carefully. To test the waters before I jump in, so to speak. To not give myself wholly to anything without understanding the full intentions. Because, well, I'm tired of the temporary.

Sometimes though, temporary is good. This is my temporary happiness for the day. A finished tutu and a three year old friend to share it with. Answering the door for the UPS man, wearing said tutu. Watching Home Alone and rewinding through all the funny parts. "Oh Snap!" Bath time. Valentine's hearts. Mostly, a break from the real world and an escape to the world of ballerinas, faries and mermaids. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby Bella

Today, I finally ordered my new camera strap - I knew I couldn't deal with the good ole blue and red (that dates back to the Canon 35mm lol) but I'm sooo indecisive, it's not funny. I've been waiting for Porteen Gear to release hers but.. they're not coming until mid-February and I wanted it to arrive before THON weekend (I'm hoping that a cute strap can console me with the neck pain from carrying my baby around). And so.. this little beauty will be here soon . I love ruffles, and the color teal.

You can get yours from Sassy Strap 
 I desperately need to learn to sew. It's something I've been considering for months.. and months. (I keep telling myself I'd be good at it, after all, in Middle School FACS class I sewed not only my own projects but Ryan's too.. I always managed to get him the better grade, though) I look at all the things I need/want/crave/havetohave/desire on Etsy and realize how simple it could be to make them myself (and then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't spend hours a day on Etsy), but I've yet to give in and buy a sewing machine. Soon? After all, I need to start on a THON t-shirt quilt.. They don't all fit in my drawer anymore and with THON weekend fast approaching, we all know I'll be adding a few more to the stack.

Truth is, in High School, I envied the field hockey players because they each had a million and a half shirts and I remember them all making t-shirt quilts for college. I've always wanted a t-shirt quilt and THON is the only opportunity I have to make one. We all know how unatheletic I am.

But for now, it's one hobby at a time - lord knows I don't have time for more than that. So in the meantime, I try to squeeze as much as I can into the free time I do have, and last night that was a visit to see my baby cousin, Bella.
She's a ham. She's got the cutest brown eyes and baby blond curls, but the best part is the winky smile she gives the camera as she laughs and poses. Unfortunately, she smiles too quick to catch on cue.

We managed to get a few funny shots though since Bella loves Coca Cola and video games.

Bella drinking soda is the funniest thing because she puffs out her checks and belly. Unfortunately, this time the soda ended up in her nose resulting in sneezing foamy bubbles.

This is probably my favorite photo of the night. This is my cousin Tyler - Bella's big brother. Typically he acts like a tough guy but the moment Bella whines, fusses, cries, there he is. And that's Bella's look of accomplishment for successfully getting Tyler's attention. She's clever for a year and a half.

This is a close second. Not often do I get Sean in front of a camera, let alone smiling. And if I do? It's this goofy crooked hiding-his-teeth kind of smile. Clearly he didn't know this picture was being taken and maybe thats why I love it so much. It's amazing that Bella isn't scared or in tears from all that camo Sean's wearing.

All in all, it was a good (and even funnier) night filled with lots of pictures, games of ping pong and tickle me Elmo hands.

In THON news,

For those of you in the York area, Penn State York will be hosting a blood drive to benefit the Penn State IFC/Pan-hellenic Dance Marathon and the American Red Cross. Come join us from 10 am until 4 pm on Monday, January 31st! Appointments are every 15 minutes and you can schedule yours today by contacting me here, via email or by calling 717-779-5904. Each blood donor will receive a fleece blanket courtesy of the Red Cross and for each donation collected, a monetary donation will be made to THON. Our goal is 38 units of blood, please come out and help make this goal possible! You can RSVP to the event and invite your friends by clicking here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tutus and Lipstick

It's been a good two days full of Patriots losses, tutus, lipstick, spaghetti and my boyfriend.

No matter how many times Ryan leaves for school, I hate it just the same. Yesterday, I said goodbye to my best friend and sent her back to Mansfield. I helped pack Ryan's life belongings into his car and followed him to Millersville. I hate "see you later's".

Since most schools went back to session this week, Nikki and I had just one last chance to meet up before she headed back to the snowy, cold world of Northern Pennsylvania. We met for lunch and chit-chat, something we take for granted until she's gone for months at a time. For some reason, all my friends headed North, where the weather stops me from visiting.

We went to a classic, Baker's, our town's 24-hour diner. The food's so-so, the service is standard at best, but Baker's has always been known for one thing. Since I moved to Dillsburg, I've always had one favorite part of going to Baker's - the fishtank. This awkward little fellow was a new addition.

But saying goodbye is a must and so I left to meet Ryan's family for the game. While I am a Colts girl, through and through, there is one thing I love more than a Colts win - a Patriot's loss. And the icing on the cake? Watching Tom Brady get sacked five times, yeah, five.

We left at half time after loading the TV, xbox, stray clothes and cases of Sprite into the car. After an hour drive of anxiously awaiting the score and paying turnpike tolls that climb more and more each day it seems, we scrambled out of our cars and unloaded Ryan's belongings, carrying them up the stairs through the dark and into his cold apartment. Within seconds (okay.. minutes, since we couldn't seem to get the TV working) we had the game on and I was wrapped up in Ryan's favorite fleece blanket, enjoying the ever climbing Jets score.

And when the game was over, we ventured to Giant. Oddly enough, its one of my favorite things to do with Ryan. We walk up and down the aisles, holding hands, and laughing as Ryan tries to buy nothing but Easy Mac, orange juice and a half a gallon of milk. Nutritious, babe. He's getting better.

But last night it was sausage, eggs and salad dressing for a celebratory dinner of Spaghetti & Caesar Salad. It amazes me how many dishes it takes to cook Ryan and I each a dinner since mine has to be gluten free, of course but it was delicious, regardless of how long it took to clean up afterwards.

And to sweeten the deal, this morning I checked my voicemail for a message saying I didn't have to babysit until 2. Babysitting really means playing dress up, coughing as the girls soak me in perfume, and pretending to be baby kitties. Today? I got a make over to go to the magical dance party.

A pair of fairy wings, a tutu, a container of eyeshadow, and half a stick of lipstick later, I was gorgeous and ready to go. The best part of the whole experience was three year old Erika playing momma to me, "Sweetie, keep your eyes closed... this won't hurt a bit!" "SWEETIE stop moving!" as she smeared eyeshadow from my nose up.

But the real lesson I learned was that I desperately need a tutu sized for a nineteen year old. Project of the week? Hopefully it turns out alright or I'll be purchasing an adorable one in tri-colors from Etsy. But if it goes well? Maybe I'll make ones for all my girls.