Friday, July 29, 2011

Delivery to C-CAP

I am so excited to say that in 12 hours we were able to organize and collect 43 pounds of food for C-CAP's food pantry!  Just think of what we could accomplish if we really planned and plotted.  

I dropped a box off at McAlister's Deli yesterday morning (to take advantage of their Free Tea Day) and asked friends on Facebook to bring some non-perishables when they stopped in to eat.  It was great!  My father-in-law and I brought everything to C-CAP this morning and we are hoping to get more donations this weekend.  

I spoke with the women at C-CAP about dropping donation boxes around town so that C-CAP can get a steadier stream of food.  If we can get local businesses to agree to have a donation box, hopefully we can get some advertising for them.  If we can get a radio spot for C-CAP then we can mention the locations where donations are available.  Same with the local TV channels.  I need just need to plan ahead for this one.

Thanks for everyone who helped pitch in!  I am planning on getting empty boxes from Martin's and then wrapping them in kraft paper and decorating them.  Anyone who is crafty and would like to help - I will provide the refreshments!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

C-CAP Food Pantry Vitually Empty!

I was wondering what to do this week for my Summer of Giving with family in town and hosting a party this weekend.  And then C-CAP posted on Facebook that their food pantry is nearly empty and they put out the call for help.  Its easy for everyone to remember that some families are hungry during the holidays when there is lots of consumption.  And with all the consumption everywhere - there are lots of food donation boxes sprinkled around town.  But people are hungry year-round. And some children are not able to get the two meals they usually get during school.  

On a recent visit to Kyle's new elementary school, I saw a sign posted in the Cafeteria.  During summer school, the cafeteria offers free lunch for anyone under 18.  And anyone over 18 can get lunch there for $2.60.  Its such a generous program - but I don't know who takes advantage of it.  They kept offering us lunch while we were there . . . I am not a fan of cafeteria food so I decided on a pizza from Anthony's.  What a difference it can make in a family's life - knowing their kids can get free lunch 24 times in the summer!

I am definitely answering the call for help at C-CAP. I adore that organization and would love to help them in as many ways as possible.  I am excited to have McAlister's Deli helping out with this.  They are having their Free Tea Day today and the wonderful Heather Ricks was excited at the idea of me asking friends to bring non-perishables to donate.   I will be dropping off a box for donations and will be picking them up to bring tomorrow to C-CAP between 9 and 12.  I am also asking everyone to bring canned goods tomorrow to Tim's birthday.  And asking friends to leave items on our porch.  I am hoping we can make a difference! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fortunate Events

I went on a rampage yesterday cleaning out stuff in the boys closets.  I ended up going through toys, books and stuffed animals . . . again.   And we still have so much stuff!  It feels good to clean out, even though its not obvious that I was getting rid of so much because most of it was out of sight.  But nonetheless - I feel better!  
I had some baby items from a MOMS Club Member, Julie G., that C-CAP couldn't take so I decided to run it over to Goodwill with all my stuff.  After loading all the baby stuff into the big red cart, I wheeled most of the items into the store.  I was all smiles walking up to the counter (because I love getting rid of things) and the cashier said, very rudely, "You need to go around back.  We can't take that much up here.  And we can't take most of that stuff anyways."  I was shocked.  Its not a big deal if they cannot accept a bassinet because of possible recalls but to be so rude and turn me away like that?  Plus I made a huge delivery several weeks ago and was received very well and even had someone offer to help me at my car.  But - on a totally positive note - there was a group of people at the register.  A woman said "If you are just donating, I have a friend who is pregnant and has nothing.  She doesn't know how she is going to afford everything."  We talked some and I brought everything back outside and reloaded my van.  I followed the family to a house in town and helped unload everything there.  I gave them my contact information and explained about the wonderful, thoughtful MOMS in our MOMS Club of Front Royal.  I let her know that we have had a mix of baby boys and baby girls and we have infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and so we have a wide variety of things to get rid of.
It felt so amazing to be able to offer help face to face.  I hope I get to meet her friend who is due at the end of December.  Being pregnant is a wonderful experience.  But it is such a time for doubts.  You are growing a baby - starting a life!  As if that weren't daunting enough - you have to take care of your baby and all the expenses that come with it.  Most moms could get by with the bare necessities but once you have that little bundle, you just want to give them the world.  Hopefully by providing this soon-to-be Mommy with the necessities, we can take some of the stress off.  Pregnancy and new parenthood are stressful enough!  And the amount of diapers your little darling goes through is enough to make anyone cry.  
I am asking all our members for help and will possibly establish something in the future with The Pregnancy Center to help pregnant women get the gear they need. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Award to the Fire Department

Today we had the pleasure of delivering a homemade award and homemade cookies and muffins to the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Department.  We met the Chief Engineer who had been volunteering with the FRFD for 33 years.  He explained the fire trucks and told us some about the station (which is just a couple of blocks from us).  He said that the station gets about 4000 calls a year!  They got a call when we were leaving and another 15 minutes later on our way home.  Although hearing sirens is a common thing for us living in a town as small as this, if you asked me I wouldn't have guessed that they were so busy!  All the more reasons to thank them for always being there.  I didn't share my cat in a tree story because I was too busy pulling Zac out from underneath the ambulance.  And answering Kyle's 75000 questions about why we wouldn't let them play in the fire trucks or climb all over the ambulance.  
An ambulance was coming into the garage as we were talking and then the fire trucks were called out so we had to head out but it was such a neat experience!  I attended a couple of EMS sessions as a teenager with my best friend Jessie and thought it was really wild.  I learned how to hold C-Spine and use the window punch and the jaws of life to rescue someone from a car accident.  It was such an amazing learning experience but definitely not something for me!  It takes a certain kind of person to be able to go to work (or volunteer on your days off) to help people in their worst situations. I definitely applaud them and, like Kyle asked me to write on the award, hope we never have to use them.  
The fireman told us about the older trucks they had outside the station and we walked out to look at them before leaving.  It was so neat to see the firetruck from the mid 1950's that they continued to use until the late 1980s.  They replaced it with a new truck in 1988 which they still sometimes use!  Of course I took lots of pictures and we were invited to come back anytime.  Its nice to have such a reception.  At out MOMS Club of Front Royal board meeting today we were discussing hosting the fire department at our annual open house.  The club has done so in the past and I think it would be a fun thing to do again.  Who doesn't love a fire truck?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paging Dr. House

Totally hunky but that apple a day thing is not working
Amidst my super full calendar lately I have sprinkled lots of doctors appointments.  I am trying to use these moments to appreciate the people around me in our community.  I was grumpy with a tummy full of barium, waiting for my CT scan, when a patient came in loudly giving advice on her cell phone.  She wasn't paying attention when her name was called and was starting to get an attitude with the woman helping her.  The woman behind the desk was wonderful!  She was so nice and understanding without feeding into the "everyone's fault but your own" attitude.  She ended up making the patient much happier and I was totally inspired.  I am normally a positive person.  I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  On a regular day I would like to think that I would have realized that no one wants to be at the hospital for tests on a beautiful Friday afternoon.  If you are there in the imaging department, its usually not for a good reason.  But that afternoon I definitely wanted to "accidentally" trip the woman as she was pacing back on forth on her phone.  I wonder if any attorneys have tried the "Barium made me do it" defense.  
I was excited to attend the C-CAP Fundraiser at McAlister's Deli after my CT scan.  I thought I would be happy and feeling good and ready for a light dinner before attending the Women's Walk for C-CAP.  Unfortunately my stomach had other ideas.  As did my darling husband and children.  The kids were falling apart at McAlister's.  Zac and Liam were happily eating until Zac got a chip that had touched a pickle (I know - its hard for me too!) and then he just kept handing me my bag to try and get me to leave.  Liam was upset that he was strapped in a high chair and not running around with a soda. Kyle was just being 5 and unable to decide if he wanted to be there or not.  And Tim was quietly threatening the children that they would never eat a cookie for the rest of their lives if they did not eat the dinner in front of them.  On a high note I ran into my friend Heather there and it was nice to see a smiling face!  On the way home I realized that I was not going to be doing the Women's Walk for C-CAP after all.
Yesterday was wonderful though!  I got to sneak away with my Charlie and go for a walk around town.  My afternoon was terrible with stomach pain but we did manage to do the pool at the 4H Center in the evening and the kids had a great time.  The pool has amazing mountain views and is on the 4H campus and yesterday the horses were out.  Pretty hard to not feel good in the that environment! 
So I am waiting to hear from my doctor with a miracle cure for my stomach pain and I just registered Kyle for kindergarten and took over as president of the MOMS Club of Front Royal and I am trying to fit in some giving.  Kyle finished the Stepping Stone for the neighbors but I think they have been out of town.  Their cars seem to be gone a lot and I want to bring them the stone with the boys so they can enjoy the "giving".  Our next door neighbors are two sisters and they have a beautiful garden and are so wonderful.  
I was planning on doing something for the fire department this week and I am having a hard time finding time to get anything done!  Probably a breakfast cake and some cookies or muffins.  I would welcome suggestions!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adventures in Stepping Stones

I told myself several times to open the box of stepping stones to read the instructions and check out the supplies before we were actually going to make them.  Of course I didn't do that.  We had fun doing the mixing and Kyle wasn't nearly as daunted by me at the idea of making the stones.  They give you these "gems" and other things to put in the stone but they don't tell you how to do any of it.  They show cute hand-prints and writing but again don't tell you how to do it.  And I am definitely not crafty and I am certainly not going to start looking up stepping stones on (again).  So we improvised and broke one but did another to hopefully come out tomorrow that we can paint and take to the neighbors.  They are so sweet - I know that they will love it and I am so glad that Kyle thought of the idea to make them one!

I did read a lot about using regular cement to make stepping stones with lots of options.  I think it sounds like fun and would probably be sturdier than the kit we used.  So I am hoping my crafty friends will help me tackle that (hint hint hint!).

I am looking at another busy week - and I am soooooo excited to participate in the Women's Walk for C-CAP of Front Royal/Warren County on Friday July 15.  I adore this organization and I am very fond of this town and relish any chance I get to walk it.  I definitely haven't been getting out as much as I want to.  This will be a great chance to socialize, get a little workout and some fresh air with friends!  

I have to plan something for this week . . . maybe we will bring baked goods to the fire department.  Zac doesn't have school on Fridays and I could bring all the boys along.  Kyle keeps saying "Are you sure I can go down the pole at the fire house?".  I don't know if fire departments even have poles - but I am sure they are super tall and Kyle would be too scared to try.  Which is totally okay with me!  

Actual cat after actually climbing down
I had to call the fire department several months ago because a cat was caught very high up in a tree across the street.  I felt so silly but called saying "Do you really rescue cats from trees?"  The truck showed up and as soon as they came to a stop the little stinker scrambled down the tree.  She had been up there crying for the entire day - only managing to climb higher.  Then she came over to me acting like she was my cat.  I. Am. A. Dog. Person.  My Charlie would never climb a tree and make me call the fire department.  Talk about a drama queen. 

Anyways - fire fighters are incredible people (the ones that aren't arsonists) and they totally deserve thanks from the community.  Maybe I will make dinner or something to bring them . . . . we will see where the week takes us!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Super Busy Week 5

I have been so busy this week!  I loved almost every minute of it.  And there is more fun to come!  We started the week by spreading the rocks around town which was so fun.  We had family in town and a had a great time visiting a friend's house where my children learned the joy of pyrotechnics.  I was excited to see them no longer afraid of fireworks but they totally had a gleam in their eyes watching things explode.  Oh the joys of having boys!  

Not so fun parts included Zac starting the 4th of July off by throwing up after breakfast and my starting the day after with blood work.  I tend to keep my doctor on his toes with my medical mysteries.  

Wednesday we had a nice parade of friends over.  My friend Julie brought her three boys (yes - 6 boys in my little house - always fun).  I had made a dinner for a friend through our wonderful MOMS in Need program.  Meghann stopped by with her daughter Ruby and new baby Eloise to pick up the meal.  It was great to get a newborn baby fix in (without the c-section) and I enjoy returning the favor of having to use the MOMS in Need program twice.  The first time after Liam was born and the second time after my heart procedure.  Its amazing what a quick visit and a meal delivery does when you have been out of commission.  I have great friends!  

My friend Jess visited too!  It felt great to see her again after so many years and she got to witness a day in the life.  She played Yahtzee with Kyle and I and watched Kyle play video games and Zac do puzzles (over and over) and Liam fall apart about nothing in particular.  I was hoping to get out with her to catch up without little ears listening and asking about everything that was said but Tim had car trouble and went to his dad's garage to work it out.  I am totally planning on doing it again even if I have to have someone watch the kids!  I was thinking about how it was probably weird to see me as a Mom when the last time we hung out we were just drinking.  But it would be weird for me to go to work with her and watch her as a nurse.  I wonder if I can arrange that . . . .

So I was kind of panicking about getting some giving in this week.  We are all heading to Pennsylvania today and won't be back until Saturday night.  So Sunday the boys and I will be making stepping stones to bring to the neighbors.  I am really excited about it and I know they will love it.  They have always helped us out whether it is gardening tips or helping to shovel in the blizzard when I was 9 months pregnant.  I would really love to foster a sense of neighborliness [can't believe that's a real word!] with the kids and Tim is totally vetoing the block party idea.

We love visiting Pennsylvania.  My Mom and stepdad live in Lancaster and there is so many fun things to do with the kids.  This weekend we are hitting Dutch Wonderland which is an amusement park for kids.  You better believe I will be getting tons of pictures!   Off to pack up the Rhinoceros (aka my big gray van).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week 4 - Secret Rock Delivery

Today was the day for placing the rocks around town.  After tying notes on all the rocks that read:  "Hope your day ROCKS" and "Have a ROCKIN' 4th!", I loaded up the rocks, boys, water and snacks and we headed out.  Kyle was super concerned with it all being a secret mission.  He was sure the elderly men with canes at the Gazebo were going to see where we put the rocks and it would not be a secret anymore.  Kyle is so thoughtful and was really excited that we were doing an egg hunt for other people "and they don't even know it!".  We left rocks around the gazebo and train on Main Street then headed to the Triangle Playground to leave the other half.  It was fun to see kids finding the rocks and showing their parents.  Some parents wouldn't let their kids take them, but I didn't want to interfere.  I am sure they have very good reasons for it!  I know cringe at the idea of one more happy meal toy or dollar store buy coming into our house.  Zac and Liam were not interested in leaving rocks anywhere - but they also weren't collecting them, throwing them, or taking the notes or googly eyes off.  I was very proud of them for that!

I am glad to have this rock adventure over.  Kyle wants to paint a big rock to give to our neighbors to put in their garden which I think is such a sweet idea.  Our neighbors have always been so wonderful to us and it would be a great way to show our appreciation.  I just need to find out how to do it without the washable paint coming off in the rain.

It is Week 5 now and I get to brainstorm about how to fit something in between family visiting, doctor's appointments, meetings and going out of town.  I remember the days when I had two kids and was not so busy.  Even though I have a lot more going on now, it seems easier to make time to play with the kids.  Zac loves doing puzzles, Kyle loves playing board games, and Liam just likes to play.  They are each so different and so amazing and I am truly an unbelievably lucky Mom!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Week 4 - Rocks around Town

Okay - painting all the rocks was not as fun as I thought it would be.  Its like decorating cookies.   The first few are fun, you eat one, then you realize you still have 3 more batches to decorate and by the time you are done you never want to see a sprinkle again.  My kids totally bailed on me while painting rocks today.  Then I was going to take them to the gazebo on Main Street and Tim said "shouldn't you do that in the early morning - before anyone is there?" And for once he is totally right.  So even though tomorrow is the beginning of Week 5 - I will be dropping rocks around town tomorrow morning with the kids.  And hopefully we will help someone have a "Rockin' Fourth".

Its not an uncommon feeling for me to doubt myself and the decisions I make.  This is definitely one of those times.  I know I am not artistic but I was hoping for a little creativity when it came to doing the rocks.  Only after painting almost all the rocks we had chosen did I realize that painting them all white was a great way to really leave my options open.  I glued googly eyes on some and  used sparkly red and blue stars on others.  I was hoping inspiration would strike and that I would make something really creative but frustration and 3 kids took over.  I am happy that this one is done!  Now I will type up some little notes to attach (because my handwriting is not that great) and tomorrow I will leave them around town while toting my three darlings.  We will hit the gazebo and a couple of playgrounds and I will be getting both a workout and an exercise in patience.  I will also be picking up some kind of bribery (M&Ms and Mini Oreos are kid favorites) to get the kids moving.

We had my husband's brother and Aunt come into town yesterday and I loved it!  Even though I have not been feeling well the last couple of weeks, I just really enjoy being around family.  Tim's Aunt Jennifer is an amazing woman who is smart and funny and seemed to love us right away.  I found it very easy to talk with her and, even though she hasn't been around Tim, his brothers and dad in 20 years, she still knows them so well and I felt like I had an instant ally.  It reinforced how amazing people are and how establishing a connection with people is so important.  Sitting on the porch yesterday and catching up and hearing stories of the Carrs as boys and watching our kids play was just wonderful.  I felt so lucky to have had that time with Jennifer and John and definitely want to make a habit out of visiting with loved ones.  In this day and age it is so easy to "connect" with people on Facebook and texting and e-mail and never really get that face to face contact that humans need.  I was reading an article recently that said that people aren't using handwriting much and that writing exercises a different part of our brain than typing.  I feel that's the same with our relationships.  If the only contact you have is electronic, you aren't getting the same benefits as you would from a phone call or visit.  If we could all make an effort to call or set up a dinner the next time we think of a loved one, then I think we might find ourselves a little happier and a little more connected!