Thursday, August 25, 2011

Front Page - and bigger than the Earthquake!

I was so excited to remember that our article by Angelle Barabzon might be in the Warren Sentinel today.  I was a little worried that we would be bumped by the earthquake - but apparently we are bigger than the earthquake.  I asked Tim to run out and check and see if the article was in paper and if it was than to please get 10 copies so that our families can all have a copy.  I think he was relieved that there wasn't a totally embarrassing picture in the paper.  Kyle was more excited that his bus schedule was in there than the fact that he and his brothers were on the front page.

Angelle did a great job on the article and my friends who called in happened to make me sound great.  I can't decide how I feel reading about myself and thinking that I actually sound better on paper.  

One of our MOMS Club member's mother's is the property manager at the Shenandoah Commons apartments where a building was flooded so hopefully we will learn more how to help them out.  We used to live in the same apartments in Woodbridge and our neighbors had a fire and we all had to evacuate and all I could think of was the fact that we didn't have renter's insurance.  I can't imagine having to leave my apartment and not knowing how I was going to replace things.  I have a stash of baby things in the basement and we have extra bedding too.  I think it would be easy to get a collection of towels, clothes, etc. to help out anyone who needs it.  

Don't forget to pick up a copy of The Warren Sentinel today!  You can get your child's bus schedule in the back of the sports section!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Deliveries to C-CAP and Animal Shelter

Today I received an e-mail from Heather Ricks with McAlister's Deli asking who was going to pick up the donations for the animal shelter.  I had one of those moments of sheer embarrassment.  I can't believe that I didn't think of picking up the donations to bring to the shelter!  I quickly enlisted my father-in-law to help and loaded up the three boys.  We ran the food to C-CAP (without me taking any pictures) and we had gotten 49 pounds!  That is great - but I definitely want to do more the next time around.  

The items from McAlister's we picked up (making lots of trips) and my rhinoceros van was so weighed down!  At least it was a good excuse to clean out the old rhino.  I plan on introducing a shop vac to it this afternoon.  The amount of items donated by McAlister's and its patrons was amazing!  There were several boxes/bags of cat litter, 4 huge bottles of laundry detergent, 4 huge bottles of dish detergent, tons of papers towels, dog food, cat food, etc.  It was so generous and I loved being able to bring it to the shelter.  The shelter was actually closed on Wednesdays so I didn't adopt any animals.  Although it was hard to hear the dogs barking "Take me! Take me!"  Someday . . . 

Next steps - doing something with the retirement home, making soups with the kids to donate to the needy, doing a Drop in and Decorate night, getting in touch with the Pregnancy Center to see how we can help.  Also the September Women's Walk!  I love being able to connect with the community and it is great to be able to help.

If anyone knows a way we can help the people who had to leave the apartments at Shenandoah Commons due to the earthquake - I would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Humane Society Fundraiser Night!

Last night was the fundraiser at McAlister's Deli benefiting the Humane Society of Warren County.  There was a great combination of going to eat somewhere good with vegetarian options, going out to eat without the kids and for a good cause, and the beautiful summer weather that had me in really high spirits.  And then I walked into this:

Yeah - we already knew McAlister's was awesome - but this was incredible!  And then I got to meet Tammy Darr and we discussed the shelter, their needs, possibly fostering or adopting another dog (someday) and getting the Shelter to do a safety talk for kids to be around animals.  It was so nice!  I am definitely looking forward to working with the Humane Society more in the future.  

I totally took advantage of the opportunity to eat outside at McAlister's on the patio.  It was gorgeous and my Ole Spud (with veggie chili) was amazing.  I found some great company in Michelle Liston and Heather Peschon and their adorable children and by the time I went home (with my car windows down and the music just a little too loud) I was feeling great.  There is something to be said in incorporating time out with friends and doing a little good for you community to really put you in a fantastic mood.

I also went and picked up the C-CAP boxes today.  The boxes at the two branches of the Front Royal Federal Credit Union did not have any donated items in them.  The boxes at Blue Ridge Barber Shop and Samuels Public Library did have a good amount of items in them!  I will be photographing those and then running them over to C-CAP tomorrow.  I will be looking for new locations for them starting tomorrow or Thursday.  

So the earthquake - totally had to mention that, right?  If anyone has suggestions for not scary presentations about safety - I would love to hear about them.  There is a fine line between being prepared for a disaster and scaring your children and being completely paranoid. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Collecting, Collecting, Collecting

I have been getting lots of things from my amazing friends.  I just took a couple of boxes of clothes and a box of food to C-CAP yesterday and it is so nice that people are helping out.  What used to just be dropped off at Goodwill (and end up who knows where) is now going to help the people in our community directly.  I will be picking up the boxes of food from their current locations early next week and bringing them to C-CAP.  I would love suggestions for other box locations.  I know McAlister's Deli will have one.  I will also be contacting Gold's Gym again.  

I am excited to have our fundraiser/drive for the Warren County Humane Society on Monday night!  The boys and I are going to bring fliers around today to the Pet Stores.  It will be challenging to do with all three boys but we have a birthday party this afternoon so it is my only time to do it! 

The article in the Warren Sentinel got pushed back due to space issues so I will post the PDF once it is going to print.  While I felt nervous about it before - I am now kind of excited!  And Kyle was getting his own face out lately.  I put his act of kindness onto and he was picked as Kid of the Day!  It was a very good way to reinforce how it feels to do nice things for others.  Kyle on Sprout

I am looking forward to working with Andi Robinson (aka Front Royal Mom) on the September Women's Walk for C-CAP.   We are hoping to organize a diaper drive as well but I am still waiting to hear back from the Pregnancy Center to see what kinds of things they could use.  

School starts soon and I am excited to get some alone time with Liam - as well as some alone time for me!  Zac and Kyle love school and it is always good to have a routine.  I don't know where the Summer of Giving will end up but it will definitely go beyond summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fundraiser Night Benefiting the Humane Society of Warren County

I am so excited to have been able to schedule the Fundraiser Night at McAlister's Deli benefiting the Humane Society of Warren County!  Ten percent of all sales from 5 to 7pm on Monday August 22 will go to the animal shelter.  You don't even have to bring flier or mention the fundraiser.  Our MOMS Club of Front Royal is hosting with McAlister's Deli of Front Royal (70 Riverton Commons Plaza) and we are asking for your help to get the items on the animal shelter's wish list.  To view the wish list or to make an online donation, visit The Humane Society of Warren County's website
I love fundraiser's nights at McAlister's Deli!  The restaurant is so clean, the food is good, and they are very tolerant of our crazy kids.   And for those nights when you cannot stand bringing the little darlings someplace public - the fundraiser nights include getting food to go.  McAlister's Deli of Front Royal offers online ordering too!  Am I trying to sell you on this restaurant?  Absolutely!  They offer healthy options, vegetarian options, and cheese-smothered options.  They have Family Nights on Tuesdays where up to 3 kids eat free with the purchase of one adult meal and during school they offer a Mommy and Me Happy Hour the first Tuesday of every month at 10am.  This is a time to let your little one play with other little ones while you get to hang out and have lunch.  
This is an event that means a lot to me as we adopted our Charlie from the animal shelter in Prince William County nearly 9 years ago.  He is the best present I was ever given!  I am still trying to talk Tim into adopting another one - I know I just have to get him there and he will crack.  Under all those muscles he has a little soft spot for animals and small children. 

Our dress-up parade at a retirement center is in the works as well.  This one will be a lot of fun as well - and I will be sure to get thousands of pictures.  I can only imagine and little parade of princesses and superheros and the reception they will get.  Giving me goosebumps already!

My Charlie: Gorgeous, fun and good with kids!  Sorry - he's taken!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The boxes are going out!

Well - Elizabeth Badin and I figured out that my inexpensive recycled wrapping paper and recycled printing paper don't do well when you are trying to make a box look somewhat nice.  The printer paper showed everything (especially the glue) and the wrapping paper was so wrinkly and thin that I didn't see it holding up to all the canned goods we will be getting (hint hint hint). So my darling Tim picked up a huge roll of contractors paper and I took to printing on construction paper instead of buying a bunch of heavier weight paper.  Trying not to spend a lot of money on stuff like craft supplies when I can use the money somewhere else!

The boys and I met with Angelle of The Warren Sentinel yesterday to drop off a box at the library.  She wanted to take pictures of us putting out the box.  Zac was melting down in the middle of the library because we weren't heading to the children's section (those pop-up books don't read themselves!).  Kyle and Liam were hamming it up for the camera by climbing into the donation box.  It was fun - considering we had already been at a party and my kids had woken up before the crack of dawn.  Zac got to read a few pop-up books before Liam fell apart and we checked out a few books and headed home.

Today we will again be meeting Angelle - this time to drop boxes off at the two branches of the Front Royal Federal Credit Union and at the Blue Ridge Barber Shop.  I am excited to get the boxes out and start collecting more canned goods for the C-CAP Food Pantry.  So when you are on South Street - swing by the Barber Shop or FRFCU and drop off some food.  And when you are heading to the library - the box is right in the hallway near the local fliers.  I will keep you updated on more locations as we add them.  I know McAlister's is going to have a box and I believe Gold's Gym as well.

It only takes a couple dollars to make a meal for someone!  I spent $13 at Wal-mart and picked up tons of food to donate.  That's how much we spend on a trip through a fast food drive thru.  So while we are spending that much on one meal that isn't satisfying or healthy - we could actually be putting together several meals worth of non-perishables.  Remind me of that next time my kids are asking for the light-sabers in the McDonald's Happy Meals.

Friday, August 5, 2011

We are getting ink!

Today I had an interview with Angelle Barbazon of The Warren Sentinel.  I was unnecessarily anxious before the meeting - but all that nervous energy was put to good use getting the house cleaned up.  I totally remember why I didn't like journalism class my sophomore year in high school.  Yes - I enjoy writing but asking questions is definitely not my strong suit.  Angelle kept them coming and it felt really comfortable sitting down with her and talking.  Madeline Sumner made an appearance while dropping off some baby stuff.  The picture portion did not go as well.  We were hoping to get a family picture on the porch but my family had other ideas.  Zac was crying and trying to get out of my arms, Liam was tired and trying to get away from Tim, and Kyle couldn't stop fidgeting.  Then Angelle asked me to sit at the computer and type while she photographed me.  That was hard - I definitely don't like getting my picture taken!  And Kyle was jumping up and down next to me and then Liam was climbing on my lap.  So it was very true to life - that is usually what's happening when I am trying to get something done.  Good thing they are so cute! 

The article is to appear in the August 18th issue.  My mom wants me to get copies for everyone.  I am really excited about the coverage and hope this gets more people helping out.  When I mentioned my desire to do a joint drive with McAlister's Deli to benefit the Warren County Animal Shelter, Angelle was excited as her boyfriend is the adoption coordinator.  I am still working on Tim to rescue another dog . . . we will get there eventually!  I know all I have to do is get him there and he will melt and give in.  

I am heading to Elizabeth Badin's to decorate boxes tonight for C-CAP and then I will try to get them around town on Saturday and Monday.  Angelle is going to meet with us at Front Royal Federal Credit Union to photograph us setting up the boxes.  I will have all three boys with me so we will see how this goes!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Project C-CAP on the way!

I loved having family in town all last week - it wasn't nearly as stressful as I had anticipated.  But I am really excited to have finally started establishing a plan to help C-CAP on a (hopefully) larger scale.  I have been making calls around town to find out who would be willing to have donation boxes to collect non-perishables for the C-CAP food pantry.  I am trying to make it as easy as possible.  I provide a decorated box.  I pick up the contents as needed or after a week or two.  I am hoping to get enough responses that we can rotate 4 boxes around town.  I don't want them to get so common in one location that they aren't noticeable.  Here are my responses so far:

Martin's Food:  Spoke with the manager, John - he called it a solicitation and refused to have a box set up.  Seriously?  Solicitation?  I can't wait until Target gets fresh food . . .  I didn't put a curse on his business but I was definitely surprised at the flat out refusal.  Maybe I should let corporate know that they should change their "living here giving here" slogan to something a little more appropriate.   

Samuels Public Library:  Spoke with Betty - very sweet and understanding.  She put me through to the director's voice mail (Nicki Lynch) and I left a detailed message.  I only expect great things from the library!  They have always been so receptive with the MOMS Club.  Update:  Received return call from Nicki Lynch.  She definitely wants a box set up and decided that 2 weeks would be a good length to have it.  I mentioned that I wanted to rotate them around town and she agreed that it would be a good idea.  I love it when people are so nice and helpful!

Gold's Gym:  Spoke with Holly - very positive response.  She needs to clear it with the General Manager who is out until Monday.  But she took down my information and will get back to me.  I think it helped that I assured her I had lots of friends who were members and they were all telling me that Gold's Gym would gladly support the community. 

Blue Ridge Barber Shop (on South Street): Spoke with Rhonda.  She was definitely interested in having a box there.  She was concerned about the size of the box but I assured her that it wouldn't be large and that I would pick up as needed.  I have my first "Yes" and I am hoping to get a box over tomorrow.  Bring on the Elmer's glue!

Front Royal Federal Credit Union (on South Street):  Left Message and received return call from Joseph. He put me through to Kim Darr (the CEO/President) who was very sweet and suggested putting boxes at both locations.  She just asked that I get a letter from C-CAP on their letterhead that I am working with them and that the donations will be going to them. 

My wonderful phone is acting up and people are having a hard time hearing me.  So I have reverted back to my old phone.  But my darling children have refrained from asking questions and hanging off my legs for long enough so I will start back up again later.  I would love suggestions for other locations!  On my list I have Wal-mart, McAlister's Deli, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and local restaurants (although no specifics yet). 

On a totally random note - as I was typing this up - a reporter from the Warren Sentinel called and wants to do a story on this blog.  How exciting!  We will be meeting tomorrow to do the interview and I am completely nervous.   I am glad for the publicity that this will bring to C-CAP and I am glad that I have already secured some places for donation boxes.  This will help spread the word.  A big thanks to Julie Morton for setting it all up!