Fighting Blood Cancer

Light The Night

 

With only 32 days until the Las Vegas Light The Night Walk put on by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I thought I would take a moment and share with you my involvement with this organization. I’ve never had to endure the heartache or fear of having someone in my family or close to me battle cancer. The closest I’ve been was one of my husbands co-workers who I met once before he passed away from his battle. I know I am blessed to date to not have to overcome the emotions of cancer. Back in February of this year my boss asked me to join him for an LLS meeting, he was becoming the 2014 Walk Chair for Southern Nevada. If we are honest, and I always am, I was wondering how much extra work this was going to put on my shoulders. With the small worry of how much extra work I’d be doing I joined him and ten other people inside of a trendy bar in Downtown Las Vegas. As people introduced themselves I took note of their names and kept up conversation. I didn’t even know what Leukemia & Lymphoma was at this point. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small boy; he has blond hair and the cutest blue eyes you’ll ever see…next to Logan of course.

When the meet and greet ended we all headed into a small gallery that was adjacent to the bar. This was the first official meeting for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night 2014 walk. The campaign manager kicked things off; the previous president gave a speech, and then it was my boss turn to talk. Again terrible as this sounds I couldn’t stop thinking about how much extra work this was going to be, the goal was $25,000 from our company and I didn’t know if I was up to it. You may be wondering why I keep bringing this up, and there is a point I promise.

Last to speak was this little blond haired boy. He was a little shy, so his mom took the microphone and told his story. His name is Austin, and he is seven years old. Austin was diagnosed at age 22 months, almost the same age as my son. Austin’s story was powerful and as a mom I couldn’t imagine sitting in an office with my son at that age going through treatments for blood cancer. I was heartbroken but full of hope see him six years later, perfect. Do you remember that girl who was worried about the workload? Well, I joined as not only the right hand for my boss but as an Executive Committee member to help bring awareness to this disease.

I am so glad I did. I was able to connect with people who have powerful stories, and I’m working toward bringing much-needed funds for research. Because, unlike a lot of other charities I have seen who is helped by the discoveries and trials. I was able to rally my friends for a poker night that raised $200, I sold Oreo’s and that brought in $200, and I have a photography session set up to inch closer to my goal to be a Bright Light this year.

So I’d like to challenge you to seek out your local chapters walk and participate. If you want to be a part of something breathtaking take the first step and go to this website. AND if you want to donate to my cause… You can do so here :)

p.s. Austin – He wants to be Captain America when he grows up… I think he already is :)

LLS Poker Night LLS Poker Night LLS Poker Night Mini copy

Why Logan is in Gymnastics

Why Gymnastics is good for preschoolers Why Gymnastics is good for preschoolers

 

Chalky Air. Squishy Mat. Springy Floors.

What do all of those have in common? My childhood. I grew up in the gym; I called it home even when I didn’t have a home. I would clean the mats, take out garbage, coach preschool classes just to be able to afford to be in classes. I honestly believe I wouldn’t be who I am today without the sport of gymnastics. Last October I made the hardest decision in my life, I gave up coaching. I’ve been in the gym since I was 8 and started coaching when I was 16 full time. I’ve spent 20 years in a chalky air, squishy mat, and springy floor atmosphere. Gymnastics is deep in my soul, something I can’t seem to let go. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. So even though I had a son, I knew I needed to start him in a Gymnastics class when he was able to walk. I’ve had quite a few emails from moms with sons asking me why I chose to put Logan in Gymnastics since it’s mostly a female sport.

Here is why.

Balance & Strength – The obstacle courses that they put together make babies use their cute little muscle. They have to climb stairs, walk on squishy mat, hold on to the bar, jump, etc. They start to develop a strong sense of balance and strength.

Patience – We can all agree that babies and toddlers do not have any patience. However, Logan has to have the patience to stand there and wait his turn.

Determination – We go over the same trick on average five times before the class ends and each time he is determined to do it by himself. This also translates into his learning activities at home. He used to not be interested at all but now he keeps trying.

Bravery – Of course, I help him with all of the tricks but he has to be the one brave enough to roll, climb, jump, etc.

Responsibility – Logan has two jobs during class. First he has to get him mat for stretching and put it away and second he has to help his coach pick up the bouncy balls when she brings them out. This is his job, and he takes it very serious, even at an age where he isn’t talking.

Passion – While he may not be Olympic bound he loves going to gymnastics class. Gymnastics is teaching him passion. It’s teaching him that no matter how hard something is, eventually, you will learn it and be amazing.

So now I challenge you to find a gym, enroll your toddler/child and try two months worth of gymnastics. You will see such a change, and whether or not they want to continue is up to them but the skills they will gain outside of the “cool” stuff is far more important in my eyes.

Why Gymnastics is good for preschoolers

oh… and remember the strength I was talking about… Here you go:

Chicago Lodging

Chicago Outside 3 Chicago Outside 2

Nothing stresses me out more than booking a hotel to a city that you’ve never been to. It’s like a blind date, except if it sucks you are out $$$. I usually spend on average 4-5 hours researching the area, reading reviews, asking Facebook, etc. I never 100% feel okay with my choice until I lay on the bed. When it came to Chicago, there were so many different options it became overwhelming. I was told to stay in the Loop, but theater isn’t my thing, so I researched the hot shopping area, the Magnificent Mile or Mag Mile for short. There were a lot of options, and all of them were fairly close to each other, but they were all over $300 a night (ouch). What is a girl to do… Hit up Hotwire. I decided to choose a 4+ star hotel with 95% satisfaction rate and ended up with The Palomar for $205 a night.

The hotel is right next to the red line, so coming off the subway from the airport and getting to the hotel was fairly easy. The check-in process was easy, and we got upgraded to a higher floor because I asked for a pet free floor. It’s very common in Chicago to book a hotel that accepts pets. I’m not a fan of sleeping in a bed where animals may have been so make sure you request a pet free floor (not room, floor) if you are the same.

We only ordered breakfast once before we left (room service) and it was $56 (again, ouch). The food was good but not worth the price. The service was top notch from the bellman to the maid service. Our view was spectacular and overlooked a good part of the city. We used the workout facility (and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see my hula hooping) and the pool, both were clean and up kept well. Last but not least… it was CLEAN, like squeaky clean.

Overall if you can book this hotel, please do, it was worth it.

If you’re going to the train station from here, the cab ride cost was $8.00 (without tip)
If you’re going to Midway Airport (to or from) on the Subway its only $3.00 per person
If your going to Midway Airport (to or from) the cab fare was estimated $60.00 depending on traffic

The Windy City

Chicago 2 Chicago 3

 

Chicago.

That is where I have been.

The trip was amazing. I was able to spend much-needed selfish time with Wes, eat whatever I wanted, and embrace a city¬†where Gotham’s inspiration came from. What can be better than batman? I have so many reviews, tips, and overall thoughts on the city. Look for them in the upcoming days. For now, I’m trying to catch up on work, answer e-mails, sort through photos, and give millions of kisses to my little man (5 days was hard, I missed him).

Labor Day – A touch late

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What is more fun than spending Labor Day with friends and family? Nothing! That is the answer, because it is true. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who support you is a win-win situation. Labor Day was spent with friends who have 100% bounced into our family category.

Growing up, I dreamed….dreamed about having these kinds of get-togethers with family and friends. You know the ones you saw in the movies. I wasn’t so lucky, in fact, I got the short end of the stick until I moved and started my luck.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on family and what it means to me. I have a lot of “family” but if you asked me one question about them, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I have exhausted my emotions trying to be a part of the “family” that was given to me to the point that I give up.
So… I’m starting to grow my new family. Family isn’t blood. It’s respect, investment, and love.

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Labor Day got a little crazy for him…

Labor Day 3

The Leap from Summer to Fall

Yesterday was the NFL kickoff (insert girly squeal), and I lighted the first Pumpkin Spice candle of the season, and to top it all off we had a rainstorm. We’ve arrived! The leaves are about to change colors, and I am already planning out the holiday season.

As I usually do this time of year, I start to clean out my closet and put away the Spring and Summer clothes and accessories. But this year, there was one piece I didn’t want to put it the Summer box. A sweet friend of mine handmade me a rope bracelet, it’s the first time anyone has made me something special and sent it my way…just because. So while I stared at it, I thought, I can’t be the only one who doesn’t want to retire a “summer” piece.

Now, how do I turn it into a fall piece?

My solution… Layer it!

I started digging through all of my fall pieces and it clicked… Pair it with some gold.

How about you? Do you have pieces you transition? How do YOU do it?

bracelets

Diaries of a Working Mom – Photo Sessions

Diaries of a working Mom Diaries of a working Mom Diaries of a working Mom Diaries of a working Mom Diaries of a working Mom

Does everyone remember my secrets of photographing a one year old? Well, I hate to tell you, photographing an eighteen-month-old is much more of a challenge. These littles are in their own world; they want to do their own thing, and they do not care about this so called photo shoot.

I get it though, as a photographer and as a mom, I get it. You have a vision in your head, the perfect picture for the mantle and then the morning comes, and they’ve scratched their face or a bruise magically shows up. Then you have to deal with the fact that they do not want to wear the clothes you picked out and just take off butt naked running down the hallway. Take a deep breath, wrangle them into their outfit, and then cover it with a bib.
As a photographer, I know that it’s stressful for moms to get everyone ready for the family or even just an individual picture. Just know this, if you pick the right photographer (i.e., a professional) they know what to do and they WILL get that picture for you. I remember spending over an hour and a half with a family just to get one just one smile out of their little guy. It was so worth it and I would do it again if I had to. The battle is getting your family or your child to where they need to go; the rest will be a lot easier than you may think. So breathe, relax, and know there will be some great shots waiting.

As a mom… Screw photo shoots. OMG, they are so much work. My child just happens to pick the day we wanted to take his pictures to have a teething attack and full on meltdowns because he couldn’t have graham crackers for breakfast. But, I am so glad that I follow through because I get great pictures and they are memories that I can’t replace.