Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fundraising Fridays

TGIF!!!  So even though it isn't official yet I did notice that the money turned in on Boston Walk day has been entered and I wanted to update you about how much we have raised. . . . DRUM ROLL PLEASE. . .

We raised $13,334!  Can you believe it?  Over 13k!  AMAZING!  And I'm pretty sure there is still one or two more donations that has not been recorded so this number should go up but either way so exciting.  So I'd say The Bean Team did awesome with fundraising this year wouldn't you?

According to current info The Bean Team is the 3rd highest fundraising team for the 2011 Boston Walk.  That is 3rd out of every team registered for the Boston Walk.  WOW!

So some of you may remember that I challenged my team to raise $30,000 in 3 years and many did not think we could do it.  Well they were wrong.  Of course we did it! :)

2009   $6,275
2010   $10,920
2011   $13,334
Total  $30,529 {and still growing!}

Once I have the confirmed official total I will be sure to update.  I just couldn't wait any longer to share such GREAT news.

On a personal note, I raised $6,547 this year which is the most I have ever raised.  This is thanks to all of you who donated.  It is amazing how much money can be raised when so many people chip in!! :)  I took a sneak peak to see where I fall in terms or "ranking" and right now it looks like I'm the 4th highest individual fundraiser.  If you remember I got to wear the #11 bib this year b/c in 2010 I was the 11th highest fundraiser.  Looks like next year my bib will have a single digit.  Woo hoo!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Shoes. . .

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable Shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worked the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger women.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has MS.

Author Unknown

I changed the last line of this poem to "who has MS."  It was written for another use but rings so true for people living with MS.   As a social worker and as a person I try not to be judgmental or to make assumptions about people.  I often say to myself and/or co-workers "until I've walked a day in her shoes I'm not going to judge/assume."  I think it is a good motto to live by.  I don't know what it is like to live someone else's life. Life is different for everyone.  Everyone's journey is different.  I walk in my shoes on my journey which has been shaped by MS.  I can honestly say that it has greatly impacted everything I do and every decision I now make.  But my journey is not a sad journey or an angry journey or even a depressing journey.  Yes there are bad days and my future health is unknown.  But there are also a lot of good days, great days, happy days, time with family, vacations, time with friends, dinners out, sunny days, good books, funny reality tv shows, laughs, drinks, memories, support, love and HOPE.  My journey is filled with hope.  Hope that one day I won't walk my journey in shoes with MS.  I hope that one day there will be a cure.  I hope that I will continue to be strong and happy and motivated.  I hope I will never give up the fight against MS.  


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wee bit wednesdays

{one} have you ever been stuck in an elevator?
Nope but I have been stuck in an MRI machine!

{two} have you ever ridden on an elephant?
Yes at a store grand opening in my town when I was little and at the circus when my cousin and I were chosen to be the "king and queen" in the circus parade.  So fun!

{three} have you ever met a well known celebrity?
Yes several.  I met Matthew Fox back when he was on Party of Five at my local mall.  I met Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Melissa Joan Hart, Alyson Hannigan, Alexis Denisof, Maria Shriver, some soap stars and a few other randoms at different Habitat for Humanity builds when I worked for Habitat!  

{four} do you have any food allergies?
Milk but fortunately I have mostly outgrown it and can eat most dairy products now.

{five} do you know how to sew?
Nope but my mother is an amazing seamstress and should have taught me!

{six} did you get an allowance when you were young?
Nope - always wanted one but had a paper route at a young age and then babysat a lot so always had cash on hand.

{seven} how often do you fill up your gas tank?
Once a week now that I drive to work.  Gas is EXPENSIVE!

{eight} have you ever been stung by a jelly fish?

{nine} have you ever been robbed?
Not really but I did have my wallet stolen out of my car while in high school and I am still convinced that one of my "lost" iPhones was really stolen.

{ten} what is the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
Hmmm. . . none really.  Most of my life I've had long hair.  I chopped it several years ago to donate it so that was pretty shocking but I ended up really liking it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Boston Marathon Journey by Katelyn

As most of my blog readers know by now my cousin, Katelyn, ran the Boston Marathon with the Marathon Strides Against MS team.  I was so honored that she was willing to do this b/c not only does it raise awareness for MS but it also raises a TON of money.  Katelyn raised over $4,000!  Since running a marathon is something I would NEVER do I thought I would have Katelyn share a little of her experience with me and my readers.  So please let me introduce the amazing, brave, hard-working, ambitious, generous, fun and talented Katelyn. . .

Katelyn and I at the FINISH LINE after she ran the Boston Marathon for MS!!!!
Running the Boston Marathon was never on my bucket list.  Actually I have only gone to the Boston Marathon as a spectator twice. So how did I end up running the 115th Boston Marathon?    That is a very good question. 

At the 2010 Boston MS walk, Jodi mentioned to Meghan, Chad and myself that MS had a Marathon team and asked if any of us would be interested in joining.  Since my brother, Chad had run Boston before and my sister-in-law, Meghan is a former track star either of them would have been an obvious choice to volunteer.  But for some reason I thought it would be a good idea. The girl who thought a 3.5 mile mother’s day race was too long only a couple of years ago!

So in September I filled out the application and waited to hear.  I still remember the feeling of “What did I get myself into?!?” when I got the phone call telling me I was part of the team.  The Marathon Strides Against MS team was made up of 70 runners, 20 of whom qualified for Boston.  We started our training on December 4 with an 8 mile run.  By the end of January after each Saturday morning run I could say, “That was the longest I have ever ran.”  Beth, Doug, Mark, Silva, and Evan were a great group to run with.  The people I met through the MS team were a remarkable group.  I will truly miss seeing them every Saturday morning. 

Mark, Beth, Katelyn and Doug after final Saturday run before Marathon Monday!
Not only did I need to train for Boston but I had a goal of raising $4000 for MS (I was required to raise at least $3,250).  I had my first fundraiser, a Stella & Dot Truck show, in December.  I was able to raise more than $200 and collect more than $400 worth of jewelry to raffle off at my next fundraiser.  In February, I hosted a cocktail hour at the Kinsale Pub in Boston.  Jodi blogged about it here.  I lucked out and it didn’t snow all week!  I had a great turn out and raised A LOT of money and had a great time. By April 18, I surpassed my goal and had raised over $4200!

Katelyn's friend Michelle cheering at the top of Heartbreak Hill!
The support I received from my friends and family has been amazing!  It was much easier than I thought to raise so much money.  And to all the people that had to hear stories of my training, thank you for listening. (I don’t always tell the most interesting stories!)  I had an overwhelming amount of emails, texts and Facebook messages wishing me luck on the day of the marathon.  To everyone that cheered me on at the course and to those who had to work (craziness!) but where there in spirit, thank you.  I wouldn’t have been able to cross the finish line without you! 

Katelyn's friends, Molly and Laura, watching for Katelyn at mile 24!
As for the race itself, it didn’t go exactly as I had planned but still a phenomenal experience.  I ran with Doug 24 out of the 26.2 miles.  It was great to hear people cheering you on for all 26.2 miles.  It was amazing to hear people thank you for raising money for the MS Society.  Although I ran for close to 5 hours the day flew by.

Katelyn at mile 25 getting cheers and encouragement from friends, Kelly, Raleigh and Alyssa!
This has been an experience I will never forget! And the answer to the most common questions I get, yes I still have all ten toes nails and no I didn’t lose any weight.  Please don’t ask me what I am doing on April 16, 2012.  I am scared to hear what my answer might be. . . .
Katelyn with her parents at the finish line!

What do you think?  Will Katelyn run another marathon?
Have you ever consider running a marathon to raise money for a charity? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Celebrate Spring With Shutterfly

Anyone who knows me IRL (in real life) knows that I LOVE taking pictures, printing pictures, scrapbooking pictures and making awesome photo gifts on Shutterfly!

With a busy life I can't always find the time to scrapbook but I can find the time to make photo books on Shutterfly and they always come out great. I love that you can choose the backgrounds for each page and the layout to include one picture or many pictures. I especially like making books for my nieces. They love "reading" and seeing pictures of themselves. Such a great gift idea. I've made them ABC books, birthday party books, sleepover books, holidays books and more. They love them!

My second favorite thing to make is cards.  I've made thank you notes and Christmas cards on Shutterfly and loved the way they came out.  I was really in love with my 2010 Christmas cards and received SO many compliments on them!  With Mother's Day just around the corner I'm thinking I better hurry up and make some cards for some special ladies out there!

There are so many other great products on Shutterfly that make life so much easier.  If I were moving (which I'm not THANK GOD) I'd probably making some adorable moving announcements and if I were graduating (which I'm not THANK GOD I'm done w/ school forever) I'd probably make some fun graduation announcements.  So many options for fun things.  For now I'm going to stick with my favorites - photo books and cards but you should go check out what they have!

Oh and if you have a blog and want to blog about your experiences with Shutterfly you could earn 50 FREE 5x7 cards.  What a great deal right!?  Just go here for more information. 

Easter Day Recap!

I had a lovely Easter with my family and with my friend, Taylor.  Taylor is the 14 year old young lady that I've mentored since she was 10.  This was the first time she spent a holiday with me and I'm so glad she did!  Her mother had to work today so she was able to hang out w/ my family and I.  It was a pretty low key day which pretty much consisted of eating and hanging out.  I didn't take too many pictures but here are the few I did take.  Oh and it was REALLY warm in Mass today!  AND the Sox swept the Angels and the Celtics won.  Great day for so many reasons. 
Taylor with the Easter basket I gave her (never too old for an Easter basket)!
It was filled with a lot of fun stuff including this cool arm sleeve/tattoo thing for when we go to the Red Sox!

Taylor and I

My mom and I

Cute baby Laney in "my first Easter" outfit!!

Napping. . .        Napping. . .     and NOT Napping!
 Drinking whiskey and smoking cigars two things I do not like.  Good thing I like these two guys anyways!

Hope everyone had a GREAT Easter! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Easter through the years! 

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

Since Peyton and Ella are spending Easter tomorrow with Jenn's family I had a little Easter egg hunt for them today at my mom's house.  They were very cute and excited!

The Easter Bunny only hid a few eggs outside b/c he knew it would be raining!

Luckily Peyton and Ella have rain jackets so they didn't mind being outside for a few minutes to find the eggs!

The hunt moved inside and Peyton and Ella were very good at finding the hidden eggs!

Ella didn't miss a beat and was quick to grab just as many eggs as her big sister!

Ella was quick to find the very few pieces of candy and quickly get candy to mouth!  Haha!

The girls were very excited to check out what was in the eggs.  Ella couldn't open them by herself and had to ask for help!

Ella loves peanut butter cups and managed to find 5 out of the 6 of them!  Good thing Peyton didn't seem to notice.
Peyton was happy with just one!  Of course she put the whole thing in her mouth!

It didn't take long for the girls to find all of the Easter eggs, open them and try or eat whatever was in them!

They had a lot of fun playing with the empty eggs after the hunt!

Grammy and Grampy gave the girls a little Easter gift with a new outfit and a baby Neely dog!  By all the stuff on the floor it looked like Christmas!

Peyton has been my buddy lately and wanted to sit with me for a picture!

Ella didn't want to sit w/ us but she is still adorable anyways!

We had a fun time despite the rain!  They are at a fun age and when I told Ella that the Easter Bunny had left them eggs she made a face and said that she didn't like the bunny.  We had to explain that he wasn't actually there so that she would come in!  Haha!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter.  I will be spending it w/ the rest of my family and I'm sure we'll be eating a lot of yummy food!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Laney's Baptism

My cousin's baby, Laney, was baptised on Sunday.  She was such a well behaved baby during the entire thing and didn't even cry when the priest poured water on her head. 

My cousin Chad, his wife Meghan and Laney.  Laney is 8 weeks old now and they are such great parents.  They are pretty relaxed especially for first time parents and seem to really be enjoying Laney!

Laney looking cute with her pretty dress and pink binky!

My uncle Bill, cousin Katelyn, cousin Chad, cousin-in-law Meghan and aunt Nancy (I have a small family - besides the people in this picture I have one other aunt, a grandmother and a grandfather)!

Laney in her pretty dress that her mother wore at her baptism too!

Laney sleeping soundly in my arms!  She is such a good baby!  She had a very busy weekend with being baptised on Sunday and watching her Auntie Katelyn run the marathon on Monday!

I had a lot of family time this weekend and have seen Katelyn MANY times this week.  We joked that after Easter we will have to plan a get together so that we don't go into withdrawal. . .

Monday, April 18, 2011

Katelyn Ran the Boston Marathon!!!!!!!!

Today Katelyn accomplished something that only a select group of people can said they have accomplished . . . she ran the Boston Marathon.  Not only did she complete it but she raised over $4,000 for MS to get a number.  So she was training and fundraising for the last several months and the big day finally came!  It was a great day with great weather (for the fans maybe a bit hot for the runners).  We had so much fun waiting for her.  I'm exhausted and I didn't run but all that adrenalin gets you tired!

 Katelyn had a LARGE cheering section at the top of Heartbreak Hill!  We had a lot of fun waiting for her and looking for her!  Once we saw her we all started yelling and cheering (and Ella rang the cow bell haha)!

Katelyn looked great and even made time to say hello and give some high fives!  Doug one of her running friends was right there with you and we cheered loudly for him too!  As soon as Katelyn passed us we were off too. . .

A bunch of us jumped in a car to race downtown to see Katelyn cross the finish line.  We scored an awesome parking space on Newbury St. (not an easy accomplishment in Boston).  We went to the finish line and it was 3 rows thick with people so we walked back a little bit after the finish line.  Then we jumped the gate/fence thing and waited, and got yelled at, and moved a little, then moved back, and waited, and got yelled at, AND THEN. . . she was coming!!!!  We got as close as we could and saw her cross the finish line.  In the top right picture you can see her high fiving Doug right after they crossed.

The runners then have to walk like another mile down the street.  They get water, Gatorade, food, tinfoil blankets and their medals.  We walked with Katelyn (and found out later we weren't suppose to but oh well).  We then made our way to the Park Plaza hotel for the Marathon Strides Against MS team party.  Katelyn go a massage and a shower while we ate some food and drank some wine!  It was a good time and great to be able to support Katelyn.

It was such a fun day!  I'm so proud of Katelyn for this achievement.  Does she have "the bug" and will she be running another marathon?  The jury is still out. . . there might be a MS bike event in her future (and mine).  For now we will just let her get some much deserved rest and relaxation!!!



Today is MARATHON MONDAY and also a holiday in Massachusetts, Patriots Day. I thought I would share some history and fun facts about the Boston Marathon with you!

On a Monday: The Patriots’ Day Race
From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.

The First Boston Marathon
After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to the Irvington Oval in Boston was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.
In 1924, the B.A.A. moved the starting line from Ashland to Hopkinton. In 1927, the Boston Marathon course was lengthened to the full distance of 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to Olympic standards.

The Marathon Distance - Why 26.2 miles?
The 1896 Olympic marathon distance of 24.8 miles was based on the distance run, according to famous Greek legend, in which the Greek foot-soldier Pheidippides was sent from the plains of Marathon to Athens with the news of the astounding victory over a superior Persian army. Exhausted as he approached the leaders of the City of Athens, he staggered and gasped, “Rejoice! We Conquer!” and then collapsed.
The marathon distance was later changed as a result of the 1908 Olympic Games in London. That year, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wanted the marathon race to begin at Windsor Castle outside the city so that the Royal family could view the start. The distance between the castle and the Olympic Stadium in London proved to be 26 miles. Organizers added extra yards to the finish around a track, 385 to be exact, so the runners would finish in front of the king and queen’s royal box. Every Olympic marathon run since the 1908 Games has been a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.

Second Largest Single Day Sporting Event: In terms of on-site media coverage, the Boston Marathon ranks behind only the Super Bowl as the largest single day sporting event in the world. More than 1,100 media members, representing more than 250 outlets, receive credentials annually.

Spectators: Approximately 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course annually, making the Boston Marathon New England's most widely viewed sporting event, according to estimates by police and public safety officials from the eight cities and towns along the route.

Charity Program: The Boston Marathon Charity Program enables selected charitable organizations to raise millions of dollars for worthwhile causes. In 2009, approximately 1,200 participants, representing 24 charities, raised more than $10.5 million.

Marathon Route Map

P.S.  Katelyn is number 22721.  You can track her progress at and of course I'll be giving a blog update complete with pictures once it is over!!!

P.P.S Anyone who is going to the marathon - FYI- The Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society will have a table/tent at mile 17 right at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill.  Stop by for some MS pins and bracelets!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marathon Expo and Pre-Marathon MS Dinner

Tomorrow is MARATHON MONDAY!  I sure the majority of my blog readers know by now that my cousin, Katelyn, is running her first ever marathon and she is running it for MS!  She is a member of the Marathon Strides Against MS team and has raised over $4,000 for MS (and this is in addition to the $12,500+ that The Bean Team raised for the Boston MS Walk)!

The city is ready for the big day - there are porta-potties everywhere!  Haha!  There are also many banners around the city and this is just one of the many. 

On Saturday night we went to the Sports and Fitness Expo at the Hynes Convention Center.  This is where the runners pick up their numbers.  This event is HUGE with literally 100s of vendors selling everything related to running that you can imagine.  There also also a lot of free samples (of drinks and bars) and a lot of other marathons trying to recruit runners (Disney, Rock and Rock, Dublin, etc).

We walked around the expo for a little while and make sure to get some photos!  Katelyn and her running partner, Beth plan to stay together for the marathon since they run at the same pace and have trained together.  Beth is on the team and running for her aunt who had MS.

There were so many people at the expo you could hardly walk around.  I had never been to it before (even though I have been to the marathon numerous times) and was pretty impressed with the whole thing.  You could feel all the energy in the room radiating of all the excited runners!

Katelyn is all ready for the big day.  She has been training for 22 weeks and feels prepared to do it.  She is excited and happy that it is finally here!

After the expo we went to the pasta dinner put on by the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society.  There were many of the Marathon Strides Against MS team members and their families.

There was pasta of course but there was also salad, chicken, veggies and bread! 

You would think I was the one running the marathon by the amount of food on my plate!  I also enjoyed 2 mini cannolis for dessert!  Yum!!

After dinner there were several speakers.  The team captain who has run over 10 marathons (and has MS) spoke and was really good.  Two other team members shared their experiences as well.  To close the evening the team coach shared some final advice to the runners!  It was great.

I'm so happy Katelyn invited me to be a part of the evening.  I'm so proud of her already and she hasn't even run the marathon yet.  She has already accomplished so much and she is an inspiration to me!  I can't wait to cheer her on tomorrow and then party afterwards!  I will be sure to post a marathon recap so you can see how she did.