Thursday, March 31, 2011

Currently I am serving on the South Carolina Family Teams Committee for the March of Dimes. We meet via phone conference once a month to brainstorm ways to encourage other teams to get involved, discuss how to increase fundraising efforts and registered walkers, to share our stories, to learn about others and to work together to make SC Family Teams the best family teams. The March of Dimes staff also shares with us the successes that teams across the state and nation are making. I got this as part of an update today and felt compelled to share:


For the FIRST time since the March of Dimes launched its National Prematurity Campaign in 2003…the national premature birth rate has dropped for a third consecutive year to 12.2% in 2009. (Locally in SC, our rate declined from 15.5% to 14.3%-a difference of almost 700 babies born on time!) This is a trend in the right direction: down. And while modest trend, it is encouraging! We know that this is more than a statistic; it means that thousands of families were spared the grief and challenges of watching their babies struggle in NICUs. It also is validation that the work of the March of Dimes has undertaken-from raising maternal awareness to improving the quality of prenatal care to launching bold interventions-is making a difference!  As you continue your March for Babies asks-please share with everyone that you talk to that these donations are making a difference. More babies are being born healthy and on time!

This is also validation that your donations and prayers and support are working

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At this very moment I don't have an exact total for donations. I do know that so far Team Morgan Kate has raised $710 for the March of Dimes. I also know that I have several donations in hand that needed to be added, a large t-shirt donation to add and several others that are on their way to me. I think it might be safe to say or at least to estimate that we may just hit $1000. We may even go over. How awesome is that! I would love to see us hit our goal of $1500, but I will be ecstatic with any total! 

T-shirts should be ready for pick-up on Friday. As soon as I have them in hand I will begin deliveries. I have tried to contact most everyone with information regarding their totals. If you have not heard from me, please feel free to email me or leave me a message in the comment section of this post. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I was looking through old pictures the other night and I came across this one.



For a minute, it took my breath away. I stopped. I stared. I remembered. 


Even almost three years later I remember that day and that moment vividly. I remember what I was thinking. I remember how I felt. I remember how terrified I was. I remember looking into that isolette and wondering what the next days and weeks and months were going to hold for us. I remember being overwhelmingly afraid that my baby girl might die. I never uttered those words. I never shared them anyone, not even Travis. But in those first few weeks those thoughts consumed me. 


Most people go through life trying to be prepared for things. You try to prepare for the next day. You try to prepare for the upcoming week. You try to prepare for dates and events that are months away. I think women especially try to prepare. From the moment you find out your are pregnant you begin to prepare. You prepare for your pregnancy, a full-term pregnancy. You prepare for weight gain and mood swings. You prepare for doctor's appointments and ultrasounds. You prepare for those first flutters and kicks. You prepare for the delivery and birth. You prepare for the day you bring your baby home. And some overachievers out there even begin preparing their child's life. It's funny, I thought I was prepared. Prepared for a full-term pregnancy. Prepared for the first kicks and flutters. Prepared for my belly to grow and expand like never before. Prepared for the birth of our baby girl in December. And with all the planning and preparing that I did, I never prepared myself for something like what we experienced.


Don't get me wrong I was well aware that things could go wrong. About five minutes after I saw the positive on the home pregnancy test my mind began to go wild with worry. For the first twelve weeks I worried about miscarriage. I worried about the baby getting tangled in the cord. Up until week twenty I worried that my cervix might give out. I worried about everything. I still worry today. Whenever I find out that family or friends or even Susie Q from around the way is pregnant I worry. I find myself holding my breath and hoping that the nine plus months passes ever so quickly. And while I worried about all of this and continue to worry about all of this, I never worried, or even thought about a premature birth. It never crossed my mind. 


And when it did happen. When that became our reality, I was not prepared. Of course I wasn't prepared logistically. For goodness sake, at twenty-five weeks I had only had one baby shower. The nursery wasn't ready. I hadn't purchased the car seat or stroller. I had nothing. But forget logistics. My body wasn't prepared. My mind wasn't prepared. At only twenty-five weeks I was still able to wear most of my regular clothes. Three weeks before Morgan Kate's birth Travis had just felt her first kicks. My belly wasn't large. It had much more to grow. And my mind? Well my mind was set on December. My mind was set on doctor's appointments, wearing maternity clothes, picking out nursery furniture and all things pink. My mind was set on a big belly, restless nights and stretch marks. My mind was set on finding the most perfect and the most special coming home outfit. My mind was set on the joy and laughter that her birth day would bring. My mind wasn't prepared for a one pound, twelve ounce baby girl. A baby girl that would need help taking her first breaths. A baby girl that would be unable to eat on her own for weeks. A baby girl that I would not get to immediately hold or kiss. A baby girl whose life I would fear for. 


And while I wasn't ready and I wasn't prepared for all that we experienced or went through, I think it's made me a different person. A better person that I used to be. And a much better mommy that I would have ever been. And there's nothing I would change about anything we experienced (Okay, maybe a few things) because we have been blessed beyond measure. And we have this amazing, beautiful, miraculous, little girl. 



I don't think anyone can ever prepare for a premature birth. Ever. There's just some things that you can never be ready for. But, I do think people can make themselves aware. Educate themselves about premature birth and the warning signs of premature birth. For more information, visit www.marchofdimes.com.




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Less than two weeks to the big walk! If you are interested in donating to a cause that is so near and dear to my heart, just click on the purple button in the right sidebar. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Morgan Kate wants to wish a very happy 2nd birthday to her friend, Caroline!

video

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Only 12 days until the walk! Remember, the walk is in Orangeburg at the Edisto Gardens and starts at 9am. All donations will be turned in on Thursday, April 7th. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Traveling is a part of Travis' job, but it's the one part I'm not very fond of. At all. (Okay, I did happen to like it back in 2007 when he went to Ireland and I got to go along with him.) I just don't like for him to be away and I don't like for us to be alone. Before we had Morgan Kate I would make a really big deal about it. Lots of tears and lots of begging him to stay. I really dislike staying home alone. But, since having Morgan Kate I've learned to deal. Somewhat. I still get all teary-eyed when he leaves and I still miss him like crazy and I still really, really, really don't like being home without him, but I deal. Did I mention that he only travels like once or twice a year? Yeah, I know. I am a total drama queen. Morgan Kate gets it honest. Anyway, whenever he mentions "travel" our conversations go a little like this:


T: I'm going to have to go out of town in three weeks.
H: Ok.
T: I'm going to be traveling to _______.
H: Ok.
T: I'll be gone for five days.
H: Ok.
T: Is that cool? Are you going to be okay?
H: I guess, but I really don't want to talk about it right now.
T: Ok.


Not only do I dislike the thought of him traveling, but I also dislike even talking about it. Our conversations regarding his work trips are short, brief and to the point. I know when, where and how long he's going to be, but I don't ask anything else and I don't talk about it. At all. I know, I'm weird. So when he mentioned his upcoming trip to Florida, our conversation went like this:


T: I have to travel to Florida in April.
H: Ok.
T: I'll be gone three or four days.
H: Ok.
T: Three or four days isn't that long.
H: (No reply.)


After that conversation neither of us uttered another word about his trip in April. 


UNTIL, this past weekend. We were with some family and my aunt asked about my spring break. I mentioned the dates and then Travis spoke up and said, "Really? That's the same week as my Florida trip." And I replied in typical fashion, "Ok." Another family member asked where he would be in Florida and he told them that he would be in Orlando. And then all of a sudden, just like that, the light bulbs came on. Florida? Orlando? Spring break? And then at the same time we both said, "Disney?!?" Could it really be true? He's traveling for work, his conference/hotel is two miles from Disney and it's my spring break. No way. (So glad we decided to finally have a conversation about his "travel".)


Yes way. 


So, in a matter of just a few hours we decided to tack on a few extra days to have a little family vacation and a trip to DISNEY. Ahhhhhh! 


We've been toying with the idea of Disney for quite some time, but had decided that we would wait until MK was a little bit older. Maybe the summer before she started kindergarten. But with all of the stars aligning the way they were/are, we couldn't resist. I'm not sure who's more excited - me or Travis, because at this point Morgan Kate doesn't have a clue. A big THANK YOU to our family who in a weird, around about, kinda way encouraged us to talk about Travis' "traveling" and really helped this trip become a reality. 


Maybe I like Travis' traveling more than I thought I did. 


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Oh, and major update to last Thursday's post. Friday afternoon when I submitted the final t-shirt order, I placed 93 orders. Ahhhh! I'll be contacting everyone in the next few days with totals and a delivery date, but with 93 orders the shirts are now $8.85. Woo hoo!!! Thank you again to everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

As of tonight, at 8:59pm, we have 74 t-shirt orders! That's right, 74. Seventy- four shirts that have all of this little girl's information on the back and a copy of her actual birth footprints.


I can't wait until this precious girl is old enough to really know exactly how many people care about her and love her. 



And how many people support her, think of her, encourage her and pray for her.



If she's anything like me, she'll be all teary-eyed and her heart will be all warm and fuzzy.




Seventy-four shirts means several things. It means seventy-four of you wonderful, beautiful people will be wearing her shirt and thinking of her. It means the final price for a 2011 Team Morgan Kate shirt is $8.58. It means that from t-shirt orders alone we will be able to donate $92.50 to the March of Dimes. Wow. It also means that my momma has to pay up. Remember her challenge? Well she is now responsible for donating $74. 




I have to be honest. I knew people would order t-shirts this year, but I really didn't expect the number 74. I mean most everyone loves a good t-shirt, but we sold t-shirts last year and had over 100 orders and I thought people might just skip this year and use their shirt from last year. And that would have been perfectly fine. But, I was wrong. In a very good way. I decided to do a new shirt because I like any good shirt, I love wearing a shirt that supports my pride and joy, I love wearing a shirt that honors the March of Dimes. And my shirt from last year just doesn't fit the same way anymore -at least, not well enough to wear in public. 


So, thank you! Thank you for proving me wrong. Thank you for supporting the March of Dimes. And mostly, thank you for honoring my precious girl! 




**Update on Team Morgan Kate**
We have now raised over $700 dollars!!! And don't forget, the walk is in fifteen days. Two weeks from this coming Saturday. We would love to have you join us!!! 

Saturday, April 9th at 9:00am
Orangeburg 
Edisto Gardens

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

T-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts

We have over fifty orders for Team Morgan Kate t-shirts!!! And it's not too late to still get your order in. I am placing the final order this Friday. I would like to have all loose ends tied up by tomorrow, BUT I will take any and all orders until Friday morning. If you have received an email from me or we have corresponded in some way about your t-shirt size, then rest assured that I have your order. IF you have NOT heard from me in the past few days then please email me (heather_callahan@yahoo.com) just to make sure I have you down. I would hate to overlook anyone! 

I thank you. Travis thanks you. And Morgan Kate thanks you!

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Speaking of that precious baby girl, who is actually not really any part baby. Ok, maybe the diapers and nighttime bottle make her a baby. Yikes. Anywho, speaking of my precious girl. She is anti-mommy right now. Seriously. She wants nothing to do with me and everything to do with Travis. Tonight he said, "Babe, don't take it so personal. She's two and a half. You know she loves you." Funny thing is, I used to tell him that same thing and he didn't want to hear it. Now he's offering up advice. Ha, I don't think so.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring to everyone! 

Here at the Callahan household we have had THE best weekend. Our weekend started earlier than usual, as I had the day off Friday. It was scheduled to be a student/teacher holiday all along, but after our "snow week" back in January, Friday was slated to be a make-up day. However, about a week ago our governor forgave our days and we got our holiday back. It was a holiday I definitely needed and I now I feel like all weekends should be at least three days (I have really felt that way all along). It's ridiculous how one extra day can make such a big difference! 

We spent Friday on the lake with my parents. Saturday brought forth a pedicure for me (very much needed), then a little shopping with my hubby and baby girl, and then a cocktail party to celebrate my brother and Trenholm's upcoming nuptials (Six weeks to go!). Sunday started off with church with many of my family members to celebrate Mama Jean's 81st birthday and then a picnic lunch at my mom's house. Perfect day and perfect weekend! 

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Team Morgan Kate has now raised $691.50!!! Wow. Wow. Wow. And as of 7:00 this evening we have sold 47 t-shirts. Shirts are now $9.28 each. The deadline for ordering shirts is this Wednesday, March 23rd

Let me know if you are still interested in ordering a t-shirt. You can leave a message on the blog OR send me an email at heather_callahan@yahoo.com - They are some good lookin' shirts! 


Only twenty days and counting until our walk in Orangeburg! Feel free to register as a walker using the purple button to the right OR just email me to let me know!! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

As of today, Team Morgan Kate has raised $635. Amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all that have donated. Our walk is in less than a month and I am getting more and more excited. I think I mentioned last week that I always tend to get a little (more) emotional around "walk time" and I tend to think more about MK's birth. As you all know, it's never very far from my mind, but it's especially present during certain times - the walk being one of them. It makes me look at my baby girl with a whole new set of eyes. It makes me appreciate my husband and our marriage even more. It makes me even more grateful for my terrific family and friends. It makes me hug people tighter and thank God more frequently for all that I have.


Lately there has been so much sadness, and that too makes me hold MK and Travis a little tighter. Earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan. The loss of a mother for children that attend my school. Infertility and miscarriage for family and friends. Cancer. I know all of these things have always existed, but now that I am a grown-up and wife and a mother, they hit me in an entirely different way. They make me heart stop and my mind wander. 


However, at the same time, there has also been lots of happiness. A one year birthday celebration for my nephew, Hunter. Just six short weeks to my brother's wedding. Some really wonderful news for one special and wonderful couple that are near and dear to our hearts. And the engagement of my cousin and his girlfriend, Claire. Luckily, those things bring a big smile to my face. Oh, and the design of our Team Morgan Kate shirts...


So, I realize they aren't that different. I showed the proof to Travis and he said, "Isn't that the shirt from last year?" Ummmm....no. They are in fact very similar, BUT the front font is completely different and I added the name of the walk. The back design is exactly the same, but the font is different. Oh, and the shirts will be GRAY with dark purple writing. I LOVED our shirts from last year, so it was very difficult to come up with a new design. If you would like to order one please email me at heather_callahan@yahoo.com. Let me know how many and what size. I will need all orders by March 23rd and I will need all money by March 31st. And if you have already told me, but didn't email me, please shoot me an email and remind me. I don't want to forget anyone! At this time we have 36 orders (maybe more), so the total cost of one shirt as of today (subject to change) is $11.15. If we get just 12 more orders then the price will drop to $9.28 and if we get 36 more orders then each shirt will only be $8.58. 


Oh, and check out what my mom has agreed to do:


I would like to offer a challenge. For every tshirt order placed, my husband and I will donate $1 to the March of Dimes up to $150.00. Maybe you could consider making a challenge like that. Could be alot of fun but most importantly, it is for a good cause. 


How awesome is that! Looks like my mom and dad are already up to $36!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Team Morgan Kate, as of today, has officially raised $575 for the March of Dimes. Wow. I am speechless. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are over a fourth of the way to our team goal of $2000 and over a third of the way to my personal goal, as seen to the right, of $1500. You are all so generous, so supportive and so kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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Someone left a t-shirt order in the comment section of the blog, but I'm not sure who. I am guessing that I am supposed to know, but I don't. HELP! If you are the one who left the order (1 XL, 1 Med and 1 2T), would you please email me and let me know or leave another comment with your name. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You guys are amazing! You make me smile. You make my heart happy. And my eyes all teary. I haven't even posted what this year's shirt is going to look like and we already have 27 orders. Twenty-seven. Wow. I am blown away. Seriously. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys are THE best! I don't have the proof yet to show you what the actual shirt will look like, but I can tell you two things. One, I am definitely going with GREY/GRAY and two, the back of the shirt will be very much like last year, but the front will be different. 


Oh, and a little note about grey vs. gray. I have been telling you guys about these new shirts and how I want to use grey/gray and each time I am pretty sure I spelled it GREY. Last night as I lay in bed I began wondering if my spelling was correct. So, I did what any wondering person might do. I googled it. And I found out that I am correct and so are people that use GRAY. Actually, the people who use GRAY are more "American" than I am. Apparently, both are acceptable spellings, but GREY is used mostly in the UK and GRAY is used mostly in the US. So, either way, you are correct and so am I. But, I think I may start using GRAY. I like the way it looks. (Just a little word study lesson from your local 5th grade teacher...)


This beautiful "toddler baby" above is not only quite the little diva lately, but she is a total daddy's girl. At first it was cute and made my heart melt a little, but I'm over it and now it's not so cute. I want my girl back! She was a total momma's girl and then all of a sudden - she shifted. What am I gonna do? 


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Just a reminder:
The March of Dimes walk will be held on Saturday, April 9th in Orangeburg at 9:00am at the Edisto Gardens. There is also a walk in Columbia (and other surrounding areas as well) on the 30th - we just won't be able to make that one. Also, if you are interested in purchasing a shirt, please email me at heather_callahan@yahoo.com or leave me a message in the comments section with your name, total number of shirts and sizes. And, if you are interested in donating you can send me a check (made out to the March of Dimes) or you can donate online by using the purple button to the right. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Team Morgan Kate is now up to $325. How awesome is that! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of those who have donated. PLEASE know that your contributions will and DO make a difference!


So...I finally decided on a t-shirt design for this year's shirts. I think. I have sent them to our "t-shirt friends" and they are going to send me a proof. I am hoping to get that in the next day or so and then you can start submitting your orders. We are already up to 14 orders. I will tell you that the prices have increased some. Two reasons. Well, actually three. One, the prices of the shirts have gone up almost $1.00 from last year. Second, last year I completely forgot to include sales tax. Good for all of you. Not so good for me and my checkbook. Ha. Not sure how I forgot that, but I did and didn't realize it until I went to write the final check and realized I was short some cash. Oops. It all worked out though. And finally, I am tossing around the idea of tacking on a $1.25 to each shirt to use as a donation to the March of Dimes. Of course Travis and I would make our own personal donation, completely separate, but I would like to be able to give them something from the sale of the shirts. If I sold 25 shirts then we would be able to give the MOD $31.25 or if we sold 50 shirts then $62.50. If you aren't comfortable with that then please let me know. Really, please. At this moment I don't have an exact price because I don't know a total number of orders and the price is based in part on that. Last year we ordered 110 shirts (wowzers!) and if we ordered that same amount this year then our price for white t-shirts would be $7.75 and grey t-shirts would be $8.60. Still can't decide between white and grey. 


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And, I'd like to report that little Miss MK has grown out of her "no", throwing toys and tantrum phase, BUT she hasn't. Still doing lots of all of those things and this mommy here doesn't have a clue what to do to break her. And believe me, we've tried lots of things - timeout, ignoring her behaviors, rewards for good behavior, taking things away and even a pop or two in the thigh. I know she will grow out of this, but in the meantime she is giving us a run for our money. And she's only two!

Friday, March 4, 2011

So many things to blog about. So little time to actually sit down and blog.


1.
Another BIG, ENORMOUS, GIGANTIC thank you to all of those who have donated and all of those who have signed up to walk. As of Tuesday (my last post) we were up to $125, but we are now up to $295. Woo hoo! For some unknown reason the purple button on the side doesn't reflect that, but it is in fact true. And we have two new walkers for a total of five registered walkers. Each time I get an email letting me know about a donation or a new walker my heart just smiles and my eyes fill with tears. It truly touches my heart. And it truly makes a difference. Please know that.


2.
I am trying my hardest to finalize the t-shirt design and color. I just can't seem to get it all together lately. Whewh! I can't decide if I want to purple writing on white or purple writing on grey. Any thoughts? By the time I finally do finalize things, there will be a very short turn around time. If you think you might be interested in a shirt you can leave me a comment on the blog or email me at heather_callahan@yahoo.com. The shirts from last year are still perfect for this year. I'm the only one who has a problem with last year's shirt. Mine, well, mine doesn't fit anymore. :( Nor does Morgan Kate's. So, we will be ordering new shirts and if you are interested in one please let me know.


3.
This past week Travis and I, along with Roddey (bless her heart), have gotten to see a whole new side of little Miss MK. The side of MK that says "No" to basically anything you say or ask of her. The side of MK that pushes her friends and throws toys. The side of MK that throws some pretty nasty little tantrums and then just stands up and smiles. The side of MK that has spent many, many minutes in timeout this week. Whewh! I am praying this is a phase and a fast one because if it's not, then we are in for one wild ride. Pray for us.




4. 
It's Friday night, after 9pm, and I'm finally finding a minute or two to blog. However, instead of blogging I probably should be in our bedroom helping my amazing hubby put down hardwood floors. We decided to tackle this task early in the week and we are attempting to do it ourselves. Or should I say, he is attempting to do it because let's face it, I'm really just watching and probably opening my mouth when I shouldn't. But, I did move a majority of the things out AND I removed everything from our closet. 


We've only been in our house for six years. We are in desperate need of a new one, as ours is the size of a child's shoebox, but that's neither here nor there. We have carpet in all of the bedrooms and the hallway. In just six years our carpet is DONE. Finished. Over with. I blame it on several things. One, I probably didn't vacuum enough. Two, we have two indoor dogs. And three, for like the first six months of MK's life we lived in there. Literally. We slept in there, ate in there, paid bills in there, hung out in there. We did everything in there. So needless to say, our carpet was awful. And as I have watched Travis tear it up, piece by piece, I have come to the realization that carpet is kinda nasty and I never want it in any house ever again. I think if you are going to have carpet then you should vacuum it like twice a day, you should never have indoor pets and you should probably keep your children away from it until they are at least eighteen or so. Maybe older. Who am I fooling? I'm thirty and I think I should be kept away from it. 




Well, I guess I should get back to work. Or at least get back to "supervising"!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just wanted to say a BIG, GIGANTIC thank you to all of those who have donated and those who have signed up to walk. Team Morgan Kate has already raised $125!!! Woo-hoo! (I'm not sure why the purple button on the right says $50.) And we have three walkers signed up (two are Travis and I). Again, a HUGE, ENORMOUS thank you!


Morgan Kate's premature birth is never far from my thoughts, but it's especially in the forefront of my mind around this time of year when we are preparing for the walk and trying to spread awareness about the March of Dimes. It's so hard to put into words just how near and dear this organization is to my heart. There is no other way to say it than to say that because of their research and fundraising efforts MY BABY GIRL IS HERE TODAY. The happiness and joy and pride I feel everyday when I look into her little eyes is due in part to the March of Dimes. 


And while we have experienced the loss of a child, with our miscarriage over a year ago, I know that the research the MOD conducts is also helping with efforts in that department. The research they do works to figure out things like miscarriages and birth defects. They work to figure out how women can have full-term, healthy pregnancies and then go on to have full-term, healthy babies. And one day, (maybe), whenever I find the courage and strength (if ever and that's a BIG "if ever") to try for another child, I know that once again the MOD will be on my side.


Please, please, please consider donating to the March of Dimes on behalf of Team Morgan Kate. Or sign up to walk and join us that day, April 9 in Orangeburg. It's going to be an absolute blast. Or just pray. Pray that the MOD will continue to raise money so that they continue with their research efforts. Pray that women, all women, will have full-term, healthy pregnancies and full-term, healthy babies. Pray for those babies who don't make it or those who come too early, like Morgan Kate.