Friday, September 28, 2012

Fixing Will

There are very few things that could keep me up until the wee hours of a work day morning. But I started working on this last night and just couldn't stop until it was perfect...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pegasus Ball 2012 - Our Video

Here is the amazing video the Autism Treatment Center and the wonderful folks at WFAA put together for the Pegasus Ball.  Enjoy!

video

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The DFW Walk Now for Autism Speaks is one month away!

This kiddo is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I cannot imagine my life without him. He is so smart and so funny. He's also a statistic - 1 in 54. That's how many boys are being diagnosed with autism. We hope Will will go to college one day and be able to get a job. Maybe he'll get married and have a family. Truth is - we don't know what he'll be able to accomplish but we know the sky is the limit. What we do know is that he will ALWAYS need us. Families dealing with autism don't want sympathy - but we desperately need your support! We'll be walking next month with thousands of other DFW families in solidarity - it takes a village!
 
 
Visit our Team Will page at http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/dfw/teamwill2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

I had a wonderful time this afternoon at a luncheon benefiting Metrocare, a local organization that provides services to mentally disabled children and adults.  The scrumptious luncheon, complete with all sorts of sweets up for bid, was held at the Belo downtown and featured an incredible speaker.  Kim Stagliano shared stories about her three daughters, all of whom are on the autism spectrum.  She told stories that made me laugh, others that made me tear up.  Her message today was to not feel sorry for her and her kids, but she encouraged the attendees to reach out to those who are affected by disability.  It was an inspiring and fun luncheon!

A special shout out to Karen Lukin and the event's main sponsor - WHOLE FOODS!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - We Won't Forget

So...  a beer company commercial to commemorate 9/11 eleven years later.  I know, but it's a good one!


Monday, September 10, 2012

What a weekend...

You know, I'm getting old.  I'm reminded of this every time I try to pack a couple of events into one weekend and then can't get out of bed when all is said and done.  Yesterday I rolled out of bed to grab a bite to eat, went back to sleep until around 3:00 p.m., cleaned for about an hour, then got back in bed to watch t.v. for the rest of the evening.  Let me recap what had me so worn out...

FRIDAY - The Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Benefiting Family Gateway


The Celebrity Waiter Luncheon is an EPIC event here in Dallas.  Known for it's raunchiness and "anything goes" atmosphere, the luncheon is a hit with everyone.  The uber-classy Ritz Carlton hosted the event on Friday where attendees tipped their celebrity waiters to perform various tasks, all in the name of charity!  From performing lap dances to dancing the Wobble, the waiters lived up to guests' expectations.



Ryan and I waited on the wonderful group from Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities.   We decked out our table with football-related decor including a couple of Ryan's old Dallas Cowboys jerseys (vintage, right?). 




I love this pic Shana Anderson took - our table tipped Ryan to throw me one of the mini-footballs on the table.  I caught that bad boy, but look at the guy's face right next to my behind - he was waiting in serious anticipation for me to catch that pass.



Goodness - what we will do in the name of charity.  Ryan went on to do the "gator."  Our table had to Youtube videos to show us what "white boy breakdancing" looks like.  Ryan busted a move, then quickly regretted it.  I think he pulled a groin muscle and he's been sore ever since.  I keep telling him his post-football body can't handle that stuff anymore.

The good news is that the event was wildly successful and raised a ton of money for Family Gateway, a charity that provides transitional housing and comprehensive services to families with children in Dallas experiencing homelessness.  Congratulations to event chairs Shay Geyer and Maggie Cooke Kipp and thank you for including the Neufelds in the shenanigans!


Don't worry - he didn't take me in.

SATURDAY - Bobby Norris's 24th Annual Roundup for Autism Pegasus Ball

Because one big charity event a weekend just isn't enough, Ryan and I were the honored chairpersons of the Pegasus Ball benefiting the Autism Treatment Centers of Texas.  The Fairmont Hotel hosted this fabulously fun and fancy event.  I got to wear my FAVORITE dress by Watters Designs - you know, the one that looks like they made it just for me?  Whenever they are ready to give it to me or mass produce and name it the "Dawn" dress, I'm all for it!


Ryan and I were surprised with a beautiful award from the ATC crew honoring our participation in the event.  A highlight for me was watching an amazing video package that the folks at WFAA put together for the ball.  Neil Massey of the ATC had asked me to send in some pics of Will - seeing my baby boy up there on the big screen made me lose it.  As I tried to salvage my eye makeup I'd worked on for an hour, I watched this video and thought about all the people in the room who were there for a common reason - to support a wonderful organization that is providing a tremendous service to children and adults with autism in communities all over Texas.  It really was a special night.



We also enjoyed meeting our host Bobby Norris - he was so funny and even invited Ryan and I to have dinner at the original Del Frisco's in Ft. Worth.  We will SO be taking him up on that offer.

I've asked the ATC folks for a copy of the video - as soon as I get it, I'll be sure to post it.

Fun times in the D.F.Dub...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stand Up 2 Cancer

 

Checking Twitter this afternoon, I kept coming across the hashtag #SU2C and I quickly realized it stands for Stand Up To Cancer, an organization that raises money for cancer research.  Well, the SU2C event was on tonight and I read that Taylor Swift was debuting a song she wrote about a courageous little dude named Ronan who last his fight against neuroblastoma last year.  I popped onto iTunes and downloaded the song before I'd even heard it.  One word - AMAZING.
  
Let me introduce you to Ronan...
 
Ronan was born in May 2007 - the missing link needed to complete a perfect family.  Ronan's mom Maya noticed that Ronan's eye was just a little lazy looking.  No one else seemed to notice.
 
Ronan's dad saw him the next day and immediately knew there were problems with the eye. Mom Maya took Ronan to the doctor who basically dismissed her concerns, so she contacted another doctor she hoped would would listen.  Tests were taken - MRIs, CT Scans.  Then on the 12th of August, 2010, Ronan was told he had stage IV neuroblastoma.  Ronan's fight ended less than a year later on May 9, 2011. 

I followed this family through the touching and authentic expression of their experience through a blog which can be found at www.rockstarronan.com  Losing this little rockstar was tough - it was tough for all of us who were connected to this boy online.  But I can't even imagine the pain Ronan's mother Maya experienced.  I've said before that Maya is my hero - the way she has taken the love for her boy and her hate for all things cancer to create awareness and raise money to help kiddos fighting cancer is amazing.  And thanks to Taylor's new song, more people will know about the little rockstar Ronan was and will help keep his memory alive.
 
It's hard to change the world but you can - just one step at a time.  Please download Taylor Swift's "Ronan" on iTunes to show your support.  Money from the download will raise funds to fight cancer.
 
As I was listening to "Ronan," I couldn't help but to think of that beautiful and perfect little angel Layla Grace.  Layla Grace was born in November 2007.  What a perfectly beautiful little girl she was.  When Layla was almost 18-months-old, she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.  Over the next ten months, Layla endured chemotherapies, surgeries.  Layla's mom Shanna was also very open about their journey. She would share how things were going. I would wake up everyday and check to see how this little girl who I didn't know was doing.  Layla was about my daughter's age at the time - the thought of putting myself in Shanna's shoes was breathtaking.   It is hard to imagine just how difficult helplessly watching your child fight cancer must be.

As Layla grew weaker, the stories became harder to read. In the last couple of days of Layla's life, I prayed that God would relieve her of her suffering. If it was that hard for me, a stranger, to deal with, I couldn't begin to wrap my head about the family and how they were dealing. I remember reading a post shortly after Layla past and all I could say is, "She's gone."

Layla earned her mini-angel wings on March 9, 2010.  I wept uncontrollably the night she lost her battle - the thought of a beautiful, innocent child having to suffer such pain... Her poor parents.  I wish I could've taken all that pain away.
 
 
Much like Ronan's story, little Miss Layla Grace is not forgotten.  Her parents started the Layla Grace Foundation which raises funds to help research and develop new treatments for high-risk cancer patients.
 
For more on the information, visit www.laylagracefoundation.org and www.theronanthompsonfoundation.com.  We can all do our part to help make sure diseases like neuroblastoma stop taking childrens' lives.

I want to share one more website with you.  Our neighbors down the street lost their sweet son to cancer a couple years ago.  They also started a charity in their son's memory - please visit A Spark of Hope for more information - http://www.asparkofhope.com/
 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mrs. Texas Pageant Prep - Hear We Go - Again

So here's the deal.  Mrs. Texas is just a couple of months away and I've got to get ready.  My body is in a weird place right now.  I haven't had an opportunity to work out as much as I'd like and my eating habits are consistent with w chick who always finds herself on the go - lots of fast food.  Well, with the pageant about 14 weeks away, it's crunch time.

I start training tomorrow with my favorite boot camp instructor Sheila.  I'm so out of shape - this is not going to feel good.   But if I keep it up over the next couple of months without eating too many foot long chili cheese dogs from Sonic, I will look amazing.  

So here is the pin I have put on my vision board for if I could envision my perfect pageant shape, this is what it would be...

 
Ryan thinks she's too skinny, which might be one reason why he's not fully supporting me hitting the gym - he likes curves.  And so it begins - boot camp in the morning to get me going to get my best Mrs. Texas pageant body yet!


Then again, this other chick isn't so bad either - she's on my vision board to provide me with some inspiration...