Friday, October 28, 2011

"Tonight" with SugarLand

So, remember how I won that contest "Win a Date with SugarLand"? Well, here is my update.....

We left Friday night and flew out to Atlanta. They paid for that. As we boarded the plane, we played switch-a-roo with another couple because Chris and I were sitting together, but with an aisle between us and another couple was split up, so we all traded seats so we could sit next to our spouse. There was a third guy in our row, and we started talking. He introduced himself as T-Bone from the show The Bone Collector. No Shit! We talked a lot the whole plane ride (about 2 hours) about everything. He had lost his mom to cancer last year, shortly after I was diagnosed. I told him about my concert win and how much SugarLand helped me through my journey. We talked about his new clothing line. The funniest line he said all night... "Every rednecks dream come clothes are available in over 30,000 Walmart stores". That was funny to me. His show is all about bow hunting and stuff that I know nothing about, but it was interesting. He said he could tell how excited I was and he didn't even know me. He is a super sweet guy. We talked about kids, he showed me pictures of him with different celebs, like Jeff Foxworthy, and he said he got to attend Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's wedding. It was pretty fun. You can see his website here and check out his show on the Outdoor Channel if you have it. Their Texas special that they were shooting is airing this week, I think. Check out the website here to see a preview. I told him I had to get a picture with him before we left, and he said, he wanted one of us too. So, after we de-planed, we all took a pic together.

 The Houston Airport  and my seat neighbor, Travis T-Bone Turner

Then, we took a town car limo to the Four Seasons Hotel. We paid for the car, they paid for the hotel. It was a super nice hotel. We got in really late, so we didn't do anything. We walked around a little bit because my energy level was through the roof. I was so excited to see what was in store for us the next day. The hotel is in the middle of Georgia Tech's nightlife, so there were TONS of bars, but we didn't really feel like doing a bar/club scene. So, we went back to the hotel. I finally fell asleep about 2am or so. We had chocolate covered things waiting for us in our room.

Saturday morning, Chris woke me up about 11am to go eat. We ate some quick brunch and headed back to the hotel for a nap. While we were eating, I noticed a lot of pink stuff everywhere....turns out, the Susan G Komen 3-day walk for a Cure was in Atlanta that weekend. So, we got to see a lot of pink people walking around. I thought it was kinda cool that the breast cancer walk was there, right by our hotel, considering that the meaning behind my video that won was all about my breast cancer journey. So, we headed back to the hotel, took a nap, and I started to get ready for my night.

Lots of pictures of the beautiful hotel! 

We arrived at the arena at about 5pm and picked up our tickets, meet and greet and VIP stickers. We went in and met Whitney, our host for the night. She works closely with Sugarland and is a REALLY cool chic. We got to eat dinner with all the band and producers, videographer, etc.. the whole crew eats in the "catering room" and we were lucky enough to eat with them. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush weren't there though. But, Kristian came in while we were eating with Whitney and he looked at me and stopped, smiled and came over to give me a hug. Whitney said "this is our tonight contest winners" and he said "I KNOW WHO THEY ARE, I RECOGNIZED THEM FROM THE VIDEO". Oh.My.Gosh!!! He recognized me??? It was so awesome. It was very obvious when he saw me that he recognized me and didn't need the introduction. He gave me a hug and then shook Chris' hand and said something to the effect of "I loved your video and what you two have together". That was probably the hi-light of my evening. Dinner was delicious! I ate Dr Pepper ribs, grits, fried okra, boiled shrimp, and bread pudding. Kristian said the caterers were giving them one last "excellent" meal before the tour was over so they would be invited back next year. It was really REALLY good! Whitney joined us at our table, and we chatted the time away. She said she read my blog! Hi Whitney! We talked about cancer, our relationship, how we met, our kids, and I told her about Kaylee's solo she is doing and she said I could email her a link to the video once she competes and we get it on video and she would pass it along. We talked about football a little bit. She's a Houston Texans fan, but we still like her anyways. :-) I really loved Whitney...she was an excellent host, and fun to talk to. We had a blast with her!

 Yes, I made the shirt. A custom creation, one-of-a-kind SugarLand rhinestone shirt.
Our meet and Greet passes and VIP all access sticker
This radio station was the one giving out the posters, and I had to take a picture with them since they were all wearing Pink Ribbon shirts.

After dinner, we went back out to the arena lobby and enjoyed a beer before the meet and greet. When we got into the meet and greet, they announced that SugarLand doesn't want to spend time autographing items, and instead they want to actually meet us, so they gave everyone an autographed photo when they left. We also weren't allowed to take our own pictures, and instead Whitney took the pictures and uploaded them to their site for downloading or printing. It was a good picture. I was a bit surprised by the news, but if you think about it, most people want pictures on 3 different cameras, and then sign like a dozen things, so it makes sense. We got to be at the end of the line, but the line was so long, we really didn't get any extra time with them. :-( Kristian was again, super sweet, gave me a hug but Jennifer acted like she had no clue who I was. I was a tiny bit disappointed that she didn't recognize me like Kristian did, but she is a busy lady, and probably meets a lot of people, so oh well.
Anyways, the concert was great, but my camera died shortly after it started, so sorry I don't have too many pics. (lots of them are cell phone pictures, so pardon the crappiness of them) The radio stations there had posters printed for the song "Little Miss" and asked us to all hold them up during the song. The one I chose was "I'll be alright again, I'm OK". It's lyrics from the song, and the Little Miss Project was started about a year ago. You can read about it and watch the video here. Basically, we are all a different type of "Little Miss" and the song touches on a few and you choose which one you are. So, we held those up during the song, which was pretty cool. I got to sit the row behind Jennifer Nettle's mom. Atlanta is Jennifer's hometown, so her mom came to watch her perform. After the concert, the lady I was sitting next to, who works with her mom, introduced us and told her I was the Tonight Contest winner. She is a super sweet lady and Jennifer looks a lot like her momma. My favorite songs from the concert were Little Miss, Incredible Machine, Baby Girl, Stay, All We Are and of course, Tonight.....

After the concert, I met up with a new SugarFriend named Mandy. She had emailed me when the contest started via the SugarLand site. You have to sign up as a member (free) in order to submit your video, so the email is safe, and it's all contained, and not through your regular email inbox. So, Mandy was telling me how much she loved my video and how much it touched her. She also has some medical issues, (not cancer) and her husband has stood by her and helped her through it all these years. We started emailing back and forth, and finally became Facebook friends. She told me that she would be at the concert that night, since she lives in Atlanta, and that she had some gifts for me and the kids. So, she gave me the gifts, and offered to take us back to the hotel (saved cab fare) so we accepted her sweet invitation. The gifts were SPOT ON! She gave each of my kids a stuffed animal, which it turned out...Brayden got a cow and Grayson got a puppy. Grayson is always acting like a puppy, and Brayden sleeps with a stuffed cow, so the boys LOVED their gifts. Kaylee got a journal/diary book and a cute pen, along with a stuffed animal, and that girl loves to write in journals, so it was prefect for her too. My gift was a zebra memory book/photo album and a beautiful painting that her and her daughter Katie had painted of me. I knew it was me right away and I knew exactly which picture it was. She said that picture was the one that she loved the most from my Facebook page, and I have to admit, it was one of my favorites too. So, Mandy and I have so much in common, we hit it off right away. We talked the whole way back to the hotel, but I totally forgot to get a picture with her. :-( I guess that means we will have to meet up again.

So, after finally falling asleep Saturday night we got up Sunday morning and went and had Einsteins Bagels and coffee for breakfast before heading to the airport. I was so ready to see my babies. I missed them so much while I was gone! We got home Sunday, and I hugged them all night long while we watched the Dallas Cowboys kick ass!

So, concert was great, dinner was great, Whitney was great, and we had a good time! Thank you Sugarland for having this contest, and for picking me as a finalists! Thank you to everyone who voted and helped make one of my dreams come true. It was an unforgettable evening!

Enjoy the pictures below.....

Pictures from the concert, and all the Pink walkers that walked by our hotel Saturday and Sunday. Also, the bikers that cheered them on at one of the pitstops. I love the pink bra's on their bikes.



The gifts from Mandy
I hope you enjoyed reading all about my Incredible Night with the most Incredible Band ever!!!!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Attitude is everything!

I received this cute story last year, and I thought I'd share it on here since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Enjoy.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.' So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

'H-M-M,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.' So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.' So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. 'YAY!' she exclaimed. 'I don't have to fix my hair today!'

Attitude is everything.

I totally enjoyed not having to fix my hair. I loved the quick showers. Now, I thoroughly enjoy that I have enough hair to have Bed-Head and I can feel the wind blow through it. That's such a great feeling!!!

Check yourself! Save those Ta-Ta's



Monday, October 10, 2011

It's gonna be an AWESOME night!!!!

So, some of you know that I entered the Sugarland "tonight" contest a while back. We had to make a video showing what our perfect tonight would be like. So, it took me 16 hours to make this video. It was my first time ever making a video without just hitting record on the video camera. I spent an entire Saturday making this video. The winner of the contest would get to fly to Atlanta for their final tour stop in October, have a candlelight dinner and meet the band. I was pumped!!! The finalists were to be announced and then it was up to their fans to vote for the winner. Then, Sugarland had that awful catastrophe where their stage collapsed and they postponed the contest. I completely understood, and dismissed the thought from my head. I wasn't sure if they were going to go through with the contest still or not and my heart was aching for the people who didn't survive the stage collapse and those who were injured. The contest was far from my thoughts.

So, last week after I got back from Dallas, I went to work on Tuesday. After work, I checked my email and noticed a message from a fellow Sugarfriend saying she had voted for me.  I was like "voted?" So, sure enough I checked the website and they had announced the 16 finalists and I was one of them!!! But, I was about 200 votes behind the leader. I had some groundwork to cover. I blew up the news feeds on Facebook and Twitter. Several people also re-posted my link because my video touched them and they wanted me to win. Strangers were emailing me telling me they had voted for me. Sure enough, by Thursday, I had taken the lead in votes. The other girl in competition with me for the lead was right on my tail though. She really gave me a run for my money. Saturday morning, the vote count had gotten to 1K and froze. You couldn't see how many votes you had, and shortly after, the other girl reached 1K. I wasn't sure if the votes were still being counted on the other end or not. Well, apparently they were..... I WON!!!!! They announced the winner today on their website.  I was waiting all morning, and I kept hitting refresh on my phone. (my battery had already almost died by noon). Sure enough, I had a parent-teacher conference to go to at my son's school. When I got out of the conference, I checked the website again and saw the news!! I was still at the school though and couldn't scream. I sent Chris a text that said "pack your bags....we're going to Atlanta!!!" Then, all these emails started coming in from Twitter and YouTube from people commenting to me about my video. Man, the LOVE I felt was overwhelming! Sugarland's music is all about Love and many of their songs have helped me get through my journey this past year. Mostly, "Incredible Machine" because I felt that my body was truly an incredible machine during chemo. Also, the song "Stand Back Up" is one of my favorites. Some of the lines in the song go... (I'll hi-light my favorites)
Go ahead and take your best shot,

Let 'er rip, give it all you've got,
I'm laid out on the floor, but I've been here before,
I may stumble, yeah I might fall,
Only human aren't we all?
I might lose my way, but hear me when I say,

I will stand back up,
You'll know just the moment when I've had enough,
Sometimes I'm afraid, and I don't feel that tough,
But I'll stand back up,

I've been beaten up and bruised,
I've been kicked right off my shoes,
Been down on my knees more times than you'd believe,
When the darkness tries to get me,
There's a light that just won't let me,
It might take my pride, and my tears may fill my eyes,

But I'll stand back up,

I've weathered all these storms,
But I just turn them into wind, so I can fly,
What don't kill you makes you stronger,

So, go ahead and take your best shot,
Let 'er rip, give it all you've got,
You might win this round but you can't keep me down,
'Cause I'll stand back up,

And you'll know just the moment when I've had enough,
Sometimes I'm afraid and I don't feel that tough,
But I'll stand back up

So, even though the song wasn't written ABOUT cancer, I could totally relate those lines to my journey. There were days when I didn't want to get out of bed. There were days when I just wanted to cry all day. There were days that I would be depressed but I never wanted my kids to see me sick, sad or upset. I was just ready to be done with the whole process. But, seeing those smiles on my kids faces after school, and getting that hug and kiss from Chris every morning before he left for work and afternoon when he got home...that's what made me keep fighting! So, Kaylee decided this year she wanted to do a solo in dance.....and said "mommy, I want to do your Sugarland song and dedicate it to you". OH.MY.GOD! She has such a beautiful heart. Of course, solo's are expensive, but I couldn't say no to that!!!! (hence the reason I am working part-time) So, in February, she will be competing in 2 dance competitions with that song. She is such a beautiful, graceful dancer and I can't wait to see the final product. (I better remember to wear waterproof mascara because I know I'm gonna cry....or be a basketcase...whichever) I'll post the video here after she dances.

So, October 22 is the big day!!! I will be flying to Atlanta to wine, dine and hang out with Sugarland! I can't wait to see what all my night has in store for me! I don't think I'll be able to sleep well the next 13 days out of sheer excitement!!! Plus, I have to get work done...Ugh. It's gonna be hard to concentrate.

So, here is my video submission....

And here is my favorite.....a shout out on Twitter from Sugarland!!!!
As if THAT isn't cool enough!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement!!! I think I may need to go buy my lottery ticket tonight..... Then I gotta start working on my custom Sugarland Rhinestone shirt!!! Good thing I know how to do that....hehehe

Thank you from the bottom and top of my heart to all my friends (and the strangers) who posted my link, voted and helped me win this! I could NOT have done it without all of you!!! You guys ROCK!!! I love you all!!!!
So, stay tuned........

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Did ya miss me?

I know, slap my hand....I haven't posted in a while. I meant to, but my 3 kids are wearing me out, plus, I went back to work 2 days a week and then I work out with my trainer 3 days a week, and sleep when I can. My fatigue is still pretty bad these days. If I don't take a nap, I have ZERO energy by the time Chris gets off work...but if I do take a nap, I'm up till midnight and then tired the next day. I can't win. I'm just glad that he helps me out so much in the evenings that I can't take a nap.

So, here's what is new.....

Since my last post, Chris and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary. He booked us a weekend at the Granduca hotel in Houston. He arranged a babysitter, told me what to pack and when I would be leaving and coming back home. He made me an appointment at Facade with Corrine's staff makeup artist. It was so nice to get a change in makeup from what I normally do. Corrine and Chris apparently emailed each other back and forth and come to find out, she did it complimentary after seeing my blog. I didn't get to meet Corrine, but her staff was AMAZING!!! Then, we got in room massages and he made sure it was a massage therapist who specialized in lymphatic massage. Since I can't get my normal deep tissue massage that I love because it re-arranges the lymphatic system, it was very important that the person was trained in lymphatic techniques. We had a few awesome dinners. One was at our FAVORITE "special occasion" restaurant Masraff's. We got to meet the owner Tony on our last visit there. He is such a sweet man. This is the best restaurant we have ever been to! Seriously! The food is delicious, the wait staff is over the top, and the atmosphere is very romantic and modern. So, Chris scored major points with that weekend get-away. It was very nice to "escape" for the weekend.

I met my new plastic surgeon, Dr. Skoraki. I loved him!!! I really think I'll be happy with him. We don't have a game plan in place....we are waiting for my skin to heal from all the trauma this summer. He said he wasn't opposed to putting in another expander to stretch the skin back out before surgery, if he thought my skin could handle it. January is the next time I meet with him, so I get to take a break over the next few months. Plastic surgery probably won't be until April 2012.

I had another appointment with my regular surgeon. I hadn't seen her since my follow-up from my mastectomy. She had a baby and was on maternity leave for a few months so she missed all my drama with Dr G. During this visit, she found a small lump in my left (non-cancer) side. She booked me an ultrasound appt for the next day. She told me that she thought it felt like breast tissue, but since any kind of lump throws up a red flag, she sent me to have it checked out. I have felt this lump before, but it's not always something you can feel. It depends on how soft, or firm my breast tissue is during each part of the month that co-incides with my cycle. Sometimes I can feel it, sometimes I can't. Anyways, I had the ultrasound Thursday and everything looked normal. The radiologist could feel the lump, but when she scanned over it, she saw nothing but breast tissue. So, I got the "all-clear" but still...... this is why I want the other side removed! I refuse to live my life in fear of breast cancer returning, and every lump sends up a red flag. I get lumps all the time, so it's not like one can be dismissed as nothing....every single one has to be checked out. So, I think I won that argument.

That's about it for medical stuff. I think that catches me up for now. I'm a lop-sided mess. I hate having to wear a fake boob. It's so heavy and I'm limited to 3 bra's and a few camisole tops that are made to hold the prosthetic boob so it doesn't sit against your skin. So, I gotta stay on top of laundry. Working out with it is a pain in the ass. But, if I don't have it in, I look really funny!! So, I'll deal with it. I've never been so happy to take off my bra at night till now!!! My bra weighs about 5 pounds with the boob in it. I could seriously hurt someone if I swung it at them!!!

Well, I better head to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow.

Ta-Ta for now!!!!