40 days...

Never trust internet applications to calculate for you. I posted a countdown clock on my facebook page yesterday and it told me there were only 37 days left until my trip... and tonight, it's telling me there are 40 days left. Silly.

Still - 40 days does not sound like very long. Especially when you add the holidays, and one busy weekend after another added into the mix.

I'm starting to get anxious... in good and bad ways... on many different levels... about the actual trip.

The vaccinations are pretty much done (except for a twinrix reminder at the end of December) which removes a huge stress for me. Only people who have known me for a long time, or who know me well, can really understand how big of a deal it was for me to go (by choice) and to get not one, not two... but FIVE needles. I am starting to believe that phobias can be overcome by having good experiences in situations that were once very negative.

Although the needles were very difficult for me, it went really well. I had a good friend with me (thank you Jacquie) who didn't try to tell me to get over it but held my hand and was really there for me. (thank you for understanding that my fear is NOT logical... can cannot be overcome by reason!)

Now I'm looking at my equipment list... figuring out what I have left to get. There aren't very many details left to take care of... except figuring out the whole "satellite phone" thing... since I don't think I can go 10 entire days without any contact with my family... with my babies. (Even when I studied in France before Brandon and I were married, we e-mailed almost every day and talked every few days...)

I'm also thinking again that I should be making an appointment to officially write out my/our will. I'm wondering if I should prepare for the absolute worst and write letters to my girls and husband... that I can tear up and burn when I return home safe and sound (!) and I'm realizing that it's a completely different thing to travel alone when you're a mom.

As a mom, I have more concerns, I have more worries... the WHAT IF questions seem so much bigger than they used to. I've never been scared to fly and of course I find myself more worried than ever... and it's hard to know what to do with the passing "what ifs" that go through my brain. Tuck them away and pray for the best?

I'm thrilled with how well the fundraising has gone... (I'm over the $8000 for Make-A-Wish!!!) but it's hard to believe that these last several months, and all the work, is just half of the project. The other half starts on January 4th.

In 40 days...


An intimate but successful SOIRÉE

And I'm spent!

This past Sunday, a fatigue (that I haven't felt the likes of since being post-labour) hit me with like a brick wall. With that fatigue came a sense of a giant weight being lifted from my shoulders because after surviving an incredibly busy fall (at work, at home, in ALL spheres of my life)... I now have one more successful event under my belt (and checked off my list!).

Oh... and did I mention that I have now PASSED my initial $8000 fundraising goal for the foundation. I think that requires a big HOURAH... or maybe an evening of red meat and dancing ;-)

My November 6th "Soirée for their Wishes" was great. I got to dress up... I got to eat steak and drink wine... AND I got to dance :-) I really did enjoy the party... and more importantly, all of my wonderful guests who came out to support this fundraising initiative.

Here are some of the details...

the guest list

Attending the soirée was an interesting mix of people from my life (or Brandon's life). Family, friends, co-workers... new and old, french and english... wild and tame (!)

A couple weeks ago, I was seriously considering cancelling because I had just under 30 people confirmed. A week before, we were at about 35. A few days before, we had jumped to 48. I don't know how he did it, but Brandon convinced several more of his colleagues to attend and one colleague in particular (for who the cause is close to home) filled a table of 8.

Although it was about half of the number I was hoping to bring together, it was a really nice group of people and enough "tickets" to make the fundraiser worth while.

the decorations

In the weeks coming up to the party, I tried to think of a simple (and cheap) centrepiece for the tables. At first I wanted to put examples of the types of wishes that the Make-A-Wish foundation realizes for sick children... but by the time I got around to it... I didn't have very much time left (who me? last minute? never!).

After some google image searching... I put together this "Share the power of a wish" mini poster. I bought some ribbon and star-shaped Christmas decorations at the dollar store... and then on Saturday morning, Layla and I painted and decorated (with LOTS of glitter) big stars to place under my photo shop creation.

I was pretty happy with the final product. I think the glitter I sprinkled all over the tables made some people (dressed in black) a little nervous... hihihi :-P

the food and service

I have nothing but gratitude and appreciate for the management of The Bifthèque Boucherville who treated us to tasty food. I regret a little that I didn't opt for the roast beef - in appearance, it was the least appealing - but the taste - oh my goodness! I had one bite of my father-in-law's and it practically melted in my mouth. So much flavour, such good texture. I have never tasted roast-beef like that! 

Since it was a fundraising event and the Bifthèque was trying to help us cut costs, our waitress (the lovely Stephanie) was on her own with a bus boy for the evening. One waitress for 50 people... she worked hard for her money! She did a fantastic job.

The food didn't quite end with the bifthèque dinner menu though. One of my lovely friends, Aimée, worked her magic and helped me bring together a selection of incredible desserts that were served later in the evening.

We brought the desserts out a bit late, so not everyone got to benefit from Aimée's chef/food blogger expertise. I was definitely into the home-made marshmallows, fudge and all the other goodies on the table. It's pretty amazing how I can eat and dance at the same time (not pretty... just amazing!).

the party

I think (I hope) everyone had a good time... and some, maybe even a great time.

It may have looked rigged to some, but the honest to goodness winner of the grand prize for the evening's raffle was none other than... my DAD. I really hope he takes advantage of the $250 VIA RAIL voucher and goes VIA 1 somewhere! He deserves it... and I have no idea if he's actually ever taken the train (he probably has, as an ex-navy guy, he's travelled around the world... but I've only ever heard stories about ships... not trains).
The dancing started off a little slow after dinner... but for a good 45-60 minutes, the dance floor was PACKED and people were moving and grooving to the music.

After a few bad picks by the DJ (sorry Pierre!) the dance floor cleared for a while, but it opened again when there were less people remaining... and a bunch of us ladies rocked it for a while.

I kept trying to convince Brandon to come and dance with me...

And he finally did... when the SLOW music came on :-)

Thank goodness for girlfriends who like to dance!

The Fundraising

After expenses, the evening raised just over $1000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It doesn't sound like a lot for an evening fundraiser, but when the expenses are taken into consideration (food, DJ, etc.), it's not only very good, it brought the total fundraising total up over $8000.00 (8197.69 and counting!).  

It means I don't actually HAVE TO keep on fundraising. If I do, it will be for fun because I have one last idea that I might like to try... bottling wine and selling it for the holidays. Let me know if you're interested and it may just help me to make up my mind as to whether it's worth it or not(!)

Just give me a few days to recuperate before I decide ;-)

A huge thank you to all who helped, came out, and support the soirée.


A very special Halloween donation

I received an e-mail from a friend who lives in the Waterloo/Kitchener area who was looking for a creative way to contribute to my Make-A-Wish fundraising efforts. For every trick-or-treater who stopped at her door this Halloween, she donated $2 to the cause. But that's not all, she also passed out small "info sheets" to the trick-or-treaters so pass on the project to the people in her community.

Thank you Stephanie, Chad, Teaghan... and little one on the way!

Stephanie with Teaghan - Happy Halloween!

From Stephanie: "We had 46 trick-or-treaters, so I'll be sending you a $92 cheque in the mail this week. :) I cut out a bunch of stars out of cardstock, labelled each of them with "$2" and put them in a basket. Each trick-or-treater got some candy, but also took a star from the pile and put it into a vase I had at the door. I also handed out a little 1/3 sheet explanation...So, a fun time was had by all, and we get to participate just a little bit in your very cool Make-A-Wish project."

“Wishing” you a Happy Hallowe'en!

Our friend, Andrea, is climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Quebec chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation (She's from the Montreal area). For every trick-or-treater who comes to our door, we will contribute $2 to her fundraising effort. So...thanks for coming out tonight!

The mission of the Quebec Make-a-Wish foundation is to bring hope, courage and joy to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Andrea is climbing in memory of Layla Grace Marsh and in honor of her husband, Brandon, who is a survivor of childhood leukemia.

More on the 2011 Kilimanjaro Climb: http://www.makeawish.ca/chapter/quebec/news/read/1830

Andrea's Blog: http://okwithandrea-kili2011.blogspot.com/

Thanks again!