Friday, February 19, 2010

THON 2010 - Love Belongs Here

Penn State Dance Marathon, aka THON, begins tonight. THON is near and dear to my heart. I was a dancer in 2004. It is a 46 hour (48 when I was a dancer) event with hundreds of college students raising money for kids with cancer, No Sitting No Sleeping, No Kidding. I know I won't do it justice, so here is an exerpt from the THON website:

In 1973, a small group of dedicated Penn State students held our first Dance Marathon. That year, 34 dancers participated and raised $2,000. Since then, THON’s presence in the Penn State community has grown exponentially. THON now has 15,000 student volunteers, 700 dancers, and has raised more than $61 million, benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

THON is now a year-long effort that raises funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. With the support of students from all across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and THON Alumni all around the world, we continue to make great strides towards finding a cure for all childhood cancers!

The amount of money raised and effort put in by the students at Penn State is truly amazing. There are probably close to 400 organizations and individuals on campus COMPETING for the honor to dance in THON. So for every dancer, there are probably 25 people they represent that are behind them and supporting them. It is the largest student run philanthropy in the WORLD. Other universities, colleges, and high schools try to replicate THON on smaller versions for other causes across the country.

The kids that THON supports are the toughest little warriors I've ever met. These kids are diagnosed with whatever form of cancer and are immediately wisked off to meet with a social worker. The social worker tells them, "Your family has enough to deal with to get your kid healthy, the one thing you should not worry about is money. Your treatment is paid for." PAID for. By college kids, a demographic that often gets labeled as self centered and selfish. Their motto all weekend and really all year is FTK, For The Kids. These students spend a whole year prepping for THON weekend to make it bigger and better than last year. You cannot walk into THON and walk out the same person, even just as a spectator. There are dancers, families, and kids all there for the same reason. It is one weekend a year when the kids do not worry or feel different for having cancer. They are loved, embraced, and lifted up to celebrate their childhood by strangers.

My quick and dirty personal THON story. When touring college campuses, the weekend we went to check out PSU, it was THON weekend. We stopped by and watched for maybe 10 minutes. I walked out knowing it was something special. When finally deciding on schools I knew Penn State was the one for me, but never listed THON as one of the reasons. My junior year I became the THON Chair for my On Campus Area Government. I spent all year organizing fund raising events and talking it up to our group. I danced that year and during the weekend realized this was WHY I was at Penn State. It was the most powerful weekend and the most important thing I have ever done.

Check out their website, donate if you can.

“When they say, ‘We Are Penn State,’ this is what they are talking about.” - Joe Paterno

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras!!!

I hope you have your beads out and your hurricane cups ready to go! It's Fat Tuesday!!! I went down to Mardi Gras 2005 two months after my December college graduation. I went with one other girlfriend and man, good times. New Orleans knows how to throw a good party!

I guess the origination of the partying and debauchery is to get everything out of your system before Lent. Growing up as a non-Catholic, I never observed Lent. Starting in High School I was noticing my Catholic friends giving something up for the 40 days before Easter. Every year I make a half hearted attempt to give something up and to test my self control. I don't think I've ever made it through the first weekend.

I've been thinking for a couple days what I would give up this year and I can rationalize my way out of anything. Alcohol? We're taking a vaca to Manhattan in March and I would hate to not be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with the amazing food I'm sure we'll stumble upon. Sweets? French Fries? I don't partake in these things too often, so it wouldn't be too much of a challenge. I could ADD something to my daily routine or diet that would be beneficial. Ensure I drink my 8 glasses of water everyday? Eat my veggies? Exercise daily? 

I need ideas, what are you giving up for Lent?

Monday, February 15, 2010

one of our best days ever

Today wasn't as good as yesterday. Valentine's Day 2010 wasn't some extravagant, surprising day, but it was amazing. We originally were not planning on doing anything. Not ignoring the commercialized holiday, but not spending any money. We have our one year anniversary coming up when we would celebrate our love and our relationship. It was going to be just a regular Sunday, and it practically was, but it was super special.

What made the day so special? It was probably my ideal Sunday. Wake up a little hung over, grab breakfast burritos from Anitas and grub on those while we watch an episode of Mad Men. Once that was over, just a short wait until Nascar starts. Lots of chores to get done with the race on in the background. I know I'm crazy, but I love making a To Do list and just working my way down it. The laundry got done, the closet got cleaned, the dresser that has been accumulating stuff since Christmas was cleaned off. Lamp shades got vacuumed, I put a serious dent in my book, the grocery list was made. I was grinning every time I crossed something off. We got it ALL done. Usually there are one or two (or ten) nagging things that don't get done and I stress about it all week. Not this time.

We got dressed to do the grocery shopping and headed out to check another item off the list. We had no big plans for dinner and just ended up eating at the Chinese place we usually have delivered. We were able to talk about our hopes and dreams and fears about trying to buy a house. We talked about our families. We just spent time together in that empty restaurant and focused on each other. I went to bed that night having received no card, no flowers, no gifts, and I couldn't have been happier.

Then I had to go back to

How was your Valentine's Day? Was it one to remember?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

To My Sweetie:
Happy Valentine's Day! I love you so much more every year. This is our very first V day as Husband and Wife and I can't wait to celebrate a million more with you. You are my love and my best friend, I'm so lucky to have you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Seriously Mother Nature?!?!

We got over two feet of snow last weekend. We're expecting AT LEAST another foot tonight. The roads are terrible, the grocery stores are wiped out, and I'm practically alone in my office today. People from the Northeast think we Washingtonians over react, we don't get snow like this, ever. Thank you Accuweather for this warning....

In case you're wondering, we're under the bubble.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crossing off #73

Hang up framed wedding invitation and wedding pictures in the bedroom

I finally got around to buying frames for our wedding pictures and the Wordle that I had created using our vows. We created a little corner of our room devoted to our wedding and I love it.I had received the framed invitation as a wedding shower gift and it had been leaning against the wall where it would go up ever since, one year ago....

I created the wordle at I just put in our vows and out came the Word Cloud! You can play around with the shape, font, and colors until you get one you like. I love looking at it and remembering the words we shared and the promises made on that day. Go play around and create your own word cloud.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Burnt is expected for the first year, right?

Crock-Pot - 1
Kim - 0

Dinner is supposed to be burnt for newlyweds, right? Never have been much of a cook. Due to budget restraints, we can't eat out every meal like we used to. Plain grilled chicken and broccoli can get boring after a while. In an effort to change things up a bit I decided to pull out cookbooks we've collected over the past year or two. I pulled out the recipe suggestions that came with our Crock-Pot and decided the Swiss Chicken Casserole seemed easy enough. Quick prep in the morning, set the Crock-Pot and 8 hours later, ding! Dinner, right? Not so fast.

Somehow I manage to burn every meal attempted in the Crock-Pot. We had an old hand-me-down crockpot for several years. The on/off switch was plugging it into the wall. When it was time to register we immediately wanted to upgrade the Crock-Pot. Apparently I can't handle the fancy version. Everything burns. Hubs is a champ though, he manages to choke down whatever I put in front of him and claim to be "dinner".

Time to pull out the cookbooks and try another recipe! I will win this battle. Any good slow cooker recipes that even I can't screw up????? Must involve minimal prep, I'm lazy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is it possible to fall in love with a chair?

While out and about and trying to waste 30 minutes today we made a stop by Pier 1. I have no idea why I don't go in there more often. I could have EASILY walked out with enough stuff to fill our pretend new house. While we were there I found a chair I could build an entire room around. Meet Sigourney. I love her. And a steal at only $400.

Then there were the pillows. Oh how I wish I had a neutral couch to throw these beauties on....

Can someone please remind me when we do actually buy a house to stop by Pier 1 first? Thanks!!!!!

all photos courtesy of