Friday, July 24, 2009


Tonight at 9pm at Kutztown University, PACAA will officially begin for staff members!! Of course, I haven't started packing yet - my plan is to do laundry all morning (I have one more load to do) and then pack before I meet my dad for lunch...Or at least start packing! I have a lot to remember.

Action shot of me at PACAA 40, my last year on Jr. Staff (2006). I'm making the dedication board (the theme that year was "Forever Young", so the dedication board was made to look like a light bright, and the pieces of paper that the teens used to make dedications were brightly colored circles, made to look like the pegs of a lightbright!)

Everything is set and ready to go for the teens to make Erin Dream Lanyards. I'm a little anxious, mostly about whether or not they will have enough time to complete them, but yesterday I made a few just to see how it would go and I don't think the teens will have a problem. The hardest part for me was just picking out the colors I wanted and what beads, the selection is so huge and they are all so pretty! I love that we are doing this, and I can't wait to see the lanyards that the teens produce. Also, I love this photo of Erin in action:

This week, we will CREATE and SERVE our community in honor of Erin!!!

A side note: if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know that I have a serious issue with eczema that pops up and decides to throw me a curve ball every once in awhile. Last weekend was a lot of fun, however I think that one of either two things made me break out horribly: swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, OR enjoying the hot tub at the beach. By Wednesday, I was fully broken out and the eczema/rash took it's worst form - covering my stomach and back. OUCH. I was able to talk the dermatologist into squeezing me in yesterday for a visit. I knew I had to go on medicine before I got to PACAA or else I would go absolutely insane while I'm there. (We don't get much sleep as staff members, and when we DO have the opportunity to sleep, we really have to get some so that we have enough energy to give these teens the best week of their summer.) Luckily, the doc prescribed me a 10 day step down steroid pack, some antibiotics, and two different steroid creams. Hopefully this will give me some relief... the night before last I didn't fall asleep until 6am because of the itching, and that was after taking 3 benadryls and an oatmeal bath. I eventually fell asleep by laying a cold, wet towel on the floor in the bathroom and covering myself with another cold, wet towel. So pitiful! I started the steroids yesterday, and they are already starting to work, so that's a really great sign!!

I'll probably update once at PACAA, since we will have wireless... no promises though, it's going to be a busy week!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lightning Speed

It's been awhile since I've written. The last week has kind of moved at lightning speed! I worked Thursday through Saturday, and then Saturday night I went to MD to see Rachel at her bay house, attend a family crab feast, and also attend the last night of Andy's - a great bar in C'town that unfortunately was closing. I did all of this in 24 hours! Then, I got home from Maryland around 5 on Sunday and left around 7:30 for Dewey Beach! Some friends from high school and I went for a few days, and it was a great time... we did a lot of relaxing on the beach, having great convos, and drinking in the hot tub :-)

Now, it's Tuesday and PACAA is 3 days away...hard to believe! I'm getting very excited and have started making lists of things I need to remember, things I need to do before I get there, etc. It's a stressful week, but it's soo worth it - the teens have such an amazing time, and I know that from experience.

I feel as though life is going to be moving pretty fast for the next few weeks or so. Friday I leave for PACAA, and then return and leave 2 days later for a week at the beach with my mom and Carlos. Then I come home, do some laundry, and go straight back to Dewey for a week at the beach with my dad and his family. I'm really excited for vacation, but it's going to be pretty nuts!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Organize and Excite!

I just got off the phone with Erin's mom and my excitement is continuing to build for what I am arranging to happen at PACAA this year. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the special event that the senior staff is organizing for the leaders will consist of a bunch of different stations for the leaders to do small community service projects. I originally wanted to do something for ALSF, however I couldn't figure out what we could do aside from having an actual lemonade stand (which would be hard for 125 teens to participate in all at once!) After thinking it through and considering my options, I asked Vickie if she thought it would be possible for our leaders to make ERIN LANYARDS! I can only imagine what was running through Vickie's head when she read that email! With less than 4 weeks notice, she was faced with organizing a lanyard making workshop halfway across the country, for 160 people! Thankfully, she was totally game for helping with my crazy idea, and our leaders will officially be making Erin Dream Lanyards at PACAA!

Here are some examples of beautiful lanyards that were all sold back in March. (I ordered number 36, and I'm saving it until I do my internship in Jan. at Brenner Children's Hosp. where I will have an ID badge!)

I am so incredibly excited to be able to do this! We will make the lanyards, and I will have them shipped back to Vickie in Texas. From there, the lanyards will be sold through various means and 100% of the profits will go to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. I'm excited for the leaders to get involved with something like this... (although it was 4, 5 years ago, some of them remember Liam and his fight against NB, and many of the Leaders Clubs did fundraisers for him). Think about how each of them is (hopefully) going to feel like they are making a difference. Someone is going to buy their beaded lanyard and make a donation to the CNCF. And it's all in honor of this beautiful, zestful, ACTION-PACKED girl!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's weird how even though I don't start work until Thursday, I have been running around non-stop since I got home. I realized that I've been home for almost 3 weeks, and have only hung out with my friend Mer once. It's like, everyday there is something I need to do, somewhere I need to go, or someone I promised I'd do something with.

In a little bit, I'm going to get a shower, clean out my car, and pick up Dan so we can head to NJ to visit Rachel. She recently had surgery on a torn ACL, so hopefully we can keep her company/play some games/help her not to go crazy since she's laid up for so long. It should be a fun time.

Today marks 3 years since the passing of one of my sister's best friends, Christine. I just can't believe it's been this long. I often think about the last time that I saw her, which was about 3 weeks before she got into a car accident. I helped her load her bags into her trunk in front of the Y and she gave me a big hug. That's how I like to remember Christine.

This was her mom's facebook status when I woke up this morning: Her joy is with us ALWAYS. Keep it alive. Talk, share, remember. We are forever changed by having spent time with her... and so very blessed. She lives in our hearts.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Blast from the Past...

I spent a lot of time this morning going through old journal entries and posts that I made to my LJ years and years ago (Gosh, has this much time truly passed?) After reading those old entries, I went back and looked at a lot of old photos I have on my computer. All of these photos are mostly from my senior year and the summer before college. Has it really been FOUR years since then? It's amazing, really. Things change so much. A few entries ago, I wrote about how it's hard to accept the fact that something that was once great will never be as great again. I was wondering if it's worth it to have something if it will never be the same again. I've decided that it's worth it. It's worth it to have the memories.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Kim's new shoes... her others got chewed by Sydney in a fit of anxiousness. :(

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Phils for the win!

We went to the Phillies game tonight - what a great game! It was very up and down, but it was clear that the Phils were going to pull off a W. They did win 9-6, and after the game we witnessed the most breathtaking fireworks display. I do love some good fireworks! They went on for about 40 minutes, and the finale was just incredible! 3 fireworks shows in one I spoiled or what?

Tomorrow night my friend Dan and I are going to a concert in Philly. Jay Brannan is playing- I hadn't heard about him until a few weeks ago when Dan introduced me to his music. I'm super excited to hear him, he has a lot of original stuff and also a few covers. I haven't been to a good concert in months! Here is a video of him covering Ani DiFranco's "Both Hands" (another artist/song that I love!) My favorite song by him is called "Half-Boyfriend" ... you should go download it - legally!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

I went to see My Sister's Keeper tonight. I've been kind of picky about who I would go see it with, I knew it had to be someone who wouldn't care if I cried. My friend Meredith from high school is back in DE for awhile, so we went together. I read the book a few years ago (and re-read it last month in anticipation of seeing the movie), so I knew the basic story line. Of course, I cried, however, most of my tears were not because of the actual movie or story line.

There is a moment in the movie where Kate, the 14 year old with leukemia, is in her hospital bed, and her mother, played by Cameron Diaz, is laying with her, sobbing and they are just holding each other. The part that really got me is that, after that scene was shot, Cameron Diaz probably got up, grabbed a bottle of water and went to read lines for her next scene. The fact that she has never had to be the mother of a child with cancer just hit me in a way that made me upset. At first, I was so happy that this book was being made into a movie- I loved the book when I read it, even though I was reading it at a very hard time (Right around the time that Liam took a turn for the worse, and passed away a few days before Thanksgiving 2005). However, watching that scene, it almost made me want to stand up and scream, "Does she even know what it's like?!?" I cannot say that I myself know what it is like to have a child with cancer, but the fact that Cameron Diaz has no idea at all is what struck me as odd and sad.

I guess it's a hard topic. I was not even related to Liam, however, I watched as he went through chemo treatments, trials, radiation, surgeries... Liam's fight was not as long as some others, but it was brave all the same. I do not pretend that I could ever know what it is like to lose a child, sibling, grandparent, or parent to cancer. But, Liam was someone who I loved, someone who I was close to, and even though we were not related by blood, my sister and I shared a very special bond with Liam as his babysitters.

I guess I'm just trying to say that even though it upset me to think about Cameron Diaz not ever really knowing - maybe she does, in a way. Maybe she's lost someone important in her life to cancer, and that is enough to make her appreciate her role. Even though the girl who played Kate will grow her hair back with no problem and her "bruises" were scrubbed away with body wash, perhaps she knows what it's like too.

Time to get some sleep, I have a lot to do tomorrow. I'm missing Liam a lot tonight.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Change Happens

The theme this year for PACAA is "Change Happens". I have always been bothered by change, as most people are, I think. When things don't change, we get comfortable and stop thinking, "What if this changed, would it be better?" We generally don't change things in order for things to get worse, of course. However, I have come to learn that change is necessary in our lives... even if it is sometimes for the worse. Or, sometimes things change (or we change them) and even though it is hard beyond belief at first, we know that it is for the best in the end, and slowly, the hardness dissipates and melts into a new "way" that gets easier with each breath.

Sometimes I wonder whether it is worth it to have the amazing things in life, if you know that you will not always have them. Is it worth it to spend one fantastic summer working somewhere with people who have become some of your best friends, doing something that you absolutely loved, if every consecutive summer since, you ache to be there?


I'm getting really excited for PACAA. It's hard to believe that this is my 9th PACAA... my 4th on Staff. While looking through old photos that I scanned awhile back, I found this little gem:

This is me at my 2nd PACAA - I was only 14, and so tiny!!

I also really like this photo:

This was the end of PACAA at my first one on Jr. Staff (2005). We are sitting in the Jr. Staff circle...I'm on the left, Rachel is in the middle, and Meaghan is on the end. I don't know why we look so nervous- we had already made Jr. Staff, and still had another year on it.


This was the next year. PACAA 40 - my last PACAA on Jr. Staff. When we leave Jr. Staff, we call up a new member, and let them take our spot in the circle. I was lucky enough to have my sister, Kelsey, make it the year I was leaving Jr. Staff (you can only be on it for 2 years). So, I was able to call her name.


So sorry to have dragged you down memory lane with me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

I had an amazing 4th of July weekend! I don't have any photos yet, because I left my camera cord in NC, so my roommate is sending it up to me.

I got into town on Thursday afternoon, and spent it with my 3 favorite children- Coulby, Emma, and Jack. When Kim and I went to the zoo a few weeks ago (see photo) -

we stopped in the gift shop and even though I am broke as anything, I couldn't help but buy these cute pink horses for Coulby and Emma- I knew they would love them. So we played with them, they swam in their pool, and we ran around in the backyard until bedtime. I realized how much I miss summertime as a kid - running around the yard barefoot, catching fireflies and eating popsicles on the back step. We are so lucky :)

Friday I saw lots of family, and on Friday night there were fireworks in Rock Hall. They always do them on the 3rd and it's the biggest night of the year in that tiny town. We went out on my uncle's boat to watch them, and tons of my family were there. Afterwards we headed over to the bar and hung around until the band stopped and we were tired. We also wanted to conserve energy for Saturday- the best day of the year, in my opinion!!

Saturday we slept in, and then went to my Uncle's house back in Rock Hall for a big cookout/crab feast. The food was amazing and everyone was there- we left around 3 and went back to Chestertown to get everything ready to go out on the boat. After slipping into our suits and packing the cooler, we hopped in the boat and cruised around the river, picking up my cousin Kate and her boyfriend, and meeting up with some of Meg's friends. We stayed out on the boat pretty much all day, except when we stopped back for some pizza, and we anchored out to watch the fireworks show, which was completely astounding. The fireworks were so big, and so loud and beautiful... if you know me well, you know that July 4th is my favorite holiday of the year, because even though I hate loud noises, I LOVE fireworks! We were so close that we had to look almost straight up to see them, and ashes and embers were flying into the water about 20 feet in front of us at some points. Amazing...

Today we woke up, watched Shark Tale, and then made an amazing lunch - Pasta with meat sauce ( was so good!) and garlic bread. Then I drove to Middletown, picked up my mom, and we came back home. Soon, Kels will get here - she took care of Sydney this weekend for me. I'm excited to hear about how it went.

I hope everyone had a safe and awesome holiday weekend!!