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Dawn Torrence Ireland

Never enough time in the day

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[color=black:c1fefbb70b]I really need to try to keep up here better!

It's been a zoo around here lately. Work is so busy right now. CHERUBS events are taking up every other waking moment lately. Evenings and weekends are spent either at the boy's baseball games or printing up flyers, meeting with volunteers or vendors, or returning phone calls and e-mails.

This week has been particularly busy. Friday, I took off of work and spent all day getting the ABC licenses. I had to go to the Durham Police Dept to get a signature that they knew about the event, my county clerk of court for a criminal check on me since my name is on the license, the State Dept for updated documents, then a notary to get it all finialized before I went the post office to get it out in time. Over 200 miles between all the offices and running back and forth all day. In 100 degree heat. But I love CHERUBS! :) Monday evening, one of the event planners and I met at the ballroom for more work. Yesterday another one of the local volunteers and I met at the florist. Did I mention I live in the middle of nowhere? I'm an hour from Raleigh and Durham so there's no such thing as a quick errand. BUT it's so worth it! The conference is going to be wonderful!!! We have such great guestspeakers!!! There will be about 100 of us there in attendance. It will be wonderful to finally meet so many of you!

The Angel Ball... the biggest task because so much more work is involved will be so magical. We have a great band, local celebrities, the flowers are going to be gorgeous, the garden is just beautiful, a Vogue photographer will be taking portraits of everyone, the auction items... just speechless about those. Trips, concerts, baskets from members... a lesson in flying a fighter pilot jet... just amazing. Planning this event...whew, like planning 10 formal weddings - with 90% donated which means a lot of asking people to donate! Thank goodness for Bridget and Michelle and Anna and Jennifer!!!!! But after all this work, if Craig and I marry, it will definitely be an elopement! :)

The Golf Tournament... was supposed to be the easiest event to plan - not so. It will be wonderful too though. More local celebrities, a 2008 Lexus as the hole-in-prize, Miss North Carolina, long drive champion, PGA players. Just praying it won't be typical 100 degree July weather in NC! At least the drought is over and the grass is green! :)

We have such an amazing group of volunteers here. Our event planners, Signature Events... angels, 2 walking, breathing angels. Mike from Tournament Promotions is just the nicest guy. Bridget, Michelle and the ladies from the Raleigh Junior League... more angels, all of them. Bridget has gone above and beyond. Rachel for all her marketing expertise... thank you. Pat and April for all their support and advice and information. JoLynn, from Victorian Seasons, a long-time client and friend who is doing a lot of the flowers... thank you!!! Jean - our brochure folder, our invitation putter-togetherer.... the best semi-mother-out-of-law a gal could ask for! And Dave and Braden and Garret... what wonderful volunteers! Craig... love of my life... he's a saint and the most wonderful man... he's donated so much time and work into these events. He's driven all over creation with me to meetings, he's folded brochures, he's picked up the dinner tab for several meetings, he's coerced his friends into sponsoring or attending the events, he's driven around neighborhoods with the boys putting flyers in mailboxes. For CHERUBS, for me, in my son's memory. I'm the luckiest woman in the world! And not to downplay all the hard work our CHERUBS volunteers are doing! Writing letters, making calls, scouring the internet for info... I don't know what I'd do without Stephanie, Kara, Corin, Barb, Judi, Heidi, Penny, Kim, Tania, Tara, Elaine and Lynne!!!! Thank you, all of you for all your hard work on these events!!!!

We are going to make such an impact on the CDH community and the local communities here. Raising funds for our 2009 CDH conference on the East Coast, the research site, and more. Raising awareness for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, bringing media attention to CDH and bringing more research attention to CDH. It's been a lot of hard work, months and months of many people dedicating 1000's of hours... but so worth it!

Also in the works, CHERUBS has been asked to underwrite a research grant with a university pediatric surgical department. We would be working with the university, the CDH Study Group and our members. Much like our research site will already be doing - so we're working on this. I will post more details when things are more finalized.

And - did you know there is a celebrity who had a child with CDH? I've been talking to her via her manager and we're trying to get her to be official celebrity spokesperson for CHERUBS. Again, more details after things are finalized.

The CDH Research site... research which the likes has never been done for CDH before! Working with dozens of hospitals, all the best CDH docs around the world and all of YOU!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this!!! I love that we have such a great support group here, how much awareness work we do - but I am so looking forward to actually doing something about CDH itself!

Our membership has been growing like crazy the past month or two. I'm not sure why. It's not that they are all new or expectant parents. Just families that are just now finding us. We are now over 2400 members. Wow.

I'm still working on the newsletter. I hope to have it out in the next 2 weeks but it's so hard to find time to finish it and then it's printing and folding and stapling, etc. Thank goodness for Jean!

Our Ohio picnic is in August. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again!

After all these events this summer, it's sitting down with the event planners with a strategy for next year's events. The are corporate event planners, fundraisers... they have taken CHERUBS under their wings to help us set up goals for better funding. And I have meetings with the accountant, grant writers and lawyers.... more paperwork for the incorporation and more set up for next year. Next year will be our best year yet with the research site, more events, an outside office and finally, a paid secretary. We've been run by volunteers for 13 years and CHERUBS is too big to run myself now. We need a staff to really do the work that we need to do.

On personal notes.... I will be moving by the end of the year. I am too far from everything and I am hating the commute. And with a secretary next year helping with CHERUBS... it's going to get easier around here finally! I work far far far too much. I am getting older, I don't have the energy to work on my company and CHERUBS for 60 or 70 hours a week like I used to.

My sister, Trisha, and her husband and 4 of their 5 children were in a head on collision in May. Thankfully, they are all alive. The other driver was smoking pot and arguing with someone in that car and crossed over the yellow line. Everyone was injured, my niece spent several days in the hospital, my sister is still in a wheelchair and awaiting surgery on her crushed leg. It will be a very long road for her but really, we are blessed. It could have been so much, much worse.

The boys are playing in 2 baseball leagues. Games every weekend and many weekday evenings. Garret is a wonderful catcher. I was catcher on my baseball team as a kid - and the only girl on the team - so this is a small bond we have, both being catchers. Not that I am any good at all at it or have any advice on it 20 years later! Braden is really great at pitching and shortstop. Both love to slide into bases and are covered with cuts and scraps from being such boys. They will be 13 next month. Teenagers. But they are still boys.. for now. No deep voices, no huge growth spurts. But this may be their last summer as boys instead of teenagers. They are such great boys... I really am lucky. Great guy, with great kids who I adore and who think I'm cool. His family is wonderful too, I adore his parents as well. The ex-wife and I even have no bad vibes at all, no catty female non-sense or feelings of being threatened either way. We can chit chat at baseball games without the slightest bit of awkwardness. I'm very glad there is no drama there. How often does that happen? Very blessed indeed.

Craig has hurt his back. 2 herniated discs. Hopefully steroid shots will prevent the need for surgery. He's feeling much better now than he was a few weeks ago. Prayer request that he avoids surgery please! His hockey career is over, he had to quit the local team. He's upset and I've relieved. 40 years old is too old to play hockey and not get hurt. But now I feel guilty for feeling relieved.

I saw Sex and the City the week it came out... very disappointed. I won't type a spoiler for those of you who haven't seen it but I will say I would've made a different choice than Carrie after what she went through. Definitely not worth all that. <zipping>

I found my dress for the Angel Ball... it's gorgeous. Gorgeous. Love it. But it's too long. I have to have it altered ASAP. I'm 5'9", I've never had anything too long in my life. Looking like I'm walking through a flood - yes. Dragging clothes - no.

When these events are over, I'm going to get back into photography and scrapbooking. I really miss it! And I need to find another personal trainer. I also need to visit the salon ASAP. I need to tone down the blond. Yes, I said blond. Last dye job went a little awry. I'm naturally a brunette - black hair. But I'm pale so I can pull off the blond. It's not the look I was going for though.

So some of you know that I went on a cruise in January... it was amazing. St. Maarten's, St. Thomas, the Princess Cays. I don't recommend St. Maarten's but Craig and I did visit this neat little airport bar where you can lay on the beach and have the plans fly over you... feet away from the landing strip. It was like getting sandblasted. Not even sure why we did except to say that we did it! St. Thomas was beautiful. Blackbeard's Castle was amazing. The ship was amazing. We went with 8 friends and had a blast. Highly, highly, highly recommend it! Next cruise will be the Mediterranean... who knows when, but someday!

Weather here has become nice the past few days. Beautiful in fact. Storms this evening though... we need the rain so I can't complain.

I have new neighbors. A few months ago I could sit on my back porch and watch the sunset for miles. Literally. I am that far out in the country. Then a house was built behind mine. A preacher, his wife and their kids. Seem nice. But I miss the view, I really do.

I locked my keys in my car again last week. I've never done that but the past 5 months, I've done it twice now. Both times angels helped me. First time it was in the parking lot of Target and a stranger walked across the lot, in the freezing cold, to ask me if I was ok. I told her what I'd done and she said she worked for the police department and she called someone to help me. Normally the police won't open a car door unless a child is locked inside (I know, I called before the nice lady came over). The officer came and got me unlocked free of charge. Last week, another officer saved me. Funny story... I was at court for a jury trial over a car accident. A teenager hit me and then sued me. I won the trial. But in the parking lot of the courthouse I backed out and hit... a police car. An undercover DEA car actually. The agent took pity on me as I've never even had a speeding ticket in 20 years of driving and he fixed the car without giving me a ticket. We became friends. He happened to be on duty and patrolling the gas station I was at when I locked my keys in the car again. Not only did he help but 3 strangers stopped and offered help and another person (who turns out to be the officer's cousin - they raise 'em right in that family) called AAA for me. I have been surrounded by good, wonderful, giving, kind people lately! Angels are everywhere.

I also ran into another police angel... when I had to go to the Durham police department for the ABC paperwork it never occurred to me that I'd run into Charles' memory there. He was a friend/date that was on the force and was killed last year. As soon as I walked in the door, there was his photo, huge, on the wall. Wasn't expecting that, caught me off-guard. The officer at the desk remembered me from the funeral, nice guy. I know, without a doubt in my mind, that Charles led me to Craig. That he's watching out for these events, with Shane and my sister, Debra.

Angels are everywhere.

I have rambled enough... but I will try to ramble more often!

Someone figure out how to make these blogs prettier please?

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