Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sweet Sixteen

Happy New Baby is SIXTEEN today. Sweet, to be sure, but also Smart, Silly, Strong, Soulful, and a Survivor. Six years from diagnosis tomorrow, and 16 months until she is officially cancer-free ... so much to celebrate.

We all enjoyed a Day of Fun together, starting with breakfast tacos and presents, then a bit of shopping, a second viewing of Star Wars (in 3D at the IMAX!), and a wonderful Christmas light show at a local coffee house. The highlight of the day, other than the obvious, was ... Georgia's first driving lesson! We went to the empty parking lot at the football stadium, and although she was a bit nervous at first, Georgia slipped behind the wheel and proceeded to do an excellent job. As with everything she does, she is a very thoughtful driver and made great strides in just an hour. And in the end, she had fun, too! We are literally miles and miles away from where we were six years ago, and to be sharing her 16th birthday and this big milestone with her is a gift for all of us. Happy, Healthy Everything to our Special girl!

Good morning, glory - ready for cake in bed?

 Favorite gift was the pro art markers for our animator!

 Festive way to end a perfect day

16. 
xoxo

Monday, December 28, 2015

May the Force Be With Y'all

Another wonderful Christmas is in the books! So much delicious food, fun presents, and our second year heading to the movies on Christmas Day made for a great holiday, and we're still enjoying our time together. The weather went from balmy and spring-like to decidedly winter in the last couple of days, so we've been hunkered down with movies and coloring books and lots of laughter. Perfect!

Christmas Eve with GG

Christmas morning, the traditional waiting on the stairs

St. Adele!

Star Wars Maniacs

Equal parts Star Wars AND Harry Potter Maniac

Finally! The Force Awakens!

And the celebrations continue ... #monthofgeorgia

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Reflection

December (aka The Month of Georgia) is full of many events for all of us here at Peachy Keen HQ - and just as many emotions. Six years ago today, Christmas Eve, I took Georgia to the pediatrician after a week of her having a low-grade fever and general fatigue. And even though I was assured it was just a bug and that she would be fine in no time, her symptoms continued and then worsened. Six days later, we were back for bloodwork, sent directly to the hospital, and sitting in the pediatric oncology unit on her 10th birthday. The next day, we were one of 46 families who were told that their child has cancer.

We know that all of you, our Friends of Georgia, know this story and know our journey because you've been with us every step of the way. And because of your love, support, and generosity, we have a happy, healthy almost-16-year-old in our midst and have raised over $100,000 for childhood cancer research. Just this week, two dear friends coordinated separate fundraising efforts in honor of Georgia, and the inspiration to help kids fighting cancer continues to grow within and without our circle of allies. And we are so, so grateful for all of it!

That said, this is a time of reflection and remembrance on many levels, and it's hard to believe that six years have past since Georgia's cancer story began. Besides the daily reminder in my mind and on my heart,  I look at this picture every day:


It was taken exactly two weeks before Georgia was diagnosed, and I keep it up on my dresser mirror still as a reminder that this is what childhood cancer looks like. Normal, healthy little girls, dancing in The Nutcracker and celebrating Christmas with their little sisters, get cancer.

And so, as you know, we are dedicated to funding research and supporting other families who find themselves in this place just as inexplicably as we did. If you haven't made a donation yet or are still making your year-end donations, we would so appreciate your consideration of the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Because thanks to scientists and doctors and the research you help fund, I also get to see this picture every day:


This is what survivorship looks like. 

Happy Holidays and much love from all of us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

First Half Report

Busy Saturday for a healthy, multi-talented girl - swimmer by day, artist by night!  She started the morning at a big swim meet in Killeen, and her strokes and times just keep improving. Plus, I think she was more aerodynamic without all that metal in her mouth. ; )

Georgia and Dana


In action!

Later, she had a piece selected for a youth exhibit at the Mexican American Cultural Center, so we scurried to the reception once we got back in town. Such a beautiful space!



And the piece her art teacher submitted for her was a Photoshop piece featuring ...

Dana!

This week is finals week as Georgia wraps up the first semester of her sophomore year ... and two weeks from today ... birthday time! Lots more fun to be had in the Month of Georgia!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Smile Pretty!


First braces-free selfie! Hooray for popcorn and sticky candy!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Giving Tree

Things are already kicking into high gear this second week of the Month of Georgia! Holiday events, studying for finals, and a "new" look for our girl this Wednesday ... stay tuned! She's got a big swim meet on Saturday, too, so lots happening in the next two weeks. We're looking forward to just relaxing at HOME over the break, assuming our kitchen is fully functional by Christmas! : )

Yesterday, we participated in our neighborhood holiday bazaar, and it was a lovely day! Ivy has been hard at work over the last two weeks and made a few dozen ornaments to sell for donations to the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Her melted crayon globes and scrap ribbon trees were a big hit, and she raised a cool $100! We're so proud of her initiative, creativity, and generosity. What a SuperSib she is.






Her inspiration and her hero, always

And in other fundraising news, the 46 Mommas will be shaving in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 24th! We're honoring the roots of the first St. Baldrick's pub events and holding our shave at McMullan's Irish Pub! The McMullan family graciously offered us this venue where they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for St. Baldrick's over the last 10 years, and we are thrilled to continue the tradition! I'll have more info and a new fundraising link up after the first of the year - you can help us hit $2 million for childhood cancer research! Viva Las Mommas!

 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Month of Georgia

After marking 43 months off treatment two days ago, today we're kicking off December, aka The Month of Georgia, with Giving Tuesday!


Already today, Ivy has hit $4,000, and at last count, our Hero Fund is just $26 away from raising $50,000 this year - yes, just THIS year! That is amazing, and we can't thank our Friends of Georgia enough. Of course, there's always room for one more dollar (or a hundred more!), so in the waning hours of Giving Tuesday, we'd love your donations - click HERE to be a hero for kids fighting cancer!

It's hard to believe that another year has nearly come and gone and that soon we'll be celebrating Georgia's Sweet Sixteenth Birthday and marking six years since her diagnosis. SO much has happened over the last 72 months, but we are here, standing strong, with two happy, healthy girls who are ready to take on the world. We have these blessings because of research, an incredible treatment team, and the love and support of all of you.

Our "15 for 15 in '15" campaign has been an overwhelming success, and our girl wants to remind you how it all began. Much love and light to all, and Happy Month of Georgia!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanks and Giving

After a fantastic meal and time spent with family yesterday, we are still giving thanks for the many blessings and opportunities we enjoy. Those who are less fortunate are never far from our minds, especially those families who have an empty chair at their table because of childhood cancer. 

Following the shopping frenzy of the weekend, we are once again encouraging our Friends of Georgia to participate in Giving Tuesday with us. This national day of giving began in 2012, and every year, we ask for your support for childhood cancer research and the St. Baldrick's Foundation. This year, to celebrate the success of our Georgia and the Peachy Keens Hero Fund - thanks to all of you! - the foundation gave us a shout-out in the 2015 Annual Report and have prepared a special graphic for us to share on Tuesday. Our sweet Ivy is just $86 from raising $4,000 this year, and overall, our Hero Fund is just over $700 from raising $50,000 this year! We never dreamed we could meet a goal like that in one year - our goal was $15K, remember?! - and now we are sooo close! How wonderful if we could get there by Giving Tuesday! If you would like to help us fund the latest and greatest childhood cancer research, please consider a donation to Ivy's page or my page, and we can hit that $50K goal in no time!

We are grateful for each one of you, for your donations, and for the research that saves the lives of kids like Georgia. Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

College Girl(s)

Well, the Louisiana college trip was a big success - and a big adventure! Many of the girls in Georgia's class had never been to New Orleans, so she was an expert tour guide and loved showing her friends around the French Quarter. Oh, and the actual college visits went really well, too! As expected, Tulane was her favorite stop - and currently at the top of her choice list. They have an incredible creative writing program, should she go that way, and the size of the school suits her perfectly. BUT, we are still so early in this game, we know there is much more to see and do and discuss, and Georgia will change her mind a hundred times - as she should - before the final vote is in. It's just all so exciting to think about!


ARS Shining Star and U of H Cougar


Part of The Gaggle at LSU


Part of The Gaggle at Tulane


Sassy Pants showing off her class shirt

On the homefront, Ivy impressed us at her student-led Sixth Grade conference last week. She shared several pieces of her work, told us how she fulfills each part of the school's mission statement as well as some additional character traits, and gave some insight into her own thoughts on college. What?! It's hard for this mama to think about one little bird leaving the nest, much less two, but actually, it's one of the best parts of the Ann Richards School - showing these girls that they can ALL go to college, graduate, and change their world. They start talking about it from the very first day of school, without pressure but with lots encouragement and support. Of the three graduating classes we've had, over 70% of the girls are the first in their family to go to college, so the impact that this school is making on their lives, and their family's lives, is immeasurable. We are so grateful to be there!


Ivy Francis Moore, Class of '22

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Special

Yesterday, the St. Baldrick's Foundation launched a new branding initiative that we think says it all: Kids are special. Let's treat them that way. Brilliant! The idea is to remind the world that children are different from adults and their care should be, too. The foundation will have a series of commercials, print ads, and billboards to spread the message, and they're inviting all of us to share pictures of our children being their little goofy selves with the hashtag #KidsAreSpecial. Wonder if I can find any goofy pictures of Georgia and Ivy? HA! Read more about the initiative here.


Our own special girl left for Louisiana today with the rest of the Class of '18, raring and ready to visit some colleges - and have some beignets! They'll stop at the University of Houston before heading to LSU tomorrow and Tulane University and Loyola University on Friday. It will be a whirlwind trip, but Georgia's going to be making some great memories ... and maybe some plans? ; ) Full report when she returns!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Triple A

To say that Georgia had a great swim meet last week is putting it very, very mildly. She was a BEAST! Just consider this: 7 seconds off of her 100 Free; 5 seconds off of her 50 Free and first in her heat; and 9 seconds off of her 100 Breaststroke from three weeks ago and second in her heat. Boom! And she had so much FUN, to boot. She's having a great season, improving every day, and we're loving watching every second.


Moving from athletics to the arts, feast your eyes on this incredible piece she created - an interpretation of Antigone inspired by the myth of the Three Fates.

The basic myth of the Three Fates is that they are the ones who control one’s time of death. Clotho, the first Fate, spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures the length of the life, and Atropos inevitably cuts the thread of life, bringing death. I wanted to use this Greek death myth in this piece so as to represent the theme of tragedy that was very evident in Antigone.

Each one of the colored threads is associated with a character that dies, except for the orange thread. It is the only thread left trailing while all the others are cut, so naturally it represents Creon and how he was forced to continue on after all of the people he cared about were gone.

When people view this piece they’ll probably think, “wow, that’s really creepy…” Good! That’s exactly what I want them to think! The morbidness of tragedy is evident in most of Greek theater, especially in Antigone, and I definitely was inspired by that aspect of the play for this piece.

Athlete. Artist. And straight-A Academic for another six weeks - so proud of our girl!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

At least some of it. In case you didn't know, we've had a lot of RAIN these last few weeks! Georgia's second swim meet was rescheduled and then cancelled due to the weather, and we were all hunkered down at school on Friday during a tornado warning. There's been flooding in the area, not quite to the extent of the Memorial Day floods, and thankfully, the creek *right* next to our house has held its banks for the most part. We were afraid our Halloween plans might get soaked, but we caught a break, and it was actually a very nice night. We have the best neighbors on the planet, especially when it comes to holiday celebrations, so Georgia invited her gaggle over, and they had a ball.

Happy Halloween from Joy and Disgust!

Chip and JoJo from "Fixer Upper" stopped by to give out treats
and talk about shiplap

Ivy's very organized haul


Just the sweetest bunch of girls! 

We're closing in on the end of the second six weeks of school, and the week before Thanksgiving is Georgia's college trip to Louisiana. Where has the year gone?! In a little under two months, we'll be celebrating Georgia's Sweet Sixteen and her sixth year since diagnosis. Incredible! So we really need the weather to cooperate - we've got parties to plan!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Great and Grateful

Today, Georgia is 3.5 years off treatment, with 1.5 to go until she is officially cancer-free. In other words, YAY!!! Yesterday's survivorship appointment went off without a hitch - her counts were perfect, her bone density has improved, and all signs continue to point to more of the same good news. We were very lucky to also have a nice visit with Dr. Neff, and it's clear that these two still enjoy talking about Harry Potter and sharing bad jokes. 

Our warrior and her shaman 

We never, never take for granted that Georgia is where she is now and that she has a very bright future ahead of her. How desperately we want that for all kids fighting cancer. One step in reaching that goal is by supporting our efforts for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which not only funds research, but also infrastructure grants. Recently, our own clinic received one as part of a $2 million award, so local kids fighting cancer will now directly benefit from the generosity of donors like you, our Friends of Georgia. Thank you again - and again - for taking this journey with us and helping us raise awareness, hope, and funds for research. We couldn't do it without you!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Love and Light

Last year at Circus Couture, I had the pleasure of meeting magician Criss Angel. He was gracious and giving and so wonderful with every one of the childhood cancer fighters in attendance. His kindness and generosity have touched so many families, and now Criss needs our support as his 20-month-old son, Johnny, has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We know that childhood cancer can strike any child, anywhere, so we must make research funding a national priority in order to provide these kids with better treatments and, ultimately, cures. For Johnny, for Georgia, and for the 46 kids who will be diagnosed tomorrow, PLEASE ‪#‎StepUp‬ with us and help fund HOPE.

 Sending love, light, and strength, my friend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

35 Million Thank Yous!


Thanks to your support of the Peachy Keens this year, you've helped the St. Baldrick's Foundation raise $35 million for life-saving research! And if you look closely, you can see Georgia holding up the 35 banner in this picture, taken at the rocket launch we went to last month. We're all in there somewhere, celebrating this huge milestone and saying thank you to our generous donors.

Georgia has a survivorship appointment next week and will hit 42 months off treatment the next day - 3.5 years! Every day further from her last chemo is one day closer to the 5 year mark, and we can almost taste it at this point. She's doing so, so well, and we desperately want the same outcome for every kid diagnosed with cancer. So we'll keep doing what we can to hit more fundraising milestones and see more pictures like this. Next stop: $36 million!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Precious Time

Circus Couture was a huge success and such a cool event! It's a night of performance, art, and fashion, and proceeds go to the St. Baldrick's Foundation and the Children's Specialty Center of Nevada. I was thrilled to be the winning bidder on a piece of art called, "Precious Time" by Don Micheal, Jr., which you can read about here. It's a joyful piece and will soon find a home in our kitchen.


The girls received their first report card of the year, and - surprise! - we've got TWO smartypants in the house! Also, Ivy has been working on an enrichment device that she designed and built for the African Grey Parrot at our local zoo, and Georgia took the PSAT this morning. She'll take it for real next year, and then the SAT will be right around the corner! Both girls will be visiting colleges later this month and into next - Ivy to UT and Georgia to two or three East Texas and Louisiana colleges, including (we hope) Tulane. Last year, they switched it up for the sophomores and took them to Oklahoma instead, and Georgia was thrilled that they went back to the usual trip for this year. Sorry, Sooners. : )

The first swim meet of the season is this week, and our girl is now the breaststroke specialist for the mighty Ann Richards swim team! She's got four events to swim, so it'll be a busy day, but she is really ready to hit the water. She has come so far in the last year, and we're very excited to see her compete again. Pics and a report from the deck to come!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Whew!

It's been a busy week, and the biggest and best part was celebrating Ivy's 12th birthday! First, we had bookend birthday cakes at home:

 Traditional birthday morning wake-up call

 More cake - and presents! - after dinner

Then, the whole crew plus Ivy's friend, Eden, went on a high-flying adventure - indoor skydiving! It was such a blast, but actually, it was also a bit of a workout! Everyone enjoyed it, though, as you can see ...


The Flying Ivy!

video

The Flying Georgia!

video

Really, really fun - y'all should try it! Back on Earth, Georgia shared one of her poems from creative writing camp at the Badgerdog anthology book release. Ivy had choir rehearsal that morning, so she missed the reading (and the picture : )), but Cousin Claire was there to get her book!


On Sunday, Georgia and her brave, sweet daddy went to the ACL Music Festival at Zilker Park. This was their second adventure, and again, they met up with her friends and their parents and had a wonderful time. We love Austin, Texas!

15.


This is Homecoming Week at Ann Richards, so among the dress up days they had was Decades Day. Our 20s and 50s girls say, "It's the berries, Daddy-O!"


And finally, I'm off to Las Vegas tomorrow for the Circus Couture St. Baldrick's event I attended last year. I'll be meeting up with my best Momma partner-in-crime, Alyson, and we'll be doing some groundwork for bringing the 46 Mommas to Vegas this summer for our Lucky 7 shave! We're so excited about this great opportunity - especially because we'll hit TWO million dollars raised next year! - so stay tuned for more details. Until then, thanks for Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind ... and Viva Las Mommas!