March for Maddie, 2010

I’ve been trying to find a moving or creative way into this post, and I’m coming up way short. It’s been… something around here lately.

Sometimes babies are born too early. Babies born too early are extremely vulnerable to any number of seemingly harmless childhood sicknesses. A simple cold can be devastating, as Heather and Mike Spohr discovered on April 7 of last year.

Which is all to say: On Sunday, May 23, I will be walking for the March of Dimes, with the same terrific bunch of ‘Burghers that I walked with last year (and more!).

Please consider donating to the March of Dimes in my name. Here is my personal page at the March of Dimes site; from there you can go to the Pittsburgh team page, and see all the fabulous people with whom I’m walking.

And, if you want to donate to MoD and be in the running for fabulous prizes, you can go check out Gina’s site, and throw her a few bucks too! (I did!)

Maddie Spohr, November 11, 2007–April 7, 2009


I am doing two fundraising events this year.

The first is the March of Dimes March for Maddie. I’ll have the privilege to walk with the Pittsburgh team that I (and my two girls) walked with last year.

My personal goal is to get $250 to add to the pot. It’s not much, but every little bit counts. You can donate here, at my March of Dimes page.

The second event is a new one for me, Walk Now for Autism Speaks. My husband first did this about two years ago — I don’t think he did it last year. I’m hoping we can do it as a family this year.

If you are interested, I would love to start a Pittsburgh bloggers team. I’d like to call it Pittsburgh Bloggers for A Boy. (I’ll explain later, and frankly, I probably need permission to do that.) With the rates of autism at 1 in every 166 children, it’s likely that you know someone on the spectrum, whether a friend or family member.


In both of these cases — premature infants and autism — my family has not been directly affected. My children, my girls, are healthy and what is called “normal” by society. (Gabriel was not premature, he wasn’t even at risk. He died for unknown and, probably, unknowable reasons.)

But Dan works with families whose lives have been touched by these factors. I have friends with children who are on the spectrum.

I can’t do much. Love, acceptance, support. And show my love, my support, for these families and my friends and their families.

If you want to come out, information about the Pittsburgh team for Maddie is here. (Maddie is Madeline Spohr, who was premature, and who died last year, at 17 months. Her mother writes, movingly, at The Spohrs are Multiplying.)

If you are interested in being on a team for Autism Speaks, let me know in the comments (or shoot me an email at albamaria30 [at] verizon [dot] net. I’ll start a team.

And then I’ll start harassing you all on Twitter and Facebook to donate to these worthy causes. You’ve been warned!

Random Thoughts: Broken Record

The more I reflect on the four-hour mashed potatoes, the more I realize: That’s just how life with kids is. Doing anything takes a long time. It is a process of stopping and starting, of refereeing, of building in the extra hour (or so) the thing is going to take.

Except for eating out. Eating out is the guessing game of when the children (or, in my case, Kate) will be done. By that time you better have gotten to eat yourself, finished your drink if you have one, and be waiting for the check to come back. Because it will be time to go.

That being said, it was a nice weekend. We had scheduled a portrait sitting with Niece and Nephew on Saturday that went well — although true to life with kids, about an hour before we left the house, Kate fell and skinned her forehead. I don’t know how. Honestly, we were all upstairs, including Dan, and I was dressing Flora, and I suddenly overhead from our bedroom, “What did you do to your forehead?” So, Kate’s sporting a band-aid along with her very pretty green velvet holiday dress in those photos.

Ah, memories.

Saturday night I went out by myself (! I know!) to the Make Room for Kids fundraiser at Las Velas. It was fun and relaxing and delicious. My drink of choice is usually beer or wine, but something about the Las Velas margaritas (maybe it’s the crack) perks up my taste buds. I had the pleasure of seeing and dining with Pittsburgh bloggers and Twitter friends, plus some celebrity sighting along the lines of Sally Wiggins, who is lovely.

I am trying to figure out what was so nice about the evening (besides everything) and why I found it so relaxing. Although I missed Dan greatly, and he really would have enjoyed himself, I think part of my relaxation stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have a babysitter to rush home to. When we have a sitter, I am watching the clock, and we usually have to be home by 11 p.m. or so, and there’s the whole “do you have cash/no, do you?” game Dan & I have to play so that the sitter gets paid.

Oh, you know what else? I didn’t have to worry about remembering anyone’s real name to introduce them to Dan. Using Twitter and/or blog names is perfectly acceptable with this crowd.

Since Dan stayed home with the girls, and I didn’t have to introduce him to anyone, I just hung out. I didn’t watch the clock. I had some kind of fried corn tortilla empanada with cheese and mushrooms that I think also had crack in it because I want more, and just… I don’t know. Didn’t find it hard to breathe. And I wasn’t interrupted, and I didn’t have to feed anyone mac’n’cheese or take anyone to the bathroom, and I didn’t have to pay anyone when I got home (although there may or may not have been some positive reinforcement at the end of the evening for Dan). And even though I did not get nearly enough sleep, I would do it all again.

Because, damn, those margaritas are tasty. And all those people I have met via Twitter and Pittsburgh blogs? Are really, really nice and really fun to be with.

BTW, donations to Make Room for KIDS can be made at That’s Church. Go on. Giving feels good.