Needing Gently Used Baby Blankets

I was contacted by a friend who has a friend that is a nurse going on a mission trip to Guatemala in two weeks. She said that they are desperately in need of baby blankets as several newborn and post surgery babies are wrapped in burlap sacks.

If you have any gently used baby blankets that you would like to donate, please contact me!

You can still donate...

You can still donate to March of Dimes from the Team Stroller Strides Houston page! The walk is a significant part of their fundraising, but these funds are needed all year long!

Our team raised (so far) $3475 and I would love to see that number still go up!

Visit our team page at http://marchforbabies.org/s_team_page.asp?seid=630661.

Thank you to everyone who supported our team!


March for Babies

This morning all five of us were up and out the door before 8 am to join our Stroller Strides team at March for Babies! Our team was one of the largest Stroller Strides teams in the country and we also kicked butt in fundraising with a grand total of $3475!

The course was either 4 or 5 miles! We were told by the March of Dimes staff that the course was 5 miles, but on the map it says 4. Either way, it was a long walk and each of our kids got in at least a mile on foot!

Yes, Riley is in a nightgown (Daniella's to be exact)! She refused to wear a shirt! She is wearing shorts underneath!

Elizabeth, Brandon, and Reese from Stroller Strides Pearland

Rosa's hubby and gorgeous baby girl Sydney

Me and the family

Lining up for the walk

There were thousands there today!

Running AND pushing a double jogger! Reminds me of her mama!

Joshua could have definitely run the whole course!


Pajama Party Playday

Another beautiful day outside and a great gathering of some irresistibly cute kids in their pj's!

Awesome weather today!

Happy 1st birthday Avery!

Happy belated 1st birthday Elliot!

Maggie found a comfy seat!

It would be a complete playday without a toddler in time out!


Celebrate the Earth

April 22nd (today) is Earth Day and while I will not go into a whole debate on the state of the planet, I do want to mention a few things that you can do help our planet...

Recycle -
This is a big one! My biggest complaint about Houston is not the size of the city or the traffic it is that in most areas there are no recycling programs in place. We actually used to have recycling pick up in our neighborhood and it was done away with because there were too few people participating. It takes just a few seconds to throw a plastic bottle or plastic bag into a separate container. How could there be too few people participating...OK off my soapbox!

Also, look for a paper recycling depot (they look like yellow dumpsters) for your newspapers, magazines, etc. Take your cans to a recycling center. Yes they can be gross, take up space in the garage, and your payout is pretty small, but do it anyway! Every little bit helps, especially when every person is doing at least a small part!

I recently read an article about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It was astounding and heartbreaking at the same time. In case you've never heard of it, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a mass of plastic waste that covers 537,000 square miles. That is twice the size of Texas! If you think that this has no effect on aquatic life, think again!

Reduce and Reuse -
Grocery stores are now selling the reusable totes for your groceries. They are usually a dollar per bag and they don't take up a lot of space! Get a few, throw them in your car, and use them for your grocery trips. Very easy, inexpensive and can make a big difference if everyone did it!

Use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. The bulbs use 75% less energy (saving you money) and last up to 10 times longer.
* These bulbs you can't just throw in garbage because they contain trace amounts of mercury. Check IKEA (that's right) or this link for disposal of your bulbs.

Start a garden -
Get the kids involved! We recently started a mini garden in our backyard in planter boxes and believe it or not we've got veggies...well kind of, we have plants! The kids get to water the plants every day and hopefully soon we'll have fresh garden grown tomatoes, avocados, green beans, snow peas, and squash to feast on! Imagine that, kids excited about veggies!

Shop smart -
Now that "green" is "in" there are lots of new products being added every day for consumers that offer safer alternatives to everything from laundry detergent to paper towels. If you pick just one or two and stick with them, you can make a difference.

Being a good steward of our planet doesn't mean you have to remodel your home in bamboo and rain water. It can be done efficiently, effectively, and inexpensively. Please choose to do so for our generation and the generations to come!

Voting for Mommy Madness

Look for this logo on the Mommy Madness Houston website and vote!

The voting has begun!

Here are a few FAQ's for voting...

How many times can I vote?
As many times as you wish! You have to fill out a little form for your submission and then select your favorite mom (insert throat clearing noise here)! That's it! The voting stats are given once you submit your entry.

Who can vote?
Anyone who is over the age of 21, lives in TX, and is not an immediate family member of me (sorry Jason) can vote.

Why should I vote?
Of course the main reason is because you love and support me your Houston area Mom Squad!

Another perk to submitting your vote is you will be entered for a prize package to the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, TX. The prize package includes two rooms at the resort and a $400 gift card to spend while there (ladies can you say spa treatment)!

I promise its easy, its painless, and you will be helping one lucky mom to win favorite out of the Houston Mom Squad!


A great day for Pictures

Another beautiful morning for Stroller Strides! I wish the weather was always like this!

Here are a few pics from class! My legs and bottom are still sore!

I always love the kids want to join in on the fun!

Stroller Strides Coupon Code for Doce Vida Fitness

Doce Vida is a new fitness apparel company offering ultra-soft, full-motion 12% stretch fabric that feels like butter against your skin as it wicks away moisture so you can keep your body moving in comfort and style. Doce Vida has a seamless fit for continuous movement. Their apparel is fitted to maximize the benefits of reducing muscle vibration and to instantly slim. Starting today, Doce Vida Fitness will offer you and your members a 20% online discount using the unique code SSTRIDES09.

Lisa Druxman (founder of Stroller Strides) will be writing a product review for the Stroller Strides blog on Monday and she will be giving away a $50 gift certificate for Doce Vida product to one of the lucky people who leave a comment on that blog post! Good Luck!

Moms With a Mission Tip

Calcium is necessary for formation of baby's bones, and also to strengthen your bones and teeth. Calcium is found in dairy, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables and beans. Recommended allowance: 1000-1200 mg.


More on Mommy Madness

Today marks the official start of the Mommy Madness campaign for Houston! We've had the Traverse for a few days and I can already tell it will be tough saying goodbye to our temporary family car!

The kids love it, especially their own sunroof! I will be doing an ongoing tour of the Traverse over the next few weeks! There are a lot of cool features and you'd be watching a short feature film starring yours truly if I were to do it all in one video!

I have to give props to all TV personalities out there! I definitely need to work on my "on screen presence"! A bit of trivia for you...for every video posted there about ten filmed that were, well they were not good!

Another side note!...I had to take a 5 minute break from writing as Riley came in from outside and with her sweet 2 year old voice and said "Mommy Domino (the dog) eat it and its yucky." Domino was sitting innocently in the yard with a look of "what?" It is still undetermined what yucky substance she ate. I'm sure I will find out though when she pukes it up later!

A little history on how this whole Mommy Madness campaign came into our lives...

A few weeks ago I was contacted by an executive from CBS Radio (Jeanie) via facebook. She sent me a message asking if I was the owner of the Moms Living Fit blog and that she wanted to talk to me about a campaign that CBS radio was doing in collaboration with Chevrolet. It is not uncommon for various reps to contact me and ask me to blog about upcoming events or products so I figured this would be the same thing. I contacted her the very next morning and got her voicemail. I left my message and went on about my day. Jason and I joked around and said, "what are they going to give you, a car?" We'd been offered an assortment of stuff from other reps like Disney on Ice tickets, Got Milk? goodies, etc. I was expecting a hat and key chain or something along those lines! A few hours later, she returned my call and started to tell me that they would like to offer me a spot on the Mom Squad for their Mommy Madness campaign and all of the details. I heard her say (although it didn't compute right away) "We would like our moms to drive a Chevy Traverse for 8 weeks...pay for gas...spa treatment...other mommy mission...vote for your favorite mom." Imagine me eyes wide open, mouth agape! My first reaction was "this can't be real!" I told Jason about everything and vowed not to mention it (I did tell a few close friends) until I was certain it was real!

A week later, we started getting our paperwork and a few prospective dates. I still sat on them since I was still uncertain of it all. Another week went by and that is when the ball really started rolling! We were told we could announce our participation in the campaign and that we would have our new Traverses the following Thursday (last Thursday).

To my utter amazement and shock I drove out of the CBS Studio parking garage last Thursday in a brand new Chevy Traverse! The other moms and I (minus one who was out of town) all got to meet along with the CBS Radio and GM executives (all of them fellow moms) working on the campaign. We also got to meet several of the radio personalities that will be promoting the Mommy Madness campaign on the air waves and making announcements about our blog posts. We were given our Mommy Madness packets which were filled with some really cool stuff and also given a really cool video recorder to film our adventures with!

Can you believe it?!

What an honor, what an experience! We were told that they reviewed over 200 mommy blogs in the Houston area and that ours were the best. Thank you Jesus!

So now what...

We will be continuing to post our blogs and video over the next 8 weeks on our experiences driving a Chevy Traverse. I will be posting here, on my home blog, and most importantly on the Mommy Madness website. Bookmark that page and don't forget to vote for your favorite mom! You can vote as many times as you wish! Each vote will enter you into a drawing for a girl's getaway weekend (you, or your wife/significant other/some girl you know, and 3 friends) to the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, TX. Not bad for the click of a mouse! Also if you are in the Houston area (or just feel like driving here), you can get a free massage from Massage Envy by test driving the Traverse! To do this go to your Houston area Chevy dealer and request to test drive the Traverse. When you come back from your test drive you will have your certificate waiting for you! Trust me you'll love it...and you'll enjoy the massage too!

Houston Mom Squad

I've mentioned several times that I am on the squad but have yet to give you the names of the other 4! Here they are!

Larami Serrano of The Alpha Team
Angie Siders of A Slice of Life
Christine Meeker of Christine Meeker Photography
Stephanie Click of Real Life Mom

They are all extraordinary women and it is an honor to be in their company and on the Mom Squad with them!

You can also check out the other two Mommy Madness campaigns going on in Dallas and Kansas City!

Please feel free to leave your questions and comments! I will try to answer the questions as they come in!

This was the first trip to Stroller Strides for the Traverse! The moms were all excited to see it drive up! My giant double Bob stroller fit perfectly in the back!


Mommy Madness Begins!

Thursday afternoon I nervously walked into a room filled with CBS Radio personalities and representatives, GM representatives, and moms who like me were still in shock that we were there!

I was excited and nervous and listened and watched in amazement to our presenters who outlined our new role as the Mom Squad!

Here in Houston, there were 200 moms considered and 5 selected for the campaign. They chose us based on our blogs (they selected me for my Moms Living Fit blog).

During the presentation, I could not stop smiling! I don't think any of us could! We went through all of the details of Mommy Madness, were given really cool digital video recorders along with some other goodies...and of course the keys to a new Chevy Traverse!

After a quick elevator race (my team won by the way) we made our way out to an arrangement of Chevy Traverses sitting in a circle at the top of the parking garage! Talk about picture perfect (I didn't get a picture)!

I am still amazed that we all drove off in a new Traverse and it is sitting in my driveway! I think it will take a few weeks for it all to sink in...and then it will be time to give it back!

In the meantime, I am excited to get started in my blog and video posts on the Mommy Madness website!

4 of the 5! One of the moms was out of town. From left to right this is Larami Serrano, Christine Meeker, Angie Siders, and me!

I got the silver one! Stay tuned for the video tour!

Larami and Christine...we all piled into Angie's car to get our "walk-around". I'm sure the Julie, our GM representative felt like she was talking to excited 4 year olds! We couldn't sit still!

Angie was very excited to get the purple one! It is her favorite color!

My new (for 8 weeks) Chevy Traverse making itself at home!

I will post all of the details and answer the many questions I have received! If you listen to 100.3, 96,5, and/or 95.7 radio stations, listen for announcements about our blog posts and adventures in the Traverse!

Follow along and vote for us on the Mommy Madness website starting April 20th!

Disney On Ice

Disney On Ice was great! A big thanks to Mom Central and Feld Entertainment for the ticket giveaway to a lucky Houston family and the tickets for my family! We all had a blast and my kids are still asking when we can go back!

Here are a few pictures from the fun!...

We were greeted with a giant goodie bag! Daniella pretty much smiled from then on!

...Joshua too!

Daniella enjoying one of her "goodies"!

Joshua loved his Mickey Mouse!

Riley was asleep when we first got there so it took her a few minutes to perk up!

We got to meet a few of the skaters and of course Mickey and Minnie before the show!

Riley and Joshua did not want to get close to Mickey and Minnie, but after they left Riley walked up and was ready for her picture!

Waiting anxiously to see the show!

This was Riley's first Disney On Ice show! She loved it!

I'll post more pictures on the blog soon! We took A LOT!

The next ticket giveaway will be in July for Ringling Bros! Make sure you check back and enter to win! Trust me, you don't want to miss it!

If you missed this giveaway or in another city, you can still enjoy Disney On Ice for a great price! Enter "MOM" as your coupon code for a family 4-pack for $44! Click here for more details.


The Chevy Traverse Has Arrived!

Quick post here!

Today I met with the other mommy bloggers participating in Mommy Madness, the wonderful masterminds of the program, and several of the radio personalities at CBS Radio! I still can't believe it is real!

The Traverse is awesome and the kids love it! I will post pictures later tonight!

On a separate note, I don't know what is up with my Stroller Strides email! I has not worked all day and I am not sure of the exact time it went down. If you have sent me an email today to my SS account, I can guarantee that I have not gotten it! Please resend or forward to my home email acct at valerie(dot)gay(at)gmail(dot)com. Got it!

Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused! I am praying that the system is restored soon!


CBS Radio and Chevrolet Campaign - Mommy Madness

Wow! I am shaking as I write this! I have been sitting on this announcement for a few weeks and finally got the green flag to blog about it! I have been picked along with 4 other moms here in Houston to participate in a campaign for CBS Radio and Chevrolet! I will be part of the "Mom Squad" and will be driving a Chevrolet Traverse for 8 weeks! The Mom Squad has to blog and post pictures and video on our website MommyMadnessHouston.com starting on April 20th about our adventures in motherhood with a Traverse! Needless to say I am very excited!

From April 20th - June 14th, you will be able to view all of our blog posts on the website AND vote for your favorite mom (aka Vote for Me)! Those who submit votes will be entered into a contest to win a getaway weekend and/or a massage!

We are supposed to be receiving our Traverse this Thursday at the CBS Studio! Until I have the Traverse parked in my driveway I am still a little nervous about it all so please say a prayer that everything goes well! I will be posting in triplicate about my adventures with the campaign on this blog, my Moms Living Fit blog (where CBS found me), and of course on the Mommy Madness website!

There are three Mommy Madness campaigns going on in the US right now with Houston being one of them and the other two in Dallas and Kansas City (if you were interested in those).

Again, say a prayer for me! I'll be keeping you posted!