Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 WalkAbout Autism

Saturday, January 28, 2012 Dan and I participated for our second year in the WalkAbout Autism 2012. It was once again held at the Miami Dolphins Stadium. There was a strong turnout for the event brought to the area by Dan and Claire Marino and the Dan Marino Foundation.

Claire and Dan Marino along with Rachel and Jeff Ireland acted ran the ceremonies. This walk is near and dear to their hearts as both couples have children diagnosed with Autism. WalkAbout Autism increases the awareness and raises money to find a cure and better treatments for those who have been diagnosed with Autism.

It was a beautiful day for the event and approximately 17,000 people came out to help raise awareness. The morning was kicked off with a few words from Dan Marino and Jeff Ireland, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and the Star Spangled Banner. The walk was held around the stadium. There were food sponsors, a DJ, autographs from players and alumni and kids activities such as bouncy houses and slides set up inside the stadium to help celebrate the end of the walk. According to the Miami Dolphins official website, the event raised $700,000!

Dan and I were on team Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms was put together by Hannah and Haley Ireland and their parents Jeff and Rachel. 

To read more on this event visit the Miami Dolphins website here.

Here are two videos I took with my phone at the event. One is the Star Spangled Banner performed by 4 autistic adolescents and assistant directed by 1. The other video is of the ribbon cutting ceremony at the beginning of the event.


A few pictures from Saturday - Courtesy of the Miami Dolphins

Team Lucky Charms!

People celebrating inside of the stadium.

 Left to right- Dan Carpenter, Tyrone Culver, Marlon Moore, Rachel and Jeff Ireland, Mike Pouncey, and Brandon Fields.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lauren's Kids

Lauren Book. If you live in South Florida this name rings a bell. I have a feeling that in a few more years her name will ring loud and true throughout the country. Hear me now. If you don't know her name, you will.

Her mission...
To prevent sexual abuse through awareness and education, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support.

Her book...
It's OK to Tell

From the foreword of the book by Lisa Ling…
“Lauren endured years of physical, sexual, and psychological torture as a child but somehow found the courage to confront her abuser. With the help of her father who stands firmly by his daughter’s side, Lauren has become a relentless crusader for kids and women everywhere who have been violated. It’s hard enough to hear about the dark place that little Lauren Book inhabited for so many years. I imagine that many people would want to lock the horrifying memories away and move on in silent anonymity. But Lauren bravely shares her testimony in a very public way so that people will know that the sexual exploitation of a child knows no economic boundaries.
Reading the pages of Lauren’s book, your heart will break. You will find yourself utterly shocked and enraged. But you will be inspired by the powerful and courageous voice that has emerged from this young woman who was robbed of her childhood by a sexually violent predator: one of hundreds of thousands out there, many of whom work inside people’s homes or places where children congregate.
The world is lucky to have Lauren and her father out there advocating, because neither of them will stop until families are made aware of the dangers that lurk in unexpected places.”

Right now from January 14 through February 22, Lauren is completing her 2012 Walk in my Shoes event. She walks everyday. Key West to Tallahassee. From city to city, she walks by her father’s side. Day after day family, friends, follows, and supporters who believe in her message join in on a part of her 5 ½ week, 1,000 mile foot journey.

Last week Dan and I along with some of our Dolphin friends, walked 16 miles of Lauren's journey with her to help her spread her message.  It was great to see Lauren as I haven’t seen her smiley face in over a year. The support was tremendous that day for Lauren’s Kids Organization. I can’t wait to see where she is in a couple years. She has and will continue to push those mountains until they move.

Below are some pics from the walk on the 21st. Most are courtesy of Lauren's Kids Organization, with a few from my cell phone as well. 
Visit for more on this empowering organization.

The whole group starting that day. Some dropped out at certain distances and others joined up at different locations.

Dolphins with Lauren for the walk.
Jessica Vones, Sela Foukimoana, Dolphin Personnel, Kim Costello, Katie Fields, Ilona Wolpin, Keith Sims, Rachel Ireland, Will Allen, Lauren Book, Brandon Fields, Mr. Book, Eric Knowles, Dan Carpenter, Kaela Carpenter, Allison Eddy, Michelle Beck, Dolphin Personnel.

Group stretches before the long walk.

Time passes fast when you are having fun! Ilona Wolpin and Kaela Carpenter.

Ilona Wolpin and Kaela Carpenter- Acting goofy to pass time.

Brandon and Katie Fields

 Dolphins group at Fort Lauderdale!

 Katie Fields and Kaela Carpenter all smiles:)

 Dan and Kaela Carpenter at the Gulf Stream water stop.

 Allison Eddy and Michelle Beck

Katie Fields and Kaela Carpenter all smiles. In the back is Mike Dee CEO of the Dolphins and his assistant Kim.

 Mike Mandich

 Escort for the day

 Escort for the Day

 Dolphins Community Relations Gals - Best girls ever:)

 Will Allen

Brandon and Katie Fields, Ilona Wolpin, Mike Mandich, Lauren Book, Rachel Ireland, Sela Foukimoana, Kaela and Dan Carpenter.

Katie and Brandon Fields, Ilona Wolpin, Mike Mandich, Lauren Book, Rachel Ireland, Kaela and Dan Carpenter.

 Walking between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale

Katie and Brandon Fields, Ilona Wolpin, Lauren Book, Sela Foukimoana, Rachel Ireland, Kaela and Dan Carpenter

The Dolphins group ended the day after 16 miles. We enjoyed an hour or so at Rocco's Tacos for refreshments and food. YUM!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Post Christmas Tradition

Dan and I started a new Post Christmas Tradition this year.

It is called The Destruction of the Gingerbread Houses.

It is our way of rewarding ourselves for getting all of the Christmas decorations put away.

You know what they say!  

"You can take the girl outta the country but you can't take the country outta the girl!"

Weapon of choice this year - Dan's new Crossbow. 


Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Christmas With The Carpenters!

Did anyone else have a Christmas season that seemed to whiz by faster than usual? One minute we were eating Thanksgiving Dinner and celebrating Dan's Birthday with our friends, and it seemed as though the next thing I knew I found myself in a Christmas food coma. Where did Christmas go!?

I look back through my texts messages, hotmail inbox, and calendar, and by golly I think I figured out where the time went. We were so busy that the days just flew on by! Here are a few things that kept us busy this Christmas season.

Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway
Early December Dan and I along with many other Miami Dolphins participated in the Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway. Over 160 kids from four local elementary schools as well as the Alternative Family Care Center, Cooperative Feeding Program, Urban League of Miami, Project Medishare and ChildNet were gifted with items off of their wish lists.
 (Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins)
Read More about The Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway and see more pictures in my December 15th post here. Or the Miami Dolphins website here.

Books and Bears Program
Two days in mid December I participated in the Books and Bears program. Miami Dolphins sponsored this program run by Broward Public Libraries.
 (Photo Courtesy Miami Dolphins)
To read more about this program, and see many pictures from the events, visit my earlier post here.

Dick's Sporting Goods Event
Dick's Sporting Goods paired up with the Miami Dolphins to transform the store into a shopping wonderland for 20 area foster kids. Each child got to shop with a Miami Dolphins Football Player, Alumni, Players Wife, and/or a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader. A gift card was handed to each child to shop their hearts out. This was a great event! Dan and My shopper was a very nice girl who was a senior in high school. Her plans were to go into the services, and have them pay for her school. Smart girl. Here are a a few pics from the event. Courtesy of Miami Dolphins.

 Dan and I with our shopper! She was all smiles. Mostly bought stuff to train. But we managed to get a few fun things too:)

Below: Reggie Bush talks to foster children of the area before the Dick's Holiday Shopping Event. He is a very inspirational speaker.

 Below: Some of our favorite Miami Dolphins Kids. One of the coaches kiddos. Group of five. Coming from a family of five kids I have an automatic soft spot for these guys.

Below: Ryan Baker and his shopper.

Below: Vernon Carey trying on shoes with his shopper.
To read more about the Dick's Sporting Goods/Miami Dolphins Holiday Shopping Event click here.

Christmas Day Visit to Chris Evert Children's Hospital
This year on Christmas, Dan and I decided to start a new family tradition. In the season of giving, we thought it would be nice to help put a smile on someones face. I hope that this is a tradition that we can continue to practice with our children someday...The tradition of putting a smile on a strangers face. 

This year we decided to buy and deliver presents for the Children at Chris Evert Children's Hospital. We invited Katie and Brandon Fields to help us deliver the toys to the patients in Pediatric, NICU, and the Cancer Center. What a great time we had! The kids were so excited to see Dan and Brandon and get their toys, fuzzy socks, and blankets from Katie and I. It felt good to put a smile on their little faces as well as their parents. Here are a few pictures from the event. Courtesy of Chris Evert Children's Hospital.  
We can't wait to go back next year!

Above: All the Christmas Morning goodies for the kiddos at the hospital.
Set up and ready to go. When Dan got home from his game late Christmas Eve, I showed him all the goodies before he got to open his Christmas gift from me.

Above and Below:  Emily - 6 yrs. She got to go home that day.
What a wonderful Christmas Present!

Below: A nice couple in the NICU. They had twin boys. Took me back in time. Reminded me of my sister and her husband with their twins 5 years ago.

 With some of the staff. They were a smiley group full of Christmas Cheer!

Above and Below:
Ronan is 4 years old.
He liked Dan and Brandon. 

Below: Jonathon - 9 yrs old. 
He is Lego Master!

Do you have any Christmas Traditions that your family practices year after year? 

Hollywood Military Family Gets House Makeover From  Miami Dolphins!
A very deserving military family in Hollywood got a house makeover from the Miami Dolphins. Dan and I along with Anthony Fasano, Brian Hartline and his girlfriend Kara, Ryan and Susanah Baker, Tyrone and Jessica Culver, Will Allen, Special Teams Volunteers, Dolphin personnel, private contractors, and many more all came together and helped fix a repair a military families home. 

To read more on this touching story and very deserving family you can visit.
Miami Dolphins here.
Orlando Sentinel here.
Channel 7 news video and article here.
CBS Miami video and article here.

I baked a TON of different things for our Ugly Sweater Party Christmas night at the Fields' Residence. We had a blast! Sadly, I am not allowed to share everyone's "awesome" outfits.

Dan helped out with Christmas Dinner. The time between the Children's Hospital visit and the Ugly Sweater Party we prepared dinner together. This was really fun. It isn't everyday that Dan helps me make dinner and having him take part in it was a great experience. Definitely some good QT...Makin' Memories.

Prime Rib on the grill rotisserie.

Flat Stanley Project
Dan and I also participated in a Flat Stanley Project for a young student in Washington. For those of you who do not know what Flat Stanley is, here is a link to explain the children's project to you. Flat Stanley.
I am mailing him back tomorrow. I am sending a few post cards, an alligator tooth from an airboat tour in the everglades, and these pictures for the class. I hope they enjoy!

Dan took Flat Stanley to practice with him.

Dan's Aunt Mary and I with Flat Stanley at the game.

 Flat Stanley at the game.

Relaxing Afternoons
This hectic Christmas season, I made sure to take a little "me time". A few times a week, I would be sure to enjoy the last 2-3 hours of daylight with Dan. It didn't matter if I was elbow deep in cookie dough, or in the middle of cleaning bathrooms for the next round of out-of-town house guests, I promised myself that when he came home from football with the desire to get out on the water, that I would drop it all. I think that this is important. Sometimes even if you think you have no time at all for fun, you have to force yourself to relax. You will always be happy you did. 
Now that Christmas is over, Football season is over, and 2011 has come to an end, I am starting my list of To Do's, ready to start eating right and exercise often (yeah right), and filling out our off-season calendar.
One thing on my To Do list is to finish decorating my house. To all you girly, decorating ladies out there....good for you! Sadly you are alone. My house has potential to be beautiful, but I may need your help and opinions often. 
Please stand by for before rookie questions.  
 Dan and I are very excited to get some good time on the water, and travel for business, charity, and pleasure. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season yourself, and that 2012 brings even more joy and wonderful memories than 2011.