Ben’s Bells Thank You

I got the greatest letter this week. Thanks to everyone who contributed on Arizona Gives Day, Ben’s Bells won the grand prize for the most donations! They won $18,000!! Just amazing. Thank you to everyone who contributed and or bought bells. And if you haven’t yet, go there now!

bens letter

Ben’s Bells

I was so thrilled when a college friend posted to her FaceBook about spearheading a Phoenix chapter of Ben’s Bells. It’s an adorably simple concept: hang bells around town for people to find. Ask them to take the bell home and remember to practice kindness when they hear it ring.

The charity’s namesake, Ben, was a precious three year old living in Tucson. He awoke with croup like symptoms but seemed to be feeling ok. Like every mom would, his parents waited and watched his condition. In a flash, his airway swelled shut and they were unable to get him the help he needed in time. His parents began Ben’s Bells as a coping strategy that has blossomed into a beautiful tribute to his memory. And it has touched the lives of other tragedy victims including those in New Town Connecticut.

We were gifted 7 bells to distribute around town. We took them to our regular haunts and waited¬†patiently¬†¬†for them to be discovered and taken home. We realized later that people were a little confused as to whether they were supposed to take the bell, leave it for someone else or take it and then put it back out to be found by someone else. So after a few educational conversations with friends and aqaintences, all of our bells were found. We asked the friends that we knew to spread the word about the project. We’ve since bought a few more from the website as gifts and a few to leave for others to find too.

They make the cutest gifts for any occasion so order some up for you, friends and strangers:


Leaving one at swim lessons – someone was not pleased about posing…

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I couldn’t tell that sweet little face that we weren’t allowed to “find” one, so it is hanging outside their bedroom door

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Run Team Olivia!

This past Saturday marked our second run as part of Team Olivia in the Children’s Cancer Network’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. I’m always excited to sign up, but the morning of the run Peter and I say to each other at least three times “let’s not do this next year” as we try to wake, feed, dress and load the kids by 6am along with their snacks, waters, joggers, sweatshirt and contingency gear.

But once we get there, we realize why we go. After the run, there is a survivor walk. As we followed our friends, the B family, I realized how amazing it must feel to know that just a few years ago, they were pulling sweet Olivia in a wagon because she was too weak to make the quarter mile walk. And this year, she was the horn blower to start the walk and then ran the entire track.

It’s hard not to get teary as you walk and realize how amazingly lucky and blessed we are to have two healthy kiddos. And for those that aren’t healthy, it’s worth the effort to run for them.

Team Wand ran the 5k in 33 minutes trading off pushing a 100 lbs jogger. Not to shabby. BTW, check out how much this team has grown since last year!

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B got in on the running action

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Post run celebrationphoto 3 (36) photo 2 (47)Auggie was slightly less enthused about the whole thing. We also learned he is¬†terrified of mascots. The Sun’s Gorilla, Howler the Coyote and the Grand Canyon University Antelope all scared the bejesus out of him. Note to self.

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Buddies ready to take on the obstical course

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There was tons of media coverage – I love how easy the Team Olivia shirts are to see! Check out the honoree herself getting caped up for the survivor walk.


Give a Little – Or a Lot

When Baylor was a baby, I sat crying while watching  a story on the news about families in need. They described a mom asking for help when she did not have enough formula left to feed her starving 3 month old.

I couldn’t help but think about Baylor. When she needed a bottle in the middle of the night, I was annoyed having to get out of my warm bed and make a bottle. I couldn’t get the thought out of my head – what if I didn’t have formula? And what if I didn’t have the money to buy more? What if my sweet little girl was hungry and I knew there was nothing I could give her to fill her belly. It crushed me.

This is one of the reasons I love The Crisis Nursery. It is an amazing organization that provides relief to families that are stuck in the middle Рfamilies that have more income that what qualifies them for aid, but too little to really survive. And to families who are victims of violence.  They provide food, a warm bed, toys, counseling and other aid for parents, kids and families.

It’s important all year to give to amazing organizations like this – but it’s especially important around the holidays so that these special kiddos get the Christmas they deserve. When you look at their wish list, they need baby wipes before they need toys. Socks and underwear. Shoes and soap. That’s where the donations go first so they need extra to be able to give toys and gifts to the kids as well.

If you have some extra – or even if you don’t – consider giving to a great charity this season to make someone’s Christmas brighter. Monetary donations or of items are great ways to help – I think it’s never too young to start. Bay and I did a clean out of her toys and we talked about how we were going to give them to kids who really needed them. At first, she was hesitant to let go. But after a few minutes she was lovingly kissing a few toys good-bye and placing them in a bag saying “you’re going to someone who really needs you!”.

We are all so fortunate to have what we have so lets spread it around.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Crisis Nursery:

Circle the City:

Pets on Wheels:

Move Your Phi’t

The basis for the name of my blog is my college sorority and the lovely little room where we convened to chat – the goon room. Alpha Phi (pronounced “fee” – the title of the post makes more sense now, no?) has given me a home away from home, wonderful friendships and amazing memories. And yesterday was no exception.

The ASU chapter of Alpha Phi hosted a charity 5K race raising funds and¬†awareness¬†for the national sorority’s cause, cardiac care. My good friend Kristin (featured in “I Do! I Mean, They Did!”) organized a group of the¬†UofA Fall 2000 pledge class to walk for the cause. We met at the park, strollers loaded for bear and kiddos and were ready to roll. Pun intended.

We managed to¬†maneuver 3 strollers over packed dirt (not ideal for stroller wheels) and while we were the caboose, we completed the walk in under an hour. More importantly, we got to catch up and actually talk to each other since our kiddos were¬†preoccupied¬†with the other runners and each other. It’s always nice when gossiping can be for charity.

The hero of the day was Carrlene who pushed her adorable nearly 2 year old, AJ – while 8 months pregnant! Thank you also to Stephanie for picking up our registration and “phi’t” shirts (check out Stephanie at her blog: We also got to meet Cuatro – or better known as Carter. The newest of the Phi babies at breakfast with his momma, Michelle. Thank you ladies! As always, it’s never a dull moment!

AJ, Carrlene, Stephanie, Kelsey, Kristin, me and Baylor B