Marshmallow Mondays


Party, Hair & Medals

We had a big weekend!  It kicked off on Friday with “Rydanmania,”  Rydan’s 10th birthday celebration.  It was an evening of WWE style fun, complete with six rounds of WWE-inspired games inside of a ring we created in our own backyard.

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When the boys arrived, they each had to come up with their own WWE Superstar name (either made up or borrowed from a real wrestler).  In attendance we had Jeff Hardy, The Flash, Rey Mysterio, The Rex, Steve The Third, The Freak, Bob, and Shining Warrior. The boys were divided into two teams and then came up with team names.  It was “The People” vs “The Un-Named.”  Round One began with some good ole thumb-wrestling.

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Round Two:  The Royal Rumble – a race against your opponent to grab a water balloon placed in the center of the ring.  If you were able to grab it without it popping, and hit your opponent with it, you received an extra point.

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Round Three:  Extreme War – tug of war on top of milk crates.  First person to fall off or let go of the rope loses.

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The face of defeat.

The face of defeat.

Round Four:  The Battleground – to win, remove the clothespin from the bottom of your opponent’s shirt.

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Round Five:  SummerSlam – each boy was given a single water balloon.  To win, be the first to successfully hit your opponent with it.

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A smile from the audience.

A smile from the audience.

Round Six:  The Main Event – each team had five minutes to come up with their own WWE performance.

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The results…

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Regardless of who won, I think they all had a pretty fun time.  This is my favorite picture from the entire evening.

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After all of the games, the boys ate hot dogs, Rydan opened gifts, and they ended the night with some cake and ice cream, and one last water balloon fight.

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The next morning, it was off to the hair salon for Lily’s first ever haircut.  She was very adamant about wanting to keep her hair long, so she only got her ends trimmed.  I love the look on her face in this first picture.  I kept reassuring her that she was fine and nothing was going to hurt, but no matter what I said, that’s the look she continued to give me.

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After a few minutes she did relax, but she kept a close watch on every move the hairdresser made.

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I think what got her through was the basket of Dum-Dum Lollipops she spotted when we walked in the door.  The only words she uttered the entire time were when we first arrived – “Mommy, can I have one of those when I done?”  And then when the haircut was over – “Mommy, can I have one of those pops now?”

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By lunch time, we were on our way to Independence, Kentucky for the Minion Showdown Taekwondo Tournament.  This is a tournament with just two Taekwondo schools, so it’s good practice for the upcoming national tournament in September.  As with all tournaments, students compete in forms and sparring.

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Rydan just recently learned his Probationary Black Belt form, which consists of 42 moves, so he was very excited about earning a Bronze Medal in something that he was still learning to perfect.

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For Rydan, the highlight of this tournament was being awarded his very first Gold Medal, which he received in sparring.

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And yesterday… we rested.



We Gave Back

Happy Monday, friends!  I posted a portion of today’s post on our Match For Ryan Facebook Page earlier this week, but thought I would share it on our blog as well for those of you who are not on Facebook.  For those of you who have already seen it, you’ll find some new information here too.

Thanks to so many of you, I had the best gift-giving experience ever this past week . Because of the generosity of all of you who participated in or made a donation to Share Your Spare 5K, we were able to raise money for Ryan’s medical costs AND for The National Kidney Foundation of Kentucky. This was a huge accomplishment, and we are simply thrilled that our fundraiser was so well-received and supported by our families, friends and those on social media.

As you all know, being able to give back and pay forward all of the kindness that we’ve received (and continue to receive) since learning about Ryan’s health problems, is extremely important to us.  Kindness is meant to be shared, and we certainly have received a lot of it over the past few months.

On Wednesday afternoon I had the true honor of presenting a $5,000 check to April Enix, Development Director at The National Kidney Foundation of Kentucky. This is a caring organization that has helped us learn about kidney disease, and in turn enabled us to educate all of you through our Match For Ryan Facebook Page. We have so much respect and appreciation for the work that the NKF dedicates every day to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for patients and their families, those at risk, and for healthcare professionals. Without them, we wouldn’t understand kidney disease as well as we do, and we certainly wouldn’t be able to educate all of you.

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Below is a message from April Enix at The National Kidney Foundation of Kentucky that they posted on their Facebook Page after receiving our donation.

“The National Kidney Foundation is so very thankful for the generosity of all those that supported the Share Your Spare 5K in Lexington last month. I had the pleasure of meeting with Bridgit Buffington yesterday and she presented us with a $5,000 check from the event. We are incredibly thankful for this donation and for the support of the Buffington family and everyone else that made the event possible and a huge success!”

Thank you, friends, for helping to make this donation possible. You were part of something really special, and together we have made a difference!  Thank you for helping us be able to give back.



Dance & Wash For The Cure

logoHegins, Pennsylvania! Pay attention to this post.

Please mark your calendar for August 2, 2014, and plan to get your car washed at Tri-Valley High School between the hours of 10am and 3pm.  Why?  Because you will be supporting a very special fundraiser called “Dance & Wash For The Cure.”  

Dance & Wash For The Cure is a Passionately Pink Fundraiser that supports Susan G. Komen, the global breast cancer movement.  It’s also a wonderful opportunity to show those whose lives have been affected by breast cancer that we care for them, and we support them.

When you arrive at TVHS on August 2nd, you’ll be greeted by an enthusiastic team of car washers, music, dancing, and fun, all in support of a very special and important cause.  Simply make a donation, and you’ll receive a car wash AND a complimentary pink bracelet, custom-designed by Dance Kandy.

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100 percent of the car wash proceeds will be donated to Susan G. Komen and their fight to end breast cancer.  If you are unable to attend on August 2nd but would still like to make a donation, please click here to be redirected to the fundraiser page connected to Dance & Wash For The Cure.

This event will be successful because of energetic, dedicated volunteers who are willing to wash cars, collect donations, grill hot dogs & hamburgers, wave signs near the road, and visit nearby locations to rally others to come to the car wash.  If you are able to donate a few hours of your time on August 2nd, please contact Travis Snyder at Travis@dancekandy.com.  As you might recall, Travis is the creator of our Match For Ryan bracelets and President of Dance Kandy, where he has committed to giving back to important causes like Susan G. Komen.

In addition to volunteers, Dance & Wash For The Cure is in need of supplies, including car washing items, promotional items, and food/beverage and entertainment.  Below you will find a complete list of volunteer and donation needs.  If you are able to volunteer your time or donate any of the items needed, please contact Travis Snyder at Travis@dancekandy.com.

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Please be sure to “Like” the Dance & Wash For The Cure Facebook page to stay informed of special announcements, needs, and information regarding event day.  Don’t forget to share the page with all of your friends too!

Hegins friends, I encourage you to participate in this event!  Whether you show up for a car wash, make an online donation, volunteer, or donate supplies, this is a great way for the community to come together to remember and celebrate those we have lost, those who have survived, and to provide hope and support to those who are struggling with this awful disease.



Taking A Break
07.07.14, 11:28 AM
Filed under: Misc.

Happy Monday!

My apologies for the delay in today’s post.  I had hoped to wake up this morning and have something worthwhile to write about, but honestly, today I’ve decided to take a break from blogging.  The past week has been a busy one for us.  Rydan was at Winshape Day Camp, which complicated his Taekwondo schedule and new Star Team classes (BUT, we got it done.  WHEW.)  Lily was busy with her hip hop/gymnastics class and her daily desire to be outside riding bike and swimming.  I’ve been busy trying to paint our dining room and work on birthday preparations for Rydan.  It doesn’t sound like all that much, but it was enough that I didn’t have the motivation or time to for a blog write-up.

So… sorry, friends.  There is nothing too exciting about today’s post.  Perhaps I will do another one later in the week to make up for this one.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!



Sometimes The Gift Is In The Giving

Every now and then on Sundays I think to myself “what am I going to blog about tomorrow?”  Yesterday was one of those Sundays. Less than an hour after that thought entered my mind, I received a Facebook notification that would end up answering my question.

Let me tell you about my friend Nicole Nelson.  Nicole lives in California, and I have never met her in person.  She was one of the first people to compassionately sign up as a potential living kidney donor for Ryan when we thought that was the route he was going to take.  Nicole and I share a mutual friend on Facebook, which is how she found out about Ryan’s needs.  In her initial email to me about her willingness to offer her kidney to Ryan, one of the things she wrote was:

“I am from Pennsylvania, but I really hope that he (Ryan) could live with the fact that his new kidney would be from a HUGE Cubs fan!”  

As you all kow, Ryan is a devoted Phillies fan.  At a time when the news of his transplant was still very new and very unsettling, Nicole’s comment brought a smile to Ryan’s face, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.

Little did I know the friendship that was about to build between us, and the way that we would end up influencing one another.  My connection with Nicole is one that stemmed from the genuine compassion inside of her heart that somehow found its way to us across 2500 miles.

About a week ago, I received a gift in the mail from Nicole.  Inside was a beautiful card with a handwritten note from her, as well as a hand-made t-shirt and a mini shovel.  In her journey towards better health, Nicole has joined a “Fitness Rebellion,” in which a shovel is used as a symbol that represents our ability to dig deep in difficult times and to stay hopeful and strong.  The custom shirt she gifted to me is one that her fellow “Rebels” proudly wear in the quest for better fitness, which begins with first strengthening your heart and soul.  I was honored that Nicole had shared these items with me as a reminder that using my strongest inner muscle, my heart, will help me to continue to “dig deeper” and stay hopeful throughout Ryan’s journey towards receiving his transplant.

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Yesterday morning as I sat on the couch with my coffee, staring at a blank blog post for today, Nicole posted a link on my Facebook page.  I am sharing that link with you all today so that you can see what can happen when we generously extend ourselves to others who are in need.  I hope you will feel as inspired and humbled as I was when I read her blog post.  Simply click below to be redirected to what she wrote.

Sometimes the gift is in the giving…



Match For Ryan Bracelets

Check it out!  We now have our very own custom-designed Match For Ryan bracelets for sale!  Click on the image below, which will redirect you to the story behind the bracelets and the opportunity to purchase one of your own.

We are encouraging all of our friends, family members and supporters to wear one of these bracelets until a match is found for Ryan.

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Custom-designed by my high school friend, Travis Snyder, and his friend Natasha Merback’s new business, Dance Kandy, these bracelets are a daily reminder to say a prayer for “A Match For Ryan” and a simple way to show your support for Ryan, organ donation, and for creating awareness for kidney disease.

$1 from each bracelet sold will be donated to The National Kidney Foundation.

As you all know, giving back is extremely important to us, which is one reason why I was so excited to partner with Travis on this project.  Dance Kandy was created with the intent of giving back, and they welcome personal stories like ours as an opportunity to create something special that supports the charity of our choice.  Travis has a big heart, a phenomenal zest for life, and radiates positivity every single day.  He took the time to learn about Ryan’s story and truly understands and relates to our “pay it forward” mentality.

Travis is already wearing his Match For Ryan bracelet and pledged to not take it off of his wrist until a match for Ryan is found.  I encourage all of you to do exactly what Travis is doing.  It’s another simple way for us to support Ryan, encourage organ donation, and create awareness for kidney disease, all while giving back to a cause close to our hearts.

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Bracelets are just $6 each + FREE SHIPPING, and are available in a variety of sizes.  I love the uniqueness of these bracelets, and I love that they are made in our home state of Pennsylvania by an old friend whose business is dedicated to giving back and helping others.  I never imagined that Travis and I would end up working on this project together, but it just goes to show how our individual life journeys can end up intertwining for a really great purpose.  I’m truly proud to know him, and I appreciate all of the hard work that he has put into these bracelets, as well as the time that he took to learn the story behind them.

To read more about why A Match For Ryan bracelets were created and to purchase one of your own, please visit the Dance Kandy Blog, where I talk more about Ryan’s story.  You’ll also find a heartfelt message from Travis Snyder, President of Dance Kandy.

If you have a cause that is close to your heart, and would like to create awareness for that cause and give back to a charity of your choice through designing your own bracelet, I encourage you to contact Travis Snyder and discuss your ideas with him.  He has such a strong passion for what he’s doing with Dance Kandy, and we had a lot of fun looking at different designs together for our bracelets.  I know he would love to hear from you, and that he would welcome the opportunity to help you help others.  Feel free to email Travis at info@dancekandy.com.

You can also click here for the direct link to purchase your Match For Ryan bracelets. As always, thank you for all of your support and love!



13.1 & Black?

It was a busy Saturday for us in Lexington.  I was up bright and early for the Bourbon Derby Half Marathon in Paris, Kentucky. This was the first year for this race, which offered three distances – half marathon, 10-miles and 4-miles.  Each course ran through at least one authentic Paris, KY horse farm.  I am always drawn to races that really represent Kentucky at its finest, so this was a no-brainer, especially when I found out that my good friends at 3 Way Racing were managing and timing the race.  If 3 Way was involved, I knew there was nothing to be concerned about, and that the race would be well-managed with lots of communication leading up to race day.

This was my third half marathon this year, and it was by far my favorite of the three.  We really lucked out with an absolutely beautiful day for a race, especially on a June day in Kentucky.  The sun was shining and the air was a cool 50 degrees.  It was absolutely perfect for a race.  When the horn signal went off, I now wonder how many runners knew the true beauty that was waiting for them on the course.  I know I sure didn’t.

What lied ahead were rolling, difficult hills at nearly every mile.  Personally, I felt it was the most challenging course I’ve ever run on, but it was also the prettiest.  I’ve never run alongside of so many horses.  Some of them hung their noses over the fence as runners went by.  Others ran alongside of the fence with you, while others galloped in large groups across wide, open green grass with their manes and tails dancing through the air.  It really took my breath away.

Approaching the Finish Line of this race was a bit of a shock to me.  As  I said, I found this course to be pretty challenging, and felt as though I really struggled at times.  This was also the first time that I decided to not receive my split time notifications, so I wasn’t aware of my pace at any point on the course.  This time, I just ran.  I didn’t try to maintain any particular pace.  Surprisingly, it worked to my advantage, even on a difficult course.  I finished with a time of 1:41:26, a new personal best by four minutes.

The Bourbon Derby

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Later that morning, Rydan tested for his probationary Black Belt.  As usual, the test consisted forms, sparring and two wood breaks.  At this level, a lot is expected of students beyond just knowing their forms and being able to break wood. They are expected to study their student manuals and DVD and be prepared to answer questions at their belt test.

From what we could tell as parents, Rydan seemed to do well.  He wasn’t asked to do his form a second time, which is always a good sign, and he broke both pieces of wood.  One thing is certain, though… these Taekwondo students work HARD.  The higher Rydan gets in belts, the more emotional it can be to watch a lot of these students.  Each one of them is on an individual journey.  Some struggle more than others, but seeing the way that they cheer each other on and celebrate every success while learning from the failures is a true testament to the character that they are building.

Official results will be announced at Tuesday’s awards ceremony, so stay tuned!

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