Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Camper

Maddy has been at one camp or another three of the four weeks this month.  In order of appearance, she's had a school-sponsored basketball camp for a week, a week off, then a week of softball camp, basketball camp at SIUE, a local college. this week, and she will finish up the month with three final days of school basketball camp. 

All her camps have been day camps.  Except for this week, all the camps have ended at noon.  Her camp this week runs from 9am to 4pm.  It's a long day but she's having a good time (so far, it's only Tuesday).  She said she's enjoyed them all, and I think her skill set has improved also. 

I didn't mean for her to be camped out for an entire month - they all just happened to fall that way.  She really enjoys playing softball and basketball, and she'll want to try out for the teams once she starts junior high in August (excuse me while I try to process that my baby is out of elementary school).  The more exposure she and her mad skillz have to the coaches of the teams the better she'll perform at her tryouts.  She's a kid who does well with a little bit of familiarity.

This week she was apprehensive about the SIUE camp.  It's held at the college, it has about 50 girls attending, and she wasn't going to know anyone there.  I told her at least she'd have something in common with the others - they all loved basketball, right?  I got the "yeah whatever, mom" look.  Ah, it starts - the end of my days as the smartest person she knows.

Sunday night she was planning her wardrobe.  I'm glad she's taking an interest in her appearance but I'm also thinking, it's basketball camp - shorts, t-shirt, socks, shoes - what's to plan?  She showed me her ensemble and I said "it's lovely.  Now go to bed, you have to get up at 7:30am." 

As we walked into the gym on Monday and crossed the floor, one of the coaches saw us, pointed at Maddy and said "ok, we're going to have a problem. . ."  Maddy's face turned ashen, I'm trying to think of what we could have possibly done in the 3.6 seconds we'd been there, and then the coach continued ". . . with your shirt."  I looked at Maddy and realized she was wearing her Saint Louis University t-shirt.  To a camp at Southern Illinois University -Edwardsville.  Epic. Parenting. Failure.  Luckily the coach laughed it off, and Maddy was immediately christened SLU Girl.  Hey, there are worse things to be called.  And she made an impression - no way she could hide in the crowd now.

I assured her that she would not be expelled from camp and promised to stop by the bookstore on my home and get her the proper collegiate apparel.  I even bought a shirt, just in case, and made a mental note to not wear my Texas Longhorns shirt.

Today Maddy wore her new SIUE shirt.  And she bought some SIUE shorts at the camp store also, just for good measure.  As she was paying, one of the other coaches came up to me and said that Maddy's wardrobe faux pas wasn't so bad - apparently a camper showed up in an SIU-Carbondale shirt today - SIUE's archrival.

Sartorial screw-ups aside, she's really enjoying these camps, and I'm so glad I'm able to be there to take her and pick her up and hear how her day went, what she learned, who she met, and how much fun she's having.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

We Put the FUN in Fundraiser!

The third annual Jessica and Kelli Uhl Memorial Fundraiser will be held on July 23, 2011, from 7pm to midnight at the KC Hall in Collinsville, Illinois.  A $20 donation gets you dinner, dancing, and access to silent auctions, raffles and other door prizes.  So far we've gotten donations of St. Louis Cardinal baseball tickets, autographed sports memorabilia, handmade quilts, wine baskets, overnight accomodations, and we hope to have more great prizes and services donated by local merchants. 

We are also selling raffle tickets for $5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20 for a chance to win a 40" HDTV.  Leave me a comment if you'd like to purchase tickets - you do not need to be present to win, and I'm happy to mail tickets to you if you aren't in my local area. 

This event gives friends and family of Jessica and Kelli a chance to come together to celebrate their lives.  It also gives us a forum to raise awareness about safe pursuit and response driving, and the dangers of distracted driving.  We also have a lot laughter through tears, which is the best emotion.

Past events have raised thousands of dollars which in turn have funded the Jessica Uhl scholarship at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and the Kelli Uhl Memorial Scholarship fund.  Jessica's scholarship has had two recipients, and Kelli's scholarship will be awarded to a graduate of the Class of 2012 from Collinsville High School, which would have been Kelli's graduating class. 

You can RSVP and purchase tickets online here.  If you'd like to donate items or services for our silent auction or raffle prizes, please either leave a comment or email me at kim @   If you cannot attend,  you can still make a tax-deductible donation by mailing a check to the Jessica and Kelli Uhl Memorial Foundation in care of Kim Schlau, 9 Harvest Point, Collinsville IL 62234.

Hope to see you on July 23!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Today is the 22nd anniversary of Jessica's birth.  Can I still call it her birthday if she's not here?  

You know what sucks?  Trying to buy a birthday card for a young woman who will never read it.  Trying to find a birthday card that says, "I love you, I miss you, I'm sorry that your life was cut so short when it had such possibilities, oh, and yeah, it's your birthday but you aren't here."  Hallmark could make a mint if they had that card line.  Hell, I could write it.

I was holding on by a thread today in the store, trying to buy a card that I could take to her grave tomorrow.  I have tried to look at the birthday cards days, weeks, even months before her actual birthday week just so I don't have to try to not have a meltdown.  It doesn't work.  I never can find what I want, and I keep thinking I'll keep looking and find the perfect card.  Well, it didn't happen this year. 

As I'm perusing Hallmark for other cards (a couple of weddings and Father's Day), I'm reading all these cards that say best wishes, hope your dreams come true, you have a bright future, etc.  Yeah, not exactly the sentiment I'm looking to convey today, thanks.  Finally, I find a card with a picture of a young girl wearing oversized sunglasses outlined in rhinestones, and on the inside it says "you're too extraordinary to have an ordinary birthday."  That's the closest I'll find to the sentiment I'm trying to express.  I take it, and head to the register, knowing I've got about 25.7 seconds before I go into meltdown mode.

I hand over the cards and ask for a happy birthday balloon.  "Oh, those are in the back of the store, you can go back there and pick one out."  Fan-frakin-tastic.  Do you not see I'm teetering on the edge of a full-on crying jag?  So, I head to the back, find a balloon, and pray that the helium is on supercharge because I'm not sure how long I can last.  As I'm distracting myself from sitting down on the floor and sobbing, I hear the overhead music start playing Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry.  I had to laugh - it's like she's just screwing with me sometimes, you know? 

Balloon in hand, I pay for everything, get to my car, and start it to cool down (it's 100 degrees here today, folks.)  I'm thinking of a song I can post for her birthday, and the radio starts playing Tupac's California Love.  I just have to laugh again, because we used to crank this song and just sing along - yeah, I know, we're white girls but dang it was fun. 

I manage to make it home with only a minor crying episode, and then when I got home I let it out.  Damn it, you'd think it would get easier but it just seems to get harder on certain days.  I can ignore it for a while but when it rears its ugly head it knocks me down so hard. 

As much I love Tupac, I think I'll share this song with you.  I have always loved this song, and now it reminds me of Jessica, in the line about being a bird and wishing you could fly fly fly.  When she was little she loved Forrest Gump and would do the Jenny line about "dear God please make me a bird so I can fly far far far from here."

Funny how you can look at song lyrics after something significant happens and think damn, that's exactly how I feel.  Especially the line about being a "troubled soul weighted to the ground - give me the strength to carry on until I can lay my burden down."

You've got your wings now, Jess - fly fly fly. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

I recently had the opportunity to write a sponsored post for Gatorade.  I had to participate in a conference call with Stephanie Hamm, then write a post about being the mom of a sporty kid.  I figured it was a good way to earn some money that I can put towards the upcoming fundraiser for Jessica and Kelli's scholarships (more on that this week!)
So, please click this link to read the sponsored post and leave a comment for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods!