by Mindi Artherton
I have been side-stepping it for awhile. My almost 5 year old, Briley, has mentioned on more than one occasion how much she would like to have an American Girl Doll. “Oh really,” I would say. Or, “yes, maybe one day,” and then try to change the subject quickly. I wasn’t sure I was ready to dive into that world just yet!
She had also put in a request or two to Mimi (I guess she decided she would try a different route since she wasn’t getting anywhere with me!). After telling Mimi how much she would love to have her very own doll, my “pack-rat” mom spent days digging in the attic, searching closets and cleaning out storage containers looking for my doll, Molly. Well, for some odd reason Molly seems to be the one item Mimi didn’t save from my childhood. I am sure she will show up one day!
Fast forward to August. We begin making plans to attend a fall wedding in Chicago and, well, you know what else is in Chicago. The American Girl Doll store. I decided I would bite the bullet and take my little one to pick out an early birthday present. It was a lot of fun, but I also learned a couple of things from this trip.
3. Get the catalogue. Briley’s only experience with American Girl collection was that she knew I had one as a little girl (she is completely smitten with all things I had as a little girl. Kind of cute really.) and she has played with a couple of her friend’s dolls. I ordered a complimentary catalogue a month before we went and she studied it cover to cover. Before we arrived, she had already decided she wanted the Truly Me doll, number 59 (or five nine as Briley put it). We had her look at other options, but there was no changing her mind. Doll five nine was going home with us and her name was Bailey Lynn Artherton. This saved a ton of headache and hassle.
2. Complimentary personal shopper. I had read about this online and wasn’t sure I wanted somebody following me around the store trying to sell me a bunch of stuff, but decided we would give it a try. It was actually the opposite! Our personal shopper Diane, was very helpful and was absolutely great with Briley. She walked us through the entire process and helped B make those tough choices because momma couldn’t afford to buy the entire store! The store is very large and may seem a little overwhelming, but Diane made the shopping experience easy and enjoyable for all of us! If you are a rookie at this too, take advantage of this free service, but you will need to make reservations first.
1. Communicate clearly with your little one about what they can expect to purchase. I had a friend give me this piece of advice and she was spot on. There is a lot to chose from and it can be hard to make a decision. I didn’t want her to leave disappointed or upset with her purchase and I didn’t want to leave frustrated with her. I was clear that she could pick a doll, a set of pj’s and could get another outfit or get the doll’s ears pierced. While it was fun to shop from the large selection of those items, I wanted her to understand from the beginning she would be receiving x, y and z. Of course she was able to talk Mimi into an additional outfit and a matching pair of slippers, but I guess that is part of the fun of being Mimi!
We had a great time and it seemed very age appropriate. When discussing the trip on the way back to the hotel that night B chimed in. The number one tip when visiting the American Girl Doll store according my 4-year? “Bring your Mimi because she will buy you more stuff!”
“When I heard the news, I was devastated. My heart sank. I immediately thought of my family. I have to fight this for my family.”
Tammy will never forget the moment her doctor informed her that she had stage two breast cancer and would need to undergo a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
“Breast cancer does not run in my family. I am physically fit for the most part, I see both my OB and our family doctor on a regular basis and I have completed yearly mammograms since I turned 40,” Tammy said. “I thought I was healthy. I am very thankful I went in for my yearly mammogram. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had any idea what was going on inside of my body.”
During her yearly mammogram screening, the experts at Mercy Breast Center-Springfield found a spot. One spot that completely changed Tammy’s life.
“Although I was terrified, I knew I had to decide. I had to decide not to give into my fear and to focus on my faith in Christ. Decide to move forward with a positive attitude and not get caught up on my treatment or the stage of cancer I had. I had to decide to fight the disease for my family.”
Tammy’s Mercy team of experts quickly identified the problem and developed a treatment plan that would work best for her type of cancer. General Surgeon Dr. Edwards, Oncologist Dr. Hoos, and Radiation Oncologist Dr. Creach led her treatment team and walked her through the entire process.
“Mercy was incredible and provided excellent care, but I have to say, some of my favorite memories of this journey was visiting with other breast cancer fighters in the waiting room,” said Tammy. “I met some of the most amazingly strong women that will forever have an impact on my life.”
Tammy completed her last treatment one year ago this past June. She is cancer free and feels like she’s a stronger, more grateful, person because of this experience. She says she’s learned several valuable lessons after her battle with cancer:
- God is in control, not me. Tammy says she was without a doubt scared, but once she came to the quick realization that God was in complete control, she felt a “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
- People are good. Tammy was shown an outpouring of love from friends, family and complete strangers. One particular incident that still stand out in her mind occurred when she went to Cheddar’s to grab lunch with her husband after completing one of her treatments. Their waitress, Angie, took the time to write an encouraging note on the back of their receipt. Tammy cherishes the note to this day.
- Double check your priorities. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day life, especially for busy moms. After beating cancer, she says her priorities have realigned–more time focused on growing her relationship with Christ and more time with family and friends.
- Attitude is everything. We all have a choice in how we react to certain situations. We must chose to cling to our faith, fight and try our hardest to keep a positive attitude.
“When I was going through treatment, I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I wanted them to treat me exactly the same as they have always treated me,” said Tammy. “Now that I have experienced breast cancer, I have an overwhelming desire to help other women that are going through it. I just want women to know they can get through it.”
Tammy lives in Springfield with her husband, Dan, of 26 years. She owns and operates All Star Gymnastics and Cheer in Nixa. Her daughter Abby is 24 years old and teachers first grade in Clinton. Hannah is 19 and plays volleyball at College of the Ozarks.
by Kelli Artherton
I hope you didn’t put away your summer clothes just yet. I know we are in full swing of fall fashion, but many of your summer shirts and dresses will look beautiful under a blazer. Here is our list of do’s and dont’s on how to wear your blazer this fall.
Don’t: get a blazer that is to tight. You need to be able to move. How do I know if it is too tight? Can you hug yourself and still feel comfy? If the answer is yes, than it’s perfect for you!
Do: pair your blazer with your summer tops, jeans and heels for a more dressed-up/date night look.
Don’t: forget to invest in several different colors. Black is a must. However, I also would get a tan or beige, gray, blue and even a white! I also like to have glitter elbow patches or maybe lace sleeves, just a little something to jazz it up!
Don’t: Forget to accessorize your blazer with scarfs and jewelry.
Some of our favorite places to stock up on blazers are Target, Old Navy, Express, Forever 21, and Dillard’s! You may also try some of your local boutiques in your hometown!
Now get out there and have a “blazing” good time this fall.
Whew! Us mommas need a break every now and then! How does a relaxation package sound? We are excited to announce that our sponsors at VIP Medical are giving away a relaxation package valued at $100! One lucky SWMO mom will receive the Fall Spa Special at no charge. The winner will get to chose 1 service from each category (listed below).
You will feel right at home with Crystal Davis, VIP’s very talented esthetician! VIP Esthetics is housed in VIP Medical. To learn more about VIP Esthetics, and other services they have available click here.
In addition to providing amazing esthetics options, Dr. Holt and his knowledgeable staff are also primary health care providers for overall wellness. They also provide esthetic injections (click here to see before and after photos) and medically supervised weight loss plans. Contact the office by clicking here or give them a call at 417.485.4847. VIP is located at 1501 W. State Highway J, Ozark.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: Simply send an email to your friends and family about this giveaway and be sure to put giveaways@SouthwestMissouriMoms.com on the CC line of your note. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell.
MORE BONUS ENTRIES: Post an update on Facebook about this giveaway (feel free to use one of these photos, too) and let us know that you shared it with your Facebook friends. If you’re a Twitter fan, tweet this news as well for extra chances to win. (Tell us in your posted comment or email if you shared it on Facebook or Twitter or both.)
Please note that winners are always chosen at random using a random number generator so anyone can win.
Good luck! Keep an eye on your inbox because we’ll send the winner an email with the great news on Friday, October 30th!