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Hello Friend! I hope that you’ve gotten to enjoy quality time with the ones you love over this holiday season. Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day for me and Ellie.  She was so happy to see what Santa brought her, but deep down there was a not so hidden sadness in her demeanor.  We stayed with my parents Christmas eve and then on the drive back to our new house on Christmas day Ellie said to me, “ Mommy I miss my daddy up there (she pointed to the sky).”  I told her that I missed him too and that it was ok to miss him. I explained to her how good it was to share our feelings when we miss him. I asked her what she would say to daddy if he were here today and she said, “Come home daddy and play with me.”  She gets me every time. Her sadness just breaks my heart and as a mother I want to make it go away, but I know that I can’t bring him back to her.  All in all though it was a great day. She looked like a recipient of Oprah’s favorite things (like when they get the car) when she saw the trampoline in her backyard.  It was so fun to watch, then the reality set in that she’s not going to want to jump alone and so it happened I’m adding a new calorie burner to my exercise routine, trampoline!

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I recently got back from Premier Fitness Camp in California. I went with my mom and my sister-in-law.  It was a gift from my mom last Christmas, but with Andrew being so sick we were just now taking the trip.  Honestly it was an amazing experience.  I’ve always enjoyed physical fitness, but over the years I haven’t made it a priority.  I was hoping this trip would reconnect me with my love for fitness and health.  It did! We met inspiring people who were at the camp for their own personal reasons and some would stay week after week for months to reach their goals. I was amazed at their dedication to improve their health for both themselves and for their family.  I was deeply touched by each individual person there.  We were given 6 small healthy meals a day. We did things that I wouldn’t normally do for fitness like play tennis, take hikes by the ocean (where I saw whales for the first time) and indoor rock climbing. We also had several intense cardio and interval training sessions during the day.  One of my favorite things that we did was take a trip to Whole Foods where the nutritionist taught us what ingredients to steer clear of and how to prepare healthy meals for our family.  At the end of the trip the trainers gave each of us awards and mine was “Back to You Bailey.” When they asked at the beginning of the week why each one of us was here I told them that after taking care of my husband I wanted to reconnect with my own health for both me and for Ellie. The name of the award resonated with me and I’m thinking it may be the title of my first book!

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Jan. 1 I am headed to Florida to speak at the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) National competition.  I went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic with FCC when I was a senior in high school and then I staffed for the company after graduating from high school.  They heard about my family’s story and the CEO called me to ask if I would come to Florida and accept “The Courage Award” this year and share my family’s story. I emphatically replied Yes!

Immediately following Florida Ellie and I are headed on a family cruise to celebrate Andrew’s life with his parents, my parents, Andrew’s sister and her family. We hope to spread some of his ashes somewhere beautiful (if that’s allowed)! I’m hoping for quality time and creating special memories together.

Ellie and I felt so loved this Christmas. Thank you for all the cards, gifts and personal notes showing that you care.  You all have reminded me there is so much good in this world and so much love to give. Thank you for inspiring me to love others better! I Love YOU!