Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mini BUT Mighty Heroes

In May of 1998, a young boy named Jacob was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue and usually occurs in infants and children. INFANTS and CHILDREN. Yes, children get cancer. And September is Childhood  Cancer Awareness Month. 

Here are some statistics. Each year, over 175,00 children are diagnosed with cancer. It is the LEADING cause of death in children. Yet, only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institutes's budget is allotted for pediatric cancer research. Only 4 percent.

So let me tell you a little about Jacob. He was treated by the neuroblastoma team of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Many, many people prayed for and supported Jacob and his family during which was an extremely difficult time.

And guess what? Jacob has been in remission for over 14 years!!! How amazing is that?!

My challenge to you is to share this story or ANY story about a child battling pediatric cancer. Raise awareness. Raising awareness helps raise funds for research. Research helps develop LIFE SAVING treatment for these mini but mighty heroes.

Some places you can donate include:

Alex's Lemonade Stand
St. Baldrick's
Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation
Children's Cancer Research Fund

For this post, I joined the Mighty Fight and teamed up with Auntie Anne's ! They donated $50 in my name to Alex's Lemonade Stand at https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/themightyfight

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Snazzy Back to School Tips OR How the Slacker Moms (me) Do It

I was making my daughter's lunch the other day and I used a flower cookie cutter to cut her peanut butter and jelly sandwich into cute little shapes, hoping this would make her complain less about her boring sandwich. And it really works. I basically did this all last year and she loved it. In the fall she had pumpkin shaped sandwiches, in the winter it was Christmas trees or hearts, and then flowers in the spring.

I started to think that I was hot shit, going all Martha Stewart on her. But as it always does, Pinterest proved to me that I am still an absolute failure. I simply look on there and my confidence is shattered. Not only could I NOT do half the crap I see, I wouldn't even want to. I mean, who has that kind of time?

I've compiled a list of all the snazzy back to school tips I've seen vs. the alternative that might be more your speed if you are a slacker mom.

Snazzy Back to School Tip
Alternative for Slacker Mom
Using cookie cutters, turn your child’s sandwich into a magical fall scene. (I actually do this one. And it’s magical, dammit.)
Throw in a PB&J Uncrustable and call it a day.
Cut carrots and celery into creative animal shapes. Using an edible adhesive (cream cheese, peanut butter), use raisins to create eyes, a nose, and mouth.
Buy baby carrots at the grocery store. Place them in a plastic container with a picture of an animal on it.
Carve strawberries and melon into geometric shapes. Your child can learn while they enjoy a healthy snack.
Throw an apple into their lunch box. It’s a circle.
Using rainbow yarn, stitch your child’s initials into all school clothing and gear.
Label stuff with a sharpie. Lose it by week 2 of school.
Make a reading practice chart and initial it every night. Your child can earn weekly rewards for reading the designated time each night.
Assume your child is reading while they are in their room completely unsupervised.
Create bins in your fridge for sandwiches and snacks and teach your child how to make their own lunch each day. They can take one thing from each bin to pack a well-balanced meal for school.
Forget to make lunch and give your child lunch money in the morning.
Paint the inside of your child’s lunch box with chalkboard paint to write cute notes each day.
Use a piece of junk mail to write a note. Teach your child about recycling.
Print back to school pillow boxes to fill with candy as a sweet treat in your child’s lunch.
NO candy at lunch. This is coming from a teacher. Thanks.

 So...what do you think? Any helpful "tips" you would add? Please share!
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Want to Borrow a Newborn

REPOST from May 2013:

I think I want to borrow a newborn for the day. I'm not going to go all crazy and like, keep it or anything.  Because those things grow up super fast and the next thing you know they are throwing themselves on the floor of Target because they want a $34.99 Lalaloopsy doll (and also spilling their Icee all over the toy aisle). So, I promise I'll give it back. TRUST ME.

But I need a fresh newborn...preferably under 1 month old.

Why? Why would I want this?

Well, I think most people decide they want another baby because they truly want more children. But every now and then people who are done, people who can't handle much more on their plate, have these small pangs of "I want a newborn again". They want a NEWBORN. Not a child. Just a newborn. 

That's me. I don't want to do the whole thing again. I can't handle another mouth to feed or another mouth that whines.

I just want it for a day.

Here's why:

1.  So I can sit and hold it, and smell it, and kiss it, and squeeze it's little legs all day...and that is all I will be expected to do.

2.  I will be able to do #1 ALL day because people will offer to take my other kids. That's right. Offer to do it...like volunteer. 

3.  People will bring me meals. Just one day with a newborn will score me casseroles for a week.

4.  People will also bring me treats...like fresh baked cakes and homemade cookies.

5.  I will be able to eat all of it too because of course I will need to keep my energy up for the baby. If I even mention starting that post-baby diet, people will say, "You are CRAZY. You have a newborn...Eat up!"

6.  Being a hot mess will be acceptable. The house is a mess, bills are unpaid, and the kids clothes are all dirty. OF COURSE they are. I have a newborn.

7.  People will volunteer to watch my other children. I know I said that in #2.  But it deserves to be repeated.

8.  Someone might offer to take some of this laundry off of my hands. I only have 87 loads to do. (And I am NOT exaggerating.) But who has time to do all that laundry with a newborn? Not me.

9.  Everyone will want to how I feel. Have you ever noticed that when you are pregnant or when you have just had a baby, everyone wants to know how your are feeling and doing? Then a few weeks after giving birth, it ends. Just like that. 

10.  People will volunteer to watch my other children. (I couldn't think of a 10th reason and I really think this could be a top reason for wanting a newborn for the day anyway.)

So if you have a newborn that fits my requirements:

  • under 6 weeks of age
  • not too fussy
  • enjoys getting their legs and double chins pinched
  • still has that newborn smell
I would be happy to take the baby off of your hands for the day.  You can retrieve your newborn around 8 pm, right after my kids have been returned all bathed and ready for bed and after I have polished off a delicious casserole and washed down my Percocet with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

I look forward to hearing from you.
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dear Students

Dear Students,

It's that time of year again! Everywhere across the country, schools are opening their doors for the start of another school year. It's a new year and a fresh start. And there are some things I think you should know...

First, your teachers are just as nervous and anxious as you are. There is a lot on our shoulders and we don't want to let you down. Your education has been put in our care for a whole year. A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. That's some pressure right there. But it's also an honor. We have been trusted to not only educate you, but to care for you and keep you safe as well.

And we will keep you safe. We care. Please know that. If you think no one cares, we do. If you think no one wants to see you succeed, we want nothing more than that. If you think no one understands you, we will try. If you think you can't do it, we think you can. If you think you aren't special, we think you are.

We are in your corner. We have your back and are rooting for  you, not against you. Please remember that, even when we give homework.

Some of your teachers have been preparing for your arrival since the day school ended last year. They have spent summer hours planning lessons or trying to think of ways to improve...how to do it better. Because we want to be better for you.

Your teachers have stayed late, lovingly hanging up decorations and posters and making your classroom a place that you will enjoy coming to each and every morning.

Although everyone seems to forget from time to time, with all of the new initiatives and testing and data analysis, it's all about YOU. We are here for you and because of you. And we will try our best every single day.

So we would love if you did the same. We aren't expecting perfection. We just want you to try your best. And keep trying again, every day until you leave us at the end of the year to continue on your journey. By your journey's end, we will have been just a small stepping stone along the way. But we won't forget you. Trust me, teachers don't forget. You will always have a little place in our heart.

When it's all said and done, we hope we have taught you well. And chances are, you will have taught us just as much.

A Teacher

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Along came these 3 little girls.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a young woman who wore a size 6 and had no stretch marks. Her house was clean and free from clutter and filled with peace and quiet and nice things from Pottery Barn. There wasn't even any crayon drawings on the walls. She slept as late as she wanted. She didn't drive a minivan. Her bank account had a few more zeros on the balance and she could go to the mall and buy whatever her little heart desired. She thought she had it all.

Then along came these 3 little girls. One by one. Each a few years apart. They showed up and they never left.

Now the house is always messy and noisy...and sometimes smelly. There is never enough time for cleaning...or when there is, what is done becomes undone in mere minutes. These girls, they fight like cats and dogs. Nothing is ever "fair".

There are still trips to the mall, but to stores with sizes no larger than a child size 14. These girls get new clothes with each passing season while the now mid-30ish year woman with many stretch marks wears the same clothes with each passing year. 

There are no more impromptu nights out with friends, twice weekly dinners with the husband, or sleeping the whole day away. No time is her own, since these little girls came along. Not even in the bathroom or shower. Her space is their space and they seem to know no boundaries.

These three little girls have demands that must be met. They need ridiculous things like baths and dinner every night.

They want the banana cut up...no, now they want it whole. Leave the peel on so they can eat it like a monkey. Take the peel off. DON'T take the peel off. These demands are constant. If not met, feet stomping and whining will ensue. She tries to ignore it...but they follow her. In a stand-off, she leaves the banana on the table and says to take it or leave it. Turns out 3 year old will take it and the woman quietly rejoices because she called her bluff. It's the little victories...

It seems like it will never end. Most days the woman just wants to make it to bedtime. She wants to have some peace and quiet...for about 5 minutes until she falls asleep herself from sheer exhaustion.

But the woman leaves for work each morning and longs for more time with these three girls. Although it can be draining and hard, she knows time is flying. She knows that the days of peace and quiet will come again. People constantly tell her this...so it must be true.

And she also now knows that no mall could ever give her what her heart desires...because since these 3 little girls came along, she already has it all.

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