Thursday, October 2, 2014

Won't you NOT be my neighbor?

Remember this song by good old Mr. Rogers?

Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Of course you do. It's a classic. But if I'm being honest, I think that my neighbors many years ago when I lived in a college dorm where NOT singing this tune. I'm going to come out and say it: I was a bad dorm neighbor. 

Let me explain.

My roommate in college was a very good friend from high school. We got coordinating bedding and extra long sheets. We got cute decorations. We went shopping on move in day with our moms and it was the first time that we learned the word "Berber". Our moms raved over a very nice Berber area rug that they ended up buying us for our dorm room. We were all set. Sounds promising. Right?

But here's the deal. Since my friend and I already knew each other and we also had many, many close friends on campus (being that we went to college in the state that we grew up), we weren't exactly making an effort to meet new friends. I mean, we were friendly enough. But we weren't forced to put ourselves out there and meet a whole new group of friends. So we didn't. And we, well mainly I,  possibly alienated the others as well.

You may be wondering how I did that? Well, sometimes it was on when I drew penises on everyone's dry erase boards. Yep, that was me. Although I don't think they suspected me. I also wrote nice little messages like, "Stopped by to visit. Love, Steve." Although I didn't know a Steve and I'm not sure they did either. But "Steve" made many visits and left many, many notes for them.

But here's the all time best moment that most likely drove our neighbors to the brink of insanity. And it was actually an innocent mistake. It was a Friday and my friend and I were both heading home for the weekend. However, we forgot to turn the alarm clock off...and it was set for early in the morning since we both had 8 AM classes.

So picture this. Saturday morning the alarm clock goes off.  It must have been going off for close to an hour when the first message was left on our phone. It went something like, "Hey guys, can you turn off your alarm?" As the hours ticked by, the messages became more frequent...and extremely  vicious, if I might say. "Turn off your f*cking alarm!" "You suck!" "What the F*%&!!! Turn the alarm off! What is wrong with you?!"

As you can imagine, most people in our hall loathed us after the "Great Alarm Clock Incident of '97".

But honestly, I can't say that I'm sorry. I am proud of all of those penises I drew. And I am proud of my creativity when leaving short written messages on the doors of complete strangers. I am proud of "Steve".

Honestly, I hated dorm life. It hated me.

And so did my neighbors.

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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

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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 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 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 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