Friday, April 29, 2011

Asthma Education Grants to Protect Our Kids

When I am not parenting and playing with Sarah, I spend much of my time working in a career educating the public through the media about various types of illnesses, conditions and diseases.

The goal of my work is to help guide people to learn more about specific ailments they or a loved one may be afflicted with and to direct them to information and support to make informed health decisions including encouraging them to work closely with their health care providers.

On occasion, there are topics that I am promoting that really hit home for me, especially when the project is regarding children. It's these times especially that I feel it is necessary to share them with you here at Mommy's Point of View.

Therefore, I would like to tell you about an education program about asthma, specifically as it relates to children, just recently announced. And, while I have been told that Sarah may have asthma, which we really won't know for sure until she gets a bit older, I feel it is important to share this with you should you have a child or children that are K-12 and want to get involved.

Nothing is scarier as a parent then to hear our children wheeze or struggle for a breath. It's even harder to send our children off to school not knowing for sure if the right tools and resources are available and proper education conveyed should my child or another experience asthma symptoms or an attack that can be managed when we are not present.

My client Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has teamed up with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and grand slam tennis champion and mom Mary Joe Fernandez who lives with asthma and cares for her young son who has the condition as well.

This education campaign called Everyone Breathe (, which first launched in 2010, now for the first time includes a grants program designed to help improve the quality of asthma care and education in schools across the nation. Parents or guardians of children with asthma are encouraged to submit an application and nominate their child and their child’s school for one of 10 grand prizes. Ten winning applications will be selected: the 10 students in the winning applications will receive $2,500 savings bonds and the 10 schools in the winning applications will receive $5,000 grants to conduct education and implement asthma-friendly tools and resources to better the school environment.

Mary Joe Fernandez battled symptoms of asthma for years, and now as a mom of a young child with the same condition she says, "I can't emphasize enough the importance of quality asthma care both at home and in school.” Further, she conveys "parents of children with asthma [need] to take a proactive role in helping them lead healthy and symptom-free lives and one way to do this is to help make their environments more asthma-friendly."

As parents, and guardians, of our children, here is an opportunity to take a stand in being able to help improve the environment in which they spend much of their day - school. While my tot is only three and; therefore, we are not eligible to sign up for this opportunity to help improve her school's environment, here is your chance for those of you with children K-12 with asthma to make a difference.

By going to you can nominate your child with asthma and their school for the Everyone Breathe Asthma Education savings bond and grant. The goal is for you to submit a nomination including your proposal on what asthma care and education needs to be done within your child's school environment. It's a good idea to engage with your child's school administrator or parent/teacher organizations to discuss further with them to learn more about what is specifically needed in your child's school setting.

Teachers, school administrators, and anyone else who is involved with schools are encouraged to notify parents of children with asthma about the opportunity and to work with them to submit an application.

How cool is this?

Here is your chance to make a direct impact on your child's school environment and to help further protect them, and their classmates, who live with this life-threatening condition asthma.

An additional 50 applications will also be selected as second-place winners and those nominated schools will receive asthma nebulizer kits.

As we all know as parents, schools are often struggling due to budget cuts to provide the best tools and resources for our children. Here's a chance to help make a difference in the life of your child and that of his or her classmates and school by taking part in this unique contest.

As far as timing for application submissions for the Everyone Breathe contest, forms are available on the website starting now through July 29, 2011. Winners will be announced in September 2011.

When you have completed your application check out the website even further as there are a great number of valuable resources including questions to ask you doctor, a diary to document asthma triggers your child experiences, a caregiver check list, and action plan to complete with your doctor.

Especially as a mom of a young child, you can be sure I will be reviewing this information and talking further with my daughter's doctor so we are fully away and alert to her triggers should asthma be her confirmed diagnosis.

Good luck to you and thank you for allowing me to share this important news and opportunity to help protect children with asthma.

Here is your chance to take action against asthma.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Haiku for You

I wanted to take this time to wish you, those who celebrate the Easter holiday, a great day today.

Here are some special Easter haiku for you today while you spend time with friends and family.

Happy Easter day
Colored eggs and bunny time
Laughing and playing

This Easter Spring day
Time with friends and family
Lots of eats and treats

On this Easter day
Wishing you a lot of fun
Finding hiding eggs

Have a great holiday.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting my Groove On with Ricky Martin

This past week my sister and I experienced a much-needed mommy night off to laugh, be grown-ups, sing loud, scream in joy, dance our tails off and be out late with no parenting duties or little ones in need of our attention.

While this mommy night off was a bit more costly than the usual night out (something we justified as birthday presents to each other) including a two-hour long drive to and from the venue, spending much to park the car (thankfully with an online coupon to ease this a bit), we sang, we shouted, we danced Add Image-- the experience itself was priceless.

My sister and I went to see Ricky Martin live in concert as part of his world tour for his new album Musica Almo Sexo. This was his first tour in over three years, and since he became a dad to his twins Valentino and Matteo, and since announcing to the world (something many of us already knew) that he is gay.

So, not only was this concert an awesome experience for us it was likely more explosive than anything he has every done personally since he is now free to be open about his sexuality and is a loving parent to his toddlers, an experience he did not have on his previous tours. What can I say, he's that much more sexy. I know, I know, he's gay. Hey, all I really want is to just dance with him.

I was also very fortunate to ready his first book entitled, ME, before seeing this concent which made me feel even more connected to him as a parent, humanitarian and human being.

As a mommy who feels often like I burn the wick at both ends, a night out like this is so important and imperative to all parents regardless of how many children you have, even if just one. It's so easy to make excuses that we can't make the time to go out or that our children need us to stay home. The truth is that while our children do indeed want us they also need us to be happy, fulfilled, patient and satisfied to be good role models to them.

While this particular experience of a concert is a lot more costly than going to a movie or out to dinner I am not suggesting we need to spend this kind of money to have a good time. However, I saw this opportunity as something more than a night out but instead an experience to feel for quite a while, talk about endlessly (which I have done to date) and to smile about for a very long time. This experience caused me to play Ricky's music more often for Sarah to listen and dance to and for her to become a fan as well. She now even requests that I play his music often, which warms my heart.

As parents, some of us (including myself) often make many excuses (sometimes for good reasons including money -- this is legitimate) not to do stuff for ourselves because we want to spend time with our kids or we want to spend the money and time on our children. However, it's really important that we take time for ourselves even if it's just a walk or stroll around the block, time to read in private, to hang out with friends sans kids or to make a splurge like a concert to find our center again as a person, and not just as a parent.

Thinking back, ever since I was a little girl I have been dancing. (Thanks mom) My sister and I practiced and participated in dance recitals for years, school performances and collegiate dance events that fostered our dancing skills even further. After college, she and I went on vacation to the Dominican Republic and were able to hone these skills even further from masters of the craft. Despite inclement weather that left beach time limited, we instead spend much of our time experiencing the night life with more hours that expected dancing, dancing, dancing. We learned salsa and finessed our existing skills with merengue. We had such an amazing time.

For those who know me really well know that my dream in life (well before I had a husband and child) was to be one of Ricky's back-up dancers. Go ahead and laugh. I will say this, after seeing his concert, which was indeed great, I think I still have a chance. (Ha ha ha) While the male dancers were really good I was not at all impressed by the female dancers. There's hope after all. Go ahead laugh. We all have dreams. This just happens to be one of mine.

This particular concert was even more intense for me, and my sister as well, since not only have I not seen Ricky sing live outside of television performances, it was my first time seeing him in person after years of loving, living and dancing to his music.

Therefore, I highly encourage all of us, parents or not, to get our groove on, whatever it is that makes us get back to center, and have a blast. And, for those of us who are parents, this is that much more important for us to be the best we can be as parents because in order to take care of them we need to take care of ourselves.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Passover

To all my readers who celebrate the Jewish holiday Passover, I want to take this time to wish you and yours a Happy Pesach.

While this blog post comes a few days late from the start of the holiday, which began earlier this week, I figured better late than never. And, since this holiday is a celebration for eight days I was still within the time frame to share this special message with you.

Remembering back to my childhood my parents did all the work to create the holidays and memories of this important time in Jewish history. They educated us on the rituals, special foods and symbols to signify the holiday to help us best understand and appreciate what our ancestors suffered and risked to help achieve the freedom we now have today.

It's been interesting experiencing the holidays as a parent especially of a young child. The first couple of years of Sarah's life she was too young to understand the rituals and rights of passage. It was only last year that she just about understood what it meant to find the Afikomen (the broken Matzo that gets hidden for children to find -- like a scavenger hunt). But, for a 3-year-old, that's about it.

So as not to turn this blog post into a history lesson, I will steer in a different direction.

Being a parent the torch has been passed on to my husband and I to help educate and raise Sarah to our best ability to help her understand Jewish history and importance of what has transpired over time, as well as what was sacrificed to get us here today.

As a Jewish person, I love and appreciate my religion, but admit that I am not as well practiced as I would like to be. I won't go through the hundred and one not so great excuses to explain why. However, as a parent I now have a responsibility to provide Sarah the best education I can, with the support of friends and family, to help guide her on the path to better understanding of Jewish history so that she can make informed decisions about what she believes in and to help her to find her spiritual connection.

So, while Sarah is young now, I have been enjoying trying to find ways in a more simplified fashion, such as books explaining the holiday to children and bringing in fun components such as coloring pages of Passover Seders and Matzo, to begin the teachings. In some respects, I am getting the education as well and appreciate experiencing it through Sarah's eyes.

I look forward to the years that lie ahead where Sarah can learn and grow and understand Jewish history as we teach it to her and expose her to in numerous fashions.

Enjoy the journey of education and learning with your children as it is our responsibility as parents to help guide them on a path to religious and spiritual understanding and to give them a sense of belonging. With the tools of learning we help provide and expose our children to only then can they decide what to believe in and gain greater understanding of the higher power beyond us.

Happy Passover to you and yours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not All About Winning

About a week ago Daniel, Sarah and I were playing one of her favorite board games.

We typically spend a little time playing the game as Sarah's interest and attention span are short to play it in its entirety. I suspect this is typical behavior for a three-year old. However, when playing last week, something different happened that raised my brows in concern.

Daniel just so happened to be in the lead while we were playing and Sarah decided that she was done at that moment of realization that she might not win. It appeared that she only wanted to play to win.

Now, a step back to childhood, and likely something you heard from your parents too while growing up.

"It's not about winning, but how you play the game."

I heard that phrase much as a kid growing up not just from my parents but from the adults around me guiding, coaching, and teaching me.

We all want to be good at the things we do, and sometimes even be great. There is nothing wrong with wanting to excel at something. However, we can't be great at something without practice. Therefore, wise words from Dale Carnegie, "Practice Makes Permanent."

Thinking back to when I was learning the clarinet early on in High School, so badly I wanted to be really good at it. It turns out that the reason I didn't excel well at it was that I wasn't as passionate about it as I hoped I was and; therefore, did not dedicate the needed time to practice to be good, or even great. Separately, after years of lessons from early childhood dancing tap, ballet, jazz and point, it was in High School that I found my true passion for the craft. I realized that I didn't need to be the best as a dancer, or to be really good at all dance styles, but instead to work hard, love what I was doing, and try as best as I could to advance at this creative outlet. It was then that I found a place of solace, passion, joy and enthusiasm to learn, grow and excel.

Now, back to the matter at hand. In the moment Sarah said she didn't want to play anymore because she only wanted to win I was rather disappointed and tried explaining to her the many lessons, and beliefs, I learned over the years.

Even trying to explain to Sarah how much fun Daniel and I were having without focusing on winning she would not hear of it.

It turns out that Daniel did not win game, as one card set him back on the game board. One card made all the difference. I was even surprised to win the game, after Sarah backed out.

We tried hard to communicate that the process of playing is what's the most fun part.

While this information likely fell on deaf ears with Sarah then I was pleasantly surprised today to hear her say, as they were playing the very same game she boycotted a short time ago that, "It's not just about winning."

Hearing this from Sarah today made me smile. While there will be many more lessons along the way to help encourage and inspire her and to motivate her to find what she enjoys, even if winning is not the result, I look forward to the journey that lies ahead.

Don't get me wrong, I want Sarah to feel the encouragement and support to try hard and to win. However, the goal to just win sometimes takes away the fun of having a good time. So, while we fully intend to teach Sarah as best as we are able to, guide her to grow and excel and desire to want great things for herself, the goal is not to win but to be happy with the process and know that sometimes winning is not everything. And, working hard to achieve what's important to us and doing it with passion and fun is really the best part.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Craving the Weekend

When I came home from work yesterday, after a really busy week, all I wanted was the weekend. I craved for it.

Even though Sarah gets up early in the morning during the weekends, like she does during the week, at least I knew I wouldn't have to jump out of bed, get ready for work in a hurry, get Sarah dressed and off to school right away, or beat the clock to get to the train station when all morning activities were completed.

It should come as no surprise then that Sarah decided to rise much earlier than planned this morning. Such is my life. However, I didn't have to push the button on the alarm clock and tried my best to climb back under the covers to grab more zzzzz's while Sarah played in her room. Sometimes Sarah likes to look at photos on my iPod Touch next to my bedside, which I graciously let her do as that gives me a few more minutes of much-needed rest too.

Just knowing that I didn't have to be somewhere this morning, even though grocery shopping was a MUST activity for today, I was able to take my time, get a groove going and settle into the morning.

What's even greater about weekends, even though spending time with friends and family is great fun, is having no agenda at all. Letting the day happen as it will is a beautiful thing.

It's fun, and relaxing listening to Sarah put pretend make-up on Daniel in the other room while I take a few moments to collect my thoughts, stare out the window at the birds playing and grass and trees blowing, experiencing the calm of it all. This makes for weekends a great time indeed and something I crave for often.

While weekends for me, and us as a family, are often busy, it's these days where chores that have piled up can get done, or started at least, where time to hang out, play, and not think too hard about it are a must.

Hope you are having a great weekend too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Apologies for Not Blogging This Week

With being completely tired, exhausted and sometimes mentally drained from the day, and in this case a full week since my last blog post, it's been tough for me to sit down at my computer to fully post a blog that I feel is worth sharing.

Let's just say it's been a caffeine fueled week with early bedtimes for this full-time working mommy.

For me, I really need to be compassionate about something and fully committed to a topic to write about it with gusto. And, I hope you experience that dedication and passion with the stories and information I have been sharing here at Mommy's Point of View.

I carry a note pad and pen with me often so that when ideas do pop into my head and I say "I really need to blog about that" I jot it down as a reminder for upcoming posts. There have even been times where I get an idea and I run to the computer to share it right away. It just hasn't been that way for me this week.

Sarah has provided me much inspiration and motivation to write these past two years including this week. However, my fatigue this week has limited my ability to hone in on something to commit to, and I promise this will change soon.

I actually have several stories in draft mode written that I have been wanting to get posted and need to fine-tune before sharing with you.

Please know that I will be back this week with some fun information, Sarah updates, and cool parenting insights and tips.

Thanks for your continued interest. Keep on coming back. And, I appreciate your comments, so please keep on sharing.

Thank you!!!

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...