Monday, May 27, 2013

Thanks to All Who Fought for and Protected our Country

Credit: Sarah
While many of us may be off from work today possibly going to a barbecue, going to the beach, taking advantage of shopping sales, or resting and relaxing with family and friends, it is most important for us to take time to reflect to remember and thank the millions of men and women who risked their lives to protect our country, which helped to give us the freedom we have today, and every day moving forward.

So before, in between, and after today's festivities, let's take time to remember with sadness, and pride, as Americans, the many souls who sacrificed their lives and continue to do so every day, and veterans who dedicated and continue to dedicate their time, energy, and attention for the love of their country, to help fight for our freedom.

Words of thanks go to all the men and women who commit their themselves to protect our country, and for those especially who lost their lives in the war for freedom.

A special shout out to all of Sarah's grandfathers and Great Uncle who participated in wars doing various jobs from medic to enemy lines battle to keep our country protected and safe. And, even when the war was not won we know the effort to try was hard and intense.

My heart also goes out to the children, both young and old, whose lives were and still are especially impacted by their parent's bravery to fight for our country.  

Today, let's memorialize, and honor, all who risked a great deal for our United States of America. Here are some special haiku, and a drawing made by Sarah, to commemorate today.

Memorial Day
Credit: H.D.B Photography
(a.k.a. Sarah's awesome Uncle Harold)
Today, time to remember
Lives of many lost

To all men, women
Thank you for protecting us
Forever in debt

Thanks to those of you
Risking your lives to protect

For red, white, and blue
Colors continue to sore
Time to remember

You're special people
With the biggest hearts of all
Thanks, infinity

To all the men and women
You mean a great deal

Much love and appreciation to all of you, men and women, and moms and dads, and everyone who dedicates their lives to protect our country. You are a special kind of people, selfless human beings who are looked at in the highest regard, for all that you do, sacrifice, and continue to risk each and every day, and we thank you to infinity.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thermometer Conundrum

All I can say right now is, REALLY?

Can it be possible that for nearly a week maybe Sarah hasn't been sick with a fever?

This is unbelievable.

Last night I was on the phone with my mom, who has also been worried as well about Sarah, and she said to me, "is it possible that the thermometer is not working?"

In that moment I thought, is this even possible?

Then, I thought back to the days at the beginning of this insanity when Sarah coughed during the day and mostly at night for a few days. It was so bad that her daily allergy therapy wasn't helping at all. We tried a recommendation from the doctor since cough medicine is not recommended for children under the age of six.  We tried a natural liquid supplement called Zarbees, and it worked like a charm. The coughing stopped.  Some liquid honey and zinc did the trick. But, the fevers continued.

She was sick.  This was not her allergies.

I also remembered that I was somewhat out of it as well for a few days this week.  Adding to my allergy regimen helped initially but then my symptoms changed and nothing else I took helped.

I was sick.  Lightheaded and achy yet no fever.  This was not my allergies.

Flash forward, to our thermometer conundrum...our Safety 1st thermometer, our second after the battery went on the first, has been very reliable.  The reviews were excellent on the product and we relied on those numbers to treat Sarah over the years.  It's quick, and easy to use.

So, why should I think that if the battery is working okay to think that there should be anything wrong with it?

Well, it's possible.

Sarah is one of the few preschoolers still willing to get her temperature rectally.  If you can believe this, since we were been house bound for over two weeks Sarah would often drop her drawers every hour or so just to get her temperature taking in the hopes that it would be down, and she could go back to school, have play dates again, and going to birthday and graduation parties.

After seeing three pediatricians this past week it was decided that blood and urine tests needed to be taken.  When all but one of those results came back negative or normal, we were all stumped.  We are awaiting the Lyme Disease test results still.

A fourth pediatrician from the same practice then suggested that after the Memorial Day holiday should Sarah's fevers not dissipate, that we should pursue autoimmune testing.  I held my breath and said "okay" and left it at that again wishing and willing Sarah's temperature to go back to normal.

Sharing this news with friends and family, a friend of ours who is also a chiropractor, asked if he could see and treat Sarah to see if there was anything at all that he could do. He thought that maybe she might have inflammation causing the fever and maybe an adjustment would help. I was extremely skeptical about this approach but after sharing my concerns around this method of care Daniel and I discussed it and agreed that his approach, which did not involve cracking necks and pressing on muscles, was worth a shot.

At the start of the session Sarah's temperature was taken, through an approach I had never seen before, in which thermal images are taken. Sarah's reading, to the right, of her neck and upper spinal column included some green coloring (cool) spots and several intense red (hot) spots that are considered moderate to severe.  As a result, she experienced her first-ever adjustment with a cool tapping machine that didn't bother her at all.  She was very good about it, which brought me relief. Something was up indeed. The red spots meant that something was off.

After coming home we wanted to gauge Sarah's temperature. To our chagrin, the thermometer displayed 101.

As you an imagine Daniel and I threw our hands up in the air and said, "What is going on?"

So, you can imagine that when my mom mentioned the possibility of the thermometer not working accurately I felt like an idiot.

How could I have not thought that the thermometer was wrong, or faulty?  Why?  Because it is still working?  There was no reason to believe that it was inaccurate.

I sent Daniel out to get another thermometer.  We were getting to the bottom of this, no pun intended here, as I was not letting this get past me now. We gave it a try, and no surprise, it was a full degree under where the Safety 1st thermometer was.  Still, it was telling us that Sarah had 99.5, which is not her normal body temperature. This means something is still brewing.

I then decided to get yet another thermometer as I was skeptical about the CVS brand. Sorry to say, but true. I picked up another digital thermometer that was solar operated called the SolarTherm Speed Thermometer, which was also highly recommended by a leading women's magazine. 

Both the CVS brand and the SolarTherm were a degree, at least, lower than the Safety 1st. They were not identical but closer in readings.

I wanted to rip my hair out of my head.

How, as a parent am I to rely on a product and find that I can't seem to trust any of them to do the job I need it to do?

As a result, today I decided to call a family member who is an infectious disease specialist and shared with him the saga we have been experiencing. And, knowing him, had he had any major concerns he would have been at our house right away or coordinated an appointment with a fellow infectious disease expert at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  Instead he said that it's likely that after two weeks Sarah is fine.  Because Sarah's demeanor was that of a healthy, active, and rambunctious child he was skeptical to think that there was anything serious going on. He didn't feel that it was necessary to take Sarah through more testing that could also be painful when it's possible that the virus she had has likely run its course.

At that moment I didn't necessarily feel clarity but I felt relief coupled with frustration.  While we are now going with the new thermometer's readings, which still show Sarah as 99ish, we are still stumped when the Safety 1st showed Sarah at 100.5 tonight.

At this point,  we are done with this so called fever and moving on to make the most of the rest of this weekend.  You can bet it included a jaunt to our local ice cream shoppe for a special treat.

Parenting is such a hard job. And, not being a medical expert makes it even more challenging. Because Daniel and I work from home we had the luxury of being extra cautious keeping Sarah out of school to prevent her from getting others sick and to get her on the mend with lots of rest and fluids.

I am throwing my hands up in the air with this situation.  What an incredibly frustrating situation.  I don't even know what to say. I still feel like an idiot.

What thermometers do you use and stand firm behind (not an intentional pun)?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 14: Mystery Fever Virus Continues

Today is now day 14 of the longest ever fever that Sarah has had. It's still the taunting type looming between 99.4 to 101. 

Just when it goes down, it goes right back up.

Sound familiar? 

She has been so incredibly good about all of this. And, we are just being extra cautious so as not to risk getting other kids sick. 

A few days this week I took her outside so she could ride her bike and scooter and run around, without any kids around, just so she could run off energy and steam.  I feel so bad for her. We had to cancel numerous plans over the past three weekends due to the mystery virus that has no known cause and minimal symptoms.

Thankfully Sarah is eating, drinking and sleeping well.  She is, right now, the happiest sick kid as far as disposition goes.  She's been loving the calls from her teacher checking on her letting her know she is missed at school.   

Thankfully, Daniel and I work from home so that we can enable Sarah to have the time off from school to rest, get lots of fluids and try to rid this bug as soon as possible.  She will likely go through computer and television withdrawal when she goes back to school but I think that will be okay as she will be so excited to see her friends she has missed so much.  It's gotten to a point where she doesn't even want to watch and just wants playmates.

After our work days end we spend much time with Sarah reading and playing board games.  That has made her happy, at least.

As you can image, we are all getting batty and silly being cooped up all day every day for this long.

I am so thankful to my friends and family who have been so supportive and understanding of the situation and often checking in to see how we are all doing, especially Sarah. 

As of now we have seen three pediatricians, and spoken with another on the phone from the same practice.  A series of tests have been done to rule out mononucleosis, pneumonia, Epstein Barr, diabetes, and so much more. She had her red and white blood cell counts checked. Her hemoglobin is normal. Urine tests with no growth and negative results as well.  We are awaiting a Lyme disease test, but pretty sure that she doesn't have that as she never had any tell tale signs of the disease and she's not complaining that her joints hurt in her legs or arms.

Today, before leaving to go to Sarah's Kindergarten Orientation without her (bummer) she had no fever. An hour after returning her temperature went up to 101.  Ugh.
This is so incredibly frustrating.  I keep thinking that when her fever is down during the day maybe this will be the day it goes away for good and we can resume normal activity.
Let's hope for tomorrow.  Already had to cancel plans for a birthday and graduation party for her to attend. She will be missed.
I have been trying hard to stay off the Internet searching for some reasoning behind this bug in Sarah's body.  I start, then look, get scared, and then drop off. The Internet could be good if you know what you are looking for. This situation with Sarah is so unknown that it's better I stay off the web and not make any unnecessary speculations about her condition.
Several friends have called to tell us about mystery fevers their loved ones had experienced where there was just no answer about what their fevers were caused by, and they mystery remains for them as well.
Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that nothing serious seems to be wrong at least based on the tests that have been currently done to date.  The doctor said that if after the Memorial Day holiday weekend the fever continues we are to bring Sarah back in for autoimmune testing. 
The waiting continues...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Support and Prayers for Moore, Oklahoma

A raging tornado ripped through the small town, Moore, in Oklahoma, and took the lives of too many people including both adults and children. As of this morning, 91 people have been killed by this twisting natural disaster, which also plowed right through an elementary school while it was in session.
My heart and prayers go out to the people of Moore for their losses and the families still awaiting the fate of their loved ones. 
No matter who is at the hand of a tragedy whether it be natural or intentional does not make the pain any less.  Oklahoma needs our help and our prayers for the safety of many who are still missing and the hundreds of people who are injured from this catastrophe.
Moore, you are in our thoughts and we wish you peace from this travesty.
Ripping tornado
Took hold of little town Moore
Claiming adults, kids
Praying for safety
And to find missing children
Moore is in my heart
We'll donate to help
As you pick up the pieces
Life no longer same

We are so sorry
For what you are going through
Prayers for the town, Moore

According to the Chicago Red Cross spokeswoman Martha Carlos, "it's too early to tell how many are homeless. Once the area is deemed safe by first responders, then, [we can] begin to evaluate what needs are. While well-intentioned people might be tempted to donate food, clothing and others things...what is needed most is cash donations."

We can donate online at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 contribution.

Mommy's Point of View has just made a donation to support the clean-up and aid for families impacted by this unfortunate event. I encourage you, if you can, to donate. We may not think so, but every little bit counts, and it adds up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marfan Syndrome: Remembering Angelina

A few years ago I learned of a disorder that I had never heard of called Marfan syndrome.

A new colleague, at a job I was interviewing for at the time, mentioned to me that her daughter was sick with this disease. When I started the job a year later her daughter had since passed away due to complications of the disorder.

As parents, we worry.  We worry a lot. That is what we do.  

I can’t begin to imagine what life would be life managing a child with a life-threatening condition that makes living challenging.

Little Angelina was an angel.  She had a megawatt smile, as you can see here, and she impacted everyone who she came in contact with. I was told that you couldn’t help but fall in love with her and that she lived each and every day to the fullest.

I was not fortunate to meet Angelina in person but through others stories and pictures of this sweet little girl I can see why it’s hard not to feel sadness for this bright star that has since gone out.

Today is the day that Angelina passed away nearly three years ago.  She would have been five years old, the same age as my daughter.

In her memory, I asked her mom if I could share more about Angelina and use this time of sadness for her loved ones to educate others on Marfan syndrome.  She said, “That would be such a nice thing to do.” 
According to the National Marfan Foundation website, Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the connective tissue, which holds all parts of the body together and helps control how the body grows. Features associated with the disease are often found in the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints, and eyes and sometimes the lungs and skin.  Intelligence is not impacted by the disease.

The disease itself is caused by a “defect (mutation) in the gene that tells the body how to make fibrillin-1 -- a protein that is an important part of connective tissue…[resulting] in an increase in a protein called transforming growth factor beta, or TGFβ…,which causes problems in tissue throughout the body.”

Marfan can be hereditary in 3 out of 4 people where a person gets a mutation from a parent who already has the disorder. Other people have what is called “spontaneous mutation,” which means that they are the first to have the disease with no explanation of why. This is what happened with Angelina. Her disease was a mystery to all who knew her.

People with Marfan syndrome can also pass the mutation on to children with a fifty percent chance.

This disease is so small in that little Angelina was 1 in 5,000 people suffering from Marfan. It also does not discriminate and can impact men, women, children of all races and ethnic groups.

This disease does have varying degrees from mild to severe.  Not all people with Marfan’s will experience the same fate as Angelina.  Her condition was more severe. Interestingly, most people with the disorder are able to lead productive and satisfying lives, especially thanks to major medical advancements along with lifestyle changes such as limitations in physical activity.

Like many diseases, Marfan’s is not one size fits all.  Arming ourselves with as much information as possible is important along with teaming up with numerous medical experts to confirm an accurate diagnosis and next steps.

Angelina was a unique child, and her disease was no different.

In Angelina’s memory, and others who have lost their battle to Marfan’s, and those living with the disorder in need of ongoing research and support, Mommy’s Point of View is making a donation to the National Marfan Foundation here. If you would like to join in the fight against this disease I encourage it. All that we can do to help raise attention, awareness and funds for much-needed research for this important disease is a step in the right direction for Marfan.

The National Marfan Foundation is also taking action on June 11-12, 2013 for an advocacy day to engage with policy leaders to encourage more funding to support research for the disease. They are coming together to make a difference and fight for victory over Marfan's. If you or someone you know has a personal experience with the disease and wants to share their story please encourage them to do so and if they want to join in the fight they can.

While Marfan may not impact the same magnitude of people suffering from more known diseases, Marfan’s has a face too, and a great need for research and support.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Longest Fever

Today is now day eight of the longest ever fever that Sarah has had.  And, it's the taunting type looming between 99.4 to 101.

Just when it goes down, it goes right back up.  She starts off low in the mornings and then the numbers climb throughout the day.

So frustrating.  

Being cooped up all day every day has been tough on all of us. Fortunately, Daniel and I both work from home so we have been tag teaming in her care.  This approach coupled with unfortunately lots of television have helped us to get Sarah as must rest as possible for the child who only wants to, and strangely still can,  run around, jump up and down, and cartwheel through the living room.  

Right now, she is an energetic sick kid, at least on the outside. Just wish her fever would go away so we can all get out and run around and let loose.

While for some people, 99.4 is not a fever. However, knowing Sarah for her entire life, and her body, we know that something is still brewing.  This is the child who can easily spike a fever of 104 and 105 even for the mildest ear infection.  Let's just say we have too much experience with Sarah and high fevers that we don't even balk at 103.5 as much as we used to.

So, why then is a low fever nagging at me?

Well, it's because she has had it for over a week and missed school. She has also missed out on her final two soccer games of the season among so many other fun things to do.  We even had to cancel plans in the works for a while so as not to risk getting others ill.

To think, I thought we sailed through winter without as much as a cold and here we are in the spring trapped indoors with a kid bouncing off the walls because a bug, of G-d only knows what kind, which has decided it does not want to leave her body just yet.

The real situation here is trying not to think that it could be something serious going on that we and the doctors cannot see without further testing, which we are slated to do if the fever continues through mid-next week.

We all know the Internet is a dangerous place filled with good information and also inaccurate information and lots of speculation.  I can't begin to tell you how many things could be brewing in Sarah's body, and I am doing my best to not focus on them and pray it's just another garden variety bug that needs to run its course. 

Just wish this one would finish the race and get on out for good.

Having been to the pediatrician twice now over the past week with two negative strep tests and an X-ray to rule out pneumonia, we are in a holding pattern.  

I am likely overreacting and trying to be calm about this as it is likely a bug that just needs time to exit.

So the waiting continues...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Help to Prevent Brave Princess Merida Makeover

I was saddened to read today that Disney is looking to revise the image of Princess Merida from the Pixar animated film "Brave" to appear somewhat more voluptuous with more defined breasts, hips and curves. She doesn't look like a young girl anymore but instead a mature woman.

Why the change?

There was nothing wrong with Merida the way she was. I even loved that she was no nonsense and not shaped like an unrealistic version of what society deems as beautiful.


Apparently, the change was recently unveiled to "coordinate with Merida's official crowning as Disney's 11th-ever princess" at Walt Disney World, according to Movie Talk on

It is a shame to turn a fun-loving, feisty character who has a lot of spunk and confidence into a person that is years beyond her age and with a more mature look and unnecessary sexuality.

"This one character may not do any damage to a girl's psychological development, per se," child development expert Dr. Robyn Silverman tells me. "But Merida joins a barrage of thin, sultry characters for girls, making her yet another facet of our sexed-up, thinned down messaging."

According to an official statement from Disney, “Merida exemplifies what it means to be a Disney Princess through being brave, passionate, and confident and she remains the same strong and determined Merida from the movie whose inner qualities have inspired moms and daughters around the world.” 

Merida is all these descriptions, then why does she need to physically makeover?

What we love most about Merida is that she is a fun-loving, endearing, funny and an engaging character who is ever more real than other Disney princesses, and she is relatable.  It's not all about relationships, finding love and looking a certain way.

I have no problem with princesses as my daughter loves them. However, when she starts to ask questions about why the new image of Merida looks different than what she is used to, how as a parent am I to explain without causing concerns inside her young, impressionable mind without her seeing her self only through physical attributes being considered more important?

As a parent, I focus heavily on the personalities, skills, mannerisms and interests when it comes to the princesses.  For example, we love Belle because she likes to read books and help others,  we like Cinderella because she is kind-hearted and cares for animals and we like Tiana because she is hard-working and dedicated to fulfilling her dreams.

To take action against this ridiculous change in Merida's image a blogger for a site named "A Mighty Girl" has started up a petition called "Keep Merida Brave." I have taken action and signed the petition to prevent this unnecessary makeover.  Please join me in this quest to keep beauty in the eye of the beholder and to take action and sign.

It's hard enough that our magazines are filled with models and celebrities in bikinis focusing less on their good deeds and endearing accomplishments but instead on physical attributes.  I want to make a shout out to companies like Dove who are taking women seriously and focusing on the woman inside and out.

Women are smart, funny, caring, loveable, compassionate and beautiful regardless of their dress size and you can bet that I will continue to be cognizant of this as I raise my daughter to become a strong and confident women proud of herself and her accomplishments and living out her dreams without focusing on her weight and body type.  What I will continue to do is instill in her health eating habits and a strong sense of self, as best as I am able to do.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mommy Suffering Allergies

With Sarah home sick this weekend with a low fever, she started to get cabin fever so I took her outdoors, just to the front of the house so she could get some fresh air and a cool breeze, away from anyone she could get sick, except me.

As a result of being outdoors with her yesterday, with my allergies in overdrive this season, today I am really suffering. Unfortunately, my typical allergy medication is doing very little to ease my symptoms. The pharmacist encouraged me to amp up my protection with another treatment, which has always worked well for me but unfortunately am still feeling no relief. I am more stuffed up than I have every been. My nose is dripping, I am sneezing, and my eyes are so itchy I want to rip them off my face.

A nice visual, huh. 

On top of it all, Sarah is home sick again today. While she does not have a fever my gut said that she is still not quite herself and felt it was important for her to remain home another day as she was not really her true self.

Thankfully, I work from my home office for my job. Thus, today, I don't intend to leave the house no matter how nice it is outside. My allergies are keeping my butt parked indoors away from allergens that are making my face feel foreign to me.

So, today, Mommy is sick and boy does it suck.

I admit that Sarah will likely watch enough television for the week but when mommy is sick sometimes another babysitter needs to help out.

My empathy goes out to all who suffer from allergies. It's amazing how you can truly become useless when your head hurts, your sneezing constantly, and all you want to do is lay down and rest.

Right this moment I want to be a turtle and crawl my body inside of a shell and not come out until I am feeling better. But, as a parent, we all know that that is not really all that possible.  So, I will do my best to keep my head up, manage Sarah as best as possible and not beat myself up with the reality that she may just be watching television all day today so I can try to get work done and not actually try to tear my head off my shoulders.

I wish relief to all who suffer from allergies.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I love being a MOM!!!

Photo credit:  my brother, Brian Wagner,
on  his ride home from evening
Mother's Day celebration 
Being a mom is the greatest experience, and most challenging, of my life.  It has also been the most rewarding.

Some people choose not to have children, and that is perfectly okay.  For me, it was without question something I wanted and needed to do.  I wanted so much to have a child who I could inspire, encourage, mold and grow. And, most especially, I wanted to feel a love like no other.

This is all very true of parenthood.

Thinking back to the full year that I was nursing Sarah, is a time I will never forget and memories I will cherish forever. I can say that now of course as the first month was incredibly difficult and I wanted to give up due to pain and breast infections. However, with help from a lactation consultant, support from my mommy friends, and patience, Sarah and I found our groove. It proved to be an incredibly special time bonding with my daughter.  It also forced me to sit down long enough to just stare at her, soak it all it, and wish the world for her.

Thinking of Sarah's first words, learning to walk, and inevitably running, understanding numbers, colors and shapes, and doing her first cartwheel, among so many other things brings me great joy and happiness. While I would have loved to have done it again with another child, it just was not in the cards.  I am thankful everyday for my daughter who is my blessing.  I live life vicariously through her and join her in her many journeys until she decides to go at it on her own.  I will always be her biggest cheerleader and support her in her future endeavors.  

It's amazing to watch a child try new things and experience new experiences for the first time, with reckless abandon and then see them grow and develop even further. Seeing Sarah play soccer, for example, is incredible to witness as she has learned a great deal and how to own the ball and commands a presence on the field.  It's even great fun to share in these situations with a child feeling like we as adults are reliving them for the first time too from a different perspective.
Photo credit:  my brother, Brian Wagner,
on  his ride home from evening
Mother's Day celebration

While there are many days that my daughter drives me up a wall and refuses to listen there are many more days that are just plain beautiful, and not so much for the trips we take and the activities we do, but mostly because we are a family and we do a lot together.  We are a team.  We know how each of us ticks.  In fact, being just the three of us enables both Daniel and I to enjoy all of Sarah's activities together versus having to split up to manage other children.  One of the many silver linings to having one child.

Being a mom is indeed a love like no other.  My husband, of nearly 10 years knows that I love him very much.  Even though I have know him and loved him longer than our daughter has been alive the love I have for her is far and beyond. I would walk through fire for both of them, that is without question.

The world we live in is unfortunately filled with violence and hatred.  While I will continue to do everything I can to protect my daughter I also know that I can't keep her from life or live each day in fear.

I fully intend to continue to cherish each moment I have with my daughter and squeeze her as tight as she is willing to let me.  I will always love her even on days when I may not like her for things she may say or do. I will always support her even when it may take me time to process.

Motherhood is a blessing.  And, while I have only one child, I am still every much a mom as someone with more children.  I love fully with my heart wide open.

In the bible there is a phrase that always gets me..."The bible is a closed book until it is read with an open heart."  This is also true for parenting. You must be open-minded to the journey that lies ahead when raising children as there is no manual, and there are winding roads.  There are also rainbows and many sunshines. However, if you are not open to the unpredictable nature of parenting it will be nothing more than a chore instead of a fun, trying, loving, challenging and heartfelt experience.

To all the mothers out there and those who help care for others just like they are mothers, here are some special Haiku to celebrate you and your devotion and love to others.

Happy Mother's Day
Love and appreciation
For all that we do

Time with family
Celebrate time together
Being a mother

Moms around the world
Acknowledge, fuss over them
Celebrate their role

Being a mommy
Challenging and rewarding
Love all around us

M. O. M. M. Y
Love, hugs, appreciation
For all that they do

Have a wonderful Mother's Day.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Tissue Paper Wall Art

Easy and fun arts and crafts project
Last month Sarah and I went to the arts and crafts store Lakeshore and did an art project as part of their free weekend workshops.

These free activities are a great way to expose kids to different mediums and ideas, and are a good excuse to do a fun activity that doesn't cost money. It is also a great way to find inspiration too for arts and crafts activities to do at home.

The experience is like an in-person version of Pinterest where you get to see the ideas up front and close but then you get to take action and develop yourself with complimentary supplies.

The art project that day was a dragon in which tissue paper squares were glued to the outside of a paper cups along with streamers through the bottom of the cup. 

I had never worked with this material to do art projects in the past, so I was intrigued to see what we could develop.

What I liked most about the tissue paper was that it was really easy to handle and use.  The opportunity for creativity was really endless.  Its was a project I could feel comfortable having my preschooler do at the kitchen table with minimal supervision.

Therefore, since I liked using the tissue paper, and Sarah seemed to have a good time with it too, and seeing the impressive ability to transform something so simply and easily, I decided to purchase a pack that included (if you can believe it), 10,000 tissue paper squares, for $9.99. You can buy a smaller size (3,000 pieces) for just $3.99 on Amazon.

Fast forward...a few weeks later Sarah and I were hanging around the house during a weekend day  chilling out and doing some art projects.  She was taking a break and I had an idea.

I found an old canvas that I painted, ironically with a cherry blossom tree and painted over it when I realized I didn't love it as much as I had when I developed it. However, I held on to it thinking I might be able to breathe new life into it later on.

I had already painted over the initial painting a while back and the surface just could not get smooth. I then chose to spray paint it too but to no avail I could not d something I was happy with. So, it went into storage. It was then that I remembered that I had it and I figured, what do I have to lose by trying something else. 

So, with the tissue paper I began to glue one square at a time.  At first I had no idea what I was going to create and then a vision of a cherry blossom popped into my head and I kept going.  All the while I was thinking, if it didn't come out well I could just get rid of it.

About an hour later I developed the cherry blossom tree above. Because I was having fun Sarah wanted to get involved too. She started to hand me the individual squares one by one until we were done.

Sarah has since insisted that this new creative piece live in her bedroom. It now hangs on her very bright pink wall, and it's the first thing she see when she wakes up in the morning.

The feeling I have when I see this new cherry blossom it is something like making lemonade from lemons. I had no idea what would transpire that day when I decided to create from nothing. Inspiration crept in, and sharing in the process with Sarah was a beautiful experience.

It's great to try new things. And, showing our children that we can create with our imagination and see what comes about its a beautiful concept, and not focusing necessarily on the end result of perfection. 

As Dale Carnegie used to say in his ever popular, and personal favorite book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, "practice makes permanent"...not perfect.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teaching Kids Independence

Many of us think that it's better to get things done faster and; therefore, we often opt to just do a task ourselves to save on time and because our patience may be thin. 

Sound familiar?

We likely have experienced this in the workplace and also in our personal lives.

When it comes to children it is indeed faster to help them do something but if we continue to do things for them, how will they learn?

Certain tasks such as personal hygiene may take a bit longer in the beginning to teach children to do such as brushing teeth properly, washing hands effectively, combing hair, and even taking a shower.

For years my daughter was a "bathtub" kid.  And, she still loves it. I tried to encourage her to consider taking showers but should just refused to try. So, I waited. I certainly wasn't going to force her to do something she wasn't ready to do and take away the fun of bath time that she loved including playing with toys and splashing around.

So, I waited.  And, I introduced the idea again and again. 

One night, on an especially busy evening trying to get everything done in the few short hours after work and school I said to Sarah, "hey, want to take a shower with mommy?"  

She said, "yes."

Let's just say it was an interesting experiencing.  Trying hard to keep the soap out her her eyes was the biggest challenge. And, so was trying not to waste too much water was the other.  

Fast forward a few weeks now and shower time has become a regular task.  The bathtub will always be something fun for Sarah but now I think she has moved on over to this more grown up approach to cleanliness.

Tonight, because I was so tired and suffering still from my allergies, I asked Sarah if she wanted to give it a try on her own and take a shower independently.

She said, "yes."

While I knew it would be a somewhat more exhaustive process explaining everything versus just doing it for her, the reward for both of us was significant. 

Sarah succeeded in taking her first solo shower and listened very well.  Through the clear doors I instructed her on what to do, which she pretty much already knew.  It turns out that she did everything I asked her and the shower was shorter than any we had taken previously.

It was a great accomplishment all around.  I was so proud of Sarah for trying something new, and for me having the patience to step back and let her function independently with supervision.

So, while certain tasks with our kids may take less time if we do it for them the reward is much more satisfying when we watch them develop, grow and evolve.

Proud parenting moment.

Parent Fear and Gun Control

My heart stopped yesterday at 11:30 am when I got a phone call from my brother-in-law telling me that some of the schools in our area where my daughter goes to school were in lock down as a car with an empty gun holster with ammo was found on the back seat in plain sight.

I got off the phone right away and called the director of Sarah's school to find out what was going on, and what was happening on their end. I was glad to hear that the school had already spoken with police and that they were on high alert and that the children would be remaining indoors.

Fortunately, the lock downs were lifted around 12:30 pm as they found the owner of the vehicle and discovered that the gun was registered to him.

What an idiot this man was. Not very bright.

This yahoo scared a number of people including my family who had children in one of the schools locked down. One of the parent's was actually inside the school when the lock down happened and remained there until it lifted and then chose to take her daughter home.  I would have done the same had I been inside.  She later told me that she called another mom/relative whose three children were also inside the school trying to update her without panicking her.

As you can imagine, I thought of a number of times of getting into my car to go get Sarah from school. But, after watching the news and talking with my husband we realized it was best for us to sit tight before taking action.

The good news is the the local police departments in my area took aggressive action to manage the matter.  In the one hour that I had learned of this situation, and the problem was resolved, it pretty much shaved off a few years of my life.  I am thankful to the pedestrian who saw something unusual in the car parked on the street, that the police were called and that immediate action was taken.

You can bet that as soon as my child walked into the door last night I lifted her up and hugged her and refused to stop until she begged me to put her down.

My life without my child is unimaginable.  Just thinking about it makes me sick.

I think now what parents across the world are feeling when their children become the victim of gun violence. I know that I am preaching to the choir when I say this but it cannot be said enough that guns are in the wrong hands and there needs to be better gun control laws. If it means that an individual requires a more extensive background check, than so be it. If a person wants a gun so badly they should be willing to jump through hoops to get it.

I hate guns and the fact that we live in a world where children can access unprotected weapons to use against harmless others, or that disturbed adults who think they can fix problems by taking others lives makes me sick to my stomach.

My heart goes out to the families whose lives have forever been impacted by gun violence. I cannot begin to understand your loss and suffering but please know I feel pain for you and your loved ones and wish you strength and peace.  If it means I hug my child harder every day or go to sleep at night praying for her safety, I will continue to do so.

We cannot live in fear every day but we have to pray and hope that peace is possible and to get help for the people who need it most, as innocent people are on the receiving end of this ugliness and it just hurts all of us around it.

What we can learn from this situation and sadly many other tragic experiences we have had on American soil is that if we see something that seems odd or out of place just call the police and talk to them. Let them decide if it's something to investigate.

I dedicate this blog to the individual who took a chance and expressed their concerns and suspicions. I also applaud our law enforcement officials who acted quickly on this matter while many parents and loved ones were worried and scared. Thankfully, this was some idiot's mistake and hopefully he will realize the err of his ways and be more careful in the future.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Our Alex's Lemonade Stand

Our very own Alex's Lemonade
Stand run by Sarah
Last month I decided to host a yard sale.  Anyone who has done one of these knows that it's a lot of work, and a commitment until the end.  

Our yard sale was no exception. It was indeed work.  

Daniel pretty much said every hour, "is it four o'clock yet?"  I called my sister, a yard sale veteran, several times saying that this was likely going to be my first and last yard sale.  

I don't like the haggling especially from people who are just trying to get one over on you. While I like to think of myself as a good negotiator (I do public relations for a living). So, when people arrived who I could tell needed what we were selling I worked with them. Many things I practically gave away because in those instances it wasn't at all about making money. 

In the end, the reward was great on many levels. Not only were we able to clean out some of the garage but we were able to make some money as well, which was a nice bonus. However, the yard sale would not have come about had my inspiration been only about money and free space. Instead, my inspiration came from wanting to do something for Sarah that was a childhood accomplishment that I wanted her to experience -- her very own lemonade stand.

So, I asked Sarah before any signs were put up and before a date was set for the event if she wanted to sell lemonade and treats.  She was very excited.  

It was then that I remembered back to a recent oncology medical meeting for work that I attended last month where I saw on the exhibit floor a booth for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. I knew all about the cause and found inspiration.  

It was then that I tried to explain to my five year old about cancer. It was not an easy conversation and I tried to keep it light.  What she took away was that a little girl named Alex had cancer and she loved to have lemonade stands. In fact, in 2000 when Alex was just four years old she hosted her first lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. The Foundation, Alex's Lemonade Stand, has evolved into a national fundraising movement with thousands of supporters carrying out her legacy of hope.

Since I love to volunteer and to help others, and have been sharing this passion with Sarah over the years,  I asked her if she would be open to dedicating her lemonade stand to the cause, and she agreed. Not only was she willing to donate some of her proceeds, she was okay with giving them all for this special cause.

I am pleased to share that Sarah did very well with her first-ever lemonade and treats stand. Along with pink lemonade and chocolate chip cookies that she helped make, at 25 cents each, Sarah earned just shy of $30. Before the sale Daniel and I told Sarah that we would match her dollar for dollar on whatever she made that day.  In addition her Uncle B and Aunt E chipped in another $25 to make the grand total $85.  Not bad for a days work running a lemonade stand.

Not only did we help Sarah to raise money for a special cause, we also got to benefit from many people's personal stories and experiences with cancer. It was day in which we truly connected with others and I am so glad that Sarah, at such a young age was able to experience it.

If you would like to set up your very own Alex's Lemonade Stand with your child check out the Foundation's website - as they provide tips and advice and support as well. You can also develop a personal fundraising page too if you want.

Let's continue to band together for important causes helping others with life-threatening illnesses that require much-needed research and support.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Writer on a Mission

I am sure you are all done with my excuses on why I have not been writing here regularly.  Many, if not most of you, understand why because life does get in the way, that this is my "fun" thing to do when work and parenting aren't so crazy.

Therefore, I am going to try an experiment.

This week, I am going to try to blog everyday and step a bit away from the long and detailed posts and just write and share because that is what I love to do and educate where possible to provide you, my readers, important and valuable information.

I will not be fixated on churning out comprehensive pieces and will be trying to add some new flavor and inspiration around me.  It could very well be a photo that grabs my attention, a funny moment in my life as a parent, Haiku, and more.

Thus, I end on positive note, especially since I now have to get my work day started.

Each day is a gift
Treat it like it's a present
Reward will be great

So, during this week
I aim to write every day
Mommy's Point of View

Join me on this path
Experiencing this life
All that lies ahead

Share with me your thoughts
Come join me here and guest blog
Your ideas, welcome.

Have a wonderful day.  See you tomorrow.

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...