Ninja Kicking To Happiness

It takes a lot to rattle me.

I’ve been through so much in my life and rarely feel uneasy for long periods of time… but I haven’t slept well all this week. I don’t feel safe in my home. I don’t feel right going to sleep at night. And I’m feeling pretty pathetic about the whole thing.

My car was broken in to… well, more like someone left it unlocked and someone rummaged through my crap. No big deal really though it shocked me. Can you believe they didn’t take my Harry Potter books on tape nor did they take my CD’s from the 90s?!

Who wouldn’t steal Salt N Peppa… everyone loves to Shoop!!

The car wasn’t the big deal. It was someone getting in to my home when I was gone to watch a movie THE SAME DAY.

My Dad is a retired Cop. I rent my home from him. He is here often. I’ve never been concerned over security my entire life… though I have felt for a long time that I should get a dog or a good alarm system since the kids and I live alone.

But, a huge part of me has always felt like I shouldn’t HAVE to get additional protection to keep the kids and I safe. I’m a strong woman. I know what to do if an intruder comes in to my home and I’m not afraid to do what has to be done. But, I am seen as a target.

Like all people I’ve always thought it could never happen to me… and I thought if it did I would know what to do.

All I want to do is punch something and that doesn’t solve shit nor will it make me feel easy again.

Nothing was taken. Seems they were spooked and took off. Honestly, there isn’t anything of worth in my home except for a bunch of stuff from the 80′s my Dad still needs to get out of here.

But, they still came. They were in here. They tried to take my shit. They intruded on my life…

And that has fucked me up. I can’t sleep. I’m not comfortable in the house I’ve known since I was born.

It makes me feel pathetic. It makes me feel weak… and it makes me really fucking angry.

So, while I am feeling especially negative about all of this the focus from others shifts to the bane of my fucking existence: I’m a single woman… but, if there was a man in my life then…

Fill in the mother fucking blank for every negative situation that happens to me.

Seriously? Is that how society perceives me? That if I wasn’t single magically shitty things would stop happening to me? Bullshit.

If I had a husband this wouldn’t happen to me? If I had a man in my life then I would feel safe? If there was a guy that cared then I could feel protected?

So, in essence this happened to me BECAUSE I am a single woman?

Not only was my home intruded upon but my life was as well.

I’m sick of the intrusion, implications and judgment. I can get a dog, security system and a gun to keep intruders out but I learned a long time ago you can’t keep people from trying to intrude on your life.

All you can do is ninja kick them out the door and lock it behind you.

 

 

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We are told from the moment we become pregnant how important nutrition is during pregnancy and those first few years. A developing person needs nourishment to thrive and starting that out the right way is important. Studies have proven that good nutrition is essential for brain development.

But, what if those options just aren’t there?

Lack of Nutrition is a Horrific Feeling

My personal connection with lack of nourishment concerns and a developing child come from my daughter’s infancy years. When I was nursing her at one month old she broke out in hives and showed anaphylactic reaction signs. I went on a strict elimination diet trying to figure out what the culprit was. It was many. It sucked.

She had over twenty food allergies and many of which she was contact sensitive to. Her doctors worried about how she and I would thrive. Our food was limited: rice, some veggies, some meats, some fruits. A lot of supplements were not allergy friendly. I spent a few months physically feeling ill, run down, terrified and just going through the motions of the day. My daughter was thriving for the most part but she was unusually lethargic… she was getting more nutrients from me through my breast milk than I was getting on the limited diet.

Me being who I am I brushed off my concerns with humor. I joked that all the food allergy madness and limited diet meant I was going to drop all the baby weight fast.

Truth is I was absolutely terrified.

That changed when I was able to find a balance within our limitations and we found supplements that worked for us and the sluggish days became a distant memory. I stayed on her diet so she was able to breastfeed and it became easier.

We were fortunate to have options and found solutions.

At the time it was frightening and I could not imagine if that was our daily terror. Again: We are fortunate.

Many pregnant mothers and children aren’t that fortunate even though they are capable of eating anything their hearts desire.

They just don’t have it available.

We are all aware of world hunger issues and how many live on basics. Foods like wheat, rice and maize that have little nutritional value can stop someone from starving to death but won’t have the essential nutrients a body needs.

This is where an organization like Future Fortified steps in and is creating a sustainable solution. We may not be able to provide billions of people a gourmet seven course meal every night but we can help them get the essential nutrients to lead a healthy lifestyle.

About Future Fortified

“Future Fortified is a new kind of philanthropy, focused on long-term, sustainable impact. Your contribution will be leveraged as an investment to increase the supply and availability of home nutrition packets, as well as educate families on the importance of nutrition and essential nutrients.”

Please take the time to check out Future Fortified. See what impact they are having in the world and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

You may not have a monetary donation to spare at this time but spreading the word on this amazing campaign is worth it’s weight in gold. Help me spread the word and share this post!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf Future Fortified. To thank me for my contribution, Mom Central donated $20 to the Future Fortified campaign.

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I’ve felt that one of the biggest struggles with raising children is teaching them selflessness in this instant gratification society. It can be a scary concept for children to know some of the struggles around the world but it can also be a wonderful tool for growth.

Even in the hardest economic times we should set aside what we can to give back. It’s good for us and especially our children. That cycle of selflessness starts with us and we pave the path of philanthropy for our children.

It’s especially important for our family to be involved with giving back since my daughter has regularly received the benefits of non-profits that help children who are chronically ill. We want to give back both to those organizations as well as others in different ways.

We are actively involved in community service and it is a huge part of our family dynamic. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a $5 gift card and taking it to the women’s shelter or sometimes it’s as large as organizing a fund raiser for Japan Relief.

We are always looking for different ways to help. It’s really hard to find a connection with causes that seem distant from us. I want my kids to understand that they can make a difference with a simple act and it can amount to great things.

Then I was introduced to Members Unite and felt this was another amazing way for us to help.

Members Unite is a great way to fund projects. The decision on what to fund is in the member’s hands. As a member you vote on different projects which are all very unique and interesting. I’ve never even heard of some of these ideas!

The best part is what both my nine and four year old took from this. I explained what the project was and how our $5 donation is pooled together with hundreds of other members and we, as a team, make a difference. We are able to rate each project as a family and think on what projects we like the most.

There was also great dialog in “losing” if our favorite projects weren’t picked because no matter what someone is winning at the end of the month.

Now that my nine year old daughter regularly earns allowance she told me she wanted to become a member herself with Members Unite so we could be making a double difference.

Some of the topics can be hard like the project to help infants from Guatemala who struggle with pertinent nourishment… but it was also an opportunity to talk about how fortunate we have been to not be faced with that and more importantly, that we can help.

The easiest way to help is to give what you would spend at Starbucks or those impulse purchases at Target. But, to make that donation have a bigger impact on your family you can be involved in a community of giving.

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It is easy to get sucked in to the season of finding the greatest deals for our kids, making sure they have the hot items and that everyone is spoiled during the gift giving season. Every year I try to redirect the focus for my kids to think about others. We are always doing small community service projects but this we decided to take on a different project.

Last week we taught the girls in my Girl Scout Troop how to sew for the first time. This was really exciting for them especially since we worked it in to a community service project. My co-leader found this rad tutorial online for a reversible stocking. We were able to get them done with the group of 4th graders and one 1st grader in about an hour. Not too bad!

We are stuffing these stockings for the local rescue mission. They provided a suggested list of items for the stockings for children and adults. If you take on this project then contact your local women’s shelters, children’s hospitals and rescue missions to see where you can donate. This would also be a great donation for a retirement home filled with appropriate goodies for the residents there.

This has been a wonderful family activity and we even took a few older stockings we have and started to fill those. We want to provide two stockings from each of us. The kids are even contributing money to pay for items out of their own savings.

Here are some ideas we got from the Rescue Mission:

Boys: sports balls, Hot Wheels, cartoon and super hero Band-Aids, puzzles, pens/pencils, crayons, notepads, coloring books, stickers, small story books, yo-yo’s, books, comic books.

Girls: Barrettes, headbands, clips/bows, necklaces, bracelets, rings, coin purses, stickers, pencils/pens, erasers, crayons, note pads, coloring books, small story books, jump ropes, fancy shoe laces, nail care items bubble bath items.

Teens/Adults: Key chains, word search books, crossword puzzles, combs, lotions, kandkerchiefts, scarves, perfumes, slippers, playing cards, novels, athletic gear.

Other ideas: Origami, bookmarks, crazy straws, glow sticks, mini flashlights, comfy socks, hat and glove sets. Some local charities need the necessities for their residents so think of adding items like hotel soaps, gifts in a jar, gift cards to grocery stores or personal care sets!

I’m sure you can think of a ton of different things to add to your stockings! It really depends on where you plan on donating them to and every item will bring a smile to someone’s face.

Want to do something a little further? Organize a Stocking Stuffing Playdate! Don’t worry you don’t have to teach everyone to sew! Ask your friends and family to come with a stocking (or two) and items to use to donate to a cause. If everyone brings extras to share for each stocking that makes it more magical. Make it a potluck… because every gathering is better with snacks!

If you want to get really ambitious ask your school, church or local shop to allow you to take in donations for the stockings. The more donated items the better. My daughter asked neighbors if they have anything they want to donate and the response has been wonderful.

Tis the season everyone! If you have any other ideas for this project please share them! I’d love to hear your stories if you complete this project!

 

 

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As bloggers we put a lot out there that can make us vulnerable to flaming, harassment, trolling and otherwise douchebaggery.

A lot of people don’t know that my daughter has Special Needs because it isn’t something I constantly talk about. It is something that empowers us and I don’t allow it to hold us back from having a full life. We truly don’t speak whinese about any obstacles in our way… we simply ninja kick them down, have some laughs and become stronger people.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post titled purposely aggressive: Why I Don’t Put Up with People’s Bullshit When it Comes to my Kid’s Food Allergies.

The post was meant to be an analogy on what anaphylaxis is… most people don’t get food allergies. I say that very clearly. I will educate, advocate and do everything within my means to keep my daughter safe. I’ve baked hundreds of cupcakes for classroom parties and playdates. I’ve provided classroom snacks, out of my own pocket, so there is no stress on the teacher. Food related projects? No big deal… I will find an alternative and purchase it. Hell, I even volunteer in the classroom.

I do all of this because I know how to manage my daughter’s allergies and keep her out of harms way. I know that I can’t expect anyone else to do this the way that I do. I have a system and process that is very successful and that inspires other families who are in our shoes. I’ve blogged about tips on allergies and birthday parties… as well as how to dine out with kid’s with food allergies. Yes, I’ve made an angry blog about parents who are lacking compassion because there are a lot of people who feel my child should be home schooled so her dietary restrictions don’t burden anyone.

A really rude and obviously angry blogger took it upon herself to leave this nasty comment on my blog.

Ani September 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I don’t think that it’s reasonable to expect everyone else to adjust their lives because your daughter has allergies. To say that cupcakes shouldn’t be allowed in the classroom because she is allergic is ridiculous. Why not just tell her not to eat them? If her allergies are so severe that simply being in the same room as a cupcake could kill her (???) why just not keep her home? What if a kid had a cupcake for breakfast and then breathes on her? Should they be banned from having cupcakes at home too? I have a niece w/severe peanut allergies and instead of insisting that everyone else works around her needs my sister just keeps her home in an allergen free environment. Or maybe your daughter’s allergies aren’t that severe? I just don’t get what you’re asking people to do here…

At first I laughed. I thought… okay she obviously didn’t read what this post was about or has some serious cupcake obsession. So, even though my daughter has manageable food allergies she should be home schooled so this bitch can bring cupcakes into the classroom? It is actually a School policy to have no classroom parties. Would she fight the school on this? What IS the big deal? It is a control issue and she obviously has a chip on her shoulder over whatever transpired at her son’s previous school. That doesn’t make it MY issue though.

It is sad that her niece has such a severe peanut allergy because it is very hard to manage. Those deathly peanut proteins can travel airborne at great distances. I am thankful that my daughters peanut allergy was always mild and we have to worry about foods that simple hand washing/wipes and strict avoidance keeps her relatively safe. But, the accusation that I am making up the severity of my daughter’s allergies is really pathetic.

She then followed up with:

Ani September 27, 2011 at 5:02 am [edit]

Sorry that you feel my comment was insensitive, but your demands are impractical. My autistic son only eats peanut butter & we had to pull him out of a private school because it was banned, should that happen in public schools too? As I stated before I have a niece with a TRULY severe peanut allergy and because my sister loves her and doesn’t want her to die a horrible painful death she is kept at home rather than try to police what others consume/keep on their person. Yes, you have a special needs child and that’s hard (I have one too) but parents like you who expect others to do the work for you make all of us look like entitled bitches! Btw, do you think kids leave the classroom every time they have a snack? Hopefully one of her classmates brings a cupcake one day so that you can learn a lesson about being so careless with your daughter’s life! Or, maybe instead of being a demanding bitch you could ASK the other parents to voluntarily help you out, because that’s what they’re doing HELPING YOU OUT and generally, when asking for help, please & thank you can go a long way.

So, because I advocate, pay for and provide food alternatives and don’t put up with Moms like this that makes me not care about my daughter? How about, she deserves a life full of everything she is physically capable of. Strength is in fighting, making the most out of life, being happy… not hiding. We do homeschool at times when she is too sick to attend. Her classmates, teachers and school staff miss her when she is gone. We have boxes of get well soon cards from all the times of her extended absences. Funny, none of the kids or families that have to deal with these restrictions have ever been thankful she isn’t there. I’m so glad they aren’t assholes. I love you guys!

Entitled: past participle, past tense of en·ti·tle (Verb)

  1. Give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something.

Yes, I am entitled actually. My daughter has a legal right to attend public school and not be discriminated against. I also wear my bitch badge loud and proud because I will not back down from bullies like this woman and I will stand by those who are in our shoes that need someone on their side.

The part that gets me the most? Her wishing harm on my daughter. Seriously? Anyone who would wish harm on any child obviously has some kind of issues. Wishing that someone would bring a cupcake to put my kid in harms way is just beyond fucked up. Oddly enough… Her son has Autism and she was tweeting her frustrations about how classmates treat him differently. How she is frustrated with the lack of considerations for him. That it makes her sad that what she felt were quirks were signs of him having autism. Yet, she can in the same day turn around and wish death on my kid? It is pathetic. Intolerance sucks all around… why continue the cycle if you know how that makes your child feel? Even though this chick is obviously attacking me I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain and isolation on any child. My friend’s who have kids with autism have a piece of my heart. I know the struggles one of my best friends face with her daughter who has mosaic downs. I would NEVER wish for any child to have anything harder than they already have it.

But, she is going to wish harm or possible death on my kid? Because I pissed her off for calling her out on MY blog? Because I made valid points to her accusations and she had to fling mud at me when her debate was being lost?

I really never would wish anything harmful on any child… I’d wish it on this Mom… because I’m not that great of a person and she kind of sucks at life in my book. I’m also a mama bear Ninja… and I will not allow anyone to bully, harass or threaten her.

Some people just don’t care about others… and that is exactly why I made this blog. That is why I write about these controversial topics. I know other readers who are in my shoes or my daughters take comfort seeing the lengths I go to and the shit I will not put up with. For them I write. For this chick? She can eat me where I shit.

I blog to inspire. I blog to motivate. I blog to make you all laugh and see that no matter how fucking hard life can get you can live, laugh and ninja kick. Yes, I will also stir the pot and make people do some soul searching. I share moments like the ones below where my daughter had the most amazing upbeat personality after 10 hours of labs, testing and appointments at UCLA Med… because people love to see our inspiring attitude.

I also blog to be a part of an amazing community of great people. The Special Needs mini conference at BlogHer was by far my favorite session… because we all have more in common. Because I was with my people who understand that this shit is hard but every child is still a child all the same. Check out what Julia Roberts (no, not that one) is doing at Support For Special Needs.

I also want to thank Ani for proving exactly why I write about people like her. Because those of us on the receiving end of that judgment, hate and ridicule need to stand up to these haters. These are the people that my kids and I deal with.

And I’ll say again in the legal rights of my child and in her public school you think she shouldn’t attend…

Her Legal Rights > Your Death Cupcakes

We. Win.

Have fun trolling my comments, trying to make yourself feel better while trying to discredit me or make me out to be a horrible Mom and otherwise proving how much you suck at life. I’ll be laughing at you over drinks with my friends.

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Childhood is about all those amazing milestones, memories and just being kids. As parents we want to not only give our kids a happy childhood but we want to see them thrive, grow and become amazing people. But, for some kids… childhood is full of doctor’s visits, hospitalization, treatment, pain, isolation and hopefully some kind of answers and support.

For some kids… they may not have the option to grow or thrive.

When a child is diagnosed with a chronic illness life isn’t the same. The day-to-day joys take a back seat to everything else the child and family endure. Emotional, physical and financial stress takes it’s toll on everyone. Family ties wear thin, the chains of friendship tend to break and the feeling that most people just don’t understand what you are going through clouds your life.

Every step forward is a challenge when each step is met with pain, uncomfortable glances, judgment, little to no progression and loneliness.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation helps children with chronic illness. Their Great Escapes program involves all inclusive events where the families can just enjoy their time with their children while someone else worries about all the details. For some families these Great Escape events might be among the last outings they’ll have with their sick children.

My daughter is a Starlight Kid and part of their Great Escapes program. This organization provides our family with amazing adventures where my daughter can develop emotional companionship, feel extraordinarily special and be in an environment that is accepting and friendly. The events, celebrities that we meet and memories are amazing and priceless…

But, in a very selfish world the fact we have a community to be a part of that truly is accepting and friendly is worth more than words can explain.

We were invited to a Harry Potter themed Bowling party that was generously donated by the Bickerstaff Family. Lunch was provided by CPK and dessert by Dandy Don’s Ice Cream. Mixing Harry Potter and Bowling was the perfect combination for our lil pack of geekery.

In all honesty I went shopping for my costume in my own closet… and added Slytherine knee-high socks!

I grew up bowling at every family reunion, cosmic bowling with friends in high school and it’s been sad at all the closings of great lanes over the years. The AMF Cerritos Lanes are on my top list of local bowling facilities and I still can’t believe I have never been there before! The place was immaculate and everything ran smoothly! It didn’t smell like bowling shoes!! The entire staff was super friendly, helpful and fun. They have reasonable prices and great party packages. This is going to become a new favorite spot for our family and friends. My daughter is now considering a birthday bowling party. I even wore bowling shoes… which is kind of a big deal considering I have this anti-feet-issue and the thought of putting my feet where other feet have sweat…. uuuuuugggghhhh…. But, they passed my crazy expectations!

Though, I did ask for the counter girl to give my shoes an extra spray!

Then… there was John Stamos.

Yes, the real John Stamos. I have a picture of him with the kids from a Starlight Event from last year but I didn’t get a picture with him. I decided to change that this year. Rawr.

All you Uncle Jesse fans… be jealous. That man still has his charisma and boyish charm. He was very sweet with the kids and took the time to talk to every family and take many pictures. He even did some dancing in the Dance Off Competition (which, BTW, my son was one of the lucky winners… that boy knows how to shake it!). There were some fun photo props as well…

We saw old friends… made new ones… welcomed new families to the Starlight Community and had a blast. My daughter got her face painted which was her favorite part of the event besides bowling.

We are forever thankful for these events and this organization that really knows how to help children, and their families, cope with serious illness. My daughter looks forward to every Starlight Great Escapes event we are able to attend. Every donation, gift and volunteer helps a Starlight Kid in so many ways. There are many ways you can help a child like mine or her friends by supporting this organization.

 

 

This is not a sponsored review… I was not compensated in any way to write about Starlight or any of the companies mentioned. All honest opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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How often has someone made you cupcakes just to brighten your day? What about your kids?

At first I thought I would write this blog post saying how stoked I am that my kid made egg and dairy free cupcakes all by herself when I was at a Girls Night Out.

I mean shit… she has made them with me for years but never on her own… and she did it so I wouldn’t have to worry about it tomorrow and wanted me to feel special when I came home.

She has a friend’s birthday party tomorrow and we have rad friends that are happy to let us bring cupcakes that are safe for all so my daughter doesn’t feel excluded at cake time. We also have a lot to do tomorrow since school starts soon and I feel like I’m going crazy trying to juggle geese… while bouncing in moon shoes… on a boat… that’s on fire.

Then I thought I might talk about single parent dating and how kids are seen as baggage. It’s like we have these signs on our foreheads that say “BACK OFF” or “DANGER” or “DAMAGED” just because we have kids. It is so typical to hear people be non supportive of “dealing” with kids that aren’t theirs. Really? Yeah, people can suck.

Then I was going to tie that in with how people are stupid to think that a kid who makes cupcakes for her Mommy is anything negative..

If people still think like that even with a thoughtful cupcake cutie then they are just jealous that no one is making them cupcakes. We would mock them and eat our cupcakes right in front of them! HA! Actually, I would mock them and she would give away her cupcakes even to kid haters… and she would then make me feel guilty. Like, really guilty.

Because I raised her to be better than her Mommy… the greedy cupcake keeper.

My nine year old cupcake creator also made me a card. She explained why she made the cupcakes for me and how she wants to one day open up a Cupcakery that has safe, allergy friendly and delicious options… just so people can have choices for food allergy sufferers at parties.

I just stared at them for awhile completely dumbfounded. I was both proud and amazed. Honestly, I started to cry.

I really don’t cry that often… it makes me want to punch myself in the face!

She has had life threatening allergies her entire life and it’s been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. To say that it’s been hard for us is an understatement but it is not something you will ever hear me complain about. I modify our lives, plan accordingly, keep her safe and try to avoid situations where she will feel like the weird food allergy kid.

I would give anything to take away the fear I have lived with for these nine years and I would give even more to take away her bad days, pain and everything she has gone through. But, I am so damn proud of that kid for being stronger, kinder and more thoughtful than most. She is who she is because of her challenges and I am a better person because I am both humbled by it and stronger… like a crazy ass Mama bear defending her cub.

Or… defending my cupcakes.

Tonight I realized that even though I always have guilt for having some non-kid time and I am often angry when my kid has to deal with more than most… that these moments wouldn’t be possible if everything was perfect. Perfection is a stupid mirage. Flaws make us glorious in our own ways. I’d rather be a flawed reality in an imperfect world than a perfect hologram of something that I’m not. There is a silver lining in everything…

or a chocolate center with blue and green frosting in a liner.

Either way I couldn’t be more proud.

And I also ate three of them so I’m on a sugar high and ecstatic Mommy rush at 3am. I really hope she loves me enough to also make me coffee in the morning!

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How often do you have those “I’m going to lose my damn mind” moments when you are traveling with your kids? Do you dread taking road trips with them? Do you just avoid it? Oh the smiles on their faces can quickly turn to tears, screaming, whining and you want to pound your face on your steering wheel… But, does it have to be that way?


We all know that traveling with kids is really hard but there are some ways you can make it easier on you, and them, and not want to cry yourself silly in a rest stop bathroom stall.

Tip 1: Avoid the day before traveling stress by preparing early!! That seems so simple but it is true. I am a work well under pressure type of person but I also don’t want to make my head pop off from stress! I pack up clothes, toiletries and essentials days in advance just so I don’t have to worry about it the day before. Gas up and load up your vehicle the night before you head out so you can get to sleep early and rest knowing that everything is taken care of!

Tip 2: Leave at the booty buttcrack of dawn and let the kids sleep in the car as much as possible! If you are driving five hours and they sleep for three of those then you are pretty much gold after that! I wake up anywhere between 3am and 4am the morning of a road trip. I load up the kids in their pajamas, get them all cozy with their travel pillows and we take off. When they wake up we stop, have breakfast (that I pack ahead of time), change clothes and we are off again.

Tip 3: Pack them their own travel bag filled with favorite toys, new books and fun on the go games and crafts.  Disconnect as much as possible and give them fun things to do! I make little travel scavenger hunt pages of landmarks and things they will see along the way. Things like: A Blue Car, A Y Shaped Tree, Someone Picking Their Nose (The kids LOVE this one and it ALWAYS happens! We can see you people!!).  They work together and get a sticker or small prize. I also play along to keep their competitive drive going… they love beating me in any games we play. It rarely happens.

Tip 4: Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Just bring them. Screw the crumbs!

Tip 5: Bring music your kids like even if it makes you want to poke your own eyes out. Why? It’s not always about us. Road trips can suck and kid’s music can be mind-numbing… but if it makes your kids happy to listen to Mary Had a Little Lamb or Wheels on The Bus then give them their time for their music. Sing along with them… don’t be shy… no one can hear you. Well, unless you have the windows down and/or you sing like a loud banshee.

Tip 6: Audio Books are rad for road trips! If you can get your kids their own listening devices (Don’t judge… I burn books onto CDs and give them old portable CD players… my kids don’t have ipods!) so they can listen at their level. Don’t want to spend the money on them? Okay, record yourself reading your child’s favorite book. Seriously, they will love it… again, unless you talk like a banshee.

Tip 7: Play a story game. One person starts the story, the next adds to it, and then the next person and so on. We love doing this. My son usually turns it into something about peeing or pooping… because he is a 4 year old boy but hearing him say “And then the Princess went on a boat and she farted so loud she scared aaaaall the fish out of the water!”

Tip 8: Don’t lose your shit. Just enjoy it as much as you can. The more positive and upbeat you are the more your kids will be. They feed off of us! You don’t want to be that crazy parent screaming in the car… because though you think no one can hear you everyone can see your crazy yelling mad face.
And that face isn’t pretty.


My outlook on traveling with kids is simple… the best thing I can do for them is not complain, make it fun, keep them entertained and make the most of it. Road trips are the moments that become the memories we treasure or they can be the trips that sucked. Either way… happy and safe travels!

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Friendships Should Not Require Lube

by Leila on July 9, 2011

My friend Charla said to me, “Relationships are the most important things in our lives!” and while I initially snickered at her adorable enthusiasm I knew how right she really is.

A relationship is defined as: The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected

By that definition it can definitely be said that I have a really great relationship with my battery operated friends.

When you really think about it all relationships in your life are the things that will comfort, guide, protect, motivate and potentially annoy the freaking crap out of you more than anything else. No matter what you do your life is surrounded by connections.

Connecting is easy but figuring out what a true friendship is will be the harder question and answer.

I’m not talking about surface “How do you do” bullshit two people say cordially in passing… I mean the real deal. The besties for life. The ultimate bromance. The man-wife and chick-hubby! The type of friendship that you know your homie has your back regardless if you talk daily, once a month, twice a year or pick up years later as if no time has passed.

Why? Because the connection is solid, easy and it doesn’t require any forcing.

It just fits right and no lube required.

Sure, no friendship is perfect and there will always be bumps in the road but no one should have to constantly make exceptions, walk on eggshells or after hanging out with someone want to poke their eyes out with spoons.

Just like a romantic relationship you cannot possibly know how to be cool with someone unless you know what you need out of that friendship. Everyone is different so therefore everyone has different expectation and those change all the time! All you can do is know you, your faults, your assets and stick to your expectations. Do you find yourself frustrated with a friendship? Is this something the other person is doing or do you expect something different than the friend can give? Is someone expecting someone else to change? It can be as simple as accepting that the other person has a different point of view or that two people just don’t mix well.

Of course you will find shitheads, selfish asshats and two-faced gossipy douchebags. It sucks when someone brings drama into your life. So, what if a friendship turns sour and becomes a frenemy? You need to flush it!

Removing a toxic friend from your life is like finally taking a big giant poop that you held on to for too long. It was uncomfortable holding on to it but you couldn’t find the right time or place to let it go. After the release you look in the porcelain bowl of the friendship and realize that it is just a bunch of shit you didn’t want to begin with.

Ultimately you are in control over the people in your lives so you control the friendships you keep. If you let shit get tracked in then get a broom, mop, steamvac and remove that shit from your home! Then invite the febreeze like friends over that help mask the smell and forget about that shit with some wine and laughs. Sweep out the negativity and welcome the positives.

I’m very thankful for all the amazing people in our lives. My kids and I are very fortunate to have so many loved ones that are there for us when we need them and include us in their worlds. I have friends that I have known for over a decade and new friends that are like extended family. I’d like to think that these awesome connections have been made because of the honesty and understanding of everyone’s needs (and bribery of food and endless supply of booze helps too!) Even though life has a habit of getting away from us sometimes a few drinks, lots of laughs and a good time is all a friendship needs.

Cheers to you all no matter if you are a new visitor here or a lifelong friend. Keep the positives going and release the poop! Live, laugh, don’t speak whinese and ninja kick!

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Unless you live under a rock, in a bubble or do not speak to anyone other than your cats you will realize by now that food allergies are on the rise. If your child doesn’t have food allergies and is in school then chances are they know someone who has food allergies. Food allergies at birthday parties can be scary for both the host and guests but there are a lot of ways to party without incidents!

 

The first step is simple and I am going to quote Jules from Pulp fiction here: “Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We are going to be a bunch of little Fonzies. And what’s Fonzie like? … He’s cool.”

 

Just. Be. Cool.

 

I can’t emphasize that enough! Stress, worry, irritation and resentment are just going to piss you off more. No matter if you are hosting a birthday party for your kid or your food allergic child is attending a birthday party one thing is obvious… everyone involved should be there to celebrate.

 

Yes, food allergies can cause discomfort, pain or even death. The guilt of something going wrong is terrible for everyone involved. Creating a shit-storm of bitchy doesn’t do any good.

 

The next step in being cool is all about communication.

 

What are the allergies? Talk about it. Reach out! Don’t sit there and stress. Let the allergies be known or ask what they are. You will go into this blindly if you don’t open up your mouth and talk! Once you know what the allergies are…

 

Can alternatives be offered? If it is a milk allergen is it cool to not offer goldfish crackers and provide wheat thins? If it is a wheat allergen what about corn chips? Also, gluten free pretzels taste just like wheat pretzels. What about the cake or ice cream? Popsicles are a just as, if not more, satisfying treat. Can rice crispy treats be made along with the cake if that is a safe alternative? Are the parents and hosts able to work together to figure out a menu? Want to get really ambitious? Try making something the kids can all enjoy, no one is left out and it tastes fantastic like the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake. That is if that mix is a safe alternative.

 

My daughter was allergic to so many foods that we would go to birthday parties with a mountain of rice crispy treats made with vegan margarine! Guess what was gobbled up faster than the cake?! I would always offer to bring snack alternatives if the host was willing to let me provide that. Sometimes they were… sometimes not. Either way is great! As a parent with a child with food allergies it’s best to always pack your own food, just in case, to have alternatives. Mistakes can happen. Someone could have overlooked an ingredient and the last thing you want is your kid standing there hungry! Be cool.

 

How severe are the allergies? Some kids are so severely allergic that they cannot even be in the same room or come into contact with the allergen. My daughter is one of those kids but has improved over the years. Her extreme sensitivities don’t prevent us from making the most of every party. We just modify our time at parties. We play, hang out and as soon as something really dangerous is served we politely exit.

 

If you or one of your guests is in this situation talk about it. Can food be kept to the absolute last part of the party? If food is going to be served halfway can the activities be done upon arrival so the kids can enjoy the fun stuff together? We have gone to parties for less than an hour, made the most out of it and my kids know that they always have a special treat waiting for them in the car. I’ve even made our own goodie bags… just in case.

 

In addition to talking to the adults in charge make sure you communicate with the kids! Kid’s need to be prepared and have an understanding to unique situations. I repeat “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” so often that my kids chant it along with me. It sucks to see any child left out but sometimes it has to happen but it does not have to be the end of the world. I will find out every detail I can about a party before taking my kids to it because that is my responsibility. Before I host a party I find out any dietary needs before I meal plan because that is my responsibility. Everyone having a happy time is more valuable than food.

 

But, what if something goes wrong?

 

It is a huge responsibility to take on food allergies. Mistakes can and will happen. Children with allergies should always have their medication and epi-pen on them if needed. Parents who are welcoming children into their homes who have severe allergies should educate themselves on what to do in an anaphylaxis emergency. Sometimes runny and puffy eyes will be the extent of a mistake. You just never know. If a mistake happens again everyone needs to remember to be cool during and after. Walking away with bitterness, guilt or pissy feelings isn’t going to do shit. Plus, kids feed off of those emotions so lock that away for their sakes.

 

What if you just can’t figure it out?

 

Is it too much stress? Will it create resentment? It’s okay to decline an invitation or tell a guest that you are freaking out and set up a birthday playdate outside of a potentially chaotic situation. Yes, it is disappointing for a child to miss out on having a buddy attend their party or your child not being able to join in on the fun but there is always another day.

 

What if the other person just isn’t being cool?

 

Well, that is a simple answer. Then don’t bother trying. Some people suck at dealing with stressful situations because its not worth the risk. Sometimes the best of efforts, alternatives, timing and being cool still ends up not outweighing negativity. Some people are going to see it as a burden or an annoyance and that just isn’t worth it. So, be cool and find something else fun to do with your kid(s) and don’t stress it.

 

 

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