Waiting for his sister

Except.

That word isn’t something you want to hear when you are at a prenatal checkup. It paralyzes you as it continues to echo in your ears.

Except… except… except…

There is no amount of delicate bedside manner that can make a blow like that any less painful.

It’s just one word. One freaking word that halts you.

Except would be an amazing word if it was followed up with something like…

Except, she’s wearing a ninja mask.

Except, you are further along than expected, she’s going to be delivered today healthy and painlessly. Yay, no more pregnancy!

Except, we found a million dollars while we were examining you. Here is your cash – cleaned up and sterilized of course.

Oh that last one painted a weird visual. Sorry, everyone.

In the fraction of a second all of this ran through my head as soon as my doctor said “Except…”

Yes, even the bit about the million dollars. My mind has strange coping mechanisms for stress.

I have placenta previa – which means the placenta is too close to my cervix and that makes natural delivery complicated – this is pretty common and not a big concern.

But… there is always a freaking but… in addition to that I also have vasa previa – which means there are vessels that aren’t in the right place, and are exposed, which means there is a possibility of them rupturing which puts my baby at risk. If there is a rupture I could lose her within minutes. That right there makes every other insignificant complaint I could have possibly had irrelevant.

Thankfully, this was all caught early and doesn’t pose a developmental concern. She can keep cooking until it’s time for a c-section (which I haven’t had one before) and be out of harms way so long as there isn’t a rupture. Vasa previa is very rare, hard to diagnose and not preventable. I feel like those three things are a common theme in my life when it comes to health hurdles my 11 year old daughter. When it is caught early that increases her chances of survival which is all I can focus on right now. As always, I have to make the most out of the cards I was dealt while trying not to freak out.

I’m on modified bed rest until, what feels like, the end of time and space. This isn’t easy for someone like me who is constantly going. I have to reduce my stress, which resulted in some massive purging of negative people and situations in my life that I refuse to waste energy on. I have had to become comfortable asking friends and family for help. I have to fight everything that is naturally me by slamming down my brakes and doing what is best for my daughter who needs to “Just keep cooking”. I’m at a point where the stress doesn’t consume me because I’ve had to force myself to get there. It’s not easy since I usually reduce my stress by finding solutions and the only solution is that I sit, wait and hope for the best.

I’ve made a long list of projects I’ve procrastinated on so I can keep busy. I cannot sit around and watch TV or play games all day because that weighs me down. I have to feel productive at the end of the day even if I can’t physically do everything I am used to doing. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, living in fear of losing my daughter, or complaining about this situation I am going to spend the next few months accomplishing all I can while sitting on my butt.

I almost didn’t share this news. It’s taken me weeks to decide to go “public” with it. It feels different when I share hurdles that I help my loved ones overcome compared to something that is about me. I get very uncomfortable when I’m not 100% and this isn’t the sort of attention I like. I also don’t like to cause anyone stress. Above all, I absolutely hate feeling vulnerable.

I would rather avoid the subject and then months later casually mention, “Oh and by the way, I was on bed rest for 4 months and couldn’t really hang out… sooo, whatcha wanna eat?!”

The friends I’ve known for a long time can probably go on for hours about all those “Oh and by the way” moments I have thrown at them after the fact. Sorry, guys! (Insert evil laughter here)

The reason I changed my mind is because I’ve realized there are a lot of parents who are, or have been, in the same boat as I am. Those parents who have had to play the waiting game and hope that their babies keep cooking as long as possible are more common than I ever realized.

We all want to have healthy and thriving babies, and we try not to think about those worst case scenarios. But, what I have learned in this past month is that there is so much strength in embracing these challenges and taking comfort in the miraculous success stories. I’m choosing to share what I’m going through so I can not only explain why I may pick up obsessive habits like making hats, but, to also connect with others who are finding themselves in a similar situation. Maybe my experience will provide some comfort or raise awareness no matter what the outcome.

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my “Nothing can hold me back” attitude and I plan to do just that with this situation as well. I’ve had several friends express how inspiring I am when life throws obstacles in my way. Truthfully, I don’t see myself as inspiring… I just try to get through every crazy situation with the least amount of damage while focusing on the kickassery times that are just beyond the struggle.

It is going to be a long road. I am hoping for the best while making the most out of each day while my daughter continues to cook in there and uses my ribs and abdomen as punching bags.

Live, laugh and ninja kick to happiness. Always.

{ 23 comments }

Food Allergies and Classroom Parties

There are a couple food allergy misconceptions I want to clear up with this post.

The first is that peanuts are NOT the only food allergy that can be life threatening. I don’t understand why this is a common assumption. Yes, peanuts are harder to control because the proteins that cause the allergic reaction can become airborne which is a total nightmare.

Peanuts are harder to manage because of the airborne aspect. People who are allergic to peanuts tend to have more frequent breakouts because avoidance is trickier than with something like milk. However, they are not the only fatal food allergy.

Any food allergy can potentially become fatal. Yes. Any.

That is the second thing I want to clear up when it comes to food allergies. If any food allergy can potentially become fatal, and there is no way to predict when a food allergy can become fatal, therefore all food allergies should be taken seriously.

To me, that logic is sound. However, not everyone will agree.

How Do People Die From Food Allergies?

Let me explain how people die from food allergies. An anaphylactic reaction can start out like any other food allergy response, but it turns for the worst very quickly. The body starts forming hives and swelling internally and under the skin – that is called angioedema. Air passages are blocked off and the reaction can suffocate the person within minutes. The only thing that can stop an anaphylactic reaction is an injection of epinephrine aka epi-pen. It is adrenaline that rapidly reduces the symptoms.

My daughter has, unfortunately, gone into anaphylactic shock one time in her life and that day will always haunt me. I almost lost her that day and the swelling was so horrible I didn’t even recognize her.

The only way to prevent an anaphylactic reaction is by complete avoidance. That seems easy but it isn’t as straightforward as that in a world that revolves around food.

The first time someone is exposed to a food that becomes an allergy it is because the immune system has decided that food is the enemy. The body thinks that food is something harmful and it freaks out by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Our immune system is what protects our body from harm and in the case of food allergies our immune system is being a bit paranoid – no one knows why some people’s immune systems develop allergies, and no one understands why the magnitude of the reaction varies so much.

If you know about Oral Immunotherapy that is a different topic that involves a clinical setting, initiated and controlled by a board-certified allergist and immunologist over a long period of time. Exposure to a food allergy in a clinical setting is a different circumstance than being exposed sporadically. Oral Immunotherapy is not something anyone does without a doctor overseeing it’s progression. I just want to clarify the difference so there isn’t a misunderstanding of the two.

The only way to stop your body from freaking out and creating IgE’s that cause allergic reactions is by avoiding sporadic exposure. No exposures = no angry antibodies. If your body is not being exposed to that allergen then it has nothing to attack.

Imagine your body is like a castle and your immune system is the castle’s defense system. The IgE’s are the soldiers who attack invaders. The more times your castle is attacked the more you build up your defenses. You reinforce your borders with more soldiers, your soldiers are on high alert and may be a little spazzy. You are expecting battle and ready to attack these enemies every time they poke their heads up on the horizon. If this battle continues to happen over, and over, and over, and over then your body keeps building up the IgE’s.

Continually putting your defense system on alert can result in an uncontrollable and devastating battle.

That is where anaphylactic shock comes into the picture.

Peaceful times in your body creates peaceful antibody soldiers.

The theory is that the more avoidance you have the more your soldiers chill out and it is possible they “forget” that something was an enemy. The longer you go without exposure the less paranoid and strained your defense system becomes. Studies have shown that you are more likely to “grow out” of an allergy if you do not have sporadic exposures. Studies have also shown that the more you expose your body to an allergen the more you increase the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction.

When someone tells me they, or their loved one, has a food allergy I cannot help but stress the importance of strict avoidance. Just a bite of a “mild” food allergy and some benadryl can do more harm than good in the long run. It’s just not worth pushing it even if it is not easy.

When my daughter was an infant, and she was allergic to well over twenty foods that were all possibly life threatening, I was told it would be improbable to avoid all of her allergens to allow her IgE levels to lower. Notice I did not say impossible. I was just told it would be too difficult. It has been difficult but it hasn’t been impossible and we have been quite successful despite a few battles. Our lifestyle is creating a safe home environment and careful measures outside of the home to minimize her exposure. It is not easy but it is what’s best for her.

We have been, mostly, successful. When she has had an unfortunate exposure it sets her back weeks and even months. I see the difference every time she has an allergic reaction – She has a reaction and her body becomes so obviously on alert that the slightest exposure after causes a more severe reaction every time until her body calms down again.

She is now eleven and her food allergy count is down to five. She still has insanely elevated IgE levels but she is improving. It is unclear what exactly has caused her to “lose” some allergens, but we do know that strict avoidance has significantly helped her IgE levels improve. We know that her food allergies can continue to improve or they can change for the worst any day. We just make the most of it and appreciate what we have that day.

The wild card in the deck of allergies is that continuous exposure isn’t the only way a food allergy can go from mild to worse. The scariest thing about food allergies is that you never know when an exposure to an allergen is going to be mild or fatal. One day you can have the sniffles. The next time your airways could close and the only thing that will save your life is with an epi-pen. On the other hand you can have twenty days of sniffles and never need an epi-pen.

You just never know.

But, I Don’t Have To Worry About Food Allergies… Or Do I? Should I?

Anyone can also develop a food allergy at any point in their life without warning. It happens more often than you may assume.

I’ve grown up with mild food allergies. I used to only react to pork and on a very minor scale. I would have to eat an entire ham in order to have any reaction. When I was a teenager I ate Mahi Mahi for the first time and broke out in hives. About ten years after that I ate it again and had a horrible reaction, when I was on a camping trip, after eating one bite. Two years ago I started to react to shellfish. I had never had a shellfish reaction before that day. I was actually on a blogger trip to Santa Barbara as a guest of Toyota and we were eating at an amazing seafood restaurant on the pier. The reaction came on quickly and I thankfully had benadryl on hand because it’s always in my purse due to my daughter’s food allergies. It wasn’t a horrible reaction but my lips swelled up and I broke out in hives. My friend’s and I kind of joked about it all because I looked like a cartoon character but I took it very serious. I completely avoid shellfish now.

A lot of people feel burdened by the increasing number of food allergies. Food allergies being managed at school, and especially over classroom birthday parties, is a huge topic of debate. It is a topic that has strong dividing lines that are exhausting for families of kids with food allergies. Some people feel so strongly against food allergy accommodations that they feel there should be specialized schools for kids with food allergies or they should all be homeschooled. Some people are of the opinion that the only food allergies that are worth accommodating are those that are deemed “severe”.

The problem with that line of thought is no one has an idea when a reaction will go from mild to severe. What causes a runny nose today could kill a child tomorrow.

The other problem with that line of thought is that anyone can become allergic at any time even those that have no family history of food allergies. So, someone screaming for their non-food allergic child’s rights could easily find themselves on the other side of the fence.

Someone could eat something like cashews without any issues their entire life and, without warning, go into an anaphylactic reaction from just one bite.

I will never be okay with or agree with the attitude of excluding, discriminating or punishing those with disabilities. Yes, some people feel that if it isn’t their problem then they shouldn’t have to deal with it. Some people feel that their right over eating what they want is more important than the right of a person with burdening food allergies. The attitude of “Suck it up and deal with not being able to eat the food you want.” can go both ways.

I would rather be known for the person who shows compassion, empathy and looks beyond my own selfish impulses rather than the exact opposite.

It is important that the world develops a little more compassion, patience and understanding about food allergies because while it seems like someone else’s problem… it could very easily become something that changes your life, or the life of a loved one, with just one bite.

We do not push for accommodations outside of school. We opt out of a lot of activities, celebrations and birthday parties. I host mot family gatherings because I do not want to burden anyone with her food allergies and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel guilt if they mess up. We have cut and distanced ourselves from many people who just don’t get it and don’t want to. That is our choice. We do have some of the most amazing friends in our lives who go above and beyond to make sure my daughter is safe and I appreciate them so much. For every selfish, bitter and entitled person who have encountered I am thankful that there are a dozen of the opposite in their place. These hurdles have made my daughter a wonderful, empathetic and strong young lady who appreciates genuinely rad people in her life.

It doesn’t take much for one person to consider the life, well being and care of another person over themselves despite the excuses they may have. One act of compassion may be a burden in a moment of time for one person but it is, literally, worth a lifetime for the person who’s life could end.

I hope more people choose compassion over selfishness.

I hope more people choose life over a death cupcake in the classroom.

Thank you for taking the time and stopping by. My daughter reads my blog and has a lot of input on what I write about when it involves her. I do moderate comments that are extremely hateful because she doesn’t need that and this our space. I’m happy to debate and hopefully enlighten. She does appreciate all of the kind words and general awesomeness and we do our best to laugh off the … yanno, other stuff.

Live, laugh and ninja kick. 

{ 5 comments }

food allergies and classroom parties

Photo Credit: Amazing and Atopic – THANK YOU!

After the interwebs uproar over everyone’s right (or not) to party in the classroom I decided to finish this article I started writing awhile ago. This is all about how I manage my child’s food allergies in the classroom when it comes to classroom parties. My daughter is now in middle school and through her elementary school years we learned a lot on how to help her teacher’s manage food allergies in the classroom. My son is now in the first grade and his allergies are managed completely differently because his are not as severe.

Every child is different. Every school, school district and teacher is different. These are just general tips to help provide some alternatives to help ease the potential classroom wars over “death cupcakes”.

These tips may also help those with special medical related dietary restrictions as well.

Know Your Situation and Educate Yourself

Your biggest asset and ammunition is going to be empowering yourself with education. Become very informed, knowledgeable and make sure you are clear on the misinformation out there. The more informed you are the better you are able to appropriately advocate for your child.

The first thing you should ask yourself and your child’s doctor is, “How severe is the risk?” – Yes, there is a huge difference between an anaphylactic reaction and an upset stomach. It is important that you always act appropriately in the best interest of your child.

Food Allergies and Classroom Parties

If your child needs an epi-pen then proceed appropriately and know your rights. A life threatening reaction needs extra steps and care to make the classroom manageable and safe. You will want to look into a 504 Plan and discuss it with your child’s doctor. A 504 Plan includes accommodations so that your child has safe access to all school activities in public and even most private schools. It will also include an emergency and health plan to ensure that your child’s needs are met in case of an allergic reaction. With a 504 plan it legally protects your child under the ADA American’s with Disabilities Act. It will become your trump card in situations where you may find yourself frustrated with the lack of accommodations or support from other parents, teachers and even faculty.

If your child has a disability that can be triggered by food then this can also apply towards your situation. Again, seek the advice of a medical professional.

In some situations your child may be best suited with an IDEA plan or IEP. There is a lot of information out there on the differences between all of these accommodations so I am not going to go into too much detail about them.

I also suggest speaking to a local advocacy program that can inform you of your child’s rights within your school district and county. I’ve worked with a couple and they were a plethora of information.

If your child’s food allergies or dietary restrictions are not life threatening that does NOT mean you do not have rights or that you cannot find appropriate accommodations. You will probably have an easier time if your child’s food allergies or dietary restrictions aren’t life threatening – at least that is what I have experienced with my son’s needs compared to my daughters.

No matter what category you are in you should know the following:

What are all of your child’s food allergies?

How does your child need to avoid these allergens? Airborne? Contact? Ingestion?

What medications does your child take?

What are the type of reactions your child has?

How does your child describe their reactions?

Does your child know their medications, dosage and how to administer them properly?

You will want to discuss these things with an allergist and work out the details on what is the best approach for your child. To be perfectly honest – a parent’s opinion doesn’t hold as much weight as a doctor’s request. You will want your child’s medical team to chime in on these facts so that any hurdles along the way you can have that added protection. Don’t expect your doctor to do all of the work for you but they can be a safety net, resource and support system.

After you have a clear picture of what your child needs at school it is time to find out what policies are in place with the school district and school. Sometimes a lot of the concerns you may have are easily resolved without having to do much work.

For example: Many school districts ban classroom food related parties or classroom parties in general. For some reason a lot of people like to blame food allergy families. However, this has a lot more to do with taking away classroom instruction time, liability and education disruption. Holiday parties are also a topic of debate so many schools have opted to remove classroom parties to make it fair for all. If this policy is in place then, hopefully, the school complies with the district policies and that removes any of the battles for parties inside the classroom.

Of course some schools or teachers ignore these types of policies and will allow things to slide. That is why becoming informed is important and proceeding in the way that suits your circumstances.

Some schools ban allergies and are very food allergy friendly. Some schools have found themselves in the news because parents have asked for a child with food allergies to be homeschooled. It is all situational and test scores become the least of our worries when we start evaluating a school for our food sensitive children.

You may wonder what the best method is to gather the information on policies. I go directly to the school district, nursing services and special needs department first. Most schools have the information posted publicly or you can request policies.

Then I approach the school. If you know your child and can explain your situation clearly and show an understanding of school policies and procedures it makes the world of difference.

There is a big difference between what some parents may feel they should get, what their child is legally entitled to and what is possible. Unfortunately, many uninformed and unreasonable parents have made headlines and created big waves demanding accommodations that aren’t possible which can make it difficult to create that clean slate for your child. Yes, we want our children to be safe, included and happy but there is a balance and work goes along with achieving this. It starts with us.

If you act like a crazy freakaziod parent you will probably be treated like one.

Treat everyone at that school as if they are a part of your team and you are all in this together. It is not you and your child against them. Be patient, understanding and strong. I cannot emphasize that enough.

My daughter’s first principal is one of my favorite people on this planet and I mean that sincerely. He was such an amazing amount of support for her. We learned a lot together on our road of managing her very specific, severe and difficult allergies at school. That was a relationship that grew over time and if I acted like a jerkface I am sure it wouldn’t have played out the way it did. Not to say he didn’t see me have some very bad, angry and on the verge of losing my mind moments but the point is that I went into it as this person is my ally – not my enemy. It worked out.

You won’t always find supportive faculty staff. That is just the reality of it. Even if food allergies weren’t a factor there are just some people on the school grounds that you seriously wonder why they are even allowed to be around children. You have to accept that and just know how to work around some people’s quirks and know who you can rely on. You will not be able to get everyone on the team of food allergy awesomeness but you can figure out how to work with them anyway.

Always show genuine appreciation for those on your team who get it and have your back and hopefully you will find more awesome team members than sucky ones.

I also suggest doing all of this before your child begins school. Start early, prepare long before most kids enter school and before you start going to kindergarten tours. It is also good to get the ball rolling early so that the school may be able to place your child with a teacher that doesn’t have a heavily food focused program or one that is just known for being especially accommodating for special needs. It is better to get matched to the right teacher for your child than try to change one who is the worst match possible.

Believe me, I know this from experience.

In the Classroom – Teachers Rock

Your child’s teacher is going to become one of the most important people in your lives for that entire school year. When your baby isn’t with you he/she will be with their teacher. That teacher has anywhere from twenty to well over thirty other students to take care of, wrangle, educate and inspire. Teaching is not an easy job and I respect my teacher friends and family completely because they deal with more insanity than we can’t even imagine.

I’m not a butt kissing kind of person. I’m too authentic for that. I’ve had anywhere from texting/facebooking/socializing friendships with my kid’s teachers to cordial volunteering and holiday gifts relationships. I bring this up because I’ve seen on forums that parents should bribe and kiss a teachers butt for preferential treatment.

I’m against this whole butt kissing to get what you want attitude in school completely. I do think you can respect a teacher, be helpful and adore everything they do without being a fake sycophant.

Having said all that I do think that parents should be exceptionally generous to our rockin teachers when it comes to gifts. Why? Simply because they deserve it not because parents should be crawling up their butts.

What does a teacher really need from you?

Patience first and support next. Your child’s teacher is going to be the person who is going to have to be the buffer between other parents and the classroom. If there is any flack for policies or accommodations because of your child’s food allergies then the teacher is going to get it. The teacher is going to need you to be patience and supportive in any way you can. Sometimes things may become difficult for you, your child and the teacher so they are going to need you as much as you need them. It’s not easy to advocate for one in a crowd of thirty even if it is their job.

If possible volunteer as much as you can and especially during field trips and class parties. Don’t be a pest about it but be present, helpful and full of awesomeness.

You will want to discuss how your child’s teacher manages food related parties in the classroom.

What is the policy on classroom party or holiday celebrations?

What about birthday parties?

If parties are allowed then you have to weigh two things – if your child has a severe allergy do you want to push for a no party policy OR can a non-food related party option be offered? What about store bought and approved allergy friendly foods that are safe for everyone to eat? What if they party outside of the classroom and you provide alternatives? The goal is to keep the learning environment safe first.

My son’s allergies are not as severe as my daughter’s. Ever since preschool I have offered allergy friendly snacks and provide them. His teachers keep the snacks on hand and he is happy to have his own treat when other food is offered that he cannot have. I am fine with this. He is fine with this. A lot of parents ask me what allergy friendly goodies they can provide for him for birthdays and holidays and I am beyond appreciative of it. I don’t demand it. It works for his situation.

My daughter is a different story. She cannot physically come into contact with some of her allergens without breaking out in hives. If she touches that allergen and it gets into her mouth, eyes or nasal passages it can be fatal. Classroom parties cannot happen around her. Period. It can kill her.

Alternatives have been parties outside, on the grass or lunch benches, at the end of the day before school lets out where she has a treat she can safely have that we provide or everyone gets an allergy friendly snack. Her classroom has to be free of the allergens so when she is sitting at her desk to learn she can learn without being at risk. Yes, this has cause some serious problems with pushy parents and not so strict teachers. This is where her 504 Plan and IEP became necessary.

Once a parent had pushed a classroom party with food that wasn’t safe, the teacher folded, money had already been collected for this unapproved party and my daughter was going to be in a very high risk situation. I was furious. She was devastated. Canceling it would have meant possible social backlash for her and myself because of the parents behind it. The party was outside, my daughter and friends got to party with the principal for an hour and it all worked out. It was a choice to be flexible and find an alternative and it worked out.

It also never happened again.

I try to do everything possible to offer reasonable alternatives that make peace because she’s gotta learn to be flexible while being a great advocate for herself. Life is full of choices and she does learn that sometimes situations aren’t accommodating but we can find kick butt solutions that are more fun anyway. Be open to reasonable alternatives that don’t put your child at risk.

Unfortunately, not everyone is reasonable so sometimes I throw down her disability rights card over their death cupcakes and they can juice up on the hate-o-rade all they want.

Popsicle parties are a huge hit. A bigger hit over cupcakes and donuts on a hot day. Allowing younger children to have a bubble party on the grass before school lets out is also a hit. A special reading time, pajama and movie party or even an “electronics day” are awesome alternatives. My point is that the possibilities are truly endless that a school celebration doesn’t have to focus on any kind of food.

Sometimes teachers want to offer a class party as an incentive and it is part of their lesson plan so try to work with them on it. I have, on many occasions, provided the teacher with snacks for the entire classroom that were allergy friendly so that he/she did not have to worry about reading ingredients or making a mistake. I donate these to the school or classroom and I am happy to do so. I know that not everyone can make this happen but if it is within your abilities then it’s a wonderful way to give back to the school.

I can’t set out an exact plan for you or your child when it comes to school. There are just way too many variables and circumstances. I find that every year changes for us so I can imagine you are all dealing with an ever changing deck as well.

My approach hasn’t been without hurdles. It’s far from flawless. I am the first to provide as many reasonable alternatives, resources and support but I am also the absolute first to throw a verbal choke slam down and sprinkle it with some word-fu as needed to make sure my daughter is safe. My daughter’s health situation is very difficult and life threatening. On top of her having food allergies she also has juvenile idiopathic arthritis, an autoimmune disease, eczema, asthma and chronic urticaria. She is a happy, thriving and amazing self advocate who has known a lot of unfortunate struggles. I never thought she would be able to attend middle school safely but she is now.

Food Allergies and Classroom Parties

The biggest compliments I’ve ever received have to do with how amazing, well informed and strong she is when it comes to her health and struggles.

I’m not a medical professional. I’m just like every other allergy parent out there. All I can offer everyone reading this is some insight into our world and hope that it helps in some way. It’s not easy and I’ve been on this road for awhile now and will continue ninja kicking, with my allergy princess of doom by my side, to happiness in this seemingly selfish death cupcake filled world.

Oh and feel free to comment or drop me an email with any questions you have about food allergies. I can offer advice, support and encouragement to help our ever expanding food allergy community.

Thank you all for stopping by.

Live, laugh and ninja kick.

ninjakicktodayintheface

{ 5 comments }

Birthday Parties in the Classroom

When a food allergy debate pops up on the interwebs I start getting flooded with links and my awesome people asking me how I feel about it or asking if I will chime in. The scenario is usually the same – Someone out there is annoyed that his or her child cannot bring what they want to school because of someone’s food allergies. This week Carina Hoskisson on Huffington Post is asking why my child’s allergies mean she cannot bring her homemade death cupcakes to school for her beloved child’s birthday.

Update: The same article was also posted to “Today’s Mama”. 

Well, she isn’t asking about my daughter specifically, but very well could have so I decided to answer directly. Carina, let me clear up some obvious misconceptions you have about this topic and maybe give you some insight so you, along with your friends, can stop whining about this potentially fatal topic.

“All over the country parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people’s children thanks to the skyrocketing number of food allergies and food intolerances. (They both have similar symptoms, but intolerances are generally considered less serious and not life-threatening.) “

Correction – Parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of children who have a disability and need to have a safe, secure and functional school setting so they can attend for the purpose of school. That purpose of school is to learn, not to eat cupcakes or celebrate your child’s birthday party. It doesn’t matter if there was one student or twenty in the classroom – their disability and legal rights trumps your preferences for birthday parties. Period.

You can throw a pity party with cupcakes over that fact if you want.

Additionally, reactions to food allergies and a food intolerance are very different. One should not be taken more or less seriously than another. Intolerances should not be considered less serious because you are assuming there isn’t an autoimmune disease that is triggered by said intolerance. Ultimately, it is irrelevant if it’s an anaphylactic reaction or an intolerance because both are an unfortunate disability for that child. Don’t make light of either of them because you simply don’t understand the difference. We live in the age where information is at our fingertips any time we want – use it.

“To a certain extent, I get it. “

No you obviously don’t…. But, nice try.

“I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous.”

Then you are obviously ridiculous because you contradict this attempt at making yourself not seem like a selfish person who cares more about the type of cupcake you want for your kid rather than the well being of a child. Or did you mean you would only accommodate over a peanut butter cookie and not any other fatal allergens?

“My children’s school requires that we only provide store-bought treats because some children have allergies or dietary restrictions.”

You are misinformed and assuming on this one. Most school districts along with PTA policies state that any food brought to the classroom for celebration or part of an event has to be store bought and pass safety regulations. This has to do with liability. Same goes for school events when they have to research vendors who are serving food. Your lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake may give the kids food poisoning. No one wants their children being fed listeria, e coli or salmonella no matter how delicious you claim them to be.

“I don’t always get to eat what people are serving, but I certainly don’t demand that my friend make me a separate cake for me on her birthday.”

Your egg white allergies and sainthood for not demanding that your friends make a separate cake have nothing to do with what is appropriate inside a classroom. It’s honestly a little pathetic that you would even try to compare the two just to make you seem like you “get” it.

“Some schools have even gone the route of banning all classroom birthdays and celebrations, which is ridiculous.”

Actually, a lot of school districts banned classroom parties because they take up valuable classroom instructions. All schools should ban classroom birthday parties from school NOT because of food allergies but because children are in school to learn not to eat your damn cupcakes for your child. Why is the classroom YOUR platform to have the party you deem worthy of your kid? Why do you feel entitled to take away an hour of instruction from twenty to thirty other kids because you want them make your kid feel special? You think it’s selfish for your child not to eat cupcakes or whatever crap you want to bring, but a lot of people don’t even want their kids eating junk food or taking away classroom time for your kid.

The classroom is not for your celebrations no matter what the occasion. Have a party at the park after school. Prepare whatever the crap kind of cake you want in your home and have thirty kids get hopped up on sugar on your own time and dime. It’s not the school’s responsibility to host your child’s party, but it is the school’s responsibility to keep their students safe.

“However, my kid shouldn’t have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can’t eat it.”

“The fear of one shouldn’t outweigh the rest.”

“Let’s stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake…”

This is where I lose my temper on people who have little common sense or compassion for others.

No one is telling you to forgo your son’s birthday cake because another child can’t eat it. You are being asked not to do it in the classroom that would harm another child.

I will be very blunt about this – Your child’s birthday cake does not mean more than my daughter’s life. If you truly think that your death cupcakes are more important than a child’s life, then I am so thankful not to know you. It makes me sick that parents would try to fight to put my daughter’s life in danger over a birthday party at school.

Your child’s birthday party in the classroom could easily take away the rest of my daughter’s birthdays. Could you live with that? Or would you just justify a tragedy like that with “Well, it’s the girl’s fault for even being in my kid’s classroom.”

Your view on how your child’s birthday should be celebrated in a classroom is completely selfish, uninformed and you should be embarrassed for sitting down at your keyboard and whining about it. You should seriously stop whining about how hard the world is for your child’s birthday party to be inconvenienced because of food allergies and maybe be a little thankful that this is the least of your worries in your, obviously, perfect world.

The road of food allergies for my daughter has been filled with people like you and I have gone out of my way to do everything in my power to work with other parents, make sure she is safe and even throw down her legal rights over their entitled preconceived notions. Ultimately, we always win and situations like this help me weed out the people who are not worth our energy. I am constantly thankful for the caring, open minded, selfless and compassionate people in my life that don’t even flinch at any accommodations they CHOOSE to make for my daughter’s safety.

They love her that much not to be such a jerk over what she cannot control and that could end her life.

I do not know you at all. I am trying so very hard not to judge you. I’m simply going off of what you have put out there in your article which, to me, just screams “Yet another uninformed, entitled parent, who doesn’t want to think outside the box and they want to bitch and moan over the world not being the way they want it to be”. I do hope that you can see outside your misinformation and assumptions and maybe grow a little more from this.

However, if you still think that your child’s cupcakes inside the classroom are more important than my daughter’s life then I will gladly show you multiple things that you can shove somewhere uncomfortably. 

I’m not going to apologize for my tone, harsh words or visuals. They also make me laugh despite how angry I am.

For everyone who gave me a heads up about this article – Thank you. For all of you who I know through my blog, or “real life” who have been cheering my daughter on or appreciating how much I advocate for kids who deal with people like this or those who are in the same boat as us – this is all for you.

For my not so baby girl who now reads my blog regularly and helps encourage me to keep fighting the good fight for her – I love you and your health hurdles have never been and never will be anything negative in our world. They are simply you and nothing more. Don’t let people like this hold you back or get you down. You are an amazing self advocate who is compassionate, caring and a better person for the struggles you have had to face in a world surrounded by people like this. I’m proud of you. Focus on the rad people out there who have your back. Oh and please… clean your room! 

Thanks for stopping by my ninjas. Let’s all keep living, laughing and ninja kicking to happiness and a, hopefully, more compassionate place.

Update 2/23/14: I decided to finish an article about how I manage food allergies and classroom parties for my children. If you are looking for some insight on how we make it a success and overcome hurdles hopefully you will find it of use. Thank you all for the amazing response to this. 

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I guess I expected bigger topics to become a source of annoyance as a parent since something like boys and baby dolls never crossed my mind. Why would boys and baby dolls be an issue? It shouldn’t be… but to some it is.

Sucks for them.

Years ago at the early stages of my blog I wrote about my son wanting a baby doll for Christmas. Nothing has changed about my position on parenting that kids should be free to choose their interests and it’s my job to encourage them no matter what. Over the years my son’s baby doll has been on most of our road trips and camping trips. I say most because there was this one camping trip where “Joshy” was not to be found the day before we left. He was upset. We ended up making a stop along the way to welcome JJ to our family… but as soon as we found Joshy when we got home JJ was replaced. Sorry, dude.

Joshy the baby doll has been loved, nurtured, cared for and adored like any baby doll should. What my son’s baby doll has also experienced was riding down a huge hill on a skateboard and almost getting sucked away with the waves at the beach. My son has taught his baby doll how camp, fish, build stuff with his tools, ride a bike, fly off of the back of the bed of a truck with a makeshift napkin cape, how to scare his older sister, how to “spin in circles until he pukes” and many more awesome things a Dad or big brother would teach a little boy.

Boys and Baby Dolls

boys and baby dolls hiking

boys and baby dolls at the park

Why would any of this be a bad thing? What exactly is wrong with boys and baby dolls, again? Oh yeah… nothing.

Kids Are Mean

Then this happened… I shared this on Instagram

Boys and Baby Dolls - It Can Hurt

At school they had a celebration to have a pajama day and a movie. The kids were allowed to bring a stuffed animal. My son chose his baby doll. I admit… I was hesitant to support that but I left it up to him. I was concerned kids would make fun of him. Unfortunately, they did. He has been having a hard time dealing with this since then and it’s breaking his heart. It makes me completely angry on a  - hulk smash want to high five people in the face – level.

He asked me with tears in his eyes, “Is something wrong with me because I’m weird and I like a toy that other boys say I’m not supposed to like?”

I got so mad I replied with, “Well those kids are jerks that suck at life and are just suppressed because someone didn’t love them enough to let them play with dolls…” and he laughed hysterically…

then I said “Okay, please don’t repeat that.”

I’m not perfect.

I told him “You are not weird. You are awesome. Joshy is awesome. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise”

They Are Toys – End of Story

We had a long talk about how some kids are not allowed choices and are told something is a boys toy or a girls toy. I also told him some kids may just not be into playing with baby dolls. I explained, as I have many times before, there is no such thing. Things are simply things. Toys are toys. If you have an interest then seek it out and make the most of it. There is what is typical and common but that doesn’t define right or wrong. Some people are just sheep who follow one line of thinking and don’t branch out. For some reason boys and baby dolls is a controversial topic… which is just so silly to me.

Gender stereotypes for toys are complete nonsense and I am very against them. There are no boy toys or girl toys – they are just toys.

Toys do not define our children – Our children define themselves.

My daughter used to run around with fairy wings and a tool belt on. Our oldest, who is in High School, has tried multiple times on his own to get into sports trying to “prove” himself and he only ends up feeling worse because it’s not his thing. One of his favorite stuffed animals when he was younger was a pink poodle that he was teased for it. Like most, all of our kids have struggled with their own identity on one level or another. All I can keep trying to instill in them is BE YOURSELF. You won’t be happy pretending to be someone else.

People are simply who they are and toys are just toys.

That is that.

Who The Hell Are YOU To Say What Defines MY Son?

There is nothing wrong with a boys and baby dolls. NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with a male not being into sports. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a guy being sensitive, nurturing or loving. We need more loving, affectionate and doting fathers in the world NOT less. Embrace and accept your sons for who they are. Allow your boys to grow into the confident men they should become based off of what THEY want to be and not who you choose to mold them into. We should be raising our sons to become awesome Dads one day.

Do you know what kind of man is more desirable? One that is confident, is domestic, can be handy and is nurturing and loving towards his kids. That is the kind of man that is desired in a partner. Nothing is sexier than a man doing dishes. I’m not even kidding.

No one ever says, “Wow, when I look for a man I want a macho jerk who has no feelings, is detached and emotionless towards his kids who would prefer watching sports over entertaining his princess with a tea party. I want a man who spends his life beating his chest trying to prove his manliness rather than picking up after himself or expressing any sort of care for our family. Yeah, that is the man for me.” Okay, some people may feel that way and there are obviously MANY men to choose from who are like that. Have fun with it.

I want our sons to know that it doesn’t matter how anyone else defines what a “man” is. They should be who they are. They don’t have to mimic my interest and I have absolutely no desire to mold them into anything.

I expect them to be honest, confident, kind, thoughtful, true to themselves and embrace everything that truly defines them. I would only be disappointed in them for conforming, lying or pretending to be someone they are not.

I’m looking forward to my 6 year old becoming a big brother this year because I know exactly what kind of brother he will be. He is going to be amazing at it.

And I have his baby doll, Joshy, to thank for that.

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It's a Girl Ninja

I have announced this everywhere but in case you missed my pregnancy announcement I am bringing another ninja into the world this year. She is due in June! Yes, she! This is all about our big day of finding out what I was incubating and how things never go as planned.

In our giant blended family of awesomeness we have two boys and two girls. When we decided to have “just one more” all I focused on was “It better just be one!”.

I didn’t want twins. Logically, that is all I could focus on.

After settling my overly paranoid brain about twins the great debate on what the baby would be began. I never realized how opinionated some people can get about fetus gender until this pregnancy. I think I just ignored everyone’s opinions during my last pregnancies. The more people said one way or another the more I wanted to oppose them for no reason. I’m programmed like that. If someone says “Put a jacket on.” I will purposely not put a freaking jacket on because I don’t like being told what to do. I can’t help it!

For example…

My mother in law told us she knew we were having a boy. She was adamant about this fact. She said she had dreams about it and she is never wrong about these things.

I enjoy proving people wrong. I really enjoy proving her wrong.

I’m really hoping she doesn’t read my blog, too. Ooops.

So, in a matter of minutes I went from being happy with my baby ninja being a girl or a boy to I have to have a girl just to be able to rub it in her face and yell, YOU WERE WRONG!

I’m a wonderful person.

I blame hormones.

My amazing man wanted a girl because of logical reasons. He read somewhere that girls are 33% more likely to care for their fathers when they are grown than boys are. We have two girls already so a third will make him 99% covered.

I do like to point out that the girls ALWAYS side with me and they ALWAYS rat him out to me. I think his theory is flawed.

Anyway, the big day arrived when I was getting my ultrasound. There was a mixup and the detailed ultrasound was cancelled. I was trying not to be hulk-smash about it but I was pissed. I had been looking forward to that day for so long! When I saw my OBGYN in the morning she said, “So long as the baby isn’t crossing its legs I’m sure we can find out for sure what it is.”

I was elated.

I shared it on my Facebook page that we were going to find out what I was incubating.

waiting to find out

The majority of my friends said it would be a girl and some said boy. I didn’t let people know what I was hoping for… but deep down I wanted a girl… and not just because I wanted to prove anyone wrong.

“I’m pretty sure it’s a girl but she is crossing her legs and being difficult…”

Wait… what?! A spawn of mine being difficult!? Shocking. Grr.

“Let’s really shake things up and see if she can spread them.”

That is the only time in my child’s life I will encourage that sort of result. So, my doctor jiggled, shook and even had me bounce around a little bit. Nothing.

We were mostly sure it would be a girl but she told me not to announce it yet until the other ultrasound appointment.

I texted a few friends of mine “My OBGYN is mostly sure it’s a girl but I don’t know yet. I’m trying not to get too excited because if this baby is having a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ moment and tucking I am going to be REALLY mad!”

I was originally going to insert a picture of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs right here but I’m just going to leave that visual for you all.

Thankfully, I got in later that day to see the big reveal. It was confirmed after a LOT of jiggling around and even tickling her feet that it’s a girl. I was so paranoid that she could be wrong that the ultrasound tech offered to give me a 3D picture full of proof.

I gladly accepted.

Our daughter is the tie breaker and has tipped the gender scales in our favor. Estrogen is going to be flowing heavily in this house for many years. The males do not stand a chance.

When I told my youngest that he was going to have a baby sister he got mad. He had said all along he would be happy either way and just wanted a baby in the house. I was shocked! I didn’t know how to react. He said, “Well, Mommy I said I would be happy with either but I would only be a very very tiiiiiiiiny bit happy for a girl but a very very big LOOOOOOTS of happy if it was a boy!” He processed for a few minutes. I reassured him that he was going to be an amazing big brother either way. He grinned at me and said…

“That’s okay! The next one is going to be a boy!” and he ran off.

THE NEXT ONE?! Hold on…

In case you were all wondering how it went when I got to gloat about how my Mother in Law was wrong… it never happened. They never picked up the phone. We didn’t talk to them until like a week later and she was happy it was a girl. I didn’t have my moment.

She won again.

My Dad’s response to the reveal was “Yes! Maybe this one will be evil so I can finally have my revenge.” He also said that he doesn’t see anything in ultrasound pictures and that they are creepy.

Sharing the news on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was amazing. I was updating everyone as it was all going on. My feeds, inboxes and texts were blowing up. I loved being able to share it all with you. I doubt I will be able to update so freely when she finally arrives… but I am hoping this labor and delivery goes the way my doctor anticipates.

“Oh with this one I think you are just going to sneeze her out! Just don’t go far from the hospital… it will come quick and you don’t want her falling out.”

And on that visual I end this.

Thanks for all the awesomeness, everyone. I truly appreciate you all.

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Baby Bump or Constipation?

Baby Bump or Constipation?

After I shared that our blended family was expanding this June I was flooded with questions. I know some people don’t know what they are saying sometimes… but I can’t help think of obnoxious answers to some simple (as well as some totally offensive questions).

I may or may not have actually said these responses. Okay, so who am I kidding. I did. Thankfully most people I know get my humor or just smile, nod and walk away.

“Are you going to find out the gender?”

Um, hell yes! I cannot wait. That would be torture. I like to plan! I do not like surprises. Right now is the time I am waiting for the big reveal… why wait 20 weeks longer?

“What are you hoping for?”

A unicorn… or Batman. Maybe I could birth a Time Lord.

“Are you nervous having that many kids? 5 kids! Eeek!”

You are all seeing this wrong. Our five kiddos ages will range from newborn to 14 years old. Do you know what that means? A whole lot of helpers!

“Where is the baby going to sleep?”

Initially, I prefer to co-sleep. Then I will have a pack and play and move the baby into the room of the kids that are pissing me off the most. This serves as a bonding opportunity for the kids, punishment and hopefully birth control.

I may or may not actually consider this after the baby arrives – hehehe

“Do you remember what to do with a newborn? It has been 6 years…”

I forgot everything about raising a new human. I’m going to equip myself with duct tape and chloroform and hope for the best.

“Are your kids happy about another sibling coming into the picture?”

Was anyone happy about you coming into the picture?

“You don’t look pregnant… are you sure?”

Hmm… maybe you are right. Maybe I’m not pregnant and everything I am experiencing is really bad constipation!

“Why would you want to start over?”

I enjoy not sleeping. I also enjoy becoming a milk factory where my boobs become rock hard torpedos and I feel like my nipples are going to fall off. Diapers are rad. Pushing my body to the limit and creating a cavern of chaos in my low region is amazing. Another 18 years of parenting torture is better than a luxurious vacation to Fiji.

I also want to scar my teen and tweens into fearing having babies.

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Ninja Family And a Baby

When you have a big blended family of four kids, ages 6 – 14, it may seem crazy to add one more.

But, who cares?! hehe

In June we will be bringing another little ninja into the world and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been wanting to announce it for awhile but couldn’t think of how I wanted to go about it. I do plan on doing another trashy preggo photo session but I’m not quite rockin the pregger belly, yet, to make it entertaining enough.

If you missed these pictures from before here is my favorite:

Funny Face Friday : Pregnancy Pictures

I started writing this weeks ago and got caught up on the visual part of it. Do I want to take some picture with a bunch of shoes? What about wookiee slippers? Ninja masks? Oooo Ninjas! I thought about how I wish I was able to use illustrator so I could make a family of ninjas.

Then I realized that I love learning new things, the internet is a free resource of information and I spent hours, while sick with a cold, learning how to make ninjas in illustrator.

I officially had no more excuses to procrastinate on the announcement! I’m terrible at making announcements like this. It’s a somewhat obvious quirk of mine. Plus, look at those cute ninjas!

Look, I just got around to officially announcing my engagement that happened well over a year ago so I know I kinda suck at this whole announcement thing. I probably would have waited even longer had it not been for the ninjas.

I also broke the news to my Dad about the baby in an e-mail because that seemed like an okay thing to do, if you are me. Yes, in an email. In my defense I hadn’t seen him much lately because he’s been crazy busy and I had my head in a toilet for months. Apparently, this is not a normal way to break the news but it was better than a text, right?! I know… I’m not right. Sorry, Dad!

Now… before I get a bombarded with texts, emails and calls with “How could you not tell me!?” let me explain…

Honestly, this pregnancy hasn’t been easy and I don’t like to make anyone worry. I waited to say anything because there was genuine concern that something may happen, or, may not happen depending on how you look at it. I felt like the first couple months or so were a blur living each day trying not to get horribly sick and trying to think positively. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I haven’t felt right physically and emotionally. I’ve been more hormonal than I am used to (I am usually below zero on the hormonal meter) and I’ve just been kind of processing, dealing and trying to stop vomiting every time I think of food.

Do you know how difficult it is to be online when the mere sight of food makes you barfy and everyone is constantly sharing pictures of food? Pinterest and I had to break up for awhile but, we are better now.

Anyway…

I was terrified. Genuinely, terrified that something may happen. I don’t like to be a downer and this pregnancy has been a difficult road.

This made me feel a level of vulnerability that I just wasn’t dealing well with. I go into shutdown mode. On top of all that there were a lot of people trying to bring unnecessary negative mojo and drama into our lives that I just didn’t want to deal with. So, I also went into apathetic towards stupid people mode. I had to back out of some commitments and took a break from blogging. We also had a lot going on personally that made it feel like there was an avalanche of wtf-ery falling on top of me.

Mostly, I just puked a whole lot.

The news started to trickle to friends and family. And by trickle I mean I took every opportunity to spring it on unsuspecting friends and family. Everyone has been so supportive. A few of my friends literally almost fell over in shock. I have blindsided others with blurting out “I’m pregnant!” … “What?! Who… you?!” “No, I’m just kidding… wait, no I’m not!”

I also learned that if I go to a Girls Night Out and don’t order wine right away that some of my friends immediately pick up on the fact that I’m growing a sea monkey.

I have the raddest people in my life and I am so sorry they have to put up with me.

Going into my second trimester was a sigh of relief… and some panic because I must plan all things. All the time. Always. As well as have backup plans to my plans and know every variable of possibilities. I spent months getting through my puke-a-palooza and now I feel like I am running out of time to get things sorted. Then again, I kind of always feel like that.

Looking at our situation it can seem a little crazy. Between us we have four kids. Two that are biologically mine, two that are my step-kids, three live with us full-time and all we consider our own no matter the biological connection or not. It’s just our family and how we roll. And now just one more. JUST ONE MORE. After this… one way or another… my sweetie, will be getting fixed.

You heard me.

Lucky him!

This year was the first time in years that I can remember not waking up insanely early on January 2nd to purchase camping spots for the summer. I couldn’t even talk about how I wasn’t planning camping trips and I avoided all the “where are you camping this year” questions during the holidays because we hadn’t made the big announcement yet. This is how much I don’t make sense… my pregnancy is messing with my usual camping routine and I could spend hours rambling about just that.

Yes, I do plan on camping with an infant. It’s actually easier than you may expect because they are super portable at that age. That is a post for another day.

Anyway, I wanted to share our great news and ask that you all please keep happy and healthy baby thoughts coming my way. I’m hoping for a girl (though some days I wonder if I am insane for that) but either way I will be happy. I just want another happy, healthy and fun little ninja to fill our lives with insanity and awesomeness.

Thank you all for being a part of the awesomeness, too.

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I honestly don’t think anyone has noticed but since I (finally) announced my engagement I’ve been more active online and I’m creating funny content again. I didn’t plan to start the year off this way. It just became the right time to ninja kick my writers block and get back to blogging.

Soooo, yeah. I took a break from blogging. I didn’t feel the need to announce, explain or justify it. It organically happened and I didn’t fight it. I also don’t get why people announce when they are taking a blogging break… but, that is just me.

I needed to take the break for many reasons.

I wanted to really focus on my family after going from a single Mom to a working things out and getting my family back together blended family Mom. Sure, there was a lot I wanted to share during the transition but I chose to sit on it all and just be in the moment. Oh, people noticed which was honestly lovely. I missed it. Some days I missed it more than I expected to. I just needed to be with them.

I also needed to learn how to live with another adult and factor in his feelings and not just do what I want. Thankfully, he is very understanding of my quirks, gets my insanity and happens to be really sexy with all the housework he does. Yeah, I needed to focus on that too.

I read a few months back how a blogger friend was feeling guilty about not sharing some things that were going on in her life. I wondered… why are we obligated? We choose what to share, how to share it, when to share and why we share it.

I chose to not share until I was sure on what I wanted to share in case what I was sharing was share worthy and not a flop of sharisms.

Uh, I hope you could follow that… I just confused the crap out of myself! hehe

Plus, what the crap was with all the blogger internet drama?! Please, tell me we aren’t going in the direction of cat fighting on the internet from jealousy and gossip! Please, tell me that we are going to utilize our spaces for something other than mudslinging. Can’t blogs be more than just fuel for smack talking fodder? The mob mentality of creating internet uproars over differences of opinions are really stupid.

Yes, stupid.

I don’t care what the topic is. We aren’t angry mobs of blogging sheep. Well, we shouldn’t be.

I don’t do the drama game. If someone dislikes what I’m about or I dislike what they are about then they simply fall off my radar. I’m not going to care what they are doing and they shouldn’t care what I am doing. Just because we can be all creepy up in someone’s blogging window trying to find something to talk smack about does NOT mean we should. I will never quite understand why people who loathe me will follow my every public internet move. It doesn’t keep me up at night. I probably laugh about it with my friends more than I should… humor helps me get through the things that make my head hurt. I seriously do “Live, laugh and ninja kick.” in life. It’s a formula that works for me.

The way I work is simple:

Things/people make me mad, sad or insert-negative-reaction-here.

I change them, accept them or laugh at them.

Or a combo/all of the above.

Actually, at some point I will always find a way to laugh at it.

Then I move on.

Rinse and repeat.

I’m not insensitive. I have empathy. I am very compassionate. I’m also not without anger. Quite the opposite, actually. I get all super hulk smash angsty and need to vent and process. I do that on my own time and not with keyboard courage. To be perfectly honest, I spent a lot of my life being angry and hostile and it’s draining. I choose not to waste my time staying angry and hateful. Life is just too rad.

The name of my blog is the core of my beliefs… and I truly feel you either have to be enjoying the radness of life or working damn hard to get there. I don’t see how whining is involved in the equation of awesomeness.

I like the internet to be funny. I like it when it’s inspiring. I like communicating and walking away with some kind of positives. I know it can’t always be that but there should be a balance.

It was hard to find that balance most days.

It wasn’t just all the drama that caused me to take a break. That was the smallest part in comparison to my family or what I have taken from my break.

I also needed to take time to focus and figure out what I wanted to do with this amazing space and network I created. Words cannot convey how much this platform means to me and what ripples of awesomeness has come from it.

I’ve been told by many that they love my blog. The fact that my words mean something, make someone laugh or inspire is indescribable. It’s been said that I do sponsored content differently and better because I have a story behind it which is what I try to achieve. I’ve helped others with food allergies and having a not so typical family. I’ve made friends and I’ve pissed people off (hehehe) … I’ve traveled… I’ve expanded my knowledge and skills… This blog and journey has given me so much. Most of which I still can’t wrap my head around because I’m not trying to be awesome, inspiring or anything really. I just wondered if a Mom like me dealing with things in an almost crazy way would be well received.

I want to continue to give back, give more and expand. I do want to focus more on my writing and less on the marketing. I want to get my book projects done and launch my philanthropy project. I may do a spinoff blog for all the sponsored content and use Don’t Speak Whinese as a sponsor-free zone or change the design of my site to make it more segregated. I’ve got plans and now it’s time to put them all in motion rather than obsessing over planning.

I see so much content out there about how to make the perfect blog. I’ve seen lists and tips on how to “do it right”. I’ve read articles about being a perfect blogger. I’ve listened to panels debating how to do it right.

You know what I realized after getting some clarity in stepping back? Just like parenting, there is no one right way. There is simply what is what is right for you. There are best practices and things that are frowned upon. Ultimately, do what you love because that is what feels right. Oh, and just like parenting there will always be people who think they know better, do it best and think you are wrong…

But, who cares!?

Without a doubt I can say that I have stayed 100% true to myself, my word and my intentions with this space. I’m just me. I’m kind of (okay, really) weird. I am too smart for my own good at times while being a total jackass at others. I just needed a recharge, a solid direction and a fire up my bum to get me going again.

So, I’m back.

Let’s rock.

And… I’ve missed you all.

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I’ve done the customer service gig in the past and I know how difficult it is. People can be so rude and short with customer service reps. I know call centers are script based and there are a lot of things reps are taught to up sell or read off in different situations. Sometimes it is mandatory that they say certain parts of their script and it is part of their job. It’s an almost mindless job and a very frustrating one on top of it.

I always put on my best business nicey professional attitude and try to avoid being another idiot on the phone when I have to make a call. I joke with them and be as pleasant as possible. My kids like to say that I don’t sound like me when I make those calls. haha

But, sometimes I just can’t help it when someone keeps getting all pushy with me.

We don’t watch a lot of TV. When the TV is on we are finding something on demand, firing up Netflix, browsing what is available via Amazon prime or renting a movie. Now that Dexter is over we don’t watch HBO and Homeland is the only thing I need Showtime for. Realistically I can wait for any shows I really like. All the things I want to watch, besides BBC America, are all basic cable.

Anyway, I’m cheap so why pay for something we don ‘t need? I called to cancel our TV supreme ultimate mega everything package and drop down to basic cable. I had no idea it would be like negotiating world peace.

Me: Hi I want to drop my TV package down to the basic one because we don’t need it and live stream everything or order movies…

Customer Service Lady: Oh you won’t be happy… you will lose all these channels (spends 5 minutes telling me all the channels we will lose while I tell her I watch none of them) You will also lose Lifetime. (Why the crap would she mention Lifetime

Me: I don’t watch Lifetime… All I need is BBC which that plan has so I am good with it. I did my research.

Her: But, this package will not include lifetime which is the most popular channel for women…

Me: I don’t watch lifetime… (That should have been enough to say the first time…)

Her: Ok, ma’am. You will also lose the cooking channels… and again Lifetime has…

Me: I don’t watch the cooking channels and again I do NOT watch Lifetime… 

Her: (Goes on another rant about all the things I will be losing and how she doesn’t recommend dropping down to basic) This weekend there will be blahblahblah marathon and suchandsuch movie on Lifetime which you will miss out on if…

Me: Seriously, I don’t watch Lifetime. I don’t even know any of those Lifetime movies. I don’t watch girly feel good shows or whatever is on that channel and I make fun of my friends who stay up all night watching that stuff crying over it. I’m more into horror flicks with a lot of blood, murder, body parts and guts.. and (just to really be obnoxious) midget porn. Do you have channels for that?

Her: ….

Me: Hello, are you still there?

Her: Ma’am I am going to go ahead and drop you down to the basic package right away. 

I won.

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