Back in Action!

Hope BraceletIt has been simply ages since my last post. So much has happened; some good, some not so great, but it all kept me from blogging my little heart out as I usually like to do. We had some health scares with my son…the initial reason for my absence. After working through that and getting the all-clear (no relapse – phew), I just got busy living life away from the computer.

It really did feel good not checking email and finding ways to fit in a full-blown photo-shoot each time I cleaned, or made a meal. I loved the lack of pressure…the blogging world continued to thrive, and I was not hurting anyone by checking out for a while.

Of course I missed the daily interactions between my blogging friends. I hope they will forgive me and let me get back into the game. It is strange to just not be there anymore. While I felt it was a much needed break, I did have pangs of guilt and certainly wanted to know what everyone was doing. (To be honest, I did check in on everyone via my phone, I just didn’t actively participate!)

So what, you may be asking, was I doing? I was spending LOTS of time with my kids. I was going out with friends, I was mentally recharging, I was being a Healthy, Working Mom….just not blogging about it. I really felt the blog was taking up what little time I had after work and at the weekends.

You may now have the question, what are you doing back? I understand this fully. I am not going to be back as much as I used to be. I am not going to spend every mealtime checking ingredients, or rushing back and forth to a kiddie event, trying to carve out more time to get my thoughts and ideas on paper. I don’t want to “blog my way through life” as I was doing. I literally blogged in my head as things were happening, rather than enjoying what was going on! Crazy huh? I will be relaying my discoveries related to organic and eco-friendly living, sharing the fun crafts I do with my kids, and letting you know what I made for meals…just not as often.

Superman SammyI have also been drawn back into the world of cancer. While this is a dark subject, it is also something I am looking at proactively. Sammy is cancer-free (thankfully the scare was just that…a scare and not relapse), and I do have more time to give back to others. Sadly, Sammy’s buddy “G” has relapsed (he’s only eight) and awaits a transplant.

My approach to all of this is to do something. I used to blog over at Superman Sammy just to get my angst and woes out. I still check in occasionally to update people. This blog was meant to be my “life after cancer” blog. It still is, but the two will be tied forever by an unseen but painfully real need for me to move forward but never forget. Anyway, I decided to create jewelry to sell in order to raise money to beat cancer to a pulp! We support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and proceeds will go to them, and also to help me start up a project that I’ve been mulling over in my mind for a while. Sammy had t.shirts made with his name in the superman logo. He has been known as Superman Sammy since diagnosis, and the shirts can be seen all over the town where he goes to school. They were sold to raise money for The Danny Fund, a charity helping families with children suffering catastrophic illnesses. The orange Superman Sammy shirts are famous in our part of the world! The link above takes you to the side-show of Sammy’s infamous day-release from hospital to attend the fundraiser!

Recently, a little girl was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the mom who helped create the Superman Sammy shirts, had one made up for “S”. She sports her wonderful shirt all over the hospital where she also waits for surgeries and a transplant. The shirts seem to bring hope and courage to these young heroes. (I had one made for “G” and his family a while back for the Walk for the Cure.)

So I want to have a shirt made up for the children of CHAM, then Children’s Hospital at Montefiore where Sammy was treated. I want them to see their name in the Superman logo and feel special and recognized for their strength too. So, I’m making jewelry!

Running an Etsy shop is quite hilarious at this point. First of all I have to make the jewelry. I’m fairly good at that aspect of things, and Sammy has also designed the “Chunky Monkey” bracelet set that I wear almost everyday with pride. The funny part comes when I have to take the photographs. I am NOT a photographer and I stink at it. So I am now learning, via the Etsy tutorials no less, how to make my pictures look more “Come and buy me” than “Gosh, what is that?” I kid you not, I really need to work on this. So my newest challenge is born.

I like to learn new things. In fact, I do well when pushed to do something I am not entirely comfortable doing. Once I do get it right, watch out for many shameless plugs for my Etsy Shop, We Were But Stones. It is for a VERY good cause 🙂 Just don’t laugh at the awful photography…it will get better!

Weekend Activities for the Kids

Working all week, I often felt frustrated by the activities for children offered on weekdays but not on the weekends.  For nine years I have seen wonderful learning opportunities, cleverly disguised as fun and playtime, at museums, sports centers and libraries.  My town has a wonderful Mommy group, but they meet during the week and I am not a part of it …I work!

Of course this issue has lessened as my children have grown and moved into grade school.  I have a whole new host of things I have to work around, but I certainly do not feel the loneliness I used to of mothering without peers meeting up with me at this session, or that session, to talk about the woes and joys of diapering!

Having peers with whom to share things is a part of a healthy life-style.  It helps one reason out those moments when nothing you do seems right.  A quick chat with another mom of a toddler and, voila, you realize it is very normal and your self-esteem is given the boost it so badly needs.

So I have been on the hunt for activities held on the weekends.  As it is very cold here in the Northeast, I have been focusing on indoor pastimes.  Here is a great idea for those in close proximity to Stamford, CT.  Get out and get together girls!  It is good for the mind and soul, even if we just want to collapse at the weekend and not drag our butts out in the cold!

Winter Storycraft @ Ferguson Library Main Branch

Ages 31/2 -8

Saturday, January 21 at 11am -12pm


Winter Storycraft

Contact:    203 351-8242

Saturday, January 21 at 11 a.m.

Main Library Third Floor Auditorium

Cozy winter stories and a snow measuring stick craft. Ages 3 ½ to 8.


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Working Mom = Need for help!

Working Mom’s Tip:

Crazy day got the better of your dinner plans?  You have the fresh pasta with four cheeses, the tomato sauce (gravy to non-English folks I believe) is ready, and then you realize the sweet potatoes just did not make it into your grocery cart yesterday. No problem!  I used organic baby sweet potato tubs (which had been necessary for a while with Button during his illness), and they made a very quick and easy substitution for the pureed baked sweet potato I usually add to the tomato sauce for this dish.  Easy!

Going back to work after the holidays has certainly dented my schedule in terms of blogging, cooking, organizing, project making, exercising, and spending quality time with my family.   There have been so many studies both promoting the benefits working moms have on their families and blaming women in the workplace for a decrease in valuable parenting…yada, yada, yada.

I have no choice, I have to work or we will have to bring our kids up at my in-laws; I love them but we prefer to own our own house.  We would also have to curtail all the activities the kids do, and I may no longer have the option to buy organic food any longer.  So, I work in order to have these choices, I also lose out on many other things.  Thankfully, I love my job.

Let’s take cooking, for example.  You already know I am very happy to cheat my way through quick and easy dinners, providing they are nutritious and healthy.  Yet, even then, our shopping bill is through the roof.  I do intend to work harder at couponing in the near future, once I have mastered other things on my to do list.

Keeping up with the housework is another matter.  I mean well and make a plan, but I already get up at 5:30am, work all day, commute home, do homework, feed the family, walk the dog, and then have to work some more. (As a teacher I am lucky to have the flexibility to bring work home), but sometimes I find myself dragging my butt to the desk to work on lessons, reports, grading, or administrative stuff at 10 o’clock at night.  What dusting?  Cleaning the bathroom…when?  I know the laundry has been sitting there for three days, but there is only so much time in the day!!!

In order to work on getting the family back to normalcy after my son’s illness, I am now creating chores and a family philosophy: Helping out is part of family life.  With trepidation, I began this movement by asking the boys to take charge of the waste paper basket emptying.  This is to be their daily activity, along with a short dog-walk,  and they immediately set to work around the house.  In order to ensure all was carried out correctly,  I offered to give a demo lesson, but Peanut insisted he knew how to do it (why the #^!*@ didn’t he do it before then?) and so I sat back and listened.  It was like a scene from an old Laurel and Hardy movie.  Peanut was directing Button. Button was revolting against the dictatorship. Peanut was struggling with the need to have it done right and the desire to avoid beating up his brother, and I sat in merry amusement as the two finally worked out a system and then got the ball rolling.  They were very quick and successful around rest of the house.

English: Silhouettes of Stan Laurel and Oliver...

Image via Wikipedia

Then came the ten-minute pick-up.  The idea is to have a ten-minute session each day where the boys pick up all their stuff and put it in the correct location.  The problem today, however, was that there was so much junk and unwanted stuff cramming cubbies and closets, that ten minutes was not going to cut it.

I still told the boys that they had to work for ten minutes but could continue for longer if they wanted to, as we were really beginning an organization project rather than just tidying up.  I was so proud of them as, over an hour later, they had sorted out the entire family room, tossed broken toys, placed unwanted items in a donation pile, and created peace and harmony on the shelves.  I let them decide how to do it apart from the odd guiding word when a Pez candy machine took all attention away from the job at hand.

Tomorrow we are going to do the same thing with the bedrooms.  One of the biggest jobs will be to sort through the gazillion books lining not only bookcases, but also stacked high in baskets, under beds, inside drawers, and overflowing into the bathroom; we love to read!  Many of these books need a new home: they are too young for the boys, although I know they want to keep some beloved early childhood books.

Monday, we will move on to the Legos.  My, what a task that will be!  I think I will save that for another time.  I know you only have so many hours in your day too 🙂

I feel good about enlisting my “Peeps” and getting some sense of organization and scheduling accomplished.  Baby steps allow a busy working mom to feel less overwhelmed with the myriad tasks facing her.  Adding a workforce is also key.  The boys are going to finally start receiving an allowance, as they will be earning it through additional chores as they come up; the bottom-line chores do not earn anything.

How old were your children when you started chores?  Do you give an allowance regardless of chores?  Do you have any other suggestions to help a busy working mom establish a great routine with her family?