Archives for May 2013

Our First Visit From The Tooth Fairy

Yesterday was a big day for Ethan. Last night, he lost his first tooth. He was so excited and proud. He couldn’t wait to put his tooth in his Tooth Fairy pillow and go to sleep. I was excited for him, and to be honest, a little grossed out….teeth gross me out (of course I didn’t tell him that!). I was a little sad too. It’s like little pieces of him being a little boy are going to start falling away.

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I didn’t know it until last night when I knew the tooth was ready to come out, but his big tooth had already started growing in behind the baby tooth…and it was pretty far in!

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The tooth right next to the missing one is also loose. He’s now wiggling that one like crazy too hoping to get it out and another visit from the Tooth Fairy.

So the big debate after he went to bed last was what the Tooth Fairy’s going rate is these days. Back when Jason and I were kids, we remember getting change from the Tooth Fairy, not dollars. I think I got a quarter, but maybe it was more. Jason couldn’t remember anything other than it being change.

We weren’t prepared for him to lose a tooth last night so I hadn’t even asked anybody what the Tooth Fairy was paying for teeth. We decided on $5 for the first tooth and $1 for each tooth after that. We don’t know if that’s too much or too little. What’s your Tooth Fairy’s going rate?

For All You Love: My Big Fat Crazy Family

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson’s “For All You Love” campaign. J&J is also planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children, and I’m happy to take part in it. 

We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and luckily I was able to celebrate with my sisters and mom – and all of the kids – this past weekend. To say it was not relaxing is a bit of an understatement, but we Allen (my maiden name) women really don’t do “relaxing” well…we are used to chaos and craziness. And while I complain about it a lot, to be honest, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Don’t get me wrong…I would LOVE nothing more than to give “relaxing” the good old college try; it’s just that I am not sure I’d be any good at it sans craziness.

So where do I get the need to be surrounded by family and craziness from? My mom, I’m sure. It’s her fault that I want to be surrounded by the crazy all the time. To be surrounded by siblings and their kids and extended family and friends and the chaos. And I’m not exaggerating; put me and my four siblings and all of our kids in one room and you’ve got close to 30 people. And that’s not even including all of the extended friends and family that we consider immediate family!

J&JMy mom grew up with 8 brothers and sisters, countless cousins, and when she says “family” she isn’t just referring to her parents and siblings. When she says family, she means extended family, as well as close friends of the family. It’s the same thing I mean when I say family. Family isn’t just the people that live in your house, it’s the people you choose to keep close to you in your life. Some family we are stuck with (in other words, we don’t get to choose ’em), but there are others that we can choose. And while we may not be related by blood, they are certainly not less family in my great-big-extended family’s eyes.

I have 4 siblings. I have friends I’ve known since we were kids (or since my siblings were kids) that are considered family. And now that many of them are married with families of their own, when we say family, we ain’t kidding. A simple family get together can easily consist of 50+ people.

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This tree full of kids is everything to me. My kids, their cousins, and their friends are all included. And this is their family. And this? Is what life is all about.

I love that my kids are growing up with their cousins that they call their best friends. That they are growing up with the kids of my friends that I’ve known since I was a kid that they call their cousins. To me? There is nothing more important.

And because both of Jason’s parents have passed, I’ve always felt like my kids were going to be getting the short end of the stick by only having one set of grandparents. But that’s not exactly the case. My sister’s in-laws are called “Grandpa Don and Grandma Sharon”…the same thing that my sister’s kids call them.

My brother’s in-laws are also called Papa and Grandma…even though my kids are no way related to them. A friend that my sisters and I grew up with is their Auntie, but not by blood. Recently, I was trying to explain the difference between “real” family and friends we love so much that we just call them family. I told my kids that their “Grandma” Dena wasn’t really their “real” grandma and that “Auntie” Winter wasn’t really their “real” auntie. They were heartbroken. Because to them, they really are grandma and auntie. And as long as grandma and auntie are okay with that, so am I.

So why am I telling you this? Because Johnson & Johnson is doing something amazing in the name of love. J&J’s For All You Love campaign celebrates the importance of putting the needs of others first and all the ways people care for the ones they love. Love is the most powerful thing on the planet.  And to me, FAMILY IS LOVE.

J&J is recognizing their commitment to the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide for Mother’s Day this year. They are planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children®: http://www.savethechildren.org. Awesome, right? And I am so glad to help spread the word!

So tell me…what do you consider love? Because it’s different, though not wrong or less important, to every single one of us.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson’s “For All You Love” campaign. I received compensation to blog about this, but if you have been reading me for longer than a minute, you know that family is everything to me and I would have written this post for free. On the upside, J&J is also planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children, and I’m happy to take part in it. Share this post if you are too!

Don’t Keep It Quiet! It’sThe American Cancer Society’s 100th Birthday! (Sponsored Video)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the American Cancer Society. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am honored to have this opportunity to share my story as part of the American Cancer Society’s 100th Birthday Celebration.

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If you and your family and friends have been affected by cancer, than after reading the title of my blog post about the American Cancer Society,  I’m sure that you will read all of this as well. It’s important, and we can make a difference.

Today I will be attending the funeral of a very close friend’s mom who passed away last week from cancer. We lost Jason’s mom to cancer shortly after we were married. He’s also lost an uncle, and has an aunt who is a cancer survivor. On my side of the family, we have lost a few of my mom’s cousins to cancer, and I have an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor. This doesn’t include the extended family and friends that I know who have had cancer touch their lives.

Cancer is an ugly word to me. Cancer is a sad word. Cancer is something that just about everybody I know is afraid of.

Luckily, there are many organizations and people in the world who are trying to make a difference and trying to find ways to prevent cancer and save lives. The American Cancer Society will turn 100 years old on May 22, 2013. That’s a birthday worth celebrating! This means that for 100 years now, they have been working to find ways to save lives and help create more birthdays. They began marking their 100 year milestone beginning in early 2013 and will continue to promote it in strategic ways through the end of our 100th birthday in May 2014.

The American Cancer Society does amazing work to help understand and stop cancer. Since the early 1990s, the American Cancer Society has contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the United States; they have helped save nearly 1.2 million lives during that time. Their work has also helped lead to a 50 percent drop in smoking since the 1960s, which has contributed to a drop in overall lung cancer death rates. They are making a difference and we should make some noise to celebrate!

Check out this video of Mary J. Blige interrupting a quiet library to deliver an important message about unfunded cancer research. No lifesaving research should go silenced and we can help change that.

So let’s make some noise. Here are some of the things that the American Cancer Society is doing to help make more birthdays:

  • They are going to undertake a historic research study called the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). This will help them understand how to prevent cancer and save lives. The goal is to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the US by the end of this year. For more details, visit the American Cancer Society site.
  • They will continue to make sure that people facing cancer get the help they need, like a free place to stay during treatment and a ride to get there. Jason’s mom was a volunteer in this program before she was diagnosed with cancer, and I hope that when the kids are a bit older and in school all day, I will be able to continue doing what was so important to her.
  • With our help, they will also keep fighting for everyone to have access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air and more.

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You can help too! You can donate to the American Cancer Society or simply share this post. If you know someone who has been affected by cancer, reach out to them and offer a ride, an ear, or even a meal. TALK ABOUT CANCER. Make some noise! Don’t let all of the efforts to find a cure be done in silence! You can also visit the American Cancer Society site to learn other ways to help and support cancer awareness.

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

One of the Biggest Fights In Our House: Battle Dinnertime

It comes around every evening between 6 and 6:30, and I’ve grown to dread it. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the day and my nerves are shot. Maybe it’s because I am dieting and can’t eat what everybody else is. Or maybe it’s because my kids drive me insane every.single.night. because of it. It’s dinnertime, and I can’t stand it.

See these kids? They've just been told what's for dinner, and they ain't happy about it. Let the battle begin.

They’ve just been told what’s for dinner, and they ain’t happy about it. Let the battle begin.

Right around 3 PM when Ethan gets home from school, the kids are all starving and need a snack. And another. And another. They get cut off after the first one, and I start to chant this mantra: “No more snacks. It’s almost time for dinner” At first, I say it calmly. But by the 140th time, I start to yell it.

Then comes the question what’s for dinner. Unless my answer is hot dogs or chicken nuggets (or if they’re in a good mood maybe tacos), their answer is always the same: “I DON’T WANT THAT!” See that picture above? I just told the kids what we were having for dinner. They weren’t at all impressed or happy about it.

Last night, I made spaghetti and Gigi’s kick ass meatballs with garlic bread. Every time we’ve had it in the past (and that’s a lot!), the kids love it. Lila’s response tonight? “I don’t want yucky pasghetti and nasty meatballs!” My response? “Too bad. We are having yucky spaghetti and nasty meatballs and you’re gonna eat it all!”

The entire time I’m making dinner, my children are on the verge of dying from hunger. They start in with their  incessant dinnertime cry: “I’m so hungry. I want a snack.” And in return I yell incessantly: “I’M MAKING DINNER. YOU HAVE TO WAIT.” They don’t want what I’m making, they want cookies, crackers, ice cream, and/or candy.  And every night I force them to eat nasty food instead. This may win me the title of Meanest Mom in the Whole World.

Finally, dinner is ready. I line their plates up assembly line style, and dish out the nasty. I don’t give them all that much because let’s face it, they rarely eat it all anyways. And then I serve it to them, listening to whines and cries that would make any mom want to sell the kids to gypsies.

The whining doesn’t stop there…oh no. They continue the entire way through dinner. Every.single.second. of it.

While that’s happening, I make my plate. Since I’m dieting, I have to prepare a separate meal – it’s not hard and doesn’t take long…let’s say it takes me 10 minutes.

I sit down and eat. This takes longer because of the constant interruptions for more water, bathroom breaks, begs for something different to eat, etc. This takes about 20 more minutes.

I finish up and start cleaning up. I rinse dishes and load the dishwasher. I put away food and wipe off the counters and stove. This takes 15 minutes or so.

So we are now at 45 minutes from when the kids start eating.

Do you think they are done? Or do you think they are still whining and complaining?

Yep, still whining and complaining. And NOT done eating.

EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT.

I’m at a loss. I know that dinnertime needs to happen and will continue to happen every night. What I need help with is how to handle how it goes! Do you have tips and tricks to cut out the whining and get your kids to eat? HELP!!!!

Shot At Life: Honoring Motherhood

Disclosure – Give aways donated to show appreciation and will be selected via random.org

Welcome to

20 Bloggers Making a Difference

May 8th thru May 18th

FUNDRAISING ON BEHALF OF GLOBAL MOMS

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Last week, I told you about Shot at Life and how along with 19 other bloggers, I am honoring motherhood.  Why are we doing this? For the children. Because:

Every twenty seconds a child dies of a preventable disease
Twenty dollars can save a life
Twenty bloggers are making a difference.

We are moms.

We wipe noses and buns.

We play, we sing, we rock, we love.

We are the meanest moms in the world and the only moms they ever want.

We cry, worry, teach, smile, yell, cuddle, and want to pull our hair out…sometimes all within the span of a few minutes.

We are chefs, maids, caregivers, nurses, chauffeurs, homework helpers, Santas, Easter Bunnies, (and I’m soon to be a Tooth Fairy).

We want the best for our children, and always do what we think is in their best interest; sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong.

We may all do it differently, but the one thing we all have in common is that we are all mothers and learning every step of the way.

Sisters From Another Mister, proud Champion for shot@life and the UN Foundation, is leading bloggers down an important path.
Each blogger has linked a post about Motherhood, like mine here, to raise awareness for the importance of global vaccinations. Now I’m asking you to pledge, to donate and to help make a difference. Consider writing a post or commenting on one or more posts between May 8th and May 18th. Those who link up their posts, and those who comment, will all be asked to make donations and will be entered in a series of giveaways.

The rules are simple:
1. If you write a post, there’s a $10 dollar minimum donation to participate in the linky
2. $1 donation is required for each comment, and you may comment on our hub page as many times as you like
3. Donations are tax deductible
4. The donation page is right here if you would like to donate now.
5. Giveaways will be for both linkers and commenters and chosen by a generated program like random.org

Make your donations for links and comments right here – remember you are helping to save lives!

Team ImmUNITY Nicole and Sisters From Another Mister for shot@life

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For more details, the link up, and comment on the MAIN PAGE only! Remember by doing so YOU are helping to save lives!

Donation page – Team ImmUNITY Nicole and Sisters From Another Mister for shot@life