Last week I had the privilege of attending the Hyundai Hope on Wheels “Celebration of Life” dinner in Dallas. Hyundai Hope on Wheels is a non-profit organization devoted to funding pediatric cancer research.
Pediatric Cancer Research
The dinner was a huge eye-opener in regards to what lack of attention and funding is given to pediatric cancer. As a mom to 4 kids, we worry about things like the kids getting the flu or breaking an arm – not cancer. Cancer does not discriminate. Did you know that each day, 43 families in the United States find out their child has cancer? Cancer’s impact on children can be devastating.
Did you know that each day, 43 families in the United States find out their child has cancer? Cancer’s impact on children can be devastating, but there is a reason for hope. Now, thankfully more than 80% of children with cancer survive. With pediatric cancer funding from groups like Hyundai Hope on Wheels – that number can increase. It must. 80% isn’t good enough.
At the dinner, we heard from a mom who is walking thru cancer with her young son. Her little boy danced, ate and played at the table next to me. Any outsider would think he is just a typical kid, playing with his food and laughing, not being able to sit still.
At our table, sat a mom who had lost of her at age 17 to brain cancer. It was a lot to process, but with the sad came the hope. We heard from several doctors on the future of cancer research. They are making huge steps to better medicines and ultimately hoping to find a cure. Without research, neither of these are possible.
It was a lot to process, but with the sad came the hope. We heard from several doctors on the future of cancer research. They are making huge steps to better medicines and ultimately hoping to find a cure. Without research, neither of these are possible. And thanks to Hyundai Hope on Wheels, funds are being provided for that research.
Meet Hyundai Hope on Wheels
Hyundai is one of the largest private funders of research into pediatric cancer. Hyundai Hope On Wheels awards financial support – in specific fields of research – to Children’s Oncology Group member institutions. Their mission is to find a cure for childhood cancer, one handprint at a time.
To date, Hyundai has awarded $130 million to groundbreaking research institutes across the country. With every new Hyundai vehicle purchase, Hyundai and its U.S. dealers make a donation to Hyundai Hope On Wheels.
During the “Celebration of Life” dinner, Hyundai awarded several grant recipients funds to help further their mission of finding a cure.
Hyundai Scholar Hope Grant ($250,000)
– Dr. Christopher Porter, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
– Dr. Julie Wolfson, the University of Alabama – Birmingham
Hyundai Young Investigator Grant ($150,000)
– Dr. Kathryn Dickerson, UT Southwestern Children’s Medical Center Foundation
– Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, Texas Children’s Hospital
Spreading the word about childhood cancer research is near and dear to me. A friend and fellow blogger’s son was diagnosed a few years ago with Leukemia. Her son has recently finished his last treatment! Watching what his mom and family had to endure during those years is gut-wrenching.
As a child, one of my close friends also was diagnosed with Leukemia. Again, seeing a child go thru such a devastating disease is something that just shouldn’t happen to anyone, especially a kid.
It happened. Our overscheduled kids have sucked the life out of us. What sucks more, we can’t say no. Let’s talk about crazy schedules for kids and what to do when you just can’t say no.
Overscheduling the Kids
As a mom to 4 kids, I have many friends and acquaintances who have crazy schedules for their children. It’s dance, church, scouts, sports and what have you. This in the past, has NOT been us. Overscheduled kids are something that our family simply did not participate in. We wanted dinner with the family on most nights. We wanted our kids to have time to do their homework. We wanted to be able to connect with our kids in the living, rather than between practice in the car.
Well, guess what? That whole overscheduling thing that we avoided for years, has now decided to bite us in the face. The years of only letting one kid do a sport at a time are over. Previously, we had four seasons and four kids. Each child was given a season – and allowed to choose a sport. Well, that was long before the middle school and high school years, because now – it’s ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME.
Well, that was long before the middle school and high school years, because now – it’s ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME.
High School Marching Band
Our daughter is now in high school. She started color guard in middle school, and while yes – there were practices – high school marching band season has introduced us to insanity. Between the money to buy the costumes and gear (let’s not forget the fundraisers and trips) and the time for practices, competitions and football games – we are whipped. Every school morning starts with a 6:45 am practice.
Color Guard Practice
Every school morning starts with a 6:45am practice. There is afterschool practice once a week, where she is at school from 6:45 am until 8:00 pm at night. Then on game days, she is at school from 6:45 am until around 10-11:00 pm. Competition days, she is with the team on the weekends. It’s A LOT.
Winter Guard is Coming
And this is just high school marching band season. Come winter, color guard participates in Winter Guard where they perform at various competitions, minus the band.
As if the craziness of color guard and high school marching band wasn’t enough – our seventh grader decides he wants to act. Great, we say, go do your thing! Well, sure enough, the kid auditions and gets into advanced acting without any previous experience. And with that, we now have a theater kid.
His first performance is in a month, so now our seventh grader is at school from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm with theater. The practices last longer, the closer we get to performance time – soon he will be at school from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm. Overscheduled, much?
When You Can’t Say No To Overscheduled Kids
So here is the deal. With the many changes over the years, the one thing that has become more apparent this year than any other thing in years past is the inability for us as parents to always say no. I would hear parents talk about their overscheduled kids and think, surely they can just take a break. It’s not that easy.
In the past, we would be able to evaluate a schedule and see if it would be best for our kid and our family. As the kids grown, that’s just not an option. The kids can’t miss practice because we have a family thing to do. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule – but they are few and far between. This season we are in of overscheduled kids, but I have to keep reminding myself and my husband that it is good to all of this crazy.
Getting Kids Involved
This may just sound like a bitch session, and it partly is – but at the end of the day, this mom is just trying to stay quiet and suck up this crazy overscheduled season. Why? Because my kids are involved in healthy activities and have great friends and a school environment that is so much better than the one I grew up again. So this mom is sucking it up big time, regardless of the major time suck transporting kids to and from the various activities and the infinite amounts of money that we don’t have but seem to come up with for all the extra things.
I just have to keep focused that these things that my kids are involved with are for the greater good. They are teaching the kids about discipline, being part of a team, responsibility and other various life lessons that they need because soon they will be flying the coop. As parents, we have to continue to remember our job is to prepare kids for real life. We have to be able to open the doors, tell our baby birds to fly and pray that they will be good human beings that are productive members of society. In order to do that, we have to do things that are pains in our arses like marching band and theater.
Before I come off too gripey, I do love my kids and love seeing them perform. I love watching them grow into the grown-ups that they soon will become. It’s just A LOT.
Kids Grow Up And It SUCKS
This blog is now 8 years old. That’s a long time for a blog, and in those 8 years, a lot has changed. I am a mom to 4 kids. The older kids made frequent appearances on the blog back in the day. Then I had 2 more kids, and then those kids made frequent appearances. Well, guess what? They all decided to grow up.
Our kids are now 14, 12, 7 and 6-years-old. A long cry from the 6 and 4-year-old that I had when starting this blog. The kids have grown up.
This is a new normal that we are trying to adapt to and it’s insane how quick it all happened. It’s a totally different shift now from the days of trying to catch a breath, changing diapers, worrying about the baby crawling out of the crib. We have a whole new set of worries with school, teens and social media – and just trying to survive their crazy overscheduled lives.
Keep Schedules Simple While You Can
I want to end this with some type of non-bitchy parting wisdom. Here it is. Keep it simple while you can. The one thing that this whole new season has brought to light is that I am thankful for the years that we did keep it simple with our schedules. With our younger two, while we want them to do extra-curricular things, we do it all in moderation. There will be a time where we won’t be able to say no with these younger kids. But for now, we enjoy what we can and connect however possible with the kids as they grow.
With our younger two, while we want them to do extra-curricular things, we still keep it all in moderation. There will be a time where we won’t be able to say no with these younger kids, just like the situation we have with the older kids. But for now, we enjoy what we can and connect however possible with the kids as they grow.
Repeating this because it’s so true – kids grow up and it sucks and it all happens to damn fast.
11 years of being a mom has taught me many lessons. There have been many FAILS. There’s been a few wins. Out of all of the things that I’ve learned, 10 truths about motherhood ring true. I could tell you things like your house will never be clean or that sleep is a myth, but there are somethings you need to learn for yourself.
Truths About Motherhood
These truths about motherhood are things I want to tell every mom or soon-to-be-mom to know. I wish I had known and understood these things sooner.
1. You are unique.
How you parent should be unique. While Baby Wise may work for your half of your friends, it doesn’t mean it’s what will work for you and your family. You must learn to embrace being unique and finding what works for YOU.
2. Your kids are unique.
EVERY child is different. Just because ONE is quiet, doesn’t mean the rest will be. Just because one responds to time out’s, doesn’t mean it will work for each child.
3. Time REALLY does fly.
I use to roll my eyes every time someone said “time flies with kids” or “they’ll be grown before you know it” or “enjoy them while they are young!”. Okay, I now get it. Time DOES fly. The kids grow up way too quick. The trick is just enjoying each moment of it the best you can.
4. The most important things didn’t cost tons of money.
MONEY! If ONLY we had more money, we could buy…. Sure, money is essential, but let me give you some money saving advice….Money isn’t everything and your kids will love you regardless.
I’ve spent so much money on CRAP. Baby crap. Kid crap. Mom crap. You know that CRAP you buy, thinking it will make your life better. The best stroller, the nicest clothes, throwing the BEST kid’s birthday party. Blah – it’s all crap I tell you! I only can say this after spending way too much money and realizing that in the end, the kids don’t care.
The stroller that your child rides in will not dictate the quality of their life. The clothes your children wear will be pooped, peed and puked on.
And birthday parties, oh LORD. With 4 kids, I can tell you that our birthdays now are spent low key. We invite our closest friends and family members. We take good photos to captures the memories, but things like expensive decoration, outrageous cakes – yeah sorry kids, those things just cost way too much and the return on happiness… not worth it.
I still get caught every now in then in the money can buy happiness trap. Reality slaps me in the face each time. What does is that old song?? Money can’t buy me love… true. that.
5. People will judge you no matter what. Stand tall and ignore them.
Are you going to work? Stay at home? Use cloth diapers? Breast feed? Day care or nanny? It doesn’t matter people. But I’ll tell you this… whatever you decide to do – you WILL be judged. The best thing you can do is keep your head high and ignore the judgement, oh and not judge other moms.
6. Being a mom can be isolating, if you let it.
Facebook is great. I love the thing, but the people that you don’t see in real life in a some-what regular fashion – you can’t rely on them to provide you the human interaction you need. I spent months locked in the house, only seeing family. I felt like that was my only option. And you know what, it sucked. I joined a mom’s group, which I totally DID NOT want to do. But I did, and it made me get out of the house. It made me talk to people outside of the internet world. It was one of the best things I’ve done getting to know moms who understand the up’s and down’s of parenting children of similar age to your own.
7. The mom who has it all together is a fake.
No mom has it all together, for real. Even the ones that you swear just know how to do the mom thing right, yeah – each mom has flaws. Each mom deals with crap on the floor that didn’t come from the dog. Just some people don’t let other people know about things like that. Not that we should call these perfect moms out, just know that achieving perfection as a mom shouldn’t be a goal because it’s totally NOT realistic.
8. GMO’s are bad, but so is stress.
While my kids drink healthy smoothies in the mornings, they sometimes eat Macaroni and Cheese for lunch. I want kids with healthy eating habits, but stressing too much isn’t healthy either. All that said – don’t sweat stuff too much. Do what’s best for you (are you sensing a theme here??).
9. Have fun!
I love having kids. I always knew I wanted to have a large family. What I didn’t know was how fun having kids can be. Sure there are stressful moments and it took me de-stressing my life, learning to say no and saying yes to what really matters to understand this truth.
Our family likes to laugh a lot, we have fun whenever possible because people, this life is too short (and didn’t you read #3, it all goes by soo fast!)
10. You are doing a good job mom.
Despite the critics – and chances are you are your own worse critic…. YOU are doing a GREAT job MOM! Keep up the good work. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stop yourself from judging other moms. Don’t worry about how other parents are parenting. Ignore the haters – there are ALWAYS going to be haters (haters gonna hate).
10 Truths About Motherhood was originally published on April 9, 2014. These motherhood truths still ring true in 2017.
Who else is in the midst of creating a morning routine for school kids?
Creating a Morning Routine for School
It’s back. Back to school is HERE and the mornings are EARLY. We don’t know about you, but no matter how many kids you are juggling – school mornings, especially at the first of the school year is a BEAR. We’re sharing tips that have helped us create a morning routine for school that doesn’t have us crying. Hopefully one (or all) of these morning routine tips will help your household flow more smoothly as the kids head out the door.
School Morning Routine Tips
Here are tips from veteran parents on how to best establish a school morning routine.
Wake Up Before the Kids
This may seem like a no brainer, but wake up 20 minutes before your kids wake up. Make coffee and make breakfast. Have it ready on the table.
Keep Positive – Put on a Happy Face
This is the hardest, but essential. Kids react to their surrounding and are empathetic to attitudes. Keep it cheery, put on a happy face – they will be out of the house in no time.
This fake it until you make it will help their day start well and will put a positive aspect on the start of your day.
Prepare the Night Ahead of Time
Showers are done the night before. Keep shoes, socks and backpacks near the front door (or whichever door they leave thru.) It’s amazing how a missing shoe can cause a tardy!
Weekly Clothes Prep
Have you seen how we prep clothes for the week? As a family of people who HATE LAUNDRY – this has become essential. Check out our favorite morning routine tip – organizing clothes for school.
Weekly Lunch Prep
If your kids buy their lunch at school, just make sure there is lunch money in their account. If you pack lunches, consider doing a weekly meal lunch prep. This is something your kids can help do – more on how to do this in a future post.
Breakfast Meal Plan
Just as you may do dinner meal planning, setup a breakfast meal plan. Don’t get too fancy, just know what you have. If you need to keep it simple, don’t worry – kids just need to eat a breakfast. While a nice healthy hot breakfast is ideal, this is real life. A box of cinnamon rolls from the store bakery works just as well. Cereal works well and if you insist on a “hot meal” – make instant oatmeal. Self care is important for parents too – and buying pre-made is just find.
Get the Kids to Help – School Morning Checklist for Kids
Here is a free morning routine printable. This is a school morning checklist for kids. Use this to help your kids know what to do, when. Click below and print out several copies for your kids. Have them use each morning when they wake up so there is no excuses on not knowing what to do!
With a device like a Amazon Echo or even your smart phone – you can easily set multiple alarms.
Don’t only set a wake-up alarm, setup an alarm for when you need to leave or when the kids need to be out the door for the bus. These extra alarms serve as good audio reminders and cues to help keep your school morning routine going and on track.
What tips do you have to create an AWESOME morning routine for school? Share in the comments.
Ticonderoga Pencils – are these on your school supply lists as well? I’m trying to understand the value. We posted to Facebook today asking a HONEST question.
Honest question. WHY Ticonderoga pencils? Do these hold some magical power? Seriously, would love to know why schools prefer these than other brands!
Why Ticonderoga Pencils
There seems to be 2 teams. Pro Ticonderoga and Against Ticonderoga. The Pro team seems to be teachers, and we are all about making teachers happy – so I don’t want this to come off as we are against teachers! Here are some thoughtful response in the conversation:
Danya: OMG–the best. Seriously. I stock up when they are on sale! They write and sharpen SOOO nice
Debbie: I’ve bought these because they were advertised to be great, but I really dislike them. Yes, they sharpen great, but they didn’t write dark enough (like, when there is a powder left behind when writing hard). I spent so much on these when my son was in kinder, and I used them myself at school that year. I just went back to mechanical pencils for me and the Target $ bin for my son. Lol
Nancy: I used to wonder the same thing – they really do sharpen better and don’t seem to break as easily. The school requested them and then I started buying them for home. Besides it says right on the package “The World’s Best Pencil.” Sally: Uh grab the cheapest brand and then quickly dump them in the common bucket they all go in anyway. Lol
Paula: The wood is better quality, the lead doesn’t break as often. When you have 25-30 kids in a classroom with their pencil leads breaking every few seconds, the sound of the sharpener will drive you insane. Not to mention when the lead breaks it breaks the student’s concentration. They have to get up, pass all their friends, act goofy, get the attention of their classmates, sharpen the pencil for 5 minutes because they are wasting time, go back to their seat while making faces and possibly poking or pinching fellow students then take a few minutes to get back on task. Multiply this by 25 students. So much time is wasted at the pencil sharpener. All because of cheap ass pencils.
Teachers Love Them
Hope: As a teacher, I will actually go out and stock up so we can all have Ticonderoga all year. Just what the others said, better erasing, better sharpening, smooth writing. Ticonderoga black is even better. Truly, most others are a complete frustration and waste.
So to there you have it. Apparently these pencils are magic after all. They are specifically called out by brand on the school lists so sounds like there is an actual benefit to purchasing these over the cheap pencils.
Locally, these pencils are sold out everywhere. Stock up at Amazon, sending a few packs to of our favorite teachers after reading thru why these pencils are so loved!
Sound Off: What are your thoughts on Ticonderoga pencils???
Talking puberty with tween boys. Mamas and papas, you know you can’t wait to read this one. For some reason there is a lot of information about talking to puberty in girls but not puberty in boys. Let’s change that. Moms and dads, we need to be talking to both our daughters and sons about this life change, the definition of puberty, explaining the signs of puberty, discussing when puberty ends and any other puberty topics that our kids may have.
Our friends at Old Spice invited us to join them in Los Angeles to talk puberty in boys and introduce us to the School of Swagger. If you have a tween or teen, you know how much fun this subject is. We were happy to learn some tips and tricks to discussing all the things puberty!
Talking Puberty in Boys – 5 Tips!
Old Spice provided us with a plethora of legit resources to help aid our discussion with tween boys. We had a lively discussion and Q&A with Dr. Deborah Gilboa from askdoctorg.com. We also learned the in’s and out’s of body odor, what causes it and how to prevent it with Old Spice Sweat Scientist, Jaime Stahl. Here are 5 tips that we learned that will hopefully help you as you discuss puberty with your boy.
This wasn’t a tip given by Old Spice, but from Digital Mom Blog – drink a glass of wine before starting these discussions. You are welcome.
When to Start Talking to Boys About Puberty
While each parent needs to find the best time to talk to their sons about puberty depending on their stage of puberty, it is recommended that you begin discussions around the age of 10. If you can help educate on good hygiene during the early years, you will help your sons develop healthy hygiene habits!
Speak Their Language
When talking to your son about puberty, make sure to speak their language. Use words that they will understand and examples that are relatable to them.
Puberty may be an uncomfortable subject, but a study by Old Spice confirms that these conversations are needed because 81% of moms believe most boys ages 10-13 years old DON’T understand the different stages of puberty … and more than 2/3 of teen boys feel the same. Moms and boys rank the car as the #1 place to “talk,” followed by #2, standing in his bedroom doorway.
Use Humor When Boys Hit Puberty and Before!
As boys hit puberty, and even before changes start to happen – explain what is going on. Do so in a manner that is informative but that makes them laugh. Boys respond well to humor. Include a fart joke if you must. I mean, for real – what boy doesn’t love a good fart joke.
A fascinating suggestion was to explain to your son WHY they need to do a certain thing. Here is an interesting fact. Did you know by shampooing, you are reducing the risk of acne? I DIDN’T. This TOTALLY makes sense and explaining this to your son gives them a WHY they need to shower. No kid likes acne. Give them a WHY!
Introduce Them to Swagger School – Puberty Videos That Make Them LOL!
So last week, Old Spice launched The School of Swagger. This is brilliant. They have taken Isaiah Mustafa – the Old Spice guy and developed a series of videos that speak BOY. They go thru the basics of puberty in a way that boys will totally relate to. There are 4 videos that are hilarious. They are snack size, so your kid won’t be bored and again – THEY SPEAK BOY!