It’s not a competition. Just enjoy it.

As I was sitting on the toilet the other day, scrolling through social media, I came to a realization about how we treat each other. I was ‘friends’ with a wide variety of people I have met throughout my life. I was friends with family members, classmates from high school, college and graduate school. I was friends with people I knew from cities I used to live in, co-workers I used to work with and co-workers I currently work with. I have friends from my neighborhood, parents from my childrens’ sports teams, teachers at their school, parents of former students, students who have graduated, friends of my own children, and then another classification altogether, people whom I have never actually met. This is what really hit me hard. It’s what made me really think.

There are people whom I share my life with that I have maybe spoken to, online only, a handful of times.

So, I thought about my interactions with all of these people. I’m not talking about Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy, here. I’m talking about the actual interaction on social media. A like, a comment, a care, a heart, a laugh. Are they any different than the friends I see often or have grown up with? Does it depend on whether I actually stood in front of you face to face at one point? Nope. I’m supporting you.

Hey friend of my husband from high school that I have never met and became friends with accidentally because my husband thought he was using his account…you just ran a half-marathon? Amazing. You go, man! You get a like. My cousin shared a really cool picture? Um, LOVE. Person whom I’ve never met who lives 6 states away and is starting her own side business? Hell yeah! That stuff is cool and you’re amazing for fitting it into your schedule. I see you going back to school for a career change while raising kids on your own. High five! We need a high five button!

There are pictures of kids all over the place and as I see them grow up, I think, ‘OMG, I remember when they were this big and they did some funny thing.’ Have I ever seen this kid NOT through a screen? Nope, but I’m gonna like that pic. Friends share their favorite memories and I recall how funny or adorable that was 7 years ago. I love it! 

We share each others’ lives through social media. We support each other. It might be a simple like, a share, a comment, or support by liking their business page or by purchasing something from them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just be there.

Let’s be clear that this isn’t a promotion for social media, though it certainly makes us all easily accessible to each other. It’s a promotion to be human. To be kind. To lift each other up through supporting each other, even if you’ve never been in the same state at the same time. During this day and age, and during our extremely busy schedules, it might just be the most we can do. 

So think for me: How do we treat each other? How do we treat each other in person? How do we treat each other on social media? How do we treat each other when when the other isn’t looking?

Think about that. There’s so much going through my head at this point that I’ve gone on a tangent and started thinking about how we help others in our daily lives when not on social media. I started thinking about all the people I know around me and in my daily life. If you’re one of those people always doing things to help others, yet there’s no big hooray, keep doing it! You don’t need a big party. Stay humble, please. If you’re one of those people who are always advocating for others, keep doing it, regardless if people don’t care or they get in your way. Keep. Doing. It. 

You need help with this? Absolutely, I’ll help! Your kid just scored a goal or made the winning basket? Amazing! I have no idea where your team is from, but, ‘click’ you just got a like because I support you and share in your excitement. Your kid can’t sign the letter D correctly and sticks his middle finger up making it look like he’s flipping you off? Yes! I’m clicking the like button for that shit.

Do you share a lot of exciting accomplishments because that’s the only way your family can see these things? Yeah? I TOTALLY get it.  Everyone has their own reasons for sharing. Everyone has their own reason for helping. You do you. It’s not a competition. Does it really matter? It’s not a competition. What’s that again? It’s not a competition!

I find myself enjoying the accomplishments of others. Are some braggy? Probably, but I probably seem that way too. I don’t care though. I know I have friends (and family) that really do enjoy seeing that. Will I continue to support my friends? Yup. Do I wish I could someday meet some of them (LOL) face to face? Certainly. The point of all of this is that I found myself supporting people I hardly know because it’s about being positive. We need more positivity around us. 

This whole post started because I saw and liked a business page of a friend whom I’ve never met, when she asked me to follow her new side business. So look at your feed. What you see were posted with emotion: happiness, humor, contentedness, excitement and the feeling of an extremely proud person. What are you going to do when you react? Look at your surroundings, what you’re doing and what others are doing. What are you going to do when you react?

What are you going to do to spread joy?

A Tissue, Frozen Avocados, and a Broken Foot

Are you ready for this? Do you know how a tissue can lead to a broken foot? It’s possible. Not likely in the way that my Monday played out but it’s obviously possible. It all starts on the way home from preschool pick up. My son asks for a tissue from the back seat. Naturally, I thought he needed to wipe some snot and be done. I don’t have tissues. I forgot to re-pack some in my bag since the last time. I did, however, have a partially used paper towel stuffed into my empty McDonald’s coffee cup. I open it up and rip off an edge big enough to suffice. I reach back to give it to him without looking because I’m driving, you know. A few minutes later, I ask him a question. He doesn’t answer. I ask him again. Nothing. I turn back to ask him again and there he is, gingerly holding a completely blood-soaked piece of paper towel in front of him like it’s a bomb. His nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, neck, sweatshirt, car seat buckle and straps, and pants are soaked. It was a bloodbath back there. It was like a scene from Carrie.

Since I’m one turn away from being home, I rush home and pull into the driveway. I grab whatever napkins I could find (I may or may not have grabbed them from the trash can in the van) and start wiping him off, so he could at least open his mouth which was cemented shut both by the dried blood and his own choosing. I open the basement door and rush in, not caring that my husband was on a work call and start running…no…sprinting…no…FLYING up the stairs to the kitchen. I was going so fast, when I got into the kitchen, my momentum just kept me going, head first, onto the kitchen floor. I felt like I did another 3 steps like Wile E. Coyote does off of a cliff. I was going so fast that after I slid through half the kitchen, I still had enough momentum to transition into a dog running on all fours, and then progressively upright like Homo erectus. I could easily have been the poster you all see showing the progression of ape to man. I ran for a roll of paper towels and then a pack of wipes, back down the stairs (I was told later that I sounded like a tornado), and out to the van.

It took forever to clean him up. Trying to wipe it all off of his face, hands, hoodie, pants, straps and buckle was not an easy feat. I got him cleaned up enough to get him in the house and undressed. After all the kid-cleaning was complete, I attempted the car seat again and started taking it apart. Taking out a car seat is the worst feeling, but having to also take the cover off and remove the straps is like entering Prince Humperdinck’s Pit of Despair.

The kid was successfully cleaned and the clothes and cover were soaking in the sink that perpetually has something soaking in it. I still had to clean the straps. Simply washing it by hand with wipes, paper towels and 4 different kinds of cleaning spray did not work. Every paper towel had the remnants of the nose faucet previously inhabiting the car seat. My husband carried the car seat up to the kids’ bathroom and put it in the tub. I grabbed some detergent and sponges and met him in the bathroom. We just stood there and stared at each other. The realization that this was a bad idea was gut-wrenching. We let out a collective sigh without even exchanging words. The only thing I could think of was pressure washing it but since we had a little mishap with the pressure washer last fall trying to clean a pair of white baseball pants, I was out of luck since I haven’t been able to replace the burnt hose. That reminds me, “Alexa, put pressure washer hose on my list.” The next best thing was the garden hose. I asked him to take the car seat downstairs while I run to the other room to check the soaking clothes.

I get downstairs and start to walk out to the garden hose and notice there is no car seat. I ended up finding it down another set of stairs, sitting in the garage. At this point, I’m ticked. I’m tired. I’m TNT. Tired N’ Ticked as we frequently call my brother-in-law. I vigorously grab the car seat and make my way into the basement and up the stairs. I take one step up, and then it all begins:

My left foot steps on a dragging strap, the car seat gets caught and while it gets pulled out of my hands, it falls to the floor. I’m still taking my next step and my right foot goes IN the car seat, the car seat starts rolling sideways, my foot steps deeper into the car seat, my big toe finds one of the holes, my knee buckles, and I go down. My left foot steps on the bottom of the car seat, the car seat seesaws up with my foot still stuck in it, and my thighs and knees land on the hard plastic. As I attempt the graceful landing, the car seat gets flung into the air, it releases my poor toe and foot and just for shits and giggles, it lands on my ankle.

I immediately grab my toe and foot and start writhing on the floor. My son, the reason behind this whole mess, is at the top of the stairs just laughing at me. I’m rolling around thinking of my ouchie and I see the dog speeding down the stairs straight towards me, tail wagging, ears up in the air and eyes open so wide, it looks like she’s trying to win a staring contest. The kid is still laughing hysterically, I know something has to be wrong with my foot and then there it is…endless dog kisses. I’m on her level by laying on the floor and she thinks its time for her to lick my face off. The kid, well, still laughing. I yell up to him, “It’s not funny! This hurts!” He sits on the steps, extends his arms in front of him and yells, “C’mon Mom. It’s funny. Really funny. Just laugh.” I couldn’t hold it in anymore so I joined him, wondering how I could spin the story into something that resembled something sensible or simply normal.

I had to get back to work so I grabbed a bag of frozen avocados to wrap on my foot and toe. Fast forward to an hour later, I was trying to walk around on it and just kept going about my day as best I could. I was not going to miss my daughter’s first High School softball game. The kid and I drove an hour to her game to go watch her and her team. We had to take the other car because my car was missing a car seat. I hobbled around and was able to bare it enough to make it through. On the drive home to pick her up at the school, I asked the kid if he would like to go to McDonald’s. It was my rare treat since I realized I was a horrible mom because it was 8:30 and he hadn’t eaten since lunch. He didn’t answer. I asked again and then a third time. Silence. I figured he was asleep since he didn’t nap but I felt the need to turn back to look at him. And there it was. Again. He was sitting there like a statue, blood everywhere with his mouth clamped shut to keep all the blood out. Thank goodness we were close enough to the school that I was able to get us there to clean him up enough to get home. Repeat. This time I asked my husband to bring the car seat in. After he brought it in, he said, “You know, I stepped on the strap and almost fell when bringing in.” All I could do was walk away. Wait. Limp away. I went to urgent care the next day to get x-rays and was happy to see my cousin-in-law get to diagnose me with my unfortunate but entertaining fracture.

The moral of the story is to tuck the straps into the car seat when carrying it, always have tissues or paper towels handy if your kid has frequent nosebleeds, and always keep frozen avocados in your freezer.

To Everyone

Everybody is adjusting to the new and temporary normal. Whether you usually work from home, now have to work or receive your education at home, if you continue to commute to work, or if you are currently laid off, we are all in different situations and are struggling with how to cope with it. 

To the students: You are adjusting to a different way of receiving your education. It’s different and it’s hard. You miss your friends. You miss your teachers. You miss walking through the hallways or through campus. You miss the school activities you have had to abruptly stop. Seniors are mourning the end of their senior year because this is nothing like any of you expected. Athletes are mourning the loss of an entire season.  You all left school on that last day not knowing when you’ll see your friends and teachers again. We are all here for you. Everyone is here for you. 

To the teachers: You’re doing great. You are learning new ways to reach your students. You are doing enough. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t stress yourself out. Don’t ask yourself if you’re doing enough for your students because you are. You have worked with your colleagues  to create the best way you can teach your students. Your students are appreciative of what you are doing and look forward to the communication from you. They look up to you and are excited about the new experiences you are creating for them. You are doing enough. If you’re a cyber teacher, you may be accustomed to working from home and virtually but everything is different for you too. If you have kids at home with you, you now wear many hats during the work-day. You’re struggling to balance parenthood and work. If you don’t have kids home with you, your life has changed too. You are thinking about your family and their health. You are concerned for your students whose lives have also changed. Your routine has changed as well. Everything is different for everyone.

To the parents and grandparents: You’re doing great too. Amazing, actually. Your children, whether they are young or old, need you. Don’t compare yourself to other parents and grandparents. You are trying to help your child. You are trying to work from home or work out of the home while trying to care for your children and ensure they are getting what they need. Maybe you are laid off. I am praying for you and with you that you are able to go back to work because this has become a stressful time in your life. Whatever situation you are in at home, in the meantime, take advantage of the time you are given to be with your kids. You’ve seen social media posts with opinions, judgment, ideas, and organized work spaces created for your kids. My favorite has been the funny coping memes. Sometimes sarcasm and laughter are how I can get through things. So what do you do and what do I do? My kids are on their bed, the floor or a couch. Are they okay? Yep. It’s fine. Are yours the same? Then you and your kids are fine too. Don’t get stressed out.  Are are your kids goofing around and would they rather text or call their friend or play Roblox? Fine. Let them. They are stressed too. They are enjoying the free time. Lay down next to them. Watch a movie. Play a board game. Pull out that puzzle you’ve been thinking about doing for a while. We pulled out a Christmas puzzle we didn’t have time for last Christmas. See that? We didn’t have time. There’s never enough time. There is now. Embrace it. 

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Stink Bug Survivor

I’m not just all about the things my kids do. Even though they are mostly the individuals with incidents that make me laugh, cry or search for a rock to crawl under, I (occasionally) have some stories of my own.

Let’s take yesterday for example. Stink bugs. They’re such a pain. They have been showing up here and there over the winter, mostly in my bathroom. I see them alive and I see them dead. Yesterday, there was a dead one, on its back with the legs curled up, on the floor of my bathroom right in front of the toilet. It wasn’t moving, at all. Trust me, I watched it for a healthy minute to assess the situation. It was dead. I took 2 squares of toilet paper. Don’t waste it. You only need 2 squares! I grabbed the dead stink bug with the ever so economical 2 squares of toilet paper and made sure it was smack in the middle of the toilet paper and threw it in the toilet. It was completely between the two squares and the squares were floating on top of the water.

Now, I’m very aware of the water usage crisis, aka, water costs money and that my husband frequently reminisces to his childhood when in the summer, the motto was “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” They had a water crisis EVERY summer. Trust me, I hear about it every Christmas when the whole family is together. It’s comical every time I hear it. Anyway, I felt it necessary to just let it in there while I relieved myself. After all, it was dead, right? No use in wasting a flush on a dead stink bug when I can get a 2 for 1 flush. I was sooooo wrong.

While I’m sitting on the toilet, up comes the stink bug between my legs and I jump up and try to get it off my thigh. I finally get it off using 2 more frugal squares of toilet paper, throw it back into the toilet and press the handle for the momentous flush. Thank goodness I was “done” and there was no collateral damage. Except for now, I’ll be wasting my free flush on stink bugs.

Can you teach with VIPKid too?

Have you seen all the advertisements and think to yourself that it sounds too good to be true? Let me tell you a secret. It IS too good to be true….but it IS true!

I’ve been a VIPKID Teacher for 3 years now and all I can say is that I absolutely LOVE it! I get to teach amazing kids and have fun every morning. It’s a great 2nd job for me since I am a full time virtual Special Education teacher with 4 kids aged 3-14 who are quite active in sports. Having a 2nd job was never an option before VIPKID. However, now, VIPKID gives me the flexibility I need in order to hold a 2nd job.

So far so good?  Let me tell you some more about it.

VIPKID is an online and fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction for children in China ages 4-12. The company is headquartered in Beijing and offers a unique and international learning experience for Chinese children. Each VIPKID Teacher is required to hold a Bachelor’s Degree. You can live anywhere as long as you have a computer, stable Internet, a microphone, camera and headset. Unfortunately, at this time, they are not currently partnering with any teachers from California.

Students schedule a 25 minute class with a teacher in 30 minute time slots. Teachers can work any time they want and they control their schedule.  I choose to work for 60-90 minutes each morning before I start my full time job. I also teach a few classes over the weekend, occasionally. Some teachers work through the night hours and consider themselves full time. You can do whatever works best for your situation.

The main time slots for teaching in Beijing time are Monday through Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Saturday through Sunday from 9:00am to 9:00 pm. These times are when VIPKIDs are available to schedule with you. Within those times, there are peak times which are in high demand. If you are available to teach during the peak times, you have a better chance at getting booked. You set your schedule for whenever and how many sessions you want and VIPKIDs find you and schedule with you. THAT’S when the fun begins!

I don’t consider working as a VIPKID Teacher a JOB. I consider it a time that I get to travel across the world to China and other countries every morning to meet an amazing child, teach them English, have an amazing amount of fun, and then get paid for it. I can’t tell you how many times my children ask me what in the world I was doing in class because they heard me laughing, singing, and being just plain silly. Sometimes, after class, my kids come up to me and ask, “Mom, were you teaching —– again this morning? I know it was him/her because you were so loud and having way too much fun again.” Or “Mom, I heard you rapping with —– again this morning. You’re weird.”  But you know what? IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

You can earn up to $22 per hour with VIPKID! SIGN ME UP!!! Oh wait…I already did and LOVE it!

Continue reading…

ENTER TO WIN AN OCEANFRONT CONDO or $50,000 CASH!

Win an Oceanfront Condo and Change Your Life! Vacation Myrtle Beach, one of the largest providers of family vacation accommodations in Myrtle Beach, SC, is pleased to announce the launch of The Great Myrtle Beach Condo Giveaway contest, which features the grand prize of a furnished oceanfront condo at The Caravelle Resort located in Myrtle Beach, SC, valued at nearly $100,000 (or $50,000 CASH, winner’s choice)!!! Other lucky winners will receive a 7-night stay or a 3-night stay at one of Vacation Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront properties.

The newly renovated, oceanfront efficiency condo offers room for up to four guests and includes a fully-equipped kitchen. In addition to its prime Myrtle Beach location, the resort provides convenient access to all of the area’s major attractions, restaurants, and things to do. Families and couples enjoy a wide variety of on-site amenities including an indoor pool, a block-long poolscape complete with a large pool, whirlpool, lazy river, kiddie lazy river, kids’ pool, poolside bar, and plenty of relaxing deck options. In addition to everything you need for fun in the sun, the resort offers an array of dining options as well as an opportunity for rejuvenation and relaxation at its on-site spa.

The Great Myrtle Beach Condo Giveaway sweepstakes is now open for entries.

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Dinosaur adventure was a roaring good time!

Dinosaur Adventure came to Pittsburgh this past weekend and it didn’t disappoint! I was mostly excited for my 3 and 10 year old boys but I even caught the 12 and even the 14 year old girls having fun! Who would’ve known they could have fun too? *wink wink

Dinosaur Adventure was an all-new, one of a kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that came alive with their life-like movement and roars. We learned about the most popular dinosaurs -Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, and Velociraptor. We even learned about some other dinosaurs we had never even heard of before!

Just walking into the convention center had us stopping for pictures right away when my kids wanted to sit on the little dinosaurs!

The dinosaurs moved and roared and were so life-like!

As part of Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages enjoyed a variety of activities such as fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and so much more!

Look how the big kids are having fun too!

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Save $3 off any activity or VIP Ticket to DINOSAUR ADVENTURE

I am excited to share that Dinosaur Adventure is coming to:
Madison WI – Alliant Energy Center – Nov. 16 and 17
Fort Wayne IN – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum – Nov. 23-24
Toledo, OH – Seagate Convention Center, Dec. 7 and 8
Raleigh, NC – NC State Fairgrounds – Jim Graham Building – Dec. 14 – 15
Allentown, PA – Allentown Fairgrounds – Dec. 21 – 22
Pittsburgh, PA – Monroeville Convention Center – Dec. 27- 29

Dinosaur Adventure is an all-new, one of a kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with their life-like movement and roars. Learn about the most popular dinosaurs -Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, Velociraptor, and explore recent finds with exciting discoveries!

As part of Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages will enjoy a variety of activities: fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and more!

The whole family will also be amused by our live entertainment featuring a walking dinosaur show, and a baby dinosaur meet & greet.

My Readers SAVE – $3 Off any Adult, Child Activity or VIP Ticket Use Code: FLASH3

Visit the link HERE to get your tickets!

I can’t wait to take my 3 year old. He pretends to be a dinosaur every day. This will be the perfect event for him to see, play, interact and have fun!

My kids loved reading Pepper the Parrotfish!

Tired of reading the same book every night to your kiddo? Surprise your little one with Pepper The Parrotfish! This educational picture book for ages 3-8 delights children and parents as they learn what makes the parrotfish a special part of our planet.

All 4 of my children read this book. I read it first and then watched their faces as they worked their way through the book. Truthfully, I wanted to see their reaction to the story as they continued through to the end. After they were done, they looked up at me and didn’t say a word. They just smiled. We had a discussion about how the fish changed the world and they even got into a conversation about how they can just be themselves and improve the world too.

I love how this book got them to enjoy reading, enjoy learning about marine life and also spark a discussion to better themselves and the planet around them. I highly recommend purchasing this book for your children or your children’s teachers/library. I’m excited to continue reading the Great Animal Trait children’s book series. This was only the first book in the series. Each story features a lovable character who reveals a unique animal fact. The story educates children while encouraging them to share what makes them special in our world. I can’t wait to see the rest of the books!

Part of the proceeds will be donated towards marine conservation. Free Shipping for a limited time only! Colorado local author and illustrator.
Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-939550-74-3


SAVE $5 on the Best Children’ Book, Pepper the Parrotfish for ages 3-8! – Pepper The Parrotfish is swimming to your door with $5 OFF deal! 

Click HERE to purchase!

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http://www.PepperParrotfish.com

Use Promo Code KIDS5 at checkout.

Remember, a portion of the proceeds benefits the marine conservation!