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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Little Man...Thank you for being you!!





It's easy as a parent to see yourself in your child - their personality, physical features - eye color, hair; attitude, smarts, etc. This means we tend to jump to conclusions or assume that our child can or can't do things that we can or can't do.  For example, I am musical and my husband is musical so our children should like and play music.  Or into sports, or math or blah blah blah.  Fill in the blanks. Then sometimes our children remind us that they are going to be talented in areas where we have no skills, they understand things at their age that we didn't ten years later, they aren't interested in the things that most interest us (ha!), that our best subject is their worst and that we should always be careful never to underestimate them...because they will constantly surprise and impress us.  

This post is to say Happy Birthday to my now 8 year old son who constantly surprises me and reminds me that I should always expect more from him.  Yes, he was born on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 (that was an adventure) and  I love all these things about him...(his last birthday post)...now, I want to thank him for keeping life interesting :)

Paulito, thank you for... 

- not caring what other people think about you.  I love that you do what you want and don't worry how people see you.  I pray you keep that uniqueness!

- remembering everything I say I'll do and holding me accountable. lol.  I need the help :)

- being sensitive and caring about other people and animals.


- remembering every rule in everything always :)

- not being afraid to try new things.


- your sense of humor and helping me not take things seriously all the time :)


- making me feel loved and needed :)

- taking learning seriously...even though you don't always want to.

- loving your family and making them a priority in your life.  I pray you always do.

- showing me that even though you are introverted you will step out of your comfort zone when you need to.  You help me do the same :)

- having big dreams and trusting that God will help you achieve them.

- not being afraid to share your faith and belief in God


- doing little things to help out - like cleaning without being told, or emptying the dishwasher when I'm not looking...at least the things you can reach :)

- holding yourself accountable - I pray you always accept responsibility for the good and bad things that you do.

- being a loving and thoughtful son who brightens my mood...you are incredible.  And as I've told you since you were 2...you will always be my little boy :) even when you're 30 ;)



God bless you buddy!

With love always,
Mama

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To our School Food Services...



I'm not a squeaky wheel and I really don't even know where to start to be one...but for some things, I will step out of my comfort zone to object to openly.  This is one of them. 

My child has a peanut allergy - we didn't ask for it, we didn't cause it and we don't like it anymore than you.  I won't go into details about how we found out and reacted or how we have dealt with it as she has grown, because I posted a blog a year ago about that very thing when she entered kindergarten.  

This is different.  When she started kindergarten, her school had a peanut free lunch line.  The cafeteria itself was not a peanut free zone, but this worked fine for us.  Why?  Because I knew that no peanuts entered the food area where her food would be prepared.  That meant that not only was every child eating food from the cafeteria peanut free, but she could eat there as well.  The only problem would be the children that happened to bring peanut butter in their lunch boxes.  However, we drilled into her constantly to never share food...and she seems to understand (especially since having her first reaction...which she can't forget).  

However, the school system where my children attend now serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...everyday.  This is ludicrous to me and here is why - take a look at the most recent statistics on food allergies...

About 6 million children have food allergies - that's roughly 1 in 13 children...or possibly two per class in the US.  This is no longer "uncommon" or "rare"...this is real and at every school and in almost every classroom.  More specifically, the two more common allergies in children are peanuts and milk - peanuts causing the most severe and deadly reactions.

I know there are a lot of different food allergies out there and the schools can't cater to each one - especially if that food is prevalent in the majority of the lunches that are prepared (like gluten).  I'm not asking schools to do something that severe - something that would affect every child in the school.  I'm asking something very simple - consider the majority of severe food allergy sufferers...the ones allergic to peanuts.  It's not hard - peanuts are only served in ONE lunch offered in your cafeterias...and it can be replaced very easily and most of the time unnoticed by children - with school safe soy butter.  So instead of ordering peanut butter this year to make your sandwiches, order soy butter...problem solved.  Why is this not done at every school?!  Why are our childrens' lives being put into danger?  Parent's of children without allergies who may be shrugging their shoulders at this...did you know this? (I didn't) - not only can allergies develop at any time during your life (my sister just developed one at 39 and has to carry an epi-pen) but 25% of children who have a severe allergy have their first reaction while at school.  We need to protect all of our children.

Please don't wait until a child dies before something is done.  Why did Amarria have to die at school in 2012 for a bill to be passed requiring every school to carry epi-pens? (School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.) Since that was passed at least two lives have been saved when the children ate something at school that triggered a reaction.  Who knows how many more were saved that haven't been reported?Can't we foresee and predict what is going to happen?  It doesn't take a genius...Why do we have to wait for something tragic? Especially when it can be easily avoided?

Cafeterias don't need to be peanut/nut free.  That can't happen and can't be enforced anyway.  But our School systems can stop serving peanut butter and other nuts.  That alone will eliminate most of the peanuts in the cafeteria and my daughter can go back to sitting with her classmates instead of being segregated at a separate table because of a medical condition.  We can't do this to our children.  We can't punish them for something they have no control over.  Do we make the ADD children sit at a separate table?  Do we make deaf or blind children sit at a different table?  Of course not - that's insensitive, heartless and traumatic for the child.  As a friend so eloquently put it with some satirical humor...

   "Our students can either choose to sit at the rattlesnake-free table, or around their friends who may or may not bring a rattlesnake to school.  Honestly, it's up to the children [and parents] whether or not they want to endanger their actual lives or their social lives."

Let's not do this to our children.  Help them all feel included.  And if there's a student in your child's class who has a more obscure allergy - be sensitive to it.  If they could possibly die from eating an apple (I have a friend who could...), then when you send apples with your child at lunch or see apples on the lunch menu - tell your child to not sit near his friend that day...for their safety.  All the children in the class need to understand the severity of a food allergy - because most likely there are 1-2 in their class.

So what can you do?  Find out who the food service people in your school system are and forward this to them.  Let all of the school systems that still serve peanut butter know that there is an easy option out there...and that all parents are in support of it.  The more parents and adults they hear from the more likely they are to change it...because one of the only reasons they haven't yet made this decision is because they don't want to start trouble with parents of students with no allergies.  So let them know it's ok, that your child will settle for a soy butter and jelly sandwich...and even if they can't, you can send one from home - just tell them to not sit next to their buddy that day.

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill...this is a huge problem with a tiny solution - so let's do it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A prayer for my children before school starts...

I realize this isn't their first day of school...they are going into first and second grade.  So yes, I have done this before. But that doesn't make it easier.  It won't be easy next year, or the next, or when they graduate...or get married.  This is for every parent that's having to let go.  It's hard, as a parent, to express how you feel when sending your kids off to school or on a new adventure. I tried to express it in a prayer...God bless you and your children during this transition.






Heavenly God,

Reluctantly I leave my children with you, in your care. I trust you with all that I am, but I have watched over them with you, night and day from the moment they were born.  We' ve heard every cry, wiped every tear, I’ve changed diapers, potty trained, watched the first step, heard the first word…
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  (Deuteronomy 11:19)
You have been with us and our children through every experience they have had – the good and the bad.  I saw them ride their first ride, I’ve seen them lose their first pet.  Everything they have experienced I have had the privilege to witness.  I thank you God.  I thank you from my innermost being because it is something I will hold on to forever.  The memories will always be with me when they graduate, get married and have their own children. 





Now summer is over.  We have built more memories, gone on trips, seen new things and watched their little faces light up when seeing their first fireworks.  We’ve heard the laughter when staying up late goofing around.  We have had wonderful conversations about life, moving, leaving the old and embracing the new.  We’ve talked about You, God.  We’ve questioned, we’ve answered, we’ve discussed and we’ve pondered Your awesomeness.  Thank you for our experiences and for giving us the chance to go through all of them together. 




 

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  Isaiah 43:18-19



So tomorrow we let go.  I will no longer know what they are experiencing as they go about their day – meeting new friends, learning new things, shedding tears and sharing giggles.  I will only get the stories afterwards about what happened at PE or what someone said in math or what someone did in the library.  For the first time I no longer get to share in the experience with them…I only get to hear about it from them.  


It is difficult Lord to let go…but we know you are near.  We know that we can’t go with them everywhere, but You can.  You will get to share every experience with them as they grow.  I pray that You help them understand that you are indeed always with them.  If they get bullied, if they forget their homework, if they get hurt, when they mess up or get frustrated…be with them.  Hold them close in your arms just as I would.  If they get 100 on a test, get first place in a contest, meet a new friend, help someone who is upset or hurt…pat them on the back.  Give them a high five and a hug just like I would. 


Isaiah 41:10


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Letting go always comes – daycare, preschool, kindergarten, high school, college, marriage.  It will come whether we are ready or not.  Help us through each transition.  Help us enjoy the moment and not dwell on what’s to come or the memories that have gone by.  Help us prepare our children just as you prepared us.  Help us to let go gently and gracefully and guide our children on their new walk.  
Protect them from danger, from people who mean harm, from children who bully because they have been bullied.  Give them the drive and focus to learn…give them the desire to grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.  Help them be Your light to others – their friends, classmates and teachers.  Give them compassion to help the new child in class, the hurting and the children who have been wonderfully made different.  Help them to never participate in jokes that hurt others and stick up for those being hurt.  Bless the teachers – that they not only teach, but love our children.  That they show our children how to learn and live in community. 

Thank you God for our blessings.  Thank you for our opportunities.  Thank you for our challenges.  We embrace them with our whole hearts no matter how difficult they may be.  You are our Rock and Redeemer, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end.  Bless our children as they leave our arms and enter Yours alone…
Amen

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”  (Mark 9:36–37)

Friday, July 18, 2014

My sweet six year old - "I Love that you..."

I did this for my son back on his birthday and I really enjoyed writing it...now it's my daughter's turn! :)
To my sweet, smart, beautiful six year old:  Elita, this post is for you :)

I LOVE THAT YOU...

...almost always have a smile for me and everyone else around you.
...have the best laugh ever!

I love that 
...there are times when you are very shy and times when you aren't - and I never know when they're going to happen.
...the first thing you do every morning is crawl in bed with me and snuggle-then ask for my iPhone to watch pbskids :)
 ...your favorite show right now is Wild Kratts 
 ...your favorite food when you were a baby was black beans...and still now prefer them to most everything else (except maybe pizza and hot dogs)

I love that you 
...love to be creative...you find pipe cleaners and yarn and suddenly you have whole new worlds or a laser maze!!


...love karate because you "have to work hard" and you like it!
...can make a bed out of anything, anywhere, anytime and lay down and relax :)

 
...you have always loved the water. Bored? You can always play in the tub for an hour or more :)


...loved your friends in K and that they loved you so much they named their class pet after you :)
...love school and always want to do your best. 
 ...are so competitive that you got upset when the girls in your class didn't get dressed as fast as the boys after swimming lessons.

 

...want to grow your hair long so you can wear it like Queen Elsa's.
 ...like to get messy!

 

...can always make your Papa laugh :)

 

I love that...
...for the moment, I am your hero and can do no wrong...I know it won't last long so I cherish it while it lasts.
...when it comes time to read a book, hold a hand, dance, or most everything else - I'm your first choice...again, I cherish it while it lasts :)
...you ask Papa to take you to play soccer and have a blast.



I love that you...
...have a wonderful sense of humor
...hate it when I brush your hair, but paul can yank it out and you laugh.
...ask to do silly things-like spray my car when it's raining. 

 

...never give up and will persevere even if I or anyone else says you don't have to keep trying. 

 

...adore every kind of animal and want to be a vet when you grow up (or a teacher, or musician...and definitely a mama)
...have already informed me that when you move out of our house you are going to buy pets (we're allergic...she's not)

 

...you are trying very hard to learn Spanish.
...you love Peru and ask all the time when you are going to get to go visit

 


...I love that your brother is one of the few people who can make you laugh so hard you make this happy face... :)

 

...ask to sing in church and love getting on the microphone.
...love to read.
...adore your brother and (most of the time) beg him to play with you. 



I love that...
 ...anytime music or a song comes on in a movie you tell me to dance with you.
...whenever I play dollhouse with you I have to be all the "boys"
...you can find any baby within a mile radius - and then love all over him/her.


...you take your time and remind me to stop rushing and enjoy life!
 
...you never complain about your peanut allergy even if that means not getting cupcakes and treats at school or missing out on the entire buffet of desserts at a church luncheon or at Golden Corral.
...you pick out your favorite shirt, your favorite pants and your favorite shoes (for that day) and wear them...even though none of them match. They're your faves so who cares?! :)


...you say "mama, mama" 1452 times a day and "mama will you play with me?" 549 times a day :)
...you have hardly any interest in video games
...you are excited about going to Pennsylvania to "play in the snow", even though you don't like cold weather
...you bring up God at random times and remind us that God loves us and made all of us...

AND, I love that the only thing you asked to do today was get a donut and watch the sunrise on the beach like last year :)
Wish granted!!


I love you little monkey!!  You put a smile on my face every morning! Happy Birthday!!