kids

Back Together

So I was gone for 6 days last week in Dallas, Texas working on a project that unfortunately has come to an end earlier than expected. It's okay though because while it's disappointing, it's not the end of the world and during my time there, I connected with some amazing people and made some new friends. So thanks, Texas, you're not all that bad. 

While I was gone, my awesome husband took the lead at home with the boys. It was the first full week of school which in my mind made it easier for him - at least the kids were accounted for during most of the day's hours. He still had to usher the little one to school and pick him up (earlier than he typically comes home), move the car for alternate side parking days (non NYC-ers, look it up), to which he bitched and moaned about wanting to sell said car. He had to make (order) dinner every night and make sure our children were bathed and presentable. He had to schlep to soccer practice, games and figure out how it all gets done in the span of 12 or so hours. I got one email telling me how tired he was to which I responded with the ridiculousness that I was in the middle of and gave him suggestions for dinners to make during the week. 

It's not easy being the one who does it all, I know because I'm typically the one. It's a good thing to pass along the responsibilities every once in a while. Usually we're a two parent household with him picking up the slack, but when one of us isn't there, well then, there's no choice and you have to get it done. It also raises awareness...often times we forget just how much goes into daily life organization, especially when there are multiple lives needing to be organized. Luckily, I'm a professional organizer. Prior to leaving I posted little reminder notes all throughout our apartment for all of the boys (you're welcome!). 

I arrived home to one husband with a full beard, he was too exhausted to apparently shave his face, two kids who could not stop hugging me and telling me stories about the days I missed and best of all - our five year old can now wipe his own ass which made the entire trip worth it. 

Welcome home - I missed you guys...(when's the next trip?).

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Call Your Mother.

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You guys, it's 10:30pm, I've been in Florida since Wednesday, it's Mother's Day and I'm tired. I spent the earlier part of my trip at a conference - which I will write more about in a different post - and the latter part visiting my Mom for her birthday (she turned 70!!!) and Mother's Day. This year is different. My Dad is not here. It's the first birthday celebration she's had without him since she was fifteen (let that sink in). The first Mother's Day without him since I was born twenty something...just kidding, forty four years ago. It's been an emotional and celebratory weekend filled with well wishes from friends and family. She's still trying to figure out her new normal, I have no idea how long that's going to take. We spent the afternoon at the pool where I had the opportunity to listen in to several different conversations between a few groups of women. The recurring theme of them all was whether or not they had heard from their children for Mother's Day. I myself got my phone call during breakfast since my boys are not with me, they're off the hook this year! As I sat and listened one woman was talking about how she had yet to hear from her kids, and another told me that her daughter had to call her son to remind him to call their mother, I looked at the clock and it was well into the afternoon. Wait, what? You haven't heard from your children yet? Are they incapable of picking up the phone and making a call? What's going on?

Here's the thing people - call your mother. It's that simple. She's not looking for anything extravagant, perhaps a card in the mail as an added surprise, but the very least you can do is make a phone call. TO YOUR MOTHER. You know, the woman who brought you into this world. The one who, regardless of what you think, loves you more than anyone else on the planet. That one. Her. Mom. And don't wait until the day is over - especially on Mother's Day. Call her first thing, this way she can have a smile on her face all day long instead of having hurt feelings until you do get around to it. Make her a priority.

I have a friend who calls his mother every day. Even if it's for ten seconds to say hi, how are you, he calls. Every. Single. Day. I've heard him tell his friends to call their mothers. His reasoning is this: why not? Why not call your mom every day to say hi. To check in, see how she's feeling, find out what's new and all that stuff. Sometimes the call will be longer than others. Sometimes she won't be available to take your call, so leave a message. I promise you every time it will be appreciated.

I call my mom every day - has it always been this way? Admittedly, no. Prior to my dad passing away, I would speak with my mom once maybe twice a week. We have a standing call on Saturday morning at eight o'clock. Now that my dad is gone, I make the effort to check in with her every day. To hear which friend reached out to her, to see what she had for dinner the night before. To find out when her next visit to the doctor is. Sometimes she tells me the same story she told me the day before, and that's okay.

My kids are still young. They want to talk to me (well, maybe), they have to talk to me because they live with me and I'll harass them until they do, but for those of you who don't, give your mom some consideration and love. Give her a call. Tell her you love her. Make her day. All the things you remind your kids to do for their mom, you should do for yours.

Being a mother is the most thankless job - our kids want and take from us every day and we comply without complaint (for the most part). We anticipate, we organize, we facilitate, we comfort, we nourish, we teach, we love without expectation of receiving anything in return. It won't kill you to form a new habit and call your mother.

So to all the mom's out there I hope your children did right by you and made that phone call. And that you got to do exactly what you wanted to do today - because you deserve all of it and more. Happy Mother's Day!!

xo

Go Big Or Go Home

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I have a few mantras that I live by - guiding principles if you will - for when I feel like the going is getting tough or if I need a dose of optimism. "Go big or go home" is one of them. I don't remember the first time I heard it, probably during my childhood if I had to guess, but it's been a phrase that comes in handy in a lot of situations. For me it means to rise up, focus and put in all I have to whatever I'm doing. It means there's nothing I can't accomplish. You see, I wasn't always like this - optimistic, driven and unafraid of what was ahead in my journey. I was thinking about it the other day, when did I become this person? HOW did I become this person? The answer didn't magically appear for me either, I had to do some digging until I could remember back far enough.

I can remember being in my 20's and having ideas about what I wanted to accomplish in my life. Things like travel the world, be a successful businessperson, and help others in need. I can also remember people telling me things that made me doubt those ideas. Things like "you don't really think you're gonna do that, do you?" or "that sounds impossible." Until I realized I was responsible for making the choice to rise up to live my own life, I was going to be limited by what others said or thought of my abilities.

The day that all changed was the day I decided to throw caution to the wind and change the course of my life. The day I decided to pack my bags, get in my car and drive over a thousand miles to a new place because I knew it was where I was supposed to be. It was October 1997, I was living in Florida and six months earlier I had met the man I was going to marry. He lived in New York City (I'm originally from NY and always knew in my heart I would move back), was the exact opposite of every other man I had ever had a relationship with, and I knew in my bones from the day I met him that we belonged together. Against all of the naysayers, I did it. I got in that car and I drove to be with him, I left my entire life behind, except to me, my entire life lied ahead.

I realized then, at the age of 24, that I was the one calling the shots - ME. I was the one responsible for my happiness, my well being and my future. It was a valuable lesson and one that I use every day in my work and with my family. I wasn't going to fall into a life I didn't want because it suited others and made them happy. I was going to create the life I wanted with the people I chose.

My story to rise isn't about overcoming a major challenge or a sickness or a difficult parenting situation. My story to rise is a daily reminder that I have a choice. That's something I preach to my children every day. We always have a choice, no matter what the situation. My story to rise is one of strength in believing in myself that I could make it in a new place with a new person. That even though it wasn't always easy, that the bumps in the road would be more difficult than I ever anticipated, I would be able to navigate them and create a life that I WANTED to live.

Have there been days of doubt? You betcha.

Have there been times of trial and tribulation? Absolutely.

But there has never been one day where I thought I was making the wrong decision.

It's 20 years later, I married that guy, we have 2 beautiful boys and a life that hasn't always been easy to manage. I started a new business not that long ago. It's tested our limits in more ways than one, but it has strengthened our resolve to one another and to my belief in my choices.

I tell my kids four things every day:

  1. Be happy
  2. Be kind
  3. Make good choices
  4. I love you

I see them observing how we choose to live our lives to the fullest through example and experiences. I notice them watching us make decisions for our future. I listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Every time my answer is directed toward one of the four things I tell them every day.

Go big or go home - do your best and consider your situation and you will surely rise up to the occasion.

Who Doesn't Love Shoes?

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You guys, it's been an insane week! I've been dealing with a 3 day long headache - I was hoping it was weather related but it's not letting up so I might have to suck it up and see a doctor, I'm giving it a few more days. We had a foot of snow fall on us in the last 24 hours, causing NYC schools to be closed yesterday, which NEVER happens. I was telling a friend that in the 8 years my kids have been in school, this was our 3rd snow day. We baked cookies, shoveled the stoop steps and sidewalk and made a fort out of couch cushions. Then I took a nap while the boys had a wrestling match in the living room. A good time was had by all - and school is open today!! (woo hoo!!) That means it's Friday - again! Sheesh! Every Monday I wake up wondering what's in store for me this week and then I blink and it's Friday again. It's truly amazing how fast time really does fly. I've been doing research on different organizations to highlight for Pay It Forward and I came across this one yesterday and I can't stop thinking about it. It's called The Shoe That Grows, and it's a sandal that is designed to grow with your feet. Anyone can wear them. The founder of the company Kenton Lee had the idea when he was in Kenya in 2007. He saw children trying to fit into shoes that were too small or were full of holes because they didn't fit when he had the idea to create something durable and long lasting. This is genius!

The best part is that there are multiple ways to be involved with this amazing cause. Donate a pair - for $15 dollars you can donate a pair of shoes - yep, that's right, FIFTEEN DOLLARS and a child in need gets a new pair of shoes that will last up to 5 years. Distribute shoes - there are multiple donation partner levels for example $200 gets you 10 pairs of shoes to deliver to a place in need. Buy a pair - for yourself, your kids, whoever for $50 and that gets you your pair PLUS two pairs to be donated. You guys, this is such an amazing idea!! I signed up to be a volunteer for the company because I love their mission - I'm waiting for more info on how I can help spread the word.

So today, as you're lacing up your comfy sneaks or your super warm snow boots or perhaps slipping on your flip flops, think of all the kids that don't even have one pair of shoes that fit them properly. Bring your lunch to work and donate a pair of Shoes That Grow today!!

For more information about The Shoe That Grows - check out their website: https://theshoethatgrows.org/index.html

Fighting Autism - Year #2

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Kicking off love month by spreading some LOVE! it’s time to Pay It Forward!! This week's post is a follow up from last year. I have a good friend who’s 7 year old grandson, CJ was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and they are on a crusade to make sure he receives as many resources as possible to help him reach his goals and dreams. Now, I’m sure most of us know someone who has some form of ASD, the spectrum is vast. In CJ’s case, his mom, Janita was on top of it as soon as she saw signs of a developmental delay. CJ has an older sister, Mya, and he wasn’t keeping up with hitting milestones the way she had as a baby. Janita and her husband Chris have been committed to making sure CJ gets all the help he needs when it comes to schooling and advancement. They will jump through any hoop, fight any denial and bust through any road block when it comes to CJ. Quite frankly, every parent I know that has a child with a form of ASD deals with hoops and road blocks every day. It’s exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. It’s a full time job making sure your child is cared for, is learning, thriving and growing without a stigma associated with it. It’s a constant worry when your child isn’t in your line of site, wondering if they’re okay, if they’re making it through the day without incident. It requires medication sometimes. It requires additional teachers and para professionals to help not only your child but the parents to navigate uncharted waters. It takes dedication, it takes money and it takes perseverance. I am in awe of the parents I see in our schools and neighborhoods advocating for their children and their needed resources.

I’m writing today to raise money for CJ and his quest to help others like him get the resources they all need and deserve. Last year, CJ and his family raised $14,000 for this cause!

This year they're at it again raising money for QSAC, a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services. Their goal this year is $15,000!!!

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.

QSAC offers programs and services for both children and adults with autism. Programs for children include early intervention, preschool, school, after school, and in-home educational and support services. QSAC’s adult programs include supportive living, skill development programs, and in-home services. All of QSAC’s programs provide supportive and trained staff, high-impact services, and a commitment to quality.

In support of its direct service programs, QSAC works to be an innovator in the field of developmental disability providers by implementing new technologies to best support the children and adults in our programs. In addition, QSAC’s clinical and educational leadership teams regularly embark on research projects that seek to further unlock new and innovative strategies and methodologies for best supporting the learning outcomes of the individuals we serve.

To extend its impact, QSAC offers parent and sibling support groups, trainings, an annual conference for parents, and other programs that expand the community’s awareness regarding autism and access to services.

CJ will be bowling for dollars on March 18th and he’s also taking donations now. So what does your donation mean?

  • $25 = Support services for children and adults with autism
  • $50 = Sponsor supplies for one of our classrooms
  • $100 = Sponsor art supplies for one of our classrooms
  • $250 = Sponsor a physical education class for students with autism
  • $500 = Sponsor a tablet for a child or adult with autism
  • $1,000 = Sponsor a recreational activity for adults with autism

Today’s pay it forward is for CJ and all of the other families I know who are living with ASD. Give up today’s latte and give it to CJ and his crusade. Here’s the link  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/doris-sanchez-1/2017bowling3

Thanks for your generosity and kindness! Happy Friday!!

xo

Featured Guest

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Featured guest are words I love to see (about me)! I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Oh Shift! Podcast this week and I'm so excited to share it with you guys! In it I'm talking to Mark Tucker, founder of Oh Shift! For Teens, and we're discussing the importance of communication. You know I'm a big proponent of communication in all areas of my life so this topic was something I could really dig into and share my thoughts on. I hope you enjoy!! And follow Mark and his awesome wife Jennifer Powers because they rock and they have a lot of great stuff to share!! http://www.ohshift.com/podcast/

Thanks Mark for having me on your show!!

xo