School Shootings

When you started school (think back to being in kindergarten) – I’m willing to bet that your parents said “school is a safe place, your teachers are safe adults.”

Most kids only worried about trading their carrots for someones pudding cup. Or if they were going to go to the playground after school – no child ever thought “today could be the last day of my life”.

If you ask parents now what they say to their kids before going to school, “be careful, remember I love you.”

Imagine saying “be careful”? School is supposed to be safe a place, teachers go to school to educate our kids, to have fun, expose them to new things, new concepts not to be doing lock down drills, not to be a literal human shield. Of course our teachers will jump in front flying bullets without thinking twice, but that shouldn’t be the case. Their spouses shouldn’t be afraid when they kiss them good-bye in the morning that it could be the last moment they share together.

So what’s it going to take to get something done around here? Seriously, how many kids need to die in order for the laws to be changed – for people to be protected, for our KIDS to be protected, innocent kids who love openly, accept everyone and love unconditionally.

This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, this is a common sense issue.

The NRA is the enemy here, the NRA is at fault, their hands are covered in blood. Now before you say, “Emily, lets just put retired police officers in schools.” OR “if our teachers are armed this won’t keep happening.”

Well, I got news for you, kids who are under the age of 21 can still get ahold of alcohol and in Florida where the most recent shooting happened there was a police officer there, with a gun, but he didn’t go in. Maybe he was scared, maybe he thought it was a hoax, maybe he didn’t get the call in time. I don’t know, I haven’t talked to him – but with someone with training and a weapon for protection he didn’t go running in – so your argument doesn’t hold up – and please don’t say “that’s one guy”.

I want action, I want something to be done, something should have been done a long time ago, but there’s no community immune from it. No area is 110% safe, the first question i ask when I look at schools for our kids is “what is your school shooter policy?” I want to know what they will do to protect my kids and what their plan is.

I have a kid in school, I have more friends who are teachers than in any other profession and I want them to go in not worrying they won’t come back out.

Lets do something, before another life is lost.

To Gender Reveal or Not To?

If you know anyone who has had a baby in the last 2 years then you’ve probably seen a gender reveal!

Some do cakes, balloons, gun smoke, coloring a Hershey bar in, and some people do big parties with their families or keep it small just between the parents.

With our daughter, I knew from the beginning she was a girl but my husband wasn’t so sure – so I went to the appointment and the tech told me right, a baby girl! I was ecstatic and then a little scared, because girls and their mothers when they are teenagers. But mostly ecstatic. My husband was working in Boston at the time and it was a Thursday night when we found out so we went to our favorite bar, Harry’s Burger Bar by our apartment.

He got there first and I walked in with a onesie wrapped up in wrapping paper (face down) and our regular waiter, Joel took the best video of him opening it. The onesie read, “Daddy’s Little Girl”. The only other time he has been that excited is when we found out we were having a son.

We posted a picture of him holding the onesie up on Facebook as our big announcement, it was perfect.

With our son, we had family in from Texas and wanted to do something special. I was craving sweets so we ordered a cake from the local bakery. It said “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, How We Wonder What You Are?!” On the inside there was light blue frosting. It was perfect and our family was surprised as well as happy.

I love gender reveals, weather it is for friends or people I’ve lost touch with.

So have you done one? Why or Why not?

PVD Donuts

Ok, so if you’ve been living under a rock then you haven’t heard of PVD Donuts, but I’m sure you’ve seen the instagram posts, BuzzFeed article among many other wonderful press they’ve received.

Here’s the thing you won’t find in any of the press, how hard they work. Let me start from the beginning.

I emailed the owner earlier this week about getting donuts for New Years, our neighbor hasn’t tried them yet and neither had a few other guests who were joining us for New Year’s Eve celebrations. I emailed them asking if I could in fact place an order or if it would be first come first serve. On their website it says allow for up to 72 hours for a response.

Flash forward about 40 mins I got a response, saying I could in fact place my order and do so by 10pm the next night. Awesome, I chatted with our guests and came up with a list. Sent it in and then the owners emailed saying they didn’t offer the chocolate cruller donut this month and asked if I’d like to swap it out for something else, I declined and said that was my husbands favorite and I thought we would be all set with the order as is.

Low and behold they said they would ask their bakers if they could make it for him, how awesome is that? Seriously, they went out of their way to accommodate someone who they don’t personally know?

The other thing that’s absolutely wonderful about PVD Donuts is on their website they say they cannot guarantee that there is no cross contamination for people who suffer from peanut allergies. This is great, my niece and nephew have peanut allergies and they are so transparent – it’s very refreshing to see.

Lets talk about the owners Lori and Paul, they have an amazing staff who they treat like family and they respond to emails quickly as well as do the website themselves. We try to go to small business’ as often as we can and we truly believe that small business’ will keep the local economy going and want other people to visit them as well.

Lastly, the employees are truly some of the nicest I’ve ever met and very well organized. If you order in advance you get to the cut the line (not wait outside, but they do have heaters out there for everyone to keep them warm!) and go inside and to the left and there’s someone there with a table of donuts and a square ready to give you your order. I was in and out in 5 mins. I also got to congratulate one of the staff who is recently engaged. I love the environment and their donuts.

Go check out PVD Donuts and let me know how much you love them.

Road Trip with kids

If you ever wonder what it’s like to be exhausted from doing absolutely nothing then I suggest you to take an eight hour drive to Western NY (including stops).

So Nate’s grandmother lives there and one of his aunts and her husband, we haven’t been up to visit since Julia was 2 months old. So, it was important that we got up there to see her and for Grandma Howe to meet Samuel.

The great part is when we go up we get to see Grandma we also see the rest of the aunts and uncles. It’s nice to catch up and visit with everyone.

So now we get to the fun part, traveling with the littles. Julia is pretty easy because she’s 3. I loaded up on sticker books, coloring books and some of her favorite books and gave them to her at difference points of the ride.¬† We also liked asking her what she could see, how many trucks went by, or how many blue cars and what she wanted to listen to for music. Those answers rotated between “Foo Fighters, Christmas music, Yellowcard and Alvin and the Chipmucks”

Before we left RI, we bought calzones and muffins with lots of water and headed on the road. The kids were great and ate way too many veggie straws. But there were no real meltdowns and the kids chatted with one another and slept on and off.

While the kids napped we put on a 90s alt rock station and talked – it was nice because even though we see each other everyday this was the first time in a long time it felt like we were connecting and talking.

Seeing Grandma was great and so was seeing the rest of the family and even though we don’t get together often everyone talks at once and it’s loud but filled with love and appreciation for one another. It was well worth the drive.

We had a hard time sleeping our first night (we got in about 8pm) and grabbed dinner at a local place in town. Went back to the hotel to check in (and it was the sketchiest hotel I’ve ever stayed in). There was no fridge for our leftovers and the options on the heater were super hot or ice cold, so we did the best we could with what we had. Sam slept in his pac ‘n play. Julia jumped from bed to bed (there were two queens). She had a hard time getting settled, once one was settled the other would start up, around 2am we got everyone to sleep. Nate slept by himself and Julia fell asleep in my bed. She did fall out at one point and I picked her up and she didn’t seem very bothered.

Since the first night was so bad (in regards to sleep), we decided after we visited with Grandma we would get on the road and head home. So we headed back to the hotel, checked out and picked up some more muffins and hopped on the highway and headed home. Sam slept on and off and we stopped for milk, Julia wasn’t so into sleeping so we chatted and sang songs and told stories. We got home at 2am and everyone was very happy to be in their own beds.

The point is, road trips can be fun but all you need to do is plan well, pack plenty of snacks and water and plan your stops. Have fun and be ok with throwing the kids schedules out the window and you’ll do just fine.

Defending Daddy – Daughter “Dates”

Recently a mom blogged how her husband takes their daughter out on dates, describing he picks out her dress and little purse and opens the doors for her as well as pulls her chair out for her and buys their dinner.

Then, another mom wrote a response piece (she has 2 boys) essentially saying it’s misogynistic and the mother and father in the original piece are against equal rights and how they’re teaching their daughter that a man can only show his love by taking her out to dinner, buying her flowers and drawing out answers to questions he asks. She goes on to say how she would never raise her sons to do this, and if they had a daughter her husband wouldn’t do “daddy daughter dates because it’s gross and sounds like a porn”.

Ok, so I don’t agree with the second moms position.

If your husband wants to take your daughter out for a special date and buy her flowers and open doors, he isn’t saying she’s not strong enough or she needs a man to provide nice things. It’s leading the example to be with someone who values you and appreciates you. My husband does buy me flowers for my birthday, our anniversary, and Valentine’s Day. He will randomly come home with “just because flowers”. This isn’t teaching our daughter to expect flowers, but to enjoy that sometimes daddy thinks of mommy and wants to do something nice.

Also, my husband works and I’m with the kids during the week and he gets home briefly before bedtime and sometimes he is home for bedtime and sometimes he’s not. But we make it work, and it’s important to us that both our kids have dedicated time with us so they know they are in fact a priority and that we cherish time with them.

Ok, to drawing out answers to questions, kids are kids! My nephew is 12 going on 17 and I talk to him on the phone once a week to check in and it’s like pulling teeth sometimes and that’s ok, because he’s young and I’m his nosey aunt who asks him lots of questions. My daughter is 3 and when I pick her up from school and ask “how was your day?”, “what did you enjoy most today?”. Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes I don’t, the dad is interested in his daughters life, her wants and needs and her likes. I’m sure if I searched the internet enough I could find a piece about dad’s not spending enough time with their daughters or dads spending too much time on their phones and not communicating enough. I get it, there’s a flip side to every arguement.

The dad pulling out the chair isn’t condescending- he’s being chivalrous and it’s nice to see. If you look at any boutique you’ll find a shirt that reads “boys will be boys [strike thru] good humans”. So why is it when a dad who wants to show his daughter to have expectations a bad thing?

Worst of all, who is saying this has to be anything but a dad enjoying time with his daughter, my husband has taken our daughter out without me, he opens the door because she’s too short to do it on her own, he pays because, well, she is a toddler and she doesn’t have money and if he handed her his card she wouldn’t know what to do with it and would just play with it, and he pulls out her chair because some chairs are too heavy for her, if we really want to get down to logistics.

But, my main point is; why do we as a society have to dissect everything and make it more than it is? Can’t we appreciate a dad taking his daughter out and enjoying time together? Because, I love it and I love when my friends do that with their daughters.

Now, that I’ve been writing all about dad and daughters, I do dates with my son, there was a mother son dance at the elementary school I went to. No matter the way you slice it parents are doing the best they can and want each child to feel valued and loved as well as appreciated. So lets step back from our screens and typing comments about how it sets a bad example and just enjoy that parents are making time to do something special with their kids.

That’s all.

Homeschooling Vs. School

Having kids means talking to your spouse about EVERYTHING and EVERY option there is.

Cloth Diapers or Disposable? Bottle (SO MANY VARIETIES) pumping or Breast? Sleep in a crib, bassinet, co-sleep? Formula – organic, soy, AR, regulate, AGAIN so many options! Car seats, strollers, high chairs, pac n plays. Literally there is no “Easy” choice but that’s what parenting is, a series of choices that you think are the best at that moment in time.

So school, private, Montessori, public, charter, tech, homeschool? (Lets be honest I’m probably forgetting one or two!)

It got me thinking what’s best for Julia? She loves structure but she loves play time – she also needs alone time and space because she can get overwhelmed easily. She’s so sweet and has a real interest in learning. So do we go the Private school route? Or do we homeschool? I know I’m not patient or smart enough to do homeschooling and I don’t want her to miss out on anything but I want to make sure she is being challenged as well as getting space when needed.

She three and advanced for her age (this isn’t my opinion her teachers have told us) and then we have our goofball, Sam. He will be 1 in 2 weeks and he’s already a little prankster. He’s very sweet but without a doubt will be the class clown and will probably have my ADD (sorry bud).

But the point is no school fits one child, so when you’re thinking of school look around at all of them and not every school will fit both of your kids so don’t worry if they end up at different schools, you can juggle carpool.

We are a few years off but if you have any ideas for your kids do your research, talk to your friends and family and go to school committee meetings.

I will say, I love how homeschoolers teach their kids about real life; doing the groceries on a budget, and how taxes work (I still don’t know how to do my taxes – thanks Nate)

Let me know what you’re thinking of doing and how you’ve talked about it with your spouse.

Potty Training

Real talk, I HATE POTTY TRAINING!!

OK, but in all seriousness my daughter just turned 3 and we have been potty training or attempted potty training for the last 2 months. I tried the whole naked thing. she had an accident and was hysterical. I didn’t get mad with her but she has been freaked out ever since.

Now she’s a master of holding her urine, all day. I have loaded her up with juice, milk and water and she still won’t pee. So now I’m contemplating locking us in the house for 5 days straight to see if that works.

But seriously what else can I do – what’s the best way to get thru to her? I’ve gotten books on it, I’ve read every book and I’ve gotten books for her and I’ve tried bribing her with M & M’S and her favorite shows and still holds her pee. I just want to stop buying pull-ups – so here’s to the upcoming week, when we try again. Wish us luck and leave a note or tips on how it worked for you and your little.

Mom Friends

I once saw a quote about making mom friends “hi, i too have kids. Want to be friends?”

Which is totally true, you’re always feeling awkward and wondering if they are second guessing getting together with you.

Recently, at my daughters third birthday party I took a step back and was feeling overwhelmed by how many wonderful mom friends I have. I also am very thankful they are some of the most supportive women I’ve ever met. Each of these women have talked me thru sleepless nights, first fevers, stitches and ear tubes.

All these women (and their guys) have been so loving and supportive and never judged me when I needed advice. All the advice I’ve ever gotten I’ve done my best to pass along to other moms. The best thing about mom friends is we all have our own approach and it’s ok it’s different than ours because it works for them and sometimes you need to try something new and you can try their advice.

So if you’re a first time mom or moving to a new place – join a moms group, you’ll find a variety of moms. some will want to use cloth diapers, some will pump or nurse and others will do formula but at the end of the day every mother loves their kid and wants the best for them.

Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you noticed any teal pumpkins in or around your neighborhood?

Are you confused as to why the pumpkin isn’t orange? Because orange is the new teal – ok not really!

It’s because Teal is the color of allergy food awareness – this issue is very near and dear to me. My niece and nephew have severe food allergies and Halloween is a stressful time for them. Ever since they were little they could never enjoy Halloween fully because of the risk of running into an allergen.

Now there is the Teal Pumpkin Project, if you have a teal pumpkin this shows that there are other options besides candy – stickers, glow sticks, pencils, play dough containers and other fun things that aren’t candy! This is a fun way to include kids who wouldn’t always be included.

A friend of mine recently posted an article on Facebook explaining what Teal Pumpkin Project was for those who were unaware – when I clicked the link I saw some nasty comments. One in particular stood out; “How about the parents be parents, and pick out the candy they cannot have, when they get home. Let the kids deal with it. Shielding them and accommodating every little problem they encounter is creating a generation of entitled¬† adults, who expect the world to cater to their every whim. We are seeing this now. If you say something people do not agree with, they will resort to violence to silence you. Let’s stop shielding them and start preparing them to live in an adult world where they will be expected to deal with things in a civil manner. I’m not saying to be mean to them, but to teach them this is not the end of the world, there are children starving in other countries. Let’s be thankful for what we have, and find ways yo make something positive from our circumstances. Maybe they could take the extra candy and give it out to children who are in the hospitals or orphanages.”

Ok, I’m going to break this down – “let the kids deal with it” yes, because everyone knows 2 & 3 year olds can read labels, oh wait, they can’t. So if a child picks up a Reese’s and takes a bite because we are letting the kids deal with it – seriously that’s an absurd response. And it’s just mean and careless.

“creating a generation of entitled adults” yep, that’s exactly how you create entitled adults. By protecting your kids you’re being a good parent and keeping them safe. No one esp kids with food allergies expect anyone to cater to them at all, in any way, EVER! I always make sure the kids meals are safe, not because I want to help raise entitled adults but because I love them like my own and I want to keep them safe – nothing scares me more than the thought of them getting sick or worse having an allergic reaction and being in the hospital or dead. Food allergies are NO JOKE.

Anyone with food allergies has grown up much faster than people without food allergies, imagine being 5 and asking the hostess “does this cake have eggs in it?” or “was this cookie made in a peanut free facility?” Ok, so as much as that sucks and who doesn’t love cake, but imagine being in high school and going in for your first kiss and stopping to say “what have you eaten today?” Trusting your partner is going to be honest and that they are remembering everything. It’s incredibly stressful – trust me when I tell you kids with allergy are the least shielded group you’ll ever meet.

Lastly, kids in hospitals don’t want candy because yano, they are in the hospital and they probably can’t have loads of sugar, but I’m not a doctor so don’t quote me! But sending candy to kids in third world countries won’t be helping them, they need water and real nutrients.

So to the person on Facebook – you’re rude and inconsiderate and people need to be more understanding.

Teal Pumpkin Project is awesome and we should be doing more for our friends with food allergies!

#MeToo

If you’ve been on any social media platforms this weekend and the beginning of this week then you have seen “me too” on one platform or another.

How sad is this: I saw at least 12 consecutive posts all saying “me too.” 12, count them!

How did this happen? How did we get here? When did people start to rationalize looking at a man or woman and thinking to themselves “oh hey, she’s an attractive woman, let me scream obscenities out my car window as she walks down the street?” When did it become a part of the culture to grab a women’s ass without permission? When did forcing sex or sexual acts on a girlfriend seem like a good idea when she said “no, I’m not in the mood tonight, I’m too tired from working all day?”

There’s an old saying “let boys be boys,” now most people have seen that saying on a kids t-shirt or a poster and it’s crossed out and it now reads “let boys be good humans”.

Any unwanted advances are a problem. If you see a person on the street and you think you’d like to say something, take a step back and think how you’d feel if the roles were reversed, would you want someone hanging out the window talking about the size of your dick? Which brings me to my second point, anytime a woman rejects a male’s advances, she’s called “bitch” or “ugly” or another insult.

So, as a woman I must appreciate your crude comments and not respond and defend myself because if I do then I’m “crazy”. It’s a double standard.

Here’s what I am going to do to put an end to this – ok to try to put an end to this. I’m going to raise my son to be a kind, gentle man, to respect women and men. Not to ever make someone uncomfortable or uneasy and to never make an insensitive comment. Not because I’m his mother or because he has an older sister but because everyone deserves to be respected and treated well – I’m going to tell him how great sex is and how enjoyable it is, but if at any moment his partner says “no, stop” for whatever reason that’s ok. There’s no need to be hurt or upset because if he was the one saying “NO” I’d hope his partner would be respectful of him and his wishes. I’ll remind him not to go along with his friends if they are participating in this behavior, and that it’s never ok and there is never an excuse for it. And I won’t ever tolerate it.

I’m going to tell my daughter it’s ok to want sex and to wear short skirts and no matter what she is wearing she would never be asking for it, but she needs to be aware of her surroundings, use the buddy system, call me if she has to walk to her car alone so she will be able to yell if something happens or she sees something happening to someone else. I will teach her how to throw a punch and defend herself if she ever needs to. I’ll tell her how sometimes it’s not the bad boys who are the worst offenders but it can be her friends. I will tell her she’s strong and beautiful and to never be ashamed or scared – she’s never alone. I will tell her to be supportive of her friends if they say they’ve been victimized.

Lets all agree to raise our kids to be good humans and do the best they can and to never judge and always offer a listening ear.