The Gift of Another Birthday

In my preschool class, it is a tradition to have Oreos as a special treat on someone’s birthday. As I was passing out Oreos this week for my birthday, one of my students asked me, “What’s your number?” I had to chuckle at that one! I’m not one to hide my age; I’ve only been 39 years old once.

Speaking of 39, in June I’m about to take on a big challenge. I’m going to walk 39 miles with my best friend and husband, Ed. But perhaps an even bigger challenge is raising the amount of money I need to walk in the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. In order to participate in the Avon 39, both Ed and I need to raise $1800. That is a daunting number!

AVON39
Walking the Chicago #AVON39 in 2011

Here’s where you come in! I am looking for sponsors for the AVON39. To become a sponsor, all you need to do is donate $1 for each mile I plan on walking. Donating just $39 to Avon 39: The Walk to End Breast Cancer is an easy way to support me in my fundraising. If you have a blog or own a small business, your donation can also benefit you!

With a $39 donation, I will put your logo above the fold on my sidebar until June 30. That’s a premium advertising space for less than $10 a month! I will also personally thank you at least 4 times for being a sponsor on my Facebook page and Twitter, with a link to your website, Facebook page, or other social media link (whichever you prefer). My blog is small yet mighty, and you’ll be making a donation to a great cause!

If you are unable to make a donation at this time, support me by liking and sharing my #AVON39 posts. Do you know someone else who might want to be a sponsor? Please share this post with them. It’s as easy as that!

To make a donation and to read more about why I’m walking, visit my AVON39 Fundraising Page. After you make your donation, please email me at lemondroppie@gmail.com to let me know you’ve made a donation, and to share the links and the logo you would like me to use. If you don’t have a logo, I’ll be able to provide one for you.

Click here!
Click here!

Back to the question of what my number is; I am proud to say that I am 47 years old, and I plan on adding many years to that number!

*Here comes the small print: Please note, my sidebar is not visible on my blog’s mobile setting. I will share your links enthusiastically, but cannot guarantee the number of click-throughs your link will receive. I am walking the AVON39 under my real name. Please visit my AVON39 page for information on how to donate. Thank you for your support!

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February Writing Prompts

Along with a new month comes new writing prompts! Pick one (or more) and write about the prompt on your blog. Then come back here to link up your blog post!

Click here for instructions and a song!
Click here for instructions and a song that Emmy sings!

1. On Groundhog Day, the groundhog is supposed to tell us when Spring will arrive. What is your favorite season and why?

2. Company’s coming! What is your favorite recipe to make when you have guests?

3. Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14. Do you have a craft or cute Valentine ideas to share with us?

4. 2016 is Leap Year. If you had no other obligations, what would you do with an extra day?

The linky will be open all month long! But remember, this is the shortest month of the year, so you only have 29 days to write!

 


Some extra “notes” about the writing prompts: I decided to stop paying for Linky Tools, so I’ve switched to the free version of InLinkz. Let me know how it’s working for you!

Due to the small number of participants, I’ve also decided to have writing prompts monthly. The linky will be up all month, and I’ll have reminders throughout the month to link up your writing.

I’m the third curator of The Spin Cycle, and it’s evolved into a different writing prompt then the way it started many years ago with its creator, Jen from Sprite’s Keeper. I’d like to make this writing prompt my own. Do you have any suggestions on a new name for a writing linky?

Please leave a comment; I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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I was a Weekend Warrior

Today, my body is telling me that I have only one more week as a 46 year old, and turning 47 next Tuesday brings me even closer to the big 5-0.

How the heck did I get to be so old? And when did walking down all the stairs in this split level house we bought become so painful?

Oh, wait. I have an answer to that question. The second question, that is. My thighs started protesting stairs on Monday morning after an usually athletic weekend.

On Saturday, we went on our annual skiing trip. I’m not much of a skiier, so the girls and I took a lesson together. We had a great instructor this year! She went through the basics with us, and then we went up the ski lift to practice our turns. The girls both have great balance! Our instructor is also a guide for blind skiers, and we saw her later with a bright orange vest, guiding a blind skier to the ski lift. Isn’t that a neat program?

skiing Alpine Valley
Proof that I went skiing

I think I embarrassed my daughter when I called out some teens that were trying to cut in line for the ski lift. I don’t care. I’m old. And they were wrong.

skiing at Alpine Valley
Lily, Emmy and Ed

Sunday morning I woke up with sore ankles, mostly from where the rented ski boots rubbed against my shins. Other than that, I felt pretty good. That afternoon, the entire family was invited to a Girl Scout outing at the Sweatshop. You can imagine what we did while we were there! A very enthusiastic (young) man led us in exercising for a whole hour. He was amazing! The kids had a blast, and the parents had fun, too! The dance-off between the kids and parents was especially fun. The kids danced to Beyonce and the adults danced the Village People–YMCA, of course!

Working out at the gym using the treadmill and elliptical, however, is much different than bouncing around like Tigger on steroids for an hour. For the most part, I was able to keep up with all the exercising due to my gym visits, but then the next day my thighs complained bitterly. (And are still complaining, I might add!) Sometimes I have to remind myself that yes, I am older than many of the other moms. But I’ve also gone through a lot to get here, and I’m proud to be a 46-almost-47-year-old-mom.

Let’s see if I still feel the same way when I turn 50!

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Review: Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!)

When I became pregnant with my first child at the age of 35, I wanted to do everything right. I instantly gave up coffee and alcohol and went to the parenting section of the bookstore to buy my first parenting book. And you know what? I don’t even remember the name of the book I bought. Once my child was born, all the advice I read in those parenting books went right out the window. I wondered; even though the authors of these books have a lot of letters behind their names and fancy credentials, have they actually raised children of their own?

Just as I learned how to teach from actually being in the classroom, I learned how to parent by actually becoming a parent. That’s why Lose The Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) is such a refreshing book about parenting. Every single contributor is a parent who has also learned lessons by actually raising a child (or two or three)! They share their hilarious stories about doing the things they said they would never do before they had kids.

Lose_the_Cape_Never_Cover_for_Kindle

Lose The Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) starts off with a bang when Karen Johnson confesses her many downfalls as a parent. Never would she ever let her kids sit in front of a screen all day, never would she ever be a moody mother, and never would her kids have a tantrum in public…well, let’s just say once she had children that ship sailed far, far away.

My idea of meal planning is having a pantry stocked with basics for the casseroles I make regularly, and making sure there is milk in the fridge and meat in the freezer. Which is why I totally relate to “The Fantasies and Realities of Motherhood from a Recovering Idealist” by Jennifer Collins. She writes, “And I have no idea what is for dinner tonight.” Neither do I, Jennifer, neither do I!

I love Tandra Wilkerson‘s description of parenting in ‘true “rock-star” style’ in her story, “Dirty Perfection.” “No, not the fun, rocking-out-on-stage-with-devoted-fans rock stars. The other type. The behind-the-scenes, after the after-party, hung-over-barely-making-it-just-trying-to-get-through-the-next-moment-without-vomiting-or-passing-out type.”

There are so many other fun stories in this book, such as “Fugitive Mom” by Andrea Isiminger, and there are touching stories as well, such as “The Unexpected Journey to Spirituality” by Nichole Cancellare and “Use the Full Box of Crayons” by Melodic Rose. But I can’t tell you about all the stories in this book. You’ll have to read them for yourself!

You can find Lose The Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) on Amazon, and you can also follow Lose the Cape on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LoseTheCape. Thanks to editors Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera for bringing together these amazing contributors. This is one parenting book you’ll be glad to read!

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In Praise of My Girls

Many parenting blogs write about how hard it is to be a parent; the sleepless nights, the picky eaters, the bedtime delays, and the sacrifices parents make for their kids. But sometimes, kids make sacrifices for parents, too.

As I hinted in my last blog post, my father-in-law has been struggling with health issues. On Sunday, we took him to the ER because his breathing was very labored. Due to a heart condition, his lungs fill with fluid and he has had to have his lungs drained several times. While Ed and his sister were with his dad, the girls and I waited in the ER waiting room to see if he would be admitted. Never once did my daughters say they were bored or tired of waiting. In fact, as dinnertime approached, I was the one getting cranky!

Yesterday, my father-in-law was going to be released from the hospital and needed to be taken to a rehab center. At the last minute, it appeared that I was the only on available to take him. But what was I going to do with my daughters? I could have tried to send them to friends’ houses after school, but the problem with being released from the hospital is that you never know how long it’s going to take. And it usually takes much longer than you think it’s going to. So I picked up the girls from school and told them to grab a snack. We were heading up to Lake Forest to pick up Grandpa.

When I had talked to my father-in-law on the phone, he had thought the paper work was going to be done by 5:00, which sounded reasonable. When we walked into his room at 4:30, however, the nurse was injecting medicine into his port. A port is an easy way to draw blood and administer chemotherapy (he also has lung cancer), but his port hadn’t been working that day. We had to wait half an hour to see if his port would work before he left. And so began the waiting game.

I don’t need to go into all the details of our visit, but I will tell you that the girls visited a little bit with Grandpa and sat quietly in that hospital room for over two hours. They didn’t bicker with each other or complain about being stuck in that hot, stuffy room with only two chairs for the three of us. (My father-in-law gets cold very easily, so the heat was turned up high!) What made the waiting even harder was that Emmy and Ed were supposed to go to a special activities night with other third graders at her school, and I was supposed to go to choir rehearsal at our church, and the hospital was not close to either place.

We finally were given my father-in-law’s release papers and were able to leave the hospital. As we pulled up to the rehab center just a few minutes before 7:00, Emmy spotted Ed, who met us there to take Emmy to her special activities night at school. They were a little late, but both Ed and I didn’t want her to miss being with her friends. I got a wheelchair for my father-in-law, and Lily and I got him settled in his room. He has been at this rehab center many times before, so he saw familiar faces right away and was relieved to be there!

Lily was looking a little pale, so I took her to Noodles & Co. for dinner. I was going to miss choir, but my little girl needed to eat. And so did I! If I timed it right, however, I would still be able to go to handbell choir. I play the middle F and G bells and our director wanted to try some new pieces, so I thought I should still go. It’s hard to rehearsal bells when people are missing!

My girls are definitely not perfect. I don’t think I ever told you that as a toddler, Lily threw the biggest tantrum in the hospital elevator after visiting my brother. But this week, I feel like they deserve some praise. They sacrificed several hours on Sunday night to sit in a hospital waiting room, and then sat in a hospital room for a couple of hours on Wednesday night. That’s tough enough for an adult to do, and they did quite well being 8 and 11. I’m proud of them!

Now, if I could just get them to clean their rooms, they would be perfect!

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