I'm not sure if you heard the news, but "a 75-foot-tall, 75-year-old pine crashed without warning at around 5 p.m. just outside the Kidspace Children's Museum and fell onto kids at a summer day camp Tuesday, injuring eight children, two of them critically, fire officials said." (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/including-children-hurt-falling-tree-kids-museum-32745551)
Well, my two daughters (ages 6 and 7) were attending that camp and apparently standing less than 20 feet away from the tree when it fell. When I arrived on the scene I was immediately notified that camp was being held directly under and near the tree when it fell. The staff notified each parent whether his/her child(ren) was safe, and the police kept us all well-informed and calm as we waiting over an hour for our children to be released back to us. My girls are safe and unscathed, but my eldest was sobbing before bed as she shared with us that she saw her friend, Joy, get hit by the tree and go to the hospital. I believe Joy's still in critical condition, so our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the children who were injured.
I am so thankful to the camp counselors and Kidspace Museum staff for keeping our children safe and in good spirits. Thank you, also, Pasadena Police and Pasadena Fire Departments for your incredibly fast response. You were all absolute rockstars.
This was such a harrowing experience. At least 1 firetruck and 1 ambulance passed me on my way to pick my girls up yesterday, but I thought nothing of it, until I pulled up to the scene. I teach my children to say no to strangers, look both ways before crossing the street, but what can prepare them for freak accidents like these? Nothing, really. I guess it's all about how we choose to deal with the aftermath.
Please say a prayer for all the children and families involved, and take a moment to peruse the resources listed below. Finally, let this be another reminder to cherish each and every moment and live life to its fullest.
The school psychologist at my children's school, Dr. Tina Bryson, suggests the following resources and steps to guide parents in talking with their children about the incident.
Steps to guide parents in talking with their children:
A friend of mine brought up the idea of organizing a "Parent Camp," and it was such a great idea that I just had to share. Summer camps seem to cost a fortune, and personally, I've had to piece together several different camps so that I can be at work. Even if you're a stay-at-home parent, this could be a welcome a break/change-of-pace for your kids. Here's a great, low-cost option - Parent Camp.
This will take a bit of planning, but one parent would watch ALL the children for a day. It sounds daunting, but I find that kids sometimes do better in groups. Hours can be negotiated but our group was planning on doing 9-3. The parent in charge is in charge of keeping the kids "entertained" and safe, feeding them snacks, providing a lunch which can be pizza delivery, sandwiches, pasta (whatever the parent in charge can manage).
(it's likely that the kids will want to just play with one another, but if you want to plan some things, here are some ideas)
My favorite gift to give and receive for children’s birthdays is a book. Books are practical, timeless, and “good-for-you.” What more could a parent want in a gift? I don’t know about your children, but when my daughters receive toys for their birthday, they are over-the-top excited upon unwrapping that gift, but the elation fizzles pretty quickly. On the flipside, when they receive books, they are not at all visibly excited, but when we snuggle up in bed and read that book, they LOVE the book itself and the mommy time. As an added bonus, I often see them going back to peruse those books over and over again. A book is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Here is a list of books that I, personally, like to gift:
Speaking of gifts that keep on giving, here is project idea a friend shared via Facebook. Her son’s preschool asks parents to volunteer to read books to the class. My friend read, Hooray for Hat by Brian Won, which is an adorable lesson on friendship and sharing, and had them make and decorate their own paper hats. So fun, isn’t it?
One of the authors mentioned above has generously donated a signed copy of his book, Hooray for Hat, and a signed archival print of "Hooray for Books" to giveaway to 1 lucky winner. Lollaland is adding 1 Lollacup and 1 Lollaland Mealtime Set to the giveaway. To enter to win, please leave a comment below. In the comment you must share the title of your family's favorite book. One winner will be chosen at random on Monday, July 21, 2014. Good luck!
1 lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Hooray for Books, a signed archival print of "Hooray for Books," 1 Lollacup, and 1Lollaland Mealtime Set.
My children absolutely adore their teachers. Second to parents and family, teachers impact our children in more ways than we can count.
Last week I was alerted that Teacher Appreciation Week was fast approaching, thanks to the room parents in my daughters' classes. Admittedly, I had a crazy week at work, so teacher appreciation gifts were the last thing on my mind. Especially because when it comes to something like appreciating my children's teachers, I seem to have these grandiose visions of piecing together some amazing Do-It-Yourself project I "pinned" years ago on Pinterest. Then I happened to be on Facebook, and my go-to florists, Fleuretica, fortuitously posted the most darling Teacher Appreciation arrangements! I called them right away, and placed my order. I picked them up this morning on the way to work, and I am so in love, I just had to share. This is perhaps one of the best teacher gift ideas I have ever seen. Please share some of your "go-to" teacher gift ideas.
Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. What is better for your soul than thinking about all the things you are grateful for? Also, who doesn’t love that it is perfectly acceptable to spend 7 straight days obsessing about gorging yourself all night?
That being said, this year’s Thanksgiving is bittersweet for our family. Hanna has been suffering all year with a severe skin condition for the past 9 months (link to blog post). I can’t even begin to imagine how I would handle being in that much pain every morning, noon, and night for such an extended period of time. Luckily we have had amazing support. We moved into my parents’ house (thanks mom!) for 6 months because Hanna was unable to properly care for our newborn and our friends would send food and flowers on a weekly basis (best friends ever). Yet, even though we feel incredibly blessed, it has been difficult to deal with the countless nights of crying and feeling utterly helpless.
While I was exhibiting at a tradeshow in Las Vegas last month, I was beginning to feel sorry for myself. Even though I didn’t show it, having to deal with this major adjustment in our lives while struggling to grow this small business was starting to affect my mental state… Until I met Bill.
Bill is the owner of Baby Face Band, a very useful item that allows you to personalize your child’s cup or bottle by putting the picture of your child on a band that goes around bottle. It makes perfect sense because your kid could easily identify his/her cup without having to know how to read!
Bill approached me in Las Vegas to talk about my experience on Shark Tank. I was more than happy to talk about our journey and when I asked him about his story, I learned that we had a lot in common. Baby Face Band was created by his wife, Laura, they were in contact with Shark Tank, and they also have three young children. It’s almost like we were the same family except in different states!
But as the conversation went on I learned that Bill had lost his wife to cancer just about a year ago and that he was exhibiting at the show to keep her vision alive. As soon as he shared this with me it took every muscle in my body from dropping to my knees and crying for him. Immediately, I felt a rush of guilt for feeling so sorry for myself while Bill, who has the biggest smile in the US, is juggling his business and his kids without his wife. For the past month, I’ve been thinking and praying for Bill and his family. We’ve only been in touch a few times since I met him in Las Vegas but his story has given me a lot of perspective. I really admire his strength and I’m hoping to learn how to be as positive as he is. I will definitely spend this Thanksgiving thanking my lucky stars and hugging my family members as hard as I can.
Lollaland + Baby Face Band Giveaway!
To enter: Send good thoughts to Bill and his three young children during the holidays and enter either Red, Green, Blue, or Pink. We will choose 4 lucky winners (Ends Dec 1, 2013) to get a free lollacup and matching Baby Face Band. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here it is in action: (picture of adorable baby not included)
I have a friend who is a talented writer, and every time I talk to her, I learn something new. The other day, we were talking and she asked me if I'd ever heard the phrase, "kill your darlings." Apparently, it's a phrase used by journalists, who often have a great idea for a piece or a fabulous opening that may turn out to be tangential or simply not a good fit. Instead of being married to said idea or concept, journalists are taught to "kill their darlings" - don’t use it, and get over it.
I began to think that I, as a parent, sometimes need to "kill my darlings." Don't get me wrong, I know my children can drive me crazy at times, but that's not what I mean. I know I'm not alone when I say that I do my best to be the perfect mother and my husband, the ultimate father. To that end, we tend to hold onto these notions of what ideal parenting looks like. We get distraught over missed naps, feel guilty about unhealthy meals, struggle to maintain discipline, etc. We get so much advice, read so many parenting tips, and witness other seemingly perfect children and do everything in our power to parent that way. BUT sometimes what's right for one family or what we hope to do and achieve as parents is simply not a good fit. Moving forward, I have vowed to "kill my darlings" and get over it. I hope you will consider the same. I'm thinking [and hoping] that it is going to make parenting a LOT less stressful.
The Pastor who married my husband and me required us to take a premarital class before saying, "I do." The class served to enlighten us doe-eyed lovebirds about the realities of marriage. He wasn't kidding - marriage is great, but it really is a lot of work. The class covered common "issues" like money and family, but one topic that was emphasized during this crash-course in marriage was appreciation. Life gets so busy at times that it's easy to forget to appreciate [and express that appreciation for] one another.
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I had nothing but a deep appreciation for my husband and father of our three amazing girls. I know that Father's Day was yesterday, but this week [and always], I want my husband to know:
For those of you in a relationship, remember to appreciate and also feel appreciated! Mark, I appreciate you - more than I show and say
How is it that my baby is 100 days old? They weren’t kidding when they said, “Third time’s a charm.” With my first two children getting to the 100-day-mark felt eternal thanks to baby blues, sleep deprivation, around-the-clock nursing, and simply not knowing if I was doing anything correctly. With my third [and last] baby girl, I am reveling in every moment, even though the exhaustion is indescribable and life feels like a blur.
So what’s with the 100 days? My husband was born here in America, and I was born in Brazil, but we are of Korean descent. We both come from immigrant families who now live very “American” lives, but have held onto some Korean traditions, one of which is the 100-day celebration known as a child’s Baek-Il. It is essentially a 100th-day birthday party. Historically, the survival rate of a baby before the first 100 days was low, but the rate would drastically increase after the first 100 days. So on the child’s 100th day of life, we celebrate her health.
On your 100th day of life, we are hosting a luncheon in honor of you and your health. Your extended family will be here as a symbol of their love for you and their commitment to supporting you as families so graciously do. Today, I just want you to know that I am absolutely obsessed with all things Zoe: your smell, your porcelain skin, your dramatic wails, your ability to suck both your right and left thumbs, your wild hair, your heartwarming smile, your awful-smelling poops, and your manly burps.
I feel so blessed to be your mother, and I hope that this day brings a lifetime of love, health, and joy.
I cannot believe Mother's Day is here. In honor of the fabulous day, I am compelled to write about how my mother and mother-in-law have recently reminded me why mothers are so amazing.
When I had my first daughter, I was overwhelmed by my mothers. Though everything was done out of love for this first grandchild [on both sides], my mother and mother-in-law may have single-handedly been the reason I had post-partum depression. My mother stayed with me for a couple months after I had the baby, and while her homemade meals and extra hand were a Godsend, the suggestions, questions, nagging, etc. were too much for my emotionally unstable self. Although I needed the help, we fought a lot and got very snappy with one another. My mother-in-law visited everyday for hours on end and would often wake the baby to "play" with her. The most invasive moment for me was when she kissed my baby's head while I was breastfeeding. My first-born was only weeks old, and I was begging my husband to move out of state.
While thinking about that time still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I do think I was much more sensitive as a first-time mom. I had this perfect vision of motherhood: I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all and be a great mom, and my mothers were raining on my parade. They wouldn't leave me or the baby alone and the unsolicited advice drove me insane. By the time baby #2 came around, I was much more grateful for the help and more mentally prepared for the chaos of having a newborn around.
With the arrival of baby #3, I knew I was going to welcome any help I could get. Soon after the baby arrived and I fell more and more ill with my skin condition, my mother and mother-in-law literally came to my rescue, and I couldn't be more grateful. For the first time in my life I have had to let go of control and trust that my moms were going to help me through this difficult time. This is no easy feat for a control-freak, type A personality like myself.
Being a good mother/parent, I'm realizing, is a perfect balance of selflessness and selfishness. Watching my mother and mother-in-law step in and do everything and anything possible to help me and my family through this difficult time has been both humbling and touching. There is no greater love than this. Their selflessness is unparalleled. Through this ordeal, I have also learned how important it is to be selfish - I need to do whatever it takes to take care of my health so that I can care for my own little ones and follow in the footsteps of my mothers by being there for my family through thick and thin.
Cheers to all you moms out there. Remember to take time for yourselves this mother's day, and may you be spoiled rotten!
I'm not one to share every video I come across on Facebook or even find much enjoyment in all the "viral" videos my dear husband likes to show me, but today I came across a video that really spoke to me. Although it's essentially a cheesy Dove commercial, Real Beauty, has an amazing message.
As I mentioned in my "Eczema" post several weeks ago, I have been struggling with trying to heal my out-of-control eczema. Things have taken a turn for the worse recently, and it's been quite debilitating and frustrating. However, seeing this video today reminded me to stay strong and tell myself, "You are more beautiful than you think [and feel]".
On a larger scale, it was a good reminder to instill a positive self-image in my three children. How one accomplishes that, I have no idea, but I have to believe it starts simply with love. Love your little ones for the individuals they are, and express love in every little thing you do. To see the Real Beauty video, click here.