Last year for Summer’s birthday, we asked for no gifts. Instead, we requested money ($10 or $15) so that Summer could spend half the money on a really special toy and give the other half to charity.
It felt weird to ask for money but it was less than someone would spend on a present anyway and I felt really good about my kids raising money for those in need.
Summer ended up collecting $80 to donate and we planned on giving it to a local community center that helps out disadvantaged families. Then life intervened. Rick got a new job, we had a baby, we sold our house, we bought a new house and moved to Florida. Recently, as we were unpacking, we found the envelope with the $80.
My two older girls, Dylan and Summer, asked what we should do with it. I said – let’s just buy a new iPod! Okay, what I really said was… Let’s give it to tzedakah at Dylan’s Hebrew school.
In Dylan’s Hebrew class, they collect money each week (called tzedakah) to donate to a charity. It’s part of a religious obligation to help those in need and each week the kids are encouraged to throw in a few coins. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, you give whatever you can to help others.
So Dylan, Summer and I briefly discussed giving the money to tzedakah and then I kind of forgot about the whole conversation. I guess because I have 5 kids or something.
A few weeks later, I received a phone call from Dylan’s teacher who wanted to know if we had really meant to throw 80 dollars into the tzedakah box.
Dylan had just walked into class, put 80 bucks in the tzedakah box and sat in her seat. It wasn’t until the teacher inquired where the money came from that Dylan spoke up and said, “That’s from my sister Summer.”
That is all she said.
At which point, the teacher said, “Can I have your mother’s number please?”
I explained the back story to Dylan’s teacher. Turns out Dylan’s Hebrew class won an ice cream party for raising the most money and yes, Summer was the special guest.
Per our request, the money will be donated to children that are hungry. Did you know that nearly one in five children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table?
Can you imagine as a mother not being able to feed your children? Can you imagine that child trying to learn and function without sufficient, healthy food? It makes my heart hurt to think about it.
Summer’s 7th birthday is quickly approaching and although it feels funny to ask a bunch of parents that I don’t know for money instead of crappy Barbie dolls, I am going to do it.
It took nearly a year for that 80 dollars to find its way to the right place.
But it reminded me of the importance and power of giving.
Both my older girls are in the Girl Scouts – one is a Daisy and one is a Brownie. I wanted them to be a part of the Girl Scouts because of the focus on community service. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that “serving your community” does not mean ironing the badges on your own Girl Scout vest.
This is Summer’s first year as a Daisy and I somehow managed to actually get to the Army Navy store to buy her blue vest. The great part about going to an Army Navy store is that while you are picking up your Girl Scout necessities, you can also buy a gun mug.
I love drinking my morning brew with a pistol grip.
I bought all the required patches and then I hit a standstill on the vest. While Dylan had a lot of badges from her previous year as a Brownie, Summer had a whole lot of nothing…
She would go to Girl Scout meetings like this. It seemed a little sad.
I explained that it was a very clean, contemporary look. Wasn’t she excited to not have her vest all messed up with a bunch of patches like her troop number and other crap?!
She was completely unswayed by my “modern aesthetic” argument.
Finally, on Friday night, Rick and I watched “Pitch Perfect” for the first time while I ironed and ironed.
In fact, I accidentally ironed one of Dylan’s Brownie badges onto Summer’s Daisy vest. It’s not really my fault because the movie is pretty entertaining.
So back to the Army Navy store to get a new Brownie patch for Dylan. Plus a great opportunity to pick up a pair of camouflage short shorts for myself.
I finally finished Summer’s vest and as you can see, she is 100% satisfied.
Or maybe her expression is more, “Thanks for finally doing that mom but I really don’t feel like taking a photo right now because you’ll probably just put it on your blog. I mean, I don’t run around trying to take pictures of you in your camouflage short shorts, do I?!”
By the way, I just found out about Badge Magic that allows you to just stick on these patches. Please someone tell me if this stuff works.
mama bird notes:
I really was so honored to be included with these amazing female writers. If you are interested in purchasing the book, click here.
I remember my mom wearing one of my sister’s bathing suits for a long time.
“Why are you wearing that? It’s so old and stretched out. Why don’t you get a new one?” I asked her.
I don’t remember what she said. She hates shopping so I’m sure that was part of it. And she probably just had other stuff to do and didn’t care all that much.
How was that possible?! I once spent 20 minutes just trying to decided whether to wear loafers or sneakers on a Saturday afternoon. My young self knew that image was everything.
Well, I lost my sunglasses a week ago and you can’t really live in Florida without them. But because we are new to the area, I didn’t know where to buy a new pair. And I’ve had other stuff to do and I guess I just didn’t care all that much, so I’ve been wearing these…
Yes, those are my 9-year-old’s sunglasses.
Red with rhinestones.
I wear them in the car.
To play tennis.
Dropping my kids off at preschool.
You see if I had close friends here, I would have been mocked enough already to buy a new pair. Luckily, I have my 9-year-old who just told me she wants her sunglasses back.
mama bird notes:
I wrote a big toy review for Alpha Mom. We looked at all the toys on the “hot list” and determined whether they were hot at all. Check it out here.
Want to give me an early Christmas gift? Like the mama bird diaries on Facebook!
Hey, it’s Thanksgiving! And Hanukkah! And Arbor Day! I’m not 100% on that last one.
Of course, it’s that time of year when we are grateful to not have an embarrassing video going viral and for so many other things. Like the fact that when I get on an airplane, I can relax in Juicy sweatpants instead of this…
That’s what Lady Gaga wore at LAX before she boarded a plane. I mean, I’m not even sure exactly what’s happening there.
And I’m grateful that I have a friend that would send me a text like this…
I am also so grateful that this calendar exists…
I am dying to see the other months. (By the way, if you adopt a pet, please try to adopt one from a rescue league. Disclaimer: I don’t think that guy comes with the cat.)
I am also so thankful that I have a 3 year old who tells me every night how much he hates his dinosaur sheets and every morning that he really really really really wants dinosaur pajamas.
I am grateful that I finally know enough about parenthood that I know my kid doesn’t need a potty with an iPad. And yes, this is a real product.
Because it’s never too soon to start learning how to poop on the potty while you download apps!
I’m truly grateful to not be married to Alec Baldwin because although his is a very talented and funny actor, he seems like he gets really angry sometimes.
Finally, I am grateful for a house that is always exploding with love and chaos, a husband who I love very much despite the fact that he has more Twitter followers than me and for readers like you who make me laugh and inspire me everyday. xo
My mother has been visiting and with the exception of when she went to our garage fridge at 1:30 am to get one of her “diet bubbly drinks” and set off the house alarm, things have been going pretty smoothly. (Sometimes when you wake up thirsty, water works. And as a bonus, the police don’t come.)
We have all really loved having her here. During her visit I have been testing out some toys for a future review on Alpha Mom. At one point, my mom heard me mention a couple of the toys and said, “Who are LeapFrog and Tabeo? The twins?”
Obviously from this day forward I will now always refer to Chase and Harlowe as Leapfrog and Tabeo. I wish I had thought of those names when they were born.
On Saturday night, we wanted to go out with some new friends in Ft. Lauderdale, so we asked my mother to babysit.
This was a little problematic because, with the exception of 6-month-old Cash, she goes to bed before all my kids.
The second problem is that she can’t operate a television. Or at least not our television. Because there are a couple different power buttons and a lot of channels. I distinctly remember being out at a restaurant once and Rick having to talk her through the TV controls as if he was managing an intense hostage situation.
We decided she should watch “Grease” with our older girls on the downstairs TV. And then upstairs, we left the TV on for later. At first, Rick wanted to put on some “Monk” marathon but I vetoed that based on that fact that I’ve never seen the show but it sounds weird and why did that same guy win an Emmy year after year anyway?!
Instead we put on a station that was showing back to back episodes of “Modern Family.” And bless her heart because she watched that show (with commercials) for the next four hours until we got home. We were very grateful.
And yes, of course she set off the alarm again the next morning.
She’s headed back to Connecticut today. I think the alarm company is really going to miss her. So will we.
mama bird notes:
My review on Leapfrog, Tabeo and other hot toys of the year is coming up on Alpha Mom. Meanwhile, you can check out my baby monitor review now.